Hi! This is Rob. I’m taking a break from blogging this week to give you the pleasure of reading our love story from JoAnna’s perspective. At the end of the blog, you’ll see the picture I framed and gave her when I proposed, and there might just be a wedding date announcement right below it. Enjoy! My soon-to-be other half has a knack for storytelling.
Okay, so ever since Rob posted his beautifully written blog about how we met, I’ve received numerous requests for my version of the story. While I may not possess the same wonderful writing skills as my very talented fiancé, I will do my best to put into words the anticipation, nervousness, and excitement that led up to our first date.
My story also begins with Sean, my persistent brother.
“Jo, I seriously met your future husband” were the first words out of Sean’s mouth when I answered my cell phone. My brother was in the middle of his week as a counselor at Quaker Haven Camp, and he went on to explain that he had met Rob, the camp’s worship leader. “Okay, Sean…” I dismissively replied. “Jo, you guys would seriously be the most beautiful couple! And he has the coolest voice ever.” After making Rob’s voice sound like an individual who possessed some major speech delays, my interest hadn’t exactly peaked. However, Sean continued to explain Rob’s musical talents, athletic ability, and genuine love for the Lord. Although I was openly resistant to the idea – after all, I was sort of seeing someone else at the time – there was something inside of me that drew me to wonder more and more about this… “future husband.”
You’ve got to understand, my brother doesn’t usually do stuff like this. He’s always been persistent, but mostly about discouraging me from dating anybody. I could usually tell when he disliked a boyfriend from his expressions, his words, and one time his baseball bat even served as a clear indication. All this to say, he does not go out of his way to play matchmaker, so you can imagine why romantic possibilities immediately began running through my head.
I continued to dodge Sean’s dating service by digging up all of the reasons why this relationship would be impractical and nearly impossible. But he continued to provide evidence that we would be a good match. “HE WENT ON A BIKE TRIP ACROSS AMERICA!!!” The words seemed to burst out of his mouth with the same enthusiasm as that of a 5 year old kid who just sat on Santa’s lap. I paused for a minute with complete awe, and then, a lot more consideration. Biking across America has been a dream of mine for a long time and upon graduating in another semester, I was beginning to seriously consider when I could transform the dream into reality. “Jo, you gotta to talk with him,” Sean said persuasively. “You guys can Skype and me and Tyler (Sean’s friend) will do it with you guys so it’s not awkward.” Sean obviously had a skewed idea of what would constitute as “awkward.” While this conversation ended without a plan of action, Sean’s persistence remained throughout the week, both on my end and on Rob’s.
One evening, while I was babysitting, Sean called again. “Hey Jo! You wanna talk to Rob?” Sean eagerly and loudly announced. “Hmm… did he just hear you say that?” I replied, with little desire to chat. “Maaaybe…” Sean responded with a tone that implied Rob was waiting right beside him. “Well suuure…” I hesitantly agreed, not wanting to openly shut Rob down. The first thing I noticed was the sound of his voice. Sean’s earlier imitation didn’t exactly do it justice, but I could see what he meant. I talked with Rob for just a couple minutes about his bike trip across America, a topic that easily generated thoughtful questions from me and inspiring responses from him. After hanging up the phone, I quickly noticed that I had a big cheesy grin stretching completely across my face. I could have been mistaken for a less scary and saner version of “the joker” (without the clown makeup or the green hair.) I entertained the thought of Rob and me for a little while, but tried to focus on the reality, which was that it was probably… just a good thought.
Sean made it home from camp just in time for our family’s annual reunion. Still hyped up that he had found my future husband, he approached me with a hug and a poster. This poster had a large picture of a tall, dark, and handsome man located just above a signature. So this was the man I was going to marry… Not bad… That’s pretty much the most I thought about it that night. In fact, the rain and muckiness of the day mixed with my carelessness pretty much destroyed the poster, and I threw it away just before I left for home. Let me defend myself for a moment before you think that my heart is all dried up and cold. I thought the poster was something Sean had gotten for free, and the busyness of the day probably distracted me from thinking much about it at all. Either way, I did not maliciously intend to destroy Rob’s poster. I didn’t do much stop it though. The incident didn’t put an end to Sean’s continuous matchmaking tricks. In fact, my sister Madeline even got in on it. On a four hour long trip to and from Columbus, Ohio, they blared Rob’s CD The Best is yet to come the whole way. Madeline and Sean knew every tune by heart and passionately sang each love song, inserting my name where they thought necessary. I must admit, by the end of the trip I was humming right along.
After a few days, I received a friend request on facebook along with a short message from Rob. I decided to participate in some tasteful online creeping, like any other person in my position would do. After stalking through a few of his pictures, I was a little confused. Most of these pictures didn’t look like the serious guy from the poster. He was just as handsome, but he was smiling and looked like he was a ton of fun, and maybe even a little goofy (this was a much better depiction). I wasn’t exactly sure how he would turn out in person, but I increasingly became more curious as I let my imagination get the best of me. My wandering daydreams about this new man gives you a pretty clear indication as to how interested I really was in the guy I was seeing.
The message Rob sent implied that Sean had talked me up quite a bit. I wondered for a minute what Sean would have said about me. Did he tell him that I resembled a lama? That I was abusive when I laugh (yes, often I’m that obnoxious person who unintentionally throws a few love taps when something’s funny)? Or maybe Sean said that I would never be as good as him in any sport no matter how much I tried. Yes, these were some of the playful, loving jabs that Sean has usually thrown my way, so I was interested in discovering exactly what Rob had heard from him. I replied to his message and so began our lengthy facebook conversations. We wrote back and forth more than Will Smith’s daughter whips her hair. Naturally I over-analyzed each message both ways and felt it necessary to call my sister, Madeline, to run everything by her as well as share it with her in my excitement. Obviously by this point my interest in the guy I had been seeing completely dwindled. It was about the third message in when Rob asked if he could take me on a date and finally toward the end of our facebook relationship, he asked for my phone number. I accepted and we exchanged digits with the agreement that because of my busy schedule- working two jobs and taking two summer classes- we would have to wait until August to meet.
The first time Rob called me, we talked for about 4 hours. Each phone call after that usually lasted at least that long. With each conversation, the anticipation grew to meet him. In fact, there’s no way I was going to wait for August to meet this guy. So on July 15, 2011 we met at my sister Madeline’s house in Wabash, Indiana. My mom, sister, brother-in-law, and I waited anxiously, staring out the window for his arrival. When he finally pulled in, I went out to greet the guy who had consumed my thoughts for the past month or so. Only… he took forever to get out of his car. I contemplated walking back in the house and pretending that I had just walked out. “No, that would be stupid,” I whispered quietly to myself. “But would it be more or less dumb than me standing here totally silent forever?… Okay, say something,” I thought. Then I thought. Then I thought about thinking. “uhh… Can I help you with something?” I finally spit out. Walking toward me with a giant grin and flowers was the handsome, loving, God-fearing man that just a few months later would ask me to be his wife.
I cannot explain how thankful I am for Rob. On July 15th I went on the most playful, romantic, and spontaneous first date I could have ever imagined or planned. And I would say that that weekend was the best weekend of my life, but every weekend with him seems to trump the last. I still thank God that He orchestrated these events so perfectly and that I get to spend the rest of my life with most beautiful man in the world.
The chapel is booked! We’re getting married on March 24th, 2012!
We look forward to all of our friends & family being a part of our special day!
Merry Christmas! Click on the video below to listen to the love song that Rob wrote for me this Christmas season… It’s currently on the radio!