So how did I end up in Minnesota?
Remember America's Keswick, the Christian conference center I worked at in New Jersey? One of the summers I worked there, I met a very nice family - husband, wife and four sons. They had come to Keswick to work on staff. The husband had grown up in a family of 14 children on a dairy farm in southwest Minnesota. We connected right away because I'm the oldest of 12 (that's a post for another day). His four sons were the same age of some of my younger brothers. I became great friends with his family. I would babysit his boys sometimes. My homemade pizza was their favorite. He would keep my car running and tell wonderful stories about Minnesota. I even met his parents when they came to visit.
Once while we were talking, he told me about a nephew of his who was single and in the Navy. He also had been telling this nephew about me. He kept encouraging me to write or call him. I felt really uncomfortable doing that and figured that if God meant it to be, this sailor would make the first move and get in touch with me.
Well . . . he did. One night in August 1995, my telephone rang and it was "the nephew." We talked for a hour and a half that first night. We spoke on the telephone a few times in September, October and November. After Thanksgiving, we began to talk every night for an hour or more.
We had not exchanged pictures at this point, so I will never forget this gentleman telling me that he loved me. How could he? He didn't know what I looked like!
We sent each other pictures at Christmas that year. I remember coming home from work and seeing a box on my porch that I knew contained his picture and other gifts. My stomach went all funny as I opened it. I wondered, "What if I don't like what he looks like? What then?"
What I noticed first about him were his hands. They reminded me of my dad's hands. All in all, I thought he was pretty handsome. I asked him what he thought of my picture and he said his first thought was, "So this is what my wife is going to look like."
In January 1996 I flew to Minnesota to meet this handsome man and his family. His mother, after having known me for only an hour, said, "You are the woman I have prayed for for my son."
Vic flew to Virginia in February to meet my family and we saw each other a few other times that year. By this time, I knew Vic wanted me to marry him (he already had a ring), but I wasn't sure. I decided to move to Minnesota and did so in August 1996.
Vic proposed to me in September at a picnic under a big oak tree in the pasture of the farm he grew up on. We were married at Keswick on June 7, 1997.
Remember the uncle? At a farewell party thrown for me before I moved, he told me that when his parents had met me, they began praying that Vic and I would meet and get married. I had not know that and it was such a confirmation that God's hand was in our relationship.
As I once wrote in a poem about Grandpa and Grandma, it was through their prayers to heaven that I became Vic's wife. I often tell him that he is the perfect husband. He disagrees. Then I say, "Yes, you are. Only God could have brought us together and that makes you the perfect husband for me."