Devos for the Newly Engaged Girl

Day 1: Breathe

Everything was going wrong; bridesmaids’ dresses were coming in different colors, things I was ordering were sent to far away places other than my address, I was told my wedding dress may not be able to get altered after having it a year in advance, my engagement ring somehow warped from rough use (#agteacherlife) and the list goes on. I was freaking out, stressing out, crying all the time, and probably going overboard in the dramatic department. I want our wedding day to be perfect and all that I imagine it to be just as almost every girl in the world! But with all the hiccups in the way, I was losing sight of what mattered the most. It has taken me awhile to realize that crying about things going wrong won’t fix anything…coming up with a solution and handing it to God no matter how stupid I thought it might be would fix it all. I pray for patience because I struggle the most with being impatient, and I think God was using those little bumps in the road to show me to be patient and He would take care of it even if it seemed like it would take longer than I wanted. 1 1/2 months from now lies our wedding day. Regardless of what may go wrong, all will be right…I will marry the greatest blessing to ever walk in my life! So if you’re a future bride-to-be, a girl stressing and worrying because nothing seems to be going right, or a guy with a lot on his plate…there’s no need to worry about it. At the end of the day, God is in control and He’s got ya! Don’t forget what is most important! I believe our wedding day will be the most beautiful and important day in my life next to the day I received Christ as my Savior! Keep the faith, stay patient, and trust, trust, trust!!!

Day 2: Just Love

I researched, pinned, and read about 20 blogs on the hot topic of “how to prepare for marriage.” At the end of most of them, they made the statement that there isn’t REALLY a way to prepare yourself for marriage.
Whaaaaat?! Post after post and article after article I was becoming frustrated because I wanted to be the best possible wife for Brad by the time we got married. Now that I have been married for one month today, I understand what they mean…
Nothing prepares you for the happiness you feel each day that you spend with him. Nothing prepares you for the laughs you will share over late night popcorn and movie dates in your pjs. Nothing prepares you for waking up to him each morning. Nothing prepares you for the smile on his face when he eats a meal you cook. Nothing prepares you for how you love him more and more, and just when you think you can’t, he does something that makes you fall in love with him more.
No, you’ll never be able to prepare yourself for marriage.

Day 3: Satan Will Attack Your Marriage

It’s a team effort. Marriage doesn’t take two people; it takes God, you, and your spouse. It is a growing and learning process especially the first month together. You can’t have unrealistic expectations diving into marriage. You have to realize that marriage is two imperfect people serving a perfect God. You will both fail and make mistakes, but it’s learning to say “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong.” It’s forgiving each other every day and loving each other through it all. You need to admit how you feel and be open and honest with each other about everything. I’m a newly wed, so I’m freshly stepping into this whole marriage thing, but I have learned that the enemy tries to destroy what he sees as good in God’s sight. You need to understand the he will try to pry his way in your relationship with your spouse. He will intentionally place barriers between you to cause you and your spouse to feel distant. He makes a small, petty detail seem like it’s the biggest deal in your life at the moment. You can’t let Satan win. You have to keep God in the middle and pray for your spouse and your marriage. Remember, when troublesome times come your way, you need to let God handle it. Marriage is beautiful, and Satan hates beautiful. He loathes goodness, righteousness, and truthfulness. He despises seeing couples thrive in this world in which he roams like a lion to steal, kill, and destroy. Stand up for your marriage!!! Date intentionally. 👠Pray daily. 🙏🏻 Forgive easily. 👫Love always.💕

Day 4: Never Stop Dating

Dating intentionally isn’t difficult. Everybody has an issue with the amount of time they have on their hands, so not having enough time isn’t a good excuse. So what does it mean? Dating intentionally simply means to set aside time to spend with your special someone or go out of your way for them once in awhile to show them that you love them. For example, when Brad and I had been dating for a few months, he drove to my favorite coffee shop and bought me three large cups of coffee. Then, he dropped them off by my apartment as I studied for two exams the next day. See? It doesn’t have to be anything like wearing a tux and a dress for all your dinner dates. It CAN be watching Netflix but letting him/her pick the movie (not recommended for a first date)! It can be putting a sweet note on their car in the parking lot. It can be ordering fries to go with a frosty (if you haven’t done that, you should). Dating a person with intention can be full of little ways you display that you care for them and love them. Like I said, it isn’t fancy, and it doesn’t require a ton of money. Never stop dating the person you love when you get married. Brad washes the dishes, cooks, and washes clothes when he sees that I need help around the house. To me, THAT is dating intentionally. He is demonstrating his love for me in those ways. So whether you are in those early stages of dating, engaged, or married, date with the intention of showing how much you love your significant other.

