Thursday, October 30, 2008

Two Months Ago Today...

I married my best friend and only sweetheart. Matter of fact, it was this very minute that the special ceremony began to commence our union. Oh bliss. If only Andy and I could celebrate together right now. He will be home tomorrow though!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

How to Ascertain the Will of God

by George Müller

I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are over come when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.

Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.

I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.

Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So I Realize I'm Random

As I was going about my day on facebook (well, part of my day. Generally speaking I do have a life outside of facebook. I think.) I happened to notice once again in my information (just below that adorable picture of a totally handsome hunk kissing me) the relationship status (realize of course, that I was already aware of it, I just had to take a moment to notice it again).

"Married to Andrew J"
And it made my day.

I realize I'm lucky.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Wedding

What is it about girls and weddings? Most girls’ big dream-of-a-lifetime is their wedding. They think about it from the time they’re little toddlers running around pretending they are the bride of the most recent wedding they attended. As they grow older they form opinions on details such as colors and dress styles and bouquet flowers. A bridal magazine randomly arriving in the mail gets poured over for months and in moments of sheer boredom looking up wedding dresses on the internet is a sure way to pass the time.

I admit it, I was one of those girls. My wedding day was probably going to wind up being the ultimate hilt of my life. In fact, it would be so wonderful that it would surely be the best wedding everybody there ever attended.
And then I met Andy. We fell in love, we became engaged, and I discovered that I loved this guy so much I could hardly care less how my wedding came together.

In spite of the times where just eloping seemed entirely too practical, appealing and most budget-efficient, we stuck to our guns and made our plans for a small military wedding.

I won’t deny the fact that there were many times when it was just plain hard. We had numerous separations due to an army schedule Andy had to keep while complications and constant hurdles thrown our way seemed to be the story of our life. Sometimes it felt like Satan was working overtime to destroy what God had created for us. But the details began to come together. As the days went by, our wedding became more and more of a reality. It was exciting to think it was actually going to happen! The thrill wasn’t so much in the wedding… It was in loving this man so much and getting to be his wife that drove me to the crazy hilt of joy.

. . : : T H E R E H E A R S A L : : . .

The day of the rehearsal I was running around town taking care of last minute details. People kept asking me why I wasn’t nervous, didn’t I know I was getting married tomorrow? I was informed that I didn’t seem like I was getting married the next day. I guess the bride is supposed to be stressed out, and here I was offering to help my to-be sister in-law who seemed to have too much on her plate.

I went down to the church with my sister and her sister in-law to work on decorating. As the pink bows and hydrangea flowers began to change the atmosphere of the sanctuary the realization that this was indeed my wedding was slowly beginning to dawn on me. My sister sat down at the piano to practice the piece she was to play and as the music filled the auditorium my heart began to beat fast.

A glance at the clock told me that I needed to rush home and get out of my shabby clothes and do something with my hair and make-up or I was going to be the only grungy one at the rehearsal. I had less than an hour to make myself half-way presentable and make sure I had all my bags packed for the bachelorette party, wedding and honeymoon. It just so happened to be that particular hour in which all of the out of town guests showed up and had to come back to the bedroom to say hi; the emcee needed me to write lists for songs and bridal party attendants and proper name pronouncement; my phone was ringing off the hook and everybody was wondering if I knew what time the rehearsal started. That was the only time in which I began to feel a slight knot of stress in the pit of my stomach which would soon turned into excited happy butterflies. I was marrying the man of my dreams the next day!!!

It took about four tries of going down the aisle at the rehearsal before we got it down relatively pat. The deejay had a hard time remembering when to play which songs and to make sure the volume was loud enough for people to hear it. Would we wait behind the unity candle until the song was done…. And do take into consideration the train of the dress so it doesn’t get tripped over…. Make sure you move forward so the stage doesn’t look so crowded…. And don’t forget to hold hands…. No, you can’t rehearse the kiss. Other than that, it went off without a hitch.

The rehearsal dinner was delicious… or so I was told. I was cuddling my one year-old nephew at our table before I finally got up to get some food for my uninterested appetite long after everyone had sat down with their own. My other nephew announced to the whole assembly, "Oh look! Beemoo’s finally going to eat!" I don’t remember what it tasted like. I was in a pleasant state of shock sitting next to my tomorrow-to-be-my-husband realizing that the next time I would see him would be at the head of the aisle in his sharp dress green uniform.
. . : : T H E B A C H E L O R E T T E P A R T Y : : . .

