Little Moments, part 2 of my love story

“It’s the little moments that make life big.”

Chapter One

My hands filled with dirt at the sudden rush of gravity pulling me and a stifled man-laugh from my cousin behind me confirmed my worse fears. I had fallen FLAT on my face… a very familiar phenomenon for me. A throaty laugh came from my own mouth as I attempted to act as if it was a casual, intentional, VERY purposeful adventure to the forest floor.

Joseph Kibler, ah, the man of my dreams… dreams I hadn’t had yet, came to offer me a hand. My cousin quickly pulled me up himself, still laughing at… (let’s be fair to Charity)… “WHY” would he laugh??? I turned from Ben’s “gasping-for-air-this-is-so funny” expression to see Joseph’s calm “I’d like to watch you fall on your face like that all day, everyday for the rest of my life.”

Looking back, both my hikes to the Lost Creek with Joseph were filled with little moments like this. I would throw pine cones at him for saying something scandalous… he would throw several back, and NOT miss.

“Can I throw pine cones at you for the rest of my life?” What kind of line is that? It’s a… really… good line.

I never said yes though. He would talk about his business:

“I need to hire a secretary. She would have really good benefits like life insurance, American citizenship…”

IT HAPPENED!!! HE DID THIS ALL THE TIME!!! I would bite my lip, raise my eyebrows and say, “Was that a…” and “Don’t… do that… again.”

My last memory of Lost Creek was Joseph showing me a beautiful meadow tucked away at the far side of the stream, full of wildflowers and butterflies.

“Would you join me there one day?” Joseph was… doing what was strictly not allowed!

“I… yes… maybe… no.” Sigh… he’d never get it.

“It’s just a picnic, Charity.” JUST!!! Beware that word!

“Then, maybe.”

“I’ll take maybe.”

Chapter Two

I could hear my heartbeat above the wind as I leaned my head on Joseph’s shoulder, convinced that the non-vegan chicken I had ate had something to do with it. My heart was racing… but maybe I just had congestive heart issues, or maybe… just maybe… I was in love? It was when I heard Joseph’s heartbeat above my own that I decided… That if I was going to die of a coronary, Joseph was more likely to die first.

It was a Wednesday in October and I was in love with Joseph. We were sitting at Prospect park watching the sun set over the orange groves. There are little moments in life that shock and surprise you, delight and terrify you, that purse and seduce you… that laugh and sing over you; little moments that are timeless and ageless. I was in such a moment. Joseph was playing with my hair… and I knew my own heart.

That’s when I smiled up at him and thought, “Will you marry me.” The sound of my own voice having spoken caught up with me, but too late. Joseph was laughing, choking on air, dying of… I had stared him down and asked him to MARRY me??? Panic, chaos, and a plethera of other cuddly emotions… left my mind reeling.

I will never live it down… and someone will probably write it on my tombstone. I ASKED JOSEPH FIRST.  In a few hours… I would be going on my first date, but why bother with that??? I had just thrown a suit and tie at the man and made him walk the aisle!!!

I heard sirens careening toward us, and it wasn’t till they past us that I could know for sure that they weren’t for me.

Chapter Three

Falling out of the car, I looked back at the brand new brake marks I had left in the road. I ran into the house still dizzy from doing donuts in the colt-a-sac and still giddy from listening to Brad Paisley’s “Waitin’ on a woman.” I was running late after working an extra shift for a friend. It was a perfectly innocent scheme. I knew Joseph would have to sit and wait with my Dad. Yes, sometimes us Women make men wait just ’cause we can.

This was my first date… and I had no clue where Joseph was taking me, but the lace gown my sisters had set out on my bed told me to, “Get pretty.” A girl’s getting pretty is what has come between men and being on time for hundreds of years. So, even when I heard the door and I knew Joseph was waiting downstairs, I wasn’t going to break centuries of tradition or fail to live up to such glorious expectations!

I came down the stairs an hour later.

In that little moment, the pride in his eyes… those blue, sweet eyes left me breathless… everything in that moment was exciting and new.

