I can't believe it's taken me this long to write this story on here. Maybe it's because I felt like I already did. I told it on our old blog, Me & Mr. Charming, and I wrote it for our previous wedding website. And to this day, I still tell my girlfriends who ask or bring it up. But I wanted to share it here, and share our story, because as I meet more people at expos, and blog events, they all ask about Mr. Charming, which is so very kind :)
To start I guess I should go back to how we first met. You can read all about that here. It explains how long ago I knew this man and how we got back together after nine years of not speaking. That's where our story and our journey together really starts.
My heavenly Father gets all the credit for the love story He has written for us. Never in a million years could I have written something so beautiful, and never in a million years if you would have told me at fifteen that Mr. Charming would be my future husband would I have ever believed you.
But back to the story of our engagement. I can start this by saying I absolutely, positively had NO idea that it was coming when it did. Mr. Charming and I had been dating five years before he asked me, so I had kind of given up on the "hoping and waiting' aspect of the whole proposal thing. Not to be taken in a negative way, I hadn't "given" up on the idea, just on the getting hopeful part. Every holiday or vacation that would come all my girlfriends and family members would get in a tizzy - telling me that since it was "Christmas, my birthday, Valentine's Day, Presidents Day.... or that he was taken me to Prescott.. or Hawaii... or the grocery store.... it was so that he could PROPOSE. So, that was in no way his fault, that I decided to just let it be, and let him make that choice.
Every year we try to plan one big vacation. Something where we both take a full week to disconnect from work and home, and travel together. In 2010 we decided to make that place Disneyworld. We saved all year and in October we got a room at the Disney All Star Movie Resort for six nights and park hopper tickets for all the parks for a week. If we were going to do Disneyworld, we were gonna DO Disneyworld. We had both been once with our families, but I had never gone to Epcot and I wanted that to be the first place we went since I LOVE Europe and all things to do with world travel.
The Food & Wine Festival was taking place the week we went, and it was right as I was getting sick (and had no idea why I was getting so sick) so we tasted... everything.
After a wonderful flight and checking into our hotel, we got ready and headed to Epcot. It was night, and as we entered the park, Mr. Charming asked what "country" or "land" I wanted to see first. I spotted the Eiffel Tower in the back right corner of the park, and breathlessly I answered, Paris!!!!!
Everything was so sparkly & magical. I was starving but Mr. Charming said he wanted to set up the camera and get a picture of us on a bench in Paris. I didn't think anything of it, because we are huge photo takers when we are on vacation, ok and also when we aren't, so I let him guide me to a bench down a flowery walkway where there were no other guests. We sat down and he started to clean his camera lens, and asked if he could clean my ring for me. (he does this all the time, so I took off the ring from my ring finger and handed it over.) Except when he gave me back the ring it was a horse of a different color, as he got down on his knee and proposed with the engagement ring of my dreams.
I was so in awe by the moment, I remember crying. I remember it stealing my breath away. And I remember the love. ALL the love I felt for this man. I felt the world fall away. I felt my prayers being answered. And I said yes without a shadow of a doubt that this man, my best friend, my Mr. Charming was my one.
I think one of my favorite parts of the whole story was that he had told me that he found the bench on Google Earth prior to our trip and knew exactly where he'd propose in the park. Finding a place in my favorite "country" that would be secluded, beautiful and romantic.
After I answered the best question I've ever been asked, we got some amazing French food and I called our families. I don't think we were even off the Disney property before I found the first kiosk where I could get my newly decorated hands on a bridal magazine.
Throughout the duration of the trip we totally became "those people" and got matching shirts made. And Mr. & Mrs. pins and anything else that screamed "I was engaged at Disneyworld"... Because. When in Disney....
The trip was incredible and I will be documenting more of it when I cover the food finds at Disneyworld. So check back on more on our trip.
We ended the trip with spending our last morning at the Grand Floridian Resort for our first Engagement Shoot in a hammock on the beach. To see our official engagement shoot that took place later, click here.
I would love to hear your engagement story, or favorite moment from when you were asked :D Feel free to share in the comments below. I'm kind of a sucker for a good love story....
Even as a writer, this is one of those stories I just don't know to capture with words. It's a beautiful story of God's that He's written over the last 15 years of our lives. And it's probably why I haven't tried to write it on the blog, or anywhere.
