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January 2012
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March 2012

This Is How We Met: Annie Wolfe's Story

It is not an exaggeration to say my novel would not have been written apart from Annie's motivation and encouragement. We randomly connected on Twitter over all manner of subjects. Before I knew it, we'd decided to be writing accountability partners. And because I knew the weekly check-in would be coming, I pushed myself to keep writing. Annie is hilarious and a talented writer and I'm thrilled to share her TIHWM story with you all today!

This Is How We Met: Human Dissection, Disease, and a Home Run

I met Doc in Human Body class. That’s right. Human Anatomy Lab. He had a million Watt smile that I found impossible to ignore.

The whole scenario was terribly unromantic; diced up animals on trays, slimy dissection tools, jars of pickled parts floating on shelves around the room. And I can’t forget the dead bodies donated to science in the room.

I unapologetictally flirted, however, as we hunched over human cadavers and inhaled the toe curling scent of formaldehyde. At one point I felt as if I would faint. It was probably the pruning flesh under my nose combined with the fact I was ill.

I had mononucleosis that semester of college. Exhausted every day, I showed up to class in the clothes I slept in, a messy ponytail, and not a stitch of makeup. Meeting my future husband was the last thing I expected.

Doc barely seemed to notice my flirtatious ways, and I couldn’t blame him. I looked like the ugly truck had backed up over me.

As winter gave way to spring and the fog of mono began to lift, I pulled myself back together and Doc took notice.

Our courtship was incredibly short.

We had our first date on St. Patrick’s Day. By June we were discussing marriage and how many children we wanted.

On the Fourth of July, Doc took me to a small baseball diamond at sunrise and got down on one knee. The last time I had stood at home plate I was five-years-old and had just been clocked in the head with a softball, ending my rather short career.

While my baseball memories were not so great, Doc loved the sport. Heck, he loves all sports. It was fitting for him to find the closest athletic venue and take me there for what was the biggest moment of his life - at that time. (We went on to have four children and every delivery trumps the engagement as the biggest moment of our lives.)

We stood at home plate as the sun began to peer over the wooden bleachers. He slipped the diamond on my finger, and with boyish energy sprinted around the bases.

We had no idea what life would bring us, including the four kids, but we were ready to take it on together.

This May we will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary.


Knee deep in Legos, Annie channels her inner Jedi and survives the mind melting powers of her four children daily.  She is married to an incredibly understanding Doc, who may just be the most patient man on the planet.  He never remembers where he puts anything, but fortunately Annie is The Finder of All Things Lost.  They are a perfect match.  Together they live in the Heartland at the edge of a dirt road.  Life should be simple, but with four children it rarely is.

This Is How We Met: Heatherly Sylvia's Story

This past July I finally got to meet my dear blog friend Heatherly. She of good taste in books and bad taste in baseball teams. Not only did we hang out during most of She Speaks, we were also roommates. Late one night, I asked her to finally tell me her love story and I was not disappointed.  How they met is just a teaser for this epic tale. But hey, TIHWM is all about the beginning, the unknowns, and the what ifs. If you want to know the rest, you'll have to ask Het yourself.

I was 16 years old. 

I was 16 years old and an emotional wreck.

I was a 16 years old emotional wreck and had just been dumped by my boyfriend...
...on the youth group bus...
...on the way to a weekend retreat... front of my friends...
...for another girl.
Additionally, I was recovering from a stomach bug and the bus broke down.
{By "broke down" I mean that smoke starting pouring into the bus and we couldn't get out of the bus by the back emergency door because the leaders had stacked our luggage in front of it.}
By the end of the weekend I had met the man I would eventually marry. {He also happened to be the one who drove the replacement bus up to Snow Camp. My hero.}
When I informed my best friend that I was going to marry David, the knight in a shining bus, she said, "Ew. He's old."
11 years make an awfully big difference when you are 16 years old. 
But David was kind. And appropriate. He talked to me like I was a person- not an annoying, whiny 16-year-old.
We talked about music and he asked me about school.
He was brotherly and stood up for me instead of laughing off the teasing {I think they'd call it "bullying" today} of my ex and his friends. 
Sure, it was just a teenage crush. It continued through seven guys that I dated, three major youth trips, and my last year and a half of high school, but it was a crush.
Until we ran into each other when I was nineteen years old.
Suddenly there was a spark. And he asked me out.
We dated for two months, I went back to college, we broke up, and didn't speak for five years.
But this isn't "How the Man of My Dreams and I Finally Got Married After Ten Years and Several False Starts." This is how we met: a lonely, heartbroken young girl and a youth leader, who appropriately connected. They just didn't realize at the time how deep the connection ran.

