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Monday, December 6, 2010

Can you handle the love?

About 6 years ago, I got the idea in my little brain, to write down my perspective of when Jeff and I met, and the time leading up to our wedding.

It was to be an anniversary gift to Jeff.

And it was before Pioneer Woman wrote Black Heels to Tractor wheels, so I'm not copying.
So there.

It was a labor of love. It's not very long, but it's honest and a sweet memory for both of us. There is a little bit of mushiness and sappiness, but I didn't write it for anyone but my dearest.

I've been wanting to share it for a while. Simply because I believe that there is such a thing as true love. Or to blave, if you speak Princess Bride. Either way, love is not devoid of difficulties or sorrows. But your willingness to work through things is the true measure of your love. And 14 years of marriage, and six children later, we are a testament to that.

So I share the first half with you today. Those of you who are not Mormon that read this blog, there may be some terminology in this story that is unique to our church and you may be asking yourself, "What the heck?". But I will do my best to insert translations, and if you have any other questions, feel free to email me or to go to LDS.org for more info.

Also, I am not a a writer. I love blogging, and I like telling stories, but my writing skills are rudamentary at best. So, please enjoy, but don't judge my grammar or punctuation, kay?

So I present to you, in two parts and in third person, The Story of Our Love. Not a very original title, but it works.

The story of our love is filled with very little drama, or heartache or sorrow. Rather, the story of our love is filled with immense joy and adoration, great attraction, excitement, and respect for one another. Perhaps the lack of drama makes for a boring story, but not for those who actually lived it. Our story, the story of Jeff and Amy, began long before we met each other. I am not referring to our beginning together in the pre-existence(translation, before we came to earth) (which we both believe is where it truly began), but rather our earthly beginning in Kittitas County, Washington.


Amy was born and raised in Cle Elum, a teeny tiny logging town at the base of the Cascade Mountains. Jeff grew up in a variety of places back and forth between California and Utah until he was 12 years old and his family finally settled in Ellensburg, exactly one half hour from Amy. They grew up in the same Stake,(translation:referring to an area combined of several congregations) their parents knowing the same people. They even attended the same youth dances- more than likely occasionally admiring each other from afar along with the parade of other attractive members of the opposite sex that frequented Stake Youth dances. They never, however, actually met. Amy knew of Jeff’s sister Denise, most likely because Denise was a singer, and Amy remembered anyone her age who sang. And Jeff looking back, found Amy’s sister Maile mentioned in his journal, along with other youth members of the Cle Elum branch.(translation: a congregation smaller than 100 people) They even served on the same youth committee for Youth Conference (translation: a weekend where youth ages 14-18 meet to listen to inspirational speakers, have dances and participate in service projects)when they were 14 and 15, although they don’t remember each other, and yet again they never met.

Amy was a year older than Jeff, and having found a boyfriend her junior year in high school, she tended to not notice other young men as often as she used to. Jeff also had his share of girlfriends and crushes, and once again they seemed to float on by each other without noticing. Amy did, however, learn Jeff’s name, just what seemed by accident at the time, but in retrospect, it was the key that opened the door to their first introduction. It was her English class Senior year and her teacher, Mr. Nevills, decided to show an independent film made by students from Ellensburg high school, starring none other than Jeff Allen. Having seen him at Stake dances and now recognizing him in the film, Amy logged away his name and his status as a Mormon, and did not give it much more thought.

They both graduated from high school, a year apart and both went on to BYU. Amy returned to Ellensburg after freshman year to attend Central, and Jeff prepared to leave for his mission to Brazil. (many young men in our church serve two year missions, at their own expense, swearing off music, t.v. movies and girls) They occupied the same county again, for a few months, but again, did not meet. Jeff served a successful and honorable mission to Brazil, while Amy went back and forth between Ellensburg and Provo, discovering what she did and did not want in a mate.

The fateful night for both Jeff and Amy arrived in the springtime, the time for love and new beginnings, and normally annoying sappiness of that sort, sappiness that ceased to be annoying the moment their eyes met. It was March 27 th 1996. Jeff had been home from his mission for 2 ½ months. He had visited his grandfather in California and baptized him, said goodbye to a high school love, and found a job. He had applied for and been passed over as an EFY counselor (Especially for Youth is a week long camp of sorts for youth 14-18 where they again listen to inspiration speakers, go to dances and such) and so he resigned himself to spend the summer in Ellensburg . Meanwhile, Amy was attending school, working early mornings at Super One in the deli, and had also said goodbye to a love.