Mr. Charming and I first met years and years ago. I was almost 16, and he was 18, and we met on AOL. My friends and I use to hang out in good ol' Phoenix chat, before the days of Tinder, Facebook and all the other social media sites, we'd chat using our fun colorful fonts and talking to kids from school and dance. One evening my girlfriends and I started chatting with some people who hung out at an arcade and pool hall where we'd been and we decided to all go play some pool. As you can guess, Mr. Charming was one of the boys at the pool hall. Still a pool shark, he had mad skills and was crazy cute, and became an insta-crush.
I so wish I had photos from back then, but as we only had pagers and no digital cameras, there was no documentation of our early days hanging out, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. We both were dating other people at the time, so we never got together, but we did flirt and it was talked about from time to time. We hung out for months, making lots of memories we could later reflect back on. Late nights getting Italian food. Spending hours playing pool, and cruising down Mill Ave. the local college town street where it was "cool" to show off your car, (there wasn't much else to do here). I started music right around the time we were hanging out, so he knew about my website and I had sung to him a couple of times. Due to our other relationships, teen life and me starting to perform and move into my career more, we fell out of touch.
For nine years.
In those years, we grew up, we had relationships, and school, and careers. Little did I know, our story didn't leave off in a pool hall in Arizona.
In 2006 I was offered a contract to tour the Caribbean as a headlining singer for six months. It was a huge blessing because I had come out of a bad relationship, lost my apartment and just wanted to escape. Touring some of the most beautiful parts of the world, was wonderful, although lonely and I couldn't believe my eyes when, 5 months into my contract, from an internet cafe in Aruba, I would check my email and get a message from him.
He had found me by my website, (so if there's any reason to have a website with your name on it, this would be my biggest argument for it.) haha, Just touching base we talked back and forth a bit and decided to have dinner when my contract ended and I came back to Arizona to visit my mom (at eighteen I moved to California to work in entertainment and had been living there since.)
When we met up for dinner, it was like nothing had changed. I was more comfortable with him than with anyone I'd ever been with. By our third date, I knew I was in trouble. He was everything all my friends told me I was crazy to wait for. And I was supposed to leave for another 6 month tour just two weeks after our first date.
While I was excited to see new countries, and experience new things with my music, I was heartbroken. I was reunited with a man who I was falling for and a part of me didn't want to leave. But I did. And we decided to keep in touch and planned to meet in Manhattan six months later and see where we were at.
But cue me being oversees, in South America and listening to Michael Buble's "Home" on repeat, living on chocolate and crying in my hotel rooms. Yeah, I know, sad. But I realized i was no longer where I wanted to be.
He was where I wanted to be. He had started to become "Home". It turns out a month into my contract, my new manager for the second tour was a not-s0-great person and the working conditions overseas were making me dislike music and what I was doing, so I left the tour, paid almost a months salary on a flight home from where I was and surprised him, at his door, 5 months early. Lucky for me he was pleasantly surprised, because, let's be honest, a move like that could have gone either way, and he's been my Mr. Charming ever since.
What our story has taught me, and what I wanted it to teach the cynics who laughed at me for waiting for my person, is that, love is real. God can bring you together with the one who will support you, love you, laugh with you. And that living out my wild & crazy dreams and taking my adventures around the world, are much better with my best friend by my side.
To read our engagement story, click here.
Photos are one of my loves in life. I guess it's perfect I married a photographer. I love that they capture a moment. Freeze it in time. Allowing you to revisit it whenever you want to. Swimming in the memories, reliving the joy. Our engagement shoot was one of my favorite photo shoots I've ever done. Our talented wedding photography, Charli Groen, captured us so perfectly. Here are a few of my favorites from the day.
Hope you enjoyed. To read our engagement story, click here.
I was thinking a lot about my nana today. Mr. Charming has been working insanely long hours and I wanted to surprise him and his staff with something yummy, and I thought of my nana.
And her delicious, famous banana bread.
Growing up I always waited for a loaf of her banana bread. Whenever she would bake a fresh batch she'd make one for her with walnuts, and one for me and my sister with no nuts. It's how we liked it. We felt nuts got in the way of the soft, banana goodness. That and to me, walnuts taste bitter. Always have. If I wasn't careful I could finish a loaf in one sitting. It was seriously that good. And there were probably a few times when I lived on my own and she'd send me one that I did just that.
Before she passed away she gave me the recipe, handwritten, and I still have it saved in special drawer today. Although I can't eat the traditional ingredients, I like to make different gluten-free variations from time to time.
My system doesn't like too much banana anymore, which is sad, so when I do eat banana, a good banana bread is at the top of my list.
