Maria and Zac's Beginning

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As a girl, we are supposed to dream of a knight in shining armor sweeping us off our feet and carrying us forever away to “happily ever after” right? Well… not me! I am just way too hard headed and independent for that! I have been traveling a lot and temporarily living in different states for about 4 years now and therefore didn’t devote much time to finding ‘the one.’ Nonetheless, I had my share of heartaches. So I had decided to forget about boys and to start devoting more time to personal growth and in growing my relationship with God instead. And VIOLA! Here came my knight in shining armor completely sweeping me off my feet with his southern heart and incredibly thoughtful gestures. I guess what they say is true! “When you stop looking, you’ll find him.”

Since Zac and I both grew up in Danville and since we both went to Boyle County High School, we knew each other’s names. However, due to our 6 year age difference, we weren’t in high school at the same time and so we hadn’t ever shared a conversation. I ran into him once at romantic CVS and another time at Starbucks within about a week. Despite me being a complete mess in sweats and undone hair, a light bulb went off in my head which goes off in any girl’s head in this 21st century when they see a cute boy… time to Facebook stalk! (I can’t believe I’m admitting that… love does crazy things to people…). Zac politely responded back to my random photo comments until eventually I received a personal message a couple months later asking “are you going to Keeneland this weekend?”

Ok…. It WAS opening weekend…. But that is a mighty weird message to send to someone you’ve never actually spoke with. He wasn’t asking me to go, he just decided to randomly ask if I was going. It turns out that Zac’s friends didn’t believe that he had the guts to message me, so they bet him that he wouldn’t do it. Best bet ever! We continued messaging and texting until he eventually got up the nerves to ASK me to go to Keeneland. I wish I could say it was all bliss from then on out. However, I actually turned down his offer because I still was just not ready for a boyfriend. I thought I needed more “Maria time.” However, I had a very, very strong nudging that this may lead to something remarkable. Therefore, I kept talking to him about anything and everything, specifically which basketball players UK was recruiting for the next year because I KNEW he was a MAJOR UK fan! The conversations continued until just a week later when we finally met face to face.

Since the first times we ran into each other were at romantic locations, we decided to make our first real time together at another romantic location… the Fayette Mall Food court J. After shying away from the invite to Keeneland, he knew I’d be in Lexington after a photo shoot and decided to meet me there as I burned time waiting for a flight that evening. We ate and laughed so much that my cheeks were literally throbbing! I had such a good time walking around the mall, eating lunch together, and enjoying the very, very casual first moments together. However, since this is supposed to be a personal, 'get to know me' blog…I do have confessions: #1. I was so surprised by how goofy he was. I wondered if he could be serious! I thought he was shy! #2 I may or may not have secretly stood up on my toes to see how tall he would be compared to me if I worse some of my favorite heels! (tall girl problems, don’t judge! FYI – he passed the 4 inchers! J )

Our first official “date” included a “surprise trip.” I soon found out that planning surprises is one of Zac’s "love languages"(including the big proposal!) I met him at his house, where he proudly gave a tour of his new fixer-upper he was renovating. Then he drove me to get soft-serve banana ice cream and my favorite food – corn nuggets (a real ‘luxury’ that are little balls of sweet corn rolled into balls and deep fried like hush puppies). After picking up our snacks, we went to Perryville Battlefield State Park. He parked and opened the tailgate like any southern gentleman knows to do, and we simply dangled our legs off the edge, watched the breath taking sunset, told stories, and laughed… and laughed… and laughed! But ladies and gentlemen, this this was not the type of “parking” you see on movies! This southern gentleman didn’t even try to hold my hand. He simply wanted ‘Maria for Maria’ which was absolutely refreshing.

 

From this first trip we went to the Thunder Over Louisville firework and air show where we officially became inseparable. I'll never forget when Zac sang along to "My Maria" by Brooks and Dunn when it came on the loud speaker as he pulled me close to him for the first time :) We have shared so many more “surprise trips” from dinner cruises, camping, to other day trips I didn't know he had planned.

Very early on, I was clearly having what felt like God tell me that he was going to be “the one.” I felt crazy for thinking that so early on in our relationship, and so I wasn’t about to share that with anyone! But the moment my friend told me that she knew I had found “the one,” I literally had to pull over on the side of the road to catch my breath. Of course I had thought that same thing, but someone else seeing it really made my heart race. I had no idea what the future twists and turns of my life entailed since the next few months I would be spending time living in Chicago for work and in Bowling Green for a month interning for graduate school, but I was willing to be patient and to hold on during the curves.