Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our Story

Going through an old hard drive we have had forever (for purposes of permanently backing it up), I found lots of old treasures and pictures! When we got engaged, we had a website, Kinda cool right? (ok, it was a little more rare back in the dark ages:-) It had lots of pics, wedding party stuff, etc. Friends of ours made it, and did an excellent job. The site is now not online, but here is an idea of what it was like...
The welcome page
I don't have a whole image of the homepage anymore. This was the main picture...

With this quote in a box on the right of the pic...
After we got married the site was updated on the homepage, replacing the above pic & quote with this
There was an "Our Story" tab...although Brian and I had known each other forever, since it was all a long distance thing, many friends and family thought it was all very sudden and surprising - having never or barely met Brian (and vice versa for me). So we wrote out our story together. It's like I was learning to blog before there was such a thing:-) Brian wrote his own part, I did not do it for him. Seeing as he's never been invited to write on my blog {evil grin}, this is a first...his own words on the blog! I left it completely unedited, although, I added some never before seen pics, and the captions on those are new - the orig. was the straight text. (Also to note, my Grandpa, a pastor, was joking Brian about their border delays and smuggling. Since you may not know him/the background, I thought I should clarify he doesn't do drugs:-) So here is the story, as we wrote it, in January of 2003.

Brian and Darla worked for a ministry called the Institute in Basic Life Principles which has several different branches of the ministry across the United States as well as overseas. They also have a homeschooling division, The Advanced Training Institute (ATI). Brian and Darla met while serving at the ministry headquarters in Chicago, IL

Darla: The first time I met Brian was in Indianapolis, December of 1998. My heart stopped! I just KNEW that this was the guy I was going to marry - ok, maybe that's a slight stretch of the truth. In actual fact, I don't even think we were introduced. I passed him on the stairs and said hey. I think. I can't really remember:-) I had no clue who he was. The whole incident is a very vague recollection for me.

Brian: I remember that day well. Darla thinks she does because I have told her about it. It wasn't one of those, "I knew" moments for me either. Someone that worked with me in Indy that knew her said she was already taken. Within a few months I was transferred to IBLP Headquarters in Chicago. I must admit, I did remember there was a beautiful young lady from Canada working there.

Brian, during his "manual labour" days. That polo, with khaki pants was the required uniform. He's getting makeup applied to cover up a black eye...evidence of a wrestling match with his housemate (gone wrong), which was contrary to the rules. Trying to hide the evidence and avoid trouble. Oh that boy! (And yes - there were A LOT of rules to follow)
Darla: When I met Brian again at Headquarters I did remember him (despite his claims to the contrary). That is to say, I knew his face. Within a short time we became...what would the word be...friendly acquaintances? Something along those lines. And, for the record, I was not taken. I had fun getting to know him through work and other activities. Sometimes we'd hang out together with our other friends, playing Dutch Blitz and Mafia.

Brian: I worked for three months down in the warehouse, Darla didn't speak to people who did "manual" labor. I didn't wear a tie, so I wasn't cool enough.:-) Actually, that was a great period of time. I did get to know her during mutual down time in Chicago, as well as meetings and work parties that we had. She is great at Dutch Blitz. Although, David Edmonson and I are the best "pairs" Dutch Blitz players in the world!
Dave & Brian - cheaters, cheaters, cheaters (in reference to Dutch Blitz)
Darla:  Yeah right, they stinketh. Anyway, it was an enjoyable time. A word in my defense -- A lot of my friends had "manual labour" jobs, and they were my friends, I didn't ignore them. I just think he was being overly-sensitive because I wasn't his best bud or something. Then, one day, my friendly acquaintance, Brian, was transferred.

Brian: That's right, I was transferred to the very department that Darla worked in. It is amazing how it all happened. I didn't ask to be transferred to Chicago, Mr. Gothard personally asked me to come. I did specifically ask to be in the warehouse. I volunteered for three months, after that I was on my way home. I didn't even get home before I had three calls from Chicago and two from Indy asking me back. The home schooling dept. wanted me to work on their website development. As it turns out, my job was really picture database management, and guess who showed me what to do?

Darla: The smartest girl in the world :-) I taught him practically everything he knows. Brian and I worked in the ATI department together for um, I think it was like 9 months or so. To be honest, I thought he was a really great guy, fun, nice, smart, good character, good looking - you know, all the important things. But still, there was no real interest on my part at all. Then, in September I went home to work as the Canadian Family Coordinator for ATI Families. There were very few times we had the chance to work together on projects.

Brian: With the nature of our jobs, some extenuating circumstances, and Darla going home our paths rarely crossed. I believe the next time I saw her was at the same place and function where I first met her, one year later. During the Christmas Conference in Indianapolis we didn't even say "hey" in passing. Shortly after the new year began, plans for the Regional Training Seminars got under way. I was privileged to work on the development of those seminars and started working with Darla again on a limited basis.

Darla: I was actually surprised I enjoyed working with Brian. (don't ask me why) Before, when I had worked with Brian (it's not that I didn't enjoy it) he was so new at everything, and I was trying to teach him the job he was taking over and we didn't know each other very well. This time it was a bit more relaxed and we both knew what we were doing job-wise. We were able to have a couple good conversations that involved more than just "why isn't my computer working", and we became friends. He's a very funny guy and always made me laugh! In November of 2000 Bri came up to Toronto with a team of people for the Regional Training Seminar I coordinated. Brian gave a talk/testimony to the teens there, and I was very impressed with what he shared. I still just considered us "barely friends" at this point, but I was pretty sure he was a good guy and I wouldn't mind knowing him better.

