In June of 2017 Jason headed from Georgia to the 66th National Square Dance Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, to participate for the first time in a national convention experience. Because he is on the committee for Hospitality and Youth Services for the 68th National Square Dance Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2019, he needed to gain experience along national convention lines with his square dancing friends involved in the planning effort.
Meanwhile, in southeastern Pennsylvania, Holly had just started square dancing nine months prior, all in an effort to better her mother's mobility and health with the exercise of square dancing. In April she had completed the CTM beginner level. Since the national convention was to be held in Cincinnati, her second "home," which is both of her parents' hometown and where relatives still reside, a grand idea of going to the Cincinnati convention popped into her mind since they could visit family they hadn't seen since her grandma had passed away a couple years ago. She was discouraged, though, because the square dance club director told her she hadn't learned the next, necessary level of Mainstream in order to be able to go to the convention.
A miracle began to happen next as pieces began falling into place! An express Mainstream class was formed so Holly could learn the next level in four weeks. (Mainstream is usually a year-long class.) Registration and travel plans seemed to happen so easily that it felt like almost a Divine push for them to get to the convention in Cincinnati.
The first night of the convention, Holly was dancing solo and had had a number of partners, including ages 60 thru 95. She was taking a break by the water cooler when she saw this handsome man approach the solo section and address the four elderly ladies in the front row in his big, warm voice with an adorable accent saying, "Ladies, does anyone want to dance?" Holly couldn't hear their response, but she understood the look of shock and embarrassment that crossed Jason's face as he turned and began to walk quickly away.
"Me, me! I'll dance with you!" Holly realized that he'd been turned down, and the thought that all four of them must be completely crazy made her hurry... ditching her drink of water, tripping over chairs, hurrying up behind Jason's back to catch him before he vanished, and reaching out to take his extended hand. He had no idea where the voice came from, but he'd stopped in his tracks to wait. When he turned his head to see who'd taken his hand, his eyes widened. And, then, his brain went blurry. He couldn't remember what she said her name was or where she said she was from, but his brain re-connected just in time to hear, "new dancer."
And, that is how Holly met Jason. Jason couldn't think straight for the rest of the weekend whenever they danced together. He'd miss easy square dance calls. "I got the prettiest girl at the ball," he said. Even though Holly had no idea she was registering on his radar at all, apparently she was all he could talk about all weekend with his square dancing friends from Atlanta. "I met this amazing girl..."
As the four-day National Square Dance Convention progressed, Holly and Jason kept looking for opportunities to dance together again. That first night, Jason handed Holly his business card. Holly did her homework and found him on Facebook. The first thing she noticed the next morning was his post of his Bible verse of the day from he pre-planned devotional which was, "He who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains a favor from the Lord." His thought was, "Amen!" Holly's inner thought was, "and, have you found her?" She messaged him and sent along her phone number since there was no way to communicate about getting to dance together again. Of course, Jason was thrilled with the treasure of her phone number. It was still difficult to connect, however; and the next solo dance during the day was a brief one, as the caller specifically mixed up the solo dancers to get them dancing with multiple partners. Holly didn't want other partners; she wanted the handsome man with the white Stetson cowboy hat. (Holly’s dad always said that in the western movies the good guy always wore the white cowboy hat.)
That night Jason was with the youth, so Holly didn't see him; however, Jason and his friend passed by her and her mother in the shopping area, and his friend stopped to drop the first hint that Jason liked her by inviting her to dance at the pre-convention dance for Atlanta, 2019, that night. When she saw the embarrassed look on Jason's face as he heard his friend present the invitation, finishing with "Jason would really like for you to come," accompanied by Jason's facial expression that told the entire tale, she was delighted. Since Holly hadn't yet learned the Plus level of square dancing, she couldn't go that night to the Atlanta pre-convention dance and missed more dancing with Jason, and that left not much time to spend together. If Jason did come dancing in the Mainstream room that night, they kept missing each other.
Saturday was a big day. In the morning Holly dropped into the solo dance room once more to see if Jason was there. He wasn’t there yet, and she sat down to watch without a partner to dance with her. He stopped by just a few minutes later with only 15 minutes left to dance. Holly called to him as he was passing by and said, “Hey, there, do you want to dance?!” Jason replied happily, “Sure!” She asked if she could put her phone in his backpack to keep it safe, which he was overjoyed to do, and they managed to stay together since the caller wasn't mixing couples anymore. Holly had several offers, but she informed them all that she'd promised to dance with Jason and that they'd need to ask him.... also, to Jason's delight.
