Monday, October 28, 2013

August 10, 2013

I honestly had no idea, except that when I woke up that morning, I thought, "Today is the day that I'm getting engaged," and then I tried on every item in my closet.

I'd seen a text or two that I shouldn't have, and Stuart had all too frequently been using the word PLAN in relation to our Saturday night. I didn't think he knew that word before he began mercilessly begging me to agree not to return to Pre-Rush after we attended a friend's wedding. It only made sense, but his dad was out of town, and we'd talked about this before--There's no way he'd propose before the summer ended. There's no way... but what if he does... tonight?
I pick a pink dress I bought this summer and decide that maybe I'll curl my hair.

Stuart picks me up from the chapter room. I have no idea what we talk about on our way to Montgomery. We arrive at the church and part ways as I robe-up to sing the special music for the wedding we're attending. I can't remember the last time I was this nervous about singing for a crowd. My heart pounds. I don't think noise will come out of my mouth when I stand to sing. I pray a lot. I sing anyways. I don't remember it. A friendly woman leads me around the back of the church to my seat next to Stuart on the last pew. I sit down next to my boyfriend and my engagement ring. I cry when I see the beautiful bride, and I remember no part of the rest of the ceremony.

We go to the reception, get in line for food, and Stuart begins to put his plan in action...
"Okay. This is going to be really weird, but you have to trust me. Do you trust me?"
"We need to leave in fifteen minutes."
"I'm really sorry. I know that's really weird. Just trust me."
"It's okay; it's really okay."
"I'm so sorry!"
"Stuart, it really is fine."
"Okay, I really am sorry though,
... etcetera.

Stuart piles his plate with food and stops talking. We sit down with friends. Stuart stares at his pile of food, making unusually awkward small talk as needed. Fifteen minutes pass. Stuart interrupts my conversation, "Okay. We really need to go now." I explain that Stuart has a surprise planned, and that we have to leave. I decide I need a drink before we leave. I remember I have to hug a friend goodbye before she moves away. I forget that I left the wedding gift in the car. Stuart finally gets me in the car, and we are on the road.

Once in the Blazer, I find fingernail polish in my bag and realize I'd rather die than get engaged without pretty fingernails. I ask Stuart if he minds, and then I paint my nails... just in case.
This is when Stuart says he knew I might know... which I didn't... but I kinda did.

(This is my favorite part:)
I ask Stuart what his favorite hymn is. I don't remember his answer (oops), but we sing it. And then we sing another, and another, and another. Our ride home has just turned into an impromptu worship time. We are happy rejoicing in the Lord, and all my nerves are calmed.
Unplanned, but beautiful.

About two miles from the exit ramp, Stuart says, "This is the second weird thing I'm going to say tonight... Do you have anything you can use as a blindfold?"
(I love Stuart because he does things like forget to bring a blindfold when he's proposing to me.) 
After he tells me to look at the breath-taking sunset over the exit ramp to College Street, I hold a t-shirt up to my face, and I'm not really sure what we said or sang or did on our drive down College Street.

Stuart parks the car, and I try really hard to determine where we might be on campus. I know we're on campus because of the driving time, but I couldn't follow the turns from behind my "blindfold." He comes around to my door and helps me out of the car. I keep my eyes closed, leave the "blindfold" in the passenger seat, and take his arm. Carefully, he leads me down a sidewalk and into some damp, summery grass. He gently stops me and takes both my hands as he stands, facing me.

"Open your eyes."
We are on Samford Lawn.
"Look left."
Sweet candles light up the dusk from inside mason jars.
Roses and a cigar box full of letters lie on top of a white, lace table cloth.
Stuart's handwriting reads, "'This is my beloved, and this is my friend,' Song of Solomon 5:16."
I see all this and immediately begin to cry (or bawl, rather).
I look back at Stuart, and I know I love him.

He smiles and cries with me.
He begins to give his short and sweet speech, looking surprised but happy to hear his own voice.
He doesn't remember any of this, but I do.
He tells me he loves me for the first time, and I tell him I love him, too.
Then, Stuart Spooner takes a knee and asks me to marry him.
I say yes.

