Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Not-So-Random Act of Kindness

Ever since Gray popped the question, everyone has, of course, wanted to see my ring. So, naturally, I've wanted to get my nails done all week. Knowing I really shouldn't spend the money, I decided to just bite the bullet and get them done Friday afternoon. I never spend money on things like that, but I thought, of all times, this was one time I could spare the $30. I did just get engaged, after all.

Shortly after I sat down, a sweet little lady I had never met sat down beside me. As we got our nails done, I told her all about the proposal, my sweet fiance and our plans for our future together. She was so precious and wanted to know every detail. She told me about how she married her best friend when she was 19, and now they have been married for 50 something years and she still adores him like she did the day they said their vows.

It reminded me so much of my grandparents and the 62 years of marriage they shared before he passed away. Love like that - the kind that has stood the test of time - is such an inspiration to me. She was so in love, even after all this time and all I could think about is that I want that more than anything with Grayson. Yes, he's the fun-loving, spontaneous, passionate guy I want to spend my 20's with.... but he's also the strong, faithful, caring and Godly man I want to spend my 80's with.

The lady got up and after her nail polish was dry, she paid and came over to where I was sitting, still waiting on the man to finish my manicure. She put her arm around me and said, "I enjoyed talking to you today, sweetheart. I paid for your manicure. It's my engagement gift to you. I'm so happy for you."

I was totally and completely shocked. I thanked her, but before I knew it, she was gone. I didn't even know her name and she had shown me such unexpected and heartfelt kindness and generosity. I couldn't believe it. As I left with tears in my eyes, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God had spoken to me, once again, this time through a sweet little lady that just so happened to pay for my manicure.

I always pray that the Lord will speak to me and show me His will in tangible ways. I pray that He will literally slap me in the face with it, drop it on my doorstep, make it so completely obvious and clear that I can not miss it. I feel like this woman's "random" act of kindness was not so random, at all. I truly believe that this woman's kind gesture was just another whisper from my Savior saying, "Yes, child. You're right in the center of My will. Grayson is the man I made just for you. You're on the right path, and if you continue to seek Me first in all you do, I will bless you and your relationship."

What I would give to be able to find her and tell her how much that meant to me.

I am so overjoyed and overwhelmed by the love we've been shown this past week. Thank you again to everyone who has poured love and blessings on us. We have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I said YES (and I'm still squealing!)

As many of you know, this past weekend was a major milestone for my now.... fiance.... and I. Yep, that's right.... Fiance! We are so overjoyed with excitement and so blessed to have been the recipients of so much love, congratulations, encouragement and genuine joy from so many people because of our engagement. It was the most perfect day EVER so I want to tell ya'll exactly how it happened....

Grayson and I had been wanting to make a day trip to Asheville for a while, and with our two year anniversary approaching, he bought us tickets to the Biltmore House and told me that we were going to have the best weekend ever. Of course I was excited, because any time Gray plans a weekend, it's always full of all my favorite things.

We got up early Saturday morning (November 16th) and left for Asheville. We stopped and got breakfast and our roadtrips are always the most fun... they're the perfect mix of heart-to-heart life talks and singing at the top of our lungs and being goofy together. So, we were in Asheville before we knew it. After going to the Farmer's Market, we stopped at Starbucks (which has become an anniversary tradition, since we did this on our one year anniversary too) before going to the Biltmore House. It was absolutely beautiful, already decorated for Christmas and it was the perfect temperature outside. Our house entry time was at 2:15, so we had some time to kill beforehand, during which we'd planned to walk through the gardens and visit the conservatory. Shortly after we got there, we ran into two of our sweetest friends, Brett and Emily, who are not only the cutest couple, but - as this weekend has proven- excellent secret keepers! Grayson, Brett and Emily, who had planned this all out (little did I know), didn't have any trouble acting just as shocked to run into each other as I genuinely was, since they had planned to "accidentally" run into us later on in the day. Their comments like "How crazy that ya'll are here the same time we are!" and "What a small world!" made it even more believable that it was just a weird coincidence that we had randomly bumped into them and both made a day trip to Asheville that day.

As we went our separate ways, we planned to meet back up before we left to take a group picture up on the bridge overlooking the lawn with the huge, beautiful tree and the Biltmore House in the background. Grayson and I took our time going through the gardens and conservatory, grabbing a quick lunch at the Biltmore Cafe, and then touring the House. It was beautiful, as always, and we seemed to have finished our tour at the perfect time, because Brett and Emily had just finished their tour of the winery.... what a coincidence.

We went up on the bridge, and I asked someone to take a group picture of the four of us. We are so lucky to have such sweet friends and I can't think of any one else we would have rather shared such a special day with!
Then, I offered to take one of just the two of them... aren't they just adorable?
Then, Emily said, "let me return the favor! I'll take one of ya'll!" So, we took a picture..... and THEN Gray turned to me and said, "Wait.... there's one more thing." I could tell he was fighting back tears and his voice was shaking as he began, "Katie, you're my very best friend...." and got down on one knee. In total and complete shock, I realized that the man that I love more than anything, my very best friend, my soul mate, was asking me to spend forever with him. 

Thanks to Emily and Brett, we have this all on video and pictures - something I will truly cherish forever and am so thankful we will have to show our children and grandchildren one day. 

It was the most perfect proposal I could have ever wished for and I wouldn't change a thing. 
Tears of joy calling Momma to tell her the good news (which of course, she already knew and was waiting by the phone). I couldn't believe she's known since May!
Afterwards, the sweet surprises continued with an engagement party at my favorite restaurant with my family. My Momma made us this beautiful cake and I was so thankful to end the perfect day sharing our joy with the people I love the most!
We are planning on getting married on December 13, 2014 (12/13/14 - the last consecutive date until 1/2/2103 !!!) which is about 6 months after I graduate from college. We could not be more excited to begin our life together or more thankful for all the sweet words, congratulations and excitement we've received from our friends and family. The Lord has blessed us so much and we give Him all the glory. 

I have found the one who my soul loves.
Song of Solomon 3:4

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Bunch of (Belated) High Five's for Friday

Whew... What a crazy few weeks! With tests, group projects and papers due, I've felt like I was just barely keeping my head above water. Needless to say, thank God it's (finally) Friday!

Highlights of the past few weeks (cause I've been a slacker when it comes to blogging)-

1. Getting my images published in High Country Magazine! I was so excited I could barely stand it! And my involvement with the December edition is already in the works! Eeeeeekkkk!!!!

2. Celebrating this sweet guy's 24th birthday! He's getting pretty old!

 3. Spending an Appalachian game day with my sweet cousin, Kristen, and her husband, Josh (we had an absolute blast AND the Mountaineers won)!
4. Lazy Sundays hammocking with this dream boat. I don't know how I got so lucky :)

5. Late night milkshake dates with my sweet friend and fellow blogger, Valerie.

6. Photographing my Church's Fall Festival. It was pure joy to be surrounded by so many people I love-

7. I got my Appalachian State University class ring!

8. I finished up a huge project for my media graphics class (anti abortion campaign) - 

9. I go to the prettiest school in the world (especially during the fall) - 

10. My sweet and very talented friend Heather Payne who is an ahhh-mazinggggg photographer let me model for her (and aren't those flowers gorgeous? you should check out my friend Abany Bauer! She's amazing too.) I love working with them!