Heatherly Lane Sylvia is a mom, wife, home schooler, speaker, writer, and apprentice grace-giver. Her greatest desire is to live a life following after God with abandon, and she hopes to be a blessing to as many people as she can while she figures out exactly how to do that. Het is passionate, loud, addicted to books, and loves her friends, old and new. She adores the blogosphere and would love to “meet” you there. She’s also pretty sure that blog comments and tweets are her love language. Check out her blog A Pinkdaisy Life or follow her on Twitter @Pinkdaisyjane.

This Is How We Met: Caleb Wilde's Story

I've enjoyed connecting with Caleb this past year partly because he's a funeral director. Anytime I can talk to someone in-depth about end-of-life issues without them thinking I'm a weirdo is a good thing. But Caleb is more than his profession. He's a deep thinker and theologian. Crazy smart, for sure. It's fun to finally hear how he met his wife and especially to get some insights regarding male dating behavior. Read and learn.

My grandfather sat me down, looked me square in the eye and asked, “Are you gay?”  I was 17 at the time. 

“No.”  I responded.  “I’m just choosing not to date.” 

I actually made the decision to be a non-dater before I made the decision to be a Jesus follower.  Non-dating made sense for me on a couple levels:

1.) I wasn’t very good around the opposite sex.

My only pseudo date came in the sixth grade when I had a friend of mine ask a girl out for me.  We sat together in a school assembly, didn’t talk or even share a glance, and she dumped me by day’s end.  If I were her, I would’ve dumped me too.

2.)  Even though I didn’t become a Christian until 15, I still thought it was rather good to non-date so as to lessen the amount of heartbreak in the world. 

I figured that most dating relationships ended.  And that most ended badly.  And being that I saw enough pain at the funeral home, I decided to not contribute to the mountain of pain the world was already carrying.

Looking back today, I’m certainly not the mini Joshua Harris that I was in my teens but I’m still glad I non-dated.  I was too awkward and I really do believe that I would have wasted time in the dating world … time which I used instead to pursue God.  I’d spend nearly three hours a day in Bible reading and prayer during high school.  And I still look back on those “monk years” with a real sense of fondness.

In fact, I was so monk-like in high school that I honestly thought I’d live a celibate life.

But that all changed when I met Nicki.

After high school, I joined YWAM (Youth with a Mission) and headed down to Tyler, Texas to start DTS (Discipleship Training School).  There was over 100 of us in the DTS from all over the US and all over the world.  And we were all there to pursue God.

At this time in my life, the only thing that really impressed me was a heart solely set on God. 

One night there was a group of people praying in a small chapel on campus and I heard Nicki pray.   And what I’m about say seems like it belongs on Acuff’s “Stuff Christians Like” because only a Christian would be turned on by listening to a girl pray.

Mind you, I wasn’t “turned on” in the sense of being horn ballish.  Rather, I was crushing on her … in a godly way, of course.

What I did was what any extremely introverted, overzealous young unmarried Christian would do: once I felt those feelings, I ignored her.  Yup.  Flat out ignored her.

By the time DTS had ended, I totally adored her.  I gave her a hug, said “goodbye” and simply assumed I’d never see her again.  I went home to Pennsylvania, she went home to Washington State and that was it. 

I was accepted into a YWAM teaching school in Texas.  She was accepted into a YWAM Bible school in Madison, Wisconsin.  And I grieved the loss of a person I really adored.

About two weeks before I was ready to head down to Texas, I received a letter of apology that stated I had been misinformed, that I didn’t have the proper prereqs to attend the teaching school.  And that my only real option was to go to the Bible School in Madison, Wisconsin. 

I was angry, at first.  And then, being the good Christian that I was, I started to think, “This must be the hand of God.”   Today, I look back and snicker at my naivety in understanding God’s providence, but I’m still glad I went to Madison. 

