“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for them in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” 1 Timothy 4:12
Yes, my fiancé and I are nineteen years old, and this Friday evening my dearest love proposed to me after he took me on a picnic by the river. I am truly excited and ever so blessed to be engaged to the most amazing man alive. There isn’t a soul on this beautiful Earth like him. Our plan in to be married in early August.
This engagement is a huge leap of faith for us. We have done nothing but pray about it for months and months, seek advising from one of our pastors, and budget, budget, budget! The two of us also went to our parents for advice, mine who support it fully, and my love’s who are a little less excited.
So why did we decide to go ahead and get married after I finish my first year of college and right before my fiancé starts his? Because we love each other. We are ready to promise our eternal love for each other in an everlasting vow before God. We don’t want to be across the state from one another at two separate universities. We want to experience life together young. Life is too short, we want forever together.
It will be hard, yes. It will be challenging knowing there are people, and a father, who don’t support our decision to wed so young, but our love is strong and our faith in God is stronger. I can’t wait to begin this journey through life with my best friend at my side.
If you have any advice for us, please feel free to share.
As many of you are aware, it is football season. This past Friday was not only a game night for my home town, it was homecoming. There was a young man on the football team who was more than a little nervous. This is a big game for the high school, and as a senior, he wanted to make sure he played his best.
The game begins and is intense right from the start. The two opposing teams battle it out. In one of the plays, the senior I mentioned at the beginning, was running for a touchdown before a member of the opposing team pushed him out-of-bounds. The play didn’t stop there, however. The opposing player kept on driving the young man until he had him pinned up against the fence, and still didn’t stop. The victim’s teammates went crazy! They rushed to the aid of this young man and started a scuffle that ended in the suspension of a player from each team.
When the game continued, it was fueled with the excitement of the scuffle. The hits became harder, and the blocks became stronger. Then a player went down. This player was on the opposing team, and when he fell, he went completely limp. He was carried away in an ambulance, but never moved throughout the entire process. There was a rumor going around that his neck had been broken.
The game went on, and in the end, the home team was victorious. They had won their homecoming game, and everything was great. Spectators and parents went wild and then everyone started to flee from the coming rain, all except for the senior who was run into the fence. He stopped amid the chaos to remember the player who had fallen.
I was on my way over to him when my sight of the field was momentarily obstructed as I walked under the bleachers. Suddenly I noticed the entire crowd had gone silent, even the excited announcer has stopped rambling remarks mid-sentence! I don’t know why, but I panicked and ran to get to the other side of the stands so I could see the field. This is what I saw. Off to the side a little ways, both teams were kneeling closely together, their school colors intertwined. In the center of that huddle was that senior boy. His eyes were closed, his helmet was in his hand, and he was praying with a force that would have made any non-believer fall to their knees.
I watched in amazement. Here was this senior boy who was rammed into a fence by this team, yet he was praying for the safety, health, and recovery of one of their players. He was putting everything aside to raise an injured player who wasn’t even one of his teammates up to God. He was performing the most wonderful act of kindness I had ever seen in my life. Tears started falling from my eyes as I watched this incredibly strong young man perform this delicate act of kindness. I am so blessed to be able to call that young man my boyfriend, and blessed to have been able to witness this act of kindness that changed something in my heart.
In the end, only this amazing young man knows if he played his best, but that night he showed everyone there how to be a good teammate as well as a good opponent, and how much any act of kindness can impact so many lives around you. No matter how good you play, sometimes the game is forgotten, but I know that act will not so soon be forgotten.
Sadly, I was not carrying my camera with me at that perfect moment, but I will carry this memory and the image it engraved on my heart always, and I will take that act and learn from it.
Side Note: The injured player did not break his neck. He luckily suffered only from mild swelling in his spinal cord at the base of his neck and is expected to make a full recovery.
I am homeschooled, but run track for a local high school. One thing that has been a dream of mine, since my freshman year, was to be asked to prom. I don’t know why I wanted to go so badly, I just always have. I’m one of those shy girls who only has a little group of special friends, the ones who were nice enough to pull me in and break me out of my shell.
Every year, as prom came and went, I would log on to my Facebook account to see all of my public school friends posting their stunning prom photos. I would look through them all, admiring their attire and happy memories, thinking I would never be able to experience them myself.
Then my senior year came. I never thought of prom until track started. It was months away, yet people were already being asked and getting their dresses. A few of my wonderful friends decided that they were going to take me with them to prom, with or without a date. By then, I was willing to tag along with them just so I could see what prom would be like.
The school was down to the last two weeks before prom. Everyone had their dates and their dresses, everyone except for me which was usual and expected. I was completely sure no one was asking me to prom this year and decided that I would feel too awkward attending a high school prom alone as a shy, little, homeschooled girl. So there went another year – my last year – of getting a chance to be asked to prom. I accepted it and tried not to think about it too much.
