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10 in 12 {Nov. 4th}

**June 4th 2015 I will celebrate 10 years of marriage with my wonderful husband, and I’m excited to share our story here over the next 12 months (I love our story!). Each month I’ll share another post leading up to the big 10th anniversary! I’m calling it “10 in 12,” 10 years of marriage celebrated in the next 12 months! 🙂 **

(Go here to read the first part of our story!)

Happy first week of February! 2015 has been chugging right along, and then this week things in my home have literally stopped. All 3 of my kiddos have the flu. THE FLU! All.three.kids. It feels like the never ending illness. It feels like we will never be able to leave the house again. It has been rough. But, all of that is a story to tell another time. Today, in midst of the fevers and the whining, and the cabin fever, I want to continue telling you about my favorite love story. It will be a fun and welcomed distraction to the otherwise less fun current situations.

So, want to jump back with me and hear the next chapter? Then come along!

Back in November of 2004, I was no longer a girl in a relationship that I was uncertain of. I was a girl in a committed relationship with a boy, who had flaws and differences, and I was falling in love with him more and more. Before I became a believer in Jesus, I thought that to be in love everything had to feel right and always go perfectly. But as I grew I learned that love is more so shown in the times that are difficult. It is proven when all the happy perfect feelings aren’t there. It’s exemplified in Christ who came and died for those He loved even when they didn’t love Him in return. Love is a choice, and in my heart I had chosen to love Blake indefinitely.

It was in this month that we first told each other that we loved each other (Nov. 23rd!), that we shared our first kiss (Nov. 24th!), and that we started seriously discussing marriage. (We even toyed with the idea of going ahead and secretly getting married and not really telling anyone and then having a big wedding with everyone later! It was a fun idea, but one that we didn’t follow through with!) 🙂

We were confident that we were heading towards marriage, so we started talking about dates, and Blake started asking me about rings. The topic of rings leads to a funny story to share, one that was not so funny to Blake in the moment, but that we can now laugh and smile at.

Now, some girls have their perfect ring all dreamed up from an early age, but not me. I didn’t know about cuts, other than princess which is all I had ever heard about. So, in my initial conversation with Blake about rings I told him that princess cut was nice. After this though, me and whatever “create your own engagement ring” website was really popular back then became good friends. I was constantly looking and thinking about what I wanted.  I was just about the first one of my good friends to be in this almost engaged boat, so I didn’t know about these things. I liked my sister’s princess cut ring, but after searching and looking into things more, I actually settled on emerald cut, with little diamonds on the side. It was perfect in my mind!

It was during a visit in Oklahoma that I told Blake about my discovery and love for emerald cut diamonds. I said something like, “Oh, I meant to tell you, I finally settled on what kind of ring I like. I LOVE emerald cuts!” I must have gone on and on about how much I liked them and how that was the kind that I really wanted. Little did I know that just the day before he had put a large down payment on a ring that he had designed for me, and it was NOT an emerald cut. I am pretty sure he was crying a little inside at this point! But, he took me by the hands and lovingly told me something like, “Heather, you need to know that you are not going to get an emerald cut diamond. But, what you will get is perfect. It’s you. You will love it.”

I look back at that whole situation as one of the first times my expectations in our relationship wasn’t met (I definitely handled it better than other moments of unmet expectations I would face in our time together). I trusted Blake, and ultimately I knew that a diamond ring wasn’t really important. What was important was the heart of the one giving it to me. It didn’t matter if it was this kind of ring, or that kind of ring, or whatever! It was a symbol of his love for me, and whatever shape or form it came in I knew I would love it. Important things

Before the end of my visit we had looked at the calendar and had a tentative date in mind for a wedding, and that date would stick. June 4th, 2005. I wanted to go ahead and reserve the church and reception venue, but I felt a little weird doing anything else before we were officially engaged (I even felt a little weird booking those things!). So, I thought and dreamed about the wedding a little bit, but I didn’t allow myself to do any kind of planning.

But I was ready to plan. I wanted to plan! I was ready for that boy to propose! I didn’t care that I had finals coming up and one more semester left of college. I was ready to put all that aside and plan for the moment I would become Mrs. Blake Hollander. So, the month of December became the “when is he going to propose?” month, and some funny/not so funny moments were about to occur.

Stay tuned for more!

~Heather

IMG_6727
         Me and Blake in November, 2004
Blake and our little girl, Nov. 2014
Blake and our little girl, Nov. 2014

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