That night my bridesmaids and a few close friends threw an informal bachelorette slumber party for me. Nine girls crowded into one hotel room with bags of interesting gifts and goodies for me to take on my honeymoon made for a very fun last-night-of-being-single. We did all sorts of interesting girly things like painting our nails, applying matching tattoos to various parts of our bodies and giggling. I don’t know how many times one or the other would squeal in excitement, "BRITTNEY!!! You’re getting MARRIED tomorrow!!!!" Wow. And so I was.

Sleeping was something of a joke for me. Our sleeping arrangements were a bit cramped—I settled myself in between two sleeping girls in one queen-sized bed. I was too happy to care if I slept or not. I was getting married. Life was good. Sleep unnecessary.

I probably would have experienced more sweet slumbers had one of the girls not been sleep walking on sleeping people and trying to add a fourth person to the crowded bed I was in. A few of us thereby developed an acute case of the giggles.
. . : : G E T T I N G R E A D Y : : . .

The alarm rang at 7AM. Looking outside at a clear blue sky promised an absolutely glorious day. I knew it was one of God’s special wedding gifts just for Andy and me.

We rushed around taking showers and putting our things together. The limousine arrived and we loaded up our bags of luggage and the arm-load of plastic-covered satin.

The next 5 hours were spent in a haze of hairspray and tangled curling irons. Dresses were ironed, make-up applied, and we girls oohed and aahed over each other’s awakened beauty. I knew that the girls in my wedding party were gorgeous, but never had they looked more stunning than on that day in their soft pink satin dresses. I was so proud of each of them and loved them so much!

The only thing that frustrated me to no end was knowing Andy was in the same building as I and I could not see him. It added suspense to the thrilling knot of joy in my stomach. How desperately I wanted to tell him how much I loved him and how excited I was to be his wife!

Once my hair was done I was ready to slip into my dress. Accompanied by our photographer, my matron of honor and my mom I stepped into the satin and beads and sparkles of my wedding gown. Courtney patiently laced up the endless loops while other girls, one-by-one filed in and made exclamations of delighted excitement.

And then my dad was allowed entrance. I’ll never forget the huge smile on his face and his tender, "You look beautiful, Britt." I don’t know when I have ever seen him more proud, happy or handsome.

The veil was secured in place over my head and the next thing we knew it was time to assemble ourselves for the procession. I could faintly hear music coming from the auditorium and was tingling with joy and anticipation of walking down that aisle and looking into the eyes of the man I loved so much to forever seal the union of our lives.

. . : : T H E C E R E M O N Y : : . .

The processional music was playing. I watched as those beautiful smiling girls slipped out of sight, on the arm of a man in uniform, making their way down the aisle. The pastel pink satin against the dark green uniforms was amazingly sharp.

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

I giggled as the little ring bearer and flower girl made their way up the aisle sprinkling petals in the cutest, most adorably classic fashion that becomes flower girls and ring bearers.

The music was reaching a crescendo. It was our turn. My heart was beating fast as I clutched my bouquet with one hand and slipped the other into Dad’s arm and we began our slow ascent.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,

With the fire of life impassioned,

Striving still to truth unknown,

Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

There was Andy, standing so tall and handsome at the end of the aisle that suddenly seemed so long, his loving eyes captivating mine. I could hardly tear my eyes away from his gaze from that moment on.

Here we were, our wedding day. Our love was being celebrated by all those present and the dream of our lifetime was unfolding with each slow step my white high-heeled sandals made down the petal-strewn aisle runner.

"Who giveth this bride to this man?" The pastor asked. And my dad’s strong, confident voice declared "Her mother and I." He brushed my veil aside to kiss my cheek and then placed my hand in Andy’s. My heart was bubbling over with such intense joy.

Truth is, I can but vaguely recall the profound things that the minister had to say after that, other than "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are gathered here together today to mourn the passing of a good man. Oops, wrong service." I was so tuned in to Andy’s gorgeous blue eyes, the way he tenderly caressed and squeezed my hand and his gentle whispers. "Brittney, you are so beautiful…. I love you so much…. I can’t believe today is our wedding day…. I can’t wait for tonight…. I’m so glad you will be my wife…. You are so beautiful…." Now I know what kinds of things couples whisper to each other at the altar.

And then my dad got up and sang a special song. He had asked me several weeks before if he could sing, but he wanted the song to be a surprise. Accompanied with his guitar, my mom on her upright bass and a violinist friend he began to sing…

Look at the two of you dancing that way,
Lost in the moment and each other's face
So much in love you’re alone in this place
Like there's nobody else in the world
I was enough for her not long ago;
I was her number one, she told me so
And she still means the world to me just so you know
So be careful when you hold my girl
Time changes everything life must go on
And I'm not gonna stand in your way

How could that beautiful woman with you
Be the same freckle-faced kid that I knew
The one that I read all those fairy tales to
And tucked into bed all those nights
And I knew the first time I saw you with her
It was only a matter of time

But I loved her first
And I held her first
And a place in my heart
Will always be hers
From the first breath she breathed
When she first smiled at me
I knew that the love of a father runs deep
And I prayed that she'd find you someday
But it's still hard to give her away
I loved her first

Someday you might know
What I'm going through
When a miracle smiles up at you
I loved her first

Andy told me later that was the one part of the ceremony he noticed my eyes well up. My dad’s love and support for us meant so much to me and the way he expressed it touched me deeply. After the ceremony many people commented on how electrifying that song was to them.

