Kia ora! Or if you're not familiar with the Maori language, hello!
My name is Carole Ivener, formerly Carole Tierney. At this present point in time I am living in Maryland,
USA with my husband and children. Up until 1998 I was living with my son in a little town called Kerikeri
in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand.
I had a great life, an excellent job surrounded by wonderful people and some amazing friends, but I
couldn't seem to find myself that special person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. If you're even interested
I wasn't even looking as I had experienced a few not so perfect relationships in my life, I thought that being a single mother
to my son, Timothy, was my future. Not a bad future at all actually.
I eventually went online and managed to find myself in a chat room or three to pass some
of my spare time. I never went out as my work was tiring and during my time off I liked to spend my time with Timothy.
It was a lonely life at times, I have to admit, but I thought that being lonely was a lot easier to deal with than a broken
When nobody was looking I somehow stumbled onto a chat room (that is no longer in existance) and met a few
people that I started chatting with. After about two weeks in the chat rooms I was also introduced to ICQ and real time
During my first few weeks in the chat room I was fortunate enough to meet two brothers who added not only
humour and joy to my daily life, but a touch of romance as well. I soon became very close to the both of them and we
would spend many hours chatting online as well as on the phone to each other when we could. My phone bills tripled in
a matter or weeks and if you wanted to contact me you either had to come out to my place to see me personally, or leave me
a message on either my phone or by email.
Never could I have EVER imagined beginning to feel as deeply as I did for someone without meeting them in
'the flesh'. Before I knew it these two gentlemen were part of my daily life and I couldn't imagine my life without
Thank goodness one of them felt the same way about me - and he declared his love to me in late April 1998.
Within three weeks I was on a plane heading for Alabama, America! There were the sceptics of course, they warned me
against going because they had their suspicions that this man was going to knock me over the head with a large, solid object
(?!?!) and drag me off to a commune where I'd never be heard of again!
Now, as much as I appreciated these people worrying about me, it was a very awkward situation because I
knew this man was going to be the man I spent the rest of my life with. I had, without a doubt, fallen in love with
him and the only thing left to do with our relationship as it was back then, was to finally meet him in person and make
sure that in person we were as much in love with each other as we were over the internet and phone.
There wasn't a moment in any day where I didn't think about Todd and the thought of not having him in my
life was not one I wanted to comprehend. There were some obstacles that we needed to get over - the main one being that
we were from two different countries, a long way away from each other.
The day finally dawned when I got on the plane to head to Alabama. I wasn't nervous, just excited
about finally getting to meet this man in person. Nearly two days later (after a stop-over in LA I'd rather not remember!!)
I arrived in Atlanta to meet Todd. Getting off the plane turned out to be a bit of a trauma in itself - but eventually
(after nearly all of the crew had disembarked) I made my way up the gangway and into the passenger lounge. The moment
I raised my eyes to look around the room, I saw Todd. Words CANNOT explain how I felt at that point in time. I
started to walk toward him but realised that my legs weren't going to make that short distance. I dropped my hand luggage
and stood there with my arms raised toward him. He walked into my arms and we held each other for several minutes without
saying a word. It was ... PERFECT!!
I'm not one for loss of words, but for ten minutes at least I was speechless. I just nodded my head
at the appropriate times and held his hand as if my life depended on it. We walked up to the baggage claim and waited
for my luggage to arrive. He chatted to me and I just stood there staring into his eyes and watching this man talk to
me that I had heard so many times before but never seen! I don't recall my first words to him - probably something along
the lines of "Duh", or "Hmmm" or maybe something even slightly intelligent like "Oh yeah"!! But as he spoke to me every
word made me love him more. Every gesture he made, made me want to hold him closer.
