Our Story -- Part 4

PART 4, AKA "IT GETS REAL."  This one is also kind
of short, but the next one will be longer, I promise!

I had no intention of striking back up any sort of friendship with Drew.  Somewhere along the line over the last month or so, I had decided that not only did I not like like him, but I also just did not like him.  I hate to admit this, but I'm going to be honest... the first couple times he tried initiating a conversation with me, I discovered that I found his incessant friendliness irritating.  

So I resolved to avoid him.  

Over the summer, our church had moved from meeting at a small elementary school to a large high school, so it was relatively easy to evade him in this new environment.  (And no, I didn't have to resort to hiding in bathrooms this time!)

It was harder to dodge the guy at youth events, though.

One of my favorite parts of high school was being a part of our youth group's drama team.  We ministered at our church, at homeless shelters, on retreats, in children’s church, and at other youth groups and churches.  And somehow Drew was getting invited to chaperone these outreaches.  Ugh!

One night that September, we were serving at a church about an hour away and presented our drama after the worship set.  As we left the stage to find our seats, I was less than pleased to discover that Drew had taken the empty seat next to mine.

Oh, great!  I thought, making a face.  Apparently he hadn't realized that we were incompatible as friends yet.  As if to reinforce my opinion of him, Drew leaned close to me to whisper something.

“My gum is stale.”

“So spit it out,”  I whispered back, hopefully sending the message that I wanted that to be the end of it.

“I don’t have anywhere to put it.”  A pause, then:  “Can I put it behind your ear?”

What?”  Y'all.  I cannot make this stuff up.  I don't know where he came up with it!  Was being annoying just something that came naturally to him?

“Can I put it behind your ear?”  He grinned knowingly, unrepentantly.  I hated that look.

No!”  I felt like telling him to grow up.  I didn’t.  Instead, I threw him a withering look and turned my back to him.  He didn’t bother trying again.

At the end of the message, an altar call was given and Drew, being a youth leader, went to pray for some of the kids from our group who had responded to the invitation.  I took advantage of his absence by making myself more comfortable in my chair, in order to pray.

You are going to marry Drew.

The thought came out of nowhere and I nearly laughed.  I might have, if my stomach hadn’t been sinking through the floor.  I knew the Voice that had spoken.

I could think of a million reasons why we wouldn’t—couldn’t—work.  I mean, hadn’t God been listening earlier?  Was this some kind of sick joke?  I had standards, after all!  I had plans!  And Drew was not in them!  Maybe at one time he was, but that had been months ago.  Now I just found him annoying.  

Anyway, I was seventeen - way too young to be thinking about marriage!

Impulsively, I turned to one of my friends who was sitting on my other side.  “I think God just told me I’m going to marry Drew,” I blurted.

It was a statement I immediately wished I could unsay.  Saying it out loud didn’t make it sound as silly as I’d thought it would.  If anything, it sounded more plausible.

“Seriously?”  She asked as her eyes lit up.   “That’s so awesome! Drew’s a great guy!”

I simply nodded, miserable but unable to find a voice for my protests.  No one would appreciate them anyway.  Everyone loved Drew.  Finally I said, “But I don’t like him!”

My friend smiled.   “Maybe you will.”

Her casual attitude toward my potential future bothered me, but I shrugged and let it go.

Maybe, she’d said. But maybe not.

I was pretty confident I wouldn’t change my mind.  Even if I did, Drew was eight years older than me.  Practically impossible.  With resolve, I put the words out of my head.  

I’d been mistaken.  God hadn’t said anything.

. . . to be continued . . .

Wildflower Goes to School

Today was my Wild Woman's first day of school.

Last week, I took Hallie to Payless for school shoes and she picked out a pair of sparkly purple Mary Janes.  Every day, she went and got them out of her basket, put them on, and begged me to let her wear them.  And every day, I told her that they were special school shoes.

Needless to say, she was so excited to finally wear them, to finally get to pose with the chalkboard, to finally take her Sofia backpack in the car, to finally pack a lunch.  It's like she's been waiting her whole life for this day.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering what the heck I'm supposed to do without my biggest handful two days a week.  Oh yeah.  Run errands.  Do projects.  Generally be productive.  Those things.  It's so weird being a mommy of only one again!

When I picked Hallie up from her class, both of her teachers commented to me how sweet she is, what joy she brings to the classroom, what a helper she was during clean-up time.

While these are things I know about my girl, they are often overlooked in the day-to-day of her pushing boundaries, pushing buttons, pushing her brothers.  I needed this view of her from another person's eyes.  I needed to see her on her own, apart from her brothers.

This year is going to be so good for her.  I'm so excited to see this wildflower blossom and soar.

