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!

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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!

Bringing in the New Year…

As I’m thinking of all the things I want to accomplish this year, I find myself giddy with all the possibilities.

We visited some of Adam’s friends and family today, and on our way, we drove by an old Movie Gallery that had a “for lease” sign on it.  They only wanted $500/month to lease it.  I couldn’t believe it.  But it got me dreaming of what it could be if I were to be the one to rent it.  Would I turn it into a photography studio?  Or perhaps a party planning/rental shop?  Then, I started to think about the space and what it would be perfect as.  It’d be perfect as a florist shop with all the windows to display the gorgeous arrangements.  It would also make a great karate or dancing studio.  Or what about a wedding dress shop or a Hallmark store?  Then there’s a hobby shop, a restaurant, an internet café, etc.  The possibilities truly are endless.

And guess what…the same goes for my life.  2011 is a fresh start, a second chance…a way to start over on goals, dreams, resolutions, you name it.  And that’s exciting to me.

So here’s what I hope 2011 brings for me:
~ Marry my best friend.
~ Make time for myself and the things I love to do.
~ Don’t be so hard on myself and not get discouraged if things don’t happen the way I hope they will.
~ Travel more.
~ Stop and enjoy the little things.
~ Write religiously on my blog.
~ Welcome new opportunities and possibilities…and take advantage of them.
~ Trust myself.
~ Make sure that Italy happens!
~ Host more gatherings at home…I’m talking parties for  super bowl, Oscars, Mardi Gras, 4th of July, etc.
~ Help a friend reach one of their goals.
~ Get inspired by one person and strive to inspire someone else in return.
~ Volunteer in my community.
~ Start going back to church.
~ Rekindle lost friendships.
~ Visit my family more.
~ Support Adam in all he does.
~ Build up my savings account.
~ Go to more concerts.
~ Photograph daily.
~ Take any type of art class.
~ Get a second vehicle.
~ Become more green.
~ Learn something new.
~ Appreciate the ups and downs in life, because they all get me to where I’m meant to be.
~ Check off at least five things from my ‘Life To Do’ list.
~ Take day trips on the weekends.

(More to come…because let’s face it…it’s never good to put a cap on your dreams.)

What a moment…

I’m not sure if I could have asked for more.  As I’m ringing in the New Year by myself tonight, I was feeling sad.  Here I am in my new home, engaged to my best friend and love of my life, surrounded by animals I love dearly…and jealous of all the celebrations and fireworks happening all around me because Adam couldn’t be here.  So, I decided to embrace it and went out on my back porch to take it all in.

And it was absolutely magical.  As I’m typing this, tears are running down my face, and I am once again reminded how blessed I truly am.

Colorful fireworks are exploding above me in the crisp starry night sky creating a beautiful mirage, and I’m listening to a myriad of things from laughter and love to celebrations across the neighborhood.  Music is blasting, bells are ringing and people are counting down…10, 9, 8…then…BAM!  It’s midnight and a shooting star flashes by right over me…like it was my own little celebration and promise of things to come.  A range of emotions immediately came over me and tears started flowing.  All I could do was whisper “Happy New Year” to the heavens while sending up a special wish.

I hope I never forget this exceptional night!

Become an Energy Efficient Parent! :)

Solar Energy

The responsibility of being a grown up…

As you get older, responsibilities become larger and usually tougher, and they come in the form of decisions.  My problem, however, is that I’m always worried I’ll make the wrong decisions.  But all that is changing now.

I’m engaged and have been since February, and now things don’t seem so scary, because I have someone to share in the decision with me.  It’s not me on my own anymore.  Instead, it’s about how *we* are going to get by or what *we* want our future to look like.  (That’s such an awesome feeling by the way.)  :) 

Currently, we are in the process of planning our wedding.  Being that we are getting married next November, we have quite a while to sort through the details.  I was hoping to get a head start and have certain aspects taken care of…like the venue.  The only problem with that is now we can’t know if we have the venue for sure until later this year (or possibly early next year).  So, now I’m stuck.  I’m putting off the wedding planning until we can start moving on some things, and now the idea of purchasing a home has crept into my mind.  It would be nice.  I’d love to have a place to call my own.  To paint the walls whatever color I want.  To have a back yard for my dogs to run in.  To have a garage for storage.  And a place to really start a family. 

The only problem is…I want to make sure it’s what we want to do.  I’m not one to really live my life on ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’; however, big decisions like purchasing a home makes me a little anxious.  All the doubts creep up…like taxes…or repairs…or what if this goes wrong…or if one of us loses our job.  I know I need to stop, but I just can’t help it.  I’m just praying that if this is the time for Adam and I to purchase a home…and not just any home — our home, I want to make sure it’s what we want.  It just feels so permanent, which I guess is good, but I now realize how much I enjoy my freedom. 

Let’s just say…this is new territory for me.  Here’s hoping all will work out smoothly if it’s meant to be.

<3 Lindsey

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