Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Well, thankfully (heh), and finally, Thanksgiving Break is upon us. This little bit of break, this measly three days is actually quite amazing in the solitary fact that it is just this: a break.

Now I went to to see how they defined the word "break" and got a plethora of meanings, so I chose one which I thought best fit this situation: "a rush away from a place; an attempt to escape: a break for freedom." I especially like their italicized use of the word. I do feel like this is a break for freedom.

At the end of the day on Tuesday, I'd never seen so many people break for freedom as I did with not only my students, but my teacher friends. To those that I have talked to, we all have felt for ages (and by ages I mean since school started) like we're working our selves to the bone. We see our students come to us tired by their classes. Our students see us tired by our classes. At this point in the year we are all very, very ready for break.

The English would call it "holiday". Going on holiday is just about right too, because it's Thanksgiving that we're celebrating here. We are called to be thankful for things, not just now, but all year long. Here are seven (it's a good number) things that I'm thankful for!

1) I am thankful for breaks. After working and working and not getting a chance to turn my brain off, I finally have the chance to rest, recharge, and spend time with family and friends, some of whom I haven't seen in a while.

2) I am thankful for warm houses. When it's cold out there, I am especially thankful for the warmth that central heating brings, but I'm not actually talking about central heating. I'm talking about family warmth. I enjoy knowing my family and seeing them. Being welcomed into my in-laws' home and fed and watered by them, shows me that they love me, and they love my husband. I love to see them. Warm hearts are even warmer than warm homes.

3) I am thankful for food. Good food is just amazing. It makes me hopeful, it brings family together, it shows loving care from the ones who made it. It shows love towards the ones whom it was made for.

4) I'm thankful for my students. I love seeing them hard at work and knowing that they listen to what I have to say and think that it is important. They bring light to my day, even though at the same time I sometimes want to strangle them because they are so annoying and do some very stupid things.

5) I'm thankful for my family. They love me and I wouldn't be the same if I weren't blessed with them.

6) I'm thankful that God has given me life, not only here on earth, but in him as well. So many of the things that I go through I wouldn't be able to withstand without his help.

7) I'm thankful for sleep. Sleep seems to be the one thing that doesn't come very quickly during the normal week day. Michael and I go to bed at 9ish and get up at 5:15 every morning on school days. This break, or holiday, will be nice simply because sleep should come in abundance. :)

What are you thankful for?


Monday, November 12, 2012

Verbal Pictures are better than None

So, it's Monday, the day after Veteran's Day, and Michael and I have had the day off. Three day weekends are fantastic, especially when there are things to do. Currently he's playing guitar and singing softly to himself. He's singing our song, the song he serenaded me with. It's hard to believe that in two days it will have been four months to the day since he tied me to himself permanently, and I returned the favor.

It's been close to a year since he last sang this song to me with a guitar in hand. Sure, we've sung the song to a recording in the car on the way places, but now, it's got a better, new meaning. God has been infinitely good in that period between last December 31st and now. I know I'm sounding sentimental, but I can't help it. He's playing the song that he used to ask me to marry him.

There's a lot I could say, but I think there's more that could be said without words. I wish I had pictures. I'm not good at taking pictures. But because I don't have pictures I can post, here are some verbal pictures.

We were massively blessed with our pre-marital counseling. They gave us good advice on how to say "I'm sorry." Michael and I haven't really fought, because we started out as best friends, knowing how to communicate fairly well, but we've had disagreements, and sometimes we've purposefully hurt each other because we want our way and haven't been thinking of the other person and the best thing for them. Our counseling counseled (heh) us to apologize quickly, to not go to bed angry, and when we apologize to think through the root problem behind why we hurt the other person and to admit that to them in an effort to help heal the relationship. It has worked so well, knowing that the other person actually dislikes what they've done, realizes they're wrong, and wants to fix it.

(He's playing "Call Me Maybe" on the guitar now. He gets a goofy look on his face that I love every time he's satisfied with himself and thinks he's funny. He's always funny. :-) Complained when I actually did call him.)

There are some evenings where I'll be reading a book and he'll just put his head in my lap and go to sleep as I read. It doesn't help when I rub his head, but then, his hair is right there and it's soft! Then there are evenings when we're doing totally different things, but he sits on his side of my couch and I sit on mine with my feet on the couch stretched out towards him, and he rubs my toes without really thinking about it. It's peaceful knowing that my best friend is able to relax with me, unlike he wouldn't before we were married.