Jeff, after working an honest day’s work at Simpson’s grinding steel, and feeling pretty good about himself, showered and drove around looking for something to do. His path led him to the institute(translation: a meeting place for young LDS adults where they also take religion classes) that fateful Wednesday night. Amy and her sister and their roommates had decided to walk to the institute, for it was a lovely night as she recalled, and she could not have possibly guessed what lay ahead for her.

~It is important to note here, that a few months before when Jeff had reported to the high council about his mission,(translation: the high council consists of usually older men who have served in many capacities in our church and now help the Stake President watch over the branches and wards in the stake. Confused yet? it's ok.) that Amy’s father Digby, a member of that High Council, had introduced himself to Jeff and mentioned a daughter he thought Jeff should look up. Jeff logged that away in the "yeah right, I just got
home from my mission two days ago" file, and forgot about it. Amy’s father then proceeded to tell Amy about the young man he had met, and Amy logged that away in the "yeah right, he hasn’t been home from his mission for a year yet so he’s probably weird" file, and forgot about it.
Back to our story....


Amy and her sister Maile found comfortable seats on the floor and settled in for a lesson by the venerable Brother Grover. Around 7:20 or so Jeff walked in-you recall he was wandering around trying to find some thing to do- and he sat down in the couch directly across from Amy and Maile. Now, any knew young man walking into an institute class of a young single branch is going to be noticed by every girl in the room. However, Amy didn’t just notice him, she recognized him. And instantly recalled from memory that he was Jeff Allen. And here is where it gets interesting. She turned to her sister and said “that’s Jeff Allen” Maile kind of shrugged her shoulders, she didn’t care who he was , she was waiting for her missionary. Amy then turned and said “I’m going to go talk to him” And to top it all, and Maile did not shrug her shoulders to this rather she gave Amy a sideways glance of “you‘re crazy“, Amy said “I’m going to marry him.”


It was as if everything and everyone in the whole room disappeared but Jeff and Amy. Jeff could not keep his eyes off of Amy, he thought she was beautiful and couldn’t help but feel that he knew her from somewhere, but he could not pinpoint how or where. They played staring tag throughout Bro Grover’s lesson and Maile would continually nudge Amy saying “he’s staring at you again.” It would have been impossible for either of them to have looked away, the connection across the room was instant and nothing short of a meteor falling from the sky could have stopped what was going to happen next. They both seemed to be impatiently waiting for the class to be over so that they could make their way the short distance across the room to each other. Jeff however, was waylaid talking to Brother Grover, and Amy was not taking the chance that they would leave without talking to each other, so she made her way over to interrupt. She later learned that he had decided as well to not leave without introducing himself and learning who Amy was.

As Amy approached, Bro Grover, who assumed it was him Amy was waiting to talk to said “yes, Amy”. Amy’s reply was a confident “Actually, I was hoping to talk to Jeff”. And their conversation went something like this.
“You’re Jeff Allen right?” Amy asked. Jeff replied that indeed he was, and one can only imagine that his heart skipped a beat at the knowledge that this beautiful young woman already knew his name. Amy offered her hand and introduced herself. There was a quality in the air around them as angels rejoiced in the reunion of these two souls, so destined for each other.


Jeff said” You seem so familiar, I have to know you from somewhere.” They both then proceeded to name all of the possible places where they could have seen each other. And although they both had been at the mentioned dances and youth conferences, Jeff insisted that wasn’t it, he just couldn’t put his finger on it. Amy, however, couldn’t help but feel that she was so familiar to him because they had met before, in the pre-existence. Amy realized how strange it was to feel that with such assurance, yet she knew it was true.

It’s funny how men and women remember things differently. Of that night Amy remembered the magical feeling of those reuniting who had been separated by the veil(translation: that thing that keeps us from remembering our life before we came to earth). Jeff remembered that Amy complimented him on the way he dressed, how cool he was for just arriving home from a mission. And the most important of Jeff’s memories, how great Amy’s legs were and how beautiful he thought she was. Love is funny that way.

