Love Story / Part 1


Valentine’s Day seems like a good time to share how Justin and I met. It’s a long story, and I’m wordy, so I’m breaking it into a few parts!

One of the main driving factors to my move to North Carolina from Michigan was the weather.

See, I’m from Illinois and for some moronic reason I decide to head more north for college, despite hating the dreary and grey days of winter. So, I spent 2 years in Michigan, pretty unhappy.

I went to beauty school during high school. That may be a foreign concept to you, but it was a trade school that allowed me to both complete the 1500 hours required to become a cosmetologist, as well as completing the bare minimum required to graduate high school. This program was encouraged for students who knew what direction they wanted to go in life, if they offered it at the trade school, or for those who didn’t see college in their future for whatever reason.

So at 17 years old, I had just graduated high school and also became licensed to do hair. It was wonderful. I had dreams of going to NYC to do hair for runway shows, or becoming an educator for a product line I really loved. I was encouraged by my instructors that I was a good teacher, so I thought that could be a good path for me.

My dad, though, strongly encouraged me to go to college. Reluctantly I applied to one single college in Michigan, after the application due date in fact, and was accepted. I left a few months later.

By spring of my sophomore year in Michigan, I was done. I didn’t care about college, I couldn’t find a major that made sense for me, I didn’t have a friend group that I really felt connected to, and I wanted a change. I wasn’t brave enough to study abroad, but I thought transferring to a different college within the US would be a fun enough change without going too far out of my comfort zone.

During this time, my family and I had been traveling down to South Carolina for vacation, and I always thought North Carolina was so beautiful. I can still picture the scene from the western part of the state when we were stopping for gas during a road trip when I decided to pursue colleges down south.

I applied to a handful, from South Carolina to West Virginia. My mom and dad went with me on different visits, and it was the North Carolina trip with my dad that was the decision maker for me.

The University we visited was in a college town that had a lot of familiarity to me, but was also very much a different culture. The campus didn’t seem overwhelming, and I liked the location of it within the state of North Carolina.

It’s funny, I can’t remember making the ultimate decision to transfer, but shortly after the visit I found myself moving into my studio apartment in a really junky building near campus, with my mom and sister there to help.

I drove them 2 hours east to the airport when it was time for them to leave, and cried on my way back to my new college and new life. And then I got a speeding ticket because I was going about 85 miles per hour and paying zero attention to my speed. I was amped to be alone and start this new chapter of my life!

I was, though, completely alone, so I watched the entire first season of Prison Break in my room, eating too much french toast, for a few days. Then I decided to check out some college organizations to meet friends. The college I left in Michigan was a small ‘christian’ school, and I was now at a secular university. So I wanted to find a Christian group that I could connect with as that was important to me.

I scrolled through the Cru (formerly Campus Crusade) website and found a woman’s name and e-mail address listed. I clicked on it, and sent her an e-mail that basically said this:

“Hey, I’m new here and don’t know a single person in the entire state of North Carolina. Can you take me to something so I can meet people? Thanks!”

She wrote back fairly quickly, and we made plans to go to this group called “twenty something”. It wasn’t affiliated with Cru but it was something she attended through the church she was going to.

So, that following Thursday she pulled up to my building in her VW bug and I hopped inside. We drove over to this warehouse and entered into this large group of probably 30-40 people, if my memory serves me correctly.

My new friend introduced me to some people, and we made small talk for a bit before the evening started. Finally, some music started to play cueing the start of the night, so we wandered over towards the seats.

There were about 5-6 of us, and I saw that the very front row of seats was wide open. I suggested we go to the front, and as we all took our seats I looked up and saw this really cute guy standing on stage with a guitar.

I. was. smitten.

After the evening wrapped, this guy hopped of the stage and came over to introduce himself. It was a small enough group that I could tell everyone knew each other so I really didn’t think it was a big deal. I was clearly the new girl.

We chatted a bit, learned we were taking the same philosophy class that semester, and made plans to meet at the library the following Monday for a homework assignment.

He asked for my number, I gave it to him and he gave me his. Then we parted ways and I turned back toward the new girlfriends I had just met an hour or so prior.

“Did Justin Bryan just get your number?” one of them asked me, surprised.

“Yeah, we are in the same class so we are meeting at the library!” I replied, with the suspicious notion that this guitar playing guy may do this to a lot of girls.

“Wow, he never does that.” she said.

“Oh!” I said, smiling with a bit of relief and also flattery.

Phew, because if this guy was just some kind of flirt that got all the girls numbers, I was not interested.

We texted a bit that weekend, both anxiously anticipating Monday to come quickly, and I’ll never forget seeing him walk up to me outside the library in a black t-shirt on a 100 degree day, glistening with sweat from his 8 block trek.

I was really happy to see him again.

Part 2 coming soon.

PS. For more recent posts about marriage, check out here and here!





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Comments (73)

  1. Cameron says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    What college did you go to in Michigan? I go to a small Christian college there, so I’m curious if it is the same one!

