ok i didn't make a big enough deal about how impressed i was/am about the ring. It's PERFECT for me, and I couldn't have wished for a more beautiful/amazing proposal, either.
there was a little hunch inside me that he would propose when he came, but
A. Not as the first thing he did, and
B. I didn't expect him to have a ring!!
The center diamond is an heirloom diamond from his great-grandmother on his daddy's side. It's about 90 years old, and GORGEOUS. I feel so so special to be able to wear it. I hope I can wear it as well as the two ladies before me have.
Seriously, Broun totally blew me away with EVERYTHING. What a man I have! Time for me to step up my game, eh.
I need one of those cute little heart-pins (preferably one in every language)that says "I Am Loved". Truly, I am.
Here's the story:
(I thought I was going with Julie Chitty to pick up Broun from the airport on Saturday morning. Julie and I wanted to get together one more time before I was MIA the entire week with my love. The story begins on Friday, March 27, 2009)
Julie Chitty was late picking me up for our planned evening of "dinner and shopping". When she didn't arrive at her planned 8:30PM time, I started getting a little worried. She is probably the most punctual person I know (the opposite of ALL Spaniards).Finally, 9:15 rolled around and she texted me with "sorry, Emily had a dirty nappy, I'll be there in a second!" I calmed down a bit, and she arrived with the girls (2yr old Mikayla and 8month old Emily) around 9:30.[In my head, I found it a bit weird that the girls weren't well on their way to sleep by this point..]We made our way towards El Ingenio (the local mall/movie theater) where we had originally planned to do our night's outing. Julie quickly chimed in with "Oh! Michael (her hubby) has phoned me and asked me to pick up some discs for his English radio program. The only place that sells them is in Nerja! Do you mind if we go to Nerja and grab a wee pizza?" I obliged, even though I was so anxious for the next day-- I was ready to be in bed dreaming of the week to come! Nerja is just a 20 min drive down the coast.
Finally, after Julie told me the story of getting pulled over by the police on her way to pick me up, we arrived in Nerja. I waited in the car with the girls while Julie made her way to the "disc office" to find out it was "closed". She came back to the car saying she would later "ring Michael's neck" for making her go! So we got the girls in their pram and slowly sauntered up the streets of Nerja until we reached the center--donde esta the church and the Balcon de Europa.
We were slowly deciding on a restaurant when all of a sudden a woman with a wine bottle approached me, and in Spanish said "this is for you, some man told me to give this to you but I don't know why". Then she disappeared! I was so very confused. I looked inside the bottle and it was empty except for a note. I opened it up to find a clue written in Broun's handwriting. Immediately, I freaked out, not knowing what the heck was going on, and trying to get ANYTHING out of Julie who was a locked vault (I'm sure her years in the N.Irish police force helped with the stone cold face she had!). I got nothing out of her, and the clue made me think Broun still wasn't coming until Saturday because the poem threw me off a bit. Finally, after nagging Julie and not finding the next clue, we continued walking along the balcony and Julie made a sly nod over to our right hand side. I looked in that direction--where I saw several candles on the ground with another note in between them! Clue #2!
At this point I figured Julie was in on it for sure but i didn't know any details, of course. This clue led me to the steps of the church, where I found my 3rd and final clue...however, this clue had been burned mistakenly by the candles that surrounded it--so it was completely illegible! hah! Julie politely led me to the archway to the left of the Balcon and told me I should go down by myself (all candles, wine bottle, and purse in hand). [NOTE: I did notice a strange man following me around with a camera phone who would look away every time I glanced over at him! Also, a couple on a bench that Mikayla conveniently befriended whilst I was finding my clues...]
So I made my way down the stone steps to the beach, where I saw one more candle indicating my path. I looked up to the Balcon to find Julie, Mikayla & Emily, Strange man with camera, Spanish woman with wine bottle, and the convenient couple all standing and witnessing my every step. Julie motioned for me to keep going, so I did. I came to a huge boulder with a group of Dutch people on it who said NOT a word while they all simultaneously pointed in my continuing direction. Weird, I know. I followed their point and found a cove, lined with more candles, down to the crashing beach. Broun was standing there waiting. I was shaking.