Day 5: Evaluate Your Focus

It’s easy to fall in love with the idea of having a wedding of your own, but when it clouds your mind of the real reason you are getting married, that big idea soon turns into an issue. Focus on WHY you want to get married. Focus on WHO you are marrying. Focus on who YOU need to become before you get married. Every girl has this perfect image in their mind. This picture is one I dreamed of for years. You deserve a wedding to make your own and to plan, but you also deserve a man who is going to love you unconditionally, protect you, and provide for you. Change your perspective, and fall in love with your spouse-to-be over and over again instead of obsessing over the wedding. The wedding is merely a celebration of the love and marriage between a man and woman. Whatever stage of the wedding planning process you may be in, the details are fun and important, but it’s the relationship of you and your future husband that takes precedence over the wedding!

Day 6: Don’t Get Lost in the Details

I wrote my letter to him two weeks from our wedding day. I spent at least two hours writing it because I didn’t want it to be any less than perfect. I placed a bow on the front of the envelope and attached a burlap flower on it. It was a ridiculously beautifully packaged letter. I mentioned to Brad that I wrote my letter that day, and he told me he had yet to write one to me. This was understandable. I realized I was ahead of the game, and Brad was more a last minute kind of guy, so I didn’t ask again until a few days before. He still hadn’t written the letter. Being the slightly crazy bride I was at the time, I ensured that he wouldn’t forget to write the letter by making him a checklist for our wedding day. Okay, I know…it may seem stupid that I cared so much about one little letter. But written words from Brad that I could keep forever serving as a reminder of our special day were of high importance to me. He did write the letter the morning of our wedding. It meant more to me that he wrote the letter our wedding morning because those were his thoughts on that exact day. There wasn’t anything special about his handwriting or the packaging of the letter. The contents of the letter, however, contained rich words full of love and looking forward to spending our lives together. The letter situation is just one of many that reflect our differences in handling our careers and life altogether. I am one to dress up things to the point that it’s almost hard to see the real purpose of it…like the letter. I was focused on completing it and making it pretty instead of setting aside the time to write it on our wedding day and having those thoughts recorded. I was afraid it wouldn’t be good enough or even worse, that I would forget to write it. I can’t rewind and make the decision over; what’s done is done and in the past now, but isn’t it funny how easily we become distracted by what REALLY doesn’t matter? We find ourselves lost in the details…lost in the busyness of life…lost in our jobs….lost in our education.
This is not to say that those things are bad, but if we aren’t careful, they can take all the time we have. Time is precious, and you can never get it back. If you aren’t carving out time to spend with God each day, is He #1 in your life like it may say in your IG bio? I’m not trying to be critical, but I’m just trying to get you to examine the depths of your heart. I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to read the Word every day or to pray especially on days when you “just aren’t feeling it” or are tired. Do it anyway because if God is a priority to You, give Him the time that He grants you. Focus on the contents in your heart…not the packaging!!!!


Day 7: Family > Work

Through the hardest times, we have each other. When we visited Brad’s pawpaw in the hospital today, he commented about our wedding ceremony. He has been a man of few words lately because he is fighting pancreatic cancer. He looked at me and said, “You laughing was the sweetest thing.” He smiled at us.
It’s a moment I will never forget, and I would have missed it if I would’ve chosen to stay at work. Those simple words he said and the way he looked at us will always be in my mind. You are replaceable where you work, but you are irreplaceable to your family. It would have been so much easier for me to stay because I hate making sub plans and grades were due today, but I needed that time to be beside my husband and with our family. Please never take your loved ones for granted and cherish the time you have with them as much as you can. Remember that post I wrote awhile back about me wanting to move ahead all the time and not being present in the moment? I may not ever be a “wing it” type of girl, but little by little, I’m learning to take in every precious moment that God gives me.

Day 8: Why We Didn’t Live Together First

We didn’t live together before we got married…here’s why:
1. Marriage is sacred between you, your spouse, and God. Once you are married, you become ONE. Before you are married, you are not ONE. This means that there is 0 stability. Are you sharing finances? Are you sharing the same…everything? Are you okay knowing that someone who isn’t completely committed to you will have access to all your stuff & money? This leads to more arguments which is completely unnecessary and why cohabitation normally doesn’t work out in a couple’s favor.
2. Living together sends the message that you are doing a trial run to see if things will work out, but the thing is, it probably won’t work out if you already believe you have to go through a “trial run.”

