Leaping, Loving, and Lent

On this 29th day of February, I reflect on the odd occurrence of Leap Year happening once every four years. And then I think about how, since last posting, I’ve taken a leap of my own and found myself loving and being loved by a young man once referred to as “my friend Neal.” What started out as a friendship last year, segued to him becoming a special friend this fall. In that amount of time I discovered he is the most wonderful, patient man, who loves Jesus, loves me, composes music, and is going to be a doctor. As the Gershwin brothers said, “Who could ask for anything more?”

The timeline of events:
– A year’s worth of friendship laid the foundation for us to begin solo adventures this September, including attending a concert featuring Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
– Spending more time together throughout the fall led to us discovering this is it before Thanksgiving
– Neal speaking with my parents via Skype before Christmas, asking for and receiving their blessing for him to propose to me
– The actual proposal on Friday night, January 27, 2012
– Planning a fall wedding, October 2012, at the church where we met and attend

Here we are the following morning at the local jewelers, where he bought the ring. With just a little guidance from me months ago, he shopped around picked out the most gorgeous ring all by himself. He’s a keeper!

Amid my giddiness of being a woman in love and planning a wedding, I am grounded once again by the season of Lent leading to Easter. I estimate this is the eighth year I’ve chosen to personally observe Lent, knowing my small sacrifice of giving up sweets, and also meat on Fridays, is nothing, absolutely nothing, compared to Jesus’ willing sacrifice for me on the cross.

He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calv’ry,
And suffered and died alone.

My Savior’s Love by Charles H. Gabriel, pub. 1905

As Lent began last week I discovered a wonderful online devotional resource, from the good Lutheran folks at http://lentendevotions.net/ Each devotion includes scripture, a meditative thought, and prayer to draw my perspective back to the days leading up to the Crucifixion.

And realizing that Jesus came to give abundant life (John 10:10), I have enjoyed living life to the full over the past few months! Some books I have enjoyed reading since the dawn of the new year:
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Longing by Karen Kingsbury
Missional Renaissance by Reggie McNeal (currently reading)
The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan

I’ve also completed a few baby projects (with many, many more yet to come):

Oh, how marvelous! Oh, how wonderful! And my song shall ever be: Oh, how marvelous! Oh, how wonderful! Is my Savior’s love for me!


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