There is so much to write about in my life over the past seven months. So, you would think that I would be more actively blogging about all the news and goings on. Funny how time seems to run out and my thoughts and feelings are left inside my head.
I am in awe of how much has changed in my life. It's a testament to me that Heavenly Father truly has me in His hands, and is directing my life. I am so grateful.
First things first: You probably want to know how I met "the one." Well, get comfortable...
I flew to Idaho and visited my sister for Christmas. My parents even came up, so I got to see them as well. Flying in December is not easy. I got delayed twice (thanks United! but not really) leaving Dulles Airport and then had to switch planes, thus missing my connecting flight in Denver to Idaho Falls. My sister and mom ended up spending the night in a hotel in Idaho Falls. I called a long time Navy friend and begged a room for the night. She was gracious enough to pick me up at one o'clock in the morning with water and homemade muffins for a snack. I slept in a comfortable bed and caught up with friend SL for a while the next morning, and then was off to Idaho Falls.
Christmas was great fun. I brought matching flannel pajama bottoms for all the boys. And matching flannel nightgowns for my mom, sister and I--classic! We had fun opening presents, spending time with one another, cooking and eating good food, and talking with other family members. My favorite toy was nephew B's horse barn complete with brand new horses, and some dinosaurs. He left the whole thing unattended, and thanks to Grandpa and I those dinosaurs made quite a mess at the horse barn--carnage galore!
It was great to spend time with my sister. I'll always remember the morning we went for a walk to the grocery store when it was two degrees. We both walked outside, and stood for a minute to gauge the temperature. We then turned around, went back inside and put on another layer of clothing. On our walk we caught the sun rise. The town deer kept an eye on us for the whole walk but didn't run away. It was a really beautiful, cold morning. I love mountain winters.
My mom, sister and I went for lunch together at a new tea room that recently opened. We had fun exploring the premises and checking out all the tea cups and pots on display. Mom and I recognized some of the English china from our trip through England years earlier. We had stopped at the potteries in Stoke-on-Trent, and shopped the seconds stores for some of the biggest names in fine English china. Becky and I wished that the shop's handmade mugs were cheaper because we both wanted one to remember our trip. It was a fun outing.
We ended my trip by celebrating my nephew B's seventh birthday. (It's amazing to think that he was born right before I went to Afghanistan and that it's been seven years since I did that.) We partied with a sledding trip up in the mountains where it was 12 degrees. We had a much needed fire to help us stay warm, and filled up on hot chocolate, hot dogs and doughnuts. It was a perfect birthday-sledding party!
That evening I made nephew B's birthday cake, a chocolate cake with blue vanilla frosting topped with coconut. We had dinner with some family friends who were so excited to celebrate with us. We lit candles, sang happy birthday, demolished the cake and opened lots of birthday presents. That kid loves his horses!
Then the following day I flew out of Idaho Falls back into Denver. This time the flight was on time and there were no delays. An interesting man with a really nice smile sat in the seat next to me. He introduced himself as Jesse and we started talking. He was in town to take care of some personal business over the holidays and was heading back to work in Iowa.
We talked the whole flight and kept talking as we walked through the terminal to our departure gates. We talked about why we were in Idaho and where we lived now. We shared about our families, single life, and jobs (he's a welder/pipe fitter). We both told funny stories and enjoyed each others' company. After confirming that yes we wanted to stay in touch, I gave him my card with my contact information, and left the ball in his court. As we parted ways at his departure gate, I impulsively stepped forward and gave him a quick hug. I was kind of surprised by this, but it felt like the right thing to do.
I arrived back at Dulles right on time around one o'clock in the morning again, and another kind friend OS picked me up and took me home. When I got in her car, she asked how my flight was. I remember having a quiet feeling that something important had happened when I told her about the nice guy named Jesse who sat next next to me on the plane. OS asked if we were going to keep in touch. I said that I hoped so, but I honestly had no idea. I got home around three in the morning and went straight to bed.
