Cupid comes in all forms…

The story of how I met Adam.

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After a few relationships here and there, one resulting in happiness from getting out of a controlling relationship and the other resulting in heart break after my best friend deciding he no longer wanted to be with me, I decided to take an active approach in finding the man that God meant for me. That active approach was online dating. :)

I had my reservations, lots of them, but I decided to give myself a month on OK Cupid to see what happened. I didn’t see any harm in at least trying. Well, at least I didn’t think there would be any harm in trying. After a few weeks, I instantly was discouraged again from the numerous messages of men being men. If this is how it was going to be, I sure didn’t want to give it a month. The two weeks I already tried was painful enough, so I went back on the website one last time so I could delete my profile.

But then something stopped me. I was stopped by what seemed to be a truly genuine man whose first words to me seemed very sincere. The fact that he was not like the others definitely stopped me in my tracks. That night, we chatted online for quite a while, seeing what we both wanted from life, getting each other’s backgrounds and asking the normal questions you’d ask to try to get to know someone more.

Yet, I was still being cautious. I didn’t know if it was some guy who truly was a good person, or someone pretending to be. He kept expressing how he wanted to go on a date, and I kept stalling. But after a week of talking practically every night online, I decided to give him a chance, and I’m so glad I did.

We met to go on our first date on July 18th, 2009. He took me out to dinner at an Italian restaurant, followed it up with seeing a romantic comedy with me in the theater (which happened to be the movie, The Proposal, a sign of things to come) and ended the evening with watching the stars on the beach. It was definitely the perfect first date. He was true and real and into me as much as I was into him. After that first date, we couldn’t be separated, and I knew we had something special after the 3rd time we saw each other when he said he loved me. I think it slipped out of his mouth, but it made my heart melt.

Four weeks after we met, I came down with a severe case of mono. I didn’t even have the strength to get up out of bed or eat, but there he was with me day and night tending to my every need. I couldn’t have asked for more. No words had to be spoken over those long weeks, just a love shown through his actions. Holding me was all I needed, and at that point, I knew that he would be the man I would marry and grow old with.

That Christmas, I started putting up our first Christmas tree together as a couple. As I was hanging ornaments, I looked over and caught of glimpse of him crying. When I went over to console him and ask him what was wrong, he just smiled and said that his mom was the one who always put up their tree and hung ornaments as well. He was crying because he missed his mom but also because he was happy to start this new chapter in his life with me. It had been eight years since he last had a Christmas tree up, and eight long years since his mother passed away unexpectedly from breast cancer. Just another moment that melted my heart.

Then came Valentine’s Day, one of the holidays of the year that I never cared much for, but I will never be able to say that again. It has become one of my favorite celebrations with Adam being by my side. For that is the day when he proposed to me. I walked down the stairs in my apartment that morning to him surprising me. He first presented me with the movie, The Proposal, then went on to actually propose with the loveliest ring I’ve ever seen. There was no big display in front of a ton of strangers, he simply spoken straight from his heart, which is all I could have ever asked for. (He even asked for my father’s permission!) Ever since I said “YES!”…our love continues to grow and the surprises never stop.

We agreed to have a long engagement and are getting married at Camp Keystone in Starke, Florida on Friday, November 11th, 2011 in front of our dear friends and family. We picked this day for a number of reasons, but most importantly, we wanted it to be a day of “remembrance” for our loved ones who are no longer here and pay homage to our ancestors who fought so bravely for our freedoms. Further, I cannot wait to finally start my life, hand in hand and heart in heart, as Mrs. Adam Staley!

How hard it must be…

I just read an email from my mother that hit me so hard, I just sat here crying uncontrollably and feeling so helpless in this world.  I have to keep reminding myself that God must have a plan, but it’s difficult sometimes to put your faith in the unknown.

