Our journey throughout our first year of marriage and our second deployment.

Our Love Story

David and I met when we were in high school, but hit it off his senior year and my junior year!  We were both in choir together, and he was the only Asian guy, so he stuck out! ;)  We sat by each other in mixed choir and throughout the year, he would do little things that my friend Stephanie SWEARS was his way of flirting with me!  He'd touch my hair and tell me I did a good job on certain things, nothing I thought too much of.  I also was dating another boy in mixed choir so I didn't think too much about it.  David and his family started attending my church, and so we spent more time together in youth group!  In February, I realized the guy I was with was SOO not going to cut it as what I wanted in my future husband and we broke up.  Prom was right around the corner and I didn't want to go with my ex, but I didn't want to go with a date either, I just wanted to have fun!  After lots of stressing and uncertainty, I pulled David aside and asked him if he wanted to go to the prom as friends! And he said that he was going with his sister's group of friends and if I didn't mind doing dinner with them, then he would love to go together! :)

Well, David will tell you that from the get-go he liked me!  I feel bad because it took much longer for me to realize what was right in front of me!  Any who!  We started hanging out more, sitting by each other on the way to contest, talking more in choir and after, hanging out before and after youth group, he even gave me a ride home one night.  I went on a jazz trip and he asked me to bring him something back.. so I got him Sarsaparilla's (an egg shaped candy) and a cute sheriff's tag with his name on it!  He loved it.  After my ACT's one Saturday, we had decided to go and pick out his tux.  He picked me up and we went to On The Border for lunch.  I ordered a kid's meal and we played the games on the menu.  Then we headed to Men's Warehouse to pick out his tux!  My dress was a coral pink and hard to match, but he left all the decision making up to me!  We went with a nice black tux, white shirt, and silver vest and tie!  Then, he asked to take me to the mall across the street.  We walked around for a few hours, just talking, and then we bought a pound and a half of chocolate covered cookie dough before we left and stopped by Sonic for some drinks.  When we got in to town, he took me by GameStop, where he worked, and introduced me to his friends. Then we went by my house and he met my family, they loved him!  And THEN, he asked me if I wanted to go see a movie, so we went and watched Miss Congeniality 2.. his pick! :)  We talked about the Army and him preparing to go to basic training after graduation and he mentioned that he thought if a couple made it through being apart during basic training, they could go through anything!  I thought at the time that he was talking about someone else... it took a lot of convincing to realize that this whole day was our first date! :)  The next day after church, David offered to drive me home and after a lot of words, he asked me to be his girlfriend!  :D We went to prom a few weeks later and had dinner at T K's with his sister and her friends, danced the night away at prom, and then went to one of our youth group friend's houses and watched Finding Nemo until 3 AM and went to church the next morning!

So, Prom came and went and graduation was around the corner.  But not before a few key events occurred!  One day after school, as had become usual, David and I were sitting in the choir room and talking!  He was laying on one of the risers and I was facing him.  I don't remember all of the words, but I do remember him telling me the most important words I could hear!  Just a few weeks after dating, David told me he loved me!  And I loved him back!  I know it's crazy, to think that after such a short time.. but we KNEW!  I knew then that no one would ever amount to half of what David was to me and that he was it!!  I knew, even though it wouldn't happen anytime soon, that the man in front of me would be my husband someday.  I just didn't know the crazy route it would take!

A few weeks later, we went with our youth group to a Toby Mac concert!  It was our first trip together!  We stopped at McDonald's on the way and it just didn't settle with me, so as soon as we got to the concert, David got me some water and took care of me!  It was so sweet!  If you don't know, David has hearing loss in both his ears, and concerts are hard for him to deal with.. but we sat through the concert and he held me and made sure I felt alright.  Also, take note that before this night, David and I only held hands.. no making out.. none of that!  Holding hands and even that took awhile! ;)  The first time he tried to hug me, I thought he was giving me high-fives... just to let you know what it was like! LOL!  Any way, after the concert, we had a Walmart run and I got ice cream and soup at hand.  I remember sitting in the doorway of my room back at the hotel and just talking with David.  We went on a walk with my friends and I warmed up my soup, but as we got to the end of a hallway, David pulled me back and we let my friends keep going.  We stood looking out a window at the airfield close by and watching planes take off and land.  David was holding me in his arms and I KNEW that this was probably going to be our first kiss but I was SOO nervous! I turned around to face him, and we held hands, swinging them between us.  Gosh, I couldn't breathe!  I was about to say goodnight when he asked if he could give me a goodnight kiss and I said "Yes!"  :D  Needless to say, I didn't go to sleep for awhile after that!!