(He just bounced through "Just the way you are" and is now playing and singing "Hey Soul Sister". Apparently he's playing all the love songs on the radio that he can think of right now. Then he looks at me with these faux-googly eyes and then giggles a little.)

Last but not least: In the last 4 months we've had several people over to our small apartment to eat and play games. Several people in our church, a couple family members, and some friends. The picture I want to leave you with is this: about four people gathered around the table, enjoying home-cooked food, laughing at something and enjoying each others company. There's family-ness and companionship. There's fun and deep friendship. There's good food. This is something I wouldn't miss for the world. We have the chance to create our own family atmosphere and share this with other people around us, blessing them with the love that God has given us for him and for them and for one another.

God has been amazingly gracious to us in these four months. It excites me to see what he is going to do in the next four years, or even four decades. God is o, so very good. :-)

(We've just ended with a joint rendition of "500-miles". Neither of us knew the words, so there was a lot of humming involved. Oh the joys of being a musical family.)

Over and out.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Exciting Moments in Teaching Orchestra 101

Being a(n orchestra) teacher is weird. It's official. It's weird because there are days when I definitely wake up and think to myself "I love my job, I WANT to go to school. I can DEAL with these kids who think I'm there just to torture them. I love my job!" etc. ad nauseam. And then there are days when I really AM excited about going to school and teaching students a subject that I love!

This week has been one of those "ad nauseam" weeks where I'm so weary and worn out that I just don't really want to get out of bed, but know that my students need me, so I drag myself to school anyway. But despite these draggy mornings, God has been gracious. There were several days where I had to ask Him for strength to just get through the drive to school, and He give it. Needless to say, these nasty mornings were capped off by two awesome moments this week. (It's what we teachers live for... the little awesome moments of the week. We're weird that way.)

First awesome moment:

My honors class, period 3 right after lunch, one day this week was eager to watch the video recording I'd made of them during the class before. This particular day they were going to watch the recording of a piece that they'd really taken a liking to and had tried to pull together on their own while I was out sick for a day recently. They had taken to heart what I had been trying to teach them and had tried starting and ending together, breathing together through out and counting like fiends. When I came back from my days' absence, they insisted on playing it for me without me conducting, so when it came time for me to record them it seemed like the best idea all around. They were all for it.

Now we were about to watch the recording of them playing this movement of the piece all by themselves. I asked them to watch their music as they played and watch the video at the same time. As we were watching at times they giggled because they were startled by seeing themselves on camera, other times they grimaced because of something they hadn't heard while playing as a group. One thing is true. The camera doesn't lie. If they played a wrong note, chord, or passage, the camera picked it up and played it right back to them. As we finished the recording and I turned the lights on, they all kind of grimaced at each other and when I asked them what their thoughts were, they shook their heads.

"That was awful!" One girl exploded.

"Our dynamics were sucky, and we were NOT together!" another said, exasperated.

I let them explain one by one their thoughts on the recording and how they could improve and then mentioned a couple thoughts myself (i.e. the camera was built to pick up voice, so it picks up the frequencies of the viola better, and that's why it sounded so loud, etc.). When I was certain we'd covered as much as we could with their recording, the giggling having reached a level that told me that they were out of ideas, I silenced them and told them that we would now listen to a professional recording of the same piece. A couple of them thanked me profusely before I shushed them again and pulled up the recording.

What I saw from that point on was different than anything I'd seen previously. Instead of commenting on things from the recording and having to be shushed for talking, they intently looked at the music and read along, listening like I'd never seen before. Noticing this, I decided like any good teacher to take advantage of the bout of reflectiveness they seemed to be taking and while the music was playing, I grabbed a pack of 3x5 cards and handed one card to each student.

As soon as the music was over, I said quietly, "Now, without talking to anyone else, or discussing this in anyway, I want you to write five descriptive words on the 3x5 card, like 'rich', 'deep', and so on. Five descriptive words about the emotion in this piece. You have about three minutes to do that." After two minutes, "And now, I want you to fold that card in half and put it away. Tuck it in your music, put it on your person, but don't show it to anyone unless you absolutely want to. It's just for you and for you only. I would like you to go home and practice these descriptive words into your music. Then I want you to think about the whole piece we're playing and dedicate each movement to one person. Say I'd dedicate this movement to my grandma, the first movement to my little sister, and so on. I think it would be really cool to share in the concert."

