Seven years ago today I walked down a pier in Nassau, Bahamas and pleged my better or worse to my Prince Charming. It is amazing how quickly the time goes by. And it's also, almost equally amazing how God can pull individuals from different places and create a family. The title for this blog is no accident. It's not a just a bunch of random letters thrown together for a haphazard, made-up word. It's a symbol for me of God growing a man from Puxico, a little boy from all the way on the other side of the world in Arkhangelsk, Russia and a girl from Rio Frio, Texas and creating a family. Puxico, Arkhangelsk and Rio Frio. PARF. Not random at all, but rather a very intentional and carefully orchestrated story.
One of the most common responses we get when we tell people that I am from Texas is an incredulous, "How in the world did you end up in Missouri?" For those of you who don't know how our happily ever after began, I'll fill you in a little. After Brock and I graduated from college- he from Mizzou and me from Howard Payne- we both had opportunities to move to Austin, Texas. He was a wine salesman, and if you asked his parents, he sold "communion wine". I worked for Apple Computer as a Senior Fraud Analyst. That's right. The girl whose only two C's she got in high school were computers and typing andwho didn't know how to turn an Apple computer on in her interview was working for a big computer company. Since I had a degree in Christian Studies and wanted to serve in my church, I wound up teaching the Single's Sunday School class. There about 75 singles in the class and one day, a blue-eyed visitor came. Ever the charmer, Brock and I became fast friends. He joined my family and me for Thanksgiving that year as he was not able to be with his family and at one point during dinner, I was refilling his water glass and we locked eyes for a brief second. As silly as it sounds, there was a little voice in my head that told me this guy was going to change my life. Oh, little did I know... We dated for a while after that but when he felt like it was time to move back to Puxico, I was convinced I would never see him again, and that was perfectly fine with me! He had been playing the hot/cold game for a few months as he knew he'd be leaving soon and didn't want the entanglement. I thought that was the end of that and had no idea what the "what next" would hold.
Brock continued to call me for the next two and half years. I would throw his number away consistently and yet, he would continue to call persistently. Finally in the spring of 2004, he offered to buy my plane ticket if I would just come for a visit. It had been over ten years since I had been on an airplane by myself and even then, my parents walked me to the gate, watched me get on the jetway and my grandparents were the first faces I saw when I got off the plane. I was more than a little intimidated, but I thought that I would try it. A three day weekend to Missouri? It's not like it would change my life or anything...
The next seven months were spent flying back and forth to see one another and many hours on the phone. We still say our "courtship" was more like a job interview and we processed through our individual thoughts and opinions on everything from money to children to in-laws to God. Neither one of us were head over heels in love when we got engaged, but I knew he was a man I respected and trusted. I knew he was a good man with a good heart and a good head. And today, seven years later, I am more in love with him than I have ever been in my entire life. I am so thankful he pursued me for those many, many months. I am so thankful that some of the things I love the most about him were surprises that I've discovered since we've been married. And most of all, I am thankful that the man that God gave me to love is not only a good provider and protector, but is also a smart and funny and sometimes even downright crazy man! My very best friend.
I wonder what I would have thought if I had known that when I stepped on that plane to come for my first visit to Missouri that it would the first of many other flights. That the process to bring our son home would have involved 46 different planes. I wonder what I would have thought if it had been revealed to me that the same perseverance it took for Brock to continue to pursue me for two and half years would be used to persevere as we pursued our son. About a month after Daniel was born, Brock and I felt like God was telling us that He had a special child for us in Russia. We had no idea what that journey would entail, but it took two and a half years to end that chapter. Brock deserves a special spot in heaven for the five years he's had to wait on his family. Two and half years for his future wife to stop throwing his number away and two and a half years for the Russian red tape to be procssed before we could bring our forever son home.
My mind works very differently now than it did five months ago before Daniel was Daniel Wayne Williams. Yesterday someone was telling us with the VA, he was able to get an MIC loan. My mind automatically completed that statement with K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E. Mickey Mouse, or Nickey Nunn as it is known in our house, has been a favorite since July. Daniel doesn't watch much, but when he does, he loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. I had a mini-epiphany the other day, thanks to Mickey and his friend Toodles. For those of you who don't know, Toodles is magical and helpful character who shows up at the beginning of each episode with Mouse-ka-tools that are used to help Mickey and the gang through whatever dilemma they are going to encounter. The tools are always seemingly random objects that actually are perfect for the specific predicaments that the characters will find themselves in throughout the show. I think we all have a little Toodles for ourselves. God doesn't send us a magical little cartoon character with objects to help us in life, but He does provide us with opportunities and experiences that are perfectly and purposefully designed to empower us with the resources we need for adventures not yet experienced. "All things work together for good for those who love the LORD and who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
So, maybe, just maybe eight years ago, my heart was a little guarded with Brock because I needed to know I was valuable enough to be pursued. And maybe the peseverance that God matured in him was the very same perseverance we needed to withstand the challenges we faced on our journey to become Daddy and Mommy. There were so many seemingly inconsequential events and decisions that led us to be in the right place at the right time. But there has been nothing random about it. So our little Missourian-Texan-Russian family is excited to see the good plans that God has in store for us for the next "what next" and we will keep trusting God to put the right "tools" in our "Toodles" so that we can handle whatever it may be. After all, we, "...can do all things through Christ who strengthens [us]" Phillipians 4.13
Happy Anniversary, Prince Charming! Thank you for loving me and for walking with me through the first seven years of our happily ever after. There is no one I'd rather live my life with than you. You are my hero!