Sweet Seth

autumn-walkSeth has been so wonderful lately. After a kind of rough patch in October where we talked through a few points of conflict (an important aspect of any healthy relationship), the past few weeks have been some of the sweetest we’ve had.

The weather finally turned cooler a few weeks ago down in the South where we live, so Seth and I took the opportunity to bundle up and go for a nice walk outside in a cozy, historic part of town. I had a warm latte in one hand and Seth’s calloused palm in the other. The leaves started changing, and we talked about everything and nothing.

At the end of our walk when Seth escorted me to my car, he gave me a kiss goodbye and then asked me to wait a second. “I’ll be right back.” He jogged to his truck, grabbed something out of the back seat and then jogged back to me. He wrapped his left arm around my waist and, with his right hand, threw a paper airplane through my open driver door onto my passenger seat.

I laughed, genuinely happy. “What was that?” I hugged his waist. He gave me a quick kiss on my forehead and said with a grin, “See you later.”

He jogged back to his car and got in while I, still smiling and curious, reached for the paper airplane. I unfolded it delicately and read one of the sweetest notes Seth’s ever written me. He acknowledged that he’s not always the most verbally affectionate boyfriend, but he wanted to make sure I knew how much he cares about me. I think I actually teared up a little bit. He’d written me a love note. And folded it into a paper airplane. It was the perfect combination of thoughtful and playful; quirky and sweet.

cinderella-stairsA few days later, after dinner with a group of friends, my high heels – glittery, silvery three-inch heels – were killing me. So Seth carried me up the stairs to my apartment. On the way, one of my heels fell off, so Seth set me down at the top of the stairs, ran down the stairs, picked up the silvery shoe, and ran back to the top of the stairs where he knelt down and gently slipped the glass slipper back onto my foot. I felt like a princess, especially when he scooped me back up again and carried me across the threshold of my apartment.

festival-of-lightsThe next week, Seth surprised me with a road trip, ensuring that he catered to my planning nature by telling me how to pack. “Dress for cool weather, and plan to be outside.” He wanted to keep the destination a surprise, but he is also learning how I operate and is lovingly choosing to adjust his style. He threw in a couple of red herrings (“Pack a hammer and a baseball cap”) just to keep me off track, but he ultimately took me to a lights festival modeled after my favorite Disney movie. I felt so loved, not only that he thought to surprise me with something he knew I’d enjoy, but that he also presented the surprise in a way that catered to me.

Last Sunday, he called me before church just to say “hello beautiful” and to let me know he was looking forward to worshiping with me. We watched “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and he told me I remind him of Mary because I’m a beautiful brunette who is lovingly supportive, resilient and a Proverbs 31 woman. And the next morning, he sent me off to work with an unexpected text: “Good morning, sweetheart. I hope you have a wonderful Monday!”

A couple of weeks ago, we attended the wedding of some dear friends who attend church with us. It was a beautiful ceremony, and at the reception, Seth leaned over to kiss my cheek and whisper quietly, “You were worth waiting for.”

My eyes widened in surprise, and he laughed, “It was a long wait!” He smiled. “But you were worth waiting for.”

Authentically Aurora

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Courageous Kindness

cinderella-movie-2015As a little girl, I never liked Cinderella. She was too quiet, soft and subservient. She wasn’t feisty, passionate and adventurous like Belle or Jasmine or Ariel.

Cinderella-dadI always wanted Cinderella to stand up to her stepmother and stepsisters. I never understood why she was such a doormat, blindly tied to a promise to her dead parents who, at the time they asked it of her, had no knowledge of how her situation would develop and change after they were gone. Cinderella seemed foolhardy to me, incapable of adapting to the dynamic nature of her situation.

cinderella-headshotBut I recently watched the new Cinderella movie, and it landed differently with me than the animated film I grew up with. In this new, live actor film, Cinderella inspired me. Her story stirred me and actually moved me to tears. “Have courage, and be kind,” she repeated to herself over and over again, through the death of a mother, death of a father, servitude to her stepsisters and incomprehensible cruelty by her stepmother.

