It all started with a pumpkin... It seems to me that every good fairytale should have a pumpkin in it and mine just happens to begin with one. It was an FHE activity in October to carve pumpkins for Halloween. I was in the 3rd ward with my girlfriends. We were eager to accept the challenge to compete with the 2nd ward in a carving contest. At the end of the activity, our bishop asked us to please take home some pumpkins. I walked over to the table, selected one, and turned to walk away. Suddenly someone said, "Hey Siri! That's my pumpkin!"
Well the top of the pumpkin I was holding said a girl's name on it, but I turned around to see a boy leaning against the table with his arms folded. "This is not your pumpkin and how do you know my name?" I retorted. "Because I'm smart," he replied trying to be smooth. "No really," I said getting a bit annoyed, "How do you know my name?" He grinned slightly as he said, "You're wearing a name tag." I was. I turned and walked away and that was the end of it... or that's what I thought at least.
Apparently Lance wanted to get to know me more so he found me on Facebook and began to message me. Finally he asked for my number and we started to text. He asked if I would be willing to drive home with him late Friday evening from the single's ward service camp out that coming weekend. I didn't see any reason not to, so I agreed.
At the camp out we talked for a while and I was very impressed with his dance moves as he spun me around during a slow dance. Finally, we headed out to drive home and as we were on our way, Lance pulled the car over and asked if it would be alright for him to say a prayer. I was stunned. This was certainly a first on a date for me. He prayed and we drove on. He opened the moon roof for me to look at the stars and turned the heat up so that I wouldn't get cold. As we talked though, he was not making any sense; in fact I thought he might be crazy. After a half hour I finally made him let me drive because he couldn't stay awake.
As I drove the hour and a half back to Phoenix, Lance snored in the passenger seat. I was quite annoyed to say the least. As we neared home the thought crossed my mind that I could never date this guy. As soon as that thought came, another came to my mind as clear as if it had been spoken, "No. He is just tired. You need to give him another chance." Really? So I got home, woke him up, and he told me that he wanted to take me out sometime to thank me for driving him home. I went into the house pondering over that night and that thought that I had had on the way home about giving him another chance. He was good looking and he seemed sweet, but I didn't know if he had intentions aimed for the long run. I decided that I would leave that up to him. I didn't think that he would actually call.
The following Monday was the single's stake Halloween party. I came dressed in one of my Tae Kwon Do uniforms and Lance came dressed as Antoine Dodson. He had a fake fro and everything! Of course there were girls all around him all night, but he did steal me away from a young man that was trying to ask me out and danced with me. It was fun, but I still didn't know what his true intentions were.
So I followed the prompting I had received and the Tuesday after the Halloween party, Lance asked me if I would go watch his softball game and have dinner with him afterward. I said yes. As I sat and read a textbook while he practiced in the batting cages before the game, he asked me what I was reading. What impressed me was that he then continued on to have an intelligent conversation about my response.
After his softball game he took me to dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. I had never had buffalo wings before and they looked quite messy, so I was a little hesitant. I thought that if he didn't think I was weird after watching me eat them so sloppily, then maybe there was something to us. Needless to say, softball and wings became a reoccurring date. He wasn't strange after all. My prompting had been right!
The next week Lance asked me to go with him to his triathlon in Casa Grande and I was more than happy to oblige.
I could tell that Lance was different from other young men I had met. After the triathlon (I was Lance's photographer and cheerleader) we watched Avatar and Lance put his arm around me for the first time. Even more impressive was the fact that I let him.
It soon became very evident that Lance and I were extremely compatible. He treated me the way I had always wanted to be treated and we moved at the same pace in the relationship. He was not afraid to show his commitment to me and for once, I was letting go of fear of hurt and allowing faith in this strong young man to replace it....We had fun watching Avatar together, eating at Five Guys, going to FHE together, and doing so many other neat things.
After only about two and a half weeks Lance asked me if I wanted to go to California with him to meet his family. His sister, Lindsey's wedding was about to happen and so all of his siblings would be traveling to be there.
This trip was when I first realized that I knew I wanted to marry Lance and what I didn't know was that that was exactly why he had brought me home... because he knew the same thing.
It's true what they say, "When it's right, you just know."
The dating continued and Lance and I had all sorts of adventures... He took me to see Harry Potter, we had a beautiful dinner at Olive Garden, and we made a late night grocery run. Everything we did brought us closer together.
