Friday, March 25, 2011

Happily Ever After (Part 3 of Our Story)

Ok, so here is Part 3 of our lovely Story...
from the point of Preston's proposal to our wedding, honeymoon,
and today...

Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
In the Fall (2009), the second Tinker Bell movie came out, which looked epic because it was called "Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure!"  As we watched the movie, it became clearer how even more prophetic it was, and how liken the story was to our own!  First of all, Tinker Bell is assigned the great and glorious mission to create a special scepter that will hold a piece of the blue moonstone for when the Blue Moon arises and releases the perfect light through the moonstone to create pixie dust!  Something went wrong along the way, so Tinker Bell - the mighty clever one she is - set off on a quest to search for a lost treasure.  And guess what she created for this quest?!  A Hot Air Balloon!!!  AND, guess what the hot air balloon was made out of? A wish flower!!  Could it get even more prophetic or significant for us?  Well, yes, actually...but we didn't put the pieces together until the eve of our wedding...

One More Trip to Neverland
We made one last trip to the coast together and stayed with our favorite friend out there, Billy.  We told him our story, for when we first met him in January 2009 (our first trip out there), we had only been friends.  Now we were getting married!  So we shared with him our amazing story and he loved it.  As we were getting ready to fall asleep, he asked us if he could tell us a bedtime story!  So he made one up right there.  It was a very special story that spoke so true to my heart, so afterward I told him he had to write it down and give it to us.  

The story was about a princess with a glass heart.  Her Daddy, the King, was the maker of all hearts, and hers was most unique.  Everyone wanted to look at and hold her glass heart, which led her to get her heart broken by a prince who didn't know how to handle her heart.  As a result, she locked herself up in her tower and hid her heart under her pillow, swearing to never let anyone touch it again!

One day a new prince from a far off land came to visit the King and to meet His daughter.  The princess didn't trust him, for she didn't trust anyone, but the prince was patient and wise and spent much time with the King.  Slowly but surely the princess let the prince in, but when he asked to hold her glass heart, she panicked and shut him out, just like all the other princes.  

The princess asked her Father why he gave her such a fragile glass heart.  The King answered her sweetly, "You are to be treasured and treated with care like fragile glass.  The man who can hold your heart will treasure and care for you.  I knew who you were before you were born.  I knew the love and life that your heart would carry and I wanted all to see the beauty and love your heart would hold.  I gave you a glass heart because I wanted people to see into it."  

The prince was gentle and never gave up.  And when he won the princess' trust, the princess asked him why he wanted her glass heart, "Do you want my heart because it is rare and valuable and a prize for you that no other man can find?"
The kind prince told her, "Where I come from glass is as common as stone.  Do you know what it is like to live in a glass kingdom?  Everyone can peer in and see you no matter how thick the walls.  I want your heart because I love you.  I know how to handle glass and I cannot stand to see your heart uncared for." 

This story completely blessed me.  I totally identified with the princess, and this story was such a gift to me.

Why New Years Day?
We chose to get married on New Years Day, January 1st, 2010 for several reasons.  We ideally wanted to get married as soon as possible because, well...why wait?  So we were looking at November, which would give me a little over three months to plan.  I always wanted to get married outside, but I couldn't wait for next spring!  No way!  We had so many amazing and prophetic ideas for our wedding.  We wanted our wedding to be one big message of childlikeness and freedom for people of all ages.  So we decided we shouldn't try to rush it into November.

Psalm 110 was a passage that spoke largely to both of us individually.  There was something magical in that passage about sitting with Papa God at His right hand and watching the Lord extend "His mighty sceptor," and something beautiful about "the womb of the dawn," and "the dew of your youth," seemed to woo us into that passage.  So, we thought, wouldn't it be cool to get married in January of 2010, since the date would be 1-10?!  So we looked at some dates in January and asked our families what they thought.  

