The engaged couple

Normally, the engagement would be a simple, one day affair. However, ours took a bit longer to happen and its roots extend even further back.

Tuesday, January 15, 2002
We began our courtship (see the specific page for more details). We went into our relationship stating the intent to see if it might lead to marriage. We weren't looking for just a "boyfriend/girlfriend dating" relationship; we were looking for more. We entered the relationship looking to God for truth and His will in our lives and in our relationship.

Monday, January 28, 2002
On my birthday, Leah surprised me with several gifts. Mentionable were 28 Hershey's chocolate kisses, meant as symbols of our affection for one another. I was to give Leah a "kiss" at special times when I wanted share a special moment of affection.

Sunday, May 5, 2002
I officially broached the subject of marriage for the first time while waiting at the Ottawa airport for my flight to Kentucky for a three week business trip. (Leah: It took me by surprise. I initially wondered if he had a ring right there but it was just a time for us to start thinking about it.) During my time away, we talked every day for 30-60 minutes; we sent emails and letters & cards back and forth. We spent a lot of time talking about marriage, praying together about it and seeing what God's will was.

After my return to Ottawa, we continued to talk and pray together about it. Just as during the whole of our courtship to this date, we felt a peace from God about us being together. We slowly continued to take steps forward.

The engagement ring

Wednesday, June 5, 2002
I had told Leah that we wouldn't go ring shopping until after she finished her last RN exam. And on June 5th after she finished that last exam, boy was she raring to go. :-) I thought it might take a few days, maybe a week or two at the most. (I was already thinking of proposing to Leah on August 3, the anniversary of when we first met.) However, with her custom ring concept and the number of jewellers we checked out, it ended up taking a lot longer than a couple of weeks.

Sunday, July 21, 2002
One of Leah's life-long dreams has been to ride an elephant. I did some research and found a zoo near Toronto that offered elephant rides. I decided to surprise Leah and our next trip down to visit her mother in Owen Sound (see the story in the Courtship section). I thought it would be so cool to propose on the back of an elephant. Unfortunately, we still hadn't even settled on a jeweller yet so I had to let that opportunity pass. Of significance, at the end of our visit to the zoo, I bought her a plush elephant doll in the gift shop; she named him "Caesar" after the elephant we had ridden on that day.

During that trip, I spent some time with Leah's mother and asked permission to marry her daughter. I received a heartfelt approval.

Timo and Leah are engaged

It now became in open family secret. Her mom and my parents were in the know (and were anxiously awaiting the official proposal). But you can't keep good news like that buried; somehow, all insiders started to quietly share the news with one or two close friends and family members. :-)

Tuesday, August 27, 2002
The jeweller called me to tell me that the mold was finally ready and the ring would be done by early the next week. Hoping to have it for the Labour Day long weekend at the cottage (surely a romantic spot for a proposal), I asked if it might be ready by Friday. The jeweller said yes and so we set it up. I went and ordered a dozen long-stemmed red roses to hide in the car, take up to the cottage on Friday and present to Leah when I proposed. (I had previously told her that when she next saw roses, she'd know I had the ring.)

Friday, August 30, 2002
Due to miscommunication between myself and the jeweller, I never got a call to pick up the ring and when I tried to contact them, they were gone for the day. I went home very disappointed. Leah found out the next day on our drive to the cottage and she took it all in stride, saying we'd just spend the weekend together just for the two of us. In the meantime, I had hidden the dozen roses in my fridge in Ottawa, hoping they'd hold out until Tuesday. On top of that, my parents pretty much expected a proposal that weekend and had brought up a bottle of champagne to unveil at the appropriate time in order for us all to celebrate. It would have to wait.

Monday, September 2, 2002
Returning to Ottawa, I dropped Leah off at her place. I saw "Caesar" the elephant and figured that he might still have a chance to play a role soon in some kind of special moment. I snuck him out of Leah's house without her noticing.

Tuesday, September 3, 2002
The flowers did not manage to survive the weekend; another disappointment. Later that morning, I got a call from the jeweller. Turns out, the ring had been ready and he'd called me but I'd never gotten the message. Anyway, with the ring ready for pick-up, I raced over to get it.

Having missed a couple of opportunities already, I was determined that Leah would start her new school year in a new status: engaged to be married. Problem was, her first class started that evening at 7:00 pm. I decided to leave work early and surprise her that very afternoon with a proposal. However, office emergency after emergency kept me at my desk until the late afternoon. You can imagine how fidgety I got by the end of it all. When my manager saw the reason for my edginess, she immediately released me to go home.

I raced home to drop things off and prepare myself. It was 5:10 pm. I called a florist Roses and Caesar the elephant only to be told they were closing in 10 minutes. Racing over there, I managed to pick up another dozen long-stemmed red roses in time; I would not be denied. I also had with me the ring, Caesar the elephant and the last chocolate "kiss" (a while back, I had decided to save that last one for the day I would propose).

Too eager to wait any longer, I drove straight over to Leah's house. In the parking lot, I took the ring and placed it on the snout of Caesar. I went to her front door and rang the doorbell. Having been woken up from an afternoon nap, she groggily made her way to the front door and opened it.

Leah: I looked before me and there was Timo. In his hands, he had a dozen red roses. It took me a moment and I thought to myself, "he has flowers." Instantly, my brain recalled his previous statement. "He must have the ring!" I woke up very quickly.

I was so excited, I couldn't contain myself. I went right in, took her gently in my arms, drew her to me, held her and whispered in her ear: "Leah, I love you. I want to share my life with you. Will you marry me?" I pulled forth Caesar and showed him to her.

Leah: I heard the question and I immediately said, "yes". After a moment, I realized that I might have said it too quietly so I spoke up and repeated myself, "YES." Timo took the ring from Caesar and placed it on my finger. He then asked to pray with me. We thus began our engagement dedicating it to God, our commitment to each other and to Him.

After our prayer, I presented Leah with the last chocolate "kiss" from my birthday collection. I felt that it neatly wrapped up our courtship period and we were now entering a new phase in our life together: our engagement.

Caesar with the ring


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