Three years later

Sometimes I disappear from this blog because I have nothing to say. Sometimes I disappear from this blog because I'm too busy enjoying life. Sometimes I disappear from this blog because I'm lazy. And sometimes I disappear from this blog because unexpected messy hard things happen that I don't want to talk about it. 

Recently I received an email from someone who read my blog while I was living in Rwanda. She said a lot of kind things that were a great encouragement but a little further down in her email she referenced my one year later post. I don't typically go back and read old posts but in this instance I decided to. 

"2012 has been filled with more growth, hardships, tears, joy, love, and fulfillment then I ever thought possible. I really feel like I lived life. And not because of all the things I got to do, but because this year I followed God with my whole heart. I thank God for His plans and for all the ups and downs this year of obedience has brought. I am ready for another year of living."

Sometimes this life doesn't make any sense. Sometimes this life is really hard. Sometimes things don't go the way you thought they would. But always God is in control. Always God has a plan. And always God is good. 

2014 has held some of the highest highs and some of the lowest lows and as I look ahead to 2015 I can honestly say I have no idea what God has in store, but even with my blindfold on, I am stepping out in faith, reminded that through a heart seeking after Christ and His plans awaits a life well lived. 

Our Story: Part 3

Took a little break there didn't I? Life got a smidgen hectic for a real quick minute and if I have the time (aka I don't feel like watching Netflix) maybe I'll write about it, but first, because Vince sent me flowers and I'm feeling extra mushy and loved I'm going to write part 3 of our story. If you missed part 1 you can read it here, and for part two click here. Now, onto the good stuff.

After dropping Vince off at his hotel I obviously rushed to my best friends to tell her all about it. Because we're girls, and that's just what you're supposed to do. We had been talking about him for awhile so to actually have some new information to obsess about was like finding a pot of gold and the end of a rainbow with a unicorn. I was happy as a clam to chat away and over analyze little details. We even devised a plan. You see, at the rehearsal dinner Vince just happened to mention more than once that he was going to be stuck at the airport for something like 8 hours before his flight actually left. Being the little analyzers that we are we figured out that this was a secrete code that meant he wanted me to ask him hang out for the day (obviously). So our plan was pretty simple and straight forward, but to someone like me also terrifying. Still, I decided if he mentioned it again then I would be brave and do something I have never done before and ask a good lookin' guy  to spend the day with me. *It should be noted that I later found out that that was actually Vince's plan. 

All geared and prettied up I headed to the wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception celebrating two people becoming one. I was and still am honored they asked me to be a part of their day.  The only bad thing about the reception? It required me to dance. In front of my family and really close friends I'm a spazz monkey. At my cousins wedding last summer my mom told me I looked like I was doing a jazzercise video. But in front of a majority of strangers? Forget about it. I'm as awkward and shy as can be. I did actually go into the bathroom at one point to avoid a group dance. I told you, I'm weird. I think I danced a total of three times. All three times I was forced. The first time a groomsmen asked me to dance. The second time was another group dance. The third time,the last slow song, on my way to sign the guest book, Vince asked my to dance. I am still slightly upset that I can't remember the name of the song, and I have no idea what we talked about, but I know I had to talk myself into breathing the whole time because the excitement was almost too much. And that wasn't even the best part. No, no, the best part of the reception was when Vince mentioned again that he would just be hanging out at the airport. The plan. It. Was. Happening. I took a deep breath and told him, if it wouldn't be weird, and he would want to, because he doesn't have to if he likes hanging out in airports, but if he doesn't, I could spend the day with him and drop him off at the airport at a more reasonable time. Sucker fell for the plan, hook line and sinker and said yes. Maybe five minutes later Stephanie came up to me and said she had heard I was going on a date with Vince. 1. I didn't think it was a date, but I'll take it 2. Those Marines are little gossips. That night I got a dance, a number, a "date", and a hug. What can I say, I got game. 


There's not going to be too many more "parts". But there will be at least one more, or maybe two if I'm feeling generous. Ok ok, there's probably going to be three more, and I'm almost close to promising that's it. 