Both Preston and I each have a close relative who lives overseas (Preston's brother and my uncle), both of whom we would want at our wedding.  The only thing about that is only certain days worked for them.  For example, January 2nd, which was a Saturday (an ideal day for a wedding) would not work for either of them because they would need to be back in their countries by Monday (and overseas fights always take a couple days).  So we decided on the 1st, Friday, New Years Day, so that our relatives could fly out Saturday and be home in time for their jobs.

Once in a Blue Moon
On the eve of our wedding, which was New Years Eve 2009, we discovered that there was a blue moon!!!  First of all, a blue moon only happens every two and a half years.  Second of all, a blue moon on New Years Even happens much rarely than that!  The next time a blue moon falls on New Years Eve is in 2028!  Third of all...well, how many people can say that there was a blue moon on the eve of their wedding?  AND...even though I know a blue moon isn't really "blue," the fact that I have a blue diamond seems to be pretty prophetic.  Not to mention the Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure movie being all about the blue moon in addition to having a hot air balloon in it...Geeze, I'm overwhelmed, are you?!  Who could plan that?!  God?! :)

So, since the date was 1-1-10, we thought, how about we get married at 1:10pm?  Seems practical, right?  So we had an early morning of getting ready for the "Big day."  Preston and I had our first "meeting" before the wedding (where he saw the bride for the first time) on that famous bridge "where we met in the middle as a riddle began to unfold" just years before.  (It truly is quite the riddle, isn't it?).  It was raining, so I wore my rainbow rain boots underneath my fairy wedding dress, and Preston held a great big umbrella. It sort of felt like Narnia with the Narnia-style lamps on the bridge (you know, like the lamp where Lucy meets Mr. Tumnus, who also holds an umbrella).
Our Narnia Bridge, where "we met in the middle..."
"...and a riddle began to unfold..."
Thankfully, the rain let up a little for the pictures with the whole wedding party, which took place on a little playground behind the church.  We got married inside a beautiful round church with high ceilings and a skylight, and wonderful acoustics.  Prophetic Artists painted on the stage as the worship band led everyone in praise.  The chairs were all set up in a giant circle with a little square stage in the center and a canopy of bright kites hanging beautifully above.
"and we were wed beneath a canopy of kites and rainbows..."
The Wedding Ceremony Begins...
At 1:10pm Beni Johnson (our officiant) blew the shofar, ushering in the bridegroom.  Out came Preston in his white tuxedo with a turquoise superhero cape, surrounded by children dressed in superhero costumes and princess dresses to Benjamin Dunn's song "Levitating Love."  Followed by his groomsmen, one by one, looking sharp in their black suits and bright red superhero capes carrying different treasures and placing them each into the giant treasure box, (generously lent to us by my wonderful Grandma).
Beni sounding the shofar, ushering in the bridegroom...
Preston's brother putting our kite in the big Treasure Chest on the center stage
Next, my Peter Pan Wedding Song came on (which I re-recorded in a studio, thank you Jeremy Edwardson), and as my voice sang "We watched the fairies..." out stepped my fairy bridesmaids, one by one, with their beautiful tie-dye dresses and fairy wings, painted faces and painted feet (*sigh, it was spectacular), each carrying a special treasure just like the superhero groomsmen.
My beautiful sister carrying down the aisle the treasure box
Preston gave me for my birthday 2009
Following the fairy bridesmaids were Preston's niece and nephew in their fairy and peter pan costumes.  Jacee, the fairy, dropped pixie dust down the aisle and Coy (Peter Pan) proudly and carefully carried the pillow with a little treasure box on it, which held our rings.  Finally, the climax of the song, "From the clocktower, I'll sing you a story..."  and my dad and I walked out.  I wore a white fairy cape with a hood instead of a veil.  My hair hung in long braids on each side with bright feathers in it.  I wore a key around my neck, some facepaint, and my white fairy wedding dress had brightly colored tulle underneath, around the bottom.  My shoes were turquoise, just like Preston's, and I held a side bouquet of flowers - purple and yellow lilies wrapped in a great big green leaf.
Jacee & Coy, our little fairy and Peter Pan walking down the aisle!
"From the clocktower I'll sing you a story..."
My dad lifted my fairy hood and kissed my cheek, and my mom took my fairy cape as I turned to join my bridegroom.  And the ceremony begins!  When Beni said "You may kiss the bride," Preston surprised us ALL by pulling out yet another THIMBLE - a gold one with a bride and groom on top!!!!!
Dad lifting the "veil" (fairy hood)
Preston surprised me with a thimble just before the "You May Kiss The Bride"
My face says it all!
The Treasures
Among the treasures that our groomsmen and bridesmaids carried down the aisle were both the treasure boxes that we had given each other on our birthdays, our first kite we flew together, the sand castle that Preston gave me for my birthday, a balloon on a string, a beautiful Peter Pan book, a giant key, a mini drum from Africa, a pan flute, a canister of wine (for communion), a globe we found at an antique shop, and a word that said "peace" (for Preston and I had made a covenant of peace early on in our relationship).

