The Dash Graduates

JMJ1

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He did it . . . The Dash graduated on Saturday!!! Please note his Southern Californian lei with money flowers, made by hand by his grandparents . . .

The excitement, pride, and love of that morning are past words at the moment, even for me. (Which begs the question, then what’s the point of blogging about it? but we’ll leave that for later. I have pictures, after all!) I was so excited for him. To see him in a sea of over 300 graduates, the man I love and my best friend who has worked beyond hard to acquire both his degree and a full-time job with God’s grace . . . I could have cried, but I was too excited and elated. Plus, having run a 101.4 fever two nights before and having gone to bed shivering and crying at the (emotionally speaking) very miserable thought that I might not be able to go to his graduation after looking forward to it for our entire courtship was a blessed opportunity to surrender as best I could to God’s Will . . . but, well, it made Saturday morning feel like we were walking on clouds! And also, helping out with some of his little nieces and nephews (some of whom didn’t get the point of a graduation ceremony too well) kept me busy 😉

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Outside, it was cold and rather wet. Thanks to my euphoria, I forgot to bring a coat. However, the Dash had a few articles of ceremonial clothing handy . . . we were hurrying across the Quad, back to his car, but we managed to maneuver the cap and gown from one to the other, and he was insistent that, “We HAVE to stop and take a selfie!” It tickled us both so much for me to have a brief dip into the college grad experience 😉

We drove to his graduation party straight afterwards, hosted by his lovely sister, which turned out wonderfully.

Especially when you take into account what The Dash included in his graduation speech.

Proposal

Friends, we are engaged!!! It was the most beautiful, most eloquent, most heartfelt and amazing proposal, beyond anything I have wished for or imagined in all my years as a girl and young woman . . . if she is called to marriage, a girl’s heart anticipates this day and this moment so much! And yet only The Dash could have pulled it off and taken me so completely by surprise, surprised by love.

I was totally overwhelmed, and very much shocked with the timing of it; very smoothly, The Dash had led me to believe it would happen sometime after New Year’s. Only a week ago, we’d had a conversation in which I was wrestling with how much of it was going to be a surprise (just because I’m so attached to us communicating about everything), and he said, “Well, let’s get through the holidays and re-assess how you feel about a surprise then.” (Aha.)

“Can you at least tell me what month you’re thinking?” I asked him in my best plaintive tone.

He smiled. “No.”

I guess I had been looking forward to the joy of his graduation and his long-awaited accomplishment with such razor focus that it never dawned on me he would think about proposing on that day, of all days, when he had so much to think about and do as it was. That’s the selflessness of The Dash.

Mid-way through his graduation speech, when he called me up to stand beside him so he could start thanking me in front of everyone, I was classically flushed and embarrassed/humbled (though, of course, completely touched) but totally unsuspecting because it was just like The Dash to do this kind of thing.

But then he rather kept going . . . and going . . . and with an effortless segue he started talking about us and our relationship and how much he loved me, and it was all addressed to me, and he was looking at me, and he was perfect, and his voice was just a little shaky from emotion/nerves/tiredness . . . even then I still wasn’t suspecting . . . but then he took off his graduation cap and put it on a chair and my head felt as though it were starting to explode, and from that moment on I have no clear recollection of what I did. I remember him pulling the ring box from his pocket, kneeling down, asking me by my full name if I would marry him, and I was crying and covering my face and saying yes multiple times and certainly being very emotional about it all 😉

I have always secretly hoped that I would cry at my proposal, just so that the man of my dreams would know how much it meant to me. I’m so glad I cried! Although I was so shaky and shocked and teary for the forthcoming minutes that I look a little off my rocker in all the post-proposal pictures . . .

But friends, we are beyond elated to be engaged! Our betrothal ceremony/blessing of our engagement is less than a week away (we’re waiting until then to start holding hands, etc.). We never have to use the words boyfriend and girlfriend again! The Dash is my fiance! We get to be engaged for Christmas! It is still very surreal right now.

Ring

My engagement ring is absolutely perfect–a three-stone diamond, white gold–exactly, exactly perfect, better than anything I’ve seen or wanted (The Dash has let me know that I’m extremely picky with jewelry), in how it looks and feels and everything. The Dash was helped to locate it very Providentially a long time ago . . . it chokes me up to think about how long he’s had it. I am so blessed that I’ve been given something so lovely to cherish and wear all my days as a symbol of what The Dash and I have been given by God.

Michele Chronister‘s words have kept coming to mind over the past few days, from a post she made some time ago . . . “But what made that little glittery thing most important to me was that every time I glanced down at it, I felt incredibly loved. So, so incredibly loved. It declared to the world that I was spoken for, and it reminded me that the beginning of our marriage was not far off.”