After inviting Jeff to a dance the following Friday night, Amy and Jeff parted ways and Amy walked home with her sister and roommates. She couldn’t help but think with mortification how she wished she had looked cuter, instead of showing up in work out clothes and being slightly disheveled and sweaty from their walk to the institute. How was she to know her eternal companion would be there? Amy thought of almost nothing and no one else for the next few days, and hesitantly wrote in her journal about the events of the night. She was nervous to document the evening, for what if she only imagined the connection that had been there? What if she alone felt it? She would wait and see how the dance went.

The night of the dance both Jeff and Amy worked very hard to look their best. Amy contemplated dressing more conservatively than normal, unsure of Jeff’s taste. However, she decided that if he was truly meant for her, and her for him, then he would love and accept her for what she was. So she donned her black Dollhouse button up shirt, worn levis, and black platform heeled boots. Jeff, who had arrived early since he was unaware that a young adult dance starting at 9 meant that no one would show up until 10, nervously paced and walked around. He knew he wanted to see her again. Her eyes sparkled when she talked and her smile lit up the room. What if she didn’t come? His fears were unnecessary though. Amy arrived ready and excited to see the young man who already was in possession of her heart.

Though Jeff didn’t know it yet, and she was afraid to admit it, Amy was in love already. It was as if her heart remembered instantly what it was to love this young man. Jeff seemed to glow. Amy had a difficult time accurately describing it, but he seemed to give off a light that she was drawn to. She knew it could mean absolute joy or tremendous heartache, but she had to take the chance. Amy wasted no time in asking Jeff to dance. Usually one to sit back and wait for young men to approach her, Amy had found herself going after what she wanted. She was not taking the chance that another would swoop in and steal his heart. She had no clue that that was impossible. Jeff too, was already in love, though he did not know it yet. He was a little slower than Amy to recognize it since he and another had just parted ways and he was going back to BYU. But he was already hooked.

They danced the night away, and truly had eyes for only each other. But Jeff, being the conscientious young LDS man that he was, asked a few other girls to dance so they would have a chance to have fun as well. Rather than annoying Amy, this endeared her to him even more. He was not thoughtless or selfish. He cared for others and it showed in the way he treated them.

As Jeff worked his way back over to dance with Amy again, he had already formulated in his head the date he would ask her out on. He was pretty confident she would say yes. And she did. They were to go on their first official date the following Saturday. However, the week that followed, they found themselves together all the time. Jeff spent the majority of his week working, spending time with Amy and her roommates, or talking on the phone to Amy. It was a magical time. The anticipation and wondering about how the other feels for you leaves you sort of constantly breathless and shaky. And rather than being unnerving, you welcome the feeling, because you know that you’re in love.

The night of the “official” first date arrived. Jeff had planned an interesting array of events that included the opening night of Mike Cross’ new movie, his older sister Dawn’s belly dancing troup’s performance, and a long talk sitting in Amy’s blue Nissan Pulsar up at Craig’s hill. Jeff had already been thinking along the lines of a serious relationship with Amy. But he wanted to be sure. Going back to BYU so soon left more questions than answers and he did not want to hurt Amy. Stringing Amy along was not part of Jeff’s plan, he wanted to be sure. So the day before Jeff had discussed his feelings with his Heavenly Father. He received a reassurance that he should indeed date Amy seriously. It was the confidence he needed to go ahead with the relationship. He shared this with Amy. Not in so many words, but he let her know that it was a good thing for them to be dating. She agreed with all her heart. That evening they parted with a hug, and Jeff gently kissed Amy on the forehead. She drove home feeling better than she could ever remember.

The following day was Sunday, General Conference.(translation: twice a year, the leaders of our church gather to speak to us via satellite, or in person at the conference center in Salt Lake City, if you live there) Jeff and Amy sat together, and they both felt really great being in each other’s company. That evening Jeff again found himself at Amy’s house. They always seemed to congregate there. Amy’s roommates and Maile loved Jeff and they knew Amy had never been happier.

