The Story of Us

Every since I saw "The Notebook" in 2004 I have always wanted to put our story down in writing. And after reading Ree Drummond's wildly popular Black heels to Tractor Wheels I thought I'd give it a try...

 I have loved grocery shopping for sometime now. No, really I do. In fact that was my first outing with Cody, my husband. I was a senior in high school, he was a junior in college. I was a mature but young woman, he was a seeker....He was seeking my father, a seasoned minister and pastor of the church we both attended. We'd had conversations at church activities before but this was the first time we'd done anything together, not that we were "interested" in each other.

He came looking for my dad, I was headed to the grocery store. Dad wasn't there, which makes all the sense in the world to me now, he rarely sits still. As I remember Cody came in, waited a few minutes, made conversation and was not in a hurry to leave. Now my mom was taken and my younger sister was well, too young for this guy so I saved them both and invited him to go with me to the grocery store.

Since getting my license I did this a lot, mom gave me a list, a check and I headed to Homeland in search of culinary delight. It was early November smack dab in the middle of the 90's and all the end isle displays at Homeland were thanksgiving related -translation- pies.

"I love pie"

 "Pumpkin Pie is my favorite"

" I can't wait for thanksgiving"

"I wonder how you make that pumpkin pie?"

 "My mom makes a wonderful pie"

 "I like apple too"

 He never had a problem talking. I got what we needed, wrote the check- (oh how I miss mom's blank checks) and we went back to my home. Dad was still M.I.A- so Cody left .....for awhile....


During the next week I thought about Cody a lot. Several of us that hung out together had thought about going to a basketball game of another friend in "the city" (Oklahoma City for those of you outside of this odd little state). Cody would be going. So I drove my blue 1992 Oldsmobile Cutless Supreme into the Mini Mall- a full service gas station where Cody worked.

"Hey, (big smiles) what's up?"

 Mind you I have never gone to the "Mini Mall" before, it was always more expensive than the other stations. But there was a Vince Gill (with Tom Cruise hair) looking single guy there that I was slightly interested in . And I needed to find out important information about this basketball game. Not that I had ever gone before or was even interested in basketball but I needed to know when were going. Turned out he had to work and wouldn't be going.

" Oh. Ok. Well ok, filler up then. "

Sadly I drove out, people were waiting to get there windshield's washed and tanks filled.

Days before the Homeland Experience I had checked my current "friend" that was a boy off my list of prospective husbands. I never wanted a boyfriend, I wanted a husband and always thought I'd marry nearly all I dated for more than a month. Oh Lord help me... this is why I am for arranged marriages for my kids.

I'd been dating Mr. Prospective for over a month and while things were moving slowly I really like him. We'd been together a lot. He'd even tasted my mom's work-of-art pot roast. I'd made him cookies when he went on a hunting trip the week before. But when he returned home, I called his house and SHE answered.

"She" was his ex and they had a long history. I wasn't into competing so I check him off and started looking again.

So another week past and we were leaving church on a Sunday night and Cody looked down from the balcony at me, "Hey, what are you doing?"

"Me? You talking to me? Nothing? What are YOU doing"

He came down from the balcony and approached me. Awkward city. I didn't know him very well. We'd had the Homeland experience but beyond that I'd only seen him throw a fit over a snowboard the year before on the church ski trip and he had called me SB the first Sunday I was at Immanuel (Nov. 1992, 2 years before). I'll share about that later. At that time he was in college, I was a HS sophomore thrown like a twister into a strange state with even stranger people. And there was no mall within 30 min. I was in shock to say the least.

"You want to go make a pumpkin pie?"


Mind you I had never had pumpkin pie. Pumpkin bread, I'd mastered, but pumpkin pie looked nasty. And so we went back to Homeland bought the goods, went to my house and made a pumpkin pie using with the recipe on the back of a Libby's can. But I didn't even taste it. I didn't need to he described it's gloriousness well.

And I just admired him. And that twangy Oklahoma He was unlike anyone I'd ever dated or even known.

Two weeks later we were in the kitchen again, we made an apple pie for a church social. This time we took a picture.

6 weeks later after spending many Wednesday afternoons together and a few weekend "hangouts"  I was ready to define the relationship. Right at Christmas time , too. I bought him a CD for Christmas from Lifeway Bookstore- Gaither Vocal Band's Southern Classics. He loved it. It was a risky move, we hadn't talked about gifts and I didn't want him to feel like he had to get me something. He did however get me something- a wallet- and I still have it!

I have to say, I wasn't very patient when waiting on that first kiss. Just ask Ben Smith, he can tell you all about that. I still wasn't very patient. We'd been "hanging out" for 6 weeks &  defined the relationship- so where was my kiss? ( Oh please don't ask Ben, he's probably been trying to forget me for 18 years)

Bad Breath? No one had told me. My family wasn't the kind that yelled in your face what was wrong with you though so maybe I couldn't trust them.

I came up with some more irrational scenarios then finally I just asked. Something about a cold, I don't know. What I came to realize is that kissing leads to more kissing so he was really wise in waiting- we had a lifetime to kiss. And curiosity kills the cat, or so I'd heard. Again reason #2 for arranged marriages for my babies.

So under a tree saying goodbye one night in December I got my first kiss from Cody. Fireworks went off and the symphony came in.

My uncle Larry was there with us that Christmas, the last I'd spend with him. He gave us a really hard time about taking 90 min to say good night. We were talking.

Talking about my new fish. Not sure when my bird left but it wasn't soon enough. Beware of pets that have previous owners. The truly good pets never get "sold" or "given" away. I'd moved on to a fish. I worked at a decorating store and thought I could decorate. The fish was cool bathroom decor. I placed him on the back of the toilet. So Cody named him- "Terrible Terry Tinkle the Toilet Topper" . Our first attempt at naming something. Oh, he kept me laughing!

No really we talked a lot about theology. Crazy stuff. And our relationship could be summed up in Prov. 27: 16 "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another". We were good for each other. He helped me through some rough times at our church those first few months we were together.

By February we were singing Don Williams, "I believe in Love" , saying I love you and kissing some more...lots more fireworks. Then Valentines Rolled around and he gave me the most unique gift that I'll never forget.


Well I pulled out the old red ski bag today. This was Cody's dufflebag once upon a time.It was part of the "baggage" that came with him when we married. Don't read too much into that I just couldn't resist the pun.

Every year in Jan or Feb Cody will get the insatiable desire to snowboard. I knew this going into the relationship.

It was mid February, I had a boyfriend and we were talking about fish and God and singing Don Williams songs. We spent Wed. afternoons together and Sundays, he was working his way through college. But the off time was our time. I remember one time going with him to get a muffler put on his baby blue Ford Bronco II. A muffler. This is one of those things that seems insane to me now. But then you just wanted to be together. And all guys'll tell you this is romance to them- being involved in what they like. So next time you need the tires rotated, grab a coke and go together or if your a do-it-yourself-er just watch him, bring him water and be impressed and expect great things to happen.

So I did the right thing and bought him a Merle Haggard CD for Valentines. The Gaither CD went over well and he said he wanted it. And then I opened my present

Purple ski gloves. Because every girl needs gloves.

A girl really doesn't want anything more.

I tried to contain my enthusiasm.

That wasn't all. He also bought me a magnetic photo album, maybe he got a good deal because as every scrapbooker knows those are evil.

I am a "the cup's half full" person and took the scrapbook to heart- we started taking pictures and filing them away- "our book" . There really is nothing better than that word - "ours" .

The gloves- I still have them. I still wear them. On occasion. Like when every-other-pair-are-wet occasions. They are high quality. I know this because when I went in to Walmart there in the "specials" basket by the front door were another pair just like them. I don't care, he wanted to share his love for the snow with me, he wanted to include me in his world and I accepted. That or he was really lazy and practical.

The ski trip was less than a month away and he was getting excited.

The ski trip was a test. I didn't know it until after we'd been together another year. I was informed later that if I made through the ski trip we may have a chance at something long term. I didn't know what this even meant but supposedly Cody had taken many girlfriends skiing in the past and none ever made it through the ski trip. It was the ultimate test with Cody.

Why? It probably had something to do with insatiable desire to snowboard that he still gets today or the fit I had seen a year before over his old snowboard.

At any rate, I guess the other girlies couldn't handle his "other love". I on the other hand already knew he had a first love and it wasn't snowboarding. He'd given up his dream of snowboarding full time to follow Jesus Christ. That was his first love. And that's what drew me to him in the end. Like I said I'd never known anyone like him before who talked theology and made me laugh. I was still laughing at his accent and laughing with him about everything under the sun. I am a laugher, it's essential for me to laugh.

So we survived the week & I past that test in LOVELAND, Colorado!

but there's more, much more...

but for know I leave you with this

and this...



Relationships boil down to many choices.

It was my senior year in high school and I had some major choices to make. Since the day I moved to Oklahoma I was headed back east as fast as I could get there and I was about to get my break. I had gone back one time in the last 2 years. They'd all moved on- new couples, new drama, they even had new malls -but no me.

I had planned on attending Liberty University in Virgina. My older brother had gone there and I had dreamed of going since I was 12. I had already been accepted. Then this snowboarder asked me to make a pie with him.

