Thursday, March 26, 2009

excitement and the grand plan

people keep asking me if i am excited to get married. my response is always the same:

"of course i'm excited. but not the jumpy-squealy kind of excited. the this-is-just-so-right excited."

what i mean by that is that it goes way deeper than the word "excited" can convey. because excitement fades. it leads up to something and then, after the "something" occurs, it's recedes... like the ebb and swell of the ocean. what i feel is entirely different than that. it's more constant. longer lasting. it's inside my stomach, almost a tangible sensation. when i think about giving my life to tim and him giving his life to me, i almost ache with the joy and wonder and awe of it.

and then i feel the sheer majesty of god's plan for his whole people. i realize that human love, marriage, parenting, friendship... these are all minute pieces of the grand plan: for the creator to show his greatness through his unending, unfailing, unchanging love for (relatively) insignificant and faithless people. he amazes me. because we are not insignificant to him -- even in all his greatness. we are of infinite worth to him because he chooses to make us so.

and all of these startling ideas and realizations are bound up with the "excitement" i feel about marrying tim. because i know that the great god is a part of it. or rather, that we are a part of him.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

rethinking the plan

well, last night after financial class, i took a good, hard look at our wedding budget. and i realized that my plans had gotten larger than my pocketbook. SO! now it's time to get creative.

i was explaining to tim the way i plan events: i get a picture of the end result in my head and then figure out how to get there. and since my old picture had to be thrown out the window, for the most part, i need to get a new picture. and that is the stressful part for me. once i have a picture, i'm good.

so... here's hoping for a new "best" picture.

Friday, March 20, 2009

there is only one (very unsophisticated) word for this...

are you ready for it?


i just keep saying that word over and over.

last night, i was talking to God about my worries and concerns. of course, finances came up among the myriad other concerns. but really, worrying about my finances is just a symptom of something deeper. for me, it's this: i do not believe that God wants to pour out good things into my life. i believe that he wants good things for me in a vague, overarching sense. but i have a difficult time comprehending a God who would allow me to " feast on the abundance of [his] house; and give [me] drink from [his] river of delights."

as i was talking to him about these things, i realized that i had this sort of cap-in-hand, beggar mentality. and i thought, "well, that's kinda lame." so i just told him that i wanted to trust him. to believe that he wants good and has good in store for me. not only the overarching, nebulous kind of good, but the deep, deep, spirit-satisfying kind of good. and i left it at that.

this afternoon, i got an email from a friend of mine. she's been in my life to varying degrees for the past ten years and has been a sister and a friend to me throughout. the email was from her and from another friend of mine -- one who has been a wise voice and a safe harbor for me more times than i can count. it said that together they wanted to bless tim+ me with the flowers and decorations for our wedding.

i started crying (of course) immediately. here's why: God knows me so well. he knows all the dreams and hopes i've stored up. not for my wedding, so much (although, of course that figures in), but for the whole of my life. he knows the disappointments and the failings and the just plain old disbelief that i've had. and i knew that he decided to show me that he Loves me. yes, Love with a capital "L." that he cares, really and truly, about the girly parts of me that i often hide in embarrassment. that he cares enough to move my friends' hearts to be his hands.

all of that is just a tiny expression of his amazing-ness. he is entirely awesome and altogether beautiful. i am his. he is mine. and his banner over me is love, hope and peace in abundance. not because i deserve it, but because he says so.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

decisions, decisions

well, things are coming along.

we've got our date.
the ceremony site.
the pastor.
the wedding party.
the colors.
the theme.

i've even tried on a few dresses. (big, huge thanks to bridgitte and melody on that one. they took great care of me after my brain fried.)

now it's all just details.
we found a photographer that we love, but need to work it into our budget.
we know where we'd like to hold the reception, but need to talk to the right people.
we know exactly how we want our save-the-date cards to look, but need to actually make them.

i'm actually really loving all the planning. and i'm so aware that i have fantastic people that i want to share all this with -- and who want to share it with me.

and here's the real kicker -- in exactly six months i get to marry my favorite person on the whole planet. i feel like the luckiest, happiest girl ever.

p.s. i will be giving the girly version of the engagement story in the next week or so. just compiling evidence. (!)

