only 26 days.

only 26 days.

It is less than a month now. LESS THAN A MONTH! I feel so blessed to be marrying such an amazing woman in only 26 days. I love you, Laura. So very much.

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“Love Kills Slowly”

Love kills slowly?

Well.

The previous owner of my car bought foot mats. Rather interesting ones at that, too. Among the several things on the mats is a furled banner that displays the words “Love Kills Slowly.”

I have stared at those, not really sure what to think, since I got my car. I needed the mats, and since I don’t spend money on things I can get away with not spending money on, I kept them, instead of getting just plain ones.

Something has happened though, since I began pondering the mystery of my mats, that has changed how I view such a statement.

I fell in love.

It is truly amazing to me how another person can change, or rather, mature, your view of things. I had a good understanding of some things, yet, people really do affect your thoughts, and who you hang out with can indeed make you more mature and wise in the way you think, or less so. Well, that isn’t my subject, so back to the topic at hand.

Love kills slowly…

Indeed, I can see how some people might see it that way. The pain. The struggle. Broken heart after broken heart. How, to protect themselves, they might even decide never to love again. Become a shell. Because after all they don’t want to die, they want to live. And love makes them feel like they are dying.

But, after pondering it, I have come to believe that the opposite, is in fact, the truth.

Love makes you alive.

Love makes you feel, perhaps for the first time, to truly feel, and know feeling at all.

We never felt this strange pain, or aches, because we weren’t in touch with anyone, or anything, and didn’t have a true emotional base. But if you love, you open up a whole realm of new feeling. You become more sensitive – to everything around you, not just the good, but also the bad.

So yes, it can hurt, because as a more feeling individual, you can now truly feel the hurt.

But the pain of this love isn’t love killing you slowly.

This ache is love bringing you to life. Bringing me to life.

God’s love will wash away sin, but for myself, there was a moment of great… pain, and heartache. As I saw all my sin. Saw God’s love for me, and understood the sacrifice of Christ, my amazing and loving Lord and Savior. It overwhelmed me. And it hurt.

Yet it was by love, God’s love, that I was set free, and brought to life in Christ.

In a little way, love between people kind of does that, too, I think.

So that’s my two cents for now.

Love kills not, slowly or otherwise, but brings an awakening. A birth of new feeling.

Ah. This is happening.

 

 

 

ImageI’m getting married. I really am. And that just gives me such great joy. Still waking up almost every morning and just… start smiling like an idiot because I’m so happy. The Lord has blessed me so much, and I get to marry the girl who became my best friend. And the wedding day isn’t really that far off. October 19th. 2013. Not far at all.

 

Save-The-Dates sent out, and most of my friends have told me they got them. Facebook event created. 

Wow. I’m getting married. And she is such an amazing friend, and isn’t she just the most beautiful and wonderful girl ever? (okay, maybe I’m a bit biased, but STILL)

Also, feel free to check out our wedding website: http://www.weddingwire.com/jenkinsandbeals

I love you, Laura. So very much. The adventure God has led us on thus far has been amazing. And I can’t wait to continue the journey.

We’re going on an adventure…

And we’re going together.

Who? Well me, and my fiancee. Yup. Fiancee. In case a few of you somehow missed what that link I posted last week meant, it is that I am engaged, to an amazing, wonderful, beautiful young lady, Laura Jenkins.

Let me tell you a little bit of the adventure so far…

Laura and I met (as some of you will know) through the One Year Adventure Novel program. We were both first year members, and met on the online forum the fall of ’08. She had a cool screen name, and once I got to know her a bit (because of that reason), I was sending her a message any time she got online. To just message, or ask her to chat. It was always fun. Though there were times when she used this forum feature to be invisible and not talk… and I did notice, but ah well. 😛 She still talked to me afterwards, so. I figured that was okay. We were both fantasy writers, and huge fans of Tolkien and the Lord of the Rings, and because of that, we always had something to talk about at the beginning of our friendship.

In the fall of ’09, Skyping was added to our means of communication, and email had also been added in somewhere in there. Soon after we started Skyping was the announcement of the first One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop, which would be in 2010. I was very excited about it, especially that I’d be meeting some of my fellow students of the program. And, I was very excited to meet Laura in person. She had already become a good friend.

We met before the Workshop started, at Red Robin, with our respective companions (my mom and siblings, and her mom, and also the Schwabauers), for lunch. That was a very fun meal, and though at first I was a bit nervous to meet someone who had become a good friend through the internet alone, it turned out awesome. And by the time we headed to the workshop activities after we finished eating, I was pretty sure I had a good friend in Laura.

Over the next year we continued talking, and hung out at the next workshop quite a bit.

That fall (’11) was an interesting one for me, and full of struggles. As the New Year approached, I was struck by the fact that out of my many friends, I really just wanted to talk to one. So I texted her.

And she texted back.

