Now, this is a story worth hearing (well, reading in this case). It nearly reaches fairytale status. And as I may be a little bit biased, I am proud to be. What girl doesn't want to be wooed by her own love story? 

photo credit:  Rose Wheat Photography


I was a barista in college at a local coffee shop in Manhattan, KS. I was working the opening shift one sunny Saturday morning when a very handsome guy walked in. He was clean-cut and super cute. He was wearing a backpack and a sweatshirt that clearly indicated that he was a fireman. I know, I know. He waited patiently in line for a bit and then made his way up to the register. 

"Hi! Good morning," he said with the best smile and kind, yet confident eyes, "I'll take an Americano for here. I need it. I just got off shift at the fire department."

This led to some friendly back-and-forth conversation. But one thing, well two things, just baffled me. Why was a young guy, a fireman at that, studying in a coffee shop early on a Saturday morning...after a long night of saving lives?? He was the youngest customer in there by at least 20 years.

So I asked, "Not to be rude, but what are you doing here? You don't need coffee, you need sleep!" 

He replied by telling me that he in fact does get to sleep at work and that he was pursuing his business degree and had a paper due that Monday. Then he walked away to his table.

...only to return a few moments later. "I'm sorry, I never actually introduced myself. I'm Jonathan." I told him my name was Emma, we shook hands and then I worked with the goofiest smile on my face the rest of the day. 

Photo Credit:  Neal Dieker

Photo Credit: Neal Dieker


So after our initial meeting, we ran into each other about a week later after Christian Challenge (a campus ministry at KSU) at none other than the coffee shop that I worked at. My roommate was meeting one of Jonathan's friends and BAM! we were meeting again. But this time there was no counter between us. Normal conversation between two young crazy kids.

We talked about music. Later that night he added me on Facebook (scandalous, I know) and we FB messaged. The chat ended in an exchange of numbers. gasp.  

That following Tuesday he texted me: "Hey I'm studying at the coffee shop if you want to join."

I wanted to join.

We didn't get any studying done and I didn't even care. We talked for 4 hours to come to this conclusion: we liked each other. we wanted to get to know each other better. we were going to make cd's and write letters. 

Jonathan, being the brilliant man that he is, suggested that we each make a CD of the most influential songs in our lives and that we write letters explaining why. We agreed to exchange them a week later. 

*IF YOU HAVE NEVER DONE THIS, YOU SHOULD. If not for someone else, you should do for the sheer fact that it's a great way to remember where you've come from and who you are today.* Now back to the story.

I gave Jonathan my CD and a 5 page letter. He handed me his CD and a paragraph. yes, a paragraph. I must have had a look of sheer disappointment on my face when he chimed in, "Just read it."

It said, "I like you, Emma. I want to see you every day. So I am going to give you one letter everyday for 18 days. On the days that I work, I will give you the letter the day before, but you can't open it until the next day."

emoji face with heart eyes.

He did exactly what he said he would do. Each day that we saw each other we talked more in depth about our pasts and where we see our futures going. We talked about our relationships with our Heavenly Father. We encouraged each other. We were learning to love each other (grab the tissues).

Photo Credit:  Neal Dieker

Photo Credit: Neal Dieker

One month after we met, Jonathan told me he wanted to take me to one of his favorite spots in Manhattan. We parked in an ally and we climbed a fire escape. hello, adventure.

When we climbed to the top we were on a rooftop that overlooks downtown. It was November 18th. The Christmas lights were up. The stars were out. And just as I thought it was romantic enough, Jonathan began playing "Truly, Madly, Deeply" by Savage Garden on his phone. 

Now, I had never told anyone this, but as a little girl, everytime this song came on I would daydream of dancing with my husband someday. 

He wrapped his arms around me and started his monologue of sweet encouragement. Then he asked, "Emma 'Lily' will you be my Lois Lane? I turned around to face Superman and said, "You are such a corndog. Are you asking me to be your girlfriend?" he said yes. then I said yes.

Next he asked if he could kiss me. I had never been asked to be kissed before. But ladies and gents, he not only kissed me. HE DIPPED AND KISSED ME. On a rooftop. Under the Stars. With "Truly, Madly, Deeply" playing in the background. Surrounded by Christmas lights. Then we prayed.

But wait! There's more. He took it a GIANT step further. He said, "There is something else I want to say but I'm not sure if it's too early to say it." He paused. "Nah, I'm gonna say it. Emma, I'm pretty dang sure I'm going to marry you, so we are going to do this absolutely right." mic drop. jaw drop. 

Side note: I knew I was going to marry this guy 8 letters in. He knew sooner. 

Photo Credit:   Neal Dieker

Photo Credit: Neal Dieker


We dated a few months and made plans to get married. Why wait when you know?? Then he asked the question of a lifetime. 

We were at my grandparents for Easter. The night before, as I was tucking him into a tiny twin guest bed made for a five year old, he nonchalantly asked, "Wanna get up and watch the sunrise with me before church tomorrow?" I said sure. 

The next morning, I woke up before sunrise to shower. I had a towel on my head, no make-up on and I was still in my PJs. I went out to watch the sunrise looking like this. We walked past the cutest Easter basket and I said, "Well that's cute." I assumed it was for one of my little cousins. Jonathan said, "It's for you." 

I carried the Easter basket down to the garden swing that overlooks the pond. We sat on the swing in silence and watched the sunrise. There were magnificent and colors and fog. It was gorgeous.

As we sat, Jonathan asked if I was going to go through my basket. I told him that I would later, but that it was a bit early for candy. To which he replied, "But there's some really cool stuff in there."

So I dug. I found my ring. Jonathan got on one knee. He asked me to be his wife. I said yes! I went to kiss him...I hit him in the face with the towel on my head. 

"You just asked me to marry you with a towel on my head and no make-up on!!"

"It's because I love you how you are. You look beautiful. I don't care what you look like, I just want you to be my wife."

And now if we have daughters, they are going to have a hard time finding a guy that will get daddy's blessing. The bar has been set, fellas. 


We got married at the Sunset Zoo on August 3rd, 2012. It was an absolutely magical day surrounded by those we love most. Since our wedding, we have grown and fought (we call them 'marital growth moments') and learned more about ourselves than I think we expected. It has been an amazing journey that I would not trade for anything. We get to live life together serving our Lord and learning how to love better everyday. I have a lifelong friend in Jonathan and I am beyond grateful that we chose each other. 

Photo Credit:   Neal Dieker

Photo Credit: Neal Dieker