A Love Story

I have news that makes me very happy. On March 2nd, Brad Bartlett asked me to be his wife, and I said yes, of course.

Now begins a whirlwind of planning, budgeting, and dreaming. We’ve decided on a short engagement, and have set our date for July 29th at the Weston Red Barn Farm. I am very excited to blog about each step of my engagement, wedding planning, and marriage preparation. To begin, I thought I would share our sweet proposal story.

Brad and I had been talking about marriage for a while and had even looked at rings back in November. I had been trying to figure out what day it would happen, and I estimated it would happen the weekend of March 9th.  I knew that he was going to propose sometime soon, so of course I consistently had my nails perfectly polished, in case my estimations were off.

Friday night we had made plans to eat at the BBQ Barn in Bolivar and see The Lorax in Springfield, so I didn’t expect a proposal. It was about 6:30 and I was cruising Pinterest while waiting for Brad to pick me up. I suddenly got a knock at my door, which was odd because he normally just comes in. I answered the door and there stood our former boss and now-friend, Holly. I was surprised to see her standing there, holding a large envelope. Of course, my thoughts immediately went to the beginning of a proposal. I quickly pushed it out of my mind, wanting to avoid jumping to conclusions. I invited her in and she told me that Brad wasn’t thinking BBQ that night and had other plans for us. I obviously knew something was up at this point, because Brad is always up for BBQ (I mean we are from Kansas City.) So she gave me the envelope and inside was a canvas with a note and a couple of pictures attached. This was the first of eight notes. Throughout the night, I would find that these notes were a story I knew well. They began with how me met, then progressed to details of the beginning of our relationship, to how it grew, and finally to where we are now. Brad told this story as if to our future children (ya know, How I Met Your Mother style.) Also with each note was an additional note to lead me to my next destination.

The second stop in my journey was to the SBU Sells Administration Building. Brad and I met at the Call Center, and we would occasionally sneak out and sit on a bench and chat. That bench held the next large envelope containing the next piece of our story and a note directing me to the Jester Building.

The Jester Building is the home of the SBU library, where we used to try to study together, although we usually ended up just talking and getting nothing done. I walked into Jester and was happy to see Molly. Molly and her boyfriend Matt have been very good friends to Brad and me. I spent many lab periods talking to Molly about my budding relationship with Brad a year ago. Molly had the next envelope and I was directed to the home of James and Leslie Shuler.

Brad and I had the opportunity to travel to Africa together over Thanksgiving break. James went with us and we have been privileged to have the Shulers as friends and mentors in our relationship. I arrived at the Shuler residence and rang the doorbell. I could hear their kids cheer, “She’s here! She’s here, Dad!” The three kiddos welcomed me inside and watched intently as I opened and read my next note. James couldn’t wipe a huge grin off of his face, but he played it cool.

I was sent to the K-Life house in Bolivar. Brad and I love to take walks when the weather is nice, and the K-Life house is one of the first places we walked together. There is a picnic table where we could sit and talk and enjoy being outside. I found my note on the picnic table. I was freezing by this point, so I quickly ran to get my envelope, and ran back to the car to read my note in the warmth. I was surprised to see that I was being sent back to my apartment.

I arrived at my apartment and found a dozen roses laying with my next envelope. I quickly put them inside, not bothering to put them in water, I was in a hurry! At this point I had been running around Bolivar for quite some time and I thought he would surely be at the next destination: Playter Park.

Playter Park is another place Brad and I often walked to. It is a small park that is not very well known so we usually had it to ourselves. There is a pretty gazebo there and one of our favorite places to get away for a couple of hours. I found yet another envelope and no Brad. I was surprised by my next (and hopefully final) stop.

Many people did not approve of Brad and I’s relationship as it was beginning. It was a difficult situation, and Brad was not very welcome at my apartment. (This situation has improved immensely, no worries.) There were a few times in which after having a great time in Springfield, we weren’t ready for our date to end. Unfortunately, Brad lived in the dorm and we didn’t feel comfortable hanging out at my apartment. So we would get some coffee and stop at a small town outside of Springfield called Glidewell and sit on the top of his car and star-gaze and talk. This destination was a good 20 minutes from Bolivar- the longest 20 minutes of my life. I knew he had to be there, and I was right.

I pulled up and found him standing among candles with his car playing one of our favorites songs. I walked up and he asked me to sit with him on the afghan I had made him. We talked a few minutes, then he read me the last note. We stood and he told me beautiful words of how he had fallen in love with me and wanted to spend the rest of his life loving and taking care of me. Then he got down of one knee and proposed. I said, yes, of course.

The rest of the night was a blur of phone calls, Chipotle, tears, laughter, and coffee. I am beyond blessed to be marrying a man that loves and encourages me with the love of Christ. I am thankful for this man, and I cannot wait to call him my husband.

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