I said "Oh my gosh" as I ran up to him, dropped EVERYTHING in my arms, and gave him a gigantic embrace. After about 5 minutes of soaking each other in and me still only suspecting all the lead-up to be a surprise-Broun [since he surprises me ALOT, and he's the only prize I want anyway =)], Broun told me to close my eyes because he had another surprise for me. He handed me a rose and immediately got down on both of his knees and asked me to be his wife!! I fell to my knees as I hugged him and cried "duh!". Then he pulled me back and kissed me! Oh my heart was overwhelmed with emotion and thanksgiving!
We then sat and prayed and thanked God for His incredible favor and faithfulness toward us. After, we ate a wonderful picnic put together by the fabulous Julie Chitty--bread, champagne, wine, cheese, chocolate, fondue, and fresh strawberries! So amazing. Broun finished off the evening by washing my feet and telling me he wants to serve me for the rest of our lives...
Needless to say, it was the best night. Followed by the best week. I'm so excited to learn and love with Broun until we no longer have breath in our lungs! My heart is so full!
whew. sorry about playing catch-up (and subsequently apologizing) on every single bloggage. my life is moving at too-rapid a rate! wait, not really. it's quite the opposite.
I'm really happy right now.
I'm at peace.
I'm feeling like a large blanket has been laid before me-literally everywhere i step.
My mom, aunt, and grandma just recently visited during our "semana blanca"--a week off of school only given to the province of Malaga solely to 'make up' for the accumulated festival days of other provinces. Thus, we, the province of Malaga, are now even (and out of reasons to take off work).
Anyway, during that week, we spent time getting over each other's 'innate quirks' to better bask in the glory that is London, Paris, and Barcelona. Really, traveling 8+ hours in a plane, and ending up in a foreign country with female family members (one who fainted on the plane) makes you immediately more thankful for the [also] immediate comfort of family love (not to mention our similar awe of our Father and Savior--HUGE plus).
**disclaimer: I only travelled (british spelling for obvious reasons) 2 1/2 hrs by plane, but because I'm not a fan of moving vehicles, it felt like 8+. So, I'm putting myself in the other ladies' shoes/gurney.**
It was a great time. My mom did a phenomenal job of planning events(we saw WICKED! on the first night--great surprise!). Tena was fantastic at getting into trouble (i.e. she sat in a showroom car worth 6 mil GBP). and Mame(grandmother/Queen Mother) was a highlight for several reasons (one being when we taught her the acronym A.K.A.), and made us laugh throughout all our fearful and ridiculous situations. I love them more than 6 mil GBP.
I could dedicate this blog to telling all the hilarity that ensued that week, but instead maybe i'll just say: "inquire within". <-- that's probably the ANTI-theme of American businesses right now, no?
School has been a lot better this semester. I can't turn a corner without a group of at least 15 kids saying "hillo Lit-ney!!". It's so cute! They are definitely growing on me. Quick story of what happened in P.E. last week with my little babies (12 yr olds):
girl: "Hola Litney!! No puedo hacerlo hoy porque tengo problemas con mi rojo."
me: "Con tu rojo? Que es?"
girl:"Si, ...sabes que es mi regla? I .... hiff prollems ... 14 inch ruler!!"
me:"OOOOOH, ok. vale. gracias por contarme".
basically, in Spain, they call their period "la regla" which translates to "ruler" in English...so, first she calls it her "red", then tries to translate "regla" into English with "14-inch ruler". Hilarious. Love them.
Another semi-funny thing that happened early this semester in the same class--I was giving them a test over material they had supposedly studied on muscles/bones/parts of the body. So i asked them [what i thought meant] "take out a sheet of paper". In Mexico, the phrase for "sheet of paper" is "hoja de papel". In Spain, it's "folio de papel". I said "follo de papel".
NOTE: folio (foh-lee-o) sounds VERY similar to follo (foh-yo), especially when you say them quickly.
Little did I know, "follo" is the I-form of the verb follar. Follar = the F word. oops.
What Would Jesus Do????? haha!