On the tables at our wedding and reception were jars with candles inside them (to represent a song and concept I wrote about "catching lightning in a jar" during a thunderstorm).  Also, crayons were everywhere!  Not to mention those copies of the coloring picture we had found at the castle. My mom made some amazing rainbow colored cupcakes that looked perfect next to all the brightly colored candy in jars.  We also provided Starbucks coffee in the lobby.  
Preston and my wedding cake was my favorite, and my mom did such a wonderful job!  It was a cake made to look like a sand castle, with a little fairy and prince on top as the "bride and groom."  There were also little miniature shovels and buckets in the "sand" (which was delicious brown sugar), and whipped cream around the base of the cake so that it looked like a castle in the clouds!!
Recognize the castle picture next to the cake?
This was of course the best day of my life!  My mom surprised me with a song she wrote and played it at the reception.  It was all about me being Tiger Lily, and Peter Pan, and whomever I wanted to be at make believe time...  I also surprised my dad with a song I wrote long ago about him walking me down the aisle.   We had our dances, Preston and my first dance to "Up In The Stars" by Owl City/Swimming with Dolphins, the Father-Daughter dance to "Cinderella" by Steven Curtis Chapman (which makes me ball my eyes out!), and the Mother of the groom dance to "Find Your Wings" by Mark Harris.  We danced our hearts out and then jumped in our car to head for our honeymoon.

The Honeymoon
Our honeymoon, the night after the blue moon ;) We went to Fort Bragg, California.  We wanted to go somewhere on the coast that wouldn't take too long of a drive and would be some place new where we'd never been before.  Our good friend Billy from the coast had come to our wedding and at the end he handed us a key and said "there is something for you out there on the table."  It was a treasure box, which we eagerly took with us on our honeymoon.  We opened it up that night and inside was the perfect gift!  It was the written story about the princess with the glass heart! AND an actual glass heart! With a rainbow swirl in it!!  WOW!

It gets better...The next day, Preston looked through a site about Fort Bragg to see what we could do that day.  As I was getting ready for the day, he exclaimed, "Bethany!  Look at this!  Glass Beach!"  What is Glass Beach, we both wondered.  Apparently there used to be a landfill by the ocean (before people realized that it wasn't a very good idea to pollute the ocean), and over time, the waves and the tide of the ocean has washed over and softened the glass (from broken bottles and such), and has made it look like a beautiful, glistening treasure island beach!

God is so prophetic and so romantic, and He loves to play along with us in our love songs and love stories.  When we explored the beautiful glass beach, we collected a few glass pieces to take home with us as a reminder (which we later discovered people are not supposed to do -- oops!  It was all in innocence, I swear!).  I had the brilliant idea to using the glass pieces to make a glass castle painting to hang on our wall as a reminder of the amazing story!
The beautiful glistening Glass Beach!

