Wednesday, March 26, 2014

10 years ago today

It was 10 years ago today that I was only 15 years old, had never had a boyfriend and had never been kissed.

A junior at my high school had asked me out about a month ago, and we had spent each weekend together since. We went to a friends' house, saw the movie "Miracle" and held each other's sweating hand throughout the film and we later hung out instead of going to Turnabout --- although Nate had been invited by a friend of his.

We had hung out in each other's basements, and I knew that Nate wanted to kiss me, but I hadn't let him yet. I just acted like I didn't know what he wanted and let him kiss me on the cheek as I stared straight ahead and didn't make eye contact.

It was a few weeks later --- March 26, 2004, to be exact --- and we were in Nate's basement. We were watching some movie, and I got the feeling that Nate was going to try to kiss me again.

OK, Kiley. Just turn your head.

I stared straight forward.

Turn your head.

I stared straight forward.

Turn your head.

I turned my head.

Nate kissed me on the lips, and my heart started to beat out of control. My first kiss!

Then my mind started to race, and I freaked out mentally. I couldn't see what was going on the TV screen anymore, and as I put on my shoes that were sitting by the oak kitchen door, getting ready to go home, I wasn't talking.

Nate opened the door of his blue Oldsmobile Cutlass, and I slid onto the blue, matted bench seat. I still couldn't make myself open my mouth.

I don't want to be kissing a guy that isn't even my boyfriend. How do I tell him that? He hasn't asked me to be his girlfriend, but this is going against everything I thought. I don't want to ask him out, but I can't keep kissing him if we're not dating.

The thoughts kept coming as we drove out of his neighborhood, turned right, turned right again and again. Nate kept looking at me.

Just say it, Nate, I don't want to kiss a guy that I'm not dating.

"Are you OK?" Nate asked, looking sideways at me.


Just say it. You're getting closer to home, you don't have much time. Nate, I don't want to kiss a guy that I'm not dating.

"Are you OK?" Nate asked again.

Say it.

Say it.

Kiley, say it.

"I don't want to kiss you if we're not dating."

"I thought we were," Nate said. "Do you want to?"

"Yes. Do you?"


A big smile spread across my youthful face as all the stress floated away. Nate smiled back at me, his gorgeous smile full of braces-covered teeth.

We bumped up the gravel road to my house and he stopped in the driveway.

"Thanks," I said.

I ran inside and up to my parents room, going to my mom's side of the bed, where she was reading while my dad snoozed.

"I have a boyfriend."

It was 10 years ago today that I was 15, had my first kiss and had my first boyfriend.

It's 10 years later, and I've had lots of kisses, but only from one man. I only had one boyfriend, who became my fiancé and my husband. It's been 10 years, but it's still only the beginning.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A spontaneous trip and some time together

Life often moves faster than we expect, especially as we get older it seems.

With overtime shifts, evening meetings, dance class and other activities in our lives, it feels like Nate and I have hardly seen each other this week. Two nights in a row, I was talking to my mom on the phone when I got home and told her I had just missed Nate or I waved at him while I was pulling in and he was leaving.

We're incredibly busy, and we don't even have kids!

Last night, we decided to drive to a nearby city and just spend time together out of the house. We went to Sam's Club and stopped by the mall to return some items and got some dinner with gift cards we had in my wallet. We ended the night by stopping at a casino on the way home - we're not gamblers often, but we do it for entertainment sometimes - and won $22.

It was nice to just have some time to be together. It didn't matter where we went or what we did, we just needed to set aside some time together.

Setting aside time to be together can really get difficult in this day and age, and you have to be aware of it. On Friday night, I thought about holding a make-up dance lesson, but then I realized that was the only evening Nate and I would have together, so I moved it back a week.

Time together is also a reason that I consciously decide not to get involved in too much stuff. People say "yes" to this club and that organization and this activity and that sport, and pretty soon they never see their families or friends. It doesn't make for a happy life, it makes for a stressful life.

