Monthly Archives: July 2012

The best night of my life thus far.

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I’M ENGAGED to my best friend and the love of my life!!!

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A lot of people keep asking how it happened, and as much as I love telling the story over and over and over again (really, I do 😉 ), I thought I’d post about it so I can always remember every little detail that went into making this the most memorable night for me… I’M ENGAGED!!!! AHHHHH, I have been waiting for this moment since I was about, well, six years old 😉 or at least I’ve been dreaming about it since then. Yes I am all girl for real.

So, Jacob came up to visit Washington a couple weeks ago. He’s been living in Texas all summer and I haven’t seen him since my graduation, so you can imagine my excitement level to seem him after months and months. I had also kind of built up this large desire to finally move to the next step in our relationship, wishing and hoping he’d finally put a ring on it. I mean we had dated almost all the way through high school, we went our separate ways when college came, but managed to get back together (and I managed to convince him to move down to Texas 😉 ) in the middle of college. I was finally done with college, and he has one more year. I totally was thinking he was finally gonna put a ring on it after all this time.

So every time we hung out these past two weeks, in my girl-ish, silly mind- I was trying to turn every situation into an engagement. It was ridiculous, but let’s face it, I had marriage fever or something like it. I have been hinting for a lot of months now how making a commitment and moving forward in our relationship would make me very excited and happy- but let’s face it, Jacob is one of the most least likely guys to ever get tied down 😉

It was the last day before Jacob would be flying back down to Texas and I wouldn’t see him again for at least another few months, and at this point I had made myself stop thinking about it. I knew it wasn’t going to happen, and it was sad. I was sad knowing Jacob was leaving again, and even more sad that I still wasn’t engaged. I thought… “what’s a girl gotta do these days?” 🙂

Anyways, I had to work all day the day before Jacob was leaving town, but he said he wanted to take me on a date one more time so we had planned to go on a nice date after I got off work Tuesday night. I texted him as soon as I was off and he asked me to meet him downtown at Shenenigan’s for dinner. At that point I had lost all hope in getting engaged (I KNOW, I’m such a girl.). I was thinking as I was driving “Come on! He can’t even come pick me up from my house for our “hot date”? I have to meet him down there and try and find a restaurant that I don’t even know where it is?” Haha I made myself stop thinking about how I wanted to get engaged before he left, and I was determined for him to not have any idea that I was bummed about it. And then- on my way to the resaurant I got pulled over by a jerk of a cop. I was practically in tears but was trying to hold it together for our date.

I finally found and got to the restaurant. Jacob was siting outside, the restaurant was really nice and we had a great view outside of the river. And Jacob was dressed up really nice- oh how great it all seemed for a proposal, but I made myself forget about it. We ate dinner, it was very good. We were having fun. I mentioned during dinner how I was kind of sad that we hadn’t taken any pictures at all the whole time Jacob was up visiting- and he non-chalently said we could go take pictures by the river after dinner. We left right after the sun had set and were just walking and talking along the Centennial trail right along the river. It was great and I was trying not to be sad knowing this was going to be our last date for awhile again.

I started having hope again that maybe something was up when we randomly ran into Jacob’s brother Jordan, Jordan’s girlfriend Tay, and Jacob’s best friend Spencer. But, they were acting so normal that I figured nothing was up and it was totally just coincidence that we ran into them- because I know for sure that when Jacob is trying to hide something he gets all nervous and awkward 😉 they played it off smoothly. We were talking to them for a little while, and they all said they were actually getting ready to head out and go to their car- so Jacob said “Oh, we’ll walk you to your car.” At this point I was like “Yep, nothing is definitely up- get over it Whitney!!!!”

