Monday, August 31, 2015

Extended Deployment

(photo credit:

Martin got on his current ship on July 17th having determined that he would be sailing for two or three months, depending on whether the ship had a regular 3rd engineer who would relieve Martin from duty when ready to board again. The ship does not. So he's at sea for at least three months.

Martin had previous given me an estimate as to when the Great Lakes cease shipping for the winter at around mid-December. But as we talked on the phone the other night, that estimate was pushed forward some more. 

He had been asked if he wanted to become a regular on the ship, at which Martin asked what he had to do to become a regular. Now, I don't remember the whole list of items discussed in that conversation 'cause I have a horrible memory, but I do remember that Martin was told that he would have to work up until the ship halts sailing for winter, which according to this particular ship--the Sam Laud--was late January. Yikes.

Martin and I had already decided that he would fly down here to Texas to spend Christmas with me and my family. Also, Martin just wasn't interested in having to be at sea that late into Great Lake winters. So he won't be becoming a Sam Laud regular.

Within this same conversation between Martin and I, though, he told me that he wanted to stay at sea for a month longer since he didn't really want to return to sea until the spring. Otherwise, with only being at sea for three months, he would return home for a month, then head back out for another month before Christmas. If he sails one additional month during his current deployment, he can get it out of the way (and not have to be at sea during Thanksgiving).

At the possibility of him not working over Thanksgiving, I asked him if it were selfish of me to want to spend both Thanksgiving and Christmas with him. Now, I was never thinking that he would fly down here for both holidays. I don't want to take him away from his family. From the start, I was going to suggest one holiday in Texas and one holiday in Michigan, which was convenient, since that's what Martin suggested as his response.

So, while Martin's deployment may be extended, I also may get to spend Thanksgiving in Michigan!

Can't wait!


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Long Distance Relationships (And Online Dating too!)

I mentioned in my introductory post that I'm in a long distance relationship. Given the fact that long distance holds a bit of controversy over whether they can last or not, I thought I'd talk about my (and our) experience here.

Martin and I met online. Let's just put that out on the table. So we didn't know each other prior, nor did we have mutual friends. We were complete strangers who began corresponding from 5 states and 1000 miles away. I wouldn't recommend online dating to everyone. And for those to whom I might recommend it, I would still suggest online dating only when you've exhausted all other avenues of finding someone.

Why? Because online dating sucks.

Yes, it sucks.

And I was on the verge of giving up around the time that Martin and I started talking. What led up to that point were several guys who might begin talking to me, then make an excuse to discontinue communication towards a relationship for any reason (or just stop responding altogether). But the real kicker was the guy I had began dating before I had found Martin, who after three dates and many conversations implying a committed, long-term relationship texted me to tell me that he was also seeing a girl from his church, and he felt they were more serious.

Yeah, big ego boost right there. But I stuck it out for a little longer, and here's why:

I had seen a profile for one attractive young professor who lived in Louisiana, who had a very informative profile, including why he chose to pursue online dating to telling of some trends he'd seen while online dating, and finally a word of advice and encouragement to ladies who felt like giving up. He had already had two serious, gospel-centered long distance relationships that went well but had just not worked out. But at the end of his About Me page, still speaking for the encouragement of ladies on the verge of giving up this avenue of meeting someone, he said that a guy worth dating wouldn't hesitate to use his airline miles to come see a woman.

That's what made me stay.

Now, this guy hadn't logged on in months, so he was likely already dating someone else without having deleted his account (And quite honestly, my account is still up, but I haven't logged on since my early correspondence with Martin).

So I expanded my search to anywhere.

And I'm so glad I did. Because two weeks after the two-timer ended things, I found Martin.

Now, before I go into the bliss that is Martin's and my relationship, let me talk about long distance relationships in general, okay? You may or may not feel like they work, and you're certainly entitled to your opinion. But whether you realize it or not, we all have long distance relationships in our life. They may not be romantic, but 7 out of 10 people will say that they use Facebook to keep up with friends and family. And I would venture to guess that not everyone on your Facebook friends list lives in the same city or state as you.

Now, on top of your maintaining long distance friendships, let's throw into that idea that there are people with whom you want (or have) a deeper, more intimate relationship with. If you can maintain a friendship from a distance, wouldn't it also be logical to maintain a romantic relationship, particularly since it is a deeper, more intimate relationship that you can have with a person?

Now, let's look at long distance from another perspective: Let's say that you work a job that requires you to travel or be away a lot. If you could not maintain any sort of relationship--platonic, familial, or otherwise--wouldn't that result in an immense amount of loneliness in your life? Someone has to do these jobs. And for some perspective, let's list some of these jobs:

  • Armed Services (Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard) (Which Martin is)
  • Merchant Marine Engineers (Which Martin also is)
  • Overseas (or even domestic!) missionaries
  • Truck drivers
  • Flight attendants and pilots
  • Peace Corps volunteers
  • Photographers
  • Musicians
  • Cruise line workers
  • International aid workers
  • Governmental foreign affairs/Diplomats
  • Oil field workers
  • Professional athletes
  • Traveling nurses/teachers
  • Au pairs
  • Reporters

And that's not an exhaustive list by any means.

Now, as for Martin, he has Naval and Merchant Marine obligations to fulfill as well as our maintaining a long distance relationship. But once we marry (whenever that is!), I will be moving to Michigan (since it's easier for me to relocate, not having service obligations) and thus minimizing our time apart to just when he's at sea, which is every other month, more or less.

