We met in puppy school 14 years ago. My Jack Russell terrier, Dewey, was learning me a thing or two about high energy, loyalty and his outright superior intelligence than my own. She had a Weimaraner with his own puppy at play, aren’t I cute attitude. We quickly connected in conversation as our affinity for each other was magnetic. I learned she was a nurse at Memorial Medical Center in the ICU. She learned that I was a resident in radiology. After our puppy school days, she was gone. But at least Dewey learned me good and he’s been a faithful companion ever since.
Seven years had past, and one day Kristie appeared as a vision as she transitioned into radiology nursing. Unbeknownst to each other, we were both unhappily married. Our affinity for each other had not waned and we immediately relived our puppy school days. For seven years, we were colleagues and always enjoyed conversation and sharing pictures of our children. However, the connection was primordial, ever present, and always growing. Waiting like the sentinel for God’s timing…
It has been 3 years since our respective divorces and the planets, stars and universe has finally taken notice of the love that had grown. For 14 years, there was always a burning ember never succumbing to the snuff. The passion and love now rages as the wild fire across the dry prairie. Soul-mates were now connected with auras merging into one shining beacon of love. We found each other before, we found each other in this life and we will find each other again. In cyclic motion our love endures. She said “Yes” on Christmas Eve 2014.
She inspired the following poem, which says it all.
I want to fly, touch the sky and never say good bye…with you.
Side by side, forever in time and pondering your smile…with you.
Never enough time, never an adieu…But only my next moment…with you.
Lost in your eyes, discovering your soul, the quite moments…with you.
I long to ride this silly life…with you.
I burn inside- to laugh, to love, and sometimes cry…with you.
I ache inside- when your wounds bleed dry, but I’m here…with you.
I sing inside- unaware of my gaze, lost in my haze…with you.
Rest my eyes, adrift in a dream, can this be…with you?
You, the last I see, beckons as the Siren while I sleep.
I need this to be, just you and me, with a love conquering my deep.
Souls entwined…marred, entrenched…with you.
Sunshine day, spring of life, puppy at play…with you.
Drizzle day or enchained in strife, I’m here to stay…with you.
Never lonely while sitting quietly alone…with you.
Words fall short but never my heart…with you.
Our story, written each day, I yearn for the next page…with you.
Embracing emotion, in perpetual motion…with you.
What’s started cannot stop! It has begun…with you.
When the lights fail and darkness looms, only…with you.
You are my light, my beacon. I shine…with you.
I am the sentinel, in faithful purpose…with you.
Standing, staring and without sleep; when needed…with you.
Resolutely resolved, adrift in a dream…with you.
I rise and fall, giggle and sigh…with you.
Why, oh why…with you?
I’m a better man, father and soul…with you.
You! And only you…Is why…with you.
A new meaning you’ve given, for me…with you.
Selfless love, devotion, an aura…with you.
An eternity is a fleeting moment…with you.
Forever altered in time…with you.
No one sees what I see…with you.
I can never love enough…with you.
To grow old and spend lifetimes…with you.
Because you are the truth and my serenity…
I have fallen in love…With You!
Prologue: The day I knew
I’m right there with you in every moment! Remember that if you ever feel sad. Days and hours are just grains of sand falling to their destiny in a passing moment thru the hourglass when we patiently wait years and lifetimes for true love. It’s rare but worth the wait and pain we endure in its pursuit. Time changes when you find yourself lost in your soul-mate. Not measured in minutes or years but only the next moment I’ll be with you!
Once upon a time, there was a three-year old girl in Springfield, named Heather, who dreamed of visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando. One day her parents surprised her with a family trip… and made that dream a reality.
When she got there, she was fascinated. After the trip, she dreamed of someday living in Cinderella’s Castle. When Heather was in college, she came across an opportunity to join the Walt Disney World College Program. This opportunity led Heather to the chance to play the role of Disney’s Cinderella at the Magic Kingdom and work in the castle she wanted to live in as a child… and made that dream a reality.
When Heather graduated from college, she moved to Nashville, TN to begin her career. A few years later David was playing professional baseball in Nashville and was introduced to Heather through mutual friends. Despite residing on opposite sides of the country (David is from California), their love persevered through all obstacles. As their relationship grew and marriage was certain, their quest to find the perfect engagement ring began. Their search pursued through multiple states and countless jewelry stores, in hopes of finding the ring to match the vision that Heather dreamed of wearing forever.