So here we are a year later, and there is a baby growing in side me.  Now, from our story there are several things highlighted, such as Story itself.  If this baby is a girl, we will name her Story.  However, if the baby is a boy, we will name him Courage.  We picked the name Courage last year as we thought of creative, destiny-filled boy names.  We like the name Courage because it has destiny all over him.  A child named Courage will grow up to be bold and courageous.  He will know who he is - the son of a Courageous Lion.  I've mentioned before that Bob Jones prophesied that 2011 is the year of the roaring Lion, and that this is the year of Authority.  To Preston and me, this means Courage too.  So, now you know the significance of both Story and Courage, and only time will tell which one is coming this Fall!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our Love Story (Part2)

Since our story is really long, I've decided to break it up into 3 parts.
This is Part 2 and it is of our Springtime and Summertime of Love, 
starting from the point Preston gave me my first thimble to the point where...
well, you'll just have to find out!

Tinker Bell & Laughter 
Around the time we started dating, the Tinker Bell movies came out.  I remember sitting on the couch with Preston watching the first Tinker Bell movie and I can still hear the laughter of the baby trailing on throughout the film as Tinker Bell was first born.  J.M. Barrie thought up the concept that "when the first baby laughed for the first time, that laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.  And now when every new baby is born, it's first laugh turns into a fairy!"  Something magical in that baby's laugh (in the movie) released such joy that we couldn't stop laughing! 

Childlike things captured our biggest attention and set our imaginations running wild.  We began to love things like kites and hot air balloons because of their bright colors and relation to flight.  We relished in these simple, yet endless, joys and wrote about them frequently.  We picked *wish flowers (or dandelions) and made the sweetest wishes together, watching the little pieces get carried away by the wind.  It was definitely a springtime of love!
Wish Flower
Finger Painting
One day Preston and I decided to paint together.  I got a huge canvas, we built a fort in my living room (with chairs and blankets), and we put the canvas inside.  Preston asked, "What should we paint?"  I said, "You pick one color, and I'll pick another."  He picked blue and I picked a bright green color.  "Now what?" He asked.  With a glimmer in my eye, I said, "Let's use our hands!"  So we moved the colors around with our fingers and blended them together to make our favorite color turquoise!  Then we added more colors and painted other images from there.  The neat thing was that in the turquoise spot where we had used our hands and blended our colors together, the shape ended up looking like the country of Africa (I love Africa!), and I painted a big red heart in the upper left side of the "country" where there was still a blank spot left uncolored.  What was also interesting is that the heart looked like it was blinking because of the bold colors!  Afterwards we reflected on how significant it was that Preston chose the color blue and I chose the color green.  "You have blue eyes and I have green eyes!"  I pointed out.  And blending those colors together produced our favorite color -- turquoise!  It was like a symbol of us coming together.  (We displayed this huge painting, our first creation together, at our wedding later on).
Our first painting, with the blinking heart in Africa
A Special Treasure Hunt
Preston's birthday was coming up just a few weeks after we started dating, and I began thinking about what I could get him.  He had been talking about how he loves keys, those big skeleton keys, so I decided I would search for the perfect one for him.  It felt like a treasure hunt as I went to every antique shop, thrift store and odd-end boutique I could find in Redding.  Along the way in this "treasure hunt" I found a special treasure box that was disguised as the book "Treasure Island."  Since Preston loves books, I thought this was perfect to put the key inside, along with other treasures.  So I began to search for other prophetic gifts to fill his treasure box with.  I found some incense, some stones with words on them, and some crayons.  I took pictures of meaningful places we'd shared together, such as the bridge we first met on after the waterfall, and I wrote on the back a quote from Preston's writings about that adventure: "we met in the middle as a riddle began to unfold..."  Other pictures were of the tunnel we sang in and the Dino-soar Mountain we trekked up.  

