[M]^2 + [R]^2

This story is featured on The Love Story Project today, 11/6!

Today I am all giddy inside thinking about a very special boy in my life and the day that I met him, 4 years ago to this date.

So because today is the beginning of it all, I’m going to share our love story. It’s my most favorite love story, but I may be a little biased. ;) I have posted our story before but since then I have revised it in hopes of capturing more of its loveliness in words. Let me tell you, it is almost impossible to describe how I feel about this too good to be true story… being true.

Love you Ryan. Will you marry me…. someday soon….-er than later? :)


To us, Valentine’s Day is so much more than the holiday where you buy your sweetie chocolates and a card. It’s 2.14, our holiday: the beginning of when Ryan and Mindy were always said together.

Our love story never ceases to amaze me… all credit to the author, God.

Ryan and I were born and raised in the same small town in Missouri. We even went to the same pre-school together, but he ended up being one class ahead of me in school. It was in junior high that I first remember really taking notice of him; his good looks catching my eye. I knew him in the way that you know everyone in a small town: his name, his family, and a few rumors about him. I also knew he had a girlfriend and I thought I was certainly not an option.

In high school he was in Drumline and I was in Color Guard, where we shared many hours on the same football fields practicing and performing. Sometimes I took advantage of the, er, really good views of the Drumline at band rehearsals. This may sound bad, but my now ex-boyfriends knew about this Ryan attraction. It was practically harmless, all eye candy aside. Slowly, he kind of drifted out of the picture as I became more involved with a boyfriend during my sophomore year of HS.

That relationship led to a heart-wrenching break-up at the beginning of my junior year of HS, which in turn led to major frustration with guys. I had a few guy friends I would hang out with, but I was pretty much convinced I would not find anyone “dateable” in my hopeless, small town. I mean, come on, it’s a small town where I THOUGHT I knew every possibility (guy) and they were all crossed off my list. Truthfully, I prepared myself to be patient until I moved away for college in a few years, where maybe I would find a nice guy.

About a month before Ryan and I first actually met, I started attending the First Church of God youth group on Wednesday nights with some friends. This was a major turning point in my life all because I truly became a follower of Christ. It is also a really cool part of our love story because if I would’ve met Ryan before this point, he would’ve known me as a different person. God has perfect timing.

To my sweet surprise, guess who was the drummer for that youth group? Ryan. I had almost forgotten how handsome he was, but I didn’t think anything more of it. From that point on, I think he was in the back of my mind.

Actually, I know he was in the back of my mind. On November 5th, 2005, a night I remember so clearly, my bff Courtney says to me on MSN messenger.. “We should find some guys to hang out with tonight!” Immediately my reaction was, “Ha..like who?!”

Next I typed a statement so naturally, it was like I wasn’t the one typing. I replied… The only guy I would consider is Ryan Ray.

Courtney immediately takes action. By that I mean, she adds him on MSN Messenger, without even really knowing him (as neither did I). But regardless, she talks to him on MSN and she finds out he is going out for Imo’s Pizza that night with a group of friends. So what does she do? Invites both of us to join them of course! This may be is borderline stalkerish, but he didn’t say no! Come to find out, we knew the group of girls he was going with– one of them being a long-time bff, Jess; the others Kelly and Sarah. Jess and Kelly were the ones that took me to that youth group the first time.

So imagine this, I’m pretty sure I was close to hyperventilating because Courtney and I were going to hang out with Ryan Ray, the cutest guy I knew (seriously). What was he thinking? Probably something along the lines of, crazy girls!

After Courtney and I made a quick stop a candle party at a friend’s house, we were off to Imo’s Pizza. Our 10 mile car ride was a little bit crazy because we ended up taking our shirts off and sticking them out the window to “dry.” I’ll give you a hint: I was nervous.

When we arrived (with wind blown hair and somewhat dry shirts) they were finished with their meal so we just talked for a little bit. It was sort of awkward, but not as bad as you would think. When it was time to go, I must’ve felt brave because I invited Ryan to my friend Laura’s house, where Courtney and I were headed next. The drive back was a little more dramatic as a big storm went through the area, but we made it to Laura’s safely, meeting some others there too. Let me speak for Ryan for a second and say this next decision marks one of the best decisions Ryan has ever made— he showed up! I don’t remember how he got there, but all that mattered was he was there! At this point, the butterflies in my stomach probably multiplied by well, a lot.

