Now that happiness had come to me, I was grimly determined to trust.Â I'd been burned before but the only way to get lifegiving warmth was to come near to the fire.Â Â Time after time, I had seen evidence that he wasÂ "the one."Â The only stumbling block was the lack of a ring.Â After some soul searching I made a choice.Â I set my jaw and determined to have faith and wait.Â If he was worthy of loving, he was worthy of trust.
In December, heÂ asked me to go on a road trip with himÂ from Texas to Arizona so I could meet the last member of his family: his beloved grandfather.Â Â We would travel throughÂ Texas and New Mexico to Lake Havesu, Arizona.Â Â We decided notÂ to stop overnight in a hotel.Â WeÂ hadÂ decided to wait until marriage to consumate our loveÂ but we wereÂ both passionate people and decidedÂ it would be unwise toÂ tempt fate.Â Â Right before we left both my mother and my best friend (in separateÂ phone calls) expressed the hope that he would propose at his grandfather's house.Â I suspected that was his plan, but I hesitated to get my hopes up too much.
We had a wonderful time on the trip.Â We stopped off at points of interest andÂ just enjoyed the gorgeous scenery.Â We were glad of the cramped car for a chaperone.Â Even without a hotel room, temptation wasÂ hard to resist.Â When we arrivedÂ at his grandfather's house,Â I was immediately accepted as one of the family.Â I fell in love with hisÂ grandfather as well--a crusty oldÂ retired trucker with aÂ rough sense of humor, keen wit and huge heart.Â Everthing went wonderfully,Â except there was still no ring.
As we wrapped up the visit,Â we decided that we were too close to the Grand Canyon to miss seeing it.Â We planned to driveÂ and hike around it on day one of the trip home.Â I had never been and I was excited to see one of the most photographed places in the US.Â And who canÂ blame me ifÂ in the back of my mind, I was thinking what a perfect place to proposeÂ it would be? At least that's what I thought when we arrived that morning. Sweaty andÂ dirty after half a day spent hiking and driving the rim, I decided I was wrong and put it out of my mind.Â I decided to concentrate on the breathtakingÂ beauty of the canyon, dusted with a thin layer of snow.Â Â A herd of mountain sheep picked their way confidently near a sheer precipice.Â I enjoyedÂ the shadows and colors.Â It is a heartstoppingly beautiful and awesome place.Â
As the day was closing and we were driving past the last scenic overlook, R suggested we stop and have someone take a picture of us together.Â We pulled in and noticed a busload of senior citizens milling around at the overlook enjoying theÂ amazing sunset.Â R went over to a sweet lookingÂ little lady and asked if she would take our picture with the disposable camera.Â We lined up against the wall and he put his arm aroundÂ me.Â The little lady called, "Smile" and took the picture. I started to move and R pulled me back. "Let's have her takeÂ one more."Â The nextÂ thing I knew, he was on one knee with a small black box in his hand.
His eyes were moist as he asked, "Janna, will you make me the happiest man in the world?Â Will you be my wife?"Â I didn't even let him get up before I threw my arms around him and kissed him.Â There was a "yes" in there somewhere although I can't remember exactly when I said it.Â The little lady who was holding the camera was frantically trying to take a picture of the moment and failing.Â "I can't get it to work!Â It won't work!" she called.Â R patiently got up from his knee, went to wind the camera and came back and got back in to position for the picture.Â He was determined to have the moment preserved. I was wondering if he was going to send an 8 x 10 toÂ my mom and best friend. My joy was complete.Â
The first thing we did was drive to the nearest town, find a restaraunt and I called my mom and my best friend.Â Then he called his mom.Â Everyone was thrilled. As if to reafirm our timing, we wentÂ through the town where my brother and hisÂ wife were living.Â They had just gone to the hospital forÂ the birthÂ his second child.Â We stayed until my niece was born and got to see her precious face.Â It was a time of new beginnings.