Another item I chose to put in the treasure box was a castle shaped thimble we had both found at an antique shop.  We had decided to share it and Preston let me keep it.  I thought this would be a nice time to give it back to him for awhile.  The one thing that was missing from the treasure box was the key!  I searched high and low and all around for the right key, but still couldn't find one.  I even visited different locksmiths in town, but still no luck.

Our Castle Thimble we found together
Finally, I stumbled upon a hidden store in the old downtown mall, and it was there that I found the "Treasure."  There was a ring of beautiful dark bronze keys, all different sizes.  The biggest one was the perfect size for what I was looking for, so I kept the other two little ones for me to make necklaces out of.  My gift for Preston was complete!  I wrote a prophetic note on tinted recycled paper from my journal and rolled it up like a scroll.  It went something like this...
"Our castle thimble is here 
because some day we will explore a castle 
and because you and I will rescue trapped princesses, slay dragons, 
and bring enchanted peace to generations, cultures and children.  
And we will do this with children.
This is the key, 
the key that you will continue to unlock doors to uncharted lands, 
undiscovered realms and deeper depths of the heart..."

Superheroes & Rollercoasters
For Preston's birthday we went with some friends to a theme park and road our first rollercoaster together.  We bought superhero capes and wore them around the theme park all day long!  When we returned home, I gave him the treasure box.  I could tell it meant a lot to him because he got teary-eyed, (such a sensitive boy).  We sat across from each other on the floor of my room with our superhero capes on and whispered back and forth "I trust you" for almost twenty minutes!  It was a time of trust, of learning to look into each other's eyes, a time of me allowing him to look inside me and not dropping my gaze in fear.  Next, we lay out beneath the stars, wearing our superhero capes, and we talked about God.  Then we kissed under the moon - two superheroes in love under the night sky.  It was a very memorable moment.
On Preston's birthday May 29th 2009
Owl City
One day Preston had a gift for me.  He had spent all night writing something incredible for me.  He presented me with a CD that he bought, along with a print-out of the lyrics to the songs, his interpretation for us, and his own poetry regarding his love for me.  The CD was Owl City.  We had never heard of Owl City before and it was so timely in our relationship to discover a unique sound with lyrical songs that seemed as if they were written about us!  They have one song called "Hot Air Balloon," which we became ecstatic about!  I took it home, listened to the whole CD and followed along the music with the print-out he provided.  One thing Preston wrote was about a kite.  
"Fly a kite, we fly a kite, into the sky we fly.  Trust is the substance of never saying goodbye.  Fly a kite with the strings of our heart, we fly it upright to have a brand new start, to finish what we started..."
This was the first time I really felt the realness of our relationship, the realness of his love for me.  I think this was the first time he really communicated to me a new and deeper love -- a love that is forever.

Trust Tattoos
The next month, June, Preston started planning to move back to North Dakota for a little while.  He asked me to go with him and work at a Starbucks there for the summer so we could be together, but I wasn't ready to leave Redding or my family just yet.  We both thought maybe it would be a good challenge to grow in communication through a long distance relationship.  Though my birthday was coming up on the Fourth of July, Preston planned to pack up his car and move in the next couple weeks.  So he planned an early birthday surprise for me the week before he left, where he presented me my first bouquet of flowers from him.  Among the flowers was a bright big yellow sunflower, and what was that hidden in the center of it? -- a thimble!!  This one was a white porcelain thimble with two people on it - a man and a woman.  Preston smiled and said, "It's a Romeo and Juliet thimble!"  I loved it!

Next he pulled out a treasure box filled with amazing prophetic gifts such as a little booklet with a hot air balloon on it, some incense, a little book in which he highlighted key phrases for me to read, and so much more...

He also gave me a children's storybook with poems in it and pictures.  Hidden in the book was a piece of paper with crayon writing on it that said "I want to fly a kite with you on your birthday!"  He went on to say that maybe I could fly out to Fargo on my birthday and fly a kite with him.

