Long time, no see. It’s been two years since my last bloggish activity, and I’d like to get back into it at least occasionally. Not so much for recounting what I’ve been up to (though there might be some of that), but more for writing about other things that interest me, like atmospheric science, theology, sports, politics, music, and whatever else seems interesting enough to write something about.
But before I get to those topics in future posts, there’s a lot I’ve been up to in the past two years. Here are some of the highlights:
- Feb 2012: Started dating Karen Schmidt. 🙂
- June 2012: Defended my Ph.D. dissertation at Penn State.
- Aug 2012: Graduated from Penn State with my Ph.D.
- Oct 2012: Honored by being co-best man at my friend Alex’s wedding in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
- Oct 2012: Moved to Monterey, California, to start a job as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at the Naval Postgraduate School
- Nov 2012: Proposed to Karen at Lake Isabelle in Colorado’s Indian Peaks Wilderness. She said yes! And of course I went to Jared. 🙂
- May 2013: Karen & I got married at Calvary Bible Church in Boulder, Colorado! Right after the wedding Karen moved out to join me in Monterey, and we spent a week-long honeymoon on Kaua’i.
- Sep 2013: My parents paid a visit to Karen & I in Monterey, their first-ever time in California. 🙂
- Oct 2013: My job at Naval Postgraduate School came to an end, and Karen & I moved back to Colorado. Our ground-floor apartment in Longmont survived the September floods without any damage. I returned to NCAR for a job, this time as a postdoctoral research scientist. Karen was also able to get a job with her former organization, Elevations Credit Union, but this time in the operations department.
So yeah, that’s quite the whirlwind! Shortly after Karen & I got engaged we made a wedding website, and on it we posted our story. That website’s one-year existence will soon be drawing to a close, so for my first blog entry in two years (22 Nov 2011), and to mark almost exactly one year since our engagement (23 Nov 2012), and six months since our wedding (18 May 2013), I’ll repost that here. Enjoy!
I (Karen) grew up in Bemidji, Minnesota, and lived a wonderful and idyllic childhood. I am so grateful to God for giving me a godly family and friends to grow up with and live life with. In many ways, they have helped shape me into the woman that I am today.
As a child, I grew up playing “house” with my sisters and cousins, and we talked and dreamed about the day that we would get married. (Yes, I was one of those girls who had her wedding planned from the time that she was a girl.) And I was certain that I would be married when I was nineteen like my cousin Melissa had been. But God had other plans in mind….
As I grew into young adulthood, graduated high school, and entered the work force, I still held on to that dream. My life was good, full of friends and many opportunities to travel and do things that I loved. God was faithful and good to me, and I truly believed that. But as I watched my friends and family members getting married one after the other, and with nothing happening in that area of my life, little seeds of doubt began to root themselves in my heart and mind. I prayed, cried out, and asked the Lord what He was doing. Had he forgotten me? I knew then, and I know now that God has a plan for each of our lives, and that His timing is perfect. But as the years continued to pass, I struggled to believe that. Then God brought an amazing opportunity to me – one that would change the course of my life!
I was able to travel overseas on two mission trips in the span of one year, both trips to a volatile Southeast Asian country, and my fear and apprehension were great as I prepared to go. But God showed me that as I believed Him and His promises, took steps of faith, and trusted Him to provide for my needs, that He is more than sufficient, and will do what He promises. I experienced Him in a new way, and seeing His faithfulness to me in this situation gave me the courage to make another leap of faith. I began to make plans to leave behind what was familiar and safe, and to move to adventure-filled Colorado!
God truly provided for me once I arrived! He gave me a great job, place to live, and a wonderful church filled with a community of people who love God and His Word. I was truly enjoying the blessings of living life in Colorado and this community of wonderful, new friends! Then about a year later, a new guy came to our group….
