July 14, 2011

A few weeks ago, over the phone: “What are you doing for 4th of July?  Let’s go biking!”  He wanted to explore the trails by my apartment.  “Okay!” I happily agreed.

I slipped a little walking my bike up the hillside.  He had already reached the trail and set his bike down.  He jogged down the hillside, took my bike from me, and walked it up for me.  I love him.

“Whoa!  Did you see that?” he called back to me.  “No?” I called back.  “A mountain lion just ran up the hill!”  Please God, I prayed.  Don’t let us get mauled on our first bike ride together.  And as he picked up a little speed, I held onto my hat and sped ahead, too.

We approached a chain link fence and slowed to a stop.  “Hmm … they don’t show fences on Google maps …”  And as he puzzled over the map on his phone, I had to smile: he didn’t believe in using the navigation feature; he believed in using his head.  One of the little things I admired about him.  “We could just turn around and go back the way we came,” I suggested.

“Got it?” he asked.  “Yup!”  I lowered his bike the last few inches of the way down.  My bike was already on the other side with our backpacks, and after everything was over the fence, JohnE climbed over (around), too.

My brows furrowed for a second as I puzzled over the scenery.  After riding through an unfamiliar neighborhood, we had reached a park perimetered by a silver wire fence.  And beyond fence and foliage lied a sleeping lake, waves lapping like the rise and fall of a sleeper’s chest.  This looks oddly familiar.  And then, I realized — “Wait, what??  How did we get here??”  I turned to him, half incredulous.  “We’re at Almaden Lake!” I continued. “My hiding place is here!  Did I tell you about it before?  Did you know we’d get here??”  He smiled his quiet, knowing smile.  “Yea.”

“There it is!” I pointed to the weathered, wooden bench.  Still had the old piece of rope tied to one of its posts.  “That was my hiding place!”  Felt like I was walking in a dream.  That lakeward bench was my refuge in high school.  In college.  At every critical point in my life since 9th grade.  I walked my pups there when they were puppies — now, Atom is in his last years of life, and Choco is gone.  I shed many tears on that bench, with my back to the world and no one to witness except lake and geese.  I spent hours reading my Bible and journaling there — sometimes by light of the final rays of the setting sun.  I’ve grieved over the past there.  Sought God in prayer.  Rejoiced.  Gave thanks.  Sorrowed.  Wondered.  Agonized over the confusing male species — haha, or so I thought.  And now, seeing JohnE in that dear old spot was like a kiss between my past and my present (and little did I know, soon my future, too).

I pulled our smooshed sandwiches from my backpack.  Along with our smooshed peaches.  And our smooshed rainbow goldfish crackers.  And we ate lunch, watching ducks disappear and reappear on the water, watching the lake’s rhythmic dance with shadows and blues.  I’d include the fact that kids were screaming and splashing water on one another in the fountains a little ways behind us, but that doesn’t sound like it belongs in a romantic, he-took-her-to-her-old-hiding-spot engagement story, does it?  If it does, you can leave it in.  If not, backspace backspace.  (Hehe.)

“Tia, I made something for you.”  He reached into his backpack.  Is he going to propose?  Or is it a one-year gift?  A one-year scrapbook? He handed me a large book titled Upward and Forward: A Parable.  When I opened it, I found myself looking through windows to images of my past.  And I couldn’t stop the tears.  He took the post I had written in March, Upward and forward, and followed its description from my work, to my old schools, to my childhood home, to my old church … and took photo after photo of all those memory-haunted places.  He’d been to my past.  That meant … everything to me.  In ways I can’t express so freely here.

And there, in my hiding place, the place where I prayed so many times for God to bring me the right man at the right time, God answered my prayer.

JohnE asked me to marry him.

And I looked at the book.  Looked at the lake.  Looked at him.  Looked back at the book.  Looked back at him.  Made sure it was all very real.  Then I ventured a “Ye-es.”  Why the sudden shyness?  Not sure.  Too many dials and knobs on my heart and brain.  Not sure which one turned the shy volume up.

But I said, “Yes.”

Yes, yes, yes!


19 Responses to “Yes.”

  1. leadinglight Says:

    What a beautiful story! I used to write stories about amazing proposals for bridal magazines. This one ranks pretty high.

  2. Cindy Says:

    ❤ ❤ <3!!


  3. Carrie H Says:

    Love it! Love you! I am sure I will love him! Can’t wait to meet him! Congrats sweetie! you have a great way with words 🙂

    PS. I omitted the screaming children 🙂

  4. dennarr Says:


  5. Kim Borsgard Says:

    What a wonderful beginning to a lasting relationship! You are a blessed girl! and JohnE is a blessing! May your years together be a grand testimony to all that God does around you!

  6. tia Says:

    wowee, so much love on here already!! thank you!!!!!! ❤

  7. Sandra Says:

    Yay Tia and JohnE!!!! I like the screaming children in the story. Keeps it real. CONGRATULATIONS!! when is the big day? –Sandra

  8. lillian7 Says:

    isn’t the “perfect proposal” great!!!! God knows best and God is good. i love reading your prose 🙂 it’s been a while. (both reading your prose and writing my own).

  9. Edward Chun Says:


  10. cathie hong Says:

    LOVE! so happy for you, tia!!! :]

  11. Michael Chung Says:

    Ah. The post brings me so much happiness! So glad to hear it Tia and congrats!

  12. Aileen Says:


  13. Cassie Tenny Says:

    YES!! I told my mom this story (as you had related it to me) and was totally crying while telling it to her, thinking about what a wonderful man God has brought you and how lucky JohnE is to have our Letitia. It was nice to hear it this way, too, and now I can show her photos! I love you lots and lots.

  14. mimi Says:

    🙂 hehe, congrats again tia!! such a lovely proposal!

  15. What an amazing way to be proposed to! When Cassie told me the story I was flooded with emotion, and I am again reading it. Just beautiful and perfect. He appears to have a beautiful heart and handsome outsides, good combo! Love you, Cassie’s Mom

  16. tia Says:

    😀 and ❤ to all of you!

    and sandra, i'll definitely let you know when we know!

  17. Tiffany Cheung Says:

    Congratulations, Tia! 🙂 I am so happy for you and your future together with your fianceeeee!

  18. Lindsay M Says:

    Wow Tia! That is an amazing story! I am so happy for you both and for your future! And yes the screaming children were left out for me too! haha
    Luv ya sooo much!

  19. I just re-read this again this morning….and what I can see most is how great and lovingly God cares for his children. 🙂

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