As everyone sat out on the porch talking and laughing, the air seemed to change a little. One by one all of Amy’s roommates decided to go in or claimed to have things to do. Jeff and Amy found themselves alone on the front porch. Amy knew what was coming. She had been thinking about this moment from the previous Sunday. Jeff and Amy and a few others had been gathered in the kitchen of the institute after church. Jeff was talking and Amy couldn’t help but watch his mouth as he talked. His lips and teeth seemed perfection to her and watching him form his words was mesmerizing. This thought crossed her mind as Jeff’s face got closer and closer to hers. Soon enough, their eyes closed and their lips met and even now Amy could recall the softness of Jeff lips as he gently kissed her. When they pulled back both of their eyes were shining and the joy of what passed between them was evident. Once again they parted for the night, and as Amy went inside she already felt she could hardly wait to see him again.

The next few days passed in a similar manner. But Wednesday ended differently. Jeff had finally realized that he loved Amy and that she could be his future. As they again found themselves alone at Amy‘s house, talking on the couch, he stopped her mid-sentence with the words “I love you”. Now Amy new she loved Jeff, and she had suspected he loved her too, but she didn’t expect to hear it so soon. It caught her off guard, and as the tears welled up she answered in the only way she could. “I love you ,too” she said. The joy was overwhelming. He loved her! He loved he! Could this be all that she had been waiting for? Was she finally going to be happy?

The following weekend was a young adult rendevous in Moscow, Idaho. Jeff and Amy and her roommates Elsa, Anna and Chawntelle all drove down together. There was a dance planned for the first night, and then a service project and testimony meeting planned for the following day. Within a very short amount of time at the dance, Amy could feel that something was different. Jeff seemed distant, he avoided eye contact with her and didn’t dance close to her. The thought flashed across her mind “He’s looking around at all the other girls here, and regretting what he said to me Wednesday.” And even though she knew she was right, she needed to hear it straight from him. So in proper girl fashion, Amy asked Jeff what he was thinking and what was going on. They sat down and he told her that he wasn’t sure if he did the right thing in deciding to date Amy and Amy only. Of course Amy was crushed. It was as if all of the oxygen in the room had been sucked out and Jeff had the only life support, which he had just told her he was unwilling to share.

Amy kept herself together and calmly told Jeff that he needed to figure out what he wanted. And until he knew, Amy asked him to not kiss her or hold her hand or tell her that he loved her. Amy’s heart was breaking into a million little pieces, but she knew from experience that remaining calm and not scaring Jeff away would be her best option. Through the tears streaming down her face, Amy also told Jeff that if nothing else she would be happy being his friend. Which for the first time in her life, she meant. Just to be near him would bring it’s own amount of happiness, even with all the sorrow that would accompany it.

They talked for a little longer and then they parted to leave for their host families. No parting kiss, or loving look, just two hearts wrenched apart by confusion and doubt. Amy calmly walked away, not looking back, and joined her roommates who were waiting by the car. When Amy was sure Jeff would not see her, she collapsed in a heap on the ground next to the car and sobbed as she had never sobbed before. How could she think that everything was working out the way she wanted? How could she have been so wrong about all that she felt towards him and from him? Amy did not understand her good fortune at the time of having 3 good friends and roommates there to comfort her. Instead of returning to their host family, the 4 girls found a restaurant that was open and sat up talking. Each girl in turn sharing their thoughts with Amy about what might be going on. They gently reminded her that it had only been a short time and maybe Jeff
just was getting scared. Everything they said made sense, but it did little to ease the searing pain that was shooting through Amy’s heart.


Amy fell asleep with an endless stream of thought running through her mind, wondering what her future really held.

to be continued......

7 comments:

  1. 6 kids later??? Did it work out? LOL

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  2. Not a lot of suspense when I gave away the ending, huh? hahaha

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  3. I can't wait for part two! This is BETTER than Pioneer Woman!

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  4. LOVE it... I am soooo sappy at heart. Gotta love that institue, huh? And I am biting my nails waiting for part 2.

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  5. I have already read the story in the actual anniversary gift.

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  6. seriously, get on it already!! I'm waiting in suspended anticipation... I love a good love story!!!

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  7. OK, so playing a small part in the story I pretty much remember it, but I love hearing it from your perspective, especially after all these years - I had forgotten so much! I feel like I'm ready for the next installment - and yay me, you already wrote it - so I get to read it right now!

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