Sunday, January 10, 2010

I've mentioned before that Ben and I met online ( to be exact). We both signed up for different reasons and though unconventional, our meeting was absolutely a God thing. Neither of us were actively using our memberships and in fact, we didn't find each other. Match sent Ben an email with "good matches." Lo and behlod - downhomecowgirl turned out to be a "match" made in heaven (gag-me-with-a-spoon, I know).

Anyway, long story short, he winked at me, I winked back, we emailed, we met and then were married a year later. Our romance was a whirlwind and romantic despite our online meeting. We spent 5 months emailing each other series of random questions and answers that allowed the other to really get a feel for who we were. We were honest and unassuming. Through our hours of writing we developed a friendship based on shared beliefs and a mutual respect for each other. I cherish our old emails to each other and have a lot of fun rereading them every once in a while. It's easy to see how I feel in love with this amazing man! I hope to make a book of our emails so that we can keep them forever. I think it's cool that we have actual proof of our time getting to know each other (for the record, we didn't start "dating" until after we had officially met in person. We were "just friends" for a handful of encounters before actually admitting we were smitten).

All that to say, I thought it'd be fun to post some of our emails. Here's one (his email and then my response). Enjoy!

"Hey Stephanie! I finally have a chance to sit down and write you, although you're probably already in bed. I really liked your responses to my questions! I feel that those types of questions help me get to know a person more than what's on the surface. Here's my answers: You win the lottery for one million dollars. How will you spend it? I'd of course rid myself of the little debt I have. I'd then give my parents money for their pay off their loan, and be able to remodel, get some new furniture, and do some landscaping. Just to have a humble place that they are proud of! Then I too would help my sister pay for school, as she's a freshman in college right now. Next I would put a chunk of it into a CD so that I would have some form of savings that I could not touch, and really be able to think about how I should spend it. Then I would travel. I'd go everywhere. New Zealand, the Philippines, ride the Euro rail all throughout Europe, visit South America........I would do it modestly, and not seek luxory, but really pursue the adventure and culture. I would definitely take my best friend at the time to share it with, and possibly my sister. Finally, I'd come home after exploring the world, and have a better grasp of where I would like to apply the money towards ministry. It would most likely go towards either my good friends in Africa who work with orphans, or the organization that my mom is involved with, providing homes for the orphans of the Philippines. Finally, I would invest in a little bit of property somewhere, and a new reliable car or pickup. You can click your heals 3 times and end up anywhere instantly. I would like to be somewhere far away from civilization, on top of a huge peak. Just leave behind the craziness of life, and spend time talking to God in his beauty! You visit the doctor and he says you have one week to live. How will you spend your time? Definitely with my loved ones. Family and close friends all around me, but I don't know if I would want to tell them. I think I would rather it not be a pity party, but more of a happy time! Enjoying everyones smiles, private jokes that only you and your family get, listening to my mom sing as she's cooking, or watching my dad fall asleep to a football game. Then there's my sister talking in a ridiculously funny voice to the dogs, and them trying to understand. Being in that environment would be definitely the best. I would also try to write something in that time to leave behind. Something that would maybe encourage people, and hopefully spur an interest in those that might not know Jesus. It would be for anyone and everyone that would want to read it. Favorite verse? A very hard question, because there's just so many that I like. One that has stuck with me is Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things unseen. Favorite song/songs? Also hard. I'm not sure how to pick a favorite. I guess I could just name a handful: Van Morrison, Brown Eyed Girl Eric Clapton, Tears From Heaven Rascal Flats, Broken Road Stevie Ray Vaughn, Voodoo Chile' Johnny Cash, Burning Ring of Fire Mindy Smith, Hurricane Jack Johnson (in general) Linkin Park, Breaking The Habit Dave Matthews Band (in general) Five For Fighting, 100 Years Sister Hazel, Champagne High ..........the list can go on and on all night! Well I'm envious of you for getting to visit Scotland, but definitely hope you have a great time! Right now I'm hanging with one of my good friends that is visiting from tri-cities, Washington. I grew up with him in Montana. We were even in a band together back in high school! Right now we're listening to his favorite worship songs, and then we might go out to a jazz club tonight. Anyways, I'll end this now. Good night. Talk to you later."