Which complicated matters.

It was no secret I was leaving in the fall. And low and behold this snowboarder told me exactly what he thought about that. No one had ever been so forthright with me. Most people are like riddles, what are they really saying?- not Cody. He said everything he ever thought. This can be good. This can be bad. It takes getting used to. You eventually accept it. Then you have children that do the same thing.

He wasn't "into" long distance relationships.


 I guess if I moved we wouldn't be a couple. I wasn't ready to quit. I'd made it through the ski trip, we had potential, or so they all told me.

Everyone except Cody's previous "friend". She had told him he got on her nerves, but once I was in the picture he wasn't so annoying anymore. She'd lost her chance.

 Choices. A choice made and then regretted.

I don't like regret. I set out to never regret. It's a good goal.

So where did that put me? What if Cody and I did have potential. We had already done some events together . He preaching, I singing. We were a good team. And chemistry? The boy could kiss. We'd been working on that each night we were together for three months and the neighbors could vouch for it, I'm sure. I just didn't want to look back and think one day , "what if?" If he didn't do long distance maybe I should stay. Maybe I should see this thing through. Stay in -state a year. Liberty wasn't going anywhere. All my old friends had moved on, no one was waiting for me.

I needed a higher score on my ACT test, so when I got it I applied to OU and USAO in Oklahoma. And little by little I felt something guiding me. I think it was God but he was using a country-talkin', great kissin', snowboarder to do the job.

I'd made a choice. A Choice to stay. At least a year. A choice to see where this story was going. An epic or a short story, we'd eventually find out.

And so little by little we started working on filling that scrapbook he'd gotten me for Valentine's.

We never went to a movie. Walmart was way more fun. We'd go and look at purple ski gloves on sale. One day, very much in love, Cody suggested we buy a game. "Our" game. Boy he knew how to get me. I liked "our" stuff. A board game. Somehow we decided on a nice Checker/Chess set. Nice isn't really the correct word. It was the only set Walmart had. But it was new and it was "ours".

So we rushed back to my parents house to play. Checkers I'd played. But Chess was a new one. I had no concept of it. So as with many things, I let Cody teach me. He gave me the tutorial over each little piece and what it did. So we proceeded to play.

Not sure what I excepted but within 10 minutes I had him in check mate. Beginners luck? I don't know. At that point I really didn't have a choice and neither did he. I had it won. And then he rather dramatically got up and left. Just like that. Without warning our lovely game had ended rather badly. I didn't know what had happened. So he left, and he didn't come back and this was the dark ages when we didn't have cell phones or text. Some how we'd avoided conflict until now. It all happened so fast. I had made some good choices and won the game -now I was alone....

We still have the game...

though showing it's age a little, like us

And look old green Walmart tags...boy we were big spenders...


So I had to put the chess game up my self. He never came back. I had beat him in chess and he couldn't stand it. Wouldn't have been so bad had I not missed the good night kissing. But I guess he missed it too cause he came back the next day.

Later on we were driving out toward our youth pastor's home and came across 4 teenagers walking on the road. We stopped and asked them if they needed a ride it was getting late. Turned out they'd come to town with some friends who then left them at a convenient store. One of them was pregnant. They were from Sterling (30 min away) but only asked for a ride to the other side of town. Cody ended up driving them all the way home that night, a storm was coming. It wasn't like we were going to go play chess or anything.

I suppose at some point during the evening we found common ground on the whole losing thing. What I know now is that he needs success in his life. All men do. Failure is abundant. Life is hard, people can be ruthless and in a relationship it's you against the world. He needs to know I have his back.

I observed him that night as he helped people. I saw him go out of his way to rescue 4 stranded teenagers from Sterling. I knew he'd always have my back, too. So as an Oklahoma storm blew through that night it took our first conflict with it.

Conflict is as old as the garden of Eden- you can't avoid it, you'd better learn to work through it. You pick your battles, I decided I'd rather kiss goodnight than win at chess any day. This is probably why I am a romantic musician and not an athlete.

Speaking of music, I had gone to audition at USAO. I never checked into OU very much. My mom had graduated from USAO (one of my professors used to make up other names for it- the University of Saudi Arabians of Oklahoma or the U of Secret Agents of Oklahoma). I would qualify for the alumni scholarship. With that and a music scholarship I be set. Besides, that good looking snowboarder went there.

I sang Voi Che Sapete from Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. I can still sing it too. They loved it. They loved me and so it was decided. I'd be going to school with the Saudi Arabians and the snowboarder in the fall of '95.

In the meantime my new love had a birthday coming up. I'm sure he got accused of "robbing the cradle" while dating me. He was turning 22, I was still 17!

So I really wanted to impress him this time, this was the third gift giving event we'd had since our courtship began. I was willing to pull out all the stops. I'd run out of legendary country CD's to buy. While I've only mentioned Merle and Don, my dad already possessed every Johnny Cash album there was so we were good.

Yes it had to be nice, it had to represent every ounce of affection I had for this young hero of mine. So I decided to sew for him. It's what every man wants isn't it?

thought you might enjoy this...I even looked a little like her with big curly hair and thicker than they needed to be eyebrows. :)


I'd watched enough "Little House on the Prairie" episodes to know gifts from the heart were the best. I also knew I wanted to marry a man just like Charles Ingalls. My gosh, who didn't? The guy could do anything -find children in blizzards, work a field with broken ribs, keep six pack abs with no P90X. Maybe that's why I always wanted to marry a farmer.

Cody may not have been exactly like Charles Ingalls but he was quickly on his way to stealing my heart forever. He pumped gas at the Mini Mall like a pro and if they had a Mini Mall award for best windshield washer, he'd win it. Have him wash your windshield and see, he has a gift. Though he wasn't good at losing chess games he helped people in need and I bet he could find lost children in blizzards.

Which kinda makes me wonder what I was thinking when I decided to sew him a rug. What was he going to do with a rug? I guess you can never have enough rugs. Where was he going to put it?

I worked at Lane's Furniture after school during the week and loved it. They sold high end furniture. One day this incredible chair came in with fish print upholstery. I would've bought it for him had it not cost my entire year's paycheck. He seemed like the outdoors type that would appreciate fish on a chair. Charles Ingalls would've like it too.

Somehow I was able to get a hold of some of the material used on that chair. I don't know where I got the idea for a rug. I'd been trained in sewing arts so I had enough skill to sew a line and a corner but not much more.

His birthday is the last day in March, just hours short of April fools. As the day approached I had no apprehension about this rug- it was sure to impress. I was proving I could cook and sew, that's all Carolyn Ingalls did, surely it was enough.

And while I don't recall the look on his face, I am quite sure he never saw it coming. I am also sure he had never received anything remotely similar to this work of art. And according to my journal at the time "HE LOVED IT!!!" And he still keeps it in his office even though he had a professional decorator design his office.

I got all the assurance I needed later on when we kissed goodnight. That was getting longer and longer. And while Uncle Larry had long gone back to North Carolina we had my dear reverend mother to notify us when it was time to quit. She'd nicely flicker the porch lights for us. It was time to talk about where all that kissing was leading ...


Easter was quickly approaching and the weather was growing warmer. We were getting outside more and more.

For my father that included golf. While I don't recall what Cody and I were doing I know what we were not doing. Cody and I were definitely not playing chess and probably not wasting any time with Terrible Terry Tinkle the fish. We weren't enjoying a ride in his remodeled '68 Camero either. He'd sold it. One of the hardest things he had done to date. I know because he still talks about it. I know because after a few weeks of making pies we ventured out to the Craft Fair at Duncan Fairgrounds. He took me in the Camero. Typical of early Dec. , it had been raining. I accidentally got mud on the interior door (white upholstery) and he about ended the relationship before we ever got started. It was a tense night. This was before the good night kissing started, I was on shaky ground. I was sure it irritated him, we never rode in it again. One ride. That's all I got. He sold it within the month. I was a clutz, it was too risky having me around it.

Dad on the other hand had gone golfing. It was late in the afternoon when I came home that Mom gave us the news. Dad had been thrown from a golf cart and was in the hospital. Had it not been so serious it would've been comical. But he'd ruptured something and was in intensive care. Mom and my sister had been with him and come home. I needed to go, I needed to see him, to make sure he was going to be alright. Intensive care only let family go back, so I walked in to the open area on my own. There were no nurses around and several semi open rooms, I looked in a few then saw dad and entered the area. He was sleeping peacefully and I didn't want to disturb him so I walked quietly closer to the bed. He looked like my uncle Larry but worse, he'd swollen up, his face was horrid. I gasped. Then I realized it wasn't my dad. Thank the Lord he didn't wake up or that I didn't grab his hand. I was so embarrassed. I then went next door and found dad. While he was being treated for a hernia, aggravated from the fall, he was a good sight for these eyes.

Dad was released within the week. But I had other things on my mind by now. Like an all night Easter Pageant. My mom had told me stories from years ago when they would rein-act the Life, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ at Medicine Park (about 30 miles away). They had condensed it down to 4 hours I think- progress or laziness- your call. I was excited. This was the closest we got to a movie, must've been a bad movie season. (however I did go and see Legend's of the Fall that spring with my girlfriends)I was excited about a play, I enjoyed the theater and we didn't get much around our town.

