With that said, forward to age twenty. I was living in Colorado with my parents while attending a community college and working part time at a deli, and babysitting/cleaning. I had been attending a single's ward in Boulder, Colorado for over a year ~and while it was fun, my dating life was seriously lacking. I had heard of Fort Collins up north-a college town which had three single's wards and had a reputation for being the party town.
I decided I should check it out. It was a forty-five minute drive from where I was living at the time, but I was in serious need of change. So I drove that first Sunday to the institute building where they held their meetings. I stepped one foot into the Sacrament Meeting room, and it hit me like a ton of bricks-the thought "My husband is here." I just knew.
With that as my first impression, you can imagine how thrilled I was. I decided that I was going to be really social and get to know as many people as I could so I'd be sure not to miss him. I didn't realize at the time that I began attending a different ward from his.
Pretty soon, I had a few great friends and was having the time of my life attending as many activities and social events as I could. When I got a chance to sit down and speak with the Bishop, he informed me that my boundaries were not in that particular ward...
My first thoughts were, "But... I'm just beginning to feel like I belong (not something I've come by too often in my life)...are you sure I can't just continue going here?"
As I was to learn, fate had other plans.
I decided it would be okay to check out this other ward, but if I didn't care for it, I'd just attend my first choice. I immediately loved the Bishop of that ward, and his counselors. Upon my first interview, the second counselor said he was blown away by me, and that I may have a difficult time finding someone worthy of me...that of course made me feel accepted and loved~and besides, I had eyed some pretty good-looking guys in this new ward.
Meanwhile, there was this guy named Dan who was a first Lieutenant in the Air Force- active duty. He was busy working on his master's and working full time in missile control. He happened to be the Gospel Doctrine Sunday School teacher as well. As far as his dating life, it was pretty non existent with his schedule. He tells me he was mostly just content with where he was in life, but that in his heart, he was open to the idea of marriage if the Lord had someone in mind for him. In no rush, and not really looking. He remembers seeing me for the first several times and thinking, "Wow. Tall, athletic build, beautiful, long blonde hair." Pretty much just his type (he's always had a thing for blondes). Unfortunately, he had no time for dating right then, so he decided that once he had finished up the semester, he would ask me out.
The first few weeks, I went to the Gospel Essentials Sunday school class because the guy teaching there was a 'class clown' and I thought it would be fun - and it was. But I wanted to explore some more before settling. I found myself wandering into the other larger class and after finding a place to sit, a little self-conscious as I've always been - hoping no guys would be looking at me, I peered up at the teacher whom I knew virtually nothing about. My first impressions were that he was a nerd and I couldn't read him at all...there was so much to him. That sparked my interest.
I quickly recognized Brother Wheeler's passion for teaching, and was pleasantly surprised to hear how knowledgable he was. As the lesson went on, I remember thinking, "Who IS this guy?! And what is he doing in a Single's ward?" With his wit, confidence, testimony and maturity, I thought for sure he was married with kids. His skill was to me, comparable to my most favored education week teachers growing up.
After that first lesson, I waited for him out in the hall. A few people had the same idea as me, and each took their turn talking to him for a minute. I waited against the wall, patiently, quietly, watching his interaction, thinking how much I already respected and admired this man whom I had seen for the first time that I remember (and who honestly seemed way out of my league). When it was my turn, I went over and told him how much I enjoyed the lesson, and that I thought he did an amazing job. He says I was flirting. I say, I didn't know how to flirt, I was just being honest.