When jeff & neda stopped by my studio

I had just sent her a message on facebook to let her know my electricity had been off for about 30 minutes.. I didn't want them to drive all the way there & us not be able to get some good pictures with no lights on. Plus, it was raining still so outside wasn't a very ideal option. Not even minutes after they walked in the lights came back on & I knew it was meant to be. They were meant to be right there with me, telling their story.

How did you two meet?

"Work. I was a police officer & she was a court clerk." Jeff told me. I asked how old they were when they met & after much thought & discussion we all agreed it was "back in '92" LOL

Tell me about your first date?

"We went to the gym." Neda said while we all laughed. I assured them that nothing was wrong with that!

Who said I love you first?

"He did." Neda said while looking her husband's direction & smiling. "I told her on the phone." Jeff added. "I sat & thought & thought & finally just said it. It got real quiet & I had to make sure she was still there.. she goes WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?" They both laughed & Neda told me that it was late & she was sleepy & wasn't sure if she had heard him right or not.

When did you realize you wanted to spend forever with her?

"Well, we've both been married before." Jeff said. I jokingly asked him when did he realize it THIS time around. "well that's why I said that, I was real... I don't know, sketchy. So we talked about all of that. I had 3 kids & she had 3 kids that were about the same age & it all just kinda worked out."

What's your favorite thing about her?

"mmmmm, she puts up with me." Jeff laughed. "Sometimes I get on her nerves." I turned to Neda & asked her the same question. "He's loving & caring." She told me, then turned to him & said "You try not to show it, but you are."

What's your least favorite thing about him?

We all giggled & I told her she had to choose the one at the top of the list, couldn't name them all ;) "Throwing clothes in the floor, leaving shoes out." Just to name a few. Jeff interrupted & defended himself proudly by saying, "I will NOT leave my underwear in the floor though, I put those in the dirty clothes."

Have you ever had pictures made together, just the two of you?

"Years ago." Jeff said. "It was probably in '93" Neda told me. "Actual pictures, not just snaps... So we're kinda excited" She said smiling.

Tell me about a time the two of you might've struggled in your relationship & what you did to overcome it?

Jeff took a deep breath & started in on this one.. "Well, kids, when you have a blended family it can be hard dealing with exes. It just took time for them to get over it & things to work out." They went on to tell me how old the kids were when all of this happened, & explained how they all reacted during certain situations. "We tried to make sure we had them all at the same time." Neda said "Made it fun for them." I asked if everything was better now that everyone was older. They both nodded in agreement. "There were times when it was hard, I told her ex one time we don't have to like each other but we have to get along for the kids & he agreed." Jeff said. "Now she will go & hug my exes neck & I'm not doing that" He laughed. Neda explained how one of the daughter's was getting married this year & how they all went wedding dress shopping together. Then mentioned how when her twins got married both, Jeff & their Dad walked them down the aisle.

Tell me about your wedding day?

"It was outside." Jeff laughed. "Go ahead & tell her about that day." Neda said teasingly. "Oh, I'm getting to it." He assured her. "We called em prickly pear, you see, they're high cactuses & she wanted this archway. So I'm out there putting this archway up & her dad & one of our neighbors are helping. I bent over to tie something off & backed into that cactus & they laugh at me." My mouth dropped. "So I had to get tweezers with my behind in the mirror & get stickers out the day before my wedding." I laughed & told him at least it wasn't the day of! They went on to tell me all about what they wore, what the kids looked like & all the decorations. Jeff pulled his phone out & began looking for pictures he had saved from that day. It wasn't long before Neda was doing the same.

Who controls the thermostat at home?

"It's one of them automatic ones." Neda told me while Jeff laughed. "She's a little bit more cold natured than I am, but not much."

What do you see when you look at her?

"My sweetheart."

What do you see when you look at him?

"He's my world."

I couldn't help but say 'awhhhhh, ya'll are sweet' as I noticed Neda's eyes getting a little watery. Let me remind you, I had just met these people 15 minutes before this & here we were reminiscing about wedding days, looking at old photos & talking about feelings like we had been friends our entire life.

What does love mean to you?

I asked Neda while she tried to clear her throat to speak, "Everything, I guess. Just being there for him, being there when he needs me. Taking care of him." She told me. I looked at Jeff for his response. "Everything she said, & our kids. Kids & grand kids."

At this point they both looked at each other & smiled, almost like they had a mini bonding moment right there in front of me.

using one word to describe your relationship, what would it be?

"Strong." Neda said.

"Lasting." Jeff added.

What advice would you like to leave for the younger generation?

"I got this one." Jeff told Neda then turned to me.. "You know Ernie Sparks? I stole this from him, He used to be a JP at one time. People used to say it's 50/50 to make 100, but that's not true. It's 100/100...200. If you're only doing 50/50 then your halfway doing it. That made more sense than anything I've ever heard. You've got to give it your all." What about you? I asked Neda. "Um, you gotta be able to give & take. Sometimes you gotta work through things that are hard, but it's worth it." She said looking at her husband...

"It's so worth it."

I have two more blog posts to go to wrap up the What Love Means series. These Lamar County Love stories have touched me in so many ways & I can't wait to do this again next year. Stay tuned for more to come!