The last opportunity of the afternoon was to be at the dance for the attempt to secure the title of the “World's Largest Square Dance" in the Guinness Book of World Records. Holly and Jason were going to meet to be able to do that together; however, signals got mixed up, and Jason ended up dancing with someone else. Holly was looking everywhere for him, but he couldn't be found. She ended up standing on a chair to take a photo of the almost 3,000 people breaking the record, and Jason saw her. He hurried over to apologize and to offer to find her a partner if she didn't have one. Of course, Holly's heart sank because she assumed he wasn't really interested in dancing with her; but she said that was OK. She danced, instead, with an elderly gentleman from Pennsylvania.
Saturday night was literally the last chance for Jason to make his bid on the prettiest girl at the ball. He showed up a little late looking for her, but she was already swinging around the dance floor, again, with elderly partners and younger partners. She had a wrap on her ankle from the dancing wearing it out after the weekend. She was tired of having so many different solo partners. She was disappointed she couldn't find Jason, and she began to realize that he might not even realize how much she enjoyed his company. So, then, she sat down on the sidelines feeling very discouraged and ready to call it quits, go to the hotel early and get some sleep for early departure on Sunday morning.
She heard a still, small voice in her heart say, "Just wait a little while." So, she sat still, not sure why she was waiting. Then, "OK, now, walk around the perimeter of the dance floor!" So, she got up and began to walk around the wall line of the dance floor, turned the corner, and she saw Jason standing there - just behind the solo section where she'd been standing by the water cooler on that first night. She was SO HAPPY to see him that her face lit up like a Christmas tree, and she wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him lightly and said, "Hi, Jason! I'm so happy to see you!" With his reaction that followed, she thought maybe he didn't like it and that maybe she'd better not do that again.
Truth be told, however, is that Jason was so totally overwhelmed at the strong electrifying current that reached from head to toe, that he realized that there was something really there between them that he should not overlook. They danced away the rest of the night together until 11:30 p.m. when there were just about thirty minutes left of the convention. (Cinderella, the midnight pumpkin!!) Jason decided he was starving, due to the fact that Holly had danced him off of his feet; he needed some pizza.
"Pizza?! You've got to be kidding!" was Holly's thought as she was telling him that he'd promised to introduce her to his Atlanta dancing friends, and she'd come along to meet them before saying, “Goodbye.” Thanks, again, to Jason's friend, Lonnie, he gave the relationship another push by saying to Jason,"Do you want to invite her to go along?" Jason nodded his head decidedly, "Yes!" Holly realized her mother, who was at the hotel sleeping, wouldn't miss her because there was still another half hour to go of convention and wouldn't be excepting her until after midnight. While she was, in her mind, scrolling through all of the reasons why she should say, “No,” she heard herself agreeing that it would be fun to go. However, she realized she'd left her wallet at the hotel and had no money after accepting the invitation. "Let us take care of that," Lonnie said (meaning Jason), and they set off for a restaurant that was across the corner from Holly's hotel in the Carew Tower.
Holly and Jason enjoyed a nice chat on the short walk, Holly ordered a Chicago hotdog, and Jason happily paid for her meal and said, "I'll buy your dinner if you'll come dancing at the Tennessee State Convention in Gatlinburg.” She promised she would before realizing it would be another eleven-hour drive just a few weeks away. Throughout the dinner and chatting with Jason's friends across the table, she kept tapping his arm when she wanted to say something to him, since he was sitting next to her, and he said (unbeknownst to her) the same electrifying charge would follow head to toe every single time she touched his arm. It was something unforgettable.
They parted at the restaurant's street corner as Jason went on with his friends. Holly crossed the street on her own, passing by a drunk man on the way, thanked the hotel security officer for being at the corner so she'd not be frightened, and she waved across the intersection and shouted a farewell, "Goodnight!"
And, so, the 66th National Square Dance Convention ended on June 24th, 2017; and, on June 25th before checking out of the Carew Tower's Hilton Hotel, Holly was checking out his Facebook "About Me" page, and she especially noticed one thing he'd written, "Jesus is the love of my life." "O, wow," she thought, since that was an echo of her own heart, "I have to get to know this man better!" So, she texted Jason to see if he was interested in going to the top of the tower before he left with his friends for Georgia. She was unaware that Jason was wary of heights, and he declined. "Ah, well,' she thought again, "he's just not interested in me."