Nicki and I were – at random – placed in everything together.  We were assigned to the same kitchen duty to the same ministry, and even to the same campus house.

And so we started hanging out together.  Then we came to find out that Nicki’s dad was from Parkesburg (my hometown) and after he finished college, he moved to San Diego to become a Marine, where he met Nicki’s mom. We came to find out that Nicki actually had more family in Parkesburg than she had on the whole West Coast. 

One night I took her out to Pizzaria Unos, we sat down at a table and I started to cry.  I was so nervous.  At this point we had become great friends and I didn’t want to ruin that … but I loved her and I had to tell her.  After crying for what seemed like an eternity (we never even ate our pizza), I said (and I still have it memorized), “I think we should pray about the direction of our relationship.”

At that point she grabbed my hands.  She started crying.  And we left Unos as a couple with a doggy bag full of the pizza we had never touched.


Caleb Wilde is a sixth generation, licensed and practicing funeral director.  He holds a grad degree in theology.  You can find him on Twitter, on Facebook, at his blog, or at the Wilde Funeral Home, where he regularly writes awesome obituaries.

This Is How We Met: Kristin Tennant's Story

I knew my Twitter friend Kristin was my kind of people pretty quickly. The reason? Kristin loves Living Room Dance Parties. Then there's her wit, intellect, and spiritual depth. I cannot wait to meet her face to face and talk the night away. When I dreamed up this series, Kristin came to mind right away. I'm so glad she's sharing her story with us today.

The year was 2005, and I was positive I wasn’t going to meet the “right” person for me. That’s when it almost always happens, right? When you’re least expecting it.

My list of reasons for least expecting it, though, was particularly long and complex. Topping the list were these three biggies: I was in my mid-30s, was divorced, and had two young children. That’s exactly what every great catch is looking for, right?

Then there was my atypical mix of faith, fun, and politics. I was a Christian, and my faith was becoming more important to me than ever, but I also thrived on being a bit of a bad girl (in other words, I wasn’t looking for a full-fledged “good boy”). I wanted to go out and drink a martini. I wanted to hear my favorite band play too loudly, and wanted to go dancing with friends after midnight. Not every Good Christian Man wants that. Not every Christian wants to talk politics with me, either. I’m one of those rare Christian Democrats, which rules out a large percentage of potential partners.

The final blow to my relationship potential was that I was pretty much rooted in my small Midwestern town, where my daughters can be near their dad who has a tenured position at the university. I had to meet someone who was OK with being stuck here, too, which is no small feat in a town where a significant percentage of people are just passing through to get a PhD or do a fellowship.

If you mix all those factors together and give them a good shake (squeezing in a few extra hopes along the way), you get a singles ad that reads something like this: "Thirty-something woman with two young children seeks tall, dark, handsome, thirty-something man who loves kids, dreams of having an instant family, goes to church, is serious about his faith, never voted for George Bush, knows how to have fun on a Saturday night, and is generally a social, successful, hip, big-city type who is perfectly happy to remain in a small Midwestern town for the next 10+ years."

Now you begin to grasp my hopelessness. I began to systematically think through which dream-man requirements I could do without. Maybe a Christian guy who’s not a whole-heck-of-a-lot-of-fun? Someone who’s smart and fun, but agnostic? Or smart and successful, but scared to death of kids? Handsome and great with kids, but not too bright? I didn't want to sacrifice anything, but I just knew I'd be forced to, in light of my limiting circumstances.

I actually tried to ditch the whole church/faith part of me a few months before, which would have simplified my hypothetical singles ad. I had left a church after a long, difficult stretch of struggles, and had decided church just wasn’t for me—at least not for now. God had other ideas, though, and a series of encounters led me to a new church one spring Sunday, where I sat, blinking back tears. It wasn’t The Voices of Angels, or The Warmth of God’s Love, or anything directly religious like that filling me with emotion. It was the people. The very ordinary people. A group of hippy-looking teenagers sitting together in the front row. Families of every size, shape and color. Couples that looked like they belonged together, and couples that looked like they didn’t. A grandmother with her grandchildren. Middle aged single people sitting all together, not alone. And lots of children, everywhere, roaming so much from lap to lap that I couldn’t tell which kids belonged to which adults. It was a room full of humanity. They were people who weren’t perfect, and they knew it.

