9/3/17 : One Year (Engagement) Anniversary

A year ago today was easily one of the best days of my entire life. I had my dreams of how I would ask Morgan, some more elaborate and spectacular than others. I think the most ridiculous pipe dream of a proposal was a flash mob in the street in front of the Disney castle at Magic Kingdom with Cinderella escorting her to the top of the tower where Tinkerbell flies out of. I'd be waiting there with a Mickey Mouse Ring Pop. 

Ultimately, I just wanted to surprise Morgan. We had talked enough about it that I knew I had to do it sooner than later because otherwise she'd start being on high-alert. Here's a few things to know about our engagement story. 

1) When Morgan and I first started getting to know each other, we began creating a list of things that we wanted to experience together. It was silly things like watching a certain movie that was important to one of us, or a fun road trip to our grandparents house. The reason this list is important is because something Morgan added to the list made me aware that she was interested in me: romantic, truck-bed stargazing. We checked many items off the list, but truck-bed stargazing never got checked off, even 3 years into dating.

2) Morgan is very allergic to peanut butter, but she loves almond butter.

3) Morgan spent a year in Africa as a student missionary right in the middle of our relationship and the relationships she made while there are some of the most special relationships I think she will ever have. She LOVES those kids from that orphanage. 

4) Morgan loves family. 

5) When I asked Morgan to be my girlfriend, I wrote a song to sing that ends with "Will you be my girrrrllll....friend." 

Here's the story!

So I used my album release party as a reason to get my family in town without raising any suspicion. I "impulse" bought a constellation projector, and my roommate conveniently left his Ford Ranger at our apartment. So I convinced Morgan to go truck-bed stargazing with me in a good friend's garage/shed. I remember on the way there Morgan realized that I didn't have a power cord for the projector. I don't know how I changed the subject, but I got sweaty with anxiety while I distracted her. 

We laid "under the stars" for about 15 minutes, and then I stumbled around in the dark trying to find a switch for some Christmas lights that my friends had left out after a "photoshoot or something...." I brought Morgan over there, turned on the lights and there was a TV on a stand there, where she watched this video. 


Then, this happened. 

"Is this REAL?!"

"Is this REAL?!"

After she said yes, I went over and opened the garage door which had BOTH of our families on the other side. We all had a grand time together, eating smores and ice cream!

That's the story of one of my happiest moments I've ever experienced in my entire life. Now we're married, and it's still awesome. 

Day 42: Stuck in the Middle (not the tv show)

I've been a little frustrated today. I started off the day seeing different posts on Twitter and Instagram basically along the same lines of "YOLO", even though that trend has passed, almost as quickly as I wish it had. Then I scroll down, and I see some disgusting, openly chauvinistic post, or another person who uses their passion in politics as their reason to treat someone hatefully. 

It sounds something like:
"Don't take life too seriously!" "Life is short, live it up!" "Do what makes you happy!" ...or some misguided rant that comes off angry, ignorant, hateful, and probably won't ever change anyone's mind. The former is the most universally accepted, happy-go-lucky approach that most people seem to gravitate towards, while the latter only stirs the pot, thickening the line in the sand that is separating humanity seemingly beyond repair.

My brain is just bouncing between these two polar opposite standpoints, while my own approach to life feels lost somewhere in between. Should I just laugh my way through life, enjoy the time I have, and do whatever it takes to find relaxation, peace, and pleasure? Or should I hop onto a cause and ride it angrily into the sunset, screaming why everyone not riding it with me is hateful and the degradation of our planet? Should I go all '70s on the world, peacing and loving my way to whatever floats my boat? Or do I let everything wrong in the world fuel my bitterness, and channel that bitterness to passionately fight for justice (or whatever it is people are so angry about all the time) until everyone that opposes me is left a heaping pile of ashes behind me? 

If I'm being fair, I doubt anyone sees themselves as being a part of one of these two groups. Rarely do people see themselves as "extremely" anything. All I am seeing is my perception of the world, and that perception is largely framed by what the people I follow on social media posts to their own platforms. I recognize this is a relatively small window I'm looking through. 

All I know is I'm pretty happy with where my focus is. I don't want to do whatever I want to do. I do take my life very seriously. I know that it is my duty to make the world feel more like Heaven, through love, justice, and mercy. I feel as though I have limited time, and each day wasted negatively affects the number of people I can influence with those virtues. I also recognize I can only do so much, and my emotional health needs to be in tip-top shape in order to maximize my opportunities to make a difference. I know there are certain injustices that need to be fought for passionately, but I never want my anger about the mistreatment of one group of people to cause me to mistreat another group of people. 

I recognize this is very "me" focused, but I hope there is a recognizable irony in that as my priorities are hopefully others-centered. These are just the things I believe to be true for myself. This is my framework of values that I build my life around. Days like today I'm grateful for my wife who shares this framework, as if it weren't for her, I'd feel pretty lonely. 

Speaking of which, she's awesome, and marriage is great. Love rocks. 

Day 33: 8 Weeks Ago :)

8 weeks ago today, Morgan and I celebrated our last Sabbath as "single" individuals (according to the state, at least). Our families and friends came together a day before the wedding to worship and eat together, and to just spend time enjoying each other's company. It was truly a blessing to Morgan and I, and one of the highest highlights of the weekend for us. 

Here are some pictures from that day! 

If you want to see more pictures like these, my brother-in-law posted about 250 on flickr, which you can view here

Also, a quick update: marriage is still awesome.

