What’s your best family memory?
It’s difficult to pinpoint one with the amount of travelling we do but one that stands out is when we biked through the foothills in Kananaskis Country (Alberta). The boys would watch the beautiful surroundings and wildlife from their Chariot, chit-chat, eat their snacks, and go for a nap when they got tired. At night, we were staying in a tee-pee but there were signs warning us about a recently spotted bear so I was terrified. Needless to say, we slept in a hotel the second night but still laugh at the fact that I placed the space heater by the entrance and made Nick look through the flap every time something moved–as though any of that would have warded off a wandering bear, haha!
What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?
Early every morning, when the boys wake up, we cuddle in bed together or when one of us is gone for a work trip, we’ll call and all chat on the phone. As of late, Jonah (almost 4) even makes sure to include their yet-to-be-born sibling by touching my belly and telling him or her a story or singing a song. It’s our favorite way to start the day!
What is your favorite family tradition?
Our Saturday and Sunday activities have become a tradition! Week days are often hectic but on Saturday we make breakfast–occasionally Elliot (who is turning 2 this month) starts the blender without the lid on–and do something active together. Then on Sunday after church we snuggle on the couch with books, puzzles, cookies and tea, and make phone calls to family in Alberta or the Netherlands.
What’s the best thing about your family?
We love community! We believe that families, while being the foundation of society, should focus outward rather than inward. That’s why there’s always an extra plate of food, cup of tea, or mattress and pillow. In fact, Nick dreams of having a huge home where we can host anyone who ever needs a place to stay, just like we’ve had the privilege of spending the night at someone else’s home when on the road. And we are blessed by all the people that come and go!
What do you think makes a happy family?
Prayer, share, and serve together–it keeps us very close while reaching out to people around us and already teaches the boys that happiness isn’t about what you own or accomplish, but rather in living with and for others.
What three words best describe your family?
Communication, contentment, and quality time. And if I can add one more: lots of hugs!
How we met:
It wasn’t until about two months into our Discipleship Training School at YWAM in Hawaii that we really noticed each other. We had been in class together nearly every day, but it took a spontaneous dinner with a few of our friends (and Alexa’s mom!) for us to interact long enough to see the “spark”! We communicated on and off while on outreach in Fiji and Spain, and we spent some time together in Portland at the beginning of 2012 after DTS was over. A month later we started a long-distance relationship between Alaska and Oregon which shortly turned into Alaska and Hawaii as Alexa went back to YWAM for a season of 9 months in Kona and Iceland! She then took a leap of faith and moved north to Alaska in the middle of winter so we could spend some time living in the same city and doing “normal” life. Our story is very unique and full of countless plane tickets, care packages, and FaceTime calls, but we wouldn’t change a thing
Describe the proposal:
We were long distance Alaska to Hawaii this past December. It was Saturday morning and I was expecting Eric for a visit in a couple days. Eric had one of my dear roommates get me dresses for a photo shoot. A few hours later Eric surprised me with flowers and told me we had to catch sunset. I was so excited and shocked he was there early! We drove to the beach and as we were walking I noticed tikki torches and a blanket set up on the beach in the distance. On the blanket were pictures representing amazing memories of our two years together and our favorite snack from a meat & cheese shop in Alaska! While enjoying my surprises I noticed a glass bottle sparkling near the water line. We went over to it and inside was a note. It was the most beautiful love note ever of Him expressing his heart and love for me. He then dropped to his knee and asked me to marry him! After, we shared the most perfect first kiss and I admired my gorgeous ring! I told him we needed a newly engaged picture and he said “we have plenty of those!” Turns out he had a friend planted in a nearby tree photographing the entire proposal! We went to the same restaurant where we initially met and noticed our attraction for each other and randomly got seated at the exact same table! A few days later all of our parents surprised us and we shared an incredible time in Hawaii together!
Favorite memory of the proposal:
Alexa: Oh my goodness! The whole thing! Getting to marry the man of my dreams! It really was absolutely perfect for us in every way. I especially loved being in Kona. A place that is so near and dear to both of our hearts!
Eric: It was amazing to surprise Alexa and finally get to ask her to be my wife! I’m so humbled that she said yes.
What do you love most about each other:
She’s a catch! Alexa is the most joyful, warm, expressive person you’ll ever meet. She celebrates everything and loves making the littlest things in life memorable. One of the first things I noticed about Alexa is how she asks fun, random, yet intentional questions whenever she meets someone new. She’s always up for trying new things and we share a love for travel, adventure, and exotic food. Alexa’s creative, compassionate heart has taught me to cherish people and think about more than just getting things checked off my list in the most efficient manner. (I’m an engineer, after all!) She has a big heart and an equally-big appetite for adventure, life, and pursuing all that God has for us. It’s safe to say I found a keeper!
