Saturday, March 12, 2011

The (Fake) Family Reunion

Happy weekend everyone!! I thought since today was Saturday, and I had some extra time on my hands, it would be a great day to share a really fun story with you guys. I’m gonna give you the long version…so grab a snack and get comfortable! :)

I guess I should start the story out by saying that there is a really sweet lady who goes to our church named Fancy who started reading a series of Christian fiction novels by Karen Kingsbury quite awhile back. She loved the books so much that it didn’t take long for several other women in our church to start falling in love with them as well. One of those girls was our good friend, Whitley. She began reading a series of K.K’s books that featured a family known as the Baxter’s several summers back. The only reason I remember that is because she would talk about how she wanted to pray for the characters in the books at church because of how real they seemed to her and because of all the hard things they were dealing with as a family. Ha!!

Anyway…a few summers later, Meg started reading them and I don’t think she said a word our whole summer vacation to the beach because she had her nose in a book the entire time! Seriously, she read from sun up to sun down…I think she made it through 7 or 8 books in a week and a half! Soon thereafter, Beth started the Baxter books and did the same thing. I was convinced that nothing could touch my Nicholas Sparks novels, so I wasn’t going to jump on that train quite yet.

I gave it another year or so and then decided it was time to find out what all the fuss was about.  I read the first book and all I’ve got to say is watch out Nicholas Sparks! Seriously….the best book I had ever read! I got through the first few books of the Baxter series and then school started back and I just never did have time to finish.

The next summer rolled around though, and I remember Meg came home so excited one night because she found out there was going to be a Baxter Family Reunion…so like a family reunion for fake people. Ha!! She found out that there were going to be people there playing the characters from the books and that it was going to be in Bloomington, Indiana (the place where the books are based) and she REALLY wanted to go. So we talked about it and decided just a couple of days before that we were going to go (we being Meg, Beth, our friend Whitley and myself).

I really didn’t want to go! I mean, I wanted to take a fun trip with the girls, but they had read every Baxter book that had been published. I had read 4 of like 20 books and I didn’t want to find out what was going to happen during the remainder of the 16 books…I wanted to read them! I tried and tried to think of a way to get out of it...but not having anything to wear just wasn’t cuttin’ it and I’m no good at faking sick. 

So…off we went to Bloomington, Indiana…home of the sweet Baxter Family. Well, it would be their home if they actually existed. J I spent the duration of the 4 hour drive trying to at least finish the 5th book of the first didn’t happen. We talked about what that night would be like and what we were going to wear and how we would do our hair and all things girl. There was going to be a red carpet event where Karen and the characters from the books would make a grand entrance and walk down the red carpet. And we all wondered what the infamous Dayne Matthews, the Brad Pitt of the Baxter books, would look like. Except, I hadn’t made it far enough along in the books to really even know who he was. But…cute movie star boy…I’ll wonder with you anyway. Please and thank you!    

Trying to read in the car

We got to the Indiana University auditorium that night where the event was being held and boy were there a lot of people there! Beth and I stood outside and roasted for a few minutes while Meg and Whit went to get us Wendy’s for dinner. By the time they got back, the doors had opened and Beth and I didn’t have time to eat our food, so Meg just stuffed it in her purse and we went in.
Arriving with our Wendy's

We got inside and we were packed in there like sardines! It was really hilarious to be around some diehard Karen Kingsbury fans…it was great! But finally the doors open and Karen and the characters that could make it that night walked the red carpet and the night began. I remember asking Bethany which of the boys was supposed to be Dayne Matthews…and once we figured it out I was like…DAAANNNG girl, he’s FINE! Haha…just kidding! He was very handsome, but it actually went more like, “Well huh…my Dayne Matthews has lighter hair….does yours?” Haha!

 That night was so much fun, despite the fact that I held my ears and made really weird noises most of the time so I wouldn’t hear what anyone was saying about the books. I came…but I certainly wasn’t gonna find out what happened in the books I hadn’t read yet. I heard the sweet beginning prayer and the awesome musical performances, but I couldn’t tell you another word that was spoken that night. Haha!

When the little program for the night ended, we got our pictures taken with all the characters and had so much fun! That really was such a fun, fun night. Oh…and I forgot to tell you about the food we left in Meg’s purse. Beth and I got it out to eat it once we were in the auditorium, probably a big no, no…but we were starving, ok? :) We open the Wendy’s bag to find the sauce to my delicious boneless honey BBQ chicken wings had spilled all over the inside of her purse and just made a huge mess! That wasn’t gonna stop Beth and I though…we went to the bathroom, cleaned her purse out as good as we could, and ate our dinner in the bathroom. We’re sick, we know!
Us with Dayne...How Beth managed to get to stand next to him is still a mystery! Haha!
With Kelsey (aka Bailey Flanigan)..She's so sweet and talented! 
With Ty, Karen's son...he has an AMAZING voice!

Anywho…we went back to the hotel for the night and had girl talk and I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning trying again to finish my book…it still didn’t happen (I’m a slow reader).

Trying to read again in the hotel room 

…Did I mention this is the long version?...

The next morning we got up and got ready to go to the little Baxter Family Reunion picnic that was scheduled for that afternoon. It was such a beautiful day, but let me tell you, it was HOT!!! We brought our blankets and lawn chairs and just had a really fun little picnic. We visited with other Karen Kingsbury readers and got to visit with Karen and her daughter, Kelsey (aka Bailey Flanigan, another main character of the books) for a couple minutes had a really, really fun time. We actually got a little bit of the inside scoop on who the real guy playing Dayne Matthews was from Karen. He seemed to be a pretty upstanding guy from what she had to say…not that we would expect anything less since he was there to represent her and her writing.  But since Meg and I were the only single girls of the bunch, we then stepped aside and had a little knock-down-drag-out to see who was gonna win the heart of good ol’ Dayne Matthews. Haha!! Totally joking…we aren’t that exciting…we actually just went and sat back down in our lawn chairs.

