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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

the three of us are gathered here today...

i didn't want a big "to do." chuck had spent the past few weeks making sure that i didn't and i'm grateful he cares enough to be sure, but i genuinely didn't. i didn't want to spend the money nor the planning time. so...

i left work at 12:15pm on my wedding day.
i went home, chuck was asleep on the couch. knocked OUT.
i took my time getting ready. he did too.
we laughed about what to wear.
mr: "baby, you're not gonna like WAY dress up are you?"
mrs: "no sir"
mr: "whew. that would just be too over the top, don't you think?"
mrs. "yes. fo sho."
i laughed to myself at how relieved he was. i guess miss big hair and 4 inch heels could have been percieved as liking to make a big deal - i really didn't want to.
as i donned my favorite nine west sandals, "i gotta wear heels. i hate it for ya, handsome. i gotta."
he just laughed and shook his head.
dang, he looks good. he IS handsome. so much more, but i was focused on the handsome part.
i took his picture.

we were ready. dressed for a friday night date night out, not our wedding.
it was almost like we weren't doing anything at all.
but there was an underlying feeling of not talking about it so that we wouldn't freak ourselves out.
i kept being all giddy and repeating "we're doing this! we're really getting married!"

we drove to the courthouse and the same secretary-esque lady who let us apply for the license took our forms and $20 cash.
we sat in the "mauve thrown up everywhere" waiting room. it was hear a pin drop silent. we giggled a lot. smiled real big at each other. it was like a dream.
all we could hear in the background was her on the typewriter filling in our boxes...
a few minutes later she popped up with a folder and said, "ok, y'all follow me."
i realized walking down that hallway that i had absolutely no idea what to expect.
(would this even be like a real wedding? where are we going? what is she going to say?)
we walked down a short hallway, passed a fella raising his voice to his lawyer, a group of three men (judges?) standing together and then she interrupted the questions firing off in my mind with, "y'all come in here."
we went into a room that was a conference room. for a split second i thought, "really?" i don't know what i expected, i had no expectation, but this wasn't it. it looked like a slightly better version of our current conference room at work. "aw, someone left thier bouquet!" she exclaimed. "look, i don't remember who it was. what was their name?" she was thinking out loud and sure enough, there was a plastic-ish bouquet on the bookshelf at the back. it dawned on me that people probably do some ridiclulous stuff in this room with her. people who have chosen not to have a wedding try to have a $20 wedding in this conference room.
chuck and i just stood around not knowing what to do, where to stand. we had rings. i still didn't even know if she would say regular wedding stuff. i walked forward like i knew what to do. i like to pretend that i ALWAYS know what to do next, even (especially) when i don't.
"where do we go?" chuck asked me "i dunno." i whispered. i didn't want HER to know i didn't know.
"i usually marry people over here in the corner. come right here. and face each other. hold hands, now. how do you say this name, fawsee?"
she practiced, got it right and said our given names, christen and jason, and i didn't even think to correct her.
"y'all ready?"
we nod.
"do you have rings?"
i hand them over.
"oh good. okay, here we go..."

then it happened. it hit us both. while we stood in a conference room in the anderson county courthouse...we looked into each others' eyes and realized fully what we were doing. and that it was exactly what we wanted.

"the three of us are gathered here today to marry jason faasse and christen campbell."
(three of us?! hilarious. jason and christen? or chuck and chrissy...ok, chrissy, focus.)
do you, jason, take christen, to be your wife? do you promise to love her and be faithful to her for as long as you both shall live?"
"i do."
"and do you, christen, take jason, to be your husband? do you promise to love him and be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?"
"i do" (and i choked up.)
i honestly can't remember what other vows were said, at least not exactly, i'm confident that "with this ring..." was in there somewhere. but as we said whatever those words were, i tried not to cry because i wanted to appear strong and sure, but i couldn't help it. standing there looking at the man God gave to me, i knew that however i said them wouldn't compare to how deeply they were rooted truthfully inside of me, but i wanted to try. i've never wanted anything on earth and been sure of anything like i am this man. this life.
and while i looked at him, when he said them to me, in his quiet special way, i saw him fight back tears, too. and i knew, all over again, that he meant those words like i did. two people, with a lifetime of pain, who only want to make whatever time God blesses us with rich, full of Him, full of each other, full of LOVE, encouragement, forgiveness, trust, and just. plain. fun.
she even said, "you may kiss the bride" and he did! and that was it.
we thanked her and she shared that her son was getting married this year and she was having a hard time not being emotional and we were sweet. after that whole bouquet dabocle i had to comment, "boy, i'll bet people do some STUFF in this room." "oh yeah, absolutely." and she said a few other things...
we walked out, hand in hand, grinning from ear to ear.
and was so surreal.
we went to olive garden, simply bc we were starving and had recently seen an olive garden commercial. So we had been craving it ever since. then we went to walmart.
walmart on my wedding day.
(but i needed CDs for chorus!)
and then, we went home, together, as husband and wife. mr. & mrs.
what God has joined together, let no man put asunder. AMEN!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