Friday, March 13, 2009


The story of how I came to ask for Lisa Kieffer's hand in marriage...

I learned some things about Lisa early in our dating relationship.
1. Lisa really likes books
2. Lisa loves maps
3. Lisa loves to receive letters
I stored this away in my mind. When we had been dating for about 3 months I saw a beautiful hard cover leather bound journal.
I had this idea: I should buy this and write letters to Lisa in it to give her later. Although I did not know at that point that we would get married I cut out a spot in the pages for a ring to fit.

>>Fast Forward>> to February, 2009.

I spoke with both of Lisa's parents in the 2 weeks leading up to the day. It was the most excruciating thing to have to hold my feelings of excitement and joy inside after they both gave their permission and blessing for me to marry their daughter.

I already had some ideas about how to propose. Now I just needed to fine tune them. I had a couple days off of school earlier in the week so I researched bookstores in Minneapolis. I found one which she had been to. I found another one, a tiny hole in the wall shop that sells old books, maps and art prints as well as photos of old buildings. I was so excited to take her there. I was really hoping she had not been there before.

Friday February 20, 2009-
Our 2 year anniversary. We went out to a fancy restaurant in Minneapolis and talked and enjoyed the evening baking brownies at her appartment. Then, the following morning I picked her up at 10 to celebrate our anniversary. I had a secret list of places to take her. We went out for brunch at The Egg and I in Uptown where we have gone on numerous dates. It was wonderful to just relax and talk and eat a great breakfast. Then we went to a bookstore, and a stationary/paper store both of which she had been to before. In between each destination I would tell her to close her eyes so I could look at the secret list so I could see where we were going next.

-Side Note-
I wrote the list because I have a bad memory and I was so nervous leading up to the day I didn't want to forget where to go. I had butterflies and tornadoes and rollercoasters in my stomach for the whole week before. I wanted the day to be perfect.

Next we went to the tiny bookstore she had never been to before, Whitney Books and Prints, in Minneapolis. She absolutely loved it! I was so proud to have found such a great place she had never been. She would have stayed all day if she could.

I had remained calm and collected all day up untill this point: We left the bookstore to go to Uncommon Grounds in Uptown, where we had our first date. When we arrived I scoped out the coffee shop and was relieved that it was mostly empty. I was terribly nervous as I carried our drinks to the table. I thought I would spill the drinks and burn myself..

After we had talked for a bit and sipped our drinks we decided it was time to open our anniversary gifts to eachother. I opened mine first. It was wonderful. In the gift was a list of 30 things that Lisa wanted in a husband, along with a card telling me that I was ALL of those things. And then some! It was an amazing gift and I felt so loved, appreciated and valued.

Then, I gave her my gift. The book. Wrapped in a map. As she opened it and saw what it was she started crying. I knew that she knew what was in the book. Not the ring mind you, but letters filled with my thoughts and feelings about her. Dreams and hopes, memories of us. I asked her if I could read a couple entries to her. I untied the string holding it shut and opened it to the first bookmark. I read 2 entries to her that expressed how I see her. That I am amazed every time I discover something new about Lisa. My heart jumps when I hear her voice.

Then I turned to the second bookmark. I turned the book around so she could see the ring inside the pages. Stepping into the isle I got down on my knee and asked her. Lisa Dawnelle Kieffer, will you marry me? She was bawling, surprised and glowing, she kissed my mouth and then said yes.

I was on top of the world

Some of my deepest hopes and dreams are comming true. I am engaged to an amazing girl! I admire the way she loves people. She takes time to listen and ask questions. She loves and values children. She cares and nurtures with the heart of God.

