Rhyan and Jeff
I'd given the online dating thing a try with minimum success off and on for several years. Little did I know when I signed up on OkCupid.com that I was going to find my soulmate!
On December 26, 2007 I was bored and tried out the "quick match" button. I went through a few, laughing and cringing at some of the ridiculous things I read! I remember clicking on "quick match" for what I had decided was the last time and up popped a picture of this guy I thought was pretty cute. I was a little discouraged to see that he lived over 1,000 miles away, but out of curiosity, I clicked on his picture which took me to his profile. After reading his profile I realized not only had I been holding my breath, but I also had chills running down my back. If someone had asked me to write the profile of the type of guy I was looking for, I'd have written his profile!
I thought about contacting him briefly, then decided against it. I had my cursor on the red "x" at the top right of the screen, ready to exit the page and go on to something else when a Voice inside me said "Send a message." I paused, shook my head, and again, the Voice said "Send a message".
"Ok", I thought, "Here goes". I know now that it was God urging me to send a message to "Cyberlight1701". I don't even remember what I said, but I'm sure I sounded like a moron.
A few days later, I was surprised to hear back from "Cyberlight1701" and even more surprised to find out that he found my profile interesting too. After we exchanged a few emails via the website, we started talking on Yahoo. We talked for hours almost every day, and then on January 14th, we decided to talk on the phone. I was SOO nervous! Especially since he got off work before I did (due to being an hour ahead) and me not knowing exactly when I'd get off work, we mutually decided I'd be the one to call. I distinctly remember leaving the pediatric dental office I temped at that day and sitting at the traffic light when I heard Jeff's voice for the first time. (Yes I talked on my cell while driving..I know...bad girl!)
We talked for over 4 hours and since that day have never gone one single day without talking, if even for a few minutes. By the end of January, we both knew this "relationship" wasn't a passing thing, a fling, or just temporary. We had both been praying seriously about it (without the other knowing that too, at first) and had been asking God to guide us. We talked about meeting face-to-face, and since we are both NASCAR fans and at the time I lived only a few miles from Texas Motor Speedway, we decided that Jeff would fly out in time for the April Samsung 500.
In February, I finally told my parents about Jeff. I tried to answer as many of their questions as I could, but they were understandably still a little apprehensive. They prayed about it and eventually felt at peace with it and grew excited to meet him too. During the months of February and March we talked an astounding amount of hours, exchanged "I love you"s, and knew that someday we were going to get married.
During this time I also lost one of my very best friends who was, in my mind, like a sister. It hurt so unbelievably badly. However, I had someone that had slowly, and without realizing it, become my very best friend. Having Jeff's support during that time made the pain go away faster.
April 3, 2008 was a day that neither I nor Jeff will ever forget. I had to work that day, and all day it was all I could think about. After my last patient, I hurried to the staff breakroom to "freshen up"...aka primp. Haha! I drove to the airport and went inside to the terminal to wait. Out of all the terminals at DFW, of course, the air conditioner had to be broken in that one. It was SO hot! To top things off, Jeff's flight had been delayed an hour due to weather. So, I went back out to my car and tried to occupy my mind with a book. Yeah, didn't work so well. Finally, with about 30 minutes until his plane was supposed to land, I went back inside. I still wasn't really nervous, just really excited. Okay, maybe just a smidge nervous. I remember going to the bathroom and primping yet again, lol, and as I was walking back to the terminal, my cell phone rings and the caller i.d. said JEFF. He told me they had just landed and were taxiing and that he'd see me in a few minutes. Amazingly, I still wasn't really that nervous. That quickly changed when I saw people exiting the boarding ramp and heading for the baggage claim. I thought I spotted him and called him since that person I saw was heading the wrong way. I will never forget making eye contact with him through the glass and waving back to him.
We hung up the phone as he came through the revolving doors and when we were finally face to face, the nervousness left as we hugged. My first thoughts as we hugged were something along the lines of "wow, he's taller than I thought!", "He's ALOT more handsome than in his pictures ", "Mmm, I love the smell of leather jackets!" and "Hmm, this isn't awkward like I thought it'd be. Weird.". Such random mix to be crossing my mind! Anyway, we had to wait almost half an hour to get his bag, and then we left to eat dinner.
The rest of his trip was filled with movies, meeting my parents and sister (who LOVED him!), and 2 NASCAR races. Wanna win this girl's heart...just take her to a NASCAR race! (Even if you are a Jeff Gordon fan! HAHA!) The day Jeff was supposed to fly back home was also the day American Airlines cancelled virtually every flight. Hooray! That meant Jeff got to stay an additional 4 days!
We decided to look at engagement rings and even tried on a few. We just felt God was totally giving the go-ahead to looking ahead to marriage. We spent more time with my parents and finally after 10 wonderful days, he had to fly back to Virginia. Wow, was that day hard. Oh, they joys of a long-distance relationship!
In May,2008 I flew out east and met his family - I had a blast! I wasn't expecting to get to see Jeff at all in June, but due to being in Mississippi for 2 weeks for work, I was able to drive over for the weekend and see him. Worked out that I got to see where we'd eventually be living. God is so awesome at working things like that out! All this while, Jeff and I had been talking again about rings and when we'd like to get married. Jeff repeatedly led me to believe that my very favorite ring setting couldn't be found since I had originally found it at a Zales Outlet.
On July 4th I flew to Philadelphia to spend my 10-day vacation with Jeff. That night we went to a outdoor concert in NJ and while sitting under an umbrella we talked again about rings and dates and such. Again, Jeff was all torn up because he "was trying and trying and trying to find the setting I liked and just couldn't". I fell for it hook, line, and sinker! The next day, after doing some sightseeing in downtown Philadelphia, we headed up to the Pocono mountains to see Jeff's Granny. It is SO beautiful up there!
The morning of the 6th, we got up as previously planned (weeks before) at 4:30 to go to a nearby lake that Jeff and his Poppy (grandfather) used to go to all the time. We were going so early so we could watch the sunrise. Since I didn't suspect anything, when the alarm went off, I pulled my hair in a ponytail, put my glasses, jeans, and shoes on and went out the door. It was too early to care what I looked like. Anyway, after watching some ducks and walking around the lake, we headed back to a bridge over looking the lake to watch the sunrise some more. I was standing against the railing, with Jeff standing behind me. I felt him pull away and didn't think too much about it until I heard him say "well, while we're here...". I turned around to see what he meant only to find him down on one knee holding a ring box decorated with my favorite NASCAR driver's # and racing stripes. Knowing he had taken me by surprise he continued "Babe, will you marry me?" I started to cry (of course!) and as he held me I was finally to manage a "yes".
After a few seconds I finally looked at the ring, to my shock it was my favorite setting that Jeff said he couldn't find! Turned out, he'd had it all along and just wanted to make sure he could completely surprise me. Well, I was!! He sweetly put it on my finger, then kissed my hand, and said "I love you" with big smile on his face.
We set November 15, 2008 as our wedding date and once I returned home, the craziness of wedding planning began! My mom did SO much of the work! Every bow in the entire church was handmade by her. All the chairs at the reception had bows on the back, and she made them. The wedding turned out to be more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. My dad walked me down the aisle and performed the ceremony, which was priceless and so special to me. One of the best parts was when we left the church and Jeff did a burnout in the mustang right there in front of the church. Nothing like leaving your wedding to the sound of 8 cyclinders screamin and tires a burnin! LOL!