why wait.

A preface for regular readers... I emailed this story to a close friend recently and I realized that I wished that Gwen could've read my blog about herself. I know it was a part of my healing, but oh how I hope she knew just how much she meant to me. And while both of my parents are a blessing, this story happens to be about my daddy. (girls and their daddies, the only thing worse is a momma's boy...hee hee hee.) I want my daddy to know how I feel while he is still here... Our story begins in 1979 (insert hippie theme song).  when my parents found out they were expecting, my father was so proud to think of having a son... he began to think of what he would name the one to carry on the campbells. i was born, and my mother said something to the tune of, "well, it's a girl. u didn't think of any girl names, so you better think of some now." So, Christen Michelle was named from Suzanne Somer's Three's Company character, Chrissy Snow and the hit "Michelle" from the lesser well-known Beatles album Rubber Soul. This is where our story gets a little complicated... When I was born my small intestine was completely blocked, in masses, in several diff't places. In anderson they removed 3/4 of it... If i remember correctly, I went from born @ over 8lbs to 4lbs, in just weeks. They told my parents there was a great chance I wouldn't live. They moved me to Charleston. My mother, who was 20 at the time(wow) in a house with other mothers of ill children. My 21 year-old father swung shifts at Michelin and came as often as he could. When I think of being 32 today, I can't even imagine how their young hearts must have ached....  Over the next year I had 8 major operations & several minor procedures. They took the 1/4 of small intestine I had remaining, split it all the way down, lengthwise, (like cutting a hot dog weenie in half, except it's tubal) sewed those over to make two smaller tubes and then reattached them. So I have half the length and half the diameter of the average bear... I went home 4 days before my first birthday, for the first time. ever. My poor parents. The first everything (Easter, mothers day, fathers day, halloween, thanksgiving, Christmas) were spent in 9-D in charleston. They have often retold weeping all the 4 hours home, away from me, to spend Christmas with our family. And now, the best part of this story... Last week in sunday school my daddy explained how God completely changed his life with my illness. Its a story I've heard many times. And because it is so special, i could never hear it enough.. My dad prayed to receive Christ as a child & meant it. But lived like many Christian teenagers, half-heartedly, haphazardly. Then, one afternoon when he was there at the hospital, an intern was trying to start a new IV. He couldn't hold me still and get it. So he said, "hey, daddy, hold her." "me?" "yes, sir" He said that while he held me down, firmly still, I looked up at him, asking him, "Why? Why daddy are you letting them do this to me?" He started to cry telling the story and couldn't look at me because he said I had the same big eyes that pleaded with him all those years ago.  And that 21 year old half hearted believer heard God speak clearly, "that's how my Son looked at me, when He died for you." while that dr finished his work, Stan prayed begging God to spare me and promising Him that he would always live for Him and give me up to Him. No matter what. And he meant it.  While that story is heart wrenching, the very best part is that He has done it. Always. Ever since. My entire life. What a blessing he is. He kept his promise. While he is on a pedestal, as an adult I have learned that my father is no saint, he has a temper; is quiet with his thoughts; emotions, almost to a fault. But he has fought the good fight and will finish the race. He has studied God's word daily my entire life, he made difficult decisions to love us with christ's love, to protect us from all sin that he could, he prayed over us & aloud with us. Many have told him, or us, that he was being too hard on us, but he wasn't. He was being obedient based on what he read. And he didn't back down, even when I was a smart aleck 14 year old, an over dramatic 16 year old, and a disobedient 18 year old.  Our family has experienced some painful loss & never during the major trials of our life, did he turn his back on God. I did. As an adult. After my marriage failed, I walked away from God. I pretended like I didn't, but my heart was far from Him. How easy would it have been for my daddy to feel justified in thinking God let me go, so was his promise in vain? But he never did. What a testimony. I know he has influenced me & my sister, my brother in law, some of the men who suffered through the process of going out with me, people that he works with, and probably most of all, our wonderful Sunday school class. It is a joy to sit under him because he has never wavered in living what he teaches. he has even apologized any time he realized he taught them in error. All too often we tell these stories to memorialize a believer. So today I'm going to tell this one so he can read it himself and know what his life has meant to me. Thank you, Daddy, for every penny earned & spent on me, all the prayers I will never even know about, for being the kind of husband I now will settle for no less than, and most of all I thank you for-your life.

