Cinnamon and Paul

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How We Met: I remember the day vividly. Funny how that happens. I had been getting messages from potential suitors on various online dating websites for a few months now but I don’t remember any of those days. But I do remember the day I first received a message from a guy named Paul.

I was with my friend Monique and we were driving on Hwy 405 through Bellevue, WA. I don’t know if we were on our way TO or on our way HOME from some fun summer Seafair activities, but I do know we were in Moniques Toyota Camry whisking down the highway with the beautiful green trees surrounding us on all sides.

It was August 7th, 2010 and the message was a canned response that Christian Mingle supplied for its members. “I’m looking for some friends, are you interested?” This was one of their funnier canned responses, in close competition with “you are an inspiration to our community” and “I’m praying for you”. I have been on quite a few online dating websites and CM’s canned responses were by FAR the best.

I clicked on his profile on my phone and was greeted with a big gap toothed grin, some very bushy eyebrows and some gorgeous blue eyes. He had about four selfies (mostly taken in a car) and one photo of him and a friend, covered head to toe in mud, obviously just finishing some sort of grueling mountain bike race. Now I always joke that this ONE photo of him and his friend and the muddy bike was the reason we got married. More on that later.

I read his profile and a few things stood out. First being that he had two children but only one lived at home. I always swore that kids would be a deal breaker for me, but this one piece of information intrigued me. He also told a few jokes in his general question answer section which told me he at least had a sense of humor. That was always a plus when I could get a genuine sense of this from a profile alone.

For some strange reason a sense of enormity washed over me. I don’t really know how to describe it any other way. Something big was happening. I think that is why I remember the day so clearly. I didn’t want to admit it to myself because I had such disappointing experiences already with online dating, but something about this guy was different. I could feel it in my bones.

I decided to send this guy a message. I wasn’t really into the canned responses so I wrote him a little note and signed my name Cinnamon, since you know, that’s my name.

He wrote back and one of the first things he asked was if I had grown up in Corvallis, OR. Then he proceeded to tell me that the first girl he ever ‘kissed’, when he was like, you know, five…was named Cinnamon.
Wait. What?

So that is how we met! Online on Christian Mingle. We dated for about four months before he popped the question and were married about 6 months later!

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How He Asked: After our first kiss, Paul and I knew something big was happening. We had decided before then that we would be exclusive but we still weren’t totally sure where this was going even though we both had suspicions. After our trip to the ATC and our very romantic kiss on the bridge, we continued chatting as much online as we possibly could and attempted to see each other every weekend when possible.

Paul lived in Olympia at the time and I lived in Issaquah. Those towns are about 75 miles apart but driving back and forth was often a challenge given traffic. There was one occasion that I left work early to go down and have dinner with Paul and meet his sister and niece and it ended up taking me almost four hours to get there. And then only an hour back home. Needless to say the distance was tough but in hindsight I also view it as a total blessing. It gave us the opportunity to really get to know each other more through chatting online as well as texting/talking on the phone. It forced us to take things slower (if you could consider our romance slow considering how fast everything went) and to miss each other more during our time away.

Sometime in November, Paul told me he loved me. I don’t remember the day or time but I think that is because I already knew. Although I would typically think three months is certainly not enough time to know whether or not you love someone, I feel like our age had a lot to do with it. We were both in our mid-30’s. We had both had numerous relationships in the past and life experiences. We knew who we were, what we stood for and what we wanted out of a partner. Once we found that in each other, it just made sense. There was no waffling or questioning or doubt. We also knew that it would not be an easy road considering the circumstances (Paul’s two kids would would soon enough be teen agers along with shared custody), but we also both had a very strong faith and relationship with God and we knew that together with His help, we would be able to persevere.

After we both knew that we loved each other and were committed, marriage was an obvious next step. Neither one of us saw any reason to delay or postpone that decision. We discussed getting married often and dreamed about what it would be like. Paul had only been to one wedding prior (his own!) but I of course had been to MANY. Despite being older, I still wanted to celebrate with an actual wedding at someplace beautiful in the Seattle area. I had been dreaming of a wedding for 30+ years and was at a point where I was pretty certain it was NOT God’s plan for my life, and now that it was in front of me, I couldn’t resist putting together an awesome celebration.

The planner in me went into overdrive and I started researching venues and dates. We didn’t want to have a long engagement, but we also knew that venues booked up quickly! We started looking at dates for the summer time as well as venues in the area.

We visited quite a few venues in the area and based on price, location and availability we ended up booking the Edgewater in Seattle BEFORE WE WERE EVEN ENGAGED. I know, I know…how ridiculous is that? We picked 6.10.11 mostly because it just made the most sense with our schedules and the Edgewater was open. It was a Friday and it was going to be perfect. When we picked the date, Paul mentioned something about it seeming familiar but brushed it off. A few weeks later he remembered that was also his parents anniversary! He had totally forgotten and now we would share a wedding anniversary with them. How sweet is that?

By this time it was December and my parents were coming up to Washington for Christmas. It would also be their first time meeting Paul. I knew that Paul wanted to talk to my dad first before asking me “the question” so I knew that it was coming sometime soon.
A few days before Christmas, Paul, my parents and I went on the Christmas boat which is a totally fun thing to do when you live in Seattle at Christmastime. They decorate an Argosy ship and you boat all around one of the lakes and there are groups that sing Christmas music. Paul met us there after work and didn’t get a chance to change so he was in his Army uniform for the boat ride. I found out later that he had the ring with him and planned to propose on the boat that night, but since he was in his uniform and everyone was looking at him and shaking his hand and thanking him (happens every time we are out and about and he is in uniform) he chickened out and couldn’t do it.

On Christmas Eve Paul was over at my house and we were all just hanging out waiting to go over to a friends house for the evening. I went to take a shower (I think) and when I came out, Paul said he had my present for me and it was this HUGE wrapped box. I started opening it and then my parents left the room so I knew something was up. I unwrapped box after box (they were all nested together) until I got to a tiny little box at the end. I opened it and Paul got on his knee. He went to grab the box and his hand was shaking so bad. It was super cute. I don’t remember anything he or I said, but I did tell him, “you have to say it!” because he wasn’t actually asking the question. Typical Cinnamon. =) He asked if I would marry him and of course I said yes.

My parents came back out and we all laughed abut how awkward it was and Paul told me that his original idea was to somehow take me down to the Hard Rock Cafe (where we met for the first time) and ask me in front of it, but he couldn’t work out the logistics.

The ring he gave me was a temp ring that the jeweler made. Paul had picked the diamond and then wanted to take me back to pick the setting, so they gave him the stone on a simple band until we went back to pick something out.

We went to my friends house and shared the news with everyone and then I posted this on Facebook so it would be official.

After knowing each other for four short and amazing months, we were engaged and ready to take on the next chapter in our lives!!

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