So, Holly left to go visit her aunt and uncle for a few days and for a little family reunion at her cousin's house in Cincinnati before returning home to Pennsylvania. To her surprise Jason initiated a chat soon after he returned home while she was still visiting her aunt and uncle. Jason knew there was something very different about this girl he'd met in Cincinnati. "She glows. She has a bright, happy spirit. She was the most beautiful girl at the ball." He didn't realize at the time that her secret was her deep love for Jesus and her relationship with Him. According to his closest friends, Jason was HAPPY after he got home. So happy, in fact, that everyone was wondering what was up with Jason. He whistled and he sang as he went through his days, and he confided to his dear friends that he had "met this amazing girl."
And, so, began a whirlwind of chats, messenger texts, and FaceTime video visits over the next few weeks. As Jason shared his heart with Holly, she began to realize how very much their hearts' desires for life, for future, for a life-long friend and partner connected. Being able to spend so much time communicating verbally was a huge help to the start of their relationship. And, so within a couple weeks, she realized that the promise she'd made to Jason when he bought her her Chicago hot dog dinner that night in Cincinnati may just be a very important moment in her life.
Because she was firmly convinced in God giving her parents wisdom and counsel in guiding her steps in her future, she prayed and asked God for direction. "Mom, I really like this Jason, and I wonder if it's God's will for me to go to Gatlinburg for the weekend to dance with him and get to know him better. Can you please pray about it and see if God gives you peace about the trip?" Since Holly had always traveled with family and friends, it was a huge step for her to go. Holly and her mom, Rita, prayed together and asked the Lord for financial provision as well as for guidance and peace regarding His will.
All the lights began to literally turn green for Holly to go to Gatlinburg: the funds came in quickly, everything fell into place, and the peace of God filled their hearts.
Just a little over a month later, on August 3rd, 2017, Holly stepped into Jason's arms as he got off of the elevator accompanied by his friend, Lonnie, for a big, huge Jason bear hug. Throughout the convention she always felt an extra helping of God's peace every time he tucked her under his arm and wrapped his arms around her. She knew. He knew. And, so, that first nighttime walk through Gatlinburg under the street lights they connected and chatted and enjoyed each other's company.
Jason asked Holly if she'd be his girl on one of those evening walks after the square dancing ended for the day, and she accepted. Such joy and happiness - they were falling in love.
Although most of their relationship, being long distance, and involving many phone calls and FaceTime chats each day, there were still visits back and forth about once a month or every month and a half for a few days. Holly and her mom, Rita, visited Jason and his family at the end of August. The blessing of Jason's parents, as well, on their relationship was very important to both Holly and Jason. Jason, then, followed with visits to Pennsylvania several times from September on, including Thanksgiving and Christmas.
There was just no question early on that they were meant to be together, so discussion of the idea of getting married started as early as September. Jason was coming to terms with moving to Pennsylvania since Holly was invested there already and caring for her mother. He also said he needed to take time to begin to close chapters as well as train those who would be taking his place in certain ministries at his church. He wanted a chance to say, "goodbye," to his camp kids over the last summer together in 2018.
And, so, they waited. Holly waited for the special proposal Jason had wanted from his youth. Yet, knowing that planning a wedding takes months, they both began planning the wedding together in January.
Holly wanted to use her mother's ring that her dad had given to her mother almost 50 years prior, and Jason had it in his care.
When Jason visited Pennsylvania in February for Valentines' Day, he had the ring. He refused to do what so many do in proposing on Valentines' Day, so the day came and went; however, he had no plans to take the ring home again with him. He wanted to propose at a square dance on February 17th, and he had it all mapped out; but, due to Pennsylvania weather, the dance was canceled because of a snowstorm which made evening travel impossible.
Holly had no idea what was in store, as Jason had convinced her that there was a special place in Georgia where he wanted to propose; and, at this point, God surprised them both. On February 18, 2018, with Holly's mom (Rita) and the pastor helping by encouraging the idea, Jason proposed at Holly's church just after the church announcements for the week were made. "I have a special word from the Lord, " the pastor said, "would Jason Rorex please come to the front of the church." Holly's mind was spinning thinking, "What is this? Is the pastor going to introduce him to the church and begin planning a church-wide hoedown?" When Jason asked Holly to come forward, she walked down the steps and wondered why he needed her to announce a hoedown. As she approached the stage, she realized he had his jacket tucked under his arm and guessed maybe he had something special inside of it. She wondered if this was the moment. And, so, both Holly and Jason were totally surprised by the Lord, and Jason got on his knee and asked Holly if she'd be his wife. (See video of proposal below.)
After church Holly, Jason and Rita continued with their plans to travel to Delaware for a steak dinner to celebrate and, then, on to Longwood Gardens for a special celebration and to create memories.
Perhaps it's a thought many may be thinking, since we have both waited A LONG TIME.