Friday, April 6, 2012

this ain't no winnie

my life has been changed.

i don't mean to make light of it or to compare it to anything that has truly changed my life. but my mother and sister love Ree Drummond, the Pioneer woman. If you don't also love her, you will after this post. she is hilarious.

back in december she posted, that i'll link at the bottom of this, and we thought-is it true? could it be?

what am i referring to? women, brace yourself. this ain't no winnie. it's poo. the real kind. without telling too much, i'll just say that you all need to order this product. yesterday.

you spray it in the toilet BEFORE you make the magic happen. you make said magic happen. you flush. all that is left is this nice, calm, sweet and floral scent. oh. my. word. i'm serious.

i've always wondered why some people thought their stuff didn't stink--perhaps this is WHY!!

(denise--you're welcome. washington just became sweeter for both of us! hee hee.)

to my friends, i'm sorry that it took me this long. (aka forest fran kelly and renee...)

check it out. my personal favorite is affectionately named "Crap Shooter." you're welcome.

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here is what ree had to say:

here is where you order:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

in His image

most monday nights i meet with an amazing group of teenage girls. this is what we're going to discuss this week...

What is your favorite love story? think about it for just a few minutes. what's the best part? how much does he love her? does he rescue her? steal her away from someone who doesn't deserve her? women can just think about these for a minute and smile, and swoon and maybe even want to cry...

God has written us the greatest love story of all.
let's start at the very beginning. a very good place to start... Genesis 1:27 tells us that we, men & women, were created in His image. Why was woman created, anyway? Eve was the last thing that God made. Was she an after-thought..? After all, God & Adam seemed to be having a pretty good thing going there. Things seemed perfect. But God is all knowing, and Genesis 2:18 says that "it was not good for man to be alone." God knew, that men NEEDED women. Wow...
what is the most beautiful place, most beautiful thing you've ever seen? the beach, the mountains, a butterfly... God made all of that, and yet something was missing. a woman.
women are relational to their very core. how do women most often define themselves, introduce themselves? i am thier daughter, her sister, thier friend, her best friend... and much more.

so, if we are made in His image and we are relational, then God is too. God is not a man. I have grown up believing that God was male. Not because anyone told me that, not to anyone's fault at all, but God has been presented to me in a way that focused on His strength and power and might. it made me think at the very least i have felt that God is at least MORE man than He is woman. but He is not. man nor woman. just as God is strong like a man, i firmly believe, that God loves like women love. That is the gift of "His image" that He gave to us. Yes, Jesus loves me, for the bible tells me so: in psalm 24:5, luke 12:21, 1john 1:9,romans 5:11 and so many more. these clearly show us that our most important relationship of all is with Him.
the entire bible is a beautiful story of God's unconditional love for us. He made a way for us to have a relationship with Him, even though we don't deserve it, through the death burial and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. Women, think about how badly you wanted a boyfriend, wanted a husband, longed for children (or still do...) The whole bible exists to tell you that God wants a loyal & loving relationship with you more than you want one from any man. Wrap your mind around that.
God loves you more than your daddy.
God loves you more than your momma.
God loves you more than your best friend.
God will always love you and want a relationship with you even more than your own husband and children.
When I take the time to really think about that, it is almost unbelievable.

The bible is clear that God wants us to want Him, more than we want anything else. But we don't... We continue to do our own thing and wonder, "why....?" Mark 12:29-30 or Matthew 22:36-38 tell us the greatest commandment in all of the bible is to love Him. and in Jeremiah 31:3, even though we don't deserve it, He promises that He will love us with an everlasting love.