 So, then graduation came and went and David was on his way to Basic and AIT.  I had a busy summer full of church camps, band camp, and getting ready for my senior year! While I was at band camp (I got to go up early because I was a captain) I started feeling just really weird! My teeth would chatter, but I'd be burning up and my ears would be purple. I couldn't keep anything down and one night, I had to be carried to my room because I was so close to passing out.  My mornings were fine, but in the afternoon and evening, I would lose it.  My counselors and directors actually thought I was faking it all and got mad at me.  But, when I got back home and went to the doctor, we discovered I had a NASTY case of Mono. I know what you're thinking... NO I did not cheat on David or kiss any other boys.  But, I had mono. The week before we started marching band of my senior year.  Suck.  

I sat out the first day, unaware of what my body could handle physically, but I didn't want to miss a moment of my last year in marching band and my only year enjoying it with my sister.  So, I pushed myself and never missed a rehearsal or practice!  But it took months for me to recover and Sundays were my only day not to have to do anything, so I would crash and get ready to give it all the next day!  We went to Grand Nationals, the biggest competition in America for HS Marching band, and for the first time, my high school placed in the finals.  So, it was all worth it... but I'm getting ahead of myself!  

I missed David's graduation because of school and band.  But, on my 18th birthday, he came home from AIT and surprised me!!! I was SOO excited to see him and to touch him, just to hear his voice!  So, he was able to be there for Senior Night for the band and for my birthday party!  He gave me a heffalump (inside joke) and around it's neck was a beautiful opal necklace!  I still have both of them and we're planning on having a Winnie The Pooh nursery someday so that we can use our stuffed animals!



While I was at Grand Nationals, David went to Hawaii to visit his brother and sister-in-law and help them move.  The time difference was crazy and our schedules didn't help much, but we were able to talk some over our trips.  When we got back, something happened and right before Thanksgiving 2006 we took a break, ending it a month later and officially breaking up before Christmas.  It was rough.  As his family will say, David was just being stupid! haha! So, we continued to see each other.. he'd come by the choir room during Mixed Choir with his ex-girlfriend, which KILLED me and embarrassed me in front of the whole rest of the choir who knew that story.  It was just weird being without him and not understanding why things were happening!  We'd been through so much and I would have sworn he was the one.  I had already asked him to be my date to senior prom and he said he'd still come, but that he was picking out his own tux.  I wore brown and gold and he wore black and silver... big clash.   

But, Prom was fun! We went with my friends, Holly, Jean, Bonnie and Chelsea and met up at a gorgeous garden to take pictures!

Bonnie, Chelsea and I all ended up marrying our Senior Prom Dates! :)

We went with a few of my friends and their dates to eat at Tei K's, the same place David and I had gone the year before.  At one point during dinner as I was tapping him to pass something down the table, he tried to hold my hand! It was just strange, but I tried not to think about it!  

We went to prom and took pictures and danced!  It was a blast!  

Towards the end, as we were dancing to a slow song, David was singing it to me and then he kissed my forehead, although he denied it for awhile!  NOT FAIR!!!  We spent the whole night holding hands and dancing close... :( It made me miss him.  

When prom was over, it was raining outside and the line of cars to pick up their dates was ridiculous!  So, I hiked up my dress, and ran to David's car in my stiletto heels! :)  We went to go bowling and I changed in the back of the car, and after a few games with Bonnie and Holly, we went to Bonnie's house and watched War Of The Worlds.  David had drill, and so when my alarm went off at 6 we were the only ones sitting on the couch and he was holding me... Confusing much?!

Prom was amazing, but after that, we didn't really hang out or talk much!  He got me a PS2 for a graduation present and he found me after my graduation to give me a hug and say congratulations.  But after that, there were, yet again, church camps, band camps, we went with our HS band to Chicago for our yearly trip, and then Bonnie and I went to Chicago a month later with Baptist All-State.  The summer was crazy busy!  And before I knew it, I was off to college.  OBU! :)  David was attending a college not far from there, but we didn't really talk much during that time.  I was trying to figure out who I was as a person and what I wanted to do with my life.  I would go and visit friends, and when I was there, I would call him and we would say "hi", but it was always kind of weird. 

