A Bridesmaid Tale

Continuing on with my series of posts about my bridesmaids, I sit, thankful for these women in my life. 

God blessed me with her years ago. We were in a choir class together and sang next to each other. We were in a few other classes such as English Lit, karate, and band. 

She has a special talent for sewing and is making her dress. She will be the bridge to all the maidens, as I am letting them choose their own dresses within the color code criteria. 

She’s a fun character who is dating Mi Amor’s brother. We used to call each other ‘girlfriend-in-laws’ and when I got engaged she said, “We’re gonna have to come up with a new name for us!” 

Her gentle and feminine spirit balances her outdoorsy, hunting, and quirky side. 

She loves coffee, art, flowers, and laughing. 

Her studies bring her into the compassionate realm of nursing. I have no doubt in my mind that she’ll be a fabulous one, her sweet soul, and gentle voice will take her far in this career. 
I work in a hospital, and I know how many nurses need to take classes from her–she’s gonna be great and outstanding in her field. She’ll exceed the norm and heal many. 

We have roughed it together for a week without proper showers at Cornerstone’s last week-long metal concert. 
{I was so proud of her}

She has a great voice and sings with her beautiful sisters. 

Man, I could just keep talking about her, she really is an amazing woman. 
Her love for Christ shines and she inspires my walk when I look at her dedication to Him. 

These are just some of the stories I have in our novel of friendship; only some of the reasons I chose her as my bridesmaid.

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An Engagement Trek

The Day It All Changed

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

His Enchantment

He gave me spring before it was even here. 

Cameron got out of work early and had picked me up for a surpise date–which turned out to be the Frederick Meijer Gardens.
We updated each other on our lives, because he had gone back to his parent’s house for the weekend. {which was when he went to ask my dad’s permission and blessing}
At this point, the sky was overcast and gloomy.
We walked the butterfly gardens, spotted our favorites, laughed and turned into big kids. I really needed the refreshment of this ‘indoor spring’ to brighten my spirits. It rejuvinated me and I was having a great time. I was enchanted by the butterflies and flowers, and of course, being with my best friend completed it all. 

Cameron suggested we take a walk outside to the children’s sculpture park.
At this point, the clouds were still heavy with gray.
We climbed on the tree house and read the plaques, listening for birds and reading about the trees…he made me laugh and smile so much…

Cameron lead me down the boardwalk where we paused to overlook the frozen water, suddenly the sun shone brightly for a window of about ten minutes.
He, of course, took the opportunity to say, “Sarah, I have a question for you.”
I was in a day dreaming moment with my eyes closed, face to the sun, “Mmmhmm” I responded.
{We always play the question game, so I didn’t think anything of it}
“It’s a big one…”
He dropped to one knee and I was tearing up and smiling so much I couldn’t see.
“Sarah, Will you marry me?”

I was already having a perfect day because he practically handed me spring and now this?!
I took his face in my hands and responded, “Every day of my life; yes”

I then spent the next five minutes laughing and saying, “Really!?” “No Way…” “Are you serious?!”

The sky then returned to gloom, it snowed huge flakes, and began hailing by the time we got to the car. God’s surely got His hand in this.
I am convinced that ten minutes of sunshine was for our moment.

Even as I type this, it seems like I’m just that little girl, planning her dream wedding.
In all reality, I can’t believe he chose me. 

Snowfall Education

{Click here for Part I & II}

Part III
~~~

Beginning her wintery studies, she decided to see into Anemia. So many women were deficient in Iron and as a hint of why, anemia in Greek means ‘no blood’. And not to take it literally, but to take it as women lose more blood, so we need more iron intake.

First of all, she learned that taking Vitamin C along with Iron would make for bioavailability, meaning it would be easier for the body to absorb.

Where do these vitamins come from?

After some research, she found that there are two types of iron.
“Heme” & “Nonheme”
The first is found in Clams, Tuna, Chicken, Shrimp..etc.
The other, which is less absorbable (Take Vitamin C!) is found in Oatmeal, Tofu, Pumpkin, Lentils, Beans…etc.

Pairing up those Nonhemes with Broccoli, Squash, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Sweet potato, Red Pepper, & Acidic fruits, will assist in full bioavailability.

Eating the skin on her potatoes, (which leads to less waste) would give her both a great intake of Vitamin C & Iron.

She tried eating more potatoes that week, resulting in a rash.
Questioning why, she found that she had allergic reactions to large amounts of ‘night’ vegetables, like peppers, tomatoes, and of course, potatoes.

Thinking of the natural way that the garden would grow, she figured eating little bits of varieties of plants would be more beneficial any ways.

She would try harder this week to eat varieties during her meals, mixing a few different vegetables, rice, beans, and some various fruit for dessert.

Doughy Days

Part II

Luxury…what was this word? Its meaning changed right along with the person using it. If she was going to change her lifestyle step by step, she had to determine what it meant to her.

If luxury meant going out–she would only do that on specific celebrations.