“I love you, little girl.” My Dad’s words took hold of my heart for a few brief, wonderful seconds as he kissed my forehead and tucked me into my seat in Joseph’s car. I looked from him to my mom who was smiling and then to my sisters… who were being “all kinds of ridiculous.”  Another beautiful moment.

Reaching down to adjust the strap on my heals, I asked Joseph, “So where are you taking me?”

“Mcdonald’s.” Ah, the golden arches; everyone’s first date. I punched him.

Sitting across from Joseph at Macaroni Grill, I laughed… why was it that I kept thinking that somewhere in that room my parents where sitting and watching us??? I knew my Daddy was probably kicking himself for not having thought of it himself! As it turns out, my parents did show up an hour after we had left the restaurant!

I’d like to think that Joseph and I aren’t the first couple to have walked out of a restaurant leaving our boxed left overs on the table… because that is exactly what we did.

Holding the car door open for me, Joseph asked, “You still don’t know where we are going, do you?”

An hour and a half later he had me close my eyes. Why was I doing this? We had been driving forever and I had no clue where I was! But I did close my eyes. Feeling the car break ten minutes after he had asked me to close my eyes, I asked, “Now can I—“. No, I couldn’t. He opened my door and put his arm around my waist.

“Whatever you do, don’t open your eyes until I tell you to and don’t let go.”

“You don’t let go!” I couldn’t see it, but I knew he was smiling.

Horns, sirens, the distant sound of Jazz. Where was I? I squeezed Joseph’s arm, a little alarmed at the closeness of everything. I could feel people brushing past me, not caring that we had touched one another. The fast, clip sound of heels on pavement caught up with me and the scent of smoke made me dizzy… I was in the city. The only thing familiar and safe was the woody smell of Joseph’s cologne.

“Charity Beck, we are here.”

I opened my eyes. Hmmm… I was looking at my shoes, my pretty Cinderella shoes. Etched in the pavement around my heels was a star and the cut-off words of someone’s name. Hollywood? I was in Hollywood? My eyes went to Joseph’s face. He smiled at something behind me. I turned and almost took out someone with my hair. Recovering and pulling my hair in close to my face, I looked up at the gorgeous, lit sign of the Pantages. I blinked. The bold lettering and the rose icon of “The Phantom of the Opera” blinked back at me.

Chapter Four

Holding Joseph’s hand I watched the characters; Christine, Ralph, Eric… all three of them had been my newest obsessions since watching the movie of the “Phantom of the Opera” a month before; obsessions only second to Matt Damon as Jason Bourn of course. I was lost in the story… while Joseph hardly knew how to take his eyes off of me. It was during, “One love; one lifetime,” that I too lost interest in the dazzling performance on stage. Joseph was… so very wonderful, and good… and wonderful. I stared into his eyes, bravely searching his heart for the first time. Call me all kinds of ridiculous but I decided then, in that moment… to share one love and one lifetime with that man.

Getting out of his car that night, I slipped off one of my heels and left it behind in the car.  I had decided to be… Joseph’s Cinderella.

Chapter Five

I held Greg’s arm as we walked into the La airport. Joseph had been gone on a mission trip, teaching English to little children. This had been his second mission trip since we had been together… and his absence was wearing on my heart.

The air outside the airport was thick, laced with smoke and exhaust. After walking in, Greg and I fell into a pair of chairs, mumbled politely to each other, and then closed our eyes. Greg Kibler was always giving to others… That’s why he drove into Yucaipa to pick me up and then to La to get his son, all while he was very sick. So while he closed his eyes to gain a little strength, I closed my eyes to pass the agonizing seconds away. And then when that didn’t work, I fondly examined my still brilliant red skin. A few days before Joseph had left for his trip, he had brought me to his family’s new years party where I met many of his siblings for the first time. I had temporarily dyed my hair brilliant red for the occasion. I wanted them to have an interesting first impression of me… seeing as the dye leaked into my skin alot better than it did my hair… I am sure they had just that!

Holding a stack of envelopes back at my house that evening, Joseph laughed with my family and I, as I opened each letter to discover some new and interesting object of Asian brilliance. Among my favorites were a pink bath scrubby towel, a curious piece of candy; it’s flavor unknown, a furry collared jacket, and a brilliant red wig!!!  You’ll be relieved to know the latter two items did not fit in the envelopes with the letters! But there was one gift that Joseph gave me that left a question in my mind… a small set of keys.

