Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A week of dating and loving eachother

This week Daniel and I sent 2 of our kids to GA and 2 to Bluefield so that we could enjoy a week alone together and also to allow me some time to plan for our upcoming homeschool year. We miss our children very much but know just important times like this are for our marriage. We are so thankful to our parents for giving us this time. Sunday night we went to a movie together, Tuesday night we went to the real estate investors club together, and today we took a canoe trip. Daniel and I made quite a canoe team and we loved every minute of it! We traveled 7 miles up the New River and got a nice workout while enjoying the beautiful scenery and eachother:-) I just love the outdoors! We have a hiking/camping trip planned for tomorrow night and while Daniel loved canoeing, he is not crazy about hiking but is willing to do it for me...What an incredible husband! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Preview of our book "In Gods Perfect Timing"

Most of you know that I have had the desire to write a book about Daniel and my relationship for years now. It is a tough story.  The task of compiling 5 years of daily journal entries, 5 years of letters, and 5 years of printed e-mails and instant message conversations was daunting. Our relationship is so well documented that most of "In Gods Perfect Timing" was actually written DURING our 5 year relationship! Our letters could be a book by themselves! I  have written some extra pieces that I plan to include in the book and the rest is a work in progress. I want to get this done within a reasonable amount of time though because our oldest son has already begun asking us questions about that season of our lives. Those of you that have heard us talk about those 5 years or have asked us advice for your own children or relationships know that Daniel and I had a very painful relationship and as I went through the containers full of stuff documenting our past, I gained new insight into our relationship and why things are the way they are now.  As I went through everything I divided all the resources I had documenting our relationship into two groups. Before we separated and after. Before we separated our relationship was more like a childish crush/hillarious/best friend relationship. I laughed and marveled at how much Daniel must have gotten sick of hearing about my dogs, and all the other silly things I talked about. I wondered how I never tired of hearing about his school, his arguments with his sister, and all the silly things he talked about.  We both had alot in common, we were both homeschooled,  both from small families with 3 children, we both had sisters the exact same age, we both had a heart for missions, we were conservatives and could talk politics, both of us were business minded and loved talking about the things we were doing to save money. As our friendship grew we began talking alot about spiritual things, about sin, the consequences of sin, our beliefs and struggles with sin as well as living the Christian life and what that meant to us. We often shared prayer requests with eachother and read the same things so we could discuss/debate it the next time we talked. Our relationship began in the year 1998 and one of our favorite topics of discussion was Y2K.
    I was a very shy, awkward, unsocialized teenager but somehow I was able to talk to Daniel easier than I could most people. I have outgrown that shyness now but back then it was easier to just type or write what I was thinking rather than say it aloud. It was a good thing I could express my thoughts on paper or e-mail because my Dad wouldn't allow us to talk on the phone for a long time into our relationship. This was BEFORE the days of texting and facebook. This was back in the day when most U.S. households were just getting home computers and everyone had a dial up connection which was tied to their phone line. Computers were S-L-O-W back then and my family only had one phone line which caused Daniel and I to constantly get kicked off and have connection problems. It often took 1 1/2hrs to even have a short conversation! This was all the contact we had since we lived in separate states and were only able to see eachother every few months.
  On the rare oaccasions that we did see eachother, my insecurity usually made our short visits with our families together quite awkward. I hardley said a word and was embarrassed to do anything but sit around when I was with Daniel because I wasn't good at much of anything and I didn't want to embarrass myself by doing or saying something silly! I usually hid behind Daniel and stayed close by him for fear that I would run into an awkward situation and he wouldn't be around! I often marvel now at just how self-conscious I was back in those days and how much less I would have needed to feel awkward if I HAD come out of my shell and talked more/ done more on those few and far between visits. I was thrilled to have Daniel in my life and have the best friend I had prayed for for so long and I did like him alot. In the back of my mind I hoped I would marry him someday but we never discussed marriage or kissed, or did anything intimate other than stare at eachother, have an occasional hug, and yes we sat too close together when we sat down next to eachother. We didn't hold hold hands because our parents had asked us not to and we were careful to not do anything they asked us not to do and whatever we did do was out in the open. There were times during those visits that Daniel let his hand brush against mine or touch mine but even that was ALWAYS out in the open. The only thing we had discussed regarding the future at that point in our relationship was the possibilty of going to the same Christian college and doing some mission trips together.  