This is a repost from a few years ago, but it is during "blackberry season" that I remember this story so fondly! (If you want to read how we met and grew to love each other you can find that story here.)
On August 18th of 2001 Erik came and picked me up to go pick blackberries with him. Just a month before he'd asked if he could court me, and though we'd been careful to never talk about marriage, we were enough acquainted with each other to know the other was looking for a spouse, not just a summer romance. It was a warm and pleasant afternoon; the blackberries were ripe and delicious and we were more than happy to be together. Here's what I wrote in my journal from that time:
I wore my grubbiest t-shirt for the occasion. Driving home from blackberry picking Erik seemed to take a rather indirect route and said there was a place he wanted to show me. He drove up a hill and parked the truck, then we got out and walked to the top. It was beautiful; we could see out over the city toward the coast. We were walking along enjoying it when we came upon a lovely picnic set out before us. Spread out beneath an oak tree was a red-checked cloth, a picnic basket, trays of cheese and crackers, fruit, vegetables and dip, chocolates, a bowl of pasta salad, sparkling peach juice, strawberry lemonade, and chips. I was completely surprised and thrilled that he would plan and pull off such a thing!
We'd been eating blackberries so we weren't very hungry at the moment. We sat and talked for a while then he said he'd bought something in London for me three-and-a-half years ago. I was, of course, rather curious as to what that would be! We'd known each other for longer than that, but on a very casual basis. He reached into the picnic basket and pulled out a red rose and a wrapped gift. When I opened it up I found a beautiful hair brush and comb set. The brush is made of ebony and inlaid with silver flowers and a butterfly. He then said that he had bought this for his wife! I looked at him in amazement. There was a part in the box for rings and in one of the slots was an exquisite ring. He then asked if I would marry him! The first thing out of my mouth was "Really?" Then, after a minute I said yes. Yes, yes, yes! He told me for the first time that he loved me. Before he would gaze at me affectionately and say "I like you" but now he told me of his love for me. I was glad he hadn't said it before; it meant so much more when accompanied by the commitment to marry me.
The rest of the evening was lovely, joyful. We enjoyed the picnic and we enjoyed the new freedom we had to share our hearts with one another, knowing that God had indeed chosen us to be together. The sky seemed a deeper blue and the trees a more vibrant green. The sun set and we lit a candle and sat, dreaming of our life together. We had both, of course, dreamed of our life together before that moment, but it was the first time we could share those thoughts out loud with the other.
We went back to my house where my parents were waiting up for us. Everyone except me knew that he was going to propose. Erik had taken my Dad out for coffee a few days before to ask his blessing to marry me, and had shopped for the picnic and enlisted my sisters to prepare and set it up. His Mom, who had been wanting this to happen for years, had wrapped the gift. They were all excited to hear how our day had gone and I got to show them my elegant and beautiful ring. I love to look at it, because it means I'm marrying Erik!
I have a deep sense of gratitude. In so many ways I can see how God has been preparing us for one another. I see in him things I've prayed for my husband. God has given us a common vision for ministry and family, something not to be taken for granted. I know that it won't be easy, it will take work, but we're committed to that work. We both see a healthy marriage and family as foundational to any ministry or work that the Lord will have us do. The waiting hasn't been easy, but I can say that it was good and definitely worth it!
And seven years later, I would agree- it was, and is worth it! My sister's pasta salad has been renamed "Engagement Salad" and we still like picking blackberries. We've moved a couple of times, had a couple of kids, lots of adventures, a few trials, and lots more picnics. I'm so thankful for this wonderful man and the life God has given us together.