We were walking in the park, just talking and stuff and I was trying so hard to just be happy and have a good time- and not think about wanting to get engaged at all. All of the sudden everything turned into a complete daze or dream, seriously in an instant my life was turned completely upside down. I will never forget all the emotions and feelings that came over me as we walked up to the beautiful wooden bridge in Riverfront Park that goes over the Spokane River and is all lit up. I was in the middle of saying something to Jacob, Jordan, Tay and Spencer when everything just went completely quiet and blurry- the only thing that was clear was the big banner I saw straight ahead on the bridge. My best friends Katy and Tricia were on the lit up bridge, holding a huge banner that said in big letters “Whitney, Will You Marry Me?” And my mom, Jacob’s mom and Jacob’s sister Jaalah were standing on the bridge too- all with big and bright faces. All I remember when I saw it all is dropping everything in my arms (I was carring my purse and a big boquet of flowers) and practically collapsing on the ground bauling my eyes out and pretty much hypervenalating (Jacob’s mom keeps telling me I was bent over practically heeving and Jacob told me after the fact that he has never seen my cry that hard ever, and I’ve cried a lot in my day…). I seriously would’ve controlled it if I could, and was actually kind of embarrassed how badly I was crying, but I cannot even begin to express or explain the happyness I was feeling in that moment. I had been waiting for that moment for such a long time, and it was finally here. I was freaking out, I was shaking, I couldn’t control myself, I was laugh-crying A LOT. I felt like I stood there and was just staring at that sign for minutes without anybody saying anything. I was a mess.

I finally kind of contained myself a wee bit and turned to look back at Jacob- and at that point he was already on his knee. I lost it again, I couldn’t have possibly been any more excited or happy. He said some sweet things to me before he asked me to be his wife and marry him, but those words are honestly kind of a blur. It wasn’t like I wasn’t listening to him, I just was so happy, excited, everything, that I could hardly keep myself still or contained. He expressed to me that he couldn’t possibly imagine doing life without me though, that he couldn’t imagine life without me and wanted to spend the rest of his life with me- how exciting is that??? 🙂 He asked me to marry him right after that, and of course I said YES! I think I had a hard time getting it out because I was still a big ball of mess- but it happened! And it is the most exciting thing- it couldn’t have been more perfect.

I’m pretty proud to say I must have somehow over the years somewhat tamed Jacob Von Kuhn. He made a commitment to marry me and to spend the rest of his life with me, and I could not possibly be more ecstatic! I no longer have to say “if” I marry Jacob when talking to others about the future, I can proudly say “when” I marry Jacob!!!! It’s the greatest feeling and I cannot wait!

I have to be honest that he didn’t quite plan it all out until very last minute- he admitted to it- he called all of our closest friends and family the day of to invite them to join us (which it meant the world to me to have them there to share that moment with us- even Spencer and my mom both raced down to the park from work and were still in their work uniforms) and he bought the ring last minute- but he had said he had wanted to make it happen while he was home on break but just couldn’t find the time. He made it happen right before he left though, and it honestly all went perfectly. And I don’t expect anything different of Jacob- he’s not a planner, he just goes for it in the moment! And I’m so happy that he did. Seeing the excitement all over his face after it happened made me even happier (as if it was even possible at that point). I totally knew he didn’t regret his decision, it was FINALLY the right timing for us and that we were both completely ready to do this thang together 😉

It was perfect, having really close friends and family there was perfect, the feeling of being Jacob Von Kuhn’s fiance’ is perfect 🙂 I’m going to stop being mooshy about it now but we all know this moment has been long waited for- but was totally worth the wait!

I love Jacob’s little addition to that night and “the story” when he talks about it with others though- when we were driving back from downtown after it all happened we were talking about it and saying our sides of the story, and we both looked out the window at the same time and saw a HUGE shooting star. Now I know it’s just a shooting star, those happen all the time blah blah blah- BUT it was just the cherry on top of our special night. So fun! And my ring is seriously perfect for me. I honestly didn’t even really get a good look at it until minutes after he opened the box and put it on my finger. I was just so excited and freaking out so much that I could hardly function- and I guess I just could hardly care what my ring looked like, because all I was thinking was “I’M FREAKING ENGAGED! I’M GETTNG MARRIED! EEEEEEK!” But seriuosly, my ring is one of a kind, everyone (well all girls everyone 😉 ) keeps saying it is so gorgeous and unique. I never imagined what my perfect engagement or ring would look like- but Jacob went up in beyond with both. Absolutely everything was perfect.

Everyone is so excited, we cannot even begin to grasp all the love and support we are receiving from all the people we love and love us- engagement is an absolute BLAST so far- I could definitely do this forever. Thank you to everyone who loves us and is so excited for us, WE LOVE YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH! I hope I didn’t leave anything out. Was trying to capture all the details so I can continue to remember this day- total landmark moment in my life, especially considering I’m a girl and a really girly girl at that- I just keep thinking “Finally, my day has come!!! I can finally plan MY wedding, I can actually think about it and I actually have to start sitting down and really planning out the details- it is the most exciting thing on planet earth 😉 ”

I know most likely only girls will appreciate this, but that’s okay. 😉 We’re so blessed and so happy and are so excited to embark on the beginning stages of this journey together- with all of our loved ones too of course!

