Thursday, January 23, 2014

the story of us, part III

We became friends, we became best friends, and we were both getting pretty ready to progress. Being best friends was great and all, but we were kind of through with the "IF's" and were more than ready to talk about the "WHEN's". WHEN we go on roadtrips, WHEN we have [certainly fat, hopefully adorable] babies, WHEN we have morning coffee, WHEN we make blanket forts.

But, I was pretty sure there was going to be plenty more of this stage, and was working really hard to be okay with that.

Being an overthinking, jump-the-gun kinda person, I was trying not to worry about the fact that if we didn't get engaged for 4-6 more months (probable), we'd need to plan a winter wedding. Some people have beautiful winter weddings, but all the things I wanted my wedding to be were decidedly un-wintery (and Oregon just doesn't have the cheeriest winters--cold + rain, but no snow. grievous). Anyways. I really was getting to the point where I was letting go and not worrying as much about the whole thing (while also being mild-to-moderately panicking about the entire relationship [it doesn't make sense!]).

Also: I'm really into surprises. I'd never wanted to know when/where/how my guy was going to propose. I didn't want to know anything about the ring, I didn't want any part in picking out the ring, I didn't want any whiffs of suspicion that would lead me to find out things. But also: I'd always been super picky about the ring. I'm not into the normal, diamond solitaires, or gold, or colored stones, or too big, or too small, or wedding rings attached to the engagement rings... The only ones I'd seen that I were close to what I would want were the vintage rings I'd seen on Pinterest (but only pinned on my secret boards, so as not to be awkward), and my sister Johanna's beautiful vintage-style engagement ring.

Peter had nailed it on surprising me thus far, but I didn't expect to be surprised for the proposal. I'm horrifically snoopy/annoying, which doesn't mesh well with my wanting everything to be a surprise.


In May, I'd had a really tough, weepy weekend, followed by a really busy workday on Monday. I hadn't seen Peter for over a week (he'd been in Washington for a wedding), and we hadn't even had time to talk much. I had just scheduled several things for Tuesday, and was in the middle of trying to get an enormous amount of orders out at work, when Benjamin called. He said he had been trying to surprise me and Bethany, but he realized he needed to let us know so we could work out our schedule: Rebekah's (his wife's) birthday was Tuesday, and he had been hoping to surprise us all with an impromptu beach trip (impromptu beach trips were a huge and integral part of our childhood ♥, and I love the beach more than life). He said we didn't need to feel like we had to come (we already had plans), but he wanted to at least check.

This didn't seem weird to me, because Benjamin is the kind of awesome person who would randomly take his sisters to the beach because of their passion for impromptu beach trips. But it was really tricky figuring out if we could cancel all our plans and actually make it. We talked about it with mama, and she seemed a little unsure if we should go ("you probably should be at community group...") [LIES]

All the drama abated, plans got cancelled, new plans got made. Peter was going to join us at the beach in the afternoon (HOORAY UGH I MISSED HIM).

Tuesday, however, was POURING rain. Like, dangerous-to-drive, can't-see-a-thing rain. For some reason, Benjamin still wanted to go to Pacific City (nothing to do but be on the beach) instead of Seaside (arcade! candy! putt-putt golf! ice cream! bumper cars!). This seemed irrational, but whatever. I did want to go to Pacific City, since we hadn't been in forever, and it's where our family used to go for vacation for a whole week every year (before everyone grew up & nonsense), plus, it has Cape Kiwanda, a huge, amazing dune we used to always climb.

We got there, and it was still pouring. We didn't even go on the beach, but finally found a coffee shop, where we stayed for a long time, speculating on what to do, and mostly, being sad about rain. Peter was supposed to be there, but he texted me and said "I'm sorry! I'm trying to finish a wedding album for a client and they keep wanting alterations." [LIES] This was irksome, because I missed him, it was raining, and I wanted him HERE. I tried not to have a bad attitude about it--"I shouldn't be mad that's so hardworking," yada yada yada."

Apparently, Peter was still going to be hours. So, we went to the [one] restaurant, where we could at least look at the beach. We hung out, ate clam chowder, and waited, waited, waited for Peter. We thought eventually we could climb Cape Kiwanda, and even if it was still raining/windy/horrible, we could just get all our clothes ruined because we'd go home right after.

Meanwhile, Benjamin fretted about the weather to excess. Sure, it was gross and rainy and we couldn't be on the beach, but it wasn't that big of a deal. There was tiny bits of clear mixed with death-threat kind of clouds, and he kept examining them and fussing about the outcome.

