Alright, all you patient people, here it is - James & my "once upon a time..."! So get comfortable and grab a box of tissues...or a box of chocolates, cause you're about to hear my favorite love story of all time! :)
It was March 27th, a Sunday, when I first saw James. He was visiting my ward with his sister Liz for Easter Sunday. Liz and I had been asked by Sister Larsen, the teacher of the Temple class, to share our testimonies, since we had both recently received our temple endowment. Thus, James was also in attendance in that class.
I remember seeing him and thinking, "That has to be Liz's brother! Wait a minute...Liz is awesome, I bet he's awesome, too... Hm, he's cute!" After Liz and I bore our testimonies and love of the temple, Sister Larsen opened it up for anyone else. James bore his own beautiful testimony of the temple and thus...my first impression of him was..."Spiritual? Check. RM? Check. Loves Gospel? Check." :) Not a bad way to start.
I found out later that I wasn't the only one running a secret "date inspection" in that Sunday school class. Liz apparently had mentioned to James that she wanted to set him up with me. In Sunday school she nudged him when I came in - "That's Lindsay." So, the next day Liz got my approval and my number to pass on to James and on Wednesday James called me. By week's end we had been on two dates and I was feeling great about "Liz's brother."
Well, let's just say that James wasn't as "gung ho" as early on in our relationship as I was. He took some convincing...some "chasing" if you will. I attribute it to the fact that, at BYU, where James goes to school, there is an abundance of beautiful, awesome and spiritually-founded young women to date (guys, too), and thus, unfortunately I feel like the general population have gotten fairly comfortable that there will always be someone "bigger and better". At least, James agrees, that this is the case with some, if not most.
So, that said, it wasn't till late May, when James got back from a tour in Russia with a BYU folk dance group, that James and I went out again. Though, I should mention that he called me the day after he got home and we went out that night ;)
(James and some of his friends from "Living Legends" - the folk dance group at BYU)
After some more casual dating on his end and some more casual chasing on my end, James invited me for a weekend at his friends' cabin with a bunch of his buddies. By this time it was June and I, frankly, was sick of this "casual" thing. I knew that I liked him, we had spent nearly 4 days a week every week with each other, and I was either wanting to move forward or to stop wasting each others time. I was never very bold in dating before, but I knew that with James I could and should be as open and honest as I he would be with me, so I basically said, "I can find happiness with or without you, but I need you to make a decision." I know. I surprised myself, too...but it worked ;)
The next night at ward FHE (Yes, I was lucky enough to have James in my ward for the whole Summer! Tender mercy!) I determined to just be me, not focus too much on James, and just enjoy everything and everyone. When the night was over, I left James with nothing but a brief and polite wave and a "see you later." He caught up to me in the parking lot and we talked...for two hours. He said he still wanted to date me, thought I was awesome, etc. which satisfied me enough that I decided to accompany him to his friends' cabin for the weekend.
After that beautiful weekend of relaxation, games, laughter and fun with all of James' awesome friends and plenty of flirtation between James and me...he held my hand and asked me to be his girlfriend. And, you can guess that without any hesitation at all, I said yes.
Since that point James and I have been pretty into each other :) It was such a blessing to have the Summer together. Seeing each other nearly every day, our relationship was able to move along fairly quickly. A month later, we found ourselves sitting on his parents' front lawn in Nevada, looking at the stars on the Fourth of July and exchanging a first kiss and our first "I love you"s. Giddiness and butterflies and happiness, I tell you what :) Haha, ok, I promised myself I would limit the "mushy" stuff.
(James and I in his parents' front yard...and the spot where we smooched ;)
I can't even express how grateful I am and how blessed I feel that Heavenly Father would orchestrate such a beautiful relationship in my life and introduce me to such a remarkable young man. James and I find ourselves saying often, "Heavenly Father must really love me."
Not only have we found every crucial thing we've ever needed in a future spouse, but Heavenly Father has lovingly allowed us to have some of the "Would Like to Have's", too. For instance, James can cook, he can dance, he's thoughtful and romantic, he supports my love for Harry Potter and allowed me to convert him and bring him to the pre-screening of the last movie, his smile makes me melt and he served an LDS mission in ITALY!! - thus he speaks Italian, shares my love for everything Italian and, best of all, he wants to take me there :) For James, well, he happens to love the fact that I can sing. In fact, I invited him to my vocal recital (where I sang in Italian, too) and he said that when he heard me sing he melted and realized a whole new depth to me that he really enjoys. So, guys and gals, it never hurts to magnify your talents ;)
Next up: The Proposal :) Stay tuned.