How We Met
The way Grace and I met was rather bizarre to say the least. I’m from Jacksonville, FL and she is from Ft Lauderdale, FL. We met in October 2015 while we were both on vacation attending Halloween horror nights. So I’m in the bar with a couple of my buddies and she walks in with her group of girls. I was absolutely smitten by her. She was beautiful and I just couldn’t resist trying to get her phone number. I went up to the bartender and bought her and her friends a round of shots. She drank her shot and proceeded to totally ignore me while I tried to talk to her. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. I say the way we met was bizarre because after she ignored me I went to go talk to one of her friends, one thing led to another and we ended up back at their hotel that night. I hooked up with her friend while she hooked up with mine. You’re probably asking yourself why I’m telling you this part of the story.
I mean, it’s not magical; it’s not a part of our story that I’m proud of at all. But, this is what happened. Not every fairy-tale ending starts with a fairy-tale beginning folks. Our beginning was far from fairy-tale-esque, it was really more of a wake up the next morning and forget that ever happened beginning, if you know what I mean. Nonetheless, it is a very essential part of the journey we took to get to our fairy-tale ending. When we met we were both at a point in our lives of work and progress. Ladies, if you are looking for a man who is a finished project you might be on the hunt forever. I met Grace at one of the lowest points in my life. I had just done 13 months in jail for my past drug abuse I had a crappy paying Job, no car, lived with my mother, and pretty much the only thing I had going for me was that underneath all the crap I was actually a great person. I had just lost myself somewhere along the way. OK, so basically Grace and I had both been through a rough long-term relationship in our past, and as you might have deduced from the earlier part of the story she was not looking for a relationship and neither was I.
The circumstances of our pasts had left us cold-hearted and very closed off. Were we cold-hearted people? Not at all. We were both just afraid of love and commitment because we had been burned so badly in the past. Anyway, back to the story, I went home from my trip and started to text Grace. The more I talked to her the more I realized that we connected on a level that I had never experienced before. The closer we got the more vulnerable we became with each other. I would always ask her why she ignored me that night, and she always gave me the same answer “I don’t even remember I was drunk“. As time passed, I realized that it didn’t matter why she ignored me that night, it only mattered that she was talking to me now. The more we talked, whether it was on the phone, text messages, or by face time, the more I realized that I was falling in love with her soul. One by one I began to tear down all those hard exterior walls she had built up. A few months passed and I just couldn’t stand that the only face-to-face memory I had of her was from that first night we met. So, we planned a trip to Orlando to meet for a weekend. It was like our new beginning, our fresh start to be the people we had become with each other over the past few months. That trip was the real “first time we met”.
That weekend I found myself again. Grace gave me a reason to become the man I always wanted to be. She was so great and hardworking, I mean, she taught twenty 3 and 4 year old kids all day and then worked a second job at Orange Theory Fitness in the evenings. How could I compete with that?? I mean why was this woman even giving me the time of day? I’m still not sure what she saw in me at first, but I thank God that she saw something that was worth giving me a chance. When I got home from that trip I really got serious about becoming the man that I wanted to be and the man that Grace deserved to be with. I took my career seriously and became one of the top sales performers in the company I worked for. She visited me for Valentine’s Day because I still didn’t have a car yet. She was even OK with staying in my mother’s house when she visited. I told her we could get a hotel but she didn’t want me to spend the money. A couple months later I bought my first car. I had been the top performer in my company every single month since that first trip I took to Orlando to be with her. She ignited this fire inside me, gave me a reason to be a man that could spoil her, a man that could give her everything she wanted in life, whether it be emotional or materialistic.
About 2 weeks after she visited me I bought my first car. About a month after that I went down to Ft Lauderdale to celebrate her birthday with her. We house-sat for one of her out of town friends to watch these two incredibly annoying French bulldogs (we now have a French bulldog ha-ha). I took her to this incredible 5 star tapas style restaurant in Miami Beach. We talked about our goals and our love for each other. We both became very emotional over that fact that I would have to go home 2 days later. She told me that she didn’t want me to go, and as I looked into her eyes I knew that I couldn’t stand the coming and going of a long distance relationship for too much longer. I knew I had to figure out a way to be with her every single day. Throughout the next couple of months we both came to the agreement that she would move to Jacksonville. I was in the process of building my career and she supported that completely. We decided to move in together that June. She visited me one more time before the big move. I couldn’t believe how much more I was falling for her every single day that passed.