What. A. Stud. Eric is the best adventure buddy and friend. He is brimming full of life and always excited about new experiences, places and foods. He values friendships and family and is so honest and full of integrity in the way he lives his life. I admire this man deeply and love every minute I get to spend with him. Eric is extremely generous and kind and always looks for ways to serve others. He is thoughtful and romantic and loves to bring joy to others. He is so creative and has such a gift of teaching others. He is always making me laugh and loves me so well. I am the most blessed girl in the universe!
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How did you guys meet? Tell us your story!
How they met: Elyssa was off at school in her final year studying music, and I had just moved here to Springfield, IL to take a position at a church that happened to be the one Elyssa’s dad pastors at. She came home one weekend, and some mutual friends introduced us at the dinner theatre. After the show we stayed out talking til who knows when. It was awesome. I’ve been her’s ever since!
About the Proposal:
From Elyssa about the engagement: Chase knows that I love surprises. He had been surprising me every date night in the month of June, so June 26th was no different. He took me to a fancy restaurant in downtown Springfield. During dinner he asked if we were at a place in our relationship where we could start talking about rings. I, of course said, “Yes! But I want you to pick it out!” After dinner he took me down the street into business building by the old capitol. He had a friend who worked there let us in after hours. After a series of hallways, doors, and elevators, we came out on the roof just as the sun was setting. His guitar was propped conveniently up against the ledge. We sat down and he asked if he could play a song for me that he just finished writing for me. He sang to me the most perfect song with the sweetest lyrics. Ending the song, he sang, “will you take this ring and let me marry you?,” and pulled out the ring! It is hard to pick a single memory from that night. But if I had to choose, it was really special when, after the proposal, Chase walked me to the edge of the roof and yelled, “She Said Yes!” off the side of the 10 story building, and I realized he had both our families down below to celebrate with us!
From Chase, about the engagement: My favorite moment had to be once I asked her to marry me. She totally freaked! She had no idea it was coming. She was on the ground and then standing up, then on the ground again. The next second she was hugging me, then leaning away in disbelief. Then she looked at me and said, “Will you play it again for me?!”
What do you guys love most about each other?
Elyssa, about their relationship: I love how steadfast Chase is. He is so real. What you see is what you get, and what you get is so beautiful and balanced. When life is crazy, he is the calm; when life is hard, he is the sunshine, bringing a fresh perspective; when life is great, he knows how to have fun. I couldn’t have dreamt up a better man!
Chase, about their relationship: The thing that amazes me the most about Lys is how incredibly selfless she is. She loves to a fault. She is always the first to step out of her way to make others feel cared for. She stays up late at nights writing notes and letters to encourage others around her just because. She would rather comfort someone in need than take care of herself. I’ve never met anyone like her. The most beautiful thing about it is she doesn’t even realize how special she is, or how powerfully she changes the world. She’s great.
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How did you two meet? Tell us your story.
I get a lot of surprise from others when I tell the story of how Chris and I first met. We were both seventeen years old and were working at a local movie theater. About a year into working there Chris started working there too. I immediately like him. I liked his humor and his smile. I remember soon after meeting at work we were having a conversation about vegetarianism (I was a vegetarian at the time, now we are both vegans) and Chris said he would go vegetarian if his wife were one. I think this statement made me realize he was the one for sure. We kept laughing and talking at work and I went on my first date almost ten years ago and haven’t had to go on any first dates since. Chris and I got engaged when we were nineteen and married a few years later.
What do you love most about each other?
Her: There is so much I love about Chris. Meeting and dating when we were seventeen years old I feel like we have been through so much together. Chris is my humor on a bad day; he has a way of making me laugh and keeping me a float when life pulls me down. He always seems to know just what I need when I am upset or have had a bad day. He is always there to listen when I come home and rant about my day. When getting ready for a date and I am throwing clothes around Chris just looks at me and says, “take your time.” I love that he always complements me on the days when I don’t try at all and claims he likes when I just wear a sweatshirt and jeans. He is my best friend. He is the arm around me when I lay awake at night thinking about tomorrow. Chris is today what I nicknamed him when we were first dating. He is my wonderful.
Him: Sarah and I have changed a lot in the 10 years we’ve been together. Most people are not so lucky as to find the person they want to spend the rest of their life with when they are just kids but I was so lucky. As people we have changed a lot but the one thing that hasn’t changed is our love for each other. She is a better person than I and she makes me want to be better person myself. I love the way she wakes up early to make breakfast on Sundays or humors me when I make stupid jokes that aren’t funny or sends me a random text saying she loves me. I love that she cares about others more than she cares about herself and tries to fix things that I would have long ago given up on. Whether we are traveling or running or gardening or watching TV way too late into the night, I’m lucky to be spending the rest of our lives together.
What have you learned in your years of marriage?
Chris and I have been married for almost five years. Chris and I got married a little younger than most of our friends; I was 21, he was 22. Marriage is definitely not always easy. It is recognizing that your wants and needs can’t always come first. It is learning to compromise. It is working to communicate better and making one’s thoughts and feelings know. Marriage is also sharing your life with your best friend. Through all of life’s up and downs I am so thankful that Chris has been there by my side.