Every single one of the students nodded. Up to this point not one of them had made a sound, which meant that they were unusually focused. I then informed them that we wouldn't be playing the movement we'd just heard today, but that we would be playing another movement from the same piece.  For the rest of the period, my beautiful, wonderful students put their heads down and worked their butts off. We didn't get sidetracked, there was no talking between pauses, and at the end of the class period, two of the comments were, "Man, we really worked hard today!" and "I have an adrenaline rush like you wouldn't believe!" It was gorgeous. I was stunned. In a good way of course.

Awesome moment number two:

Orchestra club meets on fridays from 2:30 to 3:30. It meets in my orchestra room, obviously, but the glorious thing about orchestra club is that all I have to do really is be in the room and help them sort out difficult problems if they need me. Other then that it's all the students. Any student, whether or not they're in an orchestra class can participate, if they have an instrument and musical experience. Now, 90% of the kids in orchestra are actually in orchestra class, so they have me every day, so they hear my teaching and my rants every day ("Breathe and move together!" "Count! Count like a fiend!" "That note was.... .....interesting...." "I'll make you brilliant musicians with just one thing: what's written on the page!!" "I'm not here to teach you to learn to play an instrument, but how to love something and do it well.").

During orchestra club this past friday they decided to sight-read some Christmas music to play for the concert in December and later for a nursing home. It was awesome to hear them putting into practice (and using well) things that I have been asking them to do in my classes since school started. For example:

The music they were trying to sight-read was sounding awful.

"I can't get the key right!" One of the cellos explodes.

"Well, what key are we in?" the violin sitting across from him asks.

"Well, three flats, so that's... E flat major, or C minor..."

"Right, so let's all play the E flat major scale!"

"I don't know how to play the E flat major scale!"

"Well we've been learning how to build a scale in class right? The pattern's Whole, Whole, Half, Whole, Whole, Whole, Half!"

And sitting at my desk I got to hear my string-player students very carefully build an E flat major scale and then get the harmony in the song right because of it.

Then at another point, possibly in the very same song, the students had stopped to figure something out, and someone looking at the score said, "Well, cellos have to start us here because they have the downbeat and no one else does."

The lead cellist sighed (no one LIKES starting, to many stares!) and said, "Okay.... One, two, three, go."

Two notes into a poor start, the violinist across from him bursts out, "No! That's not how you start! You have to BREATHE!"

"Fine! One, two, three, *loud inhale*."

"No! Like this!" And two of my seniors demonstrate proper breathing technique to start an ensemble, and suddenly the small orchestra starts together beautifully, all without my help.

All I could do was sit at my desk and hope my cheeks didn't fall off because I was grinning so hard. It's a beautiful day when I can hear my students applying what I've taught them, and succeeding even better because of it.

This is why I teach orchestra.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

What a good God we serve!

And life has changed yet again!

As of two weeks ago, I am a married woman with all the rights and privileges thereof, and I've had my first kiss. :) My anniversary is July 14, and I'm so very, very glad it's all over. (Or, is it just beginning?)

Michael and I went up into the Shenandoah valley for part of our honeymoon. We did not, however, eat honey on the moon. Our first two days were spent at a bed and breakfast near Monticello (gorgeous area!) and on Monday we went to King's Dominion. I owed Michael a roller-coaster ride. We picked King's Dominion specifically because it also had a water park area where I could play around. :) I don't do drops well, which is why roller-coasters don't go well with me, and Michael doesn't do swirling things well, which is why some of my favorite rides make him queasy. Oh well.

 I rode a roller-coaster, one of the kiddie ones that I was okay with. It was definitely a large roller-coaster for me, seeing as it's only the second one I've been on ever! It was not as bad as I thought it was going to be, but Michael's attempts to get me to go on an even bigger roller-coaster were to no avail. Just looking at drops made my stomach queasy. :)

Then we went from King's Dominion to our second stay-place, a little chalet, near a smaller town called Elkton (we never saw any elk!) in the Shenandoah national forest. We got to meet our neighbors the very first night because we were locked out of the chalet and they helped us figure out where the key was. They were very nice and congratulatory. Who doesn't love helping newly-weds out when they don't have cell phone reception, or internet, and can't find the key! They even offered us beer, or some alcoholic beverage without carding us!

The rest of the week we spent doing some hiking, sleeping, movie watching, and wine tasting. We also fought gnats and saw a bear (little one!) and had two deer (mommy and weeks old faun) walk across our hiking path, about 10 feet away from us or less! We had fun and tired ourselves out.