“You have to promise me that you will have those with you at all times.” I took the keys and put them on a necklace; a necklace I am glad I was wearing on January 29th.

Chapter Six

State street was lined with beautiful shade trees and paved in brick. Lights were strewn from tree to tree. The smell of a flower cart on Thursday. The sound of a lonely guitar on Monday. Coffee shops. Restaurants. Vintage Boutiques. And every Saturday there was co-op. I would roll out of bed, load the car, and then distribute organic produce with my family, waiting for the moment when Joseph would steal me away to walk up and down State street.

I remember one such Saturday, strolling into a boutique that was at the end of the street. Joseph was always so amused by how I could go from sweet, content, and quiet to serenading the world with my gleeful, I-don’t–know-how-to-breathe-when-I’m-talking moments.  That is exactly what happened at the boutique when I saw a blue silk table clothe with white embroidered flowers running all along it. Out of five minutes of my going on, all he could make out was, “It’s blue!”

That was enough to leave an impression on his sweet heart… I just had no idea how very sweet his heart was. Not until that Saturday night in January when he brought me back to State street.

Chapter Seven

A shoe, keys, and a table clothe… Come October 25th they would change my life. Leaving the ice skating rinnk that day, Joseph and I walked along the streets of Victoria gardens amusing each-other with silly chatter. We couldn’t stop laughing at this one couple. The man’s wife was tall and he was adorably short. She walked stylishly along while he tried to see through an armload of bags. Each bag said, “I belong to a woman.” Sitting on our bench outside of Wetzel Pretzel, we watched her slide the card and then leave her purchase for her husband to scoop up. And he did! We laughed until we thought are hearts were in our throats. There were never two people more in love, more contented with each other…

Obviously we got a pretzel, Joseph slid his card and I ate the pretzel, and it was… delish! When I asked for a second, Joseph told me I was getting fat. I loved that he had the nerve… but I told myself “this is just his way of saying sweetheart I am going to feed you later.”

Walking along State street later that night in my checkered dress and heels, I smiled feeling my hand in Joseph’s. This time I was on to him. He was taking me dancing at the Jazz it up Studio! What else was there on State Street that Joseph would have asked me to dress up for? Gourmet Pizza? I only believed that for five minutes. But as he were running along, laughing; both of us laughing at how clueless I was, I knew where ever we were going it would be magical. Everything with Joseph was.

Abruptly, with a lurch, he pulled me into the archway of a restaurant. I almost lost a shoe as I pulled back, still insisting that he was taking me dancing. Gently, he tucked my hand under his arm and we walked into the Farm. The smell of fuccacia bread, wine, and other rare artisan food made me shy. I had always wanted to go there, but never thought I’d be the lovely lady on her escort’s arm. Joseph had known that somehow; somehow he knew how to read the most private thoughts of my heart. A waiter received us with a splash of his charming personality, escorting us to the reserved table in the back. My eyes were dancing and I had a sweet impulse to laugh. I had never known a waiter to be so happy to see me. He called me “my lady”? I looked at Joseph as we walked to our table… never have a seen a man so unsurprised, non-pulsed, or so happy.

It was the tablecloth that made me stop suddenly. The blue, lacy, silk tablecloth. My heart turned inside out… and I blinked, feeling the tears. Biting my lip, I smiled in shock, disbelief. Whatever is was it was a holy emotion. I was captivated by this man’s love. He had bought my table clothe… the blue one!

When he finally got me in my chair, I did what we girls should never do. I asked him if he was going to propose to me. Yes, I did. And here is were any writer would hash out an alternate chapter, because you can’t have your characters blowing the top of the kettle and calling it black! But I did.

Joseph’s response:

“Do I have to have a reason to simply bless you?” There. magic. Art. The mind of a man who suggests another idea like a magician would palm a card… and I believed him! And as I now know, it was better that way. Now I ALWAYS believe him.