The minister then shared words about this assembly gathering together to witness this covenant of marriage. I’m grateful he gave us a copy of his notes because someday I’m going to go back to remember what wise things he had to say, and not just the twinkle in his eye as he watched how oblivious we were to everything but each other.

The majestic orchestral music began to play "The Prayer" as performed by Josh Groban and Charlotte Church. Andy held my hand and looked deep into my eyes and whispered his love. I wondered why the kiss had to wait until the end of the ceremony.
I pray You’ll be our eyes and watch us where we go
And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know
Let this be our prayer as we go our way
Lead us to a place, guide us with Your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe

I pray we’ll find Your light and hold it in our hearts
When stars go out each night let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place, guide us with Your grace
Give us faith so we’ll be safe.

We ask that life be kind and watch us from above
We hope each soul will find another soul to love
Let this be our prayer just like every child
Needs to find a place, guide us with Your grace,
Give us faith so we’ll be safe

As the song came to an end, we vowed our lives together forever—until death would us part. And then as a token of our love and a symbol of our unending commitment we exchanged our white-gold wedding bands.

My sister sat down at the grand piano and began to play a piece that she had arranged just for this special day. I had told her the previous summer when I first heard this song that I wanted her to play it someday at my wedding for our unity candle. Con te partirò, or Time to Say Goodbye, is a gorgeous song, and Courtney’s arrangement was so beautiful. While she played Andy and I lit the flame on our unity candle. As it flickered we held each other’s hands. Andy pressed my finger against his wedding band with a twinkle in his eye. "We’re married! Can’t wait to kiss you!"

A dear and very talented friend of my husband’s family sang a song that was very special to Andy and I. She made Steven Curtis Chapman’s "I Will Be Here" even more beautiful.

Tomorrow mornin' if you wake up and the sun does not appear
I will be here
If in the dark we lose sight of love hold my hand and have no fear
'Cause I will be here

I will be here... when you feel like bein' quiet,
When you need to speak your mind I will listen
And I will be here when the laughter turns to cryin',
Through the winnin' and losin' and tryin' we'll be together
'Cause I will be here
Tomorrow mornin' if you wake up and the future is unclear
I will be here
Just as sure as seasons are made for change
Our lifetimes are made for years
I will be here
I will be here....
You can cry on my shoulder when the mirror tells us we're older
I will hold you and I will be here to watch you grow in beauty
And tell you all the things you are to me
I will be here

I will be true to the promise I have made
To you and to the One who gave you to me
I will be here
And just as sure as seasons are made for change our lifetimes are made for years
'Cause I will be here....

We'll be together
'Cause I will be here
I’ll never forget standing there at the altar with my husband and feeling the impact of the words to this song and expressing its meaning by squeezing his strong hand. We gazed intently into each other’s eyes, feeling the emotion of our commitment and incredible gratitude to the One who gave us to each other.

And then came the best part.
We were pronounced man and wife.
Andy lifted my veil, wrapped his arms around me and tenderly kissed my lips.
In that moment everything else faded and it was just him and I lost in the moment, surrounded by the most beautiful love in all the world.

Handel’s Water Music announced the completion of our ceremony. Courtney handed my bouquet back to me, and with my hand on his strong arm we walked down the aisle as Mr. & Mrs. Andrew Hobein feeling happier than we had ever felt in all our lives.

. . : : I N S U M M A R Y : : . .

Our wedding was a dream come true. It was so perfect, so beautiful and so incredibly happy.

None of my dreams in the past could have ever created the perfection and emotion of this special day. No amount of planning could produce the beauty that was ours that day.

There was no doubt in my mind that God had planned this day for us. His gift of love to us was the most beautiful wedding gift that we received. I will never ever forget the perfection, the passion, the ardor, the most beautiful love and happiness that we experienced upon the commencement of our marriage.

So what is it about little girls and weddings? It’s the life-long dream and desire planted by the Father of Love inside their hearts. It only grows with time, and when they meet their one true love, they discover how small their dreams were in comparison to the reality of their love. From such dreams come perfect weddings.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Stay Tuned

For your information there are some new and interesting changes and postings to be had soon. More photos from the days leading up to the wedding, the wedding, and the days following the wedding; there are albums soon to be added to the gallery; and the complete story of our wedding day--a long and juicy rendition, I promise.

