The Orlando Florida Temple

This is a special place for our family. I was thinking I would wait and do this post in April on our anniversary, but I didn’t want to wait.

First of all, just to get it out of the way, these are old photos. Taken in the days before we had a digital camera. So really they are photos of photos, so sorry for the low quality compared to my other posts. The photo up top of the Orlando temple was taken in September 1998, just a few months before I met Carey. When I took it, Carey was still in Portugal serving a mission. Just four months later I would meet him and instantly fall in love.

Anayway- Orlando is our temple. We were sealed there.

We had a pretty fast courtship. Met January 18th, got engaged on Valentine’s Day, and then we eloped on April 22.

3 months. We barely knew each other. But we were crazy in love and knew it was right. 18 years later we’re still getting to know each other, and loving (almost) every minute of it!

Like a couple of crazy kids, we ran off and got hitched without telling our families until after the fact. I think it was the most spontaneous thing Carey has done in his entire life. Neither of us knew when we woke up that morning that we would be married by that afternoon, in t-shirts and jeans no less.

Reality sort of set in the following morning when I had to call my parents and tell them that I was married. They hadn’t even met Carey yet! I felt so bad- I was their first child to get married, and they didn’t even get to be there. They were so gracious, as they have always been, and have been supportive of us from day one. My dad just made me make one promise- that we would be sealed together a year later. I promised as that was Carey’s and my desire as well.

Growing up I had always known the importance of being sealed to your family. Well, I thought I understood. But being married and starting a family without being sealed was my actual education and testimony builder. I had so much anxiety that first year, knowing that we were not sealed. I eagerly awaited our one year mark so we could go to the temple together.

in-front-of-orlando-florida-lds-templeJust two months after we got married I got pregnant with our first son. So, if you’re doing the math, we had known each other for only 5 and a half months. My poor husband. I was sort of a crazy emotional pregnant woman. (Carey- when you read this, I’m sorry for that time I made you go to Taco Bell at 2 in the morning and then found the popcorn while you were gone and got full on that and didn’t want tacos any more.)  … Anyway, again- starting a family was scary to me without the blessings of the temple backing it up.

I went through the temple for the first time when I was eight and a half months pregnant. I was freaking huge. It was a little awkward, but such a great experience. On the way home from the temple, we got rear ended by a guy who was driving a stolen car. I started having contractions, and he took off. I went to the hospital and they monitored me for a few hours and then sent me home. Michael came along 3 weeks later, a week late and ten and a half pounds!!

sealed-in-the-orlando-florida-templeOur family was sealed in the Orlando Temple on our one year anniversary. Michael was just 2 weeks old, and it was the sweetest experience I will ever have. This time we had family there, and just a few good friends.

I’m so grateful for the temple. I’m grateful for the knowledge that we get to be together for eternity. I’m grateful for the spirit it brings into our lives and family and home. How incredibly blessed we are!

PS- How flipping great is my husbands smile?!?!

Date Visited: Pre-blog, April 22 2000 and thereabouts..

Miles From Home: 3,094

Location: Windermere, Florida

Dedication: October 9-11, 1994 by Howard W. Hunter

From the Dedicatory Prayer:  May those who come to be sealed in marriage kneel at these sacred altars and resolve within their hearts to be ever true and faithful, that the sacred relationships here solemnized may continue with happiness throughout all eternity.


C&C Meerdink Factory

cc1When I told Carey this morning that I was going to write about how we met, he said “Well, your version of it.”


We have slightly different versions of how we met, but mine is the correct one. He can do a post sometime about his perspective.

The Date: Monday, January 18, 1999. Martin Luther King Jr Day.

The Setting: LDS Church building on Par Street in Orlando, Florida. Singles Ward FHE. Yep, that’s right. Singles Ward Family Home Evening.

The (true) Story: 
I walked into the Relief Society room with some friends. We were chatting and caught up in our own conversation. We went to the piano and I fiddled around on there for a few minutes and then we continued talking. 016
At one moment, I glanced up and away from my little group toward the back of the room where a guy was looking at me. Then I did probably the most obvious double take ever seen by man. Who is that guy? I hadn’t seen him before, and he was so freaking cute. We both smiled at each other and then it was time to begin FHE. I sat down a few rows of chairs in front of him.

As was tradition in that ward, we began every family home evening with a little get-to-know-you activity where we all stated our name and answered a common question. That evening’s questions was “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Each person took their turn. My turn came around and stood and I said, “My name is Carrie, and I want to be a special agent for the FBI.” Sitting down, I eagerly awaited for the boy on the back row’s turn. Who is he?cc2
Finally, his turn came up and he stood and said, “My name is Carey Meerdink, and I want to own my own theater company.”

Carey? His name is CAREY??

No way, I thought to myself. It’s not going to happen.

Throughout the night we kept glancing at each other and smiling. My heart was all aflutter and I knew that we had some sort of connection even though we hadn’t even spoken to each other yet.
Finally the lesson came to an end and it was time to socialize. At this point I was on the opposite side of the room as him, so I started working my way closer by jumping from group to group and conversation to conversation. I was almost to him when he walked over to the other side of the room. Arrrrghhhhhh!  I was not one to give up easily, so I began making my way over to him again. I think it was pretty obvious. I was right next to his little group of people when I heard him offer someone a piece of gum. That was my in. I piped up and asked for a piece, which he gave me. dscn3087

“I hear you have the coolest name in the room,” he said to me. So smooth. I don’t remember my answer. We talked for a minute or two and then he asked me this: “So how does working for the FBI work with you raising a family?” 
Okay, I know that that is sort of a lame question and people do it all the time. But for some reason it struck me. I had never really thought about raising a family before, or anything like that. And for some reason, when he asked me that question, I knew right then that I was going to marry him.

I don’t remember what else we talked about that night, but we both had to leave and went our separate directions. When I got home I called my mom. “I met the guy I’m going to marry,” I told her.
dscn6383I didn’t see Carey again until the following Sunday. We sat together in Sunday School and he passed me a not that said: Will you go out with me? Check Yes or No.

I checked yes and we passed notes

the rest of class. The following Friday I met up with him in Orlando. I was living about an hour or so away from him working as a nanny, so I actually stayed that night at his parents house. We went to Olive Garden and then miniature golfing, then went back to his house and watched The Truman Show. We had a great connection and it was like we had been together for years. The next day he kissed me. We hung out most of the day and talked about our lives and our future plans and everything and anything. I was already madly in love with him.candcinorlando

When he was driving me home, he said to me, “If things keep going like this we should talk about getting married. We could be the C&C Meerdink Factory…”