Day 22: "The Big Sick"

So tonight, Morgan and I went on our first date (as a married couple)! I feel like it was one of my more creative, grand, romantic gestures of my life; we had dinner and watched a movie. Morgan shot down my hopes of watching Spiderman, but there was a movie showing neither of us had heard of, and after laughing through the trailer, we decided to watch The Big Sick.

The Big Sick is a story about a Pakistani comedian in Chicago that falls in love with a white, American girl, who ends up very sick and in a medically induced coma, fighting to stay alive. I'm not really interested in giving a synopsis, or becoming a movie critic of any sort, so here's why I'm actually writing about it. Also, it was a great movie, if you can get past the many F-bombs. 

Anyways, as we're watching this young man struggle through this stressful, heartbreaking experience, I couldn't help but think momentarily about how I'd feel in that situation. I quickly came to the conclusion that it would crush me. Anything happening like that to Morgan would devastate me. I don't know why I thought so deeply about this in the middle of a movie, but I did, and I realized something that I believe to be true.

Love is an emotion that magnifies all other emotions. The more I love Morgan, the more angry I am when she says something hurtful (not that that has EVER happened). The more I love Morgan, the more sad I am when she's heartbroken. The more I love Morgan, the more annoyed I am when she's annoyed. The more I love Morgan, the more I am happy when she's happy. The more I love Morgan, the more devastated I would be if anything were to happen to her. 

This is kind of morbid for sure, but it just made me think about God for a second. Surely, He could have loved no one more than His own Son. Not only that, but His love is so deep, so selfless, and so perfect, that if this theory of mine is true, then He definitely isn't always just a jolly happy character floating in the sky, much like the way kids imagine Santa in the North Pole. No, as He watches us, and loves us, deeper and deeper each day, His heart breaks more than ours ever could, His joy reaches levels we haven't experienced yet, frustrated, happy, angry, sad...

But the thought that was loudest in my mind, was that Jesus is God's perfect Son. A relationship so perfect with love that literally it destroyed death. Literally. And He had to watch His son get put to death by the very people they were trying to save. The level of heartbreak He must have experienced. Yet He didn't stop it, because that's also how much He loves us, too. 

It's late, I'm tired, probably getting sick, so I hope that made sense, and that the love of our Creator blesses you today!

Day 20: First Days Apart

Well, Friday marked the first weekend that we spent apart since we were married. I had a concert in Rochester, MN with Azriel and so she got to spend the weekend at home in Orlando with her parents. 

I'm not a fan of being apart. I never have been, but now I ESPECIALLY don't like it. 

But I drove all morning to get home, and she traveled all day to get home, and now we're together so this is all I have to say.

Being married is still awesome and I love it. 

Day 13: "I Won't Let You Go"

Here's another one of my favorite songs. The music video is a little strange... so I posted the lyric video instead because I want you to like it too. Once you love it, watch the music video here.

Every time I listen to this song in the car with Morgan it just makes me feel very in tune with my love for her. The melody and lyrics just work so perfectly together in my mind, they pull an actual emotion out of me. 

Basically, this is me when the chorus hits.

...and by the end of the song...

Any songs able to pull emotions out of you like this? Tell me in a comment!

Day 6: Four weeks of bein' married.

Exactly 4 weeks ago today, Morgan and I made a pretty incredible commitment. I remember driving to the airport for our honeymoon the next day and saying to her, "We're locked in. We decided yesterday to be best friends forever, no matter what. We're gonna be living together when we're 65 years old. You're still gonna have to kiss me when my lips are wrinkly and my breath smells like altoids. You can't back out anymore if I accidentally pass gas in public." 

But as we talked more about it, we realized the weight of the decision, and I think it kind of felt like this:

But then again, we're young, in love, and literally just having a blast. So after 4 weeks, we feel more like we're riding into the future carrying the weight of that decision like this. 

So far, we just love being married. I know I've heard Morgan answer the "How's marriage?!" question about as many times as I've been asked it, and she says the same things as me.

We just love being together! Plain and simple.


Day 2: Like, we're alike, but we're, like, different though, ya know?

I love people. I love studying them, interacting with them, learning how their minds work, and befriending them. As a result I naturally love personality-type studies like Meyers-Briggs (MBTI) and Gallup's Strengths Quest series. 

A few years ago Morgan and I sat together in a Creative Leadership class at Union College. We took the Meyers Briggs strengths test which tells you your top 5 strengths (out of 34). The chances of having 4/5 matching strengths with someone else is something like a zillion:1, and yet, Morgan and I had 4/5 almost in the same order. 

1. Woo
2. Positivity
3. Communicator
4. Includer
5. Belief

1. Positivity
2. Empathy
3. Includer
4. Woo
5. Belief
(Or something like that)

Basically, its crazy rare how alike our strengths are. They say opposites attract but in our case it was looking more like the opposite was true. I remember that in those early months everyone thought our personalities were spitting images of each other. Shoot, I thought we were pretty darn similar too. 

Now, after 3 weeks of marriage and 4 years of dating, I can tell you we are VERY different. She likes to squeeze toothpaste with a fist and leave the cap off, I press up from the bottom. She hates lists because they stress her out, while I can't get anything done without one. She can watch the same episode of Grey's Anatomy 5 times and cry every time at the same scene, whereas I've never cried tears of joy or because something was "beautiful".

So, I've learned a lesson. No matter what you know of someone's personality, or how accurately you are able to sum someone up after a first impression, you are only getting a keyhole view of who they really are. We are all so intricately designed and uniquely complex, so take time to get to know those around you. Remove the labels, boxes, and stereotypes. 

Love and listen.