Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010


It was BIG news in our family when Nate fell in love. The phone lines were abuzz as I talked to my mom at least every day giving her the latest update. We brainstormed, conferred, analyzed, considered, prayed, worried, imagined and everything else a mom and grandma could do when the oldest OS/grandson is smitten.

Here's how those conversations often went:

Me: "Mom, Nate REALLY likes Lu."
My mom: "Wow!"
Me: "Mom, he's using the 'L' word with her!"
My mom: "Wow!"
Me: "What should I do, Mom? I mean, he's using the 'L' word!"
My mom: "Exactly what 'L' word is he using?"

You get the idea. It was fun musing what was going to happen next and soon my sister Denise joined in on the fun. She has a close relationship with Nate and when he was home for a visit, he stopped by her house for dinner.

After playing with his cousins around and holding the baby Rachel, Denise had a heart to heart conversation with Nate. I appreciate my sister speaking truthfully to my OS about sensitive issues and reinforcing the solid Biblical principles we endorse in our family. I can always count on her.

As a bonus this time, Denise's romantic side offered Nate even more.  She suggested Nate give Lu some jewelry. Is there any girl in the world who doesn't like jewelry?

Denise didn't suggest this

A gold retainer necklace

or anything gross like this. But if Lu wanted a mouthguard necklace, Ike has a few he could donate!

nor did Denise recommend a trinket like this. It's just wayyyyy too personal, wouldn't you agree? 
A chewed piece of gum necklace = ew
Denise suggested something pretty and romantic, a gift similar to the one she received from her husband many years ago.


A silver charm bracelet. Nate loved the idea and as he talked about it with me, I thought of the two charm bracelets I own. 

The first one I received when I was 16 years old. I can look at each charm and tell a story about every one. For example, as a teenager I received a typewriter charm for my love of writing. I have charms from at least five different countries. While on our 20th anniversary celebration to Maine, the Hubs got me a lobster net charm. And my OS gave me a West Point charm which I cherish. I don't wear the bracelets very often but I love to look at them and remember. 

Once Nate decided to buy Lu a bracelet, I had the privilege of going with him to shop for the bracelet. He wanted my opinion and I must say I jumped at the chance. We went to a small, locally owned jewelry shop and he found a very sweet bracelet that we agreed would look so pretty on her. 

Then Nate decided to get three charms. The first charm he found was a tar heel because he's from NC.

Then, while on a trip to visit family in Greenville, SC Nate found a mustard seed charm. He picked this one based on the Scripture verse "if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20 Nate and Lu trust in the Lord and believe that if this is going to work, they need to have the faith of a mustard seed and rely completely on His will in their relationship.

The final charm my OS wanted for Lu was a plane which I thought was very romantic. In an effort to help, Aaron, Ike and I went shopping with him. We went to at least ten different stores to find the right plane charm. Btw, it is not easy to find an airplane charm. We found cheap airplane charms for a little girl's bracelet and other travel-related charms but Nate wanted nothing to do with them. He wasn't going to settle. Finally after dashing around the mall, just as the store was closing, he found it. As patient as Nate was in waiting for the right girl, he was equally resolute in finding the perfect charm, not settling for anything but the best. 

The little charm bracelet traveled to El Salvador tucked safely in his backpack. Lu's father had given their relationship his approval and it was their second night out as an official bf/gf type thing. They were sitting outside of a restaurant, a tropical breeze swayed through the air. Nate presented her with a mushy card, the contents written therein have yet to be shared with me (which I totally DON'T understand!) ;) but I do know how beautiful Nate's sentiments can be and I'm only his mom. It must have been super mushy. He then handed her the rectangular box and she opened it. 

According to my OS, Lu had a "positive reaction" and that's all I have been told.  I have asked, oh, trust me, if you know me, I have asked. I have a nasty family reputation of asking too many questions. Hey, I have a major in journalism, it's my nature. Currently "lips are sealed." Waa. Perhaps a sushi lunch with my OS will pry it out of him. Perhaps not.

The one thing I know is that a lovely young lady in Central America now has a delicate, silver bauble to remind her that she is loved by a really awesome oliveshoot who is thinking of her constantly.
More soon!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Love is patient...

However, before I tell you what happened next, let me share with you how I learned about what was going on between the two of them. 

I remember talking to my OS on the phone in March. Nate told me that he chatted frequently with Lu. Judging by the tone in his voice, I sensed there was more to it than that. Here's how the conversation went when I decided to ask some questions...

Nate: "I've been talking to Lu quite a bit lately..."
Me: "Oh really? That's cool."
Nate: "Yeah, Ma, I like her."
Me: "What do you like about her? There's a lot to like."
Nate: "I don't know...everything. Just everything, Ma."
Me: "Like what?"
Nate: "For one she's drop-dead gorgeous; she's nice and funny and she's the most godly woman I've ever met..."
Me: "Wow! Well, how much do you like her?"
Nate: "A lot."
Me: (trying to sound very smooth and relaxed)"So what do you mean by 'a lot'?" 
Nate: "A lot, Mom"
Me: "Um, so Nate, do you 'L' her?" (I really did say "L" instead of the actual word...)
Nate: (without a nanosecond of hesitation) "Yes."

Allrighty then! I pulled up my big girl panties (figuratively speaking!) and realized that Nate was serious. I needed to pay attention. I needed to pray and I needed to give thanks. This was a good thing. 

And before I knew it he was in El Salvador...

And this is where we pick up the story.

