I Got My Airplane Scene…

We hadn’t seen each other in seven months. And even when we were in each other’s company, I hadn’t really talked to him much. Here I was though, on Valentine’s Day, opening a package he sent me. It didn’t seem like something special to most people- a video of our missions trip to Ireland and a tape he made of some shows I could watch since my family didn’t have cable TV.

But I knew something was there because it was a thoughtful gesture. Most guys don’t put that much thought in a present for a girl they aren’t dating. I knew this guy was different.

So 16 years ago, I called a friend from college who lived near where Stephen went to school. Her family was gracious enough to let me stay with them (and of course visit my friend at the same time). So I bought a plane ticket and went to see this guy who sent me seashells from his home and emailed me everyday.

Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

When I told him I was coming, he was clearly excited. He wanted to plan my whole trip- meeting his grandparents and visiting him at school and going to soccer games and hiking and…. I had to remind him that I was visiting my college friend.

So I flew to South Carolina. Met him at a bagel shop and went hiking. We went on our first date at Macaroni Grill, where he just smiled at me the whole time. Ate with his grandparents, who he was living with at the time. Went to his soccer game. Walked in the park. Went shopping, even.

There’s just one thing about all this that was off- I had no idea where we stood as a couple. He never told me he liked me. Were we just friends or more than friends? Were we dating? Was there a future in all this? That is why I had come to visit. I didn’t feel these were things to discuss over the phone.

The night before returning home, my friend and I watched him play in a soccer game. After, we went to Steak n Shake for a snack, and then it was time to say goodbyes because my flight departed mid-morning and Stephen had classes.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Can I just say that goodbyes are always awkward for me? Do you hug or shake hands or just wave? Kick that feeling up a notch and that is where I was as we walked out to the parking lot. He opened his truck door and pulled out a gift and a card.

What?

“It’s just a thank you gift for coming to visit.”

At this point I wasn’t sure what to think. Either he liked me a lot and was too nervous to say anything, or this was a non-verbal declaration. I now know that since he is a man of few words, it was the latter.

In this pivotal moment, I was a little irked though.

“I don’t think I can accept this.”

Stephen’s face was in shock. I don’t know that I’ve seen him that shocked since then.

“Why not?”

“I don’t know under what pretense I am accepting this. You don’t normally give people a ‘thank you for visiting gift.’”

“I don’t know what you want me to say. I like you a lot.”

Hmmm. That made things slightly little clearer. He looked like a tortured soul who finally broke after water boarding. So what does this ridiculous redhead do?

“That’s what I needed to know. I like you too.”

And I got in my friend’s car and left him standing in the parking lot.

Yup.

That whole night, I barely slept a wink. I was leaving South Carolina in the morning with so many unknowns still. And I knew I had been an absolute jerk. Cell phones were still a luxury item at that point, so I couldn’t call him.

Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash

My friend dropped me at the airport and left. I had a little extra time before leaving, so I didn’t go through security right away, but I was heading in that direction.Then I heard a man say my name.

It was Stephen.

He came to say a better goodbye and to elaborate on his confession the night before. We sat down at the gate, and he told me that he really, really liked me. That he knew I was special and he was almost for certain we were going to get married someday.

I was pretty much flying before I even boarded the plane.

Awhile ago, I read an article telling women that airplane scenes do not happen. And while I agree with the sentiment, that sometimes we expect too much from our guys and they can’t live up to our lofty expectations, every now and then reality can be better than fiction. It’s okay to enjoy the moment when it happens.

So many people ask how we met, and while that is a great story, the account I just shared is my favorite. It shows just a glimpse of how our lives would be, 16 years and 7 kids later. Sharing his feelings can be like a tooth extraction on a shark, but when he does- he leaves no question as to his love. And sometimes my true redhead tendencies come out in cruel ways.

And I share this with you, dear readers, because I want you to know something this Valentine’s Day: Despite all the jaded nay-sayers who rail on about Hallmark holidays, romance is not dead. Sometimes it is just as awkward and funny and sweet as the rom-com’s make it out to be.

Eight Years

Somethings are better kept the way they are. I guess that is how I felt after I changed my template. It didn’t really fit me and was kinda obnoxious. So I changed it back. There. That’s better.

On to other things…

Today, Stephen and I have been married for eight, 8, years. So I decided that we needed a kid-free night. And I sit here blogging. (It’s okay, this won’t take long…)

The time has flown by! I recall that day, eight years ago… I was nothing but excited. Not nervous, but confident in our future together. Not really scared either. Why would I be scared of something that was so clearly God’s will for my life? I have never been more certain of anything, besides my salvation.

Our wedding wasn’t fancy – we were concerned more about the “happily ever after” than the day itself.

I am sure that my dad had to pull me back a little from getting down that aisle. My flower girl paused part way down… but the moment came. Stephen, his father and his brothers singing “Oh, Jesus I Have Promised.” My Grandfather officiating and preaching on Aquilla and Priscilla’s life of serving together. It all fit perfectly. That is what we wanted our marriage to be about. Service. Living for Christ. Together.

We talked with everyone who came to our reception. We didn’t smash the cake. Stephen didn’t think that would be very nice. We left the reception in a well-decorated SUV. Stephen, still in his tuxedo, stopped by the car wash to get some of the goop off the truck.

I won’t go into the honeymoon too much. ; ) Our reservation at the hotel was canceled, so we had to stay elsewhere. We flew to Jacksonville and went to Stephen’s home church to see all our dear friends. We enjoyed our favorite places in Antebellum South. We made an impromptu stop in Washington D.C. We drove my new car home from all the fun, making some interesting pit stops along the way.

