We spent the next two months falling in love through our words. Emails. Texts. Phone calls. Skype sessions. Handwritten letters.
Memorial Day weekend arrived...and so did Josh, standing there in person for the first time at the airport. I was worried I might not recognize him. I needn't have been. :)
We spent our Saturday out at the coast, walking a trail, sitting by a waterfall, and visiting my favorite lighthouse. We were awkward. We didn't quite know how to navigate the newness of finally being together. But we learned, and it was as sweet and silly and emotional and wonderful as a first real date ought to be.
Then summer came, and with it a series of delightful visits. Vacation with my family in the high desert of Central Oregon. Trips to see him in Washington. Trips to see me.
We meandered through a garden. Explored a lava cave. Went on hikes. Canoed under the stars. Enjoyed a festival with friends. Took a road trip down the coast, viewing a couple more lighthouses along the way.
We experienced some great highs and some tough lows through the summer and into the fall. Quite the new adventure, falling deeper in love while still being hundreds of miles apart. But God has been there through it all, reminding us what love means...showing us new levels of humility...growing us closer together as the seasons changed.
We talked about marriage, about a forever commitment. We spent Thanksgiving together with some of his relatives, with so very much to be grateful for, even in an in-between time.
He completed another difficult quarter of school with success, getting closer and closer to realizing his dream of being an airplane mechanic. And right after his last class before Christmas break, he hopped in his car to head south, trying to beat a winter storm on his way to surprise me with a visit he had been secretly planning for months.
The storm beat him instead.
That evening he called me, devastated that his plans had fallen apart. But God gave us a Christmas miracle early this year. :)
Despite the snow and ice covering the roads, Josh made it safely back home the next morning. We both knew it would be too dangerous for him to try to drive down to see me. He didn't give up, though. He had been able to book a seat on a flight that afternoon...a flight that kept getting delayed as the weather continued to conspire against us.
The odds were high that he would get stuck in an airport overnight, but he got on the plane regardless. And in an answer to prayers, his second flight was delayed long enough for him to make the connection!
We had dinner that night with dear friends of mine who hosted Josh for the weekend. And the next day, Josh was able to carry out his special plans with another outing to the coast.
We had breakfast in a restaurant by the ocean. Took a walk along the beach. Browsed some favorite little shops. And finally made our way to that favorite lighthouse of mine, the one we visited together back in May.
On a trail above the lighthouse, Josh got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes with all my heart!
So now we're entering a new season, one full of uncertainties and newness and incredible possibilities as we start to plan our wedding and our new life together. But God has brought us to this place, and we trust Him to watch over us in all the days and adventures to come.
I couldn't ask for a better companion for the journey. ♥
Thank you, friends, for letting me share my story with you. :) I hope you all have a beautiful Christmas full of reminders that God is at work and very near!