Monday, July 29, 2013

The Story of Joel and I

It all started when my mom decided to join a co-op a half hour away for my senior year of high school. When I first heard about it, I wasn't all that excited. I'm not sure why I wasn't excited, since I really do love school, but I wasn't sure what to expect and the thought of having to meet a bunch of other homeschoolers who were probably super academic and driven genius-nerds didn't appeal. The first day of co-op came, and I reluctantly threw on a random outfit, grabbed my backpack and rode with my family 1/2 hour away to a Methodist church I had never seen before in my life.
Our first "official" date. :) Look at the beautiful flowers he brought me!

I remember walking up to the church so clearly that first time, and entering the crowded gym. Little did I know, the people who stood around me with the same dread and nervous expressions on their faces would soon become some of the most special people I knew.

Then, he entered.

I'm sure time has altered my memory, because I remember the angels singing and a blast of glittering light shining through the gymnasium doorway as he walked in that first time.

Just kidding. ;) But I do remember suddenly feeling a little self-conscious about my thrown together outfit as I saw *him* and his best friend (who is now one of my best friends) walk through the door. They were both about 6'2"-6'3" tall, both dark and absolutely drop dead charming. They weren't in my first two classes, so after I went through my morning classes of Latin and writing I had nearly given up hope of ever even meeting the two. But after lunch, I finally got into American History class, and there they were in the room sitting at the table looking absolutely adorable. Now, usually I'm a pretty shy person, but I was zapped with a moment of confidence, and I said, "So, are you guys excited for co-op?". Instantly a lively conversation started, and it didn't stop till the end of that co-op day... year... actually, it's still going. ;)

At a dance last fall with friends.

As often happens in high school, our class of 6 formed its mini groups (and by mini groups I mean groups of two). At first I was really scared of Joel, but Josh (his best friend) was extremely easy to talk to and extremely chatty, which is great for me because I'm not unless I'm super comfortable. So Josh and I became inseparable buddies, and Joel and my sister Hannah became groupies/friends.

As the year went on, Josh and I got closer and closer. We would hang out at the park together, went out to eat, and just generally talked all. the. time. He was cast to play my fiance in the play we decided to do at the end of the year, I was assigned to debate him in our first debate... everything was a competition between us. Joel and I, however, didn't really talk that much. Like I said, I was a little scared of him. He was (actually, is) extremely popular, extremely attractive... and he seemed pretty satisfied with my sister.
June 2013

However, as often happens, God slipped a little something in the timeline of things to quietly shake it all up. Our teacher assigned a second debate in February, and informed us it would be a team debate. Josh and Jack against Joel and I. Joel and I decided we were going to meet at Panera Bread to discuss our research the week before the debate. We gave ourselves two hours before play practice at Josh's house for our meeting. I was so nervous, which was funny because I didn't *like* him. I remember he came into the restaurant and he looked so handsome, wearing a black jacket and some dark jeans. We ordered our food and sat down at a table by a window. We chatted for a few minutes and then pulled out our binders of research and started to discuss them. Our debate topic was on women in combat, and I remember being impressed with his views on men's roles and protecting women. We ended up talking for hours about everything, and only stopped when we realized we were an hour and a half late for play practice! Needless to say, Josh was not happy. But that day, I saw a different side of Joel. He wasn't just the popular tough guy, he was a very sweet person who had a beautiful heart.



We won the debate, and I owe a big part of that to Joel's encouragement during the debate even when I was failing and almost panicked and gave up, and his great planning during the preperation process. I was pretty impressed by him after that, and it only grew. We still didn't talk as much as I talked to Josh, but it had brought us closer.

Spring Formal - The whole group
Josh and I were still close however, and most people started to think we were dating. Despite our insistence that we were just friends, we became the couple of co-op. It didn't help matters that my sister and Joel made a pact to sit together at Spring Formal, and that left Josh and I to basically go together. It was a great night, but it didn't feel *quite* right. As much as I loved Josh as a friend, I wasn't sure how I felt about the fact that everyone thought we were together. I didn't really try to do much about it though because I was sure Joel didn't like me. So why did it matter?

Joel and I at the end of Spring Formal

Then came prom. I invited my entire class to prom, but Joel said he couldn't come. I was pretty disappointed (Ok, really disappointed.), but the day of prom he surprised me. To quote my own blog on the topic ;)

Prom!
"I invited Joel awhile back, but he said he couldn't come. Of course, I was disappointed, and as the day got nearer, I kept saying, "Joel, I wish you could come!" So the day of prom, I come downstairs into my living-room all ready to go... Josh, Heather, Adam, my sister Hannah, Ruth, Allyson are all in there and we're about to take pictures and leave... when all of the sudden, out of my dining-room walks Joel all dressed up for prom. I pretty much just hyperventilated. lol He ended up having to drive my van for me because I was way to wound up to do it! lol Needless to say, that was an awesome moment. :) And I was so glad he came because prom would have not been nearly half as awesome if he wouldn't have. ;)"

My feelings for him grew stronger, but at the same time so did the rumors about Josh and I, and I got really confused. If everyone thought Josh and I should be together, maybe they were right? But the more I knew Joel, the more I felt like he was the type of young man I was looking for. Even in the small things I saw a heart that genuinely loved people. I saw someone who respected and admired his family and others. I saw someone who had goals and plans for the future. I saw someone who was excited about life and adventure.

