Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Remembering a Friend, Part 2

There's something I didn't tell you in Part One that adds to the story.

Kenny had been born with Cerebral Palsy and had two twisted legs that could walk with the aid of a crutch. He was in constant pain, but never complained. He hated being treated special in any way. He did almost everything a 25-year-old young man could do, except play sports. He made up for that with his passion for basketball and baseball and was a great encouragement as coach to the athletes on his college teams.

Kenny was also brilliant! He was at the top of his class academically and was smart as a whip. I tend to find intelligence attractive so we made a good pair. I've often wondered what smart men found in me! :) We quickly fell into a routine of dates that would start out at a sporting event and end parked somewhere discussing anything from politics, to philosophy to the Bible. We LOVED to talk and found each other's conversation quite stimulating. Very quickly Kenny became one of my best friends. He was a safe place to float ideas and work through thoughts.

Anyway, I started telling you all about our dating relationship because of the outfit I wore in my senior picture. We had only been dating a few months when Kenny took me out to dinner to a nice restaurant. On our way back home he parked the car in the small urban park that surrounded our County Courthouse. The trees sparkled with small white lights in the darkness of night. Honestly, I got a little nervous (he seemed nervous), but then he pointed out something through my window. I looked away, but when I looked back at him he had placed a beautiful lavender glass heart necklace over the rear view mirror. It glistened in the sparkling lights. He then put the music from Somewhere In Time on with his cassette player and began reading me a story. The story was about a prince who had been lost and a princess who rescued him. She had captured his heart. It was sooo romantic! After he read the story he took the necklace off the mirror and put it around my neck. He said, "You know what would look good with that?" I said, "What?" He answered, "Look in the back seat." There he had laid out this gray suit and burgundy blouse. Wow! I couldn't believe that he had purchased an outfit for me. I was a giddy school girl and he loved it!

I will be honest that I didn't like gray and NEVER chose to wear that color. I loved burgundy and gave it a try when I got home. I LOVED it! I wore the outfit for several years and often thought of the romantic way it was given to me. I think that's the only outfit he ever purchased for me. It certainly was the only one that sticks in my memory, but what a sweet memory it is. I still have the necklace. In telling you this story, I pulled it out of my jewelry box and looked at it fondly - remembering a dear friend.

Kenny and I continued dating for 2 1/2 years. I dated a few other boys during that time, but the summer before going off to college (after I was 18!) Kenny dropped hints that he was serious about our relationship. In hindsight, he was on the marriage fast-track, but I was somewhat oblivious to how serious he was getting. That was until one night as he dropped me off at my door, he leaned in and gave me a quick kiss. He said a hurried good-bye and rushed out to his car. I remember closing the door and thinking, "Oh, no...that was like kissing my brother!" Really.

During that summer my parents had released the rule of dating monthly. Our family had moved to within an hour of his college so we were seeing each other weekly. The next time we saw each other we knew all was not well. We talked about the kiss and came to the realization that God had given us a friendship, but that marriage was probably not His plan for us. In some ways I think it broke both of our hearts. We were buddies! We could talk about anything, but marriage takes more than an understanding of the minds and that's all we had. We dated a few more weeks, but our story ended soon after I went off to college several hours away from him.

My mom made the observation that maybe the Lord brought us together so that I would be protected and would have a wonderful example of dating and the opportunity for Kenny to do a little growing up. Although he would say he didn't want to be treated differently because of his disability, he actually had to own up to his words when I would wait in the car for him to get my door or wait at a table for him to pull out my chair. It surprised him, but he loved it and I think it made him a better man to have someone believe that he really didn't need to be treated any differently than anyone else.

Kenny went on to date others and got married, just as I did. I entitled these posts as Remembering a Friend because Kenny is no longer living, but the sweet memories I have of our friendship will always remain with me. I know someday I'll get to see him walk with perfect legs on streets of gold. What a joy that will be!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Remembering a friend

In the Random Dozen on Wednesday I posted my senior picture and mentioned that my boyfriend had purchased the outfit I wore. I was surprised that tidbit of information sparked interest, but I thought today I'd share the "back story." I have a feeling you'll enjoy that even more. It's a little long, but stay with me. I think you'll be glad you did.

As a teenager my parents said that when I turned 16 yrs old I would be allowed to date. I was generally boy crazy most of my life and was looking forward to going out on actual dates.

As a young girl I had given my heart to Jesus and grew in faith and understanding. Although I was excited about dating I truly ONLY wanted to date who the Lord would choose for me so I began praying regularly at the age of fifteen, several months before my 16th birthday, for the Lord to reveal His choice for me. Innocently I probably thought He would reveal someone around the time of my birthday - what a nifty present a "knight" would be, but the Lord began teaching me early to wait for HIS timing. (Remember these are the musings of a self-absorbed teenager!) My March birthday came and went. I prayed a little more fervently. (smile!)