3. God commands us to remain sexually pure and wait! Living together creates a stronger temptation to go against His plan of waiting until you are married. In addition, your witness of Christ will be broken to those you are trying to witness to because they will automatically assume that you are committing adultery (having sex with someone you are not married to) and going with the flow of the pressures from society!
4. Let’s look at stats too…”On average, researchers concluded that couples who lived together before they tied the knot saw a 33 percent higher rate of divorce than those who waited to live together until after they were married.” -The
I know that this isn’t popular and cohabitation is disapproved by only 27% of Americans today. But if living together before you are married is something on your mind or if your significant other is pressuring you to consider it, look at the facts and for the sake of your relationship with God and your possibly future husband/wife, don’t live together before you’re married! 💋💕

Day 9: Treasure the Moment

I couldn’t wait to graduate high school to go to college. Once I made it to college, I was ready to return to my hometown to teach. When I was engaged, I kept looking beyond the sweet engagement season to finally getting married.
And now, here I am, graduated, teaching/working, and married. Don’t get me wrong, I love the season I’m in now! But if I could go back and tell myself one thing in all of those seasons it would be this: spend your time wisely & cherish the moments. I felt like I wished some of the time away. I was antsy for the next season of life instead of fully living in the season God allowed me to enjoy at that time.
I find myself missing my favorite coffee shop I huddled up in while in college. I like to remember what it was like to have my wedding dress on or trying out cake flavors for our wedding cake. I think back to when I would study for FFA contests more than school subjects. 😅
Time is precious & fleeting. Some of us try to plan it out (I’m one of those)! 🙋🏻‍♀️ There’s nothing wrong with setting goals and “shooting for the stars.” But are your goals set to build the kingdom? Were they created based on an eternal perspective? Are you so focused on meeting goals, especially earthly ones, that you don’t enjoy life & all its moments?

We can become obsessed with goals and planning our lives so much to the point that WE DON’T EVEN LIVE THEM. Don’t take this life that God gave you for granted. 💋

Day 10: This is Real Life

Burnt toast, dirty dishes overflowing the sink, clothes that need washing, floors that are begging to be cleaned, boxes still needing to be put up and organized…over and over I’ve been looking around our house and seeing nothing but failure my first week of being a wife (the honeymoon doesn’t count). Although it has been blissful and wonderful doing life with my new husband, I have been focusing on all that I’ve been doing wrong and what needs to be done instead of what I’ve done right. Where did I get this idea of what a perfect wife looks like and what she accomplishes? Who in the world have I been using to define myself? Social media, women in my family, women in my church? The reason I have been feeling like a failure is because I’ve been comparing myself to more experienced wives than me! I took snippets of what I’ve seen in womens’ lives and created a “perfect wife standard.” There is no such thing as a perfect wife, student, boss, teacher, blogger, or mom; the only perfect person to ever walk the earth was Jesus. And the cool part? He lives in you and me and He shows His perfection THROUGH our weaknesses and failures. Doesn’t that make you feel warm and fuzzy? God uses OUR weaknesses to say, “Look to Me for strength.” Quit trying to live up to this perfect *insert role here* standard that YOU created like I did. The one and only person we need to try to be like is Jesus!

Day 11: Control Your Reaction

Crazy Sunday morning…good grief, there are times when I just KNOW that the Devil is out to keep us or me from making it to church & this morning was one of those mornings! My biscuits didn’t cook as fast as they normally do, my mascara wand touched my eyelid with eye shadow already on so I had to redo my eye shadow 🙄, a piece of my hair WOULD NOT STRAIGHTEN for anything so I had to turn my straightener back on to fix it when I noticed that it didn’t straighten the first ten times passing through lol, and then, I didn’t remember turning off the straightener! When we left the house five mins later than normal, I started to think back if I turned off my straightener. I was scared that we would come back to a burnt house, so I told Brad that “I guess I will have to come back and turn it off then.” He drove all the way to church, I dropped him off, and I drove all the way back home. Lo and behold, the straightener was unplugged. 😅 After I was relieved of that, I drove back to church again hurrying to make it to Sunday School. Just reading this makes me feel the adrenaline rush all over again. You may be wondering why he didn’t turn around for me to check my straightener, and it’s because he hates being late for church. I didn’t mind coming back if it meant he could be on time and I could actually focus on the sermon instead of worrying about our house the whole time. Now, I also could’ve prevented some of this by waking up earlier, but there were a lot of things that probably would’ve happened anyway. Haha.
For someone who loves preparation and cute planners with stickers, I don’t have it all together. WE don’t always have it together. There are circumstances that take us by surprise, but as Brad likes to say, “you just gotta wing it.” When these surprises happen, we can control our reaction. My first reaction was anger and aggravation, but when I put my hand on the door to walk into church, I silently prayed for God to get me in the right mindset and for Him to calm me. We must recognize when we are being attacked and I most definitely did driving back to church. Let God help you control your reactions to your crazy circumstances.


