It’s A Love Story – Part 2

And That Brings Us To Now

So in the weeks that ensued we continued to talk everyday and open up more and more, sharing deeper parts of our heart with each other. I had originally suggested that I come out for a visit Labor Day weekend, but that didn’t work for Joel’s schedule, so we decided on the last weekend of Sept. for my visit. Now I must tell you as aside here, Joel is simply the most respectful, caring, and honoring man I may have ever met (he is certainly up there with an elite few), so while we were discussing anything and everything under the sun he brought up the subject of my first kiss. Having read my blog he knew my story, and just in such a sweet “I don’t want this to be an awkwardly clinical discussion of something so romantic” way he asked me what my feelings were now. I assured him, rather vehemently I think ;), that no I certainly did not want to wait until I was engaged to have my first kiss (as I previously had), and I’ve known that for several years now, so it’s not like it was an emotionally impulsive decision. But what is so sweet is that he so wanted to honor me and honor that and not take it lightly – and I so value that! So originally I was like, I don’t think I’ll be ready for something so intimate the first time we see each other on this trip, and he concurred that he figured as much.

However, this relationship has certainly been on God’s timetable and not either one of ours because every day feels like so much happens in our hearts, and we were just getting so much closer every day. So about a week and half later I get this text one day “I don’t know how I’m going to keep from kissing you when you are here. It may take a small mountain of grace…” I died laughing and was like, “Oh Joel, I am so ready for you to kiss me when I come!”

Ok, so last weekend I went out to ole Collinsville, IL to visit my almost-boyfriend. 🙂 (We’re both kind of dorks and didn’t want to make it official until we saw each other in person!). So here goes…

Friday Night/Saturday: I was taking a red-eye flight so I would arrive early enough for us to go to a concert Joel had tickets to that evening, so I requested to be the opener at work to ensure I was off early enough, etc. So Friday was CRAZY at work – there was this event called The Stair Climb in our building (it’s the tallest building west of the Mississippi, and once a year the YMCA puts on this event where you can race to the top climbing the stairs – apparently some people find this fun…), and it made us super busy. So I didn’t leave work until after 10 pm, and by the time I got home it was after 11 pm. I decided to print out my itinerary just to be sure on times, but I was pretty confident my flight was at 1:55 am. No. No, it was not. It was at 1:15 am. So at this point I kind of hit a minor panic, all my clothes are laying out, but nothing is in my suitcase; I still need to shower and curl my hair, so it will at least have some semblance of style after my night of flying; and oh my God, there isn’t enough time. So I decide that showering is essential, but my hair will just have to go dirty b/c there isn’t time to wash, blow-dry and curl it. I run about like a crazy person with Molly just running circles under my feet because she senses my stress and knows I’m leaving (awe so cute!), but I make it to the airport in time, and all is well.

Flights go well – I took Dramamine to knock me out – so when I arrive in St. Louis, MO I’m still a little groggy and most definitely tired. I had told Joel that I would be taking 10-15 minutes to change and freshen up before I came out, so he could expect that. I took about 22 minutes (he informed me of this ;)), but I felt pretty and looked way more alive than I did coming off the plane. And I’m putting this in for the girls – I wore a black dress I have with bubble sleeves, empire waist and cobalt blue embroidery on the sleeves and hem, which hits just above the knee – totally cute and fun dress (it’s the one I got with you at that little boutique in MB, Teresa). Ok, so am I’m coming through security I’m not exactly nervous, more like nervous-excited. I could see Joel standing as still as a statue, which made me smile (he looked so nervous/focused) and holding flowers (Joel is the ultimate romantic! He had half a dozen lavender roses for me; my favorite). So then we just held each other for awhile, probably a full minute, and then looking in my eyes he told me he loved me for the first time. And yes, I said it back ;).

We have had so many conversations where Joel has poured out his heart, and I swear if you could hear him you’d think you were sitting in a Jane Austin novel because the way he communicates is that beautiful. And it’s not showy or fake or planned, it’s just the overflow of his heart. I am soooo the luckiest girl alive! But in all those conversations he had never said “I love you” because he wanted to be looking in my eyes when he said those words to me the first time. But it had been on the tip of our tongue for probably the past week or so. So that was a really special moment. 🙂

So then we drove and I met his dad at their restaurant (his dad owns a tex-mex fast food restaurant that is a Collinsville landmark!). Then he took me by his parent’s house to meet his mom and drop off my stuff. And they were both great; I really liked them. After that we went back to Joel’s house (which is a turn-of-the-century, two-story house with wood floors, high ceilings and crown molding – definitely needs a woman’s touch 😉 but lots of potential! And in his defense Joel has done great with it, but you know…) and put on a movie, so I could take a nap on the couch. Then we drove about 2 ½ hours to a concert in Champagne, IL. We saw Soufijan Stevens (I could be totally butchering the spelling there) who is a Christian indi artist whom Joel loves, and I really loved him too. It was in a small, but really cool bar venue, so we sat at the bar, and all throughout the concert we would just look at each other and hold hands and be lovey-dovey. It was great! I fell asleep on the ride back (still trying to recover from getting about 3 hours of sleep on the various plane rides the night before), and when we got back into town we stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things for breakfast, so that kind of woke me up some. Then he took me back to his parent’s house, and they had left a lamp on in the living room for us, but as we went around the corner to the foyer where the stairs were it was darker, and Joel just turned around and kissed me J. It was passionate, but still tender and pretty much left me breathless and weak – the perfect first kiss!

