Friday, May 31, 2013

"Meet the Mr." Engagement Porch Party



My mom hosted a "Meet the Mr." Engagement Porch Party for me and Chris this weekend...and it was BEAUTIFUL!

It was an unconventional engagement party since Chris was the only man but we basically had our regular porch party ladies and added him...the guest of honor!

Our porch party ladies have prayed for and with me for many years and recognize what an answer to prayer Chris is.  I've started calling them Team Chris but now they want team t-shirts!

Moma had the porch looking so enchanting with white puffs and plenty of B's...for my new last name!


Moma asked Jennifer to monogram Mr. & Mrs. aprons and displayed those with pictures from our courtship. 
 
Be assured the cooks will be kissed!
 
Moma out-did herself with so many special touches...
 
See this happy man??? I get to marry him!!!!

The ladies brought homemade ice cream in Chris' favorite flavors- key lime, banana pudding, mint Oreo and chocolate!  So yummy!!! 

 

Our sweet friends enjoyed meeting Chris for the first time!  Moma actually created a game where the ladies had to answer questions about Chris and our courtship...such fun!





 

 
Moma also had each lady tell Chris something about me he should know (he didn't run screaming!)...Rhega wrote how marriage is like a five-course meal and shared that with us (so creative!)...and we wrapped up with a Mad-Lib version of our love story, courtesy of Moma (hilarious)!
 

 
Chris and I adored our engagement party!  The night was amazing and more than I ever imagined, a common theme in my life these days!  We sure love our Moma!

Engagement Update - Week 3

Chris and I have been living a whirl wind lately...driving back and forth between Huntsville and Jacksonville...and cramming a ton into every day! 

We love planning our wedding together and have gotten so much accomplished.  The Lord continues to bless us as all the details come together.

But...we certainly balance all the wedding planning with dates and nights out.  We spent a beautiful evening watching the moon rise on the beach...so romantic!




We seem to be starting a new tradition of stopping for lunch in Atlanta on our way between our homes.  We so enjoy walking downtown and sitting at the lunch counter at Hard Rock! 


Besides meeting with many of our wedding vendors this weekend, we also started registering!  We had such a fun time making decisions and dreaming of our life together. 


Chris loved those scan guns!  If you find any men's ties or suits on our registries, we'll know what he did when I wasn't looking!




We had a momentous occasion in the Forester Family this weekend- both future sons-in-law joined us for the first time!  We all SIX had dinner at my parents' home on Saturday night.  It was fantastically surreal to all be together.  We're so happy to turn this family of four into six!

We kiddos met for ice cream later...isn't this a great picture?!?!


You know what else is great?  A frosty in a waffle cone!


Chris and I both love casual, scenic road trips so on our way back to Jacksonville Wednesday afternoon, we stopped at Little River Falls for a few minutes.

 
We loved our time in Huntsville...getting so much done...spending time with my family...getting to visit with friends...falling more in love every day!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Engagement Update- Week 2

I can't believe we've been engaged two weeks already! The time together flies by but the time apart crawls.

For the week I was back in Huntsville, I hit the ground running with wedding plans and have gotten a ton done!

I've waited my whole life to plan a wedding and planning it with Chris has been a blast!

I've always dreamed of shopping at The Something Blue Shop in Hartselle (the oldest bridal shop in the state!) so we headed there Saturday to dress shop.



The morning was picture perfect and felt so bridal!!! In typical Forester fashion, we made quite the stir with our squeals, tears and laughter...especially when I found my gown! I said yes to the dress- the fifth one I tried on.

The minute I saw myself in it, I knew it was the dress I'd walk down the aisle to Chris in.

Gulp.

Sigh.

Praise the Lord!

But....you'll have to wait till October 26 to see my gown...sorry!

After getting things done in Huntsville, I headed back to JAX on Wednesday. The 10 hour drive went surprisingly fast, especially since I got to eat lunch at my new favorite place- The Dawg House in Cuthbert, GA.


It's this little hole-in-the-wall I discovered last week on my way through.




My favorite (I recommend not trying to drive and eat at the same time!) is the chili and slaw dawg!




I told Chris that was the real reason I was driving south...and he thinks I'm joking!!!!

Chris and I had a great time at church Wednesday and tonight we bought our washer and dryer!! How married does that sound!?!?!




Together...our favorite place to be.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, May 18, 2013

She said yes!

