The Story of Us: The Proposal

photo (2)Troy knew that I’d be expecting a proposal at some point because we’ve just always known we were meant to be together.  It has always been easy with us, comfortable, and people have even commented that something is so peaceful with us together. It was just a matter of making it official!

You see Troy had quite the task – I’ve been slated as an incorrigible romantic and hard to please at times. He knew I wanted an ‘experience’, and not just a dinner proposal (not that there’s ANYTHING wrong with that! Each couple is different and we both just wanted something extra special). So, little did I know that he’s been planning schedules for a couple of months.

So, this last Friday, my brother texts that he and his wife are coming into town for a family ‘catch up’, since they’ve been to Europe and back and us siblings hadn’t met up yet. Nothing toooo out of the ordinary, but like I do, I was trying to figure it out.

Is this it…is it happening?!

My brother offered to pick me up at my house, and Troy texted that he would get into town and just meet us at the pub. That was my first clue – the fact that they insisted on picking me up.

So, I rushed home from work, let my dog out, and freshened up. Thinking, “What do I want to be wearing if I’m about to get engaged!!!!??” See what I mean? He had a task set before him.

So 5:15 rolled around, I get in the backseat of their car and my bro says, “We just have to swing downtown to meet Garrick (his best friend), so I can give him a lens he wants to borrow.” I played along, again thinking, “This is strange!”

We pulled up to, you guessed it, City Hall Park, and immediately my heart is pounding out of my chest and I’m looking for Troy’s truck.

Britt and Jocelyn get out of the car and say, “Lani, why don’t you hope out?” So, I do, as any girl whose about to get engaged does – she obeys.

20140502_Troy_Lani0017I start to walk up the sidewalk and I see my sister approaching around the corner with a massive (2 dozen) bouquet of my favourite coral roses.  She’s crying. And not just because she’s about to have a baby, but because she’s delivering the first note of my proposal adventure. We hug, I smell the roses, read the sweet sweet note from Troy and she says I’m off on my adventure. Are you ready for it?

We all four hop back in the car, and Jocelyn turns on a playlist that Troy has prerecorded with his voice as an intro. “Hi sweetheard. Here’s a few songs that make me think of you. I’ll meet you in a little while, but for now, sit back and enjoy the adventure.” The first song was “Great Are You Lord”, one that we had slowdanced to and cried to several months back.

As I’m wiping away the tears of love and realization of what’s about to happen, I’m escorted next to the lake where Troy and I spent a lot of time last summer. I’m told to get out of the car and walk towards what I soon find out is a good friend of mine, waiting for me down the pier.

Again, I’m pausing in my mind to take it all in.

Lani, you’re about to get engaged!

20140502_Troy_Lani0070I see my good friend Kathy with a gift in her hand. We hug. Cry. And I open another card and gift. This time, a photo book of all pictures of Troy and I.  All throughout this time my brother, a photographer, is capturing the whole journey on film. Which is now AMAZING to have!

I hug my friend good-bye, and hop back into the car with my sister, brother and his wife. We next drive to my church, and as we pull up to the front doors I see my good friends Craig and Heidi and their adorable four month old girl waiting for us. I cry some more. (I cry when I feel loved, I cry when I feel something, anything deeply!) Again, another gift and card from Troy are waiting for me.  This time, a beautiful thick journal that I have since decided I will journal my first year as a wife in! Troy’s note said how he wants me always to keep writing and that he brought us to the church because he always wants us to come to God’s house to worship. Cry some more. Hug some more.  And we’re off again!20140502_Troy_Lani0146

Being the gal that I am, I am asking questions and my siblings are ssshhhh-ing me. Not that I WANT to know, I love surprises, but what else do you do but ask?!  So we had to stall for a few minutes (I didn’t know why at the time), so we went to Starbucks. What should be the sign on the entrance door but Oprah’s latest ad to drink the new Chai latte, and it says “Say Yes to what’s next!” We thought it was so appropriate so we took a picture!