With the scents of vintage pop, filet mignon, and spiced vegetables lingering on our clothes, we walked along the path at Prospect Park. The night stars looked like they were as happy as we were. When you came to our bench at the Overlook, I sat down and just starred up into Joseph’s face. That’s when he set the box in my hands… It was more like a chest really. The words Live, Laugh, Love were written across the top in silver. A picture of Joseph and I at Knotts berry farm smiled back at me, and on either side of that picture were two others. Profile pictures. Gorgeous profile pictures of both of us. Then there were these locks. That’s when I felt the cold from my necklace, and I pulled out my keys from Korea! Smiling triumphantly at Joseph, I started to unlock the first lock. And it didn’t work… well, that was lame. He smiled at me like I was the cutest thing in the world and unlocked the lock with a key he had. So, that was his lock, then I understood and unlocked mine.

Opening the box, I found my shoe set inside. Joseph took my “glass slipper”… and after pulling off one of my converses, slipped my Cinderella shoe onto my left foot. He opened his mouth to say something romantic like “It’s a perfect fit,” but he laughed instead, saying “It’s too big.”  I had never thought of that. Why would I leave the guy I wanted to marry with a shoe that was too big!?

There were other treasures in the box.

Happy pills. A medication bottle with lemon drops and a label that read, “Happy Pills; use as directed.” It was the first thing Joseph ever gave me. I went through two bottles in twenty minutes.

A Tangled figurine. Tangled was our first movie together… and ever since Joseph calls me his Rapunzel.

A miniature buzz. Jeff Dewitt gave Joseph buzz lightyear candy, and Joseph spent the whole day in the office flicking it at me!

A family of Moose. My favorite beast is a moose, and I had made a bad habit of asking Joseph for one that could be a house pet. So, he cured me once and for all with Bullwinkle, Blossom, Buckwheat, and Brynberry.

Then there was the seal that he thought was an otter… cutest thing, Joseph not knowing the difference between a seal and an otter.

Of all the gifts that told our story in the box, the rose perfume, and the dried flowers were the sweetest. The Rose perfume was Joseph’s favorite scent in the whole world… and he would always call me his rose. And, the dried flowers were a surprise to me. I had last seen them on the stage at LifeHouse when I left them there for a friend’s memorial service. He picked them up and saved them. For three months he had saved them, and never breathing a word. When I took them out of the box, he had asked me if I knew what they were from. I shook my head, crying after he told me.

That’s when I found the ring box. Cherry wood in the shape of a heart… the mind doesn’t know how to feel. Emotion becomes impossible to describe at this point. All I know is, as Joseph slipped the ring on to my finger I knew I was incandescently happy and even though I couldn’t remember what he had said as he proposed, I knew that my answer was YES!

So there we were, caught up in each-other’s arms as Joseph spun me around. And there I was with a ring on my finger, and on one foot was a converse and on the other a white heel that had always been too big.

Chapter Eight

The Wedding(to be continued)