We made it through our first full year in college. Gosh a lot happened!  But, when David left for AT the Summer of 2007, we started talking again.  So, yeah!  We got back together and couldn't see each other for about 2 weeks, but it didn't matter!!  We spent the summer hanging out and going on dates! 

I watched his family's house while they went on their yearly trip to Colorado and in the middle of the night, a spider bit me on my eye ball... yeah! GROSS!! I had an allergic reaction and spent a few days passed out on meds.  They got home and it was time for us to go back to school, but we were sure we'd make it work! 

I went to visit him when I could and we talked on the phone when we were free.. but something ended up happening.  It just wasn't working and we both knew it.  So, we broke up again in September.  

A lot of things changed that semester for me.  I transferred schools, chopped all my hair off, put a bleach streak in.. it was crazy.  And switching schools was hard, but I started to adjust.  As I was going to District Convention for Kappa Kappa Psi in April of 2008, I got a text from David.  Something was up and despite finals week being around the corner for him, he was going home to talk to his parents about something important and was going to call me soon to talk.  I was worried, but couldn't have imagined what was coming.  

I got a call in the middle of rehearsal a few days later and David told me he was being transferred to another unit and deploying with them in June.  I can't even begin to describe the thoughts that ran through my head.  He came to visit me at school the next weekend (he'd never come to visit me at school before) and we went for a drive around the town.  It was so much fun to just hang out, it felt so natural!  We went off-roading and then decided to go by his grandparent's house before going to see his sisters and their husbands.  We had dinner with them and stayed for awhile playing games. It was a big couples night, although we weren't a couple... yet.  David drove me back to my dorm and on the way we talked about the deployment, how he felt, what he thought... I was just scared and uncertain of what was going to happen.  When he dropped me off, he gave me a long hug and then left.

As finals got closer, David and I started talking more and he asked if we could hang out when I came back home.  I was so excited, I didn't even unpack my car.  I pulled up and jumped into his Montero and we went to see my Mom and brother at our HS's baseball game. 

We stayed there for a little while and then went to the mall nearby before deciding to have dinner and go see "What Happens In Vegas".  Again, didn't know it was a date.. but I got the hint after he paid for our tickets and for our dinner.  We were sitting in the car waiting until it was time to go in for the movie and David started talking.  I will never forget this conversation!  He told me that he had spent a lot of time trying to figure out his life and figure out what he wanted to do and where he needed to be, but that all along, he should have realized the common piece was me.  He said I was the one piece of the puzzle that would always be there and without that piece, his puzzle couldn't fit together.  He apologized for everything we had gone through and said that he wasn't expecting us to get back together, especially with him deploying, but that he loved me and wanted me to be happy.  :D  I mean, How could I resist?!  I've always loved him and always cared about him, even when things were difficult.. how could I just wait for him to get through the deployment and then date him?  I couldn't.  I wouldn't let him go through the deployment alone and I didn't want to spend another day not knowing or being without him!  The next month is a blur.  Things happened so quickly.  We fell right back in to the swing of things, it was just so easy, and then with the deployment getting closer and closer, neither of us really knowing what to expect.. it just made time fly by!  I was so thankful that David's brother-in-law and sister were going through the deployment too.. Esther knew so much and I just don't know how I would have made it through without her!

We spent as much time together as we could, and before we knew it, he was starting mobilization.  Thank goodness for my not knowing what to expect!!

I went to see him when I could!  We were able to spend 4th of July together and a few other weekends.  I was SUPER excited for when he came home on his 4-day pass!  While he was training, I moved in to my house where I was going to school and started getting ready for marching band and colorguard.  Auditions and band camp were the week of his pass.  I knew he'd be coming home on Friday, the 15th, and that on the morning of the 16th, he would be spending time with his Mom.  So, MY Mom called me up and asked to take my sister and I to get a manicure ("Because she wanted my nails to look pretty for my guard audition") and take us to lunch at Panera Bread (She does not like Panera Bread) since David would be with his Mom that morning.  I told her it would be fun!  I was in the shower a few hours later with shampoo in my hair and I started screaming!!  She KNEW something!!!  She wanted my hands to look pretty so that when I had pictures taken, they would look nice!!!! OMG I was so excited!! I called my friend over to help me pick out what to wear all weekend!!! 

