A Love Story Retold: Once Upon A Time {Part 1/4}

As you can imagine, this past month has been highly emotional for us, as we bore our souls and owned our truth.  I am so thankful and blessed for readers like you, who lovingly showed your support of us!  This week is busy for me, planning our vow renewal, which is THIS weekend!!! (as well as our 1oth Anniversary)  So, I will not be blogging anything new this week. I will be taking a break and instead, reposting our Love Story for you to read every day until Friday’s Weekend Potluck, which proceeds as usual.  I posted this Love Story series last year for our 9th Anniversary, but there are enough new readers, I think it might be fun to post it again.  I hope to be back next week, after the renewal is all said and done, and share our sacred day with you.  And, as soon as they are edited, pictures as well!

Thank you for investing in my family with your time, your encouragement, and most of all, your prayers!

 I can’t wait to see you next week and tell you ALLLL about it!  I am so excited to once again have a standing covenant with Christ and my husband.  So excited to once again wear a wedding band proudly on my finger, its symbol of a circle never broken, representing the truth.

Great big hugs,

~T

I give you Our Love Story: 

Once Upon A Time: from the Archives

Written May 24th, 2011 

Happy Anniversary, Dale!  I am so blessed that God allowed me to marry you, the man of my dreams! Just when I think I couldn’t possibly love you any more than I already do, I see you scoop up one of our children in a giant daddy bear hug or stoop down low to kiss an owie knee.  When you loving stroke the cheek of our baby as you lay him in his crib, or come up behind me and kiss my neck while I am doing supper dishes, my love for you grows a bit more.   Not just any kind of love, the forever and ever, till death do us part kind of love…… A love that lasts a lifetime.  Happy 9th Anniversary, honey!  I love you! xo ~T

  In honor of our Anniversary, and seeing as how this is my blog’s first year and we are all still getting to know each other, I’d like to tell you the story of how Dale and I met.

Let’s start waaaaaaay back at the beginning………..

Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, I loved fairy tales, LOVED them, as little girls seem to do.  I played bride and princess and dreamed of my very own Happily Ever After………..

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My little brother, Chad, made such a lovely Maid of Honor! :)

But more often than not, I played Mommy.

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From my kindergarten papers on, if you asked me to tell you what I wanted to be when I grew up, it’d say A Mommy.  I loved children and begged to get to help in the church nursery whenever possible.

Oh, how I wanted to get married, have babies and live happily ever after.

When I turned 13, I was starting to think about my “Mr. Wonderful”, somewhere out there in the world. My parents took me out on a date to what was to me a very “fancy” restaurant…….. Red Lobster  :) and presented me with a Purity Ring in honor of my birthday.  While on this special date, we discussed and wrote out curfews, standards and rules for dating for when I turned 16.  I giggled thinking about it, wondering what my grown up teenage life would be like.

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I went home and wrote my future husband a letter, something I would do from age 13 on, each and every birthday.  I got this idea from a wonderful Christian fiction series called The Christy Miller Series.  I placed that letter in a shoe box and slid it in my closet, full of little girl dreams for the future.

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Fast forward to when I turned 16, the “official” dating age at our house, and I realized I was being asked to do something by the Lord, but I couldn’t figure out what just yet.  Even though I had my parents Ok to date, I was very big into “just being friends” and not having a serious boyfriend, and although I had a major crush or two (or five) in high school and was asked out, I just couldn’t see myself dating anyone! You know, the “Pick you up Friday night at 8” thing, it just didn’t appeal to me really.  Most of my activities were done with a group of people, which I gotta say, is so much fun!

Soon after this, the Lord begin to do a work in my heart towards Emotional Purity as well, not giving pieces of my heart away to each and every heart-throb that came my way and flashed a charming grin!

I decided then and there to take dating VERY seriously.  Very.

As in, let’s-just-be-friends-even-though-I-have-a-big-crush-on-you-until-God-tells-me-differently. Like until God tells me this guy is “THE ONE”.

I had so many questions;

How would I know he was “The One” unless I dated him? 

Why was God asking me to do something so unheard of, so “WEIRD”?

