Nicole and Daniel

Image 1 of Nicole and Daniel

How We Met

Nicole and I first met at Highpoint Church in Naperville. We were both attending the Young Adult Ministry there and happened to sit at the same table. Nicole has no recollection of ever meeting me that night. She started hanging out with a group of mutual friends we both had and again doesn’t remember when 5 or 6 of us went out for pizza together. So I was 0 for 2 and had to step up my game!

But on April 8th, 2017 that all would change…

I had just moved into a townhouse I was renting and decided to have a housewarming party. Nicole was one of the ten or so people that came and just kind of sat there and kept to herself. We all had a great time! We made hot dogs, s’mores, played games, watched some show, and sang happy birthday to my friend and me. Everybody huddled around the cookie cake, and we took a group picture. That was the first of thousands of pictures she and I will take together over our lifetime, but it’s so sweet to look back on that day. I see two people squished between their friends that had no idea what opportunity God had laid before them.

Nicole ended up messaging me through Facebook later, and it took all of a week for me to be invited to the Good Friday Service at Gracepointe. I met her whole family that night, and then immediately met the 20-30 other most important people in her life; The Crew! We had a blast at the Skinner’s house playing games, eating food, and just getting to know each other. I never once felt nervous or intimidated, because it felt like I was meeting my new family. Having spent two and a half years in Illinois without people to spend holidays with, I had finally found the girl who would make all of that possible.

We started dating just a few weeks later, and Nicole and I knew very quickly this was last time we would have a boyfriend or girlfriend. She was a match for me unlike anything I had thought was possible, and we were both God’s answer to many prayers.

As the summer weather faded and fall came, I knew the time had come to start our lives together. We had fallen in love so quickly and would spend hours talking about our future and what God had in store for us. So after a couple trips downtown Chicago and a few conversations with her sister Emily, I had a ring and a plan…

how they asked

On November 4th, 2017, the George family and I packed into 2 cars and off we went to Notre Dame. It was a rainy, cold Saturday. The perfect weather for football, and the least perfect weather for an engagement. I wasn’t gonna let multiple layers, hand warmers, ponchos, umbrellas, and everything else get in the way of the perfect proposal. So as we made our way around the campus, as the George family has done hundreds of times, they showed me all of their favorite spots. The bookstore, the basilica, the grass quad where Grandpa used to sneak underground and into the cafeteria and steal brownies, among others. But finally, we had arrived at the tree. What tree do you ask? The tree that Mr. and Mrs. George used to stick Nicole up in while they went to the old bookstore to buy ND gear.

The tree Nicole would take a picture in front of by herself every year. The tree that would soon become the spot we would never forget. I let Nicole take her picture alone as she always did, and then I joined her under the tree for a few pictures together. When we were done, I turned to the Georges and thanked them for everything they had done for me. For inviting me to join them for such a special family tradition, for treating me like one of their own from day one, and for raising such a wonderful daughter that I had fallen in love with. And then I turned to Nicole, took her hands, and poured my heart out. And finally, I leaned down, stuck my knee in a cold puddle, and asked her to marry me…

Image 2 of Nicole and Daniel

She quickly said, “Yes” pulled me up and with her whole family clapping and cheering, we kissed each other and embraced underneath the tree. It was as wonderful as I could’ve hoped for, and the joy of sharing that moment with the entire George family is something I’ll never forget. After a Notre Dame win that day, and a few months later, here we are. Ready to embark on this journey together. Embracing the opportunities and the challenges that lie before us. I love her and hope to show her each and every day what this first year together has meant to me.