Reasons #20-#22 Why I Love My Husband

IMG_0516#20- His love of Google Earth.

Now this is not really about Google Earth, it’s more about Ryan’s sense of adventure and how he anticipates things.  We are both preparing for our Perth trip but Ryan and I have very different preparation styles.  I love that Google Earth is one of the ways that Ryan prepares.  He wants to see everything and have an idea in his head of where he will be and what it will look like.  For whatever reason this works for him, it gets him more excited about the places and the people.  And that makes me excited to be by his side as he explores and discovers these places in person.

#21- He admits when he is wrong.

I’m not the most gracious person when i’ve been wronged.  There are usually tears, anger and I will tell you how I feel.  I am very aware that I don’t always handle situations with grace or generosity and because of that I am so thankful that I have a husband who is calm, level headed and patient with me.  In that moment when I am mad, he doesn’t stoke the fire.  Ryan admits to his mistakes and does his best to redeem the situation.  He’s amazing.

Note:  I am often wrong myself.  But Ryan is also more loving and kind towards me in these situations.  Where my first response is agitation, he tends to just say something funny.  I know I got the better end of this deal:  I’m angry, Ryan endures my wrath.  He’s angry, I just have to listen to his jokes.

#22- He’s a proud Cheesehead.

Yes, I do love my husband because of, and not despite, his Wisconsin roots.  He’s a good midwestern guy.  He’s loyal to his home.  He knows where he came from and he loves how it influenced the man he is today.  Who wouldn’t love a guy with cheese running through his veins?

Checkout the other 19 reasons why I love my husband: #1-#4, #5-#7, #8-#10#11-#13#14-#16, #17-#19.  Ryan is seriously an amazing man.  I look forward to continuing to find reasons to love him even more.



Online Dating Tips, Tricks and Opinions

So I figured that one day I would hit the publish button before I was ready to post a blog.  Today was that day.  So if you saw the beginning of this blog already I’m sorry but I hope you saw it and it made you want to read more.

Online dating has lost some of its stigma.  But Ryan and I still see some raised eyebrows when we tell people how we met.  Although it is also common for people to tell us their own stories of friends and family members who met their spouses online.  I also have a few other friends, including a brother-in-law, who are in this growing category.  I’m hoping that more people who want a relationship will try the online route and that the experience will be positive.

Ryan and I are often asked which site we used.  ChristianMingle, eHarmoney, Match.Com, Christian Cafe, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk and there are so many more.  I’ve written about OkCupid before but one site isn’t necessarily the key to online dating success.  Both Ryan and I tried multiple sites before we met and each one had a different feel.  I was determined not to pay but many of the sites only give you limited access if you don’t pay.  This includes many of the Christian sites.  Whether you make a choice to pay or go with the free options, dating online can work.  So what can you do to make the most out of your online dating experience?  If you just want a date, that’s easy but here are some tips (from my perspective) if you want to try and find a relationship online.

1. Put effort into it.

If you are serious about finding someone then you need to put time into looking through profiles, responding to and writing messages, making dates (men), going on dates and communicating in general.  It takes time.  If you don’t have time to make it a priority, wait until you do.  Or if you aren’t paying for a site, then it’s easier to date for a month or so and then take a break.  That’s how I kept my sanity during the online dating process.

2. Be strategic with your site choice.

Everyone is different but in my experience I didn’t like eHarmony or Match.  I also tried a couple of the Christian sites but found that the men were looking for a ‘nice Christian girl’ but they weren’t necessarily solid Christian men.  I didn’t like having to sort through a lot of Christian lingo and niceties that didn’t really tell me about the person.  I liked OkCupid because being a Christian wasn’t a good thing if you were just looking for a little action or some friday night fun.  The men who were serious, solid Christians automatically distinguished themselves on a free site like OkCupid.

3. Know what you are looking for.

Once you get to the point of meeting someone, one date can only tell you so much.  That person could be having a bad day or be super nervous.  So I worked on a very short list of my ‘must haves’ and no this didn’t include a height requirement.  The book Marriage and Mr. Right helped me think through what really was important to me and what wasn’t a true deal breaker.  In theory if a guy had those ‘must haves’ then he got at least a second date and if the guy didn’t then I would shake his hand and that was it.  I say in theory because there were some men that it was more difficult to stop dating even once I knew they weren’t someone I would consider marrying.  But looking back I can say that those dates were seriously a waste of time.  Fun dates but not potential mates.

