Category Archives: A Thousand Words

Rhododendron Garden 2012

We take an annual spring trip to a lovely, local rhododendron garden. Here are a few photos from this year’s visit.

Family Update

This is our first year of homeschooling. D.L.F. learned to read when he was three and has had his head in a book ever since, but this year, we have added math and handwriting. He is getting the hang of both, and Cupcake is picking up a lot as well. D.L.F. is participating in a community youth choir, and he and Cupcake both love going to AWANA every week. At 16 months now, Smiley is such a sweetheart, always giving kisses and following us around. She has learned to walk within the past few weeks, and her ratio of walking to crawling is heavy on the walking side now. She also has quite a few words, or at least sounds she consistently uses to represent particular words. She is very good at communicating. She loves to be read to, and is constantly shoving books at us, exclaiming, “Boo! Boooooo!”

T is employed at a job he loves, which is such a blessing. He is a wonderful Papa and a romantic and caring husband, and I am so blessed to be married to him. I thank God for him every single day.

I am back in college, working toward a Bible and Theology degree (no, I don’t know what I’m going to “do” with it; it’s more for personal enrichment at this point, and I am open to God’s leading for the future). I’m in a degree completion program, so I only have class one night a week, but there is a lot of outside work, more than I anticipated. I’m loving it, though. I always hoped I would get to finish college one way or another, and I’m grateful that the opportunity opened up for me to go back.

We just put up most of our Christmas decorations, and I’m starting to think about holiday baking. I think my favorite type of holiday cookie is Snowballs, a.k.a. Mexican Wedding Cakes, a.k.a. Russian Tea Cakes.

That’s it in a nutshell. 🙂

The Budding Artist

Cupcake (3) drew this picture on the Doodle Pro of “somebody swimming in the water.” Cute, huh?

Our Love Story, Part 8

…in which T asks me to be his wife.

If you want to know how we got to this point, you can read Parts 1-7 of our love story here:

Part 1/Part 2/Part 3/Part 4/Part 5/Part 6/Part 7

By July of 2004, T and I had been dating for 5 months. We knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. Early on in our dating relationship, T had told me about a place that was very special to him, a huge Rock (circled in red below) overlooking the ocean at a state park near a Christian conference center where he had worked for four summers. He had spent many hours on the Rock in fellowship with God, and had kept the location sacred by bringing only his closest friends there.

The ensemble T and I were in was scheduled to perform at the conference center in mid-August, and T had hinted that a proposal might be forthcoming around that time. Please keep that in mind as I proceed to reveal how shockingly, naïvely surprised I was when T  proposed on July 22. I had no idea that this was it until he was practically pulling out the ring.

T invited me to come with him to celebrate his brother’s birthday at his house out near the coast. He told me to wear jeans and comfortable shoes so we could stop somewhere along the way, hike to a pretty location, and have devotions together. This was mainly a ruse to ensure that I would be dressed appropriately for later that evening, but we did indeed stop by a secluded creek to talk, pray, and read the Bible together for a while before continuing on to the coast. We arrived at T’s brother’s house around noon and spent a few hours with T’s family.

By mid-afternoon, T had a remarkable impulse to go hang out at the beach. We picked up sandwiches at Subway and took them to a hike-in beach where we were the only people around. It was beautiful and romantic, and I still had no idea that T had further plans for the evening. In fact, he had things planned out to the second. Really.

T had enlisted the help of his friend A to get everything set up on T’s Rock by 7:30 PM, and to expect us to show up at the park between 7:45 and 8:15. After our picnic on the beach, T mentioned that he would like to stop by the nearby park to watch the sun set, and I thought that sounded like a great idea. So we pulled into the parking lot at 7:55. We both needed to use the restroom (which was part of T’s plan all along), and while in the restroom, T extracted a radio from the bottom of his backpack, powered it on, pressed the transmit button, and had this conversation with A:

T: “A, we have arrived. How’s it going?”