When we got back to Texas, the wedding preparations began in earnest.Â Now we had a date, May 31st.Â We booked the church and the reception hall. We began to attend to the hundred details that make a wedding.Â We were commited to sticking to our budget and he was determined to make my dreams come true.Â Â WeÂ looked at photos, went to a wedding show and interviewed florists.Â We found a man who did gorgeous flowers butÂ he was easily twice our budget allotment. God is good because his chief assistant had just struck outÂ on her own and was willing to do the same flowers for half of the price. In a wonderful "God-incidence" the irises we had ordered came in too small and imperfect--so we opted to use fressias instead but since she already had the flowers, she made then into centerpieces for the tables at the reception atÂ no extra charge.Â God was truly working everything for our good.
The afternoon of the wedding was beautiful and bright.Â As my future sister in law did my makeup, I sat in the dressing area looking at my bridesmaids andÂ flower girlsÂ chattering like a group of brilliant songÂ birds.Â As I slipped on my dress and turned to face the full length mirror, silence fell.Â Â Â The silence was broken by my two year old flower girl, "You're bootiful!" My mother came over with tears on her cheeks and hugged me.Â Â "She's right, you know" she whispered.Â "Thank you, Mom." I could hardly see myself through the mist of tears, but I could see one thing.Â I was beautiful.Â I had never felt that way before.
What followed was a whirl of photos, adjustments and preparations. In no time at all, my fatherÂ and I were standing arm and arm behind the big double doors listening for my music and watchingÂ the backsÂ of the flower girls and bridesmaids and they walked with measured stepsÂ down the aisle.Â Then my moment came.Â My father gave me a kiss on the cheek then pulled the veil over my face. We turned to face the front of the church as the door opened forÂ us.
I saw him standing at the front of the church, but through the veil he was indistinct.Â It wasn't until I was within 6 feet, that I realizedÂ he was crying.Â He wasn't ashamed.Â He made no move to wipe the tears from his cheeks.Â His eyes were shining and he had the mostÂ wonderful smile of joy.Â When my father put my hand in his, he squeezed it for a moment before he whispered, "You are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen."Â I reached up and brushed a tear from his cheek with wonderingÂ fingers.Â That he should love me so much. . . We turned to the waiting minister.
I learned later what antics the children in the wedding party had been up to behind our backs, but truth to tell we didn't notice anyone but each other.Â We listened to the minister or just gazed at each other.Â We did whisper a timeÂ or two during readings and the solo because we just couldn'tÂ keep quiet about our love for oneÂ another.Â Â In the end, our moment came for the kiss (wonderful), then we were introduced to the church as a married couple. We turned to see the smiling faces of our families and friends, suddenly aware that we weren't alone.Â The whole church shared our joy.
After the wedding, we did the pictures in the church while the guests headed forÂ the reception.Â When were were headed up the aisle to exit the church and go to the reception, my 4 year old flower girl came running up.Â "Aunt Janna, can I ride your horse?"Â My horse?Â Her mother shushed her. My husband and I reached the outer door as I looked at him in confusion.Â He smiled and opened the door.Â Waiting there was his surprise:Â a white and gold horse drawn carraige.Â We were driven to the nearby reception site, serenaded by the driver.Â I felt like Cinderella.
The reception was wonderful. We cut the cakes, listened to toasts by our friends and family, and ate the wonderful buffet prepared by a friend who was a restaurant manager.Â We were surrounded by a crowd of well wishers most of the time. Then the dj played our the song for our first dance, "It Had To Be You."Â We danced close, wrapped in our love and inÂ the miracle ofÂ God'sÂ perfect plans.
It hasn't always been easy.Â We have survived the loss of his father and one miscarriage as well as the usual financial and emotional challenges that life brings, but weÂ have been blessed with great joys such as our 4 beautiful children and our current contract in Barbados.Â ThroughÂ it allÂ we are learning to loveÂ oneÂ another better andÂ growing closer toÂ GodÂ in the process.Â Our goal andÂ hope is to grow old together serving the Lord, Â surrounded by our children and grandchildren.Â Â That's what I callÂ "Happily Ever After."
To read the story from the begining