Monday, December 8, 2014

Our Story - Part 3 (by David)

Hello everyone!  I was asked by my wife if I would write out my side of the story of how we met.  I’m not much of a writer but I’ll do my best :-)

Once upon a time…..

It all started on a Sunday morning while at my church, (Rachel and I went to different churches at the time) I receive a text message from a very close friend, Don, who goes to Calvary Chapel, where Rachel was going.

“OMG David, I just found your future wife.”

Me: “lol, What are you talking about!?”
 Him: “I’ll call you after church”

So I gave my friend a call after the church service and asked him what in the world he was talking about. He then told me how his church got a new worship pastor and brought a girl to help him. He went on explaining that she seems like a very godly woman, beautiful, plays piano and sings.

Something on my friend’s heart kept telling him to introduce me to Rachel, and although he fought with it for a while, he finally decided it really was time for Rachel and I to meet.

So, I decided to take a visit to Calvary, keeping in mind that this should not be the sole reason for me going to church.   I made sure to begin praying about whoever this girl was.

“Lord, I don’t know this girl, I haven’t even met her yet, but you know I’m done dating, I don’t want that anymore, I want the one you have planned for me.”

At the time, Calvary Chapel had an early morning service that started before my church did; so, I was able to go to both churches.

I remember that first Sunday, I was not quite sure what I was going to say but wanted to at least introduce myself and say hello. So….I did, and, well, nothing special happened, it was not love at first sight or a feeling of knowing right away that she was the one.  But from that very first day, I know I began praying about her. I’m not really one for journaling, but I did happen to journal about meeting her that day in January of 2013.

“So Lord, I met this girl, Rachel today. I just pray that if this is someone I could spend the rest of my life with like Don thinks, I pray that you would open the doors for us to get to know each other.  But if not…just close the doors and don’t even let me get to know her. I don’t want to hurt her.”

So for the next few weeks I was able to go to two churches; mine and Rachel's.   That was really good for me to be able to sit and listen to a message, since I had been teaching a lot at that time at my home church. I was never able to spend too much time at Calvary and therefore didn’t have much opportunity to really talk with Rachel other than a quick hi.

Unknown to Rachel during this time, I had kind of my own ‘spy’ who was gathering information for me about her. :-) I was finding out things like how she had been home schooled her whole life, was saving her first kiss for her wedding day and that she was a very godly woman. Already from the things I was hearing, I was beginning to like her.

  I remember thinking, “Wow, I’ve heard of people saving their first kiss for their wedding day but have never met anyone my age that wanted to do that. That’s very unique and noble and I respect that very much.”
I knew from very early on that this was no ordinary woman, but a virtuous, godly, and sweet girl about whom I needed to be putting great prayer into any decision I was going to be making about her. And pray I did, every day, for direction on whether this was the woman that God knew would be right for me and that God would give me peace about the decision to pursue her.
So I continued to say hello each Sunday, ask how things were going and just be a friend. I invited her and her brother to the youth group I was apart of leading at my church and even a church revival one week.

Around this time, my church was having its’ annual revival.  It was a Monday through Wednesday kinda thing.  BUT.....being kind of nervous when talking to her, I didn’t get a chance to let her know that I was not going to be able to go it myself on Tuesday because I had to work late that day. I offered her my number in case she had any questions....and of course she politely declined, saying it wasn’t necessary. And since I was didn’t have her number yet I had no way of letting her know that I would not be making it that day. Can you guess which day she chose to go….yeah…so I was pretty upset, disappointed and embarrassed about that. I just knew I had to make it up to her somehow.

So I thought, why don’t I get her a rose and apologize to her next time I see her? I could already tell she was going to hate my guts from now on and never want to talk to me for standing her up like that.  (After our marriage I found out she was really embarrassed by this rose and was quick to toss it into the car to hopefully never be remembered or seen again. )

And so, things continued.  After scrounging up the courage to ask her for her number one Sunday after church and spending 3 HOURS talking with her dad afterwards, only to be let down with a “She’s not ready for a relationship”, I still had peace and still hope about her. I understood and accepted that she was not ready, but at that point, my only intent was just to get to know her and talk to her as friends, nothing more! 