It was a casual get-together, just hanging out and watching movies on a Saturday night. As it got later, Courtney had to go home and I had to take another girl, Heather, to her house. Well, once again I don’t know how this happened, but Ryan (and another guy) ended up riding with me to take her home. Honestly, I did not force him or kidnap him. But you may not believe me after this statement, because I clearly remember what I said to Ryan, “You know I’m not gonna take you home, right?”

Oh yes, now it makes sense. Maybe he was in my car so he could get a ride home. That wasn’t happening.

I’m really surprised Ryan didn’t try to plan an escape at this point. Let me remind you, he didn’t even know me!!! Hello, nice to meet you. I’m Miss Assertive! No need to introduce yourself, I already know who you are.

I’m really not that creepy, I promise.

So we went back to Laura’s house and the people who ended up staying were (starting with the most important) Ryan, two other guys, and three girls including myself. Oh I forgot to mention that Laura was out of town and we were actually having this get together at her house without her. Ha, everything about that night is a little funny.

The fun didn’t end there. We ended up going to Denny’s around 3 AM, all packing into my tiny Eclipse! I let Ryan drive because I was too terrified that I would get in trouble, being 17 y/o and out between 1 and 5 AM. Not to mention, I had 4 people in the backseat, when it lawfully and safely only allows 2.

Our first destination was one of the guy’s place of employment to coughillegallycough borrow the work van at 3 AM, so we would be driving legally. I know, that doesn’t make sense.. that guy illegally stole a work van so we could legally drive/ride. So half of us split up into either car and we were illegally legal. That’s really not like me to do such a thing, but what can I say? My emotions hindered my ability to make smart decisions.

At Denny’s there were some cops eating among us and I was extremely scared that I would get in trouble for being out illegally. To my great relief, no one in our group was arrested that night, the work car was returned in a hush hush manner, and we safely made it back to Laura’s house! At this point it was probably about 5 AM, and we decided we may want to get some sleep. What a novel idea, right? There were four of us in a bed, and two on the floor. It certainly wasn’t me who made a point to get next to Ryan and suggest that all 4 of us spoon.

At around 7 AM Ryan had to go home and get ready for church so I cheerfully volunteered to drive him. He didn’t even have to give me directions. No! I didn’t stalk him, my friends used to live close to him.

I think I then made my way home to figure out if it had all been a dream. It was in fact, all real.

Why do I give you so many background information and details of the first time we hung out? If the beginning of our love story was this amazing, can you imagine the rest? We spent time together every single weekend we could after that. We didn’t even wait until the next weekend; we watched the stars with a group of friends a few nights later. Sigh. I was head over heels from the start. Honestly, he had me before I even knew him. His personality was just as amazing as his looks. At what point did Ryan start falling for me? I can’t tell you for sure, but it seems like he was playing a little game of hard-to-get. Okay, obviously not playing it too well since he did spend a lot of time with me. Eventually I picked up on the hints and it was confirmed the first time he actually asked me on a “date” to go eat Chinese sometime in December. Our first kiss wasn’t until the beginning of January, on the same date that my parents’ had their first date many years previous.

Eventually it ever so patiently fell into place and we became an official couple on 2.14.06, complete with a love letter, flowers, date, and all.

Ever since then, 2.14 has been our day, our number, our story.

I just discovered the best part about the number. Ready for this? God so perfectly wove it into our story that it went unnoticed for 3 years.

2 was the day I was born, and 14 was the day Ryan was born. Combined is 2.14; us.

I must tell you though, that our love story isn’t as flawless as it may seem. Even though it is in fact like a fairy-tale come true, life isn’t perfect and we aren’t perfect either. We’ve gone through a lot in the past 4 years, and unfortunately we came to a weak point. We broke up in September of 2008, and at the same time were separated by distance while he was at college in Indiana. We’ve come to realize though, that as hard as it was, it was for the best.

It wasn’t the end, but a start to a new and better us. God answered my prayers and we started talking again that November. My prayers, hopes, and wishes came true on 11.11.

Slowly but surely we’re back to where we belong: together. I absolutely adore him and I am still amazed how everything has worked out… God’s “fingerprints” are all over it!

For now, we’re not physically together because 380 miles of distance separate us, but really, distance has nothing on us. Our love is greater than the distance, and it’s only a short chapter in our story. For we know very well, love never fails.

Not Me! Monday

This blog carnival of Not Me! Monday was started by MckMama. You should join in and share your not me moments, especially this week when you could win a prize! Once you start writing, you will think of ideas– trust me! You just have to be brave enough to “confess” them.

