Rachel and I lived together during my first year in Nashville and to say that watching Blake go after her from the very beginning was exciting would be an understatement. I've rarely known to people to be more complementary, and I am beyond thrilled to have been there from the start to witness how the Lord has worked to bring them together.
About a month ago, Blake messaged me and asked if I'd be willing to help him with his proposal plan: He was going to have a picnic set up for the two of them (which didn't sound all that different from the normal romantic and meaningful things he did during the months they were only dating, the blanket he used was "their picnic blanket"), and some of Rachel's closest friends would be hiding in the woods to the side waiting to congratulate them when she said yes. My task was to calm myself enough to not shake my camera lens, we were at least 500 feet away from them and that lens ain't light. I was also wearing a hooded green jacket to blend in with the bushes that surrounded me. I'd had help from Blake's friends, camouflage experts, in appearing as incognito as possible.
Later Rachel kept telling us that she had no idea what was happening until Blake started into his speech. After giving her the ring and a kiss, Blake had called in our direction and Rachel looked shocked, obviously, though her face couldn't tell us which shock she was currently processing. We headed out to snap a few photos and celebrate together for a few minutes before heading to a party with even more friends waiting. Still unsure if Rachel ever found out about this part before arriving.
Blake works part-time as a barista at High Brow Coffee + Tea, a sweet, intimate coffee shop in the Waverly neighborhood of Franklin, Tennessee. I zipped over there to arrive before the newly engaged couple, and was struck by the warmness of the place, and also by the amount of guests who had shown up to pack the little coffee shop out. A few would-be customers were sadly turned away once they realized the place was only open for a private event, but the shop was loud and bright and bustling as the guests waited for Blake and Rachel to arrive.
Rachel is one of my closest friends, and therefore Blake has become one of my favorite people as well. It's easy as pie to see these too going places together, and it's just the beginning for them, but God's been looking forward to this union for quite some time. Don't get mad about me being cheesy, I'm allowed.