The Piano

A story, a symbol, a masterpiece…
Brad, my husband, saw a piano free on Facebook. It was left in a shed where it received water damage and the fluctuating temperatures ruined its insides. He decided to take this on as his biggest woodworking project to date. He completely refurbished it. He changed out all the inside pieces, rebuilt and stained some parts, sanded it, varnished it, and gave it to me as a gift. I was and still am completely in awe. When I opened up the inside and he explained to me how he replaced the parts, I just stared at him with my mouth open. The amount of time and patience that was placed into this beautiful work of art cannot be numbered. I didn’t even know I wanted a piano until he gave me this one. I have a keyboard that I bought for myself while I was in high school with money I made from selling watermelons. It only got the job done through the years, but I will admit a keyboard is nothing like playing this piano!
I’m not writing this to brag about how good Brad is to me (although, I don’t deserve him at all because he’s entirely too good for me). We’ve been married for a year and a half and the big secret to it is letting God be in the middle. This piano reminds me that marriage is simple and shouldn’t be complicated. Marriage is like playing a piano…you go through highs and lows, you hit the black keys every now and then that take you by surprise but turn out being all part of the song, and when a key sticks or you hit a wrong note, you work through it and keep playing anyway. ❤️

Where Confidence is Found

I went through a major fashion phase right after I got married. If it was on sale, cheap to me, and cute, I would ask Brad and buy it. Now that I look back on it, I have understood why. Fashion + clothes + shoes are tons of fun to me, and I ❤️ being creative with outfits. I have been that kind of girl before I could talk (just ask my mom), but it increased so much more after marriage…
I have slacked up buying clothes the past 6 months and haven’t bought much of anything except books (Brad and I are book nerds now🤓) and groceries.
It just dawned on me WHY I would buy clothes other than just liking them and being on sale. It isn’t because I had more closet space. I did have more room which was a bonus, but that wasn’t the reason. It also isn’t because I needed to give clothes away and make a wardrobe update. I did that too, but again, this isn’t the reason.
It’s clear to me now: clothes became my way of finding confidence. Being newly married, I felt a crazy amount of pressure to be a perfect wife and everything good I’ve read about. It was my way of gaining stability when my circumstances changed. I was seeing girls at church with the latest fashion trend on or fashion bloggers on my IG feed stating the must-haves for the season. I was looking to prove myself to people and finding confidence in clothes…🤦🏻‍♀️
You guys, it took me until NOW to figure this out. The message I need to get to you is this: look deep into your heart. Satan plants pressure there, little lies that don’t seem to be a big deal until they grow into a monster that tears your life away piece by piece. Harsh, I know. Confidence & stability when life is changing can only be found in Christ. Carefully monitor what you are allowing yourself to believe. You control whether you believe LIES or TRUTH, friends!

Been There, Girl

I have written this post a number of times and never posted it because it’s so personal, but God keeps wanting me to share this and I can’t run from it anymore. There is a girl out there somewhere that needs this, so here goes nothing.

I fell in love with a guy when I was 15. I really did even though some may argue that it wasn’t love but “infatuation.” I know the difference between the two, and I knew it then as well. He was my best friend for a long time, and I caught all the feelings after awhile. I truly got to know him first through our friendship. I remember praying to God to allow us to date and for him to like me.

He told me he liked me (finally) and we dated my entire high school career except my freshmen year when we were building a friendship. We were alike in so many ways, and I thought that we would get married one day like most couples who date for a long time in high school. I had plans with him.
But God is cool and way bigger than the plans I made for myself. When that guy broke up with me, I was so heartbroken. It was an all-time low in my life. I didn’t eat, sleep, and I basically just cried for a couple weeks wondering why and how could this happen? (Haha, don’t pity this experience because a lot of girls go through it! You may be one of them!) I mean, it was so stinkin’ hard y’all! It took me the longest time to get over the broken relationship. God is gracious though and amazing. Over time, I realized that we wouldn’t have worked out because of how much we changed.