(Side Note: Whenever I mention that I'll be moving to Michigan, everyone always states that it's cold. Yes! I realize it's cold! But it is also beautiful, lush green, woodsy, has tons of rivers, hilly, and is, quite honestly, prettier than Texas, even with snow. Plus, if I had to choose between marrying the love of my life verses never having to deal with sub-zero temps, I'll take the love of my life, thanks.)

But enough about the future. Back to our beginning:

He and I hit it off really quickly. In fact, I felt an immense peace about our relationship and thus fell for him after a month of correspondence. No phone calls or skyping had been done yet. Only Facebook and texts.

It took him a bit longer to fall, since he had already had failing long distance relationships where he'd been cheated on, but I was okay with waiting. It was evident in the way he treated me when he did fall for me, though. So I knew that he meant it when we exchanged "I-love-you's" when he called me about a month before he flew down to Texas to meet me for the first time.

That's right. "I-love-you's" came before actually meeting in person.

And did you catch that? He flew down to see me. Just as that random professor's profile said.

We first met when we had been talking for 6 months at that point. He flew down, stayed in our guest room for a week, then he flew both of us up to Michigan, where I occupied his family's guest room and spent 11 days with them. Pure bliss that was! Being together only solidified what we had already concluded: That we had found the one we want to spend the rest of our life with.

Now, he's currently on a two-to-three month deployment in the Great Lakes. He plans to fly back down when he gets off the ship in another month or two. In addition to that, we plan on spending Christmas together, which I am completely stoked about!

I hope this was an encouragement to other long distance couples and/or those who have tried out online dating with no luck.

With love,


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Academic Weariness

I've always been one to struggle in school, ever since I was little. I was never an honors student. I wasn't the homeschool equivalent to an AP student. I took dual credit classes at my local community college while in high school, but out of the three classes I took, I only passed one. 

I did manage to graduate from high school a year early, but that had more to do with the fact that I simply didn't have a whole lot of required high school classes left to take. And looking back, it probably would have benefitted me more to stay in high school that fourth year to help me figure out what I wanted to pursue in my college career. Instead, here's how it went down:

At the time, I wanted to be a marriage and family therapist. But since you can't counsel anyone until you've earned a master's degree in counseling, what I did in my undergrad mattered less. So I chose to pursue a classical (rather than traditional) degree plan in humanities in the undergraduate programs of our local seminary, then planned to continue with a Master's in Biblical Counseling through this seminary after my undergrad. However, the thing about classical degree plans is that they don't cover the same requirements when you change to a traditional degree plan to another school (because guess what? The seminary has one of the highest undergraduate workloads in the country!). So the many classes in history, art, literature, and physical education didn't all transfer into the math, science, English, and government classes traditionally in undergraduate core requirements. 

Side note: I switched to a more traditional degree also to pursue a degree in which I could pursue mission work, at which I struggled to find a major that fit into missions until I decided on International Development well into my college experience.

Fast forward to my fall semester of 2014. I was enrolled in my last classes required for my degree. I struggled with classes, as always. I finished the semester and walked the stage at graduation. Little did I know that weeks later, my school was trying to contact me while I was on a mission trip in India to tell me that "there was a problem with grading" and that I "didn't graduate after all". I failed two of my classes. Of all the feelings of academic failure that I felt countless times before throughout my education, this one was the most dreadful. I feared telling anyone about it, much less my parents who had (at times quite begrudgingly) helped foot the bill for my college.

In the spring, I didn't take classes since, quite frankly, I couldn't afford it. Plus, I had been accepted for an internship in a missions organization and would still be working my regular job, ultimately working 50 hours a week. So, I wasn't about to add school on top of all that!

So, here I am, about to start my last semester of college (for real, this time!), and I find out that because I have 190 college credit hours (That's right, 190!), I have an "excessive hours" fee added to the rest of my tuition and fees that doubles my entire bill! (Gee, thanks, University of North Texas. My college experience wasn't quite difficult enough as it is!)

So, there are two reasons (actually three) that I'm sharing this with you. First, if you could pray for me in my last semester, academically and financially, that would be greatly appreciated. And secondly, to offer encouragement to anyone else who struggles in school to keep on keeping on because I know it's tough. (And thirdly, if you've also struggled with picking a major and have credits that don't transfer, as many college students do, don't go to UNT!)

God bless,


Thursday, August 13, 2015


I grew up writing and eventually blogging (through Xanga! Oh, the nostalgia!) about my life. I've always been an internal processor, and writing has been the outward expression of my inward thoughts.

I haven't blogged in many years now, but in not doing so, I have missed the connection I was able to achieve with others in doing so. In sharing my life to the public, I found that not only was I encouraged whenever someone read my content and commented, saying that could relate, but also that I was an encouragement to others when they hadn't necessarily shared with anyone their life but had found encouragement of their own from relating to my posts. 

So here I am. 

To start, I am a wholehearted believer in God, and our atonement through Jesus Christ. I am a born and raised Texas girl and a college student, working my way through my undergrad and (after 7 years) about to graduate in December (hallelujah!). I'm in a thriving long distance relationship with a Naval/Merchant Marine Officer and plan to relocate to Michigan, where he lives, when we marry. My biggest passion in life is the spread of the gospel to unreached people groups of the world, and I've traveled extensively to share in the joy in seeing the lost come to know Christ. 

And there you have it.

Until next time,