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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

OUR ENGAGEMENT STORY | happily ever morris

Happily Ever Morris.

o u r   e n g a g e m e n t   s t o r y

One part magic. Another part sheer bliss. Perfectly, incandescently happy. Over the moon beautiful. Meaningful and romantic. Better than my wildest dreams. 

This, my dear reader, is our engagement story.

(read the story of how we met HERE

"No matter how your heart is grieving

if you keep on believing 

the dream that you wish will come true."

Cinderella 

When I was a little girl, somewhere between playing Barbie dolls 24/7 with Sister (my Ken doll always went shirtless, always drove Barbie around in the hottest of hot pink convertibles, and – for some unexplained reason, always and only wore a uniform of red boxer shorts with white candy canes dotting them. Ken liked to keep things sexy – and festive, apparently) and mothering my little family of baby dolls, a fairy tale dream budded and blossomed in my heart… The man of my dreams, my Prince Charming. He would be tall. Irresistibly handsome. With a heart of gold. And stellar, godly character. 

"Someday my Prince will come, someday I'll find my love, but for now it is only a dream...." I sang that over and over, again and again as a little girl. Ask my Sis. So repetitively that when we were seven and eight, she would yell, "Stop!! I'm soooo sick of that song, Sis!" Can't stop won't stop was my attitude. I dreamed and dreamed, sang and sang. 

The dream… it was always on the beach somewhere, by the sea. The waves always crashed, the sun always set. He told me he loved me. He bent down on one knee and asked me to marry him.

And then one day, my dream came true. And I say this – not in fantasy, not for a “blog post,” and not to make my life or story “sound good” – but to share how faithfully and specifically God answered my years of praying for this very event to come to life. Truly and without exaggeration, the long awaited proposal? Blew my girlhood dreams out of the water. My Prince, Daniel, amped up my ideal imaginations by about a thousand. It was everything my little girl heart wanted, and then some. All planned by the wonderful man I said “Yes!” to (and with the precious help from our wonderful families!) and all created to make me feel like the luckiest, most-loved girl in the whole wide world.

And I want to share it with you and you and you. Because, the story is a full and complete illustration of just how faithful, kind, gracious, and good the Lord is. As my beloved blog readers know, I made no secret here on this little space: how I was waiting, hoping and praying for my future husband, for years. Since age 12, I prayed for “my man,” surrendering my love story to God, and recklessly trusting that His ways and plans are best for me. I openly, honestly told you all how hard waiting was, at times. How painful it felt to be “the only one” of my friends left standing…solo. The journey of waiting was hard, at times. But, sweet. Because in it, the Lord showed Himself to be incredibly faithful and more than enough. To both Daniel and me. And so, my dear waiting friends, do not give up. Do not settle for anything less than best (not “perfect” – none of us are. But “best” for you. A person who is your matching heart, who will treat you like gold. Cherish you. And love Him first.) There were dark times when I thought “the dream” would never come to life. Times when I held onto Him and said, “You are still holy. Even if my dream never comes true.” Daniel experienced a season in his life of deep, dark, debilitating depression. Flowers and sunshine have not always lined our paths. But, we are here to say He is faithful. Through the dark and the light. He never forgets. He always loves. And He delights in giving His children good gifts!

“It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates.”

 Amy Carmichael

Getting engaged to the love of my life was the happiest day I’ve lived yet.

 Daniel and I celebrated six months of “official” dating on September 14, 2014. The summer was spent falling more in love, frolicking on California beaches and Oklahoma pastures, and going through questions in the book, 101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged (I highly recommend it. Many deep, important, life-bringing, conversation-prompting and relationship-altering discussions came out of it for us.) Asking and answering, opening up and sharing. Telling stories and secrets, raw tears and belly laughter, and being very real, vulnerable, and open. Talk of marriage and future plans was often a topic of conversation. It happened over time through our relationship. 

