Eleven years ago today I received my all-time favorite birthday present when I married Dale Braswell. Our romance began on the campus of Dallas Baptist University in the summer of 1997. To be honest, it took me quite by surprise. Dale and I had known each other for almost 3 years and had served together in a collegiate ministry that toured the state and took an occasional international trip, leading worship, and leading Disciple Now Weekends and camps for youth. He was our drummer and the "goof-ball" of the group, always winning the hearts of the junior high girls everywhere we went. :)
It wasn't until we were paired up to teach together (for the first time in 3 years) at a camp held on the university campus, that I began to see a different side of Dale. Not that the side I had seen was bad - but I got a more complete picture of who he was - and I liked it! He was much more, and much deeper, than the comical drummer I had seen him as. We had a blast working together and playing pranks on each other during those 2 weeks. Then we went our separate ways for summer jobs. I thought about him a lot and had no idea he was thinking about me too.
When classes began in the fall we found ourselves hanging out together with groups of mutual friends - movies, bowling, study breaks... I always seemed to end up riding in his car or sitting by him. I came to find out later he had orchestrated most of these events so he could hang out with me. I had no idea. As Homecoming events approached I was excited at the thought about going with him, but didn't really think he'd ask me. He had many friends who were girls and I thought I was just one of the many.
But one day, as I was wondering about Homecoming, ironically enough, he strolls into the office of my on-campus job and nonchalantly asks me to go with him. I coolly said yes, and then when he left I did a little celebration dance in the privacy of the office. :) Then I calmed myself down, thinking, this still doesn't mean he really LIKES me.
Well, after having a great time together at Homecoming, I still was left wondering, because it took him about 3 weeks to ask me out on an official date! I loved it. When he came to pick me up, instead of bringing flowers, he brought me a 6-pack of original Dr. Pepper - made with sugar cane from the headquarters. I love Dr. Pepper and loved his originality! We headed out to the Galleria, where we had ice cream at Marble Slab - BEFORE dinner - and then went ice skating. I applaud him for this part, because I was much better than him at it and he didn't seem to mind. :) On our way to a great Mexican food restaurant in Fort Worth (my fav!), we passed a Bungee Jump place and he suggested we stop there. Maybe he was thinking he should make up for his terrible skating by showing his bravery? So, on a whim, we rode the reverse bungee ride together where you get bounced up and around while you're sitting in seats side-by-side. It was really fun! And I'm glad that came BEFORE the Mexican food!
In so many ways that first date reflects the life we've lived since... We haven't always done what was expected; Some of the places we've ended up were not on our radar initially; Life has bounced us around a bit, but we've been through it together, and it's always been an adventure! I can say that I sure am glad I gave that goofball a chance! :) He's still a goofball, but he's also passionate about the Lord and our family, a man of integrity, a man who genuinely cares about others, a man determined to live fully the life God has given him, for His glory. I still like what I see in him. In fact, I LOVE it!