Tuesday, April 3, 2012

some more of the in between

*this is a continuation of series of posts to share my life story and testimony, to give you a little bit of an idea about who's writing. feel free to read the beginning of my story here and then here...
*****

i don't really remember when i first noticed that pop had changed. despite all he was going through, he kept it from us kids pretty well. what i do remember, though, is when my parents told me they were considering moving back to arkansas and pop going back to his roots--farming. they were planning on waiting, though, because i was in my junior year of high school.

i remember sitting up on the counter in the kitchen talking to them, telling them it was okay to leave. i could graduate in my hometown just as happily. of course i would miss all my bonner friends, but it would be okay.

i moved right after christmas, traveling back south with my grandparents. the rest of the family stayed in kansas for a little longer, but they wanted to make sure i was there to start at the semester because it would make the transition a little easier.

at 16, despite what people say, you can go home again.

i was incredibly nervous about going back. i had no idea what people would think, what they would be like after so many years away. afterall, i had only been 10 when i had last seen everybody. i didn't know what to expect.

my transition was made easier by a phone call. starting in kindergarten i had planned on being mr. p's cheerleader. when school was supposed to be starting back i woke up to snow dusting the ground. having spent the 6th-11th grades in kansas, i didn't think anything of it. afterall, up there it didn't matter if the school parking lot was covered with black ice; we still had school (seriously. i don't know how many fender benders there were in one day when the lot was covered that way). i got ready for school and walked out into the living room with time to spare, and my grandma's greeting to me was, "why are you up?"

needless to say, school had been canceled. that evening we went out to the farm to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins. i was upstairs when grandma hollered up that i had a phone call.

it was mr. p, telling me that if i wanted to cheer i needed to show up for competition practice in the morning.

once school actually did start back up, it was almost as if nothing had changed. i still recognized everybody, and my classmates welcomed me back as if i had never left. one day i heard somebody make a comment about "the new girl" and i reminded them jokingly that i had a name.

the answer?
"you're not new. you're mandy."
i felt great!
       *just as an aside, being told "you're mandy" in that situation left me with a much better feeling than being told, around prom time, you're not a girl, you're mandy!"*

obviously, my return to my hometown went better than i had expected.


i graduated in 2002, and started dating nathan right after graduation. we went off to college that fall. i spent the next summer working at a christian sports camp in texas called t bar m. i worked with cheer squads and dance teams, doing team building activities. i also worked on the ropes course, easily my favorite part of working there.


this picture is me standing on the 30 foot platform and getting ready to send myself off the zipline.


for some reason, it seemed like i was always the last one to go down. that meant i was the one who sent the other workers off--
      and then had to hook my own harness to the cable and take the equipment down.


i loved it!




nathan was at my parents' house to greet me the day i got back before he left that night to head home, he got down on one knee in my parents' driveway and asked me to be his.


always and forever.


we went back to school that august, making big plans. we were going to finish our second year of school at tech, get married in may, and then move to st. louis.

nathan was planning on flight school, and i had already gotten accepted to a community college up there. i was going to get my prerequisites out of the way and go to school for optometry.

around thanksgiving of 2003, we found out that my big brother would be shipping out for iraq in january. i got a phone call from my mom, asking what i thought about a christmas wedding.

remember, this was after thanksgiving.

yeah. crazy!

i'll never forget the look on nathan's face when i asked what he thought about moving the wedding up. whatever was running through his mind, though, he agreed.

 
we left school at the end of the semester and were married on january 3, 2004.

i happily married my best friend, the guy i knew God had picked out for me, the only guy i've ever said "i love you" to (other than family).


a couple of kids, thinking we were ready to take on the world--as long as we were doing it together.


we moved into a tiny place on my parents' farm, the home we called the "barnament." it's a little bitty apartment over the dairy barn, and it was where we got our start.


we both got jobs, hoping to save some money up before our big move. nathan went to tysons and i went to wal-mart.
       definitely a couple of arkansas kids, huh?


life was planned out.
we knew right where we were going.
everything looked great, and we were looking at the world through rose colored glasses.
at 19,  we were ready for anything (as long as it fit nicely into our plan, that is!)


we had no idea that life was about to throw us some unexpected curves, with no warning signs.

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~Mandy