Going through that experience made me aware that placing a person and my own plans above God is dangerous. It is allowing that person to have reign over your heart and emotions more than God which ends in destruction. Guarding your heart (Proverbs 4:23) prevents that destruction in the first place. Just because God places a person in your life, doesn’t mean they are always meant to stay there. Maybe the reasoning was to lead that person to Christ or to have an influence on their decisions in the future. I always wondered when I would start seeing “the reasons” unfold, and they eventually did!
Trust God because He knows what He’s doing even when you can’t see it!

The Proposal |B+E|

The morning of December 16, 2015, I rolled out of bed feeling that it was going to be SPECIAL. Have you had those days when you just feel like something awesome is going to happen to you but you don’t know what it is? That was me. Other than the fact that it was my 21st birthday, I had a tingly feeling in my stomach that it was going to be more than a normal birthday. I made sure to put on a little more makeup than normal when I strolled off to work that morning and even straightened my hair. I refused to begin my 21st birthday morning looking like a zombie. When I stepped out of my bedroom door, my eyes grew wide at the colored balloons scattered all over the apartment and the Christmas lights that my roommates had ready to surprise me.


I clocked into work and noticed a large cookie cake that said “Happy Birthday!” on it in pink icing from my boss. Of course, I had to take a picture with it before I devoured it along with everyone else coming in to work at the greenhouse.


I realized that my Driver’s License needed to be renewed while I was at work, so I hurriedly clocked out and scurried off to the DMV. After the fastest DMV service I have ever experienced of just 15 minutes, I was granted a brand new sideways license claiming that I was in fact 21 now. The speedy DMV service said it all: today was far from an ordinary day. I returned back to work for a couple more hours, and then, changed clothes for a Christmas party in my class (yes, we still have Christmas parties in college because my college is the best). I grabbed the cake that I baked and skipped to class with a huge smile plastered on my face.Walking into class, I was greeted with “Happy birthdays” from my friends and classmates and happily plopped down in my desk. Brad, my boyfriend at the time (now fiancé), sat in the desk beside me as his designated spot. We were told by the professor that we could start eating when all of my classmates arrived with their dishes. A couple of my friends disappeared out of the class for a few minutes, and when they returned, Kayla, a close friend of mine, was carrying a dozen cupcakes with candles on top and started singing. Being a slightly emotional person (okay, maybe a really emotional person), tears welled up in my eyes. The time I spent on my makeup that morning was the only reason no tears escaped because I thought, “YOU ARE WEARING MASCARA. You can’t do this right now.” In that moment as the entire class and my friends and boyfriend sang to me, I became overwhelmed with gratefulness of the people in my life which you know, explains the tears. I blew out the candles with a wish and thanked them for taking time to do this for me.

Cupcakes in Class

As we were eating the food dishes that everyone brought, Brad moved quickly outside in the middle of his meal for a phone call. I thought nothing of this since he received phone calls from many people all hours of the day. Clouds were forming outside, and rain appeared that it could fall any second. The class started mentioning how it looked as if bad weather was moving in to stay for a little while. Brad returned to his seat with a worried look on his face. I asked him if something was wrong and who called him, and his answer was followed by a nervous smile. I continued eating my meal, and my classmates began leaving one by one with their dishes until it was mainly me, my friends, and Brad left in the classroom with thunder rolling outside. I grabbed my cake and headed downstairs with my friends behind me. I asked Brooke, one of my best friends, if she would curl my hair for me. I told her I wanted to dress up for the date that Brad had planned for us that night, and without hesitation, she said she would gladly curl my hair. Because I was a fresh 21, I desired to look like I was 21 and not any younger which resulted in me choosing a red topped dress with a black polka-dotted bottom and flats. Normally, I NEVER wear a dress on a date, but that day felt beyond special. I wanted for Brad to notice how long I spent on getting ready for the birthday date because to me, it screamed, “I have been waiting for this all day!” Brooke curled my newly cut short hair in about 30 minutes filled with conversation that only the best of friends can have. With one hour and a half left before Brad would pick me up for our date, I decided that since I had nothing else to do, I should spend more time on my makeup. I did basic makeup that morning, but I knew that I could add more to change what he was used to seeing in class on a regular basis. I have no shame saying I spent a full hour on my makeup. Let me remind you that I NEVER do this.


With a half hour of sitting around wondering what I could do and nervously waiting for Brad to pick me up, I finally received the long awaited text message that he was outside of my apartment waiting for me in his truck. I bounced down the stairs to notice that the rain had ceased, and in its place, was a chill in the air. I opened the door to greet Mr. Prince Charming who had changed into nicer clothes for our date. I recognized that he was playing those mushy country love songs which was not out of the ordinary, but I also noticed he was smiling more than usual. He grabbed my hand, and that’s whenever I started asking the same question over and over. “So where are we going?”