"Hey Ben! I understand the time difference thing, and right now, I just finished lunch, but you're still sleeping (unless you get up really early). I enjoyed reading your answers! Here are mine: Best Prank First of all, if I was in an outhouse and it started moving, I would totally freak out!! I'm not a big prank puller, mostly because I laugh too much and I'm not very patient when I try to pull tricks, so I usually give myself away. I'm pretty good at throwing cold water over the curtain while my roommate is in the shower...she hasn't gotten me back yet, but I totally deserve it! I am however, a very good target. I spook easily, and scream accordingly (especially when people jump out at me). The best pranked pulled on me was when I was a sophomore in high school. It was my friends birthday and we were having a weekend long slumber party at her house. Because it was around Halloween, her mom had decorated the house very spookily and after walking home from the football game (in the dark, so we were already a little scared) we settled in to watch some horror movies. In the middle of the first movie, we heard some scratching on the porch, but her mom looked and didn't see anything, so we forgot about it, a few minutes a man in black came screaming into the living room and we about lost it! Turns out my friend's mom had set it up with her boyfriend, and after our hearts started beating again, we got back to our movie. The next night, after re-living our previous night's experience to the other girls who had joined the party, we decided to go tee-peeing, a slumber party must. We piled into the mom's car (there were probably 7 of us in the little thing), and somehow we got onto the topic of my when my friend's mom had been stalked. She told us her frightening story when we noticed a black suburban following us very closely. We tried to lose it, by turning different ways, we even put the blinker on the opposite way we were turning, but they still followed us. Heather's mom decided to go through the arbolata (a little section of my old town), but right outside the graveyard (perfect, I know), the car started jerking and Cindy (the mom) said she didn't know what was going on. We were all in the back holding hands as hard as we could, scared out of our minds...when the car stopped completely. Us girls started screaming as loud as we could, when all the doors of the suburban opened and 4 guys ran at our car...the screaming got worse, and my friend beside me was crying and hyperventilating. The boys slammed on our windows, when someone said "that's Brian!", the brother of the girl beside me. The whole thing was a set up, even the stalker story. Needless to say, we gave the boys a hard time, but were never able to get them back to the extent they got us! Favorite snack Way to go on being a healthy eater! I try, but here it's impossible! They fry everything (gross!) and serve potatoes with every meal (I'm not a fan of them), I'm excited to get back and start making my own meals again. I love popcorn, but my favorite type of junk food are cheetos...I've never grown out of them! I prefer uncooked vegetables, and I love cucumbers. Green peppers are also yummy too. At school I typically have cereal for breakfast and a sandwich for lunch. My friend and I usually cook our dinners, normally chicken. We got quite creative last year and we mastered a few dishes. I love desserts and I love to bake. Brownies are always excellent, and there's nothing like a fresh-baked chocolate chip cookie. Oh, and the best ice cream ever is Ben and Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk...just a warning though, it's addicting! Did I mention I have a sweet tooth? I'm a big snacker, a habit I'm trying to break, and I also eat when I'm bored, for comfort, or just because I can! Snacking isn't quite as bad when I'm at home, because I have a gym right there, but here, I can't do that. I try to get my 10,000 steps a day in though, it's good for the heart! First kiss I was 12 and at Skating Plus. After a few hours of holding hands around the skating rink (the coolest thing to do!), we were standing in a little alcove, and he came and kissed me. I was really nervous, and not at all sure what to do. It was cold and sloppy, and my braces didn't help the situation any, but I loved it! Immediately after, my friend dragged me into the bathroom where we squeeled as little girls do. Now, eight