That was the start of 2012 for me. And it went uphill rapidly from there. 🙂 (Uphill being a good thing, just so you know.)

Laura and I started talking more than ever, asking each other silly things, and serious things, too. We shared struggles, hopes, dreams, and prayer requests with one another.

The journey during spring of 2012 was quite the ride, and God taught me a lot, and much of it He used Laura to teach me. Summer arrived, and I have never been more excited about a Summer Workshop before. Early in the year I had begun to pray, asking God if Laura was the one. I’d asked Him to either close doors, or open them, and that it was just in His hands.

As the Workshop grew from months away, to weeks, and then mere days, I prayed harder.

I arrived in Kansas early, and soon I was headed off to the airport to do my volunteer job of meeting OYANers flying in and helping them get to shuttles. Between the flights I was meeting, one plane came in that I was able to meet that had a dear friend on board. Yes. Laura. As she came out the doors, and I saw her… Well, it’s hard to describe that feeling, but looking back, I guess it was love. Very strong, and it almost took me by surprise, just how strong that feeling was. I couldn’t stop grinning the rest of the day. My best friend had arrived, and I was happy.

That week we were basically inseparable. And it was truly wonderful. And apparently what we were wondering about each other everybody noticed except us. Ah. Such is the trial of being IN the moment, and not being able to SEE the moment. haha.

The Workshop ended, and I headed to Salt Lake City, Utah, for a convention there, while Laura headed soon after back to Seattle, Washington.

The month of July was long. And full of prayer. And just wishing time would go faster. Why? Because I was visiting Laura and her family in August. That’s why!

Finally that trip arrived. And it was a wonderful time. We went hiking, explored a few areas in Seattle, went to a Renaissance Fair, and several other things.

Before I went up there I had felt God telling me… It was time. He had told me yes, that it was Laura. And now it was time to do something about it.

I talked with Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins while Laura was running an errand with my mom, and I asked permission to court their daughter, which they gave. And once Laura got back, I asked her, too. I was a bit nervous, and just looked down at the floor (well, her feet), as I asked for her permission as well. She said “yes”.

That was August 11, 2012. The courtship that followed was enjoyable and fun, even though their was a great distance between us almost the entire time (what, with me being in Oklahoma, and she in Washington). I was overjoyed to be pursuing this kind of relationship with my best friend, and everyday just felt even more sure about where God was leading.

Right after Thanksgiving I started talking with Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins again. And shortly after those conversations began, I was calling them (in secret… well… secret from Laura) to ask their permission and blessing to propose to and marry Laura. Which they gave.

We set a tentative date of February 8, 2013, as the day I would fly up and just… show up.

The Winter Workshop arrived, and Laura and her mom visited, this time coming not just to Kansas, but also Oklahoma a few days before the Workshop started. All of those times I have been blessed to spend with Laura have been wonderful, and those days were no exception.

Then it was time for her to go.

It was not nearly as hard as it could have been for me, or would have been, if I had not known I was seeing her in one more month.

Finally, February arrived, and I made sure everything was ready. On the morning of the 8th, I got up and headed to the airport. I arrived safely in the afternoon, and arrived at the Jenkins’ home soon after. And then I had to wait for Laura to get off work. While I waited I played a few mind games with myself to pass the time, and also played some Uno with Laura’s siblings.

And then, while Mrs. Jenkins was running a quick errand, and Mr. Jenkins hadn’t gotten home yet either, Laura sent me a text, happily telling me that she had gotten off work early that day and was headed home.

Well, everyone got back before her, and we took our places. There was a vase of roses and a card on the table waiting for Laura, and her brother and sister were set up in the kitchen with cameras.

She came in and after setting her stuff down, picked up the card with her name on it. As she was reading it I came out of my hiding place (the timing was perfect, thanks to a signal from Mr. Jenkins), and walking up behind her said “Hi”.

Laura turned around and gave me a big hug. So I can say that I literally felt her surprise.

After that hug I got down on one knee and proposed to the amazing young lady that I had fallen so deeply in love with.

And she said yes.

Slipping that ring on her finger has been one of the happiest moments of my life.

Laura and I are getting married this October.

God has blessed me so much. He has led me on quite the adventure, but now I will no longer be taking this journey alone. I have a companion.

I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us.

We’re going on an adventure.

God bless you, as He has so richly blessed me. Follow Him, because where He leads is a place of such joy that you can’t even truly imagine it until you are there.

~Daniel

the last samurai . . . oh, and I’m home.

I watched “The Last Samurai” again. And I just have to say. I really like that movie. Very good story telling. But one of my absolutely most favorite thing about it is the “make out” scene. the “love” scene. Normally I dislike those. But the one in The Last Samurai I absoFREAKINGlutely LOVE!
If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil it for you. But. Really. Easily one of my most favorite love scenes on film. Right up there with Beren and Luthien, actually. And if you know me well… well then… you know that is quite a ways up there.