The deal with this pageant is that you sit opposite of the "stage" area on a grassy hill. In Oklahoma grass hill translates- they run buffalo/cattle/something that poops on it the other 364 days of the year.

This SW Oklahoman phenomenon was a crowded place. I had a blanket (much more conducive to snuggling) for us to sit on. So after we'd walked a ways through fields of cow poop, we found the grassy hill opposite the stage. In complete Oklahoma style they had left all the cow poop for us to sit amongst.Then the blanket didn't look like such a good idea.

Nonetheless we spread it out and tried to make the best of the night. It was dark and the show began. We knew how it ended so our gaze feel more on each other than the actors. For someone who'd slept alone for the last 17 years it was completely romantic, except for the smell of cow dung, snuggled up beside him on that blanket.

After a hour or two the physical chemistry of being so close had gotten to us. The kissing had started. Had it not been for the harsh Oklahoma field conditions and hoards of people around us, we may have remained that way for awhile. But odor loomed and the actors were shouting "Crucify Him" so we ended for then.

Just stinky memories of our first Easter as a couple.

The weeks were passing and things at home were strange, dad never does stay down long so he was on the mend. But my graduation was getting close and with any "ending" there comes stress, duty and sadness. The new and growing relationship with Cody was hopeful but I still had no idea what I was doing. Was he just a fun guy I'd had the privilege of dating a few months or was this going somewhere. Would I ever get back east? To the malls and nice restaurants. And please don't get me thinking about the ocean. Those ocean towns gave me some of my fondest memories growing up in North Carolina. And James Taylor. I hadn't listened to anything but Don Williams, Merle Haggard and Gaither Vocal Band in months. Sigh.

And while I had "chosen" to attend USAO with the Secret Agents (and Cody), I still didn't know what I was really going to do? And no body was telling me what to do. I had a music scholarship which required me to be in a performing group. I loved English. I'd spent the last 2 years falling in love with Robert Frost, Keats, Tennyson and Wordsworth. My parents were both English majors so this was no surprise. But all I'd really ever wanted was to marry and have kids. Just speaking my heart here. I don't think I am alone in this. And I may not be very "modern" or up with the feminist regime but my deepest desires were to find someone who loved me. The next deepest desire was to move back east, away from the cow patties.

I was in class one day at Duncan High School and had just left those favorite English writers. I was in Chemistry. True to my left brained, third child self I very much disliked Chemistry. Math and Science were not my friends. I'd be just fine if I never took another one of those classes in college. This is what kept me far from any medical field.

The PA system came on, someone was going to make an announcement. Thank the Lord above, maybe it was to summon me!? Maybe my mom got me a dentist appointment or better yet it was Cody, recently done with school pulling a "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" stunt. It was neither. It was the secretary asking for blood. They had received word that a Federal Building in Oklahoma City had been bombed. It was very serious, many had died and they were holding an emergency blood drive at OBI's request. I would've rather deciphered chemical equations than deal with the fact that someone had just blown up a Federal Building in the middle of America. How had that even happened?

After a long day in class, we went home to watch the news. It was true. We saw the 9 story exposed building ourselves. Nothing this bad happened in Oklahoma. The rest of the world still thought we lived in tee-pees out here, all 100 of us. So many unanswered questions, so much sadness. I found comfort surrounded by family and Cody. Simply glad to have someone to love and be with. What we didn't realize is that was only the beginning of a terrible week. More tragedy was coming.

We had 3 (4 if we were lucky) channels on the console TV I grew up watching. Complete with a dial knob. That was life in the early 80's. Then we moved a little outside of the city and when cable was actually an option for middle Americans, we lived too far out. Some people spent the money and bought satellites. These things were so unearthy and science fiction like it was fascinating to me.

By the early 90's we had a small satellite increasing our viewing to 11 channels but by the time we moved to Oklahoma in 1992 we were the proud recipients of cable TV (I thought it'd never happen!)

On Sunday afternoon after that horrible Wed. April 19th when downtown Oklahoma City was changed forever Cody and I sat in my parents upstairs common room watching the memorial service. We had gone up to view the site already- amazing. The investigations were started and more would be learned but that day a country mourned 168 innocent men, women and children who lost their lives.

Sorry to be so graphic but this is what happens when people are selfish and evil- children suffer.

President Clinton was speaking at the memorial service that day as we were watching intently and holding each other closely (it was the right thing to do and I'm sure we both enjoyed it :) . Suddenly out of nowhere we heard an explosion. It rattled the windows. Immediately and already in a state of shock from the week's events we went outside. I don't recall seeing any smoke but before long sirens were blaring and rescue vehicles were speeding down the highway. Something had happened, we just didn't know what. Living with a pastor of a church meant we usually didn't need a scanner, someone would call and tell dad to come or to pray. Within the hour we knew as with most of north Duncan- some old oil tanks had exploded and preteens were close by.

Bob and Kathy Baker had two boys, loved Jesus Christ and worshiped with other believers at Immanuel Baptist Church. Bob worked for Halliburton, Kathy worked as a nurse at the hospital . Their oldest son David, around 12 years old, was missing- presumed to be with the group of 3 boys that had been near the explosion. Only recognizable by dental records, they found his remains their at the site. They buried him within that next week and we mourned as a community and as a church for some time. David would've been 27 this year. One of my most beloved quotes "Don't regret growing older, It's a privilege denied to many"

As that week went from bad to worse and we were hit even closer to home I began thinking about my life. There are no guarantees, no assured tomorrows. The world was filled with unbelievable uncertainty and evil people. What Cody and I were becoming seemed safe, secure and desirable. All of a sudden maybe I didn't want to conquer the world, live on my own, chart my own course- maybe I wanted a ring on my finger.....


There were times when I'd realize I (as in me) was dating Cody Deevers. THE Cody Deevers. Cody and I had met years before but never ever had any intention of dating each other, as in no real attraction to each other.

For one I was 4 1/2 years younger than he was. He was a freshman in college the year I moved to Oklahoma. He was on a presidential leadership scholarship to the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. USAO. He was an English Education major. As a sophomore at Duncan High School he observed my English class for a week or so.

But that wasn't the first time I'd encountered Cody, we'd met the first Sunday I was at church there at Immanuel. Duncan was a small town and Immanuel was a large church. In preparation for coming our pictures had been plastered everywhere, including the newspaper. Everyone new us, which was a little awkward and talk about pressure to measure up! Preacher's kids don't always have a fair chance when it comes to presumptions. I was blessed to have met Mandy James, who turned into my beloved sister in law years later. She went out of her way to make me feel welcome and included. That first night in typical teenage fashion we'd crowded into the pews there at church. Mandy on my right and some new people on the left.Three people to my left was Cody Deevers. Confident and loud, he conversed with everyone. I had never officially been introduced, he was just known.

"Hi there SB"


"SB , we're gonna call you SB"


"SB, that's your new name"

(Looking around) "Are you talking to me?"

"SB. Look at your legs."


I was so new to this unbelievably strange place called Oklahoma. We moved so quickly. Dad had once told me we would live in Raleigh forever. Until "God" called HIM to Indian Territory (well it might as well been, I felt like I was on my own trail of tears from North Carolina)  We flew out the first of November (1992) to come and let everyone "vote" on us. For those unfamiliar with that process- be glad- it's nervous, sweat city! You answer questions, smile a lot, meet people you'll never remember, and are paraded around like politicians. Then 2 weeks later I was on a pew with people I never cared existed a month before.And this one particular guy was calling me SB. I was too young and naive to make any connection of any kind to what that stood for. It was bizarre, he was bizarre. Who goes around calling people names?

And that was it, all he said.

Until later on at the after church social event. We are mingling around and eating, we played volleyball a lot too. He came up to me and referred to me as SB, again.

He obviously didn't care to make any kind of impression (I told you- no intent to pursue). So I inquired as to what SB stood for and why I had received the name.

"Squaty Body, SB"


" Cause your legs didn't reach the floor on the pew. Squaty Body, your SB"

And that was all, what do you say to that? Should I thank him for including me in his revelry or be mad that he'd highly offended a unique, fearfully and wonderfully made child of God. Child of the new pastor, no less?

If he called me that again it wasn't to my face. And after I met his dad it all made more sense, they just like to kid around with people.

Over the next few years we rarely had any contact. I was mourning the lack of malls and ex-boyfriends that had moved on and he....well he'll have to tell you what all he was doing...

So I occasionally had a moment of unbelief over the fact that I had actually begun dating the guy who'd called me SB my first Sunday in Duncan. Somehow we ended up together and were very much in love.   The first time we really "noticed" one another Cody had come looking for advice from my dad about preaching. And the fact remained he felt called to be in full time ministry. He had a year left in college and plans to go to seminary. I had put returning back east on hold to "see where things went". All of sudden life was short and uncertain and I was wanting more, more certainty in the relationship- like a ring.

