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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Proposal

For winter break my Senior year at SAGU Jeremy asked my parents if he could spend the first week or so with them, then he and I would drive out to Arizona to be with his family.

If you have never had the pleasure of meeting my parents let me give you a little insight.  The only seasonings found in my parents house are salt, pepper, cayenne & on occasion, Cavender's Seasoning.  My dad grills meat.  Every. Chance. He. Gets.  Every night we were with my parents, Daddy grilled, and every night Jeremy stood outside talking to him.  Jeremy tells me it was about the 3rd night before he finally got up the courage to ask Daddy for my hand in marriage.  My dad's reply, "You can marry my daughter, but if you ever hurt her, I'll kill you."  Permission granted.  I do think that to reinforce the "I'll kill you" promise, Daddy added a little extra cayenne to Jeremy's burger.  Point taken.

We had an early Christmas with my family and then drove out to Arizona in the Honda Accord.  New Mexico is very icy in December.  At one point we slid off the road and spun a lot.  Scary!!!  We got back on the road, and safely made it to Phoenix.  I finally got to meet Jeanene.  I'm not sure she liked me at first.  I think most of it had to do with the fact that she hadn't met me before and Jeremy was going to marry me. (I think I've grown on her through the years.)  We spent a little time in Phoenix before flying to Minnesota to be with Ranae's side of the family.  Again I was amazed at this gracious, kind and loving family.  They took me in like I was their own. I remember sitting at the dinner table and Grandpa Hofer coming behind me and squeezing my shoulders.  With a smile on his face he called me his new grand daughter. I felt so welcomed and hoped that would one day be true.

The next day we all went to church in the morning and then went tubing in the snow.  That evening, several family members mentioned that maybe Jeremy & I would like to go out to dinner, just the two of us.  I was having so much fun with the family that I didn't want to miss out spending time with them.  I had no idea that Jeremy had been planning this very day for MONTHS!  I dressed in a black velvet dress, and Jeremy's Aunt Pam let me wear her beautiful mink coat.  Just before we left we played a quick game of Spanish Race Horses in which Uncle Kevin had the honor of being "Ar'ted".  We took Rachelle's car to dinner at Kincaid's.  We had a seat by a window and could see the snow falling outside.  Absolutely beautiful!  I don't remember what we ate, but I remember Jeremy getting a phone call from the family.  He said it was something about a movie they were going to watch or something.  We finished our meal and began to walk out to the car where a limousine was waiting.  I remarked, "Wow!  Some girl is pretty lucky!"  Jeremy told me to get in.  The sound teenage girls make at a Jonas or Justin Bieber concert?  That was the sound in my head right then. 

We drove around Minneapolis and looked at Christmas lights adorning some amazing homes.  In one particularly stunning neighborhood we came across a Santa Claus walking down the center of the street.  He was walking like a drunk and asked our driver if he could have a ride.  This small town girl was scared!  What in the world was a drunk Santa doing stopping our car and asking for a ride?!  The driver told him he'd have to ask us so Jeremy started rolling down the window.  I learned later I was supposed to get out of the car, but I was so nervous I nearly pushed Jeremy out the opposite side of the car trying to stay as far away from Santa as I could!  He offered us his very last present if we would only give him a ride.  Jeremy finally talked me into at least checking out the gift.  Inside was an engagement ring.  Jeremy got down on one knee in the limo and asked me to be his wife.   In case you haven't figured it out, I said "YES!"  As we drove back to Pam & Randy's house we called my parents and shared the good news.

When we arrived, everyone acted as if they had no idea what had occurred.  I showed off my ring and they all acted surprised.  I guess we had left Santa on the curb after we got the ring because he started knocking on the back door while we were telling the story.  I didn't realize it, but "Santa" was really Jeremy's Uncle Kevin, whom I had just met that morning at church!  After Santa arrived, they asked if we wanted to watch a movie.  These sneaky folks had been video taping the ENTIRE EVENING!  We watched footage of us getting into the limo and of the whole escapade with Santa!  They'd been watching from a mini-van on the side of the street the whole time!

I'm not sure what ever happened to the video, but this has to be one of my favorite memories of all time.  I knew from the start that this was going to be a wonderful family belong to.  I know the future husbands of Zion & Zoan are going to have a lot to live up to, as Jeremy has set the bar high for our daughters expectations, and our son is learning how to respect and honor a woman from a pro!

It's been 11 1/2 years since that proposal and every moment has been more wonderful than the last.  Jeremy and I just celebrated our 11th anniversary this past weekend.  I think the quote from Dr. Seuss says it best.  "You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More about us...

The spring semester flew by.  We went on lots of group dates, ate lots of breakfasts together and grew more and more fond of each other.   One conversation that stood out to me was when Jeremy asked me, "if I could be any animal, what would I be?"  My first choice was a white tiger and my second, a black panther.  His choices were an eagle and a wolf.  Apparently it was some psychology quiz where your choices represent something else.  The first choice is how you perceive yourself and the second represented what traits you would want in a mate.

We celebrated our birthdays in April.  I gave him a stuffed wolf. (wink, wink)  He gave me a leather journal he had made himself.  Loved it, wrote in it often, filled it with stories of our days together and what God was speaking in my life at that time. 

We were both planning our internships for the summer, he with his dad in Phoenix, and I in Colorado with my uncle.  Before the summer began, I flew out to Phoenix.  The days I spent there were so full!  We went to a baseball game, jet skied at the lake, went to church, and I loved every minute!  I remember thinking, "How did I get this blessed? This family is amazing!" 

