Fourteen years ago

In January 2000, I was working for the best University in the world, Texas A&M, and living in College Station. I was planning to go to grad school in Houston later that year, and I had been visiting a church in Houston. One day at work my pastor in College Station called. He told me that he was setting up a new small group Bible study for the singles group at church and that he wanted me to be a part of it. I was reluctant to agree since I was pretty sure there were almost no single men in the church, aside from college students. He assured me that there were single young men at the church that were invited as well. I agreed to go mainly to see if he was right.

The small group started out meeting at the house of our youth pastor and his wife. The first week I went and enjoyed myself. I met a very nice couple who would become very dear friends, and a few other people. No single guys, but I had a great time and decided to go again the next week. That night is engraved in my memory.

I was sitting in an armchair facing the front door. A few others were there, and we were visiting when in walked this very, very tall handsome young man. I’m pretty sure I stared. I remember thinking that it wasn’t possible that he went to church with me because I was SURE I’d remember seeing him. He was wearing a Penn State sweatshirt and jeans. His hair was almost black. Truly, he was tall, dark, and handsome. I don’t remember much else about that Bible study. I doubt I paid much attention to anything else that night. Needless to say, I didn’t miss a Bible study after that.

Matt was in his second year of grad school working on his PhD in Inorganic Chemistry. He came to Texas from Pennsylvania for graduate school. That winter we got to know each other through those small group get-togethers. I was both intrigued and irritated when he asked for prayer about a girl he was pursuing that didn’t seem to be interested in him. (Intrigued to know who she was and irritated that there was a girl other than me that he was interested in.) I started to sit with him and his friends at church.

One day in the spring the group was over at my apartment for a party. I called from the kitchen for someone to come help me, and guess who arrived. He’d shaved off his mustache and goatee that week. (yes, he actually had a goatee when we met; he finally regrew it one summer, after almost 10 years of me asking him to.) Sunday after church I went out to lunch with him and the couple I mentioned earlier, Sam and Joanne. The waiter asked if there would be separate checks, and as I started to say mine was one it’s own, Matt indicated that he and I were together. I protested mildly. Mainly I was ticked that if this was a date he hadn’t asked me out.

Monday he called to ask me out. I was out with a friend test-driving cars. Tuesday he called back. I knew he was calling to ask me out, but I still played dumb. We talked for TWO HOURS on the phone. For those of you who know my husband, you can appreciate how amazing this is. Finally he asked me out. That was mid-April of 2000.

By May we were talking about marriage. It was amazing. We just knew it was right. We started planning our wedding in June, and on July 4th, Matt gave me my engagement ring. It was a whirlwind romance. I decided not to go to grad school in Houston. We really didn’t want to wait until either he or I were finished with grad school to get married.

On December 22, 2000, Matt and I said our vows. It was a beautiful ceremony. The church was decorated for Christmas. All of our family and many of our friends were there. It truly was a family affair. My Aunt Lou played piano for us. Matt’s sisters read scriptures. My friend, Cara, did all the flowers for cost, and her husband, Pete, did our cakes for cost. My aunts, mother, and grandmother did all of the food for the reception, and Matt’s mother and sisters did the food for the rehearsal. Such a wonderful time.

On that day, I married my best friend. We’ve been through a lot in the last eleven years, and I love him more every day. I pray that the Lord will bless us with many more years together. Matt truly is everything I didn’t know I wanted. I love you sweetheart.

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