In February of 2014, Heather and David found their way back to Heather’s hometown of Springfield, IL and eventually found their way to Denney Jewelers. In a matter of seconds, Heather found her perfect diamond and learned she could design her own custom setting down to the finest detail. The Denney’s staff embraced Heather’s vision and were determined to bring her dream to life. In July of 2014, Heather’s ring was complete. While vacationing over the Fourth of July weekend, David placed the identical ring she saw so vividly in her dreams on her finger… and made that dream a reality.
Heather had always dreamed of having a fairy tale wedding at Walt Disney World. On October 3, 2014, Heather and David got married at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion overlooking Cinderella’s Castle… and made that dream a reality.
… and they lived happily ever after.
Greg and Colleen had known each other through church for a couple of years. They had hung out a couple of times in group settings last fall thanks to a fantasy football league. They both hit it off as friends and realized the conversation was easy. Over the next couple of months, they started to take notice of each other.
Last New Year’s Eve, a friend kissed Colleen on the cheek and Greg suddenly noticed jealousy flaring up. That same night, a friend asked Colleen what she thought of Greg. Both were starting to wonder what might be next. During the polar vortex storm in early January, Colleen was headed to work one night when she got a text asking her to coffee from Greg. She took some time to think about it. During that time, a dear friend of Colleen helped her to see what she wanted while a dear friend of Greg did the same for him. Little did Colleen and Greg know, that these two friends had talked to each other and knew that Colleen and Greg would be so good for each other.
Colleen said yes. Greg and Colleen went out to coffee and the conversation would not stop. They talked and talked and talked. They started dating and quickly fell in love. Greg soon knew they would be together forever. By 6 months, a visit to Colleen’s home and family ensured Colleen’s feelings of forever. In September, they were getting ready to celebrate 8 months together. Greg planned a special day. He took Colleen to the Apple Festival. He planned to make her a special dinner and to have a special day of time together. After a great day and dinner, he took her for a walk in Washington Park, the site of many of their first dates. To avoid the many people at the park that night, he took her up to the rose garden. When he found the perfect spot, people were already there. He distracted Colleen by having her look at a building. When they had gone, he told her how special the last couple of months had been and how much he loved her. He then read her the poem he had written her that month. Every month to celebrate the day they first went to coffee he would write her a poem. This poem, he read in front of a water fountain at dusk. At the end of the poem, professing his love, he asked her to hold the poem so he could do something he had wanted to do for months. He was down on one knee and proposing. Colleen said yes and they cried and kissed to celebrate!
We are both so excited to begin our lives together and have loved the preparation for our future.
Dustin and I lived in a small town growing up and we went to the same high school. Although it was a small school we never really met until his sophomore year and my senior year. We had Chemistry class together, where we were in a lab group together, and both played basketball. So, our friendship started because of these things. As time went on our friendship grew to where we would stay after our individual practices and practice together, we would ride to and from school together and when we weren’t together we would be messaging one another on AOL. Thus, we formed a great foundation.
Shortly after we started to become friends, we knew we wanted more than a friendship. We began dating in high school and 8 1/2 years later through college, Master’s programs, our first jobs, Dustin playing and coaching college baseball and almost six years of long distance, we “beat the odds” as some would say. We grew together, we became each other’s family and have been each other’s better half for many years, but now it’s going to be official.
On November 1, 2014 we went fishing like we would any other day. We were on the pond, in the boat, and it was a chilly, but sunny day. I got my line snagged on a limb and my line broke. I handed it to him to fix it and while he was fixing it, I used his pole. I didn’t pay any attention to what he was doing because I was paying attention to his bobber. When he got done fixing my pole and gave it back to me, I reeled it in like I would any other time but this time when I reeled it up, there wasn’t a hook on the end, but a ring! He had tied string onto the ring, which he was holding, so it was like the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp. He held it in his hand and asked me, “Will you marry me?” and I said, “Yes!”
Dustin had been keeping this all a secret from me. He would say he was going hunting, but he was really going to Denney’s to get my ring and was working to make this day perfect. After he proposed we took the boat ashore and walked to the timber and gathered some wood for a fire and watched the sun set, in the first day of our forever.
It may have taken many years to get where we are today, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We did things our way and accomplished so much individually and together in this last 8 1/2 years. We are blessed and got our fairly tale!
