June 13, 2011

our engagement story

The lovely Betty Beguiles is hosting a The Story of How You Became Engaged link-up.  Join the fun!

I'm going to splurge a little bit and tell our whole story.  The short version.

Travis was a super senior at WIU, living at the Newman Center, when I was hired as the campus minister.  When I arrived to campus he was the only one around.  We spent our first day together rearranging furniture, eating at Hardees, talking about the girl he was in love with, and watching We Were Soldiers.

Over the next two years we became very good friends.  Our relationship was completely platonic.  It was wonderful.

In February 2006 he and his fiance called off their engagement.  In March the man I was seeing told me he had found greener pastures (another woman).  On April 1st we unofficially went to the Newman Formal together.  I had an idea that maybe I liked him but, not knowing he ended his engagement for seminary, I thought he was still in love with his ex. 

Around the middle of April Travis was praying in the chapel about his vocation.  He asked God, "What do You want me to do?"  He thought he'd get a response like, "Become a monk."  Instead he was overcome with thoughts and images of me.  When he asked the chaplain, Father told him God was either showing him what he was going to miss out on or what he was going to get. 

Travis began to be more intentional in spending time with me. 

I was clueless and kept any attraction pushed waaaaaay in the back.

Then he called me one day, saying he had to discuss something with me.  As we ended the conversation I almost said, "I love you."  I hung up the phone and freaked out.  It was true: I had completely fallen in love with Travis and I didn't even know it was happening. 

It was okay, though, because the conversation he wanted to have with me began with, "I want to date you.  I think God wants us to be together."

He then spent the next two days convincing me he was over his ex.

Two weeks later we had our wedding date picked out.  A month after that we were officially engaged and I had the ring on my finger to prove it.  Almost seven months after that we were married during the Octave of Christmas, on the Eve of the Feast of the Holy Family.

And we've lived happily ever after.

Now, how did he actually propose?  Well, he made a date with me.  I was pretty sure he was going to propose and in my nervousness I drank a ton of water.  I packed a picnic dinner - real plates, chicken breasts, yummy stuff - and he picked me up, bouquet of roses in hand. 

We went to Grandview Dr. in Peoria and ate while overlooking the Illinois River.  We then went for a small hike in the woods.  During the hike I really, really had to pee.  I told Travis and we tried to get to a park area, which just kept seeming further and further away. 

Then, at the top of a hill was a small clearing with a handful of grazing deer.  We were very close and we stopped to quietly watch them.  Travis said my name and I turned to see him kneeling, holding up a ring. 

"I love you.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Will you marry me?"

I said yes.  We kissed; we hugged; he picked me up and spun me around in a circle.

And then I went to pee in the woods.

Because I am that classy.


  1. Um, I love reading this because I was living with you that particular year. So great to know both of you during that time!

  2. I love your story! I also have been reading your articles about NFP. Thank you so much for sharing your take on it! I've been researching it a lot lately and I really think that this is the way I want to go when I get married. I'm not Catholic yet but I really think NFP is a beautiful thing and I love learning more about it! Thank you!

  3. This is a lovely story.

    Particularly the part about you peeing in the woods.


  4. Great story, especially the end, LOL! :)

  5. Thanks so much for posting this!! I never knew how you guys got together and always wondered, since I had left WIU by then. I'm a sucker for a great love story, but truthfully, the last two sentences were what made my day! Bonnie, you never fail to put a smile on my face. Seriously, though, you have a beautiful family and obviously a wonderful relationship with each other. So awesome!!

  6. Love, love, love this! Maybe I'll have one written up soon, too.

  7. Ah, I remember living through this with you! =) Sweet memories! Diana Bes

  8. Great story! We got engaged at Grandview Drive, too! Paul kept having his proposal attempts interrupted by random bikers, walkers, ect...so by the time he proposed, it was dark and I made him take me back to the car so I could actually see the ring :)


  9. Awww.... it's soooo nice! Here's wishing both of you many, many blessed years of marriage together. May God carry you both over the highs - the mountains, and through the lows - the pitfalls, holding you both in the palm of His hand. Blessings!

  10. Beautiful!! Our engagement story also involved my peeing in the woods! I'll try to get it up soon.

  11. That is pretty hilarious. We got engaged on Grand View Drive too! But we didn't take a hike or find a clearing with grazing deer! You win! :)

  12. That is so beautiful! Would you consider posting allowing me to post this story on http://catholiccourtshipstories.blogspot.com/ ? Or even better, would is be possible to get one with pictures,? Check it out! Information is on the page. We are trying to create a database of courtship stories. :)