Thursday, February 12, 2009

Warning ... this may get a little sweet -n- sappy

At about this time, 10 years ago today, I was preparing to head to the Portland airport to meet someone special for the very first time. We "knew" each other pretty well, but had never met in person ... yet. I was nervous. That good, anticipation kind of nervous. How would I make it through those first possibly awkward moments? Do I hug him? Should I take something for him? What should I wear - we had decided to both wear denim shirts (the one that he had sent me for my birthday), but what should I wear with it?

I arrived at the airport early, parked the car, went in and found the gate. I brought a book along (I'm not exactly sure why - I read it, but didn't get a single thing out of it :). The plane was late! That made me even more nervous because then the unknown kicked in, too. How much longer is it? If I know, then I can handle it. If I don't know, I don't know how long I have to be patient and that made me nervous. Turns out, the waiting on the plane thing was nothing compared to the endless amount of time between the plane landing and him actually getting off the plane! (I have never figured out!)

I stood up and tried to look casual by leaning against a pillar. (I know. What was I thinking?) The first passengers got off, found their friends and loved ones and moved on. What seemed like hours later, I saw him. He had a spring in his step and a huge smile on his face...

Oh, I'm sorry, let's back up a little bit. Let me tell you a little bit of the background. I was single, living in Portland, OR. My very best friend had gotten married a couple of years earlier and I was still searching for the perfect guy. Most everyone that I knew told me I was too picky. I needed to "lower my standards" because no one would be able to fill my list. I refused and had thought that maybe marriage was just not God's plan for me.

On Sept. 20, 1998 I sent out an email that changed my life. I had stumbled across a website that was designed to connect Christian singles and long story short found John's profile. Hmmm... Christian (check), tall (check), CUTE (check), volleyball player (BONUS). So I wrote. He wrote back (after 3 days!). After that, our emails became more frequent and it got so bad that I ran home on my lunch hour to check :) (we didn't have internet service at that time at the place I worked). I have to admit that from his emails he just seemed too good to be true. But still I hoped.

Fast forward a couple of months to early December. He called! He was so easy to talk to on the phone and over the next couple of months, we talked many times. He had surprised me with a very special present for my birthday. Still too good to be true.

Remember he played volleyball? Well, I was playing a tournament and with an unexpected turn of events, we needed a male player. So, casually on the phone one evening I said "wanna come play"? And to my surprise, he said yes! Did I ever tell you that I have a weakness for saying things without fully thinking them through? Now, I had a dilemma.
1. It's VALENTINE'S Day weekend!
2. I have never seen him play volleyball and he was replacing an excellent player from CA. What were my teammates going to do to me? What if he couldn't play well at all? (If you play volleyball - *real* volleyball, you will understand this. If not, stick with me anyway).
3. It's VALENTINE'S Day weekend!

Now what do I do? Thankfully, I decided to just roll with it and worst-case scenario, he would stink at volleyball and I would have to apologize to my team (and offer to pay their part of the entry fees :).

Are you still with me? This was the weekend we would meet - the trip to the airport was to officially "meet" him for the volleyball playing, Valentine's "first time meeting" weekend. The nerves at the airport were an incredible combination of thoughts, but mostly "would he really be too good to be true?" Or would he be ... all that I had dreamed he would be?

In an instant, I knew. He wrapped me in a "just-right" hug that just fit. As we walked the long corridor towards baggage claim, somehow just walking side by side was awkward so I slipped my hand through his arm. He then reached his hand up and grabbed my hand so that we could hold hands instead. And his hand just fit.

I knew that night he was the man that I was going to marry. He was and is the real deal. Far exceeds the list I had for the person that I would marry. The list that was "too long" according to most (to whom I say "neener, neener, neener" - just kidding! I know that they were really just trying to help).

Ten years ago today. We've had ten fabulous years together and I am so very grateful that the Lord brought us together. Neither of us are perfect, but I do think we are a perfect fit.

