When She Said “Yes”

~ That Special Day ~ August 5th, 2013

A new chapter in our Love Story has begun, and it’s the best chapter yet. On the 5th
of this past month, I asked Erin Bates to marry me, and she said “Yes”!
I can’t tell you of all the emotions and feelings that I had leading up
to that moment! It all seems like a dream…a dream that is too good to
be true…and yet it is the best dream that I have ever had that has
actually come true!
Our Love Story didn’t begin at the moment that Erin said yes, but
rather, it has been written over the past several years. It has been
written through precious times, through fun times, through hard times,
and even through sad times. These times have strengthened our
relationship and drawn us closer together in such a special way. Erin
has been the sweetest expression of love to me…and that’s why I call it
our “Love Story.” She has been so patient and gracious with the many
areas that I have needed to grow in! The reason that this is the
sweetest chapter yet in our love story is because I know of the great
love that she has demonstrated in our relationship and especially behind
the “Yes!”
The sweetest chapter began the day that I asked Erin to marry me…and I
would love to tell you about it!  Honestly, I was nervous! I knew in my
heart what her answer may be, but yet, I knew I didn’t deserve the
answer that I was hoping for! I wanted to make this day in Erin’s life
very special. I thought and thought and thought again on ways in which
it could be just that! I wanted it to be romantic…I wanted it to be very
personal…I wanted it be something that she could look back upon and
cherish for forever…I wanted it to be picture-perfect…I wanted it to be
the most special time of our lives thus far!
That special day dawned bright and cheery. The weather seemed to be
just perfect for what I had planned. My excitement and anticipation only
grew by the minute! My brother from Chicago was able to come to capture
this special time through pictures (if you don’t already know, pictures
are really important to Erin and I =). I went to coffee that morning
with him and gave him the run down of how I hoped it would all work out.
There were several “unknowns” in my plans…which made me nervous! But I
was praying that God would work it all out! One of the big “unknowns”
was how everything was going to work out with our special day being
filmed as well as being photographed. =) I wanted everything to go as
smoothly and sweetly as possible! Erin knew that I was going to ask her
to marry me, but she didn’t know how I was going about to do it and she
didn’t know where. I wanted to make everything as much of a surprise as
possible and to keep her in suspense! =)
We left the Bates house late in the morning to go to eat at a nice
restaurant in Knoxville, right on the Tennessee River. It was simply
beautiful! It was peaceful, quiet, and so sweet! Erin thoroughly enjoyed
it all, and so did I!  After a really good meal (actually…I wasn’t that
hungry…LOL =). We took a stroll down along the river. It couldn’t have
been more perfect! We found a swing just outside the restaurant facing
the river. We took some time to just swing and talk and enjoy just being
together as we always do!
Our time came to an end all to soon there on the river, and we were
soon heading to our next destination about an hour away…Whitestone
Lodge! The Bates had known of this gorgeous place and had told me about
it several times. Erin had never been there but had seen pictures of the
beautiful landscape and countryside. I couldn’t’ think of a more
romantic setting in the hills of Tennessee to ask my precious Girl a
really important question. =) The atmosphere of this place was that of
peace and quiet…and romance…I was so pumped!!
We arrived and met and the film crew. I got everything lined up with
the staff at Whitestone. I had prepped them ahead of time with my
intentions and they were so gracious and accommodating! It worked out so
wonderfully! Erin and I had a short time to talk and walk around. It
was simply beautiful! We headed down to the lake front to take a little
boat ride. To Erin, boat rides are very romantic. She was really excited
and happy! We tried out a paddle boat and then switched to a canoe
(which was definitely more romantic…LOL). Everything was so calm and
still…so perfect! I couldn’t wait though till the next part of our day!
I had planned that before we went to our dinner there at Whitestone,
Erin and I would go on a carriage ride around the property. I was super
excited…and I hoped that she would be too! We left the lakeside and
headed to a beautiful little white chapel where we were to be picked up
by our carriage. As we opened the doors to leave the chapel, a
beautiful, white carriage pulled up! Erin was so excited!! She was just
beaming!! It seemed just like a fairytale story! After helping her into
the carriage we were off! As we pulled away from the little white
chapel, I reached over and gently took her hand in mine and smiled. The
warm sunshine…the steady beat of the horse’s hooves…the bird’s
singing…the gentle breeze…the two of us…it was too good to be true! It
was such a special time as we rode through the Tennessee countryside. We
were both so happy! I was especially happy because I was about to ask
the Girl of my dreams to marry me…=’)
Our carriage let us off at a small gazebo that was seated on a hill
overlooking the lake, just outside the little white church. I helped
Erin down and we turned and started walking towards the gazebo. There on
a small table were a dozen white roses with two red roses in the
middle, a guitar, and a small white box. I turned to Erin and told her
that I had something to show her…and I think she had a good idea of what
that might be! Just before the carriage ride, I had taken the ring that
I was going to give to Erin and put it in my pocket. I had written a
little note to Erin that morning that read:

“I finally worked up the courage to ask you…I Love You!
~ Yf…Forever…for Always…for You!”

I put this note inside the ring box instead of the ring. I thought that
this would surprise her just a little bit more! As we walked into the
gazebo, I reached down and picked up the white box and opened it and
handed the ring box to Erin and asked her to open it. I could tell she
was slightly puzzled…but really excited! It almost doesn’t seem real
thinking back upon it all now. It happened so quickly! But yet it will
forever be etched in my memory as one of the sweetest and most precious
moments of my life! It felt like a bit of heaven!
Erin opened the ring box and read the little note. When she finished
reading, I knelt down on one knee and held the ring up and asked, “Erin
Elise, will you marry me?” The look on her face was that of so many
emotions! She sweetly said “yes!” and my dream came true! The following
is really hard to express with mere words…I honestly don’t know how to
describe the feelings that I had, the preciousness of the moment, and
the happiness that surrounded us! My heart was overflowing with
gratefulness! I was truly overwhelmed! I knew in my heart of hearts that
I didn’t deserve the Girl that I was holding! God was so good! I
couldn’t thank Him enough!!
A verse that God gave me years ago had become so very true in my life!

Psalm 84:11 “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will
give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk
uprightly.”

Although I have made many mistakes, God has been so faithful to give me
“good” things. And He hasn’t just give me good things…He has given me
the Best! Erin is truly the very best for me and I am eternally grateful
to the Lord and to her for making my dreams come true!
The rest of that special day was spent rejoicing together and just
enjoying each other and God’s goodness! A special dinner awaited us at
the lodge. We talked, cried, laughed, smiled and just enjoyed the
beginning of the Sweetest Chapter Yet!

~ Hf…for Always <3<3