Today, the way we celebrate our love has changed, but it is no less romantic or fun-filled. Walking to the library. Buying groceries. Watching movies. Eating pizza and gummy bears. Enjoying silence together.

The mundane in life can be an absolute gift from God. The constant of a life long companion throughout this journey. Just having someone to enjoy the chaos and monotony with is a treasure. And that is what I have.

Happy Anniversary, Stephen. I love you.

Valentines Past

Valentine’s Day has never really been a big deal to me. I like getting things, to be sure. But I never was depressed if I didn’t have someone to celebrate with and I do not really grill my husband about getting me something. I think it is a nice excuse to go out with my hubby… if we get the chance.

On the other hand, I have had some memorable Valentine’s Days in my life. All of them have to do with Stephen, and really remind me of how wonderful he is. So I thought I would share some of them with all of you.

Before I start, one thing. I really enjoy when my husband is thoughtful. I never have cared about WHAT he gets me. It’s more about how much THOUGHT went into whatever he does. From other ladies I talk to, I sense that thoughtfulness is a resonating theme. It doesn’t have to be over the top, just thoughtful. Okay, now I’ll go on about Valentines past… sorry about the soap box.

First memory – We weren’t even dating yet and I was super confused as to where we stood. Was he or was he not interested. Cause if we were just friends, that’s cool, but I needed to know so I could put him out of my mind as a potential husband. Well, my question was a little more answered that Valentine’s Day. He sent me a nice card and a tape of TV shows that he recorded. Huh? Well, he knew that we didn’t have TV or cable at that time, so I couldn’t watch any shows. So he sent me some. Some were things he liked, and some were things he thought I would like.
See – thoughtful.

Second memory – The next year came along, and things had changed big time. We were engaged. For Valentine’s Day he came from FL to visit me. We made wedding plans. Spent more time together. And that was enough for me, because it was downright painful to be so far away from him as it was.

Third memory – By this time, we had two girls and one on the way. Valentine’s Day was a blizzard, which meant that Stephen had to get up early and plow. And then he’d have to go out later that night to plow again. But he came home with gifts and flowers for all of us after his morning route. And he took us out for dinner. The girls were so excited to go on a “group date” with Daddy. It was really special, and I didn’t mind sharing him at all.

Fourth memory – Last year, we went to see a brass concert performed by some of his music teachers from college. It was like going on a date for artist series in college. Yet, I was pregnant. It was fun to pretend to be childless for a night. I know it was really special for him to get to see his professors again and catch up with them too.

So, what is a favorite Valentine’s memory that you have?

Thanksgiving List 2009

This year I have so much to thank God for – His provision, His protection, His Word and His love – just to name a few. He blesses me daily despite my unfaithfulness to Him. Today though, I would like to do a video essay to show you some of the most wonderful blessings that God has given me on this earth.

Natalie
My little girl is growing so fast! She is a tremendous helper and a wonderful big sister. She loves to learn new things and enjoys caring for her younger siblings. She is a big fan of Patch the Pirate, and has just started taking piano lessons.

Meredith
She is a silly little thing, who is always looking for a way to make others laugh. Mere is often found singing her heart out and trying to do whatever her big sister is doing. She likes to go to the shop to visit Daddy and Grandma and do some work too!

Sophie
She is notoriously spunky. She is a paradox – she loves to wrestle, yet she loves to wear dresses. She is a petite girl who loves babies, but she can play cars with the big boys. What you see is not what you get with this little one!

Ethan
He is such a joy to us – born just 4 months ago, yet he has grown by leaps and bounds. He is 16 pounds of bundled energy – already rolling and desperate to crawl! You’d be hard pressed to find him not smiling, and I dare you to not smile when looking at him.

We are busy, sleep-deprived, often hungry, and challenged continually. Our arms may be full, but so are our hearts!

It has been a long time since I last posted, yet a lot has happened. So now I will fill you in on things you want to know, or maybe didn’t want to know.

First of all, I had an ultrasound at the beginning of March. Baby #4 is in good health- 10 fingers, 10 toes, 4 chambers, everything there. Oh, and Baby #4 is a boy. Stephen is relieved, and Natalie is ecstatic. So while still outnumbered, Stephen will have a little bit of back up when our little one arrives in the middle of July.

We were able to travel to Pennsylvania for Stephen’s brother’s ordination. The break was wonderful, and we really enjoyed seeing everyone. Natalie had a wonderful surprise in seeing her friend, Hailey. We didn’t see her much the entire trip, for she was too busy playing. Meredith and Brielle played together quite a bit as well. The family was able to sing together for the ordination service, and the guys sang and played together as well, which was a treat for everyone.


In PA, the ladies even got a few hours to go shopping with no kids. It was lovely, even though I didn’t buy anything.


Sophia turns a year on Thursday. We will be having a “safari” at the zoo for her on Saturday, granted the weather stays nice. She’s still tiny for her age – only 18 pounds! The doctor says she needs more calories in her diet… how often do you hear a doctor telling you to eat more ice cream and cheesecake? That’s Sophie. There was a dedication service on Sunday for Sophie and our neighbor’s son, Dominic. She did very well having Pastor hold her while he prayed. We do praise the Lord for her, and have acknowledged that she is the Lord’s child, to do whatever He wants with her life.


Natalie and Meredith have gotten stir-crazy with all the cold weather. We’ve had a few nice days, and they certainly take advantage of playing outside. I am just thankful that we are not in a 2 bedroom apartment still… can you imagine?


The Lord has sustained us once again this winter, and continues to bring in work for our business despite the recession in progress. He truly is Our Great Provider, and we praise Him for that.

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