Then on Friday we loaded up the car and drove 5 hours to near Michael's home town for a wedding that he was going to be part of that night and the next day. It was neat to go to a wedding so soon after ours just to have the reminder of what had taken place a week earlier.

Saturday night we drove home for 3 hours. We were tired, but it was nice to come back to a home waiting for just us. We had a ton of gifts to work through, and there was a massive lightning storm outside that had downed a tree limb the size of smaller trees next door, but we were home at our small apartment and we had very little food for next morning's breakfast. But we had pancakes, so it was all good. Our second Sunday back as a married couple was spent with our church family and it was very nice.

Needless to say, I've spent the past week cleaning out the apartment, unwrapping gifts, throwing away trash, and making home home. My mom and sisters came over and washed a bunch of brand new gifts. (I found out that when you get new everything you have to wash ALL of it.) I've cooked many much meals that have been fun, and different. Michael has been my faithful provider and gone to work every single day! :) It's nice to finally be settling into the rhythm of a new life.

And today, I've spent the day in bed battling a fever of, at the highest 102.2, and feeling generally miserable. Michael, in his amazing way, made breakfast, lunch, and is now making dinner. He rocks! I'm sitting comfortably at our tiny table and watching him putter around the kitchen, frying up hamburgers at almost 9 o'clock on a Saturday night. Married life rocks. Someone once described it as a sleepover with your best friend. It's better than that. Much, much better. :)

God is oh, so very good.

Monday, June 18, 2012

RRefreshment for the soul

So, as of recently, I'm fairly certain that it would be appropriate to say that I've been rather busy. In the past month, I have watched Michael graduate, made it through high school exams for the first time ever, attended my first ever high school graduation, finished with my teacher work days, and then torn through a week of Raspberry Ridge, my favorite EVER string summer camp, the week and two days that are a refreshment to my soul in so many many ways.

In the last little season of life here, I have felt extremely dry, my faith almost taking a backseat to the busy and crazy in my life. It's hurt and it's been hard because I've been finding that in a relationship when one person is dry, most likely the other person is dry as well. I've known for ages now that God was taking the backseat when he needed to be front an central, but it was hard to do more than nod at Him as I read my morning devotions or went to church every week. I listened to the sermons, I took notes, I discussed them with Michael and my small group, but still, I was dry and feeling it.

And then God in His massive grace gave me Raspberry Ridge. Emily, a friend who stays with me all week during RR mentioned the fact that I seem to blog every year right around RR. :) I mentioned back that it was a thing that had been happening long before I had a blog. When I started going in 2000, I was 12, and had a journal. I would take it and write journal entries in it during my free times. As I've gotten older, I've come to appreciate, more and more, the place that is RR.

This year the Bible study was on how Jesus needs to be part of every single aspect of our lives. Sounds familiar, right? This is the very thing I have been struggling with and have been asking God to help me through. It didn't surprise me very much that RR was addressing the very topic I was struggling with. Instead, I agreed to lead a Bible study, eager to dig deeper into God's word as I attempted to fight my own struggles with dryness. In preaching the greatness of God and His worth to others, I have often been reminded myself in my time of need.

About two or so days in to Raspberry Ridge, I had a moment of free time where I found myself sitting and listening to two of the gentlemen who teach various things at camp. They were debating the theory and history of a piece that we were doing in orchestra, and because they too are Christians, they were also talking about their faiths. They weren't being blatant about it, but in their discussion of this piece they were doing so in a manner that glorified God because they were using their talents to point to him. I was simply blessed to be sitting in their presence and listening to deep conversation, occasionally imputing my own small ideas.

I remember sitting there and internally sighing with deep pleasure. I thought to myself, At last, some really deep conversation that I can understand and enjoy. It took a moment more to realize that I had been starving for deep, musically relevant conversations, maybe for the very reason that as an orchestra director (yes! I'm teaching high school orchestra now!) I've been spending time either with high schoolers who don't know how to listen well (and when you don't know how to listen you don't know how to speak), or with their teachers who are so focused on their work that that's all we end up talking about. We would talk about the pieces we were working on and how the students were doing, but never the theory or the history or the composers behind the piece.

Now, I'm sure that if I sought that out, I could find it, but at Raspberry Ridge, there is something in the air, something in the water, something in the people that promotes deep conversation. There were several years in a row where we would have deep, sometimes intensely annoying, conversations about predestination which would turn into talk about the Bible study, or should music in church be allowed? And they were all linked through God.

