Chapter One: Pounding Nails
Like flipping a house, the beginning can be messy at times. Sometimes it feels as though the project never ends, but then you finally pound in the last nail and realize that’s the one. The one that seals the deal.
This is the beginning of a story that has no end, because with our marriage we don’t believe in endings unless they end with “until death do us part ''. We pray with all our hearts that once you step into our story, you will take the time to read with an open mind and open heart. - Saphire & Blake
It was my first real relationship. I was fourteen at the time. I fell in love hard. Well, what I thought was love, with a boy that was three years older than me. He had a car, he was cute, he smelled like cigarettes and cologne mixed together, he was cool. My parents wouldn't allow me to ride in the car with him or be alone with him in his bedroom. They did all the right things and had all the right boundaries set into place but one night, the unimaginable happened and I was left without a piece of myself and a loss of my self worth. My identity crumbled in that small moment. My trust also crumbled, because the guy I loved, the one I trusted with all of my heart, showed me I was only worthy if I gave him what he wanted. Before he did it, he told me he's only doing it because he loves me.
I was naïve. I knew very little about about sex and the knowledge I did have came from a classmate in sixth grade that had an older sister. I had always planned to wait until marriage. I even had a ring on my hand promising myself, God and my parents that I would wait. My head spun as questions swirled about. “Is this what love is? Do fairy tales really not exist? He said he loved me so it must not be that bad. I must have been confused about the situation. I can’t tell anyone about this. It was probably my fault, I shouldn't have gone over to his house. No one is going to believe me if I tell them.”
(Read my journey titled “I believe you” to hear how I found healing in this trial of my life!)
As years passed, I tried healing from what had happened. Who would have known that one night could hang on your shoulder like a backpack full of water, seeping into every crevice and crack of your relationships in the future. By the time I ended my sophomore year of high school, I was mentally and physically exhausted. My heart was sewn up but only holding on by a thread. That whole summer I quite literally told myself I wasn’t going to date anyone for the next twenty years!
But then, there he was. Standing about six foot tall, right in front of me, wearing jeans and a hoodie, styling Justin Bieber hair. I remember the first time I looked up at him. Oh how his bright, blue eyes beamed at me and didn’t allow me to look away. The local county fair was in town. This small town fair consisted of maybe a mere 4 food trucks, a small fireworks display, and carnival games. I later discovered this blue eyed boy was from out of town attending with his cousin who attended my school and was in the same class. I had no intention of attending the fair that day, but God knew this would be the night I would meet my future husband.
“I wondered how a girl that pretty was living here in this small town?” Blake said. “She was wearing white shorts and a black zip up. She was tan, and blonde and so beautiful. I didn’t think this kind of girl would ever be interested in hanging out with me. I thought she was too good for someone like me!”
He looked at me and I stared back. We introduced ourselves and when he told me his name was Blake, my eyes lit up. I had always wanted to name my daughter Blake. Time moved slowly as we talked about life and our love for music. When I found out that he was a musician as well, I was ecstatic and my heart jumped a beat. The night progressed as we chatted for a half hour or so in our circle of friends. Then, as his cousin would say, “He ditched us for the rest of the night after he met you!”, and it was true! We hung out for the rest of the evening. Dancing at the firehall, enjoying the music, and watching fireworks side by side. The connection was so easy and we didn’t have to try as we seemed to be in sync as we got to know each other. Later, we took a walk down to his grandparents house, right across the road from the fair. When I think back, the entire night was like a romance movie.
That very same day, I had just released my first single I had written on iTunes called “One of a Kind” and he was persistent about talking about my music. It made my heart feel tingly inside when he asked me questions about myself and seemed to really care about what I had to say. I told him all of the dreams I had of moving to Nashville one day and that guys I had dated in the past, were never okay with moving there, so I always felt like they were holding me back from my dreams. I told Blake I would never let a guy hold me back ever again. No one would come between me and my dreams again! (Let’s hold onto this thought as you read future chapters!)
Before I left to go home that night, my friend dared us to kiss. I told her absolutely not, I gave Blake a hug, and went on my way! My two year relationship had just ended three months prior and like I said, I was not interested in dating anyone. Blake texted me the next morning and asked if I wanted to meet him at the fairgrounds to say our goodbyes before he left town. I agreed, as my family was headed there for the day. My dad parked the car and we all got out and there he was. This blue eyed, Justin Bieber haired guy, taking off his helmet and flipping his hair. Pretty sure everything turned slowmo for a good three minutes as he did this. He stood there helmet in hand, “Want to see the motorcycle I built?” “Ahhh ya. I do.” I replied as my mind gushed with excitement. Dear heavens, did Jesus just send me my dream man? He has a motorcycle? Someone punch me. I must be dreaming.