 I wanted to see if there was a time outside of church we could get to talk. I made that clear to her father during out talk. So in my mind I was thinking, “Well…I know she doesn’t want any type of relationship but we can still get to know each other as friends right?”

This was a difficult time for me to be patient and wait on the Lord because I continued getting signals from Rachel that she was not interested, didn’t want to know or talk to me....but knew in my heart that I wasn’t supposed to give up. Thanks to a lot of prayer and constant support from Don and his wife, I knew that I had to be patient, keep praying and not give up on getting to know Rachel. I feel as though God had revealed to me that He would bless me spending the rest of my life with her. So although she didn’t know it yet, I had a feeling we would end up together. I still faced many times of wanting to give up, but it seemed as though the doors of opportunity for us to get to know each other began to open more and more. We’d later go on to go eat and watch our first movie together(The Hobbit), which was absolutely wonderful not having to worry about whether I should hold her hand or what we were going to do together but just to relax and hang out as friends with someone I truly respected. She joined my family and I for lunch after church on Sundays and just got to know each other as God continued working in both of our hearts.

“Lord, please protect my heart as I get to know Rachel, and please protect her from me. Help me to remain respectful of her and treat her as YOU would have me to treat her. And let your will be done. ”

It’s hard to think that just a year ago, Rachel seemed to be annoyed and didn’t want anything to do with me. This year, Thanksgiving brought back lots of memories for me.  It was only last year that Rachel invited me to Thanksgiving at her house.   I thought that surely if she invited me to her home, she must at least like me a little bit! Turns out, I didn’t really get to spend much time with Rachel at all that day, so  I invited her over to have Thanksgiving with my family the next day, hoping that we’d get to talk more. It was really nice having her come over and spend the day with my family, but I remember thinking, that that was it, she doesn’t like me, and that’s probably the last time I’ll ever get to talk to her. Oh well…maybe it just wasn’t meant to be…

Thank you David for posting for me!!!  Did y'all like reading the guy side of things?  Comment and let him know what you thought!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Our Story, part 2

It was around June of 2013 that I started....well, thinking about David a little more.  (Mainly because he just wasn't letting up.  Gotta give 'em points for perserverance!!)  I started wondering if maybe I had been wrong about him.  I had crossed him off my preverbial "list" almost the moment I met him.  I started realized that I didn't even know him at all - I hadn't even given him a chance.

That summer, my family and I took a road trip to Alabama to see my brother Jonathan graduate from basic training.  They had a 3-week grandiose plan of traveling around, seeing the sights, and making a pit stop to visit Courtney who goes to the University of Huntsville.  Me? I had work and couldn't be gone that long.  So....I flew home by myself after seeing Jonathan's graduation.  And no sooner had I gotten back, I checked facebook and found messages from David.

The first one? A prayer he had written out for me about our trip, that it would go well and that we'd be safe.

The second? Just checkin' up on me to see how it was going.

The third? "Hi Rachel, I had an idea.  I remember you said you were going to be coming back ak week before the rest of your family and realized you might be kinda lonely.  Unless you had something planned, I would very much like to invite you to have lunch with us after church on Sunday!"

Oh man I was on that one.  "Um hey David, thanks but no, I'm pretty tired, tomorrow won't work out."
 That oughta do it!! 

But....two days later....another invite. "What you doin tomorrow? Busy in the eveing? Like after five.  Would you like to come over and hang out with my sister and I ? I know you been alone all week.  Figure you could use some company!"

This guy wasn't giving up.  He was NOT getting my hints.  By this time I was feeling kinda rude (and feeling bad about it) so I gave in.

Ok.  Just one dinner.  That's IT.
I needed evidence for myself to prove that he wasn't "the one". 

And yet, surprisingly, I found myself excited to go.  I was a nervous wreck!!  Which further confused me because..... I was not interested.  Or so I kept telling myself.

