We were out shopping and we saw Beau's twin in a mattress ad. We couldn't believe how much the mattress dog looked almost exactly like Beau and how well it captured almost exactly what our lazy Saturday mornings look like!
This was the very first picture R and I took together. It was right after we started dating in our Junior year of high school. He asked someone else out to homecoming by writing her a note in study hall. She declined because she already had a date, but suggested he ask me. He asked me, secretly hoping she would cancel with her date. She didn't, he took me, and when it came time for the dance, we decided to go to a coffee shop instead. It was the first of a lot of good choices. During that first date on a rainy October night, sitting in the coffee shop on Lake Michigan that became the backdrop for a million more dates, we talked about all the things that 17 year old kids talk about; where we were applying to college, our families, what we wanted to do with our futures. We talked for two and a half hours over Dreamsicle smoothies and I knew I liked him immediately. Another good choice. That was ten years ago this week. Now, on a similarly rainy October night, I'm sitting in a house filled with pictures and memories collected from a decade of sharing my life with that boy. A decade!
Starting with the choice to become an "official" couple way back when that picture was taken, we've been making choices about our relationship and the people we are together. We don't have it all figured out, not by a long shot, but ten years and a decade of growing up has helped us make a few good choices along the way.
We choose to put God first. Because we know if we didn't have Jesus setting the example of grace and forgiveness in our relationship, the two of us would have wound up in jail by now.
We choose to put each other first. We love our families and we love our friends, but we are each other's most important priority. We stick up for each other and we cheer each other on no matter what.
We choose not to take ourselves too seriously. Life is short. We choose to laugh, to relax, not to get too caught up in the drama. (R usually chooses this first and then I see how well it works for him and I catch on.)
We choose travel over stuff. His car has no air conditioning and we don't have cable and our couches have holes that the dog chewed into them. But we've been on more road trips than I can count. Traveling is our favorite kind of date. (Not that there is anything wrong with choosing stuff. Hey, I want to come sit on your nice couch and watch cable, so someone has to choose stuff!)
We choose to take the advice of couples who have been doing this longer than we have. We know we are a long way from having it figured out and we are glad to soak up the wisdom of people who have been there, done that.
We don't always make all the right choices but we try our best, we employ heaping doses of grace, and in the end, we try to stay friends. It seems to have been working our for us for the past decade.
This is the most recent picture of us, taken a few weeks ago at a baseball game, a million miles from those two kids on the couch.
It seems there are question mark looming in our future. Don't you hate when there are question marks? I do. When I don't have all the things planned out ahead of me, my palms get sweaty. And that just adds to the list of things I worry about.
We know where we're moving in a few months, and that's good, but still the question marks loom. Mostly for me it's job related question marks: where will I work?
I have a love/hate relationship with the idea of working. On the one hand I like to feel purposeful and I like the idea of contributing to society at large, but on the other hand I hate having to put on pants and actually contribute to society at large. If I had my way, I would work from my bed (not even the couch, because ain't nobody got time for that!) and just make the world a better place from underneath my covers.
Somehow I have not been able to convey "excels at snuggling a Chocolate lab until embarrassingly late in the day" and "oversees hours of Hulu programming while still un-showered" in my professional skill set on my resumes. Ah well.
Until my dream job falls into my lap, I have to actually put on pants and look for real work. And since I can't make the world a better place and contribute to society from my bed, I have to find a place to contribute in Jacksonville. And with every submitted resume and every afternoon spent in front of the computer looking at job search sites and reading every article employing military spouses and how to find work in a city you don't even know the street names in, the question marks loom.
The best I can do is search, apply, wait, search some more, apply some more, and remember that every time I have found myself in a similar situation in the past, at a crossroads with question mark looming, God has been faithful to provide and show me his will for my life, and pray that he will be faithful again. You might not find this job search method on any career websites, but it seems to be the only method that stops my palms from sweating and I think I'll stick with it for now.