Friday, February 6, 2009

more important than our love story

Little Abby was adopted by her wonderful family from Guatemala when she was a baby. Recently, she was diagnosed with Leukemia, and the internet has been covering her in prayer. I ask you, my faithful readers, to do the same. She is not doing well and is in the worst stages of her battle. Her family of 9 is devastated. Please pray for God's hand on her, that her family and doctors will have discernment in making decisions about the next move. Pray that God heals her completely, whether this be on earth or by bringing her to Him. And that He will give her family strength regardless of what happens. Thank you!!!

Chapter Fifteen: Pre-wedding wedding and wedding weekend

Since we were about to spontaneously combust from anticipation, we got married in Vegas before we got married in San Diego.Just kidding. But, our wedding rehearsal, two days before our actual wedding, did act as our "legal wedding," because I just HAD to have my two favorite pastors perform our wedding ceremony and they are only licensed in Nevada, so ...
We had our rehearsal dinner at our favorite restaurant with our favorite people and ate the MOST delicious wedding cake made by our favorite baker, Cybelle. (please note the bride and groom topper and the beautiful orange polka-dots. not bad for a 5 year old.)
(the next Betty Crocker, who I'm confident will someday run her own multi-million dollar bakery)

The morning after our wedding rehearsal, we headed to sunny San Diego with our wonderful wedding party. We had some insane altercations amongst several of our family members, involving a kidnapping, police, abandonment, and lots and lots of yelling and crying. I try not to dwell on that, but it definitely heightened emotions, to say the least. Fortunately, the girls who have stood by me for many, many years were still standing. Without Whitney and Jessica, I may have gotten on the next flight to an island off the coast of anywhere, where I would have spent the rest of my days playing Nintendo DS. Thank God for those two girls, because I suck at Super Mario World.

We spent time on the beach.
We spent time with each other. And we spent time away from each other, trying to squeeze in our last few moments of quality single time with our BFFs.

I got a little reminiscent of Proverbs 31. You know, where it says that a wife of noble character leaps across gaping spaces to take cute pictures with her bridesmaids. I was feeling dangerous. Dont judge me.

The next day was our wedding. And chaos was about to ensue.

to be continued...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chapter Fourteen: Tempted

Planning a wedding is typically a highly stressful event that results in the proverbial Bridezilla. This did not occur for us. We thought that planning a wedding in a different state when we knew absolutely no one that lived there would be difficult, but God Himself intervened and helped us to a plan a wedding that was within our budget and was everything we ever dreamed of.
(sunset on the beach, were a little obsessed with these, march 2007)

It is my goal to be as honest and real as possible, especially with the people that are reading this. The months leading up to our wedding were difficult. We struggled a lot with temptation. Temptation to surrender our wedding plans and just elope. Temptation to take our relationship to a place that we had already vowed not to. I told Omar at the beginning of our relationship that if we had sex before we got married, regardless of who initiated it, we would not get married. I wanted to have a marriage with a solid foundation, one that was
was holy in the sight of God and wasn’t based on feelings. Feelings can divide easily, because people are unstable and selfish. I decided years before that I was not going to have sex with my husband before we got married. So, we struggled.

We struggled with the distance between our houses and the fact that it was easier to spend the night than to drive home at two in the morning. But, we were so afraid to cheat ourselves and our marriage by giving into things that we had already decided not to do. Once you know you’ve found THE ONE, it makes it exceedingly difficult to win the battle in your mind. In spite of several wedding planning weekend trips to San Diego, and many nights of accidentally falling asleep in each others arms, our wedding day was quickly approaching and we hadnt given in.
There are certain components of love that are unmatched by any other “emotion” and we learned that the hard way. The many nights of praying that we could make it until our wedding night, and the satisfaction of knowing that part of our marriage was going to be experienced the way it was designed to were sure to be well worth the wait.

(taking a beach break from wedding planning, june 2007)

Anyway, we made many trips to San Diego between January and July. So many, that we would go to Sea World just for lunch. So many, that we didn’t need directions anymore. So many that…you get the point. It is difficult to plan a “destination wedding” but it works out pretty well. Even on a small budget, you can invite everyone you know so that nobody feels left out, and the people that you are closest with generally will do anything to be there, but the ones that you aren’t, don’t make the effort. We knew exactly what we wanted: a beach front wedding during sunset, on the beach, July 29th.

Everything fell perfectly into place. We found the perfect beach house:
(the very unimpressive front of our wedding venue)

(part of the ugly house's beautiful and perfect backyard)

The days were ticking away and we were looking forward to so many things. Our countdown began to the day that we would say I DO. And to say that we were stoked is an understatement.

to be continued....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Chapter Thirteen: A proposal

"July 29th, 2007?!?"

“Yeah, I really think were supposed to get married in July.”