The love story of Joseph Daniel Kibler and Charity Fay Beck“A country singer once said it best…
God bless the broken road that led me straight to you.”What is forever? Only God can create it and only God can understand it… He didn’t mean for us to die. He didn’t mean for love to die. If our love story can teach you anything, let it remind you that love is forever.ForwardFour years ago, I was walking down the hallway of an airport with my family. There beside me was my Cowboy Uncle Greg, grinning that they had the Beck woman back in Colorado. I’ll never forget what he said when I threw my arms around him.
“Girly, there’s some son of a gun out there… and he’s looking for you!”
I laughed, “I pray that he is!”
Still Grinning, my Great Uncle said, “Jesus knows, and… one day he’ll be right here with ya!”
“Oh! He’s with me right now!”
The color drained from Uncle Greg’s face and every Beck in that hallway stopped and stared at me… And I began to wonder what I had said.
“We were talking about Jesus, right?”My family still laughs at me for this one. I just naturally assumed that the answer was always Jesus!
What I would discover four years later was that it is.
Entry One
I ran into the office throwing off my book bag and falling into my chair. My hair was up… and, God help me, messy, but I was there and ten seconds ahead of being late. Back home, the kitchen was clean and that’s all that mattered. Really, it was all that mattered. I wouldn’t allow myself to think about my Grandma dying or the  hard conversation I had with her earlier that week. I didn’t want to think about my failure to trust my Dad when I knew that was what I should be doing. I didn’t want to think past the few hours in the office I would have; those few hours where I could lose myself in booking seats and laughing over a patron’s story… or where I would be loved by Debbie Rao and Dianna Powell.There! With a few brisk motions, I had straightened up my desk. That’s when I found a medication bottle, labeled “Happy Pills,” with the instruction to “Use only as directed.” I ran into Debbie’s office, laughing, thinking she had put the little bottle there! She was holding her own though. That’s when I realized the young man in the office… and he was laughing at me!
Opening the bottle, I through a handful of lemon drops into my mouth! When I was a child… I would sneak lemon drops out of Mom’s purse. Hugging the bottle to my heart, I thanked the young man for the gift. He shook his head, still laughing and went to his laptop case and pulled out another bottle, saying, “Just for you. Although, I’m not sure I should be supporting this habit.”
I wish I could tell you that those happy pills were the reason why I fell in love him… but it wasn’t. In fact, I was so very far removed from being in love. So very far.
The young man in the office that day was a sweet, blue eyed, man named Joseph. I had met him before. It was February of 2010, when he came into LifeHouse for a staff meeting. It was my first day behind the desk after two weeks of internship, and he hardly seemed to notice me. Andrew Strachen introduced us, while Joseph was filling his plate with the staff dinner our kind employer had provided… and that was it. A nod, a smile… a hello.
But what makes me laugh now is what I didn’t know. Joseph has since told me, “I had him from hello.”
Entry Two
I put my head down on the steering wheel, “Why am I here, Lord?”
I was parked in front of Coffee Bean in down town, Redlands. I had made a habit of going there a couple hours before work every Tuesday to read my Bible, to write, and simply to find someplace to hide. But I wasn’t the only one who had made Coffee Bean trips on Tuesdays a habit.
As I opened the door and walked in the shop I knew he would be there. Joseph Kibler got up and motioned me towards his table, smiling. He was always smiling. And what was worse, it made me smile… and then I just hated myself for sitting there smiling at him… like, well, like I was in love with him or something. Which I wasn’t! No… that was irrational and I would have to be desperate to fall in love with a perfectly good friend!But then, there he was… with his own stack of journals and such scattered all over the table. I always felt like I was disturbing him. He would put his books away and pull out two apples and peanut butter sandwiches. He WAS always trying to feed me.
Today, I pulled out my own Bible and started to share with Joseph what I had been reading. 1 Corinthians 7.
“I think I want the gift of singleness,” I began, “No, I am sure I want it!”
Joseph took the Bible out of my hand and closed it. He smiled down at me like he always did.
“No, I don’t think that’s for you.”

This was a typical Tuesday and how I became best friends with Joseph Kibler.
Entry Three
“I saw your ride, Joseph Kibler. Using a tow truck again?”
Yes, I saw his ride and a perfect opportunity to get a few things out in the open. Joseph was stranded at LifeHouse in need of a ride and who was going to give him a ride? I volunteered.
So, occupying the table and chairs in front of the Barnes and Noble of the Citrus Plaza, I just went ahead and said it, “You have to promise me you wont fall in love with me.”
Needless to say, the promise I got out of him was far from satisfactory. So, while I plotted to convince him he “wasn’t” in love with me… he sat back and let me do it!
I suppose Jane Austin said it best, “She is so very much preoccupied by the idea of not being in love with him, that I should not wonder if it were to end with her being so at last.”
If I had been able to look ahead four months… there I would be again, sitting in front of Barnes and noble in the very same chair I had sat in that day, crying… because I was so in love!

