16 days

86c541efa8f7e88a45a50e7dcb11e7c816 days. 20 hours. 18 minutes… until a season of life changes, and a brand new one begins!!

As I sat in my hairdresser’s chair this week we had a moment. I’ve known her for three years and every time I go to see her the two hours in her black leather chair are filled with talks of the Lord and the craving for simplicity in life.   She’s heard the weeeeees and the woes of my dating life. And this time in particular, I began to share how the week of the wedding I plan to take some time with Jesus just to say, well, ‘Thank You’; to reflect on the years on my own, and close a chapter of my life. A chapter with no regrets and I can, with a smile of thankfulness to God, put on the shelf of life and say “that was good”.  She teared up, and so did I. She grabbed my shoulders and said, “I am so so happy for you. I hardly know you, but I am so happy for you.”

My heart is so full of gratitude.  I’m on the doorstep of becoming a wife and marrying my best friend, Troy, and as I look back on a season of life that was oh so dear, I am also fully ready to bid adieu to that season!  How many people get to leave one season and enter another with no regrets?

Just as the Lord walked with me through the years on my own, I know He will also give me the grace to be the kind of woman Troy needs. I know there will be both learning curves and glorious discoveries, and I am ready for it all!  *Ahem, sound the trumpet to get this thing going already! ;)

Let’s not wish away the seasons of life; they will go by quickly enough, and in the right time. But let’s be able to bid adieu when the time comes, and loosen our fingers from the strings and let a new season arise.

The feeling of being able to let go and embrace at the same time is truly remarkable!

(More writing and adventures to continue as a Lupul, in the near future!)

 

 

Baby Caleb

This little guy arrived a few weeks early, but was welcomed with open arms. You can see it in his big sister’s eyes ;) I have known this couple from a distance the past few years; I had served with Christine on the coffee bar at church, and knew they travelled and did Bible School together as a married couple (kudos by the way!). But it was in their home I saw the natural way they parent and are growing their family, together. Introducing Caleb…

 

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The Story of Us: The Proposal

photo (2)Troy knew that I’d be expecting a proposal at some point because we’ve just always known we were meant to be together.  It has always been easy with us, comfortable, and people have even commented that something is so peaceful with us together. It was just a matter of making it official!

You see Troy had quite the task – I’ve been slated as an incorrigible romantic and hard to please at times. He knew I wanted an ‘experience’, and not just a dinner proposal (not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with that! Each couple is different and we both just wanted something extra special). So, little did I know that he’s been planning schedules for a couple of months.

So, this last Friday, my brother texts that he and his wife are coming into town for a family ‘catch up’, since they’ve been to Europe and back and us siblings hadn’t met up yet. Nothing toooo out of the ordinary, but like I do, I was trying to figure it out.

Is this it…is it happening?!

My brother offered to pick me up at my house, and Troy texted that he would get into town and just meet us at the pub. That was my first clue – the fact that they insisted on picking me up.

So, I rushed home from work, let my dog out, and freshened up. Thinking, “What do I want to be wearing if I’m about to get engaged!!!!??” See what I mean? He had a task set before him.

So 5:15 rolled around, I get in the backseat of their car and my bro says, “We just have to swing downtown to meet Garrick (his best friend), so I can give him a lens he wants to borrow.” I played along, again thinking, “This is strange!”

We pulled up to, you guessed it, City Hall Park, and immediately my heart is pounding out of my chest and I’m looking for Troy’s truck.

Britt and Jocelyn get out of the car and say, “Lani, why don’t you hope out?” So, I do, as any girl whose about to get engaged does – she obeys.

20140502_Troy_Lani0017I start to walk up the sidewalk and I see my sister approaching around the corner with a massive (2 dozen) bouquet of my favourite coral roses.  She’s crying. And not just because she’s about to have a baby, but because she’s delivering the first note of my proposal adventure. We hug, I smell the roses, read the sweet sweet note from Troy and she says I’m off on my adventure. Are you ready for it?

We all four hop back in the car, and Jocelyn turns on a playlist that Troy has prerecorded with his voice as an intro. “Hi sweetheard. Here’s a few songs that make me think of you. I’ll meet you in a little while, but for now, sit back and enjoy the adventure.” The first song was “Great Are You Lord”, one that we had slowdanced to and cried to several months back.

As I’m wiping away the tears of love and realization of what’s about to happen, I’m escorted next to the lake where Troy and I spent a lot of time last summer. I’m told to get out of the car and walk towards what I soon find out is a good friend of mine, waiting for me down the pier.

Again, I’m pausing in my mind to take it all in.

Lani, you’re about to get engaged!

20140502_Troy_Lani0070I see my good friend Kathy with a gift in her hand. We hug. Cry. And I open another card and gift. This time, a photo book of all pictures of Troy and I.  All throughout this time my brother, a photographer, is capturing the whole journey on film. Which is now AMAZING to have!