“It’s a secret.”

“That doesn’t tell me anything. Where are we going, Brad?”

“You’ll see when we get closer. I was going to change these blue jeans, but these were the only clean ones I had.”

“They look fine, and it honestly doesn’t matter.” (Since when has he ever cared about his clothes around me?)

He drives past the road to go to the movies.

“Can you please tell me where you are taking me? We aren’t going to the movies?”

“No, it’s a surprise.”

“Uhhhhh, okay.”

Then, he passes by all of the nicer restaurants in town.

“Brad, where are you taking me?”

“Okay, so do you remember way back when I carved our names in a tree?”


“Well, I saw this thing on Pinterest where a couple would take a picture by a tree with their names in it every year on their anniversary. I thought that I would take you to the tree I carved, so we could start taking pictures by it.” (Note: TOTAL LIE, but it’s okay)

“Oh! That’s so cute! I like it. I was thinking that we were going to the movies and out to eat or something.”

He turned in on a paved road and entered the gates of Lincoln Parish Park. He paid the lady at the toll booth. Clouds still loomed overhead creating a slightly darker evening than normal at 4:15, but they were beginning to stretch out leaving room for blue sky to peek through them.

“Emily, close your eyes. Do not peek. If I see you peeking, I’m going to blindfold you.”

I shut my eyes tightly and squinted them hard, so he could see I was serious about keeping them closed. “Okay, they’re closed, and I promise, I will not peek.” I felt the truck move over bumps and holes while turning every so often.

“Are your eyes still closed? Don’t make me close them.”

“Yes, my eyes are closed. I’m not looking.” The truck lurched to a stop, and the anxiousness continued to build inside of me.

“Alright, I’m coming around the truck to get you, okay? You can’t open your eyes.”

“Okay, Brad. I’m not opening them.” I started giggling at this point because of how many times he was telling me to keep my eyes closed. The door creaked open, and he repeated the same phrase again but added, “Be careful. It’s kind of wet out here.” He held my hand as he lowered me down from his truck. I started smiling as he led me from the pavement to wet leaves.

“Are we there yet?”

“No, but we are almost there. We have just a little longer to go.” I gripped his hand tightly and his arm with my other hand because I was scared of falling or stepping in a hole. Regardless of that thought going through my mind, I was full of excitement and a billion questions of how he was able to keep anything a surprise from me, but I remained quiet and followed him.

Finally, I heard him say, “Open your eyes.” In front of me, was a large banner stretched between two trees that read “Memory Lane.” It was filled with embarrassing pictures of me and pictures of Brad and I on our many dates that we shared. I leaned on him and held back tears.

First Look

“Oh my gosh, Brad. This is so sweet.” I may have said that approximately ten times throughout the next few minutes, but I think my point was made clear. I focused my attention from beyond the banner to the pathway of pictures hung on trees. I seriously could not believe the amount of time and work that he put into making this for me. He brought my attention back to the banner that was directly above us to transport us back in time.

Checking out pics

We walked underneath the banner to begin our stroll through this memory lane that he created of our time together. The song, “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett played somewhere in the woods which astounded me as I was trying to find the source of the music when we began walking under the banner. I thought to myself as we were walking to the first tree with a picture in a frame, “Is this what I think it is, or is this just a special birthday surprise?”

walking down lane

We reminisced on each moment hung on a tree. All of a sudden and half-way down the pathway, Brad reaches to his shirt pocket and exclaims, “Oh crap, I uh forgot my phone! Let me go back to the truck and get it. Just wait here.” When Brad turned around and started up the hill to go to his truck, I stood there shivering a little not able to process what was happening other than what I thought might be happening.

Pictures on Tree

I shoved the notion out of mind not wanting to bring my hopes up because he literally told me that he forgot his phone in his truck which is what we needed for a good picture. I watched him slowly step down the hill to meet me again. “Sorry about that.”

“It’s okay.” He grabbed my hand, and we continued our journey down the slippery memory lane. We jumped over a large puddle and approached the pavement. I saw what looked like people under a blanket on a bench in the distance, but I did not think anything of it except that they may be having a romantic moment at the park although I thought it was strange. My brain was scattered, and my thoughts were not coherent at all since my only concern was what was happening to me.

holding my hand

Brad held onto my hand and led me to the last couple of pictures, and then, brought me to a tree overlooking a lake. I turned towards the tree with our names carved carefully into the wood, candles lit on the side of it, and a small piece of paper nailed to the tree below our names that said, “To be Continued…” I reached for the paper and asked if there was anything on it, but when I moved to face Brad, he was down on one knee. I gasped for air, and every single thought left from me. He asked, “Emily, will you continue making memories with me? Will you marry me?”


