February is a month that is almost always associated with love. Valentine’s Day means different things to different people. Some see it as a ploy by the commercial industry to sell more cards, candy, jewelry and flowers. Some see it as a reminder of their singleness and how alone they feel. For some is it as a time to stop for a moment and express their love to those they hold most dear. Being the optimist that I am, I tending to subscribe to the latter. I love love. I love seeing people fall in love. I love great engagement stories. I love weddings, hence the reason I am a wedding coordinator. I am truly a romantic at heart.
As I have started sharing more about my life I am being asked a lot about my own love story. How did Jon and I meet? When, where, and how did we get engaged and married? And so on and so forth. I figured since a lot of people want to know I’d take this month to share our love story.
Stayed tuned in the month of February for more about us.
How we met
Jon and I went to Evangel University. He is originally from southern California. When we met he was a fifth-year senior and I was a junior. We lived in Lewis hall which was the only co-ed dorm on Evangel’s campus. Boys were on the south side and girls were on the north side. There were many strict roles about staying away from the sides of the halls that weren’t ours for obvious reasons, but twice a week we had an open hall and shared lobby space. I was friends with a group of girls that had become friends with the guys living on L3S. (Lewis Hall, 3rd floor, South) Their floor name was the Ravens. We hung out with these guys a lot on open hall nights and on the weekend when we went out to do fun stuff around town. Jon and I knew of each other but had never been formally introduced. The year before my junior year I had to have my 3rd open heart surgery. When I got back to Evangel the following semester the Evangel newspaper did a write up on me and my surgery recovery.
One evening, on September 6, 2003, to be exact, I sat in my room doing homework. I needed a break so I headed up to the 3rd-floor lobby to see if any of my friends were up there. My friend Christina and a couple guys from the Raven’s floor were playing pool, so I sat down on the couch beside them. One of the boys was Jon but I didn’t want to engage him in conversation. I was in a couple of psychology classes with him and had decided I didn’t like him. He always questioned things, started debates in class (most of the time with the teacher), come off brash and arrogant, and I just didn’t like him. There I sat watching this game and Jon soon came over and sat next to me on the couch. My heart was pounding in my ears because I was very intimated by him.
He looked over and smiled at me and said, “Aren’t you the girl that was in the paper with the open heart surgery a while ago?”
“Yes.” I squeaked out.
“So, tell me about yourself!” he requested.
I looked at him dumbfounded and said “Huh?”
“Tell me about your story. Your heart story.”
It took me a minute to realize he was being sincere. As I gathered up my courage I asked: “Do you want the short story or the long story?”
He smiled and shrugged and coolly replied “I got time. I want all of it.”
For the next two hours, Jon and I talked. Mostly about me. He asked a lot of insightful questions and sincerely acted like he wanted to know all about me. I quickly learned deep down he was nothing like I had previously thought. My snap judgments of him disappeared as I got to know a very caring, genuine, and honest guy. I went to back to my room after two hours, feeling like it had only been 30 minutes, and felt in my heart this was a very important conversation in my life. I circled the date in my day planner just to see if my predictions would be true.
After that Jon looked for reasons to talk to me and ways to be around me. We became fast friends. Our mutual friend Mandy helped him out by giving him rides with us to places and he got my number from her. We got to know each other for six months. We went home for a month over the holidays and it about killed us. We talked every day on the phone. He told me he loved me. I said thank you because we weren’t even dating yet…but then eventually said it back. :) I tell people that Jon and I did everything backwards. This is just one example of that.
When we got back from Christmas break I went with Mandy to pick him up from the airport as a surprise. He didn’t know I was going to be there. We hugged and held hands. Two weeks later he was off to Washington DC for a two-week internship. As soon as he got back, he called my room at 7 am and asked me to meet him in the lobby. I did. He bear hugged me and said, “Will you please be my girlfriend now?” Why we waited that long I don’t even remember but I, of course, said yes. We shared our first kiss later that day. Our first official date was on Valentine’s Day 2004. He gave me a knight in shining armor Build a Bear, flowers, and a love note. We went out to dinner, and then to Smith park to “talk” some more.
After that, we were pretty much inseparable. We went through a lot in the year that we dated. I could share many more stories, but I won’t. I didn’t know right away he was the man God had created for me, but as we both grew together it became more and more obvious. My parents dating advice to me has always been “marry your best friend.” I took that to heart. So a year later when he proposed I knew he was the one God had given me.
Read more next week on our awesome engagement story.
Our first "official" date on Valentine's Day 2004. Yeah, cuz we look like we've been dating only a week, right?
This was taken by our friend Mandy at the airport when I surprised him after being a apart for a month during Christmas break. He seems happy to see me.
This is from Jon's senior banquet night. It is one of my favorite pictures of us because I love the way he's looking at me. I still melt when I get that smile from him.
Jon's graduation day. So proud of him.