(We wrote these for our wedding website before getting married. You can see some of our wedding here.)
In Cam's Words...
Our story (at least my side of it) starts with an acquaintance of mine approaching me about doing an interview with “some lady” from Fox News. The interview was supposedly going to center on my experiences in Iraq and elsewhere, and their connection to the larger global jihadist movement. As far as I knew, it seemed that some old anchor woman was looking to conveniently misquote me in her story on jihad. I had no interest in falling into that trap so I decided to respectfully decline. A day or so later I had a change of heart, not wanting to be a self-absorbed jerk about the favor I had been asked to perform. I found my friend and told him that I had changed my mind. He then told me when and where I would meet this “lady.”
A lady she most certainly was! As I walked down the stairs and in through the glass door of Dry Dock restaurant (a small diner for Midshipmen on the Academy grounds) I saw the most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on, stand up and smile. I immediately broke into a sweat. My collar felt stiff and my tie too tight. I do not remember sitting down or greeting anyone else (although there were two others at the table with her - Suzy and Nate Warthen: the guy who had set up the interview). All I kept thinking was “WOW look at those eyes!” and asking myself questions like, “How is she so tan, its March?” and, “What other young woman on the planet knows this much about jihad and Islam?” I don’t remember anything I said or how I answered her questions, the only thing I can remember doing is sweating. I had never been that nervous in my life – I can remember feeling more at ease in firefights. At some point in the interview I do remember stating that I was a Christian, and seeing her face light up. The incredibly beautiful and intelligent woman sitting across from me responded that she too was a Christian! YAHTZEE!!!
So after what felt like ten hours or so of tunnel vision on Amanda Wayne, the interview ended and we shook hands. I thanked her and she smiled and thanked me back (I am starting to sweat again just thinking about that smile! And yes I know that sweating is a strange reaction to being smitten, but I can’t help it, I’m a meat-head), after which I returned to my room. I busted in to my room like Cosmo Kramer to tell my roommate Mike all about this “lady” that Nate had introduced me to. I kept panting words like,”Wow,” and “Man!” and “What the heck just happened!?” Later on that week Nate approached me and quietly mumbled something about Amanda wanting to send me some “stuff” as a thank you. Astonished, I gave him my mailing and email address so that she could contact me. I figured that the encounter had come and gone, and this amazing woman back now in California, would send me a thank you note and be on her way with some great guy (I imagined her boyfriend, which I didn’t know didn’t exist, as a hybrid between Derek Jeter and Billy Graham). I was puzzled when I received the AMAZING baked goods package, thinking to myself, “This girl is REALLY nice! She must be the nicest person in the world! Why in the world is she being nice to ME?” It was only after more of our emails that I began to get the message through my thick skull that she might actually like me.
Then, almost two months later, she called (thank you Chuck!). While I was getting ready for one of my best buddies weddings, a number that I didn’t recognize called my phone, and for probably the first time in my life I actually answered the unknown number. My heart almost exploded out of my chest, and once again, I have NO clue what we talked about. The only thing I do remember is that she told me that she had decided to take the job at FOX, and would be moving to Washington at the end of the summer. I knew right then that the Lord would bring us together, we would fall deeply in love, and get married.
Finally! After Amanda moved and started work at FOX, we were re-united. She came to see me in prison (a.k.a. my wonderful school) on my birthday of all days. I normally hate my birthday, and this one would have been the worst ever considering I had just shattered my foot and was told my season was over, but instead it was the best birthday I have ever had. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to see someone in my life as I was to see her on that day. She looked incredible… amazing… BEAUTIFUL! The best part was her smile, and she smiled the entire night. I know I was smiling back the whole time because my face hurt when I went to bed that night. For my birthday present, she made me enough food to last a week (tri-tip steak, baked beans, garlic bread, fruit salad, and a cake), and an incredible card that turned me into putty in her hands.
From then on I knew I would do everything in my power to become the kind of man that Amanda would want to marry. It has been an amazingly fun, and at times trying two years because of the physical distance, but I am thankful for everyday that God gives us together. His perfect plan is truly amazing, and the gift of our relationship and engagement is more special than I could have ever imagined myself. The Lord truly has blessed me with the most beautiful, intelligent, funny, and most important: Godly woman I have ever met, and for that I am so thankful - it would be an exercise in futility to attempt to express it on this page. The future is in His hands and I am so excited to experience what he has in store for us!
In Manda's Words...