At a dance where we dressed up 1950's. 
As the school year came to an end though, it became "obvious" to me that Joel wasn't really interested in me. One of my friends asked me if I liked him, but I told her no, just because I really felt there was no reason to say anything else.

As we did our play and mock trial, we saw each other two or three times a week, so we really got to know each other through those experiences. However, I was afraid I was about to lose Joel forever as soon as school was over, so I asked him if he wanted to get lunch at panera bread again sometime. We scheduled it for the week after the play.


Random detail to throw in here: Joel started the year as a junior in high school, and I was a senior. (he's about 11 months younger than me.) But as the year went on, his mom decided he had completed the requirements for school, and decided to graduate him a year early. So he graduated the same year as me, and we were able to share our graduation ceremony along with the rest of my class from co-op. (I'm super ashamed, btw, because I just realized I never posted about my graduation. Well, it was amazing. Maybe that will be my next post!)

The Play - Joel and I danced the final dance together. (We are the couple on the left)


About a week before the play we were at Josh's house rehearsing the final dance scene. After a few hours we flopped down on the grass, exhausted, and started talking about stuff. Josh had to run inside for a minute, leaving Joel and I outside alone. I don't remember what was said that made me say this, but I mentioned something about how I thought Joel preferred Hannah. The look he gave me when I said that was one I'll never forget. Later that night he sent me this message on facebook,

 "...the spring formal thing. I was going to see if you wanted to do what Hannah and I did but instead of Hannah it would have been you and I. But before I was about to ask you I remembered you saying something at are lunch meet about debate and how you liked Josh when you first saw him. That stuck in my head for awhile and when I was gonna see if you wanted to do the plan it was just banging in my head. So as I was gonna ask you, Hannah said something about the formal and I thought you would want to go with him so I just thought I would try Hannah first because she said something [about it]. I for awhile thought about it but then thought I was too late. Then regretted not saying something after seeing you... So I do like hanging with Hannah a lot but I would like to hang with you more..."
After graduation, the play, all of that, we went out to lunch at Panera, then went to a gorgeous, beautiful metropark where we literally spent the day walking through forests and fields and just talking. talking. talking. It was a perfect day out, and we learned so much about each other. To this day, we say it is one of our favorite memories ever. At the end, Joel drove me back to Panera, where my car was parked, in his old blue pick up truck. It should have only taken us 10 minutes to get there, but Joel took a route that took 45 minutes! On purpose! That sneaky guy... ;) Along the way, he stopped and hopped out of his truck to pick me wildflowers. I was charmed to say the least. ;) Right before I got in my car, Joel said, "There's something I wanted you to ask me all day, but you never did. So I'll just tell you, Allison I like you." I was, well, not shocked exactly... there had been some signs that had made me think it was possible... maybe... but when he said it I was still a little surprised.

It turns out he had liked me the whole year. It's so funny to hear all these stories from his perspective because we were both so clueless! We both thought we each had no interest in each other 

The Best Day Ever!
For the next two months we had to overcome some issues that came up, and I was faced with some difficult decisions and choices, including the whole "everyone thinks Josh and I are dating" thing.I felt a little confused at first if I should date Joel or not, but I talked to my mom about it a lot, and prayed a lot. I realized I really admired him. We both liked how we had known each other in a non-romantic way for a while. But most of all, I realized we wanted to go the same places in life, and I couldn't imagine letting him go.

He was supposed to wait until he was 18 to date, so only our families knew about our relationship until his 18th birthday at the beginning of July. During that time leading up to his birthday, I received what I believe to be even more confirmation that he was the right choice, and I continually grow more and more sure. He balances me out in ways that I need. Where I am weak, he is strong. When I worry, he tells me not to and that it will be ok. I love to spend money and shop, and he loves to save it! lol I tend to be judgmental, while he is more open and caring.

Just being silly... :)
I'm really proud of him. I've seen him grow from the time I met him until now, and I love how he loves his family and God. It's contagious! He's a country boy from his beat up blue pick up with country music playing on the radio and it's roaring engine to his beautiful farmhouse out in the country. I love his family so much and can't wait to get to know his parents, 9 siblings, three siblings-in-law, three nieces and one nephew (on the way) better! ;)

He is super sweet, gentlemanly, and thoughtful. He loves nature and adventure, and he wants to travel all over the United States!

Someday, he hopes to be a firefighter, and he is working toward it. I'm always so proud to tell people that! I love how he has such a heart to help people. He says one of the main reason he wants to be a firefighter is because he wants to give people a second chance at life-- to rescue them from fires-- so they can live and hopefully come to know Jesus! I think that's awesome. :) In a few months he will be going away to a boot-camp-type firefighter training a couple of hours away. He will have to be gone for 8 weeks, which will be hard, but I'm glad he is pursuing his dreams!

So that's the general story. Amazingly, it actually could be longer, but I think this is already long enough. lol But, basically, that's how I met my blessing, Joel, and I love him. :) I'm hoping and praying our relationship will be a strong one that blesses us and others.

"I don't want easy, I want crazy. You with me, baby? Let's be crazy!" - Hunter Hayes




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3 comments:

  1. Awww!! That is so sweet! It really is amazing how you both liked each other but didn't know it for such a long time. :) I really loved reading your story! Thank you so much for sharing! :)

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  2. Awwwwwww I'm sooo glad you posted about this!!!!! You two are so precious together and you guys make me smile!! :) I'm thankful that God has brought such a wonderful guy into your life!!! I love you!!! <3

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