But a minister's wife? That was my mother. And no 17 year old teenager wants to become her mother. I wanted to marry a farmer, I guess a rancher'd do, too. I wanted to plant gardens and raise chickens. Or live overseas and help African children. I'd never thought about being a minister's wife. I knew what that meant, what that life looked like-interrupting phone calls, late nights, funerals and weddings, teas and programs, conflict resolution, trusting God for all your needs. I don't know. I gotta think about this one....


In the last 5 months I'd gone from walking through Homeland looking at pies to wanting a ring on my finger. We had gone from "We'll I had fun tonight" to half hour long good night kisses. The passion was not hard to find.Hard to stop yes...more later....but for now...I found long hair irresistible and he had it going on.

If I had periodic moments of unbelief in how we'd managed to fall in love, Cody might've had several long conversations with himself over the whole thing.

For one I was in high school. We were 4 1/2 years apart.

Secondly, I had bangs! (They lasted 6 months and he talked me into growing them out).

Third, He'd been engaged before.

And then there was the whole camero thing.

Weeks after we started dating but before "officially" being a couple, he went and sold it. Something about an idol in his life and that God told him to sell it. Which that only made him more attractive to me. The fact that he'd do whatever it took to obey God and follow him.

I had a list. I love lists. A list of what to look for in a husband. There were 22 items on the list. I wish I could say I always referred to that list upon dating someone but I didn't. God alone kept me out of trouble and I am forever grateful. At some point though I figured out one thing. One thing that would settle the rest. He had to Love the Lord with all his heart,mind, soul and strength. On the list it says "Sold out Christian, willing to do what God wants". I figured if he loved the Lord and would do what ever it took to follow him, he'd love me too and would do whatever it took to love me like Christ loved me.

So, the camero...he'd taken a pink camero and turned it into this....

A beautiful thing.

This is for all the guys....I do have a few male readers. Thanks for enduring all the girly stuff. Enjoy.

Well whatever the reason he kept coming back. Even when I beat him at chess.

I have another theory why he stayed but you'll have to ask him.

But if there was ever a reason to really think twice about dating me it was the incident that happened a year before.He, my sister and I alone know about this until now. It's time to tell.

My sister and I along with others started the first youth praise band at Immanuel Baptist. My sister is more gifted on the keyboard than I am, was playing that evening. We ran 75-100 youth each Wed. night and met in the gym/fellowship hall area. All our equipment was out but Debbie and I were the only ones there. Since the move to Ok we'd become closer. Moving half way across the nation to a foreign land in the middle of your teenage years will do that. I am forever grateful for my sister. (Although she and Cody didn't exactly get along...that's another story)

Regardless, that Wed. afternoon she was on the keyboard practicing away. Probably Beethoven's Fur Elise (she played it so much I learned it from hearing her play it). And in a moment of sister/girl craziness I started dancing. Dancing through the isles. I was a closet dancer. Well not if you count show choir but these moves I didn't do in public. They weren't provocative, they were expressive. They were hilarious. Made up. Crazy.

And about the time I completed an arabesque and turned toward the door, Cody, also early that night, was there. Eyes wide open , no doubt. I don't think he understood. I didn't understand. Why was I dancing? Why didn't someone tell me? Why did anyone let me out of the house?

This incident was months before we ever started dating when I never had a second thought about dating him. And this probably sealed the deal in his mind that I was a weirdo SB (squatty body).

After we'd been dating a while I got up the nerve to ask him if he remembered the incident. He just smiled.


I love storms. I go out to watch them when the sirens go off. I love the energy, the lights, the quick change in temperature. I love springtime in Oklahoma. I love the wild flowers on the prairie and the green winter wheat fields.

The picture came from a storm chaser friend, Chris Sanner, you can check out more here. Or check out his blog about storm chasing here.

We'd had an unusual amount of tornadoes that week in April along with the other tragedies. As if life wasn't uncertain enough, God had to let the winds loose. Tragedy is a lot like storm clouds. Sometimes it comes quickly, sometimes the clouds cover the whole sky for days on end. But the sun is still there on the other side waiting. Just like God, there even when we refuse to believe and can't see.

I found much comfort and solace in Cody's arms that week. Life could pack a punch. But I was fully convinced Cody could take it on. He was strong and resolved. I had found a place resting on his chest listening to the beat of his heart and it felt like home.

And I was convinced, except for the preacher's wife part, I wanted to be with him till I died. Well sorta, it seemed like a good idea.

That last year in high school I somehow got asked to play piano at the Wilkins Nursing Home on Sunday morning. I have a feeling it had to do with an old man named Joe Schwartz. Joe was about the first person I met coming off the moving van from North Carolina. He took to me. Thank God he did. Joe and God kept me from a lot of teenage foolishness. Joe would pray for me like his own child. I was an assignment. God assigned me to Joe. One time we were in Mexico on a mission trip and I'd broken up with a guy I'd been dating but it was an on again/off again relationship. Joe confronted me on it. He asked if God had told me to end the relationship. I said yes. He said, "Why in the world are you messing around with him then?" I had no answer. And when I got home I called it quits for good. I was just wasting time. I dated some more here and there then 10 months later I am watching tornadoes form outside with Cody. Had I not obeyed God's voice I would've been tied up, confused, and so distracted when Cody came by that day in November. My dad used to say, "it only takes one". I didn't 100 guys, I just needed one. One that loved the Lord first.

So I'd go and play hymns on Sunday morning at the nursing home. Joe would bring the lesson or Cotton Rodgers. I learned a lot from those "older" men. Cotten and his wife, Beaulah were precious. He passed away not long after that year. He'd preached the gospel his whole life. His wife was happy. They still held hands and went everywhere together. Could that be Cody and me one day?

Then there was this African American couple in their 90's. They'd been married over 70 years. They wheeled around their wheelchairs together. He was a preacher too. He loved to sing, "I'll fly away". I played it every week for him.

Two couples. Love that had lasted years. Serving beside each other. Maybe I could do this. Maybe this is my destiny.

I really didn't think that much about it. I just loved Cody, he loved the Lord, surely we'd be ok. Sign me up, I guess.

I remembered my dad announcing to our church that Cody had felt called to full time ministry about a year before. Then he "shared" some at our Wednesday night youth group meetings. Someone asked him to teach at the nursing home. So he came.

We were already dating when he started coming. Maybe he wanted to check out my piano playing abilities. That is a prerequisite for being a pastor's wife you know. Or maybe he just wanted to be near me. He worked a lot and was at college during the week. Sundays and Wednesdays were all we had. Whatever the reason I loved seeing him up there teaching as the elderly slowly nodded off to sleep. Couple of times he preached at the Alzheimer' unit. One of the patients came right up to him merely inches away from his face as he expounded on the book of John.

On mother's day that year dad asked Cody to preach on a Sunday night. He spoke of his mom, grandmothers, and Jesus' mom. He read from the book of Hebrews, chapter 2 verse 9 and John 3:16 (always a good one to throw in there).

It was an awesome night, we prayed together. I had bought a book for us to go through. "Soul Mates" .
I wasn't pushy, no, not at all. "I" just wanted to lead us in the right direction. Cody never participated willingly in my little devotions. I was quite put out by his unwillingness to be my "Soul Mate". A much better read would've been "Wild at Heart" by John Eldridge. So I failed at "taming" him. It was a sweet surrender in the end. He leads quite well on his own. We are both works in progress.

See there he is on the cover running from my soul mates book.

So I was making my plans and began to think of the future with Cody. Little did I realize I had begun slipping little by little- giving him more and more of my heart. So when an old flame walked through the doors one day we had a little earth quake. I'm sure the Meers, Ok seismograph didn't pick this one up but the ground beneath me began to shake. And I absolutely hated it. I hated that one girl could make me feel so insecure. I hated that I'd let myself get so dependent that I couldn't see another option if Cody all of a sudden walked out of my life. Insecurity does crazy things to a woman's mind. And we had conflict. I grew up with brothers, loved hanging out with guy friends but I had no clue how to determine how a man thought. Could he really be pulled away from me by her? Funny I don't even remember who it was, but I remember how alone I suddenly felt. Maybe we weren't as "certain" as I'd thought. Maybe no relationship is certain. So where did that put me? I'd given up going back east for school, I'd given up my senior prom (he was NOT going back to a high school prom and I wasn't going without him) and I'd given him my heart. That was the scariest of all.....


Whatever problems "the ex" flame had caused in my deeply insecure heart -by the first of May we were over them. Not that we talked about them. Lord forbid Cody get the impression I was insecure, jealous or "needy". I just saw enough evidence that settled the quaking ground beneath my feet. Little by little I was learning to trust. Though this would be an on going struggle- me and trust- that is. But I'd been raised to look to my creator for help. I'd realized I had put my relationship with Cody above my relationship with God- I had an idol. And that's what happens when you depend on earthy things and look to people to satisfy you- they fall short and you're left on shifting sand.

Graduation was nearing and I was getting a little emotional.

I am a third child. Not the oldest, not the youngest.

This has disadvantages- less baby pictures, new clothes are rare, forget about a new car at 16, less involved parental activity (that one could be an advantage).

And then there are the advantages- less discipline (from 2 ways-they are tired of spanking children by this point and you learn from watching the others get disciplined resulting in less need for it), everyone raises you, you have an account of your unrememberable childhood from your older siblings, you have a pretty laid back personality because there's less pressure on you and less emotion when you do things (my parents had graduated 2 kids before).

