The Sweetest Chapter Yet

by | September 17, 2013

A new chapter in our Love Story has begun, and it’s the best
chapter yet. On the 5th of this past month, I asked Erin Bates to
marry me, and she said “Yes”! I can’t tell you of all the emotions and feelings
that I had leading up to that moment! It all seems like a dream…a dream that is
too good to be true…and yet it is the best dream that I have ever had that has
actually come true!
Our Love Story didn’t begin at the moment that Erin said yes, but rather, it has been written over the
past several years. It has been written through precious times, through fun
times, through hard times, and even through sad times. These times have
strengthened our relationship and drawn us closer together in such a special
way. Erin has been the sweetest expression of
love to me…and that’s why I call it our “Love Story.” She has been so patient
and gracious with the many areas that I have needed to grow in! The reason that
this is the sweetest chapter yet in our love story is because I know of the
great love that she has demonstrated in our relationship and especially behind


The sweetest chapter began the day that I asked Erin to marry me…and I would love to tell you about it!  Honestly, I was nervous! I knew in my heart
what her answer may be, but yet, I knew I didn’t deserve the answer that I was
hoping for! I wanted to make this day in Erin’s
life very special. I thought and thought and thought again on ways in which it
could be just that! I wanted it to be romantic…I wanted it to be very personal…I
wanted it be something that she could look back upon and cherish for forever…I
wanted it to be picture-perfect…I wanted it to be the most special time of our
lives thus far!
That special day dawned bright and cheery. The weather
seemed to be just perfect for what I had planned. My excitement and
anticipation only grew by the minute! My brother from Chicago was able to come to capture this
special time through pictures (if you don’t already know, pictures are really
important to Erin and I =).

I went to coffee that morning with him and gave him
the run down of how I hoped it would all work out. There were several
“unknowns” in my plans…which made me nervous! But I was praying that God would
work it all out! One of the big “unknowns” was how everything was going to work
out with our special day being filmed as well as being photographed. =) I
wanted everything to go as smoothly and sweetly as possible! Erin
knew that I was going to ask her to marry me, but she didn’t know how I was
going about to do it and she didn’t know where. I wanted to make everything as
much of a surprise as possible and to keep her in suspense! =)

We left the Bates house late in the morning to go to eat at
a nice restaurant in Knoxville, right on the Tennessee River. It was simply beautiful! It was peaceful,
quiet, and so sweet! Erin thoroughly enjoyed
it all, and so did I!  After a really
good meal (actually…I wasn’t that hungry…LOL =). We took a stroll down along
the river. It couldn’t have been more perfect! We found a swing just outside
the restaurant facing the river. We took some time to just swing and talk and
enjoy just being together as we always do!

Our time came to an end all to soon there on the river, and we
were soon heading to our next destination about an hour away…Whitestone Lodge!
The Bates had known of this gorgeous place and had told me about it several
times. Erin had never been there but had seen
pictures of the beautiful landscape and countryside. I couldn’t’ think of a
more romantic setting in the hills of Tennessee
to ask my precious Girl a really important question. =) The atmosphere of this
place was that of peace and quiet…and romance…I was so pumped!!

We arrived and met and the film crew. I got everything lined
up with the staff at Whitestone. I had prepped them ahead of time with my
intentions and they were so gracious and accommodating! It worked out so
wonderfully! Erin and I had a short time to talk and walk around. It was simply
beautiful! We headed down to the lake front to take a little boat ride. To Erin, boat rides are very romantic. She was really
excited and happy! We tried out a paddle boat and then switched to a canoe
(which was definitely more romantic…LOL). Everything was so calm and still…so
perfect! I couldn’t wait though till the next part of our day!

I had planned that before we went to our dinner there at
Whitestone, Erin and I would go on a carriage ride around the property. I was
super excited…and I hoped that she would be too! We left the lakeside and
headed to a beautiful little white chapel where we were to be picked up by our
carriage. As we opened the doors to leave the chapel, a beautiful, white
carriage pulled up! Erin was so excited!! She
was just beaming!! It seemed just like a fairytale story! After helping her
into the carriage we were off! As we pulled away from the little white chapel,
I reached over and gently took her hand in mine and smiled.

The warm
sunshine…the steady beat of the horse’s hooves…the bird’s singing…the gentle
breeze…the two of us…it was too good to be true! It was such a special time as
we rode through the Tennessee
countryside. We were both so happy! I was especially happy because I was about
to ask the Girl of my dreams to marry me…=’)

Our carriage let us off at a small gazebo that was seated on
a hill overlooking the lake, just outside the little white church. I helped Erin down and we turned and started walking towards the
gazebo. There on a small table were a dozen white roses with two red roses in
the middle, a guitar, and a small white box. I turned to Erin
and told her that I had something to show her…and I think she had a good idea
of what that might be! Just before the carriage ride, I had taken the ring that
I was going to give to Erin and put it in my
pocket. I had written a little note to Erin
that morning that read:
“I finally worked up the courage to ask you…I Love You!

~ Yf…Forever…for Always…for You!”
I put this note inside the ring box instead of the ring. I
thought that this would surprise her just a little bit more! As we walked into
the gazebo, I reached down and picked up the white box and opened it and handed
the ring box to Erin and asked her to open it.
I could tell she was slightly puzzled…but really excited! It almost doesn’t
seem real thinking back upon it all now. It happened so quickly! But yet it
will forever be etched in my memory as one of the sweetest and most precious
moments of my life! It felt like a bit of heaven!
Erin opened the ring box
and read the little note. When she finished reading, I knelt down on one knee
and held the ring up and asked, “Erin Elise, will you marry me?” The look on
her face was that of so many emotions! She sweetly said “yes!” and my dream
came true! The following is really hard to express with mere words…I honestly
don’t know how to describe the feelings that I had, the preciousness of the
moment, and the happiness that surrounded us! My heart was overflowing with gratefulness!
I was truly overwhelmed! I knew in my heart of hearts that I didn’t deserve the
Girl that I was holding! God was so good! I couldn’t thank Him enough!!
A verse that God gave me years ago had become so very true
in my life!
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord
will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk

Psalm 84:11

Although I have made many mistakes, God has been so faithful
to give me “good” things. And He hasn’t just give me good things…He has given
me the Best! Erin is truly the very best for
me and I am eternally grateful to the Lord and to her for making my dreams come
The rest of that special day was spent rejoicing together
and just enjoying each other and God’s goodness! A special dinner awaited us at
the lodge. We talked, cried, laughed, smiled and just enjoyed the beginning of
the Sweetest Chapter Yet!

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