For our honeymoon, Jim Bob and I planned a trip near our home because that’s what we could afford. We were going to go to Mount Nebo and Lake Fort Smith, both in Arkansas. We chose state parks for our destinations because the cabins there were so reasonable.

When we arrived at our first destination, we couldn’t believe the difference between the photo on the brochure and the reality. We chuckle about this now, but I did not go and look at the places ahead of time. I just looked at the brochures and I thought "Okay, it’s a state park and what we see is what we’re going to get." The picture showed a lovely cabin right beside a beautiful flowing river, but when we got there, the cabin was really rundown with awful orange curtains -- and cobwebs everywhere! On top of that, the river was completely dried up; there was no water at all. So we opted instead to go into town and stayed at a hotel in Fort Smith. We didn’t get the setting we were anticipating for our first night together, but it was still sweet. Next, we went on to the incredibly scenic Mount Nebo and stayed for a few nights. At that point, our car started acting up and we were like, you know what? Let’s just go home to our house, to our new place, since we were looking forward to being there together.

It was a small fixer-upper house, about 900 square feet total, and Jim Bob got such a good deal on it. We spent the rest of our honeymoon fixing up our little house, which definitely needed a lot of work! Jim Bob had moved in a month before the wedding, but I didn’t move in until after we were married so this was our first time living together.

Before our wedding, we had ripped out all of the cupboard doors in the kitchen and sanded them down, but we didn’t have time to finish them before we got married. So when we got back after our honeymoon, there were no doors on our kitchen cabinets and the place needed a lot of work, but that was okay. We were living on love and it was so exciting.

It was just so precious to be in our own house together for the first time. Jim Bob was already being a husband and working on the car. I remember thinking, “Oh, how romantic. He’s at our house and he’s working on our car.” It’s funny the little things that you just hold dear to your heart forever.