Friday, February 13, 2009

SWAK carnival

We are THAT Family for the big carnival event!!

This is my hubby. My best friend. The father of my boys. My soul mate.

Well, actually, I'm not convinced that we have "soul mates" or even that there's one person out there, meant just for us....but I DO believe with all my heart that Drew and I were brought together by God. He is MY MAN! And I can't imagine my life without him. This is DREW.

And this is our story.

I started attending a Bible college in Phoenix in January of 2001. That fall, I applied to be an RA. My roommate's best friend, Sarah, also applied and we both made it. She was an RA in the dorms, and I to the apartments. At the RA retreat that summer, we hit it off and not long after, she told me I should meet her brother because she thought we'd git it off, too. So she invited me to go to Thanksgiving with her at her aunt and uncle's house in Globe, Arizona. In the meantime, I'd also met Sarah's sister, younger brother and dad and thought they were all pretty terrific. Before leaving that Thanksgiving weekend, I told people, "If he's even half-way decent, I really want to marry into this family." One gal in my Old Testament class asked what I was doing for the holiday weekend and I said, "Meeting my future husband." She laaaaaughed!!

Well. I was quite nervous as the trip approached and when we arrived, he was standing in the kitchen. I think we shook hands. My first thought was, "Ok, he's not bad." My type is the tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed guy--just like my dad. Drew was about 5'11 (I'm 5'9" so to be "tall," you've gotta be six-foot-something!), with sandy blond hair and green eyes. Uh-oh.

That first night, we talked, played Monopoly and he...I kid you not...gave me a foot rub. He cheated at Monopoly and still cheats at most board games. That should've been a clue. Heehee. He joked about having been engaged before to a man. We talked about relationships and were both a little fed up with the opposite sex.

In the two days that followed, we did more talking. Lots more. We even took a drive and had a "DTR," or "defining the relationship" talk. He wasn't sure where his life was headed and certainly wasn't ready for a relationship. I was fine with that. I figured we'd have an e-mail relationship after we got home and just see what happened. We both even left notes for each other on the morning that we parted ways. We both said about the same thing: "Nice to meet you, maybe we'll cross paths again."

During that time, I evidently managed to impress his uncle and I even told his mom, "Your son is amazing. I know a lot of guys and believe me--you've done a lot of things right." Just laying the groundwork, people!

Let me pause here to say that it didn't take long for me to figure out that Drew was a real man and the guys I'd been dealing with were mere boys. That was a major realization for me. He was smart, witty (not just funny but actually clever), articulate, well-mannered, kind, sensitive, thoughtful and affectionate. Not to mention CUTE, in his light-haired, pale-skinned way!

So. He went back to Albuquerque and I went back to school. The Sunday after Thanksgiving, I was shocked and thrilled that he called. The first proof that he was, in fact, into me. I remember my mom raising an eyebrow. I think she was starting to clue in, too: this might not be a "weekend fling."

That week, on November 29th, I blew out my birthday candles on my 24th birthday and prayed that God would allow our relationship to progress. I've never taken that birthday wish lightly since.

Back at school, we were in the throes of writing papers and taking final exams and every spare moment I had was spent IMing Drew on my roommate's computer or talking to him on the phone. We did a lot of e-mail Q & A as well. About two weeks after we met, I got up the nerve to ask him about his religious views. I knew that he was a God-loving, Christ-follower who'd grown up in a Christian home and attended church, read his Bible, etc. but I wanted to know details about his view on salvation, baptism, eternity, etc. This was going to be a make-it-or-break-it conversation. Plenty of guys I'd known had "sealed their fate" with this one!

And we were on the same page on almost every major point. He passed with flying colors! I was amazed at how much we agreed on. Years later, he would tell me that he thought at the time that I was just agreeing with him to be...agreeable. HA! It took time for him to realize that I actually believed the things I'd said and wasn't just trying to appease him!

Besides that talk, we talked about marriage and finances, among other topics. I was happy with everything I learned.

It was December 13th when we saw each other again and we were both very worried about the "spark" still being there. We'd been talking on the phone for three weeks but who knew what could happen when we were back in person?? Within about two minutes, he drug me off to hug me and we both said how relieved we were--there were definitely butterflies and sparks on both sides!! That night, over cinnamon buns, he asked me to be his girlfriend and gave me a plush frog I named Ponder, and slept with during the rest of our courtship.

Three months to the day when we met, Drew drove all the way to Phoenix just for the day, to ask me to marry him. Leading up to that, he'd been teasing me about not being ready to be engaged for a while longer, so the first thing I said was, "Are you sure????" He loves telling people that I didn't say yes right away. Everyone at school was thrilled--Drew had attended the same school, as had his other sister, so he was known around campus. Even the college president was excited for us!

We spent that entire time, from when we met until June of '02, in separate states, traveling back and forth every two weeks or so to see each other. I believe that's where our relationship got its strong foundation--we were able to talk and get to know each other without the distractions of dating!! Plus, we had agreed not to kiss
until our wedding day so we weren't distracted by a physical relationship, either.

We were married on August 6, 2002, less than 9 months after we met. We returned to Thanksgiving the next year MARRIED! I bet his family hadn't seen that coming a year before! We've been back to Globe every year since, except in 2005, when I was four days over-due with our son and unwilling to risk driving 2.5 hours home while in labor! This year, 8 years after we met, we'll have an almost-four-year-old and a 6-month-old in tow!

Our marriage has seen its ups and downs but there have definitely been a lot more ups. God's hand in our marriage has been evident and daily, I am reminded of how blessed I am to have ended up with such an amazing man. He may not be perfect (who is??) but he is perfect for me. And despite my flaws, I believe I am perfect for him, too. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, our son came along and I've had the joy of seeing the man of my dreams grow into a wonderfully caring, patient father whom his son adores. Watching them together is probably the greatest pleasure of my life. To top it all off, we've got son #2 on his way in May!