I (Jared) grew up as a PK (pastor’s kid) in Cumberland, Wisconsin. In addition to my family, friends, and Christian faith, I’ve been shaped by many of my experiences and interests. I’ve worked as a farmhand, a “carnie” at a food stand, a DJ at a radio station, a grocery stockboy, an auto rental agent, and now as a research scientist. I’ve acted in seven plays, and have played piano regularly for my churches in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Colorado (and may start soon in California). I’m a big sports fan, which has led my parents to muse about where they went wrong in raising me. 🙂 And for as long as I can remember I’ve loved weather and maps, so I’ve always enjoyed both traveling around the country (39 states so far, plus D.C.) and the world (Spain, Australia three times, New Zealand, Singapore, and British Indian Ocean Territory) and learning more about the atmosphere.
I earned a B.A. in physics at Gustavus Adolphus College in 2005 (my older brothers both graduated from GAC also). Because GAC didn’t offer meteorology classes, I studied abroad for a semester in 2004 at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, where I took three atmospheric science classes to prepare myself for graduate school. My experience at Monash paid off, and helped me get accepted into Penn State University for grad school in meteorology. At PSU I earned my M.S. in 2007 and my Ph.D. in summer 2012. Before I graduated from Penn State, my advisor moved to Boulder, Colorado, and was able to hire me on as a graduate research assistant at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in December 2010, where I worked until September 2012. In October 2012 I began a postdoctoral fellowship at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California.
Looking back at my life so far, I see an awesome tapestry that God has been weaving together. I could go on and on here (so if you want more of the story, just ask!), but God has definitely been taking care of me, and guiding me into a series of amazing opportunities that He’s provided. Having lived a long distance from my family for several years now, he has also brought some amazing Christian friends into my life, friends who have become like family to me. Despite witnessing God’s faithfulness and care in all these other areas of my life, I was beginning to wonder if He would ever bring a woman into my life who I could love and marry. I tried hard to be content, but singleness was becoming increasingly frustrating. Little did I know when I moved to Colorado that my time of waiting was drawing to an end!
Karen: The first time that Jared and I met was at our Young Adults’ group Christmas Party in December 2010. He was wearing a Minnesota Vikings shirt, and I made a beeline over to him, seeing that we had a common connection. It turned out that it was Jared’s first time in our group, and everything and everyone was completely new to him, so he didn’t remember me specifically. 🙂
So, we began to get to know each other as friends. On the 4th of July 2011, Jared, I, and another friend went hiking up in Rocky Mountain National Park. We talked about God, politics, and life, and I remember thinking what a great and solid guy he was. So I began a more focused observation of him. 😉 What I discovered was a man who loved God, others, and wasn’t afraid to stand up for the truth. (That, and he is fun and likes to travel!) Soon after that, Jared’s name began to sprinkle into conversations with my sister, until she finally asked me, “Who is this Jared guy?” I was definitely interested in him, but would never have said anything about it, as I believe the guy should do the pursuing. Just as I was beginning to realize my interest in him, Jared left on a work trip halfway across the world, and was gone for six weeks! A couple of weeks after he returned to the US, I had a lefse-making day with my friend Annika, during which she asked me if I would ever go out with Jared. (I said yes, in case you were wondering.) After posting a picture of the lefse on Facebook, and Jared not so subtly hinting that it looked delicious, I decided to share the wealth with him. And as it turns out, it was one of the best things that I’ve ever done. 😉
Jared: When she gave me the lefse, that’s when I first started to wonder, “Does this girl like me?” Yes, lefse is the way to this Scandinavian’s heart.
Karen: My grandma and mother always told me that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach, but I had started to doubt that that was really true. 🙂
Jared: Fast forward to February 2012. I decided that I wanted to ask Karen out, and to see what would happen from there. I just needed an opportunity. Our friend Katie B. had her birthday party at a karaoke bar in Westminster on Valentine’s Day, and even though I knew I was likely to be the only guy from our group of friends at this dinner, I went because I knew Karen would be there (thanks, Facebook!). She arrived pretty late because of prior plans, but I stuck around until she was ready to leave. She asked me to walk her out to her car, and I began to wonder if she was going to ask me out (she wasn’t, but I didn’t know that) — so I made sure I did the asking first. Success! Less than a month later, on our fourth date (“The Artist”), we were “officially” together. 🙂 Then I pretty much had to go into hiding for four months while I finished my Ph.D. dissertation. It was strange timing for me to start a relationship, but Karen was thankfully very patient and understanding. I was very glad to be all done with dissertating by mid-July so that I could finally spend more time with Karen!
