Six years ago this past July, the 16th to be exact, I met the man of my dreams.  Location: Ormond Beach Youth Camp, Daytona Beach.  I was the Youth Minister at FBC Pine Mountain, which, though thought by many at camp that year, is not a town that only consists of a speed bump.  They have two or three traffic lights, thank you very much.  I took my group of 22 to camp and we had a blast!  It was awesome because the youth ministers didn’t have a specific “job” once we were there, meaning we didn’t have to lead a group or anything very detailed.  We had to have the right ratio of kids to adults to come, so the ministers got to enjoy the week hanging out and loving on our kids, leaving the “discipline” and in and outs to our chaperones.  So, on Tuesday morning of camp week, I was headed to the beach (in my perfectly legal tankini, of course).  On the way out the door, I hear one of the directors’ voices, “Hey, I need your help”.  I look down at my ghostly white legs, thinking “my legs need the sun’s help”, but opted instead to see what Cindy needed.

Unbeknownst to me at that point, the resort in which we were staying was vandalized, and much of the sound/audio visual stuff was stolen.  Enter Garrett.  He was, for lack of a better way to explain it, the techy geek for the week.  (He’ll read this, and probably respond with the technical term).  He was evaluating all that was missing and needed someone to follow along behind him, making a list for the police, who were on their way to file a report.  I followed, meticulously writing every detail he as he gave it to me.  This went on for the better part of the day, and even included viewing surveillance footage to see if any faces were recognized.  That night, some of the chaperones and other adults were asked to keep watch of the meeting room to assure the vandals would not return.  Sensing a pattern, I’m sure you can tell by now where this is headed- Garrett and I were paired up for “watch”.  Suffice it to say, you learn a lot about a person while constantly chatting all night long to keep yourself awake.  For the rest of the week, where one was, the other was not far behind. 

We parted ways on Friday with plans for me to meet him at West Point Lake for his family’s annual reunion that Sunday.  Let’s just say that from then on, we’ve not been apart much.  The next year was spent back and forth at one another’s homes each and every weekend.  He would mostly make the drive to LaGrange as I was still serving in Pine Mountain and couldn’t spend as much time in Jonesboro as he could in LaGrange, coming to church with me. 

Almost a year after our first meeting, on Sunday, June 22, 2003, he proposed to me at Pyne Road Park.  It was awesome!  He had just moved to LaGrange the day before, and we had gone to Jamin and Michelle’s house for dinner and games- a pretty regular past-time, pre children.  He had my ring with him and showed it off to them before giving it to me the next day.  To say I was shocked was an understatement, but I was thrilled.  The next year brought about wedding plans, showers, etc.

On June 19, 2004, I married my soul mate in a beautiful ceremony PACKED with music.  Yes, those that were there remember that the service was almost 45 minutes long.  To my wedding party, I’m glad you wore comfy shoes.  Paul Blair took over as mostly my brother sang/wept, through the song they sang together,  Jamin sang, Cindy Skipwroth sang, the Faithful Hearts sang, the handbells played, and yes, yours truly sang.  Rewind 18 years.  My dad and I went to a concert at our church a couple of days after my brother was born, and the lady there sang a song to her husband.  I looked at my dad and told him I’d sing that song at my wedding one day.  Back to the wedding.  I looked into my groom’s eyes after we’d recited our vows and sang “Only God Could Love You More”, which still rings true today.

Then, on July 24, 2006, a little earlier that we ourselves had planned, but obviously in line with God’s plan, we welcomed our little Saralynn into the world.  The day I’d taken the test to learn she was coming, Garrett had read the stick, seen the two lines, and stormed to our bedroom.  But, as Saralynn was handed to him over the surgical sheet after my C-section, the world was a better place.  The culmination of our love was crying hysterically back at him, pleading to be put back in her safe, warm environment.  Thinking he’d have something incredibly profound to say, I suddenly heard, “I think she just peed on me”.  Leave it to my Garrett to find humor in life’s most serious situations. 

Now, to present day.  Seven years later, packed full of many a laugh and tear, a very independent two year old mini-Garrett, and memories to last a lifetime, I still think so fondly back to the days of Ormond Beach.  God ordained our union long ago.  I often joke that God can take something as awful as a $10,000 vandalism at youth camp to bring about great things, and He did just that for me.  I don’t know who those teenagers were that felt they needed video cameras and computers, but, I feel that I owe them a little- they helped me meet the one for whom I’d lifted countless prayers for so long.  Sure, we would’ve met somehow, someway, but I still wonder about how it all came to be.  What forshadowing- Garrett and his techy stuff, me and my writing.  I was told yesterday that I should be writing somehow.  I would love to, but this is my outlet for now.  Oh, how ironic it really was…

On today, day three of my “important people in my life that are teaching me to anticipate and be thankful this Advent season” campaign, I am thankful for my wonderful husband that puts up with me, no matter what.  I don’t appreciate him enough, don’t tell him enough, and often take him for granted, but underneath all that, I am truly grateful to be his wife and love our life together.  Though it’s hectic, crazy, and often too crowded for much couple time, I relish the moments we’re able to spend as husband and wife, and not just Mommy and Daddy.  The weekend of weddings a few weeks back started the notion that I need to tell him more often what he means to me, and my devotion today focused on honoring my husband, so that’s what I’m attempting to do, though I haven’t been very good at it lately.

Garrett, I love you, and am committing to do better at showing you what you mean to me.  Thank you for allowing me to be part of your life.  Yes, the road has been long and difficult at times, but the potholes make me grateful for the lines and directional arrows that direct us back to each other when life presents distractions and detours.  I’m honored to co-pilot with you as we look forward to the journey ahead.  Together, with the map of God’s word and Jesus, who’s more trustworthy than the Garmin, leading the way, we’ll journey together.

To Infinity, and Beyond,
Mary Beth


1 Comment

  1. annemarieunderwood1 said,

    December 5, 2008 at 3:05 am

    Mary Beth,

    This is Anne Marie, a good friend of Katie’s from Douglasville. I just wanted you to know that I did receive your blog message and it has been a blessing to me. I kept checking daily to see if anyone had left one and it was very neat to receive one from another sister in Christ even though we don’t know each other very well. However we already have an amazing gift in common and that is Katie and Chad and precious little Charlie. Also my husbands family knows the Blair family very well. My father-in-law and Paul have lunch as often as they can. I love blog hopping too! It’s neat to get a glimpse of other peoples lives and you never know how God is going to draw people to one another. I want to thank you for the sweet and encouraging verse you left, I am going to write it in my journal and remember it frequently. I know that when God blesses us with the joy of a little one I will remember your encouragement. I keep telling Katie we are going to make it to LaGrange one of these days for one of the new services that Chad leads. I have only gotten to visit once for Charlie’s first birthday a couple years ago. Boy where does time go. My husband is also in the ministry and works for our church full time. He is on the creative team and works under our creative pastor so we do not get weekends off except for rare occasions. Anyway as girls can do I know I am rambling, but I wanted to let you know that I would love to email you my ePatterns. The only thing you are not allowed to do is resell the patterns themselves. So my prayer has been that I can use these in some way to bless others and I am going to take that opportunity and send both the patterns to you. If you would like, you can just leave a comment on my blog with your email address, or if you dont want it out there for the world to see I completely understand and you can email me at so that I can send them to you. Thank you for allowing God to use you in someones life that you hardly know.
    Anne Marie

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