Posts Tagged anniversary

Four Years

Today is Gerald and my 4-year dating anniversary. It’s hard to believe that now we’re coming up on our 3-month wedding anniversary. We’ve both certainly changed and grown a lot since we first began dating.

One Year Dating Anniversary

Our Second Year Together

Dinner for our 3rd anniversary

Gerald on our 3rd anniversary

Our Wedding Day

A year ago today (or around this time), I remember feeling hopeful anticipation. Gerald and I had been looking at engagement rings for a little while, so I was MAYBE hoping he would propose (and quickly figured out he wasn’t going to when we had a discussion about it that night that left me disappointed but with a better timeline). A lot of my preoccupation with wondering when we’d get engaged (and hoping it would be sooner rather than later) was my impatience and my need to plan everything. I was thinking we’d have to get engaged in either December or January if we wanted to have a 6-month engagement because I knew Gerald wanted to get married during the summer (but I wasn’t sure which summer).

All my questioning about timing and proposals put a lot of pressure on Gerald. He felt like I wasn’t trusting him with all this, and ultimately I wasn’t trusting God’s timing in it all. I felt like I should’ve been married or at least engaged by then (I actually suggested to him on our first anniversary that maybe by our second anniversary he could propose…that didn’t happen). Even though three years felt like a long time to be dating, in those few years, God grew us both in our ability to communicate with one another (and to work out conflicts), in our friendship with one another, and in our relationships with Him. I know I learned a lot more about what it meant to love someone during our dating years. It made me realize how naive I was about relationships when we started dating (and I was even out of college by then!).

So all that to say, the waiting was worth it. We could’ve gotten married earlier and probably been fine, but as we weathered the ups and downs of life together over several years, we learned more about each other and the joys of serving God together. I think it made us better prepared for marriage. People also have told me that couples who don’t argue a lot while they’re dating tend to argue more once married and people who argue a lot while dating argue less once they’re married. So far that seems to be true for us. Gerald and I argued a lot sometimes while we were dating, but we’ve only had one big argument so far since getting married. By now I think we’ve just figured out how to resolve conflict (through lots of practice in our dating years), that we’ve already worked out a lot of those issues. I know arguments will still come, but hopefully we can employ some of the tactics we learned from premarital counseling to argue well (from John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work).

This is no longer an anniversary we’re really going to celebrate (we’re waiting for our first wedding anniversary now), but I’m still wishing Gerald a happy four years together. I’m looking forward to many more to come!

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Remembering September 11, 2001

I know September 11 has already passed in some time zones, but there are still about 45 minutes left of this 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks where I am.

On September 11, 2001 I was a junior in high school. I had gym first period and we were swimming so I had no idea what was happening when the attacks happened. Right after gym class I had AP English and we were supposed to take a timed writing test that day. I walked into class and my teacher was somber and he said something like, “I know what’s going on is really hard for some of you right now, but we have this test scheduled so we’re going to take it now anyway.” I was so confused as to what he was talking about since I still didn’t know about the terrorist attacks in New York. At that moment I was more nervous about my writing exam.

Next period I had French and that’s when I finally realized what had happened. The TV was on when I walked into the classroom and it was shocking when I saw the footage and heard the news coverage. We didn’t do anything in class that day except watch the news coverage. I think it was like that in nearly every class after that too. The whole day was so surreal. I remember the days after that too we weren’t allowed to walk outside to go in between buildings for our classes. It was also so strange walking outside later on and not seeing any planes in the sky. You don’t always see planes flying, but you also don’t realize that sometimes they’re just there.

This is an excerpt of what I wrote in my journal on September 14, 2001:

“I feel like I should be more upset or angry about this tragedy, but I’m not. It still seems unreal to me just three days later. I think this is because I don’t feel directly affected by the tragedy. If it happened in Chicago it would be different. It doesn’t hit close to home so to speak in my heart. I’m still devastated about everything that happened and all those thousands of innocent people were killed. But still, I don’t feel much anger towards the terrorists. I don’t know how they could’ve done this, but they did…All I want is peace in the world and unity in the United States.”

Looking back, I think all the events of 9/11 were a little hard for my 16-year-old mind to process. At that age, my biggest concerns were related to school, boys, my horseback riding lessons, and my relationship with God (though sometimes that seemed to come after all those other things). I just remember feeling bad because I didn’t feel as emotional about the 9/11 attacks as other people.

Ten years later though, I do realize the gravity of what happened even more. I feel more pain for the victims and for the brave rescue works and innocent bystanders affected by this tragic event. I think my perspective matured as I matured in age. Still, the terrorists don’t deserve death for their crimes any more than I do for the crimes I’ve committed against God. We all deserve death, but I’m grateful to know that I have found the path to life in Jesus Christ. That’s what these terrorists need–they need Christ. And yet in their need for the power of the Gospel, they teach me something too.

