Catie and Jason met for the first time in Turkey in the spring of 2009. She had moved there for a few years after college and he was spending 6 months there. Catie’s roommate was teaching English at the same place as Jason and eventually got introduced. After a couple months, they became good friends and while there was mutual interest in each other, Jason (being the sensible-minded man that he is) decided against pursuing a relationship with her due to Catie living so far away. However, God had other plans in mind. While on the surface the meeting seems accidental and their future seemed separate, the threads of their lives would be intertwined in ways that were unexpected. The story actually begins many years before when Catie’s friend and children/youth director moved to Turkey for a time. This friend (*cough*Mandy Bee) met some people who had connections with Cornerstone Church in Ames, Iowa and eventually got hired there as a children’s director. She invited (or Catie begged…) Catie up to have an internship for a summer in 2005. Jason was attending Cornerstone Church at the time but moved back home over the summer break to be a summer camp counselor. Jason and Catie didn’t meet that summer but she did meet Jordan Bradley. Jordan and Jason would become good friends later in their college careers. During that summer, Catie’s sister, Emma, came up to visit for a week. This is where Emma and Jordan first met.
In the fall of 2008, as providence would have it, Jason and Jordan were asked if they wanted to go to Turkey with a couple of their friends. After some discussion they decided to go. Jordan had been to Turkey a few years prior when his brother, Ben, who ended up marrying one of Jason’s good friends was living there. (Ben married Sarah who was one of Jason’s good friends. They started dating shortly after meeting when Sarah came home to visit for Christmas. At the time Sarah was living in, you guessed it, Turkey.)
While Jason was meeting Catie for the first time, it was a reunion for her and Jordan. One day they were at Catie’s apartment when she was Skyping with her sister. Catie casually asked Emma if she remember Jordan and they talked briefly. That quick talk sparked into some Facebook messages, which snowballed into some emails, then some Skype dates, and eventually to their marriage in November of 2010. It was at Jordan and Emma’s wedding that Jason and Catie saw each other again since he had left Turkey. It was good for them to reconnect but Jason was otherwise preoccupied with life and didn’t think too much of their reunion.
The following Christmas Jordan and Emma had their first daughter, Isabel. Catie returned from being overseas to meet her niece and spend Christmas with her family. Jason ended up spending a lot of time with Catie and her family that week. Something was beginning to spark but again Catie left and nothing came of it. All throughout this time, Jason and Catie would have seasons of talking/chatting/skyping and seasons of distance but they always remained more or less friends. There were plenty of people in Jason’s life who were encouraging him to pursue Catie but it never seemed very practical to him. He knew there was potential but because she lived in another country – he didn’t want to take the chance. But that all changed in the spring of 2012.
After a conversation with Sarah, Ben’s wife, who knew and spent time with Catie in Turkey (they even went on vacation in Egypt together), Jason thought more and more about Catie. The frequency and length of their conversations increased. This coincided with Catie’s decision to move back to America. Jason knew that he wanted to take action. Jason, on July something of 2012 – over 3 years after they first met, called Catie and asked her (with a parable that he had written) if she wanted to go on a date with him when she visited Iowa in September of 2012. Catie said yes. They were both a little uncertain of the future but were excited for the chance to try.
When September came Catie and Jason went on their first date. They went on a few more that month and things were going pretty well. At the end of the month she moved back to Louisiana. They continued to date and Jason visited her a couple times. On Christmas Eve, Jason and Catie packed up her car and started the 14 hour drive to Iowa. Catie had decided to move.
They continued to date through the spring and summer of that year. Like any relationship, there were good times and bad times; but they endured. Finally in the fall of 2013, Jason decided that he would marry Catie.
On October 25th, Jason took Catie to Ledges State Park to watch the sun set. After some small talk he reminded Catie of the story he told her when he asked her out. She remembered it well. Jason then asked her if she wanted to hear the ending of the story since the original story ended with a cliff-hanger. Jason finished the story and pulled the ring out of a fake rock and proposed. Catie, with tears in her eyes, said yes.
On March 22, 2014, they continued writing their story together as man and wife.