I hadn't fully decided what I wanted to do after high school but I did know that I had a strong call of missions on my life and I wanted to spend a great portion of my single years as an overseas missionary. I was saving some of the money I made selling dogs to fund my future mission trips. I always knew that my Long term goal was to settle down and raise the BIG family I dreamed of having one day.
 Just before we were to celebrate our sweet 16th birthdays, Daniel and I were separated. I will make you wait on the book to get all the details but that time of separation launched our relationship to a whole new level. I still cannot write about it without it bringing tears to my eye's. I lost the only best friend I had ever had and the loneliness I felt could be unbearable at times. The separation lasted for an extended time and as soon as that time was over our relationship hit the ground running at full speed. The point of our separation was that we would focus solely on God and wouldn't come back together unless it was time for us to be married. In my mind, if that was the only way I could have my best friend back, or have Daniel back in my life then all I wanted to do was get married as soon as possible. As I poured through all of those letters and e-mails and made my before separation pile and after separation pile. I was astonished at the difference in the 2 piles. The first pile resembled a very special friendship, The letters are signed "your special friend" The latter pile revealed two lovesick, heartbroken individuals who talked of nothing but becoming husband and wife. Gone were all the interesting conversations we use to have. Those letters are signed "your future spouse" There is much truth to the old saying "distance makes the heart grow fonder".  I don't believe that any teenager deserves to go through the pain that we went through. I sometimes still struggle with anxiety at the thought of being away from Daniel and I also developed some deep strongholds during that time of my life that I struggle with today. However, despite the pain I endured then and the painful memories I am left with now, God never forgot me and held me in the palm of His hand. He comforted me and let me know that it was all going to work out in my favor. I am  thankful that our time of separation caused me to marry my best friend while still a teenager and that by my low 20's when I most likely would have gotten married I already had 2 bouncing baby boys... Isaac and James. I know that life does not always go as we plan and I know that Daniel and I didn't deserve to go through the pain that we endured.  Regardless of all that ,  God wept with us, carried us through it and wiped away our tears. Our wedding day was the best day of our lives! We are now working on our 8th year of marriage. God redeemed what we went through and called us to a new purpose in life, to raise the 4 by products of our love to honor and serve Him in all they do. We love you Isaac, James, Grace, and Mercy and any other Rich kids that are to come!

I'm sorry this is such a rough preview but stay tuned for the release of "In Gods Perfect Timing"!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

We have had such a great Labor Day! I hate that I didn't get any pictures but my camera is not working. Daniel took the day off of work today and we started the day off by going to Ministry Training classes at church. We then took the family to chickfilet for breakfast which we usually NEVER go anywhere for breakfast so that was a special treat. The boys had swimming lessons and Daniel took them and swam with Grace while I stayed home with just sweet little Mercy who is now almost 10 months old! While they were gone I got everything packed up for a family picnic. We went out to the park and ate, and played some fun games with the kids like kickball, tag, soccer, and ladder golf. We left the park and went to a 1 mile hiking trail that we had never been on. It.  The rail wound through the woods and up a mountain. It was fun and Grace actually made it the whole way without having to be carried! Pretty good for a 3 year old! Tonight I am getting everything ready for the boys to start Classical Conversations tomorrow and for Grace to start her first day of Pre-school. Today was the most relaxing day I have had in months. Thank You Jesus! We have had a very busy summer and I have been feeling overwhelmed lately since we still have not started school. Daniel had not been able to take a day off since May and I felt sad that we didn't get to do all the fun things I dreamed of doing with the kids this summer. We definitely needed a fun day like today:-)