We kiss.
A crowd cheers, and car horns honk.
We both cry, and I don't really ever stop crying.
I see our sisters, Caroline and Anne, taking pictures from the bushes, and I keep crying.
I've never been so happy.

We are finally engaged.

I always knew.

"This is my beloved, and this is my friend."

On June 28, 2014, I am going to marry Stuart Spooner!

Left, the card Stuart wrote Song of Solomon 5:16 on.
Middle back, a dozen red roses (my favorite and legitimately the most
beautiful I've ever seen) in a pitcher because a pitcher is Stuart's dad's
prayer picture for him--he prays Stuart would be filled up and poured out,
and Stuart says that is what he prays for us.
Middle front, a letter to read on August 10, 2013, with another stack of
letters that Stuart wrote, beginning with the time he first knew he loved me
and written every time after that, that his calling to love me was confirmed.
Right, Stuart's cigar box full of every letter I've ever written him.

Both crying as Stuart told me he loved me for the
first time.

Stuart asking me to marry him.

Like I said, a lot of crying (and kissing) was involved.
We've laughed at this picture.

The ring is absolutely perfect.
It's what I've always imagined, and Stuart picked it out by himself!

I read this about four times through while we were
there, and not once, did a single word make sense.
I had to read it again the next day.

The all-time favorite.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

What It's Like to be Charles Wallace

If she could give love to IT perhaps it would shrivel up and die, for she was sure that IT could not withstand love. But she, in all her weakness and foolishness and baseness and nothingness, was incapable of loving IT. Perhaps it was not too much to ask of her, but she could not do it.
But she could love Charles Wallace.
She could stand there and she could love Charles Wallace.
Her own Charles Wallace, the real Charles Wallace, the child for whom she had come back to Camazotz, to IT, the baby who was so much more than she was, and who was yet so utterly vulnerable.
She could love Charles Wallace.
Charles. Charles, I love you. My baby brother who always takes care of me. Come back to me, Charles Wallace, come away from IT, come back, come home. I love you, Charles. Oh, Charles Wallace, I love you.
Tears were streaming down her cheeks, but she was unaware of them.
Now she was even able to look at him, at this animated thing that was not her own Charles Wallace at all. She was able to look and love.
I love you. Charles Wallace, you are my darling and my dear and the light of my life and the treasure of my heart. I love you. I love you. I love you.
Slowly his mouth closed. Slowly his eyes stopped their twirling. The tic in the forehead ceased its revolting twitch. Slowly he advanced toward her.
"I love you!" she cried. "I love you, Charles! I love you!"
Then suddenly he was running, pelting, he was in her arms, he was shrieking with sobs. "Meg! Meg! Meg!" 
"I love you, Charles!" she cried again, her sobs almost as loud as his, her tears mingling with his. "I love you! I love you! I love you!" 
All I could think about was how much I wanted to be perfect. How much I wanted to impress people. How much I wanted people to stop thinking whatever I thought that they think. How much I wanted to be different than I am.

All I could think about was how much I wanted to be perfect.

I began to cry.

All I could think about was how I'm not perfect. How I'll never have a university full of people thinking I'm doing things right. How I'll never live up to the standards I set up for myself through comparison. How I'll never be able to fix myself. All I could think about was how I'm not perfect.

I cried harder.

I wanted so badly to be perfect, and I knew I never could be.

Suddenly, I was standing before the heavenly throne of my Father.

I was late to class. I had wet hair. I hadn't done any homework. And when I opened the door to my classroom, my God was there, and His arms were open. Welcoming me and warming me and smiling.
I love you.

I was barely making it to the gym. My thin hair swept beneath a crooked headband. My nike shorts twice the size of the elliptical next to mine. Inhaler in hand.
I love you.

I was lying on my bed in September. Home for the weekend for the third weekend in a row. My fiance on the other end of a 750 mile-long landline. Books weighing heavy on my pounding heart. My breath quick. Unable to explain to the soul I love, just what was wrong in mine.
I was lying on my bed in September, and I was crying. Crying because I wanted so badly to be perfect and because I knew I never could be and because my Savior loved me just the same.

