A Love We All Dream About!
This relationship has all of the elements of good story: a trek across the country, serendipitous job changes, a chance meeting, and the love of a lifetime. You've got to read this blog post!
Zoe is the kind of person that you can feel like you've known forever. She is warm and open and willing to listen. She shared the story of her meeting Thomas Frank with so much energy that I felt like I'd known them all along.
She has a background in Sports Science from from Utah and came to PA as she followed a boyfriend who was attending medical school. That relationship ended as she had a job change to a new gym opening in State College. As she settled into her new job as a personal trainer, her instructions from her boss were to go out and introduce herself to the people working out. The first person she met? YES! It was Thomas Frank!
Thomas Frank's Story:
Thomas has a creative energy that is palpable when you first meet him. He went to Penn State for a degree in Journalism and currently works at a local radio station and gets to use all of his energy as he talks about sports, interviews people, and occasionally gets interviewed himself!
When Thomas Frank first saw Zoe at the gym, he says, "I knew there was something different happening." He went on to say that he was actively trying not to talk to Zoe for a long time having learned that she was "taken." He said, "I didn't want to go out of my way to make a fool of myself, which I had a tendency to do around women I had a crush on." Remember how Zoe had to greet people in the gym? Thomas Frank was "happily exasperated by the entire situation." He said, "Over the following months I found myself really dedicated to fitness."
Thomas Frank talks about them getting to know each other as friends after that timely meeting. He says, "Despite my long hours at the gym and our deep talks about just about everything, I was still trying very hard not to be interested in her, but it was getting much more difficult. Then suddenly, one day she was gone. I asked where she had gone and I was told that she had gone home to visit her family and she would be gone for around a month! I was shocked that she hadn't mentioned anything about that. That was the moment I really knew I was in trouble. What had quickly become the best part of my day had just up and vanished without notice and wouldn't be back for what felt like forever." It took the loss of Zoe in his daily life to realize just what she meant to him, and that realization had other implications on his life. He had been in a long-distance relationship with a woman that, though not very serious, he decided that he needed to end. He said, "...the longer I spent with this other woman, the more I knew what I really wanted. It wasn't long after that before I broke up with her...and it wasn't long after that before Zoe and I were dating."
The Proposal (as told by Zoe):
April 9th, 2017 is when he proposed.
The Arboretum was a place we didn't necessarily "like" to go, it just worked out that we went there quite often. In our long talks about someday getting married, he said that he just wanted the first nice day in spring and that's when he would ask.
The 9th was the first nice day in spring and he suggested we have a picnic on Sunday because it was supposed to be so nice outside. People ask how I wasn't onto him because that seems so obvious. And I will admit that I was, but he likes to do things like this all the time so I didn't want to get my hopes up. Through out the week I would test him though. When he would ask what I wanted to do that weekend I would say, "we have those tickets to Jim Gaffigan, and were you still wanting to picnic?" he always responded with a casual "Sure, lets do that." No perking up, or shifty nervous eyes. So he was passing all my tests. We got up on Sunday just like any other day, he acted normal just like any other Sunday. He had to go to work and finish some things, everything was totally normal. He came home from work with sandwich stuff and chocolate covered strawberries. Still this is all within the norm. He was relaxing on the couch while we were debating to go to the gym or not. This was my last test; I said, "we could go to the gym, we don't have to be at the arboretum at exactly 5 o'clock right?" I knew he wanted someone there to take pictures. If he had planned this ahead of time, he would have given a hard time line. He said, "no we don't, that true." Totally wasn't today. We go to the arboretum. have our picnic, he eats his sandwich just as quickly as he always does. We made fun of the students like we always do. Then he leaves to take the stuff back to the car. I asked if he wanted me to go with him. He said no. That's when I got nervous. He took forever to put the stuff away. He came back, we watched and played some music on his phone. Then he all off a sudden gets ups and says we're going to take a walk. Then he takes 12 paces to the left. Ha! He stood there, took my hands and said something about the trees. I was too nervous to be listening 100%. He said, "I feel like I've said all the words I had saved up for this moment so I'll just get to asking, Will you marry me?" I think he knelt down? I wasn't paying attention I just wanted to kiss him. The college kids we were making fun of cheered so that was a lot of fun. His friend Cherry came out of the trees where she was taking pictures. And that was that!