Jason will tell you that his waiting time, as well as the lessons he learned along the way, have all built him into the man he is to be ready to become Holly's husband - to love and cherish her, care for her, and to recognize the gifts and talents and gifts of love she demonstrates as being precious. He also says that there was a process of finding who he was, a growth and strength in his relationship with the Lord, and many blessings that have come through trials and struggles.
Jason has also given much of his life to serving his home church family. He's been an important part of the ministry and workings of the church in so many ways. He has volunteered many hours working with children and young people at church summer camp, in mentoring inmates in prison ministry, teaching classes for the homeless to help them gain jobs and learn financial responsibility, going on international mission trips, as well as just being a friend to those in need. His job at First Presbyterian Church has always been his ministry, and he's sad to leave the many friends he's made there over his lifetime. It's the church he was born into, and it's been a very important part of his growth in his walk with the Lord and in his spiritual journey.
Holly had a vibrant ministry for many years teaching music. Along the way she taught as many as 50 piano students weekly, 5 handbell choirs, and edited and wrote for home-education magazines. Holly worked with many home-educated students, and her goal was to give them a musical education as well as to take them to share their talent internationally on musical performance tours to Scotland, Germany, and the Midwest.
Holly also supported her family through her dad's illness and passing in June, 2011. As the end was near for her dad, he asked Holly if she'd take care of her mother for him. She promised she would, even though she knew it could mean signing away any of a future for herself. And, yet, it was because of that step of faith and obedience that brought her to start square dancing in October of 2016. She wanted to provide exercise for her visually challenged mother to help increase her mobility, and square dancing was the method she chose after seeking the Lord for direction as to what she should do.
Mostly, for Holly, her goal was to wait on God. To wait patiently (sometimes not-so-patiently!), to wait, to wait, to wait... on God choosing her future spouse, as she trusted that her times were in His hands. She always believed she'd know the man God had for her when she met him, and for that one man she saved the keys to her heart. In the process of waiting she wanted so much that Jesus be the love of her life so that the addition of another in her life to love would be adding the cherry on top.
Holly has saved something special from the time she was a young teenager: the key to her heart. She had a little, gold key she had saved to give to one man - the ONLY man- for her. She gave it to Jason on Easter weekend. She and Jason are also saving something very special for their wedding day... their first kiss.
Our relationship has been one of happiness, joy and blessing. Long distance is hard, since there's the loneliness and missing each other; however, it's a part of God's plan for us. Our verbal communication during this time has been an invaluable part of the process, and we are very much looking forward to catching up on dating after our wedding in August.
We hope you will join us to celebrate our very special wedding day as we rejoice in what God is joining together, and we look forward to a future filled with happiness and of serving the Lord together, as well as being heirs together of the grace of life.
Our hope and prayer is that our lives will be a testimony of the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. He has been so good to us. Our testimonies both are filled with the hard times of reaching this point where we can truly value and treasure each other's hearts and love for one another. We had truly each given up our own dreams and plans and placed our lives and futures into the hands of God; and, then, He worked His wonder for us in bringing us together.
And, so, the time has now come. God has done a marvelous work in both of our lives, brought us together, and He isn't finished yet!
Many thanks to Jenny Ramsey, the lady who encouraged him and taught him to dance, for this recording. (Audio and video are slightly out of sync.)
LIVE STREAMING OF OUR WEDDING CEREMONY BEGINS AT 3:45 P.M. EST on August 25th, 2018.
*A note about our registry... when you create your registry, they ask you if you wish to allow your fiancé to add to your registry, manage and edit the items. I wanted Jason to have that freedom, as he's so enjoying being the groom and planning how to launch his new household he can call his own. We added some items together, I added a few things I needed, and Jason very much enjoyed putting his wishes on there, too. If you have a question about a particular item, please feel free to ask Jason. Some are asking what we REALLY need, and we go into further detail under "The Knot Newlywed Fund." We hope you enjoy our website, our story, and our photo albums. We wanted so much to share the details of our our joy in our relationship with you. May God bless you. Thank you for coming by. -Holly
**If you're having difficulty with the RSVP online feature and your invitation isn't located in the data base, please let either Jason or Holly know. There have been some tech glitches reported where invitations couldn't be found in the data base, and we want to be sure your RSVP is well cared for!
***Giving us the gift of your photos and videos at each of our events would be a gift that will last a lifetime! To make sharing yours easy, we subscribed to the VERI photo sharing app. The app provides a code for each event, which you enter into the FREE downloaded app, and all photos and video will automatically upload as you take them. No hashtags or manual uploading are necessary. Event codes will be provided at each event location, so look for the code to enter in at VERI there! THANK YOU!!! Click here to download: VERI, the free photo sharing app