Life Event : I am engaged. [insert excited screaming here]

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Let me just say I went a very long time not thinking I would ever marry. People just don’t get me. And dudes? never had a chance when it came to trying to understand me.

I was raised in a Christian home where purity was treasured and where I was taught to respect and take care of my body. I started wearing a two piece purity ring when I entered college, and I have worn it everyday since. It served to frighten off many a creep. And to remind me of my promise, to myself, my God, and if he was out there, my future husband. 

Then my life changed.

When I came to Grand Haven a year ago, it was alone. I came alone, I lived alone, it was a lonely kind of story.

Then I started attending a church out here instead of traveling each Sunday to attend one I had spent most of high school attending.

So I found this church. And then all the sudden I found this family. And a set of friends like I never thought I would find.

And in the midst of those friends….I found a man.

I knew from the moment I met Mat I loved him. At this point I had never been in love before. But I knew that what I felt, was love at first sight. I knew this was dangerous, I could really get my heart broke if I wasn’t careful. I reached out to friends for council, was this love?  was this the right guy?

Before this starts sounding way too much like the Drew Barrymore classic Never been kissed, I shall press on.

When I met Mat, ha! He didn’t want a girlfriend.

And today, a week before I turn 27 (the same age my mother married at) that man asked me to be his wife!

I’ll tell you how he did it just for laughs.

He took me to the zoo, we walked all the way up to the balcony that overlooks the lions, and he asked me to be his Queen of the jungle! Hahahaha! Right there in front of most of the animal kingdom. Which is cool, cuz I like animals, and often I mesh with animals far better that I do their human counterparts.

So I said yes, put the too big ring on my finger, and then we spent the rest of the day hanging out with grizzly bears.

Mat and I have always dated with the intent of finding a mate. We did everything in all the right ways, praying, working, and playing together. And we have both grown so incredibly much in the past year.

I guess the story goes that I will be leaving Grand Haven soon. But I won’t be leaving alone, like I had come.

Looking to be married very soon, I will be hitting the next chapter in this awesome adventure with my best friend, and at that time husband, and spiritual partner.

I thank God for letting me find someone who loves Jesus as much as I do, who encourages me when I am broken, and stands by me when under fire. And I can’t believe how fortunate I am to have found this perfect match. This one in a flippin’ million. Singer of bad rap songs, teller of bad jokes, wearer of tight pants, and twin to my heart, twin to my soul. 

This is just the beginning, and the rest, I guess, is history. :)

Wahoo!

Amen.

A

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I am Malala : Malala Day July 14

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A few months ago I read the book I am Malala, written by Malala Yousafzai herself. It moved me greatly, and has led me to think of her and others like her nearly everyday since. I myself am #strongerthan my circumstance. And I thank God for amazing people like her, who make a way for others and with every breath serve to inspire and fight for what is right.

Here is her story.

Malala was born (12 July 1997) in Mingora, the Swat District of north west Pakistan. She was named Malala, after Malalai, the famous Pashtun Heroine.

Malala’s father, Ziauddin Yousafzai is a poet, and runs a public school. He is a leading educational advocate himself. In 2009, Malala began writing an anonymous blog for the BBC expressing her views on education and life under the threat of the Taliban taking over her valley.

During this period, the Taliban’s military hold on the area intensified. As the Taliban took control of the area they issued edicts banning television, banning music, and banning women from going shopping and limiting women’s education.

A climate of fear prevailed and Malala and her father began to receive death threats for their outspoken views. As a consequence, Malala and her father began to fear for their safety. After the BBC blog ended, Malala was featured in a documentary made for The New York Times. She also received greater international coverage and was revealed as the author of the BBC blog.

In 2011, she received Pakistan’s first National Youth Peace Prize and she was nominated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu for the International Children’s Peace Prize. Her increased profile and strident criticism of the Taliban caused Taliban leaders to meet, and in 2012, they voted to kill her.

On 9 October, 2012, a masked gunman entered her school bus and asked for Malala by name.

Malala was shot with a single bullet which went through her head, neck and shoulder. Two of her friends were also injured in the attack.

Malala survived the initial shooting, but was in a critical condition.

She was later moved to Birmingham in the United Kingdom for further treatment at a specialist hospital for treating military injuries. She was discharged on January 3, 2013 and moved with her family to a temporary home in the West Midlands. It was a miracle she was alive.

Her assassination received worldwide condemnation and protests across Pakistan. Over 2 million people signed the Right to Education campaign. The petition helped lead to the ratification of Pakistan’s first right to education bill in Pakistan.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, chief spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, claimed responsibility for the attack, saying that Yousafzai was a symbol of the infidels and obscenity. However, other Islamic clerics in Pakistan issued a fatwa against the Taliban leaders and said there was no religious justification for shooting a schoolgirl.

Her shooting, and her refusal to stand down from what she believed was right, brought to light the plight of millions of children around the world who are denied an education today.

Today, around the world, girls are denied a formal education because of social, economic, legal and political factors. And in being denied an education, society loses one of its greatest and most powerful resources.

Malala started the Malala Day to bring awareness to the social and economic impact of girls’ education and to empower girls to raise their voices, to unlock their potential, and to demand change.

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