And now for something completely different...

Okay, different may not be the best word. Maybe unexpected is better. 

I don't typically post things from my personal life on here. Sure, I share experiences and thoughts from hikes and fishing outings, but I've mostly been a closed book when it comes to what's going on in my everyday life (partly because my everyday life is pretty mundane). But this particular thing is big and important enough that I thought I needed to share it.

On that note, welcome to a glimpse of my personal life. 

I probably threw a lot of people for a loop when, on April 28, I posted on Facebook and Instagram that I was engaged. Not many people even knew I was dating anyone.

So, how did it all happen?

Back in September or October I decided to check out an app called Tinder. I'd heard about it before, and I'd always looked upon it with no small amount of disdain. For you who don't know what Tinder is, it is a dating app for smartphones that was originally created with the "one night stand" or the "hook up" in mind. Once you've created a profile, which is done by pulling info from your Facebook account, you can specify a few parameters for the kind of person you want to meet, as well as a proximity. From there, you're presented with other users (just a photo, really) that match those parameters. If you like a person, you can swipe right, or left if you don't like them. It can all be pretty superficial, and shallow, but, you can click through a person's profile and read their short bio and look at additional photos if they have any. If you like a person who has also liked you, you're matched with them, and after that, the two can message each other. If you don't like a person, they're never any the wiser, as they don't get any sort of notification that someone has swiped left on their profile.

Eventually the app became a legitimate dating tool for more than just the "one night stands". So, one evening I was bored and decided I'd give the app a look. I installed it, and set up a profile, and started swiping. For the sake of brevity, I'll say that nothing happened for months. Well, nothing serious. I was matched up with a few girls here and there, but nothing ever turned out from it. It didn't take long for me to lose a lot of interest in the service, but I'd still check in every week and a half to two weeks.

Now fast forward to February 15. I had just finished getting ready for church, and sat down on my couch to kill a few minutes before I left, and decided to just check Tinder, since it'd been about two weeks or more since my last check in. I went through a few profiles (swiping left) and then happened upon a certain girl named Gina that I thought was pretty. I never really liked to just swipe right—or left, for that matter—without reading their bio first. It just felt like I was giving the person a bit of a fighting chance if I read about them before I liked or rejected them. Anyways...I saw this girl, and wanted to learn more, so I clicked on her profile. She said she liked to hike! And then I looked through her other photos, and really thought she was pretty! And, she was close by! So, I swiped right. But, as was so often the case with so many other "right swipes" I didn't expect anything to come of it. But to my surprise we were immediately matched! Now, this wasn't the first time that had happened. I'd swiped right and been immediately matched before, and I'd send the girl a message right away, but I'd never hear back. So, I almost didn't message this newest match, but I just knew I needed to message her immediately. So I did. I never really thought I was good at the whole self-introduction, icebreaker sort of thing, but I had to message this girl. So I wrote some message about where she liked to hike. And then I went to church. At this point, I can't remember if she messaged me back while I was at church or shortly after I got home, but we spent the rest of the day messaging each other back and forth. It turned out that she was from Brigham City, but she was living in Idaho Falls and she was down visiting family. As the day progressed, and the end of it approached, I knew I had to find a way to meet this girl. The following day was President's Day, and I knew a lot of people had the day off (I didn't), so I asked about setting up a date for after work in Brigham, and she accepted.

I got to the restaurant at 5:30 exactly, and texted Gina to tell her I was there. But I didn't hear back from her. I kept scanning the parking lot as I sat in my car for a girl sitting in her car, but couldn't see anyone. After about 5 minutes of waiting, I decided to just go in and see if she was there. And she was. And she was even prettier in real life than she was in her pictures. We got seated, and then started talking. And talking. And talking some more. I was almost annoyed that I actually had to eat, and not talk with her. In fact, I only ate half my meal and said I was full just so I could talk with her more. She still had to drive up to Idaho Falls that night, so I had intended on it being a sort of short date...however, almost two and half hours later, I knew I very reluctantly needed to let her get on the road. So, we said goodbye and drove away. And like a stupid chicken, I let her go without even mentioning a second date! I knew I wanted to see her again, but was too scared to bring up or ask about a second date. Luckily, though, about half-way through Sardine Canyon on my way back to Logan I got a text from her thanking me for dinner. And there was my window of opportunity. I told her she was welcome and asked if she wanted to do it again some time. And she said yes!

Just after we knew for sure we wanted to get married.

To keep a long story short, we went on that second date. And then a third... And then a fourth... Things just felt so natural and right with Gina. Before long we knew marriage was on the table. On April 11, we went for a hike up Kelly Canyon. We were hoping to start at a different point than we did. There was still some snow on the road, so we had to just start right at the ski resort and go from there. Let me tell you now, this girl can hike. I like to keep a fast pace, but I think she could keep a faster one. So we walked along, trying not to slip on the snow, when there was a good clear opening off to the side of the road, and we decided to take a breather there. As we rested and hugged each other, I told her "my mind's made up. I want to marry you." And she replied "sounds good!" And then we realized what had just happened. I didn't mean for that to be the proposal, but it sort of was. Unofficially.

Just after we got engaged for real, but before it started raining.

Once we got back into town, we went an shopped around for rings. We didn't find any that we absolutely loved, but I at least got an idea of what she liked. Thanks to Pinterest and Etsy, I got some good inspiration for designing a ring, and got it ordered the following Monday, and it was finished a week later. On April 23, Gina came down to Logan, and we decided to go for a hike up Green Canyon. It was cloudy, and it looked like it was going to rain any second. We started up the trail (with a shiny new engagement ring in my pocket) at our usual quick pace, all the while scanning for a nice secluded spot for me to pop the question. We finally came to a good turning around point, and we started to head back, but we didn't even take one step before I pulled her close and kissed her, then told her I had something to ask her. I fished the ring out of my pocket, got down on my knee and asked her to marry me. And she said yes!

Things only seem crazy when I look at a calendar, and see how little time has elapsed. But, like I said before, things have just felt so right every step of the way with Gina. The Lord knew when we needed to meet and He knew we needed to be with each other for Eternity, and I can't wait to start a new life with her. She inspires me to be the very best man I can be, and I love her absolutely.

Thanks to my sister(-in-law) Hailey for our engagement photos!