“Well, I guess I’m going to have to start shopping for a ring for you then.”

Omar went home that night and told his mom that he needed to buy a ring. She was ecstatic. We decided that he should pick out my ring on his own, and surprise me (Omar has amazing taste in just about everything, so I wasn’t concerned). The coming months were filled with anticipation and joy:

(Mario saved the Princess, October 2006)

(Totally thought he was going to propose here, sharing ham at Thanksgiving, November 2006)

(I'm pretty sure that the night this picture was taken, Omar and I said "I love you" for the first time. There were many, many, tears of joy, 2006)

(totally thought he was going to propose here, Sea World, 2006)

(Our prophetic beachfront wedding gingerbread house, December 2006)

On Christmas Day in 2006 we had dinner with both of our families at a restaurant called Terra Verde. It was nice to have so many people we loved in one place and we had great dinner conversation. (I didn't think he was going to propose this night, because the day before he had told my dad he wanted to talk to him later on in the week.)

So, were at dinner and Omar said that he needed to use the restroom. And asked my dad to join him. I clearly was completely oblivious to what was going on so I told them I needed to go too, and Olivia, trying to save the situation, said she needed to go. Apparently Omar and my dad had a man-to-man conversation over the urinals, and Omar asked my dad if he could marry me. He explained to him that he had planned to propose in a completely different way at a different time, but he brought the ring with him that night on a whim and it was burning a hole in his pocket. He could not wait any longer, and he had to know what my dad thought. Apparently my dad begrudgingly agreed and when Omar got back to the table he seemed a little anxious. We all opened presents and were about to eat dessert when Omar's heart started to beat like a drum in a heavy metal band. Then, he stood up in front of the hundred or so people in the restaurant and tapped his glass with a fork so hard that I was more concerned with the almost shattered glass than what was about to happen.

"Everyone, Can I have your attention please?!? I am going to ask the most beautiful woman I have ever met to be my bride!"

Neither one of us have any idea what was said while he was on his knee. Its possible that the world will never know. But whatever it was, it was damn good, because I immediately put the BEAUTIFUL ring on my finger and passionately kissed him in front of everybody.

I forgot to say "Yes." Apparently actions speak louder than words.

There were many hugs and happy tears. Everyone was ecstatic!

Well, almost everyone. My dad and sister were a little...overwhelmed. And Olivia started crying unhappy tears almost immediately. I've decided not to hold this against her for the rest of her life.

My sweet Fiance and I set our official wedding date for July 29th, 2007, exactly one year from the day we started dating. We knew we wanted to get married on that day, and we knew we wanted to get married on the beach. Now, all we had to do was plan The Wedding of the Century.

to be continued...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chapter Twelve: Keno

Over the next few months, Omar and I had many adventures together:

(we learned how to kiss like turtles)

(went hiking in Mt. Charleston)

(rode carriages on a leader trip in Utah)

(celebrated my 21st birthday)

(saw Jimmy Carter speak)

(and developed a relationship based on stinky feet and unconditional love)

One day, in early October, we went to have dinner with Omar's aunt from Venezuela. We sat down in the coffee shop in the Bellagio, and decided to play keno. I won four dollars!!! And we vowed to only spend one dollar every ten years. And only on something very important. This led to a discussion on when we would get married. We decided that we definitely would wait until we both had graduated with our masters. So, we planned our wedding for some time in 2011.

However, once we made this decision, all we could talk about was how excited we were to marry eachother. We talked about where we wanted to get married, and I started looking at dresses and picking out my bridesmaids. We started praying, and God spoke into our hearts His date for our wedding. And we were shocked.

to be continued...

Monday, February 2, 2009

Chapter Eleven: Sunset

July 28th is Omar's best friend's birthday. So, Tyler invited Omar and I to the beach house in Newport Beach, California that he and his girlfriend rented for the weekend. Unfortunately, I was supposed to be in Mexico that Sunday, so when Omar asked if I wanted to go with him to spend the night there on Saturday, I declined. Omar then decided that he would just drive me to wherever I needed to go on Sunday morning and after contacting my Pastor in charge of the trip, we were able to arrange for me to meet them in San Diego before they crossed the border.
Everything was planned out perfectly, and Vladimir the Nano Pet was turning 20 days old on the exact day that we were going to be in Newport.

I vividly remember being at my best friend Jessica's house on the 28th, while Jess, Whitney and I were hanging out in her kitchen. They walked outside for a minute, then opened the door and stared at me. Weirded out, I asked them what the heck was wrong with them.
"Allie! This is the last time we will ever see you single!" Then they closed the door again.