Amen!

So praise be to God. I am so thankful for The Dash, for our whole courtship, for our present engagement, for our future together. It’s overwhelming how blessed we have been and continue to be! I know the reality will continue to sink in and I’ll be able to write better blog posts about it all over the coming weeks (plus post lots of pictures!!!), but for now . . . please pray for us, and have a blessed third week of Advent!

Sig

7 Rambling Monday Takes, Vol. 18 :: All sorts of things

7Takes

Explore previous rambling installments here 🙂

1.

Some Monday mornings are more welcome than others; this one was definitely more than welcome! Getting up around 6:45 gave me over half an hour of spiritual reading after morning prayers/chores, before breakfast. The quiet, rainy atmosphere made it so calm and peaceful. Just recently, The Dash bought a used copy of St. Francis de Sales’ An Introduction to the Devout Life, and when he was over here on Saturday for a football game, supper, a little dancing practice (in which we finally got to try out the moves from his dance class I’d visited last Wednesday!), and haircuts, he brought it and kindly let me start reading it first. (One of the endless perks of courtship! The sharing of books!) I’m trying to take it slowly and absorb it little by little . . . I have so much to learn.

Providentially, the book came with an old miniature prayer pamphlet for the Holy Souls tucked inside; it was printed back in the ’50s, with a prayer for each day of the week for certain souls in Purgatory, such as “the soul most destitute of spiritual aid” and “the soul nearest to entering Heaven.” Beautiful and so timely, it being November and all! I’ll try and share them on this blog somehow . . .

On a similar note, this morning I also had time to read a little bit of Hungry Souls.

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2.

After breakfast, I folded some towels, but found myself strangely compelled to grab my long-neglected camera, tiptoe outside in the 40-degree rain and take some pictures from our back deck (see my previous post), although they’ll never do justice to what it was actually like . . . something about this morning was enchantingly beautiful! (I gracefully planted the arm of my sweatshirt in a puddle of water when crouching on my stomach for one shot, but oh, well . . .)

3.

Over the past hour, I’ve been be planning for my co-op class; tomorrow is our last class before we break for Thanksgiving week, and after that, I only have two more classes before we break for the rest of the year. How has it gone by so fast?!

Our chorus is doing “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus,” and “Beyond the Moon and Stars” for the upcoming Advent presentations. My own little class is doing an Advent song from Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, “Sitting with My Brothers”; and they are just impossibly cute when they sing it!

Also, I just realized that today is six weeks until Christmas Eve! I’m already looking forward to Advent and Christmas so much, and can hardly fathom that it’s been a whole year since last Advent! 😉

4.

Other plans for today are laundry, cleaning up the girl’s bathroom, catching up on emails (a constant process with me), reading, and whatever else it is I realize I’ve been forgetting to do. I keep having to re-calculate, but I believe today is 33 days until The Dash’s graduation! It’s getting so close now!!! I’m so proud of him and prayerfully excited for him to be able to finally transition into working full-time and having a more normalized schedule.

Speaking of The Dash (my favorite thing to do!) . . . I’m not sure if I’ve ever mentioned this here, but he and I have a daily tradition, sometimes forgotten but eventually resumed, of always making it a point to ask one another, “What were your highs and lows today?”

It’s just a small thing, and yet it really facilitates our being able to talk about the things that made us happiest that day, alongside the things that were hardest, no matter insignificant the reasons might seem.

Personally, it can be hard for me to spontaneously divulge (without prompting) if I’ve had a hard spot in the day. A more general question, such as, “So, how was your day?” makes me just want to share the good parts in cheerful sanguine fashion and smooth over the trying parts.

However, having The Dash ask me, “What were your highs and your lows today?” specifically asks me to share the best and hardest parts with him, talking about the reasons why, and visa versa. On a smaller scale, I think it’s been a hugely useful key in growing our communication skills and keeping them honest, healthy and intimate.

5.

A random fact: I realized the other day that Benedic has over 200 posts now, has been around for two years, and has received just over 25,000 visits. That is definitely a testament to the good-will of people who visit and aren’t driven away by my incessant ramblings! God is good!

6.

A pictorial demonstration of my Sunday outfit: it was the first time I’d worn the jacket and boots either separately or together, and they’re the sharpest clothes I own, apparently . . . 😉

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7.

A quote I read recently that made me smile:

Now I’m not saying all women must marry and all women must have children. God’s plans, and the working of natural laws, not to speak of social influences by the dozen, make marriage and children just “out” for many women. But I do emphatically say: We must acknowledge and teach others to acknowledge that home-making should be considered woman’s most important job.

