Fire & Gasoline

We met in August of 2014. Please don’t ask for exact dates – at least, not from me. You see, though I am the woman and therefore by nature I am more attentive to details, my husband is much, MUCH better remembering important dates than I myself.

We met, completely by chance, through a mutual friend of a friend of mine. It’s funny – he and I had lived our entire lives across the railroad tracks from each other. Literally! We grew up on opposite sides of the train tracks in our one-stoplight town. Our families would occasionally run into each other at the grocery store or pass by each other on the road; my brothers and I would instantly recognize ‘that other large family who lives in Hilliard by the vehicle they drove.

Late 2014 . . . we looked so young!

You see, both Josh and I are from large families (he’s the oldest of nine and I’m the second of seven) and finding themselves too numerous for mini vans, our parents deemed it best for their particular families to invest in large white 15-passenger vans.

Yes. You read that right. I grew up riding in one of those huge, rectangular beasts, and so did my husband. My family even had a name for ours: Moby Dick.

Back on track . . . we would always wave to the other family as we passed on the road, and occasionally we’d run into them at the store and chat for a few minutes. But to this day I never recall really noticing Josh; I remember once, when we chanced upon meeting the Hoyles in a local restaurant in town that I noticed a somewhat chubby, round-headed, big-eyed boy sitting amongst a throng of brothers and sisters. He hardly glanced at me, and I returned the favor in the same manner. We were kids, and I for one wasn’t interested in boys at all! Besides, that could very well have been his younger brother – they looked very similar as kids, despite the five year age gap.

Funny how life works like that, isn’t it? There I was, a kid of 10 or 12, staring at my future husband without even realizing it. Crazy!

Fast forward to the fall of 2014 . . . the night we met.

It was incredibly memorable for us both; he “met the sexiest, most gorgeous girl he ever laid eyes on” (his words, not mine) and I met a handsome, intriguing young man, close in age to myself, from a very large family just like myself.

That night the stars aligned and fate rang our bell. I cannot honestly say that it was love at first sight for me (it definitely was for him . . . I could see it in his eyes the moment I saw him see me. Y’all know what I’m talking about, right ladies?) but he had me hooked me from that very moment. Still does, in fact.

We had our first real date about a week or two later. We went to St. John’s Towncenter

2015, pre-engagement

Center in Jacksonville, FL. We dined on cheesecake at Maggiano’s; I was too shy to eat in front of him, too nervous to even think about food, and he refused to eat when I wouldn’t. Poor man. I think I starved him that night.


We walked seemingly on air (at least, I did anyway) through the outside mall – it was and still is my favorite place to window-shop – and halfway through our evening together he asked to hold my hand. I was coy about it (of course!) but I allowed him to do so. I could see from his face and body language that in his mind he had just stepped up a level. I laughed to myself, thoroughly pleased that I in all my flaws made one man so obviously happy.

That was the beginning of the end for me. I was eternally hooked, snatched up away from the world by this God-loving, large-family-oriented, somewhat country, handsomely unique man. I fell hard for him and still do on a continual basis. Time and time again he has proven to me that he feels exactly the same way. One such obvious devotion of love was his willingness to postpone our first kiss until long after he was dying to do it.

Because of a previously bad first kiss on a first date, I asked Josh if we could wait for our first kiss. I just wanted to have a few dates under our belt, to be sure he wouldn’t try anything weird, that I really did want to kiss him. Truthfully, though? I wanted to wait for that magical moment, when everything is just right, and we kind of fall into the kiss.

Now, being a nineteen-year-old man, you’d think the wait for one silly kiss would have broken him. But it only enflamed his passion all the more. I was pleased; normally my desire to wait on certain things, my strong will and stubbornness, my seriousness in some matters of life would all intimidate men and scare them away.

The Hippie Hoyles 2016 – Pepper Ann, Josh, Maitlynn

But not Joshua. He stuck it out. He has remained constant. All of my mood swings, good days, bad days, unpredictability, and hangry (hungry-angry) moments, and not once did he run in the other direction, screaming a resounding declaration of my insanity to all the world.

No, he stayed. He stuck it out, and eventually we did have that first kiss. It didn’t happen quite so magically as I thought – I texted him after he had left my house one night and told him that if he came back I would kiss him. Ha! It did not take him long to come speeding down the driveway!

The asking process wasn’t fairytale, but the kiss itself was a magic spark, flickering to life and igniting my love for him. It was at that moment – when he kissed me – that I knew I loved him. It was then that I decided that Joshua Hoyle was the man I would walk down the aisle towards.

We were married on July 13, 2015 (not a Friday, thank goodness) only eleven months after we met. We have been inseparable ever since, and our story continues to carry on.

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