But he wasn't finished with the gifts just yet.  He handed me a big white castle that looked like a sand castle and gave it to me.  And finally, he said "there's one more thing, but you have to look outside for it."  So we went out to my backyard and I looked for something special.  I noticed a jar floating in the pool and asked "What's that?!"  We went to retrieve it from the water and there was a  blue and green letter "M" drawn on the jar, which Preston said was for "Mystery."  Inside the jar was a letter to me -- a message in a bottle!

I made the drive out to North Dakota with Preston in the middle of June.  We spent my last couple days (before my flight back home to California) in Minneapolis, where Preston's friend gave us our first matching tattoos.  We loved the concept of the Kite representing "Trust" that Preston had written abut, so we decided we wanted tattoos of a blue and green kite (our two colors), with the string tied around two hearts (his and mine), and the word Trust written in the kite string.  
Our Kite Tattoos
At the airport, as we were saying goodbye, Preston handed me another thimble -- this one was a porcelain Alice in Wonderland thimble.  So I put it with my other thimbles in a little pouch and carried it around my neck the whole flight home.

Fly A Kite
At home, I began to focus on art and music, and I was excited to use my time productively.  I spoke frequently with Preston on the phone as he started hinting at rings... "What kinds of rings do you like?...what shape diamonds?..."  It seemed only natural to talk about spending our lives together, even though we had only been dating barely two months.

The closer it came to my birthday, it looked like I wouldn't be able to fly out to North Dakota to fly a kite with Preston.  On Friday June 26th, 2009, while I was sitting in the coffee shop at church, Preston called me and said "I'm coming home.  I packed up the car and I'm leaving today.  I'll be there Sunday."  I was speechless!  "W-what??? Really?!"  I almost couldn't believe it.  He had lasted a whole two weeks apart from me, and realized he was "lovesick." So I eagerly awaited his arrival!

Sunday came and I greeted him with joy and expectation.  He hopped on the back of my scooter and we went to the place where he had given me the very first thimble (the field on top of a hill).  It was summer in Redding, so it was hot, and riding a scooter in 100-degree weather isn't all that pleasant, but we didn't care.  In the middle of the field Preston gave me yet another thimble!  This one was a porcelain thimble with a prince and princess on it.  The prince was kneeling down in love with affection for his princess.  While he was in North Dakota, I looked for and found a castle thimble to give him - one that was entirely from me to him.  So I gave him that thimble as we proceeded to go on a walk from there down to the river.

Since he came home just in time for my birthday, our wish to fly a kite together on the 4th of July came true!  We road tripped down to Santa Cruz, where had experienced Peter Pan bliss only months earlier, and celebrated my birthday on the beach.  On the morning of my birthday, we got dressed in our superhero capes and batman T-shirts and explored that same bookstore, where we met a young father with his wife and baby.  The man's eyes gleamed at us with such excitement as he expressed how much he loved that we were wearing capes.  His wife chimed in and explained that his own mother had a hard time getting him to not wear a cape when he was a kid.  Preston encouraged him, "go get yourself a cape and wear it again!  You will feel so free!"  The man nodded as he enthusiastically considered it, "I think I will!"  And as he left, Preston and I both looked at each other and declared, "He will wear his cape again..."

This became such an important declaration for all people to "wear their capes again," setting them free to be childlike and joyous again!  We will never forget that simple yet profound encounter in the middle of the children's section of the bookstore, while we wore our superhero capes.
The bookstore in Santa Cruz where we met a father and declared that
"he would wear his cape again"
on my birthday, July 4th, 2009
Since we didn't bring a kite on this "kite-flying adventure," we looked for a shop to buy one.  We stumbled upon a little gift shop and bought a rainbow kite, a fairy-coloring book and colored pencils, and went to a nearby coffee shop to color.  Preston chose a page for us to color -- which later turned out to be a very significant page indeed.  It was of a fairy prince cupping the face of a fairy princess on a flower.  We colored the whole page, dated it and signed it.  Then we set off for the beach with kite in hand and superhero capes on our backs.
Coloring on my birthday

The beach was crowded, after all it was 4th of July on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.  We found a little clearing and attempted to fly our kite.  I don't even remember the last time (or first time) I had even flown a kite, so it was definitely a little tricky at fist.  But the weather was perfect for kite-flying!  We ran up and down the beach with the kite high above our heads riding the wind.  Who knew kite-flying could be such FUN?!  Before we left the beach, I just had to make time to build a little sand castle.  As pathetic as it was (the sand castle, I mean), I didn't want to leave without creating it.