I used to think it was weird when my parents would just go for a drive. Why would you want to get in the car and not go anywhere? I get it now. When we were driving last night, it was a time to talk and laugh and listen to music and just take some time to be together. It's not about where you're going but who you're going with.

It's getting harder and harder to find time together, so that time becomes precious. I really encourage everyone else to think about how they spend their time and start saying "no" to a few more activities so they can start saying "yes" to their families. That's what is important in life.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Say no to sin?

We think sin leads to happiness.

If my husband leaves the light on and I angrily bring it up and tell him he's wasting electricity and always leaving stuff in when I ask him not to, I think it's going to feel good. I think getting my anger out will make me feel better.

Sin doesn't lead to happiness I'm the long run though. It will ultimately hurt us, our relationships with others and our relationship with God.

Getting mad at my husband might feel good for a moment but then I can feel his annoyance at me for my impatience or his own anger that I bring up his mistakes when I make plenty of my own. My moment of happiness had become a small roadblock between us, doing nothing to help our relationship.

I mIght decide to stop bringing these topics up, but I can still feel the anger welling up in my heart when the lights have been left on after my husband has been home for hours. Eventually I need a release and will bring it up and let my anger win again.

Martin Luther called sin the ultimate form of cannibalism because it will destroy you, binding you to where it's going.

So how do I stop going back to anger and sinning?


It's not about standing our ground, because we will fail.

We shouldn't stop, we should run in the opposite direction, which is to Jesus. The Holy Spirit will give us new affection for Jesus, and we will want to enjoy Jesus rather than trying not to enjoy sin.

In Robin Jones Gunn's Christy Miller series, a character talks about saying he's rather than no. When he accepted Christ he said "no" to his old way of life and sin. But that left him empty. He had to start saying yes to Jesus and what Jesus wanted him to do.

Growing in Jesus will help you not just stand against sin but to get rid of the desire for your sin.

Don't just say no to whatever sin pages you, say yes to Jesus. Live for him and the desire to live for yourself and your own feelings will slip away over time.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Gift of a name

When I spell out my last name now, it's a whole lot easier than my maiden name.

For one thing, it's half the letters. Secondly, these letters don't need sounded out phonetically because they don't sound similar to other letters like the ones in my maiden name.

Those were definite perks to changing my last name when I got married, but it's not the main reason to change your name when you marry.

Taking on your husband's name is a gift from him. He has given you a ring and said "I do" in his marriage vows, but sharing a last name is like him telling the world that you are his and he is yours. You are a new family that is united not only by law and in spirit but in name. You are one.

It has become more and more popular for women to keep their maiden name or to hyphenate when they marry. That never occurred to me to do, and I know that Nate wouldn't have liked that. Even when women put their maiden name in parentheses on Facebook, we see it that they're hanging on to their single identity. (People can still search for you by your maiden name even if it's not in parentheses after your name).

For some women, they want that sense of independence. They think that taking on their husbands name puts them in a servant role, that they give up who they are.

You do.

That is what marriage is all about. You should give up your independence and put yourself in a servant role. Not just the woman, but the man as well. Getting married means that you are no longer yourself, you are now a pair. Everything you do, every decision you make becomes what you do for the two of you, not just for yourself. Even sharing a name is a reminder that you are now totally and completely one.

For some couples, it's easier to not change your name in case of divorce. It takes a lot of time and effort to change your name. There's not only a passport and a drivers license, there are credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts, student loans, mortgages --- the list goes on and on. What if you get divorced and then have to go back and change all of that again because you want to have your maiden name back?

That is the exact opposite of what you should be thinking when you get married. You should not go into a marriage expecting or even preparing for it to fail. That is something that is hugely wrong in our society. Marriage is not convenient and it is not temporary. It is forever. Even if something eventually goes wrong, you deal with it. You don't give up. Don't make getting divorced easy or it could even be a temptation to just give up, because it's easier than working out your problems.