Cinderella-ragsAs an adult watching the movie of Cinderella, I am struck by her response to suffering – intense, terrible suffering. Cinderella didn’t pretend everything was okay, mindlessly skipping through a field of wildflowers and humming with bluebirds while her so-called family abused her. No, we saw Cinderella hurt, frustrated and broken. We watched Cinderella struggle and almost fail to keep her courage and kindness as the pains of life continued to roll in.

cinderella_horseBut Cinderella resolved to keep her heart soft; chose not to betray her true self to the all-too-easy bitterness and anger over circumstances beyond her control. Cinderella also chose kindness – and not just kindness, but courage as well. She chose to be strong and gentle; noble and compassionate; brave and tenderhearted.

The complements of courage and kindness united in the person of Cinderella are a strikingly beautiful portrait that remind me of another story: one of a God who is both all-powerful and loves without reservation. Power belongs to God, and Loving-kindness is Yours, O Lord.” -Psalm 62:11-12

There is power in courageous kindness. Some might even call it magic.

Cinderella-dress-transformation

Authentically Aurora

Bachelor Bash – Week 4

Group Date Week 4I feel like this week on “The Bachelor”, the girls were clearly divided into two camps: Those Who Are Crass v. Those Who Have Class.

At the beginning of this week’s episode, several bikini-clad girls rode in convertibles to a lake with Bachelor Chris. Their group date involved camping and playing Red Rover in skimpy two-pieces. Yes, it was Bachelor Chris’s own private “Baywatch” viewing.

At one point, the self-proclaimed virginal Ashley I. took off her bikini top before jumping into the lake from the pier. Soon after, “you can plow the **** out of my field any day” Kaitlyn shimmied off her bikini bottoms and mooned the entire group (fellow contestants included, not to mention the nation-wide viewers). You can guess which camp I put these girls in.

Meanwhile, over in camp Those Who Have Class, Kelsey spoke to the camera, “This is a date for bimbos. If you have dignity and self respect, this is the part where you check out. I’m done.” Preach it, sister! Finally a woman on this show with some semblance of moral fiber! 

One-one-one dates Week 4Next, some of the girls got one-on-one time with Bachelor Chris. Jillian the Jock, who has bigger biceps than Chris, displayed the full extent of her meat head status when, on her romantic one-on-one date, she asked Chris, “Would you rather have sex with a homeless woman… or abstain from sex for five years?”

Not surprisingly (based on his obsession with Kaitlyn, Queen of Crass), this question was not what turned Chris off to Jillian so much as her incessant talking. “When Jillian’s talking, I become very confused because the words are coming out faster than I can process them.” Oh, is it only with Jillian? I thought confusion was your natural state of being, Prince Farming. 

In contrast to Jillian’s horrifying lack of propriety, Jade (who has been my top pick from Week 1) was gracious, sweet and humble while she was waited on hand and foot by personal stylists who prepped her for a Cinderella-like evening with Chris. Fortunately, the typically clueless Chris finally got a clue and picked up on Jade’s quiet confidence and previously unappreciated intangibles. “Not only is Jade beautiful on the outside, but her inner beauty is what really stands out to me.”

Week 4 VirginsLastly, we had the battle of the virgins. Which was really just Ashley I. using every excuse possible to talk about her virginity in an effort to get attention and feel special. She brought up her virginity to Chris twice, and when he didn’t respond as expected (i.e. by ripping off her clothes), she started crying and blew the entire situation out of proportion. “It’s really weird for him not to make a move on me,” she sobbed with black mascara running down her foundation-caked cheeks.

This girl is living in an alternate reality where she is the center of the universe. Maybe she’s neighbors with Ashley S., who is just living in an alternate reality period, or MacKenzie, who asks, “Do you guys believe in aliens?” just about every episode. Bachelor Trekkies unite.

In contrast to drama-filled, Kardashian-wannabe Ashley I., all that Becca said about her virginity this entire season was, “It’s a decision I made.” As Bachelor Host Chris Harrison said in his interview with Robyn Ross, “[Ashley I.] doesn’t know how to handle her sexuality yet, and she’s not comfortable in her own skin… Ashley is being exposed as young and naïve. The juxtaposition… between her breaking down over the whole thing and then having Becca go, ‘Oh by the way, me too,’ shows the difference between a woman and a young girl.” 

Go Becca. Quiet confidence wins every time.

Authentically Aurora