Olivia and Murphy

DSC_0887How we met: Murphy and I met back in the awkward, drama-filled years high school. We aren’t exactly sure of the specific moment, but we hung out in the same circle of friends, somehow crossing paths along the way. In 2008, after being close friends for a while, I finally said yes to his relentless requests for a date. Then all of high school, college, and beginning years of adulthood passed, and I thankfully still had the man I loved by my side. For me, the 7 years of dating passed in the blink of an eye. I still remember what it felt like being that shy, nerdy girl who blushed at the idea of a life-of-the-party, skater boy being interested in little ole me. Thank goodness he was so persistent!

How he asked: Murphy asked me to marry him on January 17th, 2015.I opened my groggy eyes that late afternoon to the view of Murphy creeping through my bedroom door with a shy grin on his face. I had just worked my third night shift in a row, slept for a little while, and was repeatedly snoozing my alarm clock, not feeling quite ready to face the sunlight. It was Saturday and time to get out of the city for some fresh air. This special event had been planned for a couple of weeks, as we were both looking forward to spending time together after 16 days apart.

On the agenda was a hike at Cedar Ridge Preserve. This was a place we had gone a couple of weeks earlier in search of some reviving nature air and an escape from the bustle of the city. To be honest, Murphy had enjoyed that hike more than I did, remarking numerous times afterward on our need to go back (while I was more concerned with defrosting my frozen toes from the 30 degree chill). Thankfully, God had given us an unseasonably warm January weekend day, with the sun shining and the temperature hovering around 60 degrees.

During the 30 minute drive to the trails I teased him about this being a proposal moment. The poor guy played along, teasing me back and playing it off as if he could or could not be proposing to me this very day. I rode nervously beside him, trying to decipher his every move and emotion.  Why did we have to leave at exactly 3pm today? Did he insist on this hiking location for a reason? Am I thinking too much into this? My type-A mind was working in overdrive. We arrived, packed snacks in his backpack, and headed towards the entrance.

As we walked, we talked about many things in the solitude of the woods. It was things like happenings at work, family and friends, the future… even talking about what type of proposal I would want when the time came.  We held hands as we walked with Murphy occasionally helping me up or down the steep parts. I felt so content in those moments. There’s something about looking around you and seeing nothing but nature that brings on feeling of sincere peace and solitude.

About 1.2 miles in we reached our favorite spot from the previous hike. It was a bench at the top of a peak, overlooking a steep bluff full of trees, with a lake in the distance. The sun was resting right above the trees, shining orange glows on our faces and casting shadows to our backs. We both sat on the bench sipping water and breathing heavily from climbing one of the steeper sections of the trail. Then, Murphy stood up and faced me.

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He reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a piece of lined paper. That’s when I knew.  My heart raced and my stomach flipped. I said to him, “No no no no… not now… no…”.  I reached across to his jacket pocket and felt a ring box. My mind panicked at the thought of something happening that I, the ultimate planner, had not planned for.  Then I suddenly realized that this was planned, this was happening, this was the moment. I stopped overthinking the possibilities of who/what/when/how and looked into the eyes of the man who was about to become my fiancé.

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Murphy carefully read me a 2-page letter he had written, holding my hand in his had and the paper in the other. I thought to myself, “Be in this moment, listen to him. This is something you will want to remember”.  I cried while hearing his sweet words. It was beautiful and perfect. In his eyes he had tears as well, stopping a few times while reading to blink them away. When he reached the end, dropped to one knee and held the box open before me. “Olivia, will you marry me?”. I squeezed out a quick yes and reached down to pull him in for a kiss.

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We were engaged, we were in love, and that was the beginning of our happily ever after.

Special thanks for our friend Greg who hid inside the shrubbery in head-to-toe camo to capture this moment. You’re the best Greg!