Love Story- Part 3

20 Nov

Why is Eric calling me?  is the thought that ran through my mind when I picked up the telephone and he was on the other line.  I remember him acting nervous, which isn’t like him at all.  He is gregarious and easy-going, generally.

“I’m not usually this nervous.  Why am I so nervous?” he blurted out.

“I don’t know.”

He beat around the bush for a few minutes and then finally asked me out on a date the following evening.  I agreed and the phone call ended.

I sat down with my younger brother after the call and talked to him about it.  He mentioned to me that he liked Eric best out of all of the guys that went to our church.  I thought that was sweet of him.  When I talked to my Dad about it, his first reaction was wondering if Eric had a job, and where, and if he could financially take care of.  My mom’s reaction was that she wasn’t surprised, because she had dreamed a dream that Eric and I got married just before that.

The next night Eric picked me up and we went to Bloomington to Ned Kelley’s Steakhouse.  I was too embarrassed to pick whatever I wanted so I ordered the cheapest thing I could find on the entree menu.  Eric kept insisting that I pick whatever I wanted, but I didn’t mind having pork chops.  After we ate, we headed across the road to Grady’s which is a small family amusement park.  We decided to play mini-golf.

Something about me is that I am very strong, and sometimes don’t control my strength very well.  It surprises people sometimes, but it especially did back then when I was a size 6/8.  Well…. while playing mini-golf, I sort of hit the golf ball way too hard.  And it kind of did a line-drive across the mini-golf park, making people duck, striking the Statue of Liberty statue in the head, and ricocheting back, where more people ran out of the way.  I was mortified, speechless from embarrassment.  Eric was laughing and apologizing to people.  I thought that he’d drop me off and never ask me out again.  (Note: I’m much better at mini-golf now.  No people are in danger when I am around.  I do have a daughter very much like me though…)

After the game, he was dropping me off when Mom said that there was a pool party at a friend’s house in the same subdivision as ours.  I thought Eric would just leave, but then he suggested we go together.  It ended up being a statement to everyone we knew that we were dating.  That next month we were inseparable.  When we weren’t hanging out at his sister’s house, we were going on dates or talking for hours on the phone after he got off of work.

Mid-July, we were eating out a local restaurant when Eric told me that he loved me for the first time.  I told him a day later over the phone.  By the time my birthday rolled around, we both were very sure that we were going to get married.  We were waiting to get engaged so he could talk to my family beforehand.  My mom was in Europe for a missions trip and didn’t get back until around August.

But as soon as she got back, Eric sat down with my parents and me in my parents’ living room.  He asked permission to marry me.  Dad cried.  Mom cried.  Eric cried.  I smiled.  I’m tearing up now.  My family was 100% behind us getting married.

Now to wait until Eric asked me…

Love Story- Part 2

6 Nov

“I’ll never marry a girl who wears men’s clothes,” he said to me, a cocky smirk on his lips.

“Well, I guess you aren’t supposed to marry me,” I retorted back in my sassy, self-assured way.

That was a conversation between my now-husband and me, about a year before we started dating.

Fast-forward, to May 1997, to a trip the mime team was taking to a nursing home. We had done our pieces and I was heading out the door, when I noticed Eric praying with an elderly woman. I had the thought that Eric would make a good husband to someone. I didn’t think about myself with that thought though. I had known Eric all my life. He seemed like a nice guy, a bit cheesy in his humor, but a kind soul. Despite my wondering if he had a girlfriend when I was ten years old, I hadn’t thought of him that way as a high schooler.

Some people have special spiritual moments in their life, when God seems to speak to them, and give them some sort of epiphany that changes their life. That day, I had never heard the voice of God seem to speak to me so strongly. I know that this revelation may freak people out, but I am so sure of hearing from God that day that I’ll risk it. I was walking to the church van, when I heard the words, “You’re going to marry Eric Kopp.” At that very moment, Eric was walking in front of me. It was like he had a spotlight on him.

A week later, he went out on a date with my friend, who later that year became our county fair queen. She is beautiful, sweet, kind, and giving. I started to doubt what I heard a bit…. Already. But he only went out on one date with her. He told me later that it just didn’t feel right.

A month later, in June, the mime team was on another trip. This time we were headed to Indiana to tape our mime performances for a children’s show there. On the way there, I found that I was seated directly in front of Eric. So, I turned around and he talked to me the entire way up, about 3 hours. On the way back, everyone pretty much sat in the same seat. Eric talked to me on the way back to. I listened.

