Here's where it all began:
Please pardon the cheesy dress. This was us back in the day. My prom night, 1995- where he proposed to me. He was so fidgety and nervous and little did I know he had a ring in his pocket.
Actually, our journey began years before this. I met Joe when I was 14 going on 15 years old! I was going to Pizza Hut with my mom to pick up our pizza and there he was. Standing outside leaning against a pillar with some kind of fedora hat, smoking a pipe! For a moment I think everything moved in slow motion as we gazed into eachothers eyes for the first time! Ha! My brother also worked at this Pizza Hut and told me Joe began asking about me in the days and months following. From then on it became a very regular thing for my mom to order pizza and make me be the one to go inside to pick it up! We began dating when I was 16 (that was 18 years ago!---Yikes).
So, he proposed to me at my prom in 1995. I was so shocked and not expecting it AT. ALL. I think my response was: "Um, yes, I think, well...I need to ask my parents." HA!!
So here we are at our "Engagement Party":
We had great plans to move together to Charlston, South Carolina. We felt like we needed a "fresh start". We went down for a visit to scout out places to live and for me to go to college. I was so excited to move away and start our life together in a new place. We started collecting boxes for our big move. Then one day Joe comes to me and says he doesn't think it's a good idea for us to move.
WHAT?! My heart broke into tiny pieces. I asked him why he had changed his mind. He said he was driving down the road listening to some song thinking about our upcoming move when the lyrics jumped out and said "...It would be the biggest mistake of your life..."
This changed everything. I remember sitting in my room crying- but it didn't make sense. I had everything going for me. What was there to cry about?
Little did we both know, we were actually longing for a newness in our hearts-longing to be reunited with our Creator. We were hoping to move to start our lives fresh- hoping for a change, when what we needed could only take place in a relationship with Jesus Christ where "old things are passed away" and "...all things have become new". That's where new life and forgiveness and cleansing take place!
Not long after, we both had our own personal experience and were born again "of the water and Spirit" (John 3:3-5). We are so thankful for a merciful God that brought us out of darkness into His marvelous light. Now our lives had meaning and purpose, and what we were searching for we found in Jesus Christ.
We had previously made arrangements to elope to Negril, Jamaica at a Sandals resort. So that's what we did! The day of our wedding arrived and there was torrential downpours! The kind of rain where if you stepped outside for- one second- you would be completely drenched. We were supposed to get married on the beach. So much for that. They tried to get us to cancel our wedding and move it to another day that was sunny. We told them we "WERE NOT canceling our wedding". They were not happy with us. I'm pretty sure from that point on they had it out for us. They gave us major attitudes.
As our witnesses were walking us to the room to get married, in the pouring down rain, they were making up a song (thinking we couldn't understand...or not caring if we did) with lyrics that sang "What's the rush?" What's the rush? Um....sorry but we want to get married on the date we have on our wedding announcements going out and this is the day we've been waiting years for! Sheesh.
Anyways, we were married in a small room with the rain pouring down outside. The minister made mention of the fact that our determination to get married and not wait another minute was symbolic of the bond we shared and the determination to work hard at our marriage.
The minute we finished our little ceremony we opened the door and the sun was shining so bright. There was still rain dripping off of all the palm trees! It was so magnificent and breathtaking! This is the very moment we stepped out:
Our "friends" that we made on our trip from the airport to our resort, the scariest ride of my life, were there to congratulate us and took the picture above.
The party boat in the distance adds a nice touch, doesn't it? Ha!
We came home and had a little reception with friends and family.
Joe's Grandpa & I dancing
I'm so thankful for the years we've been blessed together with and the years that are to come! I love you Joe!!!!!