Today's story is a love story. It all started fall semester my senior year of college, when my sweet roommate and best friend Whitney came home from a business class and told me bout this cute guy named Travis who was too short for her ( she's 6') and then said- you should like him (I'm 5' - we make the oddest best friend pair in measure of size!)! I giggled, probably facebook stalked him and didn't think about it again until spring semester when I had two classes with him. Now our university was small so everyone knew each other to some degree or had at least seen the same faces around campus. Trav was someone who I had only seen a hand full of times before the classes started. I thought he was smokin' hot but thought he was on another level than me.
During one of our classes, we ended up being in a group project. I got to know him a little better and thought he was kind. In that group project was our mutual friend Noel. Noel is a fun, outgoing matchmaker! Through the group project, the three of us somehow decided to be business partners and start a t-shirt making company to get the class of 2008 all swagged out in senior shirts. So we went through the process of having someone design them. We were stoked on them and decided to ask our friends what they thought. The general consensus was: we would never buy one! So the three of us decided we would get them just for the memory of having our first business plan fail!
(silly break during class project. trav, nate, noel, whit, me)
During this time, Trav was just a friend (who I still thought was smokin' hot). He was even dating a chick. We ended up graduating that May and I never thought I would see him again. We all headed our different ways and then one day I got an email. This email was from Trav and it was to me and Noel. Being the thoughtful man he is, Trav said- let's stay in touch by sending pictures of ourselves in our t-shirts wherever we are in the world. Me and Noel were game!
So we traveled, the three of us separately to many different countries and were faithful in taking pics- here's proof!
(t-shirts are ugly right?!?! LOL)
About a year after graduation, I was home in Vegas. I had a handful of my best girlfriends coming in town for my 22nd birthday. The day of my birthday, Trav sent me a text, that simply said- "happy birthday Joeley! Hope it's the best!" Now meanwhile, I'm with all my best girlfriends, didn't even know Trav was back in America and I get this text. My.world.was.complete! All my girlfriends knew of this crush and were getting me excited- "oh my gosh Trav texted you!" You know how girls can get! So now I'm thinking- "WOW he must wanna MARRY me?!" Haha oh ladies, the places our heads and hearts go from a simple text! I responded something completely dramatic I'm sure!
(with my girls who told me to text him back! thx ladies!)
A couple weeks go by and I can't shake Trav- still thinking about him. May 15 2009, I was sitting at the kitchen table at my parents with my dad and guy best bud Joey. I start telling them about this guy named Travis who I couldn't stop thinking bout. My dad and Joey said, "Well why don't you tell him? Email him. You have nothing to lose. You never have to see him at church or bump into him at the grocery store. He lives in Phoenix, you're in Vegas!" They really got me pumped up. Then Joey said, "If a girl emailed me that, I would love it!" Okay you two! I will! So literally, emailed him, opened up talking about the weather then BAM!!!! I wrote- "I didn't email you to talk about the weather... I have a confession. I have had a crush on you since Senior Seminar." I wrote more about how I never want to live with regrets and well, why not?!
And then, I waited...
And waited some more....
(patience is a virtue right?!)
"Dad, check my email..." (nothing!)
7 freakin' days go by! (seemed like a year!)
Noel was on the inside scoop and another mutual friend of ours was visiting Trav in Phoenix when he received the email. So Noel was sly-fully trying to ask Philip if Trav had read the email.... Philip is a good friend and didn't let a word slip!
Then finally! ... "You've got mail!"
I opened it... slowly, carefully. He started it off shocked. LOL He wrote about how he was humbled + flattered and had always been interested in getting to know me better but (the big BUT) he needed to let me know that he was pursuing another girl. My heart dropped. The craziest part was that I never felt rejected. God was protecting my heart! I felt like Trav, even as a friend, cared for my heart, had integrity, and character. I read it, processed, prayed and let it go. I shared that with a couple friends and didn't talk much about it. I never wrote him back. I didn't have anything to say.
That summer, we both did some more traveling, so we continued to email pictures between the three of us. It never felt weird to maintain a friendship. I really felt God humble me in this time. I couldn't understand His ways or timing but I never stopped trusting. I knew that God had my best, and I held tight to His promises of bringing me a man that I had always prayed for (yes ladies, I prayed for my husband since I was 12!).
