I am engaged to a truly remarkable man. He is the man I have dreamed of since I was a little girl and he makes me feel like a princess every single day. He is an amazing man of God, a pilot, and a Captain(sel) in the United States Air Force. He is currently on a temporary duty to Altus AFB, OK for C-17 pilot training. This man is my hero and never does anything short of perfection; so why would the day he asks me to marry him be any different?
Friday, March 4th 2011, I was awoken at 7:30 a.m. to a good morning kiss from my sweet boy. I look down to find a perfectly placed single stem red rose in my arms. He looked at me and smiled saying, "I want to give you this rose. I love you because I think you are perfect!" My heart melts and he continues to tell me that throughout the day I will be getting a total of seven roses. He next surprised me with breakfast in bed. After we cuddle together for a few minutes, he informs me that we have a busy day ahead of us and I need to get up and get ready. I jump up out of bed and immediately get showered and dressed for the day. He tells me we are doing something special today, so I should dress in something warm, something I could get dirty, something that I would be comfortable in and of course, something cute. As we are ready to walk out the door I notice that my phone is missing. Starting to panic, he eases my mind and says that we will look for it when we come back and that I wouldn't need it anyways. So around 9:15 a.m. we head out together to see what he has in store for us!
We drive about 15 minutes from the Air Force Base and park next to a large building that looks like a warehouse or something. I have no idea where we are or what we might be doing until we pull around the corner of the building and there is a sign that reads "Aviation Rental." My stomach drops and my heart starts pounding even more! We walk to the front of the building and there is a small one propeller engine airplane; later to find out its called a Cesna 172. He looks at me and says, "We are gonna go fly that!" My mouth is gapping open as I can not believe what we are about to do! All I can think is … my mom is going to kill me when she finds out what we did! :) We walk over to the aircraft and Stu opens the passenger door and on the passenger seat is a single red rose (rose #2). He turns around, hands me the rose and says "I love you because you have faith, in God and in me." With my life literally in his hands, we board our aircraft after running through all the preflight checklists and safety checks. The rental operator comes out to the aircraft before starting and hands Stu an envelope and says, "It might be a little bumpy up there…" Unbeknown to me, it was a puke bag, luckily, I did not have to use it! We are sitting side-by-side in this itty-bitty cockpit, practically bumping elbows. We have our head sets on and are able to talk to each other as well as other aircraft. He pulls the airplane out onto the runway and we take off into the sky (wild blue yonder)! It was the most thrilling experience ever! From the cockpit, you could see for miles in all directions; the sun was bright that morning and the clouds were lightly scattered around us. Suddenly, the air-traffic-controller comes over the radios and notifies us that there is a heavy aircraft that just departed a nearby airfield and to be advised of its direction and altitude. Stu and I look over and flying right next to us is this triumphant, glorious C-17 Globemaster III pointed nose up with a steep banked turn. Stu yells "That's my plane!” It was so cool to be sharing the sky with such a fantastic looking aircraft that completely dwarfs the size of our aircraft. Soaring right at eye level with it was unbelievable. During our flight, Stu even let me take over the controls for a little while. With his guidance, I was able to fly the plane in a couple circles and maintained my altitude all by myself! Wow! It was unreal! The next thing I know we are flying over Lake Altus and he asks me to look out the window and to see if I recognize anything, and I did stating, "That is where we had dinner on Valentine's Day!” I can see the Lake Altus Quartz Mountain Resort and the bridge leading across one of the bays to the concert hall. He continues to fly all around the lake and asks if I see a trail that is along the water. I think I see the path he is talking about, as we further clarify which one, it is going out to one of the peninsulas on the lake. He asks if I see anything down there just off the trail… I begin looking more intently, but I'm not seeing anything out of the ordinary. He is now acting determined to go investigate and see if we can discover what he has noticed off the trail. After about an hour and fifteen minutes airborne, we decide to head back to the airport we had taken off from. We landed about 11 o’clock, and after a quick post flight inspection, we hopped into the Tahoe and headed out toward the lake to check out that trail.