I hunched over with my hands clasped in front of me looking at the ring sparkling in a black box. I said quietly, “Awwww, yeah!” He slid the ring on my finger, and with that, he stood up to embrace me in a hug.

ring on finger


Now, the funny part about this is that I was wearing red lipstick (once again, extremely rare), so when I kissed him, there was a big, red lipstick print on his lips in which I tried to rub off. I heard the clicking of a camera behind me and saw a bright flash. I turned around and Romeo, Brad’s best friend, stood before me in camouflage holding a camera. I looked past Romeo to see Brad’s mom and dad with the blanket I spotted earlier to tell us congratulations. Then, Hunter, Brad’s brother, emerged from the woods with a video camera. Of course, a couple hundred pictures were taken afterwards. I was excited to say the least, and my heart was beating to a happy rhythm.

Romeo piped up, “Brad, did you really forget the ring?”

He laughed and said, “Yeah, man, but when I told her it was my phone, she believed it.” I laughed so hard when I realized he forgot the ring in the truck instead of his phone.

eye gazing

Once all of the pictures were taken, we returned to Brad’s truck, and I called all of the family I could possibly think of and texted all of my friends as Brad drove us to celebrate at a Mexican restaurant. We stayed in the truck together for 15 minutes calling everyone, and we walked in to the restaurant together as an engaged couple. Brad led me to the back of the restaurant, and when I rounded the corner, I could not believe what I saw: friends from near and far were seated at a large table together waiting for our arrival. Everyone popped out of their chairs to see the ring and wish us congratulations. My roommates, my State Officer teammates, and Brad’s family surrounded me.

ring staring

I was beyond surprised yet again. Brooke planned the surprise party, and she handed me a gift that had “Mrs. Cooper” written on it. Ralynn, another one of my best friends, was there to celebrate with us as well after driving such a long way for us. After I received my plate of enchiladas, had whipped cream slapped on my nose, and had a sombrero put on my head, I concluded that this was the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.

The magic behind that phrase is that the next “Best Day of My Life” will be when I walk down the aisle in a white dress to my future husband waiting for me.

reg pic

My Something-Borrowed Veil

Traditionally, Brad carried me through the front door into our remodeled home the night of our wedding. He lifted me up and swung me into the doorway like a dream…until the veil caught on one of the sharp bricks. When he put me down, I drew the veil around me to see if it was torn. A hole about the size of a quarter stood out like a sore thumb. My heart sunk down to the pit of my stomach. I pathetically looked up at Brad and said, “This veil was my something borrowed, and I don’t know how I’m going to get this fixed. Only me…” I dreaded telling my friend about me tearing her veil, but I mustered up the courage and told her the story. She was very merciful to me and assured me that it was okay. As upset as I was about the veil, God used it to grab my attention.
Just like I have mentioned before, a lot went wrong leading up to my wedding day. I worried and stressed over each stupid little thing. I was scared it wasn’t going to be what I wanted and had been planning. But the day came…and it was beyond perfect and beautiful and the best day of my life. God used this illustration of the veil being torn to say, “Hey! Nothing is between You and me anymore!” It wasn’t God that put anything between me and Him…it was ME. Once the wedding day was over, He made it known to me that I was the one who distanced myself from Him. He never changed. He also showed me love, grace, and mercy when I ran to Him more than once.
Wherever you are in your relationship with God, know that He is the same and you’re the one who changes that status. Every veil has a hole in it for God’s indescribable, undeniable character to poke through. So reach through, grab it, hold on, and He’ll pull you out of whatever stuff you’re in right now.

That Time We Lost Each Other On the Honey-Moon

Where did Brad go?” I looked over my shoulder when I reached the bottom of one of the waterfalls, and he had disappeared. I stayed there admiring the view wondering where he was for awhile, and then, traveled back to where I thought I lost him. The trail broke into four different parts, so I lingered in that section for the longest time beginning to freak out after not finding him for 30 minutes. I started going up the mountain trail straight in front of me hoping he may be on it trying to find me, but there was only a 25% chance I would get it right. The trails were long and arduous, and I didn’t want to miss seeing any of these beautiful falls with him for the first time. I trekked for a 1/2 mile, & there he was…his arms were crossed and his eyes were glaring at me but he broke into a smile. My heart danced in my chest! “I found you!!” I exclaimed, loud and proud. “Emily, you left me. I walked over 2 miles looking for you!” Whoopsie…
I’m almost too adventurous for my own good to the point that I get lost in my intentions and goals that I forget about others on my way to the destination. Then, I have to backtrack to find where I went wrong. Don’t get so caught up in pursuing your dreams and goals that you forget about the people “following” you. You are a light and an example to everyone around you, so make time with them. Strong relationships and friendships don’t grow overnight. Besides, if you have no one with you when you make it to your destination, what good is in that?