On May 2, after a day spent at Disneyland, my Cowboy told me "I love you" at Sleeping Beauty's Castle. As the Lord would have it, "the" song came on, right over the magical, hidden speakers. The one that I sang over and over and over as a dreaming little girl. "Someday my prince will come, someday I'll find my love..." Magic. 

From that time on, we both knew… the desire for “the future” shared – on our hearts, bloomed softly… over time. We processed and felt – I want you, only you – forever. This is meant to be. We talked about it, often. Throughout the warm days of summer, I would jokingly point at my left ring finger in moments of discussing the future; widening my eyes and tilting my head teasingly, without saying a word. He’d laugh. “I’m workin’ on it!” I jokingly (or not so jokingly) sent him photos of dream rings. We talked of plans – like how we want to start out living in a vintage Airstream at first, renovating it and then traveling to all the places we dream of seeing. Wild and freely pursuing adventures, dreams, and goals. We talked of children and family, home and lifestyle, expectations and convictions. We talked of wedding dress styles! Venues! Timelines! Sister often asked me: “Now what is your ideal ring? This one? That one? This cut, this size?” His sister-in-law often text me: “Okay so I know it won’t be for a while, but….don’t you just love this dress?!?!”

It was coming, I knew. I just didn't know when. Until, he began hinting around in mid-August. He told me, “So….I want to recreate our first week.” (The week he bravely came to LA and met me. We spent a whirlwind seven days together, exploring the beaches of California. A magical week, and the rest – as they say, is history!)  My wheels began turning, right off. Especially when he chose the second week of September to go and asked me to set it aside. He said we would go to all our special places: Santa Barbara, Catalina Island, Laguna Beach (an especially sacred place for us and for me in my history. Also, my favorite beach in California.) 

When a friend invited us over for dinner that week, he quickly jumped in: “Oh no! We have a plan that week.” I knew something was up. Mom and Sister heard my suspicions. “So.. Daniel keeps saying that we are going to ‘recreate our first week.’ What if he proposes? I feel like he might…!”

Realizing my always-noticing mind was racing with guesses, he “threw me off the scent” with some carefully-crafted, good-hearted little white lies. Plans were in the works. Being a professional viola player, Daniel is often hired to perform at weddings (see his website here if you’re getting married. Very romantic music.) and so, during the summertime, he went to a bridal show in Southern California as a vendor. While there (unbeknownst to me) a jeweler approached him, handing him a card and asking him to play some music at an event they were hosting for brides the next day. He played for their event. They fell in love with his music. And, that day – the search for the ring began. The jeweler graciously offered him a special deal – such a blessing to us. Of course, I was blind to it all! Yet, he feared I would catch on. Sweetly covering all his tracks, wanting me to be totally surprised! He and the family – and especially my wonderful bestie Sister -  crafted an elaborate plan for the proposal. I now know that she snuck down to the ring shop with him a few times (something that was super important to me. I wanted Mandy – my Sister and lifelong best friend to be involved in the proposal, and the fact that he included her in the planning and choosing, and that she so excitedly jumped in to help, makes my heart all warm and thankful.)

Plans were in the works. And Daniel came up with a good one. One I could not have ever guessed! On September 9, I got an email. From a sweet blog friend of mine, Jackie Rose. We have (still) never met in person! But (as you blog and internet friends understand) in this community of blogs and Instagram, finding kindred spirits through the Internet (of all places!) is a joy. Jackie is an absolute gem with a heart of gold and some fabulous style. (In fact, she’s a stylist in California! See her website here) She and I have tried several times to meet up in person, but it’s never worked out. So when I checked my e-mail one morning and saw an unexpected message from Jackie pop up, I was thrilled! And surprised!
She wrote…
“Erin!!
Hi sweet friend!! God really put you on my heart! You know ever since someone at church years ago said "there's this girl, she reminds me so much of you, you girls are kindred spirits" I have loved following you and getting to know you via social media! You are such a beautiful person inside and out, and I would LOVE to style you and your sister for your new magazine. I am coming to Laguna Beach Sept.20th and would love to set up a dreamy, beautiful fashion photoshoot with you and your sis for your magazine! I will provide everything you just need to show up and look pretty! Let me know your thought SO hoping this works out, I really think it will be perfect! XOXOX

Can't wait to hear from you!