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We hop back in the car with coffees in hand, and my heart is racing more.

When will I see my Troy?

We park downtown, close to where I think we are going – the coffee shop, Dose, where we had our first date. But no, we walk into a candlelit furniture boutique shop, Hudson Madison, just down the street. Our song is playing, my ‘sibling paparazzi’ is close behind me, and I look down to see a trail of tealights lit, beckoning me forward. I look back, breathe, and walk forward. Troy comes around the corner smiling, and then we both cry! Actually, I ugly cried and have my brother’s pictures to prove it! 😉

We embraced, and held each other. To be honest, it’s a blur all of what he said, but my sister caught it on video (it’s too personal to post, but amazing to have now!). He spoke from his heart of how he wants to have a family with me, take adventures, and that I’d make him the happiest man ever. And then, “Let’s not put this off any longer…” he got down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. The words barely escaped his and I squealed YES!!!

Troy put on the most massive beautiful diamond ring I could’ve ever imagined having and we held each other close. My best friend and I, about to start a new chapter. Troy then whispered, “Look behind you.” I turn around and there were about a dozen of my closest friends, some of whom were on the journey that night, all whooping and hollering!

I was in shock, and then squealed, showing off the ring and embracing my friends and family.

Troy had planned to propose at the coffee shop, but apparently there was some miscommunication and it was closed! So with some quick help from friends, we got into a beautiful shop and I SAID YES!

Now, to plan a wedding three months away! I already am ooogling as I look at Troy and say, “Hi fiaaaaaance!” 😉

God is good!

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The story of us

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I was never the girl that had her whole wedding planned out at the age of 16. I knew what age I wanted it all done by (23, only 10 years later than my original plan), but the details hadn’t embedded in my heart just yet. But I was the girl who silently trusted and waited on God’s perfect timing, and perfect choice for me. As all my friends got married and started having babies, I was off travelling and trying to enjoy being a career woman. I waited, then pleaded, and even sometimes denied the desire for a husband thinking that that would somehow bring it to pass more swiftly. All the while, I knew deep down that God’s gifts come at the right time. And this past weekend a dream came true – Troy and I got engaged!!

I am going to do two separate posts – one that shares the story of how we met and fell in love, and the other of how he proposed (it’s worth coming back for!). So for this post, take a journey with us on how we met, nine months ago, and how our story has begun…

Last summer was busy. I had a full plate of things to do like getting a new puppy, reno’ing my older townhome, serving at my church and dreaming of the next trip I would take. I had dated a lot over the past couple of years and to be honest, was tired of putting myself out there. (Apparently my nephew said to my brother-in-law the night we got engaged “It’s about time, she’s had too many boyfriends!”)

I’ll take the summer off, settle into my home, and then maybe in the fall I’ll go online again.

But, my sister and her husband would not have it. He said, “Lani, your dog is going to die, your house will sell, but you need a husband!” Fortunately for all of us, I took their push, and on August long weekend 2013 I found myself at home alone on a Saturday night with Indiana Jones on the TV and a dog for a companion. THREE, I said, THREE, ads for online dating sites played within a period of an hour (apparently single white female was the demographic for paid advertising for Indiana Jones that night!)

Hmphf. Maybe I should just go back on again. There’s no harm right?

I took the advice of the best-marketed ad, Match.com, and signed up.

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(our first selfie together, last summer by the lake as we finished our ice cream and the sunset, Troy said “We need to take a picture!”)

Meanwhile, on the other side of hello, was Troyden Lupul. A guy who had recently been through extreme heartbreak, but God had carried him through and made him stronger for it. A man who knew that God wired him to have a wife and was determined not to give up; a man who was already tired of ‘trying online dating’ and was ready to close his account the next day.

Two hours after filling out my profile and carefully choosing my photos, my inbox was filling up with ‘hi’ and lacklustre responses.

Really? That’s it?!

I was already disappointed. I went to bed, and then came Sunday, August 4.