What does every woman you know want more than anything else? True Love. Its why we read love stories and watch love stories. Why we cry when they finally get together in the end. why, because we want that kind of love.

And He stands right here, every day, to give it us.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

because it's funnier

before i begin today's tale of woe, i would like to publicly apologize to my mother. i have thought i wouldn't write this story, partly because she raised me to be a lady. and i like to think, overall, that she did a wonderful job. but this lil diddy is pure & simple bathroom humor. why? because the things that people DON'T like to talk about are WAY funnier than the norm. so, here goes nothin.

this past saturday we had a beautiful concert at our local high school. before it began, i went in to the restroom. i giggled and shook my head because i remembered what happened the last time i was in there...
picture it. it was christmastime. excitement was in the air. the evening of the 5th grade play. the kids were so excited. everyone was looking forward to the break and time with family. kids were nervously excited. i was so happy to have on a new outfit. (oh, wait-dear frequenters of this blog, i really don't shop that much, but now i'm remembering a pig-wranglin' outfit...) but anyway, this beautiful shrimp colored twin set had matching jewelry: a long, trendy necklace and "ear-bobs." the outfit notes will be important later, hold the phone.
i can't remember why exactly, but my stomach wasn't feeling its finest (sorry, again, but i'm in this far-i'm obligated.) so, the need to go to the restroom was getting greater while i was making my third trip in from the car carrying a microphone stand, the programs, and the Boomwhackers in a large bucket. the need to "go" got so bad, in fact, that i realized i had begun to sweat (you know the feeling, the gotta go now but can't go yet feeling. ugh i can feel it now just describing it, it's oddly a lot like having a fever when you're really, really sick...) i dropped the large bucket outside the door and bolted in.
i sat...
i began...
i breathed out...
i noticed mud on my high heel...
i leaned over to wipe it off...
as i did, the next events all happened so fast that i hope you will read the next sentences as fast as you can, for that is how it was. ready? GO!

my keys, which were in my lap, slid off into the bowl, automatic flush activated. i panicked. i screamed out loud, "CRAP!" (no pun intended at ALL) without hesitation i spun around, shoved my right hand into the bowl, reaching for my keys and catching the very end of my honda key. i held on for dear life while the automatic flusher worked against me, ooooooh! i was gonna lose 'em, i just knew it. i would have to find a ride home, and those keys with the lock things on them are like $100, right? or more? and it's almost christmas.... that thing felt as if it would NEVER stop flushing. finally, i jerked my keys free, straight up into the air, shook them off and...
(slowly......) it was then that i realized that my brand new cashmere twin sweater sleeve was soaked in poo-infested h2O and that the long trendy necklace, now bouncing again on my upper stomach was also covered in and sprinkling me with, yup...crap water. p-yuck.
how the Lord let me get through this whole ordeal without a soul entering that restroom i'll never know, but i am truly grateful. still shaking from the nerves of almost losing my keys, i got it together, rinsed off my sleeve, removed and rinsed off my necklace. i dried everything as best i could, i looked at myself in the mirror, shook my hair a little as if to shake the whole experience off of me, held my head high and walked out of the restoom, picked up the huge bucket, and starting saying "hello" to the families and friends...who will be the north pole star? hee hee...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

2:20 for 77

Gwendolyn Anne Shirley Campbell met her Lord and Savior this past Thursday night. Gwen was my grandmother. I could probably write a novel about all that I know about her life, and perhaps one day I will, but today I must celebrate a few major points.

Gwen was spirited. She would do anything, especially for her grandchildren. When my sister and I were young we spent almost every friday night with her and pudgy. They would rearrange and roll over furniture, create makeshift costumes, cook anything we wanted, and we laughed. We laughed SO much. We laughed loud and hard, more than anything else. Those memories make me cry hard now, with joy. What wonderful times...

