I could not be more ecstatic to tell the world that I am engaged to be married to the most amazing girl in all of the world. Promise is the best friend I’ve ever had and it’s so clear that God made us for each other. What an exciting time for us and I’ll be honest; I’m underserving of the love that she gives me.
The journey of our lives has the story of God written all over it and we give Him all the credit for guiding the steps we’ve taken. Our parents get mad props too for the way they’ve prayed for us and trusted God for us.
We’ve been on the journey to this moment for the past, almost, 2 years. It’s been a journey of thousands of miles, weeks a part, lots of travel, cell phones, text mesages, emails, coordinating calendars, more cell phones, missing each other, moving thousands of miles, finding Promise a job, living in the same city, learning and falling so crazy in love with each other every minute of it!
Saturday, October 11th, 2008 was an extremely special day in my life. It was a day that I’ve been thinking about and planning on for a while now. It was truly a holy moment as I got to look the one that I love in the eyes and ask her if she would spend the rest of her life with me?! So here’s how the story goes:
Promise and I have this weird affinity for photo shoots. Yes, it’s a bit self-glorifying, but, it’s something we just have a blast doing together. With that in mind, I asked Promise if she’d be up for doing a photo shoot and she was totally game. It was my safest lure. So we planned it for Saturday evening Ocotber 11th, 2008.
I had an idea of using this desert park in the Phoenix area that sits in the urban interface called Papago Park. I’d been to this park a time or two as it is very close to Sky Harbor Airport. I’d actually found it when my brothers flight was delayed and I had some time to kill as i waited. The first time I explored Papago Park it was a beautiful day with big puffy clouds in the sky and i watched the sun set over the beautiful cityscape of Phoenix. It was a very memorable experience for me as I was reminded of the creative God that is so tangibly seen in moments like those; He really knows how to paint on this canvas called earth. What I didn’t realize was that this spot would have profound meaning for my life just a couple years later.
As Promise and I have been moving closer towards the idea of marriage this spot came to mind, but, only because I thought it was really pretty. I wasn’t necessarily certain, but, as my idea began to form I thought this place had some potential. It all made sense after I made a little scout trip with my dear friend Chip Neal. We went out to the spot just to check it out and it was feeling good as we explored. At the end of our exploration we took some time to just pray over the spot. As I was praying I got a picture that i really believe was prophetic.
The picture that came to mind wasn’t new thought, but, profoundly important to me and our future marriage. As I was praying and just looking around me I was standing in the middle of this barren desert and looking out towards the city. I was reminded that the sustaining life of the desert is dependent on whatever God gives it and that our marriage (or life for that matter) will be the best as we learn, together, how to depend on God for everything we need. One of the coolest pieces of this vision was the understanding that as we learn to live standing in the desert God invites us to join Him in a reality beyond our own possibility. The city has that vibe. It’s exciting, forward moving, innovative, dreamy, romantic and seems to have endless possibility. The city is what God wants for our lives and marriages. I believe we experience that best as we step back in to the desert and learn to hear His voice and know Him deeply so that we can join Him well in the work of the Kingdom. At that point I knew this was the spot and that this would be a place where God would meet us and bring us into this next step! I had the chance to share this with Promise just after i asked her if she would marry me. It was a VERY SPECIAL, emotional and holy moment as I got to share with her what the Lord showed me in that place.
Backing up though, we pulled in to Papago Park at around 5:30pm. We were already running against the daylight for our photo shoot. We got there and I’m telling you I had a plan for how this would go. We’d take some pictures, we’d meander to the spot that I liked, she’d have her camera on her tripod and on a self-timed picture I’d ask her to marry me. Well, it was a GREAT plan, but, 40 MPH winds changed that situation. Apparently, proposals rarely go the way you plan them and I can now be a voice that it’s true.