In late July I went to a youth conference several hours away from home. It was a multi-day event sponsored by a Christian college. I did NOT have the dating prayer request on my mind because all the boys from my church who went to the conference had already been brought before the Lord and found wanting. (Oh, this is so revealing-what an attitude I had!)

There was a young man from our home church who had graduated with a undergrad degree and a Master's degree and was working at the college. Kenny had come to our church on a bus route as a young boy and was the only believer in his family. Our senior pastor had taken him under wing and he had flourished. Kenny usually found our high school group each year at the conference and would act as host - giving us good intel on how to beat the long lines, where to get fast food, etc. We all enjoyed his humor and company. This year, however, he did not find us right away.

Late into day two in the middle of a sermon as I was sitting in the balcony I looked down upon the crowd and saw Kenny sitting with another group. Immediately I felt the Lord impress upon me that Kenny was the person I was to date. "What? That didn't make any sense, Lord! He's a MAN!" I tried to dismiss the thought. Nah! That's crazy thinking, girl!

Following the message Kenny found his way up to our group in the balcony and apologized for getting to us so late in the conference. He had been tasked to host another group, but wanted to check in on us. My heart was pounding and I just kept looking at him and thinking, "There is NO WAY this is the answer." Throughout the rest of the conference Kenny did not make it back to our group, but I did see him off and on throughout the building and each time the Lord was telling me, "It's HIM!" By the time I got home, my head was spinning.

After the conference our bus pulled into the church parking lot back home and inside the secretary's office we lined up to use the telephone to call our parents to come pick us up. After my call I had to wait for my parents to arrive. I noticed the light was shining under the door of our senior pastor's office. He was studying for the next day's sermons. I knocked quietly on the door and asked to speak with him. He welcomed me in and I began sobbing and telling him about my prayer request and that I thought the Lord was telling me that Kenny was the guy I was supposed to date. (Poor man!) He settled me down and then assured me that a MAN was probably NOT the answer to my request. I listened quietly, sensing in my heart that this answer, if it was from the Lord, was so unusual that God would have to do it, because it wouldn't make ANY sense on the human level.

I arrived home well past midnight and told my mom all that had transpired. If there was ever a moment of Godly wisdom (and she's had a lot of them, but this one was a biggie) Mom said, "Well, ok then, we need to continue praying about it - just you and I. Let's not tell anyone else because it doesn't make a lot of sense right now." She didn't shoot me down or discount my thoughts; she just said, "Let's keep praying." That's all I needed.

Fast forward...in September my family hosted a Labor Day picnic at my home. We had at least 50 people on our property and Kenny, whose family lived about 6 houses away, had been invited, as usual. I IGNORED him. I was so afraid of my feelings/thoughts that I steered clear away! I think he tried to speak to me once and I answered abruptly, then made a beeline for anywhere else. I was afraid he would somehow sense something and I just didn't know how to deal with the emotions of what the Lord seemed to be saying. I was not polite.

Fast forward again...a Saturday in mid-October I was traveling with my high school's marching band for a state-wide competition. We left early in the morning and wouldn't be returning until late into the night. Unbeknown to me, Kenny had phoned my parents earlier in the week mentioning that he would be home for the weekend and asked if he could take them to dinner on that night. My mom, sensing the Lord's movement, said that I would be out-of-town and he could come to our home for dinner. She did not reveal the phone call or plan to me. Then it was time for Mom to let Dad in on what had been transpiring. I assume he was a little surprised!

Kenny came for dinner that evening and said that while he was at our picnic in September he felt like the Lord was telling him, "to ask Angie out." He argued with the Lord making note that she was still a MINOR and in high school, but he couldn't get the thought out of his mind. He then mentioned, "It wasn't anything that she did that day. As a matter of fact, she actually seemed to be avoiding me, like she was angry or something." My parents asked a few more questions and then revealed to him my prayer request and answer in July. They were all stunned to see how the Lord had unveiled His plan for a 25 yr old man and a 16 yr old girl to date.

My parents gave Kenny stipulations: he could only come home once a month to date me, I was allowed to date other people and they encouraged him to do so, as well, AND if he touched me he was dead! (or prosecuted or both.) They then agreed that he should ask me to lunch after the Sunday service the next day to tell me how the Lord had moved him to ask me out.

That he did. We went to Long John Silver's for lunch. There were a few nerves, but the peace that passed all understanding was clearly evident in my heart. God had answered in a way that was unmistakeably Him. How I would need this example to rely on later in life!

I'll tell you the story of the outfit in part 2.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Random Dozen minus # 4

Today I'm joining Linda at 2nd cup of Coffee for the Random Dozen.
1. Is there a word which you initially mispronounced? Were the circumstances in which you made the faux pas embarrassing? By the way, that's not "foax pass." (I know you know that. Just jokin' with ya.)