We spent a glorious three weeks together - the finer details I won't elaborate on! But then I
had to return to NZ. I can't tell you how devestating it was to leave this man and go back to my family. We both
knew we had to be together for the rest of our lives. There was never any doubt on either of our parts, but I had to
return to NZ, my family and job. He had to stay in America. I can't explain how absolutely 'gutted' we both felt
saying goodbye at the airport. Ask me about the car horn incident if you want to be bored any further - it's the only
thing we actually giggle about when we talk about that day I left!
After several months in back in New Zealand we decided to bring Timothy to America to meet Todd and see
how they got along. So two and a half months later we were on a plane headed for Alabama. I shouldn't have
worried about the two of them getting along. They have been like father and son from the moment they met. After
several days back in Alabama Todd and I made the decision that we could never be parted like that again, and so we took ourselves
down to the court house in Coffee County, Enterprise, Alabama and got married! It was a wonderfully romantic JP service,
very quick but so very personal. As much as the paperwork was done and we were husband and wife, we very much wanted
to share our 'wedding' with family and friends so we had an official service eight months later in Phoenix Arizona.
In April 1999 our marriage was finally witnessed in front of family and friends in the backyard
of Todd's parent's home in Phoenix, Arizona. Just remembering that day brings warm fuzzies to my heart, mind and
I would like to thank Cindy - Todd's sister - for doing everyone's makeup and hair on the day.
I don't think she touched up the boys make-up but I do know how much time she spent on us ladies! We all looked absolutely
perfect (well I thought so at least) - and then she found a few minutes to make herself look even lovelier so that
she could be in the wedding party, what a lady!!
We'd also like to thank Kathryn, my birth-sister (another long story!!) who did the photography when I wasn't
snatching the camera out of her hands and taking over! It was an all out effort by everyone involved and in the end
I think that's what added to the magic of the day! Also - Ross ... thanks *cough* for the lovely, sentimental poem
you wrote for Todd's stag night that you were talked into reading at the wedding. It's definitely unique and is now
printed out and framed and hanging in our hall - thank goodness not everyone takes the time to read it!!
We lived in Montana for three years where my husband flew UH-1N's (Huey Helicopters) and I was introduced
to the life of the air force wife. A new way of looking at things, that's for sure.
I met many wonderful people there and found a job to keep me out of trouble while Todd was at work and Timothy
went to school. After two years Todd and I decided it was time to add to our little family, and so we gave Timothy a
little sister. She was welcomed into our family in June 2001 after only a few short hours of labour (Timothy took
three days to get out so anything under 18 hours was a blessing to me!!).
In April 2002 we all moved to our new home here in Maryland and this is where we will be until my husband's
In July 2003 Carl arrived. He was another wonderful pregnancy and because I knew it would be my last
I cherished every minute of it. I do get tired of people who are continually moaning about how hard pregnancy is
... I consider it a gift and a gift that so many ladies out there don't ever have the opportunity of experiencing. I
also figure if you get pregnant you put up with it! Sure it's difficult but nothing in this world that's worth it is
a breeze, well not in my world anyway!
We will soon be leaving Maryland to go to our next assignment - wherever Todd goes, we go with him
as without him, I don't have the love of my life. Every day with him in my life is more wonderful and fulfilling than
I ever imagined. In finding Todd to love I have not only found my soulmate, friend and lover but I have found an extended
family that have welcomed Timothy and I into their lives without hesitation. It has made our move to America so much
easier and I thank them all for that.
Over the years I have welcomed new friends and farewelled others I thought were friends, but turned out
to be ... not quite so friendly. I have had people turn against me that I thought would stand by me no matter what.
I have also been wonderfully surprised by people that came to 'my rescue' and who have gone above and beyond for my family
and me. Life is full of ups and downs, a continual learning experience but with Todd, my family and friends beside me
I can take on the challenges the world has to offer and come up with my head held high - and loving life. I have been
given this gift and everyday I just want to unwrap it again even though I know what's inside! Every now and then there's
a new surprise, but it's always one that takes my breath away and makes me realise, once again, how truly blessed I am to
have found this man, this life and this dream.