24 April 2014

Our Story -- Part 2

Apologies for keeping you guys in suspense!  Like I said, Our Story is kind of long and the end of Part 1 was just a natural stopping point before launching into the next part.  In any case, I gotta keep y'all coming back, right? ;) I'm hoping to make this installment a bit longer, though.  If you haven't read Part 1, click here!

The summer went by and I forgot about my spring stalker.  I didn't think about him again until one evening in September at work.

I had just clocked out for my break, grabbed my purse from the back, and was waiting in line to get my food when I felt a tap, tap, tap on my shoulder.

I turned around, expecting to see someone from church (this being the only Chick-fil-A in town, it was a pretty popular spot).

My stomach dropped to the floor.

There he was.

He smiled.  Said hello with a friendly wave.  I think I smiled back.  And then I tried to ignore him as much as was possible with my stomach twisting itself into a thousand knots.

After getting my food, I walked to the back corner of the restaurant and sat in a booth, trying to calm down.  I'd been seated maybe two minutes when I look up to see him standing over me, wearing a t-shirt and a smile, holding his tray of food.  

"Can I sit here?"

What was this, the school cafeteria?  And what was I supposed to say?  "No, take your number one combo with barbecue sauce and go sit somewhere else"?  

"Uh, sure."  I replied tentatively, watching as he slid into the booth across from me.  

He smiled again and held out his hand.  "I'm Drew Louis."

The only thing for me to do was shake his hand and introduce myself, so I did.  In the course of the conversation, I learned that Drew was a law student at William & Mary (yeah, can't lie, I was a little impressed), and that he'd started going to my church back in the spring.  He'd been home for the summer but was back now that school had started again.  Oh, and "home" was Dallas, Texas, where my dad is from.  And speaking of my dad, Drew apparently knew him.

He wanted to know more about me, so I graciously gave as little information as I could.  You know, I'm in high school.  Sixteen, to be exact about my age.  Hint hint.  Leave me alone, stalker.  But mostly I just let him talk.

And then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my family's van pull into a spot outside.  I knew it was ours because it was probably the only 15-passenger van in town.  Sure enough, my little sister hopped out of the front seat.  I wanted to disappear.  

She spotted me when she came in and headed straight over.  "Just checking my schedule..." her eyes were curious, mischievous.  "Who's this?"

"Oh, uh, this is Drew... Louis..." My face felt like it was on fire.  "Drew, this is my sister, Destiny."

I wasn't sure if the situation had gotten better or worse.  On the one hand, Destiny was outgoing and chatty.  It wouldn't be hard for her to engage this guy in small talk and take the pressure off of me.  On the other hand, I was going to have a lot of explaining to do when I got home.  And I didn't even know what to explain.

I couldn't focus on their conversation, trying to think of a way to explain what was going on here.  Finally she left, flashing me a knowing smile that looked like it needed a wink to accompany it.

After Destiny's departure, I checked my phone and realized I needed to get back to work.  Hallelujah.  I'm not sure if 30 minutes had ever passed more slowly.

When I got home from work that night, Destiny was ready to pounce on me. 

"Who was that guy?!"  She asked.  I told her I didn't know him.  He had asked to sit with me, said he knew Dad.

"Oh, yeah, Drew!  He's my friend!  Great guy!"  This came from my dad.  Well, there went my support.  I'd been counting on my dad to go and scare this guy off, not tell me he was a great guy!  My dad did not like his girls hanging out with boys, people!  

At least the good news was that I wasn't going to be in trouble for eating dinner with a guy.

My mom chimed in then, a little exasperated that she didn't know this guy.

"Who's Drew, Mark?  I don't know him!  Have I met him?  I'm glad you know him, because I was concerned when I saw Taylor eating with a guy I didn't know, but how have I not met him?  Describe him to me!"

I covered my face with my hands and told everyone I'd be upstairs.  This was so embarrassing!  And they were making such a big deal over nothing!  I sincerely hoped that this Drew Louis guy would stop coming to church.  Or at least stop following me around.

