Once upon a time, a girl -- bored and recovering from a painfully recent surgery -- wandered into a little corner of the Net. Browsing through message after message, she stumbled across an interesting note from a boy and decided to respond to him about their common interest -- singing schools.
Little did she know
that he was the
love of her life.
Little did she know
that her life
was about to change ...
Sarah and I have both been around churchofchristsingles.com for a long time. However, I never made much use of my membership till July of 2002, just before I left for my first trip to Singing School in Wilburton, OK. I was surprised to meet people here who knew about the school, and as it was a big event in my life I was talking about it constantly, both before and after the trip. :)
On August 5, 2002, we met on churchofchristsingles.com David had made a post on the message board about his singing school in Wilburton, OK, and it caught my interest. I immediately sent off an email to him, which set in a motion a flury of emails between us for the next 11 months.
It was so exciting to wait each day for a response from Sarah to my latest email. Then when I suggested she call me, I excitedly waited by the phone. But then she indicated that I was going to need to call her father first. I can't express to you how nervous I got. Today I know the man who is now my father-in-law is one of the kindest and gentlest in the world, but I was so scared on that day that my brother discovered after the call (which went well) I had broken out in a rash!
Ladies, no matter what your age, suggesting an interested man call your father first may be a great idea if you want to meet someone you know from this site. I did not like it at the time, but I can definitely see the potential here for protecting yourself from troublemakers. I have been around the Internet long enough to know that a lot of people on it aren't safe -- and I love Sarah so much that I am glad her father took such good care of her.
Another thing we did which came naturally to us but also is a great way to ensure protection on a first date with someone from the Internet was for our first date/meeting to be a night at church services.
We decided to meet face to face in September -- one month after our first email. David came down one Sunday evening to Broad Street, my home congregation. He met me and my family there, and after worship we went to Dairy Queen to visit over ice cream. Sparks flew, and we continued seeing each other on a weekly basis.
Six days after I met Sarah, I treated her family to a cookout at my house with homemade ice cream. Seven days later, we met again for our first real "date" -- an outing at Putt Putt. (Interestingly followed again by ice cream, this time at Marble Slab. That's three dates in a row involving ice cream.)
My first impression of David was that he was the perfect gentleman, which thrilled me to no end. We had a wonderful time at Putt Putt, but the day ended too soon. I found myself anxiously anticipating our next date (and hoping that there would BE a next date!).
It wasn't long till I was going out to meet Sarah almost weekly. The first time we went without seeing each other on a weekend we both felt it and I think we wound up happily running into each other on IM, which turned into a phone call which resulted in our expressing to each other a desire to continue to see each other.
Sarah was 20 and I was 24, and neither one of us had ever had a serious relationship or even kissed anyone. I had never even held a lady's hand. Gradually our relationship deepened and we crossed each of these milestones. Though some may not see this as important, I am thankful that I can say the only woman I have ever kissed is my wife. I will never forget the night I first told Sarah I loved her. As she left she told me she didn't want to leave, and I told her I didn't want her to, either.
Even though Sarah lived two hours a way, she had a grandmother living nearby, so it was thankfully possible for her to come out to visit me for more than a day trip. And as Sarah's family was going to be meeting at that grandmother's house for Thanksgiving, we arranged for Sarah to come out early. We then spent all the time we could together at Christmas and New Years'.
Around this time I had a month of stressful life changes that Sarah helped me through. First I was told I was going to be laid off at the end of the year. I immediately found myself on a very limited budget. Four weeks later I had found another position with my company, but had now been diagnosed with a cholesterol problem and would have to start eating a low-fat diet or face serious problems later in life. Suddenly I found that I had an incentive besides just myself to be going to work and taking care of my health. Throughout it all Sarah stood by me and offered emotional support.