With love,
Jackie
www.jackierosestyle.com
Fashion styling and personal shopping”

I didn’t know that Dad said yes. That a ring was being chosen. And plans laid. To create a magical, special, significant night of a lifetime. A life-altering question would be asked and an answer would be given, and they would change the course of our lives.

Daniel knew he wanted to propose at Laguna Beach. It’s not only a spot that’s been close to my heart for many years -- a place holding lots of promises for me, brokenness, and significant, hard and sweet times with the Lord, but he and I spent an afternoon and evening there at the end of our “first week ever.” Six days after meeting “in person,” we stood out on a jagged rock in what felt like the middle of the ocean, waves crashing all around us, a pink sunset painted across the sky, and Daniel playing two special songs for me: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “The Rose” (he then showed me the lyrics to the classic song – he said he felt that way about me. And took me to a small shop by the sea, bought me a perfect pink necklace: “A symbol, to show you I am coming back…” and took me out to a very fancy dinner. Our first “real” date kinda dinner.) Laguna would be the place, he knew. 

As he planned and thought of ways to make the proposal happen there, he remembered that I told once him about my friend, Jackie Rose! I’d shared with him all about my Internet kindred spirit and how she loved Laguna Beach, too – her family even has a home there!  And so, he searched my Facebook, looking through every friend on my friend’s list, for a whole week! Until he found that stylist with blonde hair who matched my description. He then found her website, looked for her phone number and called her up and told her the plan, asking for her help! (Props to him for his researching skills!) And Jackie so graciously and sweetly jumped on board!

In an effort to truly keep me in the dark and totally surprise me with the extravagant proposal, Daniel went to all ends and expended all effort to keep his secret. And I was none the wiser! While on a short trip to the East Coast for a few music gigs (he traveled often for music this summer) – he devised a little plan to make sure I would not guess anything and spoil the surprise. One night while he was gone, Sister and I decided to have a girl’s night in a local hotel – not only was Daniel out of town for the weekend, but so were Sister’s people and our parents! Using the Hotels Tonight app, we found a good deal on a four-star hotel in our area and packed up our things for a girl’s night in. Daniel called to say goodnight. He sounded kinda down – rare for him, and I wondered what was up. He then told me, “Babe, I have some bad news…” and explained that while at his twin brother’s home on the East Coast (where he lived for a few years) he got an unexpected letter in the mail from the IRS - - he was unknowingly in some debt and so, he said, “I’m soooo sad. It means that ‘certain things’ will have to be postponed until sometime later….” Knife to my heart. I tried oh so hard to be encouraging and strong, letting him know it was okay. We hung up, sad and dejected, I told Sister over delivered pizza. She seemed shocked and sad. The next morning, I got a sweet text from Kristen, Daniel’s sister-in-law. She told me how sad she and her hubby Caleb (Daniel’s twin brother) were for us.  How they were here for us and praying. How it would just make us stronger, and how they went through something similar while engaged, and they got through it! I broke down and wept when I read her text, eating pink donuts on the white hotel bedding (so funny now!) I would never have doubted the situation, because everyone seemed so legitimately normal about it all. Especially Mandy and Kristen. Sweet and sad for us. Daniel came back to Los Angeles a few days later, and when I met him at Starbucks that evening, he seemed – and even looked - really bummed. My heart sank, disappointed that (clearly) our engagement would be delayed for who-knows-how-long. That week, we moved forward with life as usual and I did not expect a thing. And didn’t ask too many questions about timelines, because – the poor guy was just trying to pay off debt and I did not want to pressure him or make him feel worse. He said he still wanted to take a few days and recreate “our week,” but I discouraged the plan, saying: “Oh no, we don’t need to do all that and spend all that money! I would be perfectly happy with just a dinner at Zaytoon!” (our favorite restaurant in Santa Barbara, one discovered by his sis-in-law on their stay in SB in April, when I stayed with them often ..a dreamy Greek place with the best hummus and deliciously whimsical twinkly lights covering it ’s patio.)
As the days went on, Jackie tagged me and Sister in several of her instagram photos, preparing outfits and J.Crew accessories for our photoshoot! I explained to Daniel that I was so excited to use the photos we got for the cover of my upcoming first print issue of Graceful Magazine.