Entry Four
Driving away from the Spaghetti Factory on October 8th, I found myself sitting at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf once again… with Joseph Kibler. I had spent the morning ignoring him at Debbie Rao’s Birthday brunch, and now, I was being… civil. And yes, that’s why the girl who didn’t want to fall in love found herself going along with Joseph to one of the sweetest, most magical parks in Southern California; a park surrounded by orange groves and roses, where children dress in play clothes and sweethearts sip wild cherry pop on picnic blankets.
Joseph led me to the top of Prospect Park where there was a rail and wild flowers. We sat under it… but remember, the answer for everything is Jesus and so I left plenty of room for him… between us!
Looking out over the Orange groves, he pointed out the mountain where he lived and told me all about Green Valley Lake and his cabin there beside the lake. The blue sky started to stream into a river of color as the sun began to set. And, I remember thinking how hard it was not to fall in love with a man like him. That’s when he really threw me. He stopped talking about Green Valley Lake and said, “If you are worried about me kissing you. I would never do that.  At least, not unless I was going to marry you.”
Biting my lip to keep from laughing, I tried to think how Jane Austin might have replied.
“Joseph Kibler,” I began, “I think to highly of you to ever marry you.”
But maybe Jane wouldn’t have said that, because… it didn’t work. Three months and twenty one days later, in that very spot… I sort of got engaged. Ha, ha.
Entry Five
“Charity Beck, just let me love you.”
His words went to my heart and left me tortured. I was sitting beside him in Yucaipa’s Starbucks; sitting there because he had asked me to come. Earlier that day, he found out that one of my dearest friends had died. He called me to say he was there for me and invited me to Coffee. And I went, but I sat there, and wouldn’t let him in. I wouldn’t share my heart’s pain. It was a tortured emotion somewhere between forced peace and a chosen chaos. What Joseph didn’t know was that while I was grieving my friend’s suicide, I was also grieving my Grandma’s death, my father’s heartache, and my own broken heart. Nothing had ever felt worse than those emotions! I knew how to be strong and not let anyone in… but Joseph wasn’t letting me anymore! He was asking for me to let him into my very broken heart… and I wasn’t ready to give that to him.
“Let me love you,” he said it and took my hand.
Across the room, my youngest sister Elizabeth was watching us while pretending to read a book, and Tori was stepping out of the shop with a smile and a raised eyebrow. I pulled my hand away.
“Friends don’t hold hands.”
Joseph took my hand again, “Yes they do.”
That’s when I realized how desperately I needed him to hold my hand, and to never let go.
Entry Six
The pink roses looked so lovely in my room; growing from the rich brown soil in their pot, they lifted their small heads up to smile at me. Joseph. Why did he give me these roses? Why had he been there for me at all?
The night before, he had found me crying outside of the LifeHouse studio. Somehow he knew where I would be. And, he came and sat down beside me on the curb and listened to me; he listened to me rage and grieve and… break. And he just… loved me when I couldn’t. I hated the selfish choices I had made that had kept me from being there for the one friend who needed me most. But Joseph would stop showing me love… and I knew he never would.
Entry Seven
Mom was leaning over what looked like 100,000 piece puzzle and I was trying to point out that it was the perfect metaphor for my life; there were more pieces than I knew what to do with and the only ones that made sense were the three that I had in front of me, 3 of 100,000. I glared at the pieces and Mom laughed… sagely. I hate it when she does that.
“What about Joseph, Charity?”
“Joseph being the person I have a strictly ‘professional’ relationship with?”
She laughed again.
“You are precious to him, Charity. Everyone sees it, but you. You need to be honest with him—”
“That’s exactly what I have been doing!”
“And with yourself.”
I looked at my Mom. How could she know that I was lying to myself?
What she said next changed my life forever.
“Whatever you choose, the choice is yours. But if you can’t love him. He needs to know that. But know that the friendship you enjoy with him now will have to change drastically. It’s not fair to him.”
“I know, but what if—”
“Charity, you keep saying what if… but why don’t you try living in what is.”
Entry Eight
I stood in front of my brother’s apartment door with Joseph beside me. Before knocking I made sure he knew that, “You are here to be my brother’s special friend, not mine.”
It was a Sunday night and John had called me and asked me to bring a friend over. I called Joseph because I needed a man to walk me to John’s apartment from the street that late at night.
Joseph was as always nonpulsed by my request that he be “someone else’s” special friend. We went in and I don’t understand a thing of what happened after that! My brother really liked him and before I knew it John and I were telling old stories and reliving a childhood I had forgotten. Leah, my brother’s fiance, was laughing at all of us, and Joseph… made it all so magical.
The evening ended with John composing a song for me on his guitar called, “The last creature at the zoo.” And… the name has stuck. Thank you big brother!
Joseph walked me back to my car, and I found it harder than ever to say goodbye to him; To look into his eyes and not tell him the truth of what I felt.
Entry Nine
“Charity, don’t ever give me your heart. It belongs to Jesus.”
I listened to the alarm clock on my sister’s phone go off in her bedroom… for the second time. I had been awake for hours trying to understand what Joseph had said to me a few nights before.
Maybe he was right. We girls are so busy about putting our hearts in the hands of man after man without realizing we do it. And each time, we hope they won’t break it, but they always do. Maybe they don’t know how to hold our hearts. Maybe all they know how to do is learn to know our hearts and to love our hearts… to see our hearts. Maybe they were meant to hold our hands and let Jesus hold our hearts.
I got out of bed and fumbled with a tea shirt I had got at Victoria Gardens. It was Yellow with a script across the front that read, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I loved that shirt.
Hannah Jannett and Joseph had come out that day to be with my family and I when I got it. Hannah wanted to know who the boy with me was. I quickly told her that Joseph wasn’t with me. She laughed. Why did she laugh?