    • Kate says
      Posted February 14, 2017

      Hope, in Holland

      • Cameron says
        Posted February 14, 2017

        Oh my goodness, that’s where I go! Small world.

        • Donna says
          Posted September 20, 2017

          When I first learned that Kate had attended Hope, I about fell off my chair. I work at Hope and my children both attend Hope. Go Dutch!! HOPE you’re having a great year

    • Corban Van Dam says
      Posted February 14, 2017

      And it’s finally sunny here today in Holland, MI! We’ve had a very cloudy winter–one for the record books.

  2. Sherry says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Oh man……I am hooked, how long till the next installment ? I have been reading your blog for years and sort of know the basic story…..but this is so much better, so much more detailed.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your boys (all three of them)

  3. Katelyn says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    I hope you also include some pictures along with this dating story! 😉😉 Love that you’re doing this!

  4. Kimberly in NC says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    I love the ‘how we met’ stories! Good choice for a blog topic!

  5. Kristen says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Thanks for sharing! Cant wait for part 2!

  6. Posted February 14, 2017

    I love these kinds of stories. My fiancee and I met in college, too!

  7. Claire says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Oh i love the details! Beautiful memories. Can’t wait to know what happened next!
    Happy valentine!

  8. Emma Kirsten says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    I’m so excited to read more! You guys are so lovely. Much love to you this valentines Kate! xx

  9. Laura says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Man, with the exception of the posts introducing David and Luke when they were born, this has been my favorite post ever!!!!! Cannot wait for the next installment!!

  10. Alyssa says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    OH my goodness I can’t wait to hear part two!

    I didn’t know you went to school in Michigan! I’ve lived here my whole life and the weather can definitely be a downer in the winter! I have to admit one time when you talked about the weather in Raleigh I looked it up on and now there’s always a Raleigh forecast next to my Michigan one when I went to the website.

  11. Allison says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    I must say, I love this post. I already love the story, real life story, you are telling. <3

  12. Francine says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Oh I love this already! Can’t wait for more!

  13. Sydni says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    So cute!! Can’t wait to hear the rest!

  14. Posted February 14, 2017

    So cute! Excited to keep reading!

  15. Kristin says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Part 2 please!

  16. Melissa says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Gah! It’s like I ended a chapter and can’t read the next one. Don’t leave us hanging for too long!

  17. Posted February 14, 2017

    Can’t wait to read more, such a fun story!

  18. Amy says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Ah ha! I wondered where you were from, and I knew that it couldn’t have been North Carolina with that accent.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can’t wait to read the rest of it.

  19. Vickie says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    More. more, more!! This is a great idea for your blog – you and Justin are so cute. Always love a good love story! I met by husband at college too, Missouri State University in Springfield, MO 🙂

  20. Emily says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    I love this post! I can’t wait for part 2! 🙂

  21. Heidi C says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    *Swoon* What a lovely idea for a post, especially on Valentine’s Day. Can’t wait for the next ones, and thanks so much for sharing your and Justin’s story!

  22. Posted February 14, 2017

    I totally didn’t know that’s how your story began! So brave of you to randomly email someone (Caitlin???) so you’d find people. I love that.

  23. izzy says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    You guys are so cute! I can’t wait to read Part 2!!!

  24. Krystal says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Love this! All the details make me feel like I’m right there with you feeling those butterflies of the beginning of a relationship! Can’t wait for the next installment!!

  25. Nikki says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Love this! I check your blog posts daily and I can’t wait to read the next part of this story! It reminds me so much of my cousin that lives in Illinois and went to a Christian college in Ohio-we’ve always dreamed of moving to North or South Carolina and your writing style reminds me so much of her!

  26. Jaclyn Chorzewski says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    I love this! So funny the way God worked to bring you two together. I love that you both were smitten right off the bat <3

  27. Posted February 14, 2017

    This is so adorable! My husband and I actually met at a Cru event!

  28. Katie says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    This is SOOOO CUTE!!! What a great Valentines post!!! =)

  29. Teresa says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Thanks for sharing it helps us to know you better. I am looking forward to part two! Happy Valentine’s to you and your family.

  30. Christina says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    I love “how we met stories”. Excited to hear the next part.

  31. Nicole says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    As a Michigander for 44 years, I’m trying not to be offended by your dislike of my great state…JUST KIDDING!!! I know Michigan isn’t for everyone. Even I wonder, usually every winter, why I still live here. Haha!

    I’m loving the story of how you and Justin met! I’m excited for the future posts! I’ve always been curious how your wonderfully adorable family came to be. God bless you all! 🙂

  32. Jessica says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    I stared at that (adorable) picture of you two forever thinking “that doesn’t look like Justin!!!” (from what I’ve seen!) Does his hair look lighter in that picture or something? Sorry that’s totally random!

    I adore you and your sweet family. I look forward to your blog posts and snapchats every day!

    • Lynn says
      Posted February 14, 2017

      Jessica, I agree! Every pic of Justin has him with dark hair, this looks like someone completely different!