Rusty and I have known each other almost our entire lives. After I started high school, my mom noticed a name she recognized on a list of fellow band students. She said, “You went to pre-school with a Rusty Petty”I thought ‘what a coincidence’ and asked him a few weeks later if he had gone to Patty Cake Day Care. Rusty confirmed that he had. Soon after that my mom located a picture of me, holding hands with another little boy, but looking up at Rusty as he played the old game Simon.
During Rusty’s senior year and my junior year of high school, we started dating. He traveled to San Francisco with my family and we celebrated as he was crowned co-prom king. Our relationship lasted for about 18 months before Rusty headed off to college. A few months later we went our separate ways but always kept in touch. One summer we even ran into each other unexpectedly at a gas station near St. Louis.
Last year we started hanging out again more regularly and after starting fresh we decided to make it official February 2014. By St. Patrick’s day 2014 we knew we were meant to be together. Late September Rusty told me that he’d told his parents that he was going to ask me to marry him. I got excited but thought he was starting his planning. Less than a week later, we had a wonderful dinner downtown followed by a short walk. During our walk Rusty took both my hands and told me that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He told me that he had spoken to my two best friends and had gone to talk with my Dad as well. There is no doubt in my mind that he is who I want to spend the rest of my life with. We can’t wait for our adventure to continue!
“We met on the internet” was the last thing I ever thought I’d be saying when describing how my fiance Carl and I started our relationship, but that’s exactly how it happened. And to be honest, I was incredibly skeptical of the whole experience and only granted him a date because he knew how to grammatically structure a conversation and used proper spelling (not the typical, “Sup baby” that is often received as communication for online dating).
Our first date was the Thursday of “Snowpocalypse” in 2011. I had spent an entire day shoveling the sidewalk from the street to my front door so he didn’t have to walk through waist deep snow. This was quite a gesture from me since I never shovel my sidewalk. Thank goodness he had a truck, though the roads had been reopened, there was still a considerable amount of snow that made the roads impassible for most small vehicles. We went to dinner at D’Arcy’s Pint and then spent the rest of the evening talking and enjoying a few beverages at the Brewhaus while watching the snow plows busy at work.
We went on a couple more dates, but it wasn’t until our “sappy” date during the Maple Syrup demonstration at Lincoln Memorial Gardens when I actually started to see our relationship going somewhere. It was a rather simple date but we both finally started to let our guard down and just be ourselves. We found that just doing “everyday” things were more fun when we were doing it together.
We had the typical ups and downs that all relationships had but we knew where this was heading. We started talking about getting married about a year and a half in and I was hoping for a spring engagement. I had already provided him with pictures of my likes and pointed him to Denny Jewelers having worked with them throughout my college career. But then we hit a pretty significant speed bump. The house I was renting went into foreclosure this past January so our new goal was finding our forever house. Our casual house hunting turned into serious looking and it didn’t take long for us to find our perfect home.
Our offer was accepted on Valentine’s Day! Other girls get flowers, jewelry, or chocolate but I got a house! Somehow I think he’ll have a hard time topping that for future Valentine’s Day gifts. We closed on the home on April Fools Day (what were we thinking agreeing to that date for closing??) and I moved in shortly after. Carl is still waiting until after we are married to move in.
Which brings me to the proposal. We had gone ring shopping in early May so I was anxiously waiting for the proposal. We had planned to go to Chesapeake on August 7th and I was sure this was it. Fancy restaurant, advanced planning, it was finally going to happen! So I did what every female does…went shopping. I made sure that I looked nice, without looking like I was expecting something. We ate dinner, had a couple of drinks, and left. No proposal! I was dumbfounded.
The entire ride home I was thinking how I could have misjudged the signs. We got back to our house and I helped him carry in a few items that he had brought over to the house. The last load of items went to the vacant master bedroom. While going up the stairs, Carl charged ahead like he usually did while I lagged behind blabbing about our smoke alarms. I reached the top of the stairs and froze. There he was, down on 1 knee in the master bedroom with my gorgeous ring and a candle lit table, roses (which I was super excited about since he had never gotten me flowers before), and champagne. He prompted me to come in to the room and warned me that I was being video recorded. He asked me to be his wife, and I of course squealed, cried, and said yes. He told me he had had the entire day off of work and had taken my Dad out to lunch and received his and my mom’s blessing before setting everything up at home.
After making all of our required calls to family and friends we started discussing when the exciting day would happen. I was dead set on having a fall wedding and neither of us wanted to wait a whole year so we decided to get married in just a few short months,11/2/13. It has been a whirlwind of an adventure this past year, but the wedding is now only a month away and I wouldn’t change a bit of this experience. This is just the beginning of our “Happily Ever After”.