I spent my junior year of college abroad in Italia and when I got back and started the last year of school, I was continually asked what the plan was after graduation. I'd just say I thought I might know better after going to D.C. (OHH HOW TRUE THAT WAS!) - I spent the winter quarter of my senior year in Washington on an internship program through the University of California, interning at Fox News, and working on our one big assignment - a 30 page research paper and presentation. I decided to write on something I knew nothing about - the Iraq War and Islamic jihad. I spent the whole quarter researching and enthralled by the religion, culture and region, all the while trying to find someone from the military to interview for it. One of my best friends Suzy (who was also doing the program and sharing a room with me) remembered she went to high school with Nate Warthen, who was then at the Naval Academy. Being the amazing friend that she is, she facebooked him after about a four year hiatus of not seeing or speaking to him to ask if he could set me up with someone to interview. A few Saturdays later, Suz and I were in Annapolis at the Naval Academy, sitting around one of the tables in Dry Dock, waiting for someone named "Marshall" to show up. Little did I know that he would be the most handsome thing I had ever seen in my life! I saw him through the glass before he came to our table - he was in his uniform and so tall. He took off his cover (hat) and was SOO strikingly handsome that I flew up from my chair and with a huge smile that I could not hide, made a beeline to him to introduce myself, immediately forgetting what he said his name was because I was so overwhelmed by him and by how hard my heart was beating! Wow, HELLO! The interview lasted about an hour, and I can tell you that we almost didn't break eye contact at all -- literally. I'm laughing remembering this, but I took notes staring straight into his eyes and miraculously could read the chicken scratch later that I'd blindly written.
I asked him all about his time in Iraq and was SO impressed by how intelligent, well-spoken and passionate he was. There were a few things I could tell immediately: he was someone that people literally stopped to listen to when he opened his mouth; he was very loved; and he was incredibly adventurous (HUGE to me). I then asked him if he had ever been hurt during his tours, and he said with a knowing smile, "No, not a scratch." He said he was a strong believer and had a lot of people praying for him. I'll never forget this - "that kind of faith can move mountains." This already AMAZING man was now perfect to me. I remember the thought that came to my mind while our eyes were locked - "Yeah..I could look at this face for the rest of my life." WOAH - where did that come from?! But honestly, deep down, I just knew it. We got up to say goodbye and I had to crane my neck to look at him; there were about a million butterflies in my stomach from the way he was looking down at me, and I wanted to slap myself because I kept repeating, "YOU WERE PERFECT," instead of something a little more subtle like the INTERVIEW was.
Poor Suzy had to listen the entire way back to D.C. and the entire week (and let's be honest, all the months that have followed up to today) as I said in some kind of daze -"WOW! He was the MOST AMAZING guy I've ever met!!!" My friends and family knew I had been avoiding having boyfriends because I wanted to wait for the man I'd hope to marry, and in the meantime had a blast being independent. So when I later talked to my parents and interjected in the conversation with an energetic ramble about some awesome guy who knew and helped me so much, was soo funny, a Christian, daring, passionate, and impressive beyond belief, my Dad got on the phone chuckling, but also serious, and simply said, "Mand, bring him on home when it's time." A week later the program in D.C. ended and it was time to go back to California to finish my last quarter of school. I stopped first in North Carolina where my parents and brother Mike had recently moved to, and my Mom with a mischievious spark in her eye, told me I should bake Cam cookies as a "thank you" before taking off -- seriously, that woman is never wrong - about anything!
Every time I got an email from him, I would run through our house in Davis and find one or all of my five roommates (who are also five of my closest friends) and burst out in an excited craze that HE HAD WRITTEN ME! I remember Katelyn, Carie, and Amber jumping on my bed with me, all surrounding the laptop, analyzing his email and swooning together. Haa. I asked just about everyone I knew to pray (something this big and elaborate DEFINITELY couldn't come about by my doing), and would literally get on my knees to do so because I wanted him for myself so badly. By May, he asked me what I was doing after graduation, and though I had been told I could come and work at Fox, I was applying for another job to work abroad to do what I had always wanted to. It took my Mom telling me to get my little behind back to D.C. if I ever wanted to date or find out who this guy was. So, a few days later, I talked to Fox and took the job that they graciously gave me. My friend Chuck Warne (Katelyn's husband) convinced me after about an hour of explaining that I needed to call Cam - ME? Call HIM? I paced back and forth outside of our house for atleast ten minutes until I finally got the courage to call him. I was so elated after talking to him that I sprinted up all the stairs into our house, threw open the door, jumped up and down and screamed to Carie what had just happened (she obviously looked at me like I was nuts). My friends knew the biggest reason I was going to D.C. -- they naturally thought I was going insane for moving across the country because of some guy I spent ONE hour with MONTHS ago.
He called me all summer and it was very much like dating over the phone. After getting on a plane and moving to D.C., we talked every night up until I saw him on his birthday, and I knew for sure each time we hung up that he loved me.
The day I saw Cam again was one of the most wonderful of my life. I was talking to the security guard at the front of the Academy when I saw him crutching up to the glass doors. I couldn't exactly remember what he looked like during the six months that separated when we met to when we saw each other again, but I do know that night my heart felt like it literally jumped when I saw his face. I ran through the doors, tripped on his cast (clutz), and was hugged so tightly. I can't really remember what we talked about; I just remember the way he looked at me and how I had a million things I wanted to say to him and couldn't remember a single one. His handsome face and sweet and loveable personality had me totally mesmerized.
I fell in love with Cam (the initial part at least) the very first moment I saw him in Dry Dock and especially after first talking to him, and that has grown TREMENDOUSLY since. God answered every one of my prayers for my "future husband" and what my Dad told me growing up proved to be absolutely true - "Don't think about what he's going to be like too much; you don't need to. The Lord has already taken care of it. He has someone far better than you can even imagine."