Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Surf's Up!

I couldn't go without writing a post about my first experience surfing in NYC with my hubby--here it is:

We like to visit NYC at least around half a dozen times a year, it's also great because I have a group of friends that are always more than willing to let us crash at their place. I can't explain how much I love crossing the bridge into the city--almost instantly we feel that particular thick, warm  air. A few minutes later I can smell the ocean...*sigh* Yes. I love this place.

Surfing was by far the best time I have ever had! We loved it so much!!! The waves were somewhat intimidating that morning we went out, the sky was cloudy and the winds were picking up. You could tell from the instructors that this was not a normal day with quiet waves. They crashed one after the other. As soon as we picked up our boards it became real to me and I almost chickened out. Gary remembers me saying "Ok this is way to scary. Let's go!" and I remember praying for God to keep us safe!

There were a mix of jumper waves/face smacking waves/take me under and drag me 10 ft back waves--all totally enjoyable! We'd jump on our boards as the instructor positioned us, he'd yell "paddle, paddle" and soon after "UP! UP!" let me tell you--the BEST feeling in the world was riding that wave-it wasn't huge but it still gave me such a rush! Wish I had a video but I do have a few pictures....

Gary and I were cheering eachother on and every time Gary saw the instructor free he'd yell  "Go on babe! I wanna see you ride another one!" He was too sweet and knew how badly I wanted to try this. New hobby? I think so!

People. I think I'm addicted.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Best Way To Lose Your Wallet

So let me first start with a very serene picture that I took about one week before the story I'm about to share.
Note: this happened about 3 weeks ago.

This was total peace for us, with only a few other row-ers on the lake, we let God's creation hypnotize us. The gentle warmth of the sun and the cool breeze calmed our minds as we gazed into the clear turquoise lake. As the wind swept across the water it created small ripples and I hung my feet over the boat (totally against the rules but I didn't care). We had entered a safe haven away from the world, surrounded by trees and clear skies. We smiled at each other, no words necessary for this moment.

Fast forward a week later to a similar scene, in a canoe, with boaters and threatening winds. Peaceful? NOT SO MUCH PEOPLE! NOT. SO. MUCH....

I'm not really sure where to begin, my mind has sort of blurred the whole disaster but I'll try to explain it.

So, that day we decided to try stand-up-paddle boarding! A fun sport slowly gaining popularity where I live. We paddled down a quiet river, saw a few cute muskrats--a very happy morning.

After our lesson we didn't want to leave town so we went back to the car, I grabbed my purse *important detail* , and we went on to explore.

We arrive at the canoe rental place and this is how it went down....

ME: oooo look they have SUP boards--let's rent one!

NICE STORE OWNER: I'm sorry we don't have the boards in yet.

ME: *sad face*

GARY: Let's rent a canoe!

ME: *happy face* Ok!

WORKER BOY: Here's your canoe and life jackets, but you don't have to wear them *another important fact*

*3 miles or so into the channel of the lake...we've already passed by 10 or more boats*

GARY: What time is it?

ME: Almost 3.

GARY: Wow, wanna start heading back?

ME: Sure, my arms are getting tired anyway.

*we hit the first wake from a nearby boat*

GARY: Man, these boaters are cutting it close to us.

ME: Nah, it's kinda fun! Makes it a little more exciting.

*2nd crash into wake*

ME: Woooo!!!

GARY: *groans*

*3rd wake we crashed into it not dead on, oh no no... we get hit from the side!*

This is where everything kinda blurred ---SO!

Canoe tilts. Canoe flips.

Water rushes over me. I emerge from water. My shoes float up. My hat floats up. The paddles float up. My sunglasses somehow stay on. Life jackets float up conveniently next to us.

And my purse?

Well. My purse was not so fortunate.

I laughed. Not sure why but I did. My husband did not do the same. He looks over at me, panic stricken and gasping.

GARY: Are.... you.... ok???

ME: Yes, are you?!?!

GARY *gasping with each breath*: Your... purse!

ME: It's ok! Just hold on to your life jacket-we're ok, we're ok.  Just look at me and breathe. Breathe. (I managed to say in a calm voice)

This next part I think I was partially going insane, overwhelmed maybe by the impact? Who knows, but I then attempted to flip the canoe back over and get back inside. Maybe this is possible to do but I definitely wasn't smart enough for it. I tried about 4 or 5 times and failed miserably.

At one point I was straddling the entire canoe.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure if this was caught on video, it would gain a million views on You Tube.

Thankfully, two men (who were either high or drunk or both) were just docking their boats near us. I yelled 'Hey guys, can you help us?". They looked over, confused, wide-eyed. I thought maybe they didn't hear me. Let's try again:

"We flipped our canoe! Can you help???" I realized after, these two men were basically looking at a girl riding a canoe, and a guy with a cotton ball in his ear. Ok, maybe the cotton ball wasn't that absurd but still--we were probably a scary sight.