Some time goes by (May- late September) and I'm having a blast living the single lady life (honesty + rawness right?!). I was dating a couple guys, getting dinners paid for, movie nights out, etc. Then I get a text from Trav saying he needed to talk to me. He was getting ready to go to Africa and wanted to chat about orphans (since he knew that was my heart). I didn't hesitate in chatting about orphans so I said, "yes- let's chat!" We played phone tag for a while and then finally, as I'm boarding a plane for Asia, we talk. I asked if we could Skype when I landed in Singapore for a layover. We did. For an hour. And boy oh boy was it fun! We laughed and had some serious heart to hearts. It was so good! I thought- what a fun friend I have in Travis!
That trip in Asia was amazing. We were in India, Indonesia, and Singapore. During a conference session, our pastor had told us all to come to the altar and pray with our families, and if we were single, to pray about our future spouses. I was praying and the Lord told me, "I am preparing you to be a bride." And I was stoked! "Thanks Lord! I love being the Bride of Christ!" He was thinking another bride but I had no clue what was coming!
When we landed from that trip at the end of September, me and Trav had been in more contact. He was getting ready for Africa, I had just come back from that missions trip. I was sharing different things God did in and through our team during that time and then another BAM! He said, "Hey, I found round-trip tickets to Vegas for like $40! Can I come visit you in January (Southwest has those deals sometimes- don't ever hesitate to hop a plane somewhere!)?!" I automatically think- "He is bringing that girl he is pursuing out here and they are going to go to the Little White Wedding Chapel and I'm going to be the Maid of Honor..." But I said, "Yes, come out!"
We continue chatting before he heads out to Africa. While he is gone is Africa, God told me to get rid of distractions. I kindly told some guys that it just wasn't going to work and broke it off with all of them (when I say all, I mean like 4- not 20 or anything!). Everyday Trav was gone, I covered him in prayer. I never prayed for dudes the way I prayed for Trav. (Meanwhile, we were planning a family trip out to Arizona to visit my grandparents for Thanksgiving.)
Trav lands and texts me straight off the plane: "Hey Joeley! Just landed in the good U S of A. How are you?!!" I was hanging with my mom, sister and girlfriend Christa and couldn't believe he texted me straight off the plane (in my mind, he was still pursuing that other girl!). We texted for a while and he even asked if there was any dudes he had to be in competition with and I let him know there wasn't. I asked about the girl, and he told me that she is no longer in the picture. Then, he let me know he was going to be in Michigan for a little and was headed back to Phoenix the same time we would be there for Thanksgiving! He initiated a hang sesh and I was so down for that!
He picked me up at my grandparent's house in Goodyear, AZ. We strolled through a park, had a 3 hour walk and chat with a Starbucks in hand. We had a blast! Then the next night, he took me and my sister out. We went and had hot chocolate and laughed, chatted and my sister grilled him with a ton of questions (thanks smash :) ). I was prayerful this whole time. I didn't want to invest my heart into a relationship that was not of God. I knew the next guy I seriously dated would be my husband so there was no messing around for me!
We got to know each other better, through Skype dates (we sometimes dressed up and had dinner or dessert together via Skype) and a lot of phone calls. He invited me to Tamale Day in December, a couple weeks after I was out there for Thanksgiving. His family has gotten together to do this tradition for decades. I decided why not risk it and go out there and meet everyone?! At this point, we weren't even officially dating or anything! During the drive from Vegas to Phoenix, I almost turned around about 3 times, thinking- What the heck am I doing?!
I went to Tamale Day. Fell in love with his family. Went on a date to Zoo Lights where he told me he wanted to pursue me. (I thought he already was?!?! LOL). We started "courting" and the weekend after that, he came to Vegas where he met my crazy beautiful family and fell in love with them.
(at Beatles Love in Vegas that weekend)
We started driving or flying or meeting in the middle of Phoenix and Vegas often. It was then January, the weekend we had originally bought his plane ticket for and he flew out with our best of friends Fallon + Philip. The four of us had a memorable, wonderful weekend!
After that weekend, we were together after Fallon + Philip had left and he asked me to be his girlfriend (finallllly!)!
There were months of long distance, where my heart would hurt every time we had to leave each other. God had His timing in this too. After 7 hard, long months, I was finally able to move to Phoenix to be with my love and know what it meant to do daily life together. What a treasure!
Through this love story, there were definitely times of feeling inadequate, working through baggage, learning what it meant to love selflessly, and learning to trust God. If anything, I wanted this story to shed some light on something... God has His way of working things out. If they don't look like what you thought they would, don't worry, He always has our best. Trust Him always.
Hope you enjoyed the first part of our love story! Stay tuned until next Story Time Sunday!