A: “I’m out on the Rock. It’s beautiful out here. If you get out here okay, it’s going to be incredible.”

T: “Thanks! She’s still clueless! She has no idea. Give me just a sec.”

A: “Okay. Standing by.”

A moment passed while T set down his backpack, pressed the timer function on his watch, and put his finger on the start button.

T: “Okay, I’m ready now. Go ahead.”

A: “Music starting…now!”

T started his stopwatch. From that moment, there would be 36 minutes of silence from the CD player that A had hidden on the Rock and then the music would start. In those 36 minutes, the followed events occurred:

T walked out of the restroom after stowing the radio and met me outside. We walked together toward a viewpoint overlooking the water. This was out of sight of the parking lot, giving A the chance to get off the Rock and back to his vehicle. We stopped a stranger to take our picture:

We traveled along a very primitive path, with tall grass and prickly bushes on either side, until we topped out on a ridge with an extraordinary view. I said I was thirsty, so T gave me his backpack so I could get a water bottle out of it. He said, “Be right back!,” and walked a short distance to where a cooler was hidden. He strapped it on and headed back over to me.

I don’t know if it was the fact that I was thirsty and perhaps a bit tired from hiking, or just that I really am that unobservant, but I didn’t question T’s going off by himself for a minute, and I somehow didn’t notice that a cooler had magically appeared on his person.

T’s plan at this point was to read my response and go from there. If I was starting to catch on, T had everything he needed in the cooler to propose right there on the ridge, just in case I was too nervous or excited to continue on the somewhat-treacherous path down to the Rock. He asked me how I was doing. I said I was fine, and T realized that I wasn’t suspicious yet.

T said, “Trust me,” and held my hand as we started down a very steep, slippery slope. We made our way to the Rock and climbed to the rounded top with relative ease. T spread out a blanket and we sat down and watched the waves.

The sun was just beginning to set, and T was worried that I must be dying with anticipation by now and wondering what was taking him so long (indeed, I still just thought we were enjoying a lovely sunset together), so he was thrilled when a pod of pelicans swept northward, passing low over the water, and wheeled about to begin their evening fish hunt. Just as T finished explaining the habits of pelicans, a soft breeze out of the northwest wafted the first airy notes of Barber’s Adagio for Strings.

Okay. Now I knew something was up.

“Where’s that music coming from?” I asked, my heart beginning to pound.

“From heaven, my dear,” T replied, and seeing no obvious source of the music, I was inclined to believe him.

T read me a letter he had written, expressing his love and dreams for our future, as the music continued to build. Then he stood me up, pulled a ring out of his backpack, and went down on one knee.

“Melissa, will you marry me?”

I was overcome with feelings of amazement, tenderness, and pure joy. “Yes! Oh, yes!” I replied.

As the music climaxed, T slipped the ring on my finger. It fit perfectly.

The sun was slipping behind the lighthouse, miles out to sea. Adagio began again as T sat me down and dried my happy tears. T opened the cooler and handed me a red rose, then poured me some Martinelli’s in a crystal goblet, and we toasted our future together.

Then T showed me the box that he had purchased six years prior while on a mission trip in the Philippines for the express purpose of holding the ring of the woman he would one day propose to.

Inside the box was a poem T had written explaining the symbolism of the ring he had chosen for me. Here’s a closer view:

It reads:

Three sparks of fire, sunlight distilled, in this eternal band of gold

Are promises and dreams fulfilled, are healing and new life to build

And stories yet untold.

The outer stones today are bound, yet flesh of flesh and bone of bone

May only close be ever found, in sorrow or in joy profound,

As to the Center Stone.

The Geoff Moore song, “If You Could See What I See,” began to play (T told me much later than A had hidden a boombox on a ledge down the side of the Rock), and T sang the words to me:

All of my life, I have dreamed
That somehow love would find me.
Now, I can’t believe you’re standing here.
If beauty is all in the eye
Of the beholder then I
Wish you could see the love for you that lives in me.