So, we had our girls' morning.. she even sent me over to the salon to have my eyebrows waxed.  David didn't talk to me AT ALL that day... I knew we would be going on a date, but usually he sent me a text in the morning when he woke up.. nothing.  He didn't even respond when I said "Good Morning" and asked how his day was!! By 2:00, I still hadn't heard from him and I was upset!  I came home and started crying.. I was a bit emotional.. and then took a nap.  He called and woke me up at 4:00, saying he was sorry for not calling or texting and asking if I could be ready for our date by 5.  He said we had reservations!! OF COURSE!!!   He was going to ask over dinner!  We'd NEVER had reservations before.. OMG!! I jumped out of bed to get ready.  My Mom kept saying, "Why are you so excited, Sarah? You're acting giddy!"  Whatever, Mom... I know what you know! Ha! :) My parents went to my brothers football scrimmage, but told me to have fun!  

David picked me up at 5 and commented on my nails! ;)  He said our reservations were at 7, so we'd have to find something to do for two hours... ok! I can wait! :)  Well, that something to do ended up being us walking around the Rose Garden in the middle of August... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!  I mean, I know the Rose Garden is special for us.. we had prom pictures there, our last date before the mobilization.. but it's like 100 degrees outside, I'm in heels, my hair is down.. I'm going to get all sweaty and my make up will melt off before we even have pictures!! (This is all running through my head as we're walking around)  Well, THEN David starts wanting to stop and look at that field,.. WOW look at this fountain,.. let's go sit over there... ARGH!  

I'm thinking.. "Can we just get to dinner already?!?"  Finally, I had enough and I was going back to the air-conditioned car.  David CHASED me through the garden, trying to get me to stop and look at this, or stop and look at that, or let's sit on this tall bench.  FINALLY, he grabs me and says "We can't leave yet.. I have an important question to ask you!" He grabbed my hand and spun me around, pulling a little pouch out of his pocket and said "Sarah Rachel... (as he got down on one knee) Will you marry me?"  It took me a few seconds to answer.. I wasn't expecting it AT ALL,.. not there at least and I was putting all the pieces together.. and then, after a few seconds of complete shock, I said "YES!" I was so excited, I couldn't stop smiling or looking at him!  I didn't call my parents for a little while because I wanted to soak in the moment, but we finally called them and told them! :) They all knew of course! We went to eat at Red Lobster ( we didn't have reservations, David just needed a blocked time) and then raced home to see our family!  We stopped by my house first ..

Then we went to see Esther and Caleb (David's sister and brother-in-law who were going through the deployment as well) and Esther asked about the wedding band.  David said "We have to talk about that."  I wasn't expecting a wedding band because the ring was FREAKIN' HUGE!!! But then, I was afraid it was too much and that's why we would have to talk about the wedding band... I would have been fine with a simple solitaire.. or even just a string.. I really didn't care! Caleb, of course, was oblivious and asked if we were having a band at the wedding!! HAHA!! :)  Gotta love him!   We went to see the rest of David's family next and found out the whole story from that day.  David had asked my Dad for his permission a few times over the summer.  My Dad said "No" and to wait a few times, and a month before his pass, my Dad said "Yes!"  David met with my Dad that morning at Cracker Barrel for breakfast (David ate a quarter of his pancakes)  and then he went with his Mom to look at rings.  I had gone with Esther to look at rings a few weeks back (we'd been talking about marriage since we got back together) and Esther knew what I liked.  But, she was going to be with Caleb that day, so she took my other sister-in-law, Aimee to see the rings I liked.  Well then, Aimee had friends come stateside from Hawaii, so she went to visit them.  Sarah B. had also gone with me to look at rings, so she came in to town early to meet up with David and his Mom and show them the rings... it was all kind of crazy!  After looking at a few jewelers, they went to lunch to try and figure out which one David wanted to get (again, David didn't eat much and the waiter thought David was upset with his order)!  Haha!  He was so hungry after he finally asked me.. poor guy! :)  We spent awhile visiting, and then I headed home to call some friends, and the guys in David's family all went to watch the late-night races.  My whole family and his whole family were getting together to have lunch the next day after church. 

The next morning, I asked David about the wedding band and he said that we would talk about it later.  Ok! We all sat down to dinner and in the middle of eating, David got up.  I figured he was just going to the bathroom... but then he came back in and said "Now that everyone is here, can I give her the second part?... (There's a SECOND PART?!).  He pulled a red bag from behind him and opens it to show me the wedding band.   It was gorgeous and was like a taco for my engagement ring!  BEAUTIFUL!!!