Hallie insisted that I redo the chalkboard to include pink and purple.
"See that purple two?  That's me, because I'm two!"
I'm so glad the kids had different first days this year; it allowed me to
focus on each one individually and make it really special just for them!
My sweet and spicy girl is gonna kick this year's booty.
I love this girl so much.

First Day of Pre-K!

I did it.  I sent my boy off to his first day of pre-k today.

I thought I'd have to hold back tears, dropping him off at his first day of five-day preschool.  I mean, I cried the first morning I sent him to Mothers' Day Out, y'all!

But surprisingly, I wasn't a wreck... even though he didn't even ask for a "big hug-kiss" goodbye.

I was mainly excited.  Excited for this new chapter in his life, excited for him to learn independence, excited for another adult to pour into his life, excited for him to make friends on his own.

Still, as I sit writing this, I can't help but feel that it was just a moment ago that I was holding him in my arms for the first time, and now he's taken the first steps out of my arms and into the world.  The part of his childhood that was fully reliant on his Mama is slipping away.

... and now the tears are coming!  Whew!

Anyway.  Here are some pictures of his first day of school!

"Mama, do you want me to smile or laugh?"
We unknowingly bought the same backpack and shoes as his Uncle Anderson!
Gabriel and his teacher, Miss Brenda. 

September Printable --- FREE

The verse I'm sharing today has historically been my very favorite verse of all. :) I love the promise of strength that comes from trusting and hoping in the Lord.  I love the poetry in the phrasing and the imagery of the eagle, one of my favorite animals.

Hope you enjoy the art!

Just download, print at home or at a copy&print center, and frame!
Click here to download this FREE 5x7 print!

This print is free for the month of September,
after which it will be listed in my shop for $5.
Remember, all of the previous free prints offered
here are now available for purchase in my shop!

Our Story -- Part 3

So sorry for the length of time in between posts.  It's been a busy summer!

Over the next few months, Drew and I became better friends.  At the youth leaders' Christmas party, which I attended as a student leader, I realized I had a crush on him.  I felt like the silliest girl on earth -- because it was like every other girl in the youth group also liked him -- but he had such a dynamic, magnetic personality, that it seemed out of my control!

One of my friends somehow got his phone number and showed me with the biggest smile on her face, ready to share if I wanted it, too.  Not that we planned on using it, ever, but we were giddy with the possession of something so personal.  I didn't copy it down, though; the only way I wanted that information was if Drew gave it to me himself.

And a couple weeks later, he did.  We were at some youth event, and it was so nonchalant.  Like, "Hey, in case you need to reach me, or in case we get separated, here's my cell."  (I, of course, gave him mine in return.)

I was so triumphant... and completely aware of how idiotic it was!

And then he started texting me, which was just becoming popular.  We had an ongoing argument over which texting method was faster, ABC (which he used) or T9 (which I used); it finally resulted in a text-off... in which T9 won.  Duh.  We also exchanged IM screen names at some point and we would chat while he was in one of his law classes.  (Not recommended, y'all -- Drew claimes that was the only class he didn't do well in.)

For my 17th birthday, he got me a little dreidel, which was kind of an inside joke between us.  I still have no idea where he found one in March, but he somehow managed it.

People started asking me about him and it was always awkward.  How was I supposed to respond?!  "Oh, yeah, I really like him, but I'm 16/17 and he's 23!"  Plus, he was always really friendly to everyone, so I never felt like I got special attention from him.  In my mind, it was always completely one-sided.  I mean, it would be weird if he liked me back, right?!

In May, Drew went back to Texas for the summer.  The first two months of the summer, we talked on the phone regularly, maybe 5 nights a week.  I got home from work between 11 and 11:30 every night and he would call me and we would chat late into the night.

And then one day, I asked myself what I was doing.  I knew if we kept talking this frequently, I was going to start liking him too much and that it was going to hurt a heck of a lot when the inevitable happened.  Suddenly, I became convinced that he was going to meet someone that summer.  He was probably even going to come back engaged.

So I decided to cut the friendship off then and there.  I stopped answering most of his calls, and when I did pick up, I never allowed the conversation to last more than a couple of minutes.  My friend and I were going on an overseas missions trip in July, and I kept making excuses that I needed to pack or prepare.

Finally Drew got the hint.  His calls tapered off, and so did the texting.  And by the time I left for Bulgaria, I felt like I was completely over him.

I'd love to say I had a hard time letting him go, that he was hard to forget, that I thought of him all the time.  But if I'm honest, I hardly thought about him at all the rest of the summer.

The first time I saw him at church that fall, I felt a little zing of excitement, but I quickly pushed it away, firmly telling myself that we weren't friends anymore.

Unfortunately (or fortunately?) for me, nobody had ever told Drew that.