What I Learned After I Said “Yes”

What I learned after I said “yes:”
1. Never let the significant other take God’s place.
2. Discuss decisions with your fiance because it will affect him/her in the future.
3. Admit you’re wrong when you know you’re wrong (I’m still working on this one).
4. Just trust that they will take care of you.
5. Don’t depend on him/her for happiness….they will mess up and have imperfections too.
6. Let them know your deepest secrets and struggles.
7. Say “I’m sorry.”
8.Tell them that you love them every single day because you can never overuse “I love you.” ❤
9. If you’re the girl, be submissive and don’t always try to be independent. This means just going with it even if you want to put up a fight (my struggle now). If you’re the guy, lead and provide for the girl.
10. Talk about finances together.
11. Even when you’re really stressed out about wedding planning, moving, remodeling a house, finding a job (all me right now lol), find ways to spend time with him. Being intentional about setting aside time to be with the one you love is critical no matter how busy or stressed out you may be!
12. Texting is the most terrible communication tool!!! If it is important, don’t bring it up through texting. Communicating with each other daily is extremely important and sets you up for marriage.
13. The wedding isn’t what matters in the end…the MARRIAGE of you and your future husband/wife is what is important!
14. If stuff goes wrong while wedding planning, give it to God and find a solution. Don’t cry and stress out like I did!!! I found this out the hard way. Even if it seems silly, God will listen and He’s there for you.
15. Praying for him/her and your future marriage and the current relationship is essential.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of what I learned while we were engaged. I hope that this can help you future husbands and wives out there!

Glimpse into Our Love Story

“No, I’m sorry. I’m busy with homework right now.” He was used to this response from me, but for some reason, he kept pursuing me. After being rejected three times within a two year time span, he was almost to the point of giving up. I pushed him aside and put him in that dreaded place we all know as the “friend zone.” I entered college with a broken heart from a recent break-up and far from home. I only knew four people, and I was afraid, timid, and off-standish. He was one of the four people I knew from my little neck of the woods attending the same college as me four hours away. Brad and I met while we were both in high school through FFA (Future Farmers of America), and we competed against each other in a couple different contests. I always saw him as the person I needed to beat to get to the next level although I always thought highly of him and recognized that he was a sweet, kind person. Whenever you come from small towns, those towns talk and word spreads like wildfire. Everybody really knows everybody, what they’re doing, and where they are. Thankfully, I knew Brad was already at the same college from around the same place, and it eased my mind. My parents always told me if I got into any trouble I needed to go see Brad, and he would take care of me. So I did…but it wasn’t because I was in trouble. We would go horseback riding from time to time, he would always offer to cook for me, and we would just talk to each other for a couple hours or so. As soon as I was confronted to make a decision about going out on a date with him, I kinda freaked out and backed away. I didn’t want to lose a good friend because of dating. I finally agreed to go on a date with him close to my junior year of college. Brad never TRULY had a girlfriend or dated anyone before he started dating me. He told me that when he saw me at college for the first time, he knew he was going to marry me. He waited, waited, and waited for me to give him a “yes” for a first date. He prayed for me during this time of rejection. What endurance, patience, persistence, faith, and LOVE! Can y’all imagine the hurt and pain of rejection and just waiting around for a prayer to hopefully be answered? I CANNOT. The beautiful hidden message behind our story is that Jesus watches us pursue worldly things. He knows some of us are keeping Him only in the “friend zone” when we need to have a more intimate relationship with Him. He’s waiting for us to call on Him for His guidance. Brad most certainly called to God to help him understand if he should keep pursuing me, and for that, I am so grateful. The Lord had His hand in our relationship from the beginning, and now, we are two months from being married. Don’t keep Jesus waiting to have a more personal relationship with Him. He looks down on our sinful lifestyles but is loving and forgiving when we ask Him for those things and turn away from it. I know that my Brad isn’t Jesus, but just as Brad was faithful and patient with me yet became discouraged and disappointed in me at times, he still chose to love me and pursue me anyway. Jesus is like that with us! Get Him out of that “friend zone” to go into a deeper relationship with Him.