We’re Getting Married!!!! (The Proposal Story)

How do I even begin to describe the best day of my life without sounding like the sappiest person alive?!?

Well–anyone who knows me can tell you that I’m a sap with the tiniest little every day things, so sharing this proposal story will be no exception. So grab some popcorn, lots of tissues and get comfortable–this is gonna be good, I promise.

To start, we’ve gotta go way back. January 2014–I’m literally arguing with God during my drive to church. Pissed off and slightly broken hearted over my lack of love life I gripped the steering wheel tightly as I finally surrendered the one thing I just couldn’t seem to let go of, my heart. I trusted God and His faithfulness, but I was getting impatient. So, cruising down the 101, I threw my hands up and gave up the idea of ever meeting my future husband in California….but with one catch “God, if I ever meet a guy, could I PLEASE at least meet him at church?!?”

Well, sometimes God works fast. And fifteen minutes later, there sat this handsome guy in cowboy boots in front of me…at church.

The next year and a half was a whirlwind of Texas two-step, dating adventures in southern California, road trips (LOTS of road trips) moving to Montana, falling in love, moving to North Dakota, moving back to California, moving to Washington, dating long distance, too many hours to count spent in airports, thousands of miles driven between North Dakota, California & Washington, countless hours spent on Skype, even more hours on the phone, hundreds of miles of hiking trails explored, five (or more) broken cell phones and a lot of adventures and mishaps in between. So as you can see, things get a little complicated when people ask how and where we met.

And this brings us to October 15, 2015. On my way to pick up a dear friend at the airport, I had no idea what the day would hold. Brooke had asked me what felt like months prior if she could stay with me during an photo shoot in Seattle. A missed ferry and a few wrong turns later and we were on Whidbey Island, rushing to the beach for the last little bit of the sunset.

The Olympic Mountains were glowing pink as the cotton candy sky reflected off the water, my favorite kind of sunset. The islands in the distance soaked up the last few minutes of sunlight as Brooke and I made our way down to the sand. Looking out, I saw a trail of yellow and orange rose petals, candles and folded up love notes leading up to a beautifully constructed driftwood cross. “Look Brooke–someone is getting married here tonight!” I exclaimed with excitement. Not wanting to ruin someone else’s moment, I suggested we go somewhere else. Clearly I wasn’t really getting it…yet.

Cue Randy Houser’s “Like a Cowboy” and a confused look spread across my face. In the distance I see someone walking towards me and all of the sudden–everything clicked. There was no couple Brooke was meeting for an engagement shoot and this set-up of roses and love notes in the sand, it was for me. I turned around and Brooke was snapping pictures as Josh and I walked towards each other.

You know how you dream of a moment for years and all the sudden it’s happening? Well it’s a lot more overwhelming than everyone makes it out to be. Josh and I rush towards each other and I can’t even cry, I’m happy, excited and confused all at the same time. How did he get here? What is going on? Is this what I think it is?

Josh leads me to the cross and shares with me a letter he wrote. Well honestly–it was more like a rap….that’s a long story. When Josh and I first started dating, we would send each other Man Crush Monday and Woman Crush Wednesday rhymes that essentially turned into long raps constructed during the early morning hours when we should have been working or sleeping or eating breakfast. In this letter/poem/rap, he shared his heart, his love, his hopes for the future as the love songs I’d been listening to for months on Spotify played in the background. He sat me down and sings to me “Never Stop” (go look it up & you’ll definitely understand why I cried the whole time.)

After many tears, laughs and butterflies Josh tells me how he hopped on a plane a week earlier to go back to all of the special places we went together when we first started dating in southern California. He then pulls out a water bottle of dirt. Ok, ok stick with me–this is some meaningful dirt. The first time Josh and I ever hung out was a spontaneous day spent driving to San Diego with the windows down, country music blasting, breakfast at the beach, a traffic-filled drive home, a long, windy drive into the mountains, capped off by a sunset hike at the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. So Josh knew he wanted to propose on that very mountain, but with me being the hardest person ever to surprise, he knew he’d have to bring Sandstone Peak to me.

Teary eyed, he poured out this nearly sacred dirt at my feet as he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I could barely breathe, see, feel my face, or even think as I somehow managed to say yes. The ring box could have been empty or crawling with spiders and I never would have noticed. After a long hug of tears and joy, he slipped the ring on my finger. Cue more tears.

We prayed and worshipped at the foot of the cross that Josh had so thoughtfully constructed. God’s faithfulness has never been more clear than it was in that moment. The sun was long gone, but the sky was still glowing with every shade of pink and purple. Josh handed me a book that I’d mentioned to him a few times when we started dating. “1,000 Places To See Before You Die.” My parents had given me the world version years ago but I had always wanted the US & Canada version. Josh had marked a page–Whidbey Island, the very spot we sat. Cue even more tears.