The night before the shoot, Daniel called me to say goodnight (as usual.) I invited him to come to the shoot with me, wanting him to see the process! Disappointed, he told me that he had a gig come up -- playing viola in Malibu and would not be able to make it.

The morning of September 20th came along. A normal Saturday morning at home.  Mom and Dad left the house early for a class (my dad is a college professor at a Christian seminary and Mom often helps him, especially with long all day Saturday courses.) They left early, and Sister and I spent the morning at home – getting ready for our photoshoot that evening. I remember, when Dad and Mom shut the front door behind them, I turned to Sister and said: “Hmmm, that’s odd. Why is Dad wearing JEANS to class? He never, ever wears jeans to class…” She ignored me, texting someone on her phone – as usual. In fact, Mandy should win an Oscar award for her performance the day of the engagement. She literally acted just as normal and “herself” as she always does. She had a major attitude about the photoshoot and I wondered if she would really come with me that evening. She did not seem anything but calm, normal, and as if she could care less about the photoshoot plan. She told me we needed to stop at her store at the mall (she manages a women’s clothing boutique) and (without me ever guessing or thinking it seemed “fishy”) she somehow got me to go into the shop and try on a white mini dress that she and her co-workers told me was PERFECT for a photoshoot at the beach that evening. Wanting to show up in something cute, I bought it. Little did I know that she had already bought it in my size days before, held onto it in the back room, notified all her co-workers about the situation, and had it “staged” on the rack, ready for me to pick out on my own and “purchase” – she even coached her salesgirls to “fake sell it” to me! Little did I know that Daniel had come into the store earlier that week and picked it out for me to wear at the engagement!!

While at the mall, I changed into the little white dress, because I really didn't have anything I wanted to wear for the shoot – but realized that it was showing my bra in the back! Panic mode. We had just a few hours to get to Laguna Beach to meet Jackie’s photographer at the Montage Hotel (the plan Jackie emailed me) and we knew we’d most-likely encounter traffic. Mandy did not seem stressed about time, at all. Seemingly leisurely, she sat at the nail salon, chatting with the stylists, deciding whether she would choose white and cream nail polish. I, always late but with an anxious eye on the clock, decided I didn’t have time for a (much-needed) manicure. Mandy insisted we  had time (“you’re doing a photoshoot, Sis! And Jackie is really stylish. We neeeeeed to have our nails done.”) So, I sat down, chose a cream color and asked the nail technician to “please hurry, I’m so sorry but we have to be to Orange County in a few hours! And, traffic….” Looking back, it just felt like a normal day. But, something about it felt different. Alive. Special. Even at that point. The sweet workers at the nail salon complimented me profusely, almost – looking back – as if they knew! “You just look so gorgeous! Your dress, your hair!” Before leaving the mall, I (with wet nails) ran down to Victoria’s Secret and bought stylist’s tape, hoping to secure my dress where it opened too far in the back.

