Sunday, August 29, 2010

Meeting my husband

Today marks the 1 year date of meeting my husband.  Wait a minute... For the first time!?!? Yep!  you got it.  Met. As in, "Hey my name is Ben, what's your name?"  "Oh, hi Ben.  I'm Renee. Nice to meet you." "Wow you're nice.  Wanna get married?"  Okay okay, so it wasn't quite that fast, but close.  (It's okay, most people think we're nuts.  Some try to mask their opinion with a smile and a compliment like "Oh, that's so sweet that you knew so soon."  But most say, "WHAT!?  You're crazy."  Side note- i mean, how do you respond to that?  End side note).   Anyway, all that aside, the day and the following weeks are very vivid memories. 

The Chicago Center is an off-campus study program that facilitates internships and student teaching in the city of Chicago for students from all over the country.  Their students live in apartments throughout Hyde Park, a south side neighborhood, and take classes through the Center.   Ben and I both studied at the Chicago Center last fall, and today marks the 1 year anniversary of move-in day.  We met waiting to check-in for orientation.  I thought Ben was cute, but I didn't expect this Nebraska man to win my heart, become my best friend, and my husband in the upcoming year.   That same night we were required to go to the Latin American Music festival in Grant Park.  We sat near each other on the bus (Ben says I purposely sat near him.... i'm not so sure about that... wink wink) and ended up walking around the festival aimlessly.  Let's be honest, we didn't care about the festival.  Reminiscing, Ben says he really wanted to salsa dance but was too nervous to ask me [not that either of us know how to salsa anyway].   

Over the course of the next couple weeks, we spent lots of time together.  Orientation activities all day and in our free time, walks, coffee, and hanging out with new friends.  Oh, and a few husker football games.  Ben was eagar to meet my parents since he knew my family was close-knit (something our families share in common).  My dad tells the story like this:

Well, we knew you thought this guy was pretty great already, but we weren't sure how serious it could be since you'd only known him for 2 weeks.  When you two walked in the door, he was polite, shook our hands and the Lord told me, "This is the one."  I said, "really? him?"  "Yep. Him."  "Okay.  Your call." 

Ben and I laugh at that story but eventually, we all came to what my dad knew within 30 seconds of meeting Ben.

I could share many details of our story (after all, a LOT happened in about 3-4 months, which is about how long it took us to decide to get married.)  But, I'll end it for now.  Perhaps I'll share more in the following blogs. 

Though we are still learning about each other daily, Ben has become my best friend and the man I'm madly in love with.  So, here's to 1 year of knowing each other, babe, and a life time of years to come!  Love you always

:) Ren 

Thursday, August 26, 2010

House for Sale... kinda

During the end of my sophomore year in college, my friends and I started looking for off-campus apartments.  My parents had briefly mentioned the possibility of buying a house and renting it to my friends because it would be cheaper for them than paying room and board or rent somewhere else.  As we were driving around the campus neighborhood that summer, we stumbled upon this house.
Wow!  It seemed perfect.  Not to mention, the owner inherited the house, and was desperate to sell.  The price was right.  The owner was also a general contractor, so he completed redid the inside of the house.  I posted a couple photos below for the sake of reminiscing. 
Newly renovated kitchen

Dining area with new carpet and paint

 We made lots of good memories that year. My parents continued to rent to friends even after I moved up to Chicago to finish student teaching.  They signed new renters this year but also started thinking about selling the place.  Make a little money and get rid of the extra tasks that come with owning a rental property.  Not long after they started thinking about it, 2 different people contacted them about buying it.  (There wasn't even a for sale sign in the lot.)  They knew it was the Lord's leading.  Within less than 2 weeks, they had an offer on the house that was higher than the price they paid.  Wow!  In this market, no for sale sign, and no advertising... sold.  This situation reminded me of a couple Biblical principles that should dominate my life and mind.

- God is able to exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Eph 3:20)
- God is working behind the scenes in ways we don't see.  His thoughts and ways are higher than ours. (Isa. 55:9)
- When we delight ourselves in God, he gives us the desires of our hearts.  (Psalm 37:4)  In this case, since my parents each have a strong, growing relationship with God, they can know many of their hearts' desires are from God because when we are following Him closely, He plants his desires in our hearts.
- He who promised is faithful.  (Hebrews 10:23)  God promises to take care of us.  He wants great things for us.  He has a plan!  And He is faithful to fulfill it (it's up to us to pay attention, listen, and follow His plan). 

Praising Him with you,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Ok, so I'm a little behind in blog world.  I know blogs were trendy a while ago, but I have given up on trying to be ahead of trends.  So, here it goes! If anyone else is actually reading this, well, great.  Welcome.

I spent a while thinking about why write a blog? 
Do I expect to impress the masses that will obviously follow me with witty commentary on life?  
Do I want to share the good and bad every-day details of our family with the general public?

Thoughts like these kept convincing me to just skip it and write in a journal.  But, a small comment from a friend, other inspiring blogs, and a momentous event in the life a friend yesterday pushed me over the edge.  One of my very best friends told me that I should write down things students say because they often produce a good laugh.  What better place to do this than a blog?  (Expect some student quotes once the school year starts... 13 days and counting.) 

Those will be fun to record and remember and look back on.  But, the event that really made me want to start blogging happened yesterday.  Because it was so encouraging to me, I had this mini vision of writing a blog that even just one or two retired family members read in their multiple hours of free time.  And if this story was on the blog, perhaps it would encourage someone else too.  Blog decision made. 

Yesterday, a friend from college came over for coffee and dinner.  We went on a walk towards the lake, and not long after our walk started, she announced, "Well, on a more serious note, I've become religious."  "What do you mean by that?" I asked.  She went on to explain that about a month ago, following the death of her childhood pastor, she realized she needed to follow Jesus.  She joyfully laughed as she continued to share.  I will try to paraphrase her words.  "I just got to the end.  All that counselling and it got me nowhere.  They weren't telling me anything worth while.  Nothing I was doing was working.  I was trying so hard.  Not to mention, I made fun of Christian people- I mean I like you and stuff, but I just thought it was weird.  Like, what they believe has nothing to do with life.  But now, it makes so much sense to me. It's as if everything I learned as a kid in church makes sense and gives my life meaning.  My life makes sense.  God has a plan.  God loves me.  And I was scared to believe in Jesus when I was depressed because I thought I would ditch out when life got better.  But it's like, I need Jesus all the time.  I just want to follow him every day.  And when life is good, I'll praise Him.  Renee, I even listen to KLOV." 

All I can say in response to that is that this friend's life has been miraculously turned around by our RISEN, LIVING Savior Jesus Christ. 

2 Corinthians 5:17  "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has gone, the new has come!"