Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snow on 54th

The forecast said it was going to be a record storm. Coming from Chicago I knew it wasn't going to be anything too crazy. The snow lasted for quite some time last week and many around here were calling it Snowpocalypse and Snowmaggeddon -- the same names we used for the ridiculous blizzard last year. But what blew me away was the snow just stayed on the streets. I only saw one snow plow in three days and by that time it was basically unneeded. The other surprising aspect of the snowfall was that the University of Washington (UW) all but completely shut down. This left students with a lot of time on their hands to take to the streets. One of our interns, Taylor Hawkins, made the following video to show just what those students did. These are the future leaders of your country:

54 ST from Taylor Hawkins on Vimeo By His Grace.

Monday, January 02, 2012

The Day She Said "Yes!"

December 20th. That's a day that will be etched in my mind and heart for a long long time. That's the day the most beautiful woman I know -- Ms. Stacy Leigh Weber -- said yes when I asked for her hand in marriage. Since that day we've had the chance to share the story quite a bit with family and friends. Now I get to blog about it and share it with the world (well, the small world of people who read this). There is also a special treat below. Stacy's sister, Julie, made a fantastic video of the day. First, some context.

About a week or 10 days prior to the Big Day I asked Stacy if we could do an early Christmas together. Julie and her husband, Jacob, were getting into town from his parents' on the 20th and I was spending Christmas with her family so we both knew we wouldn't get much time alone so Stacy thought it was a wonderful idea. She fell right into my masterful plan...

Because it was set as an early Christmas, gifts were expected. My plan was to give Stacy a series of five meaningful gifts all under the guise of "Christmas." Along with each gift was a note. I had a much more creative friend write "Christmas 2011" at the top of them. Each note contained a small, but significant statement I wrote to Stacy. The secret though wasn't revealed until I gave her the 3rd gift. I knew fairly early on in the relationship -- by the third date -- that Stacy was God's grace to me and that I wanted to marry her. This created a lot of intense feelings and thoughts that I knew were not appropriate to share with her so soon. I have learned in my old age that there's a fine line called between "stalker" and "romantic." That fine line is called timing. So I began to write on post-it notes the things I wanted to say to Stacy, but couldn't say at the time. I waited until the time was right, or should I say romantic.

On December 20th I picked Stacy up from her place. When we were on our way to the final location Stacy took out her Flip camera to capture the moment. Little did she know what awaited. Her sister Julie used that video, some pictures from the day, and video she captured at the engagement party to make what you are about to see. I'll let Stacy take it from here...

Now you're probably wondering a little bit about how the actual proposal went down. I took Stacy to the Chicago Botanic Garden. That was supposed to be our third date, but we didn't end up going due to weather.  I had scoped the place out twice before the day she and I went so I could have the right spot to propose, but when we arrived I told her to grab a map while I went to the bathroom. I had to play it cool of course. In the bathroom I called all other peeps involved to make sure everything was in place. Stacy and I began walking around the garden. I mentioned to her that a friend said the English Walled Garden was the place to go so that's where we went....hmmmm.

When we got there I saw some men photographing the area. A wall blocked the view of the bench so I had no idea what to expect. This was the only time the entire morning together that I panicked. I determined: "If no one is sitting on that blue bench, I'm going for it, even if those guys are there." We turned the corner and no one was there! And right at that time Stacy said, "Look at that blue bench!" And I was like, "Yeah, look at that blue bench. We should go sit on it" (twiddling fingers as she falls into my trap). I carried a blanket for us "just in case" we needed to spend some extended time sitting, so we sat and I began giving her the final gift. I wrote a long letter for this last part and the same friend who wrote on the cards wrote on this "Ephesians 5:25" at the top and the verse below which reads "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her." I read the first paragraph to her then went down to get the gift out of her bag. Before she knew it I was on my knee saying "Stacy Leigh Weber. You're my best friend. I love you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

She said "Yes."

At that point the men taking photographs started clapping. They then confessed that they took pictures of us the whole time and one guy even got video! I too had a photographer lurking in bushes capturing everything and he came out (thanks Matt!!!). Once we both settled down, she sat to read the rest of the letter and then we called people. Her first phone call was to Julie. Julie picked up and was all excited with Stacy on the phone and then said "I gotta go. I gotta go. Bye." What? Then Stacy looked up and saw Julie and Jacob coming toward to her to surprise her! We got to take a bunch more photos with them, spend the day with family, and party. It was just a wonderful day where all the plans went off without a hitch. God is way too good.

Here are a few more pics of the day she said Yes!

By His Grace.