Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Minute I Heard My First Love Story, I Started Looking For You....

From a Journal Entry on 6-22-00:
"Waylon, I knew I loved you before I met you.  
'The minute I heard my first love story, I started looking for you, not knowing how blind I was.  Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.  They're in each other all along.' --Rumi

I feel like I've met the man I'm going to marry.  I know this sounds drastic but I'm in love with the guy next door and I don't know where this all came from...."

Eleven years ago today, on May 25, 2000, I arrived in Oregon after a long drive west from Colorado.  It was just me and my few belongings packed in the back of my toyota Corolla and I was ready for something new!  I only knew one person, didn't have a clue what I would do for a summer job, and I didn't really even know where I would be sleeping.  I just knew that I was ready to take a big chance in life and go somewhere I'd never been before in my 21 years of living.  It was this day in May that the first person I met was the man that would become the love of my life, father of my children, and  best friend anyone could ever hope for.  This day is etched in my memory as what seemed to be the first day of the rest of my life.  It was a day that changed everything and began a love story that I enjoy telling more than any other story.  

It was truly
The perfect coming together of all life's circumstances! 

I've been thinking all day about the best way to go about telling my love story.  There are so many things that lead up to the day we met and the summer we fell in love. This story really could be a book in itself.   So many stories from our lives that played a part in making our love story what it is.  It is almost as if my whole life had something to do with leading me to Waylon.  The big things and the small things.  From how we were both named after the same person (Waylon Jennings)  to the social security check that came in the mail in 1999 that allowed me to buy the car that would take me to him.  A trip I never would have been able to take otherwise.  

 This is the journal that was started in the fall of 1999 and goes to December of 2000.  It has snippets and moments from my life that led up to meeting Waylon,  the first time I met him, the first run we went on together on the day after we met,  when I told him that my dream was to be a mother, when we told each other "I love you" for the first time even before our first kiss, how we found out about our namesakes and what that meant to us, the moment I called my mom and told her that "I'd met the man I would marry" even before I'd kissed him, the struggles that followed after I returned to college without him, keeping our long distance relationship alive when we were still so new in our love (him in Oregon and me in Iowa and then New Zealand to teach),  and it ends with me finally realizing that all the hard work and emotional struggles it took to keep our relationship from dying those first few fragile months was worth every second. 

This journal is a story of fresh starts, new beginnings, and making something beautiful out of life even when it involves fighting some big mental battles within myself.  I began this journal shortly after my 21st birthday in November of 1999.  The first sentence of this journal after I wrote the words to Psalm 139 are:
"Today is a new day to start Fresh.  I am feeling determined to make this day a beautiful one...."

The journal ends with an entry on December 14, 2000 with a feeling of hope and belief that Life would be great despite the rough semester I had after returning to school without Waylon and losing myself a little in the process:
"....thank you life for giving me back a piece of child-like wonder.  I walked home in the freezing cold last night.  Snow-lined streets, open Iowa sky, stray dogs looking for company, Christmas lights strung out over a deserted college town.  Silence filled the air and a gust of happiness and meaning and God's love flew in as I skipped child-like down the cobble stoned street, not even aware of the burning on my skin from the cold.  It is still there Amanda.  Just needs to be discovered!" 

The reason I'm sharing parts of this journal with you is because this isn't just a journal.  It isn't just any old journal.  This journal holds the stories that are all the beginning of our love story.  This journal is filled with first love notes from Waylon, flowers from the fields we had long conversations in, and so much more.  It is one of my favorite treasures!

Where to begin............  Ah, I guess I really have to back this story up to the summer of 1999 where I received a rather large check in the mail.....

A Divine Gift
I've mentioned before that my dad died when I was four.  Social Security checks were sent to my mom and step-dad every month to help support my brothers and me until we turned 18.  When I came home from college during the summer of 1999, I remember feeling stressed out, depressed, and overwhelmed with life as was usual for me back then.  I was working hard to make enough money to help pay for college and I was continuing to train hard in preparation for cross country season in the fall.  I was spending that summer living with my coach from high school and his wife and daughter.  I would come home from time to time to check my mail and say hello to my family and it was on one of my trips home that I found one of the most important and life-changing pieces of mail!  Apparently, all those years since my dad died, the Social Security Administration had been making a mistake and not paying enough money every month.  Since I was over 18 years old, they mailed a check directly to ME  that covered the money they had mistakenly left out all along.  The check was for $19,000!  It not only helped me pay for college, start a savings account , have an opportunity to go to New Zealand to teach and allow me to travel but I was able to buy a car.  

