This post is a part of an ongoing series. To read the rest of the series, click here to check out the list on my about page.
To any of you still with me on this story-telling journey: bless your heart. It’s taken me a whole lot of forever, right?!? Go to my About page if you need to re-read any past posts to refresh your memory.
Last time, we covered the part when I made contact with Trav, felt hopeful after a few fun messages back and forth, and then didn’t hear from him for a number of weeks. So I decided to move on.
On May 6th, 2011, I was headed to a taco night with a bunch of friends at a Mexican restaurant in Fullerton. A little Cinco de Mayo after-party, if you will. Trav was invited, but he hadn’t responded to the facebook invite, so I wasn’t sure if I’d see him. I was bummed, because I still liked him, but the fact that he wasn’t jumping at a chance to see me confirmed that it was wise for me to move on. It had been 6 or 7 weeks since I’d sent Trav that facebook message, and it seemed like he’d moved on as well.
Then, an hour before the taco night started, he changed his response on the facebook invite to… maybe.
A maybe an hour before? Who does that? Apparently Travis Austin does. Wanna guess the root cause of most of our marital conflict? Let’s just say that we approach our calendars very differently.
At the time, I dismissed him as being silly, and I was glad I had decided not to worry about him anymore. I was going to play it cool if he did actually show up. I even had plans to see a movie with a friend after dinner, so I knew I wouldn’t be hanging around for long.
I went to dinner, and he showed up with Alli and Tim about 15 minutes after I did. There weren’t any seats near me, so he was at a different table. I got up to leave to head out to the movie, and I stopped to say hi to Trav on my way out. Half of me wished I didn’t have someplace to be so I could have stayed to chat more. Maybe we would have hung out after dinner. But the other half of me was glad I’d made a plan for afterwards. If he was hoping to spend time with me, then he needed to ask me out on a date. And that was that.
I didn’t regret the facebook message I’d sent to Trav- it had given me closure since I’d been wondering for quite some time if we’d ever go out. I was sad that it was a no, but it still felt good to know rather than wonder. At some point in my dating journey, I started to redefine what successful dating was. Yes, I wanted to end up in a relationship and eventually get married. But reaching that desire wasn’t completely in my control- a guy had to be interested, ask me out, propose, etc. So, I figured out how to set goals to move toward that desire that were in my control. So when I prayed for wisdom, went places to meet new guys, worked out and took care of myself, processed my grief, or took risks like I had with messaging Travis, I felt successful. I was sad when it didn’t really feel like I was moving toward a relationship, but I was also proud of my actions and intentions. A different kind of success.
After that taco night, I actually did move on. I saw friends of mine at an event at some point in May, and they mentioned they knew a guy they’d like to set me up with. From what they told me (along with a little internet research), he seemed like a great guy. I was excited about the potential blind date! And I remember being surprised by the confidence I felt. I had an initial interest and respect for this guy, and I felt cute enough and interesting enough to meet him. All of that practicing being myself was paying off. The set-up was taking some time (as they do), but it was in the works. I felt hopeful.
(Spoiler alert! That blind date never happened! Travis Austin is about to be on scene again, and this time he sticks around…)
In mid June, I got invited to a movie night at Kristin and Erin’s house. I don’t remember if I knew Trav would be there or not. I don’t remember what movie we watched. But I do remember two things- (1) Trav and I sat next to each other and had a lot of fun talking. And (2) on the drive home, I remember praying and asking the Lord what was going on. Wasn’t I over Trav? But I’d had a lot of fun that night. He seemed to be having fun, too. Hmm…
And the thought that kept running through my mind was to wait and see. Wait and see.
What happened next is all slightly fuzzy for me as well. Maybe I can blame it on end-of-the-year-teacher-brain since it was June. I was super excited to be going up to Erin’s cabin for the weekend before July 4th with a few of our friends. And Trav was going! I don’t remember when I first knew that though. There is a debate about who was the mastermind behind it all or if that was even a thing.
Trav sent a group message to all of us that were going and asked if anyone wanted to go for a bike ride while we were up at the cabin. We all had fun messaging back and forth about it, and I decided I needed to find a bike to borrow. Not joking. Turns out my sister had inherited a bike that got left behind on Biola’s campus at the end of the semester. Excellent. But, oh no! The tires were flat! Time to track down a bike pump, right?
Nope. Time to make the most of the opportunity- use this as an excuse to message Trav and ask him to help me.
Amy (my dating coach) gave me a great tip: find ways to have the guy you’re interested in help you with something. I didn’t act helpless. But I didn’t act like my normal “I’m the single girl who has to take care of herself, so I can do everything” self either. Have I mentioned that the dating process is humbling? I had to realize that just because I can, doesn’t mean I have to. Trav kindly came over, helped with the bike, and we got to chat for a bit. The flat tire situation provided the perfect opportunity for us to interact more. Plus, the bike plays an important role later, so keep it in mind.
(I actually have a friend who met a man when she hired him as a carpenter to build something at her house. She thought he was cute, so she hired him again to build something else. She did that a couple more times, and now they’ve been married for over 30 years. High five to her.)
By the time I was getting ready to leave for the cabin trip, I felt really nervous. My sister stepped in to give me some last minute coaching at this crucial moment. I remember being in my room packing, and she stood there telling me that it was okay to flirt it up for the weekend. And probably even more crucial was her reminder and admonition that it was fine if my other friends noticed I was flirting with Trav. She reminded me to chill out and not stress so much about what other people thought. Such great advice.