We jumped in the car and braved LA traffic on the 5 Freeway, South. Mandy – calm as a cucumber all morning – suddenly seemed rattled. As we passed Disneyland, traffic became congested and almost-stopped. An hour out from our destination, the iPhone told us. Just enough time. She blasted the rap music playing in her car (as usual) but started breathing more and more heavily as time went on. I noticed she was texting someone, furiously. I had no idea, of course – but, Daniel wondered where we were exactly – as he, Mom and Dad were all working hard to craft and set-up the extravagant proposal, out on a rock in Laguna Beach. He had it timed and planned perfectly. We would arrive just before sunset. And the plan would unfold. Mandy kept calm until a truck cut us off, causing us to nearly miss our (very important) exit – one that, had we missed it, would have taken more than half an hour to recover – and would, incidentally, have caused us to miss the proposal… all together. Of course, I knew none of this at the time. All I knew? Mandy flipped out. Now, we laugh hysterically at the scene – as her reaction is totally understandable. She had the most important scheduled date of my life so far, on her head. But at the time, I was a little shocked at the passion behind her road rage. She screamed and yelled at the semi-truck driver, rolling down the window and cussing a string of profanities – her eyes, wild. Her fist, beating the steering wheel – her hands honking the horn insessantly. I sat in the passengers seat, semi-shocked. I quietly said, “Sis, wow…umm, calm down, okay? It’s just a photoshoot, we can be a little late. Don’t kill yourself over it.” She rolled the window back up, panting. (This makes me smile now. She was responsible to get me to my once-in-a-lifetime engagement. And she would not let a single soul in the world stop her. Just a picture of our fierce sister-love, almost a “mama bear” kind of protective relationship we have with each other.)
Both of us have the smallest bladders in the history of the world, and so we HAD to stop at a gas station bathroom right when we got off the freeway, near our destination. We ran in. My open-back dress still a major wardrobe malfunction. The gas station mart did not sell sewing kits. Time was ticking. I hoped Jackie might have a safety pin or something, as the stylist tape I’d purchased at the mall was not working. In desperation, I asked the gas station cashier if she had a safety pin or something on hand? Behind the counter? SHE DID. Looking back, by a miracle! We pinned my dress. All was ready and well.

All the while, this was happening:
My precious parents working hard all day with my beautiful fiance-to-be, to make our dream come true. Wow, am I blessed.

Arrive, we did, barely on time and very out of breath. We almost missed the hotel, our GPS directed us to the wrong parking lot. But Jackie had instructed us to drive up to the valet and meet her photographer – she texted me that afternoon and explained that her photographer would be at the valet area of the hotel, waiting for us. And that she would be down on the beach, setting up props and preparing the shoot. We planned to follow her photographer down there and meet her, right as the sun was setting, for capturing “golden hour” pictures.
Pulling up to the valet, we jumped out of the car (conscious of the rapidly setting sun) and began scanning the busy hotel front area for “the photographer.” I spotted someone waving and walking quickly toward us. A smiling and bubbly young woman came bounding up – large camera strapped around her neck and held in one of her hands. Her other hand, reached out and shaking mine.

“Hey! I’m Regina.” She said, warmly.

Funnily enough, my first thought: “She does NOT look like a Regina!”

We hopped on the elevator, rushing down to the beach. Following her through the lush hotel, past dark wood and the sound of clinking glass from the nearby hotel restaurant, down steps to the light-golden sand. Small-talk proceeded as we fast-walked.

“So how do you know Jackie?” I asked.

She answered quickly, “Oh, yeah, through the Internet, too!”

Suddenly, all became a whirlwind. Looking back in my memory, when my life was (unknowingly) about to change (for the better) forever, it all became crystal clear and slow. 

Like slow-motion.

I remember the feeling of the cool sand on my toes as we ran toward the place Jackie supposedly waited.  

The sun, setting very quickly in the pink sky around us. The sea, as “Laguna” as ever. Crystal blue – always clearer and cleaner and more “tropical” than any other California beach. I’ve always said, it reminds me so distinctly of my childhood trip to Greece – the water and foliage of Laguna looks very much like the Mediterranean sea.

All of a sudden, “Regina” began snapping photos of me. Not Sister. She mentioned something like, “Oh just want to get some shots of you guys walking up!”

I mentioned something about, "Oh this is our place, Sis! The place Daniel played those songs for me that first week!"

And then – out of nowhere and faster than I could take it all in -I saw someone, so unexpectedly: DANIEL.
Walking up toward me. 

Through the beautiful arch.  

He took me in his arms and kissed me.
i love how you can see the ring box in his back pocket!! 
Gasping and surprised, I asked, "What?! Baby! Wait. Why are you here? What are you doing here! You were supposed to be in Malibu! Ahhh I am so glad you could come!!"
I remember how vividly his eyes sparkled. 