Brian: I was surprised I was sent up to Toronto with the team. We rolled in very late, and the girls decided they wanted my clothes. So they took my bag with them and the guys on the team went to find a place to stay for the night. Nothing like getting to bed at 4 a.m. and waking up knowing you have no clean clothes or even a toothbrush. It was a great time none the less. I met the Kennedy family (all of them) as well as Darla's grandparents. (Her grandfather was trying to buy drugs from me, but I was all out)

on the ski trip in 2000. Brian, Darla & Luc, another friend of ours
Darla: My grandfather also suggested he wear a hat when he is out in public, so as not to confuse "the American" with the monkeys:-) I saw Brian again in December 2000 at the Christmas Conference. We played Dutch Blitz and our group went to get Taco Bell. I had a good time. That winter, Brian invited me and my family down for skiing. As it turned out, I was the only one able to go. 'Twas fun. I'd never skied on such huge hills before! Over that winter and spring Brian and I gradually became better friends. Gradually seems to be the theme in our story here, or else it would only be half as long. At this point it's been 3 years since we first met. In June, I started a new job in Toronto, and Brian moved to Pittsburgh and started a new job. We kept in contact through email and Instant Messenger.

Brian: By the time I moved to Pittsburgh, I was sure I wanted to pursue a serious relationship with Darla. We had gotten to know each other well through email. I wanted to get my thoughts together, and there were some issues I had to resolve within myself. So during my time in Pittsburgh I stopped communicating with Darla for a total of 6 weeks. There were days when I wondered if we would pick up where we left off, or if the relationship had run it's course. I figured Darla would realize during that time, how much work it was to have a long distance friendship.

Darla: Brian would usually email me a question, like "What do you think about transubstantiation":-) ok, well, not exactly that specific question, but he would ask some weird stuff that I had ABSOLUTELY NO CLUE how to answer. Not wanting to appear like a total idiot, I'd ask my dad. Just kidding! To answer Bri's questions I would have to go back to the Word, look into things, and think about how to explain them rationally in an email. Oftentimes this was a whole lot harder than it seemed. Even basic principles are sometimes hard to explain, hard to think of analogies etc. It was good for me, and I enjoyed it, although more than once I asked myself, why on earth does he want to know all this stuff? I always had to answer first. And then he would just use my research and copy my answers, changing them around a bit.:-) We usually always agreed. Except on the gun issue, which we will not go into now, except to say that I am not a huge fan in general. During the six week period of no emailing and such, I wondered what was going on with him. I did realize at that time how much work a long distance friendship was, but I came to the conclusion that it was worth it. After the six weeks were over, we started talking again, and things were back to normal. I was relieved that he didn't hate me or anything, since I still didn't know what the "break" was all about. And he was back to asking me his famous questions!
At Canada's Wonderland...this was in 2002 sometime (based on the colour of my hair), but I can't recall when!
Brian: I wanted to come off as an intellectual. I think it worked.:-) Seriously, I wanted to know how Darla thought. I wanted to know if she was going to come back with, "My Dad says...", or "My Pastor thinks...". I was glad she didn't use those two lines. She had some great points and good arguments for the things that she believed. For the next 18 months to two years (Darla can confirm that) we didn't see each other more than about every six months. This was a good thing, because she couldn't charm me with her beautiful eyes and smile, I was completely immune to it all.
A web cam pic. We communicated mostly through AOL IM and Yahoo messenger for the webcam

Darla: Yup, actually, I think from Jan of 2001 to Oct 2002, we only saw each other 5 times. So over that period of time, we became better and better friends!
One of the times we saw each other, in June of 2002. With my brothers, and our friend Ben. And a moose. Toronto does moose like Chicago does cows.

Brian: In October I went to an Abiding Life Ministries conference that was held at Darla's home church. During my stay with her family over that time, Mr. Kennedy and I had an opportunity to talk. He gave me the green light to pursue a serious relationship with Darla. So, on October 6, 2002, Darla and I officially started courting. After a brief courtship, I proposed on December 28, 2002.
The weekend we began our official we are working at the Markham Fair.

Darla: And after a brief engagement, we will be married on June 14th! It really amazes me how much time has gone by since we first began our journey of becoming friends. The years have flown by! Our courtship was so much fun. We got to spend a lot of time together! (which was cool) We have emailed some stories about all of that so we won't make this any longer by reiterating the whole thing now. It's been so amazing to see the Lord drawing our hearts closer together. Aw, that sounds so romantic eh?:-)'Tis true though, love is a beautiful thing. Our engagement has been even more fun, and more of an adventure. Jobs, apartments, wedding colors, decorations, so many plans! God is so good to us though, and as we have sought Him, we have seen Him directing every step of the way.
This is the exact footbridge in Central Park, NYC, where Brian got down on one knee and proposed! This photo was taken after we were married and revisited the spot. No one was there on to snap a pic at the actual event:-)

Brian: This has gotten very long, an overview of our friendship from start 'til now. Some of the highlights we could go on and on about, but we didn't set out to write a book. God is faithful. We wouldn't be anywhere if that statement was not true. He has blessed us both with wonderful families and friends. Now He has blessed us with each other. June 14 - mark it on your calendar!

With Much Love,
Brian & Darla
Just Married!


  1. Aww, I love this! I totally remember the website and reading the entire story. I also remember really wanting to attend the wedding, but was on a broke student budget. I always thought the two of you were an amazing pair. :)

  2. Thanks for posting this! Brought tears to my eyes...good memories. And I thought of this yesterday that Michael Wells was at our place when Brian talked to Dad and he wanted a word by word, blow by blow play back from Dad! Those 2 dads had lots to talk about. LOL

  3. I forgot until I read this today too, that it was the same week that Mike was in town! It's the little (yet big) things you forget about...thats why things like blogs are so good for all those memories. I sure am glad Brian met BOTH their approvals! :-)