And on a side note. I got home on Saturday night. Been trying to get life back in order. And so it goes. But yeah. I’m home.

God bless
Daniel

Its Valentine’s Day

And I LOVE it! … no pun intended of course.

Today is a great day, and not just for couples. But for everyone! Today is a day we celebrate love. And that isn’t something that only two people share. Family, friends, and even strangers can share in the bond of love.

Galatians 5:13 says “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (NKJV)

Love is a way to show we care. Love is a lifestyle. Love is serving. Love isn’t just an emotion. In fact, true love, really isn’t about emotions at all. They don’t say that the last two words of your life are “I do” for nothing you know. But what they usually leave out is that its just the start of a new life. A life that involves two people serving each other, and in time, new members joining in. (YAY KIDS)

Jesus said that “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13, NLT)

And because of love for us, He died on the cross. For enemies. Not friends. But those who were at complete enmity with Him. Because of Christ’s love, there is no reason for us NOT to love. He loved the whole world, every person so much that He was willing to bear the cross, the weight of the world on His shoulders, and become sin.

For love of Him, we should be willing to go any distance He asks, bearing the burdens He gives us with gladness and joy.

Like I said. Today isn’t just a day for couples. And it isn’t a day to be made painfully aware that you are single.

Today is a day when we celebrate love. I really think we should celebrate Valentine’s day every single day of the year. If that’s too much for you, then at least think about celebrating love. Cause I mean, if it wasn’t for love, you wouldn’t be reading this, because you wouldn’t even be here. *wink*

What I challenge you to do is to love. Everyone. It doesn’t matter if you have someone special in your life or not. Love is love. Not an all touchy feely gooey emotion. (though that can be quite enjoyable I hear. 😉 ) but just being there for family, friends, and strangers. Love them. Serve them. As Christ. The world is His valentine. His gift He gave long ago. His life, for ours.

I could write on. But I am going to try and live this out today. So I better get going, and not spend hours writing a blog post, right?

So I leave you with that challenge. And a question.

Be my valentine? (in a  non creepy, platonic, let me love you cause I’m that kind of person way. 😉 )

 

Love you all,
Daniel

Friends – worth the pain?

I always like being fairly descriptive with my titles about what I will be writing about.

Today’s topic, that literally arrived in my mind a few moments ago: Friends — are they worth the pain that they can sometimes cause?

I’ve seen some of my own friends say things that tells me they don’t think they really are. To some, you are only a friend if you make them feel good, you never argue, never complain, and just party out with them.

Some people are like that because they don’t want to get hurt; they just want to be loved, and not feel the pain of a broken heart and scared emotions.

Can friendship hurt bad? Oh yeah. You better believe it.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

Normally I’d give you the reference to a verse I quote, but if you really care, I want YOU to look it up. I will tell you that it is in Proverbs.

Faithful are the wounds… A true friend will, at some point, hurt you. Its inevitable. It will happen. Why would they hurt you? Tear you up inside? Because a friend, a true friend, loves you so much, that they can’t let something slide. If it really matters, they’d rather hurt you themselves and cause a gap between you, than see you go down a path that will hurt you more than they ever could.

The kisses of an enemy… Many of us have been here. That nice new kid, or whoever it is. They’re awesome, fun to be around, and make you feel great about yourself. You confide one secret, or even many in them; I mean, why not? They are the most awesome friend you have ever had! Then… they hurt you so bad by proving themselves to not have ever cared.

So, is a friend worth the pain? I’ve been hurt several times by friends. Sometimes, they don’t even mean it, but sometimes, several of which I can remember very well, it was done on purpose. Am I still friends with them? Yes. It hurt. Oh how it hurt. Oh I thought I hated them. And then it clicked. Oh my word… I was about to do that? How did I not see? Without my friend doing what they did… Who knows what might have happened?

I think that, if you hang on, if it is true friendship, that when you pull through the hurt, you’ll be closer with that person than ever before.

 

But… what if that verse does not apply? What if they simply hurt you. They didn’t do it for a reason. But they aren’t your enemy. They ARE your friend. But they hurt you.

That’s something that goes beyond my mind to grasp. But I’ve seen it happen. And it stuns me every time. But then, sometimes, you have to hurt someone; make a choice between two people asking you over at the exact same time — one of them will be hurt. That’s a simple analogy, but it works. I don’t know if I actually have enough life experience or not to be saying what I am here, but… I decided to say it anyway.

 

People. Friends will cause you pain and hurt. You may wonder if it’s worth it all. But…

As a Christian, for me, everything points to Christ. It is beyond the comprehension of most, if not all, to imagine the suffering he went through; the scourging, the cross. But he did it with the love that only very few people would do for family or friends, and He did it for his enemies.

If you live with that same love, pull the hurt, then yes, those friends are worth the pain.

 

God bless,
~Daniel