Pretty much simultaneously, Peter got there, and the sun came out. He hugged Rebekah, gave her a birthday gift, didn't talk to me much (WELL, FINE THEN), and then we headed outside. It was getting more and more sunny, and had suddenly become an absolutely stunning afternoon. I was already happy, and then THERE. WAS. A. RAINBOW. Okay, I understand the cheesy rainbow stereotype stuff, but guys, rainbows are really really awesome. For one thing, all those colors in the sky? YES. The fact that they come out after nasty rain? YES. The fact that you can't have one unless there was ickiness/darkness/hard times before? YES. The fact that they're all about God promising to never abandon us? YES. They're so full of amazing meaning, not to mention the whole, straight-up beautifulness of them.

Yeah, so I was literally running around yelling "THIS IS THE BEST DAAAAY."

(I love these crazy/awesome people.)


We climbed the Cape (much easier than when I was ten), and went over to the other side, which I'd never done before.

The view is amazing, and everything beyond, on the other side, is glorious. 

We ran around taking pictures and freaking out. I told Peter "we should do an engagement photo shoot with a couple here!"

Peter wanted to go exploring, but I didn't want to go off alone (it's Rebekah's birthday and all).

Peter gave his camera to Benjamin (not a photographer, but pretty capable with a camera and helpful for getting pictures with both of us in them).

Eventually, we came across this perfect, deliciously dangerous cliff edge, and I just sat down. I was worried that Peter would think it was a bad idea and not join me, but he did, and I begged him to take a picture of our dangling feet, etc etc. The view was perfect, and we were sitting directly in front of the terrifically setting sun. He asked what I'd been thinking about--"um I dunno, I'm thinking about sitting on this awesome cliff..." and I vaguely noticed that everyone else had disappeared.

Peter started talking, and all of a sudden I was hearing "when I first knew I loved you" and I was like UM WHAT. He was talking about that time at the Old Spaghetti Factory during the first wedding we had shot together, when we were first becoming friends. This was the first "I love you": so I was a little confused as to what was going on and was this okay and just WOAH.

He's proposing? WHAT? It didn't feel real at all.

But sure enough, he said a bunch of really sweet and amazing things, and then he got on one knee (IT'S REALLY HAPPENING) and then pulled out the most amazing ring I have ever seen.

Pretty sure this happened before I actually said yes. I was too shocked and and too in awe of the ring and too intent on hugging the daylights out of him to say the obvious.

And then we sat on the cliff for a long time, watching the sun set (it was just ridiculously perfect) and praying and talking about OUR future--finally. Babies and wedding dates (decided it then and there) and how he pulled this off and how I didn't even make an effort on my appearance, since I thought today would be so casual, and how utterly. flipping. beautiful the ring was. I just couldn't stop staring at it. SO SPARKLY.

The reason he had been so late getting to the beach was not, in fact, because of a client and their photo book finickiness--it was because the ring wasn't done (they said it would be done several days sooner), and he had spent all day talking to them and trying to figure out if it would be done in time. Because he had it custom-made. Gah. He told me the whole huge saga of it, and I couldn't believe how long it had been since he started (almost 2 months), and how amazing the ring was, and that he'd kept the entire thing a secret, and how amazing the ring was, and how many lies he (and many other people) had told, and how amazing the ring was...

And then I saw Benjamin, who had been sneaking around in the bushes taking pictures without me ever noticing.

It had turned into such a crazy-beautiful day.

When Peter had his phone out to take the must-needed WE'RE ENGAGED selfies, Benjamin had texted--"there's wine and donuts behind you". He had snuck up and put them right behind us without us even noticing.

[the sneaking]

Bethany was extremely pleased with all these events.

We finally went back to join everyone and commenced the freaking out.

...And Peter fell down.

Like I said, very happy. :)

Picture courtesy of a mound of dirt.

We facetimed my parents, since they couldn't be there. (However, Peter had met with them earlier that day for the old approval-to-marry-your-daughter deal).

At some point, I found out that in the middle of the whole thing, I had scraped my knuckle and it was bleeding everywhere--a nice addition to my [PERFECT] ring.

Right as we started to head down, it started pouring. Like, soak-you-in-two-seconds pouring.

So we got the perfect, sunset proposal, and the romantic, pouring rain one. We ran around in the ocean (of course), and dashed into the restaurant to have hot chocolate and french fries and call sundry family members (and tell the waitresses--I JUST GOT ENGAGED!), all very soggily and deliriously-happily.

And I asked Bethany, of course, to be my maid of honor/BEST GIRL and Rebekah to be one of my bridesmaids, and Peter asked Benjamin to be his best man, which was the closest I got to crying the whole night, actually. I've always wanted my guy and Benjamin to be good friends, but BEST FRIENDS?? Augh it was too much.

He drove me home in the torrential rain, we got congratulated by the old man in a convenience store, and I finally got to bed around 3 am. It honestly didn't sink in for several weeks--I was kind of going around in a daze. The next morning I woke up genuinely surprised that there was still a ring on my finger.

