So recently, I've been asked how I met my husband Lonnie (aka snore machine, Lonster, Lon Dawg and Daddy) It's quite a good story if you ask me, so I think I might break it up just to keep you on your toes and coming back for more....but maybe if I get going, I won't be able to stop. Here goes...bear with my grammar and bad story telling.
Coming from the booming metropolis of North Liberty, Iowa I had fluttered away from the nest and was furthering my education at Cornell College in Mt.Vernon, Iowa. It was the perfect distance from the parental units, they were just outside the dreaded, "drop in" zone, but close enough to do laundry on the weekends at. I came in pre-med (seriously, quit laughing...I wanted to be a doctor!!) but quickly found out of difficult classes were when numbers and I have a hate hate relationship. I found my feet in the education and art departments and decided on those a majors, they were a perfect fit. I was also running on the track team and was fresh off of stress fractures and a relationship with a man from Memphis. We shall not get into that, for it is in the past. Let me clarify, I was running on the WOMEN's team (you'l need this nugget of information later, trust me) and we had just gotten two new coaches. One for the women's team and one for the MEN's team. I had heard a rumor that the MEN's coach (this would be Lonnie...i'll quit with the caps now) was also involved with FCA (fellowship of Christian Athletes) which I was president of at the time. We were looking for a coach that could sponsor us and sign our checks, so I found it necessary to go introduce myself. Now this was strange behavior for me, even though you may think I'm wild and crazy, I'm pretty shy when it comes to new people. So on a whim, I marched myself down to the sports center, where Lonnie was just moving into his office, and introduced myself.
I walked into his office as he was straightening his neatly stacked pile of books and writing on his huge desk calendar, surrounded by neat and tidy pens and business cards. (if you thought that was anal, you should see his sock drawer...oh how things do change though!) He said hello and I said hello and got right down to business, telling him where we met for FCA and that we'd love to have him as our coach. I don't recall much of the conversation, but upon it ended, I marched back up to my room and declared to my roommate, "I just met the man I'm going to marry."
I'm kid you not.
I was coming off a relationship that God had clearly closed the door and I needed time to enjoy the single life and focus on school rather than finding my mrs. degree. So I was trying to be content, which was a pretty hard thing to accomplish. So Lonnie decided to be our FCA huddle coach and started coming to our leadership meetings and our FCA meetings on Wednesday night. We got to be friends and got to hang out more with each other. I was secretly smitten and tried to ignore my feelings as I imagined that difficulty it might pose considering his position. Man, he was cute and he loved the Lord and he had sexy legs...the list went on. The year went by and I worked at a camp (Kanakuk) in Branson, Missouri for the summer. I randomly got a letter from Lonnie (which he claims he doesn't remember sending, but I still have it!) and thought it was the most wonderful thing. I saved that bad boy in my bible so I could read it and decipher it for secret clues that would point to his undying love for me. Unlucky for me it was just a letter asking how my summer was going, nothing more, nothing less.
School started (I was a junior) and track season finally started and I got to see Lonnie in action...with the men's team mind you...everyday. I would find some reason to linger at the end of practices or mysteriously leave something behind, in hopes of finding some extra time to stare. I had lunch with my mom that week and she was asking me about things, life and any new love interests. I paused and got a big grin on my face and told her about my silly crush on the track coach. She laughed and later admitted that she knew the whole time. Mom's know these things apparently.
Winter break was approaching and Lonnie invited me and some high school kids up to help paint a house in Cedar Rapids that was used as a shelter for battered and abused women. I jumped at the chance to spend some time with him. We had good conversations and started emailing each other funny cartoons and innocent running jokes. Our friendship was growing along with my enormous crush. I continued to pray for God's guidance and tried to remain content with being single. I didn't anticipate the battle that I was fighting with myself and God. I quickly learned that he has everything under control.
We had our weekly FCA leadership meeting and were sharing our prayer requests for the week. It got to Lonnie and he began to share about a, "problem that is beginning to snowball." Now, being a female and also being one who quickly jumps to conclusions, my mind went racing.
" Oh my goodness! I know what his snowballing problem is!!!!....it's me....I'm coming on too strong...he knows I have a crush on him...ahhhhh" So I began to internally freak out and tried to figure out how I was going to solve this situation. I decided that it was best if I apologized, I had clearly overstepped by boundaries and was making this poor man uncomfortable. I headed down to practice, it was the most agonizing practice ever, and then hit the showers to think about what words I was going to utter. I am very good at writing what's going on in my head, but unfortunately nothing ever comes out the way I intend. I shuffled into his office, where he sat at his perfectly manicured desk.
"what's up?" he asked
"oh, nothing....." I replied staring straight down at the floor, which was obviously a dead giveaway. The door was open, so I gently nudged it close. My heart was pounding and I wanted to cry.
"I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry," I said.
"Sorry? For what?" He clearly looked confused. I had clearly gotten myself in a bit of a predicament.
"Uh, uh uh...ummmm," I pulled the hood of my sweatshirt over my head as the tears began to well up in my eyes.
"I'm sorry for sending you the wrong message."
He just looked at me and then he smiled. The dude smiled. I wanted to hit him. Why in God's name was he smiling! This was hard for me and he was freakin smiling!!!
"Oh really" He said (oh yea, still smiling) Obviously, I WAS NOT THE SNOWBALLING PROBLEM. " What kind of message would that be?"
He has to be kidding!!!! Now, I am all for the man making the first move, but it just happened this way okay, don't judge.
"Well, I really enjoy our friendship but I sort of see you as more than a friend...." There, I said it. His smile got even bigger and he just stared at me. I wanted to run and hide or vomit in his trash can. The silence was killing me as I waited for his answer telling me how inappropriate I was and how this could never happen and how awkward I made it for him...blah blah barf. He was still smiling.
"Well, I have the same feelings for you, I obviously couldn't say anything."
At that moment, I think a chorus of angels began to sing and a light shown down from heaven. I couldn't believe the words that were just uttered out of this smiling fools mouth. He what? He likes me? Huh? Where am I? The rest of the conversation was a blur. We were slightly puzzled as to what to do next seeing as it was a pretty interesting situation. We decided to pray about it.
It turns out that he had been interviewing for a job at the school he went to and wasn't sure if he was going to get it or not....that, by the way, was the problem. So we waited for about a week, until he found out if he got the job (which was in Chicago) and he didn't. We took that as a good answer to our prayers, that maybe we could start something....very very carefully. We made sure it was not illegal for staff to date and then dated undercover for two years, until I graduated. About five people knew about it the entire time and many found out for the first time when the got the wedding invite in the mail! It was quite the adventure, but it ended with us marrying five years ago in August. I got my fairytale ending and have a wonderful husband whom I love dearly, we have two beautiful babies, two dogs and a little house and couldn't be happier.
And that my friends, is how Harry met Sally....and once in a while, I'll get to see that silly grin again.