Monday started like any other day. A morning full of school, an evening full of running, and two jars empty of honey. When practice ended for the day, I was going to give my honey jars to my sprinter coach whose family had a honey business. When she found me, she told me to give them to Will. I thought absolutely nothing of it. Will lived right next to his cousins who did the honey. I just thought she said that so he could give it right to them.
Now let me pause for a second to explain something. This Will guy is one of those guys who everyone in the school loves. He is super athletic and
good, excuse me, amazing at everything he does. Not to mention super smart.
So anyway, I grabbed my jars and went into the school to find him. As I’m standing in the commons, he walks out from one of the halls. I shyly walk up to him and hand him the jars. I’m nervously asking him if my check is made out for the right amount, then I plan on bolting to the door. As he is explaining the amount should be correct, I start to inch away, but he follows. After he answers my question about the check he calmly and simply adds, “and I was wondering if you’d like to come to prom with me.”
I finally stopped trying to escape. I was speechless. All I could think to say was “for real?!” He assured me he wasn’t kidding and, of course, I said yes! Then I sped home, texted my friends, and panicked. Only a week to prepare! Even though I was offered to borrow some gorgeous dresses, my mom felt that she needed to buy me my very first prom dress.
On Friday, the only day my mom had free, we went on our search at 6:00 p.m. after I had been running at a track meet all day. We grabbed a pizza and headed for the nearest mall which was only a little over 100 miles away.
As we rushed from shop to shop, nothing caught either of our eyes, other than the dresses that only had sizes 10 times too big for me. We were headed to a store we weren’t really sure even sold dresses when I confessed to my mom that I was starting to get scared. After asking a clerk if the store had any dresses, we headed for the small juniors section way at the back. The two racks of leftover dresses did not look promising. As I moved one of the dresses, something caught my eye. A beautiful white, black, and silver dress that would match my date’s already-purchased grey tux, and it was my size! We snatched it up and grabbed some accessories with 30 minutes to spare before the mall closed.
That following Saturday was prom, and it was amazing! Whatever I thought it would be like was shattered and replaced by the reality of an unbelievably wonderful day! My date was the biggest gentleman I have ever met and even let me hang off his arm anytime I tried to stumble anywhere in my heels. And then there was my first slow dance.
I realized that night that I have an incredibly amazing and caring group of friends, even if it is small.
The other day I was going through and finding a bunch of quotes for no other reason than to amuse myself, when I happened upon this one by Rosemarie Urquico. I read through this rather interesting passage, and that’s when it hit me. She was talking about me – or at least her words unknowingly describe me completely. I thought I would share it for everyone who happens upon it. Who knows, it might speak to you, too.
“You should date a girl who reads.
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.”
– Rosemarie Urquico
St. Patrick’s Day is an Irish holiday that celebrates the life and trials of St. Patrick. There was once a time when the holiday was Christian and Catholic, but could it be those days are over? St. Patrick was once represented in and with the color blue. How did green find its way into the mix? What about those clovers? It is said St. Patrick used the shamrock to symbolize the holy trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Now, all you see in St. Patrick’s Day are four-leafed clovers and hear of nothing but the “luck of the Irish.” Has this holiday been transformed into something else…something totally different?
The Irish were once (and perhaps some still are) a people who stood firm in their tales and folklore – something I’ve always admired them for. What if their stories have truth in them? What if the “good folk”, or leprechaun, and the fey are real. Perhaps these beings the Irish folklore warned us about are real, and perhaps they have taken over a once blessed holiday.
Call me crazy, but here is the fun way I like to look at it. What was once a peaceful holiday, has been taken over by the mischievous leprechaun people and the beautiful yet brutal faerie folk. Since green is the usual color for the leprechaun and is more of the earth for the fey, blue was replaced with green. The holy three-leafed shamrock was cast out and in its place the four-leafed clover was erected. The four-leafed clover is said to allow a human to gain the sight, in other words, it allows humans to see the otherwise invisible-unless-want-to-be-seen fey. As for the “luck of the Irish,” well that was added in there by the good folk who, if pleased, would reward the person who benefited them with a happy and prosperous life. What about the parades and celebrations, you may ask? Well, everyone knows that the fey look completely different from humans in skin color, hair, ect. So, just like they do on Hallowe’en, the fey take advantage of the costumes and crazy dress of the celebrations to disguise their different and lovely selves.
Now that should get you wondering.
The world is coming to life; can you feel it? With every passing hour, she wakens more and more from the deepest of deep sleeps that Winter has put her in. The duvet of snow that was cast upon her has vanished. The sun is finally able to break apart the grey blanket of clouds and settle on the Earth’s cold skin.
With the warming of the soil, the creatures who lay dormant in the ground beneath begin to stir as well. Little by little the world turns green, and little by little, life begins to push away the sleepy cold who has held his grip on the Earth for far too long.
With the first tulip bud that rises from the soil, another will surly follow. One after another, the flowers begin to appear. The bees and the birds welcome their arrival with open arms. Happy is the sound of the feasting insects and birds upon the sweet nectar of the new blooms.
Spring has come and with her the boon of sunshine, warmth, and the promise of a summer-y future.
© Lindsay Amber