That Sunday evening I got a note from Troyden. It was kind, brief, and really just said he loved my profile and what I had to say. (He has since told me he read my profile before he saw my pictures and then was won when he saw my photos 😉 ) I was sent to him as a match on the day he was going to close his profile! And, on his birthday 😉 He had facial hair (usually not my thing, and now I absolutely love it!), strong arms (mmmmm) and seemed adventurous. The three things that stood out for me in his profile were that he clearly loved the Lord, had travelled, and said ‘chivalry isn’t dead’. Ding, ding, ding! We may have a winner!

Unfortunately, the site has deleted our emails since we logged off so I honestly don’t remember all of what we shared! But 10 days after our first hello, and countless texts and emails (we hadn’t talked yet!) Troy came to town to visit J He fortunately was just finishing a job (hardwood flooring) so he had five days in a row off. We were both hopeful. Scared that the other might have some freaky voice. And filled with great anticipation.

Wednesday morning came and I had the morning off. We had planned to meet at 9:30am at City Hall Park; somewhere public should either of us end up being crazy, bald, or both.

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I was early. I wore white skinnies and a green tank top. Accessorized with curly hair and a lace vest.

A good first impression I hope!

As I stood in the middle of the park I kept turning a 360; my heart racing and my bladder’s need to unload ever increasing. As the nerves grew I finally saw this guy with a sweet smile walking my way. He had a t-shirt, vest, good shoes and a MAN PURSE!!! WHOA! I was impressed. Ding! Points earned 😉 His hair was neatly in place (immediate points for having hair!). I knew Troy worked in trades, but was also a musician, so I really had no idea what his style would be! But he made a very good first impression. We hugged, heard each other’s voice and breathed a sigh of relief. Then, in true Ledingham fashion, I stuck my foot in my mouth.

“I have to pee!”

And we walked. To a coffee shop named Dose a few blocks away. Troy paid, as a gentleman does, and we sat out in the morning sun sipping lattes. After about 20 minutes or so in, Troy handed me a note, one I still have in my Bible. It said:

Lani, to say I have enjoyed getting to know you is an understatement. I am so thankful I get to meet you today. No matter what, you have been a huge blessing and encouragement. Thank you for being you. Troyden.

And on the back of the note was a beautifully hand-drawn rose.

Ding! He was earning more points.

We walked back to the park, and sat under a tree with a blanket I had in my car. And those three hours disappeared. While we sat in the shade and told stories of travel and family and what we want out of life (because when you’re 32, you just don’t waste time!), Troy asked, “Are you feeling comfortable? I sure am.”

I stopped, and smiled, “Yes, yes I am.”

Ding! He cares about how I feel in the moment!

Since the morning went so well, Troy asked if he could barbeque me supper that night at his family’s RV at the lake. Of course, I said yes and asked if I could bring my puppy. To say I was distracted at work that afternoon was an understatement!

And that night – well. WE began. A perfectly seared steak. Walking the dog for ice cream. Troy grabbing my hand and me feeling tingles and ever amazed at how natural it felt. A bonfire, and even our first kiss. Now let me tell you – I NEVER DO THAT! But, with Troy, there was ease and chemistry and I just decided to go with it! I think that first day we spent about 11 hours together. And the next four days, whenever we could, we were together. And every weekend ever since (he lives almost two hours away).

That is how we began… online, by the lake, with some good coffee and ice cream. God is so so good.

Troy makes me laugh when I’m feeling crusty. He has a third personality, ‘er, accent, we call “Hank” that he brings out when I’m down. Troy is the most generous, strongest, godliest, best friend I could ever ask for and it makes me tear up to think about how much I love him and he means to me. The little things like a man in a tool belt and that can play guitar – God gave me that. Little things like a man who will watch movies with me on a Friday night, or plan trips with me – God gave me that. Little things like a man who will call me on my crap without making me feel like less of a person, or share honestly from his heart – God brought me that. Little things like a man who will dream up inventions and pray with me every night – God brought me that. Troy is a man that challenges me, loves me as I am, has embraced my friends and family, and will even go shopping with me 😉 He just, well, feels like home.