~~~

After a month, she had cut her expenses tremendously. She had previously made stops without even thinking about it, purely for convenience.
So, if she needed to focus on food more, then she was going to have to utilize her grocery bill better. She began to make things from scratch. At first, it was hard to get used to taking the extra time, but then she realized that she felt better about herself; her body, energy, & attitude had positively transformed.

If her grocery shopping only included fruit, veggies, & dairy she’d be living off of about $60-$80 a month.
Budgeting came easier to her than she thought.

Walking from the cabin to the local market was good exercise. It was really cold outside and knowing that when spring blossomed, she could put in practice her plant studies.

She let her roots go deep by reading about plants–which ones were edible and most beneficial.

~~~

A month later, April was setting in, green was sprouting on the trees and rains were falling.

She opened the cabin windows to hear the birds chirping while she kneaded the dough for her weekly bread.

2 Tbls yeast
2 tsps sugar
2 Tbls vinegar
2 1/2 C. warm water
~~~let sit for 10 min
1 Tbl salt
1/3 C. applesauce
6-7 C. flour (half & half whole wheat//white)

Put dough in oven with pot of boiling water, when the dough rises to the top of the bowl, punch it down. Repeat 2-5 times.
Divide dough into desired bread loaf sizes
Let dough rise on pan on countertop for 30min.

375 for 30min.
(optional: baste the top of the dough with egg or butter before baking)

Stormy Dream

As she walked on the path, a blizzarding snow came floating from the sky. Her steps continued on as her tears began to flow.

“What’s wrong with me?” she cried.

Learning what she wanted in life was probably the hardest unknown trail to be on. The path she was taking now was as beautiful as a sunset, yet it too had no sure sign of end. How was it so easy to walk mysterious Minnesota pathways and yet struggle so much with the same mysterious pathway of life?

 “Help, God…What do I need to do?”

The silence of the trees answered back.

Her head was spinning, all she wanted to do was run. Realizing maybe she should just leave, making it easier on everyone, her head drowned it possibility.

“I could leave, go to Africa for a year,” she whispered to the sky.

A man and his dog came down the trail, she kept her head down to hide the tracks of her tears.

If anyone could draw the pictures that her thoughts created, they’d have a best-seller. She began to imagine traveling with Alex Supertramp; a college graduate who destroyed his true identity and chose his new name as he pressed onward to Alaska’s wide open environment. What would happen if she just went to Africa, leaving finances and canceling all her ties to the materialistic world? Why can’t someone just live off of bread & cheese like the Europeans? What’s wrong with snail-mail and the passion of absence? We long for things we do not have, thats what makes them so wonderful, because of the work it takes to get those dreams.

So if the joy is in the journey, what train was she jumpin on?

A giant pile of snow dumped on her head as the tree waved its branches with the wind.

Her dampened hair chilled her to the bone.

How is it possible to love someone as insane as her? Somehow, he did care for her. Why was he so persistent? Why did he want to make her feel beautiful? Would she ever have him as her best friend if she left?

Maybe without notice…she could leave without telling a soul…

“What’s really the problem with you!?” she shouted at herself.

“What do you want out of this life?!”

Maybe that was the problem…she didn’t know what she wanted… she had jumped into this too fast, letting her circumstances choose her…

So many problems had occurred in her life because of this unknown passion.

“Just as the wind turns the weathervane, God uses our passions to change our lives. Isn’t that what you believe? Let Him lead you, child. Let Him in.”

Who was that speaking to her? Was it some voice she made up in her mind or was it the Spirit? Either way, she knew she was being too impossible. She needed this blizzard to hide in. As her feet turned themselves to head back to the cabin, thoughts came clearer, like the skies had. With the blizzard clearing up, she knew she’d make it back safely and it would have been if this hour hadn’t even existed. Her mind was cleared, she knew she was just being a selfish adventurer.

*SNAP*

Her body jerked awake under the warm quilt, protecting her from the chill of the winter’s nightly blizzard.