"I feel like Charles Wallace," I said to Stuart.
A whirl of darkness. An icy cold blast. An angry, resentful howl that seemed to tear through her. Darkness again. Through the darkness to save her came a sense of Mrs Whatsit's presence, so that she knew it could be IT who now had her in its clutches.
 And then the feel of the earth beneath her, of something in her arms, and she was rolling over on the sweet smelling autumnal earth, and Charles Wallace was crying out, "Meg! Oh, Meg!"
Now she was hugging him close to her, and his little arms were clasped tightly about her neck. "Meg, you saved me! You saved me!" he said over and over.
--A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L'Engle 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

With the Summer

"I had a familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

I think it has.
I flipped through my pictures of this summer in iPhoto earlier tonight, and I suddenly realized that it has been wonderful.

On the first day of summer classes, I was bummed out (You can just ask Stuart Spooner. I was super nice to him that day.), but as always, the Lord has done something wonderful.
My summer went just as planned: I finished 12 hours. I danced at a lot of weddings.
But the experience was so much better than I thought it could be.

It's been good to just be.

... I kicked summer off at RUF Summer Conference, an incredible week of teaching and fellowship.

... Then, as I said, I finished 12 hours of classes.
First mini-mester, I finished two classes and started another. Second mini-mester, I finished the class I started during first mini-mest, and took another class along side it. I now only have one semester of classes left before my internship (full-time student-teaching this spring).

... Stuart lived with my family this summer. People ask me how that's been, and the answer to that question is funny and difficult and good. I've seen my family a lot more with him there, I think, so that's been great... but I'm pretty ready for him to come back to Auburn "permanently" before he leaves for D.C. in early September (a post for another day).

... Ruthie moved in with me mid-May. We have fun. She wears a cat-mask around the house. We did a Whole30 together. She has now reminded me that frozen pizza is really good. I'm, therefore, thinking I need to get back in that Whole30 ship soon before I drown in Sonic milkshakes. I've been kind of a hermit with her in Creekside, and my introverted self has loved and needed it.

... The summer's not quite over yet, but thus far, the best weekend of it all was hands-down the Moore Wedding Weekend. Tyler and Emily (Mr. and Mrs. Moore) brought God so much glory. I doubt the next few weeks will top that. It was one of the best times with friends I've ever had.

... Most recently, the Jager clan has returned home from a beach vacation. It was a good time as filled with laughter and tanning oil and the outlet mall as always. Having sisters is fun.

Now, all that's left is 10 days of my last time through rush, and then, classes start on August 21.
Only 14 days left of summer. Let's make 'em as great as the last 91.

{Summer Slideshow}
RUF Summer Conference with
Julie (wayfarers), Kit (stripes), Sarah (aviators), & Molly (black shirt)
Sarah and Ben Waller's wedding in Anniston, AL
with Kylie, Anna Marie, Marie, Emily M, Emily L, and Kit
Dancin' in the moonlight at the Waller Wedding
Caroline graduated from Briarwood and is headed to
Auburn at last!
Yummy Whole30 food made by Stuart & Rosie
Stuart and I made a Summer To-Do list,
and then he unexpectedly moved to Birmingham.
We've knocked off about 8/30 items so far,
one of them being a Sno-Biz date.
We had family pictures made on Samford Lawn and surprised
Dad with them for Father's Day.
At Stevi and Kyle Shaw's wedding!
The Rehearsal Dinner of Mr. and Mrs. James Tyler Moore
The most beautiful bride!
The most handsome groomsmen.
4th of July Instagram selfie
We celebrated with friends in Atlanta, GA.
Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-A
We brought Ruthie, the purple cow, and we may have enjoyed
a free meal at one Chick-fil-A and free milkshakes at another.
Ruthie and I sang the National Anthem at a Birmingham Baron's game.
Another Summer To-Do list item:
Toomer's Date.
(and yes, a majority of our items do include eating)
Beach Reading Selfie. See this post.

Dad and his girls

... 14 more days for life to continue beginning again.

Rosie Reads: A Moveable Feast

Hemingway and a cat, special thanks to Google Images
I've just finished reading Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, which is a hybrid between non-fiction and fiction, detailing Hemingway's life as an expatriate in Paris during American Modernism (a.k.a. MY FAVORITE LITERARY ERA).

I love Ernest Hemingway.