Here’s some things I am not confessing…

To avoid getting up any earlier than I had to for an 8-9 AM mid-term meeting, I did not just throw my hair up in the tiniest ponytail ever to exist, partially hide the rest with a headband, and call it good. Not me!

Who has to do wrist stretches before painting and then afterwards feels no evidence of ever doing them? Not me!

I certainly wasn’t thisclose to changing from black pants into jeans while sitting in my car on a busy street before class. (Until I saw people too close for comfort.)

You know that Old Navy coupon I won? I didn’t enter the contest ten times, but if I did, it was allowed. :)

I did not yet again miss out on Church! It’s not becoming an attendance pattern of every other Sunday or worse because I don’t do weird things like turn off my alarm in my sleep! Somebody needs to get it together!

I did not forget that today is a holiday when I planned on sending out a very important card today so that it would arrive to its destination on time. If it gets there late, it wasn’t me!

I am not keeping Ryan in suspense about my haircut until I see him nor am I sending him pictures where my hair is disguised! I wouldn’t make him wait like that or make him wait to see what paint colors we are using in my house. Nope, not me!

I am definitely not sooo excited to see Ryan this weekend that I might do weird things this week, like be insomniac like or have a hard time concentrating in class. Who would act silly like that after not seeing their significant other for 2 months? Not me!

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday. This blog carnival was created by MckMama.

Two Saturdays ago, you wouldn’t have found me talking on the phone just shy of 4 hours, with the conversation ending at 3 AM. Nope, and I didn’t miss church the next morning!! And Ryan certainly wasn’t right in his prediction when he said, “You’ll be on the phone for 4 hours!” Ryan is never right. ;)

It wasn’t me who accidently put my underwear on inside out and didn’t care to fix them.

I don’t know who would do this, but I certainly don’t FB stalk. If I did, I wouldn’t pick up on hints of people who are pregnant and then ask people about it. No way!

I’m not such a loser that I would do homework and study on a Saturday night. Nope, not me– I have a life, thankyouverymuch.

I’m not the one responsible for making these delicious, homemade cookies disappear by 2 or 3 each day. I am strong enough to resist the yummy temptation!!!

I would never take such a hot shower that I would have to get out and sit down after feeling faint.

I do not have an ever increasing fear of everything medical. Obviously, I call the dentist about wisdom teeth and doctors about probable fluid in my ear. I’m a smart patient!

What about my eyebrows? I certainly didn’t neglect them for a month until I had to send my BF a picture. My eyebrows are always nicely shaped and never resemble caterpillars.

Who, me? I’m not considering living in a bubble because of all the sickness just beginning to make rounds.

Enough of my confessions! Tell me something you haven’t done lately.

2 months.

Before now, the longest I had ever been away from my Dad (and Mom) was just about 2 months, between the beginning of AU Spring Semester 08 and Spring Break. But that was totally different. My Dad was still at home, and the distance that separated us was only temporary. I could hear his voice over the phone and to my surprise, we could even text back and forth (although I shouldn’t have doubted his texting ability!)

This separation is a hard reality to face. I’m at home, but he’s not here. I can’t go into the other room and tell him what’s on my mind, nor can I call him up on the phone. You can still find his name and number in my phone, but I wouldn’t even hear a ring if I called it. No longer can I send him an email, and I won’t find us passing each other on the road in our vehicles.

I can only find him in my heart. In my memories. In my thoughts and dreams. And someday, I will meet him in Heaven, among Jesus.

I think about him every single day. Usually memories of his last few weeks replay in my mind. Perhaps I’m still trying to process it. It happened so quickly, yet gradually. No matter what, you’re never prepared to let go.

He went into the hospital Monday, July 20th because he was so short of breath he couldn’t walk across the living room. On Tuesday, he had a minor procedure to get a PEG tube placed in his stomach. During his stay at the hospital, they gave him breathing treatments, new medications, oxygen, and anything they could do to treat his symptoms. After they had done all they could, he came back home on Friday. I just knew something wasn’t right. My cousin Darah arrived on Saturday, July 25th after traveling by bus across half the United States to come help her Uncle. The next night, Ryan arrived home from a few weeks at camps.

You could feel the tension in our house and my bottled up feelings were creating more pressure each day. We were trying to figure out all of the new equipment, new home health nurses, medications, feeding tube, and routine. I was afraid to tell anyone that I felt like my Dad wasn’t going to heal on Earth, that is everyone except Ryan. I shed tears all over Ryan, while releasing feelings that I was holding back. I just knew that my Dad didn’t have much longer, but I didn’t think he would have less than a week.