I hug my friend good-bye, and hop back into the car with my sister, brother and his wife. We next drive to my church, and as we pull up to the front doors I see my good friends Craig and Heidi and their adorable four month old girl waiting for us. I cry some more. (I cry when I feel loved, I cry when I feel something, anything deeply!) Again, another gift and card from Troy are waiting for me.  This time, a beautiful thick journal that I have since decided I will journal my first year as a wife in! Troy’s note said how he wants me always to keep writing and that he brought us to the church because he always wants us to come to God’s house to worship. Cry some more. Hug some more.  And we’re off again!20140502_Troy_Lani0146

Being the gal that I am, I am asking questions and my siblings are ssshhhh-ing me. Not that I WANT to know, I love surprises, but what else do you do but ask?!  So we had to stall for a few minutes (I didn’t know why at the time), so we went to Starbucks. What should be the sign on the entrance door but Oprah’s latest ad to drink the new Chai latte, and it says “Say Yes to what’s next!” We thought it was so appropriate so we took a picture!

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We hop back in the car with coffees in hand, and my heart is racing more.

When will I see my Troy?

We park downtown, close to where I think we are going – the coffee shop, Dose, where we had our first date. But no, we walk into a candlelit furniture boutique shop, Hudson Madison, just down the street. Our song is playing, my ‘sibling paparazzi’ is close behind me, and I look down to see a trail of tealights lit, beckoning me forward. I look back, breathe, and walk forward. Troy comes around the corner smiling, and then we both cry! Actually, I ugly cried and have my brother’s pictures to prove it! ;)

We embraced, and held each other. To be honest, it’s a blur all of what he said, but my sister caught it on video (it’s too personal to post, but amazing to have now!). He spoke from his heart of how he wants to have a family with me, take adventures, and that I’d make him the happiest man ever. And then, “Let’s not put this off any longer…” he got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. The words barely escaped his and I squealed YES!!!

Troy put on the most massive beautiful diamond ring I could’ve ever imagined having and we held each other close. My best friend and I, about to start a new chapter. Troy then whispered, “Look behind you.” I turn around and there were about a dozen of my closest friends, some of whom were on the journey that night, all whooping and hollering!

I was in shock, and then squealed, showing off the ring and embracing my friends and family.

Troy had planned to propose at the coffee shop, but apparently there was some miscommunication and it was closed! So with some quick help from friends, we got into a beautiful shop and I SAID YES!

Now, to plan a wedding three months away! I already am ooogling as I look at Troy and say, “Hi fiaaaaaance!” ;)

God is good!

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The story of us

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I was never the girl that had her whole wedding planned out at the age of 16. I knew what age I wanted it all done by (23, only 10 years later than my original plan), but the details hadn’t embedded in my heart just yet. But I was the girl who silently trusted and waited on God’s perfect timing, and perfect choice for me. As all my friends got married and started having babies, I was off travelling and trying to enjoy being a career woman. I waited, then pleaded, and even sometimes denied the desire for a husband thinking that that would somehow bring it to pass more swiftly. All the while, I knew deep down that God’s gifts come at the right time. And this past weekend a dream came true – Troy and I got engaged!!

I am going to do two separate posts – one that shares the story of how we met and fell in love, and the other of how he proposed (it’s worth coming back for!). So for this post, take a journey with us on how we met, nine months ago, and how our story has begun…

Last summer was busy. I had a full plate of things to do like getting a new puppy, reno’ing my older townhome, serving at my church and dreaming of the next trip I would take. I had dated a lot over the past couple of years and to be honest, was tired of putting myself out there. (Apparently my nephew said to my brother-in-law the night we got engaged “It’s about time, she’s had too many boyfriends!”)

I’ll take the summer off, settle into my home, and then maybe in the fall I’ll go online again.

But, my sister and her husband would not have it. He said, “Lani, your dog is going to die, your house will sell, but you need a husband!” Fortunately for all of us, I took their push, and on August long weekend 2013 I found myself at home alone on a Saturday night with Indiana Jones on the TV and a dog for a companion. THREE, I said, THREE, ads for online dating sites played within a period of an hour (apparently single white female was the demographic for paid advertising for Indiana Jones that night!)

Hmphf. Maybe I should just go back on again. There’s no harm right?

I took the advice of the best-marketed ad, Match.com, and signed up.

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(our first selfie together, last summer by the lake as we finished our ice cream and the sunset, Troy said “We need to take a picture!”)

Meanwhile, on the other side of hello, was Troyden Lupul. A guy who had recently been through extreme heartbreak, but God had carried him through and made him stronger for it. A man who knew that God wired him to have a wife and was determined not to give up; a man who was already tired of ‘trying online dating’ and was ready to close his account the next day.

