Genesis 2 : 8 (New Living Translation)

Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

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Monday, December 1, 2008

The story of our life (or 9 years of it at least)


So....In 1999 Bryan Mattison asked Suzanne McKenzie to accompany him to his senior prom. And that's how it started.
Since I was a sophomore, I didn't have a date. We had a fun night even though we really didn't know each other. We talked on the phone and started spending time together every weekend, and before you know it....we're "together" as "a couple"...."going out." After some time, people starting asking when we would get married. (At this point Bryan is in college, but I am STILL IN HIGH SCHOOL) I didn't know what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but I did know exactly who I wanted to spend that time with. So....we starting planning a wedding after a bit of an awkward proposal on October 12, 2001.

On July 6, 2002 Bryan and I (Bryan is 22 and I am a whopping 19 by only a few weeks) were married at Friendship Baptist Church at 1:00 pm.

Our first house was just off of Hwy 25 between Starkville and Louisville, and it didn't have one piece of insulation I don't think. AND it was infested with wasps! One night (while we are sleeping) I sat straight up in the bed screaming that something had stung my butt! Sure enough I was sitting on a red wasp. (I am blind without my glasses / contacts so I did not actually see the wasp but Bryan did and he killed it immediately) The wasp situation got so bad that we eventually rode around our tiny rental in my car with windows slightly cracked just enough to get the spray stick on the can of wasp killer aimed at nests! This house also had a crack in the middle of the tub and it was on a conventional "slab" (not sure if that's what you call it....it was off of the ground), so I was convinced that I would fall through the floor if I ever busted through the crack... Even worse, I have NEVER EVER EVER had a mouse in my home. Growing up, my mom's house never had mice.

Seriously, we had an ant problem one summer but that was quickly resolved with a professional who "sprayed" the house. Never a mouse. So, one night I'm sleeping in my bed (alone because Bryan is working swing shift at this point) and I wake up to find some blurry (can't see) blob knock over a glass of water on my nightstand. A MOUSE! or to me, A RAT! I pick up my battery operated alarm clock and head out to my car in my bathrobe with cell phone in hand.....I sleep in my car until my husband gets home. No No.... I am not sleeping in a house that is now infested with rats! Being the great new husband, Bryan eventually traps the rodent and all is well. Bliss returns to the marriage and we start looking for our step up from crap....rental home #2.

In 2003 we begin building a new house. New adventure, something couples should go through just to make sure you have what it takes. Now, don't be confused....we don't have a house built for us. No, we BUILD the house. We drew the plans...we built the house. I mean, I learned how to pull nails out of 2x4's so we could use that wood again.....I watched a lot and provided moral support, but I also helped some too. I painted and put on outlet covers, and stained some stuff, and held some things, and handed some tools, and stood on some ladders, and such. But Bryan Mattison, impressed me so much! He BUILT the entire house. And it's still standing (we did watch what little Katrina did to Hwy 12, Sturgis from our front porch and our house made it though easily) and it's beautiful. I was a little scared about this process....basically because neither of us had ever built a house before, but WE DID IT! And, to me, that's proof that we will be together until we die. Bryan and I would go to this house (started as a pile of dirt) ev-er-ee day....every single day. I would whine and be ready to go hours before he would say...."we're done for today." Then, being the fabulous wife I am, I would go home about 10 minutes before him to "make supper." The first year of our marriage I actually made supper every night for him. But during home construction...our supper was usually something like Cheetos and slice cheese. Maybe a bottle of water. No time for anything but house building!

I had never in my life made more than $5.15 and I suddenly found myself buying light fixtures for the entire house for $900. I will never forget writing that first big check for $900.....Just preparing me for a mortgage payment I guess. Well, we finished the house (with lots and lots of help from friends and volunteers) and moved in during the fall of 2004. I think I put up the Christmas tree in October that year! Nothing like a new home....no shoes on the carpet, no eating in the living room, etc. (none of those rules lasted very long, but they have to exist at first, just to appreciate the newness)

When we married, Bryan was working as a roofer. Hard work, long, hours, and little pay. But life lessons.....he did learn a lot. I was a recent beauty-school-drop-out enrolling in my first academic classes at EMCC by night and part-time minimum wage worker at a local dentist office by day. We were broke! That started Bryan's frequent quote.....Living on Love. (I'm aware that he did not invent that, but to me, it's his quote. Probably because he says it all the time). Well, I needed to make more than minimum wage, so I decided that I would go to school for a very long time. The only subject I remember thinking I was "good" at was English. So...easy as that, I had myself a major.