It was October 25th. Charlie’s memorial would be at three. I had decided last night that I was going to wear the yellow shirt today. I felt that Charlie would want me to wear it. Deep down inside, I wished I could have been the change he needed to see in the world… and I still wish I had been.
Entry Ten
“Hey Chair.”
I turned to see my friend Taylor Joseph in the parking lot. He was going to lead the ceremony for Charlie. Oh, how I love Taylor… but sometimes he asks me to do what I think I can’t. That’s why I found myself reading 1 Corinthians 13 for the service… and why I finally let everyone in, and spoke from my heart there in LifeHouse theater in front of so many people, all of them, my loved ones… even Joseph.

Earlier, when Joseph had come in with my Dad and sat right down with him… I remember thinking, “No you didn’t.” But there he was and Dad was all buddy-buddy with him. Joseph and my Dad had been spending time together? Evil Joseph. I decided that I hated him. In fact, in weeks previous I had frequently told him, “I hate you,” but he would always respond with his nonpulsed, “How much?”

Hate is a tricky emotion. If felt too strongly it quickly becomes something else all together.
After ignoring Joseph the whole service, I was walking out to the car when I saw Mom and my sister’s already occupying the vehicle that was pulling out onto Church street headed to the LifeHouse studio for Women’s Bible Study! Joseph was at her car window saying good bye, arranging to “go ahead and drive me over, himself,” and I thought excuse me! Now my whole family is in on this! And you think your going to do what!!! I looked for Daddy, but he had already left… So, I rode with Joseph.
Strange things were happening in my heart… I knew that I loved him. And when he told me that he had asked my Dad’s permission to pursue me… I was both happy and afraid. But then… you know that peace you can’t understand… it just washed over my heart and for five glorious seconds I was brave enough to believe I could love this man… and after those five glorious seconds passed, I knew I could.

The Dream we all share: and the desire in each of us…
The joy of a commitment without fear, the peace of a love without guilt, and the hope of a lover who gently understands where we fail and graciously loves us anyways.

A year ago, when I sat down and wrote out all the things I desired in the Love of my life, I was told, “It’s like you think some one out there is Jesus! Sorry sweetheart, you’re not going to find a guy like this.” But that’s exactly who I found, someone like Jesus…


Believes in a lasting legacy of forgiveness.

Who is always telling me and showing me that he loves me.

Who has the strength of a selfless and gracious leader and who is someone I can follow.

Who knows how to comfort and address with gentleness the fears and forebodings of my heart and constantly reminds me of how God sees me.

Who corrects in a non-condemning manner and who listens, cares, and responds with fairness.

Who can show me vulnerability and give me an open door to his heart.

Someone who strongly and deeply honors and loves God.

Someone who desires to live out the same kind of selflessness Christ lived out; who knows how to both live and die for others.

Some one who believes in hope and beauty.

…where ever you are in your own love story, don’t let love die… and let Jesus be the answer.

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