Over all, relationships are a lot closer, more important, and relevant to every day than in the fall. This, obviously, allows for better conversation, and trust. I shouldn't be surprised, but the people I expected to be/WERE the least vulnerable with me, have been the people to open up the most these past 2 months. In some ways, it makes me nervous, but HECK, i've got to have intent in my step always if i'm reppin' Jesus!
March seems to be going by at snail-pace, but that hasn't taken away from my enjoying the company of roommates, and a fun weekly schedule of good people, good food, great peace, and the glorious sun to bathe in --in the 70 degree weather on the Mediterranean. =)
I just read a great quote by C.S. Lewis about how surprised we as humans seem to be about the essence and passing of time. It either "flies" or "creeps", and we're always surprised. He says something about how obvious it is that we were made for eternity, without bounds, because of the discomfort and surprise we have by being in this "box" of time. I think he's a genius.
I'll post more at the end of this month, because i'll have visitors in approx. 15 hours! Dad and Morgan are flying their booties over the Atlantic toNIGHT! I'm really excited. I've been cleaning, buying food, washing clothes, etc. like a maniac. I almost feel like buying new things for the apartment just so I can decorate and show off my "cozy" environment. Hopefully they won't feel the horrible springs in their backs when they try to sleep here! =)
I'll leave you with some simplicity of faith: Remember this when you think you're above the law and/or God.
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
"And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
Love me some peace. and some March. Welcome, Spring!
Seriously though, I don't even know where to begin. I do know that it IS time for me to begin, wherever it may be.
Hace alrededor de 2 meses hasta he escrito en mi blog, pero it's NOW that I'm ready to reflect to you pretty people the ins and outs of what has seemed like a hectic "holiday".
In brief: I went home to the states in late December to surprise Broun (with the help of his wonderful secret-keeping family), give/receive love from family and friends, and to support Allie Marie Perry in her new journey of wifehood. It was very relajante, and I am certainly grateful for that break. My spirit needed rejuvenating in more than one way, but I think I expected more out of others for my "filling" than I did myself or my God. A shame, but nontheless, a learned lesson as of late.
One of the biggest struggles I had last semester was dealing with the lack of believers around me...and being able to confidently press on in the way of the Lord when I saw no fruit and had not a soul with whom I could experience the magic of Jesus. Woe is me, right? NAW. So after a lot of prayer and pleading for God to show me some blanket truth of His peace, I think God decided that the exact opposite of DISCRETE was what I needed from Him. Oh, what mercy.
The moment I stepped off the plane here in Malaga, I met my first group of Christians. I decided to go into a tienda to buy a bottle of water before my bus ride, and I saw a girl wearing American Eagle jeans and I immediately knew I could speak English to her. "Are you American?"..."haha, yes."..."awesome, what are you here for?"..."i'm with that big group out there. we're here for a conference."..."oh, are you with a school organization, church group, what?"..."actually yeah, we're with Campus Crusade."...."seriously? you don't know how much of an answered prayer you are. i actually went on summer project this summer in East Asia."...
so we continued our conversation, and I praised God with (nearly) tears of joy. We exchanged information, and they went on their way. Comfort from the first moment I landed. What a good God we have.
I get back to my apartment, I settle in for a bit, and finally fall asleep--to wake up and teach the next day. I checked my email briefly before heading out, and Lindsey has emailed me...and her last line told me to read Isaiah 40. So, during the 20 minute tram ride on the way to school while the sun is coming up from the point where the sea and the mountains meet, I read Isaiah 40. My heart and my soul were craving those words exactly--after 3 months feeling like i've been dragged through the wilderness(here in Spain) in terms of spiritual warfare, I am greeted with this cushion of truth and the reality of answered prayer from my Lord as i returned. --
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. A voice cries; "In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." 40:1-5
May it be so! Then, at the end of the chapter--I'm reminded again:
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God"? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; His understanding is unsearchable; He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. 40:27-31
I thank my God for His word. I thank my God for Lindsey Boone. For putting Emily Hills, a new friend and believer, in my life with whom to share and study the Word. For the Chitty family, missionaries from England and Ireland, who have started a church here (at which I have the pleasure of worshiping). For a new found hope that is Christ in me.