To my dismay, my mom was wondering who this boy was and I told her a friend as I turned to walk with him to see his bike. My mom tells this part of the story best because her immediate thoughts were “Oh heck no!” My daughter is not about to hang out with a bad boy that has a motorcycle!” She realized quickly that he was not a typical leather wearing, motorcycle driving, bad boy, but we still share some good laughs about the thoughts running through her mind that day! Ha Ha! After my mom calmed down, Blake and I talked for a bit about his motorcycle, gave each other a hug, and then, like the wind, he zipped away into the sunset leaving me in his dust with my thoughts and stomach overflowing with butterflies. Okay, maybe not the sunset part, it was morning, but seriously, everything still felt like a scene in a romantic comedy.
Later that night, Blake texted and reluctantly, I did not reply for two whole weeks. Two weeks. Yikes! My thoughts consumed me as they told me he's too good to be true. I instantly built a wall around myself and shoved my feelings deep, down in the canyon of my heart, and friend zoned him hardcore. “I knew she wouldn’t text back. Ha ha! She was too good for me.” Blake said. After two weeks of having an inner war in my head, I finally decided to message back. I figured what could go wrong? I had already been through the thick of relationship muck, why not give it a shot. Maybe he could be as great as he seemed.
This was the beginning of a true friendship which we created over the next month before “sealing the deal” and putting a label on our relationship. Over the next month, we talked for hours on the phone and I asked all of the hard questions like what his goals were in life, if he knew who Jesus was, where he saw himself in ten years, how many kids he wanted. He was different from the guys I had liked in the past, he even seemed to have a good understanding of who Jesus was. That was at the top of my list, but somehow always got overlooked in the past. Some nights we fell asleep with both lines still connected. We both would say we couldn’t wait to see each other again!
The first time he drove down to visit me, I had literally just gotten home from getting my tonsils taken out and could not talk. He walked up to the house and asked my sister Topanga, where I was and in bold, sisterly fashion, without saying a word back to him, started walking towards the door! “I didn't know if I was supposed to follow her or what?” Blake said. He decided to follow and there I was, sitting on the couch with no makeup, pukey clothes (I was sick from the meds they gave me), and a bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream placed on my lap. How attractive! He came and sat next to me and as I tried to speak, my voice came out like a dead cow. Sweet niblets! Stop it Saphire! Stop talking, I told myself! I grabbed the ipad and typed what I wanted to say instead of speaking for the remainder of the day. Now this was not part of the romantic movie I was envisioning! What a romantic hang out that was as I spit chunks of chocolate that wouldn't melt in my mouth, back into my ice cream bowl. A true friendship was created after this not so romantic encounter.
The next time we saw each other, I went to visit him in his hometown. I begged my mom to go for the weekend and she refused because the doctors had told her that I needed to rest, especially since I couldn't take the pain meds they had given me for my tonsils. It was a long few weeks of healing! She finally gave in and allowed me to go for the day. My grandma lived in the same town as Blake so I planned to stop and see her to visit. I put in my hair extensions, curled my hair just so, and pulled out a new school outfit to wear. We had a rule that you couldn't wear your new school clothes until school started, but, duh, this was a special occasion, so my mom allowed it.
I got to my grandma's house and had her check me over to make sure I looked good! She double checked and secured my extensions as she made sure they weren’t bulging in the back and then of course told me to be myself as I walked out the door. Waving goodbye, she watched out the window as he pulled up to her house and didn’t leave the window until we were out of her sight!
Our fun filled day began with a stop at the mini golf course. I got a hole in one, and my game was strong that day. Blake will tell you he let me win, but he's totally lying! The butterflies had come on strong that morning and stayed during the entire day. During mini golf, he put his arms around me, as I swung the club, to “help” me shoot. I loved the way that his arms felt around me. Strong and secure, it felt like safety to me. I didn’t have to be anyone else when I was with him, he laughed at my silliness and never made me feel stupid. I felt like I had known him for a long time.
Next, our stop was at the local Dairy Queen to have ice cream and went to sit by the river. There was a special spot we sat at that day, a spot that eventually became “our spot”. Also a spot that in the future would be painful to look at. That day, we talked about life, we listened to music together, and cheerily ate our ice cream as the river flowed slowly in our view. If you’ve ever watched “The Last Song” movie with Miley and Liam, you can pretty accurately envision what this moment looked like for us. We sang along with the radio, windows down and breeze blowing through our hair. It took everything in me to not look into those beautiful eyes and kiss him right then and there. We left when it was time to hop aboard the next adventure. Meeting his family!