years later (and perfectly braces-less), I I'm a little better off than I was back then...I sure hope so anyways!! Favorite childhood memory I have a lot, but the one that warms my heart the most is from when it was just my mom and I. She always had something planned for us to do, but one of my favorite things was going to the beach to feed the seagulls. We would pop a huge paper-bag full of popcorn, which took a while to fill up, because we'd eat as much as we'd put in, and head to the beach. I remember throwing handfuls to the swarms of birds that would come as soon as they realized what was going on. I always tried to throw some to the little birds that kept getting bullied out of their share. The best part about it though, was just being with my mom. When her and my dad divorced, I became her world. She was so in love with me (still is) and I was always her number one priority. I have a lot of memories where it is just her and I, and they're all happy and full of love. One of my favorite memories with my Dad is when we were motorcycle riding. My brother and I were only 5 and 6 probably, and we had a little yellow 50 (a tiny little bike). Because there was only one bike, we had to share, which was fine. I hated going down hills, and my brother loved it. Just outside our camping spot was a little hill. Decked out in my pink and purple gear, I would run to the top of the hill and wait for my brother to ride up, where we would switch and I would ride the bike down and then look to my dad for a little praise, which he always gave. As we got older, and our bikes got bigger, my brother wanted to drive more, and I was content riding on the back. I don't go riding much anymore, since my other family moved up to Oregon, but I now prefer to ride on my own bike, and I can keep up with the boys...mostly anyways :). Unique/quirky traits I cannot sit still--I'm always fidgeting or moving somehow. I stand with one foot cocked sideways with my a hand on my hip, and I often get mocked about it, but it's comfortable to me! I don't snore, but I breathe loudly when I sleep. I get cold easily, so I'm often wearing sweats and sweatshirts. If I'm at home, I'm ususally wearing pajamas or warm-up pants of somesort, and I often wear sandles with socks, but not outside of the house. I walk fast and talk faster. I often stumble over my words because my mouth can't keep up with my head. I am very social, but I'm shy at first, however like you, I warm up quickly. When I'm in a group situation where no one else is offering a response, I usually speak up--I feel as though it's my responsiblitity for some reason. I'm a really good procrastinator, and I stay up far too late for my own good (I'm working on going to bed eariler, preferably before midnight). Also, if you haven't already noticed, I'm quite random, though there's always a logical thought process behind my randomness. I'm a respectful and loyal friend, but I can sometimess be overly-sensitive and take things personally, but my logical self soon kicks in and I quickly get over it. That's a big chunk, and all I can think of at the moment, so I'm moving on. First time God spoke I was a freshman in college. I was taking a class called "A Candle in the Dark, Science vs. Religion." My professor played the role as devil's advocate in order to stir up the emotions of the class. He always seemed to stir me up! One day, we were discussing evolution, and I defended my points as best I could, but faith is not scientific, and my professor and I started debating quite fiercely. He kept rejecting my faith as evidence and I was trying hard as I could to say it was enough for me, but he wouldn't back down. I eventually began to cry and when class left, I was worn out and frusterated. I went straight to my room and randomly opened my bible. I began to read, Hebrews 11 "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Those words spoke volumes, and I immediately calmed and became filled to a whole new level of joy. I knew God was with me, and I was not walking alone. I felt His presence so powerfully and fully. It was amazing how at that very moment, He spoke the words I needed to hear. I had heard about it, but never experienced it until that day, and it's a feeling I can't properly describe! It was amazing! My professor, by the way, was quite proud of the way I stood my ground, and still respects me now. Ok, I have to go...I have class!"