We arrived at Lake Altus, parked the SUV and could see the water directly in front of us near the resort. Getting out of the Tahoe, I exclaimed, "This is exciting! We are going on an adventure." (Such is our lives). We saw some cement stairs that lead down to the water and decided to wonder down to take a look. As we headed down the stairs, I saw on the last step near the water was a single red rose (rose #3). He picks it up and we take a seat on the stairs. Stu hands me the rose and says "I love you because you go on adventures with me!" We enjoy the moment and the scenery, and I remember that we still have to check out that trail. We then start to make our way across the bridge to find that mysterious path. We find the trail entrance and walk down a paved sidewalk that hugs the side of the mountain surrounding the lake. The trail is lined with trees and greenery making our walk very private and very beautiful. We continue our walk until the path reaches a dead-end. Stu insisted that if we venture off the path a little bit we might find what he was looking for from the air. Holding my hand and taking our time so that I didn't trip on the rocks or step on a cactus, we slowly made our way through the shrubbery and trees. We came upon an opening in the trees and when I looked up, I saw our hammock hung between two trees with a blanket spread out and a picnic blanket on it. I started crying because it was such a precious setting that he had somehow set up for us. In the picnic blanket was our lunch and champagne glasses with sparkling cider. Also inside the basket was a framed picture taken of us at Valentine’s Day and of course, a single red rose (rose #4). We stroll pass the hammock to venture down to the water’s edge. Stu says, "I could have sworn that I saw something reflecting down here." He is looking around for a little while and when I was adjusting my hair, I noticed Stu was bending over like he was picking something up off the ground. He said "I found what I was looking for, let’s go back to the hammock." I knew that something was happening as this day was just too perfect to not suspect that he had something up his sleeve, or rather, in his pocket. We return and got into the hammock and just relaxed for a little while enjoying the view and our time together. He asked if I would like something to drink and he hopped out of the hammock. As I sat up, I noticed that he was on one knee. Instead of grabbing the sparkling cider, he grabbed the rose from the basket and my hearts began to race. He gives me the rose and says, "I love you because I know you'll say yes…" He pulls out the most amazing ring I have ever seen in my whole life and says "Brittany, WILL YOU MARRY ME?" I manage to get the words "Yes, of course I will," out as my eyes are blurry with joyful tears. He places the ring on my finger, sweeps me up in his arms, and we share our first kiss as an engaged couple. My heart is beating so fast, I feel like it is about to explode out of my chest. I can't stop looking at this dazzling ring and this gorgeous guy of mine! It is a beautiful one carte marquise center diamond with two pear shaped side diamonds. He goes on to explain the significance of the ring. He points out that the ring is three pieces and in the shape of a cross. The large center stone is symbolic of God being the most important part and the center of our relationship. The two smaller side stones represent us and how we are brought together by God. Everything is so perfect in every single way. He says "This ring is flawless and unique, just like you." It is breathtaking! It was so emotional! It was perfect and unforgettable! I am still in complete shock and the ring is even more beautiful, knowing what it represents, than anything I could ever imagine. As we enjoyed our picnic for a few more moments, Stu reminded me that there were a total of seven roses and I still had three left! We packed up our picnic and head back to the apartment to get ready Stu told, "We have reservations at fice-thirty in Oklahoma City;" which is about a 2 and a half hour drive away. Once we get back to the apartment, I immediately put on one of my cutest dresses with a light cover-up, I'm ready to go! …after spending another hour on my hair of course ;) Before we walk out the door I again ask Stu if he has seen my phone because I want to share my excitement with my mom and all my girl friends! He says he's not sure where it is, but that we could look for it when we got back because we needed to hit the road if we were going to make our reservations. So I forget about my missing phone and around three o’clock we are on the road toward Oklahoma City.
I have the unbelievably gorgeous ring on my finger and I can't stop looking at it! We spend the two and a half hour drive talking about our future and making plans for our BIG day! As we near Oklahoma City, I didn't really notice that we were driving toward the airport. As we drive into the airport parking lot, I look up at him and say "Baaabee…why are we at the airport?” He parks the car and says, "You haven't gotten a rose in awhile so I would like to give you another one now…" he opens the center consul of the Tahoe and inside is a single red rose (#5). He hands it to me and says, “I love you because you let me be sneaky…" I laugh because the whole "sneaky" thing is an inside joke between the two of us whenever he tries to surprise me. He reaches up to the dashboard of the SUV and pulls out two boarding passes and asks me, "How would you like to go surprise your parents in Phoenix? I told you that we had reservations!" I'm now literally in shock! How in the world did he pull all of this together? I'm overwhelmed and so excited to be able to go home and see my family! What a joy to be able to tell them the BIG NEWS in person!? Stu reaches behind my seat and says, "Well, my bags are packed," as he grabs his backpack. I wasn't upset because i have too many clothes at home as it is. We start walking through the airport security and I have nothing with me but the clothes on my back. Then I asked him…."Do you have my phone?!"…"Of course I have your phone Babe, and don't worry I packed your charger, too." Now I know even more just how thoughtful he is!
