If you would have told me two years ago that I would be living in North Dakota and married to a farmer, I would have laughed in your face. But here I am and I still cannot believe it. Many of you watched the whole thing unfold via social media, but for those of you who are new, I figured I’d chronicle my life in the last two years. How my whole world changed and how I ended up going from the daughter of a butcher in California to married to a born and raised North Dakota farmer.
Two years ago today, I made a decision that, without a doubt, changed my life. Breaking someone’s heart and walking away from years invested together was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. But as I reflect on the blessings making that decision brought my life, I am blown away.
I joined Twitter and the social media scene in August of 2011. A friend of mine convinced me to start tweeting and writing about my parent’s butcher shop. So I did. And I was welcomed into all sorts of circles via social media. Farmers, ranchers, meat people, I found a whole new network through the internet. I loved where it was taking me, but my personal life was suffering. I was unhappy in my long term relationship and finally on October 31, 2011 I ended my six year relationship. I vowed to my friends I wasn’t going to date anyone for a year. I swore off relationships. I was going to live for me.
Early December of 2011, I exchanged phone numbers with a guy I met via Twitter. I knew him as @sunflowerfarmer. He was funny and instantly he became one of those people on my feed that I regularly watched and tweeted. From what I could tell, he had a great sense of humor and his photo showed him with a big smile. I could always count on him to be that positive influence in my Twitter feed.
I don’t really recall our first interactions with each other via text. All I remember is that soon texts weren’t enough. I remember having that first conversation over the phone. Lying on my bed, hearing his voice for the very first time, I couldn’t help but smile. I remember telling him that he has an accent. In fact, he doesn’t know this, but I was barely able to understand him. We had a really nice conversation where he made me laugh and smile an awful lot, it ended in him telling me that he liked my laugh. Now I know for him, this moment will be forever engraved upon him. It marked the turning point where I went from acquaintance to someone he had to seriously meet in real life.
I was not even close to that mindset. My past relationship was still haunting me; I wasn’t in the state of mind to be looking for a love interest. But I definitely knew this is someone that I could consider a friend. He was interesting, he made me laugh, and I definitely wanted to know more about him. Little did we both know what life had in store for us.
We decided to take it even further and had begun to Skype fairly regularly. One night, while on Skype, he brought up the idea of coming to visit California. He wanted me to take some time off work so he could come out. At first, I will admit, I was a little taken back by this. Thinking to myself, Jenny, what are you doing!? You don’t even know this man!? What if he is some creeper!? But the more I thought about it, I thought, why not!? There was something in his eyes, that although I couldn’t see them in real life, I knew that deep down, he was a good person. I’ve always said that eyes are the gateway to the soul. And I felt like I could see his soul, and I liked what I saw.
January of 2012, he visited California for the first time. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was beyond nervous to meet this born and raised North Dakotan coming to California… to meet me!
Putting on my mascara that evening, I couldn’t stop shaking. I went to the airport to pick him up and I am surprised nobody was staring at me. It felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest. The plane landed and people flooded through the door off the flight. I tried to look as calm and natural as possible. And there he was. Our eyes met instantly and whether I realized it or not, my nerves disappeared.
That entire weekend I felt like I was spending time with someone I had known my whole life. Nothing was awkward, nothing was weird. It all just came natural. Of course, I didn’t think much about it at the time as I wasn’t even thinking about a relationship. But there is no denying that my (now) husband went away from the whole experience knowing this was something deeper. All I knew is that there was something intoxicating about him. His smile, his positive demeanor, or just him. I had to see him again.
We met briefly in February of 2012, we were both traveling to opposite ends of the country and just so happened to re-schedule our flights so we could meet in Sacramento. It was one day and one night we spent together. We visited another social media friend of ours who grows almonds in central CA and spent the evening in downtown Sacramento before we both flew out early the next morning.
Shortly after that was the turning point in our relationship. I will never forget the night that Sunflowerfarmer told me he loved me. It just came out like it was natural. Of course, I had almost let it slip before and so I said it back. We hung up and instantly he called me back to make sure he didn’t spook me. It was that moment, I just knew. I couldn’t control it any longer. No matter how much I stuck to my guns that I didn’t want a relationship, I couldn’t deny it… I loved this farmer from North Dakota.
March of 2012 rolled around and we had made plans for me to visit North Dakota. Sunflowerfarmer was terrified that I would hate it. He was in love with me and yet I had never visited North Dakota. From the minute I stepped off the plane, I loved it. There is something about the people here that is captivating. Although we live 90 miles from any big box store, I left a piece of my heart in this small town North Dakota. I guess it was the good Lord at work. But I went away from my time spent in North Dakota giving serious thought to moving. I wrote a post about my experiences in North Dakota which then landed me on the front page of our local paper. When I eventually moved to town, people knew me as “that girl on the front page of the paper”.
By the end of March, I had decided to move to North Dakota. Sunflowerfarmer had made ANOTHER trip out to California and it was that very day after I dropped him off at the airport sobbing about our goodbye. I was love sick by every definition, so much so, my co-worker told me to go home because (for lack of a better term) I looked like hell. I went home, laid down, cried some more, and decided to take the leap… I was going to move to North Dakota. I will never forget driving in the car that night to pick my parents up from the airport. I was talking on the phone with Sunflowerfarmer and it came out. I told him I was going to move. I then spent a week trying to work up the courage to break it to my parents. And then when I finally did, they both said “okay, we kind of knew this was going to happen”. Everyone else knew I was falling in love besides me. I guess it just took me admitting it to myself. 😉
I spent nearly a month in North Dakota in April preparing to move and moving things out ahead of time. I wanted to be darn sure that I could make it in this small rural town. I came back in early May of 2012 to help my parents at their butcher shop through the busy season.
The end of July 2012 marked my lasted days in California. The last chapters of my life in California and the very beginnings of an epic love story just beginning to unfold. I moved my entire life to North Dakota, left everything I had ever known in life… all for love. It was terrifying but exciting all at the same time. Anyone that knew me, knew this was totally out of my character. I am cautious, I am safe. I don’t just make rash decisions.
I struggled for a long time after moving feelings of loneliness. But time heals all wounds, and after nearly just over a year of living here, I have slowly but surely gained confidence and defined my place here in Ashley, North Dakota.
In November of 2012, while visiting California for Thanksgiving, my farmer proposed. I had just run a 5k for a local food bank. Outside of the park, with all the gorgeous colors of fall, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. I, of course, was taken by complete surprise and without any hesitation said yes. Being the wonderful man he is, he had planned an engagement party for us that weekend (with the help of my parents) and booked us an engagement photography session with my friend, mentor, and favorite photographer.
At the beginning of 2013, as I looked back on the year we just experienced, I still couldn’t believe it. I deemed it the Year of Love.. And indeed it was. To this very day, I still marvel at how this all happened.
In September of this year (2013), we promised each other forever and became husband and wife. Our meeting, our courting, our engagement feels like such a whirlwind. But never for a moment did I doubt the fact that God brought us together. We really are living proof of a modern day love story… And I thank God every single day for that.
Sometimes life throws you a curve ball. Sometimes life puts things in your life you are not expecting. Sometimes you may be the last person to know you are in love with that person who was brought into your life. If there is anything I’ve learned from all of this, is never know what to expect. We can’t ever plan our lives out because guess what, God is two steps ahead of us. He knows what is best and there is no denying that He knew sunflowerfarmer was exactly what I needed in my life.
How did you and your spouse meet? I love hearing meeting stories!!!