It was a Wednesday, June 24 to be exact, so I can remember this date in the future to hold a mini celebration for us in years to come.
It was right in the middle of the work week, and Ryan invited me on a date to Park City, to the fanciest steak house in town. We were leaving to Portland the following evening, and he wanted to make sure we had a date night that week.
He picked me up from work and we drove through the canyon. We wandered through a nice Park City resort, observing all the grandiose furniture and mahogany wood and the populated pool outside. Then we made our way into the adjoining restaurant next door. We are the diners who sit on the same side of the bench, ya know, those people you make fun of at restaurants. Yep, that is proudly us. And we dined on fish for me, and steak for him. Our favorites.
Afterwards, we drove through Park City, then down the canyon. Ryan veered off the road just north of Provo, and we began to ascend a mountain to do some hiking. We drove up the mountain for awhile, and then stopped at a peculiar-looking meadow. It was a vast opening in the middle of the forest of bright green grass. We both noted how it looked like a Hobbitville, so we climbed out of his truck to do some exploring. We explored the meadow right as the sun was setting on the far end, casting the most beautiful light over the grass. We spotted many deer, including a tiny tiny little fawn. And later, a skunk.
Then we drove to another part of the mountain to explore. We walked out onto the ledge of a cliff, finding a 360 view of ascending mountains and a peek through the canyon to see Utah Lake. it was BEAUTIFUL!!! We stood for awhile, looking all around in awe.
Then we drove to a more secluded place with a campfire and a perfect view of the city lights and Utah Lake. We nestled in Ryan's double-seater camp chair and snuggled up. I knew Ryan was getting serious when he invested in a his/her connected camp chair :) After talking for awhile, Ryan said there was something he had to confess. And then he pulled out a ring box and got down on one knee.
He proposed, saying how much he wanted to marry me. After a whole lot of hugging, he said there was more. He had written me a letter. Certainly the best letter I've ever read!!!!
I'll share one little excerpt, and keep the rest for my own personal treasure. :)
"To Chantel, The Love of My Life:"
"This last year dating you has been the best year of my life. I know that marriage and life in general will have its ups and downs for us, but there is no one I would rather have by my side through all of that than you! I feel truly blessed to have such an amazing woman who is so incredibly committed to me and in love with me. I know that a marriage is what you make of it, and I know that both of us are people who make things happen! Because of that, we will make an awesome marriage and family. I promise you that I will be committed and loyal. I will be your trustworthy companion. I will be the man you have always wanted, leading, protecting, and loving you and our children. I want nothing more than to build a home that is filled with the love of God and the Spirit of God. I want to be that strong priesthood holder that provides leadership and stability for our family."
The next day, we decided to make the announcement public. The reaction of our friends and family was PHENOMENAL!! It reminded me of my birthday, the day of the year I feel royally valued and loved by the people in my life. But this experience was times 1,000.
Ryan and I had such a fun time texting our closest friends, and then putting a picture on social media for the rest of the world to discover. People's joy and love astounded me! The way people rejoice over your happiness was so incredible to me! Several of my friends were so happy for me that they were brought to tears. Which made me feel sooooo touched by how much my happiness could mean so much to other people. Ryan's family was so welcoming and excited to have me be a part of their family, many of his 9 siblings texting me and writing me little messages.
It was one of the most loving experiences I've had.
And Ryan. I am SOOOO excited. Everything feels so surreal. And yet it feels as though this has always been. He is a good good good match for me. The best I've ever had. We will be married and sealed together on August 15 in the Jordan River temple.
From Ryan's sister Nachelle:
(I want to post more of the responses from people. They were SO touching. I will collect them and add them in for my own memory).
Upward and onward,