And right there, in the crazy mix of people at my new church, was Jason: a man who answered perfectly to my hypothetical singles ad (it’s true!). We each had our eyes on the other for a couple of months before we met. Then we got to know each other during regular after-church lunches with a group of friends, at a nearby burger and beer place. Our daughters became friends. Soon we started hanging out together on our own, on days other than Sundays, going to hear bands we liked and then talking late into the night at a 24-hour diner.

About two years after we met, Jason and I got married—in the very sanctuary where we first laid eyes on each other, surrounded by the people we worship and work with, eat and dance with, and attempt to sort out the world’s problems with. Out in the world, we often get asked “How did you meet?” We say “church,” and they laugh and say, “No, really?” And then we have an amazing redemption story to tell—one that never gets old.


Kristin Tennant has been a freelance writer for ten years. In 2007 she began blogging about family, faith, struggle and redemption at Halfway to Normal, and she now also blogs for The Huffington Post. Her essays have been included in two anthologies: Not Alone: Stories of Living With Depression, and Ask Me About My Divorce: Women Open Up About Moving On. Kristin, her husband Jason, and their three daughters live in Urbana, Illinois, where they love cooking and sharing meals and conversation with friends.

This Is How We Met: Renee Johnson Fisher's Story

I recently connected with Renee via Ed Cyzewski. Renee's latest book Not Another Dating Book just came out at the beginning of this month and Ed thought she and I might have a few things to talk about. Which, indeed, we did. I enjoyed hearing about how God worked behind the scenes in Renee's life and the timing in meeting her husband.

I was single pretty much my whole life. For 8 years nothing I did worked. When I realized that God was giving me the freedom to forge my own identity, I gave in.

Instead of waiting around for Mr. Right, I went back to college. I let nothing stand in the way of discovering my God’s purpose for my life. I worked to find the significance that was missing. I got a dream job at Outreach Events to help churches nationwide. I even published my first book—a daily devotional for 20’somethings called “Faithbook of Jesus.”

When that wasn’t enough, I asked God a husband for the millionth time. I honestly don’t know where I got the desire but, back at the age of 15, I told God my husband was late. For years all I got was silence. The time wasn’t right yet.

I hated the yet, and yet the more I waited, the more I realized I wasn’t ready yet. I think that was the most humbling part. Admitting God knows better. His timing is better. You know the verse.

Still, after a while, I got tired of waiting.







I had done everything to get a date.

I tried online dating.

I tried dating guys from other churches.

My friends tried hooking me up.

I even asked my parents to set me up.

Nothing I did worked.

So I wrote a book. I called it “Not Another Dating Book” and right after I submitted it to my editor I met Marc.

I was leading a small group for 20-somethings through my church and we had one spot left. Marc was introverted, quiet, and super deep. Every time he spoke up—I found myself leaning in more closely.

Is he leaning?”

10 points to anyone who can guess that movie quote (it’s one of my favorites).

I get teary eyed every time I tell this story because my mom was praying along with me for a mate. I hated how she told me over and over to stop searching. I’m not the kind of girl to not do something. When God brought him into my life—literally into my living room—it was the kind of love story that I knew my mom would be proud of. And of course me too!

When Marc asked me out I was flabbergasted. Somebody liked me—finally! I seriously thought he liked my best friend, Amy, who was also in the group. He didn’t. He was just waiting to ask me out. He said it was after reading my blog that he really fell for me. All that passion and risk he saw me take drew him to me.

MarcandReneeFisherIt was as if God had this restore button in heaven. Every date I went on I was learning what my editor asked me to change that week in my book, “Not Another Dating Book.”
I think God likes to show off.

I really do.

Marc proposed 12 years, 10 months, and 24 days to the day God promised me a husband when I was 15. Yes, I waited. Yes, it felt like forever, but if it weren’t for God’s timing I would never have an amazing ministry given to me by God to reach singles.


Renee Johnson Fisher is a spirited speaker and writer to twenty-somethings. She is the author of “Faithbook of Jesus” and “Not Another Dating Book,” that releases  this month. She and her husband Marc live in Escondido, CA where they hope to adopt a big dog soon.