Our Engagement StoryPosted: March 21, 2012
Six years ago today, Nick proposed to me. Nick did an amazing job planning and preparing for a very detailed and special engagement process. We got engaged back in the dark ages when Facebook was just for college students and we had a total of like 50 friends. As I was reflecting on the amazing significance of today for Nick and me, I realized that many of you may have never heard our engagement story. So…I’m sharing it today! I wrote this detailed summary the day after everything happened to include in a scrap book that I made to commemorate this special day. Here’s the story from my 25 year old, newly engaged self…
On this lovely Tuesday afternoon of my Spring Break, my mom and I were watching the movie “Prime” while Nick was at work. Nick text messaged me to see what I was doing. We messaged back and forth a few times and then he told me to go check my e-mail. This didn’t seem unusual to me because he has done that before. I got up and went into the computer room. My mom asked where I was going and I told her that I just had to check my e-mail really quick. Little did I know, I would not be returning to my movie. I saw the subject line of “The movie can wait…” and my heart leapt into my throat. I continued reading and said out loud, “Oh my gosh!” My mom came in and was asking me all these questions. I kept telling her to shut up because I knew that she already knew everything that was going on. I finished the e-mail and my mom informed me that we had to wait 15 minutes until 3:45 to leave. This allowed me some time to change out of my track suit and throw together a semi-decent outfit. I got ready and then called my 2 sisters to tell them that the fun had begun. Nick’s ‘Posin (proposing) Scavenger Hunt was in full swing… My clue said “A long time ago I flicked a rubber band at you. ‘Go get ‘em Tiger!’” Our senior year of high school, Nick was the NHS President and I was the Vice President. We were having our first meeting with the officers at the beginning of the school year and our sponsors asked if everyone knew each other. Nick said, “I don’t know you,” and flicked a rubber band at me. So, I was off to Broken Arrow to retrieve my next clue.
I was freaking out on the way to Broken Arrow. My mind was racing and I had to keep telling myself…”This is it! You’re getting engaged today!” We pulled into the enormous campus of the high school and drove all through the parking lot. They were on Spring Break too so the parking lot was pretty empty, but of the few cars there, none of them looked familiar. I was confused about where I could find this clue on this enormous campus. I knew that the specific time that Nick was talking about happened in the library but I really didn’t think the clue would be there because it is right in the middle of campus. After driving around the whole parking lot, I called Nick to get some help. He just kept telling me to use my clue so I figured I should head to the library. I noticed a Jeep parked near the library but I didn’t think anything of it. We got almost to the door and my favorite teacher from high school, Mrs. Hayden, stepped out of her car to give me my next clue. I immediately started to cry because I hadn’t seen her in over 2 years and I knew when I saw her that Nick had really taken some time and thought to make everything perfect and meaningful. We hugged and exchanged a few words before she sent me on my way with my next clue which said, “The story continues…go to the place where we had our Celebrations and never lost our Focus.” Nick and I were very involved at the Baptist Student Union during our 4 years at TU. Every week we had an event called Celebration on Sunday night and one called Focus on Wednesday for lunch. So, I was off to the BSU at TU to retrieve my next clue.
I was using my time in the car to keep my sisters updated but the majority of the ride was pretty quiet. I think I was in shock and my mom was too excited about what would happen next that she was afraid to say anything because she didn’t want to spoil any surprises. It seemed like forever but we finally got to the BSU. I was dying to go to the bathroom so I walked in, asked them to wait, and ran to the bathroom…it actually was a great opportunity for me to be alone and take some deep breaths to let this all sink in. I came out and Steve and LeeAnn Lewis, our BSU directors, were there to give me my next clue. Chris, Nick’s brother, was also there along with some other students that just happened to be hanging out between classes. The third clue said, “K, this is clue number fee, four, fie, see, SABEY! Let’s just say at this place, you can do no wrong, but you can only do…” During my student teaching, there was this little 1st grade boy named Jake who had just gotten a cochlear implant and was beginning to speak. We were working with him on his numbers and that is how he counted. Every time he said “Sabey!” (seven), I just thought it was the cutest thing. Well, I came home and told Nick about it and he said that “Sabey” sounds like a pet name. Since then, that is how we have referred to each other…Sabe, Sabey, etc. The name stuck. I also had another hint…”you can do no wrong, but you can only do…right (Wright Elementary—where I teach). So, I was off to Wright to retrieve my next clue.
I spent the entire ride to Wright trying to figure out who would be there. I didn’t know if it would be my principal, one of the many women I work with, one of my students, or even the teacher that I did my student teaching with. As soon as I could see the parking lot, I was delighted to see Mrs. Perkins’ car. Mrs. Perkins is a 4th grade teacher and her classroom is next door to mine. I have really enjoyed getting to know her this year. On Friday before Spring Break, Nick had come up to the school to visit and I saw him stop by Mrs. Perkins’ class to say hi. I had a feeling that something fishy was happening but I couldn’t figure it out. I asked her after school if she knew anything and she acted totally clueless. As soon as she got out of the car, I said, “I knew you were up to something!” We had a fun little chat and she gave me the next clue. It said, “Sabe, Good Job! You are on the home stretch. I bet you’re thirsty. Wanna get our favorites? I’m payin, but you gotta go to the right one. K, I’ll just tell you. 91st and Memorial. Don’t speed.” My family is addicted to drinks from Sonic and we have sucked Nick right into that addiction. Our favorite drink is a large diet vanilla coke. So, I was off to Sonic to retrieve my next clue and a nice cold drink.
