Audrey and Ethan

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E: Audrey and I first met on a mission trip in sunny Honduras. The small team quickly became good friends as we got to know and serve the community–building, digging, laughing, talking, and sweating together. The two of us bonded over dirty dishes and long rides through Tegucigalpa in the back of a truck called, the “Hill Climber II.”

A: It wasn’t long after we met that I could tell Ethan had feelings for me, but I just wanted to be friends.  When I moved back to Bloomington my sophomore year it was obvious that just about EVERYONE knew how Ethan felt and I tried pretty hard to dispel his affection.

E: It didn’t work.

A: He built me bikes, wrote songs about me, sang songs about me, and  some how ended up everywhere I was. Straight up stalker status.

E: Our friends were friends, so I wasn’t THAT much of a stalker.

A: Over the summer I worked at a camp in the northwoods of Wisconsin and spent a lot of time growing in the Lord and as a person.  I received a letter from Ethan towards the end of the summer.  I remember feeling an excited nervousness when I opened the letter.  I cannot pin point undergoing a big or sudden revelation, but in that moment my feelings were starting to change (even though I was no where near acknowledging it).

E: This was right around the time that I was trying to force myself to move on.  I failed, miserablely.

A: We started spending more time together as I allowed Ethan to pursue a relationship with me. I was still very uncertain, a lot of my doubts and insecurities quickly surfaced during our season of dating.

E: After several failed attempts at labeling our relationship and making Audrey my girlfriend, she finally announced, while we were driving through bloomington in my jeep, that I was her boyfriend.  I was dumbfounded and could only reply with “Okay” to confirm my acceptance to the abrupt proclamation.

A: Dating was a fun, exciting, hard, and growing adventure.

Fast forward.

E: Proposal time! After many Ramen Noodle lunches (and dinners), I finally saved enough to buy the ring. Audrey expected me to have it much sooner, so that was fun :P. I racked my brain with ideas for how I would propose. My current track record had Audrey convinced that I was no good at surprises. I decided to take her back to the place where where we first kissed. By we, I mean me, kissing her on the forehead. Anyways, TMI.

With the location set, an old lookout firetower in the Hoosier National Forest, all I had left was…everything else.  I employed two of my best friends and groomsmen, Clay and Zach, to help me get things together. This included obtaining two GoPro cameras (to capture the engagement), painting over the grafitti in the tower (at 2 a.m. the morning of!), and setting up flowers and candles in the tower (guarding them until we got there).  I told Audrey that I was taking her out to dinner after I got of work.  I didn’t go to work so I could have plenty of time to get everything together.  I asked her to dress up for the date and I prayed that she would not stop by work to see me. Luckily she did not. I was sure that she knew it was coming.

A: Right before I left to go get dinner with Ethan I was talking to my friend Julia.  She was asking me about Ethan and when I thought we would be getting engaged. I told her I was coming to terms with the fact that it wouldn’t come as a surprise because Ethan was terrible at surprises. (Later I found that she, and all my other friends had known for days that I was headed right to the proposal!)

Ethan picked me up for dinner and we went to the restaurant where we had our first date, which was about a year before we actually started dating. That was the date I had decided Ethan and I were definitely just going to be friends.  I guess I was wrong!  Anyway dinner was nice and we both enjoyed it a lot more than we had the first time.  As we were leaving Ethan asked if I’d like to go watch the sunset from the firetower.  I honestly didn’t really feel like going, but I said yes anyway.  When we arrived at the fire tower Ethan challenged me to count all the stairs, I started counting and didn’t notice that he had gotten way ahead of me.  As I climbed the last set of stairs I looked over and saw flowers and candles in a mason jar.  I started crying immediately.  I finished climbing up and he was down on one knee.

Looking back there were multiple flags that signaled he was going to propose, but I didn’t catch any of them.  It was a very beautiful night and ended with Ethan blindfolding me driving me and driving us to a surprise party thrown for us by a bunch of our friends.  (Special shout out to Nathan Furr and our redeemer family for making it all happen so smoothly!)

E: Our engagement has been very exciting and we have been working hard to get a lot of things done before Audrey leaves to teach in New Mexico this Fall.  Thank you all for the support and encouragement.  Cannot wait to see you on January 31st!

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