Then, because Steve and I didn't get to go out for our anniversary last evening due to him helping his dad remodel a bedroom, we decided to go out tonight. We ate at a delicious restaurant - the steak was so tender you almost didn't need a knife! Then we went to see Wild Hogs, an absolutely hilarious movie, but quite inappropriate for our kiddos. This will definitely NOT be rented for movie night!
Here we are all dressed up and posing in front of "the bush." This is quite a famous azalea bush, as many family events are recorded in front of it - I have many events from Easters to homecoming and graduation nights. This bush is ugly (sorry, Mrs. Faye) except for perhaps two weeks out of the year when it bursts into all it's fuchsia glory. Then it rains and the blooms are gone, and it's destined to be just another ugly bush for another 50 weeks.
I didn't share the story of our courtship yesterday, so I'll do so here. Steve and I both lived our entire lives in the same small town, going to the same school, and never meeting. The year after I graduated high school, I was attending college about 45 minutes away. Steve was working offshore as a commercial diver. One late November day, just a week from my finals, I had this VERY strong urge to visit a teacher-friend of mine. So I skipped my art class, drove the 45 minutes, went to the high school, and when I walked into her room, there was this guy. A cute guy. A very, very cute guy! Mrs. Kathy introduced us and we all started talking. During the course of the conversation, he mentions the house he has just built. I thought he was married. I ask and he says no and that he doesn't plan to marry until he is at least 30.
Well, there were things I wanted to discuss with Mrs. Kathy that weren't for the ears of a stranger. Before I left, I told her that I needed to talk privately with her and asked her to call me. She says, "Oh, I don't have your new phone number," so I write it down for her. Steve pipes up, "I don't have your new phone number, either!" I laughed and said he never had my old one and changed the subject. After a while, he mentions my phone number again. And again I make a joke about it. Then he asks for a third time, saying "Are you going to give me your phone number or not?" I thought he had been simply teasing me and at this point I didn't know what to say, so I turned the question to Mrs. Kathy, "What do you think?" She gives a glowing diatribe of Steve and his many good qualities and says, "I'd give it to him." So I did, thinking I'd never hear from him again.
For some reason, just after meeting this guy, I had an overwhelming urge to start reading my Bible. This was unusual because (1.) I had never read my Bible before and (2.) I belonged to a denomination that placed no emphasis on personal Bible reading. But as I read (with the "let it fall open and just read there" method of Bible study), God revealed to me things I had never been taught or things that seemed contrary to what I had been taught. I was interested and kept reading.
Well, two weeks after the meeting, Steve calls me. He had been offshore on a job and called the minute he got back. We went out the following Friday - he arrives at the door dressed to kill AND with flowers! We went to dinner, a movie, then for beignets and coffee. And talked for hours. That was the start of more dates and many phone calls.
I asked Steve to go to church with me on January 1. He said he'd go with me in the morning if I'd go with him to his church that night. Okay by me. So he went with me that morning. On the way to his church that night, he said, "Umm....my church is a little different from yours" and tries to describe his Assembly of God church to someone who thought the Baptists were "wild and crazy." LOL! I remember a few things from that service - the tambourine that someone in the congregation had brought, the joyous attitude of the congregants, and the overwhelming presence of God like I had never felt before. I went to my church one more time, praying, "God, I don't feel Your presence here like I did at Steve's church. If this is not where You'd have me, let me know beyond the shadow of a doubt." And He did. The following week, the last week in January 1984, I surrendered my life at the foot of the cross and never turned back.
Steve and I married 18 months after our first date. It hasn't always been flowers and romance, and while we have been through trials that have brought me to my knees in both anguish as well as prayer, I have never regretted giving that strange guy my phone number. When I skipped art class that day, not only did I find the love of my life, but I also found the Lover of my soul. What more can a girl ask for?