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FOR I HAVE FOUND THE ONE MY SOUL LOVES

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Shawn and I met in a sales & marketing class at Purdue on November 19, 1997.  This was the day my life changed forever. Shawn was kind, thoughtful, funny and he had a sweet southern accent (I loved it!).  Also, he told me that his uncle was a pastor and he attended church on a regular basis.  Yay!  I knew within minutes that I had just met the man that I was going to marry.  I was just hoping he felt the same way.  Luckily, he did and we were talking about marriage within a short time after we began dating.  I knew that God had hand selected Shawn for me.  He knew the desires of my heart and granted me my prayer request.  My parent's and I had both been praying for the "right boy" to come into my life and God brought me Shawn.

We were married on June 10, 2000 (a beautiful 90 degree summer day).  Our wedding was everything that I had dreamed of as a little girl.  It was perfect for us and I loved seeing all of our friends and family gather together to help us celebrate.  When we walked out of the church after the ceremony there was a beautiful rainbow in the sky.  We felt like that was God's way of saying that he was blessing our marriage & our lives.  I love how God gives of signs and shows us that He is present.  Amazing!

 

We went on a cruise to the southern Caribbean islands for our honeymoon.  The name of our ship was called "Inspiration."  We spent time in St. Thomas, St. Lucia, Curacao and Aruba.  The islands were absolutely beautiful.  Our favorite island was Aruba.  We went on a glass bottom boat tour and saw wreckage of a ship & many beautiful fish.  Also, we went on a sunset cruise.  We loved the midnight buffets too. 

 

Funny story:  Shawn really wanted to play bingo because he had won when he played bingo as a kid.  It was a beautiful, sunny day so I was a little hesitant on being inside, but I joined him along with many of the retired passengers on the ship.  I believe that we were the youngest couple in the bingo room.  He WON again!  I couldn't believe it.  Shawn walked away with $175 and we were both so happy! :)

 

Our 2nd favorite island was Curacao because it was so colorful.  The buildings were all painted in bright colors.  We had lunch at a small cafe and strolled up & down the streets.  We had fun taking lots of goofy photos that day.  Our honeymoon was wonderful and a perfect way to begin our marriage.  We were excited about our move to Wichita to begin our married life together.

We left for Wichita on June 20, 2000 (the day after my 24th birthday).  We drove Shawn's truck and it was a long 12 hour drive.  It gave us an opportunity to talk about our future together, personal goals and all the wonderful things that we hoped & dreamed for in years to come.

 

We spent 1 + 1/2 year in Wichita, Kansas after we were married.  It was hard and we struggled.  Shawn was busy getting his flight ratings and I was working a terrible job that was at the top of my "worst jobs" ever list.  We were just trying to pay our bills, advance in our careers and spend time together.  It wasn't easy and the road was bumpy at times.  We tried to enjoy our newlywed years in Wichita as  much as possible.

 

One of our favorite memories from living in Wichita was Shawn, Steve Sparks "Sparky" (his flight instructor) and me flew to Hutchinson, KS to eat breakfast at an airport.  I remember the flight on that beautiful Saturday morning.  It was so peaceful and the sky was crystal blue.  We made a few good friends (Jean-Philippe "JP" & Sara Vergnes, Doug & Kathryn Welch and Steve Sparks) in Wichita and were on our way to our next adventure - California.

 

Shawn landed a job in sunny California in the fall of 2001.  He was making better money, but he had a hectic travel schedule. We didn't see each other often and it was wearing on us.  I felt lonely and was ready to go back home to Indiana.  I missed my friends and family so much and longed to see them more regularly.  I found a job for a printing company in Valencia, which was helpful.  I had a wonderful boss who was encouraging and positive.  He had grown up in an orphanage.  He was a thoughtful person with a kind heart.  I began to take up ice skating lessons and started making new friends.  We were both getting use to living life in California.  It was a fun place to live in our mid twenties. We rode our bikes around the community and enjoyed the warm weather and beaches. Unfortunately, our California adventures came to an end and we got transferred (for Shawn's job) to the east coast.  We moved to downtown Boston in the summer of 2002.