I am honored and humbled that Lisa wants to spend her life with me. Learning and growing. Walking though lifes joys and sorrows. Growing old and learning to love God, eachother and people. I am simply blown away.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

how we "met"

this is a really long, really involved version of the beginning of our story. i feel like i should offer a prize to anyone who actually takes the time to read it. umm... how about a tootsie pop? or a mix cd? or something...

tim and i have known each other for almost twelve years. but back then, he was 14 and i was 18. BIG difference at that age. we went to the same youth group. and actually, his sister, rachel was one of my jr. high youth group girls, so we girls hung out quite a bit. timothy would hardly talk to me in those days.

after high school he went to YWAM. i would get periodic updates and such, but there were a few years in there where we didn’t see each other much. then he came back to minnesota and started attending the church plant that i was worship pastor at. he joined the worship team. and even though he still didn’t talk much, he wormed his way into my heart. not in a romantic way (AT ALL), but more of a “what a special person he is!” kind of way. he was back and forth between YWAM and minnesota for a few years. he’d come and give updates after trips and such. and he’d always play on the worship team. when he wasn’t there, we missed his quiet humor and his steadiness.

he finally came back to minnesota for good about, gosh, six (?) years ago. he joined the worship team full-time and so we saw each other twice a week. that’s when we really started being friends. looking back, i see that God opened my eyes to really "see" tim, pretty much from the get-go. most people don’t notice the awesomeness that is timothy -- his gentleness, his humor, his depth, his kindness, his all-out wackiness -- because he is so introverted and doesn't always share what he's thinking or feeling. but i somehow always had this deep appreciation for him as a person, a respect for who he was as a man, and an excited and confident expectation of what God would cause him to be in the future. that allowed me to give tim a lot of encouragement and support as well as to really care about him as a friend, way before we had romantic feelings for each other.

meanwhile, tim was being mentored by our pastor and was really starting to come to grips with the pain created by certain events in his life. he and i would have long talks about family, and forgiveness, and healing. tim also started working on getting comfortable hanging out with girls one-on-one. so (this is so CUTE), he’d take girls from our church out on pseudo-dates. he took me to a minor league baseball game once. another time we went to the art museum. he was so sweet and gentlemanly on our “dates” but i never thought of him as anything but a friend.

we lived in a community house together for a few years. we cooked for each other and had “family fun nights” and all kinds of stuff. we kept getting closer, but still, i never felt anything for him except sisterly affection. until... one summer, we were having a church picnic and tim was playing basketball with a bunch of neighborhood guys and at some point during the game, he just whipped off his shirt. i did a double-take. seriously, people... that was the first time i ever noticed that tim was an eligible, attractive man. i had never, ever, ever had that thought cross my mind before. it was like a lightning bolt. i tried to put it out of my mind, because i was a leader at the church, he and i were living in the same house, and i thought he was way (haha) too young for me. but, if i'm being honest, i would have to say that things were never quite the same after that -- at least under the surface. not so much because i saw that he was totally ripped, but because of the epiphany i had upon noticing him as an available guy.

a few more years passed and i moved out of the house we’re living in, but tim and i remained close. around the beginning of 2007, a bunch of people from our church were thinking about moving to ohio to help sort of re-plant a church there. i was close to several of them and so when tim decided to go for a visit and offered to fly me down with him to check it out, i jumped at the opportunity. we stayed at the house of a young couple in the church. he did stuff with the guys, i did stuff with the girls, but we got to spend a lot of concentrated time together, just the two of us. more than we ever had before. at one point, i was telling all the single girls (and there were a LOT of them at that church) how awesome tim is. what a great husband and dad he’ll be. how cute and athletic he is. you know... trying to pave the way for him a little. and one of the girls says to me, “why don’t YOU date him?” i laughed and said (famous last words), “umm… because that would be weird!”

the weekend we were in ohio, the men from the church went on a retreat and tim went with them. i hung out with the ladies and had a great time, but found that i was missing his company. when he and the guys came back to the house we were staying at for a party, i was so happy to see him and kept thinking to myself, “why am i so happy? i’ve never been this happy to see him before…”

on our flight home, tim and i talked about everything that had happened on the five days we were there. and then, inexplicably and with no premeditation, i started crying my eyes out.
poor tim is just sitting there, like, “are you okay???” and i am just nodding and crying like an idiot and saying over and over, “i don’t know why i’m crying.” now, let me just tell you: i cry all the danged time. but i always, ALWAYS know why i’m crying. this time, i seriously had no earthly idea. and that troubled me greatly.