Josh then tells me we’ll be hopping on a plane in the morning to celebrate with my family and friends in California. And just when you thought more tears weren’t possible, here we go again. After a long drive home and a delicious dinner at a Seattle restaurant that stayed open late for us, I’m pretty sure I just lived out a fairy tale a thousand times better than I could have ever dreamed of. My face hurts from smiling so much, I’ve run out of happy tears and I can’t even sleep. God was so good to me when He gave me this man. Joshua Kyle Cristy–I can’t wait to marry you!!!

All photos taken by Brooke Borough Photography.

Up Before the Sun

We’ve all seen them–those glorious light filled photos that pop up on our Instagram feed before we’ve even rolled out of bed. The mere thought of this early morning wake up call makes most of us cringe and pull our covers even tighter over our heads. But as golden colored clouds and sun flares greet us while we enjoy our first sip of coffee, it’s hard to not wonder what it would take to really just get out and do it.

Well, last Sunday my friend Sondra and I decided to stop envying other peoples early morning glory and experience it for ourselves. Sure, waking up at 3am never sounds like a great idea, but after a few week hiatus from hiking, a new pack to test out and the promise of coffee at the summit, I couldn’t have jumped out of bed any faster at the sound of my alarm clock.

After an hour on the freeway, groggily attempting to have meaningful conversations, we found ourselves on a bumpy, mountain road in search of our trailhead. After a little bit of uncertainty and the first peak of morning light, we threw our packs on and hit the trail, eager to make it to the top before the sun rose over the majestic peaks of the Cascades.

We were certain that the 1.6 mile trail would be an easy morning jaunt to the top. Sadly, we were absolutely wrong. I’m definitely embarrassed to admit how hard it really was. I’ll blame the early morning, lack of coffee, hunger pains, oh and the 1,300 feet of elevation gain.

After what seemed like 536 switchbacks, the trees cleared and we saw–fog. At this point I’m really hoping I didn’t just sweat through an entire fleece jacket for fog. Well, it turned out to be the best thing possible.

After reaching the summit, we were greeted by some other early morning hikers, sipping on beer and mimosas, good choice guys–but I’ll stick with my morning coffee, thanks.

What ensued was the most glorious, foggy, sun ray filled sunrise I’ve ever seen. Mount Catherine, you did not disappoint. Oh and the 3am wake up call? Totally worth it.

Wandering with Purpose

Well, it’s been a while.

My whole life looks completely different than it did only a few short weeks ago. Because, well, I moved…yep, again.

This time, I’ve landed back to where it all began, well sort of. About a month ago, I packed up my car with as much as I could cram into it and hit the open road. About 18 hours and a thousand or so miles later, I found myself back in the great state of Washington surrounded by tall trees, snow-capped mountains and a forecast full of a whole lot of liquid sunshine.

So what turned this surf seeking, beach loving, California girl into an umbrella toting (just kidding, I refuse to carry an umbrella) puddle hopping, mountain climbing, Washingtonian? Well, after a few months of wandering, I decided it was time to plant my feet somewhere for a while.

If you’ve followed along with my zig-zag of a journey over the past year, you’ll know that I’ve done a whole lot of traveling, searching, exploring, back and forth, here and there….California to Montana to North Dakota, back to California and then on to Washington.

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The adventure was amazing but after the excitement wore off, I was left plain dizzy from it all. Trying to remember what zip code I lived in or what time zone I was actually in was hard. You may laugh, but I’m not even kidding. To not feel at home wherever you go was a very hard thing to deal with, especially considering it was 100% by my own doing.

Now, I’ve been called a lot of things throughout this whole process; a vagabond, a gypsy (thanks Mom?), an adventurer, a wanderer, a brave soul, and sometimes, just plain stupid. And to each their own, but one thing I realized recently is that though I may have seemed to wander aimlessly over the last year, I  know in my heart of hearts that I was wandering with a purpose. I know that the Lord did not send me on this broken path full of uphill battles and tears for nothing. Things may have gone differently than I could have ever expected but I know that I live for a God who is always good and knows what I need better than I ever could. In this season of life, He has made a way for me through mountains and deserts and valleys (quite literally) to bring me to a place where I can fully realize my dreams and walk towards the plans He has for my life, because I know they have got to be something simply, amazing.

Now, I’m not saying that I have “arrived” because believe me, I know there is a lot of journeying left, but something about the here and now just feels right. And for a girl who has lived in four different states in the last year, that’s saying something. So cheers to this moment, to finding joy in this roller coaster adventure, to seeking new opportunities and to trusting in an all-knowing, ever powerful God.

I dare you to realize that this journey you’re on is a path laid out before you by the one who loves you. I challenge you to see the wandering with a new set of eyes, to realize that we are all wandering with a greater purpose. I encourage you to trust the direction you are headed in and seek joy in each and every moment, big or small, because mountains and molehills matter.

So, wander on ;)

2014: A Cowboy, 19 States, and a Grand Adventure

Ok, so I’m a little late on the whole 2014 recap. But better late than never, right?

