Lyuba and Mark

Image 2 of Lyuba and MarkHow did it all begin? Let’s just say that my best friend and I made sure that both of us ended up in good hands. She’s now married to my cousin, and I’m now getting married to her brother. My best friend, Liz, and I were friends for quite a while, I knew that she had a brother, but that’s as far as it went. Everything began on Easter Day of 2012. Liz and I went shopping that afternoon, to find white skirts (our choir was singing that night at our church, and both of us procrastinated to find the requested uniform; we are best friends for a reason, right? haha). On the way back from the mall, Liz felt really sick, and that night, while I was driving to church, she texted me that she was on her way to ER. I freaked out! I could not concentrate on the church sermon, because I had no idea what happened, plus her phone died, so I couldn’t even get any updates. After church, I decided to find her brother, Mark, to see if he came to church and to ask if he knew what was wrong with Liz. (At that point, he already liked me, but I had no clue). Apparently, he was looking for me too, because he knew how worried I would be. I ran up to him and exploded with questions: “How is Liz? What’s wrong? Is she going to be okay? What are the doctors saying?” Mark calmly explained to me that he doesn’t know for sure what’s wrong and that the doctors are doing different tests right now. I asked him if he could keep me updated, and being clever enough he said: “But I don’t have your number!” And that’s when we started texting. Day, after day… At first, the conversations were all about Liz, but once she got better, our conversations didn’t stop… I remember the moment when it hit me that we both have feelings for each other. (Later on) Liz told me that Mark always wanted a girl who was super short, about 4’11’’. On the other hand, I was always self-conscious, that I’m so tiny. While texting one night, Mark said: “You’re perfect the way you are, because a girl like you should always be held in a loving man’s arms.” This is where my heart went: “Awwwwww!!!!! Is he for reals?” I began praying about him and for God to show His will. I began writing in a notebook, my prayers and the desires of my heart. On June 13th, 2012, Mark and I went out to eat with a group of our friends. Everyone went inside the restaurant, but Mark asked me to stay outside for a moment. He pulled me aside and said: “I couldn’t wait any longer to tell you this, but you’re amazing and I love you, and I would like to get to know you even better. What do you think about that?” All I could do is nod my head. That was the day we officially started dating.

One of the things that we began doing together as a couple is reading and praying over the phone. One night, a couple of days before my birthday, while we were praying, I felt such an indescribable feeling of peace and comfort, as if God hugged me himself, it was truly an answer from God, that Mark was the one. The next day, I told Mark about what happened while we were praying. A week later, the day before my birthday, after a youth group, Mark gave me my birthday card. While reading it, I started to cry with tears of happiness. Mark wrote that the same night that I had that feeling of peace and comfort, he felt exact the same thing. That day, we both found out that we would be spending forever together. We continued our journey together, one step at a time. We both had school to concentrate on, and we both knew that we had to wait to get married.

Image 3 of Lyuba and Mark

Two years later, my 22nd birthday was coming. For some reason, I was totally not looking forward to it. I guess it was just one of those birthdays when you’re just “eh” about it. I didn’t want to celebrate it, but Mark insisted that we should do at least something with the two of us. After work, Mark came to pick me up and we went to El Dorado Hills Park, where we celebrated our very first anniversary. While walking though the park, Mark pulled me to the side, and there was the most amazing picnic set up. He asked me if I wanted to eat, but I wasn’t hungry, so I asked him if we could take pictures before we eat (we always take pictures with his camera and with the help of a tripod, especially on special occasions). He agreed, and said if I wanted to take pictures on the rocks, where you can stand and see the whole city. We started climbing the rocks, and that’s when I realized it wasn’t a good idea, I was wearing heels! To help me out, he carried me halfway through, and the other half of the way he let me where his shoes while he was walking barefoot. We got to the very top and it was the most beautiful moment ever. The sun was beginning to go down and you could see all of the city lights right underneath where we were standing.

Every time we take pictures, he tells me to close my eyes, he puts a timer and counts out loud from 10 to 1, and on 1, I have to open my eyes (if we don’t do it that way, I always turn out to be with squinty eyes because I can’t look at the sun for more than 1 second haha). So we were just doing our usual thing, Mark put the timer and counted down to one, and we took one pic. Then he’s like: “Let’s take a couple of more, let me just change some settings.” Little did I know that he changed the camera setting to video. Morever, Liz and her husband were hiding behind the rocks and were recording the whole thing as well! He “put the timer once again” and was slowly counting backwards. On 1, he told me to open my eyes, and there he was, standing on one knee with a ring in his hand. Time literally stopped. I could not hear anything. I could not think. Everything just paused. I don’t remember 90% of what he said.

Image 4 of Lyuba and MarkImage 5 of Lyuba and Mark

All I remember the very last part: “I love you so much and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” Once again, all I could do is nod my head! (I guess when I’m in shock, I loose my ability to speak! Haha) I started hugging him and wouldn’t let him go. He asked: “Can I at least put the ring on you?” I shook my head. I didn’t want that moment to end. I wanted to stay forever in his arms. After quite a while, I finally let him go. He took my hand, and put a ring on it.

Image 1 of Lyuba and Mark

Image 6 of Lyuba and Mark