The car that eventually was my ticket to Oregon.  To meet the man of my dreams!  I don't think of this as a mistake at all.  I think of this as a gift from my Dad from up above.  It was almost as if all along, he knew that I would need this.  As if he was saving it up for me every month and waiting to give it to me when he knew I'd want it most.  I cried that day that opened that check (well, really, who am I kidding?! I cried most days then. Ha!) and I truly believe that I shared a moment with my dad.  

Something New!
It was that fall after I received my "dad gift" or Social Security check that I was still the most unhappy and confused about my life. That was when this journal above was started.  I knew that I wanted to make some BIG changes in my life and I was ready to take charge of my happiness and make life what I wanted it to be.  I told myself that the following summer of 2000 I would go somewhere I had never been before.  I would take a chance and start fresh.  I didn't care if I knew anyone or if I had a job yet but I knew something big, something new, something REALLY IMPORTANT was about to come my way and I was ready for it.  I also felt the freedom to be able to take a leap like this because of the check I had received.  I had a car that I felt safe traveling in (still have it) and I had enough of a savings account to make me feel like I could take care of myself if I didn't find a job right away.  I had just turned 21 and I began making plans for what would become the summer of my life!  

Drive West Young Woman!
One thing led to another and I happened to call a friend that I hadn't talked to for years.  A friend that is now my best friend and soul sister! A friend that came into my life for a powerful reason.  My dear Jenny!  I told her how I was looking for something new.  How I was ready to make a huge change for the coming summer and finally have a little fun and adventure in my life before my college years were washed up and I spent the whole time worrying it away.  She encouraged me to come to Oregon after I shared with her that my plans to go live in Arizona (my first plan) didn't look like they were going to work out.  Oregon?  Why not!  

So that summer I packed up my Corolla, borrowed a map and drove west without even a look back!  I can't quite explain the feeling that filled me so completely as I was driving through the mountains and plains of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and finally Oregon!  I had never felt what I was feeling during that drive.  I felt as if I was living my life, really living it fully ALIVE for the first time ever!  I had no fear, no worry, no confusion or stress.  I was flying free!  I had never felt such a powerful presence of the "this is meant to be" feeling and I knew something big was just on the horizon.  

Here is the card I saved from the Super 8 I stopped in on my trip out.  And here is the journal entry I wrote the following morning before I hit the road to drive into Corvallis, Oregon:

" I'm about to head out and drive into Corvallis.  I'm so full of excitement and PEACE right now.  I feel so free!  I'm not going to set any specific goals for the summer except to just have fun, educate myself, and discover the HECK out of life!  Here's to not putting limits on yourself!"

To Be Continued......

 This story still has so much more to it that I don't possibly have time for right now.....SO MUCH! Such a beautiful story...a story I will continue some day.  So many parts of it that make it what it is and have to be first meeting of his parents and finding out that we were both named after Waylon Jennings (He is Waylon and I was named Amanda after the song "Amanda" by Waylon Jennings), telling each other we loved one another before we even kissed,  telling the world we were in love and "looking dumb" doing it, calling my mom and friends and telling them I'd met the man I would marry with so much certainty (we hadn't even kissed yet, let alone known each other for longer than a month), having to break up with a boyfriend and break his heart, and then making my new relationship work even though I would return to Iowa and later on to New Zealand before we could live near each other.  We even had to make it through my first year of teaching when he still had a year of college.  It wasn't easy and it wasn't all roses but we made it!  And all the pieces came together for a wedding that was perfectly wonderful...all those serendipitous moments coming together!  Even his dad singing the song that I was named after (written by Waylon Jennings). Now I can honestly say that I'm happier than I ever imagined I would be!  I can truly say that I'm married to my best friend, the love of my life, my soul mate and the father I always dreamed of for my children!  

Reading my long vows that I wrote for our wedding.  Best Friend Jenny next to me.   

Thanks to those of you who read my story and let me share the beginnings of it all.  



  1. Read the first part and will have to come back for the second. Always love a good love story! Can't wait!!

  2. Wow! Wow! Wow! This is so beautiful...YOU are so beautiful. And I doubt you lost ANYONE with this post! I read every word and I'm going to read every word about 10 more times before I even attempt a comment here! "I love you" and no kissing!!!!! Ok, I will definitely be back! Thank-you for sharing this piece of your life Amanda....

  3. Your pictures are beautiful and so is your story. Sometimes taking that leap into the unknown is the best thing a person can ever do! I'm glad you didn't go to Arizona.

  4. Firstly your wedding photos are amazing! I love love stories, and yours seems extra special. Can't wait to read part 2.