Bryan and I have known each other since high school. We dated briefly then, but it didn’t last too long, but when your a teenager, nothing does! We remained friends but didn’t see each other often. We both moved on with our lives…dated others…and I even got married in 2007. That marriage didn’t work out, and my sister reunited Bryan and I shortly after my divorce.
We were just friends hanging out for awhile, as I lived in St Louis and it was a long distance relationship. But after almost 6 months of back and forth driving every weekend, we decided to take it to the next level and my daughter and I moved in with him. It was a big step, but he made the transition very comfortable for both of us. He loves my daughter as his own and that’s one reason why I stuck around! That, and because he is the greatest guy ever! A few months later, I got pregnant with our daughter, Kaylee Jo. It was a rough pregnancy and he was there for me from the beginning.
Our daughter was born 7 weeks premature, and during my month long hospital stay he was always there for us. He kept me grounded and sane! Without him, I don’t know what I would have done! On our 2 year anniversary, he took me out on Lake Springfield and rented a pontoon boat that he lined with pink roses. He had a cooler with a selection of beverages and some fruit and sandwiches…even champagne!! After pouring the champagne into a red solo cup, he told me that over the last 10 years since high school, I was the one that his mind always wandered to. He always wondered what I was doing in my life and how I was, secretly wishing it would have worked out. He told me that we have a fantastic relationship and so much understanding between us, and that he’s never been happier. Then, in the middle of Lake Springfield, he got on one knee with a beautiful ring from Denney Jewelers and proposed!!!!
Of course, I said YES!!!!!
Eric and I have been together for almost five years. This year has been such an amazing year so far…and the year is not over yet. We have talked marriage here and there but not really looked at rings or got into detail about it.
Around May, Eric asked me to start looking at rings and to start thinking what my perfect ring would be. I looked at all the websites, since Eric and I work so much, it was hard for us to get to the stores to actually look at them. Finally we made the decision to look at rings in person. We went everywhere in Springfield. I had looked online and found a setting that we both really liked. We are very detailed oriented people so that was a must for us and my ring.
We met Jeff at Denney Jewelers and as most of you know who have purchased your ring at Denney’s Jeff knows his stuff. We waited awhile after meeting with Jeff and then finally on June 18th Eric went in and ordered my ring. I didn’t know what the diamond was going to look like, I didn’t know what the ring was going to look like. The setting that we loved they didn’t have it in the store so they ordered it for us. This ring was going to be a complete surprise.
A month goes by and at this point Eric was getting very anxious. Me, being in the event planning industry I was so busy with other brides weddings that I just put my ring on the back burner. I knew that when the time was right I would have it.
Friday, July 19th Eric sends me a text message while I was at work asking me when he should ask Jeff for the status of my ring. I said “Wait another week and if we don’t hear anything then contact him.” Little did I know, Jeff had already contacted him telling him my ring was in. Saturday came and we had plans to go out to dinner, but unfortunately my work took longer than expected so I wasn’t able to make it home in time for our dinner plans. I felt horrible.
Sunday came. We were doing our usual Sunday stuff around the house. I was cleaning and he was working out in the back bedroom. He comes rushing out of the back room and said, “Did you get a text message from my mother?” I replied “No, I don’t think so.” I checked my phone and sure enough I got a text from his mother. He immediately grabbed my phone and deleted the text message. I had no clue why and I didn’t ask. I took my phone back and plugged in my earphones and kept on cleaning.
As I was cleaning the kitchen, I noticed that I had two of my nice wine glasses missing but I didn’t think anything of it. I kept on cleaning. Finally he wanted to go out to dinner. We made reservations at KiKu. I was getting ready for our dinner date and I noticed that there was a dozen red roses on the counter when I stepped out of the bedroom. He asked if I could arrange them since he had them in water from Saturday night. So I did, still not thinking anything was going on.
We finally left for dinner. We get to our table, order our drinks and ordered an appetizer. Eric said, “I have something that I have been wanting to give you for awhile now” He took out a black velvet box and slid it over the table. I first thought, “Oh, it’s my ring!” but then I remembered that he asked me Friday how long he should wait to contact Jeff about my ring. I opened the box. It was my silver toe ring that I have been wanting. Completely had me fooled. We had a nice dinner and then we left.
