Keith + Annie Sittin’ in a Tree…

Here’s Keith & my love story for the books. I wrote this a few years ago for a radio contest although I edited it here some. It actually won some fudge at a fancy candy place & it made air time! If you’ve never tried to put your love story in a nutshell, it is harder than you’d think! But for posterity, here goes…

They say Virginia is for lovers & I guess they’re right. I went down there for my master’s Degree, an M. A. R., & ended up with an MRS., too!

On a warm Virginia day back in August of ’92, I walked in to my first class at eight in the morning not suspecting my future husband was sitting across the room noticing me. I remember some guy’s name being called from the roster on the other side of the room with two first names. Right after class was over, he sought me out to ask only when my birthday was. K – “When’s your birthday?” “April 14th.” K – “What year?” “1970′” K – “Oh.” Then he walked away. Nice pick up line, huh? It certainly caught my attention! My friend & I at the time thought, what was that all about?! He was wearing a pink Hawaiian shirt (which he still has by the way) with a black string tie. The shirt was not made to wear ties with it, but he had to wear a tie to school – dress code, so he made it work, sort of. I just remember thinking, that boy needs help with his wardrobe! (All he needed was a good woman to give him some hints, don’t they all?) Within a few weeks, we were eating lunch together daily and having talks on the phone late into the night. He later told me why he had asked for my birthdate. He said he didn’t want to marry someone older than himself, so he was checking right away to see if I qualified. I passed, coming in at a whopping seven weeks his junior. We often joke about how he’s so much older & wiser.

Our romance blossomed over that school year. But by the end of the year, we weren’t ready to marry & I was feeling called to teach overseas; a lifelong “backup” dream. I put Keith “on the alter” like Abraham did with Isaac. “Lord, you know my dream of being a wife & mother; to raise a family of children for You. That’s my heart’s desire for my life. I don’t know if Keith & I are to be together, but I leave that dream totally in your hands. If You choose to give it back to me, thank You. If not, thank You, too. You know what’s best for Keith & for me. Thank You that You are trustworthy.” That was about the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

Our love was given the ultimate “relationship survivor” test when we were seperated the next year while I went to Korea to teach. We figured if we could survive that year, we were destined to be together. Keith was going to a huge church down in North Carolina with a really big singles group – lots of nice girls to choose from if he wanted. I was in Korea right next to the US Base. Our church was full of lots of nice young military guys all alone for at least a year. See Thank you For All you Do… This was right before email & internet phone calls were available. Snail mail being our main connection, it took two weeks to get a letter one way! We tried to limit our calls to once a week; twenty minutes. Even that was outrageously expensive!

By Christmas, we couldn’t stand it any more & I flew home for a week-long visit. (Thanks again to Uncle Richard & Aunt Donna for opening up their home to me – before I was family – making my visit possible!) The night before I flew back to Korea, January 2, was our first kiss. In our hearts, we knew God made us for each other. On the plane ride back to Korea, I cried literally all the way across the United States. The plane was full of a bunch of American G.I.s going back to duty, so they understood. I remember practicing what my new name might look like as I flew across the Pacific Ocean.

I came back to the States in June & by August we were engaged. On August 17th, we went for a hike up Crabtree Falls, the longest waterfall on the Appalachian Trail. It had been a really rainy weekend, so I wondered why he was so insistant we hike that day. All the rain caused the Falls to be georgeous and the trails to be empty. The rain held off for us until we reached the top. He got down on one knee, asked me to marry him, and the rain gently began to fall all at once. It rained on us the whole way down, but neither of us noticed. I just remember thinking how heavy that ring felt – in a good way! It seemed huge!

On December 17th, 1994, I married my best friend & forever love. We spent the next year & a half in marital bliss in our little love shack in Virginia. Surprisingly, we spent the next three years together back in Korea where our first baby was born. Now we are settled in Ohio, raising our three children, and more in love now than the day we married. God is so good. He ended up giving me both dreams – teaching overseas and raising up that family for Him!

My husband will celebrate his 37th birthday next week while I will remain a much younger 36. Happy birthday, Lovey! Of all the guys in the world, I’m so thankful you’re mine. I got the best one!

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