So it wasn't bawling hysterically emotion.It was more ....resign, an unavoidable change, melancholy. My mom and I both felt it. My Dad- who knows, I was trying to read Cody's mind not dad's. I was not good at either.

Mother's day came and went with special events and gifts that year. But my mom was my mom and I hadn't had children yet so I had no real "I-can't believe-you-did-this-wow" appreciation yet. And my mother still flickered the lights on the porch when she thought we'd "said goodbye" long enough. We could really drag it out. We had much to talk (cough, kiss) about.

Before graduation there would be several lasts. Many activities, MANY activities. One was my last show choir performance.

Show Choir may have singlehandedly kept me in school. Not that anyone would've let me quit but I sure would've wanted to had I not made show choir.

We moved from Raleigh, NC. The high school my brothers graduated from (Millbrook) graduated 500 kids every year. And there no less than 10 high schools all over the city. You were a number. When I moved to Duncan everyone knew everyone, they'd gone to school together FOREVER. When I'd go to school each fall I'd be lucky to know one person from a previous year. I am in no way complaining, I never stayed in one school longer than 3 years and I am very thankful for each experience I had. I am very glad I got to be in a large school system and in several elementary schools and East Millbrook Middle School (please comment if you know of EMMS it will make my day!) We even homeschooled 3 years.

Duncan was different not just because they all new each other but because they had high school sororities called "clubs" . They rush after your freshman year. Guess when I started school- middle of my sophomore year. It was not only different but it was over, I'd missed it.

I had a decision to make when I went back to public school- what elective to take. I had started out in band in middle school and had continued playing the clarinet. There was softball, track, art, home ec and of course ag. I had no idea what "ag" was. None. Those people coming from "ag" were very mysterious to me. I almost signed up just to see what that was about. I had honestly never heard of agriculture as an elective, sport, or interest. People farm? Today? Excuse my ignorant city mind. My mother and father grew up on NC tobacco/cotton farms but I did not. I went to piano and voice lessons. My good friend Mandy was in choir so I chose choir. Plain and simple. Same reason I chose band in 6th grade- my friend Becky was in it and I wanted in.

So after a semester at Duncan High School I was really ready to quit, send me home. The Mr. Zinn held auditions for show choir. All I knew was they sang, danced and wore purple dresses. And everyone looked up to them. Reflections was the choir to make in the vocal department. I tried out, why not? Mandy was in there. I remember Mr. Zinn, God rest that good man's soul, bringing me and 2 other girls in to a practice room. I didn't know what was going on but I think he had 2 spots, 3 girls and a big decision to make. But when the list came up by the end of the week I was on it. God knew how much I needed it even when I didn't.

Show Choir was fun, 2 of my favorite things -singing and dance (but you remembered that didn't you :)  Show Choir was a place where I belonged. I had a purpose there, I had an identity. I loved all those people and we had so much fun. We even got new red dresses that year!! We traveled to Winter Park, Co and had outings around Duncan and contests. We had this amazing song we sang each time we performed, "May all our alleluias, when spoken and heard be heart felt praise...." Belonging. It's so needed in teenagers life.

 That's me second from the left.

I couldn't wait for Cody to see what all we did. We were working on Aretha Franklin's R-E-S-P-E-C-T. and making sequence dresses. I had a solo. There was the senior slide show, awards, and "Just put some love in your heart" . Not to mention it was the end, my last one (I hadn't decided to study music in college).And Cody refused to go. He couldn't stand musicals nor show choir and told me he would not be attending.

What the ?????????

This meant the world to me and he didn't want to come. To say I was heart broken was an understatement. Every one I loved loved music, loved the arts. I didn't understand. Didn't everyone love show choir?  At the spring concert my junior year I had three guys there to see me. True story.

I had dated a band guy from Duncan once or twice after getting together at my junior prom and I also had met a freshman at OU (music major) through a mutual friend and we'd also dated once or twice. They both came that night. Then my ex-boyfriend (the one Joe reprimanded me on) showed up too. He missed me, he really could care less about music:) And after the show , there on the steps of Duncan Auditorium at one point  all three were there-around me-at once. Boy was it a little awkward. None of them knew each other or the dates I'd had with all of them.

And this guy who I was willing to ditch previous college plans and my senior prom for didn't want to come to my last musical performance. While I'd like to say he had to work, he didn't. He just didn't like show choir (gasp). This was a deal breaker. How could I spend the rest of my life with a man who missed my last show choir performance?  Of course I didn't say anything. I was trying to outdo the old flame who'd been coming around. I just went and sang my heart out and even was presented with this......

And my new best friend wasn't there to see me.


Graduation was days away, the sappy feelings were coming pretty easy. I even shed tears on the edge of the stage that night in Duncan High School auditorium. Not tears over Cody. He hadn't come. His loss. I cried because my sister came to find me out of the crowd. Jimmy Zinn always closed the vocal music spring concert with "Just Put some Love in your Heart". She and I had seen the movie "Little Women" (with Wynona Rider) just weeks before. I think that was the beginning of realizing my sister was a gift. I would miss her. But she'd have to wait a year to get my room, I wasn't going anywhere FAR just yet.

Or was I? I had new information to process. Was not sharing a love for red sequin dresses, dancing and singing show tunes a deal breaker? Was this a battle to wage? Could I really live the rest of my life with a man who didn't share my love for the theatrical stage?

He wasn't interested in show choir. He didn't go because he didn't get it. But he was very much interested in me. So I could persuade him to love vocal music. I made it my project. Maybe I could change him. :)

But in the end I let it go. No fights, no yelling, no moping about. Maybe we could find enough common ground elsewhere.

But we really had little in common. His parents were younger, mine were older. I was from NC, he'd never lived past Grady County. I came from a large family, it was just him and his sister. I danced in the dark (and the aisles :). He rode four-wheelers. I was on the verge of being a vegetarian. He never ate anything green. He spoke his mind, I held it in. I spent my time playing Beethoven and Chopin, he fished and hunt.

I thought I could refine him. I was critiquing his sermons at the nursing homes. I was introducing him slowly to boiled peanuts, baseball and the beach (well, I was building it up, we kinda don't live near one) . I'd have him loving show choir in no time.

In the meantime my heart was growing fonder and fonder of the idea of forever. I was deeply curious as to what he'd get me for a graduation gift. I had 3 friends in show choir that were dating seriously at the time too. We had lots of long conversations about our "guys". One of them was getting a ring for graduation. Hummm...

Despite a myriad of differences the one thing that first brought us together was faith. We had both come to know the love and grace in knowing Jesus Christ and accepting his salvation. We'd come face to face with our own depravity and knew in Christ alone was hope and peace. It was freedom and real life, not religion. We both had a love for God's word and loved helping others.

The love for God did not deter the physical attraction however. Feeling so close to him only made it harder to walk away from his Ford Bronco every night. We'd talked enough about John Calvin, Martin Luther and Jacob Arminius. We'd talked enough about our selves. And someone had forgotten to give me the dating boundaries handbook.

So could our faith be enough common ground to keep us together? Could we build a life around only that?

Shortly after his mother's day "big church" preaching debut (where the people didn't fall asleep or get in his face) my dad was making plans. Maybe he wanted to keep us busy helping others instead of ourselves :) The church wanted to reach out to kids in the community. They also wanted to honor David Baker the 7th grader who'd been killed in the April accident. So plans began for the David Baker Youth Center. My dad wanted Cody to run it. Cody was considering for the first time quitting his job at the Mini Mall pumping gas and going to work for a church.

It seemed as if things were falling into place. That someone was guiding us. That maybe there was a plan. Maybe I'd found my destiny. Maybe I'd found someone to manipulate, I mean love , the rest of my life. Was I worthy of a ring like my friend had gotten?

It was a week before our June 1st graduation and he called (pre-cellphone) on the land line and asked to come over. He had a graduation present for me. I was beyond words. Anxious didn't touch this.

Breathe. Just be calm. Just be calm....

This could be it.

This could be the day.

I could be sporting a ring very soon.


The sun was shining in the 12 windows of my parents upstairs. I loved the light up in that place. I checked my appearance and brushed my teeth. Surely kissing would follow this much anticipated wedding proposal.

Cody invited himself in, as usual, and we sat in that upstairs area. The gift was much larger than a jewelry box but I was still hopeful that many boxes would lead to the ring. He gave me the gift. And immediately I had a problem. It was heavy. Very heavy. Rings aren't heavy. And I don't think he'd add a brick to through me off.

He was excited to give me the gift, that much shone on his face. I began to open the wrapping and before my young little eyes laid a brand-new-just-like-the-one-I had STUDY BIBLE.

A study Bible? This is what he thought I needed? This is what he thought I wanted? Did he have a clue in his head how to buy for a girl?

"Thank you, Cody, it's very nice. I needed one"

Not really. I had one exactly like it and I had 10 Bibles in my home.

"I saw how yours was falling apart and thought you could use one."

"It's wonderful, thank you."


God, forgive me but I wanted a ring.