The men pulled us in, a man in his 30s, holding a beer in one hand and steering with the other. The boat jerked every few seconds as he attempted to dock it. And the older one, grey hair and red eyes, tried to make me feel better (I think) by sharing his story of ALMOST losing his wallet but being able to dive in after it. He made me laugh at least. I kind of wish we got their names.

Gary and I looked across the lake for any sign of my blue and white stripped cloth bag. I knew it was at the bottom though. With my set of keys weighing more then normal (because of a weapon Gary bought for me while I was working in D.C./NYC) and his set as well, I had no doubt that it was going to be some ancient artifact found long years after I'm gone.

Paddling back was not fun at all! The sky became dark and the wind picked up and completely took control of the canoe.  Yeah, it was a mess--we actually decided to just pull over, dropped off the canoe at some deserted summer house and walked the rest of the way back to the rental place. It wasn't a crazy hike, maybe a mile or less but Gary and I were laughing our heads off  for the rest of the week! My parent's, my awesome awesome parents left a graduation party early just to come and get us.

My Dad on the phone (after asking how we were 10 times): Ok...wow... well I don't know when but someone's coming for you, don't you worry.

They brought Gary's spare key for the car and over the next few days I got my keys, bank cards and identity back. Oh and a great friend of mine saved my butt and gave me one of her spare phones which happened to be an upgrade from the water-logged one so that was a plus!

 I remember being upset about a wallet picture I had of Gary that was taken on the 4th of July 2011. His smile was especially sweet in it. I also had a soul-mate wallet card that he gave to me on one of our dating anniversaries.  As Gary was comforting me he remembered that there was something very important to him attached to his car keys. Something that was given to him from his dad...I quickly reminded him that he didn't need a piece of material to feel his dad near him.. Less than a minute later we rememberd the guys' faces as they saw us struggling in the water and we imagined what was going through their head--we started laughing hard again.

Kudos to us for having an awesome/embarassing summer story to share with our kids!

Moral of the story: Always wear your life jacket and if you can help it DO NOT bring your purse or wallet or phone with you! *Unless you're really cool and have one of those water cases then just remember to have a floaty attached to it.*

***Hope everyone is having an awesome/safe summer!!!***

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

This beautiful, crazy adventure

This past week we reminisced as we celebrated our 7th month of marriage and our 7th year dating anniversary and we've confidently concluded that we have been through probably more than most couples experience in a decade (or two!).  Heck-we've experienced more than most within the first 24 hours of us dating!

And the best part about it is I wouldn't take this ride with anyone else but my Gary...

Our dating anniversary has always been a bittersweet time. Sweet was the 12th of July as we chose to be with one another and bitter was the 13th as my husband's father suddenly left this world. The man who I never had the chance to meet.  As I look back now at the few days before he passed, as I spoke briefly with him on the phone...I wonder if he knew who I was?  It's funny to think about and I realize not possible but great to imagine....if only he knew. If I knew, I would have loved to have said "Hey, I'm not only Gary's first girlfriend but also his future wife, your future daughter-in-law! I'll be having your grand kids too! What do you think of that???..." I know it's completely dumb but it's passed through my mind many times and I pray somehow you know this now Papa Hood...

*there he is... my father-in-law and little Gary lookin' like a cute monkey!*

We look back on all we've conquered and persevered through and we realize we couldn't have done any of it without God.

Speaking of HIM-He's been opening up doors for us and answered many prayers. After what seemed like a long, tiring search, God directed us straight to our church home. *Finally!* A place where we can set our roots and grow together! There's nothing wierd about their doctrine (which was the common stumbling block for us) 100% Bible believing, Gospel CENTERED church.

Oh and random crazy discovery: The Pastor's son...who has also recently married (and close to our age)....has cholesteatoma just like Gary! Craziness! I mean, you need to first understand people, this tumor-like growth in the ear is EXTREMELY RARE! This past Sunday we found this out. I mean...Wow. But what can we say...our God is funny like that!

The warmth of the entire church family as well as the Pastor's family from day 1, the people's love for Jesus, their immense desire to serve the Lord and be the body of Christ, all of the things we've been praying for being answered...yea. We finally know that this is where we belong.

We also have some exciting news but it's a bit to early to share with everyone, maybe in a few months or so I'll let the cat outta the bag *and NO...it's not what you think...we are NOT pregnant* (Give that another year or so...??? ^.~)

God has been so good to us and even though it hasn't been a dull ride thus far! We are looking forward to our future and how God plans to use us in this beautiful, crazy plan of His!

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose."Romans 8:28

Not quite sure how this video fits but I love Labyrinth. One of my favorite comfort movies! I especially love this ball room scene. Hope you enjoy it-if not, I apologize in advance ^.~