Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We're Engaged!

For years we knew we had found our soul mate.  So when the day came that we would take that next step to plan a wedding, it was the best day of our lives to date.  I'm sure you've had a chance to look back and read the story of how God wove our paths together to finally meet, but here is the story of how my prince charming, my best friend, the love of my life planned out how he would ask me the biggest question of our lives: "Will you marry me.."?

Taylor and I love taking walks on the beach during the summer time.  We live in such a beautiful location in Southern California, we enjoy taking advantage of the warm weather and love to talk with each other one on one while getting in some fun exercise.  We have had countless conversations for years along the beach about our dreams, our goals, and our plans to spend our future with each other.  On April 22nd, 2012 we were going on our normal Sunday stroll but this time we brought along some lunch to picnic.  It was an overcast day and it was supposed to rain.  We decided we would give the beach a shot anyhow.  I didn't suspect anything because he hadn't been acting any differently at church or in the car on our way to the beach.  He even said, if "I wanted to we could stay inside and watch a movie since it might rain".  He completely through me off by appearing so nonchalant and as though he didn't have a plan.  You see, I am the most difficult person to try to surprise.  It's nearly impossible to get anything by me because I am a very curious person and extremely observant.  Well, he sure pulled it off.  
We landed a spot at Salt Creek beach in Dana Point on a grassy slope.  Taylor laid our blankets down while I held onto our lunch.  He was laying the second blanket down when I just barely sat down..  He was already on his knees and as he extended his right leg forward in "traditional proposal position", he simultaneously took a beautiful red wooden box out of his jacket pocket, "babe, you might want to stand up for this".  My stomach dropped.  I didn't know what to think.  I was in shock, and so happy and nervous all at once.  I had JUST barely sat down, as in, my butt had not even hit the ground, and here I am quickly popping back up like an overdone pop tart.  I leaned in ever-so-intently to listen to the next words that would leave his lips...those words that would change our entire future.  Before he could say anything though, out of my mouth came, "I'm gunna to throw up" , oh gooodnessss ...nervous babble.  Way to be romantic, right?  Couldn't I have said something else or just stayed quiet? Nope! Typical me, blurting out ever so comfortably everything that pops up in my mind.  I guess it makes for a better story. We aren't perfect, so our proposal should match that imperfection as well, or so I tell myself.   Back to the romance, I will never forget the look on Taylor's face, unlike the words he said.  I wish so badly I could remember every last word he said.   But I was so ecstatic and it was such a magical exciting moment that my brain froze.  I was in shock. Utterly surprized. Completely captivated by the moment and gazing into my      h u s b a n d s  eyes.  Yes, my husband. My forever.  Thank God I do remember the most important part, this part stuck with me, this part was thee best moment of all the moments in my life that I have ever experienced, "Tess, I want you to be my wife, will you marry me?". Gassssssp. "Yes!!!!! YES YES YES YES! Yes! Today tomorrow and forever. OF COURSE, with all the certainty I've ever known, yes!"  Okay, so I didn't say all of that...but I was thinking it and have every single day since.
Later in the evening Taylor repeated back to me those beautiful words he had said, so I could hold on to them forever and never forget, "You are my best friend, I love every moment we spend together, I want you in my life for the rest of my life, I want you to be my wife, will you marry me?"  I said "YES, OF COURSE" and jumped on him! After 5 minutes of tears, hugs, "i love you's", "is this real?!", and kisses...he said, "babe don't you want to put on the ring".  HE STILL HADN'T EVEN PUT THE RING ON! I jumped on him and was hugging him so tight, he had been patiently kneeling there down on the ground holding on to it waiting to slip it onto my finger.  So finally, I stood up and he slowly put the ring on, it was stunning!  This ring was so absolutely beautiful, it took my breathe away, and my words.  Which, is nearly i m p o s s i b l e.  Haha! He shared with me the meaning behind the ring, why he chose the diamond he chose and how a piece of this ring, our ring, will forever symbolize his Granny's legacy.  I couldn't feel more honored to accept this ring and wear it for the rest of our eternity together.  
Right away we sat back down and I rested my head on his chest, we prayed together for our future, embraced the moment of sitting there staring out into the ocean, and processing all that had just happened.  These moments I will remember for the rest of our lives.  That prayer will be eternally engraved into my inner most being.  He said with such new strength as the leader of this new home, "Lord, thank you for my fiance', thank you for this woman you've put in my life, thank you for where You've brought us today in our journey.  I pray for protection for our marriage and during this time of planning a wedding.  I pray that You would bless our union and our lives together.  We are so grateful for one another and thank You for the love only You give, Amen".   
We picked up the phone to call our families, take pictures, and went back home to get ready to go to a fabulous dinner party with all of our closest friends and family members at Tortilla Flats in Mission Viejo on the lake.   It was the perfect day.  I will never forget it.  I felt so special and so unbelievably happy that I get to spend the rest of my life with the man I am so madly and deeply in love with.  We are so grateful to our families and friends for their support and encouragement to take this next step in our journey together.  And we feel SOOO blessed the Lord has gifted us with each other!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Running Ahead

