Thursday, April 28, 2011

Welcome to our blog

Hello world!
This is our little piece of the web to share our story and what is going on in our lives. In order to do this I feel you need to know who we are and where we are coming from. Blake and I got married on February 12, 2011. The best way I know to explain our story is to use what we typed our for our wedding website so here it is... This is our story...

Carrie's Story

My freshman year in college I went home with one of my new friends, Heather Hartman. While I was visiting her in Estill Springs, TN, we went to an Empty Chair reunion concert in Tullahoma to see our friend Matt Brock play. Blake was in the band playing guitar.

I met him officially after the concert at an after party at someone's house. He was being "typical Blake" and all I really remember was him saying he had a test on Monday and he needed to throw up. So he sat down with a gallon of milk and drank it until he threw up outside in the front yard. And that was the first time we met.

So the next few weeks I get a message on Facebook from this guy Blake and it said this, "Hey... this is going to sound REALLY weird! lol. But could you give me a call maybe tomorrow? Like after one o'clock? lol My number is..." I really had no idea what this guy was wanting since I barely talked to him at that party but I figured why not. So I called him the next day.
He told me he had been walking and talking with God and just praying for God to send him a sign. He was getting over a recent breakup and wanted God to show him the next step. I'm sure you can read his story for more info haha. But after that I was like well that is interesting that God would just show you my picture on facebook and then you call me. So we started talking more.

I was kind of dating someone else at the time me and Blake started talking. Nothing serious but when Blake came up to visit we decided to start dating, even if it was long distance. We went to a mission expo thing the first night where I always remember the picture of Blake teaching an underprivileged child to play guitar.

That showed me early on what kind of boy he was then and what kind of man he would become. Also on this trip to Knoxville he and I went to Cades Cove with some others and we took pictures that are in our photo album here on this site.

On this day we rode around together in the car all day, we went to guitar center, and then I took him back to my house to meet my mom since we were out that way. We then went back to Matt's apartment where Blake was staying. It was soon time for Blake to leave because he was leaving that night. So we walked out together and decided that we should officially start dating and we then had our first kiss in the parking lot.

Thanksgiving was just around the corner and I went to visit Blake in Tullahoma where I stayed with his family for the weekend. We went to the high school and had a picnic on the drum major stand over the practice field. Then I watched Blake complete the marine course and we watched the sunset on the runway at the small Tullahoma airport. We went to church the next day and then out to eat. All of these photos are in our album.

A few weeks later we both realized that we were not ready for a long distance relationship and we broke up.

We still remained friends and would talk occasionally. He would still come and see me everytime he was in Knoxville and I would randomly see him when I would visit Heather. This included a new year's eve party and one time we even went "ghost hunting" lol

I then started to go down a different path. I became consumed in my major at school and began to be influenced by the wrong people. Blake kept texting me on and off during this time telling me to take care of myself. I was annoyed that he would tell me that and that in my mind he didn't trust me but he really just cared about me.

This road led me to New York City where I made a bad decision one night and in a drunken state went home with a man. I lost my virginity to this man and I was devastated. My friend Lauren (MOH) was the only one I told. She was there by my side through it all and lead me to church and encouraged me to get right with God, which I did. 

I couldn't believe that this had happened and prayed for God to stop me if I wasn't meant to be in NYC. I found out a couple weeks later I was pregnant. Again, Lauren was the first one to know and she stuck by my side through the thick and thin and through the 6hr time change while she was studying abroad in Germany.

Blake was one of the first people I told. Partially because I knew he was talking to me a lot and thought he might start to like me again and I wanted to give him a reason to move on.
When I told him the story the first thing he said to me was "Congratulations! Carrie, you are going to be a mom. That is so exciting! Out of all the people I know you are the most prepared for it." That meant so much to me and he was the ONLY one that responded in this way upon first hearing the news.

He continued to stick by my side and be a friend through the pregnancy. I noticed he really started falling for me and I was angry with him for it. I was so mad at men in general and had some major trust issues associated with it. I also hadn't forgiven myself and I knew that I didn't deserve a great man like Blake. I tried so hard to give him every reason to move on. Looking back on it I was just downright mean to him. But he still stuck by my side.

He was at the hospital when my daughter, Kennedy was born. I'm so glad he was! Even though I made it very difficult on him I thank him for being so persistent through it all.