Omar picked me up before daybreak on the morning of July 29th, 2006. We drove the four hours to Newport, talking the entire way. We decided not to interlock fingers until we got into the ocean.

tyler and omar battling the gargantuan waves, 2006

So, we ate breakfast. Then, we went to the beach, got into the water, and interlocked fingers! We stayed like that for at least 30 seconds before a giant tidal wave came and sucked me under and Omar had to save my life and I got covered in sand and looked like a swamp thing and Omar took me over to the showers and tried to rinse the 23588 pounds of sand out of my hair.
But, other than that, it was an earth-shattering moment.

Afterward, we went to the house and changed, then headed to get bikes. We rode our bikes to a taco shop, singing Switchfoot songs at the top of our lungs (I am not even kidding you).

this is what i look like when ive been swallowed by a wave and am completely in love with the photographer, 2006

and so is this, 2006

Omar spent a great deal of time trying to kiss me all day, and I told him, over and over again, that when the time was right, he would know. We had alot of fun playing in the ocean and riding bikes around the little town of Newport. For some reason, Omar was adamant about getting back to the beach house before sunset. So, we headed there and I wondered why Omar's ultra-relaxed demeanor had suddenly been replaced by this sunset-obsessed crazy man. He wanted to go find the best spot possible to watch the sunset over the ocean, and suggested to Tyler and his girlfriend that they should go watch it on the pier. Away from us.
"Weee were meant to live for so much mooooore....", july 29th, 2006.

The sunset that evening was, by far, the most beautiful sunset I'd ever seen. We watched in awe. We took pictures. And then, while I was leaning against him, his heart started beating out of his chest at an alarming rate.

see what I mean?, july 29th, 2006.

I turned around as Omar put his hand in his pocket. With a shaky voice, and a heart that was almost visibly about to explode, he started,
"I've been praying alot and I've asked God to guide us in this because I don't want to start something that isnt going to last forever and well, Ive been praying and I promised you on July 1st that someday I would put a ring on your finger and someday I'll put a real ring on your finger, but this will have to do for now and well,
Will you be my girlfriend?"

"Well, I mean, Umm oranges are still oranges even if you call them apples, and I think well....."

(Insert the earth shattering, fireworks seeing, world's most incredible first kiss, initiated by me because the time was, most definitely, right and the deal was sealed, and it lasted for at least 45 seconds before we pulled away and both of our eyes had tears in them and we knew at that second that this was the last first kiss of both of our lives, and Oh my gosh, what just happened was amazing)

Adorned with my beautiful, sapphire ring (my birthstone), we laughed and danced and kissed and kissed and kissed for the rest of the night/ until it was time to go to our separate bedrooms.

July 29th, 2006

And, for the next week in Mexico, I was absolutely elated.
kid in Mexico wearing a backpack Omar bought, 2006

After I got home from Mexico I spent a week in Ohio. Omar and I skipped carelessly through life together, and soon the subject of marriage became constant, and suddenly quite serious.

to be continued....

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Chapter Ten: Spurring

Over the next few weeks, Omar continued to win my heart. While we were still not "officially" dating, hadn't kissed, and definitely hadn't interlocked fingers, we were falling in love. We wrote emails everyday, and spent as much time together as we could considering that we were both involved in Younglife twice a week on opposite sides of town, he worked nine to five monday through friday, and I went to school full time.
omar and i stopped eating fast food, july 2006

In the time between the tunnels and July 29th, 2006, Omar went to Younglife camp for a week and I went to Minnesota for work. In the meantime, Omar consistently went out of his way to win my affections, and he was very successful. He picked me up from the airport with a welcome home sign and flowers, and showered me with gifts. He maintained our little Nano Pet. He respected my desire not to kiss him, and he made me dinner. We played scrabble and spent time with our friends and he told me every second of every day how much he liked me. He called me beautiful at least 50 times a day, but probably more. I wrote him emails and told him how sweet he was. And he, most definitely, was.
enamored, july 2006

One of my sweetest memories of Omar was a couple weeks after the tunnels and a week before I left for a mission trip to Mexico. I had been griping to him about the school system in Tijuana and how much it breaks my heart that most students can't afford to go to school because they can't afford school supplies, which are a requirement. His response?

To go to Wal-mart in our heelys and buy ten backpacks filled with school supplies for me to distribute to the kids when I got there.

weird blonde hair, july 2006

Our hearts started to beat to the same rhythm and our souls rejoiced in eachothers presence. We loved God and we loved eachother (even though we didnt say it for many months), and felt so blessed to know eachother. We were spurring eachother on towards love and good deeds, as Omar had predicted in the bible verse he gave me on the Fourth of July.

wishing he could beat me at scrabble, july 2006

The 20 day period of Vladimirs life was nearing, which meant that the day we were supposed to interlock fingers would fall on the same day that I was scheduled to leave for Mexico.
Luckily, Omar had a plan.

to be continued...