Archive for February, 2014

When Derek and I started dating many were like, “WHAT? When did this happen?”  When Derek and I got engaged many were like, “WHAT?  When did this happen?”  If you were in either of those crowds of people or just want to hear our long, eccentric, blessed story, this post is for you!


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Derek and I dating was sorta a fluke.  We knew of each other for years, but aside from few and far between talks about mission trips or working at similar camps for kids with disabilities, we didn’t maintain much of a relationship.  But apparently I decidedly caught his eye for a few weeks, and a comment I left on his wordpress theology rant sealed the deal in his mind.

As for my side, I respected Derek immensely. Ironically, I had just told Katie, a few days before his asking me out, that I didn’t understand how someone like Derek was still single….I wondered if he had some deep dark secret or something.


On a Thursday afternoon, I had a rare thought.  If I could date someone, who would it be?  Derek immediately popped into my mind.  All this was odd because 1) I don’t normally meditate on who I would like to date 2) Derek and I really hadn’t interacted too much and 3) I hadn’t really been interested in Derek before.

Annnnd that evening he asked me out.



Oh, this next part….you’re going to think we’re crazy….and we are. *ahem* BUT in the first 3-4 days we sent 800 texts.

This isn’t a norm for either of us, in our defense.  And our texts were theology, apologetics, and doctrine.  Because of my 2 years in Bible college, I’ve realized I have a whole lot more opinions on where I stand, and I was starting to doubt someone similar would ever find me.  But Derek is all that, and so much more.

The biggest and best discovery for us was that we were both mutually challenged by each other.  Being challenged is really important to me (and Derek), and to find someone willing to discuss all aspects of disagreements, communicate on the same level, explore all the sides….it was the greatest discovery ever.

By the time our date rolled around, Derek was already convinced in his mind he’d ask to date that night…..I didn’t know this.

We went to a lovely Thai place in downtown Lancaster and had a wonderful evening.  Super wonderful.  As we walked out of the restaurant Derek said, “So…what do you think of marriage?”  Not the question I was expecting right then.  He went on to explain that he didn’t take dating lightly and he was at a place in his life where he felt ready for the next step.  I agreed I was on the same page, but warned him with my job the dating process could be hard.  Because I basically work 24/7 at the ministry home with only a weekend off every other week, our relationship could feel long distance at times.  He’d have to abide by the rules my girls’ boyfriends abided by, because I wanted to set an example/model of what a healthy relationship looked like.  It would be a challenge.  It would be work.  His response? “Yeah….but I’m pretty sure you’re worth it.”

That sealed the deal.



****When I entered this job, I surrendered the possibility of dating over to God.  I don’t come in contact with many men in this line of work, and the ones that I do are far from stellar.  The beginning stage of my job was a long lonely period in life…coming back from college and no longer having those relationships, not having the time with work to build new ones, searching for a new church, being away from family, being a solo authority figure at the house….the Lord grew me incredibly through this breaking down process.

But my empty hands are overflowing with blessings.  God has blessed me with a godly man and through him an intro to a loving/quirky/grand family and a phenomenal church family and pastoral team.  I’ve been blessed with deeper relationships with the older staff I work with, who have loved on Derek and I and mentored us through the dating process. Not to mention so many other blessings.******



It’s been an adventure.

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So thankful for all the moments.



This past weekend was a blur of special bright spots.  Thursday, the man braved the snowy abandoned avenues to take me to Log Cabin for the most majestic meal I’ve experienced.  (Not to mention hugs from the owner’s wife and the chef coming out to talk to us…who says dating a blue collar worker doesn’t have perks?)


^Boots first, heels later.  (I’m thankful for a homeschool mom who snaps pictures.)


Friday night we danced our hearts out in York and were also interviewed by Culture & Main for a spotlight on the swing community.  Crammed into a tiny bathroom (the only quiet place in the studio), with one arm around Derek and listening to the questions posed by the interviewer (who was perched upon the sink), I couldn’t help but have a heart overflowing with thankfulness for all the adventures we’ve shared and how far we’ve come.


SUNDAY, Derek proposed to me in the middle of Nolde Forest.  I was pretty certain it was coming, from his concentrated looks all day (and the fact that he missed the exit because he was “thinking about me”).  We had been talking lightheartedly about things we’d love to be, to experience….to gain perspective.  As we were backtracking down the path he was quiet and focused and I asked him what he was thinking about.  He stopped abruptly and pulled me to the side of the path and stuttered out, “Well…can you…think of anything else you’d like to be?”

That conversation was half an hour ago, with NO bridge back to it, so I was all, “Uh….no….I’ll get back to you on that?”


And he asked, “Well….would you maybe want to be my wife?”


If anyone knows Derek, they know he has an advanced vocabulary.  He’s an intellectual. He’s eloquent.  But when he proposed, he just cried, so sweetly, mixed with “I love you’s” and other sweet things you don’t have to know about. 🙂  He forgot to kneel till the end, and when I said yes it dawned on him to say, “Oh! I have a ring!”


Months ago I told Derek I didn’t understand the point of engagement rings, and that all that mattered to me was the right guy asking me to be his…he could even put a twisty on my finger for all I cared.

So Derek popped open a ring box….with a twisty ring.


^The construction of the twisty ring (photo credit: Shirley Mast)

He put it on my finger and then said, “Oh…but I also have another one….if you want.”  We popped that beauty on, and floated all the way back to the car, as I tried to not shout out to every hiker we passed, “I’M ENGAGED!”


We told my family first, and my sweet mom snapped some pictures (which we’re super grateful for).




I’ve learned so much about love from this guy.  Love is learning each other, challenging each other, calling each other out on things.  Love is theology discussions and pausing in the middle to thank God for allowing us to find each other and teaching us through each other.  Love is hugs when you’re sweaty and hugs when you’re sick and singing loudly and unashamedly in the car.  Love is when he whispers unexpectedly, “You’re the most beautiful girl and I’m going to marry you.”

And as you learn to love someone more intimately you understand more deeply the way Christ loves you and desires intimacy with you.  Which is mind-blowing. And fantastic.



With delirious grins and all the feels,



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