Our Story

Written in 2011 but a very good glimpse at who we are:

Five Years ago today.....

A certain young college freshman came back into town. He had been home for Christmas vacation but had left right after the first of the year for a five day intensive class at Liberty University.

It was a Saturday and he texted me during his flight from Lynchburg, VA, to Orlando, FL.

He texted me while his dad picked up him from the airport and when his dad took him to a late breakfast at Denny's.

He texted me just minutes after walking into his home and giving his mom a hug. He wanted to know if he could fulfill a promise he had made earlier in break. You see, although I don't really remember the particulars, he had backed out of a friend lunch with me and some other people to Olive Garden. He promised me he would make it up to me.

So, just 1 hour after he had a "grand slam," breakfast, Ian picked me up in his red sports car and whisked me off to a lunch at Olive Garden.

I was in heaven. {and no, not just because of the food, but because of the company.}

I had had a crush on this young man for at least a year. Back in our senior year of high school, we had a class on the far side of campus together (well, he had debate and I had photography, but they were right next to each other,) and he was perpetually late. I'd leave our locker cluster and head to class on time (must. not. break. rules.) and he would, without fail, come running up behind me calling out "Brittney Cummins," in a super false low voice. It always made me smile.

But, I knew he wasn't interested in me, and I also knew several of my friends and/or their mothers (ha,) were interested in this young man. He was sweet. He was a gentleman. He had ambition. He was a genius. And Oh-So-Handsome! Dimples to melt you into a puddle on the spot.

So, we were friends. He became more involved in my circle of friends and in our youth group. We spent alot of time together, and my crush grew and grew.

The end of our senior year came around, meaning, Senior Prom.

Like clockwork, Ian came running up behind me on our way to our class.

"So. Senior Prom. It's coming up pretty soon," he said.

I held my breath, this was the moment I had been waiting for!

"I was thinking about taking someone,"

{Please be me, please be me, please be me.}

"What do you think about me asking Danielle?"

{failure. utter devastation. but I was a good friend, and, by golly, if he wanted to take our other friend, then it was his prom too, he should do what he wants to!}

So, I told him he should. That I thought she would say yes. And, a week or two later, when he asked me about wearing a matching corsage, because she had asked him to, I told him to do it, and that the whole thing would be fun.

Bleh. I hate this part of the story.

My cousin happened to be getting married the weekend of my senior prom, and though my family would totally not care if I stayed home and went to my prom, I skipped. It wasn't really my scene, especially if I wasn't going to be with the special someone I had a crush on.

Especially if I had to watch him take a friend of mine (who had just broken up with someone and wasn't interested in him as a boyfriend,) to prom.

I got texts from people all night and was sad to hear that my friend's boyfriend showed up at our prom (ummm, he had already graduated, making it a little awkward,) and she left her date all alone for the night. Talk about depressing.

Talk about something right out of a movie.

If only I could have swooped in and been the date that he didn't have.

Alas, I was 200 miles away on a beach, at a wedding.

Flash forward to the summer of 2005. We spent the summer getting to know each other even better. Summer camp and an amazing road trip Senior Trip with 10 of us and our youth pastor. Humid Florida nights laying out, watching the stars. Many, many trips to the beach.

*Sigh* It was the best summer ever.

I noticed during this time, he became more and more prone to talk to me. But, one of my friends made it very clear she was interested in him during this time, so I didn't do anything.

Fall came crashing in. Two days before he had to move to Virginia for school we had a long conversation about what God was doing in his life and where that would take him in life. He knew that he'd finish school and move overseas, but perhaps he should get a more applicable degree. Something practical. 48 hours before he was set to leave and he was in a panic.

I thought it was just over degree choices.

So, when he presented a program at a school just 2 hours away, I told him to go for it! But then we talked our way around it and figured out it wouldn't work.

So, he left.

He just got in his car and left.

I was devastated.

I was slightly depressed.

He had become one of my closest friends and now he was at a new school with new friends that I was not a part of.

Our first semester of our freshman year of college was spent figuring out "life." Yes, we exchanged many AIM conversations and texts, and even a few phone calls, but that wasn't our focus.

Then a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving break, I missed a call from him. In the garbled voicemail he said something about falling on a mountain and hurting his ankle. I called back as soon as possible, only to get his roommate. I chatted for a minute or two until I found out that the injured Ian was in the shower, and that was that.

Thanksgiving break came and Ian came home. He and I went to the beach and made a sandcastle, chatting the day away. He, our friend Katie, and I spent an evening under the stars. A very cold evening, but it was wonderful.

