Facebook, Chat, and Txt – oh my! (dawn)

So, one night, I showed up to group with my hair like this.


One of the guys made a comment about Pipi Longstocking, and asked if I was on Facebook. We all started talking about a) how weird the Pipi Longstocking books/movies were, and b) about friending each other on Facebook.

When I got home (about 2 minutes by car), I had a friend request waiting for me. I guess he wanted to be my friend before the other guy. 😉

The next day, I’m online and a chat window pops up, “Oh, hey! I’ve never done Facebook chat before, so I thought I’d test it.” Yeah, right 😉 So thus began our electronic correspondence. Over the coming weeks we spent hours chatting about the silly and the serious over IM, phone txts, email, and Facebook messages.

I don’t know about Tyson, but I developed a Pavlovian response to the little alert sounds for messages. I’d get all excited and nervous (and hopeful) to see a message from Tyson, and then disappointed if it wasn’t him. We’d communicate all day, and got to sending a final message each evening. It got to where I wouldn’t be able to sleep until I got my “good night” text. (Such a girl!)

This was a great way for our friendship to develop, as we talked about all kinds of stuff: politics, religion, movies, books, corn dogs… What the emoticon equivalent of “Robot Sharks with Lasers” would be… Good times. We got to know a lot about each other before we even started hanging out.

Next up: Hanging out.

Game Night (dawn)

At this time the group would meet for four weeks to discuss the material in the Renovare Spiritual Formation Workbook and to share how their “homework” from the previous week had gone. On the fifth week the group gathered for dinner and fun. The first social night I attended was “Breakfast for Dinner” and Games. Hosted by Shane and Tyson.

When planning the thing, the first suggestion was a cereal potluck, and though the rest of us moved on to a full breakfast, Tyson stuck with cereal. So on the night of the meeting, while we ate crepes and seasoned potatos and various breakfasty odds and ends, Tyson enjoyed a bowl of Captain Crunch.

This was my first social time with the group, so the newness was overwhelming. New house. New people. New personalities. Trying to make small talk. Trying to not knock my juice over or get food in my hair. And the whole time very aware of where Tyson was at in the room. (Usually standing in a corner, holding his bowl of Captain Crunch.)

After a breakfast, we moved on to games. I introduced one I’d just played at the women’s retreat: Telephone Pictionary.  Hilarious! Tyson sat to my right, which meant he would be receiving the cards I passed. I don’t remember what I wrote on my card, but I do remember two things:

1) Tyson’s first card was, “Come and see the violence inherent in the system.” Wha? How do you draw that? Poor Leanne.

2) The first card handed to me was “Dick Cheney”.

Now, I could draw a guy behind a desk and an American flag, etc. etc. But that could be anyone. I’m trying to guess a specific guy. So usually for this kind of stuff, you separate the words and syllables. So, “Dick” “Chen” “ey”.


I’m trying to get this New Cute Guy to guess the word “dick”.

From a drawing.

Clearly, I am a woman of class and substance.

Tyson was sitting to my right (where I would have to pass my cards), and I just kept laughing and apologizing. “Dude, I am so sorry. So sorry!”


Google Day (dawn)

So, while planning for an upcoming social event for the group (post to come), I notice that he sends email from his own domain. This usually means someone’s got a website. Sooooo I decide to Google New Cute Guy. I am not disappointed.

He’s got a website, a few blogs, and a twitter account. I can see what he writes (a lot! tons of essays and fiction and poetry), what he reads (a lot! books, blogs, comics, articles…), who he follows (blogs, twitter, etc.), his interests and pursuits (western martial arts, guitars (He’s got an album??), art, politics, social justice, loose leaf tea…).

I can see that have a lot in common, which was sort of thrilling, because my way of looking at the world is so… unique. I never thought I would meet someone that I could be compatible with. But we also have a lot not in common, which makes him fascinating.

I read for hours, and kind of start freaking out. This guy is amazing! I had no idea anyone like this could exist! The way he thinks about things is unlike anything I’ve ever seen – totally outside of the box. The diversity of his friends and interests and expressions. He can write about whiskey, or Jesus, or love, or philosophy, or the proper way to hold a handgun… Who is this guy??? And he’s single? Never been married?

Now, I was in a place in my life where I had decided not to date, and didn’t see that changing any time soon. But this guy… Oh, man. I got a little twingy glimmer of something. What if? What if this guy? I may have even said a prayer, Oh Lord, if this could be…

Google Day was big for me.

We Meet – Part 2, or Why We Owe Randall Munroe Dinner (dawn)

So, I like the group well enough to brave a second visit. I get there and settle into a couch, next to my friend, and can see that Tyson (the New Cute Guy) isn’t there. He joins us a bit later and apologized, explaining that he was involved in a discussion on one of the forums he participates in.

As he’s explaining I instantly think of a particular webcomic. And, lo and behold, he finishes his explanation with the punchline. I laughed and halfway through I started quoting along with him, “… on the Internet.” His eyes got big and he grinned as we said, in unison, “xkcd!”

Everyone else looked at us in confusion, and we smiled the knowing smile of geeks/nerds who just got an inside nerd joke. A scene that would repeat often in the future.

After the meeting he came over, “You read xkcd???”

Ah, the first spark of young nerd love.