Our Story: Part Two

If you missed part one you can read it here

When you’re in a third world country for a year you kind of just have to assume you’re going to continue to be single, and honestly, I was more than ok with that. In fact, I took advantage of it. I grew closer to God, I had crazy adventures, I struggled, I figured things out, I grew up, and it was all kinds of wonderful and hard. Taking that time to work on myself and figure out what I wanted made everything almost easier when it came to my future man candy. Which just happens to be the name of the word document that I created in Rwanda after listening to a podcast sermon on relationships. I sat down and wrote out a list of characteristics I wanted my future husband to have. While I knew what I wanted I kind of didn't believe he actually existed. I thought that I would have to settle and let somethings slide. I believed for a more than a split second and on several different occasions that my expectations were unrealistic. But then I started talking to Vince. 
As Vince and I continued talking over the course of several months I began to learn more about him, his personality, and his values. Guys, I wasn't hating it. In fact I was getting pretty excited. One specific night he messaged me and started talking about how his long term goal was to become a missions piliot. That was it. I messaged my mom, sister, and best friend and told them I had met my future husband. Kidding of course, but kind of not. This is also around the time that I started referring to Vince as my "fake boyfriend" to my Rwandan roommates. (Telling your mom, sister and best friend he's your future husband is ok, but telling your roommates you've only known for a few months he's your future husband is a little risky.) Little did I know Vince was busy calling my his "cyber girlfriend". Vince and I continued our Facebook romance up until July 1st 2013, and on July 5th we officially met in person at Stephanie and Moises’ rehearsal dinner.
Nervous was an understatement, because at this point, even though I technically hadn’t met him, I was full on crazy crushin'. The night before I dyed my hair in a panic, ended up borrowing a dress, and took a good two hours curling my hair and getting my pretty face on. First thing I did when I saw the man of my dreams? Shook his hand like we hadn't been talking for almost a year. I knew it was weird even as I was reaching my hand out, but I decided to go with it anyway, after all, I had shook everyone else's hand, and I didn't want it to be obvious I was playing favorites. 
Nothing significant happened during the actual rehearsal part of the evening but dinner proved to be a little more interesting. We did not sit next to each other or directly across, but we were near enough to carry on a conversation/listen in on conversations with other people. Well, around this time his friend Winter decided to be pretty bold and flat out ask me if I would ever marry someone in the military. Knowing that Vince was listening, and not being smooth at all, I tried to casually say I was open to it. 
As the evening was coming to a close Vince was trying to figure out how to get back to the hotel. I came alone so my car was wide open, but I wasn't actually staying at the hotel since I only lived 40 minutes away. But I decided to do the right thing and offer to drive him. As everyone was leaving it was pretty obvious he could have ridden with someone else, but I'm not one to complain so I kept my mouth shut. 
This is getting to be a pretty lengthy post so I'm going to call it quits for now. Until next time.

And just because this post needed a picture 

Our Story: Part 1

So as you may, or may not, have noticed in my catch-up post, I called my fiance Vince "fake boyfriend"/"cyber boyfriend". If you're thinking, christian mingle, or any other dating site, you would be oh so wrong.....

In late April, early May of 2012, right before I left for Rwanda, my high school sweetheart friends came by to say goodbye. I'm pretty certain I was wearing hair curlers and looking ridiculous but that parts a little fuzzy. Anyway, we got to chatting when Stephanie told her soon-to-be-husband, Moises,(this is me ad-libbing of course), "Hey, you know who she should meet. Vince." "Oh yeah, he's obsessed with Africa, won't shut-up about it." That's basically all that was said on the subject matter, but naturally my nosey curiosity built-up and a little Facebook stalking was necessary. Now here's the thing, I was in the middle of taking finals, and getting ready to say goodbye to my family and friends for a year, and move to a third-world country. Clearly I was in no state to be making any kind of rational decisions concerning boys. And this is why after my Facebook stalking I wasn't all that interested. Mind you, not disinterested, but not interested enough to turn full on crazy. 

Then one night in August I got a Facebook message from none other than the Africa loving boy. He introduced himself, talked about how he wanted to do missions work in Africa, and then asked me a couple of questions about what it was I was doing and how I got involved in it. Now, I can be pretty oblivious and naive at times. If a boy is talking to me my first instinct is not, "Oh, he's trying to get with this." Nada, it's always, "He's just being nice. He wants to be friends." When Vince messaged me I genuinely thought he only cared about learning more about Africa. Later, like over a year later, I found out three specific things. 

1. Moises had been talking me up to Vince since the end his Junior year. It was the beginning of Vince's senior year when he started messaging me. 

