Two people I look up to and admire the most are my siblings.
There’s a big age gap between us because I was… a surprise. At one point a few years ago my mom told me she cried when she found out she was pregnant with me. But she quickly tried to tell me I was a good surprise.
And my response was— I LOVE SURPRISES. Of course I was one.
Anyway, Alycia and I have an awesome eleven year age gap that keeps us on our toes (literally, an age gap will never keep us from our love of dancing it up or karaoke-ing it up anywhere we go). But even with a significant maturity gap, every year I find myself more and more grateful for her willingness to be my friend, cheerleader, and relationship guru throughout my awkward middle school years, theatre-induced high school years, rollercoaster-of-emotions college years, and super cool twenties.
She has spoken a lot of truth into my life (she’s very wise) and annoyed me at times (we’re sisters, it happens).
One of my favorite things about her is her story and her choice (on a daily basis) to believe that God’s plan for her life is better than her own.
Her gift of singleness the past twenty-ish years hasn’t defined her, but it’s something I’ve appreciated about her story.
She’s journeyed so faithfully with the Lord through singleness and has shown me what it’s like to surrender our lives to Christ— she’s shown me what it’s like to “marry adventure” and what it’s like to be a single woman who desires marriage. She’s shown me that God is faithful, provides family, and epic experiences whether we’re in a relationship or not.
If you like surprises as much as my mom and I do, then I think the biggest surprise of 2019 is: Reinder.
In January, Alycia and Reinder went on a handful of dates… and toward the latter few dates, I could tell they were both sold. I think the more adult-y we become, the more we know what we need and want. And I think God made it apparent these two needed to start doing life together.
And at the end of February, he proposed and she said yes. I’m pumped to see their marriage journey unfold. And to celebrate their marriage on an island in The Netherlands (did I mention they live in The Netherlands? Reinder is Dutch and Alycia is a Texan). I’m excited to celebrate their love for God and their desire to participate in a covenant marriage.
They snuck out to Texas back in February, so we may or may not have taken some proposal pictures at a very beautiful botanic garden in Fort Worth. We also hit up Craftwork coffee and Inspiration Alley— and I absolutely LOVE how colorful their pictures turned out. Colorful, just like their story.
Here’s Alycia’s proposal story:
“I said yes. 😉 The man I’ve been praying for for over twenty years has finally walked into my life and we are thrilled to begin this new journey together. Can’t wait to start this new chapter with Reinder…
…he chose the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens under the gazebo. It was perfect. I felt like Liesel in the Sound of Music but without the dance number! He wrote me a beautiful letter and then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes....very quickly and happily! Thanks to my grandmother, Betty Zelios, he was able to give me a beautiful family ring that we believe is from Greece. We had a lovely brunch with my mom and dad (and Stacie!) after this very romantic engagement. Then we went to the zoo! Not kidding… A couple of days later, Stacie was kind enough to take these AMAZING photos of us for our engagement shoot. I can't believe how good they are…..”