He didn't say much. He just smiled. 

At that moment, I thought he was simply surprising me at the photoshoot. So happy he could make it, but a little confused, too. It happened so fast and it seemed like such a big moment. I kept thinking, "Where's Jackie?" haha! 

And then, the world began spinning all at once. He took me by the hand, leading me through the arch. 
And then, when I saw this.... 
And heard that very song, "Someday my Prince will come, someday I'll find my love...." playing loudly from a hidden speaker. 

What do you know.... the dream came true. 
It hit me. 

This is it. 

My heart swelled. I shook. I gasped. My knees literally went weak. 

And then I looked up and saw it all:


"All this time, I believed with all I am

that I would find you." 

Tyler Knott Gregson
My goodness. How can mere words begin to describe the ethereal wonder of the moments that proceeded? How can one describe sheer happiness in a sentence? Letters, words, adjectives, and verbs simply cannot do justice to the joy. The redemption. The fulfilled promises. The dreams come true. The undeserved grace of it all. Not just the magic or the happiness or the sweet details and romantic feelings, but the WOW - this is it. The Lord is faithful. And we are going to really be spending forever together. It's huge and very sacred. Significant.

I truly cannot imagine any other moment topping this one in my entire life ahead (although I have heard that weddings and marital bliss and babies may tie and top. We shall see :)

All in one moment, it fell on me like an overwhelmingly good, blessed, amazing waterfall of pure love. 

The man of my dreams led me past the "Someday is today" sign he hand-painted. Past two stately chairs, the beautiful little dark wooden antique table he purchased just for the occasion - draped in my great-great grandmothers handmade lace table runner (cue the tears!) Pink, white and luscious red rose petals strewn all around. Candle sticks gracing the rock on all sides. Candles flickering absolutely everywhere. His beautiful viola, set on a chair. Sparkling juice (because it was the beach) and tall champagne glasses. Fresh gorgeous flowers (he chose them because "they look like the ones you showed me that you like for a wedding!") Pretty pillows in my favorite colors, dotting the scene. It was exactly what I would imagine for my dream "place." Like a taste of heaven on earth. In every little way.

By the hand, he led me through the rose petals, to a spot on the end of the rock where a little rose-colored pillow set on the ground. The sky, a watercolor canvas of blues and creams and golds and the loveliest hues of pink. The sea, moving and crashing, deep and wide. Sea spray splashing up on me as emeraldy crystal blue waves crashed hard against the rocks. We were out in the middle of the ocean, I felt. Me and him. 
He took me in his arms. Time stood still. 

"Someday my prince will come...." played on. And then, he picked up his viola and played along. 

Beautiful.
I didn't cry until that moment. If you know me, you know I can cry with the best of 'em. I easily shed tears along with grieving friends, during sad movies or moving songs. But, in this life altering moment, it took a minute to "sink in." And then, as I stood there above the ocean looking at my man as he played for me, his eyes locked on mine, I lost it. 

All those lonely nights. The long years. Waiting. And waiting. And then waiting some more. For what seemed like forever. Writing letters to my future husband as a teenage girl. Praying for "him." Giving the dream to God. Then, grasping it desperately back. Only to lay it back down at His feet, broken and needy, once again. The tears at bridal showers. Hearing the dating stories, the proposal stories, the wedding stories, the baby stories. Watching every friend meet and marry and live life hand-in-hand with the valiant men of their dreams, and then watching them begin to raise the babies of their hopes. The anger, the loneliness, the "Why not me?" The wondering if "he" would ever come. The season before I met my "him" when I resigned myself to, This could be it. It could just be me. Me and the Lord. And ya know what? He is still holy. He is and always will be more than enough. 

All came to a whirling, mind-boggling culmination. And tears flowed freely. Repeating in my mind, over and over - was a phrase Dad often spoke to me during those waiting years. The ones where I could have "settled" for any nice guy, but wanted to wait and trust for God's best, for me. Dad always said: "The word of the Lord is true. The word of the Lord is true."
And then, he bent down on one knee and asked the most important question he will ever ask in his lifetime, the most important question I will ever be asked and then answer.