So rather than babble on and on about him, I'll give you my Top Ten list of "Reasons Why I Love Drew:"

1. His Godly character is the rock of our family. When I've struggled in my spiritual life, he's been there to speak truth and help me find my way back. He answers all of my questions, he knows so much about the Bible and he lets his relationship with God play out in his everyday life. His relationship with the Lord and his wisdom in spiritual matters has helped me through two of the hardest times of my life. Serving with him at our church is a tremendous blessing.

2. He gives me the freedom to be myself. I don't think he'll ever appreciate how much this one means to me. I have certainly changed over the lat eight years and he has loved and supported me at every step. He comforts me when I fall apart and he supports all of my many endeavors, even when he knows it won't work! He lets me pursue my own interests and spend time with the people I love without making demands or making me feel guilty. I have surprised myself with my journey as a mother and he has always heard me out and backed me up. That means the world to me.

3. He never, ever manipulates or hurts me on purpose. He doesn't pick fights or attempt to escalate things and I never have to worry about him doing underhanded things to get his way. He is never passive-aggressive and if he thinks he hurt my feelings, he wants to make it right immediately. That feeling of safety is immeasurable.

4. Speaking of safety, he takes care of me and our family no matter what. Despite changing jobs and financial challenges, he has always made sure we have what we need. Beyond that, he gives to our church, handles our finances beautifully and even gives money away when he sees others in need. This tangible sense of security is just as important as the emotional one mentioned above. Plus, he indulges me by allowing me to buy the fancy night creams and a new outfit now and then--I never want for anything.

5. His fathering far exceeds my expectations. I remember when Andrew was only a couple weeks old and I was completely smitten with every drop of drool and every movement or sound and I was astounded that Drew and my mom seemed as enthralled and in love with him as I was! I really never dreamed that my husband would be that "into" our kids--I thought he'd just "put up" with them. But that's why I married him, because he's not like other guys!! Even now, he e-mails me every day and asks how Andrew's doing and when he gets home, they greet each other and have to wrestle and play before the evening can continue. Drew enjoys it as much as Andrew does and the pleasure they take in each other delights me. He is exceedingly patient with Andrew and they have so much fun together. I couldn't wish for a better father for my boys.

6. Drew is smart, smart, smart. The smartest guy I know, in fact. And not about any one thing or a few things, either--but with everything. He knows politics and can finish the sentences of the political analysts on TV. He knows religion and the Bible and the Christian faith. He knows history, science, MATH! You name it, he knows it! It makes me very proud and it's sure nice to have a walking encyclopedia to journey through life with! He's a learner, too, and always open to new ideas and experiences. I may have even taught him a thing or two and it cracks me up when I spout off about something that he didn't know I knew about and he gets that secretly impressed look on his face.

7. He never misses a gift-giving opportunity and his gifts are super-thoughtful. Even when finances have been tight, he has managed to come up with the perfect thing for me. When I was student teaching, we shared a car and he worked at a gym within walking distance to our apartment. I returned home one day to find that he'd walked down the hill and back again to a convenience store, just to buy me a rose, a wine cooler, some candy and a little teddy bear. Now, that's love! He's also the best stocking stuffer you could ask for!

8. He is his own man. I don't feel like I define him or like me being a certain way makes him who he is. Of course we compliment each other but neither of us has our identities so wrapped up in the other than it puts pressure on them. We also allow ourselves to be who we are and do what we enjoy without forcing it onto the other person. I don't make him attend every family event or kid's birthday party, nor do I drag him clothes shopping or out to chick flicks, and he doesn't ask me to play paintball or video games and he knows he can hang out with his buds or invite the guys over to watch UFC and I'll be fine with it. We've struck a balance, due largely to his easy-going nature. Plus, he's a quirky and unpredictable fella, which keeps everyone on their toes. I am often asked, "Is he serious??" and I typically reply with, "I don't know."

9. He is affectionate. I didn't grow up in an overly-affectionate family and was never really affectionate with the very few guys I dated. I like my own space! But he is so cuddly and so loving and has really brought me out of my shell, although he stills thinks I like my own space too much! He has influenced our son, too...Andrew is the snuggliest thing you ever saw! I love it when the three of us are all curled up on one end of the couch!

10. He is an adventurous dreamer. He was the first guy I knew who even thought about starting his own business or being his own boss. He always has new ideas for a business or venture and I know he's antsy to see more of the U.S. and the world. He thinks outside of the box and has big dreams for our future, which excites me! We were still newlyweds when we learned of an investment opportunity in West Virginia. It concerned a large, old hotel that needed a lot of renovation but was a gold mine for the right investor. We actually flew out to see it and carefully considered whether to pursue it. Ultimately, it was too over-whelming a task and had too many issues to be realistic--but it was such a fun adventure! That's life with Drew...a never-ending adventure!

And I could go on. But that's our story and some of the reasons why I love my husband.

You are my world, Drew. You are my rock and my provider, my best friend and my confidant. There's no one in the world I'd rather be traveling this journey with. I love you!



We are THAT Family said...

What a fantastic list! You are blessed. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

Heather said...

What a wonderful husband God has blessed you with!

sailorcross said...

What a wonderful story!! I also checked out the new bundle of love that I'm going to knitting for on your other blog!! Looking good!!

You can cross one thing off your wish list because that wish is coming true!!


Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I am a bit late in visiting via the SWAK carnival, but what a great post!

Avily Jerome said...

Wow. Listening to you makes my brother sound like a pretty cool guy!
Where is that guy when I'm around!?

Just kidding! Mostly... ;)

I'm so glad you married him, though!!! I'm really glad to have you as a part of our family! Love ya, sis!