A Story of Beginnings


Today is a very special day for me. Exactly 9 years ago I became a different person. I went from being Jessica Chapman to being Jessica O’Neal as I married the man of my dreams.

When I really stop to think about it, it is crazy that I have now been married for NINE years. That is a long time. As my husband so astutely put it the other day, I have been married to him for one third of my life. It sounds even more insane when put like that. Yet here we are.

With 9 years of history there is so much that I could write about today. I could share some of our many happy memories, a time when we faced a challenge and were able to overcome, something funny, a moment of encouragement…the possibilities are endless. After a lot of thinking, though, I finally settled on the story I want to share. Since many of you only know me through this blog and my Twitter and Facebook accounts, I thought it would be fun to share the story of our beginning. I mentioned a little about how we met and started dating on my Valentine’s Day post, but this is the whole story.

Towards the end of my Junior year of high school my family started going to a new church. We knew the pastor and his family and were very excited to join their church. Right after we started, they had a function for Memorial Day weekend and we decided to go. It was out at the property of a family that went to the church. This family had a large pond in their backyard surrounded by a beach of white sand (sound familiar? If you have been watching my vlogs, it should).

On our honeymoon.

I was pretty shy surrounded by so many people I didn’t know and stuck close to my mom and sister. I will never forget. We were sitting at one of the picnic tables talking to some people when I saw a young guy walk by. I was mesmerized. He had curly blonde hair and more than a few tattoos (remember, this was back in 2000 before tattoos were accepted by mainstream society). Needless to say, I thought he was HOT! But, of course, I was shy and he was older than me and very intimidating, so I just watched him from afar.

Fast forward a little over a year. I was nearing the end of my senior year of high school and on the praise team at church. The drummer for our praise band also happened to be the drummer for the hard core band that Eddie was in. I was way too shy to actually talk to Eddie, but since we were on the praise team together I was able to talk to the drummer and would sometimes go talk to him when he happened to be standing near the source of my admiration. One time I even went to one of the hard core shows that their band played at our church in the hopes that I would be able to maybe get to talk to him. Oh, the things we will do!

Anyway, I graduated from high school and began the summer without having ever really talked to Eddie. Before church service started, all the singers would sit in a certain section so that we could walk on stage unobtrusively when it was time. One particular Sunday Eddie and his cool band mates were all sitting in the row behind that section and I plucked up the nerve to talk to one of the band mates. While I was busy trying to weasel my way in, my mother was also busy.

The wife of one of Eddie’s cousins was also a singer with us. My mom made a comment to this woman about how she wanted to stay out of the way so that I could talk to those boys and she then proceeded to mention that I had a crush on Eddie. The woman couldn’t believe it. She told my mother that they had all asked Eddie what he thought about me and he had said that I was cute, but that I would never go for a guy like him. When my mom told me of this conversation later on it was all I needed to hear. I had my courage.

The very next Sunday I watched the door like a hawk, waiting for him to arrive. When he did, he immediately went into the little cafe we had at the church where they served doughnuts and coffee. Without thinking, I got up and followed him into the cafe. I quickly realized that I hadn’t thought my plan all the way through as I awkwardly stood in the middle of the room with no idea what to do. I saw him standing over by the doughnuts, so I decided to go over there and get one myself. And then I started talking to him. I don’t have a clue what I said, but my actions were enough that Eddie was left with little doubt that I liked him.

The next time we were both at church we found each other and started talking again. He asked me if I wanted to go to lunch afterwards with him and the large group he was going with. They happened to be going to the same place that my family was going, which I told him. My mom and sister, being the wonderful people that they are, insisted I sit with Eddie and his group instead of with them. When we had finished eating Eddie walked me to my car and asked for my phone number so that he could call me and take me out on a date.

From that day on my life would never be the same again.

24 responses »

  1. Wow! You got married so young. It’s good to see that it worked out so well for you. If I think about the guys I dated right out of high school, I get scared. I was such a different person at 18 that if I had stayed with any of them I’d be long divorced now! But that is what is so great about the world: we are all so different. And speaking of different, it’s cute to hear about the guy with curly blond hair! :) Fun post!

  2. What a sweet story, Jessica! My husband and I just celebrated our 9 year anniversary last Thursday (the 5th). We met at a local community theater, both cast in the same show. For him it was love at first sight, at least according to him. For me, it took a little longer. I was NOT interested in dating – anyone. He wore me down and look at me now; happily married to a really good man! Sounds like you have the same.

    May you and Eddie have many many more happy years together!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  3. Thank you so much, Jessica, for sharing part of your life with us this way. And such a happy part…

    My husband and I will be celebrating out 10 anniversary this year as well. I hope you and Eddie are taking time to do something special together in celebration.

    • Thanks, Marcy! And don’t worry about it. You got me on time on Facebook after all. :) (I don’t think I have read a single blog this week. I just haven’t had time, so I completely understand.)

  4. This was so incredibly adorable and cute and funny and touching! Really great story, and I wish BOTH of you the best of luck for years to come. Sometimes people just have a connection that was meant to be, and my God I can see it right through the computer screen. :)

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