My Junior year, after writing my 3rd “Dear Future Husband” birthday love letter, I sat down and wrote out a “Husband Wish List”.  I listed out all the things that I wanted in a spouse and begin to pray over that list each evening during my quiet time.  It was quite the detailed list!  I wanted him to be a virgin, I wanted him to love children, to be a hard worker, good with money, fun-loving, have nice hands, be a Mr. Fix-it, the Spiritual leader of our home….the list went on and on.  If you know me, this should not surprise you! I am a detail girl!   :)

It seemed I would never find anyone to date if I was going to view them as a future potential spouse and check them against the “What I Want In A Husband” list.  I begin to wonder what was “wrong” with me, or if my standards were too high?  Why couldn’t I just be free and fun, date and be kissed good-night on my front porch by guys that I couldn’t picture myself marrying? Why was I thinking about marriage so much?  Something was holding me back and it would be years before the Lord would reveal to me what He was asking of me.

I graduated from high school with my heart in-tact, memories of best guy Scan_Pic0067friends that made me smile and I left for college, more determined than ever to save my heart for my future husband.  I had been kissed just once during high school, something I instantly regretted, and I knew……the next man that kissed me was going to be my future husband!

I was going to be sure of it!

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I went to a near-by Christian College at my parent’s prompting, though I would’ve happily just stayed home and worked with children.  Things started off great, my room-mate was awesome and college was going to be amazing, I just knew it!

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Half way through my first year of college, a time that is supposed to be one of the best in your life, my world fell apart. Broke in a million pieces.Scan_Pic0113

I will not go into the yucky details, but long story short is, due to devastating circumstances, my parents separated.  This may not seem like a big deal to you in this day and age, it happens all the time, right?  But to me it was as if the rug had been pulled out from under me.  I looked over my life and questioned every bit of it.

Everything I knew to be true, was no longer.

Everything I had been raised to know as truth, was a lie.

But how could it be?

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We were a happy church-going, God-serving family.  Growing up we went on evening bike rides nearly every night, we sat around the kitchen table and played games and ate popcorn on Sunday evenings, we were happy…….

Weren’t we?

I never knew what harm unforgiveness could cause, but I was angry! Ticked at my dad, ticked at the world and ticked at the Lord.  I determined to speak to neither of my Fathers, Heavenly or earthly until further notice.

And I didn’t.

For a whole year. 

It was the darkest time in my young life.  Never had I known such anger and pain.  The Lord spoke to me once, during a weekend at home, that my unforgiveness would kill me.  I told Him I didn’t care.  I wasn’t speaking to my dad and I sure didn’t want to hear from the Lord either.  I turned a cold shoulder and went on my way.  My new motto:  “Life sucks then you die.”

I had never seen my dad cry up to this point, so you can imagine how hard it was one Sunday, when he came up to me after church and with tear-filled eyes and a choked up voice, asked me if he could please take me to lunch.  He told me how much he missed me and loved me.

And I turned and walked away from him.

I went home and bawled my eyes out.  That was my Daddy.  I loved him, but I was SO full of anger I couldn’t even speak to him.  I had no words to say.  I wept bitterly for what my life had become. For the ugliness that boiled and festered inside of me.

I had been driving home from college every weekend at this point, leaving the second classes let out Friday and not heading back until the last possible moment Sunday night for my 8 am class Monday morning….my mom was alone and hurting and she needed me, you know?

One morning as I got out of bed to head back to college, I slid to the side of the bed and stood up.  Well, I tried to stand up.  I couldn’t, instead I doubled over in pain and cried out for my mom to come.  I could not stand up straight or walk.  The Lord had told me my unforgiveness would eventually kill me, and it sure felt like He was right.  Turns out I had a stressed induced issue, resulting in a giant grapefruit-sized cyst on my right ovary.  (Ew, I know, I said ovary.)  Thankfully, I didn’t have to have surgery to remove it, but I knew the Lord was telling me something and that I needed to forgive my dad, and soon.  I spent weeks trying to “get better”, eventually dropping most of my classes and just coasting through the rest of my first year, trying desperately to keep my head above the tide of anger and pain that now consumed me.

Summer break came, my mom and dad reconciled and dad moved back in.  I was PISSED!  How dare she forgive him!  She and I were a team, us against the world of the pigs called men.  I felt betrayed by her and continued to struggle with forgiving him.  We were now on speaking terms, but very cold ones.  I had little to say to him and tried to work as much as possible to stay out of the house.

Scan_Pic0069Back in the day, it was “cool” to cruise Main.  This makes me giggle now to tell you that’s what we did all weekend, but its true.  Gas was less than a buck a gallon, we didn’t go to clubs, there were tons of “hotties” out there cruising too, and I had a convertible;  it was a win-win-win.

What I didn’t know, is that I’d meet the man of my dreams on Main Street, while cruising.  What an UNROMANTIC story!