Next we went to the boardwalk and road on the rollercoasters with our capes on.  Preston's favorite ride was the Lost Boys ride - the Giant Dipper, so we rode that one twice!  Once during the day and then we went back at night when the rides light up.  That night we walked along the seashore, gazed at the moon, and dipped our feet in the ocean waves.  *Sigh...It was a lovely birthday.

Prophetic Dream
Back at home, while I was flipping through my journal from the past year, I came across a dream I had written down.  Preston was with me, so I immediately began reading aloud because it was a prophetic dream that I had when Preston and I were just friends, and he was in it:
We were riding in a taxi, but a bear came out of nowhere and started attacking the taxi.  So Preston said, "I'll be right back," and he got out of the car and turned into a lion and defeated the bear!!  Then he got back into the taxi, pulled down a lever (like on a rollercoaster) and with a grin he said "Are you ready?!"  And off we rode like wild!  It was a lot of fun, with no fear.
When I was reading this account of my dream to Preston, suddenly my eyes got really big as I saw what I had written next... 
"Then at the end of the dream we flew away in a hot air balloon!!"  
Both of us just stared at each other wide-eyed and stunned, and then we broke into laughter exclaiming how amazing it was that long before we were dating I had a dream about us flying in a hot air balloon.  Little did I know that this confirmation dream meant much more to Preston at this particular moment than just some fun link to another childlike joy we like to admire...

Heartstrings, Kites & Mystery Flights
A few weeks after my birthday Preston wanted to take a little vacation trip with me to somewhere we had never been before.  So we took a few days off and drove south to Napa.  he made it sound like I could choose where to go and what to do.  He said he only planned a few things, such as seeing the vineyards.  As we checked into our hotel in napa, I noticed a beautiful mural on the wall of hot air balloons.  "Preston, look!!"  I said, and I took out my phone to take a picture.  I asked the lady behind the counter if there were hot air balloon rides there, and she pointed to a flyer.  I looked excitedly at Preston and then looked at the price and said, "Woah!  ah, well, maybe some day, huh?"
The photo I took with my phone of the mural on the wall
That night Preston asked if I wanted to get up early and watch the sunrise with him.  He said he read somewhere that there was a sunrise restaurant and then called them to see if they were open the next morning.  I thought it was a good idea because we loved sunsets and sunrises.  There is something about the early morning, the dawn, before anyone else gets up, when the birds are just beginning to stir, and the air is so fresh and brisk, that you just feel Holy Spirit so clearly.  So we set our alarms for 4am and said goodnight.