Two hours after filling out my profile and carefully choosing my photos, my inbox was filling up with ‘hi’ and lacklustre responses.

Really? That’s it?!

I was already disappointed. I went to bed, and then came Sunday, August 4.

That Sunday evening I got a note from Troyden. It was kind, brief, and really just said he loved my profile and what I had to say. (He has since told me he read my profile before he saw my pictures and then was won when he saw my photos ;) ) I was sent to him as a match on the day he was going to close his profile! And, on his birthday ;) He had facial hair (usually not my thing, and now I absolutely love it!), strong arms (mmmmm) and seemed adventurous. The three things that stood out for me in his profile were that he clearly loved the Lord, had travelled, and said ‘chivalry isn’t dead’. Ding, ding, ding! We may have a winner!

Unfortunately, the site has deleted our emails since we logged off so I honestly don’t remember all of what we shared! But 10 days after our first hello, and countless texts and emails (we hadn’t talked yet!) Troy came to town to visit J He fortunately was just finishing a job (hardwood flooring) so he had five days in a row off. We were both hopeful. Scared that the other might have some freaky voice. And filled with great anticipation.

Wednesday morning came and I had the morning off. We had planned to meet at 9:30am at City Hall Park; somewhere public should either of us end up being crazy, bald, or both.

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I was early. I wore white skinnies and a green tank top. Accessorized with curly hair and a lace vest.

A good first impression I hope!

As I stood in the middle of the park I kept turning a 360; my heart racing and my bladder’s need to unload ever increasing. As the nerves grew I finally saw this guy with a sweet smile walking my way. He had a t-shirt, vest, good shoes and a MAN PURSE!!! WHOA! I was impressed. Ding! Points earned ;) His hair was neatly in place (immediate points for having hair!). I knew Troy worked in trades, but was also a musician, so I really had no idea what his style would be! But he made a very good first impression. We hugged, heard each other’s voice and breathed a sigh of relief. Then, in true Ledingham fashion, I stuck my foot in my mouth.

“I have to pee!”

And we walked. To a coffee shop named Dose a few blocks away. Troy paid, as a gentleman does, and we sat out in the morning sun sipping lattes. After about 20 minutes or so in, Troy handed me a note, one I still have in my Bible. It said:

Lani, to say I have enjoyed getting to know you is an understatement. I am so thankful I get to meet you today. No matter what, you have been a huge blessing and encouragement. Thank you for being you. Troyden.

And on the back of the note was a beautifully hand-drawn rose.

Ding! He was earning more points.

We walked back to the park, and sat under a tree with a blanket I had in my car. And those three hours disappeared. While we sat in the shade and told stories of travel and family and what we want out of life (because when you’re 32, you just don’t waste time!), Troy asked, “Are you feeling comfortable? I sure am.”

I stopped, and smiled, “Yes, yes I am.”

Ding! He cares about how I feel in the moment!

Since the morning went so well, Troy asked if he could barbeque me supper that night at his family’s RV at the lake. Of course, I said yes and asked if I could bring my puppy. To say I was distracted at work that afternoon was an understatement!

And that night – well. WE began. A perfectly seared steak. Walking the dog for ice cream. Troy grabbing my hand and me feeling tingles and ever amazed at how natural it felt. A bonfire, and even our first kiss. Now let me tell you – I NEVER DO THAT! But, with Troy, there was ease and chemistry and I just decided to go with it! I think that first day we spent about 11 hours together. And the next four days, whenever we could, we were together. And every weekend ever since (he lives almost two hours away).

That is how we began… online, by the lake, with some good coffee and ice cream. God is so so good.

Troy makes me laugh when I’m feeling crusty. He has a third personality, ‘er, accent, we call “Hank” that he brings out when I’m down. Troy is the most generous, strongest, godliest, best friend I could ever ask for and it makes me tear up to think about how much I love him and he means to me. The little things like a man in a tool belt and that can play guitar – God gave me that. Little things like a man who will watch movies with me on a Friday night, or plan trips with me – God gave me that. Little things like a man who will call me on my crap without making me feel like less of a person, or share honestly from his heart – God brought me that. Little things like a man who will dream up inventions and pray with me every night – God brought me that. Troy is a man that challenges me, loves me as I am, has embraced my friends and family, and will even go shopping with me ;) He just, well, feels like home.

God is faithful. And I hate to say it – but I wasn’t looking. But my Heavenly Father was, all along. And His timing is perfect!

Tomorrow….find out how Troy proposed this past weekend!

