How We Met
Let’s set the stage late 2014. I had just received an offer to work in Roswell, GA at none other than General Motors in their IT department. Yes, I am just as impressed as you are. I don’t deserve this opportunity, but i am so thankful for what it has brought me. I will preface this story by saying this whole thing is a God thing. It is amazing looking back and seeing His hand guide my every step. And through the ups and downs, He has never left my side. So late 2014, before I began the journey to move to Roswell, I went to a youth conference with my church Plainfield Baptist in Gatlinburg, TN, called Winter Xtreme. The guest speaker the last night was none other than the great Johnny Hunt of First Baptist Church Woodstock. He moved me through his message so much that I was immediately wanting to go to his church as soon as I moved to Roswell. On January 2, 2015, I moved to Roswell knowing no one and anxious out of my mind as to what lay ahead. That was a Friday. Sunday morning rolled around and I got dressed to go to church: FBCW. I drive the 10 miles to Woodstock up Hwy 92 and then I top the hill and see all the police cars and traffic leaving the church. I am flabbergasted! I had never seen so many people leaving a church. This place was huge! It looked like the entire population of my hometown, Eastman, GA, was leaving a ball game. Obviously, this scared me to death and I could not muster the courage to pull in for the next service so I kept on driving..and driving..and driving. About an hour and a half later I called my dad and asked him what was there to do in Chattanooga. That church scared me so bad that I drove 100 miles just to clear my mind of its size.
In a weird turn of events, I finally mustered up the courage to see what was so great about FBCW. It took me about a month or so, but somehow I found myself in the college ministry. It felt the closest to something I was used to and there was this girl, so I kept going. Her name was Heather Kirkland, and being the debonair playboy I am, you know I didn’t talk to her immediately. Actually you’re wrong and so was I. Something in me made me talk to her and somehow the conversation was reciprocated. I found out she liked pickup lines and I remembered one I heard in college and used it on her. Want to hear it? Of course you do. “Imagine we are in a bar and I see you from across the room. I walk up to you and say, ‘Dang girl! Are you my appendix? Cause I don’t understand how you work, but you give me a feeling in my stomach that makes me want to take you out.'” Yes that did work and yes you are welcome to see if your significant other feels the same way about you.
Our first date was supposed to be bowling and Mexican. She stood me up because she was sick. Take two turned out to Free Pancake Day at IHOP. We decided to meet at 6:30AM the next morning for free pancakes as a first date. How crazy is that? I was late for work that morning because the conversation was just that good. I was hooked. I fell hook line and sinker that day.
On May 5th, I had the bright idea of asking her to be mine exclusively in a most clever way. She is a gold card caring member of Starbucks and she proudly flaunts it. I had the idea of asking her out on her favorite drink. The baristas in the store were so excited to help and begged me to bring her back when she said yes. As I drove the drink back to church I collected myself and tried my hardest to clear my head. I was nervous that this was even going to work. I met her at Kairos, the college ministry weekly worship, and gave her the drink. She kindly thanked me and drank away. I was defeated. I had blown my chance. I had to hint that there was something different about the drink. She could not figure out what I was talking about until I pointed out on the label what it said. It read, ‘Will you be my girlfriend?’ Immediately, she grinned and almost dropped her Frappuccino with excitement. She hugged me tightly and yelled her approval in my ear. I had finally done it. I had my first girlfriend! She was the one I wanted to spend all my time getting to know and dare I should say *gulp* love. The dates continued and the romance grew. I was smitten. She had my heart and I did not want her to let go.
how they asked
Fast forwarding a year or so, the topic of marriage is all the rage with us. Sure we wanted it, but I just could not pull the trigger. We weren’t ready. Constant hints, and suggestions to Pinterest boards of wedding decor filled most of my free time with her. Some would call this nagging; Heather preferred “exaggerated encouragement.” I knew this was inevitable, but I wanted to wait. And wait we did. I waited as long as I could to talk to her dad for his blessing and permission to take her hand in marriage. That day was Thursday January 5th. I was a bit nervous as the day was finally here. Over a game of golf and through some awkward mumblings about how much Heather meant to me I finally got the blessing we had been hoping for. Hindsight is always 20/20, and it turns out it was a lot easier than I made it out to be. Mr. Kirkland knew all along why I asked him out to golf. It was our first outing together so he knew something was up. Once I had the blessing, I knew we were in for a treat.
Snow is something we Georgians like to refer to as the apocalypse. It’s rare it snows, but when it happens, its chaos. I happen to use chaos in my favor. I knew it would be perfect as a proposal opportunity. Along with having a second residency at Starbucks, Heather is also a huge lover of photographs. She loves taking pictures. I knew the snow was going to be a great backdrop to take some snow pictures. That was my ticket to get her onboard to being out in 20° weather. Her friend Tiffany is an aspiring photographer, so I asked her if she would be interested in taking some pictures of us. I also slipped her the proposal idea to get her to work with me to make this as perfect as possible. She played along amazingly, and Heather had no clue leading up to our photoshoot. Once we get out into the snow we decide to snap some pics here and there to keep it casual to not get any suspicions up. We decide to go to the amphitheater to take some more cute pictures with some props and hopefully find better lighting. It’s funny how things come together on the fly to make the story that much better. We get to the field and Tiffany suggests that Heather turn her back to me and pick up some snow and throw it up in the air. It’s so precious it hurts. Apparently that was my cue to get down on one knee.
I missed that cue big time and soon the awkward silence sets in. This is my chance and I can’t blow it. So I gingerly suggest we do the same pose again. Heather questions it and counters it with we should go home because it’s freezing. Tiffany thankfully comes to my aid and says we should do it again. This time I was ready.Heather throws the snow in the air and turns around. She sees me waiting. Her moment had finally come. Tears immediately came as well. I ask her one question she had been waiting a lifetime to hear and she doesn’t answer. Only tears. Lots and lots of tears. I hold her hand and stare at her. She hugs me sobbing uncontrollably and I look for any clue as to what to do next. She takes the ring and stares at it through her tears. I say, “Is that yes?” She nods and mumbles a yes. We embrace again and I slide the ring on her left hand. She admires it and her rosy cheeks produce the biggest grin I have ever seen.
I have always been the type of person to try and make everyone happy. Whether it was with service, or gifts, or being a yes man, I felt I always had to make people happy with what I could do or give. Most of the time I felt it was never enough. I always had to give more. On Saturday January 7,, 2016, I made my future wife happy. It wasn’t elaborate. It was not some huge production and most would say spur of the moment. It was not all I could give. I knew she wasn’t looking for the best of the best with this. Sure the ring was nice, the proposal good and memorable, but it wasn’t what made Heather happy. All she ever wanted was me. And that cold morning the princess finally got her Prince Charming.