And you would know you have my heart,
If you could see, what I see;
That a treasure’s what you are,
If you could see what I see;
Created to be, the only one for me;
If you could see what I see.

I know there are days when you feel
So much less than ideal,
Wondering what I see in you
It’s all of the light and the grace
You’re belief in me drives me to say
That I promise you, a faithful love forever true.

And you would know you have my heart,
If you could see, what I see;
That a treasure’s what you are,
If you could see what I see;
Created to be, the only one for me;
If you could see ….

Then you’d understand
Why I fall down to my knees;
And I pray my love will be worthy of the One who gave His life so our love could be.

If you could see, what I see.
If you could see what I see:
You’re created to be the perfect one for me,
If you could see what I see.

If beauty is all in the eye,
Of the the beholder then I am beholding true beauty.

We watched the last rays of the sun slip into the Pacific and gathered our things. T’s friend A (who remained hidden the entire evening) would retrieve most of the accessories later, so we made our way slowly off the Rock. T carried the rose and a walking stick in one hand, and held my hand with the other whenever he could.

While driving home, we called our families to tell them our happy news. It didn’t come as a surprise to my parents, since T had, unbeknownst to me, asked my dad for my hand the previous week.

And that is how we got engaged. Next time, I’ll write about our wedding day, which occurred exactly six months later. For now, here’s one last picture of T and me when we were at the same beach the next month with our music ensemble.

Then and Now


And now:

A Little Update

It’s almost the middle of June. I can hardly believe that my oldest child is almost five and my baby is almost one. Oh yeah, and this one already had her birthday (in early May). Now she’s three!

She asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting (yes, she is her mother’s daughter), and I believe she thoroughly enjoyed it.

Smiley didn’t get any cake but she enjoyed playing with balloons.

Just in the past month, Smiley has started figuring out that food is for swallowing, instead of just holding in your throat until it makes you choke, which has definitely expanded her culinary horizons. I started trying to give her mashed up fruits and vegetables when she was about eight months old, but I think she didn’t like the texture. No “baby” food for her. She adores crackers and has been known to crawl to the snack cupboard, get out a box of her favorite crackers, and say, “Yum YUM!” until somebody gets one out of the box for her. I suppose I shouldn’t let her get into the snack cupboard, but what can I say, she’s cute, and she’s my pwecious widdle baby. She says “Mama” quite frequently and we think we’ve heard her say “Papa” a few times. She also says “Yeah,” gives kisses with a “Muh!,” and is a good mimic of random noises.

T, because he is amazing and can fix or build anything, built this fence (complete with gate) across the end of our deck, so hopefully, that will be the end of kid-falling-off-the deck accidents (we’ve had a few).

After nearing giving up on ever being able to make pies, I finally tried this crust recipe and have had good success with it. Since finding it a few weeks ago, I have made four apple pies and one strawberry-rhubarb pie.

T found a nice, large, but not-functional barbecue for free on Craigslist and fixed it up good as new, so we have enjoyed hot dogs and hamburgers cooked on it several times so far. Food tastes so much better grilled, and I like that T does most of the work and there’s less clean-up in the kitchen!

I just saw that Betty Beguiles will be hosting a blog carnival this Tuesday linking to people’s engagement stories. I think this is the kick in the pants I’ve been waiting for to finish T’s and my love story (you can read Parts 1-7 starting here), so come back Tuesday to read about how we got engaged–it’s pretty romantical! 🙂

And to close, here’s a recent picture of all three kiddos:

I Sure Love This Girl

I really can’t believe she’s six months old already

Merry Christmas!

Fall Leaves, Take 2

D.L.F., noticing the effect of the wind whooshing through the leaves of the big maple tree in our yard, said, “The leaves are wagging their tails!”

A couple weeks ago I jumped the gun in trying to get some fall pictures, but today’s attempt proved more successful.