A Stealthy Surprise That I Didn't See Coming

I sat there frozen in disbelief as Cody knelt down in front of me with a tiny box in-hand. Looking around the room in the busy restaurant at the people watching this happen, I said, “Are you effing serious?!” Tears immediately began streaming down my face before the moment really even sunk in. As I sat there crying uncontrollably with my mouth wide open, utterly speechless, I failed to hear the remarks he had so carefully crafted and practiced. My mind was mush. I melted into Cody's arms before I even mustered any sort of coherent response. He stopped and apprehensively asked, “So...is that a yes?!” All I could do was shake my head up and down and quietly utter a “UH HUH," as I began sobbing even harder.

My One-of-a-Kind Engagement Ring
{My One-of-a-Kind Engagement Ring}

You think that you'd be ready for a surprise like that when you've been waiting 5 ½ years for it to happen. But you're really not. I thought I'd be jumping for joy. I thought I'd scream out loud in an attempt to get everyone's attention, but I was just in shock.

It occurred to me that it was somewhat odd that Cody wanted to plan a trip to Charleston. You see, we had spent October traipsing all over the Eastern US, and the last thing I wanted to do was take another trip so soon. However, he was adamant. That should have tipped me off, but it didn't. Getting engaged was the furthest thing from my mind because I was not going to get my hopes up only to be disappointed. He kept calling it a “girlfriend appreciation” weekend, which I thought was really sweet. In the 5 ½ years that we've been together that's never happened. That should have tipped me off, too, but it didn't!

Me & Cody |Circa 
{Me & Cody • Circa 2006}

My mind was elsewhere, I suppose. I'm glad, though, that I decided to let go and allow the trip to happen. Can you imagine if I said NO after all the preparations he made?! Talk about being disappointed. I'm sure that he was really relieved when I finally agreed to go on the quick getaway to Charleston. Who knew it'd take so much arm twisting to get me there?!


When he presented the ring, I was a little baffled by its appearance. To be completely honest, I was thinking, “WTF?! Why is it so weird looking?!” The setting was askew and quite odd, nothing like the typical engagement rings I've grown accustomed to seeing. I think that the confused look on my face said more than the words I spoke, because Cody said, “If you're not happy with the way it looks, I can get the guy to recast the ring.” Secretly, he was hoping that's not what I wanted. The idea of being able to redo it was somewhat appealing, but I knew that wouldn't be right.

He then told me the story of how he so thoughtfully brought this token of love into existence. It began with his idea to have a ring made that had the look of a twig. We are both so connected to trees and nature that it seemed like a novel idea. The problem was finding someone that would agree to carry out his vision. From what I was told, there were countless emails and calls made to numerous jewelers only to be told that they wouldn't be able to help him.

Me & Cody | Circa 
{Me & Cody • Circa 2007}

Thankfully, that didn't stop his quest to find someone who would be willing to work with him and the diamond taken from his great Aunt's ring. It wasn't until a couple of months ago while talking to his boss that he got a recommendation for a local jeweler. After meeting with John from DogsKin Studios, he finally found someone who would be willing to help him bring this ring to life.


The ring was cast from a dying birch tree that I spotted while Cody and I were walking around Bass Lake on 09.10.11. We stopped to identify this tiny budding tree that was losing a battle to the beavers who had destroyed it. Finding a tree budding at this time of the year was pretty rare, but happened to be exactly what Cody was looking for. From what he told me, he took the opportunity to slip one of the twigs down his shirt sleeve without my knowledge, so that he could take it to John, so he could start creating the engagement ring.

Me & Cody | Circa 
{Me & Cody • Circa 2009}

After hearing the story of how this ring came to be, I began to love it a little bit more. I realized that his idea of a perfect ring was, in fact, pretty darn perfect. He revived a diamond from a family ring, melted down his class ring to create the setting which was cast from a twig that he selected while we were on a walk?! I mean, come on! It is truly one-of-a-kind and can really never be replicated or replaced. That's special. Knowing what he put into it makes me feel special, too.


After all the tears and unfounded fears that I had about reaching this level of commitment in our relationship, I now know that this was exactly the right time for this to finally happen. He proposed on 11.11.11 in the city of Charleston, SC, which happens to be one of our favorite places, with an engagement ring that embodies our love in the most perfect way possible.

Me & Cody | Circa 
{Me & Cody • Circa 2011}

A lot of care and thought was put into this proposal, and I feel extremely lucky to have someone like Cody by my side in this life. Someone who's been with me through the hard times and life-altering moments. Someone who loves me and accepts me for who am I no matter what fickle mood I may be in at the time. Our relationship is far from perfect. I am far from perfect, but we can overcome the imperfectness together.

While I am not ready to set a date or start planning a wedding, I am eagerly looking forward to and am excited about spending the rest of my life with the most amazing partner ever!

Question: Tell me...How do you keep love alive in your relationship? 
What advice do you have for a couple who are in it for the long haul?

Sharing is Caring :D


  1. Always hold hands, and tell each other you love each other every day...we are going on 15 Years and we still have to be close every night...always be kind to each other....

  2. Always hold hands, and tell each other you love each other every day...we are going on 15 Years and we still have to be close every night...always be kind to each other....

  3. I have tears in my eyes! What a gorgeous love story and that ring well dear it's perfection!!! I'm soooo excited for you 2. Marriage is the best thing that EVER happened to me and I've had a lot of amazing experiences. Let me know if you need a wedding photog, I'd be happy to shoot your wedding for free! You 2 are SO gorgeous together.

  4. Oh my gosh that is such a cute story! I think the ring is REALLY cool and the fact that Cody had such a unique idea to have it designed as a one of a kind ring that has meaning both of you is beyond cool.

    PS. You two are beautiful together.
    PSS. I'm so excited for you!!!!

  5. such a sweet lil story!! And I have a love for all things unique.. my first wedding ring was this plastic apple that said fairest of them all..lol.. but I still love it.. anyways..welcome to the fam!!!
    how do u keep love alive.. hm... I don't have all the answers. but I do try my best to be mindful.. while you both are joining lives there are still everyday battles that are seperate.. be mindful in your words.. and your actions :)

  6. Aw, yey! Now I'm the weepy one. Haha.

    My answer to your question, as far as I know anyway, is to consciously decide to love him every day, to realize that you did fall in love with a soul, not just behaviors and now you've promised to get to know that soul for the rest of your life, so treat him like a soul, rather than a set of behaviors. And also, kiss passionately at least once a day for as long as you can muster. And also, laugh a lot. And focus on the good parts of him, rather than the parts that annoy you. And um... I guess that's it. :D

    All it really takes, imo, is respect and admiration, and you guys seem to reciprocate both of those things already. :) <3

  7. And am I the only one who wants to see this ring on your finger? Come on! :D

  8. Congrats! We have our 24th anniversary on Dec. 31. My advice would be to communicate, don't sweat the small stuff and have fun.

  9. What a lovely story and the ring is gorgeous, not to mention the loving sentiment behind it.

    My advice? The things I've kept in mind throughout my marriage are: A. Review the reasons I fell in love with my spouse on a regular basis. B. Communicate and compromise, which leads to C. In every argument remember that winning is NOT the object because where there is a 'winner' there is always a 'loser'; and being the loser too often leads to resentment and drawing away.

    Congratulations to both of you and warmest wishes for your future.

  10. I think your askew ring is gourgeous! And you have a ring that means something more than the "how many carats" mentality that has overtaken the brides of today! Many congrats...I can't offer advice because, well divorce got the best of my marriage, but be kind, be generous with your affection, and never stop expanding your world

  11. Congrats!!! Your ring is so beautiful!