Shawna and Alex

How We Met

Alex and I met when we were 15 years old. I was a freshman and Alex was a Sophomore in high school. I was waiting outside for my dad to pick me up from practice when the football boys were heading in to get ready for the big game. I shouted, “good luck tonight”  to almost every player. However, that next day, I received a text from Alex Plendl asking me out to homecoming. Little did he know, I already had a date, but luckily for him, the date did not go well.

We made our relationship official on October 7, 2010, after my volleyball game. Looking back, it was the most awkward conversation ever. Remember in middle school when you had a friend who would run back and forth relaying our responses to each other? Yup, that is exactly what happened.  How embarrassing! Our first “official date” well as official as it can get when your mom has to drive you everywhere, was to a bonfire with a group of friends. Since then we have been together!

How He Asked

In May of 2017, my mom died unexpectedly and it was the hardest loss I’ve ever experienced. I was an emotional wreck for months after her funeral. My mom’s favorite flower was a sunflower so one day, Alex and I went to the store and bought a bouquet of sunflower to brighten up my day. From this day on, every time I saw a Sunflower I felt more at ease. Within a year after her death, I was on my way to Africa for a month long mission trip.

When I was over there, I really struggled not only with being so far from home but also because the one year anniversary of my mom’s death was approaching. I was not sure how I would cope being a million miles from home. However, one day on a walk around the village, we passed a cornfield. Amongst the corn growing would be random spots of sunflowers growing alongside the corn.

Seeing the sunflower reminded me that she is right next to me. From this day on, I would always feel comforted when I see a sunflower, knowing that I am not alone. For the past year and a half, we have gone to Grinter’s farm,  a beautiful sunflower field in Lawrence, KS. Immediately, after being in the field, I’m back to being that happy girl before the accident.  On September 4, 2018, we went on our trip and Alex asked me to  be his wife in the middle of the sunflower field, in the place where I feel my mom the most.