Women, think of changing your name not as difficult or giving up yourself. Think of it as a gift exchanged between the two of you. It is a gift from him to you, a deep part of himself. It is him claiming you as his, forever. It is a gift from you to him, giving up your maiden name and your single life to tie yourself to him, forever.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Bahamas: Part VI

I'm a little behind in the blogging, because I started a new job this week! But here's the next segment of our vacation.

I think we can sum up our final two days of vacation with one word, relaxation.

In St. Lucia, we only had four days on the island, and they weren't even four complete days due to traveling. That meant I wanted to fit in everything possible in that short amount of time. It was fun, but we didn't necessarily just lay around and relax to the max.

Thursday, we ordered room service for breakfast again. I wanted to try the yogurt parfait, because I had one at the buffet the day before and it was delicious. However, it wasn't quite the same when it came to our room. However, I also ordered some croissants, and Nate was over-the-moon about how delicious they were. The resort has an actual French chef who certainly knows his way around pastry.

The rest of the day literally was spent on the beach. We read our books all morning, then we ate lunch at the little cafe — and after we left apparently the seagulls ravaged my leftover French fries — and then we spent the afternoon on the beach again.

We had reservations at the French restaurant for dinner, and after getting dressed we went down to the pier. We snagged a little table and two glasses of wine, and then we watched as waves started to crash onto the beach, higher than we had seen so far.

Thursday provided a huge storm for Florida, but we had seen on the radar earlier that day that it curved around and just missed the Bahamas. We figured the waves coming in were remnants of the storm that were reaching our little island.

When it was late enough, we headed to the restaurant. Our table overlooked one of the pools, but the nighttime dew had clouded up the glass so we really couldn't see anything. We ordered crab cakes to start with, and they were fantastic. They were quite different than what we have usually had, with a sauce that provided a little bit of sweetness. Then Nate ordered lobster tails, and I had duck. Both entrees were fabulous, and that's one of the best parts of being in an all-inclusive resort, you can order what would be the most expensive items on the menu and not worry about paying for it!

Friday we had breakfast in the French restaurant, and I downed another delicious parfait — this one with Greek yogurt and fresh honey, yum — and Nate ate about six croissants smothered with the jam provided on the table.

We lounged on the beach, went sailing and finally met for our snorkeling appointment. The boat took us out to a different spot than it had been going the rest of the week due to the huge waves that were still rolling in after the nearby storm.

Nate and I tried to hold hands as we swam about, but the choppy water wasn't conducive, and he had a tear in his flipper that made it harder for him to swim without losing the appendage. We saw a fish that had turquoise and hot pink scales, striped fish, blubbery fish and tiny, darting fish. Someone brought a can of spray cheese and it sprayed pieces that looked like little worms in the water, so a school of fish quickly crowded around us. I could almost touch them.

That afternoon, we came across one of the couples we met earlier in the week and spent the day chatting with them in the pool. We even tried the hot tub when the sun went down, but it ended up being a little too warm so we just sat around the bubbling water.

We had planned on going to the final restaurant we hadn't tried for dinner, but honestly we were tired and ended up ordering room service and staying in our room all night.

When we stayed in our room, my instinct was to feel guilty because I should be enjoying the outdoors while on a tropical vacation. However, I decided it was our vacation and if that's what felt good then that's what we should do.

So, looking back, I'm glad we just relaxed. It was a completely rejuvenating vacation and one we'll look back on with fond memories.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Bahamas: Part V

In St. Lucia, we didn't dare travel outside the bounds of Sandals, because the entire island looked a little sketchy for tourists. In the Bahamas, we felt a little safer so we decided to go downtown to a couple of tourist destinations we read about.

We left pretty early on Wednesday morning, although we had to address the fact that at some point I lost our Sandals id cards, and we went outside the resort to catch the No. 10 bus. We saw a bus station across the street by Burger King — I guess American fast food is everywhere — but none going in the direction that we wanted. So we crossed the street and caught a bus that said it would take us downtown.

