From the monthly archives: July 2011

Nick asked me earlier in the week if we had anything planned for Sunday.  When I told him no, he suggested we have a picnic.  He would not tell me where or what time this picnic would take place.  He just kept saying, “you’ll see.”

Sunday morning he dropped me off after church and said he would see me later.  I stood in the drive watching him drive away and wondered, “what time is later?”

My daughter walked out of the house carrying a card and a rose.  The card said, “Picnic Time, I am a rose being given to you as a token of love.  Other roses are awaiting you.  Proceed to Route 29 Fitness at 12:00”.  When I got to Route 29 Fitness the owners Joe and Anna were standing by the door holding a card and a rose.  The card said, “This is the very spot where I asked you out and you said yes!”   Then the card said to proceed to our pew at Cantrall Church.  There were 2 roses, a card, and an open Bible.  The Bible was open to Genesis and told how God decided it was not good for man to be alone. The card said, “I truly believe with my soul that when I got on my knees and prayed for God to let me have true love and romance that our paths were set by God to intersect.”  I was then instructed to proceed to our football seats.

There were 2 roses and a card sitting in our usual seats at the school football field.  The card said, “Community life was a big thing missing in my life and being with you has brought it all back.”   I was then to proceed to the fire pit at Nick’s hunting property.

At the fire pit I was met by Nick’s friend Vince who was standing holding a card and a rose.  Nick and I had a very romantic night early in our courtship of dancing on a gorgeous fall evening next to a fire under a full moon.  The card said, “I always think of our night when I see a full moon.  I want to do that again and again and again.” Then I was instructed to proceed to our little one room school house.  He even provided directions!

When I got there, he was standing next to a picnic blanket.  There were roses, champagne, and food.  After I hugged him, he got down on one knee and proposed.  He promised to love and cherish me for the rest of our lives. I burst into tears and said “Yes!”

He then placed the most perfect diamond engagement ring on my finger! The one room school house is significant because I am a school teacher and this school house was purchased by an elderly gentleman in memory of his wife.  She had started her teaching career there.  He had gone daily and placed flowers on her desk until he died.

Nick had asked all of our children’s permission before he set his plan into motion. I know in my heart that our romance has only just begun!

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It was Christmas Eve and Joseph and I had  slept in pretty late, which was very unusual.  He asked me to go downstairs and check on the clothes in the dryer. I walked down the stairs with no make up on and my hair was a mess. As soon as I got downstairs, I realized he was right behind me.  I turned around to see Joseph on one knee before I could even gather my thoughts.  I couldn’t keep back the tears as he asked, ” Andrea Nicole will you make me the happiest man, and be my wife.”

Before I even grabbed the ring I wrapped my arms so tightly around him and said Yes!!  As he let go of me, he put the ring on my finger saying that I would be his Princess forever.

He told me to go show my dad.  When I did, my dad told me he already knew, because a week prior Joseph had asked my dad’s permission to take my hand.

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As I looked out the window, watching the snow swirl all around us, I kept wondering why we were driving to Champaign in a blizzard.  As quickly as that thought came into my head, it vanished.  I knew exactly why we were going to Champaign; were going to the watch the Illini basketball game.  One of the players, center Mike Tisdale, is a life-long friend of my brother and like a second brother to me; he’s always been part of my family.  My brother Joe got tickets for the December 12, 2010 game and we were going watch them play.

When we arrived at Assembly Hall, the attendance was down due to the blizzard but that didn’t dampen our spirits, we were ready for an exciting time.

The Illini hosted the Northern Colorado Bears and played in front of 5,157, one of the smallest crowds in history on that Sunday afternoon; the actual number of tickets sold 14,814.  The weather must of have gotten to everyone that afternoon; the Illini players had a good first half but came back in the second and let the Bears score 50 points.  Even so, Mike scored 14 points and seven rebounds getting Illinois off to a hot start.  When the game ended the Illini won 86-76, it wasn’t quite as exciting as I expected but nonetheless, they won and I had a good time.

As the Hall emptied, there were only a handful of people left, mostly close friends and relatives of the players.  We were waiting to talk to Mike in center court where people were starting to gather to take pictures.  As I walked towards them I could see my boyfriend,  Abe Christofilakos.

When I met up with him and Mike, Abe dropped to one knee and said “I want to make you the happiest you can be and make me the happiest I can be”.

Abe took out the ring and I said yes. The crowd was cheering for us as tears were streaming down my cheeks.  I was stunned.  We have been together for six years, and with my birthday just the day before, I wasn’t sure when this day was going to happen.  I hugged everyone as I wiped tears away, showing them my engagement ring.  A news reporter from the News-Gazzette was there and he interviewed both of us and wrote an article in their paper.  I found out afterwards Abe had been planning this for about a month and a half and with Mike’s help!

It was very surprising because Abe is more of a low-key guy so for him to make such a public proposal was definitely unexpected.

I always said I would not be that girl who cries, but I did.  And as it turned out, I did have an exciting time at the game that winter day.


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Last updated February 5, 2017