PictureThis is the first picture of us on record!
We were so excited to see so many people come and read our first post about the Faith section of the blog. Thanks for being interested in our crazy life! The next area of the blog we would like to explain is Love of Family. I will actually be writing this in four parts. We will put lots of things in this section about our family life. Recipes, food preservation, interesting stories, funny pictures, and many other things will be discussed in this section. But the first four posts in the Love of Family part of our blog will be introducing our family. The first part is a love story….

Bubba has named a syndrome that a lot of women have. More than likely, there’s already a name for it. Nevertheless, he says that many women have what he affectionately calls “Romantic Novel Syndrome.” Basically, he’s talking about how women or young girls read books like the Twilight Series, or a Christian romance, or old school Fabio books, or even watch chick flicks. Then, they base their view of how all men should treat women on these fictional “men.” Sadly, because of this, many women end up never loving their husbands as they should, and young girls are disheartened when their boyfriend’s world does not completely revolve around the girl and their relationship. But you know, there are still some pretty amazing love stories out there! I happen to think mine is one of them….

It was August of 2005 in Magnolia, Arkansas. You could fry an egg on the asphalt. And there were a bunch of people wandering around a field in the middle of the day. What were those crazy people doing, you ask? Why, Southern Arkansas University Band Camp, of course! I (Ashley) had never marched in a band before. There were no marching bands in Alaska when I was growing up. Who wants to march in the snow!? But with it being so hot, I was burning up. I was a bit of a novelty coming from the north, and so many people wanted to talk to me. But honestly, all I could think was “Holy cow I’m hot, which foot goes first?”

Bubba happened to be one of those people to introduce himself to me. Once I was there for a few days and was able to work through the sweat without tripping all the time, I started to notice that tuba player that always came up to talk during breaks. Somehow, he got my phone number (he asked my RA, I’m pretty sure there are rules against that….) and we started dating almost immediately. We had an amazing few weeks. There was always an adventure when we were together. That is, until one day, he blurted out in the middle of our conversation, “God told me that I’m going to marry you.” Here’s a freebie, guys: If God tells you that you are going to marry a girl, don’t tell her after just a couple weeks. [Occasionally I will chime in on a blog that Ashley writes and vice versa. I just want to echo what she said here guys, not a good move to tell a girl that within a few weeks, even if God told you!]

So with that, I bowed out of the relationship. I wasn’t up for some crazy guy getting visions from God and wanting to marry me! I was only 18! However, I was passionately pursued (he used to sing the Veggie Tales song “Cheeseburger” to me all the time…). In fact, Bubba pursed me for almost 6 months. During this time we both grew exponentially closer to the Lord. Although I knew he wanted to get back together, I knew that I was done. In fact, I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to return to SAU after the first semester.

But I did. And I became very involved with the Baptist Collegiate Ministries (BCM) at our campus. It was hard to avoid Bubba there, because he lived there as the caretaker. Our friends were the same, our passions were becoming the same, and we were at a lot of the same events. In fact, over spring break of 2006, we both went on a mission trip together with the BCM to Helena, Arkansas.

The SAU BCM was not the only BCM on this mission trip. There were three or four other school’s BCMs there as well. And with other BCMs, come other Christian girls. At first I was relieved. I was hoping that Bubba would find some other girl to chase all week so I could focus on serving and learning. In fact, that’s exactly what he did. [That's not exactly how that went, but who was I to ignore a lady?] (He told me later that he prayed one night and just gave me up to God. If the Lord wanted us together, then He would have to do it because Bubba was done.) But as the attention started fading from me to some very sweet other girls, I noticed I felt uneasy. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. So I started praying. About three days into the trip I was praying about this uneasy feeling and realized with a gasp, “I’m JEALOUS!?!?!?!?!?” I know you aren’t supposed to use that many question marks and exclamation marks at once, but that’s really what it sounded like in my head!

So with great humility (and quite a bit of embarrassment…) I went to Bubba and told him how I was feeling. He graciously listened and said that we should talk about it when we returned from the trip. I was able to focus a little better the rest of the trip. At least when he wasn’t playing card games with all those girls….

It wasn’t long after we got back that we started dating again. But this time we both knew it was different. We weren’t dating just for fun. We were dating because we knew we wanted to pursue marriage. When my mom came down to SAU at the end of the school year we had been dating not quite two months, and all I had told my parents was that I was dating Bubba again. She called my dad and told him that wedding bells were in the near future. It was just obvious.

That summer was the longest summer of my life. Bubba had already made the commitment to serve at Trail’s End Ranch in Montana. And I already had plane tickets back to Alaska. We knew the summer would either make or break our relationship. Many letters were exchanged that summer. I wrote him over sixty letters. I think I got five! (I still have and cherish those letters.)

Once we got back in the same state in August, we both knew that we would get married as soon as we could. We patiently anxiously waited for December. My family was coming down for Christmas and it would be the first time Brandon would meet my dad… and ask him for my hand.

Brandon proposed on Christmas Eve of 2006 in my apartment. He had just started playing guitar and played and sang “My Last Name” by Dierks Bentley. I still cry every time I hear the song. We were married on the side of a mountain in Alaska six months later on June 4, 2007. We were both just babies at 20 years old. But we were in love and knew that God had plans for our life together.

Since our engagement we have poured our hearts into the ministry God has called us to as a team. I am so thankful for my husband. You have no idea. God wrote (and is still writing) our love story. And that’s better than any old romance novel.

Getting married on the side of Lazy Mountain.

Kent Holmes
10/01/2013 1:16pm

So glad God brought you two together and then eventually to Three Creeks. We love you both, and the boys, and wish you many more happy years together.

aunt donna
10/01/2013 1:24pm

Where was the tissue alert?? I so love this...my heart is singing!

Gene Gurley
02/15/2014 6:50am

I enjoyed reading your blog. I found it while I was looking for my son and daughter-in-law's blog by the same name. They are about your age (I think) and have a 2 yr old daughter, Lilly. In the small world dept, I lived in Shreveport when I was a little boy. I lived a few blocks from Capt. Shreve H.S. and watched them build it. I moved before I was in H.S. God bless you, your family and your ministry


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