this summer has been nothing short of amazing, thus the reason for my lack of posting. i have literally been all over the place... from new york to north carolina to maryland to back to new york again and i've gotten to do it all beside jeff- a man i am completely and utterly smitten by. if you would have asked me a year ago if i thought it would be possible to be where i am today, with the feelings i have, i might have laughed in your face. thankfully God knows what we need when we need it and this man's love has been a gift given at just the right time.
this past weekend he professed his love and commitment to me and asked me to marry him! and i said YES! i'd be a fool not to. this man is incredible! i have never felt so cherished, loved and valued in all my life. he demonstrates his love to me in real, tangible ways. he's a man of his word and best of all he loves God with his whole heart and i know that together we can share that love with those who need it most.
i'm sure there are 2 question burning in your mind right now...
how'd he do it?
when are you getting married?
this past weekend we were in upstate new york in the Adirondacks at a young life family camp. you can learn more about young life here. it's an organization jeff has been volunteering with for about 4 years, but as of next week he will officially be on staff with them as his full-time job! it was our 2nd time at that camp this year. we had gone the first week of august with 19 of the teenagers that he leads through young life. he needed an extra girl leader and it was a great opportunity for me to get to know young life better as well as the kids he leads. it was an amazing week and definitely grew us even closer together! so we were back this time as a family camp, end-of-summer celebration. both our parents came up with us as well as his brother and his brother's girlfriend. we made the long drive on thursday and woke up friday morning excited about all the fun things we were going to do. jeff setup a para-sailing trip on the lake with our families and a couple good friends and we had a blast. i loved watching my parents try something they wouldn't normally do! we went water-skiing... well jeff and my dad did. i attempted. haha. i did manage to get up, but staying up... yeah... better luck next time i guess. we went on sailboats, swam in the lake and had a fabulous day.
as everyone was heading to the dining hall for dinner jeff pulled me aside and told me that he had planned something special for just the 2 of us and that we wouldn't be joining everyone for dinner. he tried to play it off like it was for my 30th birthday (which is in 2 weeks- yikes!) but i was pretty sure this was it... aka the proposal. i think it bums him out a bit that i knew it was coming, but really? we've been talking and talking and talking about it and why wouldn't he do it at one of his favorite places in the world while we were surrounded by some of our family?
he told me we had to take a boat to our destination and that we'd be having dinner once we got there. i asked if i could run to the bathroom before we left and as soon as i got in there i did a mini-freakout. i know. i can't lie. i did. i composed myself and came back out and we walked to a dock on the other side of the camp. we managed to get in the 2-person kayak without falling in and we started making our way across the lake. i attempted to paddle but kept getting myself wet so he told me to stop and he basically paddled the entire way. so i snapped a picture. haha!
we made our way to this picnic spot across the lake and once again attempted to not get soaked as we got out of the boat (there was no dock there, just a bunch of rocks). we made our way through some woods and ended up at this cute little pavilion that overlooked the lake. he had it all setup with 2 dozen roses, candles, chocolate and our dinner. here's a shot he snapped of me just before we ate.
we enjoyed our dinner and talked about our day and then he told me that he wrote me a letter. so he pulls out his iPad (everyone laughs when i tell them this part cause it is so 2012... haha) and he proceeds to read me this 3 page letter. cue the waterworks for me. he talked about how life has changed for him over the last 5 months in various ways, but specifically in regards to me and our relationship. he told me (for the first time) that he loved me and my heart soared. i KNEW that he loved me, but he didn't want to say it until he had a commitment to go with it. i know that's a hard concept to grasp sometimes in the world we live in, but it speaks volumes about the kind of man that he is. he read me a list of all the reasons he loves me. some were silly, some were serious, but they all had meaning. he spoke of the future and his excitement over being in this journey together no matter what life brings us. it was perfect and as someone who needs words of affirmation... well my cup was overflowing! i will treasure that letter always!
after he finished the letter he sent me down to the rocks that overlook the lake while he cleaned up. we were losing daylight and needed to get back soon. he joined me a few minutes later and proceeded to kiss me and next thing i knew he was down on one knee and i was sobbing. i think i cut him off as he asked because once i composed myself he said, "you didn't answer my question." to which i replied, "you didn't ask a question!" he didn't argue but once again said, "will you marry me?" and i said i'd have to think about it. what? no i didn't. i said YES! OF COURSE! we hugged and he asked me if i was gonna look at the ring. once i saw it and he put it on my finger i started freaking out by how flipping gorgeous it was. and then how heavy it felt on my finger! haha! he picked it out all by himself and he did a fabulous job! especially for a guy who hates to shop! we didn't have too long to relish the moment because we really needed to get back in the boat and make our way back to camp. besides, he knew there were lots of people anticipating our return.
as we (who am i kidding) as HE rowed back to camp i shot another picture. this time, with the ring.
we arrived on the dock only to be embraced by our families and soon after friends who were there as well. lots of tears, hugs and photos were taken. i couldn't stop smiling obviously and just basking in God's goodness and faithfulness in my life. never could i have imagined a scenario like this, especially after the heartbreak i had been through. but God did! he dreamed it up for me long before i could and his plans are GOOD you guys! so very very good! i am so thankful that despite all the pain and all the tears that God gave me the strength to still have hope... to still believe that he would work all those things out for my good. jeff was a total surprise to me in every sense of the word... especially with our blind date start... but God knew i needed to be surprised. to not be in control of it but to just experience it. i'm sure my glow is radiating through these words right now because my heart is just so full of gratitude!
and for the 2nd question of when... well we are looking at the spring- april or may. so think of us as we try to work out the details! i am slightly overwhelmed already and the planning hasn't even really started yet!
i know this is getting long but i really must thank you- my readers, my friends, my family who have supported and loved me through the hardest of days. who always believed that God had the very best in mind for me. who didn't stop praying for me. there aren't enough words to tell you what it's meant to me. you know who you are. xoxo
I'M GETTING MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!
grace and peace,