For those who may not know, my grandmother has kidney disease and is on dialysis treatments.  She has to go three times a week to a facility and sit in a chair for five hours to get hooked up to a machine that leaves her absolutely drained.  But without it, she would die in less than two weeks.

I know my grandma is strong, and I’m so thankful that I’ve discovered that same strength in me as well, but honestly, I just don’t know how she does it sometimes.  Her life wasn’t an easy one.  Not by any means.  And my wish for her has always been for her to be able to enjoy the rest of her life, without any constrictions or obstacles.  But I guess God knows she can handle a lot, because he sure lets her go through a lot more than I think is possible.

And today was no different.  I can’t even begin to imagine being in her position or any other patient on dialysis, going day in and day out to a facility that you rely on to live.  And to form relationships with the other patients who you now call your friend, only to come and not know who’s time is up next.

Today, it took the life of a man in his 20s right in front of my grandma.  There he was sitting a few feet away from her, with her being one of the last people he talked to.  Then, he fell to the floor and the nurses tried to revive him, but it was too late.  He was pronounced dead upon arrival to the hospital.

From the handful of times I’ve gone with my grandma to her dialysis treatments, he was there each time in the waiting room.  I remember everyone being so nice to him trying to get his spirits up, and him just looking so down all the time.  I never saw any family bring him.  He always had to come on public transit, and once his treatments were done, he was always waiting an hour or more for his ride to get him.  I always wished that he had someone like my mother to take him and care for him as much as my mom cares for my grandma.  But many patients are like this young man, and many don’t know how to be an advocate for themselves.

I know my grandma is shook up after today, and I keep going through a range of emotions, only to keep coming back to anger.  I’m angry at the disease, I’m angry about the way some of the staff treat the patients, I’m angry about the way that they don’t double check their procedures when it’s someone’s life on the line, I’m angry that a young man lost his life today, and I’m especially angry that any day my grandma will be next despite how hard she’s worked to prevent it.  And I feel so damn helpless that it’s out of my hands and that I can’t do anything about it!!!  #unfair

Brought to you courtesy of the red, white and blue!

First of all, let me just say, no, you cannot make me feel bad for being happy that Osama bin Laden is dead…not for one second.  Although I can see both sides of Americans and their emotions right now, here are my personal thoughts on the subject.

When the news was about to break, and there was an announcement that President Obama was making an emergency speech at any second on “national security,” fear crept into my mind.  What did the terrorists do this time?  How will it affect our country and my own life?  How many lives were just lost?  Those were just a few of the thoughts I had.  I even called my parents, like a scared little child, just to have the reassurance that they were okay.

And here I was, glued to the television and computer, thinking the absolute worst…things that this horrific mass murderer has done to put fear into every American. 

Then the news came across…that after all these years, our brave men and women finally got him! 

Hallelujah!

After that, it was truly a rollercoaster of emotions from going to having this unexplainable fear inside of me literally making my stomach sick to then going to the other extreme of absolute jubilation!  We finally got him.  I was almost in shock…and couldn’t believe that this day finally came.

And all I could think about in that moment was about what the loved ones and friends of those who died because of this man must be feeling right now upon hearing this news.  Nothing could ever bring their loved ones back, but this has got to help them feel like justice was served. 

Just like in a regular courtroom.  If there was a trial being held for a serial killer…and the family and friends of the innocent people who died finally got to hear those words that they’ve so longed to hear – “guilty” and “death” – it helps them cope with knowing they continued their loved ones’ fight to make sure justice was served.  This situation is exactly the same, except he killed more lives than we possibly could ever have imagined. 

My jubilation in the fact that he is now gone was for all the countless number of people who died for this to happen…and to let the whole world know that they did not die in vain.  They died for our freedom!

After the announcement, I felt that freedom and sense of security come rushing back into my body.  All the things that this bastard took away from me, he could no longer do.  No more planes crashing into buildings and fields…no more bombs exploding…no more being humiliated with pat downs at airports…no more being questioned or treated like a terrorist myself.  Could this war be over? 

