In the fifth grade I met my the love of my life. It is crazy to think now that I was old enough to like boys like that, but I can remember having a strong attraction to him. I didn't really know that much about him, but there was something that made me get butterflies when I was around him. I developed a HUGE crush! The kind where you tell no one and would kill someone if they told the person you were crushing on. I can remember going on a field trip at the end of our 5th grade year. There were trails and a big field. For some reason we all had water guns and were running around shooting each other. We were all soaked! I can remember one of my best friends, Erin, chasing Cole and I ended up chasing (of course) Russ. At one point we were in the woods on a trail. --- Let me just stop here and say where were the chaperones and teachers?! 5th graders wet and on back trails without supervision just doesn't sound like a good idea to me! lol --- So, it was us four on a back trail in the woods and then Erin and Cole ran off. Russ and I look at each other and realize we are by ourselves with no one around us, so I guess it was kind of awkward for him. He blushes and says, "I'm getting too old for this." and then laughs and runs away. I think this was the first time that I thought he might, just maybe, like me too.... --- It is so cute to still have these memories from so long ago. And believe it or not, I'm pretty sure I still have the shirt that I was wearing on that day. I also have a t-shirt that the whole class signed, which has Russ' signature on the back. I was so proud that I got his signature. :) ---
In the sixth grade, my crush for Russ had gotten pretty bad! I thought my heart might burst I liked him so much! The sixth grade was a big deal because we got lockers for the first time and switched classes. They split our lockers up by classes. Russ and I weren't in the same class, but "coincidently" my locker came to the end of my class where Russ' class of lockers started. Another boy in Russ' class had the locker beside mine, and Russ pretty much stole his locker from him. I was beyond excited that our lockers would be beside each other for the entire school year.
I started a diary in January of 2001 when I was still in the sixth grade after my Aunt Jan had gotten me a diary for Christmas. I am so proud of this diary because it has the start of mine and Russ' relationship captured in it. I know we were little and young, but it is so neat to see how I felt all those years ago. My first entry actually mentions Russ! It says that I had forgotten my English book and Russ let me borrow his. I'm pretty sure I was still clueless that he liked me. Duh, Christy!
So, on Thursday, January 18th, 2001, I found out that Russ liked me just as much as I liked him. We were standing at our lockers when he asked if I was going to the dance. I told him I couldn't, but would like to. Then one of his friends asked if I would go with him. This is when it hit me that the boy I had the biggest crush on since the 5th grade actually liked me back! Cue the fireworks!
There is so much more I could tell of the two years we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Wonderful memories! Some of my favorites:
- Russ spending his lunch money to buy me moose tracks ice cream at lunch.
- 6th grade Valentine's Day getting the big balloon with the stuffed animal in it and 7th grade Valentine's Day when Russ gave me a gigantic bear that my best friend Ashley thought was so funny!
- Russ coming to sit beside me at a basketball game right after we starting going out even though my parents were there.
- My mom forcing me to call him to tell him I couldn't go to a dance he thought I was going to.
- Missing him like crazy over Christmas break, because we never called each other. We were so weird! lol
- Holding hands until they were nice and sweaty.
- Thinking we were hot stuff cause Russ would put his arm around me at the football games when we were in the 7th grade.
- Not knowing what to do with our feet at the dance, so mine were far out and Russ' were in between mine.
- Winning prince and princess at the Winter Catillion.
|My best friend Ashley and her date Tyler with Russ and me at the 7th grade Winter Catillion.|
Russ and I broke up during the seventh grade and went our separate ways. I had a couple of long relationships and Russ dated around. We went onto high school, but didn't really hang out with the same group of friends anymore. Russ had changed a lot since middle school and at that time I would have never thought we would have ended up back together, but fate had other plans.
Our Sophomore year, we were in Spanish class when the teacher assigned us to seats right next to each other, literally. The desks were formed in a "U" shape, so there was no room in between us. We both muttered words under our lips and dreaded facing the awkwardness that was about to come. However, it didn't come. We hit it off immediately (again) and became the best of friends! He made me laugh like no one ever had and I learned that you can't judge a book by its cover.
However, there was a problem. I was in another relationship. I hadn't really been happy, but could never get up the nerve to end it. Russ and I continued our friendship, but I knew that my feelings were quickly turning into much more. We had so much in common to the point that every time we said something the other would have the same exact interests or the same exact feelings. We started saying all the time after we would find out we had another similarity that, "We have a lot in common!" We said that phrase so much it started to get creepy. My family even noticed the difference in my mood after Russ and I became friends. We made each other so happy. When I did become single, I tried really hard to maintain just a friendship status between the two of us. Try as I may, it just didn't last. Russ was my best friend, the guy of my dreams, my soul mate. He made me feel beautiful, confident, loved, adored, and all of the other wonderful feelings you get when you find the "one." We started dating on June 14th, 2005. I remember me telling Russ on the phone that day that I was trying to wait, but didn't want to, and he said he was just waiting on me, and he didn't want to wait either. We were exclaimed, "Why are we waiting if we both want to be together?!"
|I couldn't believe such a good lookin' guy loved me! This was right after we first started dating when we were only 16 years old.|
We had so much fun dating through high school. Russ knew how to "court" me. He bought me flowers and balloons. He took me out every weekend to fancy restaurants and movies. We went to the lake with his family and he came over to my house every week. It was just the best and we were head over heels in love with one another!