As December came it seemed like the Spirit of Christmas just helped us fall in love even more. Ice skating, the Institute Winter Formal, Christmas shopping, Build A Bear, and so many lovely memories ensued.
Life became more wonderful each day.
Christmas day came and I was thrilled and dismayed. Months before meeting Lance, I had agreed to escort my younger friend, Emma, to Sweden for an EFY type activity there. Now it was the day to leave and I was dreading being a whole world away from Lance. We had our typical Christmas morning festivities of scripture reading and gifts before I had to be taken to the airport.
When I arrived in Sweden, Emma left for camp and I went out on the train to spend the day in Stockholm city by myself. The sights were more beautiful than I had even remembered, but oh how I ached to have my Lance to share them with. It was so difficult to be in that wonderful place all alone with not even a friend to share it with.
I left by three thirty to make sure I got home in time to meet a friend that Kiki was going to introduce to me. When I got home, Kiki said her friend hadn't come yet and she would call me down when she did. Alas when I was finally called down, it was for dinner. I hurried down the stairs and walked into the kitchen to find an empty table and no people. Confused, I looked around and then heard Kiki call me. She said in Swedish, "Siri, come here. I need to talk to you." The way she said it reminded me of how a mom talks when you are in trouble. I slowly walked into the living room and she had me sit down in front of her. Slowly, she lifted her arm and pointed at the figure sitting on the couch to my left. I looked and then screamed! Lance was in Sweden! I threw my arms around him in disbelief pulling back every few seconds to look at his face and be sure that it hadn't changed! I could not believe what a surprise this was!
I woke up the next morning eager to spend a day in Sweden with Lance since he would have to leave that evening late to make it back home for work. We wanted to first get pictures in front of the Stockholm temple. So we headed over to the temple and Alex, the caregiver for one of Kiki's boys, came with to take pictures for us and then drop us off at the train station afterward. It was simply beautiful.
Then just as we were leaving, Lance asked if we could take a picture under the snow covered archway. We smiled for a picture and then Lance told me to look at him. "Do you love me?" he asked. "Yes," I responded, not sure why he had asked. Suddenly he was down on one knee fishing around in his pocket for something! I stood utterly confused as he said the words, "Siri, will you marry me?" Finally I realized what was happening and shouted, "Yes!" as I threw my arms around him. We embraced and then he got back down on one knee and slid the beautiful ring onto my finger. My life was changed forever...
So there in that dream-like winter wonderland, I told Lance that I would be his for time and all eternity. Getting engaged is something that every little girl fantasizes about and I should have known that this young man would blow away every idea I ever had about it. He made it all a fairytale come true. And so on December 28, 2010, I became engaged to my best friend in the whole world.
When we arrived home wedding preparations began as we tried to get in as much planning as possible before school began again. Trying on wedding dresses, choosing wedding colors, arranging for engagement pictures, reserving buildings, setting up the ceremony with the temple, deciding on flowers, and so many other things had to be done.
Soon Lance's parents came in town for their quilt show and they were very eager to finally meet my parents. So we all went out to eat dinner (and a very fancy one at that) at Flemming's. It was absolutely delicious and our parents got along just great!
Finally, everything was ready. The dress was clean, the flowers were ready for pick up, the reception was set up, the cake was made, and the wedding was so close. We asked our bridesmaids, groomsmen, and a few other close friends to come over and celebrate a little with us. We played Whoonu and watched
The Singles Ward movie... Finally after everyone left (except Cori who was spending the night) Lance and I read the last few chapters of The Book of Mormon. We did it. We accomplished our goal and
we grew together the whole way. Now on to forever...
May 14, 2011 came. 122 people went to the temple to be there for the Baxter wedding and two best friends were sealed together for all time.
And so we said, "Yes," that day and stepped out of the temple together as husband and wife. We were
ready to face the world with love and faith in our hearts- ready to be together forever.
Now every single day we wake up next to each other and we know that as long as we keep the Lord in our marriage, nothing can tear us apart. I look back at that picture of me on the top of this page, holding that pumpkin, now and all I can see is a shadow of what I now am. I was content and happy with what I had, but now I have everything and a happiness that I never knew was possible. I now know what it feels like to sealed to your true love for time and all eternity and I can't wait to live every one of those minutes in eternity with my sweet Lance. As I ponder over all the contents of this book and our new adventure that is marriage, I can only think, "Oh God, How Great Thou Art..."
So here we go...