I found an old slideshow Jake made for me when we were dating(I think he made it around 2012, we met somewhere halfway through 2009). It is so strange to look back at ourselves in college when we were growing up and getting to know each other. In each one of the photos he chose, it seems like I was a completely different person. Now, we have so many MORE memories together, and we have continued to constantly evolve and change. For me, if I look back at who I was as a child, or spend time with my family and reminisce, I realize that I am still that little girl. And when I hear childhood stories about Jake, I see he is the same as well. But when we look at our teenage and young adult memories, our experiences in life and as a couple, we have been in a state of constant change.
People change, but people stay the same.
My internal dialogue while watching this video:
I think he made the slideshow for an anniversary or holiday, and it contains a random mix of memories from the beginning of our story:
We used to go to Flying Saucer with different groups of friends. I knew some amazing people, from United Christian Fellowship. I met some new friends on campus and started seeing them around at parties and stuff, and it turned out they were Jakes closest friends. There was a house where members of UCF lived, and others would go there for birthdays and gatherings, and a few houses down, is where the new friends(Jakes friends) lived, or would gather for parties and celebrations.
We used to sit in one of our cars late at night on Nash Ave, where a lot of friends were conveniently centrally located sometimes, and we would plan to leave and go home, but always ended up talking and getting to know each other through lots of laughs and conversations.
It was there that we learned about each of our evolving and blossoming faiths, and our passions in life. I was the president of UNCC Earth Club and STAND the student led anti-genocide coalition, and my interests in sustainability and Africa intrigued Jake, who then ended up volunteering for a childhood best friends non-profit, doing sustainability projects around the world at orphanages and schools.
I was doing mission work in Mexico and Bolivia with orphaned and vulnerable youth, and Jake ended up going to Africa with the non-profit, and eventually we went to Africa together, Rwanda, Cameroon, Uganda. Now we have a childrens home and school in Uganda together, and a child on the way to our family.
We ended up also working with The Grove Church to start a Neighborhood After school Ministry, Jake was the administrator of this after school program, and I taught Green Art, and Seeds of Faith Gardening classes. It was a lot of work, but it was fun.
We were so young, we never realized how much energy we were blessed with back then! We both worked, he volunteered with the non-profit, I was heavily involved in 3 student orgs, had an internship with guardian ad litem senior year, and we still had time for parties with friends. It was nice to have community back then. And we still love those friends to this day, many were in our wedding. We would get done with classes, then get off work and gather at somebodys house(the pentagon, the ucf house, the batcave, the thicket of solitude, or where the sidewalk ends…) or head to flying saucer, or get in the back of a truck and go swim in Lake Norman. It sounds complicated and hectic, but those were truly simpler times.
In one of the pictures I was involved with a Darfur benefit concert for STAND and Jake came through on a break from work. I’m pretty sure that was our first picture together with just us. In another, we did a vegan bakesale/dvd sale in the student center to raise funds for the non-profit Jake was involved with, this was an interest to all my organizations, because 1) STAND is all about orphans and refugee children who have been affected by genocide, 2) Earth club was into supporting sustainable technologies, and I was service VP of a fraternity, APO, we dabbled in service hours for all types of events. Again, sounds like a bunch of chaos, but God was shaping us, individually and as a couple. Every one of these experiences rolled into our lifes purpose together. Now we fund raise and dedicate our life to our childrens home and our adoption, and we have our own ministry. Its funny how things all start to make sense. We were literally made for each other, and God molded us over and over so we could evolve, and we are still growing and changing for our future as a missionary family, serving the most vulnerable with The Most High God.
After I graduated, I moved to Noda with my BFF and we had a Fall Party complete with carving pumpkins, cider, and the chaos that young people create. You can see in the photo we dressed up as Jim and Pam from the office- This was convenient because all I did was print some name tags, which we inserted into our Neighborhood Afterschool Ministry badge holders, Jake came home from the church where he was working, and I came home from my internship at Guardian Ad Litem, added name tags and it was the best costume we ever had, much better than the other photo where we were out of ideas so I attempted a rockstar and he attempted a soccer player, and we looked ridiculous. I think that was the night where he asked to kiss me. All I thought about all night was kissing him, but then he asked (who asks?) and the awkwardness of the ask situation…. well let me just admit I said no and ran away and another year went by until he got that kiss. The Jim and Pam was our last and final Halloween Costume, the only one we did together. Halloween just seems too dark and random to us now. We like pumpkins, bonfires, and we celebrate the FALL season instead.
Isn’t it strange how one day someone is a stranger, then another day they are a close friend, and one day they are just… family. and its hard to see where it happened because it just… is. It is miraculous how God sets things up. Jake was a random person at UNC Charlotte, and now he is part of my original family, and we are creating a family together. Hes still Jake, but hes not the person he was. He isn’t even the same person I married. and I don’t even know who I am anymore! So basically marriage is committing to a persons ever evolving process alongside you. I guess? We have like 8 years of memories together now. You start to see the many facets of yourself and the other person. Jake is like a sibling to me(we scrap), a husband(we make up), a friend(we laugh and roast each other), hes a partner(working together on the house, the garden, the ministry, our family, and our adoption) and hes a great dad already( doin everythang for the kids, chocolate drop, the dogs and cats). It is truly a wild thing to behold.
My brain cant understand whats happening, hes a part of my past family, that has now expanded, and now Im a part of all his family, that has also expanded, and we are both an integral part of our future family together. Plus we have a big family in Uganda now. That’s a lot of family! We have a massive community of friends and family that spread over multiple continents. We are truly blessed. Get ready chocolate drop, there are a lot of people here ready to love you! : )
There were so many times I didn’t see how we could make it. Just look at us now. It is truly a wild thing to behold.