Thursday, August 11, 2011

August 11, 2011

Today is Nate's and my 4 year anniversary. I am happy to say that I love him more today than I did when I said "I do." For those of you that don't know, Nate and I could be one of those success stories for the online dating service. I was struggling to meet good Christian men (found a lot of bad Christians and good Nonchristians but really wanted the combination) on my own in Charlotte, so I bit the bullet and took to the computer. As I had been brought up in a very traditional home, I felt quite uncomfortable with "seeking" men out, so how I resolved that issue was I decided to set up my profile for others to see and then I would wait. I would not contact anyone. I would wait to see if people would contact me. If I remember correctly, I think I set up my profile in January 2006. At the end of February I was contacted by Nate. His humor and wit in the way he set up his profile made me laugh out loud and I immediately wanted to get to know this guy more. However, Nate was from Ithaca, NY and I was in Charlotte, NC. Neither one of us thought it would amount to anything as long distance is not easy even in the best of circumstances. We communicated via the dating site for a while and then exchanged "real" email and IM addresses. And then we started speaking on the phone. In May 2006, we came to a breaking point because I had also been communicating with other men online as well and had a date with one of them. When Nate and I were IMing one day he asked what my plans were for the evening. I had decided that if he asked I'd tell the truth. We didn't "speak" (no emails or IMs or phone calls) for 5 days. I was beside myself. His not talking to me for several days made me come to terms with how much I cared about him and he admits that when he heard I was going out on a date with someone else, he realized what I meant to him. Why was it 5 days, you might ask?  Nate was in Colorado at a conference and had extended his time there a few days to hike in the mountains. When he returned, and we resumed contact, we agreed to meet. We met on June 9, 2006 in Washington DC. We had a great time exploring the capitol and getting to know one another. At the end of that meeting, we realized that we wanted to continue this and see where it ended up. So at the end of July, I flew to Ithaca and spent the weekend seeing Nate in his surroundings and over Labor Day weekend, Nate flew to Charlotte and met my family and friends. In the midst of sharing our past histories, we discovered that his father had been a pastor for an EMC (Evangelical Mennonite Church) in Midland, MI at one point. That is the church denomination I was a part of growing up. And, if you can tell by the name, it isn't a very large denomination (in fact, I don't think it even exists under that name anymore). I was astounded. When he asked me where I grew up I told him and he knew the town. This may not seem like a big deal to many people, but trust me, it is SHOCKING to find someone who is familiar with Gridley, IL that didn't grow up there. My usual response to people that ask where I'm from is, "oh, it's a really small town in IL near Bloomington/ Normal."  When he asked me for the name, I told him and he said, "Oh yeah, I think I've been there." And this is the freaky part. He said, "I've been to Meadows." Um.  Gridley is small, but Meadows? Meadows is basically non-existent. It turned out that a man that went to my church was very close to Nate's parents, Bill Klopfenstein. He had retired to the Meadows Retirement Home, and attended my church. Bill actually baptized Nate at my small church in Gridley. I was astonished. When we looked at when these things happened and how we hadn't met, we realized that we probably went to the same church camp (Nate can't remember the name of the camp he went to but Miracle Camp "sounds familiar") at the same time. When Bill Klopfenstein baptized him, my family was in Haiti, so it was kinda like that movie Sliding Doors and our "doors" kept opening when the other wasn't around. For my mom, this was what she needed to hear to realize that God had amazingly orchestrated this relationship and that it "was meant to be." Nate & I committed to seeing each other once a month and talked daily. In October, I flew up to Ithaca and in November, we met in Bloomington, IL for my cousin's wedding, where Nate was introduced to EVERYONE. I mean, he was introduced to aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, third was quite overwhelming!  By then, we knew. We knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. For Christmas, I flew to New York and on Christmas morning, Nate asked me to marry him. From then it was a whirlwind of craziness - planning, shopping, etc. As you can see from this description, I still had not met Nate's family. Nate's parents were in Alaska for the year and so in April of 2007 we flew out to Alaska so I could meet them. We had a great week with them. During all of this, Nate and I were both packing, putting our houses on the market, and preparing to merge our lives. Nate was offered a position in Ann Arbor at the University of Michigan, and in May of 2007 we met in Detroit to look for a new home for us. Nate moved in June, and then I moved my stuff at the end of July and then after our honeymoon in Cancun, we drove up to Ann Arbor from Charlotte. It has been a fabulous four years and am looking forward to many many more! Happy Anniversary to the love of my life!

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