How We Met & Engagement Story (Pt. 1)

No, we didn’t meet on Facebook. So I know I said I would be talking about our wedding today, but while looking through photos I’d like to post, this happened:

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Yes, those are tabs. I have a LOT of work to do on that post, so it will come at a later date. Instead, my husband is guest starring and talking about how we met and even the engagement! He has such a way with words, so please enjoy this very special-to-our-hearts sequence of events.
Tomorrow, the proposal.
Today, how we met.

So, go grab some tea, sit back and relax.
……………………………………………………………..

I’ve never been good at basketball. Unfortunately, the church I grew up in is a basketball court. Some might call it a sanctuary with classrooms surrounding it, but let’s be honest, if it has basketball hoops and is the right size, it’s a basketball court.
This always made social gatherings and youth groups a bit awkward for little Drew because everyone would play basketball at these events and I’d always be either last picked or first on the bench.
On March 31st, 2010 I had a basketball game that would change my life forever. But before I dive into this basketball game, let me give some history.
It’s my senior year of high school, I’m committed to my youth group and working as a member of our “Student Ministry Team.” One of the focuses of my job as a member of the Student Ministry Team is to make sure that not a single person gets through the door without a hug, a handshake, a high five (which we do very powerfully), or a secret handshake (we had a lot of those). Every year on the week of Valentine’s Day, we do a Valentine’s themed party where we have a game called, “Whack ’em With Love.” Basically the way this game works is to whack people with a pool noodle as hard as possible. There’s more to it, but if you’re a high school boy, that’s all there really is to it.
February 10th, 2010 came quick. I had been growing a mustache since my 18th birthday. It was a shameful mustache, but a mustache nonetheless. I was NOT interested in romance, so Valentine’s Day was not my thing.
I came to youth group and greeted people at the door. Someone slipped through the cracks though– someone very important. She had long, dark hair, massive chocolate eyes, and a smile that could change even the bluest of moods. Even the ocean changed colors when this girl smiled.
I was pretty sure she had a boyfriend, at least one. Someone this good looking probably deserved a few more. She came with a friend of mine who I’ve known since I was a kid. Love this guy, but he was probably about a foot shorter than she was. I thought it was strange that they came together, but figured that if they like each other, their height doesn’t matter.
My youth pastor introduced us. He told me her name was Tiffany, I politely, nervously shook her hand and then quickly found something else to busy myself with. If my mustache didn’t just scream, “This guy isn’t looking for a relationship,” I wanted my busyness to.
We began playing “Whack ’em With Love,” and in an effort to make her feel welcome, I took that big ole pool noodle and I whacked Tiffany’s leg with it– Softly, lightly, but significantly. I thought through the decision closely, I didn’t want her to overthink the whack, I mean, what if she thought I “Whacked HER with Love.” But a small part of me hoped that maybe that frightening four letter word might be a result of this.
It wasn’t. And I wasn’t too bummed about it. In fact, I forgot all about Tiffany until I saw her again about a month later.
I was playing drums in my youth group worship band, and couldn’t help but notice this girl standing up, singing her heart out, in love with her Savior. Then I noticed that it was Tiffany. She came to youth group this time with a shorter version of herself that seemed a bit more interested in the friend of mine who was closer to her height than he was to Tiffany’s. This meant that there was potentially opportunity for me here.
The date was March 31st, 2010. It was a week before Easter. After youth group was over, I was picking up my drumsticks and chord charts when I heard my short friend yell, “Hey Drew! Come here!” I looked over and saw Tiffany. I thought, “Drew, if you go over there, you’re probably going to embarrass yourself.” So, I went.
After meeting her again and talking a little bit about art, photography, and her senior project at school, I invited her to play a game of basketball with me. What was I thinking? This girl was almost my height, so she’s got to be good at basketball. This girl was wearing a blue dress with a radical pattern, so she probably didn’t want to play basketball. This girl had just had a conversation with a total stranger, so she probably didn’t want to play basketball with him, but to my surprise, she said yes!
After embarrassing myself with a few layups that were less than impressive (and by that I mean, if I hit the backboard, I was lucky), I asked her to play. Turns out that she was just as bad as I was.
We got to talking more and then her ride showed up. I gave her a high five goodnight and then proceeded to go home and do math homework.
As I was graphing and calculating in my bedroom, my bright blue LG Rumor phone lit up with a text from an Idaho number. It read something like this, “Hi Drew! This is Tiffany, the new girl from youth group! I hope it’s not weird that I’m texting you, I got your number from [my short friend]. I liked getting to meet you tonight.” I could no longer focus on my homework at all. I texted her back and a friendship was born.
She gave me a call one day while I was skating in the cul de sac up the street from my house, and I asked if she’d like to grab some coffee with me on Saturday at the Starbucks near her house (I worked at Starbucks, but waited to disclose that information until I found out if she liked coffee or not). She said yes!
The only day that worked for her was Easter. So, I cleared up my schedule, told all my friends, and then proceeded to vacuum out, polish up, and beautify my dad’s Honda Accord. I was going on a date.
I went to her house to pick her up, met her family, answered what felt like a thousand questions that her mom had for me and then was given permission to take Tiffany on a date. As we were leaving her house, her mom invited the smaller version of Tiffany to come with us. I wasn’t going on a date any more. But I wasn’t bothered by it, I mean, who wants to go to a coffee shop for their first date anyway? It’s got to be significant and awkward and it’s got to stand out. Starbucks doesn’t meet any of those requirements.
We three kings went to the local Starbucks (there are five within a square mile or so) that people in our area called, “The Real Starbucks.” I bought their drinks with my employee discount and said I didn’t want any coffee because I’d already had a ton. I had just gotten off work. I ordered the biggest size that the girls would allow me. We talked and talked and talked and talked. The smaller version of Tiffany took a bunch of pictures of us and then we went to a thrift store to make fun of stuff. It was a blast. Tiffany and I got along so well, we had the same sense of humor, the same sense of style, we both loved art and coffee (little did we know). Things were perfect.