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This picture was after his “actual” proposal- naturally I’m still crying my eyes out!

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Re-staged a bit 😉

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Everyone, minus Tay, that shared in the special night with us!

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Couldn’t be happier :DDD

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Meant so much to have my mom there!

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My best friend Katy and I 🙂

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My best friend Tricia and I 🙂

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My bling 😉 my perfect and beautiful ring- I’m the luckiest girl alive! So blessed! Love him so very much!

The trip of a lifetime. Processing the journey.

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Colossians 3:23 (NIV) “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord…”

I went into my trip knowing I was not by any means doing it for myself. I wanted to glorify God by doing what I could to help others. I went into my trip fully for the cause. I even admitted to my team pretty much right off that I didn’t enjoy biking very much. I also went into my trip with the intention of making it through Day 1 of biking- and hopefully half of Day 2. But, I was sure that by that point I would have to stop for awhile. I didn’t think I was fully physically or mentally prepared for what I was getting myself into. It is absolutely incredible and insane how drastically your abilities and capabilities can change, and your mindset can change in such a short amount of time.

I went into my trip praying for my team, praying for the people in Africa that we were raising awareness and support for, I also asked for direction for my life personally if God was so willing to show me…

I fell in love with my team right off when I met them our first day on the tour. We spent a few days before we started biking just getting to know one another, in fellowship with a church that hosted us for the first weekend, and learning as much as we could about each other in a very short amount of time. I think 10 people was a perfect amount for our trip- and all the people along the journey that took us into their church’s and family’s, and made us meals and shared and talked with us- God’s love shined through all of these people over and over again. The community that was experienced in those 10 days was beyond expression amazing.

It is crazy to think about my emotions going into the tour, as opposed to my feelings and emotions leaving the tour. I was completely nervous. And it showed in every which way on our team training ride. We rode downtown Seattle to get used to riding with each other, and every little thing that could go wrong was going wrong. I knew how nervous I was, but I was letting my team know how nervous I was too. I did not want to be this way throughout the rest of the trip- I had to step it up, I had to trust God completely. I didn’t make the time I had wanted to to train as well as I would’ve liked, but bottom line, I was not doing this trip for myself, I was doing it for a greater cause, my heart needed to ring louder than my nerves, and now there was a new dynamic added into the mix- I had an incredible team of amazing people that I did not want to let down even a little. I wanted to work hard right beside them all, I wanted to work for the cause- with my team. I just had to do it, all nerves and lack of training aside.

The pastor at the church that was hosting us our first weekend on our tour, Josh Crandall said on Sunday morning that “we must make time to train to achieve something.” He also said “Everyone runs somewhere, but few people run some place with purpose and on purpose.” He went on to talk about how we are all charged with such great opportunity, it was time to carry the challenge and just go! It was a perfect message to carry and to meditate on as we headed out for five days of non-stop biking for 450 miles!

All I could think about after Day 1 was, “surely I can bike in any kind of weather after today…” It was freezing and raining. My mom took a pretty mean fall (okay really mean fall!), and I was alone for a leg in a downpour, hilly area… let’s just say it was a stretch for me, a big stretch- to keep going. It took a lot for me to go the full 80-ish miles. Physically it was rough, but mentally I had to coach myself through to keep going strong. I learned that I am completely motivated by my team. I needed my teammates to help me keep going. After lunch when I was back up with my team, I made sure from that point on that I would not be alone again. By the end of Day 1, one of my leaders was pushing me to go harder and harder to catch up with the front end of our team. In that moment I was thinking “Oh come on, why are you doing this to me? I would really enjoy if you didn’t push me…” but after I was really motivated and thankful for him helping me stretch my limits. My mind was blown by the encouragement and support that existed within our team, and I was so thankful. My motivation to do the entire tour was better than ever! And thank God that motivation came when it did… because our last hill before reaching our destination for Day 1 was INSANITY!!!! I have never been more happy to see a Walmart in my entire life than I was when I saw the parking lot, trucking up a very steep and long hill, and saw Mother Falcon (our Ride:Well van) on my right in the Walmart parking lot of Port Angeles, WA. The host families that took us in that night were AMAZING- and the feast they prepared for us was more exciting than Thanksgiving- it was perfect, God is so good.

