** UPDATE: Our engagement photos have been featured on Shannon Rosan’s blog… These photos leave me speechless.. Words cannot describe how I feel about them. She was able to capture the happiness that Mark and I bring each other. We will forever be able to look back on these images and remember that feeling. That feeling that is captured in them, that feeling of being so very much in love. And I hope that looking back on these, will allow us to fall in love all over again for years to come. **
I was beyond elated when my farmer and I decided to fly out to California and spend Thanksgiving with my family. I was literally counting down the days until we left. To date, this was the longest I’d gone without seeing my family… And I used I see them everyday. What I didn’t know was the events that would unfold during our California Thanksgiving vacation.
After I ran my first 5k in October, I signed up for a 5k race in my hometown on Thanksgiving morning with the proceeds from the race going to a local food bank. My brother decided that he was going to run it with me which I was excited about seeing as how 4,000 people were slated to run the race. I didn’t want to stand around pre-race by myself admist 4.000 people. Unlike my last race, due to the 20 degree temperatures and wind in North Dakota, I wasn’t able to train. But I told myself I’d do the best I could.
The race took place inside lower Bidwell Park which was absolutely gorgeous this time of year. It is named for the man basically known as the father of Chico, John Bidwell. During the mid 1800s, John and Annie Bidwell bought up land in Chico and settled a ranch, farm, and homestead (now known as the Bidwell Mansion) in Chico, naming it Rancho Arroyo Chico. One of his specialties was trees and John Bidwell is responsible for bringing many of the now native trees to Chico. In 1905, Annie donated 2,500 acres to the city of Chico and is now known as Bidwell Park. The park is full of trees and fall was just beginning in Chico so all the leaves were dropping and changing colors. If there is one season in Chico that is my favorite, it is fall. So Thanksgiving morning came and the day of the race was upon us, my farmer dropped us off at the entrance to the Park and we all decided to meet back there after the race.
Jake and I decided to wear our “Bacon Makes Everything Better” shirts to promote our parent’s local butcher shop and deli, Chico Locker & Sausage Co. Inc. Several people hailed us for our shirts and one lady even stopped us to share a two line poem with us about bacon. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day to run, after a few days of heavy rain, the sun was out and it was about 50 degrees. It was perfect! Even without training, I still managed to only add 3 minutes to my first ever 5k time. I ran the race in 36:01. My brother, who was waiting for me at the finish, kicked my butt and ran in somewhere in the 25:00 time. I was beyond excited to have finished the race in such a good time for having no training and we headed out to meet Sunflowerfarmer at the entrance to the park.
My farmer was there to congratulate me on my finish and give me a big hug. He asked me how it went and I was babbling on about all the people. He put his hands on my shoulders, waited for me to finish, and then said to me, “I need to talk to you about something…” Now this may sound like something serious and usually I think so too. You see, my farmer says this line to me ALL THE TIME at home. It’s like he’s psyching me out to get me to think he’s about to say something really serious… And then he ends up saying something funny or totally not serious. I figured this was one of those times so I responded. He looked down and put his hands in his jacket pocket. The minute his eyes came up again and met mine I knew this was not at all funny, but something serious was about to happen.
I looked down and in his hand he had a box, I think at that point was when I first squealed. I was already on an adrenaline high from running and now I knew what was about to happen. Looking back I can’t even remember how I reacted, the whole moment was so surreal. At the entrance to Bidwell Park on the morning of Thanksgiving 2012, with tears of emotion streaming down his face, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. It gives me goosebumps just writing about it again. I was beyond elated and of course, said yes. He put the ring on my finger and presented me with a gorgeous bouquet of red roses.
The best part was that my brother knew it was coming so he of course cleared my hands of my phone, headphones, after race snacks, etc. AND he caught it all on video via his iPhone so we can always have the memory of it captured on camera! I had no idea he was filming… let alone what was about to happen. I watch the video now and laugh at my reaction. And I love my brother’s sigh at the beginning. I think everyone was nervous! Ha.
All kinds of people were walking out of the park leaving the race, we had people clapping, people shouting congratulations, we even had one couple tell us they have been married for 36 years and wished us the same happiness. I was totally shocked. I had to sit down under the Bidwell Park sign because I was literally shaking. Walking back to the car, he then told me my mom had been planning an engagement party for the weekend AND he booked an engagement photo session with one of my dearest friends/mentor/photographer, the lovely Shannon Rosan! I was elated and blown away that my farmer had planned all this at least a month ahead of time.
First and foremost, he had called my Dad to ask for my hand. With my parents being rather old fashioned when it comes to dating their daughter, I know this meant a lot to them. Next, he called my Mom and got the ball moving for the party. And finally, he orchestrated how he was going to ask me after the race. Literally everyone close to me knew this was going to happen EXCEPT me! We were both on cloud nine for the rest of the weekend with friends, family, and social media friends sending congratulations. We had a wonderful photo session with Shannon. I cannot WAIT to see the images! And you know I will share them with y’all the first chance I get! And we spent Saturday evening with family and friends celebrating our engagement.
I don’t think our California Thanksgiving vacation could have been any better. And even though I knew at some point in time, this was coming. I mean I did move halfway across the country for love… I have no words to describe that feeling in those few moments. Extreme joy, surreal, elation. And so begins a new chapter in this love story. A chapter where I soon become Mrs. Sunflowerfamer. And where two lives become one. One year ago today, I was a single lady just out of a long term relationship and now I am engaged to the love of my life, best friend, and the man who is in every way a perfect match for me. Life is full of surprises… And love could be waiting for you just around the corner. In two ordinary people who met via Twitter. In a farmer from North Dakota. So I say to you, don’t ever be afraid to follow your heart because even ordinary lives can yield fairy tales. And we are living proof of just that.