After the pregnancy hormones settled I began to see that maybe I was attracted to him and maybe I did have feelings for him. I began to see this on Halloween 09 when we went out to a haunted house. I didn't tell him any of this but I was just going to see where it led. A few weeks later I found out he had a girlfriend and it wasn't me.

I was so confused on how he could be so "in love" with me but be dating someone else. But I realized I had ruined his life enough just by being so mean to him the past few months and there was no way I was going to tell him that I was coming around when it seemed like he was happy. So I didn't even talk to him for the next three months keeping my distance so I wouldn't ruin his life anymore. I knew I had missed my chance with him.

Well after him and this girl broke up I called Blake to catch up. I told him that I missed talking to him and I would like to catch up. We started talking on a regular basis and things began to snowball from there. He called me one Sunday while his grandmother was in the hospital in Nashville and told me to pray for his family because they were taking her off of life support. I decided to do something crazy at that point. I left Kennedy with my parents and drove to Nashville to spend about 2 hours there before I had to drive back. When I met him in the parking lot it was the first time we had seen each other since that Halloween night 4 months earlier.

I knew at that point that I was in love. When i was willing to drop everything and make a crazy trip to Nashville to be with him I knew.

I remember walking down the hospital hallway and he grabbed my hand. It was the first time it really felt right. I knew that we both cared about each other so much. We talked about it and we both realized if we started dating that we were in it for the long run and we would get married. We were both on the same page and began dating in April of 2010.

We have been through many ups and downs together throughout our entire friendship and it has created a great testimony to who God is in our lives. He told Blake a long time ago that we were going to be together and I didn't believe Blake when He told me and now I feel stupid. It just took God a little longer to tell me or maybe a little longer for me to listen.

I couldn't ask for a better husband and Kennedy could not ask for a better father.

Photo credit: Laura Purtee

Blake's Story

The show took about 2 months of planning and the moment was finally here.  The christian rock group I had played with, for the majority of my high school career, was having it's "reunion concert"  in a local park near First Baptist Church Tullahoma, TN. A dozen space heaters occupied the stage along with guitar amplifiers and drums on this very cold October evening.  As we took the stage we struck the first note, leading into a contemporary praise and worship which themed the evening.

During the show, I took notice of a friend who had come in from college to see us preform.  Along beside her stood a cute brunette with a smile not soon forgotten.  My eye were glued to her.  The night pressed on and so did my interest in finding out more about this beautiful young lady.

After the show our friend and my woman of perspective interest came over to talk.  In the midst of the conversation I learned her name was Carrie.  Carrie accompanied us to a friends house after the show where we all took a night to catch up, watch T.V.. and take part in some honestly harmless shenanigans.  After the night ended i still hadn't worked up the nerve to talk to this girl and just went on with my life.  During this point in my life I was still dealing with the hardest grief I had experienced to date.  My first love had broken up with me, gone to college, and gone back and forth from loving me to not loving me within 24 hour periods.  I was incredibly confused and clung to hope that my hurt would be all over soon enough.

On a walk one night, a few weeks after the show, I was walking and talking with God.  I was praying for relief from this confusion and asking him to just take it away.  I didn't want to trust anyone but Him and I just simply asked for Him to Take away any feelings for the opposite sex until He was good and ready for me to have them.  At that moment I had a peace I hadn't had in around 4 months.  A peace that He heard me and promised to do just that.  I got back home, went to my computer just before bed to check my Facebook.  No sooner than I logged in did Carrie's face and name pop up.  At a moments notice, out of no where, and totally unexpected, God said, "This is her.  The one.  Call her and tell her what I have shown you and I will take it from there."  Now to answer your question, yes, I felt absolutely crazy.  The more I denied God was telling me this the more He showed me I needed to do this.  ...So... I mustered up some courage and sent a Facebook message asking her to call me.

The next day Carrie sent me a message back and said she would call a little later in the day, but no sooner did I start preparing and then she called.  In a moment of insecurity i just starting spouting out what I felt God laying on my heart.  To a girl I didn't even know.  A girl who I was sure would make me feel like an idiot for saying such things.  As soon as i finished my speech i waited in shame for my verbal beating and recommendation to see a psychiatrist.  But... it never came...  The sweet voice on the other phone simply said, " Well Blake, if this is what God is telling you then maybe we should listen and just try it."  This was no means the response anyone would expect but it happened.