Did you hear the music? I tend to be partial to web pages that don't automatically begin playing sound when I enter them, but for at least a little while the player (at the bottom of this page) is set to automatically start. The playlist consists of an excerpt of the music that was in our wedding, therefore it has significant sentimental value.

And I believe that is all I will clue you in on for now. Stay tuned. Aforementioned changes and additions are to take place in the very near future!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Because Freedom Just Isn't Free

Sitting in the back of the auditorium I couldn’t help but observe the people around me. Dear and friendly folks, each and every one of them; their existence being one of peace and genuine concern to help others in need. Yet they were so cloistered and sheltered.

I sat alone, my husband being over a thousand miles away for training in preparation for his deployment to Iraq in the near future. I tended to notice the young couples especially. The one in front of me were cuddling and whispering. Another couple sat stiffly beside each other; seemingly disinterested in one another. I thought of my own love life. My dear husband was so far away, yet I couldn’t help but breathe a grateful prayer heavenward for the beautiful, passionate love and commitment we share. Our ardor isn’t even dimmed by the miles between us and the minimal contact we have. I love the deep passion our marriage possesses.

Someone stood up to summarize the sermon we just heard. He asked what we placed our trust in. "Money? The shaky economy?" He glanced around the room. "Do you place your trust in the military?" He looked my direction. "We should not place our trust in the military. In fact, we are commanded to stay away from it. Let’s close in prayer."

While I agreed with the certitude that we should not place our trust in any of the security blankets our world offers us, but instead possess a confidence in the Lord who can be our rock and our shelter no matter what life throws our way. But the assumption that the military is wrong and the admonition to stay away from it was reprehensible.

I considered the lives these people live. They had established a cloistered and sheltered way of life. Their purpose and existence would be nothing but thin air if it weren’t for the country they lived in and the freedom that our soldiers have for so many centuries fought to protect. Many of the mission fields they minister to are only possible because our soldiers preceded them and brought an end to the dictators that executed horrible genocide that once so heavily oppressed those borders. Sunday after Sunday these people can sit in their pews beside their spouse and never for a moment consider that their peaceful existence is possible only because men like my husband were willing to leave behind their comforts and loving wives to go out on the battlefield and protect this freedom that we as civilians take for granted.

Whether you agree with the doctrine behind a man or woman’s decision to join the military or not doesn’t matter. Just remember that the life you live, the job you have and the freedom that’s so much a part of your life you don’t even notice wouldn’t be what it is if it weren’t for the men and women in uniform who fought for it. And when you kiss your sweetheart goodnight tonight remember that there are thousands of men and women who will tell their one true love goodnight over the phone—if they’re lucky enough to have telephone access—being painfully separated by thousands of miles just so you can have your freedom and peaceful life. And next time you see a man or woman in uniform, make sure you express your gratitude. Because whether or not you have a conviction about the military, freedom isn’t free, and it’s these soldiers that have given you yours. It isn’t wrong to be grateful.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Coffee, Shopping, Friends

A few days before our wedding my sisters and a couple dear friends decided we should have one last outing together while Brittney was still a "Miss". Good times were had.... and fun memories were made. ...We tried out a new coffee shop in town. We discovered the coffee shop itself was less than nothing to be impressed by. But it certainly didn't stop us from having a great time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Love Amazes Me

I fell deeply in love 6 months ago and have learned things about love that my wildest dreams would have never comprehended. Its depth amazes me, its power holds me, its tenderness touches me, its passion burns my soul and its beauty reaches places in my heart I have never been.

For Andy and me, our situation as newlyweds is unique in comparison to most couples. Military life brings many separations. We don't necessarily get to enjoy the bliss of marriage at all times. We have been married for one month and eight days and are already enduring the loneliness of over a two-week separation. We're hundreds and hundreds of miles apart with limited communication.

The long and short of it is... it's painful. Nights are long and dreary; days are incredibly lonely. One thing I was quick to discover was that love has the potential of being either the ultimate bliss or the deepest ache.

But the silver lining to the very dark cloud is that the absence we are dealing with brings about a deeper love and an even brighter flame of passion. Appreciation for my husband is only heightened.

There is not a moment that we are together that I can take for granted. And from those moments come the vivid memories that I live off of now. The memory of that look in his eye as I walked own the aisle on our wedding day... The memory of kissing in the rain.... The memory of dancing in the moonlight in Mexico.... The memory of him carrying me over the threshold of our first "home".... It's those memories of love that sees us through the times of separation, and heightens the anticipation of being together again and getting to experience the joy of our union.