2. Moises showed Vince this picture to seal to deal so to speak. 
Now, I am kind of super embarrassed by this photo. I mean, why in the world am I laying in the snow posing with a pillow in the dark? Let me tell you, girls do some weird things that they think are real cute at the time but really aren't. So basically, I'm giving your the a-ok to laugh and make fun of me for this. 

3. While Vince cared about what I was doing in Africa, his intentions were to get to know me through using our common interest in Africa. Aka he wanted to get with this. 

To be continued.....

Driving like a boss

I did it! I survived my longest alone driving journey two days ago. I woke up bright and early, (which for me means 620) packed my car, and was on the road by 730 with my trusty copilot, and necessary companion. I managed to make it to Nashville by 5 and spent the next four hours eating deliciously tart ice cream before dinner, walking around and drooling over perfectly quaint homes, eating a cheeseburger with not one, not two, but three different cheeses, and tatter-tots that knocked my socks off. So basically Nashville=food baby. But best off all I got to catch up with Tara. We talked jobs, school, boys, Rwanda, No.41, His Imbaraga, and just life in general. I don't really consider myself a chatty cathy but in this instance I most def was. It had been over a year since we'd seen each other so I allowed it. After that quick four hour stop I hopped back into my car and drove another three hours, making my total traveling time seventeen hours. I don't know about you, but I'm seriously impressed with myself. Maybe I should look into the truck driving business. But until then, I am cozzied up at my grandparents enjoying a queen sized bed all to myself, and doing absolutely nothing for the next few days before I have to pack up my car again. And since I've got no plans besides doing nothing I might just start righting my lovey dovey story. I don't know about you, but those are my favorite posts to stalk so I'm super pumped to be writing my own now. If "how-we-met-and-feel-in-love" posts are your fav too be on the look out, and if they aren't.....well, I guess we just can't be friends....kidding....maybe.

Dont mess with...

Not sure if you caught it in my last "catch-up" post, but my dad officially retired from the Air Force. Which means they no longer tell us where we're going to live. Which means we be movin'. I have basically been a hobo for the last two months, beeboppin' between friends homes, but tomorrow I start my 17 day journey down to the great state of Texas. While my two month adventure has been a blast, I am extremely excited to sleep in my own bed, see my puppy, and not drive anywhere for at least a month. I will be able to blog at my 4 different pitstops along the way, but if you're just going to miss me too dang much, and want to keep up with my inevitably exciting road trip, you can always follow me on instagram: thecoopstanater But if you're a patient little bird than just do your thing.

Eight whole months later...

Whew, for a second there I thought I had gone a whole year without blogging, but nope just 8 months, so we're good. Now I'm not going to say I'm back but I will say I would like to get back into the swing of this whole sharing personal details of my life to randos on the internet. I really did miss writing, but I also enjoyed the break.

So, while I am a self-proclaimed loser and haven't had that many exciting things happen in my life, there have been a couple moments of excitement in the last 8 months. Lets see, where to start....

 1. I went to Philly and had my first Philly cheesesteak. Gonna be real with you guys, I didn't think they were that great. But then again, I have the taste buds of a picky 5 year old. 

2. I went to my second concert eva. Joshua Radin is my second fav.

3. I crashed someone else's family trip and went to NYC.

4. I made a bet with a friend that I would be dating my "fake boyfriend"/"cyber boyfriend" from Rwanda by December. I was super confident. (He's asian so excuse the poor english) 

5. My sister drove up from Virgina so I wouldn't have to be ubber pathetic and have Thanksgiving alone. (It was still kind of pathetic...clearly.) 

6. I sawed down a Christmas tree all by myself and then proceeded to eat pine needles as punishment.

7. I started dating my "fake boyfriend"/"cyber boyfriend"from Rwanda in December and then went to Philly with him and some other friends for New Years. 

8. My dad retired from the Air Force after almost 30 years. 

9. And we went on a cruise to the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Maarten to celebrate.

10. During which I got really really burnt. 

11. I went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in D.C.

12. Scout and I turned another year older.
13. I went to Florida to meet the real boyfriends family. We rode a motorcycle to Marco Island, went to a Marlins game, and I tried octopus. Only my calves got burnt.  Progress.

14. Real life boyfriend graduated from TBS.

15. Oh, and real life boyfriend became real life fiance`.

My OCD is telling me to stop at 15 so thats all ya get for now. See you in another 8 months?