Ladies and gentlemen....We have another engagement...

Nick proposed to Abby on Thursday and she said yes!



We've waited a long time for our family of four to be a family of six!

Congrats to my sister and future brother-in-law!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Overflowing

To say the last 7 days have been the most momentous of our lives would be an understatement!  Not only is my heart overflowing with love for Chris but my camera's memory card is overflowing with pictures!  One of the many things I love about Chris is that he is a big fan of pictures too and enjoys documenting our love story!  Could this man be any more perfect for me?!?!?
 
 
See that sly smile on Chris' face?  He knows he's going to propose in a few hours...but I don't!
 

These pictures at my parents' house are pre-engagement too...

Even with no ring on my finger yet, Chris was already a member of our family!

Can you explode from happiness???!?!?!
 
 
And see this sly smile on Chris' face?  That's the look of a man who just popped the question and got a resounding YES!

Here we are just after telling my family of our engagement!


On our way to Jacksonville on Friday, we stopped for lunch (and a few kisses!) in Atlanta.


We had the best lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, where our waitress gave us a free ice cream sundae because we were newly engaged! A marvelous man...a diamond...AND free ice cream?  Life's good!

 
Our road trip to Jacksonville was so much fun...We are great road trip partners!  I was excited to finally get to Jax and see Chris' world.
 
 

We had a wonderful Saturday afternoon as Chris showed me around the city.  We managed to find more park benches! 

And by the way...if you don't like kissing pictures, you might as well stop checking this blog!  I've waited my whole life to kiss this man, and I'm going to show him off!

I so enjoyed getting to visit with Chris' family (my new family!) several times this week.  On Sunday, we had a cookout at his grandparents' home. 

From left to right:
Sharon (2nd cousin), Memom & Ranant (grandparents), the love birds, Andrew (brother), Dad & Mom Brooks

Everything at the cookout was so delicious (especially Chris' Hershey pound cake!) but my favorite part was this cake from Mom & Dad Brooks, welcoming me to their family.

So much love...so much happiness...my heart is truly overflowing!
 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I have found the one whom my soul loves…


 
I honestly never thought this day would come.  The day where I’m sitting in my fiancé’s home, with a beautiful diamond from him on my finger, writing our love story.

I can’t share where the Lord has brought us without first sharing what He’s brought us through.  The journey that led us to this moment was a long one. 

Chris and I are in our early thirties and neither of us expected or desired the prolonged singleness the Lord had planned for us.  We are both well-acquainted with the emotions in watching our friends date, marry and start families, while wondering if it would ever be our turn.  We’ve also both experienced the pain from dashed dreams, but have also keenly felt the strength of the Lord see us through those times. 

The years passed and life kept moving on…me in Huntsville, Chris in Jacksonville…not knowing that only 9 hours separated us from each other.   We both settled into what seemed like God’s Plan B, not what we imagined or desired, but good lives, full of family, friends, ministry and love.

Then February 8, 2013 came.

An email from eHarmony changed everything: “Meet your new match, Chris, from  Jacksonville, FL.”

The minute I saw his picture and read his profile, I knew this could be different.  He could be different. 

Over the following days and weeks, we developed a deep friendship, sharing and talking about everything from theology to Swiss Cake Rolls.  Every day, as I read his emails, I was awed at how much we had in common.  I was awed at the man he is and is becoming.

On February 25, after just two weeks of emailing, the Lord very clearly spoke to me and told me to “relax and enjoy- Chris is the one.”  The Lord reminded me of Ephesians 3:20, which He had actually used in my life EXACTLY a year earlier- “Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us…”

As I had already seen in just the first few weeks and have certainly seen daily since February 8, Chris IS immeasurably more than I ever prayed for and certainly more than I ever imagined.  I never expected such a deep, gentle, strong, funny, romantic, intelligent, pure, spiritually-focused  man.

On March 10, Chris asked if he could call me and I wasted no time to reply “YES!”  We talked for hours that night and Skyped for the first time a few days later.  After all our emails (over 58,000 words between us!), phone calls and Skype chats, I wasn’t surprised at all when, on March 18, during one of our Skype chats, something clicked for me.  I knew without a doubt that I loved Chris…that he was the man I had been praying for and crying for and longing for since I was 13 years old. 

But it would be weeks before I would tell him.  First, we had to actually meet!