I had a specific spot picked out on top of this desert mountain that looked over the city and as the sun set, bla, bla, bla… Well, the wind was not my friend on this night and Promise was quickly becoming less interested in this spot for the shoot as the wind blew and she became even colder. With a bit of coaxing we kept moving and she said, ‘maybe i can just take some of you for now’. At this point I’m thinking, uhh, this is not what i was thinking but…okay. I had to then figure out a way to convince her to let me take some pictures of her and eventually I got the camera from her and snapped a couple. These are some of the photos she took of me and a couple that I took of her right before the big moment. I was, roughly, filling my own diaper in nervousness knowing that I was literally moments away from asking her.
After taking a few photos of her, I, nervously, asked Promise if she wanted some water…because, of course, you ALWAYS want water when the wind is blowing 40mph, it’s 60 degrees and you don’t want to be where you’re at. She said, ‘that sounds good’ and I reached in to get her water, handed it to her and reached back into my backpack. As I reached back into my backpack, I fumbled around knowing I needed to grabbing the ring and thinking OH WOW, HERE WE GO. Out came the ring and down went my knee and we shared in that special moment together. The good news is she said YES (3 times…wooo)! These are photos moments after I asked her:
We shared that fantastic moment on bended knee, of course (huge thanks to Matt Winters my dear friend who is the Director at Tiffany & Co. in Tuscon, AZ who helped us pick this ring), and I told her that I had another surprise for her. We proceeded around the hill from where we were at and headed towards a Ramada, with prime views looking out over the city, that my amazing friends set up for us. As we turned the corner the guys lit the thing up with rope lights and we made our way there. I had the guys set this beautiful spot up with a linen covered table, roses, plates, silverware – the works! I brought in dinner from our favorite Thai Food place in Scottsdale called Malees.
In addition, the guys had trucked a 200 pound, 5000w generator out to this site so we could have power out there. Did I mention that I have the best friends ever. Meet Chip Neal, Seth Wells and Steve Adame. These guys worked their butts off to make this thing fly. They trucked the generator and everything else over a mile UP HILL to get this thing set up for us.
We needed the power because they set up a projector, sound system and a LARGE screen (mind you with 40+ MPH winds). Seriously studly. It looked like the boy scouts had showed up and taken care of business with the contraption they had to make so that the screen didn’t become a sail.
You have to understand that my goal was to make this night unique and ALL about Promise. A few things Promise loves: photoshoots, the outdoors, thai food, chocolate, big fluffy things (hence the LoveSac Bean Bag), roses, me (of course) and MOVIES!! SHE LOVES MOVIES. So we trucked out a FULL ON screen, projector and system so that we could watch a movie that she’s been asking me to watch with her since we started dating. The movie – THE NOTEBOOK (superb might i add. touched nicely under clear skies and a phoenix cityscape).
We got to share all of that together and then we rode these ridiculously fun little scooters out of the park and back to my truck.
At that point Promise was pretty certain the night was over, but, the more surprises the better. I had worked with Seth and Crystal Wells and, her current roommates) Chad and Nicole Ainsworth to plan a little surprise engagement thing with just a few very close friends. We pulled up to their house and she had NO IDEA. They greeted us at the door invited us in and 15-20 dear friends jumped out with Congratulations. It really was the icing on the cake. Speaking of cakes, they had her favorite chocolate cake from costco there for her to eat more of and nicole cooked betty crocker brownies. It really was a special night that have memories we’ll take with us on our journey through life.
I have to say it was an amazing day. We are so excited about beginning to plan a life together and to be fiances (haha). I could not be more grateful for the woman that Promise is and continues to become. She surprises me every day, loves me so well, challenges me to become the man I should be becoming, prays for me, makes me laugh, inspires me and ultimately makes me better! I’m so thankful that the girl I’m gonna marry is my best friend. The face on this girl was worth every minute of planning, thinking, coordinating and delivering. DID I MENTION SHE’S A HANDS DOWN KNOCK OUT TOO! I know I’m marrying up boys. Stay tuned as we get the chance to plan our wedding and pray for us as we bring our lives together in these days. A date coming soon…
TO GET PROMISE’S ANGLE CHECK IT – http://promisetangeman.wordpress.com/2008/10/14/im-engaged-to-my-best-friend-101108/