So, yeah, that was my first kiss…ever.

(Side note: Joel has informed me that I am a very fast learner and apparently a good kisser! Who knew?! 🙂 )

Sunday: Sunday we went to church, and that was fun. One of their pastors, whom I had met before, was welcoming visitors and he was like “I’d like to welcome a very special first-time guest who shall remain nameless” and then he glanced at me, and I smiled, and the congregation kind of chuckled. What was hilarious about this was the fact that Joel was looking at his phone during this whole thing, and he totally missed it! I had to fill him in J. Because you see, everyone knows Joel, and everyone has been waiting and wondering when he was going to find that special someone, so this was kind of a big deal. Service was good – really liked it. (His church is Sonlife, Patti Amsten’s church). Then afterward, and even before, I met tons of people! They were all really great, and seemed so happy and supportive.

Then we went out to lunch with Joel’s best friend and his wife, Matt and Grace, and that was fun. I really liked them as well. Then we went to an art festival and saw a few more people from church – all in all a good afternoon! That evening we got to hang out just us, talked, watched a movie, stayed up late, kissed some more ;).

Monday: We decided that we needed some sleep, so we slept in and then started our day around noon. We took a walk; I got to see his building. (Joel and his dad recently purchased a rather large building that they have remodeled/are remodeling to house Joel’s t-shirt shop, screen-printing work area, maybe eventually their restaurant and this event called The Urban Art Co-Op that he is doing with his cousin and another partner). So that was cool to get to see this project that has been a large part of his life the last 6 months and will be a large part of his future. It’s a great space. Right now they entire back 2/3 of the building is just an open venue that they are going to rent out, and the potential there is amazing. Very cool.

Then that evening we went over to his brother and sister-in-law’s house, Josh and Kristi (again not sure on the spelling) for dinner with the fam, which included their two kids, Joel’s other brother, Matt, and his parents, Roger and Leanne. I really liked his family! They are very easy-going and totally welcoming. I didn’t feel any pressure. I was kind of quiet b/c I get that way when I’m in a new situation, but I really liked them.

Tuesday: We went to lunch at a cute little tea-house (reminded me a bit of Montagues, where I worked in High School) and had lunch with Pastor Tim whom Joel worked with in MC for so many years. That was fun; we had a really nice visit. Then we went back to Joel’s house and spent the afternoon sitting on the porch swing and reading/talking. That was a really special us time :).

Then we went over to his parent’s for dinner and spent some time with his mom, which was good. Then we went back to his house and basically stayed up all night talking and watching movies. We both fell asleep during the last movie we put on, so that was the extent of our sleep that night! Because then it was time to go get ready and take me back to the airport. Saying goodbye wasn’t fun – but I was proud of us, neither of us cried, but it was a sad goodbye.

And now here we are.

And I know you are all dying to know, what’s next? 😉 And basically what is next is that we both feel that this is it – we’re not going to elope and get married next week, but we both really feel this is who God has been keeping us for. So I’m planning on moving out there sometime in the very near future. It seems kind of fast, I know, but really I just feel so much peace. It feels really, really right. And of course it’s not going to all be roses and romance, but in order for us to take our relationship to the next level we really need to be spending consistent time together. So that’s the plan.

This has happened amazingly fast, but it couldn’t feel more right. I’m excited for what the future holds, and I know God has some amazing plans for us that we can’t even fathom right now. I am really, really happy…

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~ by Shannon on October 1, 2009.

5 Responses to “It’s A Love Story – Part 2”

  1. Shannon, I am so incredibly happy for you two! You have completely warmed my heart with your blog, Thank you! 🙂

  2. shanny i am sooooo happy for you. you deserve this and it has been long awaited. thanks for sharing the story, it is beautiful and you had me in tears and my heart melting. love you dearly and can’t wait for you to live only like 6 hours from me!!!!!!

  3. Wow Shaonnon, God is so great,I am so happy for you. I’m glad your first visit went so wonderful. I will say I had reservations until I read you blog and then I had peace about it. Joel sounds like Mr. wonderful and (I mean that in a good way). He too has been waiting on God’s direction and waiting for that special person in his life. I would like to see you date a year, but if God says yes sometimes that means sooner then later. LOL I was surprised when I hope that your dad and I will get to meet him before you move out there. We have 5 days off at Thanksgiving, maybe something could work out, you never know. Thanks for sharing your visit and posting pictures. Love you, Terri

  4. Whoa.

  5. Love you, love you, love you!!!! =)

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