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"Tomorrow, I'm going to take her to the hidden cove and there ask her to marry me."

It had rained so much the last couple days that as of the night before, the road out to the coast was closed due to flooding. But, I really wanted to propose to Liz at the beach, where it's so beautiful and peaceful. I knew she was expecting it; in our impatience in waiting for the ring we were having custom made, we had gone out the Wednesday night before and picked up a simple band, but I hadn't proposed to her yet. So it wasn't like it was going to be a huge surprise when I slipped the ring that she had picked out back on her finger. I tried to throw her off by surprising her with a box of chocolates and a dozen roses Thursday night, and by giving her the world (well, a glass globe) Friday night in a ring-looking box, but I figured her suspicion of my Saturday plans couldn't be dissuaded. I was right.

I had the rose gardens (over by the zoo) as a backup plan, but nothing could compare to the atmosphere of the Pacific Ocean. So, I looked up the department of transportation online and called to confirm that the roads were open that morning. As I drove to her place, I noticed a flag flying at half staff and wondered why that was. I drove the back roads to her place, which I usually take on my way home from work. Only, because I had seen a drunk driver the Friday night a week before, I had driven through town on my way home that Friday night before we were to go to the beach. As I drove to her place, I saw a cordoned of section of a farmer's field with fresh tire tracks in the mud and a small, white cross next to the tracks, not far from where they ended. Someone had died there the night before. None of that had been there Thursday night when I drove home from work. I was glad I decided to drive through town the night before.

Stormy weather just before it cleared up.
Stormy weather just before it cleared up

She agreed to go to the beach with me, even though the weather looked foreboding. It rained heavily for most if not all of our drive to the beach-not just rain, it was down right stormy. I really did not want to propose to her in the middle of a storm at the beach, so I prayed that the rain would stop and that the weather would be nice for us at the beach. I acknowledged to God that this was not a life or death blessing I was asking for, but that I had absolute faith that according to His will, the God that parted the Red Sea for Moses and lead the children of Israel across on dry ground could stop the rain and part the clouds if He wanted to. I had great faith that He would.

We arrived at the beach, and when we got out of the car at Pacific City (the peaceful city) the rain stopped. We walked down the beach towards Cape Kiwanda and let Liz's dog, Mikey, off the leash. Running around the beach with some other dogs, they came across a dead sea lion at the base of the Kiwandan dune. We climbed to the top of the dune and there saw two bald eagles take flight, which I had never seen on the Oregon coast before.

Blue sky seen moments after the above photo.
Blue sky seen moments after the above photo.

We continued north to the hidden cove. The clouds parted and blue sky moved in from the west. I asked her if it was obvious what we were doing here. I told her that I had called her dad the day before and asked for his blessing to marry his daughter. He said he wanted to ask me a question:
"Where does my daughter want to get married?"
"She would like get married in the Portland Temple."
"And where would you like to marry my daughter?"
"I want to marry her in any temple she wants."
"That's the correct answer."

Having said that, I got down on one knee and asked her if she would marry me in the temple. She replied, "Of course, I would! I'd love to!" The sky continued to turn from gray to blue as we kissed. It was a perfect moment, there just the two of us . . . and the dog running around somewhere nearby.

Beautiful Day until we got back in the car.
Beautiful Day until we got back in the car.

As we headed back towards the south side of the cape, people started coming where we were. It was perfect timing; if it had not been raining until we got out of the car, there would have been lots of people on the beach for weekend. It was sunny and bright out now, and we went over to the rocks where Mikey continued to explore. We walked around down the beach into town and stopped in a store there to get some root beer, what they drink in heaven. I found her favourite brand while she waited with the dog outside, then she went in to look around at the quaint store while I was with the dog, sitting at the table out front.

She returned to say that she thought the space shuttle just blew up. Surprised, I went back in to confirm, since the TV playing there didn't have the captioning on. February 1st 2003, "The Columbia is lost. There are no survivors," said President Bush in a speech I saw later.

After drinking the root beer slowly as we sat in the sun and talked as couples do, we walked back to the car. Once we got in the car and started driving, it started raining again, and it rained the whole way back home.

My prayers were answered concerning such things as the rain far greater than I ever could have hoped, and the moment was not only a shining jewel in the midst of darker matters, but also a faith confirming experience. Reflecting back on how happy a moment it was for us and how I saw signs of death everywhere, the flag at half staff, the cross by the side of the road, the dead sea lion, the loss of the space shuttle, but also taking into account our knowledge of the resurrection and eternity, my thoughts were drawn to the 1595 sonnet by Edmund Spencer from Amoretti: Sonnet 75.

One day I wrote her name upon the strand1
But came the waves and washèd it away:
Agayne I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tyde, and made my paynes his pray2.
"Vayne man," sayd she, "that doest in vaine assay3,
A mortall thing so to immortalize,
For I my selve shall lyke to this decay,
And eek4 my name bee wypèd out lykewize."
"Not so," quod5 I, "let baser things devize6
To dy in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your vertues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens wryte your glorious name.
Where whenas death shall all the world subdew,
Our love shall live, and later life renew."

1. beach 2. prey 3. attempt 4. also 5. quoth 6. contrive

Click here to read her version of the story ;) as well as see more pics!

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