It was August 15th, 2014 when Logan walked into my heart, our worlds collided, and my life changed forever. You could call it love at first sight, but it wasn’t that. When we met, it was like my heart had always known his, and they had always been the best of friends. It went a little like this. With a lot of prayer, coaxing from my mom, and a pretty much last-minute decision to try out, I made the Randall High School cheer team. (If I knew then that this decision would ultimately lead to me meeting my husband, I would’ve sprinted to that tryout!) In the weeks leading up to the school year, as we prepped cheers and dances for Randall’s annual, pre-season Meet the Raiders pep rally, I couldn’t help but notice the intense chattery by my teammates. The topic; whose number they would proudly wear on their cheek for the first football game of the 2014-2015 football season. In listening to their total concern of me not having a number to wear on my cheek, I came to discover that this was a really important part of being a cheerleader. According to them, the MOST important part. I expressed my concern to my good friend, Jared Jennings, and out of the kindness of his heart he gave me the cell phone number of what he described as ‘the nicest, most humble, respectful, God-fearing guy who just so happens to be really good at football!’ So out of pure boldness and some more coaxing from my mom, I sent a text to this stranger named Logan. To my surprise, Logan responded to my request to wear his special number to my very first football game with an “Of course you can!” He knew nothing of me. We had never met or even heard of one another. He didn’t know what I looked like, where I came from, or even why I, a stranger, was asking such an odd favor of him, yet he was so kind to me. He made this below confident, new girl feel not so invisible, seen, appreciated, and important. I will never forget that. August 15th had arrived quickly and off I went to Meet the Raiders, excited to meet new people, but especially excited to meet the nice, humble, respectful, God-fearing guy named Logan. “Number nine, just look for number nine,” I said, trying to console the butterflies that I brought with me. I swung through the Randall High gymnasium doors, and as I scanned the jerseyed teenagers lined at the back wall, my eyes fell on this tall, blonde, dream of a guy. My eyes went from his smile to his jersey. “Number nine…” (inner scream) Following the pep rally, students started to gather in the common area, and I awkwardly lingered waiting to bump into number nine. Introductions and new faces stole my attention and before I knew it, I was one of a dozen left standing in the common area, so to the car, I headed. Once in the car, my mom and aunt Pam simultaneously blurted, “Did you meet the cute boy whose number you’re going to wear on your cheek?” And before I could utter the entire word ‘No,’ they had whipped the car back around the pick-up line and shoved me out of the backseat. (Thank you so much for that, you guys!) So back through the puddles, I went. As I pushed through the front entrance of the school I could see nothing but a little blur of blonde hair pushing through the entrance at the opposite side of the room. With a smile and a wave, Logan met me in the middle of the nearly empty cafeteria. It was there, in the middle of the Randall High School cafeteria, that my life was changed forever. That my heart simply sighed in relief and I felt a sense of peace and completeness I had never known before. I vividly remember knowing during that first interaction that Logan was different. Just different. In fact, I liked him so much, that the very next day I risked my squeaky clean 15-year-old driving record, picking him up in my car and driving around town for 5 hours straight! It was so worth it. We talked all day, about our secret hobbies and passions, our families, the future, what we loved about life and what we didn’t. Looking back I realize that this girl at 15 didn’t know much at all, but I am so sure that at this time I knew I loved everything about this number nine of mine. This was the day I introduced Logan to my parents, and they still talk about me telling them that Logan and I were going to ‘get married and live in Malibu.’ At the time they might’ve called me a dreamer, but I like to call it manifestation! A surprise note and some flowers on my sweet sixteen sealed the deal, and Logan and I began our journey together as boyfriend and girlfriend. We spent our Friday nights together under the stadium lights at Kimbrough Stadium, a sparkly #9 never left my cheek. That year I fell in love with that nice, humble, respectful, God-fearing 17-year-old. Proms and baptisms, championship football games at AT&T stadium and hunting trips to the ranch, watching the stars, and a little German Shepard named Migo, made up the memories we shared in those days. It was the summer of 2016 when God sent Logan and me in separate directions. Logan left Texas to pursue his California dream, and my heart left when he did. God used the time that we spent apart teaching us to love ourselves and how to love, but more than anything we learned in those days, we learned that we simply loved each other. It was September 22nd, 2018 when I re-gave my life to Christ. I had prayed this prayer of submission many times before this September night, but this particular night, I was determined to give total control to my Lord and Savior. And boy, did He take the reins! That very night I dreamed this dream: I was standing in front of two closed doors. In my confusion, my eyes searched for recognition of any sort. My dad was standing at my right side, a little tear grazed his cheek, sliding onto the collar of his tux. A tux?! As I looked to my feet, I was amazed to find myself wearing a long white dress. The prettiest dress I had ever seen. Before I could collect any sort of understanding, music began to play and my dad scooped my arm into his. And then the doors opened. Friends and loved ones peered at me from every direction. I saw old friends, new friends, strangers, and then I saw Logan’s family. My heart felt peaceful. I immediately searched for a glimpse of the end of the aisle, and then I saw him. My number nine, my tall blonde dream boy, the nicest, most humble, respectful, God-fearing man I