  5. I agree, your wedding photos are beautiful! I can't wait to hear the rest of the story. I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason and your story sounds like you two were definitely 'meant to be' :)

  6. wow, now thats a story to tell. I love that you wrote down that psalm. It shows such hope and faith. I am sure your dad is looking down now and smiling.

  7. Beautiful. I bet you felt so connected the moment you heard his name. This makes me want to go hug my man. But not kiss him until I've said I love you first. :)

  8. Such a beautiful love story! That is what life is all about! So, so SO Beautiful!

  9. This is awesome. You are inspiring me to write my own stories down for Ender to read one day.

  10. Great story! Can't wait to read more!
    Vote, too. :)

  11. This is so awesome!!! It makes me want to get in my car and just drive! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Great story, Amanda, made even better by the fact that it's a true story with a happy...well, not necessarily ending, but happy continue-ing as you guys live your life together. The part about your dad's surprise check really touched me. I think you're absolutely right. That wasn't a mistake at all.

  13. What an amazing journey and story. I am always so impressed by your journal keeping. It is so cool to have all those memories. I hope you enjoyed your special day today. :)

  14. Ok- I'm back:)

    Your opening journal entry.....ahhhh..... I feel like I just went to Barnes and Noble and bought this amazing love story only its true and I know the characters!

    So much to comment on, so much I want you to know I didn't miss although I can only touch on a bit. Your dad. "As if he was saving it up for me every month and waiting until when he knew I'd want it most". This is for real. I absolutely believe you shared a moment with him here. What a gift...

    Your drive, your feeling of being alive, your journals entries....TOTALLY drew me in. Meeting Waylon and knowing so quickly. Sharing all this with him and not even KISSING him. I love Waylon now just seeing how much he respects you...Seriously, your world must have exploded when you gave in there with all that emotion behind it....

    Like the others I'm obviously looking forward to installment #2! My story is different but I know real love. The greatest treasure on earth. To marry your best friend, share your children, share your life, feel "safe"....

    You are the most beautiful bride I've ever seen! Are your eyes really that color?

    I want to say so much more. I hate commenting on my phone when I can't see the whole post in front of me. This seriously touched me! I loved this window into your life. Thankyou:) Love you!

  15. What a beautiful love story. Wow! Can't read to read more! You were a stunning bride too. Love your pictures.

  16. This is so sweet that it struck me speechless. I give it a big: awwwwww.

  17. Wow, I love this! Thanks for sharing. It's amazing how God will bring very specific people into our lives to help us and change us and love us, huh? This makes me think of how I met my husband :)

  18. Beautiful story…and gorgeous photos. Swoon.

  19. So beautiful Amanda.. I am so blessed that I have you as a bloggy friend. You are amazing!

  20. I'm so thankful to that gift from heaven. I couldn't have found a better sister-in-law if I had picked you out myself (and believe me, before I met you, I considered I'll never forget the day Waylon called and told me he was bringing a girl home. There was something in his voice that told me this was a big deal. Funny how he never mentioned that you were just friends at the time. I think he already knew you were the one. Good job Little Brother! Love you Little Sister :-)

  21. Amanda - this story is so incredibly touching. I love your style of writing. It just sucked me in like a fictional novel would, but this is your life. You have such a beautiful story to share. I really wish we lived closer and could sit down with coffee and just talk! I would love to hear you share stories of your life. :) I feel like I know you so well, and I've never even met you. I love your beautiful spirit. So glad to be back and reading your words again. I've missed you and your writing.

  22. What a great post! I'm sure you were led to him as a beautiful act of grace.
    Your pictures are amazing! You are so beautiful and it's easy to see the emotion in your eyes!

  23. Beautiful. Simply beautiful. :)

  24. Awwwwwwwwww! This is beautiful! YOU ARE GORGEOUS!!!

    I read the entire post and am ready for part 2!

    Your journals must be your biggest treasure--how rewarding to looks back at your feelings and words and see how you have transformed!

  25. Lovely story so far. Can't wait to hear the rest. And the wedding photos - beautiful.

  26. I read the entire post! But wait, aren't you going to give more details about the story. How you met, fell in love, etc? Maybe that's in the more current post?

    I am curious how you both professed your love before even kissing.

    Anyway, I hope you share all that.

    The last pic is great. So pretty. Both scenery and you guys.

  27. gorgeous wedding pics. i read backwards so i'm just getting to this post... but i loved it!

  28. What a beautiful story Amanda! I love it. I'm glad you found what you were looking for :)