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30 days of Gratitude and My Marriage

02 November 2013

Well, it is November. Obviously you knew that! I was going through my blogroll on Bloglovin' and I noticed my girl Kelsey @ Keeping up with Kelsey came up with a great link up idea for the month of November. No offense but I am a sucker for starting all sorts of challenges and goals.

She came up with the idea of posting about Gratitude Link-Up. I love this idea because I think as a culture we do a pretty crummy job recognizing what we have instead of the latest thing that we don't have. It is easy to complain about not having more money, time, friends, vacations, cars, a skinnier body, a prettier face, a better home, etc. But do you really hear people boasting the joy in their life? How much love they feel or have been shown by others?

Each day, at the bottom of my posts you will find my moment of gratitude. I hope that you will join me in sharing what you are most grateful for each day for the month of November.

Day 2: Today I am grateful for my marriage. When I was in sixth grade, I was told that I was too fat and ugly by a boy I had gone to school with since preschool. He told me that no boy would ever want to date me or even like me. After that hurtful conversation, I went on my first diet. It was sixth grade and I had not yet grown into myself. I remember crying in the car to my parents that boys never asked me "out" or to hang out at the mall. That continued all through my first few years of high school. 


Ten years later, I was already dating the love of my life, Mr. Collier. The way we met what nothing short of a God thing. I truly believe that God brought us together because there could have been no way our chance meeting in 2007 was by accident. 

We met at a 24 hour interview at the University of Kentucky. We were seniors at DePaul and Marshall University. Despite applying to 5 different graduate programs in biomedical research we ended up on the same interview at UK. I applied to UK because I was currently engaged and was looking to be within a 4 hour radius to my fiancĂ© at the time. Mr. Collier was interviewing at UK because he had participated in a summer research experience the previous summer and was a shoe-in for acceptance since he knew many faculty as well as administrators of the program. 

After flying to Kentucky for the first time I was led to a conference room for the program overview to start. There were 5 of us in the room waiting for one more who was lost. This person had gone to the wrong building even though he had spent an entire summer on campus. It was Mr. Collier. I didn't think much of him when he walked in the door. I actually wrote him off as a frat-guy...totally wrong on that one!

Lab tours followed the program overview presentation and that is where we became friends. I joked that I never had been so dressed up in a lab environment and he laughed. We spent the rest of the interview talking and comparing experiences. Later that evening after dinner, Mr. Collier and his hotel roommate invited the four of us back to their hotel room to hang out before the big day of faculty interviews. I was the only one who showed up. That night we became Facebook friends and I was even the reason his girlfriend at the time got a relationship label. You are welcome, Ashley! 

The next morning, I rode with Mr. Collier to the interview and we nervously ate breakfast with our fellow interview cohort. Somehow during the day, Mr. Collier and I started calling each other "buddy." I remember hugging him when he entered that same conference room after our interviews were threw. We stayed in contact after we returned to our separate lives as friends. We'd call each other every once in awhile to give an update on grad program acceptance letters. We were experiencing a similar season in our lives, one that my ex-fiance didn't.

I'll never forget the night that Mr. Collier called me to tell me about his decision to accept at Vanderbilt. I was heartbroken. I hardly knew the guy but felt a deep connection even then. I remember telling him that we were supposed to be best friends and that he ruined that by not accepting with me at Kentucky, I mean, here an almost stranger was supposed to join up with me in this new adventure. After awhile, the phone calls became scarce. Our programs had started. 

It was Thanksgiving. I had called off a wedding. Made embarrassing phone calls to all of the vendors we were holding. Told the photographers who took our engagement shoot to cancel our date. I was sad but relieved. I spent an extra long Thanksgiving with my parents, driving with them from Chicago to Memphis. During our stay at the hotel, I was up late alone watching "The Office" on T.V. You know by now how much that show means to me. It was the episode where Pam and Jim get engaged at a gas station. I was crying due to my mistake in becoming engaged to someone who wasn't right for me. That I was still hoping someday I would find my "Jim."

Out of loneliness and boredom I signed onto AIM Express. Remember that old thing? I hadn't been on AIM in eons. And out of everyone in my "buddy list" that was only one person online. Mr. Collier. We hadn't spoken in months. I sent him a message and it all started again. 

We caught back up within hours of the intermittent hotel internet. We texted and after returning to Chicago with my parents, Mr. Collier practically talked with me the entire 5 hour drive back to Kentucky. We called each other frequently and finally, he asked me out on a date for December 5th. Mammoth Caves the only spot with something to do half way between Lexington and Nashville.

Three years later, I found myself living with Mr. Collier in Nashville. It was December 8th. The Tuesday after our three year anniversary. It was normal Tuesday at home. We cooked dinner after work and had the fire roaring in the fireplace. We were sitting on the couch watching T.V. when I leaned over to kiss him. Before I could blink he slid my ring on my finger and said,"I've got a question." I was in utter shock! To this day, I still have no idea whether he actually asked me to marry him!

I can't speak for Mr. Collier but I am beyond pleased with my marriage to Mr. Collier. I'm not here to brag or boast but my marriage is more than I ever thought it could be. Now, don't get me wrong, but it is challenging some days. But overall, I'm proud of what Mr. Collier and I have done with ourselves in the last [almost] two years!

When I was kiddo, I made a dream list of what I wanted in my "dream man." Some of these include a country boy driving a pick-up truck [that we currently are selling], height [he's 6'4"], a believer, a man that can dance, intelligence, humor and a heart for family. Mr. Collier includes all of these and surpasses all qualities that I would want for myself. God really did stitch together the perfect man for me. And I am forever grateful. 

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