Wednesday, July 14, 2010

a love story {part 1}

In honor of our 10th Anniversary next week, I've decided to tell the story of how Mr. Gardner and I met and fell in love. The sad fact is that nearly a third of marriages are over by the 10 year mark, so it's a milestone worth celebrating. I've been looking through old scanned photos of us when we first met and it has brought back so many memories. It's amazing how much life and adventure these last 10 years have held. Through all the wonderful and trying times, we have grown together and become parents to our three boys, deepening and strengthening our relationship. I pray our love continues to thrive, and that the next 10 years are even better than the last have been.

And, in ten years, I fully expect to be on an extended European Vacation with Mr. Gardner, preferably somewhere romantic in Italy on our exact Anniversary date.
{Just wanted to throw that in there.}

All that to say...this is how it all started, from my point of view...

Just two months after my 18th birthday, I moved to Pensacola, Florida to attend a small Bible College (just so you know, most Bible colleges are affectionately called "Bridal Colleges" by those who attend them...there is a good reason for this.)

The particular Bible College I chose was quite strict when it came to student life. We had a curfew and separate housing for ladies and gentlemen, both on and off campus. Furthermore, the ladies and gentlemen were forbidden to step foot in a domicile of the opposite sex, unless they were going to the home of a married couple who had the express permission of the College to host co-ed get togethers.

Dating or "pairing off" during the first semester was also forbidden, to prevent distractions among the new students. I fully intended to follow the no-dating-during-first-semester-policy, and, in fact, thought it was a good idea.

My parents felt that it would be wise for me to live on campus my first semester, and so I started settling into dorm life, and meeting lots of new friends. Living on campus included meals at the school cafeteria, which was right next door to the dorms.

I don't remember the exact day, but the first distinct memory I have of my husband-to-be is definitely from sometime in mid-September during breakfast at the cafeteria.

I was going through the line, trying to find some familiar Northwestern breakfast fare, (I had already mistaken the cheese grits for cream of wheat once and put sugar and butter in them...) when I found myself looking at a very handsome young man with mesmerizing blue eyes who was offering me a bowl of whole grain hot cereal.

"It'll keep you regular," he said, grinning.


Now, this might be considered an odd greeting by some people, but it really rocked my socks because it's something my dad would say. It would be common breakfast conversation at home. Which further cemented the feeling I had deep in my soul that I knew this man. I didn't know from where. But he was so familiar. I remember thinking later that it was like that line in Sleepless in Seattle, when Tom Hanks is talking about meeting his wife,

"It was like coming home, but to know home I'd ever known."

I probably smiled and took the offered cereal without a word, but I like to think I may have raised an eyebrow and said something coy.

Needless to say, I very much looked forward to eating from then on (even more than usual, I mean). And it didn't take long for me to notice that it wasn't just me looking forward to meals. My roommate even heard that he asked about me when I missed breakfast.
Not long after that, we both ended up going to Chile's after an evening church service with a large group of friends. I somehow managed to sit right across from him.
Despite the fact that I was extremely happy about this, I was suffering from a cold, complete with a nasty sore throat (which I think was from the rapid temperature changes when going from inside the ridiculously ice-cold AC in every building in Florida to the outside excessively humid, hot weather multiple times a day).

Anyway, he found out I wasn't feeling well, and did some very goofy things to make me feel better.
(Which worked by the way. )

He also ordered Chicken Noodle Soup so that I wouldn't be eating it alone.

I went home feeling absolutely dreamy...and got called to the R.A.'s room and got a talking to.

You guessed it...pairing off.

To be continued...


  1. I love your idea of doing this blog. Very interesting. But I hate cliffhangers.....

  2. Sorry about the cliffhanger's a long story. But you DO know how it ends, right? ; )