Honestly, it is almost a blur to us both, what happened next. 

I know he bent down, sweetly and carefully taking my hand in his. And he said:

"I know you are the one for me. You are the one the Lord planned for me. I want to spend the rest of my life loving you. Forever.

Forever.

Forever!"

I wiped the tears from my eyes. Emotion filled his voice.

He reached to his back pocket and pulled out a maroon-colored little curved-top box. 


He opened it up. 
Sparkling, glimmering and shining. The most perfect, beautiful, dreamy engagement ring I've ever seen in my entire life. 

Without thinking, my hand covered my mouth as I simultaneously smiled and cried tears of joy.

"I love you so much.

Will you marry me?"

A resounding and passionate, YES!!!! and a kiss. 
He slipped the breathtaking ring on my finger.

Never in my life have I felt more alive. Aware. In the moment. Crystal clear. All there. Never have I felt more present. 
We are going to be husband and wife! 
Admiring the ring. So this is what Cloud 9 feels like. Sigh....
Apparently a bit of a crowd gathered around and above. We didn't notice the cheering when he asked, and I said yes. Sister recorded a little video on her phone, and later when I watched, I was shocked at how loud all the cheering was. I saw him and heard him, alone. Just me and him. The world stopped spinning. All I could see was his smiling face.
One of the sweetest things...Dad later shared with us that as he and Mom stood up above, looking down and watching the engagement unfold, a crowd of people gathered, cheering us on, crying, and watching. He said a young mother stood near him, holding up her small son as he watched the whole scene, enraptured. 

She whispered to him, "Son...someday, when you ask your Princess to marry you, this is exactly how you do it." He looked on, wide eyed. Dad couldn't help but snap a picture. (Cue the tears!)
Daniel pointed to my parents up above. Made me cry again! 
We sat on the chairs (thanks Caleb and Kristen!), crowned in love, reveling in the joy of it all. And, of course, I stared at the ring...
Admiring and amazed at all the details...
My family joined us on the rock (perfection!!) Of course, we sooo missed Daniel's precious Oklahoma/Maryland family who couldn't be there because of the sheer distance, but we updated them from afar! 
 

 I love this picture... Sister's hand holding mine!
Oh, and our wonderful photographer? Her name isn't really Regina. It is Ally Michelle. (And you should look her up because she did a fantastic job.) She chose Regina to cover up her identity to me, as she is Daniel's sis-in-law's friend, and because, well - Regina Filangee (and if you know what that means, we are soul sisters!)

Dinner with my family to celebrate. Our faces hurt from smiling! 

I am so thankful to call Daniel Morris my "Fiance" and I am over the moon thrilled to be his wife. Next Spring!! How thankful I am for our loving families and all they did to make our engagement (and relationship!) happen so perfectly. 

Daniel, you are mine -- the future husband I have long prayed for and loved fiercely my whole life.

What an honor to love you... and to be loved by you.

Someday, my Prince did come. And someday is today.

(And to my sweet ladies, and gentlemen, in waiting, know this .... The word of the Lord is true, my loves. 

The word of the Lord is true.)
"'But I'll have to ask you to wait a long time, Anne,' said Gilbert sadly.
'It will be three years before I'll finish my medical course. And even then there will be no diamond sunbursts and marble halls.'

Anne laughed.

'I don't want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want YOU...
Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more 'scope for the imagination' without them. And as for the waiting, that doesn't matter.
We'll just be happy, waiting and working for each other -- and dreaming.
Oh, the dreams will be very sweet now.

Gilbert drew her close to him and kissed her.
Then they walked home together in the dusk, crowned king and queen in the bridal realm of love, along winding paths fringed with the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed, and over haunted meadows where winds of hope and memory blew."

- L.M. Montgomery

*photos by Ally Michelle + my sis + mama 

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