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Thursday Update: 06/25/09

Well summer has officially arrived in our neck of the woods. We had been enjoying beautiful ‘cool’ weather in the 70’s…but I do believe those days are behind us now. We jumped right into summer with both feet…highs in the upper 90’s and heat indexes in the triple digits. It’s hot…just plain hot!

Last weekend, before it got SUPER hot, we had a great time running here, there, and everywhere. Friday afternoon I wandered around the Des Moines Home Show with a few friends. It was rained nearly the whole time as we scampered from house to house under our umbrellas…and I couldn’t help but giggle as I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Here I am touring these ridiculously expensive homes with features and fixtures beyond comprehension, with my jeans rolled in big cuffs, wearing the required blue booties (which somewhat resembled elf shoes) over my sandals (which I could barely keep on my feet with the booties on), my hair a humid mess…it was great! By the time they loaded us back on the school bus and took us to the place we had parked…the rain had turned our ‘parking lot’ into a muddy, muddy mess. We tiptoed through the muck and guck with our booties on over our shoes, trying not to get stuck. It was humid, hot, and hilarious. We had a great time!

Thankfully the rain stopped and it turned out to be a beautiful evening. Matt and I had tickets to the Iowa Cubs game, and after I cleaned up from the home show, we headed down town for the game. We easily found our seats, which were in a great spot and we had more than enough room for the chair and me. I can’t say enough how wonderful it is to be able to go to a venue like that and enjoy it with ease. These are things you never think about, until you have to. I can easily say that the term ‘accessible’ is pretty darn subjective and it’s wonderful to go someplace where they truly took all kinds of scenarios into consideration. It just makes going out and about so much easier…and so much more enjoyable. It takes the pressure off of wondering if we can handle any obstacles and we can just relax and have fun…which is just what we did.

We settled into our seats and enjoyed typical ball park food for supper; me with my colossal hot dog, and Matt with his personal pizza. MMM! We had only been there a short time when I spotted Matt’s Aunt Bev who was there with Uncle Richard and a group from their church. They stopped over to chat for a few minutes and we laughed, talking about how we always seem to run in to them at sporting events. (I’m pretty sure the last time we saw them was at the ISU basketball game we went to this winter!) A little while later we were approached by a woman, asking me to confirm where I worked. She said we had exchanged e-mails a while back…and while I was racking my brain trying to remember…she explained. Her father in law had suffered a stroke a few years ago and through a friend of a friend they had heard about us and our plans to go to China. She had contacted me last year before Matt’s trip and during Matt’s trip and we e-mailed back and forth several times…I had just forgotten her name and had never met her before. She recognized us from the blog and wanted to meet us! It was so funny, we felt like a couple of celebrities when she approached us! Her in laws did end up going to China and were there the last month Matt was there, so we both met them in China. It was just so neat to meet Amy, and her husband, Alex in person and talk about how we’re doing now. I could tell she was moved, just to meet us. She struggled a bit to find the right words to explain how she felt, but I knew what she meant in her heart. Our lives, our story, had touched her. She looked at us, with a smile on her face, and tears in her eyes…and I knew what she felt. It’s always humbling to be approached like that…to see the impact that we sometimes have on other people. You don’t expect it…it’s hard to know how to feel about it…but I guess in the grand scheme of things, this is one of those things that makes me think maybe…just maybe…this is part of the reason why things happened the way they did for us. We’ve been given this opportunity to live our lives a little more openly…a little more publicly…and share with other people our thoughts, our struggles, our hopes, dreams, and prayers. And I think maybe our life is a testament to our love for each other, and our faith.

Saturday night I headed up to Webster City for my 15 year high school class reunion. I had debated about whether or not to go for a while, and finally decided I would go by myself and have a good time…and I’m so glad I did. Not only was it fun to catch up with old friends from high school, junior high, and elementary school…but I was surprised to see that our story had reached some of them as well. Several people talked to me about our situation, and how well we’re doing, and how happy we seem. They see our pictures of all the places we’ve been and things we’ve done and are genuinely impressed that we managed to find joy in our life and don’t let this ‘thing’ keep us from having fun. I really wasn’t expecting to have conversations like that at my reunion…it was actually pretty neat. I was so glad I went…I had a blast with old friends and came away feeling so good about myself and where I’m at in my life. Of all the crazy things that our classmates have been through these past 15 years, I can say that yeah, our situation sucks…but darn it I just don’t want it to be the reason we shrink away from life. And I’m so thankful that together we’ve been able to pick ourselves up when we stumble and get back on track quickly. We balance each other so well and support each other through the ups and downs…and that is a gift, plain and simple. I could not imagine what my life would look like without my dear Matt. If I had lost him that night, nearly 4 years ago, I don’t know who I would be today. He is simply the best person I could ever have ended up with and we fit each other perfectly. I will always, always be grateful for Matt.

Sunday we spent Father’s Day afternoon with Matt’s family in Boone. We enjoyed lunch and spent time looking through old family photographs together. It was fun to look back on Matt’s childhood and see pictures of family and friends. Looking at those pictures, it would be easy to think about the life that could have been…but instead, I look at them and smile, thinking about the adorable boy who grew into this amazing man. I found a picture of him from a family vacation in Minnesota…the one he took the summer of ’92, just before we met. He is sitting in the front of the boat and smiling back at the camera…his hair was a little long, peaking out from his baseball cap, and his smile – simply adorable. I remember he had given me a copy of that picture shortly after we started dating and I had it tacked to my bulletin board in my room for years…I loved that picture. He was so cute…and I liked him so much. I look at that guy in the boat and realize how much of our lives have been spent together…and oh, I just love him.

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