Taylor and Spencer

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How We Met

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Thank goodness for that, because I don’t think I could have handled another first encounter with Spencer. I met him at a youth summer camp. I was on staff, putting on weekly programs for hundreds of high schoolers, and he was just one of the many counselors that came up the mountain to spend a week with their students. Even on a crowded field filled with rambunctious high-energy teenagers he was hard to miss. Maybe it was the full-body, bright-blue, inflatable morph suit. Maybe it was the white lampshade he wore on his head. Maybe it was his ridiculous dance moves. Whatever it was, it made an impression.

The following year, I came across his name in the stack of applications for summer camp staff. I was immediately opposed. My brief interactions with him the previous summer had told me that he was a charmer with a particular love for the spotlight. He had seemed prideful and arrogant – two things I certainly didn’t want to deal with in a work setting.  My director encouraged me to at least interview him and trusted me with the final hiring decision.  Somehow during my ensuing phone interview with Spencer, I was convinced to take a chance and bring him on staff – but that didn’t mean I had to like him.

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When you work with someone in ministry you get to know who they really are  At some point everyone shows their true colors. You get to see how they respond to stress, how they influence people, how they work as part of a team. You get to see them at their best and (after any number of consecutive sleepless nights) you get to see them at their worst. That summer, I got to know Spencer in a way that few people ever have. It wasn’t long before I was thinking that maybe I had misjudged him. Before I even realized what was happening I found myself going from wanting absolutely nothing to do with him, to being somewhat intrigued by the softer side that I was getting to know, and then eventually—rather to my dismay—I found myself falling for him.

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How He Asked

It all started with a surprise scavenger hunt. I had been spending a relaxing day with one of my best friends, Maggie, when I found a stack of cards at my door, each one numbered ‘1’ through ‘4’ along with the vague, yet simple instructions to put on the pretty white dress he had bought me for my our one year anniversary and to get ready and go find him. I was intrigued and certainly surprised, but I had no inclination to consider that something was afoot. It is not unlike him to plan fun surprise dates from time to time, so it didn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

Once I had put myself together, I opened the first note to find a clue that would lead me to a special location. So Maggie and I hopped in her car and drove off to the first spot. He had designed it so that I could only open each of the successive notes once I had followed the clues to the right location. The notes each led me to a place that had a special meaning to us and our relationship. It felt like a nostalgic trip back in time to the earliest months of our dating relationship.

On the final card, he had written “I found a little piece of paradise. Come find me.” At this point, Maggie took over. (Apparently she had been involved in the entire operation, but managed to play it off VERY well). Spencer had already given her directions to where we were going to meet up with him.

After a short drive, I expected to arrive at a fancy restaurant for dinner reservations. Instead, we pulled up to a lush oasis where I was greeted by his parents, standing together at the entrance to a garden, each holding a beautiful long-stemmed red rose.  In that moment I knew what was happening. They hugged me and handed me their roses before sending me down a path that wound through the “piece of paradise”. Along the way, I came across the people who have stood by the both of us through countless seasons of life, each one handing me another beautiful rose—his grandparents, his two brothers, his sister, my best friend from college, my best friend from high school, my Godparents, my sister, and then finally my parents.

The path that I walked along had become a journey through our past; a reflection of where we’d been, the pillars of strength we pull from, the successful couples that have set examples for us; all of our support from across the state and across the nation and then, I walked toward my future.  He stood waiting for me under a crystal chandelier, next to a waterfall, surrounded by scattered rose petals.

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When he asked me if I would let him spend the rest of his life loving me, in my heart I had already said “yes.”

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