20 years ago, yesterday (February 23, 2002), in my (Candy’s) hometown of San Angelo, TX, we said “I do” in front of family and friends, many of whom (I’m pretty sure) thought we were crazy. 😂 We have a lot of new friends who don’t know our love story, so I thought I’d reminisce a little bit and share it. 🥰 It’s my favorite love story!
Paul and I originally met online in an MSN chatroom back in the days of dial-up connections. This predated online dating sites and match-making apps. We’re kind of “old-fashioned” like that. Ha! Paul lived in Bideford, North Devon, England at the time, and I lived in San Angelo, Texas…a world apart!
I had what I like to call “no life” at the time and found myself a Host of a Christian online chatroom. It was actually a lot of fun. People would come into the chatroom and ask questions, talk about their faith, share their testimony, ask for prayer, etc. I met a lot of interesting people in there and had the opportunity to pray with and encourage many people. My host responsibilities were also to make sure things stayed nice and rude people didn’t come in causing problems or spamming the room. It would be a similar role to today’s Facebook group Admins and Moderators.
Paul’s roommate at the time (Hi, Gareth!) kept trying to get him to check out chatrooms. Paul says he just gave him a hard time about it most of the time…until one day, they happened into the chatroom that I was a host of. Paul mostly observed the conversations that were happening, but I guess he was impressed with my answers??? LOL! We chatted some that night and met up in the chatroom frequently after that.
We “chatted” regularly for over a year, becoming great friends in the process. Our chatroom chats turned to emails, private messaging through another program called ICQ, and even phone calls. (He had the CUTEST British accent back then!) Eventually, we decided to meet in person. Paul took his first plane flight EVER and flew into Midland, TX on May 5, 2001. I guess you could say that the visit went well. 😉 He says he knew as soon as he first saw me that we were going to get married, though it took me a little longer to come to that conclusion. LOL! He was in Texas for 3 weeks, so as you can imagine…that could have been awesome, or a disaster! Ha! Thankfully, it was going FANTASTICALLY, so I took a week off of work and we drove down to South Padre Island (one of the reasons it’s such a special place for us!) By the time he left Texas, we both “just knew” that our relationship was God-orchestrated and that we were destined to be together.
We planned for me to fly to England to see where he was from in August of 2001. It was an AMAZING trip! By then, we knew we were going to get married and began looking into immigration paperwork for him to move to the USA. He was supposed to fly back over to ask my daddy for his blessing on our marriage…on September 13, 2001. But…September 11 happened. So, that trip was canceled. We went ahead and started immigration paperwork rolling, which meant he couldn’t leave the UK until everything was approved. So, I flew back to England in November…for Thanksgiving (some of you will get the humor in that, but the plane tickets were cheap! Ha!) On that trip, we “officially” got engaged. ❤️ Weren’t we cute?
He ended up having to “ring” my daddy to ask him for his blessing over the phone, instead of doing it in person, due to the circumstances. My parents really liked Paul and were both very supportive and gave us their blessing. I’m sure they had some reservations though…what parent wouldn’t???!! Thank you, Mama and Daddy, for trusting me on this one! LOL! We were told the immigration paperwork could take up to a year, but it was processed and approved in 3 months. It probably didn’t hurt that he was immigrating from England during that very trying time in our world’s history. Paul arrived in Texas on January 15, 2002, and we had 90 days to get married. He was literally my 90-day fiancé! LOL! All of that was fine because our wedding was already planned and scheduled for February 23, 2002. It was the most amazing day! The sun was shining. It was 83 degrees. Everything was perfect. We were in love. I was wearing my dream dress. We were surrounded by friends and family. That was the day I had dreamed of my whole life and I got to marry my best friend and my love. ❤️
Our years of RVing have taught us both to love the practical gift…but, it’s fun to turn something practical into something really special and meaningful. For our 20th Anniversary, I got Paul a new wallet, but not just any wallet…I had my handwritten love note engraved in the leather. It turned out really beautiful. ❤️ You can check out the Etsy store I ordered it from here. I’ll show you the front of the wallet, but the love note is just for him. 😉
Paul knows my love language and gave me the most AMAZING spice rack! I know that sounds silly, but I really do have a spice problem. I LOVE to cook for my family. I cook almost every single day. I use every spice I own. I show my family love by cooking delicious meals for them. He knew I was struggling in my new kitchen with my spice organization. This rack and new bottles are so beautiful! It does my OCD heart wonders to have everything the same, organized alphabetically, and easy to get to. LOL! What a perfect gift! I absolutely love it and will use it forever!
We have an amazing marriage, awesome children, have the most fun together, and have lived the fullest life in our 20 years together. We have had more adventures than most people can even dream up in a lifetime. We have also faced devastating hardships and the loss of our baby girl in 2007 and have overcome the depression and anxiety that came as a result of that experience. We have struggled individually at times and as a couple at times, but one thing has always kept us grounded. That is LOVE…our love for, and faith in, our Savior and our love for each other. Love really does overcome. These 20 years have taught us both so much. As we have both grown in our relationship with the Lord, our relationship with each other has grown as well. Our family has grown. Our faith has grown. We have taken steps of faith and watched God work in us and through us. I pray that God blesses us with many, many more years and adventures together! In the meantime, I’m just enjoying every day with my favorite person and thanking God for bringing us together all those years ago. Thank you for reminiscing with me! Thinking about those days fills my cup with so much joy and awe of how God worked in both of our lives, leading us to that point in time and to each other! Amazing!
Candy ❤️ Paul 4/ever!
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”
Every couple has a love story. Let’s hear it! When, where, and how did you meet your significant other? Any other “internet love connections” out there?