Gwen was loyal and strong. Those memories of pudgy and gwen together, are few...for the love of her life died when I was 9 years old. Suddenly. It the first time I saw my daddy weep. It was a difficult time for our family. And this past Thursday night she was still wearing his rings. For 23 years we asked her if she was lonely, for 23 years men asked her out in vain, and for 23 years she gave us all the same answer with a twinkle in her eye, "He was the only one for me." What a testament to love... I think it's beautiful. I am no fool. I know that their love wasn't perfect, no earthly love is. But I have the capacity to love that way, and I'm grateful. I like to think that I got it from her. I hope that God gives me someone to be devoted to for a lifetime. She proved to me the value and fulfillment of such a love.

Gwen was unapologetically, appropriately, a disciplinarian. I hope that Ethan doesn't mind, because his famous story is the best example of this one. Ethan is her 4th grandchild, the first boy. She kept him and his sister. One day, when he was elementary age, Gwen happened upon him hiding under her breakfast nook table pretending to smoke a cigarette. (No one in our family even smokes, he just is too much like me, and has moments of wild hairs he has to get out...) She placed one hand on the table, leaned down to look under at him and said, "Ethan, God can see you under there." His reponse is our family joke, "I ain't hiding from God, Gwen, I'm hiding from you!" HA! He was more afraid of her! He knew what we all knew-she expected our best. Our best for her and our best ultimately for our Lord, because of Jesus' sacrifice for us. She told us, she taught us, she lived it...and now we are all who we are, because of it. What a heritage.

Gwen was loving. She loved her family. NO MATTER WHAT. She was the kind of matriarch that had a way of making each one of us feel special. She was short and small framed, but she held us, in her lap, regardless of our age (or our size!). It brought her so much joy to see us together: around the table every sunday, in the pool all summer long, at the foot of the tree each Christmas.... And the more the merrier. She was the kind of woman who would add another plate at the very last minute, who insisted there was always plenty of food, and would sit at the kid table so that our guest could sit at the "big table." I can see her sitting with us now, laughing, looking around. Proud as a peacock just to have us all together. Family was her life. She respected and even encouraged the differences in our personality, and she loved us all the same amount. And we all knew it. I knew it personally. She has listened to me for 10 years. I know I talk to much, but she never, once, looked irritated or annoyed. I know I repeated myself, but she just listened and let me. Supported me when no one else was. When I didn't deserve it. Treated me the same even when I was making blatant, horrible life choices. Telling me that everything, somehow, would be okay, even if it might not. If I knew anything, I knew love.
Even in her last days, her concern was not for herself, but for us. We each were blessed to have time alone with her, next to her. She said things to make sure that we were okay with what was happening... and every time we left her again, she said, "i love you. i love you SO much."

Gwen was faithful. I will never, as long as I live, forget the evidence of her faith in her last days. The day in the hospital we had a wonderful time with her. She talked aloud to God in front of us. "Thank you for my life, Lord. I'm so blessed." She thanked him for her husband, for her children, for her wonderful family and she said, “I’m ready, Lord, I’m ready!” then she burst into song, “Praise ye the Lord, Halellujah! I’m singing y’all, I’m singing to my Lord!” which was a hoot, frankly, because even though she raised a room full of musicians, she couldn't carry a tune. The night before she died she told my daddy, "Hallelujah. All my children say Hallelujah!"

Galatians 2:20 says it best...The life she lived in her body, she lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved her and gave himself for her.

Praise His Name!

Thursday, January 12, 2012


i am so borderline ocd. genuinely what some call anal-retentive. my clothes are in color order in my closet (sleeveless, short sleeve, then long sleeve...), everything in a drawer is folded neatly, or stacked get the drift. my daddy joking says that nobobdy has folded his "drawers" right since I left home. (hee hee hee, and if you don't know what "drawers" are, you "ain't from around here.")
back to the story--last night when i got in the bed i was FREEZING and although i hate to wear socks in the bed, i knew i was going to have to start off with them...

so, in the dark, i reached for the first two white socks and put them on (i don't roll my socks up together because i don't want the stretchy to stretch out, another ridiculous habit...) i wiggled my toes, smiled, scooted back down in the bed and fell asleep...none the wiser........

i woke up, let the dogs out and while i was sweeping the kitchen, i looked down for the first time. there they were. two different socks. both white, mind you, but 1 nike dri-fit sock and 1 cheap hanes sock. the nike dri-fit squeezes your feet for comfort. HOW DID I NOT KNOW?!?!
(picture coming soon)

i couldn't believe it. perhaps there is a small lesson here for me to learn.

i gotta get ready for work!