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13 July 2010

as promised

in no particular order: 
1. THE RING: melissa joy manning yellow diamond slice 
2. THE ENGAGED: on the docks of Outer Banks, NC
3. THE KISS: always tender
4. THE CANDY: muth's modeskas

11 July 2010

the proposal. a story of love that is deep & wide.

engaged!

on the 25th of June, just two short weeks ago, Paul insisted on picking me up from work because he had a surprise.  you should know that i didn't assume the surprise was what it was---i thought it was a bike ride & dinner-out combo, something fun we both enjoy.  little did i know.

you now know, obviously, that the surprise held an engagement ring & an offer to spend our every day together.  it's hard not to skip immediately to the last page of that story.  but the exciting part, the whats-kept-me-in-this-relationship, is the subtleness of paul's wonder: the gentle, thoughtful ways of the man that i have been crossed paths with.  

rightfully so, that's why i was so smitten with paul from the get-go.  he is quite possibly the most thoughtful man i have ever known.  he knows me inside & out now, but before, when we just started dating, he was always doing these little things that meant so much.

i'd get home from a date, wake up and the next morning there would be a note from him saying something so simple, like:  

"i can't wait to know more about you.
to hear more of your stories.
to get to know you better."

those words are undeniably sweet to a girl like me. i love words. i always have. paul doesn't really come off as a person with a lot of words though, so to tell this story as though he is a talker would be falsification.

rather, this is the story of subtle connectedness: often on a deeper level than words can offer.  

so friday june 25th, two thousand ten. 
isn't that what you're itching to hear about?

paul picks me up from work, bikes loaded into the jeep.
he tells me he's taking me to bernheim forest: our local arboretum.
a place to be in nature, soak of the wonder of the outdoors.
our favorite hop-skip-and-a-jump away from the city.

so we get there and paul says he's also packed a picnic, and let's eat it while some of the items are hot.

sounds good, right?

so he picks a spot, parks the jeep, totally nonchalant.
we walk up to this shady spot, throw down the picnic blanket.
looking around, we are surrounded by lean trees,
sheltered with shade,
just the two of us,
serenity at its best.

And paul begins to unveil this 4 course picnic he's packed for me.
{sidenote: this is NOT unusual for paul}
the thing that is slightly unusual is that the picnic is composed of courses that carry a memory on our journey together.
 every dish he unveils carries a strong sentiment,
one that only paul & i would know about.
what some would consider simply delicious also holds an extra special something.

First course: Saffron cream mussels
 * the first dish paul ever prepared for me, hold a SPECIAL place in my heart. And it’s TOTALLY delicious
Second course: Beet, orange & fennel salad 
* recipe from our favorite veggie cookbook, and beets hold a special, deep meaning for me (thank you tom robbins)
Third course: Blue Dog Bakery Flat Bread Pizza 
* from our first picnic, in the parking lot at headliners before peter, bjorn & john concert

This picnic was a notch above the rest.
It was slow, sweet, serene.
We were drinking a bottle of
and
about halfway through the brilliant bottle,
I pick it up and read the back because i'm thinking:
"What does añoro mean?"

This is what the bottle says:
"Añoro is a unique work with no direct translation into English.  In Spanish it often refers to the act of reminiscing or dreaming of a special time in one's past.  For us, it means a dream of creating something special from all the harvests of the future."

Not joking. That's what the bottle says.
Plus, in Spanish año means year and oro means gold.
my golden year.
{See, I told you Paul was subtle!}

So I look at Paul, who remains calm, composed, easy.

Then, it's getting late, and we're supposed to be biking (eventually?!)
and Paul says, are you ready for dessert?

And I'm (truly) thinking: Yes, but please, Stephanie, just enjoy his thoughtfulness in this moment,
(not that I was expecting it) but if this picnic isn't an proposal picnic, then you will have just fully enjoyed this surprise. okay? Okay. I made a quick pact with myself.

And then, for the fourth course, paul reaches into the picnic basket, and no joke, he pulls out two modjeskas, a kentucky candy that we treat ourselves to whenever we go to the local produce market.

I'm thinking: THAT is NOT a creme brulee with a diamond in the middle.
And then:
There is NO way he shoved my diamond ring into the middle of that caramel covered marshmallow.

Later, Paul will tell me I was looking right at the melissa joy manning beauty,
which he'd slipped into the wrapper of this favorite candy.
But in the moment, my mind was a million places.
and then,

a yellow diamond slice set into a hand-hammered gold band fell out onto the picnic blanket we were sitting on. 

and then i looked up at paul,
who was sitting indian style, just for the record, 
not on his knee.

he was just sitting there, smiling, in all his grace, at me.
surprise! 
me: overwhelmed with excitement.
paul: so, what do you say?
me: i say, OF COURSE!
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥
so excited.
lots of kissing.
big, big love.
celebration.
overJOYed!
♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

and now:
we're engaged!

there is a certain solidness to the engagement phase. a knowing and validation that is deep and meaningful.  also: the 4th finger on my left hand is now graced with something beautiful. "first practiced on the fourth/ring finger by the Romans, who believed this finger to be the beginning of the vena amoris ("vein of love"), the vein that leads to the heart." {wikipedia}

the vein of love is beating and beautiful.
the celebration, shared, means SO much.
the horizon is wide & the love is so deep.
here's to creating something special from all of the harvest of the future, paul weldy.
♥♥
xoxo
stephanie
p.s. more photos to come.

05 July 2010

breathe.

photo by victoria wall

"And it was the strangest feeling right then: It was like I'd been holding my breath for months and months and finally, with that one moment of tenderness, I could let it out.  And it wasn't until I could breathe again that I realized how tired I was--how very tired I'd been for so long of not being able to breathe."
{katherine center, get lucky}