Fast-forward to the first week of August. I had just earned my Masters of Theology from Desert Rose Christian College in Phoenix, and the ceremony was set to be that Thursday night. My parents were driving down from Salt Lake City along with my grandma, and Paul flew to Albuquerque to drive me out to Phoenix. We had already discussed that he would take this time to ask my dad for my hand, and I was so excited that I could barely sleep. I was sure that he would propose while we were in Phoenix, my home and favorite place!
We made it through the weekend with my parents’ seal of approval along with my degree, but no ring. To say that I was disappointed as we drove back to Albuquerque would be the understatement of the year. As we approached Albuquerque, it was about 1:30am. I was mostly asleep, but awake enough to know that Paul missed my exit. He continued east, and slowly made his way up our mountain. I was exhausted, and I’m sure I was a little whiny. My only thought was that we had to get up at 5am to get him to the airport for his 6:30am flight and I just wanted to sleep. But, as Paul said, it was tradition. So we made the climb. When we got to the top, it was about 2:45am and a balmy 40 degrees, rain coming down. Having come from Phoenix, we were still dressed in shorts and flip flops, but tradition dictated that we park and walk to the crest. I whined, cajoled, maybe even cried a little, but Paul dragged me out of the Tahoe and walked me up there. We made it to the top, and it took me about 20 seconds to be ready to go back to the truck, but Paul grabbed me around the waist and said, “Let’s just wait for a minute.” We stood there silently under our umbrellas for a few seconds, then he said, “I don’t want to live my life without you.” I said, “But you don’t have to,” and I turned to face him. It was then that I found him on one knee, holding the ring box. “Will you marry me?” he asked, shivering. I immediately said yes and kissed him. Because it was dark, I couldn’t see the ring, and we were freezing, so he gave me the ring box and we ran down the hill back to the truck. When we got in, he showed me the ring and placed it on my finger. It was beautiful. It was perfect. And I couldn’t believe that all of this was real. I took a picture on my phone, but didn’t send it to anyone. It was late, and I really just wanted to enjoy this moment with him.
Neither of us slept that night, but we didn’t care. We were getting married, and that’s all that mattered.
Over the next couple weeks we set our date. November 25. This wasn’t our first choice initially as we didn’t want to wait. But after some prayer and many discussions with our family, we all agreed that November 25 was perfect. It was almost like poetic justice, as that was the day Zeke and I had tentatively set. It was the day I had dreamed about even before I met Zeke. In hindsight, it was as if God was giving me the date, I just had the wrong man. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
The next 3 months were crazy busy with planning the wedding, multiple bridal showers in multiple states, counseling, etc. We put thousands of miles on each of our vehicles as we drove the 1000 mile round-trip between Albuquerque and Wichita Falls every other weekend, just to spend a few hours with each other in person. In the midst of all of this, we felt like the Lord was calling us to be in Texas. He was already in Wichita Falls, but didn’t feel like he was supposed to stay there. I had been feeling drawn to Dallas, prior to even meeting him. After much prayer, several heated conversations and a couple of house hunting trips in the middle, we landed in Plano, just 2 weeks before the wedding.
Then Thanksgiving was upon us. It was our wedding week, and the entire family gathered for dinner at Mama Donna’s house. There was so much celebration and anticipation. We flew through the holiday, the bridal tea, getting the boys’ tuxes, rehearsal and rehearsal dinner, and then it was Saturday.
November 25, 2006. The day that God fulfilled his promise in my life, and joined me to the exact man that I never knew I needed. Paul is everything that I wanted, and little did I know, even on that day, that he was EXACTLY what I needed. And the mystery of marriage began to unfold, as we drove off into the Albuquerque sunset.