Come 4am I had second thoughts.  It would feel so good to sleep in on vacation, but I got up anyway.  So we stumbled outside and into the car.  He set the GPS, went down a few streets, and finally ended up at a restaurant by the water.  As we were parking, I noticed quite a few other people heading for the restaurant.  I thought to myself, "Wow, this must be a popular place for early risers."  As we got out of the car, Preston headed straight for a lady with a clipboard, which seemed strange.  So, I curiously followed him and looked around. Then I noticed the lady's sweatshirt - it had hot air balloons on it!  I looked at Preston excitedly and asked, "What are we doing, Preston?!!"  He grinned and exclaimed, "We're going on a hot air balloon ride!!!"
Watching the other balloons lift up, up and away...
Completely elated, we set off for our magical hot air balloon ride!  As we climbed into our basket, we watched other brightly colored hot air balloons life up, up and away into the beautiful blue sky.  As we ourselves lifted up, our hot air balloon pilot began to share the history of hot air balloons.  We didn't know that hot air balloons were the first form of human flight, and that it originated in France.  Preston got excited when the pilot said this, and he shared with me a prophetic word one of his friends had recently given him.  It was three words: "France, Romance, and Hot Air Balloons."  How funny that we were romantically flying in a hot air balloon and that the pilot was talking about France.  All the pieces were coming together.
It was so peaceful floating up there in the sky.  The sun was rising, the air was cool, and our peripheral view was gorgeous as we floated over fields of sunflowers and trees and vineyards.  Then, my ears perked up when I heard the pilot say, "Now is the time for the thimble presentation."  Is there yet another "coincidence" with hot air balloons that has something to do with thimbles too?? I thought.  Then I looked at Preston and gasped, "That's us!!"

Preston reached into his pocket and pulled out a brightly colored piece of paper, which he colored with crayons.  He handed me the most gorgeous hot air balloon thimble and began reading me a poem...
"The memories we have had already 
make me feel steady 
to begin to unfold new mysteries, 
where the One who sees...follows.
So follow me as we've been set free 
to fly into this sky.
Questions why 
no longer try to tug at our 
heart strings, kites and mystery flights...
Where we stand in the clouds, it's where we reside.
And as we ride this ride, I feel the pride 
of calling you my own,
this is home above the ground, 
where we discover the treasures all around
and in each other's eyes, this is where I realize...
that I can fly in the sky and get down on one knee
and ask you this question:
Will You Marry Me?"
Then he got down on one knee and handed me not another thimble but, yes, a diamond ring!!!  I almost fainted, overwhelmed with love and joy and everything else magical.  This was not just any diamond ring.  It was a blue diamond -- our favorite color blue to be exact,  Like a deep turquoise, blue-green color!  With two smaller white diamonds on either side!  It looked antique style, so unique and detailed!  I was so in love with it!  So in love with Preston!  So IN LOVE!
My blue diamond and my hot air balloon thimble
(photo taken in the hot air balloon just after he got down on one knee in the sky
July 25th, 2009)
I remembered a prophetic word my friend had given us before we left...she said she kept hearing the song "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," and the phrase she highlighted to us was "like a diamond in the sky!"  And Preston indeed gave me a diamond in the sky.  (She also talked about "Christmas in July," and guess what the date was of this magical proposal...July 25th, 2009!)  YAY!
We spilled out of our basket as the hot air balloon landed!
See video below:

When our hot air balloon landed, we spilled out onto the land - literally, for the basket tipped over and we all laughed uncontrollably!

The Castle
After our magical hot air balloon ride, Preston led me on yet another adventure - to a castle!  We toured the castle, holding our castle thimbles in our hands and exploring the different hallways and stairwells and dungeons (where we pretended a dragon was captured).  
When we entered a big room near the gift shop, there was a kid's corner where children were coloring.  We went over to see what they were coloring, and guess what!!  There was a stack of papers that had the same coloring picture on all of them -- and it was the same coloring picture that Preston and I colored on my birthday!!  The one with the fairy prince cupping the fairy princess' face in a loving way!  We were so astonished!  So we took a copy of the uncolored coloring picture and decided we would make copies of it for our wedding guests!  God is so romantic!
The coloring picture that the kids in the castle were coloring
- the same one that we randomly chose to color on my birthday just weeks earlier!
The rest of our trip was magical and full of bliss.  I couldn't stop staring and gawking over my new pretty ring!  We visited my hometown in Redwood City Bay Area, got to minister at my old church, PCC, together for the first time as an engaged couple, and even got to tour my old house on Scenic Drive!  We were on cloud 110, and we were never coming back down!
(To Be Continued...)

So that is the end of Part 2 of our magical Love Story.
(I told you it was long)
Next time I will write about our magical fairytale Wedding,
and everything in between!