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‘There has To Be Rain And Sunshine For Things To Grow’

Special to the Birmingham Times

“You Had Me at Hello’’ highlights married couples and the love that binds them. If you would like to be considered for a future “Hello’’ column, or know someone, please send nominations to Erica Wright ewright@birminghamtimes.com. Include the couple’s name, contact number(s) and what makes their love story unique.


Live: Hueytown 

Married: May 6, 2017 

Met: December 2013, via Facebook. Janeen had seen Michael around their church [Love Fellowship Christian Center in Adamsville], but she, nor anyone in her circle knew who he was. However, one day on Facebook, Michael’s photo came up on Janeen’s ‘people you may know’ suggestions feed, and “I invited him to the Valentine’s Day ball [hosted by the church],” Janeen said. “The goal was to get some single men in, so I asked him if he would come.”

Michael thought Janeen was one of the people working the event, “but at the end of the conversation, I realized what she was trying to do,” he said. “The first time I met her was at the gala… but of course, I checked out her profile and thought she was cute. I wouldn’t have [attended the ball], if I didn’t think she was attractive, she definitely got my approval.”

Between December and the Valentine’s Day ball in February, Michael and Janeen exchanged numbers “and talked over the phone every night like high schoolers,” Janeen said. “We were both always working and didn’t have the chance to meet until the ball.” 

First date: At the church’s Valentine’s Day ball at The Birmingham Botanical Gardens.  “We were each other’s dates, and the funny part was that Michael’s mom didn’t know he had a date to the ball, so she was trying to introduce him to other women at the ball, and Pastor [Rodney Standfield] had Michael stand up and he said ‘this is Sis. Marilyn’s son, he’s single and looking for a nice church-going woman’, and I had to stand up and say ‘hey, he’s with me’,” Janeen laughed. “And then, pastor started laughing and said, ‘oh, I was trying to give her man away!’”

“That was kind of an embarrassing moment for me,” Michael laughed. “I just dropped my head and put my face in my hands… [Although] it was the first-time meeting Janeen in person, we actually connected really well. We had a good time. 

The turn: Summer 2015, the pair had son [Michael II], and the family which included Janeen’s son Collin moved into their Hoover apartment to give the boys a two-parent home. 

The proposal: May 2016, at their Hoover apartment over dinner. “I took [Collin, who was 4] with me to pick out the ring at Kay Jewelers and was a little afraid he would ruin the surprise, but he didn’t,” Michael recalled. “We had a conversation that he would give her hints but not say it. He would say, ‘when are you going to marry mom? Or when are you going to marry dad?’ egging it on, and then she asked him what he was talking about and that’s when I got on one knee and popped the question.”

Janeen said, “I would answer him [her son], ‘whenever daddy is ready to marry me’, but the home girl in me wanted to be smart and say, ‘I’ve been ready to marry daddy for a minute now’,” she laughed. “But of course, I wouldn’t say anything like that… but I was very, very happy. Nothing else really mattered at that moment, it was like I’m ready to spend my life with this person and there was extreme excitement.”

The wedding: At Love Fellowship Christian Center in Adamsville, officiated by Pastor Rodney Standfield. Their colors were cream, peach and pink.

Most memorable for the bride was “our first dance,” Janeen said. “The DJ we had initially hired, [his] mother died suddenly so my mother hired another random DJ, but didn’t tell us….  and when it was time for our first dance he didn’t play the song we requested [‘Till’ the End’ by Jessie Ware,] but played ‘Make It Last Forever’, by Keith Sweat, and I was like ‘this is not what I requested’, but my husband said ‘it’s ok, let’s just keep dancing,’” Janeen said. “After the dance, I went up to him and said I thought ‘I told you what song we wanted to have our first dance to’, and he said ‘oh, I’m not that DJ, his mom died, I was asked to fill in for him and that was what I had’.”

Most memorable for the groom was the vow exchange. “At that particular moment [while] saying my vows, I realized it was getting real because everything I was vowing to do as a husband and a father, I truly meant, and it was coming into fruition,” Michael said. “I realized I was willing to keep those promises to her and I started to cry, and I hadn’t cried since I was a kid.”

Words of wisdom: “Remember to be a team, people always say ‘God’ and all these other cutesy things, but you have to remember that it’s you and him and that you guys are a team and you have to make it work. You guys write the plays and have to work together to execute them,” Janeen said.

Michael said, “everything I vowed to be, I strive to be every day. Everybody is different, no relationship is the same…and everything is 50/50. You both have to give some… There has to be rain and sunshine in order for things to grow, so there are going to be good times and bad times,” he said. “But, if you can get past it, those growth patterns will help you…”   

Happily ever after: The couple has three sons: Collin, 8, Michael II, 5, Dallas, 2, and a baby due Feb 2021.

Janeen, 30, is a Jasper native and graduated from Dora High School (Dora, Ala). She attended Miles College, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in English, with a minor in speech, and works as a contact representative for the Social Security Administration.

Michael, 32, is a Flint, Michigan native, and Grand Blanc High School [Flint MI.] grad. He attended Lane College (Jackson, Tenn.), where he earned a bachelor of science degree in business management with a minor in marketing, and works for the University of Alabama at Birmingham [UAB] Hospital as a sterile tech. 

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Janeen has been working from home and says it has been interesting balancing work and home life with the kids. Michael has continued his normal duties at UAB hospital.