NOTE: Some other things I notice right away, aside from being cute, this guy is smart. Scary smart. And articulate. And thinks outside the box. Has a lot of passion and creativity in his approach to the world. And he’s kind. He always seems to notice peoples feelings, and I heard him checking on folks a few times after our meeting, to see how they were doing and to offer a hug or some sympathy. Very cool.

We Meet – Part 1 (dawn)

I had spoken at a women’s retreat in 2008 and during some free-time had connected with a smart, fun, hip gal who shared my love for spiritual disciplines and cocktails. She was a writer/mom who’d moved up to my hometown to start a new church with some other smart, fun, hip people. Sadly, the churchplant turned into a faceplant, and all those folks scattered to the winds. She ended up at my old church (the one hosting the retreat I was speaking at.)

The following year I attended the retreat as a participant and ended up sitting at a table with this same smart, fun, hip gal. Now, just a few days before retreat I’d noted in my journal that it was time for me to find some spiritual community near my home. I especially wanted to find something around the spiritual disciplines, since that was something I was already into and wouldn’t have to add a whole bunch of stuff to my already packed plate.

Well, on our second day of retreat, my smart, fun, hip friend invited me to a small group that was starting up. A group that was going through the Renovare Spiritual Formation Group book. A group meeting literally down the street from me. “And it’s a bunch of writers. You’d totally like these people. And they all live in Midtown and Curtis Park. I’m going this Wednesday. I can give you a ride.”


So I went. There were about 10 or so people there. A mix of ages and professions. All of them hip, cool, and urban. I felt very New Kid. I am an introvert. New people freak me out. Groups freak me out. Groups of new people freak me out. But they were kind and welcoming, and I was already sorta friends with one of them, so I hung in there.

One of the group’s hip, cool, urban leaders had dark eyes with cool glasses, a shaved head, an earring, a tattoo, and a goatee. He was smart and funny, and kind. And single.



Right after Dawn agreed to marry me, we took a week and came up with our values list. We needed to figure out what values we would want represented in how we planned for the wedding, and for the wedding ceremony and reception themselves.  Since we came up with this list, we’ve used it several times as a decision-making tool – when we weren’t sure about a decision, we checked things against these values, and then got on with it.  Having this list has been really valuable to us.

We intend to do posts in the future writing about each of the values individually, explaining why we chose it, and also analyzing how well it worked. But for now, here’s the list:


1) Getting Married!
–means merging our lives
–forming a partnership
–we’re a Crime Fighting Team!
–serve God together

2) God should be really present
–prayer, praise, adoration, and thanksgiving
–we want this whole day to be an act of worship
–we want to feel the reality of His Kingdom
–not religious trappings, but connection with the living God

What this means for the process and the day:

–planning events will commence with and rely on prayer
–we will acknowledge that God is in charge – some things we want aren’t going to happen, and other things we weren’t planning on are going to happen
–we will not just pray “God give us what we want” but “God give us what You want”

3) SIMPLE!!!

What this means for the process and the day:
–generally when there are two choices, we are going to opt for the simpler one
–complexity is ok, complication is not ok
–things should flow and be easy; when butting up against an issue step back and see if a simpler solution exists

4) Fun!
–not stuffy
–full of laughter
–people should talk about how fun this was for years
–the wedding is more for the people present than for the photographs

What this means for the process and the day:
–photojournalist style pics – not posed and forced, action shots of laughter, dancing, hugging, etc.
–dancing lessons for family and wedding party – for one night
–planning and prep are secondary to relationship building and fun

5) Meaningful TO US!!!
–this is a big deal
–traditions only as they represent us
–solemn (which doesn’t preclude lots o’ fun!)
–this is a party, but the whole reason for the party is b/c something big is happening

What this means for the process and the day:
–we will examine the structure of the service and reception and select traditions or create activities that fit
–the location and “theme” of the day should reflect the solemnity as well as the joy
–we will say no when people expect certain things that don’t really fit us

6) Personal
–involve our community – friends and family
–get everyone there to feel like they were part of it, not just observers

What this means for the process and the day:
–a dream of “no strangers” (all staff, all vendors, all whatever should be our people)
–a thing done by somebody who loves us is always preferred over a thing done by a professional no matter the difference in quality

7) Responsible
–means no major debt
–responsible to the environment
–responsible to other humans

What this means for the process and the day:
–choose the eco-friendly stuff when possible
–Dawn and Tyson stick to their monthly budget
–$10k max all-inclusive (rings, wedding, rehearsal, & honeymoon)

8) We should be fully present in each moment
–this applies to Dawn and Tyson
–also applies to everybody else
–also applies to wedding party

What this means for the process and the day:
–feelings and people are more important than details and performance
–set a tone and remember to keep stress low
–let the army help
–coordinators and best man/matrons of honor run interference on day of wedding
–whatever the thing is that we wanted, if it doesn’t happen, “meh” just enjoy it anyway

9) Relational

–the whole process should be good for our relationship, not a strain on it
–should also help build even deeper bonds with our community

What this means for the process and the day:

–planning and prep are secondary to relationship building and fun
–build hang out time with each activity, including spouses and extended people

10) a celebration of God’s goodness and love

–He gave us to each other
–He put us in these communities
–we want people to know that we feel they are gifts from God