I must not have hid my excitement well because he knew something was wrong. And he asked. I avoided the questions for a while but within time I gave in.

"What's the matter? You don't like it? Did you want something else?"

"Uh, no, not at all. You surprised me that's all."

"Really? You seem upset, what's wrong?"

Well you hadn't come to my last reflections concert for one. Just like a woman to bring up the past.

" Nothing, nothing at all"

I looked at it, turned it over and over. That's what you do right when you are trying to like something, you just keep looking at it?

After awhile of his I finally gave in.

"Well I thought........maybe...........well, you know"

"What are you talking about?"

" I thought you might get me something else."

"? What did you think I was going to get you?"

" Oh nothing really, nothing, I don't know what I'm talking about."

"What did you think I was going to get you?"

"Well I just kinda thought"


".......well...........well Farrah got a ring for graduation. I just thought I might get one too."

There, the truth was out there.

And this smile came across his face. I will never forget that grin. He knew he had me won. And I think he liked it. He chuckled a bit and said he was sorry. I think it was in those moments that I realized I'd found him. I'd found THE ONE.

Then as I always do, I felt guilty. I SHOULD NOT have told him that. Why did I tell him that? What was I doing?


Time marched on and I graduated on June 1st, 1995 under a rainbow in the sky. It was beautiful. Enough tears had been shed the previous months but none that night- it was a happy day. Cody's sister Aleshia also graduated with me that night. So all Cody's family was there. I knew them all from church but we hadn't really spent a lot of time at their home. He came to mine a lot. I'd met most of his family on the Deevers side. I guess know that he knew I wanted a ring he thought I should meet them.

Plans were very much underway for the grand opening of the David Baker Youth Center. I would be singing at the event and Cody would speak briefly to the community about the youth center. David's death had been so hard. It was exciting for Cody and me what was happening but it was bittersweet. David's mother would've gladly given up the honor of having it named after him if she could have him home again. We tried intently to honor his family in everything we did.

The center would be open each weekday and Cody would oversee all activities at the center. He had several volunteer staff that would work there too.

Besides an afternoon a week of teaching piano lessons I didn't work a lot. I had quite my job at Lane's Furniture so I was also planning to help out. My youth pastor called me a kid-magnet so this youth center was right up my alley.

We had a lot of activity planned for the summer. Including a trip to Cody's uncle's home.

I was excited. A road trip with my boyfriend. What were my parents thinking? They must have called Uncle Bob and made sure we checked in. Of course I was a high school graduate now and eventually you have to let your kids go make their own paths.

So to uncle Bob's we went. He lived in Sand Springs, Ok, near Tulsa. We drove up there in Cody's blue bronco II. The ride was pretty, it was my first time to Tulsa. It reminded me of back east, the trees were taller and there were more hills. But as we got further away from the highway I began to wonder what I had gotten my self into. I sure trusted Cody. He really didn't know where he was going. He had never been either. But before it got too dark we arrived.

In his family I knew Kathy, Roger and Aleshia fairly well. We all went to church together, we'd had lunch on Sunday afternoons occasionally and gone skiing together. Aleshia and I had been in some of the same classes at school too. That was awkward. I never dreamed I'd date her brother, much less want a ring from him.

I'd first met "The Deevers" at Grandma Marie's wedding in February. It was a small service and the entire family had come. (I need a picture of that right here) . Marie was remarrying after Cody's grandfather passing years before.

So I'd actually met Uncle Bob then but they were all preoccupied and I was much more intent on watching Cody's cousin and the new girlfriend he'd brought. We'll just say they gave a better show to watch than we did that day.

Bob is married to Vivian, (a married in Deevers) and I wanted to get to know her. I needed information. Who were these "Deevers"? Should I run away and never look back? Tell me know or forever hold your peace Aunt Viv.

They had 2 daughters and some good hunting friends.

My dad's family grew up out in the middle of Richmond Co, NC. They owned a gun but my dad had never had one in our home and my mother's family had no need at all for guns. Killing a live animal would've been there worst nightmare. Needless to say I didn't really understand the sport of "hunting".

Bob's friend was a hunting buddy. It was a beautiful night and they were so hospitable. Vivian and Bob gardened and canned and I was a gardener wannabe. They served us pickled watermelon rind and bread and chicken and dumplins. It was all very nice. They came the real treat- homemade ice cream.

I'd never gotten ice cream anywhere but in carton at the store. I didn't know such delicacies existed. Much like my first experience with real butter.

So I thought cranking that handle for 3 hours was normal for them. That was some hard earned ice cream. But as the dusk was setting in on their wooden deck I remember tasting some of the best ice cream I'd ever had.

Bob was a little more reserved than Roger and at one point during the delightful evening he made a point to ask me if I liked everything.

"Yes, thank you, it's all very nice."

"My mother doesn't fix chicken and dumplins, they were very tasty"

"You liked the dumplins?"

"Yes sir, they were good."


At this point my brow furrowed. Why wouldn't I like them?

"Well we added a special ingredient to those dumplins, I wondered how you'd liked them"

My eyes must've been large. What did he just say? What was in those dumplins and why was I not informed of this earlier.

The darkness was falling quicker than before and the trees seemed 100 feet taller and the nearest highway 100 miles further.

Where was Cody and what did I just eat?


They had cooked thumper. 
And it tasted like chicken. 
I was a traveler. Raised in a family that embraced other ethnicities, cultures and people. I thought of my journey to Oklahoma as a short term mission trip. Get in, get out- do what you can. I never planned on staying. 

Trying rabbit, albeit not by choice, at Cody's Uncle Bob's was just a new experience, right? When in Rome do as the Romans.....Surely not all family gatherings included Bambi's little friend?

It was increasing desire to be with Cody that was throwing me for a loop. The closer we got the more it looked like I wasn’t getting out of Oklahoma anytime soon. And rabbit might become a staple. 

Aunt Vivian was a wonderful cook actually. I loved all the homegrown veggies and homemade ice cream. Remember I was a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan?
We eventually drove off those mountains of Sand Springs and headed back to SW OK . 

The summer was filled with camps and trips with our church. Cody even took the invite to the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta with my dad. He came back with stories. Hard not to traveling with my dad. 

As soon as he returned we had a service dedicating the David Baker Youth Center- Cody’s new ministry job. The center was opened everyday for kids to come play, hang out, get snacks and learn more about Jesus Christ. The service was nice. David’s family  was honored and a plaque made. I sang and Cody spoke. 

And the kids came. Those kids were hilarious. I have more stories than I have time to tell. We created the “Good Gang”. When the kids memorized the 10 commandments they got in the “Good Gang” , complete with a t-shirt. We had adults and teenagers joining as well as kids as young as 4. 
A man willing to invest in others, especially children is very attractive. While our days were spent playing pool, ping pong and laughing with kids our nights were spent watching the Rangers baseball, renting movies, or hanging out with friends and family. And saying goodnight. We could really drag that good night kiss out. And night after night it was getting harder and harder. 
My oldest brother came for a visit for several weeks in June. He was living back east. We enjoyed the time together, he and Cody got to know each better. When he went home his fiance left him. Ran off with someone else. We hurt for him. He threw the ring in the forest. 
Love is risky. The deeper you get in, the more it hurts when it ends. The question is when does it end? I have heard it said, “All good things come to an end eventually” This side of heaven that is. While I am all about Jesus I have to admit the initial draw for me was “Happily ever after”. Eternal good times.

So either you split apart here on earth or you love your whole life long and are torn apart by death in the end. But either way it hurts. And it was risky. Too risky? 

Strangely, you don't think about risks when your kissing goodnight at 17, falling more and more in love everyday.


Heart out on the line. 
Risking a lot for someone I’d been dating less than 9 months. 
Love is funny like that. Somehow not much else matters when you are lost in each others arms. But we had yet to talk about a lifetime. We were getting closer. People were talking. I had finally graduated high school. Wahoo! And there was that whole ring thing. Big misunderstanding, I do not know what came over me.
June came and went, July melted into August and it was time to go back to school. The youth center was an after school program now. While Cody ran it, several of us helped when we could. Cody had a pretty easy semester at USAO, taking in a lot of history classes. 
I on the other hand was ready for the brain-washing to begin. I knew my faith would be tested. Individuals in Contemporary Society here I came! 
I still didn’t have a clue what I wanted to study. I just wanted to get in and out and on with life. Life with Cody. 
The first of August my parents took my sister and I out to New Mexico on a vacation. With little more on the agenda than eating and family time,  My sister and I took off on foot or car every day exploring Red River. I had brought my borrowed guitar on the trip. I needed pictures for my upcoming cd I was dreaming about recording so Debbie took no less than 24 pictures of me and that guitar on every trail, rock and creek we could find. This was when film limited how many pictures we could take otherwise we’d have taken 100. While I had thought I’d heard God telling me I wasn’t made to be a soloist and that the spotlight wouldn’t be mine- my heart still tried to go a different route. 