And sure enough, within 48 hours of going to Raspberry Ridge, I had a blog post bouncing around in this thing I call a head. So I guess what I'm TRYING to say is this:

Raspberry Ridge, the highlight of my summer, is a place where truly Jesus is part of everything we do. It's friendly, inviting, invigorating, stimulating, compulsive, amazing, musical, and fully packed with the gospel. And just like the conversation I had the privilege of sitting in on (which lasted all week really), the camp is not blatantly Christian, making sure that every word we speak has to do with God, Jesus, and the gospel, but it is infused with the awareness that everything we do in the camp is set up to glorify God in whatever way pleases Him best. It's amazing how many deep conversations I have had this past week, both about music, and about the greatness and the glory of God. There have been several times when I've been moved to almost-tears.

My soul has been refreshed and washed clean several times this week. Refreshed by deep conversations, washed clean by the gospel as I reminded others and myself of God's deep glory.

Someone thanked me for all I was putting into camp this year (scheduler, viola/violin, bible study leader, ensemble helper, conductor for jr. orchestra, etc.) and I told them that it was totally worth it because the more I put into Raspberry Ridge, the more I get out of it. Thank God for this camp. I could continue saying so much more about camp, but really, it's something that is better left unspoken, unless you want to come to camp yourself. This is a camp I hope my children are able to go to.

Now to the wedding! 26 days left. And then, I will be Mrs. Jenkins. :)


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Hot Iron

I saw a quote just now that arrested my thought process. It went something like this:

Do not wait to strike 'til the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.

The only person it's attributed to is "William B." so if you know who said this, help would be nice.

Now I can ALMOST see the attraction of this statement, encouraging the reader to jump quickly at opportunities, or to create for themselves an opportunity. I can ALMOST agree with this statement except for some very small (large) details. When I read this, it made red flags jump up all over the place in my head.

Before I go on, a little background to my life.

For about 5 years of my early teens, I worked (first volunteering) at a horse barn, where I learned all manner of things from caring for horses to riding them. There were many days when I would stand with a horse while the farrier took care of its feet and either replaced their shoes, or trimmed their hoofs. Now, a farrier is a horse shoer, a person who, for a living, travels from barn to barn, horse to horse, and takes care of the metal shoes on the horse's feet. They deal with metal for a living, making it hot, and then bending and striking it while it was hot. I never once saw a farrier try to strike the horse shoe while it was cold. In some way, he always warmed it up. Granted, there were times when he needed to tap one side of the shoe in, if it had gotten a little bent out, and it was a quick fix that didn't need the firebox, but that was all that ever happened. If a blacksmith of any kind were to try hammering metal before it was hot, he would possibly break his hammer, and crack and break the metal. You can't hammer metal before it's hot, and you can't hit metal hard enough and long enough to heat it up.

So, this statement just doesn't swing with me. Sorry.

There is one other problem I see is that this saying "Strike while the iron is hot" or "wait to strike while the iron is hot" depicts (for me) a person who is patient enough to heat the metal to just the right temperature where he then is able to shape it to his will. Yes, it took a little longer to heat the metal, but he got better results by waiting a little than just hammering away at cold metal.

As a Christian I am supposed to rely on God to provide for me and I am to be patient and willing to follow his lead. He is the blacksmith, and I am his pupil. I won't know when the iron or the metal is truly hot enough until he tells me. Yes, I can stick the iron in the firebox to heat it up, yes, I can watch it grow red, but as his pupil, I won't know when to pull it out and start beating on it until he says go. This phrase "make it hot by striking" shows me a pupil who has said, "no! I can do this on my own. I don't need your help. Your way takes WAY too long! I'll just hit it now! Friction makes things hot, right?"

If there's anything I've been learning recently it is that I need to be patient with everything. I need to be patient when I'm waiting on my kids to tune their instruments. I need to be patient when I'm waiting on something I've ordered to come in. I need to be patient when I'm eagerly awaiting my wedding day and it seems that it will never come. I have all these opportunities to rush ahead and speed the process up, but most of these opportunities, if taken, would end in heart ache and chaos with God having to step in and redo things. So, the long and short of it is this: I will wait on God's timing, and then when everything is as he would have it, I will take full advantage of all the opportunities he gives me to move for his glory, so when people say "wow, you know what you're doing!" I can say, "Thanks! But in reality, I have a really great God and Teacher."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

To marvel in His goodness, or God is Good, part 4

All of life should be about marveling in God's goodness, and sometimes it is, but as human beings, we so easily miss God's goodness because we are so blind to it. And yet God is gracious and He gives us times where He is so very good to us that we simply cannot miss it. First to Adam and Eve for not smiting them on the spot when they disobeyed His one command. And then to Noah by saving him AND his family. And then to Abraham by not only giving him a child in his old age (100!) but also through that child and his children growing Abraham into a nation from which the whole world would be blessed through a Savior.