Karen: Our relationship has been a whirlwind of adventure and travel. In May, we went to Southern CO and New Mexico to watch the solar eclipse. In June, we went to State College, PA for Jared’s dissertation defense. July brought a camping trip in Aspen with friends and then a trip to Minnesota for my family reunion and to also meet Jared’s parents. We were back in State College for Jared’s graduation in early August (Hail the conquering graduate!), and also welcomed both sets of parents to Colorado for Jared’s graduation party. In September, we went camping in Winter Park, and then went on an unforgettable trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. October began with Jared’s Epic Cross-Country Road-Trip. He went to Nebraska with some of our friends for the Nebraska/Wisconsin football game, drove on to Chicago to see friends from Penn State, and then drove to Ann Arbor, Michigan to be the best man in his best friend Alex’s wedding. That’s where I joined him. 🙂 After the wedding, we drove to Ohio to see more Penn State friends, to Tennessee to see our friend Zac, and then made the 17 hour trip back to Boulder…in one day! Then, in mid-October, Jared made the move to California. Skype quickly became my new best friend. 🙂 He found ways to let me know that he loved me (two dozen roses!!), and I made a surprise trip to CA for the weekend in early November. The next time that we’d see each other would be Thanksgiving…..
Jared: A few days before Thanksgiving I decided I wanted to propose while I was back in Colorado. I told a couple of my closest friends, but made sure not to tell anyone in Boulder for fear of word leaking out — I wanted it to be a surprise, and knew that Karen wasn’t expecting it just yet. On the Monday night I called Karen’s parents to ask for approval (but had to call my parents to get their number, so that’s how they found out). My flight from San Jose to Denver was that Tuesday night, but instead of putting in a full day at work before driving to SJC, I drove three and a half hours up to Sacramento, the location of the nearest Jared, to buy the ring before driving back to San Jose to fly out. (OF COURSE I had to go to Jared!) After I landed Karen bought my excuse that I wasn’t on gchat during the day because “there were a few things I just needed to get done before the trip.” 😉 I knew I wanted to propose while on a hike, and on the plane ride I thought of a great place for it — Lake Isabelle. It’s one of the prettiest places I’ve been in Colorado, and Karen hadn’t ever been up there, so I wanted to show it to her.
So the day after Thanksgiving we drove up to Brainard Lake to hike up to Lake Isabelle (about an hour west of Boulder, in the Indian Peaks Wilderness at about 11,000 feet). The road was closed at the winter trailhead, however, so instead of a 2-mile hike to the lake, it was a 4.5-mile hike up there. Then we made it up to Lake Isabelle, only to discover that the lake was almost entirely drained (I later found out this is done every winter to prevent spring flooding in the valley below). I was a bit bummed about that, but Karen couldn’t quite figure out why. It was cold and windy, so we found a stand of trees to have some shelter while we ate lunch. After we ate, I told Karen that I had a surprise for her, but that she needed to turn around. I got the ring box out of my backpack, got down on one knee, said she could turn around, and asked her to marry me. The first thing she said was, “Yes!”, quickly followed by, “Is this for real? Is this really happening? And you went to Jared!” I pulled off a complete surprise! Karen pretty much floated the 4.5 miles back down the mountain, in between much jumping, skipping, giggling, and screaming. 🙂
Karen: I was completely surprised! So, in my defense, it took a little while for it all to sink in. 🙂 I looked over at Jared, saying “I’m going to be your WIFE! I’m a FIANCEE! I’m YOUR fiancee!” That’s pretty much how the rest of the afternoon went, with a few “woo-hoos” thrown in.
I’m looking forward to married life with Jared, and ALL of the adventures that I know it will hold. We’re here to testify to the abounding love of our God, Who through all the years of wondering and waiting, was handcrafting our story! To Him be the glory!
And the story continues….. 🙂