All of us with Karen 

I remember Bethany and I were sitting on our blankets at one point…I was looking through pictures on our camera…and all of a sudden “Dayne” comes up behind us and scares me to pieces and says “I have a job for you girls”.

I said, “Okay, and what is that?” 

He says, “You see that Toy Story yahtzee game up there? I really love Toy Story and I need you to win that for me”.

I told him that we were up to the task and we’d be sure to get it for him. We watched that dang Toy Story game the whole picnic to try and find out what kids game we were going to have to play to win it.

We had talked to some really hilarious women who I think totally had a crush on “Dayne”…but since they were at least 20 years his senior and already married, one of the women found it only necessary to go get him and bring him over to formally introduce him to us. If they couldn’t have him…one of us should at least try! Haha! They really were a hoot!

So we introduced our(real)selves to each other and “Dayne” actually turned out to be a really nice guy…from what our 3 minutes of interaction told us at least. He even helped us carry our lawn chairs back to our car. That’s right, ladies, chivalry is not dead…don’t let anyone try to convince you otherwise!

So he walked us to our car and we gave him a ride back to the picnic area. He told us a little more about himself and gave us his phone number to try to get in touch with him if we all ended up at the same place later that afternoon (there was going to be a special premier ofLike Dandelion Dust, a great movie based on one of Karen’s novels).

 Texting "Dayne" after the picnic...and going through some weird drive-thru

Somehow (I say somehow…but maybe it was more like…I would have fought to the death to make absolutely sure) I ended up with the phone that had his number and we texted for a while to try to figure out what the plans were for later. We ended up texting for a while and found out they weren’t going to have time to make it to the movie. So…after getting lost for a while and Meg driving the wrong way down several one-way streets, we finally made it to the theatre and watched the movie…which was really great, by the way!

Posing at the movies

After the movie, the festivities were over, so back to KY we headed. It was such a fun weekend with some really fun girls!

I’m sure at this point you’re probably wondering what ever happened to Dayne Matthews and his phone number….and I’d be more than happy to tell you….It wasn’t too long after that that our good friend, Dayne turned into my best friend, Aaron.

We texted all night that night we got home. I got to know him a little bit better and although I really did want to talk to him on the phone, between the bad cell service at my house and the fact that I barely knew the guy, I told him that maybe he could call another night. Haha!

A couple days of just non-stop texting and I finally gave in to letting him call me. I remember that night like it was yesterday. He called pretty late…probably around 11:30 or 12 o’clock on a Friday night. I was so nervous! But he called and we talked…and talked…and talked. I think I found out more about him that night than I ever found out about all of my past boyfriends combined.  He laid it all out on the table…and I loved that. He was so open and honest and he probably told more bad things about himself than good…but I still loved it. We shared stories with each other…he really has the BEST stories…and just talked about ourselves and how we grew up and what we were doing now….we talked about it all! After about 7 hours of talking and seeing that the sun was already coming up, we decided that we should probably call it a night. That certainly wasn’t the end though…

Over the last 9 months I have gotten to know the most incredible man I have ever met. Aaron is really one of the most caring, generous, compassionate people I know. My mom always talks about how we girls needed to find guys who were kind by nature. I have never met a person as kind as Aaron….and he is especially kind to me, which is an even bigger plus J He has shown me what God intended true love to look like and I pray that every girl who reads this, even if it’s just one, will be encouraged and know that there really are great, Godly men out there. Don’t let yourself settle for anything less!

I got to go for the first time this past summer to visit Aaron in Seattle. I was on the plane and for a brief moment I thought, what in the world am I thinking going across the country to see a guy I barely even know…I have lost my ever lovin’ mind! The thought passed just as quickly as it came and we ended up having such an amazing time together. He came to pick me up from the airport and I just ran and jumped in his arms like I had known him for years...Yep, we’re that couple…you know the one that makes you sick to even look at…we’ve come to terms with it.     

At a wedding we went to the first time I visited 

On a beautiful beach in Seattle 

The last night in Seattle, Aaron took me on an amazing dinner fun!

The last 9 months have truly been the best months of my life and I can’t wait to see all the incredible things the Lord has in store for us. I do love the sweet, fun story of how we met…but not because of the story, but because of the man I got because of it. 

What a fun one to tell though, huh?

P.S. If you’re not asleep by now and wondering what ever happened to that Yahtzee game, I swear it disappeared that day. I watched it the whole picnic and I took my eyes off of it for 2 minutes and it was gone.  But…I’m a girl of my word and a few weeks after we started talking, I saw it in Walmart, bought it and sent it to him in the mail and said, ”told ya I’d get it for you” :)

...Hope you all have a great weekend!! Take a little time to go back and remember how your love story began. And if you're still waiting on yours, just know that God already has a beautiful story written out just especially for you...just be patient, it's coming soon :)

Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart...Psalm 37:4
 Love, love,


  1. I loved this. I must say I teared up a little.. :) I'm happy that found somebody so great! I love ya girl! - Sara tip :)

  2. I have to say that we have all come to love Aaron. This is a love story that could only be made possible by our Heavenly Father! He loves a great story!! Just read His book!!!

  3. What a fun story!! I'm enjoying keeping up with you ladies through your blog:)

    Best, Sarah

  4. What an awesome story!!!!!!!
    I have heard of the Karen Kingsbury books and was just looking at one to buy the other day and I sat it back down! I may just have to start the series now ! :)