Our Story ~

   Charles and I (Gloria) met in San Diego, CA, when I was 5 and he was 6. I do not recall our first meeting, though he does. His Mom taught my Family violin, and Charles and I were in a group class together. Our Families became Friends, and we spent quite a bit of time at each others homes. Somehow our Families lost contact with each other shortly after my (Gloria's) Family moved back to Tucson, Arizona.  However, at some point, my Family became aware that Charles' Family had moved to Washington a couple years after we moved back to Arizona. 

    After the move to Tucson, my Family and I resided there for several years, during which time The Lord called my Dad into the ministry. My Family and I have many wonderful memories of living in Tucson, Arizona, and especially serving in nursing home ministries together as a Family.  Eventually, The Lord led my Parents to accept a Pastoral position in Washington.  A couple months before we moved to Washington, my Dad found Charles' Mom's email address and wrote a note asking how she and her Family were doing and informing them that we were moving to Washington soon. It turns out that Charles' Mom was  teaching a Family music camp only 70 miles away from us. She invited us to attend the camp. It had been almost ten years since our Families had seen each other. My Family got lost on the way to camp, and ended up arriving in the dark around 10pm. The owners of the ranch are really sweet and stayed up late to heat us some dinner leftovers.

     Meanwhile, Charles' Dad found us in the dinning hall. We recognized his bright smile immediately! He ended up talking with us for awhile, and continued to do so while we unpacked in the dark. Soon Charles joined us too. As I came out to the car to fill my arms with another load of luggage, my Dad introduced me to Charles while shining a bright flashlight in my face, declaring, "Here she is! Gloria Joy; just turned 16!"   I blindly looked around in the face of the flashlight's beam, only to reach out to shake Charles' Dad's hand instead of Charles', from which we all shared a good laugh! I was greeted with a cheerful, and warm "hello" from Charles. 

     After all the luggage had been unpacked and thrown in... situated in our rooms, my Family and I went outside to enjoy the beautiful stars scattered all throughout the night sky. Charles' tent happened to be right outside our bunkhouse, and he popped out to enjoy the breathtaking sky view with us. Charles talked with us for a while, as one by one each of my Family members retired to the bunkhouse, eventually leaving only my Dad, Charles, and I under the star lit sky together.  After a few more minutes, my Dad finally retired, saying "I'm joining Teresa (my Mom) and the kids." Charles and I were a bit shocked to find we were left alone together outside in the dark so soon after reuniting. After a few awkward minutes, in which we tried our best not to appear awkward, we quickly parted ways for the night. 

     As I walked down the hall towards my bunk room, I thought about the unexpected events which had occurred during the evening and pondered on the surprising reality that Charles seemed to be very kind towards me and my Family. I must admit that I was pretty surprised and delighted at how "normal" Charles was! I had prepared myself that Charles would probably have changed a lot over the years, and did not to expect that he might be friendly, or especially that he and I would ever renew our childhood Friendship.

     Over the course of the next week at music camp, I was Blessed to spend a good amount of time with Charles and his Parents, mostly catching up on news over the past several years. It was a delight to continually find that was Charles really was a super nice guy,  and that he was very kind and friendly to our Family. But, Charles was not just kind to our Family, but he was also kind to the other campers, too. For some reason, he felt like my instant Best Friend, even though we hadn't seen each other for so long. I was also really impressed by the Fruits of The Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control) that he gave so freely to those around him. Charles definitely had (and still has) a very unique and special personality, which definitely comes from The Lord Jesus living inside him and the personal relationship Charles has with The Lord. 

     Our Families ended up spending quite a bit more time together at a Labor day camp later that same summer 2011. I knew by the end of the Labor Day camp that I really liked and admired Charles.  He was really special guy and a good Friend. But, I also thought that there was no way we would ever be a couple one day - unless it was The Lord's plan. There were just way too many factors that would prevent us getting together unless it was The Lord Himself who did it. Plus, I was only 16 at the time, and he just barely 18. Though we didn't discuss it until several years later, we both wanted to write each other after that Labor Day camp, but neither of us thought it would be a good idea, mostly because of our age and a few other reasons. Secretly, Charles wasn't certain that he didn't just have a brief crush on me, and he figured that if his feelings were still there when we met at next year's camps, and in a couple years, then those feelings were real. 

