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Monday, July 4, 2011

Our Story

It was the summer of 2006 and I had just graduated high school when this good-looking thing messaged me on MySpace.

I wish I could remember exactly what the message said but it was something like: "hey, I came across your profile by accident and it just really stuck out to me.  So, I just wanted to say hey." 

Normally, this kind of message would have had "stranger danger" written all over it in my mind.  But for some reason I didn't have any red flags go up when I read this message.  Looking back now, I'm positive that it was God who gave me a peace about it.  So, I pretty much studied his profile and my dad checked San Jacinto Junior College website to make sure he was actually who he said he was.  Sure enough, we found his profile under the baseball roster and everything checked out.  The truth is, his profile really stuck out to me as well.  I mean come on...good-looking baseball player and from what his profile said, a very strong Christian at that? Count me in!

So I messaged him back.  I must have been playing hard to get because all I said was "hey".  (okay, I'm seriously cracking up thinking about how all this played out) From that message on, we talked back and forth for about a week on MySpace until he sent me a message with his phone number in it and told me to call him if I felt comfortable doing so.  So I did.

We talked for hours each day. These phone calls did not lack conversation at all.  We talked about everything but mostly about God, our beliefs, theology, doctrine, etc.  In a matter of days, we practically knew everything about each other. Without having ever seen each other except in pictures, we struggled not to say the L word over the phone.  After conversing this way for about one month, the opportunity arose for us to meet.  Jordan had been in Illinois all summer playing baseball and he was getting ready to come back to Texas.  He stopped at his parents house in Dayton, Texas long enough to say hi and then he was headed to the Mount to see little ole' me! At one point he called my dad to get directions and he could hear my brothers messing with their shot guns in the background.  I was mortified.  I was also extremely anxious and nervous.  What if we weren't even attracted to each other? What if he wasn't everything he said he was? These thoughts flew through my mind but I cast them aside, got in my car and drove to the parking lot of the church in the middle of town where we decided to meet.  (We thought it would be too awkward to meet for the first time in front of my family) Jordan arrived at the church a few minutes after me and I know my heart must have hit the ground when he stepped out of his car.  I will never forget his huge smile as he walked up to me, hugged me and said, "Even better than I had imagined." ....very smooth, Jordan...haha

And that is where our story together began. That same night we said "I love you" to each other for the first time.  The date was August 15, 2006. Never would I have imagined that God would use MySpace to bring two hearts together.  But His ways are higher and I am so thankful. 

We dated for about one year, taking turns driving to see each other on the weekends, until I decided to transfer from Stephen F. Austin to U of H Clear Lake to be closer. However, I didn't do all the research that I needed before I moved because UHCL required 50 hours to transfer.  I only had 29.  So I ended up going to San Jac with plans to transfer to UHCL after I finished my basics.  I began working at Regions Bank in League City in July of 2007.  That was totally God.  I had no problem transfering from the Regions in Nacogdoches at all.  It happened very quickly. 

Jordan had graduated from San Jac with an associates in business right before I moved to Clear Lake and was drafted by the Chicago Cubs. However, he turned it down and started his junior year at Rice University where he continued to play baseball. On September 30, 2007, after dating for about 14 months, Jordan proposed to me at Calvary Baptist Church, where his father pastored in Dayton.  I said yes, of course.

We set our wedding date for July 5, 2008 and I moved into a bigger apartment in Webster in March.  Jordan's lease on his apartment was up so I quit my job at the bank in May and went home to the Mount to help my mom get everything ready for the wedding and Jordan moved into the Webster apartment. 

On Saturday, July 5, 2008, we were married at Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Mount home church and where we first met. 

It was a beautiful wedding and I couldn't wait to spend the rest of my life with this man. Jordan's parent's wedding gift to us was our honeymoon.  We had no idea where we were going until Tony handed us an envelope after our reception with the directions to Pine Creek Lodge in Nacogdoches. 