I know AMF isn't supposed to be his best, but I still really enjoyed it. It only made me want to read more Hemingway because if this isn't his best then, his best must just be WOW. I read A Farewell to Arms my senior year of high school. It was wonderful, but I need to reread it. I don't remember it very well. I remember wanting to be Catherine, and it being poetic and romantic and just right in every way.
Hemingway has such a knack for that, you know: writing things just the right way. I think it's because of something he says to himself in AMF:
"Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know."
Speechless, aren't you? Me, too.

Hemingway is always writing such true sentences in the truest way, and that is why I love him.

Now, before I send you off to enjoy a few other true sentences from AMF, I must confess that I began reading this book with a pencil in hand, and finished reading this book on the beach, which brings me to these points:
1. I love to read with a pencil so that I can mark the quotes that my heart reads.
2. My reading skills go way down when I'm reading in bright sunlight (and especially without a pencil).
3. Hemingway is a wonderful beach read. Most "beach reads" are really pretty worthless. Hemingway is a beach read who is not. Take him to the beach with you. He doesn't complain much and is always ready for another drink. The perfect vacation companion!
4. Most of what I'll quote is from the beginning of the book... when I had a pencil.

But that's enough of my voice, I'd much rather you read Hemingway. The first chapter was my favorite, but I didn't like it as much as I liked the last paragraph. (And my favorite-favorites are bolded)....
"I looked at her and she disturbed me and made me very excited. I wished I could put her in the story, or anywhere..."
"I've seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil."
"We would be together and have our books and at night be warm in bed together with the windows open and the stars bright."
"I had already learned that everything I did not understand probably had something to it." 
"When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest."
"The one who is doing his work and getting satisfaction from it is not the one the poverty bothers."
 "We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other."
"There is never any ending to Paris..."

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Rosie Reads

I read.

I'm hesitant to say I read a lot, because I know way too many people who read way more than I do. I read loads of internet articles, most of which I find in my Twitter feed. (My favorites are usually from The Gospel Coalition, which I highly recommend you stop reading this blogpost to check out.) I read a variety of short stories and poems and novels (and their SparkNotes) and studies and textbooks (and did I mention SparkNotes?) for my major. Like any other English Ed. major, I love bookstores and their smell and whatnot that we all pretend we're "embarrassed" to be such a "nerd" to love. (Let me clear this up for you, there is no shame amongst English Ed. majors. Each and everyone of us is proud as punch to love the smell of books, and most all of us want everyone to know that we love the smell of books. This is not actually an embarrassing fact for any of us.) However, unlike most of the book nerds I know, bookstores also make me very sad. Approaching the Classics shelf at Barnes and Noble may as well be like approaching shelves full of my shortcomings. Because I read... but I can't say that I read a lot.

I grew up in a house where books are only used to decorate. So, you see, I have a lot of catching up to do, and a couple decades of bad habits to break. Yes, I read, but reading books isn't exactly a second-nature thing for me. (We can address the issue of reading being second-nature to all humans later. Just stick with me for now.) I wish it was. I'm working to make it so. It's just a process... and because of all this, everytime I finish a book, I feel hugely accomplished, which is actually something I wish the avid, second-nature, came-out-of-the-womb-reading-while-their-mother-practically-read-during-labor type of readers could experience. Despite the obvious downsides to not growing up in a house full of readers, I think I do have one thing they don't. Those readers will really never know the satisfaction I feel when I finish a book. It's a beautiful thing to know that you've done something to stop terrible cycle from continuing--even when it's as small as finishing a book.

I've decided to celebrate these little accomplishments here. 
It won't be any big party, just a small get-together of my favorite quotes from what I've just read. 
I'll call them "Rosie Reads." Oh, and I'll only write a Rosie Reads if the book was good... because ain't nobody got time to celebrate bad literature. 

But we should all make time to celebrate good books. We should all make time to read them.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

A Little While More

Well... I haven't quite dropped out yet. I hope that doesn't disappoint anyone. 

I used to say a lot of things here (too many of them, really)... the Lord was teaching little freshman Rosie a lot, and He has been since then. 

Anyways, It's my senior year of college now, and I think I might start saying things again.

Rosemary still goes to college... at least for a little while more.