At the beginning of last year, I made a big promise to myself; adventure more, worry less, and floss. Well here I am, in the front end of 2015 and I have successfully fulfilled two-thirds of my promise to myself. Apologies in advance to my dentist.

2014 showed me that life doesn’t really get easier as we get older, it’s actually quite the opposite…but as we get older, and life seemingly gets harder, it also gets so much richer. This was the year that I said yes to every adventure that I could, tried new things, failed a few times, but ultimately came out unscathed and with a greater passion for life.

This was the year that started with a bang when a handsome fella in cowboy boots with the sweetest southern twang turned around one day at church to say hello. From the first time we two-stepped and he spun me around until I was dizzy, I knew I would fall head over heels for this adventurous, Texas charmer.

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If I thought I was adventurous and daring, my cowboy was that times ten. Thus began a year of squeezing every bit of adventure out of life that I could with my newfound adventure buddy by my side. A year of growing pains and moving, a lot. A year of the highest highs and the lowest lows. A year of falling in like and then learning what it really is to fall in love. A year of seeing what it really means to live by faith and a year of realizing that sometimes God takes us to the places we swore we’d never go.

We’ll start with Montana. I had no intention of leaving California, like ever. I was perfectly content with the idea of living a life of perpetually salty and sunburned skin in search of the perfect waves and the most epic sunsets. But, low and behold, I left my safe and secure job at a big-time marketing company for an opportunity to put my social media and writing skills to good use at a Christian non-profit architecture firm.

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I widdled down my stuff to fit in a few suitcases, threw the rest in a storage locker and set out for the Montana Rockies. What ensued was a summer of climbing mountains, swimming in glacial lakes, and eating more s’mores than any one person should ever consume, all while working an 8-5 job on the side. Read the rest of my Montana story here, here, here and here. (Spoiler alert: it was a pretty rad adventure.)

By the end of the summer, I was once again packing my bags and saying my goodbyes as I hopped on a train headed towards North Dakota. Despite what many may think, people actually do live there. It’s not all oil fields and frozen ground, but a place full of breathtaking vistas, lush river valleys, and people with a deep pride for where they come from.

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I learned a lot during my time in North Dakota. About myself, about working at a startup, and about wind-chill…enough said. It wasn’t an easy time, but it showed me that adventure isn’t something that can only be found while climbing epic mountains or riding that perfect wave on your perfectly waxed longboard, it’s something we truly find in ourselves.

After a few too many below zero days and a pretty nasty bout of homesickness, I hopped on a plane bound for Christmas in California. One glance at the beach to the west and the mountains to the east and I knew I wasn’t heading back to good ‘ol North Dakota anytime soon.

I must say, it was quite the year. I moved five times, lived in three different states, traveled over 20,000 miles, visited 19 states, watched my bank account hit zero a few too many times, but, most importantly, I kept my promise to myself. I adventured more and worried less, and that is my biggest accomplishment yet. So, as I soak up the endless rays of winter sunshine, trying to get my tan back while I defrost…the adventure begins again.

So, what’s next in 2015? I’ll honestly say, I have no idea what kind of wild ride is in store for this new year. If it’s anything like 2014…I know it will be a year I never forget.

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Seize the Adventure

Carpe Diem is quite possibly one of the most overused phrases. It rings in our heads as more than just a life motto written in a lost language, but as a constant reminder to fully embrace each and every moment and to “seize the day.”

“20,000 miles, 19 states, 4 cities, 3 time zones & I finally learned what adventure is all about.”

Personally, I’ve been trudging my way through a rather adventurous, tumultuous, but mostly exciting year spent all over the country. I’ve had the chance to experience some of life’s greatest highs as well as some of its lowest lows. I’ve traveled nearly 20,000 miles, through 19 different states, lived in 4 different cities, 3 different time zones, climbed countless mountains, explored miles of trails, spontaneously bought one-way plane tickets and promised myself to keep grabbing every adventure I could.

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I’ve done all of this with little to no money, a full-time job, and no car. This year has taught me a lot about the things that really matter. It’s not about the fancy gear you have, the money you make, or all of the amazing places you’ve been. It’s not about getting the perfect Instagram picture of the mountain you just climbed, or showing off your battle wounds from catching that perfect wave, and it’s definitely not about comparing your adventures to anyone else’s.

It’s about embracing the path that you are on and making the most out of it. It’s about finding adventure in everything you do and finding beauty wherever you are. It’s about striving for a life full of experiences versus a life full of materialism. The thing is, whether it’s the Rocky Mountains you’re climbing, or the molehill in your backyard, your adventure matters. So, here’s my challenge, to myself and to each and every one of you reading this; I challenge you to make the most of wherever you are and whatever it is you are doing. I challenge you to carpe the heck out of your diem and to seize the adventure that life brings you.

“Carpe the heck out of your diem.” 

 

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