    There ended up not being another camp at the ranch for almost two years. During which time, Charles was apparently looking for every excuse to come over to our side of Washington and hopefully visit with our Family. He lived with his Parents in Washington, but they were still about 7 1/2 hours from my Family and I. 

     Meanwhile, my Parents and I had been keeping in touch with Charles' Parents. Charles' Mom and I had been conversing some about music therapy (I was delighted to find out that she is a music therapist - the field I hoped to study). In May of 2013, Charles' Mom invited my Sister Bethany and I to come help her with a music workshop she was giving at a college music therapy infusion. I was super excited and prayed that we could go. The Lord provided both the funds and the opportunity to take a day off from college classes, and Bethany and I traveled down on a bus together. We had a blast helping with the music. 

    Though Charles and I did not get to talk much during mine and Bethany's visit,  I was surprised to find that Charles still felt like my instant Best Friend after being apart for almost two years. But, I did not think I should get married because of my health issues, so inwardly I mostly refused to consider that I might have any romantic feelings for him or hope that Charles and I could ever have a future together. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful visit with Charles and his Parents, Bethany and I learned a lot about music therapy, and also appreciated a chance to have an adventure away from college texts books for a few short days. Charles' Mom would again be teaching a music camp at the ranch that year, so we parted knowing our Families would probably see each other again in about six weeks. During those few weeks before camp, Charles emailed my Dad and also emailed me a few times through my Dad's email. After that second music camp, Charles' Family ended up visiting and staying with my Family at our home in Eastern Washington for a few days. We all enjoyed spending a lot of time together. 

    Charles, Bethany, and I began directly emailing each other in the following weeks and months to come. Oh, how we enjoyed his thoughtful and fun notes! Of course, I seemed to have a particular interest in them and would constantly refresh my inbox every chance possible to see if a new email had arrived in my absence. :-)  In mid July of 2013, just a few weeks after the Charles and his Parents returned to their home, I realized that this wasn't a crush - I really did love Charles.  That realization was rather scary! But, I was reminded once again that I needed to Trust Jesus. A song that has become very special to Charles and I in our relationship is the song, "Trust and Obey." Relationships are rather scary, and we felt that we had to either walk in and make decisions out of fear, or choose to Trust and Obey Jesus no matter what happened (or could happen still). It can be very scary to love a person, and not know how things will turn out in the long run. What if we come this far, and The Lord does not have us to marry? We knew that should The Lord direct, we would both throw our feelings aside no matter how much we ourselves would like to stay together and marry. And, that knowledge was all rather scary at certain points during our relationship. Thus, The Lord's constant reminders the we needed to Trust Him were always very comforting and needed! 

    Charles shared his intentions to pursue marriage with me and my Dad in early September 2013, and Charles and I first said "I love you" to each other on December 26th, 2013.  A few months after going through a hard time of almost losing his Dad after surgery complications (Praise Jesus, Charles' Dad survived by the Grace of God and His wonder working power and miracles),  Charles and I had our first "official" restaurant date at Applebee's with just the two of us.  We met up with our Families at Charles' concert with the Bremerton symphony later that evening. By the way, Charles is a very talented musician. He plays, teaches, and performs on his three main instruments - Violin, Viola, and Cello. :-)

     After much Prayer and seeking The Lord, Charles moved to Oroville in September 2015. The move marked  just the beginning an intense time of learning to further Trust The Lord in all. Praise The Lord, for He provided Charles with a full time at a local lumber plant, and also brought about a unique situation in which he is caretaking and renting the home of a Friend. After going through pre-marital counseling with Pastor Rod, a Dear Family Friend, Charles and I were engaged on May 3rd, 2016. The Lord worked in some mighty ways, and we were happily married just a little over six weeks later, on June 19th, 2016. :-)

     The journey thus far hasn't always been easy by any means, but we are so grateful for all that The Lord has done and for His tender mercies and endless love for us. We are so Blessed to have Him as our Lord and Savior, and so Blessed that He chose to put us together. 

      Now, just four months later, we are thrilled to find out that we are expecting a Baby! Our little bundle of Joy is due June 14th, 2017; which will be just in time for our one year anniversary! A Baby is a Precious anniversary gift and we eagerly look forward to meeting him or her.  :-) 

Psalms 126:3 ~ "The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." :-) 

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