Entering Blake’s house, the first thing that grabbed my attention, as I walked downstairs was the cutest, gray, chunky, and spotted puppy lying beneath the reclined couch. I was introduced to Blake’s Great Dane pup, Tank. Being the animal lover I am, I instantly ran over and gushed all over him. “Oh you're so cute!” I said as I squished his sweet face up.“Ya, that’s how I get all the ladies!” Blake joked as he giggled. Tank was snoring away without a care in the world. This was the calmest puppy I had ever met. As I was petting him my head started to itch from my hair extensions. I itched it and accidentally pulled it out. At that moment it felt like my entire stomach dropped to the floor! Oh no! Blake is going to think I am a crazy person with hair coming out of my scalp! I quickly told him I had to get something in his car and that I’d be right back as I hustled outside!
I ran out to his car and started yanking all of the hair extensions out as fast as I could, looking all around frantically and praying no one would see. I took my extra shirt I brought with me, and bundled the hair pieces all up in a ball as I carefully laid it on the floor of his car hoping he would not find them. I then took three long, deep breaths, to rid the panic as my anxiety overcame me. I know what you’re thinking, this was all because of hair extensions? UFF! What would he think of me! I then pondered if Blake would notice that I no longer had extremely long locks of hair anymore. At that moment there was absolutely no humor inside of me but I am dying of laughter as I type this. What a nerd! Isn’t it hilarious how we overthink the small things, just to throw them all away when we get married and our spouse has a conversation with us while pooping on the toilet! If you thought that was the end of the most awkward “date” you’ve heard of, just wait, there’s more!
Before we headed out to go on our next adventure, he went in for what I thought was a kiss, but nope… he hugged me instead. FACEPALM. It wasn't a smooth transition either. He realized right away that I had gone in for a kiss, we pulled away and to cover up for what I had just done, he then kissed me quickly, a peck more so, and we awkwardly walked upstairs. That was our first kiss, ladies and gentlemen. Downstairs in the hallway right before we headed upstairs. I thought to myself, smooth Saphire, real smooth. He later told me he had planned to share our first kiss somewhere much more romantic. Like outside in the woods or you know, not in the living room right before we walked out the door, with his parents upstairs.
I eventually got over the awkward kiss and enjoyed our conversations as we wandered through the woods. We walked through winding, wooded trails, loaded with pine trees, surrounding us like a warm hug. Blake showed me where his family dog was buried as we dove deeper into the hearts of each other through conversation. The air was muggy, but the slight breeze made it bearable. It was a gorgeous Minnesota day. There wasn’t a moment we were bored as we jumped on his trampoline, played tetherball, and some volleyball. We stayed active the entire day and I loved it so much! I had never hung out with a guy that enjoyed doing so many different activities like I do. I liked to stay busy and it seemed like he did too. I realized that day, hanging out with him was like a giant adventure, full of excitement and fun! As I drove home that night I had hearts in my eyes, butterflies in my stomach, and my soul was bursting at the seams. Could he be the one? I asked myself. And even if he wasn’t, did I just find my bestfriend? My soulmate?
“I thought Saphire was so pretty and kind. I really wanted to date her and saw a future with her right away. I was kind of mad that she didn't message me back right away! Definitely thought she was going to be a typical hot, mean, girl that didn't text back but after getting to know her, she was exactly what I was looking for in a wife. Confident, good with kids, worked hard, had a lot of goals and dreams. I also thought she was going to hit it big with music, and be my sugar mama. Hahaha! Totally kidding! I remember just really liking everything about her!”
September 1. 12:00 am. The exact moment Blake asked me to be his girlfriend. Blake waited until midnight so we could celebrate our dating anniversary on the first of the month every single month. This was my idea of course, because who wants a dating anniversary on a thirty first when there's not thirty one days in every month! Blake turned his phone over for me to look at the clock, I smiled and with that, he asked the question I had been waiting for! “Will you be my girlfriend?” he asked with a smile on his face.
Once I finally fell, I fell hard and so did he. Blake and I knew after three months of dating that we had found our forever person. Blake eagerly sealed the deal with a promise ring carefully tucked inside of a massive bag of Swedish Fish. It was Christmas Eve and the snow glistened on the window in our living room. He carefully cut a whole in the bottom of the bag, placed the box inside and taped it all back up. He told me to open up the sealed bag of gummies and to my surprise, there sat a ring box. As he slipped it on my finger, we made a promise that day that we would be together forever.
Chapter 2 coming next month!