 

Boston was a cool city.  It was historical, but very expensive.  We visited Cape Cod and several other little cities around the Boston area.  It was fun to explore the east coast.  We spent 3 months in corporate housing right across the street from historic Faneuil Hall. We lived on Milk Street (very appropriate with the last name of Holstein).

 

We purchased our 1st home in Granby, CT in late summer of 2002.  It was adorable - white with black shutters and nestled on the top of a hill with a beautiful view of Connecticut. We loved our 1st home.  It was perfect for us. We had wonderful neighbors too.  We still stay in touch with them (Michael & Maria Shoaf + 3 daughters).

 

We received a phone call from Shawn's boss - it was time to move again.  This time they offered him a position in Indianapolis or Houston, TX.  Well, we chose Indy and we headed back home in April of 2003.  My heart was content again.  I was back near my family and friends.  We were both so happy to be back home in Indiana.  Shawn was excited to be working along side of his Dad and I was happy in my new position at American Funds.  

 

We closed on our beautiful home on August 19, 2003.  It felt huge to us - we had 3 extra bedrooms and so much space.  We decided to start our family and got pregnant in November 2003.  Our baby girl was born on August 25, 2004.  Our lives changed forever that day.  Everything before that day seemed meaningless to us.  It was an incredible feeling to bring a new life into this world and to be parent's for the first time.  

I left my job to be a stay home mom (best decision ever) after Mikayla was born. Shawn continued his corporate job for a few more years and then decided to start his own company in April 2010.  It has been great because he is in control of his schedule and time now.  He is home (almost) every night and is very involved in our kiddos lives.  He is such a wonderful Daddy!

Fast forward 12 wonderful, amazing and blessed years:  We have been in our home for almost 13+ years now (as I'm writing this - January 2017).  Our life has been more amazing and blessed than I could have ever imaged.  We have 5 beautiful children and we love being together.  Shawn still makes me laugh and we still keep life fun with morning walks together around our neighborhood, date nights and adventures with our kiddos.  We know that we are soul mates and that God has had his hand on our marriage through the years.  We have grown and changed since we said our wedding vows.  We are trying to be better together and as a family.  Our lives have not been perfect, but we still believe that we are perfect together.   

 

*Shawn - I love you so much with all my heart.  Thank you for choosing me to walk through this life with you by your side.  I'm so thankful for the life that we have been given and I'm so grateful for YOU.  I love you - my soul mate and best friend! :)

Our favorite songs that have meaning to us:

1.  What A Beautiful Name It Is / Hillsong

2.  The Dance / Garth Brooks

3.  Hey Pretty Girl / Kip Moore

4.  I need you / Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

5.  We Dance / Bethel Music

6.  Redneck Crazy / Tyler Farr

7.  It's Your Love / Tim McGraw & Faith Hill

8.  Fly Over States / Jason Aldean

9.  Watching Airplanes / Gary Allen

10.  Praise You In The Storm / Casting Crown

11.  East to West / Casting Crowns

12.  I Will Carry You / Selah

13.  In A Northern Town / Sugarland

14.  Fireflies / Faith Hill

15.  Broken Halos / Chris Stapleton

16.  Break Down Here / Julie Roberts

17.  Let Them Be Little / Billy Dean

18.  Remember When / Alan Jackson

19.  In The Arms of An Angel /

Sarah McLachlan

20.  Dirt / Florida Georgia Line

21.  The Cowboy In Me / Tim McGraw

22.  Thy Will / Hillary Scott

23.  Broken Prayers / Riley Clemmons

24.  The House That Built Me /

Miranda Lambert

25.  Blessings / Laura Story

26.  Eye of the Storm / Ryan Stevenson

27. Hello World / Lady Antebellum

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