The only glitch was trying to get Elwin to understand what I was saying.  My Texas accent was still pretty thick and trying to explain that my dad worked in the oil field proved very difficult.  Elwin, "What does your dad do?"  Me, "He works in the 'ol' field." Elwin, "What is that?"  Me, "You know, the 'ol' field."  I finally resorted to spelling.  "O I L,  he works in the 'ol field."  It took me a while, but I finally learned to say "oy ill".

In July he came to visit me in Colorado.  We had a great time and he met more of my extended family.  They approved and teased me incessantly.

We emailed every day, sometimes several times a day.  We didn't know it at the time, but we had each printed off every email we received.  He was better than I and printed off all that he sent and received!  We still have those emails in sequential order in our file cabinet.  I need to have them bound in a book so they will keep forever.  I still get a laugh when I read back to some of the things we shared. I still have all the snail mail we sent that summer as well.  Maybe someday the Mack Pack will want to read all the mushy letters of their parents.  If not, that's okay, I still get all tingly when I read my letters from Jeremy.  (Happy sigh)

We came back to SAGU in the Fall and continued to fall in love with each other, still not having uttered the words.  Oh, and the first time we held hands....briefly in the airport as I was heading back to Oklahoma after meeting his parents.  

Friday, June 10, 2011

He Meets My Parents!

Easter Break.  I had no car.  Arizona is far from Waxahachie.  Jeremy offered to take me to visit my family for the weekend.  This would be the first time for him to meet my parents and my sister.  We headed out and on our way stopped for lunch at this little Bar-b-que beef place.  It was just a road side stand, but always a favorite stop.  While we ate he informed me that his BTR boys (bachelors till the rapture) had made him promise not to hold my hand or "anything" while we were visiting.  He was letting me in on the promise so I would be aware of his intentions as well.  And again, I felt honored and respected.  The time on the road seemed to pass quickly as we drove the 3 1/2 hours to my parents house.
*Interesting fact:  I had only been to my parent's house once because they moved from Texas to Oklahoma during winter break so I was very unfamiliar with the town.  We arrived to find the house empty but the answering machine blinking.  I checked the messages to be informed that my mom & sister had been in a car accident and were at the hospital.  We had to check the phone book for the address to the hospital!  I had no idea where to go or what we'd find when we got there.
We found our way across the small town and were met my family's pastor & his wife.  My mom & sister were okay, but Mom was suffering a little amnesia.  The pastors took this opportunity to have a little fun with my mom and told her I was coming to visit with my husband.  We were allowed to check Mom out of the hospital and as we wheeled her out in a wheelchair, she looked up at Jeremy and said "I don't know who you are, but you sure are good lookin'!"  (We've had quite a few laughs at that over the years for sure!)
We got home, put Mom to bed to rest and started working on cooking the dinner that had kind of been started before the accident.   Dad was driving a truck and would be home later that evening.  I warned Jeremy on our 3 1/2 hour drive that the best way to figure out if my dad liked him was if he stayed up and talked or if he went to bed.  Dad got home and STAYED UP talking to Jeremy till after midnight!  Definitely a good sign!  I found out things about my dad that I never knew and realized he & Jeremy had quite a lot in common.  They both raised pigeons as kids.  I had no idea! 
While we were there, Jeremy also got to meet some of my mom's family that lived there at the time.  He met with all of their approval. We were at church that Sunday morning and headed back to Waxahachie that evening.  So far so good!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Games & Crafts for Camping

This past Memorial Day weekend our family went camping with our church family.   It was windy & as the weekend came to a close, it got COLD!  We sat around the fire, ate lots of yummy food, and just enjoyed being together. We had some really fun activities that were a hit with the little people.  

One of the teens made a couple of swings for the kids to play on and they got hours and hours of use.  Thanks, Michael!  I don't think Zion liked it at all.

One of the things the younger kids enjoyed most was our Treasure Hunt.  I took some empty coffee cans from home and filled them with fun items from the Target Dollar Spot.  We had silly putty, water guns, note pads, bubbles, a beach ball, a word find, and other little goodies tucked away in them.  Christy & Michelle helped me hide the cans around the area where there were several trees and lots of pine needles.  Each kid found a treasure and I think they had as much fun on the search as they did playing with the treasures!  Zoan said, "This is the Best Day Ever!"  Mission accomplished!  I will definitely be incorporating this activity into future camping trips.  I may even step it up a notch to make it even more difficult.  These kids were way too quick!

Another activity we did was for the birds.  Really.  We made pine cone bird feeders.  Sorry, there are no pictures of the feeders.  You'll just have to trust me when I tell you how cool they were.  A while ago I purchased some peanut butter that did not meet with my family's approval.  I can't throw anything away so I took them with us on the camping trip with some twine and bird seed.  I sent the kids to look for some pine cones.  I helped them tie on the twine around the top, handed them a spoon and had them cover the entire thing in peanut butter.  I filled a cup with seeds and once their pine cones were peanut buttered, they dipped them in and covered the peanut butter with seed.  They each chose the "perfect" spot for their feeder and with a little help from some taller people, hung them carefully and waited for some feathered friends to visit.  Shortly after, we saw a beautiful Red Robin fly through the campsite. 

We can't wait till we get to do this again!