There are so many other stories of God's amazing goodness to humankind through the Bible, and even in today's history, from the Chilean miners, to the gift of life that happens every day a baby is born, to the three weddings I've gone to in the past week, all of them emphasizing that God needs to be the center of the marriage.

God is good, and I know this. He's "not tame, but He's good." And recently my Savior, my God, my Father, has been more than good to me. He has blessed me with family and friends that love me, with a good home and life, food on the table every day, two jobs, both of which I actually enjoy, and so much more. I am a sinner deserving only of death, but I enjoy all of this not only because of God's grace and goodness, but because His Son died for me, making me a child of God. Of this I have to remind myself daily or I will easily fall into making the blessings an idol and not worshiping the God who gave them to me.

As of tonight, one week ago exactly, God saw fit to bless me in the best way possible to date.

On New Years Eve of all days, as we were getting ready to usher the new year in, Michael asked me to marry him, to spend the rest of my life with him, getting to know him, and pursuing God together. I, of course, said yes. Twice. With a squeak in the last one.

Now this amazing man that I am going to marry didn't just do it any old way, he did it in probably the best way possible. New Years Eve my mom had invited not only my Aunt and Uncle over with their three kids, but also three families that I've grown up with, over to our house for a New Years party.

After the end of a group game we'd been playing, Michael disappeared, and when he reappeared, it was to drag everyone in the house who would come into the dining room (where I sat wondering what in the world he was up to) with my guitar in hand. He looked at my 17-year-old brother and his best friend and asked for their help in singing a song. When they learned what song it was, they said yes automatically. So, with my brother and his best friend singing background, Michael looked at me and began to sing the song "You'll always be my best friend" by RelientK. It's short and sweet, and I'll put a link to it at the bottom of this post. At this time, it is my favorite song. After he had finished the song, he thrust the guitar at my Dad, told the gathered crowd, "This song is dedicated to my girlfriend who will always be my best friend," and then came over to where I had gotten up to give him and thank you hug.

He took the hug and then stepped back to look at me and said something along the lines of, "I know we haven't really been able to talk about this openly, and I know this has been hard on you and I hope we can talk openly after this, but I wanted to let you know that I love you, and ask you if you would do me the honor of marrying me." At which point he dropped to one knee and pulled out a box with the prettiest, most sparkly ring I'd ever seen. I squeaked yes twice, once before he got the box out, and once after he got the box out. And then we were hugging (because of course, no kissing until we're married [mutual choice here]) and he was putting the ring on my finger and everyone was surrounding us and congratulating us, and I was desperately trying to figure out where I'd put my phone so I could find it and call my best friends.

It took about 5 minutes to get out of the press of people surrounding us, at some point in which my mom grabbed me and said "Maybe you should go for a walk and cool down, be alone, or something," and I fervently agreed. After I managed to scramble out of all the people in search of my phone, I headed up stairs to look for it, only to realize that I desperately needed to throw up. Never fear, I made it to the toilet, but it was interesting to head back downstairs with my phone and be able to tell Michael after he got off the phone with his parents that sorry my breath smelled funny, but I'd just gone and thrown up.

We left to take a walk, reveling in what had just happened, and calling friends and relatives. My best friends thought it was fantastic news, Michael's sister thought he was pulling her leg and had to be convinced that he was serious.

But here's the most amazing fact: this is just the start. This crazy, amazing story I've just told is just the start. God blessed me amazingly that night, but he continues to bless me in new and different ways every day. It is amazing that he would deign to stoop and bless this sinner with not only a relationship with the most wonderful man I've ever met, but that he would allow the two of us to at some point become a representation to the rest of the world of what Christ and his bride are to look like in the unity of marriage. Wow!

So please pray that because I know God is good, that I would continue to live it. That I would never forget the goodness that God has shown me, through first, sending his son to die for me, and second, for blessing me with the opportunity to marry a man who is completely and amazingly unlike any other man in the world.

God is very, very good. Much more than I deserve. Now to serve him and love him for it.

PS Here is the link to the song.