so my friend, bridgitte, came to pick us up at the airport. we took tim to his mom’s house and i got out of the car to give him a hug like i would always do. i got back in the car and bridgitte (who knows me better than anyone in the wide world) said, “what happened between you two?” i looked at her in disbelief, “nothing!” i say, truthfully (or so i thought).

that night, i was laying in bed, asking myself over and over “why was i crying? why was i crying?” and it hits me.

i was crying because i was sad tim was moving away.
i LIKE tim.
oh my GOSH!!!!

i seriously freaked out for the next two weeks. i talked to my friends, i paced the floor, i journaled like a mad-woman. i didn’t know what to do. it was so unexpected. and such bad timing. and i didn’t even know if he liked me back! after two weeks of spazziness, i decided to just let it go. he was planning to move at the end of february. and i seriously did not want to mess up our friendship. and i'd only had a crush on the guy for point two seconds -- it would be easy to get over him, right?

i took a week-long trip to washington, dc over valentine’s day week with some of my girlfriends. tim called me on valentine’s day (not KNOWING what day it was because, let’s face it, valentine’s day is laaame) to see if i want to hang out when i got back and before he leaves for ohio. i’m going “be calm. keep it cool, lisa. it’s just a friendly call. it will be good closure. just keep it cool.” but iwas SO jumping up and down inside. we decided to hang out the next sunday morning and afternoon before church (our church met at night).

he came over and we watched a kung-fu movie (one of our favorite things to do together). after the movie, he turns to me and starts talking about all the things he appreciates about me and how much my friendship has meant to him. i was trying SO hard not to cry. i told him how grateful i was that we were friends and how much i cared about him as a person. i told
him about my hopes for him in the future and how great i think it is that he’s following God and going to ohio, even though i’ll miss him. all the while, i’m telling myself, "this is probably the last time you’ll have with him – make it good. don’t leave anything important out."

and THEN… he just leans over and kisses me.

i was shocked. completely shocked. i was even more shocked that i kissed him back. but what shocked me the most was that he was a really good kisser. TIM HEANER!

(what comes next is horrifying. prepare yourself.)

then he gets up off the couch, looking very confused and says “i have to go to church. i’ll call you.” and LEAVES!!!!!!!

i just about died. i literally kept my phone in my hand for the next 24 hours. i only put it down to brush my teeth and go to the bathroom. i just kept thinking “PLEASE let him call. PLEASE let him call.” the agony, people. the agony.

but he called me monday night to ask me if i wanted to go out tuesday, to which i calmly answered, “yeah. that would be good.” we made arrangements, i hung up the phone and then started running around my apartment jumping and screaming like something out of a cheesy teen movie.

i was so nervous he was going to say that it had been a mistake or that he didn’t really feel that way about me or that it was crazy to get together just as he was leaving. but he took my hand in his and said, “lisa, i really care about you. i have strong feelings for you and even though it seems like poor timing, would you want to date each other?” i started cry-laughing and said of course i did.

hilariously enough, he told everyone that I kissed HIM. even his MOM! we’ve since got the story straightened out and he’s rather proud, i think, of the fact that he “busted a move” as he calls it. i’m so glad he did. otherwise… who knows? we might never have said anything to each other and we would have missed all this joy and healing and growth and amazingness.

Friday, March 6, 2009

the date is set!

09.19.09 @ hope presbyterian church, richfield, mn.

the date appeals to my pattern-loving side. and i have to say, i'm pretty danged excited to have something (other than the fact that we ARE getting married) set in stone.

tim did a great job of taking charge on this. he talked to the pastor of the church, the building scheduler, got the site reserved and the minister (mike spencer) approved. heck yes, my man has planning skills.

now the fun stuff starts -- save-the-date cards, decorations, dress hunting...

p.s. we'll get "the story" and some pictures up here post haste. sorry for the wait, grandma!