Monday, October 20, 2014

Memory Lane: Stilp Family Vacation - Part Six of Who Knows How Many

When we were in Minnesota this summer on vacation we took a walk down Memory Lane.

Minnesota is where Curt and I met, got engaged, got married, rented our first house, and lived our first 1.5 years of marriage. We wanted to show the kids where the Curt Stilp family got started.

Curt and I met on Field Three at the Lakewood Hills Park Softball Complex.  All summer I played on a women's softball team with Lara, Curt's sister-in-law.  I was instantly drawn to Lara, her husband Chad, and their darling 2-year-old daughter Alexa.  I even told my roommates that I wanted to get to know them better and spend some time with them off the field.  I had no idea that wish would come true times a thousand!

Our softball team kicked booty.  We were in the playoffs to go to the state championship tournament so our coach threw an after-game pizza party.  Curt showed up to watch our game, go to the party, and and "scope for chicks."

I was playing left field.  Joy Banning was up to bat.  That girl could send the ball all the way to the fence.  I backed way up but knew as soon as the ball came off the bat that she beat me...  AGAIN.  There was no way I was running that ball down so I chucked my glove at it to try to knock it out of the air.  I missed, but I caught Curt's attention.

We eyed each other up throughout the entire game and finally got an introduction at the pizza party after the game.  By the end of the party, Curt asked me for my number.  I wrote it down on a piece of paper (what we did before smart phones) and he told me he'd call.

He went home that night, slapped my number on the kitchen counter and told his mom, "I met my wife tonight."  

He called me the next day.  We went on our first date two days later.  For our date, we roller bladed on the Gateway Trail, a paved trail system with a dirt trail for horseback riding that parallels the paved trail in parts and splits off in other parts. Two hours wasn't nearly enough time to scratch the surface.  Curt's first deep get-to-know-you question was, "So how long have you been following Jesus?"  I knew this was the start of something special, called my Dad and said, "Start saving your money.  I'm going to marry this one."

Fifteen months later, Curt re-created that first date.  We roller bladed to a spot where the horseback riding trail split off from the paved trail.  A sign with my name on it was at the trail junction.  We followed more signs that collectively said, "Jodi.  I love you.  There's only one way to make it forever."  Curt dropped to his knee and asked me to be his wife.

Four months later we married at St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

When we got back from our honeymoon we moved into a tiny duplex on McKnight Road in Maplewood.  In that slightly dumpy little duplex we learned what it meant to be husband and wife.  We learned to fight fair.  Love deeply.  Communicate without screaming at each other. We learned where to squeeze the toothpaste and how to hang the toilet paper roll.  In that little duplex we learned that you can't walk away when things get tough or uncomfortable.  We began the process of learning to press into each other instead of pushing away.  We grew up in that little house.

We wanted to show our kids where it all began.

So we took them to Field Three.  I stood in left field and Curt stood by the fence (with our FOUR children) where we first spotted each other.
I stood in left field and took this picture of Curt (and our kids) standing where he first caught my eye.
Our kids took blurry pictures of us posing in the spot where we talked to each other for the first time.

I set the camera up on the trash can and we took a family shot in the exact spot Curt was standing when our world's collided.
Be still my heart.  It all started here.
We drove to Gateway Trail and even though it was BLAZING hot and oh-so-humid, we all walked the mile or so down the trail to the spot where Curt proposed. Our kids took more sloppy pictures of us while Curt re-enacted his entire proposal.
the junction of the first sign

re-enacting Curt's proposal
We went to St. Mark's and the church was open.  Curt stood at the alter and I walked the aisle.  We shared a pretend "first kiss."  The girls thought it was romantic.  Grant was grossed out.  And they took crooked photos of the entire process.  (I LOVE the crooked factor).

Finally we took them to 3033 McKnight Road.  The place where our selfish individualism died and we became one flesh.  What a joy to stand in that driveway and look back at all the ways God has changed us.  Matured us.  Chipped away at the ugly spots and replaced them with refined beauty.  That home will always be sacred ground for Curt and I.
Our first home together
By the time we finished our walk down Memory Lane we were all sweaty and red-faced.  The heat and humidity of Minnesota summers is now foreign to our Pacific Northwest blood - yet another sign of how God has changed us.  But our hearts were filled to overflowing with gratitude and joy.
Poor Paige was melting in the heat and humidity.
Thank you Jesus for crossing our paths on that fateful night at Field Three.  I am forever grateful!


  1. Jodi, I love this post! One of my favorite things about your family is your intentionality, and that absolutely shines in this adventure you took! It's so neat to hear more of the backstory behind how your beautiful family came to be.

    1. Thanks Kelly for taking time to read the post and actually respond. Your words are so encouraging. God is so good and always faithful!