My car was in the shop, thanks to one of my darling kids I nannied for at the time, “drawing” me a picture on the side of it with a rock.  Oops.  Scan_Pic0083

So that night, I was cruising with my friends in my mom’s Jeep Cherokee, when a group of guys called us over to where they were parked at the bank.

First trip down Main, my friend and I just waved at them and giggled.  We rarely pulled over, it was too scary, much safer to just wave, giggle and keep on driving.  The next loop I noticed it was a guy from my church youth group.  Ok, well he was safe, we’ll pull over for a minute but stay in the car.  We pull in and this gorgeous guy in a white baseball hat (what is it about guy’s in white hats, anyhow?) comes sauntering over.

“Where’s your Mustang?” he asks.

My mouth threatens to drop open, but I try to maintain my “cool”.

“How do you know I drive a Mustang?” I ask.

“I know a lot about you, Tonya.” he says.

My heart leaps into my throat, Hottie in the White Hat knows my NAME?!  I hold in a squeal and I turn to my friend in the passenger seat and mouth silently:

“OH MY GOODNESS, HE IS SO HOT!” 

She agreed.

Long story short, this guy, named Dale, had been watching me for a long time and had been hoping to get to meet me.  He had grown up with the guy I went to Youth Group with.  Deeming him “safe”, I parked the car and we hung out with those guys, parked along Main street, for the rest of the evening.  I couldn’t tell if Dale liked me or my friend, but somehow we left with promises of Roses from him the next time we met on Main.

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True to his word, the next weekend he pulls up to the bank and hops out of his White jeep in his smokin’ hot white hat, all nice and tan in his white cut off sleeve shirt with 2 red roses.  I just KNEW he liked my friend, since she got hers first, but later to my delight, he says to me….

“I wanted to call you this weekend and invite you to my blah blah blah {some youth group event I can’t recall} but I didn’t have your number.”

“Well, if you’d have asked for my phone number a long time ago, it wouldn’t have been a problem, now would’ve it,” I spouted back.

“So can I have it?”  he asks, grinning.

Can you have it? I thought you’d never ask!

No, I didn’t say that, but I THOUGHT it! :)

I write it down on this teeny scrap of paper from my cup holder and give it to him.

Then, “El’ Suave” says, SO unromantically….

“You name the time, you name the place and I’ll pick you up and pay for it.”

WHAT?!

That is NOT how it works!

To be continued…..

~T

P.S.  Look what still lives in Dale’s wallet 11 years later. :)

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13 thoughts on “A Love Story Retold: Once Upon A Time {Part 1/4}

  1. Oh so sweet! I giggled and smiled the whole way through! So thankful I got to read this and share in this adorable story. YOU, my dear Tonya, have SO much in common with my daughter. She was a nanny and grew up wanting to be a mommy every day of her life…even at a very young age. You both love to write too…the list goes on and on. No wonder I feel so connected to you! Exciting week ahead….do get your rest and take it easy. You are covered in love & prayers. I can hardly stand the wait to see photos of the upcoming ceremony! XOXO

  2. Love reading this story….I’m loving seeing how much Destiny looks like you…always knew that she did, but in these pictures…wow…especially her smile. Can’t wait to “tune in” the rest of this week. Have fun getting ready for your big weekend. Hugs <3

  3. LOVE LOVE LOVE this story! I had a blast with you that summer and will never forget ANY detail of it! Love our picture when we did the Twinkie thing and got our glamour shots taken! LOL…..sooo happy to read it again! Muah….cant wait to see you Friday love!

  4. you are a beautiful girl first time i seen you as im a newbie to all this, your husband is handsome also thank your for sharing your special love story. It really made me smile

  5. Dear Tonya, I am so happy to be a part of your special love story… Looking forward to the next part of it…. Takes me back down memory lane, when I was a young woman.. God bless you… <3

  6. You posted this last year when we were in Disney World and I had to take time every day to read it (Thankfully Pastor Mark let us take his little lap top with us because mine fried 2 days before we left) I was at one of the Happiest Places on Earth reading one of the happiest Love stories ever!

    Love you guys can’t wait until Friday!!!!

  7. Tonya, I think it took a lot of courage to tell us all about your difficulties, but I am willing to bet some people have learned a lot and perhaps are able to face their own marital challenges. Thanks for not being afraid to open up to all of us. I wish you a life time of happiness!

  8. Pingback: Dear 21 Year Old Me, |

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