So cutting corners a little, Carrie and I began to date but after a few short visits to see each other I started to feel heart broken again.  Carrie lived so far away and without her there in the same city I slowly started to focus on that old hurt and heartbreak.  I began to feel as though I was treating Carrie wrong because I was thinking about another girl and we slowly started drifting apart.  A phone call ended things one day when we both just agreed that we didn't feel it was working out.  We just had two totally separate lives.

Throughout the next three years Carrie and I still stayed fairly close, and so did that promise that God made me on that walk that night.  Carrie got more and more consumed in her life and I in mine.  Phone calls and text messages between us grew more rare and we both went on to date other people.

God never let her off my heart.  Carrie got into the typical college scene.  Drinking, Partying and just letting loose.  She became very career focused and I slowly saw the the passion for God she once had fading.  Every time the Lord would remind me how He had shown her to be the one for me, the more I ran away.  I "took the high road"  became self absorbed and convinced myself that I didn't want anything to do with a girl like what she had become.  I see now how I was just as wrong as she ever was.

One night in Knoxville, TN.  Carrie's hometown.  I had just arrived at a church with a band I was on the road with at the time.  We were in the process of loading in, a process which is designated before every gig to scout out the venue, place staging, sound equipment, etc. along with dreaming as to how you hoped the following show would turn out.  This time I had another concern on my mind.  One the ride to Knoxville I had texted Carrie with the message I had sent many times before; a text that most of the time I never received a response to:  Hey, I'm coming to Knoxville.  Would love to see you.  Hope you are well. - Blake.  Only this time I did receive a reply.  It said, " Hey, I really want to talk with you about something."  We agreed to meet at the church my band was traveling to.

After about an hour of set-up, Carrie came in and we proceeded to a couch in the foyer.  She proceeded to tell a story of all she had been going through and finished with the words, "I'm Pregnant."  "Carrie, a mom?" I thought.  wow.  I remember one of my first thoughts was that this baby was going to be one beautiful baby and do great things for the Lord.  I began to tell her how excited I was and how God was really so in control of this and we began to talk for hours.

The more I talked to Carrie, the more I saw this girl transformed into a woman.  A woman who had been running away from God but found herself running straight into His arms.  She was in love with Him again and that made me happier that I had been in a long time.  During my that weekend in Knoxville I fell in love.

The Pregnancy
 The pregnancy was without a doubt a life experience in it's self.  God constantly encouraged me to stick in there and believe him.  During this time though  Carrie had so much on her mind to worry about a relationship right then.  She was angry at men and was figuring out how in the world she was going to support this baby and stay in school.  The next nine months were so hard yet so rewarding.  I got to develop a close friendship with Carrie and her family.

Two Girls - One Dream Come True
Oct. 9 2009 - I was sitting in the waiting room at park west hospital.  Awaiting the birth of Carrie's daughter Kennedy.  The moment she came into this world, she changed mine forever.  Enough said.
After Kennedy was born Carrie obviously had no time on her hands.  And I began to feel more and more in the way.  The distance between Tullahoma and Knoxville took toll again on me and started making my hope grow thin.  I dated another girl and spent the next three months trying to convince myself that staying away from Carrie was best for her.  I got caught in a trap of trying to make this other girl I was dating into Carrie.  And it obviously took a huge toll on that relationship.  It was practically over when it began.  After that relationship ended I got the phone call that I had dreamed about.  The phone call that showed once in for all that God was God.  Carrie called and said, " I'm done breast feeding, i know my hormones aren't out of wack and I have feelings for you."

Today I am engaged to the woman I have dreamed of all my life and have a sweet little girl that is going to call me daddy in a few short months.  I could not possibly be more lucky... or happy.  After all is said in done, the thing I am most thankful for is how thinking about this story makes me so in love with God.  Thank you for your faithfulness to me Father.  I love you.
- - - - - - - - - - -
"Don't ask God to work things in your favor.  If you do, you aren't allowing Him enough space to answer you correctly.  Just ask Him to show you His will and you will be shown the whole picture sooner or later. Trust me."  - Andrew Roberts