A few more people joined us, and then most got off at the downtown stop that included the famous Nassau straw market.

I wanted to purchase something for my mom and mother-in-law as well as look for a holiday ornament like I have gotten on our other vacations and something to set on the accent table that Nate had just made for our living room.

And I wanted to do it all on $30, because we forgot to hit the ATM in the U.S. before we left and that's all the cash that we had.

We started to walk around the straw market and attempted to avert our eyes from the vendors that were calling at us the moment our strides started to slow. I read a review that said do not stop and look at anything or talk to them, because they will not leave you alone. So I tried to see what they had to offer without slowing or looking interested, it was difficult.

Nate said I should employ his dad's trick, that whenever anyone would talk to him he says, "Hot coffee," so they just think he's insane and stop bothering him. We did say it, but mostly to ourselves, because we felt ridiculous.

I saw a beautiful wooden flower at several vendors and thought it would look good on our accent table, so I was ready to make a deal. A woman said it was $40 and gave me the sales pitch about how amazing it was.

It was pretty, but No. 1 it wasn't worth $40 and No. 2 we didn't $40.

"I'm thinking more like $5," I said.

She said she couldn't do that and again told me it was made of mahogany and the petals came off for travel and she could go down a little bit.

"OK, I'll give you $10."

She didn't like that and said no lower than $30. Well, I couldn't give her all our money and didn't think the flower was worth it, so we walked away.

Within five minutes, we tired of the people calling us "Sexy" and "Beautiful" and trying to get us to buy crap we didn't want, so we left.

We started to walk down the street and went into a souvenir shop, in which we found a similar flower to the one I had bartered for, and it was $19.95. I knew I was being ripped off earlier.

Down a couple of stores, there was a linen shop and it had a Christmas Village inside, so I went in search of my ornament. We had checked the gift shop at Sandals before we left and saw that ornaments cost about $20. Many in this shop were around that price, but a group of handpainted balls were only $9. They were pretty and even handmade, so I purchased one as our memorabilia.

We knew we would need some change for the bus fare back, so Nate stopped in Dunkin' Donuts — exotic yes? — and purchased a bottle of Dasani water. We hoofed it up a couple of blocks to Graycliff Hotel, where Nate had read about Cuban cigars made there.

The story is that Fidel Castro's own cigar roller started a cigar business at Graycliff, and the people making the cigars today are still all Cuban. It's basically a Cuban cigar but made in the Bahamas, so it's legal to bring in to the U.S.

Graycliff is supposed to be a five-star hotel, but when we walked in, we were a little shocked. It was old, but very pretty. The grounds were covered in trees, and a path wound around to the different destinations outside. We found that not only does it have a cigar-rolling place but also a whiskey distillery, a chocolate shop and several restaurants.

The place was huge, and there were seating areas everywhere. But there were no people. It was like being in a ghost town.

We found the cigar shop, watched people roll them — but they acted like they wanted to be left alone — and purchased several to bring back home. We then got lost trying to find out way back out, and when we left we decided to head back to Sandals. We were not liking being out in a strange place with no protection and wanted to get back to the gated resort.

We caught the No. 10 bus, and by caught I mean we literally jumped in a bus that was passing by as the driver slowed down for us, and I was sitting on the plastic-covered seat in my sundress thinking how I was starting to sweat in the heat of the sun coming in the open doorway. A native in front of us reached over and tried to close the door, but it was strapped back.

The driver asked her if she wanted to move to the back of the bus and slowed down so she could switch seats to get out of the "wind" that was making her cold. COLD! I cracked up that she could think this weather was cold.

The afternoon was spent lounging in the sun, with not a care in the world.

That evening we had hibachi, and although it was fun and a good try, the Bahamian man making it just didn't quite have that Asian edge.

We went to bed satisfied and excited that we still had two full days of vacation left.