So I don't leave you hanging, the weekend was a blast. We walked the waterfront park in Portland on Friday night before I dropped him off at his hotel. Early the next morning after coffee at Coffee People, we drove to the Oregon coast and spent the day there topped off with a late dinner with my best friend and her husband. This time when I dropped him off at his hotel, he gave me a sweet kiss goodnight (which turned out to be a really good thing, but that's for another time). Then another early morning (and coffee at Coffee People) we were off to the tournament. HE WAS AN AWESOME PLAYER and I loved showing him off sharing him with my volleyball friends! We ended up in 2nd place for the tournament - maybe it would have been 1st if we had slept more than 5 hours in two nights! :)

Eight more trips later, a move to PA, an engagement on top of the Empire State Building, a wedding in OR, a honeymoon in Tahiti, a reception in PA, 2 kids later, a house, 2 dogs, no house, a camper, a move to AL, and another dog - whew, here we are! And, as they say, the rest is history...

I love you, honey! Thanks for ten incredible years and for leading our family so well. Looking forward to whatever the Lord has for us and thrilled to be by your side in the journey and adventure.


  1. I adore true love stories and you have a great one!!!!

  2. When I think of the many experiences throughout my life, these are some of the most exciting moments from that weekend 10 years ago. Along with my time with Jesus, nothing else compares to being with you, Shirley. Walking through the airport with your hand in my hand was just the first of many times that we have enjoyed together. And it often feels like that moment, though I might not share that with you:) I am so thankful to God for you. I think I'm spoiled.

    You are my wife, partner, co-laborer in Christ, and my best friend! I love you, Shirley


  3. Awesome!! I never knew those beginning details! :)

    Sappy is a good thing - in moderation of course!

    Now, to get my hubby to leave comments on my blog - he did read it yesterday and when I asked him if I shared to much, he answered his usual response, "Always." LOL

  4. so special! thanks for sharing, shirley! we women are so spoiled and blessed, aren't we?!? :-) must get my dh to read this one...he'd love it, too!


  5. Shirley, as I read your love story my mouth dropped open...I was almost reading mine!!!!
    I had no idea...we truly ARE kindred spirits!!!

    I also live right outside Portland too...but more than that, I met my husband in a similar way!
    Well, actually, it was through an ad in the paper...but I remember that same nervous excitement as I prepared for our first date in August of 1993...

    I loved reading your very romantic!

  6. Wow, Shirley...that was incredibly fun to read! THANK YOU for sharing, ALL of it! I knew you met online, but never had more details than that. I love it! As I read your blog, I kept thinking back on my life...the years everyone kept insisting I needed to lower my standards, go on any & all blind dates, etc. I just couldn't believe God would want me to do that! It was so refreshing to read your story & find someone who believed the same & who, like myself, saw God honor your obedience! Awesome. NOW, I understand in a way I never did before all your excitement for Gabe & I!
    Love you you think, by some chance, we could get together while you are in the area next time?! It would be such fun to catch up! **Don't worry, I know you'll be super busy, so I won't hold you to it! I want you to actually get to relax a bit while on vacation!**

  7. Wow!!! Congratulations on the 10 years. I am so happy for you guys.

    I remember meeting John that weekend that he came to Portland. Rob always brings up the fact that the two of you were rubbing noses in the back seat of our car after we went to dinner. hee, hee.....

    That was so nice of John to write on your blog and say such sweet things. You two are one of a kind friends and wonderful Christian examples. You were made for each other! :)

    Love ya tons!!!!

  8. I too love "love" stories...thank you so much for telling it to us :o)


  9. cool is that! oh, and your hubby's comment was icing on the cake!!!

  10. AWWWWWWWW!!!! Sniff! Sniff!!! I did get to read the story of how you met! How romantic!!! And such a sweet comment from your husband, too! I'll have to write mine on my blog sometime. Have a great day & see you soon!


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