I headed over to his house that evening and? Well, I had a good time.  We had lasagna.  Played video games. Talked.  It was fun.  But...awkward.  He was so quiet!  And I'm so talkative.  We had plenty of those awkward silences and it made me feel uncomfortable.  I just kept thinking, "ok this guy is way too quiet and I don't get him and we are NOT hitting it off."

And yet he was a perfect gentleman.  Extremely considerate.  And everything about him screamed Jesus to me; how he talked about the Lord, how our conversations about God would go, etc.  By far he was the most Godly guy I had ever known.  And so I was impressed, and encouraged. From that point, I resigned our relationship to being just friends, because with every conversation we had, he would always challenge me in my walk with  Christ.  That's super important to me.  That's what makes a true friend, for me.

Me and my little brothers around this time. 
Not long after that, he started inviting me to the youth group he helped lead at church.  And I went!  (Dragging my 13-year old brother along with me, of course.  That brother served as an excellent 3rd wheel for quite a long time lol) I always had a good time, and we would end up having great conversations about anything and everything.  Around this time we started emailing each other.  Not a whole lot, but now and then, just to keep in touch.  I was finding out that David, quiet and soft-spoken as he seemed to be at the time, was a very deep man.  Passionate about a lot of things; ministry in particular.   I found out that he dreamed of being a pastor some day - cool.  I found out that he was the chaplain of his fire department - double cool. I found out that he loved working with teenagers.  We talked about theology, our testimonies, things we were struggling name it.

And....I found out that he was preparing for his 3rd mission trip in a month.  To the Phillipines.  For 3 weeks.

While he was gone, I found myself oddly missing him.  Nothing major mind you; but just here and there I'd think "when is he coming back? It's been forever."

When he finally returned home however, I returned to my state of utter ambiguity towards him.  Nice guy, but a friend. That's it.  And yet...I enjoyed hanging around him.  I really enjoyed the conversations we would have.  I looked up to him a lot. 

As we spent more time over the summer and fall, I started praying for him.  I thought so highly of him that I started praying he would get an incredible wife.  And I prayed this, knowing with 100% surety that it wasn't me.  It sounds funny now, but I just kept feeling this tugging in my heart to pray for him.  I kept thinking, "this guy is a rarity. He deserves someone really really special."  And I was totally sincere in that - I knew it wasn't going to be me, but I kept asking God to bless David with a really Godly girl.

And yet once in a while, I would ask myself why on earth I crossed him of my list.  He was perfect!  And I would occasionally throw around the idea of us being together (as most girls do with pretty much any guy).  But it never amounted to anything.  It would all end with my conclusion, once more, that he wasn't for me.

Journal Entry, September 19, 2013
On the more confusing side of things, David Camarena is still hanging around.  It's so baffling.  I like him, but I don't LIKE him.  He's growing on me.  He has some pretty awesome character and, from what I can see, he LOVES God.  Unashamedly.  I love that.  And he's pretty good looking too.  He invited me to dinner with his family again this Sunday and well.....I said yes.  What else could I say?  I kind of want to go, but ? I'm also kind of afraid of leading him on cause he's not the one.  But I do enjoy talking to him, and he's sort of funny.  Like I said - confusing.  Why can't I just be 4 again?"

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our Story - Part 1

Ok.  So here it goes.

I've been asked over and over to actually sit down and write our courtship story; to explain how we met and how I (didn't) fall for David (for a very long time) and how we ended up married so fast and all that!!

I've put off doing it because...honestly I feel like I won't be able to find the words to really explain everything just right.  Because there was so much detail and SO much God in it....I don't want to leave anything out.

But.  I'm going to try.  For the sake of you my readers!! 

And, largely for the sake of my own memory.  Considering my dad claims the first time he saw my mom she was wearing rubber gloves and holding a toilet plunger, and my mom staunchly remembers meeting for the first time on a sail-boating double date adventure.....well, I'm worried that down the road David and I will be on the same boat, forgetting important details and not being able to agree on how we even got married in the first place.

So.  Moving on from toilet plungers.  Onwards!  To our glorious tale of love at first sight, romantic dinners together and happily-ever-after falling for each other!

Yeah right.  

