When I woke up on March 24, 2010, I had no idea that day would be the start of an adventure of a lifetime. It is the day I met my hero, Mark! His online profile was the most intriguing one I’d ever read: intelligent and thoughtful, serious about his life, faith, and the military but with a healthy dose of humor, and just a touch of cockiness that served to be attractive instead of a turn-off.
I really wanted to know him better, so I sent a cordial message asking if he’d like to correspond…and tried not to get my hopes up. That night I entrusted him to God, that things would just work out like they were supposed to…and to my great delight, he responded the next day and that’s how it all began! After e-mailing back and forth a lot, we met in person on April 11. This might sound cliche, but it really was love at first sight! I’ll never forget how he
strutted strode confidently into Olive Garden in my hometown, with that very distinct “military man” air. He did a perfect job of capturing my heart over lunch, and he even came over to the house afterwards and met my whole family. (Very impressive move, by the way.)
We had only been dating a few months when we both knew that “You are the one!” He proposed to me on December 12, 2010 – Our Lady of Guadalupe feast day. It was so beautiful and perfect. During our engagement, we endured, survived, and thrived through his first deployment to Afghanistan, from November 2011-April 2012. During the year following his return, we worked on reintegration and hit some tough times due to post-combat issues (namely, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury). He returned from his second combat tour to Afghanistan in February 2014.
We were married at St. Michael’s Catholic Church on Monday, April 7, 2014 and went on our honeymoon to Estes Park, Colorado for 8 beautiful days. In early May, we packed up a U-Haul and did our first PCS (Permanent Change of Station) together. Since then, we have moved a second time: from Ft. Huachuca to a location I will not disclose here.
I am very thankful for our life together. There were many times during deployment that this life was almost taken away from us, and the challenges make the joys that much sweeter. Throughout our lives, this verse has rung true:
“The mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” ~Isaiah 54:10.
God Bless America and God Bless Our Troops!