Today, July 26, 2011, marks the 2-year anniversary of our engagement! I don’t know if engagement anniversaries are really something that people regularly celebrate, but I say you should celebrate love whenever you can! For those of you who didn’t know us two years ago, I’ll share our engagement story with you. It’s really good. Eric is kind of awesome.
So, two summers ago, I was doing a leadership program (a.k.a. the Acts 1:8 Leadership Experiment) in Louisville. Eric was taking summer classes in Lexington, so we didn’t think we would see each other much. Somehow, we ended up getting to see one another every 2 weeks, mostly because Eric is super sweet and made such an effort to come to every event he was allowed to attend with the Acts 1:8ers.
My leadership program ended on July 25. The next day, Eric and I had plans (or so I thought) to go to a church service in Louisville that evening. And two of my best friends from home, Madri and Carly, were coming over to hang out in the afternoon (or so I thought). So, Madri and Carly arrive at my house wearing dresses. This isn’t really unusual for them, but considering I was in my typical summer wardrobe of casual clothes and crazy I-took-a-shower-this-morning-but-didn’t-bother-to-do-anything-with-my-hair-so-it’s-curly-and-frizzy-and-wild, I was a bit under dressed. Still, I didn’t really think anything of it, so we headed down to the basement to hang out (or so I thought). Then I get a phone call from my friend Peggy, with whom I had spent the entire summer. So I’m talking to Peggy, when suddenly her voice is coming from both the cell phone and the room next to me. Suddenly Peggy is in the room (in a dress, which should have tipped me off that something was going on), along with our friend, Brent, who hands me a GPS and set of coordinates. He says that there’s a surprise waiting at the coordinates. I, having never been a girl scout, and therefore having never used a GPS, had no idea what to do. Luckily, Brent is a gentleman and knows a helpless female when he sees one, so he kindly put in the coordinates so that I could follow them.
This first set of coordinates led us (me, Brent, Peggy, Madri, and Carly) out to the back deck, where Eric asked me to be his girlfriend, way back in 2006! Hidden in a bucket full of pool toys was a love letter with instructions to put on a dress and pack a bag for a 3-night stay in a place with a climate similar to Lexington. Then there was another set of coordinates. Needless to say, I was really confused about what was happening. Meanwhile, my parents have come outside, and they’re all “What’s going on?” (although they totally knew what was going on). I told them what the instructions said, and they let me go (this should have also tipped me off, as most parents would not send their daughter to a mystery location for 3 days).
So I go inside and put on a dress and pack a bag. Of course, I’m a terrible packer, even when I know the itinerary, so this was kind of a recipe for disaster. Peggy is just telling me to throw in random things so we can leave. Soon enough, we were off. All 5 of us packed into the car and headed to the next destination: Lexington. (I should have suspected something when Madri and Carly were both available to travel to Lexington on a whim.) While we’re in the car, Brent turns on a cd of wonderful love songs that Eric made for me. Silly me, I’m still clueless.
We arrive at some park in Lexington that I don’t recognize. I struggled with the GPS again and wandered around in circles while Peggy and Brent took pictures (Peggy and Brent were documenting this whole adventure for us). Eventually, Brent pointed me in the right direction and we walked in the woods to a place I recognized. Way back in my high school days, I had come to Lexington to visit Eric. I was quite anti-UK/Lexington at the time, so he took me to this park to show me how pretty Lexington was. Finding the clue in this area was a bit more difficult, as Eric oh-so-cleverly hid it in a camouflage container. We eventually found it (this is when having 5 pairs of eyes really came in handy) and read another love note with a set of coordinates at the end.
This set of coordinates led us to Triangle Park. I immediately knew the significance of this place, as it was the location of our first kiss. But of course, finding the clue was not so easy, thanks to a clever Eric who wanted to keep strangers from stumbling upon the notes. We ended up finding it in a magnetic case attached to an electrical box. This clue had another love letter with yet another set of coordinates. And it included a hint that we should follow the music. I, being oh-so-wise, believe we are going to the marching band practice field, as that’s the only music I could think of in Lexington. Luckily, I was very much incorrect, and we ended up at the Arboretum.
The GPS led us down a path through the gardens, where we could hear someone playing a guitar. We followed the music to a handsome fella (Eric, of course), who was playing the guitar and singing “Nothing Fancy” by Dave Barnes (If you haven’t heard this song, listen to it. You’ll love it.).
Now, you would think that at this point, I would have figured everything out. I’m just thinking, “Wow. This is a great welcome home surprise!”
So Eric finishes his song and gives me a big hug (one of those lift you up in the air hugs- a wonderful benefit of a tall man), and then sets me on the ground, where he dropped down to one knee. Now, I can’t really tell you exactly what I was thinking at the time, but I can assure you that it was some mix of excitement and confusion and wishing my hair wasn’t quite so frizzy. And then Eric pulled out a ring and asked me to marry him.
My response? “Are you serious?”
Haha. Eric still reminds me of this. But I did say “Yes.” Once I knew it was real.
There was more hugging and shaking and looking at the ring and looking at Eric and looking at the ring and looking at my friends, who are standing off to the side, trying to collect themselves (although she may deny it to her grave, I’m pretty sure Peggy cried).
After a few minutes of sharing the joy with friends, they left to go do something (once again, I should have been suspicious), while Eric and I walked around a bit. Then Eric tells me that we have dinner reservations at Malone’s (it’s only the most delicious steakhouse in Lexington). So we head to Malone’s, where there is a single lily sitting in a vase full of thorns at our table. It had a label that read, “Like a lily among the thorns is my darling among the maidens,” from Song of Solomon. (Insert sigh here…)
So we eat our delicious engagement dinner (a proposal and steak, all in one night? Can a girl be so lucky?), and then head back to Eric’s house, where I am told I will be having a Skype chat with my sister, who was out of town at the time. So we’re driving back, and Eric misses the turn to get to his house. I think nothing of it, as we’re both a little flustered, so we end up taking a longer route home. Little did I know, we were simply avoiding roads that might spoil the next surprise.
We arrive at Eric’s house, and he takes all of the things we have to carry so that I can walk into the house first. Surprise! There’s a house full of friends and family there to celebrate our engagement! Of course, some of these people had no idea that they were at an engagement party, since Eric didn’t want anyone to spoil the surprise. Much hugging and story telling and ring sharing ensued, until we ended the evening with a celebratory cake.
All in all, I’d call that a pretty perfect proposal.
And now I’ll get mushy and tell you all how blessed I am to have such a wonderful and romantic husband who works so hard to make me feel incredibly special. He is quite a catch, and I am so blessed to spend the rest of my life with him.
Alright, that’s enough mush. Go celebrate love, folks! We’ll be celebrating our one-year wedding anniversary in just a few weeks!