above photo by Amy Demos

This blog post is long overdue. Truth be told, I've been engaged for almost three months. Yeek! BUT.... in my defense:

A. It's been wedding season and I've been shooting weddings non-stop since then.
B. I'm attempting to plan my own wedding in 4 months (it's 5 weeks away!!).
C. I'm 41 years old, never been married, and how do I even begin to write a post like this!?

I'm so blissfully happy and only SLIGHTLY overwhelmed -- haha! Even though I can't possibly fit all of what I'm feeling and have been through in the last 8 months since I met Bruce into one blog post, I'm going to attempt to share some of our story with you today.

Bruce and I met online on Christian Mingle. I had tried online dating in the past, but I had taken a break from it up until last summer (a LONG break .... like a full decade). I had become burnt out on it. It seemed like so much work to initially try to connect with someone on the computer, and although I had met a few nice people along the way, I'm just so stinking picky. I gave up. God is so faithful to me, but I have to admit that I lost hope. Not that he COULD bring me a husband; but I lost hope that he WOULD. Instead of "wasting" my time and money on online dating, I chose to pour my energy and resources into the blessings that I DID have in my life. And there were a lot. I have always felt so blessed, and although I was sad at times that I didn't have a person to share it all with, for the most part I really truly did trust that God knew the bigger picture and that singleness must be what was best for me. I knew he loved me. And Psalm 84:11 says, "The Lord is a sun and a shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless." (Blameless here doesn't mean perfect, it just means someone who is seeking after God.) I held tight to this promise -- again, trusting for whatever reason that marriage must not be a "good thing" for me right now.

But late last summer I felt a nudge and inspiration to try online dating again. I tried match.com and then through someone I met on there, I found Christian Mingle. I got on Christian Mingle on a Sunday and set up my settings so that I would be matched with guys in the Phoenix area. But on Tuesday night I got a "smile" from a guy in Montana. I was trying to approach this online dating thing as openly as possible, so I clicked through to his profile....and saw this cute manly man:
Definitely passed the attractive test. But his profile really got me.

Most people (including myself) use their profile to talk about who they are. Bruce's entire profile was a letter to his future wife. He had originally written a letter to his future wife when he was 12, and this was an updated version of that letter. It definitely caught my attention and made me hope that I could get to know him more. But at the time, I was still kind of thinking, "That's really sweet, but I can't really think of myself as anyone's future wife. I'm sure some other girl is going to be really blessed to have this guy as a husband someday." And that's basically the gist of how I responded to him -- haha! I wrote:

"Hi Bruce! Reading your profile brought a smile to my face. Your future wife is one lucky girl! Thank you for the effort and heart you put into that. It gives me so much hope to see guys like you in the world."

That was a Wednesday. Thursday we texted throughout the day, and Friday he called. We talked for an hour and a half until I had to get off the phone to meet my friends Amy & Jordan for a Greek Festival. After I got off the phone with Bruce, I jokingly texted him that I might need proof that he exists and later that night he sent me a 4 1/2 minute video of him talking to me...in an effort to prove it. That night I shared a little of the video with Amy and Jordan and also told them that I think I might have just talked to my future husband on the phone for the first time! CRAZY!

Bruce was so unlike other guys I had met. He was up-front, vulnerable, and honest. He laid himself open from the beginning and played no games. He shared what he was looking for in a wife and inspired me with his vision for marriage and what he wanted his future family to be like. He pursued me full-out and I never had a question as to whether or not he was interested in me. He shared hard things with me in an up-front and honest way and spoke of God's grace in his life in a way that truly made him come alive. That first phone call and video started a two-and-a-half week marathon of phone calls and video exchanges (most days we talked upwards of 5 hours on the phone) until he flew out here to meet me in late October.

We planned to spend three days together and I cleared my calendar despite it being the middle of busy season. He had never been to Phoenix, so we hiked Camelback mountain, ate at In-n-Out, went on our first official "date", and I introduced him to some of my close friends. He's a huge people-person, so he dove right in and suggested that we also spend time with my family so they could get to know him. We had dinner with my parents and sister and brother-in-law the last evening that he was originally supposed to be here and he took some time after dinner to share his story with them. He shared his intentions of wanting to pursue me for marriage and asked their blessing to date me. They welcomed him with open arms.

His three day trip ended up getting extended by another week....and then another week...and then another. He works a week on/week off schedule in Montana, so he took one week off and ended up being here for three weeks total. Like I mentioned, it was the middle of busy season, so while he was here I shot three weddings and spoke at a local conference. So Bruce got initiated into the industry as well. Those three weeks were amazing and SO helpful to me in discovering Bruce's heart and what he is about. I think I would have really struggled with long-distance dating if I had been dating anyone else. But this guy is a COMMUNICATOR. As a result of that and his strong leadership in our relationship, I was pretty smitten early on and quickly didn't view the distance as an issue. I travelled out to Billings and Indiana with him in December to meet his family and friends. And we've been traveling back and forth ever since. We've been together WAY more than we've been apart. He lost his dad and his grandpa early this year, so we've walked through a lot together already. And in February, he proposed on the side of Camelback mountain!
It's been a whirlwind, but the very best kind. I can't believe God has blessed me with a husband!

We will be married in 5 weeks in the Colorado mountains and Bruce will move here and join our team working to grow Rendezbooth -- our photo booth company.

Phew! God is SO so good, you guys. There is so much more to share, but I think I will have to leave the rest for other posts.

And remember that letter to his future wife that caught my attention? Bruce commissioned a calligrapher to make it into a piece of art! This will be on display at our wedding then hang in our bedroom after that:
calligraphy by Jenny Sanders

And since I know many of you will want to know what it says, here are the words in a more readable form:

"To my future wife,

I long for you! Every night as I chant faint hymns to a cold, fruitless moon I dream of you. I think about how your hair looks that day or if you had to rush out the door. I think about your smile and how long it will be until I see it in person. I think about if you miss me or if you can sense that I'm thinking about you. You are the one my heart longs for. I want to know the softness of your hand as it rests in mine. I want to know the warmth of your lips. Above all I desire to pray with you to our King! To lead you in His Word. To speak love to you that I have been shown from Christ! I am searching for you. No matter if you're states or countries away. I will leave no rock unturned. All that I have is yours. This passion is yours and I freely give it. It longs to be poured out until your cup overflows. Christ has fashioned me into your man! Together we will bring glory to our King and all will know us by our love for each other. Come and let's flood this world in love. I have failed you in the past but I am ready for you now. Oh you whom my soul longs for speak and I will hear you. Come find me as I search for you. Come and awaken my love for it is yours. Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth that I might know the power of your love as it collides with mine. Wherever you are I will find you! I am coming for you. And when our eyes meet; when you are revealed to me; the world will witness true love as God has intended it to be! I miss you! I love you! I'm coming for you!

Forever Yours,
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