[Tiffany speaking! My sister took this photo at our Starbucks date..talk about awkward! haha.]

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I told all my friends about it. I was pumped up like one of those dancing balloons advertising for tire stores.
After our non-date was over, I asked Tiffany if we could do it again sometime. So, we did. We went to a park in the rain and talked and played like kids. This was a girl I could be myself around.
I visited her church which was quite a bit different than mine, but I felt that I could be most anywhere with Tiffany and feel awesome. After church, I asked her if she wanted to go downtown with me on the 12th. She said yes!
I picked her up by herself in my dad’s Honda again and drove to the MAX stop. We took the MAX downtown to a coffee shop called Stumptown. There were two main locations at this time and I chose the coolest one to take her to. I wanted her to see that I knew good coffee. She got a mocha and I got a cup of french press, I wish I could remember what specifically the coffee was, all I know is that it was delicious.
After talking at Stumptown for a while, we went for a walk. We walked down to the Hawthorne bridge and then back along the waterfront. It was a beautiful April day. As we walked, I planned how to ask Tiffany to be my girlfriend. Every notable place along the walk, we’d stop and talk, and then I’d get too nervous to ask. This happened over and over again until we reached the end of the waterfront. At this point, I knew that I had to ask. So we talked about birds for a while and then I told her what I like about her and that I have feelings for her (notice the change in verb tense here, that means that I still do, almost four years later) and then said, “So, what do you think, do you want to make this thing official?” She said yes. A lot. And jumped and then hugged me. And then said yes again.
My girlfriend and I walked to the Skidmore fountain, took a picture of us as a couple, and then explored downtown some more.

[Hi, Tiffany again! This is our first couple picture at Skidmore fountain. Awww.]

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After six months of dating this girl, I knew she was something special. On October 10th, 2010 (10/10/10) we went downtown on the MAX again. We went to Stumptown and got coffee and walked to the Hawthorne bridge, but while we were walking, instead of walking by, we walked up the bridge and over. About half way across the bridge, I stopped and we looked over the water and I told her something that I’d never told a girl before, “Tiffany Rochelle, I love you.” She said she loved me too. A lot. And jumped and then hugged me. And then told me she loved me again.

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[Above is the photo I took while standing on the Hawthorne Bridge right after he told me he loved me, swoon.]
(To be continued…)

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