The first Sunday we went to CCC, as new members and not just visitors, my sisters had to use the restroom, so they went to find a bathroom and I nerverously walked into the foyer of the church. This nice, older gentleman, walked up to me, shook my hand, and said, "Are you new here? My name is Paul Patenaude."
Yes, the first person who spoke to me at CCC was John's dad! I about died right then and there! I could just see my extended family watching this all unfold and think, "She went right for the dad, I mean in her book she talks about dads being involved!"
I quickly explained who I was and who I was related to. The town of Zion has a lot of circles of families. Everyone is related to everyone in our town. John's aunt and my grandma grew up together. John's dad coached my uncle in basketball in highschool. John's brother and my uncle went to high school together and he was my extended family's chiropractor, so by sharing with John's dad who I was related to gave him a point of reference.
When my sisters found me, I shared with them who I talked to and we just laughed. We found a seat and began this new chapter of our life. John was at church that Sunday and I remember him sitting with his family, but there was no meeting.
I figured because everyone was talking to me about John, that they were all talking to John about me, but they weren't!
The next Sunday my parents were back from vacation and all five of us went to church. John sang in the choir and this was the choir's first Sunday singing after taking the summer off. John said that Sunday he remembered seeing me for the first time. He said that he looked at this family with three single women and thought, "They must be on vacation."
After a few Sunday's attending he realized we were not on vacation and had begun attending CCC. Each Sunday we'd face each other, him in the choir loft and me with my family. It wasn't long before he started hearing, "Have you met Heather Paulsen!?"
Throughout the first year we were at CCC, John and I NEVER met each other!
We sang in a Christmas concert together where he spoke to me the first time! He said, "Thank you." After I gave his entire row breath mints.
We began to just avoid each other. We knew there was a lot of "talk" about us meeting, so I guess we just avoided meeting. Of course our paths crossed and there were many near meetings, but it wasn't God's timing. (Remember I had prayed that it would be six months from when I first met my husband till we knew, so I knew that if John was my husband we'd know in 6 months of meeting!)
One day in March I was at church helping with a fundraiser for Camp Zion and I was asked to go to the office to find some tape. As I came around the corner I literally ran into John. I looked at him, he looked at me (both of us were deer in headlight look mind you!), we quickly said, "Hi" and went out seperate ways! We both laugh at how silly we were, but there was just so much pressure to meet each other.
Also, our church is rather large, 500 plus people, so it is easy to not see people week after week. Plus, John was in the habit of exiting out the side door, so we rarely saw each other after church service.
Here are some of our other near misses: We were both invited to a mutual friend's 30th birthday party. Turned out he had a surprise family party that day and he didn't show up!
We had a paint ball trip and he had signed up to come. Turns out he forgot about it and didn't come!
One time a group of people asked me to join them for lunch, but I had to go do something...I can't remember, later I found out John went!
We went mini-golfing with a group of people. We never spoke all night!
I had become involved in the youth group and decided to go to senior high camp that summer. However, in May I found out that John's sister-in-law was also going to camp. I told my family that I couldn't go if she was going. I really just wanted to avoid all of them ;-) But that was silly, so I just figured I'd go.
Well, at camp Connie (John's sister-in-law) and I got to know each other as she struck up a conversation with me at the docks one day. We had fun that week getting to know each other and she invited me to a bible study at her house on Wednesday nights.
I figured I was safe going to her house (although John lived next door) because John went to choir practice on Wednesday nights.
Before I went to bible study, at the end of August, God answered another prayer. Remember, I had prayed that my dad would tell me clear as day when I'd get married.
Well, let me back up. My dad said that the as he got to observe John at church dad knew that he'd be my husband (Plus John is 5' 10 1/2" remember my dad said my husband would be between 5'10" and 5'11"...Crazy I know!).
Just a couple weeks before I met John my dad and I were talking. Dad said, "You'll be married to John Patenaude before Christmas next year."
I nearly feel off my chair. No one, and I mean, no one knew I had prayed this! WOW! God was confirming this relationship left and right, I just had to meet John!
On September 11, 2002 I went to bible study, I kept watch of the clock because I knew in order to avoid John I'd have to leave before choir was over. About 8:30, the door opened and I heard in the other room, "JOHNNY P!" John was there! GULP!
I was frozen on the couch, I didn't want to move! John was there! He came over, sat in a chair by the couch and Connie said, "John have you met Heather Paulsen?" John said, "No, I guess we should offically meet." So we shook hand and introduced ourselves to each other! 2 1/2 years after the first time I had ever seen him as Peter
Now those 6 months I had prayed for...well the timer began to tick!