I went ahead and started this blog because our other one at www.mjandchilly.ourweddingday.com is impossible to edit (I don't know what is going on with ourweddingday.com but it is very difficult to use, and it didn't start out that way. Oh well).
Most of you know how Bill and I met, but for those of you who don't, here's the story:
A few years ago, I signed up with a site called Christian Cafe. I hadn't had much luck at all; most of the people who I had even a passing interest in were too far away for me to consider very seriously (I think the closest I ever found was somewhere in Los Angeles). I let my membership lapse, but the site kept sending me little notes trying to entice me back. Finally in late July of 2008, I thought that I might as well try again, so I decided to renew my membership.
I looked around for a while and sent a few emails, but didn't get any responses. I still had my membership but hadn't logged on in a few weeks when I received a notice that I had new email in my inbox. I checked it and there was a message from a nice-looking man with a dark beard--and he was from San Luis Obispo (about 30 miles up the road from me). Intrigued, I read his email. He said he'd seen that I looked at his profile (Had I? I wondered. I'd spent most of my time online late at night when I was too tired to think), and that he thought I sounded like a nice girl. He asked if I would email him back if I thought the same of him, and when I reread his profile I realized that I had indeed read it before. He sounded kind and funny and sweet, but most of all he had a heart for God, and I decided that yes, I would email him back.
In his next email, 'Bill' gave me his phone number--a bold move, I thought. Well, this was something. I decided it was only fair to give him mine since he'd given me his, and a few nights later I was out for a drive when I received a phone call from a number I didn't recognize. I glanced at it again and said aloud, "OH, I know who this must be!" I put him on speakerphone (this was just after the headset law came into effect, and mine was broken) and chatted with him on my way back to my house. SIX HOURS LATER we hung up, having talked about everything from God to baseball to movies and music and family. Neither of us worked the next day, thank goodness (we were off for Labor Day).
We decided to meet that Wednesday night at a Starbucks midway between our homes, and so at about 7pm that night we had our first meeting. Well, we actually went next door to Quizno's for something to eat first, but then we went back to Starbucks and stayed until nearly 11pm that night.
Bill says that when we left he was going to shake my hand, but I threw my arms open and closed my eyes, ready to hug him like he was a long-lost friend. That impressed him very much, and inspired him to ask me what I was doing on Friday evening. "Going out with you, I imagine," I said, and so we did--to Red Lobster for dinner and a movie.
The next afternoon, Mom and I were at lunch and I received a text: "It's a beautiful day and I would love to go walking with you on the beach." We spent the afternoon walking from Grover Beach to the Pismo Pier and back, a considerable distance. I knew things were beginning to get serious when we shared our first kiss that night just before parting company for the evening. "Oh heavens, what's all this?" I wondered.
The next morning (Sunday), Bill came to my church--and arrived before I did, actually. We have a crew that sets up the meeting space in the local YMCA, and so Bill just chipped right in and started helping. A friend thought to herself, "Oh, here's a single guy about Melissa's age--I should introduce them!" She was happily surprised to find out that we had already met. ~_^
We went and saw Burn After Reading, a very funny and very wrong movie shortly thereafter. We were going to leave after a limit of about 10-15 F-bombs, but by that time it was more than half an hour after the movie started and we thought we wouldn't be able to get our money back. I thought it was interesting to see how we reacted to questionable material with each other, and we found that we could talk about most everything without getting embarrassed or nervous--a definite plus!
About a month into our relationship, I did something which struck Bill as being very bold: I asked him to accompany me on my yearly vacation to see my Dad and family in Florida. We bought our tickets and chose our seats, and looked forward to the day we would leave. "Only three weeks left!" he would text of a morning. "Only two weeks left! I'm so excited!" and on and on. I found that I was very excited myself, and so the Saturday before we left, I checked our reservation. I was shocked to find out that the seats we had so carefully picked out weeks before were no longer on our reservations! I called Bill and told him what had happened, and he discovered the same thing on his own reservation. He didn't even have a seat on the outgoing flight from Santa Barbara to Phoenix; a bad sign, since an unsecured seat means that the flight is probably in an 'oversell' situation--meaning that the airline sells more seats than it has on the plane in hopes that someone will either cancel, reschedule, or, failing either of those, give up their seat for a voucher at the airport. After some wrangling with the off-shore call center for the airline and not getting any results, we prayed and left our vacation in God's hands.
We went to the airport extra early (around 5am, eek) and asked the station attendant who checked us in if we could have seats together. "Of course," he said, and just like that, we were off to Tampa! We had a wonderful vacation, and Bill made fast friends with my dad, my stepmom, and their Brittanys Andy and Dylan (Dylan especially loved Bill and was very sad when we left). After spending a lovely time with friends and family, Bill and I were up one evening asking, "Who would we invite, if we "hypothetically possibly thought about ever getting married someday" (we often talked about getting married using that 'disclaimer'). Between us, we listed about 85 guests, as well as those too far away to get an invitation but whom we would notify anyway.
The day after Thanksgiving, Bill accompanied myself and my aunt, cousin, and paternal grandmother on our demented yearly Black Friday shopping trip. Bill and I had looked at rings online and I had thought I knew exactly what I wanted in a ring. While at the mall, we went in search for a Jamba Juice, and I spotted