For several days Nate visited with Lu and her family. He stayed in a hotel in San Salvador (by himself thank you very much) and when he wasn't with Lu, my OS visited exciting places like the Mr. Donut

He loved the volcanoes throughout the landscape, the verdant hills but the most exquisite scenery was of course, you guessed it...Lu. Having spent time with Lu in prison (yes, we have spent time in prison together, click here for details!) I know how she can light up even the darkest place! 

He arrived on a Monday and each night when Nate was in his hotel room, he and I would Skype or facebook. And I'd ask Nate in my usual extremely nonchalant fashion the same question in regards to him speaking to Lu's father. "Did you talk to him? Did ya, did ya, huh, huh, huh?" I could barely stand it when he would say, "not yet." Didn't he know or care that his mama was waiting with baited breath to hear the outcome! Zheesh!

At long last the night arrived. After enjoying a dinner with Lu and her family, petting the dog and acting charming, "the" moment was at hand. Lu excused herself and went upstairs while Nate sat in front of her mom, dad, one of her brothers and her sister-in-law. In his very limited Spanish, my boy began to speak.  If your heart is NOT beating fast right now, you better check your pulse!

Lu's sister-in-law served as translator and Nate said something like this.  Remember, this post has been cleared by my son. 

"Senor y Senora ______, we all know why I'm here. I never thought I'd go to another country to see a girl. But when I met Lu, I couldn't do anything else. This isn't something I've ever done before but I had to come here because I am crazy about your daughter. I think she's the best thing ever. Family is very important and I wanted to come here to talk to you in person. So really why I'm here is I want permission to date your daughter. I promise to respect her, take good care of her and keep Christ at the center of our relationship. I would like to ask you if I could have the privilege and the honor of dating your daughter."

I must pause here and say this. You have no idea how many guys I would have avoided if I had had a father like Lu's. A father who cared enough about his daughter and who was strong in character and faith to protect and love and to expect nothing but the best for his girl. Oh my soul, what trouble and pain I could have avoided.

Ok, but back to the story...

Apparently by this time, Lu's sister-in-law, pregnant with her first child, was in tears and translating. She took a deep breath and told my son, "You're a good man." I think that is one of the kindest things anyone could say to a guy, especially my OS. Then Lu's dad said a few things all culminating in him saying "yes." :) :) :)

And then according to my very reliable sources, Lu's dad asked my son to pray. And Nate began to pray. I give no credit to myself or to the Hubs but all the glory and honor goes to the Lord for He alone guided my OS's words and actions.

You see, for so many years prior to becoming a Christian, I  longed to raise three honorable men but wasn't sure how that was done. I wanted desperately for my precious sons to be guys who respected women. Good men are not extinct but sadly they are in short supply. We need a lot more, don't you think? I wanted to do my part to change that. 

Our family is woefully imperfect and just so you don't think I'm uppity, I don't get any credit for the blessings we've received, completely undeserving is how I realistically view myself. And for the moments I do feel uppity, well, the Lord gave me a 16 year old OS to fix that! 

But I must admit, I am a proud mama. As a mama, as a woman, I believe with all my heart in raising the bar for young people. What girl doesn't dream of someone esteeming her in this way? Seriously. 

I can't wait to share with you the next and no, it's not an engagement ring but still delightfully lovely!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Love is a many splendored thing!

The following post is published with permission by my oldest OS. When you have a son who is skilled in military stuff, you must be careful...

So my last post ended with my oldest OS journeying to El Salvador. He wanted an "epic" summer and by anyone's estimations, he was successful. In the span of 10 days, Nate traveled to Lithuania, Slovenia, Latvia (his fave), Estonia and Finland. 

Then he returned to West Point and oversaw a squad of new cadets during Beast. Being a new cadet the social equivalent of being lower than a plebe or an amoeba at West Point and I'm sure it was sweet relief for Nate is now a cow (a third year student) to be large and in charge.

Upon completing his detail, Nate boarded a plane bound for El Salvador. This is when our OS showed another side of leadership many people prefer to overlook. Submission - the action or fact of accepting or yielding to a superior force or to the will or authority of another person and that is knowing when to submit to authority. Who were and are the superior forces to whom my OS submits, you might ask?

1. The Lord Jesus Christ
2. Lu's dad...

(Enter dreamlike sequence...)
Nate eagerly passed through Customs and scanned the crowd in the airport. Suddenly his eyes fell upon the prettiest, smartest, most awesomest ;) young woman a guy has ever seen. And it wasn't just your everyday sultry SalvadoreƱa walking past him. 

No, this beautiful girl was looking eagerly for him too. She was there to see him in person, face to face for the very first time. Their eyes met, their arms hugged, apparently it was magic. It would have totally killed the moment, but I would have loved to have seen that!

They spent the day hanging out and if I know my boy, he was grinning from ear to ear. Who cares if he had barely any sleep the night before! Nate was feeling like the most blessed, luckiest guy in all of the Americas - North, South and Central! At last, he was near Lu.

My blonde-haired gringo gathered plenty of stares as he strutted around the streets of San Salvador with Lu. Yet if someone would have asked if she was his girlfriend, his answer at the time would have been "not yet." That is because Nate still had something very important to do. He needed to first ask her father for permission to see his daughter.

And unlike most of us who faced with a similar situation would have bee-lined over to Lu's house and hurriedly asked her dad just to get it over with, Nate chose the honorable and respectable option. He waited until the time was right.

I'll tell you more in an upcoming post. I need to have them "approved" before posting! :)

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.