When I finally woke up about eight hours later my first thought was, "I really hope Jesse contacts me." I was quite surprised by how much I really wanted this to happen. As the day went by I remember thinking several times how much I wanted him to contact me. I went to bed that night thinking about Jesse's nice smile, his kind eyes and how much I enjoyed talking with him.
The next morning Jesse emailed me (finally!!!!), and asked if it was okay that we started communicating. He also said that he didn't want to be an interruption to my life. I remember thinking to myself, "Silly man! Don't you know I want my life to be interrupted?" We emailed back and forth a couple of times and set a time for a phone call the next evening on New Year's Day.
Let's just say that once we got on the phone that we didn't run out of things to talk about for the next three months. It's a good thing that we both have the same phone cell phone carrier because otherwise our bills would have been in the thousands of dollars. (We also used Google Hangout to message each other during the day and for video chatting at least once a week. Technology is so amazing!)
We talked about everything. We told the good, bad and ugly stories, the funny, sad and not-so-great ones too. We had phone dates where we read poetry and stories to each other. A couple of times we even cooked dinner and ate together over the phone. I started reading Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls to him which we both really enjoy (we still have a ways to go to finish). We compared political ideologies, outlooks on life, interests and hobbies. We shared our testimonies of the gospel and hopes for the future.
We started finding all the things we have in common as well as our differences. Yes, he likes Star Trek, and Star Wars, and super hero movies. He hasn't met The Doctor yet, but an introduction is in the works. He appreciates my interest in space and my crushes on astronauts and the Mars Rover. (The nerd potential is strong with this one.) We are excited about camping and fishing together. We are both Mormons and actively participate in church. We both served in the military-he was active and reserve Army for several years, so he gets my reserve life. He's from Idaho and I'm from Utah, and both love the mountain west and being outdoors. He likes maps, and emergency preparedness. I like to crochet, and sew. He's teaching himself to play the violin, and I sing and play the piano. We are both generally happy people, optimistic about life. He's as hopeful a romantic as I am. And he really likes to dance!
My interest in Jesse was changing from mildly interested to highly interested as we talked and learned about each. I know that people sometimes will hold back and not show their true selves in dating situations. I feel like we were both able to be ourselves, and as our comfort and trust levels grew, the safer it felt to be completely open and honest. We even told each other about those not-so-great things we had done in our lives (you know, the things you're afraid if someone you like found out that they wouldn't like you any more). We were both able to share these things with each other despite our fears, and in returned feel un-judged, supported, and accepted.
Eventually, I shared my blog with Jesse. As he read it he shared with me things that he liked and asked for more details about my experiences or thoughts I shared. He reminded of things I had written where I expressed my faith and hope for good things in my life. It was interesting to see myself through his eyes as he got to know me through my blog.
Years earlier I swore never to do the long distance thing again in my life. Funny about those things you swear you're never gonna do--eventually you end up doing thing them and sometimes they turn out better than before. So, this time it was different (yes, I know so cliché, but really it was). I kept feeling hopeful and at peace all the while Jesse and I were talking. Most importantly, I was having fun! I also knew my feelings were deepening for Jesse, and I wasn't scared by this. Rather I was excited and hopeful, and very much looking forward to our next conversation.
I kept waiting for that feeling I knew all too well from previous dating experiences, that feeling of no-this-is-not-the-right-one-for-you-Christine. And I kept not feeling it. This was new for me, and I kept thinking, "Okay, I'm just going to keep going with this then." In fact, the feeling I was having was "This is a really good man, Christine. This is a really good man. Christine, this is a really good man" over and over. This feeling persisted even when I wasn't talking to Jesse. I remember sitting on my couch thinking about all this, when that same feeling almost overwhelmed me again. I finally looked up and said, "Okay, Father I hear you. I've got it. Jesse is a really good man."
To be continued....