the story begins when paul asks me to mark three dates on the calendar for dates with him when i am home for the holiday--dec. 19th, 21st, and 23rd. all i know that the first date is all day and casual, the second in the evening and dressy, and date three is casual and most of the day. this is all the information he would share with me.
upon arrival in houston, he picked me up at the airport and it felt so wondeful to see him and be able to give him a hug. it had been 4 months and 14 days since we were last together in person as he left korea on august 6th. it was a great moment as i stood at baggage claim waiting for my bags wondering where he was and then to sopt him in the crowd, exchange smiles, and walk quickly toward me.
tuesday was date #1. the plan was to hang out and do lots of nothing really. we started the day at rice village just walking around and peering through windows. we did drop my much violated birks off for repair at the village shoe shop. :) we did a little shopping and a lot of walking. it was nice to be able to meander with no real schedule holding hands with one another. after rice, we headed for the galleria. another place to do little shopping and lots of walking! we had fun just walking around and people watching. we just really enjoyed our time together and being able to hold hands and talk. all he would tell me is that we had dinner plans and had to be there around 7:00ish and it was near the galleria. we left the galleria and i had a pounding headache. upon sharing this with paul, he immediately asked what he could do to "fix it" which made me smile. i said that aleve should do the trick so we found the nearest CVS. he just kept driving around and around in no one direction so i had no idea where we were headed. at this point his only comment became "maybe" to all my interrogation. :) finally we were headed west on westheimer and i said we are so going to la vista and he said.........yep, you guessed it "maybe". then finally he turned on fountain view to which i quickly remarked we are going to la vista, but they don't take reservations. hmmmm..........he parked and then we walked to la vista. i was so excited! i was smilng ear to ear. my favorite restaurant with my favorite guy what more could i ask for. we were walking up to la vista when i spotted allen moody from our home group and thought why he is here. then i noticed more people i knew----our entire small group was there. when i walked up to the table they all stood up and were holding mini hope bears. each of them gave their bear to me which had a little sentiment written to me on a tag attached to the ribbon around its neck. so sweet! 8 bears total and an entire small group of people including katie. CRAZY! paul had arranged for everyone to meet us there for dinner. the most amazing part is that NO ONE spilled the beans AT ALL the night before at small group. it was an awesome night and i was so glad to be able to fellowship with each of them and share a meal together. paul is such a blessing. even though i did not realize it at the time, the word of the night was "hope".
date #2 on thursday was a dressy date and somehow i had managed to squeeze the place that were eating out of paul prior to coming home. we were going to the melting pot. another place that paul took me while dating that i had never been before he took me. i was thrilled and i knew i would be stuffed by the end of the night. i had found the coolest shirt at new york and company the day before to wear. i wore the black and white flowey like shirt with black wide leg pants and black sandals. i felt great and paul said i looked hot! he looked awesome too. he work nice jeans with his green long sleeved shirt and his black jacket. such a hottie! all i knew is that we were going to dinner at 5:30 and then had plans to be somewhere else at 7ish. we went to eat and ate so much food. we had a yummy cheese dip that was wonderful followed by a large selection of meats---beef, chicken, shrimp and lobster. it was really good, but we both agreed less is better. we had a hazelnut chocolate dip for dessert which is paul and i's favorite part. :) after dinner we headed down westheimer again and i got this weird feeling we were going to grace, our church. not sure why although i though paul might have arranged to play for me in the chapel, but that was from what happened. we did end up at grace in the chapel, but for a different reason. paul had arranged with bryan, one of the pastors, to meet us at the chapel so that we could share communion together. it was amazing and yes, i cried. the lighting in the chapel was just right, the candles were lit, and bryan had the kneeler out too. bryan played a derek webb song on the CD player and then we read Hebrews 11 together which speaks all about faith. then we prayed and shared communion. it was so special as paul and i got to serve communion to each other. then bryan prayed for us again. it was a really special night for me and i was pretty much in awe to what lengths paul would go to make the night extra special. i still cannot believe it. wow! again, not knowing it at the time the word of this date was "Faith". he had planned each date with a theme.
saturday brought date #3 which started out by running last minute errands for christmas. we had stopped at starbucks to get some gift cards as well as izze beverages for us to enjoy. we were sitting there enjoying our drinks, talking about things, and he asked me if i had figured out the clues yet about the dates. i immediately said no and then without a moment's hesitation realized what the theme was. i smiled ear to ear and was wow-ed by his thoughtful planning. that meant that this date was about "love" but there was not any plans until "around dinner time". after figuring it out i was really anxious to get the date started. i kept pestering him...."can we start now???" we headed in the direction of his apartment and he pulled into the central market parking lot. i was a bit confused as central market was not on the list of places we needed to go. i asked what we were doing and he said we were starting the date. to be honest, i felt not sure of what he was doing. he then told me how he loves to do nothing with me. one of his favorite times we share is getting bread and cheese and then renting movies to watch at his apartment. "is that ok?" he asked. i was like of course. he knew that my trip home would be really busy and he thought the best way to hang out was to plan a night of nothing. yeah! we meandered through central market getting the items we needed for our picnic----fresh french bread, brie, gouda, mustard, fresh genoa salami, and some jam. yum! then we went to hollywood video to rent some movies. we wanted to watch scrubs episodes but they did not have the season we needed. so instead we rented little miss sunshine and click. we went back to his apartment and i took the groceries upstairs. i was unpacking the bag when he walks into the kitchen with his guitar on. i asked him what he was doing and he told me he wanted to play my favorite song for me that he wrote. earlier in the day i had mentioned that i wanted him to play this song for me while i was home. it is the first song he played for me at my apartment right after we started dating. yeah! he led me over to the couch and he played the song for me. i started crying about half way through. i could not stop the tears. after he finished he asked if i was ok and my response was "i don't want to go back to korea". he then started talking about hope, faith and love. he knew that these three words had become really important in my faith journey over the past 2 years but he said that they were important to our relationship as well especially since i had moved to korea. he then stood up and took off his guitar and said....."mandy....." then he pulled something out of his pocket and got down on one knee in front of me on the couch, opened a little box........."will you marry me?" then i started crying more and said yes!!! we spent the next hours on the phone calling our families and friends. it was the best night ever!!!! we did get to our picnic and watched the movie--little miss sunshine.
we are getting married on july 14th, 2007 at 2:00pm at grace presbyterian. the reception will in the fellowship hall there at the church. we are both really excited and appreciate all the words of support and encouragement!