In my post on Friday before leaving Iraq, I said that I wouldn't post much during my two weeks home unless something major happened. Well, something major happened...I'm engaged =)
Some of you know bits and pieces of the story, but for those who don't and to fill in the gaps for the rest, I'll tell the whole story.
Mimi is a graphic artist. Last summer she was hired by a friend to help design some items for his new Cajun restaurant in Texas. She had no idea what Cajun was, so she started Googling Cajun. Link lead to a link that lead to another link and eventually she stumbled upon this blog. She read all my post over a couple of months and then eventually decided to leave a comment. At the same time she also sent me a message on MySpace. We started chatting, but due to me planning on being there for another year at the time, I just look at it as another blog friend. We found out we went to the same church and even new a lot of the same people, but due to it being a very big church we had never crossed paths.
Well, as some of you will remember in a week's time I went from thinking I'd be in Iraq for another year to on my way home in a week. Being I was now coming home, I decided to ask Mimi to dinner. We had our first date on Sept. 5th, 2006 and she chose a sushi restaurant in Vienna. We have been dating ever since.
Around May, God gave me a peace that I could ask her to marry me but also felt that it had to be after her trip to Africa, June-Aug. In June, I got permission from her dad. Earlier I was offered another job in Iraq and we felt peace that I was supposed to take it which meant I would be gone when she got back. The original plan was to come home for leave in October and propose then, but that didn't work out. So, then I changed plans to do it during my leave this month.
I had originally planned to do it the day after I got home (today) at the end of our 10th date from the book, 10 Great Dates Before You Say 'I Do'. In order to keep her guessing as I was pretty sure she was expecting it over these two weeks, I developed a little covert plan to throw her off and make her think it would happen Wednesday. That plan was working great, but due to the nature of the date I had planned for today, I figured she may guess before. So, I decided to change plans again and do it the night I got home.
That presented a challenge in that I didn't have the ring yet. I ordered it before I left, but it was still in the safe at the store. Thankfully the person who helped me is a good friend, so she allowed another friend of mine to pick it up for me. Then he and I developed an excuse to have him meet me at the airport as well. Obviously Mimi was at the airport, so we had previously set up that after a few minutes of welcome homes, I'd say I needed to go to the restroom and he would as well. Once there he handed the ring off to me and I put it in my backpack and headed home.
Mimi didn't plan anything for last night figuring I would be tired from travelling so just had planned for us to have a quiet evening at home. I told her that I would only change one part of the plan in that I wanted to go out to eat.
I took her to the sushi restaurant we had our first date under the auspices that this was the first place we ate together when I came home last year, so I wanted to eat there again. She was happy and sad about that choice because she was planning on a similar surprise to the same restaurant later in the week, but had no idea of what was coming next.
After dinner, we walked out and she started to walk towards the car, but I said let's walk a little first. I walked her down the sidewalk about 20 yards and started telling her about that first night that we met. I had gotten there first and was waiting in the restaurant. I first saw her when she stepped onto the sidewalk right where we were standing. I said I didn't know that at that moment I would be seeing my future wife for the first time and dropped to my knee and asked her to marry me.
Now this is where the story makes a very unexpected but in hindsight funny turn. Apparently I did my covert planning way to well because she was COMPLETELY surprised. So much so that she thought I was joking. She even got down on the ground as well and picked me up and said NO and tried to start walking back to the car. She told me after that she thought I was joking around because she had just recently helped a friend buy a ring for his future fiancee and she thought I had taken that ring which is still at my place and was joking around with her.
So I stopped her from walking away because I also sensed she didn't realize what I had just asked her and asked her again. Then it started setting in that I wasn't joking and she asked are you being serious? When I told I was absolutely serious and asked her a THIRD time this time putting the ring on her finger as I asked, she emphatically said YES!
Thanks to everyone for your prayers over these last 15 months and please continue to pray for us that through our engagement and marriage, we model Christ and always seek to serve Him through our relationship.