Eventually, we got our engagement pictures done, which happened to coincide with a hot air balloon festival (I died and went to heaven, guys). Benjamin did these for us, which was hilarious and the best. Posing coaching included "that looks bad. do something different."

This is what happens most of the time--me falling apart laughing and him being a total crazy person.

Photobombed by the lovely Rebekah.

Up until the very day we got engaged, I had been praying that God would make just make this whole thing clear, and when Peter said he wanted to love Jesus with me for the rest of our lives, "will you marry me?", that was the next door opening, and, shaking and happy and scared and knowing that this was terrifying but/therefore the God-given, beautiful door, but still not overwhelmed with peace by any means, I said yes. (Sneak peek: best decision of my life).


  1. oh my stars, I literally have tears after reading this. I feel like i know you because of reading your blog for so many years, and good grief, this is so, so beautiful. God's grace and direction is plastered all over this story. AMAZING and yeah, beautiful. :)

  2. This is so beautiful!! I can't get over how totally gorgeous, and amazing, and awesome your whole story is. Congratulations to you both!

  3. I just can't even... Susannah, this is so precious! I swear I don't say this to too many people (actually, I'm wondering if I've ever said it to anyone...), but I truly hope one day I will have the same kind of joyful and Jesus-filled love that you and Peter have. This is beautiful to read, so thanks for sharing it with all of us. :)

  4. Crying, Susannah. Legitimately crying. This is precious, and beautiful. The way y'all are so all about Jesus is the best part. And the photos Benjamin took are so raw and happy and candid. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I'm so ridiculously happy for y'all - thank you for sharing your story with us :)

  5. thank you for sharing!
    I literally spent the whole post going "oh my gosh, they're so cute."

  6. Thank you for this. I love courtship stories and stayed up late to finish reading yours :) Beautiful writing and beautiful pictures!

  7. Love it all! You guys are the best! (and I LOVE the sunset pictures of you getting engaged - so beautiful!)

  8. sob. this is so incredibly beautiful. :)

  9. Your story. Those glorious, gorgeous (especially the proposal!) photos. I may or may not have been laughing and "awwww-ing" like an insane person while reading/viewing this.

  10. OHMYGOSHHH this story is the BESTEST BESTEST BESTEST STORY EVERRR!!!! And the pictures of the beach are AMAZING! THanks so much for sharing your story!


  11. This is so perfect. Seriously. :)

  12. I love these pictures so much... Y'all are making my heart melt. Staaahhhhp. :p

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  13. Beautiful! BEAUTIFUL! BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! lol such a sweet post! I came in on the beginning of this story... so that's pretty much all I've read except for a brief period of exploring here... but what a BEAUTIFUL story! It is soo sweet and I can tell you two are totally in love! I love reading other Christian's engagement/marriage stories!


  14. oh oh oh Susannah I've loved reading this whole story and oh my GOSH could a proposal get any more perfect?? seriously. good job, Peter. I was almost tearing up at how perfect and wonderful it is and how GOOD God is and just...yeah. I'm so happy for you. :)

  15. eeeeek! This was beyond heart melting. Love looking at the pictures, they were simply stunning!! AND YOU!!! Sooooo gorgeous!!! :D You two are the cutest couple ever!

  16. Mmmm...beautiful! What a lovely representation of God's perfect Love!
    I'm thinkin you might need to update your bucket list now-ie. 11, 23, 89...
    Happy married life to you!

  17. Gah! So many feels!!!! <3 This is seriously one of the most beautifully God-scripted love stories I have ever had the [immense] pleasure of reading. May God bless you and Peter richly!! You two are the most beautiful, cutest, filled-with-Love-for-your-Savior-couple-ever. LOVE IT.

    1. PS
      I was tearing up through the whole thing.

      Seriously. Adorable.


  18. I was freaking out so much during this post it isn't even funny. It's all so perfect and God-planned and just....everything.

  19. This is so beautiful. The story and the pictures!

  20. The sky and the light and the photos and the story and the smiles and the crazies ... everything is just lovely!!


  22. WOW. Your story is so beautiful! :)


  23. An interesting post that I enjoyed reading. Some nice shots.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

  24. This is so beautiful. It was so enjoyable to look at all the photos. Thank you so much for sharing!!!
    The movement and lighting is fantastic and your writing communicated the joy and happiness and perfectness of the day so well that i felt like i was there.
    Keep up the great work! :)

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  26. This is beautiful.
    This is my first time on your blog, and I couldn't help but notice how beautiful your pictures were. Could I ask, what camera do you have, and what lens?

  27. *sob* so beautiful! Thank-you for being so honest about the ups and downs and inspiring me to trust Jesus even more. This story has encouraged me and blessed me sooo much! <3


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