God is faithful. And I hate to say it – but I wasn’t looking. But my Heavenly Father was, all along. And His timing is perfect!

Tomorrow….find out how Troy proposed this past weekend!

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A real life love story: Jocelyn and Britton

It’s my honor to present my brother and his wife-to-be…as of next spring. After any time you spend with them you always feel the love, joy and enthusiasm for each other. I used to think no one would be good enough for my brother, but I’m happy to say he made the best choice! It just took my brother-in-law to set them up! But, before I say too much…

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I wanted them to tell you their story …

She said … how they met

While working at a restaurant, I made friends with a customer of mine. We got along great and one day he said to me, “Jocelyn, I’m going to find a man for you!” I laughed at him – I had my doubts!

He told me that he was having a housewarming party with a group of friends. “I want you to come! My girlfriend’s brother is coming too! I think you two would be great together!” I was unsure, but he talked me into coming! He assured me there would be a bunch of people over and that it wouldn’t be awkward at all. I decided that if nothing else, the experience would make for a good story, so I agreed to come.

I arrived at the party to find that “a bunch” of people meant five people to him – all family.  I was introduced to Britton. He had bright blue eyes and a warm, friendly smile. It could have been a disaster, but I had a wonderful time!

On a whim we all drove down to the rodeo and snuck in to watch. We went to the fair grounds and Britt won a tiny orange stuffed animal for his efforts and gave it to me. Then we took a bunch of silly pictures together as a group at a tiny church in the middle of nowhere. We ended up back at the house and chatted – I had so much fun and didn’t want to leave.

Britton was sweet and fun. I had a lot in common with him and thought he was cute, however, I really didn’t think much would come of the set up!

To my surprise, the next day, he asked me if Britton could have my phone number. My immediate response was, “Does he actually want my phone number? You cannot force him to like me!” He assured me that Britton did indeed want my number, but didn’t really want to ask for it in front of his sisters the night before.

Two weeks later Britton and I went to the Stampede. Britton picked me up early and we walked around the grounds, seeing the sights. There were so many people bustling around us that Britton said, “I don’t want to lose you in this crowd. Would it be too forward if I held your hand?” I willingly grabbed on, and when the crowd died down, he didn’t let go.

We danced to live country music, though neither of us knew how to two-step, but we swayed along as best as we could. At the end of the night, we walked back to the truck, hand in hand, Britton carefully leading me around the puddles. I was happy and hopeful. He opened the door to the truck for me and then hopped in.

Before starting the vehicle he looked over at me with a grin and said, “That was really fun…the most fun I’ve had in a while…do you think you’d want to go out with me?” I smiled, probably blushing, and said, “Yes!”

He said … when he knew she was his girl

It hit me overtime. She’s such a sweetheart! We made lists for each other early on to remind each other of what we like about the other. We were having such good times together.

I knew early on that Jocelyn really loved me and supported me in my unstable job-job state. I told her the night I asked her out that she would have to be patient with me, and she’s never stopped. I love her and I’m so proud to be loved by her!

In March of this year, I asked for some time apart. This sucked and I felt like I had died. I needed to know that I was in it for the right reasons.

The weekend sucked, and I told her that I needed three days to wait this out and hear from God what I was supposed to do. The whole weekend I held on to the hope that I was actually feeling affirmation in my heart that we were supposed to be together, and that Monday would roll around and we could actually talk again. I phoned her Monday, she took me back. I had a good, and very direct, chat from her dad, which was needed and drove out any pansy-ness left in me.

Joss is so good to me. We love each other. We love Jesus. We can talk about anything. We can laugh about anything. We get each other. We love each other’s friends and families so much.

Early on there was one time when I called her “Babe” and she requested that I do so for the rest of our lives. This didn’t scare me, or anything – I liked it a lot!

I love Joss and I’ve known this was IT for life for a long time now!

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Jocelyn and Britt … forever. Love you guys, Congratulations!!! xo