A funny happening that occurred on the way back was another team member asking Eric if he had found his wife yet. (Everyone knew he was looking.) I remember thinking, “Me!”, when this person asked this. I didn’t react though. I’m not a flirt. I never have been. The extent of my not flirting in high school resulted in a rumor going around that I might possibly be interested in females instead of males. The real truth was that I didn’t want to toy around with anyone, except the person I was meant to be with. I didn’t flirt with anyone, because I believe that flirting can be manipulative and sometimes misleading. I don’t think it is nice to do that to people. I didn’t then either. I wasn’t going to resort to flirting with Eric to capture him. I was just going to be myself. I knew what God told me. I knew that He would take care of it. He did.

Within one week, Eric called me to ask me out on a date. The reason he thought of me? I listened to him- like, REALLY listened, as if I cared. That impressed him enough to call me.

Love Story, Part 1

2 Nov

Nearly every girl grows up dreaming of getting married; what their dress would look like, how they would wear their hair, what colors they would use in their wedding… I wasn’t one of those girls.  Granted I had childhood crushes.  When I was in second grade, I had big ones on Patrick Swayze, (specifically Orey, his character from the North and the South,) and Dean Martin, not realizing that Dean no longer looked like he did in his classic Martin/Lewis movies.  As I got older, I still didn’t think of it too much.  I wasn’t interested in dating, as I was busy running track, writing fiction stories, reading, and taking ballet.  (At that point and time, music wasn’t a big part of my life yet.)  I had a few boys that I liked, but I was dorky enough that none of them liked me back.  And HONESTLY, I didn’t really care that much.

I made a list of qualities that I wanted in a husband on a piece of paper, and every once in awhile prayed that God would direct me to the right guy.  I also prayed that my heart would know who the right person was.  I was even so freaked out about it, that I asked God to give me some sort of sign, so I would know who the right person was for me. Little did I know that I would get nearly every thing on that list, and little did I know that God would actually make it really clear to me whom I was supposed to marry.

I met my husband when I was in 4th grade.  He was a junior in high school.  He doesn’t remember me.  I remember him.  Our love story starts MANY years later, when I was 18 years old. But I’ll start at the beginning, in the 4th grade…

When I was in 4th grade, I switched from going to public school, to going to a private school that had grades Pre-K to 12.  It was a very small school.  I think that my class was one of the largest, with around 13-17 kids in the grade. Basically, I spent a majority of my school days in the same three rooms, and a gymnasium.  I had previously gone to a fairly small elementary school in a farming community in central IL, so the transition from 30 kids to a class to 13, really wasn’t that jarring.

Every day we would watch the high schoolers make their way to the gym to eat lunch, since the gym doubled as the cafeteria.  The boys were rambunctious and goofy.  One of them was a guy named, Eric.   I thought he was cute.  He worked at the local K-Mart.  One time when I was 10 years old, while my mom, my brother and I were at K-Mart, Eric came up to my mom and talked to her for a few minutes.  While they were chatting, I told my brother that I wondered if Eric had a girlfriend.  *snicker snicker* As if a junior in high school would be interested in a scrawny, 4th grader with buck-teeth, and giant coke bottle glasses.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and I remember praying for Eric while he was in college.  I didn’t have any romantic inclinations concerning him, I just felt like I was supposed to pray for him, so I did.  A few years after that, when I was a sophomore, Eric ended up coming back to the private school to help teach Science.  Some of the girls had crushes on him.  I thought it was stupid to like a teacher.

A couple of years after that, I graduated a few months early so I could go to Pasadena, CA, to study dance and mime.  I left home at 17, (with my parents’ go-ahead,) for 6 weeks.  When I returned, I had found a little bit of freedom to express myself as a person.  I decided to wear my hair in two ponytails to mime practice. (Yes, I was a mime. Erg.) I also decided to wear a pair of mens’ jeans, because they had a really long inseam….

By that time, Eric had also joined the church’s mime team, at the request of his sister, who was one of the leaders.  Earlier that year, Eric and I had been put in a group together to choreograph the resurrection of Christ.  At the time, he was really into martial arts.  (He has three black belts.)  I was really into ballet.  He wanted the angels to sidekick the Roman soldiers as He came out of the tomb.  I thought this was ridiculous, and unbiblical.  A verbal sparring match ensued between us, which we got “in trouble” for.

Anyway, back to me coming to mime practice in two ponytails…  We grew up in a very conservative environment, where most of the people all dressed alike and wore their hair fairly similarly.  So picture, a boisterously happy girl with an outfit consisting of a blue leotard, a tight cream-colored shirt, and a pair of mens’ jeans, with her hair in two ponytails.  I was already different, because I had big dreams, and had a unique personality.  Dressing like that pretty much freaked some people out, as well as some of my other outfits.  Eric was one of them that specific night at mime practice.