I had to go back to school that night, but David came down and stayed with a friend the next night and we spent as much time together as we could!

The week went by so fast, and then he was off to Iraq.  Marching band and Kappa Kappa Psi kept me busy... that and wedding planning of course!  But, due to several things, I decided to stay home in the Spring of 2009.  We had changed our wedding from December of 2009 to August and I was trying to get that all taken care of, and I was also trying to decide whether or not I wanted to continue in music.  David came home in February for his leave!  

I went with his Mom and Dad and picked him up at the airport and we met some of his family at Panera for lunch and spent the day at his house.  At around 8, we went to my house to see my family.  Mom had just gotten home from a busy day at her school and we sat around the table laughing and talking for awhile.  David and I decided to go on a drive and have some alone time... we'd been with people all day.  I couldn't believe how things had changed so drastically from the year before, but nothing prepared me for that night.  I hadn't even parked the car when my brother called me.  He told me to get home right away, that Mom had fallen and wasn't responding.  I thought it was all a bad joke and I was a little ticked.  But as we got closer to the house, fear started to take over.  My sister, Tristen, was standing in the front door.  She was on the phone and had tears running down her face.  She was upstairs washing her face (Dad and Alex were in bed) when she heard my Mom fall and heard "the death gurgle".  She yelled for my Dad and brother and tried to flip Mom over to give her CPR.  Alex put the dogs in my parent's room and Tristen called 911 and walked my Dad through the proper steps of CPR.

 I pulled up right in front of the ambulance and fire truck.  I was running around the side of the house and screaming for her to tell me what was going on when I got to the front walk and saw my Mom laying on her back in the entry way and my Dad doing CPR.  I dropped to the ground and lost it.  Tristen and Alex came outside as the paramedics went in and I tried to pull it together to make sure they were ok.  We hugged and cried, prayed and I told them it would be fine.  David and I took turns holding Alex and Tristen.  It seemed like the paramedics were inside for hours, but it had only been minutes.  Dad came out to see how we were doing, and the expression on his face will never leave my memory.  I would have done anything for him not to feel what he felt.  They brought Mom out on a stretcher and I turned Alex and Tristen away because I saw the huge tube around my Mom's chest... and knew it was making her breathe and she wasn't breathing on her own.. I didn't want Alex and Tristen to see that.  We  ran inside as Tristen and Alex grabbed shoes, pillows and blankets and other things and we prepared to follow the ambulance to the hospital.  There was shattered plastic all over the entry way along with my Mom's ripped up clothes.  I started to cry again and David told me I had to be strong for everyone.  I don't think I would have made it were he not there.  As we pulled into the hospital parking lot, David's parents were walking in to the ER and both of my grandparents were already there, followed by my great aunt and uncle.  We waited there for a few hours, unable to see my Mom.  She had started thrashing and they were afraid she had been without air for too long and could have brain damage.  They had to tie her to the bed.  They released her around 3 in the morning and life-flighted her to a larger hospital and put her in ICU.  I took Alex and Tristen home and my Dad came to grab a few essentials for him and for Mom.. he also grabbed his Bible.  I told him we would be up first thing in the morning.  I barely slept that night. 

There were SO many people at the hospital the next day, all waiting in the Waiting Room, ready to take care of anything we needed.  It was such a blessing.  When we walked in, my Meme told me I needed to go in first, to be able to prepare Alex and Tristen, and told me she had a lot of tubes in her.  Daddy was by her side, holding her hand and talking to her when I walked in.  Another memory that I will never forget.  It was the hardest thing to look at my mother like that.  She was still unconscious and they were unsure what had happened.  They knew for some reason her heart had stopped, but that was it.  We took turns going back and spending time with Momma.  I didn't want to be anywhere else than by her bedside.  As the next day went on, they started to take her off of anesthesia and she slowly would respond.  I could say "Show me your pretty blue eyes, Momma" and she would open them slowly.  She was still trying to pull the tubes out, so they had to tie her wrists.  After a few days, Dad told David and I we needed to go out and do something.. instead of spending his whole leave in a hospital.  We went and had dinner and then walked around Target.  Tristen called to tell me Mom had started talking.  She couldn't remember anything over 2 minutes (her memory would reset) and she thought she was at church in 2007.  But she was awake and talking.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, Plans to bring you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11