My nana was special. So loving and friendly in the years I was blessed enough to know her. One of her most adored items in life was her classic 55' Chevy. She bought it in the 50's and never drove another car. It was turquoise blue and I remember being so embarrassed when she'd want to drive me to school when I was little because it didn't look like the "normal" cars. I'd duck down in the bench seat and slide out the door. Looking back I see why she loved it so much, the memories it probably held for her, the pride she had in it, and I'd be honored for her to drive me anywhere today if she was still here.
She too, had a heart for travel. She went with us to Hawaii for my sixth birthday. She drove cross-country with us to visit Graceland, she was probably one of Elvis' biggest fans, and she always wanted to drive Route 66. I thought the backdrop for the photos was fitting. In honor of the dreamer she was too.
Here's to you Nana. I miss you and love you, and one day, when were all in heaven and together again, freed from our Earthly bodies and their limitations, we can share a piece of your perfect banana bread again.
Note: This is one of the very few recipes that is NOT Paleo. As from time to time I eat oats and oat flour as long as it is certified gluten-free. It helps with my digestion and is a good gluten-free flour to use in muffins, because they come out super-moist and spongy like traditional muffins.
2 Large Eggs
1/2 C. Honey or Bee Free Apple Honee (this stuff is AMAZING and less in sugar!)
3/4 C. Unsweetened organic applesauce
1 1/2 Tsp. Organic Vanilla
2 Medium Over-Ripe Bananas (Mashed)
1 1/2 C. Gluten Free Oat Flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
1/4 Tsp. Sea Salt
1 1/4 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp. Cream of Tartar
1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a small square cake pan, two bread loaf pans or a muffin pan with a dairy free butter. Mix together applesauce, eggs, honey or apple honee and vanilla until smooth.
In a separate bowl mix together all dry ingredients. Mix into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Mash bananas until creamy and mix in. I didn't need a hand mixer for this, as the batter was so smooth, I just used a wooden spoon and good old fashioned elbow grease.
Poor into pan, muffin cups or pans and bake for 30-35 or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Muffins take a little less)
Serve warm with cool dairy free butter or sugar-free jam. Delicious!
There are people. People who come into your life. People you never expect to be lifelong loves. Lifelong friends. People who move your soul. People who rock your core. People who challenge you. People who hold you. The few that you take your walk with through this wonderful and beautiful journey.
My thirties have become such a beautiful chapter thus far. The clarity of relationships, finding my purpose and the purpose of my challenges comes into focus a little clearer. So much to learn still, but so many lessons behind me that help me to appreciate the people that God blesses me with.
Today has been so special in so many ways. I remember, not long ago, Easter was a holiday where we dressed up for church. Hunted for eggs. Ate chocolate. Had a picnic. Prayed a little. And that was it. But, since my heart, soul, mind and whole being decided to follow my Lord and Savior for all my days, Easter has become this amazing, bittersweet, time in my life where I just can't fathom what He did for me. For you. For all of us. Today is Good Friday. And today, He took up the cross to die for our sins. Thousands of years ago, before I ever existed to anyone but Him, He died for me. So that I could live. And it makes me weep. Tears for Him for the pain He endured, tears for the miracle, and tears of joy for gratitude for his love.
Tonight we hosted dinner for some of our dearest friends visiting from Omaha, which is far too far away for my liking, but such is life. My friend Karly & I have known each other for YEARS. Since I was a teen, just getting into music. (You'll know her from her guest blogs where she gives all the amazing healthy mama & kiddo tips) Through years of friendship online, we finally met and became closer. She was going to ASU for PR, and I was working on my demo. After signing with my record label she actually became my publicist and the rest of it is pretty much history. Mr. Charming and I are Godparents to her first born son and I love that little dude more than anything. She went on to marry an amazing man, and for the first time tonight I got to meet her second baby.
Mr. Charming cooked up an AMAZING meatloaf, since we are still on Whole 30, and I fixed a salad and green beans to accompany it. We sat and talked for hours and hours and my heart is full from getting to see and celebrate with our lovely friends.
And continuing my Proverbs 31 series, this month has filled me with so much joy when it comes to homemaking for all the visits God has blessed us with. Proverbs 31 states;
A Virtuous Woman is a homemaker. She creates an inviting atmosphere of warmth and love for her family and guests. She uses hospitality to minister to those around her.
As we continue Holy Week, I'm reflecting on the amazing love we all have access to. If we just open up our hearts to opportunities to truly love & be loved back. For exactly who we are. It's rare to find such people in this busy, crazy world we live in. But it's there.