For some reason while there, one of the guys said something about my jeans.  I said that I didn’t care if they were mens’ jeans, they were long enough for me.  (I have a long inseam.)  Eric pops into the conversation and blurts, “I will never marry a girl who wears men’s clothes.”  Since I am quick-witted, and a smarty-pants, I was fast to say back, “Well, I guess that means you aren’t meant to marry me.”

The joke was on us.

(Part Two coming soon…)

On Communities Becoming Insular

22 Oct

Being part of a healthy community is great. There you find people that support you, and encourage you in whatever your heart loves. Everyone (should) help each other out if there ever is a need or a problem. In a healthy community, everyone is included. New people join in, because there is a lot of love and acceptance that everyone needs. However, I have found that healthy communities are few, and far-between. They may have started out as a good idea, or a good work, but usually most healthy communities either fizzle out from lack of hope, or people within them try to gain control through manipulation and weeding out what they think is the weakest link or is the biggest threat to their seniority.

This happens when the “old crowd” gets too comfortable with their own illusions of who they think that they are. If anything different is thrown into the regular mix, it makes them uncomfortable. If the thing/person that is different makes them look not as awesome as they think they are, they will go out of their way to discredit this person. If the thing/person that is different doesn’t meet whatever standard they have created, (whether verbal or non-verbal,) then that person is ignored or blown off, left to the fringes of the so-called “awesome” society.

To have a community that thrives, one that incites change in its environment, and pushes people to create better things, you have to be inclusive. There can’t be rigid pecking orders. If there have been the same damn people being the big shots for years, and they haven’t moved onto higher goals and accomplishments, then the community is stifled. If there isn’t an inclusion of different colors, (whether of skin, style, social class,) then the community is stagnate. If the community looks the same as it did years before, without an improvement, then the community is dying a slow death. The big shots will grow old, bored, or quit. The “middle class” will find something else to garner its attention. The “poor”, or those not included in the community, will have moved on, and found a place with more fertile soil to grow in. (Perhaps becoming better/more successful than the big shots of the insular community that they were pushed out of.)

Communities have to evolve or they will die out. People have to allow change, let go of the reins, and shake off pride. Otherwise, things become droll, mundane, and lifeless. However, a community that opens itself up to new ideas, to new people, and to new ways, will incite a true revolution. A true revolution can’t be denied, because its aftershocks affect generations. GENERATIONS!

A community becoming insular will self-implode. A community growing exponentially, because of INCLUSION, will outwardly explode into true revolution, and the world will feel it roar.

Canning

6 Oct

This is what we’ve been doing since the spring.

DSC_0133 DSC_0136 DSC_0063 DSC_0064 DSC_0065 DSC_0081 DSC_0084 DSC_0086 DSC_0091 DSC_0108 DSC_0114 DSC_0122

And this:

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And this:

green beans mint and oregano cucumber relish jelly cabinet pumpkins and maters pickles

Regrets, If Only’s, and Because Of’s

5 Oct

I was thinking today about regret.  In my life, regret comes too late.  If we would have that ominous feeling before we did something or said something or made a choice, we probably would have not done or said the things that we did.  Looking back at my life, it has plenty of “if onlies”.  “If only” I would have never answered that ad on Craig’s List….  “If only” I was wiser about some of the things that I know now….  “If only” I would have seen this situation in a different light sooner….

But without these “if only’s”, we wouldn’t have regrets.  And without regret, we wouldn’t see how we need to change.  If we choose to swallow pride, then we can change.  When we choose this change, then we can embrace the “because of’s”.  Because of my bad choices in a situation, I am a wiser, stronger person.  That’s when you can look at the regrets and if-only’s and find peace.

“The pendulum swings to find the middle

The sparrow falls so she can land

New strings are tuned on worn-out fiddles

As the fiddler plucks their strands

To play with the sojourn band….”

 

A Little About Destiny

26 Sep

There have been doors closed in my music career that I haven’t understood why they were closed, because they were noble causes. Sometimes I grieve a little bit as I look back at those blocked passages. But they were paths that I tried to force… unnatural and unwanted.

When I turned around, I looked at the dim future with squinted eyes, not knowing what was ahead. It took awhile for my eyes to adjust. Always, my path is only illuminated a step or two ahead of me. It takes faith and courage.

So, I step forward, in the here-and-now, finding peace because there is hope. The present is what is tangible; the only thing I can truly see.

It looks a bit different than I thought it would. I’m wearing a different set of clothes than before. They were uncomfortable at first, but the clothes had my name on them; they are woven with experiences and threaded with wisdom. I gladly wear them, as I walk with more confidence than I ever thought I could muster. This is my destiny.

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