4. Be smart with your communication and meeting choices.

We all know about being safe with strangers.  But this is more than that.  Most of the time I didn’t give out my phone number until I met the guy in person.  Then if the date didn’t go well I didn’t have to worry about unwanted phone calls.  And I also didn’t have to worry about a random stranger having my phone number if they misrepresented themselves.  Be wise about where you meet and what time of day.  I did go hiking with someone I just met but it was on a well traveled trail in a familiar area.  Be smart because if you feel comfortable with your choices then the date will most likely go better too.

5. Enlist the help of friends.

Once you meet someone who has more potential than just a date then don’t be shy introducing them to close friends.  One of the downsides of online dating is meeting someone outside of your normal sphere.  I’m a big fan of getting your community involved.  This doesn’t mean bringing in the calvary but a few people can help you see if you’re overlooking anything.  Ryan met some of my friends on our second date, that might be a bit early for most people but it worked for us.  It also helped us to start mingling our friend groups because meeting online often means you don’t have any friends or even acquaintances in common.

I’m sure I could think of a few more things but that’s it for now.  I’d love to hear your stories of online dating, the adventures as well as misadventures in finding and keeping love.

Well it’s root root root for the…

IMG_20140816_173420Brewers!  Last night we made our way down to Dodger Stadium to celebrate a friend’s birthday.  Ryan grew up with these guys from Pardeeville and now they both live in the LA area.  Dodger Stadium had a good crowd out to see the game but the Brewers were definitely representing.  A group from Wisconsin sat behind us and one of the girls was from Portage, the next town over.

IMG_20140816_185444It was a good night in baseball.  The Giants beat the Phillies.  Go Giants!  And the Dodgers lost to the Brewers.  I am 2 for 2 now.  The Brewers have won every game I’ve seen at Dodger Stadium.  Here is my post from the last Dodger/Brewer game I attended.  Ryan and I were only a few months into dating at the time and he wasn’t even mentioned in the post:-)  It will be exciting to see what the next game holds!

IMG_20140816_204123I’m happy to be a Brewers fan with my husband as long as they aren’t playing the Giants.  After all my husband was born a Brewer and I do like beer so it works for both of us.  Go Brewers!

The Kainantu Bridge has Fallen Down

We’ll get back to the Wisconsin recap in a bit but I figured I would share the latest and not-so-greatest from Papua New Guinea.  The bridge that connects Ukarumpa to the rmain road has finally fallen down.  It’s been out of commission a few times and precarious at all other times since before I was even in PNG.  The bank holding up the bridge on either side was eroding away so it was inevitable that the bridge would fall and this is what it looks like now (thanks Kelly for the picture).

Kainantu BridgePlease be in prayer for everyone in Ukarumpa and the Papua New Guineans in the surrounding area.  This is a main thoroughfare and it will impact food prices, travel and work for many people in addition to countless other inconveniences.  There use to be a ford a bit upstream but even if that reopens it still limits the types of vehicles that can cross and when, due to weather and time of day.  Hopefully the local government will be able to provide the materials and labor needed to fix the bridge sooner rather than later.  There are a lot of area politics that impact the decisions regarding what will or will not happen.  So pray for wisdom as the leadership in Ukarumpa participates in this discussion.

OkCupid Worked for Us

Note: I wrote this post before we left California because we flew out on the red-eye which is going to make all of Wednesday a little bleary eyed.  Don’t worry I will be posting about Wisconsin fun but here’s a little something to tide you over until then.

It’s no secret that Ryan and I met on OkCupid.  We both tried other dating sites. (I’ll post my little online dating site preference rant some other time.)  Ryan and I both went on a good amount of dates, both with people we met off as well as online.  But we were on OkCupid at the same time, it was free! and that’s what worked for us.

okcupidSo when I saw that OkCupid was in the news, I clicked on the link (OkCupid User Experiments) and read about how the site was experimenting with users.  In order to see whether or not their matching algorithm was working, they took people who actually had low matches and gave them an artificially high match.  Then they watched to see if that high match would increase the amount of time they would spend communicating.

