Texas Hopes & California Dreams – How We Met

When I look back on my incredible upbringing, I am always drawn to the memories of wearing overalls, cowgirl boots and listening to country music… in Nor Cal, near the mountains… no where near the South! I would put on overalls for the fun of it because I thought it was pretty, and I would also put them on with long sleeves and boots with a sweatshirt in the month of August where the sun was creating over 100º weather. No, I’m not crazy, I just have a love for blackberries and HAD to go deep in the thorns to get the best, juiciest harvest. But the point is, while wearing my adorable overalls, I would think about Texas. I would hope that some day I would visit and be able to admire the hard workers, the slow pace, the farms, the country side and the wonderful people.  They are hard workers so they MUST be wonderful, right?? In addition to all that, I was drawn to their accent and started adding y’all into my vocabulary. (I can’t remember how old I was when I started saying “y’all”… that’s how long I’ve been saying it! haha) To intensify matters, I started begging my parents to let me listen to country music! Secular music was not allowed in my house for the most part, so who is this girl not only wanting to listen to secular music that’s not either Christmas music or a musical, but she wants COUNTRY music?? I used to think I was the black sheep in my family, singled out and a complete stranger to my parents and siblings because my tastes were just that different. Then I started thinking… what if? What if God planted these hopes to prepare my heart for the day I met Ben?

After I graduated high school, I continued to have a burning passion for God and I wanted more of Him. While I was choosing the path to seek out more of what God had for me in my life, Ben was in Dallas, TX, putting a hold on college because he felt called to ministry. Both of our paths led to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) in Redding, CA, where we entered a world we were forever changed by.  September through Christmas time went by pretty fast. We met a ton of new people and had our own separate worlds, noticing one another but never in each other’s circle. In January of 2006, I remember Ben coming over to my parents’ house and while I had my eyes set on someone else, my mom said privately, “Hey Hannah, what about this Ben guy? He’s cute.” My response was easy: “Mom, it’s Ben.” What I meant by that was silly. I was trying to say that Ben was WAY out of my league. He’s way too special of a person, way too handsome and way too smart to have interest in me. I was only 18 years old and very insecure about the real ME. So that was that. I didn’t try to pursue him, and I didn’t intentionally hang out in the places he was because it was just out of the question… until March.

From January to March, I had seen Ben on several occasions outside of school: A fire pit at the lake, volleyball at the church where he wore cowboy boots to play in, and a prayer meeting at someone’s house. Up until I started falling for Ben, I had been attracted to a couple different guys, but the only way they wanted anything to do with me was if I changed my personality to fit theirs. I was so afraid to be myself, that I completely changed who I was so I would be liked. Shocking, I know, with the incredible DAD I had growing up as you read in the blog, The First Man I Ever Loved. I actually didn’t know I was Acting until I started to realize something: every time I was around Ben, I was 100% myself and he seemed to draw closer as a friend to me the more I was true to who I was. I felt free around him. I could be goofy, weird, sing along to songs off key, eat an entire massive burrito without feeling judged or being told that I’m gaining too much weight… etc. Ben kept coming closer. Then on March 24th, 2006, something extraordinary happened…

It was a beautiful day outside and school had just let out. Ben saw me leaving through the doors into the hallway, so he met me half nervous and half excited. Fumbling through his words, he managed to squeeze out the broken sentence, “Will you go out with me?” I laughed in disbelief! LAUGHED! I couldn’t believe that BEN DROLL had asked me to be his girlfriend! There are SO MANY GIRLS HERE! Why me?! He actually chose me! All of this was rolling around my head as I walked around the corner to hide my shocked disposition. When I came back to him, everything about his expression was pleading to know my answer. Unfortunately, just that morning I was having quiet time with God and I felt I wasn’t supposed to have a boyfriend until school let out, so I had to say, “No.” I still tell Ben to this day that I PROMISE I explained why I had to say no but that I REALLY wanted to date him when school got out. But all he remembers was, “No” and then everything else is a haze. It sent him into a sad spiral where he could not pick himself up. He was really low the whole rest of that beautiful afternoon. Until…

Well, most of you might not know but I’m a terribly impatient individual. I’m serious, it’s a thing with me. I can’t WAIT to finish my food, my smoothie, have kids, get married, buy a house, decorate that house… including can’t wait to become a girlfriend to the tall, handsome man who just asked me out! SOOOO, the next day I sent a text to Ben that went something like, “Do you like my hair better straight or curly?” HAHA Can you imagine his confusion? He was scratching his head and even showed his guy friends, “What does this mean??” They encouraged him to continue to pursue me and I was so giddy when he responded, “Straight”. We have been inseparable since that text! We quickly fell in love and realized this love was real because everything about me, good or bad, was accepted and I adored everything about him in return. It was meant to be!

Speaking of not being able to wait, I think I scared Ben pretty shortly after we started hanging out more because I asked him to attend Easter Sunday with me and my extended family which happened to fall on my mom’s birthday (April 16th)! Talk about meeting the family quick! He didn’t want to go at first but was so sweet and ended up attending! My whole family adored Ben, and he loved them, too. It was like he belonged there. I look back to those early days and still count my blessings. I still can’t believe he chose ME. I’m a blessed woman. When you combine Texas Hopes & California Dreams, you get Ben & Hannah, the perfect match made in Heaven. I can’t wait to share next week’s proposal story! See below for a few pictures from 2016! Just call us Benihana!