Our Love Story for Valentine’s Day

A few days ago I entered our love story in a contest with the local paper.  While we did not win the contest we were asked if we would share our story in a front page feature.  We were so excited to be asked to do this.  We were sent a list of questions to answer and email back.  One of the questions asked about our children and we saw it as a great opportunity to share the news of our pregnancy with our friends and family in a unique way.  Well, as we all know, journalism picks and chooses what they want to say and although we felt blessed to be asked to share our story I didn’t feel like it was a true reflection of our love story or our heart for marriages.

Here is my submission:

Our love story started with a handshake at a bonfire and continues with a crazy love for each other after almost 8 years of marriage. Little did I know that my husband had a list of qualities he was looking for in a wife and was checking them off in his head the night he met me. We’ve been through the in sickness and health, for richer or poor, through good days and bad together and look forward to embarrassing our children with our love in hopes that they see how husband’s and wives should love and treat each other.

Here is the exact questions and answers we submitted:

1.) What is your husband’s name?

My husband’s name is Zac Holmes

2.) What city do you live in?

We live in Waterford

3.) What are your kids names? How old are they?

Our son Reese is 4 1/2, our daughter Emery is 2 and we are expecting in September {SURPRISE MOM’S AND DAD’S!}

4.)  What are some of the hard times you guys have gone through that you talked about?

We have been through a lot of trials in our marriage but always end up coming out of it stronger and more in love with each other.  One of our biggest heartaches was in January of 2011 when we unexpectedly miscarried our second child. No one can truly know or understand a mother or father’s heart until they experience it themselves. My husband was so helpful and supportive during this time. Even when he didn’t know what to say he gave me time to think, to cry, to snuggle, or to scream.  When I was rushed to the ER a week later with complications he sat with me in the cold, white room while we waited for results. My biggest fear was that I would never be able to have children again. Praise God that He had bigger plans for our family because we were able to get pregnant right away with our now 2 year old daughter!  Zac never left my side, he never made me feel like a failure, and he never questioned my emotions.

I’ve had plenty of times to be the one by his side too. From job changes to visits to the ER for health issues to huge financial setbacks for our family, it is important to me to let my man know and feel that he is a good man, a great supporter for our family and that it is not my job to shame him.

5.)  What do you love about your husband/wife? What kind of person is he/she?

Amy–One thing I love about my husband is how he shows our children his love for me by not letting them be disrespectful toward me.  He is a man full of never ending patience and support. He is a well of knowledge in a variety of areas and people respect him enough to ask his opinion or advice on buying electronics, purchasing a car or parental advice.  I can tell by the look in his eyes everyday that he loves me, respects me and is truly my partner in all of life’s trials.  I love when he rocks out in the car to his favorite songs but not so much when he uses my legs for his air drums!

Zac– Amy is a lover. She loves me, she loves kids, she loves people. She has an awesome sparkle in her big brown eyes. She is a joyous woman who has never met a stranger. I love how unrelenting she is when it comes to us–she loves me fiercely and is very supportive of the decisions I make for our family.  She is a fantastic combination of gentle and strong and brings the right kind of balance to our crazy life.

6.)  What would you like to teach your kids about how husbands and wives should treat each other?

And do you think this is lacking in today’s world?

Our generation is composed of a lot of hurting people who are either products of divorce or view marriage as disposable. Zac and I were married a little over a month after I turned 21. In our almost 8 years of marriage we have seen multiple divorces among our friends and age group.

The word divorce isn’t even in our vocabulary. When we decided to get married we made a life commitment to be “in it to win it”. Marriages are important to us and we strive to fight not only for our own but for others, especially those in our generation.  We believe that many couples stop fighting for their marriages, stop respecting each other, stop communicating, stop touching each other.

As a product of divorce myself it is very important to me that our children see us live out our marriage in front of them.  Zac and I dance in the kitchen often, kiss, cuddle on the couch, make dinner together, do dishes together, hold doors open for each other, pray together and even apologize. Without living this out in front of our children they will never know how husbands and wives should treat each other.

Just because it sounds fairytale-ish doesn’t mean it’s easy. Every day is a battle but it takes the recognition that it’s more important to fight for our marriage than to fight to be right.  Marriage isn’t a contest but a partnership. In our marriage we have three partners-God, Zac and Amy.  It is our goal to act this out not only in front of our children but those we encounter along our day who might need the encouragement to fight for their marriage.

*Here is a little more about our back story.

We met in the fall of 2005 when Amy has just decided to move back home from Taylor University in Indiana.  We learned along the way that we had many mutual friends over the years but never met until that one Sunday night in September at a bonfire. Amy arrived with her youth group friends, noticed people she didn’t know and decided to walk up and introduce herself.  That’s when I met her for the first time and began to know throughout the night that she was the girl I was going to marry.  A few months earlier I was talking to my pastor’s wife about how I was longing for a wife. She encouraged me to write a list of qualities I was looking for–no matter how silly some of them would seem.

Amy took my number that night and contacted me next day. We talked for hours every night that week and went on our first date that Friday night. From there, we were inseparable. She said that the night we went on our first date, she walked out of the house declaring to her family, “This is the man I am going to marry.”  As we began to talk and date God started to remind me of my list and I started checking things off in my head.