-from Reverend Hugh Calkins, O.S.M.’s The Woman in the Home

Sig

Woman at Home Daybook :: Vol. 11 (ramblings and getting dressed up)

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JMJ1

This day in the Liturgical Year . . .

Friday, October 19th, 2018 A.D. Feast of St. Peter of Alcantara. I believe it’s the mind of the Church that he was possibly one of, if not the most self-mortified male saint.

From Butler:

“In 1539, being then forty years old, he founded the first convent of the “Strict Observance.” The cells of the friars resembled graces rather than dwelling-places. That of St. Peter himself was four feet and a half in length, so that he could never lie down; he ate but once in three days; his sack-cloth habit and a cloak were his only garments, and he never covered his head or feet. In the bitter winter he would open the door and window of his cell that, by closing them again, he might experience some sensation of warmth.”

Outside the window . . .

It’s one of a strand of absolutely lovely October days . . . sunny and blue-skied ❤ You can’t help but smile in this kind of weather!

Sounds throughout the house . . .

Right now, I’ve got “Love, Where is Your Fire?” by Brooke Fraser playing . . . her album Albertine has been one of my favorites since my mid-teens, but I haven’t listened to it in a long time.

Downstairs: voices, piano, and the usual home-y cacophony of a Friday school morning.

Wearing . . .

Today is one of those weird days where it’s cool outside, yet feels colder inside the house. Accordingly, I’m wearing a T-shirt, a white sweatshirt over it, blue jeans, tennis shoes.

My hair has been driving me (a little) crazy . . . my sweet mom cut a good three inches off yesterday afternoon, and it feels so much healthier.

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Attempts in the kitchen . . .

Nothing new, honestly . . . Lena recently made my favorite banana and chocolate chip muffins and I ate them, of course, but I don’t think that counts as an “attempt in the kitchen.”

A note on projects . . .

I haven’t journaled in days 😦 Things have been pretty busy . . . maybe I can get back to it today . . .

Yesterday, The Dash and I taught our last dance class . . . it was so much fun and I hate we can’t do it every week! 😉 The two groups of kids did really well. All in all, we were able to teach them waltz, fox trot, and cha-cha . . . the basic step for each, plus a few additional steps and a few sequences (this was all thanks to The Dash).

But since this two-week stint was part of an etiquette class, all the kids surprised us at the end of yesterday’s class with handwritten thank-you notes and cards! It was the sweetest thing ever! I need to put them in a scrapbook so The Dash and I can look back on them one day and have fun reminiscing about our time as dance instructors ❤

Last night, The Dash and I helped at an annual fundraising banquet for a wonderful crisis pregnancy center. Leading up to yesterday, we’d been able to help with organizing and repairing some of the table decorations, plus duplicating a few things. I had never had much legitimate “crafting” experience until the past week or so, in which the hot glue gun and I got nicely acquainted through a learning curve 😉

The Dash’s incredibly talented family had created most of the table decorations several years ago (keep in mind, this was for 46 or so tables . . . a hefty amount of work!). I took on the comparatively tiny task of making 3 extra duplicates of a centerpiece component (an unborn baby cradled in a glued-from-scratch flower, attached to a weighted wire so that it could be placed in a vase of water). Because of my lack of experience, it was a challenge, I kid you not . . . but I enjoyed it all the same!

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Not really much else in the way of projects; class starts up again next Tuesday so I’ll be planning for that soon . . .

For a bit of fun news, I had a small article published on the CSH blog this morning. I’m trying to remember the last time I’ve had an article published anywhere? I think it was last November! Anyway, they were really sweet to put this up 🙂

Reading . . .

Still reading North and South. The miniseries is great but the book is simply excellent so far and definitely better in terms of character development (although I think that’s just a natural strength of books, as opposed to films, in general). I just got to John Thornton’s introduction and I love how she wrote it!

Contemplating . . .

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How blessed I am to have this amazing, hardworking, selfless guy, and how much I love him ❤ This picture was right before we headed to the banquet. These special occasions where one gets dressed up are so much fun!

On living the Faith . . .

Lena and I are still trying to keep Fridays penitential with a fast of some kind for the purification of the Church. These are just little things, but drops in the ocean count in the eyes of God.

Still trying to pray the Litany of the Holy Name of Jesus, Litany of Loreto, and Litany of St. Joseph every day–it’s really beautiful to pray them one after the other!

Prayerfully . . .

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine tragically lost her older sister. The amazing story of this young woman’s life and devotion is here. Would you keep her soul, as well as her grieving family, in your prayers, and consider donating to help the family with her ongoing funeral expenses if you’re at all able? They’re close to their goal but still need help. Thank you ❤

Sig