If anyone were to have asked me a year ago to look to today and ask me where I would be… whatever I would’ve said would’ve been wrong.

On October 4, 2014…

Jason proposed to me in a very surprising way. We both lived in New England at the time. He had been away on a 12 week work project but had a long weekend planned to visit. We planned (he planned) a night to meet up with his college friends on this same weekend. In a quaint brewery, Milly’s Tavern, we sat at a bar-top to watch the Mississippi State football game while his friends trickled in. This was the first time that I had met them. MSU was crushing the other team, the Grumpy Pumpkin beer was delicious, the introductions were easy and there was laughter all around.

Elyse & The Fine Young Gents
Elyse & The Fine Young Gents (minus most of the gents)

Surprisingly one of my favorite singers from one of the praise bands at our church popped in at our table. “Hi guys! What are you up to?… The afternoon entertainment cancelled so we were called in at the last minute to do a set.” I was so excited. I told our friends, “You guys are in for such a treat. I love her voice!” Then I looked over and saw another set of our friends, Mike & Becky, having lunch. I went over, “Hey guys! Jason is in town. Come say hi before you leave!” (Looking back, no one would really look me in the eye).

Then Jason excused himself for an important work call. Meanwhile, his friends wanted to move closer to the show  and spread out at a table. Next thing I knew Jason walked in with a parade of smiling faces. His mother on one arm, mine on his other. My mom had been flown in from down south. What were they doing here?! It all had been set up! 

Three Days Later…

We both new without question that we wanted a short engagement. We decided we would plan something by the end of the year, within a few months. We wandered into Town Hall to ask about the marriage licensing laws, timeframes, etc. We were met at the door by this hispanic security guard with rosy cheeks, big smiles and full of excitement. His name is Ruiz but looking back we were thinking it may have been pronounced “Hey-seus Kris-tos.” Ruiz told us, “why don’t you just get married today?… Come, fill out paper, pay $140, walk away married. You don’t have to come back and then you go plan whatever you want.” Ruiz’s back story was foreshadowing. He told us how he had volunteered in New Orleans after the Katrina Hurricane and shared with us how difficult and rewarding it was to be a part of helping that community. He told us, “Get married today!” So we did.

A Year Later

Initially we kept our secret. Within the month we had a quiet ceremony on the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Then we had two receptions around the holidays. We took the celebrations to our families and friends instead of having our loved ones travel to us. We had both envisioned settling into a new apartment together on the Merrimack River in Manchester. I would continue to work as a Regional Supervisor for a national non-profit. We were praying for consistent local work for him to stay near.

Happiness by HiJack

The following year, we were met with so many unexpected adventures. God and I have developed a funny relationship when it comes to who’s really in control. I have all these plans and ideas but almost always don’t get my way. He instead lavishes me with much bigger plans. So my lesson over the year has been to learn to let go, let God, and have faith. My type A, need to be in control at all times, and bossy-self has actually learned to live day by day and stay present in the moment. It’s been a tough lesson due to my own stubbornness but I’m growing.

Needless to say, we left New England and moved to New Orleans. My husband jumped right into another work project. I left my own job security and title. Started volunteering at ground level of a homeless shelter for teens. Coached a friend into flipping her community based program tackling sex trafficking into a non-profit. We also traveled to the Bahamas and Greek Islands with my husband’s work. We have also met so many amazing souls along the way… this part I can’t emphasize enough. There are so many stories to tell about the people that continue to cross our paths and that we get to love on and share life with! I wish I could write all their stories but they are not mine to tell.

Today we are in the middle of a six week trip to Greece. On October 7, 2015, we celebrated our 1 year anniversary. My husband had the day off. We took a ferry to a smaller Greek Island to lay on another beach with bluer skies. It was a good day. It’s been an amazing year! Day by day, we will see what is next because honestly, we have no idea.

Paros Island Greece


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