They’re lost people following leaders and fighting for a cause that asks them to risk their lives. Would I be willing to do that even for the cause of Christ? I’d like to think so, but sometimes I’m not so sure. Jesus does ask us to come and die–to die to our fleshly desires and to follow Him fully. If I’m honest with myself, often times I don’t really want to. I’d rather do what I want to do than what God wants me to do. So my prayer is that I would learn how to obey God fully–to be willing to die spiritually but also physically if that’s what He calls me to do for His sake. I’m also reminded to see terrorists the way God sees them. He sees them as His lost children–ones who do not yet know Him and His love. He loves them despite the evil they’re doing and He wants to bring them into His family. Though I may hate and fear what terrorists can do, I pray that I might see them the way God sees them and that I might begin to pray for them just as I would an unsaved friend.

No matter what happens in this world, God is still God. He is still omnipotent and omniscient. He will be glorified in all circumstances. I hope these are things we don’t just remember on the anniversaries of tragedies, but that we allow these truths to seep deep into our souls for the rest of our lives.

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How I Got into Publicity

Today I celebrate three years of working at Tyndale House Publishers. It’s amazing to think it has already been that long! So in honor of my Tyndale anniversary, I’m going to share the story of how I got into publicity and what led me to where I am today. *Warning–this is kind of long, but I love this story*

From a young age, I always loved reading. I would stay up late at night reading for pleasure with the closet light on. My mom told me that even before kindergarten I used to “read” Curious George books. In reality, I memorized the books after having them read to me all the time so it looked like I read them! My third grade teacher and other teachers told me I was a good writer and that’s where my love for English and writing began. I used to want to be a teacher (it seems like most little girls do), but once I got into high school, I knew I wanted to major in English. I tailored my senior schedule around that by deciding I didn’t need to take AP Calculus (you only needed three years of math to graduate, after all) and took Creative Writing and Intro to Journalism instead. I was also on my high school yearbook staff the last two years I was there.

Class of 2007!

I went on to college and graduated from Taylor University with a B.A. in English/Writing and a minor in Mass Communications/Journalism. I wasn’t exactly sure what career I would go into, but all I knew is I wanted it to have something to do with writing. I was really into missions and going overseas after going on several international trips during my college years (to London, Scotland, France, China and Poland). So I sought out writing opportunities in missions. I was offered an opportunity to write for the U.S. Center for World Mission in Pasadena, California before I graduated. I wanted to take it, but my parents didn’t think it was a good idea because I would have to raise support to live there (like a missionary), but I’d be living in the States. This was frustrating for me because I felt like they didn’t understand missions and how missionaries raising support is biblical, but I decided not to go.

So I had my degree and moved back home with no job prospects. I spent the summer after college devoting most of my time to serving as a leader for our college fellowship at church. I wasn’t working, but I was still busy. I was kind of searching for a job, but not being as proactive about that as I should’ve been. The most I’d done was post my resume on several different job sites and maybe apply to some of the jobs listed. It was hard because I didn’t have any experience and I had never done any internships in my field. Most entry-level jobs require 1-3 years of experience. Kinda hard to apply when you have zero years.

At the end of July, I received a call from the communications manager at the Chicago Tribune. He saw my resume on one of the websites and talked to me about a freelance communications specialist position he was hiring for. My resume said I’d done some freelance work, so I figured that’s why he called me. It was the Chicago Tribune, so of course I said I was interested! I sent him some writing samples and then left for the weekend to go on our college

The sign behind my desk in the Tribune Tower

group retreat.

This was a “no technology” retreat, so I didn’t have access to my cell phone or email all weekend. I came back late Sunday night, checked my email, and saw that the Tribune had emailed me wanting me to come in for an interview on Monday. Immediately I thought, “Oh no! That’s not going to work! I’m not even prepared!” Luckily, they were flexible and rescheduled it for Tuesday. To make a long story shorter, they called me a couple hours after the interview and hired me as the freelance communications specialist. That was my first introduction into the world of corporate communications and I learned a lot from the experience. I only took Intro to Public Relations in college and I always thought I’d be on the journalist side rather than the side of the public relations professional. My boss was fantastic too–he knew I was looking for a full-time job and kept extending the original three months I was supposed to work there, eventually telling me I could work there until I found a full-time position.

Soon after he told me this, I got a call from Tyndale House Publishers inviting me to come in for an interview for the

Sharon from Tyndale (left), author Becky Alonzo (center), & me at the International Christian Retail Show

publicity assistant position. Two interviews and less than a month later, I had my full-time job. 🙂 I learned a lot more about publishing and how to do book publicity (which is slightly different from corporate communications) and a little over a year ago I was promoted to full-time publicist when one of my colleagues left to be a stay at home mom. Now I’m still learning a lot about social media and other PR strategies to better promote our authors and products.

The fact that I found a full-time job in PR is not why I love this story. I love how this story demonstrates God’s hand in my life. I had one plan for my future and God brought me in a completely different direction. Of course, His plan was way better than my own. As I look back too, I know that God brought me to my job here at Tyndale and I can see how all the different pieces fell into place. They’re so intertwined that it’s hard NOT to miss the fact that God was in it all!

So this is not just a celebration of three years at Tyndale. It’s also a celebration of God’s faithfulnes in my life and a reminder to me of how I need to trust Him with my future. I may not know where I’m headed, but I know the One who does.

Are you noticing God’s fingerprints in your own life?

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