This sounds like an obituary or something I might want written on my grave, but seriously guys. I've been wrecked in new ways, and have died again in a sense--to my selfish desires and expectations. I am FULL. Full. full. I have so much joy and hope in what the Lord is doing. In prayer, in fellowship, in relationships, in teaching, in SPAIN.
One more thing. Lindsey Boone gave me this amazing metaphor as well, and I've [not so] coincidentally had 3 other conversations about it this week with other friends-- Do you know how silver is purified? The silversmith holds the silver in the hottest part of the flame. He keeps it there for as long as it takes to see his reflection in the silver.
For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.
I'm glad to know that my body gives me FULL warning when I'm getting anxious. There is never a question of the condition of my heart, because with a feeling or emotion, my body will produce tears, sweat, laughter, chills, or in this case .... IBS. Always right on cue. Thanks body. or, thanks Maker. Love the sensitivities. =)
Sew, So, Ceaux, I'm anxious. The Bible tells us not to be anxious about anything. Normally, my anxiety would probably turn into worry that I'm wallowing in anxiety...and sort of spiral in an unhealthy direction towards un-worship and self-pity. (so, thankfully I'm not TOO anxious of a person..). But right now, I almost feel like this anxiety is a joke-test that God is playing on me. Immediately when I felt myself get anxious today, I thought of how i could pray my way into peace, and submit to "rest" in today instead of think about how I'm going to be in states in a WEEK. But there's really no way to not think about it. So, I think instead of trying to bring peace upon myself, God has showed up in writing...snatching the rug from underneath my feet. He's so cool. I love when my ways don't work out the way I think they should.
Today I read some letters and journal entries....basically testimonies of day-in and day-out wreckage of the Holy Spirit in action....and I can't help but be thankful. So thankful God is working at my anxiety to bring my eyes and thoughts back to Him. SO thankful that He can RE-reveal to His children that we are indeed HIS poiema, as we read back to ourselves the poetry that He has allowed us to create on paper. What a great circle to see! I don't know why, but I find myself shaking my head in unbelief at these small revelations. When I see the subtle ways the Lord redirects our thinking. But why in unbelief? Oh me of little faith.
But the glass is half full (always), at least there is a little faith....which can be built upon when He, the Maker of poetry, lures us back in...oh so gracefully.
and these are the beautiful flowers i received from my beautiful Broun--for 8 'blooming' months together!
i miss China.
i miss the 25 different smells from one corner to the next.
i miss the excitement of seeing the sun in clear view.
i miss thechild-like nervousness of my Chinese friends as they spoke English for the first time with a foreigner.
i miss the daily reminder of surrender in the selfless, loving attitude of my Chinese friends.
i miss the humility i received after every meal...*cough*
i miss being able to witness a realization of the state of one's lost soul.
i miss the minute by minute weight of God's work at hand through the Holy Spirit
's divine presence infiltrating the marrow of my bones.
i miss experiencing the depths of Jordan, Angel, and Emily's souls through a study of God's Word.
i miss the choir we created while trying to speak in tones.
i miss the making of spiritual metaphors for literally everything, including the pollution in the air.
but more so,
i am thankful for China.
i am thankful for my senses being heightened from that- the persecuted Church-in all arenas of my faith.
thank you for China, my God!
but i live in Spain now. and as i'm reminded by Elizabeth Elliot, "Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living." be it ANY season of life, i think the nature of the fallen human race is dissatisfaction.....whether our situation in life seems absolutely glorious or horrendously frightening. we want that "greener grass on the other side". i pray against that. especially here in Spain, as i crave feelings from my time in China, or as i long for friends and family and loved ones and the comfort of other believers. i'm here. i'm positively confident of the Divine hand in my placement here. right now, with these people. it's just anotheropportunity for the spread of the Greatest news in the history of the universe.
my impression of this culture wasn't the persecution...more of the culture being satisfied in non-eternal things, and not understanding their need for a Savior. here, it seems completely normal to wallow in confusion, sin, and the like without worrying about the consequences. and for me, this is harder to "deal" with than a bowl of fish swimming in the same aimless direction year after year (China).(<--anyone get that reference?)
i'll stop here.
but i guess this an exhortation to myself (and to whoever wants an exhortation) that "wherever you may be, be all there". let not your longing slay the appetite for your living.