Once the holidays were over life returned to "normal." I was back in a job and unfortunately only seeing Sarah on the weekends, most of the time. We were constantly emailing and IMing each other, however. My new position required me to commute to Dallas, so every afternoon I had 45 minutes to an hour on the way home to spend on the phone with the lady I loved. For the first time in my life I used up the free 1000 minutes per month my company gives me. :)
Soon Sarah and I began to talk with the intention of getting married. While not engaged, we planned for the future together. Both of us came from families that took marriage very seriously, and so did we. Sarah found out that my father dated my stepmother for five years before they got married, and started to sound a little bit worried I was going to follow in his footsteps, but I assured her that we didn't have the same issues they did (five children) so that was not the case. ;)
Speaking of children, Sarah and I both love children, and definitely wanted to have some of our own one day. We both thought it was very important that parents put a lot of thought into the upbringing of their children, and talked about this very much. We found that we both had the same ideas about raising children and were happy to think of each other as one day being the good father or mother we had been looking for for our children. We had one significant difference: Sarah had been homeschooled for her entire childhood, while most of my previous experiences with homeschooling families had left me with a lot of prejudices that made it hard to consider that possibility for our children.
We talked a lot about our respective schoolings and what we thought was importnant. At the same time a lot of the things I had been reading on the Internet began to point me to homeschooling as a valuable choice. In addition to the evidence of the highly successful woman I had fallen in love with, I learned many more success stories and realized that what I had thought before about homeschooling was misinformed. While both of us expressed our willingness to yield to the other on the issue, and we promised to reconsider the issue as appropriate if circumstances are not what we expect, Sarah and I eventually agreed that our children would also be homeschooled, as she was. It's been over a year since I came around to that way of thinking, and my feelings on the matter have only grown more positive.
In the summer of 2003, we decided to go to each others singing schools. Mine was June, in Marshall, Texas. We had a great time together and were anticipating the next Singing School in July. It wasn't long before we were packing up the car and heading for Wilburton, Oklahoma!
I was sick all week that week, but we still had a great time with each other and our friends there in Wilburton. But as Saturday rolled around, the time came to go home. I was tired and sick and really wanting to sleep in for a change (singing school is full of early mornings!). But David was in a hurry to get on the road. Needless to say I was a little annoyed with him when he refused to let me sleep in.
As we were walking to breakfast on campus, and I was fuming, David took my hand and said, "I was thinking on the way back to east Texas we'd take a little detour through DFW and go ring shopping."
I almost laughed. I thought he was joking! When I looked over at him to make a sarcastic remark, though, he asked me to marry him.
My heart jumped ... of course I said yes :) The early morning wasn't so bad, afterall!
Sarah and I excitedly announced our engagement online the day we got home from Singing School. We had made so many friends on churchofchristsingles.com and were so happy to have all of them rejoicing with us. We settled down to wedding preparations and the life changes to come.
Sarah had already made arrangements to move in with her grandmother to attend school in my area. This plan went ahead, one month after our engagement began. Soon we were able to see each other every single day!
Sarah and I were married on March 12, 2004 at College Hill Church of Christ. While our ceremony was mostly traditional, we made a few modifications. Sarah and I had similar feelings about keeping a wedding affordable, and I had told her from the beginning that what was most important to me was keeping the wedding meaningful. Sarah asked her two sisters to serve as her maids of honor, and I asked my brother and sister to serve as my best man and honor attendant. We asked my father and brother to sing the music we selected. Included among the songs was a hymn I had learned at singing school in 2002, just before I met Sarah. When I first heard this song I thought it would make a great song for a wedding. The song was named "I keep my heart only for you," and Sarah surprised me by having the phrase engraved on my wedding ring. :)
We wrote our own vows together, and I composed a written prayer which I read at the end of the ceremony. We were blessed to have many good friends present for our wedding, including at least three from churchofchristsingles.com
I'm really glad we kept things simple and cheap -- the only decorations were some candles, and my mother and sister made a beautiful cake for us, saving us a bundle! I later heard stories about the wedding rehearsal that took place once we left the auditorium; they had atleast 7 bridesmaids and a ton of decorations that had to be put up that night. The preacher was barking orders and nobody seemed happy. It just strengthened my belief that weddings should be as simple and stress free as possible.