Thursday, January 9, 2014

All That Glitters IS Gold : Lisa's Engagement Story

I am a planner. I like knowing where I am going, what the strategy is and what I need to do to get there. It has been an ever uphill battle to have more patience and trust, especially over the last couple of years. I will be the first to tell you that sometimes, the hardest lesson to learn is that you can't plan everything and can't control everything. Since I am not a patient person by nature, this one isn't easy to swallow. I continually learn that I may make my plans but God also has His own. And no matter what I do, His plan not only wins, but it is better than mine. 

Why am I sharing this? Well, because I had plans when it came to my dating relationship. While none of these plans happened when I initially wanted them to, I couldn't have picked better timing. I look back and I am SO grateful for the path that Joe and I are walking. But it certainly has had thorns at times and a few stubbed toes along the way. And the beautiful thing is that there will continue to be hills and valleys. Because even after six years together (the story behind all those years will have to come another time), we are still finding ways to love stronger, trust deeper and push each other to be better.  

Through it all, I am incredibly happy and excited that we are going to be growing in these things together, as husband and wife!!! 

I had told Joe months ago that I didn't think he would be able to surprise me when he proposed. I really thought I'd see a proposal a million miles away. At the time, I was struggling with the thought, "what is the hold up??" But if there's one thing I know about Joe, it's that he chooses to do things when he's got his ducks in a row and when he's 150% ready to rock. I had to trust in his judgement and stay completely in the dark and unknowing of his plans. As we inched toward December and into the holiday season, I tried to focus on friends and projects, like this blog. My poor family and poor Joe had to endure me reading into everything. Joe could have said that he needed to take his car for an oil change and I would have thought, "what does that mean?? Is it a diversion?"   

My younger siblings and I had planned to hang out the Friday night after Christmas and Joe was planning on joining us later. Joe joyfully called me that morning to tell me that he no longer had to work. Surprisingly, that was the one thing that I didn't dwell on, probably because I was just excited to spend a little extra time with him. We had also received a text Thursday night from our friends Danny and Lucy, inviting us to go skating with them Friday night. After some discussion, we decided that sibling night would begin with some ice skating. My siblings, Jim and Annie, took off to watch our brother John's basketball game beforehand and Joe endured the last few nerve-racking hours with me before popping the big question. Right before we had to leave for the ice rink, Jim texted that one of their friends was hosting a party after the game that they wanted to attend. I was a bit annoyed that they were bailing on us (typical teenagers) but thankfully we at least had other solid plans. And did I mention that I adore ice skating?  

Joe told me we were all grabbing drinks afterwards and asked me to dress semi-nice and off we went. We arrived at Centennial Lakes and I was immediately pumped to skate with friends, especially since the area is one of my favorite spots in the Twin Cities. Joe and I have been to Centennial on several dates and being there has always made me peaceful and happy. It was one of the warmest days that we had experienced in weeks. However, I am a freeze baby so I brought a few extra layers and bundled up in the warming house (which in hindsight totally defeated the purpose of Joe telling me to dress semi-nice!). I was told that Danny and Lucy were running late so Joe grabbed me a cup of coffee while we put our skates on. Joe asked that we head onto the rink because he wanted some practice on the ice since he hadn't been skating since our Valentine's Day date in 2009. We took off onto the ice and the next 10 minutes I proceeded to die laughing at watching my darling try to skate. He was able to act natural enough to fire back, "Hey now, I was a wrestler. I was never allowed to do anything winter related!"

What I didn't know is that the whole time, he was scoping out the perfect spot that was quiet and had some good lighting to propose. At one point, he "slipped" and fell over. He had a smirk as he gracefully he fell over and since I could see he wasn't hurt, I leisurely skated over to help him up. As I did, I noticed two people moving quickly through the snow on the edge of the rink.. my two younger siblings with a camera. It took me a bit to recognize them and apparently I pointed at my brother and said, "I see you!" When I turned back around, there was Joe, on one knee. Cue the romantic music. There was no doubt it was serious when he started with, "Elizabeth Marie."

It took us a minute or two to realize that in our excitement and celebration, I hadn't looked at the ring nor had he put it on my finger. So he got back down on his knee and put the most beautiful, perfect engagement ring on my finger. We spent the next half hour laughing with Jimbo and Annie, facetiming with our lovely Yeoryia who had sent flowers (and who was laying on the beach in Hawaii?!), celebrating with Danny and Lucy after they got the all-clear and enjoying the view from cloud 9.  

My sister had brought me a change of clothes and we got all spiffied up and headed to our next destination: dinner at Zelo. This restaurant has great food and is special to us because it was the first serious date that we had back in the spring of 2012, after taking some difficult time apart for a few months. The restaurant reminded us of how incredibly far we have come since that first date back together and how hard we have worked to get here. We spent the whole dinner talking non-stop about the last few months and definitely spilling the beans on all the things we had been forbidden to talk about until that moment. After dinner, we hopped over to the Butcher and the Boar for a celebratory drink with Joe's sister Liz and our very close newlywed friends, Meghan and Thomas.  

The first of many champagne toasts and a much deserved Guinness!
I had been telling Joe for months that I hated calling him my boyfriend. He was so much more to me than that. As you can imagine, it feels amazing to FINALLY be able to officially call him my fiance. I am so lucky and grateful and blessed. We spent that weekend celebrating Christmas with my extended families and our engagement with a few friends and family. We are thrilled to see what happens in 2014!! So in love and so pumped to begin planning our future as Mr. and Mrs Murphy!! 

Two are better than one. Ecc 4:9

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