I grew up in the Midwest where my family called a sundae a "sun-duh" and a soda a "sodie." Upon entering college I quickly changed their pronunciations to fit the norm, but my SoCal husband LOVES to tease me about "sun-duh" every so often.

2. How do you feel about the use of texting shortcuts and trends? (ex: "I've got ur notes. Get them 2 u 2morow.")

I feel gr8! (Got a college kid, remember!)

3. Tell me about your high school senior picture. Please feel free to post.
I came home from school on the afternoon of my senior picture and decided that my bangs were too long so I went into the bathroom and started hacking away. They were a little short, but not catastrophically so. This whole outfit, including necklace, was given to me by the guy I was dating at the time. Sentimental.

5. Share a high school or college homecoming memory.

Our college didn't have homecoming, but we did have formals with banquets and plays/concerts. Those BIG dates were always highlights of the year. Here's a picture of Mark and I looking much younger and thinner than today.

6. Linda at Mocha with Linda wants to know: "Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets?"

That's tough. Generally, I prefer sunsets, but I do enjoy watching the sun come up while I'm having devotions on the couch.

7. Lea at Cici's Corner asks, "What is something you have not done that you desire to do?"

Sightseeing in London

8. Carol at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind ponders, "If you could come back [in another life] as an animal, which would it be?"

A cat...always.

9. Joyce from The Other Side of the Pond is curious: "Where were you 10 years ago?" Please feel free to elaborate more than just your physical location.

I had just moved to Northern Virginia where I wasn't sure I wanted to be. I had left a big sprawling ranch-house on the outskirts of Fresno for a very tiny bungalow in suburban Washington DC. We had left our beloved church and dear friends and were just getting settled and trying to figure out how to make friends in this new city. We weren't in "Kansas" anymore!

10. When you are proven to be correct in any contentious discussion, do you gloat?

Who, me? Maybe. Sometimes.

11. What is your favorite food which includes the ingredient "caramel?"

Death by Caramel bars. See recipe here.

12. If you could be part of any fictional family, which family would you choose and why?

Pseudo-fictional: Laura Ingalls family on Little House on the Prairie. Michael Landon was a great dad! How badly I wanted to be in that family!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Project 365: Week 30

I've missed you all!

It's almost been 2 months since I've faithfully blogged. Those two months have been hectic, to say the least. The start of school is crazy for everyone and yet, most of you still continued to blog regularly. Sheesh, how do you do it? :)

When school started I also had two huge projects on my plate - adding to my team and training about 22 volunteers on our computer check-in process at church AND completing registration for about 140 leaders/girls in our American Heritage Girls troop. Every spare moment was spent trying to stay on top of these extra projects and keeping my home up and running.

I was determined to get up at 5:30am every morning for devotions before homeschooling began which made me bleary-eyed by 8:30pm. I was often in bed by 9-9:30pm, my usual time to blog. Sad.

The Lord helped me through both projects and for the most part I was able to keep up with the laundry and schooling. Please, don't ask about the cooking and cleaning. I've got a little triage to do in those areas!

Then the respite came! October 1st we left for our annual vacation to the mountains. How needed and welcome that was! Whew! It was such a blessing to get away and have some refreshing moments with my family and parents. I'm looking forward to telling you all about it.

For now, though, I want to pick up where I left off with my pictures. Only 10 weeks behind! Good grief! I blog for the purpose of journaling my life more than I do for entertaining you with the latest and greatest, so bear with me while I do a little catching up...again.

When we get to the end of 2010, I may have to sum it up as the year of "catching up." Maybe I'll learn a little about myself in the process, you think?

Thanks for hanging with me. I love sharing my life with you!

Sunday, July 25th - no picture

Monday - no picture


The girls growing zinnias at Grandma's house.

Playdough-scape made at Grandma's. I loved the creativity of children! (esp. the blue guy in the blue chair - reminiscent of Gumby!)


The boys return and bring home some lovely souvenirs. This is a conch shell that Rhett found himself - no purchase necessary!

We have coral, a sand dollar and sea sponge on display. The boys brought the sponge home wet and told the girls that they brought Spongebob home. We got to see it change into it's hardened form.

For days we heard about the beautiful scenery in the Bahamas until the pictures were finally developed and we got to "see" it for ourselves.

Thursday - no picture


Rhett spent his 17th birthday in Florida and the Bahamas so we celebrated with grandparents when they returned. Happy Birthday, son!

I couldn't be more proud of the man he is or love him more!


pictured: Rhett, Uncle David, Mark, Ashley, Angie, Tara (in yellow), Katie (in pink)

Mark's brother, Uncle David, came through town on a school trip. We went downtown to meet him and spend a few hours relaxing with a picnic on the Mall before his 25 school bus ride back to Minnesota.