Shortly after our honeymoon, I was re-hired at the bank in League City.  I went back to school at San Jac and Jordan started his senior year at Rice.  On December 12, 2008, one day after Jordan's 22nd birthday, after only being married for 4 months, I got a positive pregnancy test.  I remember the days that lead up to me taking the test.  I felt horrible and I had to go to the bathroom every time I turned around.  Since we had been taking precautions, I was floored when two lines showed up on the stick.  I called Jordan crying, who had just got done umpiring a game, and told him that he needed to get home.  He thought something was seriously wrong but when I told him the news he was ecstatic.  I couldn't believe he was happy about it.  I mean, we both knew we wanted to have kids but not until I had finished school at least.  In the days that followed, the fact that I was carrying our first baby really began to grow on me and by the time I heard the heartbeat for the first time, I was beyond excited. 

I started the spring semester but ended up having to drop my classes because the morning sickness was so bad.  It was hard enough to go to work every day, not to mention classes, homework and house work.   Plus, I knew that once I had the baby, I was going to be a stay-at-home mom anyway...finishing school was no longer a priority. 

That spring was filled with work and baseball. Though the Houston heat and humidity was rough on this pregnant woman at the time, I was at as many baseball games as my work schedule would allow watching my man do this:

On March 30, 2009, we found out that we were going to have a baby boy.  After the appointment, I went back to work.  Unfortunately, I had gotten a bad sunburn that weekend while at one of Jordan's games, and passed out from dehydration at work.  My boss had to take me to the hospital and I had to get an IV to rehydrate me.  Thankfully, Josiah was perfectly fine. 

On May 9, 2009, Jordan graduated from Rice University with a B.A.(double major) in Ancient Civilizations & Classical Studies. This was as closely related to a seminary degree that he could get from Rice. 

That July we celebrated our one year anniversary in Destin, Florida.  (insert a BIG thank you to my parents) We had a great time but I was miserably 8 months pregnant.

After our vacation, I quit my job at the bank for good and Jordan accepted a youth ministry position in Brenham, Texas.  Josiah Neal was born shortly after on Wednesday, August 26, 2009 at 12:58 am in Clear Lake. He was 9 lbs. 8 oz. and 20 3/4 inches long.  It was love at first sight!

On September 7, 2009, not even two weeks after Josiah was born, we moved to beautiful Brenham.

On July 7, 2010, we moved to Garrison, Texas and served in the ministry there for two short months.

On July 16, 2010, a few days after our second anniversary, I got a positive pregnancy test. (this time it was no surprise) We were thrilled!

Josiah turned one on August 26, 2010 and we had a Veggie Tale themed party for him at my parents house.

That September we moved to Vernon, Texas where Jordan is currently the youth pastor at FBC.  Jordan is also working on getting a seminary degree from Criswell College.  We also bought our first home here in Vernon, which we are slowly fixing up.

 On October 4, 2010, we found out that we were having another boy! It was then that I realized how outnumbered I was going to be!

On Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 1:55 pm, Elijah Neal (Eli) was born weighing 9 lbs. 5 oz. and 22 inches long in Wichita Falls.  Again, love at first sight.

Today makes 3 years that Jordan and I have been married. We have been through so much together in these three years and even more in the five years since we first met.  Through the joy and the pain, we have become stronger by God's grace.  And yes, there has been some pain and hiccups that I have chosen not to share in this blog.  Neither one of us will forget the mistakes that we have made or the pain we have inflicted on each other or other people, even if it was unintentional.  But by remembering, we are given the ability to learn from our mistakes and avoid repeating them.  Though these past three years have been hard at times, they have also been the most rewarding and happiest years of my life.  I can't even begin to describe how much I love my boys.  Better yet, how much I love my God.  He is truly mighty to save, renew and transform.  I thank Him for his blessings as well as the trials.  For it is through the trials that we learn to persevere and through the blessings that we realize how thankful we are that we did persevere through the trials instead of giving up. (I totally just came up with that...hope it makes sense!) Anyway, Jordan, if you are reading this, I love you above and beyond explanation. happy anniversary my love.

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