Honestly, us getting together was a true miracle, considering my flint-faced iron-willed absolutely NOT stand against this guy who kept trying to get to know me.  The way David puts it, "You were a hard fish to catch!" pretty much sums it all up.  But I'll fill in the cracks for you.

A Random Sunday In February 2013, When We First Met

I was playing the piano at Calvary Chapel, just doing my normal worship-team thing. Trying not to mess up or attract any attention to self-conscious amateur me during the service.  Just a normal Sunday.  There's a break in the worship, for the obligatory shake-hands-with-the-person-next-to-you segment.  And who comes to shake my hand?  A guy.  Whom I have never met.  Who I automatically crossed off my list before he even spoke a word.  (I wasn't very nice....ok)

David: "You have a beautiful voice!"  he had this big smile on his face as he spoke his first words.
Me:  "Oh, thanks!" (umm yeah right.  I'm terrible.  But thanks for lying! It makes me feel better.)
David:  "I'm David by the way.  And your name?"
Me: "I'm Rachel, nice to meet you." (ok, let go of my hand now, go away now.....)

Pretty much that was it.  After the service he came up to me again, asking if I was our worship pastor's daughter (everyone thinks that!) and trying to help put away our sound system and cords and all that.  He was nice, but I wrote it off as just a friendly passer-by who I'd never see again.

But....he came back.  That very next Sunday.  And the Sunday after that.  And the Sunday after that.  And every Sunday, he made it a point to come up and  say hi....AND give me a hug.  Which, for me, a homeschooler who does NOT hug guys, was awkward.  Of course, they weren't in-appropriate hugs; he always gave me just a friendly side hug.  I tried avoiding them....but there was never a away around these unwanted hugs.  I even remember one Sunday sticking my hand out in front of me just as he was going for another hi-how-are-you-hug.  And my cleverness was quickly thwarted by a passing look of confusion on his face and an oily embarrassed feeling in the pit of my stomach...which ended in another hug anyway.

Oh the drama.  For me, talking with guys and dealing with the do-we-hug issue was a big deal!!  And I poured out my pesky-guy-woes to my best friend Cassie.  (My future bridesmaid, unbeknownst to me!)

It was awkward, and he was annoying.  Every time I turned around at church, there was this David-guy, trying to talk to me.  But...I figured he'd eventually go away.

Me, during the beginning of our relationship.  Basically, when I still hated him.  :-(

All this culminated into one big tongue-tying moment when, on a Sunday in May, David came up to me again after church, but this time with a different motive.

Him:"Hey, so I was wondering, could I get your number? I really enjoy talking to you, and I would love getting to know you better.  I thought we could call each other and stuff!"

(BAM.  That moment you've waited for all your life, for which you have a pre-rehearsed line that would send any guy reeling.)
Me: "Um, well that's not really how we do things.  I can give you my dad's number, and you can talk to him about it." 
Him: "Ok! Yeah that would be awesome! I'll do that.  What's your dad's number?''

Gulp.  Wow.  Accepting the challenge wasn't really something I was expecting him to do....
I scribbled my dad's number on a scrap of paper and handed it to him.  All the while thinking...good luck dude.....

With that, I went running home and begged my dad to turn this guy away, should he happen to call.  My dad laughed and said he'd see what he could do.  Feeling better, I *hoped* that would be the end of David., that was not the end.  In fact the very next day my dad came home from work and said "what a nice conversation" he'd had with this "very respectful young man".  He went on to tell me how David had explained that he had a little sister and felt very protective of her around other guys, so he knew what it must be like with your own daughter, and how he had asked to meet with my dad to talk further about getting to know me.

By this time I was scared to death.  But actually pretty interested.  It was that in-between feeling of feeling honestly flattered that someone actually liked me.....and that panicked paranoid feeling of being...hunted or something.  Besides, I wasn't ready for a relationship!! I was barely out of highschool, much less ready for a boyfriend or something!!  No!! 

Looking back, I see how afraid I was of change.  I've always been like that.  I've always hung back from big decisions or major changes.  Moving, or even adopting my little brothers was an emotional roller coaster for me.  I like normalcy. I like things to stay the same and not get all uprooted and different and all that.  So imagine my incredible hesitancy to get involved with someone.