Day 2 was just under 100 miles- I had only ever done 80 miles in a day up to this point, but I woke up ready to do the whole day! And Day 2 ended up being my favorite day, start to finish. I was with 3 other teammates pretty much the entire day, and my goal was to make sure to keep up with the person right in front of me, no matter what. Today marked my first century ride (well close enough!!!), but today also marked my starting to actually enjoy biking! My mind and body were trying to make up reasons right away to be a good excuse to sit in the van… but for whatever reason nothing seemed like good enough of a reason to leave my team. I knew I just had to push through it. Today I learned how much biking with a team really meant to me- I felt such unity, it was a challenge for me, but it made biking so much more fun! The day actually flew by… and the view- my goodness, by the last stretch of the day, we were literally riding along the coast! You’d look out to the right and see the beach and ocean, it was breathtaking. I felt so much more comfortable on the road today- really was feeling confident (not too confident of course though…) and getting stronger and stronger- both physically and mentally. And then the cherry on top of an incredible day was getting to stay in a very nice cabin with my team that night! It was literally on the beach of the ocean- it was seriously paradise- not to mention hot showers, fireplace, smores, comfy beds, complete awesomeness, and fellowship with my team is seriously priceless. Was very thankful for a teammate that night 🙂

Day 3 was a huge stretch for me. First of all, I’m pretty sure none of us wanted to get on the road and leave our paradise beachfront cabin. Day 3 definitely felt shorter, only ending up being about 75 miles. But, I may or may not have been scared for my life the first half of the day… I was not used to even riding on the side of a highway going into this trip, but I took it on (my mom and I only trained on trails… not roads). But today was the first day I have seen a logger truck, and we got our fair share of them throughout the entirety of the day! And lets just say they didn’t quite like to slow down for cyclists, or get over if they could- no I think they liked the thrill of seeing just how close they could pass by us without hitting us. It was quite a thrill- I completely had to trust God today. Like I said, it was a stretch, through all of the chaos that the road brought, to shut it all out and just trust that God was going to take care of everything- that God was going to make sure that every driver was aware enough to watch out for us as we were riding with them on the highway. The second half of the day was GREAT! As I was processing through my day and working through mental roadblocks, everything got easier! I decided to “man up.” At this point I still couldn’t believe I was actually doing this trip, but pushing through the pain and everything else brought so much accomplishment and reassurance! Once we arrived in Aberdeen, WA today, I had realized I had developed quite a sunburn, but I was just so thankful for the amazing weather we had been having on our trip! I also got the opportunity to speak to students at the youth group at River of Life Fellowship about what we were doing as a team, why I personally had joined, and I got to speak about the heart behind Venture Expeditions, the Ride:Well Tour, and Blood:Water Mission. It was so amazing, I continue to fall more and more in love with these organizations, with this cause. My heart for the people that we are helping that are across the world, is getting bigger and bigger. I could not possibly be more passionate about this cause!

Day 4 and I still could not believe I was still doing it!!! I was still cycling! To this point, there were many times I had wanted to sit out, to rest, and at this point, I was having some pretty good pain in my knee, but nothing seemed legitimate enough to sit out. This is hands down one of the hardest things I have ever done- but also one of the most rewarding! Finally landing in Oregon today was such a great feeling- today I realized over and over again how God-ordained our team, tour and opportunity was. It blows my mind how God put all ten of us together on this journey- we’re from all different places (well except for the three from Chicago!), all different walks of life, all different seasons- and yet we all get to experience this together- it’s incredible! At the end of this 75 mile day, I was actually getting feelings of sadness that our cycling as a team was almost over (going into the tour, I never thought I would ever have these feelings!). Me, and I know the rest of the team too, were so overwhelmed by the blessings of so many people, taking us in and hosting us throughout the entire trip, and feeding us amazing food!