That first face-to-face meeting happened March 29, in Savannah, GA.  I was there with my friends and Chris drove up for the day.  Even though our friendship was well-developed at this point and I knew I loved him, I was very nervous and eager to see how we would be in person.  It took just about 3 minutes for us to find our groove and we proceeded to have the most enchanting, exciting and romantic 16 hours of our lives (up to that point!). 

We spent the day strolling around beautiful Savannah, not a care in the world.  It was amazing to realize that the connection we felt long-distance was greatly enhanced in person.  We enjoy doing everything and nothing together.  Chris and I have this fantastic combination of a friendship mixed with a deep spiritual connection, spiced up with romance…it’s the perfect recipe!

Savannah will always hold a special place in our hearts because that’s where our friendship blossomed into a romance.  That evening in Savannah, Chris held my hand for the first time.  It felt like home. 

Two weeks after Savannah on April 11, Chris came to Huntsville for the first time to meet my family, which couldn’t have gone any better.  It was during that weekend that we talked specifically about marriage for the first time.  It felt like a dream. 

We met for the day in Macon two weeks later, promising each other not to let more than two weeks go without seeing each other. 

Then May 9, 2013 came.

Everyone thought I was headed to Jacksonville to meet Chris’ family, but I actually just drove to Birmingham to pick him up from the airport!  Chris had told me right after his first Huntsville visit that he wanted to ask my dad for my hand in marriage so we had secretly been planning his flight to Huntsville, excited to surprise my family!

We showed up to my mom’s work and she was shocked to see us!  We had to assure her we hadn’t eloped!  Next, it was time to surprise my dad and to say he was surprised would be an understatement!  I’ve never seen him so flabbergasted!  After we all visited for a while, my mom and I stepped outside, so Chris could have some time alone with my dad. 

I knew my mom would want time with Chris after he spoke with my dad, so I walked home alone in a daze, realizing what a momentous event was taking place.

The afternoon was very emotional for all of us… for Chris as he asked for my hand…for Daddy as he gave his blessing…for Moma as she hugged her son…for me as the man I love told me he loved me for the first time.

After our family dinner, which was very joyous, Chris and I headed to watch the sunset at one of our favorite spots we had discovered on his last visit- the scenic overlook on Monte Sano. 

As we were slow dancing to the music in our hearts, Chris said,

“Only two things could make this evening better…if I could kiss you…and guess what the other thing is?”

My coy guess… “A beautiful sunset?”

As he reached into his pocket and pulled out a ring box, “How about this?”

Then, the most incredible man I’ve ever known, the man who the Lord hand-picked for me before the foundation of the world, the man who I’m madly, deeply in love with, knelt on one knee and said,

“Will you marry me?”

Without hesitation I replied, “It is the greatest privilege of my life to say yes…”

Then Chris gently placed my beautiful engagement ring, which he designed as a surprise for me, on my finger.

We then shared our first kiss…not only our first kiss together, but both of our first kisses.  I have guarded my first kiss, looking forward to giving it to the man I would marry, but I never expected to receive such a gift in return from him.

The next hour was the sweetest of our lives…overwhelmed with the Lord’s goodness in bringing us together, making us so perfectly suited for one another and excited at the prospect of beginning our lives together as husband and wife. 

Walking into my parents’ home with our big news was thrilling!  There was a lot of screaming, jumping, crying and hugging!  We also drove across town to tell our good friends and made phone calls to those we couldn’t see in person.  It was all like a dream!  The evening couldn’t have been more perfect or ideal. 

I’m not sure how either of us slept that night but we hit the road bright and early the next morning (as fiancés!) for my first visit to Jacksonville. 

I’ve loved being in Chris’ world with his family this week!  They’ve welcomed me with open arms and I can’t wait to continue to build my relationship with my new family.

According to the calendar, our romance is somewhat of a whirlwind, but I can barely remember a day without Chris in it.  The Lord has beautifully orchestrated our romance and journey thus far and Chris and I have no doubt He’ll continue to lead and guide us as we begin this new stage in life.

The Lord has surely made everything beautiful in HIS time!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

At last...my love has come along!

Chris & I are engaged!!!



The night was remarkably beautiful and perfect...just more blessings from the Lord on our relationship.



I can't wait to be able to fully share our love story...but right now, I'm too busy living it to blog it!



Please join us in praising the Lord for His goodness in bringing us together!
"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."

Ephesians 3:20