had ever met. It was him. It was always him. In telling my mom, who, might I add, always adored Logan (maybe even a little more than she adores me), about the incredible dream that followed my prayer, she instantaneously blurted, “it means you’re meant to be!” Mom, you’re always right. It was September 23rd, 2018 when I received the text message from Logan confessing what I had prayed for all along. “I love you. I always have and I always will,” was what he wrote. God really does work in the most spectacular ways. Oh but, it gets better! With my plans already made to travel back to Amarillo to watch the Randall Raiders play their final home game of 2018, I asked Logan when he would be back in Texas, so I might have the chance to see him. At this time, I worried that even though we both knew that we loved each other, that living 1,500 miles away would somehow interfere with our opportunity to be together. Silly me. Logan would be there at the same football game. In that same old stadium, under the same old lights, claiming the same old place in my heart. It was November 9th, 2018 when I made the drive from Fort Worth to Amarillo, nervous butterflies ushered me into my parking spot at Kimbrough stadium. Taking the sloped sidewalk down the pathway that split the bleachers, I scanned the rows that framed that favorite field of mine. My eyes were summoned to something very special and familiar; a tall, blonde, dream of a guy. My mom and I joined Logan and his precious family at their special place in the stands. Quite frankly, I don’t remember if we won or lost that game. I don’t even remember what we talked about during that game. But I do remember it feeling just right. That night we decided that if God could plan an encounter so perfect to have us at the same stadium, on the same night, in our same hometown, with our hearts in the same place, then He could, without a doubt, sustain us in building a relationship together, apart. I remember watching Amarillo disappear in my rearview mirror, but my heart had never felt more at home. Fires blazed in California, keeping Logan in Texas two weeks longer than we anticipated. Just another example of how God brings blessings out of destruction. The Randall Raiders progressed into the playoffs, sending their team to Fort Worth for the next two weekends in a row, and bringing Logan with them. These three special weekends became the catalyst for our relationship, and ultimately our future marriage. We laughed about old times, shared about the hurt times, and dreamed about the times we looked so forward to. A new year and a kiss sealed the deal, and Logan and I began our journey together as boyfriend and girlfriend, again. As a new semester crept onto the scene, the realization of long-distance love scared us only a little. We said goodbye and I sent my dream-come-true back to his home across the country. At the time, I had no idea how many times I would have to do that, or that it would never get any easier. We spent most of the next year and a half on a plane or in a car traveling to and from each other. Surf days and formals, LANY concerts and learning to play the guitar, FaceTime call dates, and a big German Shepard named Migo, made up the memories we shared in those days. It was the summer of 2019 when I decided two more years of college seemed far too long to spend across the country from him. So I maxed out my hours and made a fast break for graduation, so we could finally be together. Our final year of college consisted of formals, FaceTimes, and finding more and more reasons to love each other. We rang in the year 2020 with a kiss in Times Square with excitement for God’s plans for our sixth year of love. With our final semester of college cut short, we were sad, mad, and disappointed for sure. But this great disappointment brought along with it great joy, for Logan returned to Texas early, meaning our long journey of loving each other from afar was finally coming to an end. (Or so we thought…) The backyard became our graduation ceremony stage, and our white crocs made the perfect accessory for our caps and gowns. Our last days of youth were spent at Lake Tanglewood, making memories and making plans. We didn’t know what our future held, but we knew who held our future. It was early June when Logan accepted a job in Austin, a blessing amidst the chaos we knew, and he quickly made living arrangements there. The following month, I was offered a job in Fort Worth, and we didn’t know why or how these circumstances had found us again, but I moved home and we began one last round of long-distance. We tore up Interstate 35 driving back and forth every few days just to see each other. The miles on my car and the wear on my tires were, without a doubt, worth it. Unbeknownst to me, Logan was taking full advantage of not having me around during the week. It seems that he stayed very busy in those days, calling up my dad, shopping for a ring, researching photographers, creating a special video, and coordinating the most special day I could ever imagine. It was November 14th, 2020 when Logan pulled the little black box from his blue jeans, dropped to his knee, and asked me, imperfect me, to spend forever and a day with him. With shaky hands, he held mine, and a million memories flashed through my head. I leaped into those familiar arms of his, my heart nearly left my body, “We get to grow old together!” It was amidst this pure and indescribable joy that God sent my mind to a distant detail of a memory when a wonderful stranger named Logan kindly gave me his number to wear on my cheek to that small-town season-opener football game. And now, on this beyond perfect fall day, this same wonderful man, my best friend, kindly gave me the opportunity to be his life partner. To never have to know a day without him. To grow with, chase God with, and to write the latter part of this really good story we’ve written together. This little love story of ours proves to me that I am fiercely loved by the biggest and the greatest God. A God that is faithful, and does not abandon me or leave me where I do not belong. A God that remains constant and eager to bless me. And a God that gives good gifts that exceed prayers and expectations. Gifts like a nice, humble, respectful, God-fearing man named Logan. I can't wait to marry you, LJN!