Life Before Dale [Part Two]

It would probably take me several pages of blog space to explain my whole life journey and what led to me finding Dale. I’ll do my best to keep this as short as possible, but if you’ve been following my blog over the years you’ll know that I have a tendency to write lengthy posts. So, here goes nothing! I think the best place to start is from the very beginning.

For the most part, I grew up all over Utah (I lived in Nashville, TN for five years as a little girl–Tennessee is still home though!). Growing up, I lived in Farmington, Kaysville, Eagle Mountain, and West Jordan. It was a wild ride moving as much as I did as a kid. Looking back, moving five times as a kid isn’t that bad, but it sure felt like it when I was thirteen and fifteen.

I come from a good Christian background. I grew up in a very religious home that belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints–AKA: The LDS faith, Mormons, or whatever else you know my faith by. I grew up with my parents encouraging me to always build my relationship with my Heavenly Father and Savior, and to be active in my church meetings. They always allowed me to make the decision if I wanted to go to church or not. I always went, even on the days when I wanted to stay home. Having God in my life has always been extremely important to me.

Growing up, I was the only child for seven and half years. It was great being able to get as close as I did to my parents. We lived in Kaysville, UT and Nashville, TN for those seven and a half years. When I was about six or seven my parents decided that they wanted to adopt. We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, we got a phone call saying that our family had been chosen and that my sister Meghan was coming soon. We moved back to Utah, picked up my sister in Atlanta, GA, and bought a house in Eagle Mountain, UT.

A few years later, my parents were given another surprise when my mom got pregnant with my brother William. As someone who grew up as a only child for seven and a half years, it was hard adjusting to having the full attention of my parents on just me to having their attention on my younger two siblings. As much as my siblings drive me crazy, I sure do love them and I’m so grateful that God provided a way for them to find my family. Throughout the years, our house was full of laughter, movie nights, Harry Potter midnight book releases, and many other memories.

With my siblings Christmas of my high school senior year.

But despite all of that, my parents ended up getting divorced in early 2012. We’ll skip through all of the messy details of 2010-12 because it doesn’t matter now. Despite all of the heartache, I’m grateful for the experiences that I had. I grew and learned a lot as a person.

2010-2012 a few positive things did come from that time. I graduated from Snow College with my Associate’s degree, served as a student body advocate (basically the college’s student council), and built some friendships with some of the best people that I’ve ever know. A lot of them I’ve stayed in touch with over the years. It’s been so fun seeing how everyone’s life has changed since our crazy college days.

Snow College Graduation.

2013 was a fantastic year for me. I had the best opportunity that anyone could be given. October of 2012 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the age change for missionaries. Boys could now go on a mission at 18, and girls could go at 19. I was 20 at the time. I was so excited and immediately started working on my mission papers. For me, I had always wanted to serve a mission. Six or so weeks later, I had my mission call to the Baltimore, Maryland area. Serving a mission was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It was challenging in the most unexpected ways. But I loved being able to share what I believe about the Savior and our Heavenly Father.

I was only able to serve for a year out of the eighteen months that girls are allowed to serve as a missionary. I had a lot of health problems on my mission. I later discovered (as in five years later) that I have a autoimmune deficiency and Fibromyalgia. We’ll talk more about the health stuff in another post. Anyway, I returned home on New Years Day of 2014 and was almost hospitalized because I had a bad case of walking pneumonia. Thankfully, I convinced my doctors to put me on bed rest until I got better.

The night I returned home from my mission.

When I returned home from my mission, my dad had remarried to my now step-mom Jamie. Jamie has a couple of kids. They now have my half-sister who is three years old. Anyway, Four months later, I was 100% better and found a job. At the time, I was trying to figure out where I was going to finish school at. Most of my friends had finished college by then. I was behind a couple of years because of my mission. I dated a couple of guys when I got home. Both of which turned out not to be the ones for me (obviously). Towards the middle of summer, I decided to move up to Logan, UT after breaking up with someone I was dating. I was excited to get on with my life and to continue going to school at Utah State University.

USU was awesome! There is no other way to put it. I loved meeting so many people, and experiencing so many different things. I had wonderful roommates, swam for USU’s swim team (#GoAggies!), had lots of opportunities while working in residential treatment for youth, and dating a lot of different guys. I won’t go into too much detail about those relationships because this post isn’t about the woes of my heartbreaks before Dale. But I will say this: I dated a lot of different guys who taught me a lot about myself. I dated a lot of jerks, a couple of good guys, and some guys that were just flat out ridiculously immature. I even got engaged to one of them in late 2014. YIKES! Out of all the relationships I had, I’m grateful for all of the things that I learned because they eventually lead me to Dale.

USU Swim Team, 2016.

Sadly, my college days ended. I finally graduated with my degree in Sociology fall of 2017, and left the girls home that I was working at. Walking away from that job was tough. I truly loved the girls I worked with, and to this day I think of them often. During this time, my mom also got remarried to my now step-dad Joe. Joe has two kids that are older than I am. Both of them are married, and have fantastic spouses. Plus my step-niece and step-nephews are super awesome.

Anyway, after college I was still dating my college boyfriend. For the sake of privacy, we’ll refer to him as the college boyfriend. At the time, we had been dating on and off for about three years. We had talked about the possibility of getting married one day, and hoped that it would happen. But, as fate would have it, a few things happened, and eventually I had enough. I walked away from the relationship towards the beginning of 2018. It was a hard decision to walk away, but I’m glad that I did. I don’t regret the time I spent with the college boyfriend because I grew up quite a bit, and learned a lot about myself.

After college, I moved back in with my mom because I was looking for a job. I knew that I could potentially return to the girls home. But it never felt like it was the right thing for me to do. Looking back, I’m glad that I didn’t return because there is no way I would’ve ever met Dale. After searching for a job for about three months, I finally found a temporary job. To put it politely, I hated it. It was the kind of job that I never saw myself doing, and it certainly wasn’t the kind of job that I got my degree for. For the eight months that I was there, I struggled with the schedule that I was given. I worked late mornings to mid-evenings. It was the worst. However, the co-workers I had were awesome. I’m glad that I was able to meet to many incredible people even though I really hated the job.

Things finally started to turn around for me toward the end of last year. October was a weird month. I had applied (and continued applying throughout 2018) for jobs that had something to do with residential treatment or social work. It was not easy finding something that would pay semi-decent, and not have insane hours. Eventually, I realized that I would have to be okay with working some crazy hours if I ever wanted to get back into the social work field. After realizing that, I applied for a program manager position at a group home that works with adults who have disabilities. During this time, I also decided that I should get back into dating. After all, it had been eight months since I broke up with my college boyfriend. I re-downloaded the mutual dating app, and started mindless swiping away at the cute guys.

My whole life I had been looking for Mr. Right. Little did I know that within my first week of using the dating app I would be swiping up on my future husband.

Missed part one? Go back and read it here! Stay tuned for parts three, four, and five! We’ll be sharing about Dale’s life before he met me, our first couple of dates, and the proposal story.

XO Sam

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