As the week went on, my Dad’s health went downhill quickly. He was constantly on oxygen, morphine, a long list of medications, and taking nothing but a few sips of water through his mouth. His feet and face were swollen, and only the swelling in his face subsided. His body began shutting down, yet no one was accepting anything less than healing. No one with the exception of me; I felt alone. I wanted healing more than anything, but I knew what was happening.

Toward the end of the week, when he could barely walk even with assistance, I couldn’t take it any longer. One night my Dad was face-to-face with death and we wouldn’t let him go. He lived a few days longer. The next day I broke down and told my Mom the hard truth that I felt was upon my heart. It was his time soon, and I had sensed this for a few weeks. I cried and cried and later I found out that Darah was in the living room with my Dad, who heard me in the other room and said, “Poor Mindy.” After talking to my cousin, Mom, & Aunt about this feeling, they still wouldn’t fully accept it.

The next day, Friday the 31st, my Dad could no longer hold himself up to walk. He could barely speak, and only said a few words that day. The nurse came to check on him, and after taking his vitals, she took my Mom aside to talk. She then invited my cousin and I, and told us she couldn’t hear a blood pressure. His pulse was around 120 BPM. She regretfully told us that he would probably pass that weekend. The truth suddenly hit.

From that moment on, everything flipped upside down. We called family members, and within the hour, two more family members were pulling up in our driveway. By that night, every family member of his surrounded him, except his poor Mother. She was in the hospital with a broken hip, totally clueless to what was going on outside of her hospital room. We were holding his hands and saying our final words. At this point, my Dad could no longer move or respond, but he was still alive. In our hearts we knew he could still hear us, and in my heart I felt like he was not suffering as it may have appeared. His body became feverish, one of the last stages.

Someone was by his side all evening and night, and my Aunt awoke us all around 8:45 AM because his breathing pattern changed. My Mom reached his side first, and there he took his last breath. His heart stopped at 9 AM on that Saturday morning, as he was welcomed into the loving arms of the Lord.

Soon the family arrived back at our house and his Mom was temporarily taken out of the hospital to see him. She was too late to see him one last time still breathing. My heart ached so much for her, and his Dad — my Grandparents. I can’t even begin to imagine or feel the pain of watching your youngest son pass before you. I wanted to comfort them, but all I could do was pray.

That was the longest day of my life thus far. Family and friends came and went; his loved ones mourned in different ways. My cousin and I wrote, my Mom danced and cried, my brother secluded himself. I could barely stay awake until midnight to welcome my 21st birthday.

Two months have passed since that day, and mourning and missing him have not really come in the form of tears since then. Until now.

I miss him.

Some official, and not so official, news

I think it’s so sweet how babies/toddlers do different things when they’re falling asleep. I’m not talking about crying, but what I mean is like when my second cousin Amelia holds on to your ear, another little girl plays with your hair, a little boy rubs your arms— and they’re all so gentle about it! The last two kiddos I mentioned I babysat for this past weekend, which is what got me thinking about this. I hope my kids are cuddlers!!! They have to be if they have my genes. :)


I can’t believe I haven’t told you this yet – – I won a certificate for a free pair of Gap jeans from a Gap Enthusiast blog contest! Yay! I’ll take free clothes anyday!


Today I finished my observation in the 3rd grade classroom! It was a great learning experience, and she even wrote me a sweet letter of recommendation for the future. I’ll miss that class, but I’m going to apply to sub in that school! Tomorrow I start at Waynesville High School in a biology classroom, and then when Im finished I’ll be free during the days just before mid-term (first part of October). Almost there!


Today is officially the first day of… ugh, do I have to say it? Fall. I have to acknowledge it to at least change my toothbrush. (I change my toothbrush each new season for an easy reminder. You should try it if you forget to change it every 3 months.)


I have a new favorite show! And guess what? (Ryan, you’ll be proud.) The main topic isn’t babies (although I can’t say they’ll never be mentioned). The Dr Oz show! It’s set to record everyday at 11 AM incase I’m not here (the joys of DVR). Sorry Oprah, now I don’t have to watch your show because I mostly just used you to see Dr. Oz.


Yesterday I got the urge to get my hair cut very soon. I’m getting tired of my long, high maintenance hair so I’m looking for a short haircut… I’m need some ideas!!! I wish I could go on What Not To Wear to get an awesome new hair style and some new clothes.