I sat in choir the first week of college as an undecided student. Hum....
English Education
Vocal Performance
Music Education
That’s what I’d narrowed it down to. Music Ed. took 30 extra hours. 30. That’s an entire year longer than the other 2. 
Just like when I stepped into that Ryder truck headed to Oklahoma, leaving all I’d known behind and just like when I kept talking to a want-a -be preacher boy with a twangy accent - Someone was nudging me in the way he wanted me to go. The way he’d created me to go.    And through the advice of some good counselors I changed my schedule, added some classes and gave in to what I knew I was supposed to do- Music Education. 
Weeks before in our condo in Red River, NM I finally had the conversation with my parents I had been dreading all summer. 
Cody wasn’t going anywhere. He and I had talked about getting married. But I was about to turn 18, hardly old enough for that kind of commitment. I had 2 older brothers in their mid 20‘s who weren’t even married. What would dad say to this? Mom never forced her opinion on me, I really didn’t know where she stood and I knew she would give advice if I asked. Dad would be the one to ask, what would say, did he know? Would he want me to wait? I wasn’t sure waiting was option. I’d been raised listening to the music of Johnny Cash and I finally figured out what that “ring of fire” song was talking about- and we were about to fall in. 


he taste of love is sweet. 
When hearts, like ours meet. 
I fell for you like a child. 
Oh but the fire went wild. 
Thank you Johnny Cash, the philosopher. I couldn’t have said it better myself!
I was aware of Johnny’s “ ring of fire” and knew if I jumped in I wouldn’t come out unburned. It was enough to keep me saying no.

 I needed to tell my parents. I hadn’t gotten up the nerve to do it. To this day I wonder what they thought? I know they were young once, too, but it’s all together different when it’s your 17 year old daughter talking to you on a couch in Red River, NM about getting married.
He had knelt beside the couch I was sleeping on. With the all very familiar scope breath he’d prayed for me as he’d done a thousand times before since the day I was born. 
“Ummm, Cody and I really like each other and have kinda talked about getting married...”
Just like I assumed he’d do, he remained calm, collected his thoughts and responded, “ Well, (pause)  Cody is a wonderful young man. I always hoped one of my sons would become a preacher, I guess a son in law would be just fine.” 
And I really don’t remember the rest of the conversation. He prayed we'd know and follow God's will for our relationship. 
He knew. They knew. So they both knew he wasn’t going anywhere. And they hadn’t told me to wait, given me any warnings or even looked concerned. I needed a sign. A stop sign if this was not good. My parents were always ones to let you make your own mistakes. I am a people pleaser and don't like to make mistakes. I never wanted to regret. So I weighed every decision a thousand times. It's exhausting.
Maybe Cody's family would give me a sign...His Aunt Vivian (the great gardener and cooker of rabbit) had been in the family for years and she didn't pull me aside telling me to run for my life. But I prayed everyday if this wasn't meant to be that I'd know and have the courage to do the right thing even if my heart was in too deep.

I got a good sign from Cody when I got back. We went the entire vacation week without talking on the phone. No cell phones- calling cards were what I had to use. He was playing volleyball at the Wilkins home so I went over there to join the group and of course see him. When he saw me he said, "Time Out" ran over in Deever fashion grabbed me up, kissed me and ran back to position on the court. Smile. I think he likes me. Maybe he wants to keep me.

August meant back to school in Oklahoma.   
Cody and I had never been together a whole lot. He split his time between school and work and me. Now we were working together at the youth center with all those kids and going to school together.  We were about to spend a lot more time together. 
One of two things was bound to happen. One, we’d get tired of each other and realize this wasn’t gonna work or two, the flame’d get hotter.
In case you have lived in a cave for the last 50 years or you aren't 50 or you weren't raised on the ballads of Johnny Cash I'll provide a link to the song!

Grandma Marie. She was the reason Cody and I went to Oklahoma City on one of our first dates. He was to pick her up at the airport. Only he'd never gone to the airport. He was unaware of the "one way ness" of the airport. It made me laugh. I'll never forget my first sight of grandma Marie waiting patiently for her grandson after he'd circled round and round the terminal. He always could make me laugh. 

Cody's grandmother had married her next door neighbor in February. Leaving his home vacant. 

Since we were in school and poor this was just what we were looking for. It needed a lot of work and he agreed to $100 rent. Something we could afford! We weren’t into debt so it all had to work out if we were really going to get married.I guess we figured  we'd just "live on love". Ha! If only you could.
After I knew he was serious and I told him about the ring I wanted, figured he should know what I wanted in case he wanted to make this official and all. 
The ring was my mother’s. She had gotten something on it from her mother. She hadn’t worn it in years. The diamond had fallen out and in the midst of raising 4 kids, attending too many ballgames and started a new church alongside my dad they hadn’t ever repaired it. 
As a little girl I love’d sitting in her vanity area and looking through the jewelry. I remember the box exactly. I’d always admired that ring. 
I asked (more like took probably) if I could give it to Cody, I’d like that to be my ring. 
So one day at the house I gave it to him in September. Gee, to know what went through his mind....
So I gave him 10 days to fix the ring and waited anxiously for the proposal of a lifetime! 

# 20

I had ceased anticipating and just about asked for my ring back. It had been 3 months. What was the deal? He wasn’t acting like anything was wrong and he still like to kiss.
You’d think he’d want to make it obvious we were together, since I had entered the college scene the guy choices were much larger. I knew there were more fish in the sea outside of Stephens County! A couple in particular weren’t deterred by the amount of time Cody and I spent together and pursued a lot. Even giving me a list of reasons to leave Cody. While mostly in jest, I did have to compare him to each new person I met. Would so and so make a better husband? Cody won out every time. 
He was probably waiting for Christmas. 
He’d threatened to do it at church in front of lots of people. Um, no, thanks for the warning. And, no.
My first semester of college was finished, I’d gotten straight A’s- finished 16 hours- I was on my way. Now if I could just get my ring back. 
We had brought in a new staff member to help with young adults there at our church. The church would vote in support of the leadership’s decision and then we had a little party planned at our house afterward. With snow on the ground that Dec. 21st night it we enjoyed the party and new friends. As usually Cody waited unitl everyone else left. We didn’t need an audience when we kissed goodnight, (and we liked to take our time- there was much to be said each night :)
I slipped on a light jacket and walked him out to his car. He was very slow, normally he was all on top of things. And he was quiet. Way too quiet for Cody Deevers. After the first 15 min. of very little talking or kissing I knew something was different, something was wrong. 
Was he going to ask me tonight? Really? Here? What am I wearing? Does my breath stink? How do I look? This could be it. IT! 
“Not much to say tonight?”
“ Something wrong?”
Nods no. 
“You are not saying much” 
Well then kiss me :)
We went on for what seemed hours. We had another 2 conversations just like that one when he FINALLY said something. 
“ Do you know where we are? “ 
My front yard, yes, pretty sure.
“It’s where we had our first kiss a year ago.” 
“It is isn’t it” I replied. Smile. This has got to be it. Where’s that ring?
Stall another awkward 10 min, head down, smiling, no words. 
Then in a slowness I had not known Cody possessed and have not seen since he uttered these words...
“ Lori, I love you, would you do my the honor of being my wife?”
Cue ring. No knee bending though- too much snow?
“Yes” hug, “Oh YES!” 
I slipped on the ring, and he went home. I don’t know what he thought that night before closing his eyes in sleep but I practiced saying my new name cause hot dog I was getting married! 
The next day, just a few before Christmas, I went up to the church Cody and my dad were working at for something. Juanita Brown was answering calls that morning and was the first to notice the ring. My mom was with me and was shocked- letting out her notorious laugh. My brother’s would be there soon for Christmas- what would they say? Jon and his girlfriend weren’t married yet and Chris had just had his heart broken. Jon was in and out in  no more than 3 days. Chris stayed longer. This would be hard. 
Cause he’d risked it all for love too, and lost- big time.


It was the most wonderful time of the year- Christmas. We had snow, we had my older brothers home and I had a ring on my finger. I was beaming. 

Chris and I had gone to Oklahoma city and were eating lunch downtown at the Spaghetti Warehouse when he brought it up. He hadn’t been around much since he lived in VA. I had plans to move out there a year ago. He probably felt the loss more than I did. I was content with the Saudi Arbians at USAO and figured I’d stay now. 
“So you are getting married”
no questions, no tears, no warnings
“Yup” I was curious as to what he’d say- I had ALWAYS looked up to Chris, if I needed to be talked out of something I would’ve listened to him. 
“Better to marry than to BURN with passion”  He grew up with Johnny the philosopher too, ( and the Bible too I guess :)
And that was about it, he and Jon would be asked to be ushers. They’d be there, and they’d leave before the reception to go see a rangers game in Texas. Boys.
Or maybe the hurt of Chris’ fiance leaving him was too much to take. It should’ve been his wedding we were planning. She walked out on all of us. Would Chris give it another shot- risk it all again or was the wound too deep? 
No one at school was surprised. Three other friends were newly engaged too over the break. We’d all end up getting married three weekends in a row. The summer of weddings.
I needed a dress. I needed ideas. I needed a cake. I needed bridesmaids, ( to protect the not so innocent I’ll keep that turmoil to my self).
Cody and I were in the city one day up by Penn Square Mall and dropped by a little wedding boutique.  Just to see what the store was. 
Within minutes I was in a dressing room trying on dresses. The princess puffy sleeves dress. In my size, on sale- I bought it and yes Cody saw it that day. 14 years later, I am glad to report nothing bad happened because of it, either.
Dress check.Date-check. Family knowing-check. No one trying to talk me out of this-check.
That was just how they rolled. You make your own bed, be prepared to sleep in it. So it was my choice. And I constantly doubted it. Was all this doubt good? Was it normal?
I just didn’t want to do the wrong thing. So I stayed close to God, read the Bible and prayed like crazy....willing to call it off it wasn’t God’s best for me. 