That next week, Dad headed to Starbucks to talk with David. And, after a THREE HOUR conversation (yes I was nervous about that), Dad came home and I practically pounced on him, desperate to know what this guy said about me (being pursued IS flattering ladies!) and more importantly, if Dad had sent him packing or not.  To my surprise, Dad kept saying "what a nice young man" David was, and "why don't you like him Rachel?!".  He even said things like, "Rachel, I sat next to him for several hours, and let me tell you, that guys has some gunboat arms.  What's wrong with him?"  

But in the end, Dad had conveyed the message to David that, I was not interested in getting into a relationship at that time because a) busy with school, and, b) not ready yet.  I was satisfied that David wouldn't be bothering me anymore.

Apparently David understood that I was not interested in being his girlfriend.  But I guess he didn't pick up the more subtle memo that I was NOT interested in being his friend at all.

Because.....Sunday after Sunday, he kept it up, talking to me, "bugging me", etc.

In hindsight, he was just being nice!  But I was super sensitive and all hyped up about "not getting involved" that I ended up ignoring him and probably coming across as super rude.  He's told me now that he was really confused about how to read me back then; I wouldn't talk to him, wouldn't look at him, pretty much didn't acknowledge that he even existed unless he spoke to me.

Journal Entry, May 6, 2013
"I always figured that at 20, I would so have things figured out.  I'd be mature, wiht-it, and basically ready for anything and everything.  Oh, and I'd be super spiritually mature, too.  I always thought the first guy that showed an interest in me would of course be "the one" and I'd be fully ready when he came along.  And yet?  Just sent my first "catch" to Dad, begging Dad to turn him away because A) he's not the one, and B) I'm NOT ready for this sort of thing.  Funny how that works.  Hope I can pull all this together by time I'm 30. :-("

And all this was how I saw things, for quite a long time.  It wasn't until later that summer that I started seeing things a little differently......

The Best Thanksgiving EVER

So this Thanksgiving was a little crazy, but we made it happen. :-)

Courtney called me a few weeks ago, and, after telling mom and dad that she couldn't come for Thanksgiving, she was "too busy" and all that.....well, she asked if we could secretly fly her in and surprise the whole family!!  So we did!  The night before Thanksgiving she flew in and David and I picked her up and brought her back to our apartment.  The next day for Thanksgiving, we drove out to the farm and SHOCKED everyone.  It was a blast!

We make a pretty big crowd, when we're all together!  (Which has been quite a while, with Jonathan, Courtney, and myself all having left home!!)

 Had so much fun with this girl!!

And, it was totally awesome that Courtney got to hang out and spend time getting to know her new brother in law :-)

Our first Thanksgiving married!!  (I don't know why I'm standing so weird here....don't ask.  I look like I'm ready to run or something...)  Considering last Thanksgiving I was still very much unsure about this David-guy and pretty skeptical about any kind of a relationship....well, God certainly has brought us quite a ways!! 

I am crazy blessed and I can't help thinking of all the gifts God has given me.  Especially now, being married and having been through a whole courtship experience....well, let's just say that I would be completely lost if it weren't for the Lord and my wonderful husband.  This year has been a hard one for sure....but also one of the best years of my life!  

Funny how God does that.  Turns our despair into joy and brings us to a place far better than we could have ever imagined.

Thank you Jesus! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Fixing Cars and Doing Cartwheels

It's Wednesday!  My lab day.  The day that I study hard all my cardiac notes to prep for my next big test.  The day that I drink two cups of hazelnut coffee with Cinnabon creamer.  The day I learn about nutrition in class.  And then go home and make beef fajitas for dinner.  Bring on the sauteed bell peppers!