“Sprint. Go. Don’t stop, not even for a breath”.  Do you ever hear yourself telling you to keep going, going, going, full throttle?  You may think you know what you’re running toward or into, but do we really?  Only God knows what lies ahead of us.  Its like there are 2 roads, one road has some bumps, pot holes, oil spills, and may be quite narrow but theres is peace throughout the process of walking along it.  The other road, the second road, is full of massive obstacles such as bent over trees fallen to the ground, clouded with fog and darkness as the sun hides from us, gaping cracks in the road to keep us stuck, and sometimes even hitch hikers, you know, the scary one’s that carry a duffle bag with who knows what in it.  I don’t think we always know what road we are choosing. Sometimes we think we are headed in the right direction so we don’t stop and ask God for guidance or any assistance at all, whatsoever.  “I’ve got this one God”, we say boldly and confidently to ourselves.  Yet, we end up facing huge obstacles as we fight our way onto the road we thought was best. Once we have our mind focussed on the end goal, we push on and try to figure our  own way out of the quick sand that now consumes us, to get to where we think “we need to be”.  ...What about God?  Where is He in this master plan of ours?  
The first road, "the narrow peaceful road with some bumps along the way" seems like a better place for us to travel.  Yet, a lot of the time we don’t go that direction.  We forget that God knows whats best for us, and we lose sight of surrendering our lives over to His will and following His path.  You see, walking with Hiim isn’t always easy, or graceful, or struggle-free, but He promises us peace, strength, hope, and endurance along the way.  With the Lord at our side we can climb any mountain, endure any storm, and persevere with peace knowing He’s got us and his Holy Spirit is alive in us enabling us to do so.  
When we run ahead, we really only imagine ourselves ahead, in reality we are taking the longer route to where God is eventually going to get us to go.  I once read a story about a caterpillar who fought to be the greatest caterpillar in the world, but God had a different plan.  Once, the caterpillar gave up trying so hard to be something he wasn’t, he surrendered in the cocoon, gave up fighting, and became a beautiful butterfly.  At times, I find myself striving to stay on the ground with the rest of the crowd, doing what feels comfortable.  When I rest in God’s comforting hands I realize I’m not meant to crawl on the ground, I’m meant to soar.  Walk easy, gently, and peacefully.. where are you really rushing off to?  This year, let's pace ourselves, be patient, trusting, and never running ahead of God.  Make a conscious effort to avoid the road that looks shorter, the one that is so tempting to jump onto with both feet, the road enveloped with obstacles and never-ending twists and turns.  Close your eyes and ask God, "what's my next move?".


"TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;        5
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,        10
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.        15
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."
-Robert Frost