But then reality hit.  All of those things I mentioned above, I wish would miraculously go away with the death of this man, but they won’t.  In fact, things probably just got worse.  The man may be dead, but Al Qaeda is not.  The terrorists are still out there, men and women will continue to die…and for what?  Vengeance?  Religion?  Hatred?  Oil?  Power?  Nonsense? 

How can we rise to be the better person if someone doesn’t do something to stop it?  And in order to stop it, we have to fight.  But at least we have the decency to still have rules.  The government and military could have brought his body back and desecrated it, but they didn’t.  They did what they thought was proper, followed Muslim burial requirements as close as possible and buried him at sea.  Some may argue about burying him at sea, but I think it was the right thing to do.  Terrorists will find a way to take their revenge, but at least they don’t have a burial site to gather around.  And people who want even more revenge on him won’t have the opportunity to do anything further to his body.  We’re not savages.  We took care of the problem with as much dignity as we could.

But what I saw throughout the night on Sunday was a nation becoming united once more.  Strangers gathered at the White House, on Ground Zero and just random streets.  They came together celebrating…not in the fact that America is better than anyone…but instead that WE WILL NEVER FORGET! 

As far as judgment?  Osama bin Laden will answer for what he’s done.  Not to you or I, but to the One that matters.  And for me, that’s satisfying enough.  And all the lives of those that were killed by the hand of this man can finally truly rest in peace. 

The war may not be over, but I’m proud to witness America getting its soul back!

2011 Challenge: Day 45

February 14, 2011 (Day 45)

Valentine’s Day.  I used to hate this “so-called” holiday.  I hated how it’s turned people into believing it’s the one day out of the year they have to do something special for their significant other.  It doesn’t always seem to be about love, but rather how much someone can outdo someone else with the gifts they receive, especially at the workplace.  And in the meantime, it makes those who are lonely feel like crap because they don’t have someone to share this day with.  But don’t let it fool you.  It’s not true.  There are so many people who may not be your significant other who still love you just as much.  And to all my friends and family, I hope you know how much I love you for who you are and for the uniqueness you bring to this world!

But let me get back to my point…

I can’t bring myself to hate Valentine’s Day anymore, because it’s no longer a holiday to me.  It’s an anniversary of the day Adam proposed and asked me to be his wife.  I am so thankful that he chose Valentine’s Day to do so, because I now have nothing but fond memories of the day!  It allows me to remember the best decision I’ve ever made in my life! 

You can’t ever really top a proposal, but this year, we relaxed and just enjoyed being with each other.  As the sun was setting over the horizon, we sat on the beach eating dinner and waiting for the stars to come out.  It was a beautiful sight, and the perfect way to enjoy each other’s company without the hustle and bustle of restaurants or crowded places.  I love how he allows me to truly live in the moment!  <3

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone, especially to the love of my life, Adam! 

2011 Challenge: Day 44

February 13, 2011 (Day 44)

Sugar coma.  Adam and I made over 100 cupcakes and brownies to take to Kyle & Reba’s wedding yesterday.  We had quite a few leftover and brought them back home.  Today, we ate too many, and I think I’m in a sugar coma.  ;-)

Remind me to never make so many again.  :)

2011 Challenge: Day 43

February 12, 2011 (Day 43)

The Lane Wedding.  Today, Kyle and Reba Lane got married!   They had a small yet very sweet wedding on her grandmother’s farm in Live Oak surrounded by close family and friends.  It was wonderful to see them tie the knot and get to see Adam spend some time with his ‘other’ family.  I’m so happy we got to be a part of their special day. 

2011 Challenge: Day 38

February 7, 2011 (Day 38)

Cause for Applause.  I received a cause for applause and a compliment from two of my coworkers today, and it felt great!  Not to mention, another coworker and I go back and forth on proper usages for grammar, and I finally won an argument!  It was a victorious day at the workplace.  :)

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