I cherished every second we spent together and always dreaded that Sunday we would have to leave each other. I was so happy that this would be the last Sunday we would have to go our separate ways. The first two months we lived in a family friends house who was gone sailing the entire summer. Waking up to her every single morning and kissing her goodnight every single night was like a dream come true. I didn’t care where we lived. We could’ve lived in a tent as long as I was with her I would be OK with it. Two months passed and we moved into our condo. There was never a dull moment with Grace. We both worked a lot when we first moved into our condo, but we always found time for each other no matter what. Every single second we spent together was like a vacation in itself. Full of laughter, love, and passion. If anyone ever asked me what I love about Grace the most I would tell them her sense of humor. She is always making me laugh.
At the end of august we took a vacation down to Captiva Island with my father, stepmother, brother, and two half-sisters. My half-sisters are two and three years old. I always knew that Grace was great with children, but on this vacation I really saw how great she was with them. I saw the way she took care of my sisters and how much love she had in her heart for them. I really want children of my own one-day so seeing this made me fall in love with her even more. The most convenient way around Captiva Island is by golf cart. We took the golf cart out one night and drove out onto the beach to sit and star gaze.
We sat and talked while we looked up at the never-ending universe above. As the ocean waves crashed onto the shore I looked into her eyes and it seemed like my whole life had been leading up to these moments I had spent with her. Everything flowed together, all the struggles I had been through in my life had all become worth it because I was with her now. We made love on the beach and it was like a supernova exploding in the deepest part of the galaxy, our bodies became one, our souls intertwined, two people with this infinite love for each other become one that night. That was the night I knew I had to make her my wife.
how they asked
When I decided I wanted to propose I knew it had to be something extravagant. I went to all the jewelry stores in Jacksonville, but I couldn’t find any rings that blew me away. So I made the decision to get her ring custom made and the process began. I was still brainstorming ideas for how I was going to propose, but I hadn’t come up with anything unique to her personality yet. One night as I was sitting at home watching TV a trailer for the new Beauty and the Beast movie came on and it finally hit me. Grace is a Disney lover and has been obsessed with Disney for her entire life. I knew what I was going to do. I would propose at Disney world. But how? I didn’t want to just go to the park kneel down in front of the castle and propose. That was so ordinary, so typical, and she deserved something extraordinary. I knew it had to be something involving Beauty and the Beast because that was her favorite Disney movie. As the days passed by I researched and brainstormed and finally stumbled upon this website called giftsofalifetime.com.
I spoke with Jane, the owner of the company, and over the next 5 months she helped me organize the Fairy Tale Disney World proposal that I knew Grace had always dreamed of. It was going to be a scavenger hunt in the Magic Kingdom. When you love someone the way I love Grace it is very hard to keep a secret from them. So the next five months leading up to the proposal were absolutely grueling. Although it was hard to keep the secret from her I knew it was going to be magical in the end. Some people will tell you that you have to be with someone for X amount of time before you decide you want to marry them or fully commit to something like marriage. I’m here to tell you that there is no timetable on love. When you fall in love with someone there’s this feeling you get in the pit of your soul, it’s a certain calmness that you know God put you on this earth to find each other. That you’re whole life had been leading up to meeting that person. Everything you had gone through in your life was preparing you to be with that person.
When the idea of being together for decades and decades gets you excited, when you know that person is your one true best friend, when your friends and family love her too, when you make each other stronger and more balanced, when you have the same life goals, when you make decisions after you consider how it will affect her, when you don’t judge each other, when you realize that no matter where you go, home is where she is. That is Love, and I don’t care what anyone says about being together for X amount of time before getting married. I decided I wanted to marry Grace after we had only been together for 8 months, and every single day that passes by confirms that I made the right decision. The weekend of the proposal came and we headed down to Orlando. It was Saturday December 31st, New Year’s Eve, I was proposing January 2nd and man was I nervous.
We checked into our hotel and I got the staff to bring us a bottle of champagne with some chocolate covered strawberries to celebrate our anniversary. Our anniversary was January 11th, but I was trying to play everything off as this trip being an anniversary trip so she wouldn’t expect the proposal. The morning of January 2nd I got the hotel staff to knock on our door and bring us a letter from “Robert A. Iger” the CEO of Walt Disney. I have attached the letter. So off to the park we went! The proposal started at Cinderella’s wishing well in the Magic Kingdom. At this location Grace and were handed a rose by a mysterious person that we had never met before. The rose had a note attached from Belle and Beast.