Our flight was scheduled for take off at six-thirty. We find our seats on the airplane and the man sitting next to us leans over to Stu and asks, "Are you guys newly weds?". Stu tells him "Actually, we are newly engaged"…and I pop in and added, " . . . as of today!" The man smiles at me and says "I can tell, because you are both glowing, neither of you have stopped smiling, and she has not stopped looking at that ring!" An older lady who is sitting behind us overhears us talking and we begin to tell these people bits and pieces of our day so far. In our conversations they ask more about us and learn that Stu is an Air Force pilot and recently returned from a deployment to Afghanistain for six and a half months while we were dating. The lady says "Well if you've been to Afghanistain you have my heart too!" Bless her heart, she starts crying and, of course, I start tearing up, too. The people around us are all smiles and congratulating us on our engagement. It was another wonderful moment of the day as we continue our celebration with strangers.
We land in Phoenix, Arizona at 8:30 p.m. Stu asks me if I think my parents will still be awake, since we plan to surprise them. I told him that they might be asleep, but that they were going to get woken up regardless with our exciting news! My mom and dad will both be so surprised to see us and hear all about everything. I ask Stu how he plans to get from the airport to my house and he says that we will just hail a taxi. As we walk out to the curbside I see a man holding a sign which reads Mr. & Mrs. Renz. My mouth drops open because the driver is standing in front of a big white stretch limo! How does this day continue to get better and better!? The driver opens the door and sitting on the seat of the limo is a single red rose (rose #6). We get into the limo and my tears start flowing again. Stu hands me the rose and says "I love you because you are beautiful!" We sit right next to each other, even though we have this entire limo to ourselves! :)
The limo pulls up to my house, all the lights are off and only my mom's minivan is in the driveway. I'm sure that my parents are in bed by now because it is now 9:15 p.m. As we walk toward the front door, Stu grabs my hand and says "What would make this day even better?" and I say "This day is perfect, I couldn't ask for anything more." He says "But if you could have it all, what else would you want" and I looked at him and said, "…for everyone to be here…" He opens the front door to my house and ushers me inside… the lights flip on! Everyone jumps to the their feet and yells, "CONGRATULATIONS!" Everyone is there! My mom and dad, my brother and his fiancée, my best friends and their husbands, my sorority sisters, my grandparents, and two of Stu's brothers flew from Washington State to be there! I was speechless. I was full of emotions and so happy!! I couldn't even make words come out of my mouth. I was in awe! I hugged my wonderful fiancé and squeezed him as hard as I could. He has just made my every dream come true. This day was remarkable and a day that I will NEVER forget.
We walked into my house and my Mom and girlfriends had the whole place decorated. We had cake, food, sparkling cider, and desserts everywhere! It was the best engagement party a girl could ask for! We sat down in the living room with all my friends and family and told the most epic engagement story ever told….but wait! There is still one more rose left! After the night started to wind-down and everyone had gone home Stu pulled me upstairs into my bed room. He asked me to sit down on my bed. He pulled out a single red rose (rose #7). He sat next to me on my bed and said "I love you because….you're mine." I cried again… my heart is overflowing with love and happiness! This man, Stewart Joseph Renz, is now my fiancé and I am his! I'm the luckiest girl in the whole world and I'm so blessed that he would do all of this…for me.
7 is God's number. It is a Biblical number of perfection, I see now why there was a total of 7 roses. This was beyond the most perfect day of my life. It was as if every dream came true all at the same moment. I am head-over-heels in love with this terrific guy and I am so excited to be able to share our story with you. It is only the beginning…of an amazing life-long adventure. Wherever he goes, I'm happy to be his cute and adoring co-pilot. :)