    • Justin says
      Posted February 15, 2017

      I wondered the same thing!

  33. Katie says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    I totally would have been your friend in Michigan! We didn’t go to the same school, but the great thing about MI is you can get anywhere in a couple hours!

    Love the story so far…can’t wait to read the rest!!!

    • Katie says
      Posted February 14, 2017

      Funny thing is, I’m looking at NC for grad school.

  34. Tina says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Ah! I loved, loved reading that. Thanks for sharing! Can’t wait for part 2 🙂

  35. Evelyn says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    Love it!! I want to know the rest!!

  36. Alyssa Moody says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    It’d be so cute to see some photos of y’all when you were dating! 🙂

  37. Ashley H says
    Posted February 14, 2017

    So cute! You have us all waiting on pins and needles for the next installment! 🙂

  38. Posted February 15, 2017

    I love this post. I already love the story, real life story, you are telling.

  39. Kate Hofer says
    Posted February 15, 2017

    It’s amazing how God’s plan plays out. It’s so fun to look back on it!

  40. Leah says
    Posted February 15, 2017

    This was so cute!! I felt like I was reading a story out of a book by the time I got to the end. Adorable!

  41. Gina says
    Posted February 15, 2017

    Can’t wait for part 2. NC has many “universities” but only one “the University”. I’m racking my brain because you said you had to “head east 2 hours” to take your mom and sister to the airport.

    • Kate says
      Posted February 15, 2017

      East Carolina University

      • Posted April 23, 2019

        ahhh!!! when you said college town I was like I wonder if she’s talking about THE G-Vegas!! I’m a Pirate alumn too! I’ve been getting your blogs sent to me via bloglovin but just now have started reading and following on IG! I’m class of 2004 🙂 #gopirates!!

  42. Clarissa Penner says
    Posted February 15, 2017

    So excited for installment #2! Loved part 1. Happy Valentine’s Day and looking forward to the next part!!! 🙂

  43. Brianna says
    Posted February 15, 2017

    Oh my gosh, that was so cute! I can’t wait for part two😄

  44. Lizzy says
    Posted February 15, 2017

    I’m moving to Chapel Hill for a teaching position this summer from Texas and I will not know a single person in NC. This post is encouraging and hopefully I will make friends haha! Thank you! Also, what was Justin playing on the guitar?

  45. Melanie says
    Posted February 17, 2017

    Although I know how it ends, looking forward to the next instalment!

  46. Pamela says
    Posted February 19, 2017

    Ugh, I love it! I remember reading it before, but it’s like reading a favorite book over again! I think it would be so neat if Justin shared a post about how you met from his perspective 😄

    • Stacy says
      Posted February 22, 2017

      Great idea!

  47. Chelsey says
    Posted February 24, 2017

    This beats Netflix any day :). I love hearing your story!

  48. Amba McCrudden says
    Posted March 1, 2017

    Love reading how others met, cant wait t read part 2!!!!!

  49. Camris says
    Posted March 3, 2017

    Literally dyiiiiing for part 2!

  50. Bean says
    Posted March 17, 2017

    Where is part 2??

  51. Brynn says
    Posted April 3, 2017

    When is the next one coming? This story is so cute and can’t wait for it any longer 😉

  52. Ariadna says
    Posted April 13, 2017

    When is Part 2 coming out? Please don’t make us wait too long! 🙂

  53. Trinity says
    Posted April 25, 2017

    Please post a part 2!!!

  54. June says
    Posted May 8, 2017

    I just found this post and I love it! Looking forward to part 2!

  55. Stacey says
    Posted September 13, 2017

    Cute story, and you mentioned 2 of my favorite states! I am from Maryland and went to college at University of Maryland. But my husband and I have family in NC (me Cornelius and Raleigh) my husband (Henderson, near Raleigh) and I would love to live in NC! We also lived in Troy, MI for two years and love it there too!

  56. Amy says
    Posted February 14, 2018

    So sweet. I love your boldness to step out in faith when you moved and
    when you reached out the woman from CRU. Also, applaud your conviction to find a Christian group of friends in your new world. I’m sharing this with my soon to be in college kids 🙂

  57. Lisa says
    Posted January 8, 2019

    Cliff hangar!!!

  58. Cindy says
    Posted February 12, 2020

    Where did you go to college in NC? NC State girl here!

  59. Kristin says
    Posted February 17, 2020

    You should ask Justin to write his version of this series for more content!

  60. Andrea Vinson says
    Posted February 5, 2021

    Cute story!! What NC university are you referring to?

  61. Tracy says
    Posted February 5, 2021

    I love this! I feel like I’m reading a Nicholas sparks book. Hehe

  62. Brenda says
    Posted February 5, 2021

    When you said Christain college in Michigan- I knew it had to be Hope or Calvin. Those were both on my list when looking to venture out from Washington state. I ended up at Dordt in Iowa and never left the Midwest.

  63. Kathy says
    Posted February 6, 2021

    This is so sweet! Thanks so much for sharing!