Going into Day 5 I realized… man people can snore 😉 and my sunburn lines are as unattractive as ever! And I am growing fond of my leader Karl’s singing to us in the morning-times… it was the final day of cycling, which is sad because our time was FINALLY getting the hang of being ready on time 😉 today was another “almost” 100 mile day. My mom and I went into today wondering why the two “rookies” were put in sweep together! It was an adventure- BUT, changing my first flat tire, and ALL by myself, was a very “rugged” and “manly” moment for me. I finally felt like I had earned the status of being a true-blooded cyclist! And it felt grrrrrreat! Sure- it put my mom and I way behind the team, but hey… we changed a flat, we could take on the world now 🙂 Side note- my mom later found out after the tour that she had broken 4 ribs on Day 1 when she had wiped out majorly– but she finished out the trip strong, now that woman can take on the world ANY day!!! We made it to Portland today, the feeling of accomplishment was overwhelmingly awesome! And being cheered in by The Groves Church family was so amazing 🙂 they were amazing to us our entire stay in Portland- so very thankful for each and every one of them!

I learned that I had gained A LOT of confidence throughout the journey of this trip- it was insane, but so incredibly amazing at the exact same time! I would do it again in a heart beat- I was even talking about taking on a cross country tour- or running across Minnesota- I’m already ready for the next thing! It is so amazing to do something that challenges you so very much, that raises awareness, that raises support, that helps you benefit others across the world, but at the exact same time helps you find yourself and who you were made to be! The trip may have been full of chaos, with traffic- and crazy logger trucks, but yet at the same time there was such a peace, such a quietness, a sense of completeness. It was a ten day escape from the real world- doing something with purpose, on purpose!

Personally this trip has affected me so immensely. I am so overwhelmed that God has spoken to me in so many ways in this short, ten day trip. I have been so concerned about my future, about career plans, about starting something huge now that I am a college graduate- God has called me to love others. Simply- I am called to love Him with all my heart, and to love, serve and help others the best that I can. I may feel like what I am doing right now in this season of life is very small and insignificant. But, it’s not. There is no need to stress and fret about the future and what it holds. I will get wherever I need to be, whenever I need to be there- as I am trusting God with my life. There is so much comfort in knowing that what I am doing right now, though it seems so small and insignificant to me perhaps, truly isn’t. God is using me where I am at, and there is absolutely no need to worry about the future!

It undoubtedly affects a person to be on a journey. And what a journey we were/are on! This trip- even with it being so short- affected each and every one of us, though we were together throughout the entire journey, were all affected in different ways. It blows my mind! It is crazy how close you can feel to a group of people that you have only known for 10 days. I had the privilege to sit down and talk with one of my teammates and leaders for quite awhile one of the days, and I felt like in such a short time I knew her and respected her in such an intimate and awesome way. I made lifelong friends on this trip- this was not an expectation I had going into the tour, but such an amazing gift that I got to take away from it. And doing the entire thing with my mom there was such a blessing and treat. What a once in a lifetime opportunity that I did not take for granted for a moment, and I will never forget for the rest of my life. The community that was built within this trip makes me so very happy and blessed. I am so thankful for my team and family: my mom, for Margie, for Theresa, for Anne, for Angela, for Erika, for Karl, for Matt, for Robby- for all the churches, host families (way too many incredible people to name every single one of them!), for these organizations and communities- so thankful that we were able to help people in Marsabit, Kenya. This trip will always have a place in my story, in my journey.

At The Groves Church (amaaaaazing church plant with incredible community) our last Sunday of our trip, Paul Gibbs said to the congregation that “we are meant to be His witnesses- we must have the character to carry the gift.” This trip was such an incredible blessing. I am so thankful that we were able to be a part of what God is doing- as a team, we were able to be witnesses for Christ this week. That we could speak to so many about why we were doing what we were doing- that is was for a greater purpose, for something bigger than just riding bikes for a lot of miles… this week was such a blessing- no doubt God put us together for a reason, and used each and every one of us to speak to different situations and such that the rest of us were going through. I had the opportunity to talk to different teammates one on one- and was so blessed and encouraged in so many different ways. I was privileged to be the youngest on my team- there was so much wisdom spoke into my life this trip- and I will always be thankful and grateful for the things God spoke and did through this trip! God really did allow us, as a team, to discover our souls, as we benefitted the world at the same time. It was definitely very, very hard to say goodbye.

Ephesians 2:10 (NIV) “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”