$ Mrs.BigTime

Monday, January 4, 2010


Over Christmas two good friends of ours got engaged!

(On the left) Andrew and Andrew (cute, huh?!?) have been dating for a while and after Christmas Andrew drove from Montana, where he was visiting his family, to California, where Andrea was visiting her family, to surprise his lady with a proposal! So sweet! We could not be happier for these two and we pray many blessing as they plan their wedding and start their life together!

Upon hearing that Andrew was planning on proposing soon, Ben and I began talking about our engagement. I've always said that it is one of my fondest memories. It's such a sweet time for a couple because never again do you plan to change your life so profoundly. As a girl, I was super excited to plan my wedding, be a bride and show off some serious sparkle, and for a guy it's like (as my husband said) "giving someone the best Christmas present ever!" It's always fun and exciting to give someone a gift you know they will love, well, an engagement ring is just that, only the absolutely most awesome gift ever!

I loved getting engaged and being engaged, but it doesn't hold a candle to being married - I sure love that!

Here's a picture from our big night:

Have a great day!

$ Mrs.BigTime

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hello 2010!

Happy New Year!

My sweet man and I rang in 2010 last night cuddled on the couch with a bottle of fake bubbly and smooched as the ball dropped. We spent this first day of the new decade watching Oregon get their butts kicked (well maybe not "kicked" but patted for sure) and catching up on the last season of LOST (man, I hate to love that show!). It's been perfect. Right now Ben is downstairs making one of my favorite dinners, "Filipino Breakfast" which is rice (we use brown) with eggs over-easy and bacon. Ben says that traditionally it's a ghetto meal because it's just a mix of whatever is on hand, but I love it! What does that say about me?

Last night we talked about big events that happened in the last 10 years some of which included moving states, new jobs, graduating high school and college, joining the military, leaving the military, living in England, backpacking Europe, music, nursing, online-dating, meeting true loves, falling in love, getting married, living together, starting a career, falling deeper in love, losing loved ones, divorce, marriage, babies, puppies and two people making a home and family of their own.

We have been very blessed the last ten years, and we are not unaware of it. We are so very thankful for every gift that we have been giving and we hope that we are good stewards of our gifts in the next ten years.

Not unlike many others out there, we made resolutions for 2010. I'm not usually a big resolution person, but I thought I'd make a few ones this year. A few are real ones that won't necessarily ever been "checked off" my list, but continually strived for. They are:

1. Continue to grow as a wife. I am so thankful for the man I am married to. He is my biggest blessing and I am truly honored to be his wife. That being said, marriage takes work, as does being a wife. Ben and I are in a really good place and our home and hearts are filled with contentment and joy. We are thankful for this sweet season and we know it will strengthen us now and for the rest of our life together.

2. Reach my goal weight. It should be said that my goal changes. Sometimes it's pretty low and seems unobtainable, other times it's more reachable but either way it's better than where I am now. I ended this year 15 lbs down, and I'd like to work on at least another 15 more and then figure out how in the heck to keep it off.

3. Run a 5K. I hate running but I have a strong desire to make it a part of my life. I don't know why I want to do this, but I do. Maybe because I have always thought that I couldn't run and I want to prove myself wrong. Either way, the Shamrock Run is in March and I have the Couch-to-5K saved on my desktop.

4. Go backpacking.

5. Visit our families, all of them.

6. Read books. I don't care how many, but just read some. Maybe even finish one of the three I have started.

7. Cook more. Eat less.

8. Redecorate our bedroom. Our bedroom is okay right now, but pretty simple. We love our living room and our office, but our bedroom needs some help. I'd love to paint it but I can't decide on a color. I really want curtains and a dresser for Ben. I really think a bedroom should be a sanctuary and a romantic room to escape, relax, refresh and recharge in. I'm gonna make ours like that this year.

9. Change units at work. I'm going back and forth on this one. I have struggled with this decision (there hasn't been a position open yet - budget cuts) because I LOVE the group of people I work with but I feel like I'm missing out on a crucial part of why I became a nurse in the first place. It's difficult to explain, as I can't really put it into words, but my heart has more to give and I feel like I may be able to help families in very difficult situations. However, taking care of really sick kids requires a lot from a nurse and I often doubt that I am ready. We'll see. I'm praying about it and I firmly believe that a door will open when and if it is supposed to.

10. This one is a biggie for me - but not fully supported by my other half. Stop our birth control. I don't think we'll be ready to get pregnant exactly next year, but considering it takes 10 months to cook a baby, I would like to think we'll be ready to start baking sometime in 2011. Ben and I both want getting pregnant to be totally organic and unplanned. We don't want to have to watch my cycle and stress. We just want to do our business and get a very big surprise sometime along the way. This is a big decision and if I think about it too long I start to get pretty nervous. So, maybe if we decide to continue birth control, I'd like to have a better plan as to when we think we'll be ready to get rid of our goalie.

That's a pretty big list and it encompasses where my heart is right now. I am happy. I am in love. We are safe, healthy and secure. Our home is warm and cozy and very happy. We are so, so blessed. 2009 was a wonderful year, here's to 2010!

$ Mrs. Big Time