“Till death do you part.....?” 
Billy and Joe would tell me this ,with a smile,  every time I saw them.  Billy was our youth minister and Cody had asked him to be the best man. Then he changed his mind and asked his dad. It was the right thing to do, I guess. Poor Billy. 
Joe. He “took” to me the moment I walked off the yellow Ryder moving truck in the parking lot of Immanuel Baptist Church November 1992. God rigged that. He confronted me when I was dating someone I shouldn’t have my junior year. He is still who I call when I need prayer. He was in his 50’s and another groomsman. 
Chad made #4 groomsmen. My sister was my choice for maid of honor. I'll be forever thankful for her. Choosing bridesmaids was a hard job. I am absolutely positive I offended people and I worried over it, but not too long because Cody had asked 10 guys to be ushers and I needed a job for them to do. While the wedding would be big, 10 was a bit much.  

Winter began to thaw and Spring was bursting forth with it’s colorful bouquet. I was excited about wedding details while at the same time rehearsing doubt in my mind. But it all melted away when we where together. The attraction was stronger than any I’d ever known. It was getting stronger not weaker. I needed a clear head to think. 
Cody would be graduating from college. April 19th, a year after the OKC bombing, he received a Bachelors of Art in Communication. He was headed to Southwestern in the fall. With or without me. That had always been the plan. We’d talked about moving down there, I’d transfer. But in the end it made more sense to stay where the house and the work was, we were gonna need the jobs. I had begun to teach privately more and more.  
We’d even thought about Southeastern Seminary 15 miles from where I’d moved from. But we had no money to move with and no job to go to. Living in North Carolina would have to wait. But I had decided to go for a visit on spring break. Cody went to his Aunt’s in Arizona and I boarded an American Airlines plane alone headed for Raleigh. 
There was one more person I wanted to see before I committed a lifetime to Cody. But would he want to see me? I needed to know.


As the plane landed in Raleigh my best friend since 5th grade picked me up. We headed north to see my brother and snow ski in the mountains of Virginia.

As the week progressed we made our rounds seeing my favorite people and places and eating at all the restaurants Raleigh had to offer.

I missed Cody. He was skiing in Flagstaff, viewing the Grand Canyon and playing poker on a hand held game thing. His aunt was elated he'd come to see them. She had been so sweet and encouraging about our engagement.

The time apart was good. Once that ring was on my finger things changed a little. The 8 month engagement was definitely needed. We had decided to get married. There were choices to be made, a house to fix up and we were learning we didn't see eye to eye on some things. Like the color of the hallway or where the cups should go. There were plenty of conversations about how we couldn't wait to live together and be married and how wonderful it would be to fix dinner and fold laundry together. He told me several times how glad he was I had said yes.

There were also some good fights too. Plenty of selfishness to go around. Living together wouldn't be as easy as I'd imagined. There would be differences of opinion. And I was learning very quickly men DO NOT think like women do. They are geared altogether differently. What I know now is that it was meant to be that way. And when it's good, it's real good but when we are selfish it gets bad and quick.

He was gracious enough to even warn me...

"It's gonna take all the patience you have" this came with an apology after an argument.

We always worked through it, he was after all getting a degree in Communication. :)

Coupled with "working it out" was the doubt. Not so much over marring Cody as it was in doing the wrong thing and having to live with that choice. " Till death do us part" ....I trusted God enough to know if he wanted us together he'd take care of whatever problems we'd encounter down the road. I just had to make sure "US" was his plan not merely mine.

The problem with "my plan" was that it is shaky ground. My plans change. My heart deceives me. And I was about to prove again how silly I can be. I had a past flame, a friend, a confident that I always held dear.

Someone I'd give a second chance to.

I had to know if there was anything still there. I had after all been jerked out of state 3 years before during the middle of a relationship. But this wasn't him, he'd moved on and I was happy for him. This was the first guy who made it hard to concentrate when he walked in the room.

We found some time , just the two of us, in the car driving to eat out with the large group.

"So you are really engaged? What's he like?"

"Yup.....You'd like him, he's a great guy"

"What kinda car does he drive?"
" Does that matter? Why does that matter? Are you for real? Eh, you are a male too...."

"A green pickup" The only thing Oklahoma boys drive.

"So you are really gonna do this?"

Whoa, is he gonna try to talk me out of this? No one has done that! "How's your girlfriend?"

"We are good. ....blah blah blah blah blah blah blah....."

I wanted to go home.
"It's so weird seeing you again." He said.

"Why didn't you write or call? I like hearing from you"

"I guess it's like you are not a part of my life anymore"

I was waiting for words that wouldn't be said.

Our lives were on two different tracks headed in two different directions and that was all I needed to know. 

Spring became summer and I doubted a little less cause I had found someone, someone who wanted the privilege of spending the rest of his life with me. God had given us a gift. The gift of each other and time.

We attended the showers and fixed the house.  Between the camps and other ministry activities we stayed busy. At night we'd count the days till we wouldn't have to say goodnight and leave each other's embrace.

Things were quickly coming together for a beautiful navy, gold and red wedding the first weekend in August.


It was early Monday morning, the third week in August 1996. We’d been married 3 weeks. All of a sudden the honeymoon was over and we were getting ready to part ways. How could this have happened so quickly.
We’d been so close that last year at college, now he was on his way to Ft. Worth and I was on my way back to Chickasha and my partner in crime was missing.  I was flying solo. 
“I bet we remember this day years from now” he replied over soggy, cheap cereal. 
“It’s a beginning.” 
“Yeah”  Too tired to get philosophical or historical.
“And we are dirt poor. I bet when we look back on these days they’ll be some of the best days of our lives.” 
He was right. Little in our pockets, a lifetime ahead of us, and each other at night- FINALLY! 
We quickly realized the poor part. 
I finally had found glorious peace in marrying Cody about a week before the wedding. I enjoyed every minute of the wedding. I loved having my best friends there and family surrounding me. I loved the blending of two families. I loved that our father’s blessed us during the ceremony. I even loved Cody’s 10 crazy ushers leaping down the isle to hold candles before my entrance. I loved that my “kids” were there that I’d babysat for in NC. They were my flower girls. It was a wonderful week leading up to the biggest day of my life so far. No bother that August 3rd was hot and the a/c went out and my cake was melting, there’s a point you don’t care anymore- let someone else worry about that. 
The day after the wedding, however, I was introduced to real life. Where you realize Cinderella couldn’t have possibly lived “happily ever after”. 
It was obvious we were young and didn’t have money. And while money isn’t everything- it sure helps.
We woke up in an small family trailer with an add-on, stocked full of food and spiders. We found fiddlebacks in the beds. And speaking of beds, there no less than 5 to choose from, including a water bed. I cooked breakfast that Sunday morning and we set off looking for something to do. We were overlooking the Arkansas River not too far from Webber Falls and Lake Tenkiller in NE Oklahoma. This trailer honeymoon villa was a suggestion from my dad. Who had a knack for saving money on hotels and had never seen the place. It was great for a family reunion. But not really every bride’s dream honeymoon spot.
By Monday we’d done everything we’d wanted to do there and headed to Oklahoma City. We stayed one night in a Holiday Inn on the north part of town. We shopped and went to the zoo and were home by Tuesday.
My relatives that had come for the wedding were still there. The honeymoon was too short and it was too soon to come home. 
We came home to car trouble, which lead to a frustrated Cody. 
Who was this strange and mad person I just married. He was Mr. Right on Saturday and by Wed. he’s mad as a hornet. 
The car trouble let to a cut hand which led to doctor trouble because we didn’t have insurance. Suddenly on our own and poor wasn’t so glamorous. It was real and it was tough. 
Not only did we get a glimpse at real life that first week, we also got a taste of what being married and in the ministry was like. First, God provided medical care- mom and dad’s neighbor was a ENT doctor who stitched up Cody’s hand for free. And 14 years later God still provides each and every need we have. 
Then there was a young adult lake trip. 
We had been married less than a week and we were scheduled to go with 50 other young adults (including Cody’s parents) on three house boats to Lake Texoma for fun times.  Hum, should be interesting. Just so happened there was one room with a door on one of the boats. They were nice and gave it to us. But how embarrassing! I also got severally water logged on that trip after being drug through the water attached to a parasail. 
The next few weeks were less eventful thank goodness.
We realized pre-marital counseling would’ve been a good idea. Nontheless, with divorce   never an option we had to search for answers, bend a lot, and forgive a lot. And it’s made the difference.  
Each chapter of our story has had highs and lows. It’s a beautiful tapestry of God’s grace and human love. 
Leaving a legacy of faithfulness and love, 
Lorina Elizabeth Robbins DEEVERS