Our last week with Alex here flew by too quickly. The proposal took place on Saturday, and that evening we had a lovely champagne toast to their future. Sunday Kate had Alex by her side as she showed her ring to friends at church- a few tears flowed along with many congratulations. Those who were concerned enough to ask me if this was indeed good news were reassured by my exclamations of delight.
Monday was Kate's birthday- for which we really had not done much planning... and we had friends over to help us celebrate. (there has been much to celebrate lately...!) For her cake I had chosen the Cinderella theme cake, with Prince Charming down on one knee in front of his Beloved; it seemed appropriate.
Tuesday was somewhat normal as I had to work and Kate had some catching up to do with her Mission planning. Alex went to lunch with the Seminary student who is interning at our church this Summer- again, I'm so blessed to see how our church has embraced our future son-in-law.
Wednesday evening Jim and I took Kate and Alex out to dinner at the Canal Street Restaurant and Pub. Nice place, great food, good wine, and someone else to do the dishes.
In the slide show below, I have backed up to Alex picking up The Ring from the jeweler and showing it to me and Rebekah. Funny, it was impossible to see The Ring without dropping one's mouth open in amazement... (pass your mouse over the individual photos to read the captions)
All of this leads up to their departure for Florida on Thursday. Kate has been needing to get down there and see some of our friends from our church and speak to them about her upcoming Mission work in Ireland. She has also been asked to work at a camp down there and the timing came together perfectly for Alex to drive her down as the end of his leave was drawing near. They graciously agreed to drive Bekah down as well since she has been wanting to see friends and get some beach sand between her toes. So the three of them drove away Thursday, taking a good piece of my heart and a whole lot of prayers along with them.
Friday afternoon they arrived at our friends, the Bucks, and dropped Bekah off before heading to Coral Springs. Staying with friends from our old neighborhood, Kate and Alex enjoyed their final day- for now- together before saying goodbye Sunday morning when he dropped her off at our church and turned his car toward Fayetteville. She had mixed feelings- to say the least- sorrow at being separated from Alex while joy at seeing so many dear friends. I've spoken to both of them and they have a balanced perspective on this time before them. While it won't be easy after being together so much, they realize what an extreme blessing these past weeks have been and that the months ahead will not last forever. There is much planning to do and timing to figure out, so hopefully it will pass quickly.
I've put together a slide show of the photos Alex brought back from the two trips to Kentucky, (with a stop in Indiana on trip 2). As you can see, they had a whole lot of fun with the arsenal on the farm in Indiana, some of which went to Kentucky with them as well. Alex's sister, Jina Mei, appears in these photos, but sadly, no one else in his family does. I've been getting to know his mother already through notes hand-delivered by our travelers and Facebook and can already tell that we have a wonderful relationship ahead of us. We will be more than in-laws, we'll be friends. (again, mouse- photos- captions, you get it by now)