Well – here’s the deal…
As you know, I have been trying to tell the story of how Peter and I met online and God led us step-by-step to trust Him and join our lives together forever and for always.
Now I have officially run out of detailed notes and journals with a play-by-play of our visits and the ways our relationship continued to grow. Luckily, there won’t be too many more posts in this series. I visited South Dakota for Christmas break in December/January, Presidents’ Day Weekend in February, and spring break in March. (I’m starting to feel like things were a bit one-sided! I guess teachers really are blessed with our time off of work!) Then we got engaged in May (and you can already read about that and watch the video HERE), and I moved up in June. I feel like I can wrap all of this up over the next four weeks… Just be aware – the next few posts may feel a little more rough around the edges as we rely mostly on memory and pictures on our phones and on Facebook to retell our journey.
By the way, thanks for reading. There are probably only ten of you who have followed the whole story, but just as I tell my students, “Every writer needs a reader!” (Shameless plug: Feel free to share my blog with your friends or on Facebook. It’s fun to watch it grow!)
Thanks to the blessing that is Gmail (in which you basically never have to delete any emails), I was able to find my flight itinerary to remind me that I flew to Sioux Falls through Chicago on Saturday, December 22nd and stayed until Tuesday, January 1st. For anyone keeping track, that means that I once again used every spare minute of my school break to visit the man that was captivating my heart! (Also, because our relationship involved a lot of flying and was very EXPENSIVE, I decided to get as many days out of a trip as I possibly could!)
My family was incredibly supportive through it all… Instead of insisting that I spend the holidays with them, they knew it would be best for me to spend as much time as I could getting to know Peter. Growing up, I was often the girl at the sleepover who was tired of my friends by supper time, so my parents knew it was pretty significant that I wasn’t quickly growing tired this boy.
I guess it’s probably a good thing that I can’t remember every detail of this eleven-day visit…
“Ain’t nobody got time for that!”
So here are a few highlights:
Peter had a wonderful idea to expose me to real sledding for the first time ever! While growing up in Alabama, we occasionally got snow a couple of times each year, but each snowfall typically resulted in a light dusting or possibly an inch or two that melted by lunchtime. (It still blows my mind here to see children suiting up in full snow-gear and playing on a mountain of snow and ice at recess. Anytime the meteorologists predicted snow in our area, schools would close to keep buses off the roads. I didn’t have close neighbors, so I don’t know much about playing in the snow with anyone except my immediate family.) Anyway – back to the story…
Peter took me to a hill on a minimal maintenance gravel road, which means it doesn’t really get taken care of or plowed. One side of the hill was much longer and steeper than one might expect on the South Dakota prairie, so we stuck to the bunny slope side with the gentle incline. I was still a little intimidated that I might crash and burn. Our dog Crockett (who I claimed as my own by that point) was pretty timid about jumping into or out of the bed of the truck, but he had fun running and exploring nearby us as we played. Peter was fearless and would take running starts to fly down the hill on his stomach. I started from a sitting position, pushed off with my hands, and kind of putt-putted along until I started curving and going off track. It was fun to try something new with Peter there to help and encourage me!
I also tried to fully embrace and enjoy my white Christmas in other areas as well. Peter’s mom went all out with her Christmas decorations for me, and the old-fashioned large bulbs on the fence line by the horse barn were the icing on the cake! We saw a lot of snow in Des Moines, Iowa on the day after Christmas when we went for a day trip so I could meet Peter’s aunt and cousins. (I have no idea what’s up with my chicken legs in that picture… These southern legs don’t feel stable in snow yet.) I also made him take my picture with a huge pile of snow that had been plowed into piles in a grocery store parking lot. I wanted to make people at home think we got that much snow!
We enjoyed a wonderful evening having dinner at Uncle Charles’ and Jan’s house. I really enjoy spending time with them because they have such calming spirits. We also went to the Strom family Christmas gathering and took a picture with Peter’s grandmother Josie.
It was interesting to experience Christmas traditions that differ from my family. We usually do a relatively small Christmas and do very little on Christmas Eve. Peter’s family fully embraces Christmas Eve with a church service in the evening, driving to look at Christmas lights, eating egg bake that night, and opening gifts before bed. Dorothy gave me a very special jar that had been a gift to her years and years ago. Peter surprised me with an SDSU (South Dakota State University) t-shirt and a GORGEOUS and fancy pearl necklace. (I surprised him eight months later and wore it on our wedding day.)
You know what else we got for Christmas? SICK. Extremely sick. Curl up in the bed for days and blow your nose in front of each other repeatedly sick. Go nowhere but to sleep on New Year’s Eve sick. Can’t you tell??? This is one of our worst pictures together, but you can see the necklace.
And THIS is one of my favorite pictures of us. It’s so completely accurate.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! (even if it’s only September right now!)
This is the fifteenth post in a series called We Met Online: Wednesday Series! Start from the beginning here, or you can also retrace the whole story here! I hope to write every Wednesday, using my old journals, photos, and memories to tell our story. I truly hope that it blesses you and brings glory to our Savior. Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to share this with others and check back for more soon! You can also subscribe to receive posts by email so you don’t miss anything!