Wedding Day Anticipation:
Zoe and I talked on the phone and then had a chance to email back and forth. Iam telling you - I love getting to know this glowing sweet person! She said, "I think what I am most excited about for the wedding day is finally to have our families meet each other. They have only heard about each other, good and bad, but I cannot wait to have my parents meet the wonderful family that I am joining and how much fun they are. I know my parents (in Utah) have a lot of worries about me marrying a guy and marrying into a family they haven't really gotten to know before hand, but I can't wait for them to see that even though I am so far away from them, that I am in the best hands I could have possibly found. I am also excited for them to meet all the people I have been talking about for years; my friends, clients, co-workers, etc. Also, because I am a little vain, I am excited to get all dressed up and pretty and see Thomas Frank as his best self as well; happy and surrounded by the people who care most about him and me."
Starting Life Together:
"Because we have been living together for a little over a year, I've gotten a glimpse of what our life will be like together," said Zoe. "We already have our routine and things where we want them in our apartment. We know how each of us squeezes the toothpaste tube and all that starting-out-stuff. I think I am most excited to call him my husband. I have never liked the word "boyfriend," and "fiancé" is even worse in my head. But to say "my husband" is what I am most excited about. I am very excited to share his last name; Carr. I think it sounds so cute with my first name. But other than that, I am excited about how much our lives will change from what we already know."
Visualizing a Future Together:
Zoe dreams with a future with a few children and everyone is happy. She said, "...you know, the classic stuff." Zoe also shared that shared that she thinks that Thomas Frank has more specific long term career goals than she does. So, she said, "more than anything, in 15 years, I want Thomas Frank's dreams to come true in his career. He has lofty goals, to most people seem a little far reaching, and he has had to convince me a little bit that they are reachable...I've always called him "the dreamer" in our relationship. I feel like everyone needs one, and he has enough (dreams) for both of us. I want him to get his big break and get everything he wants. As long as he is happy...I will be one happy wife. He deserves everything he has worked for."
When Thomas Frank dreams of their future, he said, "I don't necessarily think about the future in terms of 'we'll have a house by x' or 'I want to have kids by y'. All I know is that I want it to be with Zoe. Throughout our time together there have been a lot of trying experiences and like anything worth having, it hasn't been easy. However, one thing has been easy. Choosing the path that keeps me with her is always an easy choice. Regardless of what the future holds, every decision I make will be one that keeps me with her."
The Little Things:
I think one of the silly things Thomas Frank and I share is we love to watch sports together. He is a Buffalo Bills fanatic. Most of our Sundays in the fall revolve around when the Bills will be playing. A lot of our conversations end up going back to football. Its always a joke that when its football season, I'll just see him when its over. I post a picture on facebook every season that says, "Honey, do you have anything to say before football season starts?" We even are getting married around football, it's just the way it is, and something I realized about him before we were even together.
Thomas Frank talked about who he was before and after meeting Zoe. "Two years ago I was in a very different place than I am now. I was coming out of a dark time in my life after I lost my mom to cancer and I was just getting my feet back underneath me emotionally. I think that if we had met sooner than we did, it wouldn't have worked. I wasn't the man I wanted to be during that time and luckily, I wasn't that person anymore when we met.
Since then, I've been able to become even more thanks to Zoe. She makes me a better version of myself than I could be on my own. As the youngest of five siblings, I have spent most of my life watching other people and learning how they behave. I have always tried to take their best qualities and emulate them. With Zoe, there are so many. I think the thing I admire the most about her is her belief in herself. She has a quiet confidence and strength to her character that I can only hope to emulate. She's also caring, intelligent, a great listener, and funnier than any woman I've ever met."
Zoe talked to me about the deeper things she loves about Thomas Frank too. She said, "What I love most about Thomas Frank is how patient and caring he is. He also doesn't back down. And all of those traits worked in my favor when I needed him. He helped me to learn so much about myself during a time where I didn't like who I was and felt like there was a truer person just waiting to form. He never pushed me into doing something I didn't want to do. If there was something crazy I thought about doing, he would help me out so I didn't get too crazy. I was raised very differently then the way I was heading in my quarter-life crisis and it came with a lot of guilt and pain and negative feelings. I was shocked that it didn't scare him away. Him not backing down from what he committed to me was amazing. I am incredibly happy in my life now and I know its from his help, advice, and patience with me. I think when you have a stable love and relationship that you can count on, that's when you can stretch your personality a little bit, and if you get burned, you know you can go home, recover, and head back out the next day and try again. I attribute a lot of who I have become in the last 3 years to the stability that Thomas Frank has given me."
I haven't mentioned this, but I ran an online contest this past spring and gave away two free Engagement Sessions! Thomas Frank and Zoe are one of my winning couples! I asked them during the shoot if they're regularly lucky people who win things - they said neither of them ever win things like this! Congratulations in so many ways to this beautiful and kind couple. I know they will have a lifetime of blessings and love.