This week has been CRAZY.  I'm learning to live like crazy because life is just non-stop right now.  Yesterday though, was pretty fun. :-) David had the day off and I only had lecture 'til one thirty so....we came home and had hamburgers outside on the picnic tables.  (However I ended up sitting on the sidewalk next to the picnic table because I was so cold in the shade....there was lots of sun on the sidewalk lol :-) 

And then we went to the park and played frisbee for like an hour.  THAT was fun.  May or may not have included leaping onto park benches to make dramatic frisbee-hurls.  And *someone* was having a seriously fun time cartwheeling down the grassy hill!!! And it wasn't me lol!!!!!  

Over the weekend the car broke down. :-( Dear old "maxi" has been so well behaved but....she let us down.  At the beginning of our relationship we decided that she was jealous of David having another woman in  his life, hence the occasional car-issues.   Not that we're married I think she's resigned herself to not being first in his life

Thankfully David was able to fix it.  My childhood dreams of having a "mechanical husband"most definitely came true!!!! haha !

It's been super nice outside recently, I LOVE being in Sierra Vista.  And I can't wait for Thanksgiving this year! Not only because of all the yummy food and getting to celebrate it with both our families, but also because Jonathan will be here for it!! Yay!!  He got leave to come back from Germany for a few weeks.  I can't wait :-)

I'm fast learning that trying to juggle being a full time student AND a great wife means I have no spare time.  (Well, I'm never bored anyway!)  And with that, I'm realizing that spending time with God doesn't have to be a 4 hour every day event (though that would be nice).  I'm learning that He isn't ONLY found in the quiet afternoons where I have nothing to do and can read my Bible for hours.  He isn't only found when I'm carefree and have all the time in the world. 

 More realistically, actually, He's found in the stuff of everyday.  The busyness.  The life part of it.  Where I have a million things to do and only a few hours to do them, and I'm stressed out and pretty much totally fried - that's the opportune time to lean on Him and recognize His presence.  To be still, and know that He is God.

And my wonderful husband here is constantly a blessing to me.  I love being married!!!!  It's more wonderful than I could have ever imagined.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

I Miss Blogging!!

Well hello there.

I've pretty much been out of the blogging world because my head is STUCK!!

Stuck in books, I mean.  I'm like living in my textbooks.  Cochise College invariably owns me these days.  It's crazy! It's this whole process of learning how to juggle all five classes at once AND end up getting higher than a B in each one to pass.  It's dreaming about unfinished assignments at night and waking up at 4:30 am to study ACE Inhibitors and Beta Blockers (this morning's joyous activity).  It's breaking down and totally freaking out because of three momentous tests all in the space of a few days. It's going without lunch because somehow you ended up with no break in between lecture and lab (8:30 - 3:30) AND you forgot a fork to eat with anyway.

But in between all that craziness?  Is stuff that makes me laugh.  Like, going ahead and eating that mac'n cheese with your fingers in the confines of the lab hall before class starts. Like, borrowing someone else's shoes for medication returns because you totally forgot to wear the required ones.   Like, giving the 77 year old Simulation Dummy patient at the lab his dosage of Lisinopril and asking him if he was pregnant or nice.  (Well it WOULD have been a contraindication for the med, if he was a she!!!)

It's all the wonderful stuff that makes this school stuff less-messy. 
Like, having a husband that took up the challenge of romancing me in 15 minutes or less.  While I was in the shower, he managed to race around the house cleaning up, lighting candles, turning on Italian music, dressing up, and then topped it off by getting down on one knee and reciting all the reasons why he loves me and why he's glad he married me.

Like, having slices of Pumpkin Supreme over candlelight together.  
Like, spontaneously dressing up nice and then going out for an Olive Garden dinner.
Going for walks together (and making neighbor's dogs go crazy by barking at them lol).
Trying to do things we did when we were little at the park (cartwheels, handstands, climbing flag poles, etc) and proving to be sadly inept at all of them.  
Having devotions together in the wee hours of the morning before David leaves for work.
Watching A Christmas Story together and figuring out our plans for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Laughing ourselves silly over my Martha Mahinski imitations and his impeccable Napoleon Dynamite imitations. (He's amazing lol).

All in all?    
We're doing well.  Very well.  Crazy busy!  But lots of good and wonderful and happy moments in between that make it all worth it :-)  

Friday, September 26, 2014