We were then headed to Southwind Park. We had talked earlier in the day about going there to look at ceremony sites for our wedding. We got there and he asked if I was thirsty. I said that I was fine but if he was to take the bottled water that was in the truck. He said no he had something better. He pulled down his tailgate and there was a cooler that had a chilled bottle of a favorite red wine and he my two nice wine glasses I noticed missing from earlier in the day. He opened the wine bottle like a pro and poured each of us a glass.
We walked around the park holding hands, talking and drinking our wine. We wanted to check out the Treeless Treehouse that’s at the park. So we walked up the ramp of the treehouse and just talked and laughed and he held me in his arms. He asked me if I loved him and I immediately said of course I do. He turned me around and got down on one knee and said that magic phrase that every girl wants to hear in their life…”Will you marry me?” He had my ring in the box holding it in his shaking hand. I immediately started crying and said “Yes, yes I will marry you!” He got teary eyed as we kissed and hugged each other. He asked if I wanted to put the ring on…well of course I did. I’ve been waiting forever for this ring.
His whole plan was to purpose at a spot where he thought we could get married at. It was one of the most happiest moments I have ever experienced especially with the man I want to marry.
Our wedding is set for October 18, 2014. We are so excited to start planning all the special details to our special day. But most importantly I get to marry the man that I love and the man who is my everything!
Their paths crossed many times in late 2011, at church gatherings, full of flirting and awkward glances. But their first time hanging out was when Jamie invited her to ring bells with him for the Salvation Army in December of 2011. Melissa came bearing two hot chocolates, thinking it was a date, while Jamie had invited several people on facebook hoping it would take the pressure off. What they ended up enduring was a nice awkward third wheel situation, but it kind of broke the ice and ended up being a great night. What followed was a couple of crazies becoming best friends and swooning all over each other.
The proposal story is something for the books. In true Jamie & Melissa fashion, it was awkward and funny and didn’t go as planned. For a few months Jamie and Melissa had been looking for their future home. House shopping is tedious and at times frustrating, so when Jamie put an offer down on a house and it fell through, they decided to revisit a house they had seen earlier that seemed to have a lot of potential. When they went back to the house, they realized how great it was. Unbeknownst to Melissa, Jamie put an offer on the house the next day. It was accepted.
For the next couple months Jamie proceeded to lie, manipulate, and trick the love of his life. He took her on an endless parade of (less than stellar) houses, until one night in February 2013 they drove by the dream house, and saw a “sold” sign out front. Teasingly Melissa said “you bought it didn’t you?”…awkwardness ensued and Jamie pretended to feel guilty about “letting the house slip away”.
The day after he closed on the house in March, he took Melissa back to the house, saying the “sale” fell through and they might have a chance at it. After a lot of nervous and fast-talking, rushing her through every room (because he was video taping), and a very frustrated boy because she wouldn’t cooperate by going upstairs, he finally got her up to the third floor. With music playing, a heart of white Christmas lights, and a key hanging from the light in the ceiling, Melissa quickly realized he had bought the house.
“…and that’s not all”…Jamie continued with his very, very special proposal.
Our first date was at O’Charley’s Restaurant in Springfield on March 21st, 2009. We both knew instantly there was a real connection. Every day since that first meeting we have spoke or been together.
Two years ago we started looking at rings even though the official proposal had not happened. Tab would say “If I wanted to surprise you what would you like?” Over two years after the first visit to Denney’s I was still waiting for that “surprise”.
We had planned a trip to Las Vegas for Tab’s 60th birthday on April 24th, 2013. The entire trip was supposed to focus on his big day. We arrived in Vegas on the 23rd of April and decided to take a romantic walk to the Bellagio Fountains. During the walk Tab said “There’s only one thing I want for my birthday.”. I was in almost a state of panic wondering what it could possibly be since the trip and tickets to Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club was supposed to be his birthday present.
At 10:38 p.m. we stood in front of the beautiful fountains while Lee Greenwood’s song “I’m Proud to be an American” played. Tab asked, “Do you know what I really want for my birthday?” I turned to look at him as he pulled out a box and said “for you to be my wife.” I couldn’t had been more surprised. We made our way from the fountains to the extraordinary garden inside the Bellagio where Tab got on one knee and asked the official question “Will you marry me?” So, overcome with emotion I could verily say “Yes”.
It was truly the most romantic experience in my life. He not only has gave me a gorgeous ring but a beautiful story to tell for the rest of our lives.
- Nicole and Dustin – 2015 Finalist on
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