For a few weeks, I didn't see him.  Just long enough for me to almost forget about our second Chick-fil-A encounter.  

November came, and with it our youth group's annual fall retreat.  My sisters and I arrived at the drop off location with our bags in tow, excited at the promise of a weekend away with God and friends.  I hopped out of the Morrow van and my excitement died.  

There he was.


Ugh, why wouldn't he just disappear?!

No matter.  I was not about to let him ruin fall retreat for me.  I looked forward to this weekend all year.  No way could a boy ruin it for me.

I unloaded my things from the van to see where my friends were sitting as other kids started loading their stuff into the van.  The youth group borrowed the "Morrow Bus" for road trips; usually the youth pastor drove it.  One had to be skilled to drive that monster, let me tell you.  

But this year, we were taking an extra car -- an old suburban that someone had donated to the church.  It was kind of finicky, so the youth pastor had decided to drive that one instead.  So guess who was chosen to drive our van?  Right.  Drew.

I should probably ride in the van to make sure he doesn't wreck it.

Haha.  I didn't even have my license.

See, about this point, I had decided he was kind of cute.  And if I was going to have a stalker, I may as well have a cute one, right?  I was also comforted by the fact that he seemed to be friends with the youth pastor.  And he seemed to genuinely like youth group kids.  We are not always an easy bunch to love.  

So maybe this guy wasn't creepy and weird.  Maybe he was just friendly.  And if he wasn't stalking me, if he just liked hanging out with youth group kids (which was obvious from the fact that he was a magnet for middle-school boys)... he was kind of cool.

Even if he didn't know how to work the A/C in our van.  In the middle of our trip, I climbed over three seats to help him adjust things.  Oh, I could have done it the easy way, sure.  But where's the fun in that?  I'm an expert at crawling over seats in a moving vehicle; Morrow Road Trips gave me lots of practice.  And you know, maybe he thought it was cool that I could do that.

Now I cared if he thought I was cool?  I suddenly didn't know myself.  

After returning to my seat, I turned around to face the kids in the row behind me, determined not to pay this guy any more attention.  And I didn't, all the way to Triple R Ranch.

Triple R Ranch is one of my favorite places, even if I'm allergic to the air there.  (No joke, I require an inhaler to be on the premises.)  I had been going to this place on youth retreats even before I was in the youth group.  One of the many perks of being a youth pastor's kid -- which I was until my dad became a lead pastor when I was 12.  

Needless to say, I knew the drill.  There was a certain way they did things, and I knew most of them.  Take meals, for example.  

Plates, cups, cutlery, and napkins were on all the tables.  At the beginning of the meal, after prayer, one person from each table would go up and get the food and drinks for that table.  I was usually the self-appointed food-runner for my table.  And I was fast.  My table usually had all their food items before everyone else.  I can be pretty type-A when I want to be!

This guy Drew was new.  He didn't know the ways of Triple R.  He got appointed food-runner for his table at breakfast the first morning and that table was the last to get all their food.

One of our first conversations at Triple R went a little like this:

"How do you get your food so fast?"
"I don't know, I just walk fast, I guess."
"Just walking fast?  You don't run?"
"How would I run with food in my hands?"
"Oh, good point.  Well.  I bet I could beat you."
"I doubt it."

And then we were competing.  We would both make it to the food counter about the same time, stare each other down with competitive smiles, and each try to grab the first platter.  Then the race was on.  

I beat him at lunch and again at dinner.  Then he won at breakfast.  By lunch, I was back on my game and beat him again.  

Then he was sitting at my table for dinner.  Smooth.  (Did I mention he was cute?)

Just like that, we were friends.

02 April 2014

April Printable --- FREE

Happy April, y'all!

I don't know about where y'all live, but Houston has embraced April with open arms.  The bluebonnets are in bloom and the weather has been glorious, even if a little humid.  In March, it was warm -- rain -- cold -- repeat all month, so here's hoping Texas can get her act together for a real spring.

To celebrate spring, I've got a new printable available for download this month!  I decided to go with one of my favorite verses, one that gives me chills every time I read it.