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Book{worm} #2

Best Marriage Books

I’ve read a lot of dating books. Marriage books. Venus vs Mars kind of books. My Bible College days were filled with feelings of preparation and ‘make myself ready’ kind of ideals. In my early 20’s, a friend’s boyfriend was sitting in my livingroom and happened to notice a book called “Knight in Shining Armour” on my bookshelf. To my chagrin, he teased me for having a book about quitting dating to just date Jesus. He meant well, and so did I. But nothing has put marriage in quite the perspective as the two books I’m mentioning now: The Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas and For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn. Let me tell you why …

The Sacred Marriage (not to be confused or misspelled as The Scared Marriage ;) )

My mentor recommended this book to me as she had met the author years back and found him to be such an amazing guy. Gary has written other ‘The Sacred…” kind of books, but this is my first steps upon his sacred writings. The premise is that marriage is not designed by God to make us happy, but to make us holy.  To learn more about Him, learn His ways and how He really designed us to be in selfless relationship. It is filled with chapter titles such as “Sacred Presence: How marriage can make us more aware of God’s presence” and “Falling Forward: Marriage teaches us to forgive”. The book doesn’t paint some rosy picture of marriage, but places within the reader’s hand a manual of how God has designed marriage and how amazing it can truly be when Christ is the centre of both individuals within the marriage. Here’s one quote that stood out to me from the chapter, Falling Forward:

“This call to fall forward puts the focus on initiating intimacy. We cheapen marriage if we reduce it to nothing more than a negative ‘I agree to never have sex with anyone else.’ Marriage points to a gift of self that goes well beyond sexual fidelity. marry Anne Oliver calls it an ‘interpretation of being’. I like that phrase. Getting married is agreeing to grow together, into each other, to virtually commingle our souls so that we share a unique and rare bond. When we stop doing that, we have committed fraud against our partner; we made a commitment that we’re not willing to live up to.” 

Needless to say, it made me even more excited for a future marriage! You can order it here.

 

For Women Only (also accompanied by a For Men Only, written by her husband Jeff Feldhahn)

This book should be mandatory reading for all 16-year-olds. Just sayin’. It would surely have helped get into the male psyche earlier on and understand why some things do, and don’t, happen the way us girls expect. After thousands of interviews and focus groups conducted with 100% male crowd, even Shaunti herself was taken aback by what she found. What? The #1 thing most men wished their wife or significant other wished they knew was HOW MUCH THEY LOVE HER! Or the way men and women argue differently – women want to get it all out, while men need time to think and process before coming to conclusions. And often because they don’t want to say or do something that would hurt their lady. Or the way men are actually wired to be fed emotionally through sex because it makes them feel like you desire them. Trust me, pre-marriage reading at its best!!  Men are created strong and with an inner strength that women don’t have, but they also are formed and strengthened by said woman more than we realize! God truly created us for each other. Here’s a blurb from For Women Only:

“Playing Together is Very Romantic… Men want to go out and do things together with their wives, and they view that as incredibly romantic. Playing with their wives makes them feel close and loving and intimate; it offers an escape from the ordinary, a time to focus on each other – all things that women also want from romance. Here’s a great insight from one husband: ‘Most married men don’t want to abandon their wife to do guy things. They want to do guy things with their wife. They want her to be their playmate. It’s no different from when they were dating. For a guy, a big part of the thrill was doing fun things together. The woman who is having fun with her husband is incredibly attractive. If you see a woman out playing golf with her husband, I guarantee that all the other guys are jealous. Getting out and having fun together falls off in marriage because of various responsibilities, but men still want to play with their wives.’ … Talking to all these men opened m eyes to all the times I didn’t full realize that some activity Jeff suggested would have been romantic to him. In his mind, the activity wasn’t just a fun day of hiking or a chance to relax and walk around a quaint little town nearby – it was his version of a candlelight dinner.”

You can order this one here.

 

~ Happy reading!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mountain Get Away

Hello friends! I am attempting a purely mobile post !

I just got back from a couple nights in Banff and a day away with my honey in the mountains. It’s been such a long winter I needed a change of scenery, and Troy and I hadn’t yet been to Banff together!

It’s amazing how the closer you get to the majestic Rockies, your brain starts to rest just a little bit more. Even in coming back tonight I realize how the rest makes me more ready and excited for work. Go figure ;)

When I checked into my hotel room the lady at the front desk (Aussie of course) said, “We’ve upgraded you to a premium suite I hope that’s ok. It’s got a king size bed.” Is that ok? Yes. Yes that’s just fine! When we brought my bags to my room I was stunned. Half the room was windows and I had a mountain view. I felt God hug me and say, “this is just for you!”

I devoured a couple great books, and happily meandered and soaked up the lack of technology for a couple days. Ohhhh summer you can’t come soon enough. I came home very thankful! Even a couple days’ change of scenery can do wonders.

Here’s a few pictures from the weekend …

This was the view from my room at sunset the first night!

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