I eventually found my way to MSU. Loved it. Finished my BA in August 2006, did some quick tropical island hopping with my husband, and started my Master's 2 weeks later. I want to teach community college English courses....eventually. That's the plan. I finished grad school in May 2008. I finished coursework in December 2007...so from Dec to May I felt worthless. Needed a purpose. My grad assistantship on campus was over and I had no homework. So therefore, no purpose in life. Substitute teaching probably kept me from diving into depression. Staying at home everyday is NOT for me. Bryan would come home from work and find me still in my PJs on the couch with a half eaten PB&J. Exactly, worthless.
So, one day I was in Ackerman, MS going to get my hair highlighted and on the way, me and my mom stopped in at the Education office.....something something of schools office. I filled out a form to substitute teach....got finger-printed, and went on my way to have the hair did. Well, not 20 minutes later with a very few pieces of foil in my head, the phone rings. I have a substitute teaching job...and it starts the very next day! At 7 AM!
Even better....get up, get going, get done with it. Let me just say right now, if you find yourself umemployed....sign up to substitute teach. I LOVED it! God saw me transforming into a worthless sad blob, and everyday I would get a call to teach. I really worked 5 days a week for most of those weeks of subbing. Those kids are so amazing. I got attached to a new class everyday. I won't lie. It felt really good to hear them so excited whispering in the hall that "We have Mrs. Mattison today! YESSSS!!!" I was the cool sub. The trick is to tell them...."yes you can play with your phone, but you can't get me in trouble so put them under your desk and on silent." And they will! Everyone's happy. I read some great books while they "studied" and now some of those "kids" are in college. I see them on campus, and they remember the fun sub....Mrs. Mattison! Fantastic experience that I definitely recommend. Beats sitting on the couch all day.

Then, one day.....I get a job. ( I am glad about this because after applying for what felt like hundreds and getting my hopes up after several interviews that I thought couldn't have gone better.....I needed a YES and no more NO's) I LOVE my job. I get to work with students....but not all the time. Sometimes I get to work with faculty.....sometimes staff.....sometimes high school counselors.....sometimes parents. So its basically the best job. I know....wait, I knew...nothing about agriculture, but now I recruit for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at MSU. I have met so many people in just 8 months. Everyone is great! And I make more than $5.15/hr! Which is even better! My ultimate goal is to make more money than Bryan (I know this will never ever happen, but one can hope)

Speaking of Bryan....when we married (like I said earlier) he was roofing. He would leave for work when it was still dark and get home from work after dark. I hated it. HATED it. He would come home and barely make it to his recliner.....and fall asleep before I could put the warmed supper (that I was extremely proud of) on his plate. I would have to wake him up just to eat.

I felt terrible. Like I had married this man who had to work so hard just to take care of an extra person (who obviously wasn't contributing much financially) But he loved me....loves me. And he worked even harder. He is a saver. Thank goodness, cause I'm not. He had money saved up to start our house and he kept saving and saving. Now, he likes to spend too....don't think I'm the only spender. But where he can do both...I only spend. So, we needed more money. He needed a better job. One where he could come home and actually say words and stay awake long enough to eat. So.....Jesus helped us out. He got a fabulous job at a coal mine that most people don't know it even exists. It's in Ackerman. He started out driving a huge piece of equipment....probably similar in size to our first tiny rental home. Then he gets a different job at the mine....um....moving water out of the way. Basically the mine is a big hole in the ground. (Not like the mines people get stuck in on TV) Ok a huge hole in the ground...and holes tend to fill up with water. So, Bryan got it out. (Coincidentally, my dad does the same thing) They are buddies....working together to get the water out of the way.

Then I decide that I cannot live with my husband working swing shift. So....I pray. A LOT. I pray and then I pray for forgiveness for being selfish and begging to have him home so I'm not scared. Then I pray that he can please have a normal schedule. Well.....prayer works. Every time. This time it just so happened that God wanted to change Bryan's schedule, so all is back to marital bliss. Bryan now has a fabulous Monday - Friday NOT necessarily 8-5 (but definitely not 3 AM - noon) job. And we both are making more than $5.15/hr.

Then God decides....He really, really loves us (even more than I knew before He gave Bryan a normal schedule) He decides that He wants Bryan to go back to college. Bryan stopped school to build the house (remember, we stopped eating normal food and Bryan definitely had to stop school to build a house) So, its now time to go back. Well, working at a coal mine = new major. Geosciences is his new major. Its hard. Its really hard (to me) but Bryan Mattison.......who knew?........is a very smart kid! He's making A's in really hard classes. So I am now the proud wife of not only a super good looking hard working, steady job holding man, but he's SMART? I had no idea!......many times I ask, how did you do on that quiz? And he smiles....."made a hundred." Sometimes. its "made a hundred and one." I am very pleased. Turns out this husband is even better than I thought!

So now, Bryan works at the mine in the office.....doing who knows what in the engineering department. I really have no idea. But I have big plans for this guy, especially since I found out he's smart....big plans.

Other than that...we're "living on love"

1 comment:

  1. Suzanne! This is so random, I know. I don't even know how I found your blog. But anyway, I just read that whole thing and cried. HA! It was so sweet!
    anyway, thought I would let you know.

    And congrats on your sweet arrival coming soon! I love the name. You two will be fabulous parents.
    - Heather

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