It read that a special message had been hidden in the park for us. Belle and Beast had hidden roses all over the park to lead us to the special message. However, the Disney villains had enchanted the roses with a spell. They were starting to lose their petals. We had to find all the roses before the last rose lost the last petal or it would become the property of the villains. So the scavenger Hunt began! We found the second rose in the bushes by a shop selling princess dresses behind the castle. It had a clue attached that lead us to “Ye Ole Christmas Shope” in Liberty Square.
We found the 3rd rose on a Christmas tree inside the shop. After finding the third rose, the clue attached directed us to ride the haunted mansion.
This one was pretty cool, we were standing dead center in the stretching room and as soon as the room went dark someone threw a rose connected to a necklace around Grace’s neck. That rose had a clue attached directing us to the abandoned tollhouse by the bridge connecting Main Street to liberty square.
The rose hidden behind the tollhouse directed us to go to the front of the castle.
When we arrived in front of the castle the same mysterious woman who gave us the first rose was waiting for us with the last rose. The rose was inside of a scroll that looked like this:
We both put our blindfolds on. Once Grace had hers on securely I took mine off. The ring box was in my backpack. I was so nervous and shaking so bad that I could barely open the zipper. I finally pulled the box out of my backpack. I went to get down on one knee, my whole body seemed like it was vibrating, hands shaking, legs feeling weak beneath me. I was starting to sweat; honestly, I don’t think I had ever been that nervous in my entire life. I had a speech memorized that I had prepared for this exact moment, but as soon as I got down on one knee my mind went completely blank.
Maybe it was the nerves, maybe my words just weren’t meant to be rehearsed. They sprinkled the pixie dust onto Grace and she took off her blindfold. In that moment it seemed as if nothing else in the world mattered. There were no sounds around us, no people, all I could see was her staring down at me. In that moment Grace and I were the only people in that entire park.
The words began to flow effortlessly from somewhere within me. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but it went something like this: “Grace, I knew the second I met you that there was something about you I needed. Turns out it wasn’t something about you at all. It was just you. You are my best friend, my shoulder to lean on, the one person I want to come home to every single day; you are the love of my life. I know we can drive each other crazy sometimes, but I can’t imagine my life without you in it. I’m sorry that I have taken you for granted at times but I would move heaven and earth to let you know that I love you. I met you at one of the lowest points in my life, and you gave me a reason to be better. You helped lift me up from a dark place, your beautiful soul shined light into my life. Sweetie, you have helped me become the man I am today. This past year with you has been the best year of my life. And I don’t want to spend another year without you as my wife. Will you marry me?” She just kind of stared at me like a deer in headlights, or something like that.
There was no typical gasp with hands over the mouth reaction. Just this blank stare. Anyone else that doesn’t know her like I do would have thought she looked a little apprehensive. But, because I know her so well I could tell she was just completely shocked. After a few seconds passed she wrapped her mind around what was happening, smiled down at me, and said “what do you think?”. The day she said yes to being my wife was probably the second happiest day of my life. I say second happiest because I’m saving the best day of my life for our actual wedding day. When you find a love like I have with Grace, Its effortless, it happens when you are not looking for it. It’s like somehow this invisible energy pulls you and that person together. You feel this unexplainable magic, almost like a gravitational force, like something not of this world is pulling you two together. I would do anything for her; she is the most important person in my life and will always be my number one.
I’ve heard so many men of my generation talk about love being weakness, it seems as if the current circumstances of our world have desensitized this generation to the real power of love. Being a man is not about how much money you can make, or how much stuff you can buy, it’s not about the image that you portray. Manhood can’t be measured with a tapeline around your biceps. It’s not about what kind of car you drive, or holding in your tears because “men don’t cry”. Being a man is about asking yourself these two questions: The first is “where am I going?” and the second is “who will go with me?” Love isn’t weakness. Love is power, and the real power of a man is the size of the smile on the woman sitting next to him. True love is so pure, so empowering, that when you find it you feel as if you can do anything. There are no limits to what you and your partner can accomplish. When you find true love, you and your partner can take on the world.
P.S. I forgot to mention that I videotaped the entire day! Our video was featured on the TV show Right This Minute and is posted on Rumble.com. Here is the link to check it out!