So.... if you haven't guessed by now, I'm engaged! I proposed to Rachel on Friday, August 29, and, fortunately, she said yes! I'll try to distill the evening into as few a words and pictures as possible.
I arrived into town for the long weekend on Thursday afternoon. I had Rachel's favorite bouquet, white lilies and red roses, delivered a few hours before I got to Murfreesboro.
To distract her from thinking about other pieces of jewelry, I gave her this necklace when I arrived (sterling silver fleur-de-lis with blue and purple peacock pearls).
We've known each other about 4 years now, and we have been pursuing a relationship since Spring. We spent lots of time together when I lived in Tennessee, hanging out with friends, but since we've actually been "dating," we've only gone out by ourselves just a few times (a long distance relationship will do that).We joke about never going on dates, so I told her we'd get dressed up and go out to a nice restaurant. I brought her a bouquet of gerbera daisies (her favorite) for our "date." We had been visiting some friends that afternoon, and after I dropped Rachel off at her house to get ready for our night out, I ran by the florist to pick up the daisies. On the way to the florist, a flash rainstorm started (apparently directly over my car) - I can literally say that I went through Hail and High Water to propose to Rachel!
I knew where I wanted to propose - our church home in Murfreesboro, Third Baptist Church. That is where God brought us together and where we developed our friendship. The church recently renovated some areas, including building a little prayer garden complete with benches and a waterfall - that would be the perfect spot. How do I get her there without arousing her suspicion? A few weeks before my visit I had suggested that we needed to get more pictures of the two of us together. "Rachel, where's a good place to get pictures made"? After she made a few suggestions, I commented that I'd seen some of her pictures on Facebook that were taken at the prayer garden. When I picked her up that evening, I suggested that since we were dressed up we go take a few pictures. We got to the church - I was a little worried that there would be random college kids everywhere since they were doing a movie night in the back parking lot. No students to be found, whew! I set up the tripod and camera (weeks of foreshadowing kept her from being suspicious).
Below is the first picture we took. The ring was in my left pocket, so I didn't want to get too close. How embarrassing! Poor Rachel is trying to lean in a little bit. I reviewed the first pic, and resolved to do better.
In the second picture, I'm at least in the same time zone, but nerves had completely taken over and I looked very scared (and pale as one of our friend's pointed out). I have a "deer in the headlights" look.
I tried to do better on other pictures. I started screaming "limburger cheese" during the camera countdown for this shot.
Now, we come to the moment of truth! After that last shot, I went back up to the camera and switched it over to video. I pushed the button and got back in place...
My apologies for my incessant nervous giggling. I was going to edit this, but I couldn't get the audio to work when I tried, so I've posted it in it's entirety - all 2 minutes and 23 seconds of it, including all 27 kisses (that's a kiss every 5.3 seconds). Sorry about the make out session in the prayer garden!
Obviously, she said yes, and we were both very excited!
After all the huggin' and squeezin' and kissin' we got back in my car. I had typed out a letter (more like a short story) about our relationship and about finding the right ring. It was eleven pages, but it was 18 point font, so I don't feel too bad. During reading that letter, she cried... I cried... It was a sweet moment.
I called my parents to let them know that she said yes. My mom had called me earlier that day to tell me that she was praying for us; she started praying that afternoon when she heard Benny and the Jets on the radio -Rachel's ringtone on my phone. My family was very excited. We then went over to see Rachel's parents, to tell them. I had gone to ask her Dad that morning for Rachel's hand in marriage. He told me, "Well, I don't know you. I guess it's up to her." Her mom asked if I'd already insured the ring.
We then made our rounds, announcing our good news and showing off the bling! Lots of fun! We even met Patrick and Monica in the Target parking lot to talk to them. We never made it to our fancy restaurant, so we stopped by Sonic. We had Fritos Chili Cheese Wraps and Route 44 Dr. Peppers.
Finally, we had a little time to reflect on our evening. Our friends Misty Leigh and Marty encouraged us to "enjoy the moment."
I'm really excited!
This is a picture from the next night - we still can't stop smiling!