|This was on our 3 month anniversary. Russ surprised me and took me out to the Riverboat in Chattanooga (about an hour away). He told my mom, but I had no idea. It was perfect!|
|Before one of our dates. We were so happy!|
|We even accidently dressed alike some days! Oops!|
|We celebrated many birthdays together. This is on my 17th birthday.|
Homecoming Court our Junior and Senior Year.
|High school graduation|
So many cherished memories and I am so happy Russ and I were together through it all. We never fought and it was the best of days. But as all relationships do, we hit a rough patch. I still loved Russ with all of my heart, but we were both growing up and changing. I think Russ needed to make sure that I was "the one." Looking back, it was good for the both of us, but it was such an extremely difficult time for me. A time when I had to call upon God to help me though the few months we were separated. Not only was I dealing with our break-up, but also my brother was going through a tough divorce. I was fresh out of high school with, what felt like, no friends. My closest friend had gotten married and moved to half-way across the world to Hawaii. And all the people I thought were my "friends" were now spreading gossip about Russ and myself. I became depressed and even started losing weight. I joke now that although I had a six pack then I would never trade it for the love-handles I have now.
But good always comes out of a bad situation. Although I had been saved when I was 9 years old, I had never found that close relationship with God. Satan was battling me and I was definitely at my breaking point. (I actually later found in my diary where I had written that I wanted to be closer to God. Be careful what you wish for because that is exactly what happened. It just didn't happen in the way I wanted it to). So, after high school graduation, from around the end of August to December, Russ and I tried to remain only friends. We still saw each other and would text. I tried to be friends like he wanted, but it was hard with all of the rumors going around. I didn't know who to trust! But every time I was with Russ it felt like home to me. Finally, in December, I was walking through the house when I heard the part in a Christmas song that says, "Fall on your knees. Oh and hear the angel's voices." That is exactly what I did. I fell on my knees and gave my life to God. I gave him all of my worries and concerns. I got the answer I needed, although, I didn't understand it. It was as if He had spoken the words, "Wait on him." I have never in all my life ever heard God as clearly as I did at that time. I messaged Russ and told him that I still had feelings for him and couldn't make them go away. However, Russ would clearly tell me every time that he was not coming back. I did one of the hardest things I have ever done and told Russ we could no longer be friends. I had a really difficult time not contacting him, but I knew I had to move on.
Right before Christmas, many things happened that day that reminded me of Russ. Our song came on and there was an episode on TV that made me miss him. Many more crazy things happened that day that reminded me of us and I was thinking, "Why God?" That night I got a message from Russ out of the blue that asked if we could go on a date. He said he wasn't committing to anything, but had missed me and wanted to see how things went. My head was screaming, "NO!!! NEVER AGAIN!" but I knew that God's desire was to give Russ a second chance.
|On our date night, I fixed up and wore a fancy dress and curled my hair.|
Despite everything that had happened, it was actually a wonderful date! We both had grown so much in those few months. We both learned who our true friends were, Russ realized he couldn't live without me, and I got an amazing foundation of faith with my Lord and Savior. I am now so thankful for those dark days and am so happy God used such bad for the greater of good.
Russ has been the best friend and partner ever since. We continued dating through college and had many study dates. Russ had turned into the guy who wanted straight A's and was trying to graduate with three majors. (Totally different from when we were in high school). And I was going through an intense nursing program that took up every bit of my time just to pass.
One day in October, after thinking I had failed a nursing exam, I became very upset. I was crying and heartbroken that I had studied my butt off for weeks and had still not gotten the good grade I had hoped for. Russ and I had planned to look at the leaves in the mountains, since it was Fall, but I was so sad that I didn't want to go out. He finally talked me into going to one of our favorite restaurants in Chattanooga, "The Blue Plate." We went and after we ate, walked out in front of the restaurant, which is in front of a river. It was a gorgeous night. We kept walking and I could tell Russ was acting funny. Right before we reached the car I looked back and Russ was on one knee. I was so shocked that before thinking I said, "What are you doing?! Get up!" But then he popped the question and opened the box to the most beautiful ring. I quickly forgot about where we were and what the day was, and couldn't believe he was putting the ring on my hand. It made my really bad day into one of the best days of my life. I can still remember how the ring sparkled in the night with the water sparkling in the background as well. I later found out that the spot he wanted to propose at by the water had been occupied by a sleeping homeless man and he just didn't want to wait any longer. Bless!
|At my house after we got engaged. Russ had asked my dad, but my dad hadn't told my mom, so she was surprised!|
Our engagement pictures that my best friend, Erin, offered to do for us. Wow, did they turn out great! And now guess who has their own photography business! (www.erinjessicaphotography.com)
|I love this one! We had them made in the mountains after it snowed.|
|My Pinning Ceremony for Graduation|
We were engaged on October 23, 2009. I graduated from the nursing program in May of 2010 and quickly got a job at a local hospital (praise!). Then on October 2, 2010 Russ and I tied the knot! It was the most beautiful day ever! I couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding!
|Right after seeing each other for the first time.|
|Husband and Wife 10-02-2010|
|Look at my sweet Mamaw in the pink. Love!|
|7th grade dance, junior and senior proms, and our wedding|
So as you can see we have come a loooong way! We continue to work hard at our relationship everyday. Marriage has taken so much more work than we thought it would, but with God's help, we have gotten so much more out of it than we deserve. We are best friends, soul mates, and are still totally smitten with one another.
Thank you for reading our story! If you've read this far then that means the world to me! I hope you are blessed by this blog and I can capture our memorable moments.
LOTS OF LOVE,