Seven years ago I woke up on this day a bride, overjoyed that I was going to marry my best friend. In honor of this special day, I'm going to borrow an idea from Rachel and share with you seven of my favorite memories of our relationship. I've listed them in chronological order.
- Our Last Night in Guatemala - Many have read that Jon and I met during a youth group church missions trip to Guatemala. One of my absolute favorite moments stems from that trip. It was our last night in Guatemala and everyone was winding down from the two-week trip. Some were playing cards, some were playing music and singing, most were snacking. But a select few of us had congregated on the floor and just chatting, Jon and I among them. There was banter back and forth, but all I really remember was both Jon's eyes and his smile. They both lit up the room. At one point, Jon shared that smile with me and it was like a kick start to my heart. I remember thinking in that moment, "This is someone special and he is going to have a special place in my life." Hmmmm...
- Our First Christmas Gift Exchange - This one makes me smile. We each had bought gifts for the other, but did not know how we were going to exchange them. My family has always attended the Christmas Eve church service, whereas Jon's family did not. But after the service, both sets of parents allowed me to stop by his house. His house was so warm and Christmas-y, all the lights were off with the exception of the Christmas tree, candles, and lighted garland on the stair banister. We sat in front of the tree, on a couch, exchanging gifts that we'd picked out for the other. A pocket knife for him and a sweater from Espirit for me. I kept that sweater for years, even when it no longer fit me. However, at one point, I washed it and shrunk the poor thing for good. I believe its still around somewhere.
- Our Engagement - You can click here to read that story. We both love that story.
- Our Wedding Day - There are so many wonderful memories from this day, I'm not sure I could begin to choose. I could talk about the first time we saw each other, all dressed in our finery. I could mention our first dance, where everyone else simply disappeared. Or how could I forget his brother's toast?! But instead I want to talk about the picture above. This is my favorite picture of the entire day, our photographer captured this moment well. We'd been given specific instructions about where to go after the ceremony. I'm thankful that Jon still had his head and led the way because I don't remember that walk at all. When we got to the room, Jon pulled me into his arms and all of my emotions just bubbled over. It was joy, euphoria, relief, contentment, and love, always love. It was done, it was over, and I was his wife! That picture is not posed, in any way. The photographer just happened to be at the right place, at the right time.
- Our Honeymoon and Thunderstorms - Jon and I went to the Maya Riveria for our honeymoon. I won't bore you with the details of not getting to sit next to my groom on the plane, but as you can see, it still bothers me. But while we were down there, there were a few days where it just stormed non-stop. One time, we went to the top of the hotel where they had several hammocks and a hot tub. We laid in a hammock and just watched the lightning in the distance. But that's not this memory. It was in the middle of the night of the first storm and it was on this night that Jon learned his new wife was terrified of thunder. I don't even remember waking up consciously. All I remember was hearing that first clap of thunder and I was instantly in Jon's arms, clutching at him like a madman. He had to spend the next half-hour calming me down, enough so I could finally go back to sleep. We laughed because after dating for four and a half year, he had not known about my aversion to thunder.
- Our Daughter and Grandpa - I don't talk think I've ever talked about Jon's grandpa on here and its high time I remedied that. Jon's grandpa is such an integral part of his life, he is there in all of Jon's childhood memories, he is who Jon tries to emulate, he is an amazing man. A man whom I have come to love with all my heart! The night Devyn Paige was born was one of the most important nights of our lives, all of our children's births are. But this night, in particular, was special. After a whole generation of eight grandsons, the first girl on this side of the family was born. For as long as I live, I will never forget the look on Jon's face as he passed his baby girl into the arms of the man for whom Jon has the highest respect. There was such pride in his face, such love, and the tears. Oh, those tears undid me. There they stood, Jon at Grandpa's back, looking over his shoulder, Grandpa tenderly holding my hours-old baby girl. It is a memory that is forever etched in my mind.
- Our First House - It was a long road to our first house. One that included lessons learned, months in my parents basement, and the numerous trips to visit the site where our home was being built. The morning that we drove to the realtor's office was surreal to be sure, seeing the welcome on their front sign was exciting, signing paper after paper was tedious, but getting the keys, oh I can't describe it. We drove straight there. Just the two of us. No kids, no friends, no family. Just Jon and I. We opened the door and I believe I did a twirl or two in the front room, we were like little kids as we went from room to room, touching the walls, the doors, it was ours! And then we sat on the floor, in front of our fireplace, and thanked Him, from whom ALL blessings flow. There we sat, for an hour, or two, just basking in the knowledge that this was our house.
Jon David, my love, my best friend, thank you! These past seven years have been a wild ride and just when I think I couldn't possibly love you more, you prove me wrong. Thank you for sharing this life with me, thank you for our three beautiful children, thank you for loving me! I am so looking forward to the next seven years with you.