Obviously, when they released the fact that they had done this, the public had mixed feelings.  Having used OkCupid, I can’t imagine that an artificially high match would change the ultimate decision I would have made about someone.  The questions that you answer for their algorithm ranged for me from inconsequential (movie and music preferences) to questions that I felt actually revealed character.  For example, there was a question about how long it would take for you to have sex with someone (I would have sex with a stranger, first date, third date, committed relationship, wait until marriage).  Seeing how someone answered that question already gave me a good idea of how their values matched mine.  It didn’t matter that a few guys looked like they matched well with me, there were certain questions that revealed a lot about them and those were the questions I actually looked for to help make my decision about whether or not to even talk to let alone date someone.

Personally, as long as OkCupid didn’t change people’s answers, they can change the other numbers all they want and maybe I would have given a guy a first date based on the fake match but he certainly wouldn’t have gotten a second date.  And even if OkCupid went so far as to change some of the answers, that’s why you email, talk on the phone and ultimately meet the person.  Maybe someone is but I certainly wasn’t going to marry someone based on a profile picture and a good match according to OkCupid.  Time will show who someone truly is and ultimately if you are looking for a specific set of beliefs or at a person’s character, you’re not going to be fooled by numbers that don’t really add up.

OkCupid is free.  It’s easy to use.  And it helped me find my amazing husband.  As far as i’m concerned it wasn’t the algorithm that brought us together but we most likely wouldn’t have met without it.  I hope that a little experimenting by the online dating sites won’t stop people from using these great resources to potentially meet their future spouse.  OkCupid worked for us!

Time with God

As a Christian I believe that I have a relationship with God and that through prayer I can communicate with the trinity.  I also have the privilege of hearing from the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: in stillness, through other people and through the pages of the Bible.  I believe that the Bible is the word of God and although it was written in a different time to different and diverse cultures that the truth and the message are still applicable and transformative today.

But like any relationship, this one takes time, effort and commitment.  I have no problem carving out time for friends that I meet with face to face.  And so i’ve had to learn how to schedule devoted time to seek God’s face.  Many Christians set aside morning time for God.  I’ve heard many people say that it helps them to start their day out right and it is them easier not to forget it at some other time.  However, while I was in PNG the morning was usually get up and go.  In town that was market time or we were taking advantage of the clear skies to get laundry done or taking advantage of the daylight to get work and other errands completed.  And in the village, there was the morning radio sched and neighbors visiting and all sorts of other distractions.  Depending on where I was I had to set aside time in another part of my day.  In the village this was often the afternoon right after lunch.  The village was usually quiet and there was time before the afternoon work to just sit on the back porch, read my Bible, pray and listen.  In Ukarumpa I usually set aside time at night right before bed.  It was sweet to contemplate my day, read my Bible and pray before I slept.

IMG_0427So the point here is that I’ve had to adapt and change to my circumstances but I’ve also made it a priority to find what works.  Once back in the US I struggled for many reasons and finally settled on a system that is working for me.  While reading my Bible, I often found it discouraging when I would miss a day or two or 5 and come back just to have forgotten what I was reading.  This made me not want to start again, like when you see your friend who you’ve been meaning to call at the store and part of you wants to hide in another aisle because you’re embarrassed that it hasn’t happened.  To counteract this I began to write down what I was reading, along with one daily prayer and committed to read through the Bible, not in 3 months, not in a year but until I was done.  I’m finally (after 3-ish years) seeing the finish line to this commitment.  After reading through some more proverbs and a few more of the minor prophets, I will have read through the Bible once again.

It takes effort and commitment to grow my relationship with God.  However, it is worth it because I am getting to know the God of the universe.  The words of the Bible are his message to mankind as well as his message to me personally.  What an amazing gift.




Made in God’s Image

IMG_1178“Our task now is to learn that if we can voyage to the ends of the earth and find ourselves in the aborigine who most differs from ourselves, we will have made a fruitful pilgrimage. That is why pilgrimage is necessary in some shape or other. Mere sitting at home and meditating on the divine presence is not enough for our time. We have to come to the end of a long journey and see that the stranger we meet there is no other than ourselves–which is the same as saying that we find Christ in him.”        –Thomas Merton