“We don’t realize how little we can live off of, because we always have so much…” she thought to herself.

She would begin to remove ‘luxeries’ one-by-one.

Traveling Farther Along The Way

Bizarre, wild, unbelievable;
I’m back in Grand Rapids.

I had my interview with The Heart of the City this morning,
I felt comfortable and confident.
Truly, honestly, undoubtedly;
God is working.

The same computer system that this pharmacy uses, is the same one that I currently use at my job.
{(and it’s not that common)}
I have many qualities that would fit this pharmacy and their ministry.
I feel great with this pharmacist, he seems like a really neat guy with goals that are exceptional.
But, also, the lining up of living arrangements seems to be improving or at least changing in an unexpected direction.

The coolest thing about this is that whatever I have learned from Panama, Alaska, summer trips, high school, home, trips, and various experiences, will play into this job. 
Amazing how our “Berry Blend” of exposures and situations in the life past helps others and ourselves in the future.

~~~ 

A hiker was on a trail, carrying two packs-one which was empty, the other full of an extra pair of boots and clothes, a towel, water bottle, and sleeper roll.
In exhaustion, she stopped at a clearing to rest, after a tense and horrendous trial.

While she was sleeping, a young man, with a jaw-wrenching cut on his arm bitterly sat down on the opposite side of the clearing.
When the woman awoke, she felt exhilarated.
Seeing the man she walked over with her packs.
He ignored the coming footsteps and clenched his mouth tightly in pain.
“Hello, my name is Pim,” she introduced.
Avoiding her, he complained about the hike and how leaving his comfort zone was the worst thing he could’ve done.
Pim chimed in, “I know its hard, I just went through thorns and trenches, crevices and wall-climbing, roots and snakes. I can’t stop now though, I’ve already started and can’t go back, I have to make it to the bridge, then I can cross and go over to Paradise.”
“But its the hike gets harder and harder as you continue on the path”
She nodded and simultaneously gasped as she noticed his arm, “You’re hurt!!!”
Grabbing her pack she pulled out a first aid kit and began to clean the wound.
“Why are you helping me? Go away.”
“I’m here to be your sister, I’m all you have right now.”
In bitterness and ignorance of her he ranted, “I don’t understand why they don’t have guides on these trails, so that if you get hurt, you can be taken care of properly. I don’t have anybody, what if I die because of this? I can’t go through that again, and if the Way gets harder and harder, what chance do I have?”
attaching the last piece of tape, Pim asked, “Does that feel better?”
“Yes, it hurt like a drop of Hell to get cleaned though.”
She took the towel from her bag and set it down with the water bottle. She unlaced his shoes and took off his worn, hole-filled socks.
“Stop it! I don’t need you! I can do this myself.”
“Let me help you,” she said sweetly, while pouring some water on the towel and wiping the dust from his bloody blistered feet.
He tried to shrug away, but he hurt so badly and the water was so refreshing.
He kept muttering and grumbling about how hard the Way to the clearing was as Pim continued to put on her extra pair of socks and boots on his feet.
She wrapped her head scarf around his neck to use as a sling for his hurt arm.
“Why do you have all this stuff?”
“For you.”
“Well, you obviously don’t know me and are most definitely not my sister.”
“You can’t un-label me something that I already have labeled myself. No matter what you call it, the point is I’m your sister and I can do nothing but be that. Whether I am a good one or not, that can differ.”
He thought and hugged his stomach.
“OH! You must be starved…” she pulled out her only protein bar for the day and unwrapped it for him.
“I don’t want your food,” he retorted bitterly.
“Leave your pride in the dust down the Way you’ve already traveled. You are pale and need nutrition. If you can make it down that way, there’s a church that will tend to your needs. But, first you must eat to regain your strength.”
He grabbed the bar and wolfed it down.
Shoving the extra pair of clothes and sleeping pack in with the water bottle, she attached the other hiking pack onto his back as he stood up.
“I still don’t understand, why did you do this for me? Why do you have this stuff with you? Who are you?”
Pim smiled and put her hand on his unhurt shoulder, “I am your sister, climbing the same mountain you are, just on a different path. I have extras because my Guide provided me with them, telling me to share them with you. Even though hiking the Way is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I feel fulfilled when I make it over a mountain like that one, even if I know another is coming. I can take all that I’ve learned from Mount Lugang and apply it to Mount Pagpapayo. Its the continuous cycle of learning and improving. Most importantly, walking the Way goes hand in hand with listening and having connection; knowing the Guide.”