I knew very quickly that in fact she was the woman for me. I wanted to propose to her at Christmas but felt like God was telling me that it wasn’t quite the right time. I waited until Easter Sunday in April and proposed to her in front of the entire church during our Easter service.  We were married 2 1/2 months later on July 1st, 2006 with the help and support of many people we consider family and life-long friends.  We know that God brought us together for a reason and we are excited to see what all that entails.

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Dress

My story began six years ago when my handsome Prince Charming asked me to marry him.

We began dating in September of 2005.  Our first date was the night of my brother’s 15th birthday party.  I remember leaving the house for my date and telling my family, “I’m going to marry this kid.”  They all kind of chuckled at me and gave me a hard time.  But, I KNEW!  Fast forward to April of 2006 when he asked me to marry him–then July 1st, 2006 OUR WEDDING DAY!  Yep, in less than 3 months we put together a wedding, low budget and it was AMAZING!  One of the things that we never really accounted for was a wedding dress.  Sure I went to David’s Bridal and other bridal shops to try on dresses but everything just seemed way out of our price range (if we even had one…I can’t really remember).

My sweet friend, Marie who was standing up with us graciously and without hesitation offered her wedding dress to me for FREE!  What an amazing blessing for us.  We had it altered at a bridal shop and I was able to wear it that day walking down the aisle to my husband.  Marie will always hold a special place in my heart for oh so many reasons, but this reason is so special because it helped us begin this beautiful journey of marriage and creating a family.

That’s why when I heard of a young girl who was in need of money to buy a homecoming dress and ticket my heart jumped at the opportunity to be able to bless her.  You see, her mom is trying to teach her good work ethic and responsibility by offering her services for housework, babysitting, lawn mowing, etc.  When she asked me if I needed anything done my heart sank because I knew that it was a rough week for us financially and I just didn’t have any money to offer her.  {I also was thinking about how hard it is to tell a young girl, “No you can’t go to homecoming because we just can’t get you a dress.”  I imagined having to tell my daughter that someday and it hurt my heart.  As a parent, I know that I would do whatever it took to make sure she got to go to her dance.  That’s when I started thinking}.  I considered offering an old dress of mine, but as a friend of mine pointed out, we graduated almost 10 years ago–our dresses would be SO out of style!  {Yes, Brie, when did we get so OLD?}

I told her mom that I had heard of a few places where you could donate your dresses and a young girl could get one for free for such an event.  Then, a light bulb turned on in my head and I realized there is a great community of women via Facebook that I could just throw the idea out to.  I wrote a little status update while I was finishing dinner then went on to feed Emery some food before nursing her and putting her to bed.  No big deal, right?

The response was OVERWHELMING!

Moms of teenagers.

Teenagers.

Women with bridesmaid dresses.

Women who could sew.

A woman who wanted to give money if no dress was found.

My heart was jumping with joy!

I totally respect her mom and her lesson of working for what you want, but also the fact that someone wanted to BLESS this girl with a dress is amazing!!!  I am so excited for her to be blessed with a dress and also for the woman who will be providing the dress.

And Ladies, this is what life is all about.  One thing I will always remember my Pastors saying is that we are all here to “do life together”.  Whether that be inviting people into our homes, grabbing coffee and chatting or going in your closet to give away something you aren’t using.  This. Is. Doing. Life. Together.

I am so excited about this opportunity.

Thank you all for your interest in helping.  She needs the dress in a week so I’m excited to see how God is going to orchestrate this all!

Gifts and Surprises

I knew it had been a few days since we had gotten the mail, so the other night on our way out the driveway I made Zac stop so I could get it.

(getting the mail can be a very boring task most days since all it seems we receive are bills and junk mail.  every once in awhile there is something awesome in there–this is that kind of story)

 

I turned to him and said:

“I don’t think there will be any money in there today, but I’m expecting gifts and surprises when I get the mail these days.”

 

As I started leafing through a few days worth of mail I notice that Reese got an envelope.

A hand-written

from an actual person

kind of envelope.

 

We opened it up and out slipped a gift card to Dairy Queen!  Inside was a little note about how he needs to take his mommy out for an ice cream date.

 

(Do you remember a few weeks ago when I updated my status on Facebook about how Reese wanted to have a date with me at Dairy Queen but I didn’t have the funds to do so at that time?)

Well, this sweet friend of mine read that and must have been touched because she blessed us with a very sweet (literally) treat.  This is also the friend who gave me treasures from her closet after I had Emery.  She is also the friend who freely gave Reese his Leapster that he just loves to play like Daddy plays on the iPad.  This is the friend who knew my dad growing up and when she saw us all in our front yard during the Memorial Day parade came up and hugged us all.

This friend and I may not get to spend time together outside of little meet and greets here, but this friend has a special place in my heart because she’s a momma and she just knows.

She knows how it feels.

She knows how it can hurt somedays.

She just knows.

And for her…I am very grateful.

Thank you, my friend, for blessing a momma’s heart to be able to walk her little man across the driveway to Dairy Queen for a date–just the two of us.  I can’t wait to see what the conversation for that time holds!