Thanksgiving break ended and Ian went back to school for finals. He called and texted a little more and I suddenly felt like more was a possibility!

I don't remember much from Christmas break but I do remember going to Passion 2006 the first week of January and texting Ian (who was in Virginia,) about seeing my first snowflake. Just one. But still. I was looking forward to getting home and Ian getting home.

Flash forward to that Saturday. Ian took me out to lunch and paid (what a gentleman! He actually was always taking some of us single gals out for meals and paying so I wasn't really alerted to anything at this point.) We played a round of putt-putt and then he had to get home to his family, who were going to the Orlando Magic basketball game that night. I said good bye in my driveway and told him I'd see him the next morning.

15 minutes later a text comes in...."My parents are too busy for the game so I have an extra ticket. Want to come?"

Of course I said yes, despite my complete disregard for basketball (I'm a college football kind of girl.)

We parked in a shady (as in suspicious, not well shaded,) lot and hurried into the game, chatting and having a grand ol time. We laughed at the fact that neither of us actually liked basketball, yet here we were. The game ended late and we began the 45 minute drive back to our suburb.

Ian got very quiet on the drive home.

I, apparently, couldn't shut up. I chatted and chatted and chatted.

About 5 miles from my home we fell into a comfortable silence and I started to drift.

In reality, I was daydreaming about what it would be like to date him.

I'm quite the daydreamer.

I got a little lost in my own world their for awhile.

So, I didn't really notice when we pulled into my driveway and Ian began nervously talking.

It went a little like this:

"I had a good time today. I'm really glad I'm home. I've been thinking alot lately, and I think that I would like to date you. But I don't just date to date. I'm dating with an end purpose in mind, marriage. Which is why I waited so long to ask you out. I wanted to make sure I really liked you. So, do you want to date?"

At this point my eyes were as big as saucers and my hand was poised on the car door handle, ready to get out. I honestly thought I was still daydreaming, and thought "wow, this daydream got a little odd!" It dawned on me though, as he sat across from me in the car that he was waiting for me to say something. I mumbled out a yes before he continued.

"But, you know. I believe God is calling me to go overseas. I've already got my year long internship in the Middle East set up for our sophomore year and the rest of our freshman year I'll be in Virginia, so are you okay with long distance dating, and are you okay with the fact that I am heading permanently overseas after school?"

I said yes, then hopped out of the car and ran inside. My parents were in bed already but my mom was up reading. I stuck my head in the door and told her Ian and I were dating, then went happily off to bed.

Little did I know that poor Ian was very confused about my fast getaway, and spent a very nervous night trying to figure out if my "yes," was yes. He even skipped Sunday School because he was so confused, ha! He showed up at church and sat with me, and we decided to get together and go hiking at my favorite trail by my house.

That afternoon, on January 8th, 2006, Ian and I ironed out the details of what our expectations, boundaries, and thoughts were about dating, and how we thought we should handle dating long distance.

But, even though things were clarified on the 8th....

Five years ago today, on January 7th, 2006, Ian asked me out and we began this beautiful journey together called Life.

We dated long distance for the Spring of 2006 and were in the same town for 3 weeks that summer. Before I left for a trip to Europe we said "I love you," and then I spent the summer up in the Poconos, working at a camp. In August of 2006, Ian let me know he wanted to marry me but we had to part ways again for him to move to the Middle East. Ian was gone for 1 year and we talked over Skype for the 2006-2007 school year. He came home for Christmas but I was incredibly sick that year with pink eye and strep throat and mono so our time together was limited.

He returned from the Middle East in May of 2007 and proposed on July 7th, 2007, 1 year and six months (to the day,) after we started dating. We were engaged and dated long distance for our third (which happened to be our final) year of college and we both graduated in May of 2008. We were married in our home church in a beautiful ceremony that sung of God's grace and redemption on June 14th, 2008, and moved straight from our honeymoon to our new home in Gainesville, Florida.

We spent 10 very hard months there. Not because marriage was hard- it wasn't. It was bliss. We fit together perfectly and were excellent at communicating due to the nature of our long distance relationship. It was hard because we were poor. And we weren't doing what God wanted us to do. We were trying to live by the plans that were in our own hearts (teach for me and gain more knowledge for Ian,) instead of living on trust and faith like God wanted us to do. Job after job fell through the cracks and I never really got to have that first year teaching experience.

I could go on and on updating on what has happened since then, but most of you know that already.

The point is, that Five Years Ago today, my Ian courageously took a chance and asked me to date him.

Five Years Ago today my life changed.

And you know what?

I knew it had changed the moment I said "yes."

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