I spent the entire time on the way to Sonic trying to figure out who would be there. I was secretly hoping Nick would be there to get the drinks and take me away to propose to me in private. I was a little overwhelmed by the idea of it happening in front of people. We pulled up to Sonic and I was scoping out the place trying to find a familiar car. I saw one that looked like our friends’ car, but as we got closer, I realized it wasn’t their car. I said, “I don’t get it.” My mom asked what I didn’t get and asked if I saw anyone familiar. When I looked closer, I saw my sister, Shannon, sitting at one the picnic tables. I was so excited because she had just left to go back to OSU after her Spring Break and I was really sad that she wouldn’t be here for the whole event. I had no idea that when I was calling her with all the updates she was in Tulsa! Shannon handed me a gift card with instructions to buy drinks for my whole family. With this information, I started to prepare myself for this to all happen in front of our families. I was getting really nervous! My next clue said, “There is a treasure awaiting you. X marks the spot. It is where the heart is…what you may ask? Your final destination.” Well, home is where the heart is. So, I was off to my house to retrieve my final clue.
There wasn’t much of a drive between Sonic and my house and I was a nervous wreck. When we pulled up to my house, I saw the cars and knew that my family and Nick’s family were all at my house. We pulled into the garage and Shannon directed me inside. I immediately heard the song, “From Here to Eternity” by Michael Peterson. I have been saying since my freshman year of high school that I wanted that song to be incorporated into my engagement. As soon as I heard it, I started to cry. There were rose petals and votive candles everywhere. I was SO overwhelmed. I didn’t get it at all…the rose petals were leading me to my mom’s antique chest where my final clue could be found. I was more concerned about all the people watching me, all the pictures being taken, and trying to find my Nick! I kept saying, “where is he? I’m so scared. I’m so nervous.” Shannon told me to look in the chest. I thought I was looking for my ring. I had forgotten about the final clue! I finally found it and had no idea that Nick was standing right behind me. At the end it said, “I should be behind you now. Look up.” I said, “I’m scared!” So Nick leaned down, put his arms around my waist, and helped me to my feet. He said (from what I can recall), “We made it, Babe. Today, March 21st, is the first day of Spring. It is a new season. It’s been a long journey but we finally made it.” Then he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said, “Yes! Of course!” I was stunned by the ring and equally excited about the light that came on in the box when he opened it! There wasn’t a dry eye in the house…
After everything calmed down and everyone wiped their tears away, I spent some serious time staring at my ring. It was the exact one that I had picked out 3 years ago. I love it! I was showing it off to everyone! Nick had ordered food from Zio’s so our families could share dinner together. We spent that time discussing the whole process of planning and preparing for this event. I was so impressed with all the thought that Nick had put into this and how symbolic everything was. While I was enjoying the family dinner, I was dying to get away from people. Nick mentioned that he didn’t plan anything for dessert so I immediately suggested that the two of us run to the store to get something. That was a great chance for us to get away from the crowd, take a deep breath, and squeal about being engaged. When Nick’s family was preparing to leave, Zal said, “Well, now it’s time to start planning a wedding!” Sydney suggested that we go ahead and have the wedding the following week! Just talking about the wedding took my breath away…I couldn’t believe it was finally here!
I loved everything about the whole event but my favorite part was the day. Nick specifically chose Tuesday, March 21st because it was the first day of spring–the beginning of a new season of growth and renewal. In December, Nick had gotten a new worship cd. We were on our way somewhere and we heard this song about a new season. We listened to it over and over because it spoke to us so clearly. With all that we have been through, we are both so thankful for a new season when we can let the things of the past fade away and focus on the new life that is blossoming all around us. We went out to dinner with some of our new friends, Iman and Karen, the following night and I practically gave a sermon about how much that song had ministered to me. When Nick was trying to come up with a plan for proposing to me, he said he kept hearing that song over and over in his head for about a week. Finally, it came to him…a new season! That’s when he decided to propose to me on the first day of spring. I later told Nick that that was so meaningful to me because he has provided me with a mental outlet. Every time my mind starts to wander back to all the things that we have had to struggle through in the course of our relationship, I can remember that our relationship is now founded on the hope of a new season. There is no reason to focus on what is behind me when there is nothing but beauty in front of me.
Here we are on our wedding day…August 5, 2006
So…there you have it. The amazing story of our engagement. I’m so thankful that we began that new season six years ago! It has been a wonderful journey.