So, this is long. Real long. But I couldn't leave the story hanging. You don't have to read it all, but at least I finished it. =)
7. Well, let's see... Dustin had a wedding to attend in Houston, so he had a layover at DFW, just minutes from my casa! I had been sick that week (honest, Michael Stone!) and my boss had told me to go ahead and take off Friday, just in case. Friday was the day he was coming through town and I woke up feeling much better (providential?). Dustin had called and we had previously joked about me bringing lunch up there so we could at least hang out a little in person, but now that I was home, it was actually a possibility. I brought Taco Bell and well, he had forgotten his cell phone, so needless to say, it was an adventure finding him at the airport. When we met up, we had about 15 minutes before he had to board. We inhaled our food and talk, talk, talked. He gave me a book (his prof. wrote it!) and a card in which I was instructed not to open until I got home. He basically explained how he looked forward to getting to know me more....
8. Fast forward to March 8th. Dustin calls and then basically explained how even though everything had been so quick, we had talked enough to know that the non-negotiable things (things you should break up over if you disagree) we agreed on, that he'd been praying about it, seeking counsel, and he said many other things (I remember them all, and they are in my journal, but I don't want to make this more posts than it already is!), different reasons he really liked me, and asked if I would be interested in entering into a courtship with the intention and goal of marriage. We talked about how he didn't know my dad yet, but he was certainly willing to talk to him and little did I know, he wrote my dad an e-mail later that night asking for permission, counsel, blessing, etc.
9. Dustin came in town for his Spring Break and we had a blast hanging out, meeting families, getting to know each other in PERSON, not just a voice in the phone or print on a screen! I think we both had been a little nervous about this week, knowing it was our first real time to hang out in person since expressing our feelings and wondering if we would really click, if it would be awkward, etc. It was great!
10. Eventually... with many details in between, we realized that we were looking at a really LONG courtship (I'm a teacher, year-long commitment, he was in seminary) or a really short one. We analyzed it from every angle, seeking the counsel of our family, friends, elders, etc. It was a very weighty decision (to be engaged early summer, marry late summer, move to KY), but after MUCH prayer and discussion, (Dustin leading, guiding, and setting the pace of these discussions) we both wholeheartedly agreed that this was a wise decision in our situation. We knew there was much to learn about each other, having barely been in the same town, but we knew enough to know that we wanted to marry and prayed for wisdom as we stepped forward to prepare.
11. All this said, we obviously weren't OFFICIALLY engaged yet. He had plans to come to Dallas for the summer and live at Gerlt House, so I knew we'd get engaged pretty soon after he got here, but there had been no talk of a ring. When he got here, I was winding up the school year and he was a huge help. The day before the last day of school was Wednesday, May 24th. Dustin had said that while I was at work he was going to go to Lampasas (his hometown) to drop off some things with his family and take care of some things. He was being so vague, I started getting the idea he was picking up a ring! He kept saying that we were going to have a Dustin/Jamie day soon (cell phones off, no schedule, not 5th graders!) so I figured when he got the ring and came back in town, he'd propose. Plus, he was going to talk to drive to my parents' house on the way out of town to have "the talk" with my dad, asking for my hand in marriage. He was so open and honest with me about the when's and what's (it went great) of that visit, I thought there was surely no way to surprise me. Fine by me! I was just pumped about everything... we already had a date. The Lord had been so gracious. So, Dustin heads to my parents and then to Lampasas and I head to my job, ALSO joyful that I was finally at the end of the sanctifying new job I mentioned earlier. :) So, I was working away that day when he was headed out of town and he called to see how my day was going and I asked if he had a nice drive. I was working later than I anticipated. He thought I'd be home around 2:00 (early dismissal) but I worked until 5. He kept calling to see how I was doing, and encouraged me to take it easy and go home and get some rest.
12. Finally, I did head home. I had a huge stack of CUM folders to work on and my hands were full when I walked up to the door and saw a note. Nothing fancy, just a folded sheet of computer paper. I grabbed it and walked in and put my stuff down. What? There was a white rose on the counter. I knew that Dustin had access (thank you, Gerlts!) to my house (I live down the street) and I figured he left if before he went out of town. How sweet! I opened my note and it said that there was a gift for me on the counter and more in my room. So, of course, I was flipping out because that was really thoughtful. More roses from Dustin in my room. What a guy! =) I was grabbing my cell phone about to call him and say thanks, while walking to my room.
13. But... what's going on? I heard music, I saw rose petals as I came to my door that was cracked open. I saw candlelight. Surely he didn't leave candles burning when he went out of town! So, my heart's beating faster and I am starting to figure out that something is definitely up. There's Dustin! All dressed up, with more flowers and a Bible next to him.
14. I flipped out at first just for the mere fact he was there. I thought you were in Lampasas! You're here! You're here! Hugs. Laughter. Funny story about how he'd been there since 2 and the candles had definitely been burning for awhile!
15. The sweet stuff: So, Dustin says he can finally tell me his story he'd been saving all this time. Apparently when we met (see #2 in this story) he was interested and went home and prayed and asked the Lord that if he could have his choice in who he could marry, he wanted to marry me. (Wow.. humbling even to write, I'm so undeserving) He was going to seminary, however, and we were in two different states and he barely knew me enough to pursue. So, he didn't know what to do, but just brought his desire before the Lord. I didn't think I'd see him again and had NO CLUE all he was thinking from the start. He says that it one of the best days ever to see an e-mail from me in his inbox that February day. He finally was able to say how he loved me, read from Ephesians 5, got done on his knee, said some really amazing things (girls never tell that part so I guess I won't either) and proposed! Also.. I got to finally give him a card I had started for him since the airport adventure. I had been adding to it ever since, so it read like a journal. We later went to Gerlt House where Anna Kate was flipping out over my "gorgeous" (how adorable! a 3 year old who says gorgeous) ring and how she got to wear a pretty white dress at our wedding! Then, we headed to Olive Garden (my fav!) and later, back to the house, where Dustin helped with my cum folders. He came to school the next day and met my kiddos, who loved the fact that I was engaged and would become "Mrs. Butts" and they just LOVED Dustin.
16. The summer has been flying. Guest list, registering, counseling, oh my. It's been nuts, but we are learning so much and thrilled. We have recently been to DC, Kentucky, and about to go see my Nana in Gatesville and then, we hope to just "chillax" (Dustin word) a little now that the big things are in place. We can't wait to see all of you!
The rest is history (in the making)
Other things have been "confirming" but we really trace God's wise, faithful, and Sovereign hand in our lives and enjoy each other so much. Hope to see you all at the wedding! Thanks for your patience and most of all.. your prayers.