So, I put a smile on my face, pretended like I wasn’t nervous, and left my people-pleasing pants at home, so to speak. Up to the cabin we went.
My friend, Brittany, and I drove up late on Friday night. It was such a fun car ride- both because Brittany is basically the best car buddy ever, and because Trav texted me a few hours into our drive to see where we were. How sweet! He even met us in the tiny town (Huntington Lake) when we finally arrived after midnight so we could follow him the few final miles to the cabin since it was hard to find in the dark. So kind.
Overall, the weekend was really fun. It was such a great group of people, and the Pefflys are ever wonderful hosts. Many great conversations took place, and OH MY GOSH THE FOOD AND WINE.
As far as my interactions with Trav went, a few memories stand out:
- We all took turns making meals throughout the weekend, and Trav and I were paired up to make breakfast both mornings. Through the simple process of cooking together, I noticed we made a pretty good team. And he saw me in my pre-showered state and didn’t run the other direction, which was a good sign. As we worked, we also got to talk about how we both liked to host people in our homes. The thought, “Oh, shoot. I think I really like this guy,” kept running through my mind.
- The Pefflys have a sailboat, so we all went sailing a couple times. In case you haven’t been sailing before, let me explain that it isn’t exactly a relaxing time out on the water. There are parts that are serene and chill, but it also involves a lot of rope pulling, head ducking (watch out for the boom!), tacking, jibing. Laughing. Wine spilling. There’s a lot going on. Especially when Tim Peffly is in charge. Trav loved it all, and his confidence as he helped Tim with everything was super attractive. I mean, I thought he was so cute that I didn’t even care that he wore those gross Vibram 5 fingers toe shoe things. The phrase, “love is blind” has never been more true.
- At some point during our first day there, Trav offered to run an errand in town for our friends that own the cabin. He asked if anyone wanted to go along, and in my lightest and breeziest voice I said I’d join him. Everyone else decided to stay at the cabin (good job, team!), so it was just me and Trav. We got in his car, and as soon as the doors shut it felt like a first date because it was the first time we’d spent time alone. I believe I thought to myself, “Oh, sheesh. I hope we have things to talk about because otherwise this will be a long drive!” We did actually have a lot to talk about, and I was sad it was over when we got back a little while later. And wouldn’t you know that Trav needed to run another errand the following afternoon? I went along that time as well (no one else offered to tag along- how strange! And delightful!), and we were gone for a couple hours because we had to go a little farther down the mountain. I believe we were headed to a hardware store to buy a replacement sewer pipe for the cabin. So romantic! But it didn’t matter. We were really enjoying talking. Somehow I was able to bring up the topic of decision making- it had become an important topic to me as I’d been meeting different men on my dating journey. From our conversation, I could tell Trav had strong faith in God’s ability and promise to take care of him, and that freed him up to take lots of risks in his life. I loved that. Still do.
- This may sound silly, but I have a pretty vivid memory from one evening when I decided where to sit in the living room. There was a spot on the couch next to Travis and another spot across the room from him. Old Laura would have felt embarrassed if her friends noticed that she took a seat next to a guy. “What if they think I like him?!?” New Laura plopped right on down next to Travis and thought, “I do like him, and I don’t care who notices. In fact, I hope he’s getting the message loud and clear!” =)
As the cabin weekend came to a close, Trav loaded up all the bikes on his bike rack to transport them home. I went in the other car with people that lived closer to me to make the carpooling drop-off easier. Trav and I said good-bye to each other, and he mentioned something along the lines of, “I’ll get your bike back to you later.” Which had my thoughts going a million places wondering, “LATER? What does that mean?!?”
Turns out, “later” meant he texted me that night to figure out a good time to drop off my bike. He also asked if I’d like to grab lunch when he came by. Yes! A date! Boy was I glad I’d brought along that silly bike- there was nary a bike ride the entire weekend, but it still faithfully served its purpose.
Trav and I went on our first date the next day, July 5, 2011. Seven months later, we got engaged.
Four months after that, we got married on June 2, 2012. So, on the one year anniversary of our first date, we were back up at the cabin for 4th of July fun, and we’d already been married for a month. Quick is not a word I really use to describe my dating experience (the phrase, “How long, oh Lord?” is more accurate), but I will say that after a (very) slow start, things progressed quickly once they got going.
Our wedding day was so crazy fun! I have trouble knowing how best to describe it. Sure, we know how to throw a good party, but the real fun was in sharing it with so many of you. You prayed and journeyed with Trav and I, and our wedding was a sweet celebration of who God is and the amazing way he said yes to all those prayers.
There are more stories to be shared of course. A lot had to happen between that first date and our decision to get married. And once we got married, the real adventure began. =) I’ll save those stories for another day. For now, I’ll just say that getting to know and be loved by Travis Austin is my life’s greatest honor. I still can’t believe he picked me to be his wife. Grace indeed.
I love telling my dating story, not just because I think it’s fun, but because I want to give thanks and praise to God for all he did. I mean, can you even believe it? I have to pinch myself sometimes. Yes, it’s a story of ways that I got more proactive and took risks, but really, it was all a sweet unfolding of God’s beautiful plan. It was Jesus who taught me to begin to pray again, to grieve dreams that had died, to take risks, to be myself, to seek his wisdom, to surrender to his will, to have joy during a long wait. He taught me that he is our good Father in heaven, who sometimes says no and sometimes says yes, all with wisdom and grace. He is the God who is with us. He hears us. He hears you.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! Psalm 34:3