A Woman’s Heart is the Compass Which Guides Her Soul

I wrote this title because I found it to be a perfect introduction. You see … a woman’s heart is the most precious thing in this world. It is the one thing that is capable of enduring so much pain, yet resilient enough to be broken, heal and forgive, and love stronger than before. It is faithful. It is passionate. It is fierce and should never be tamed. When you are fortunate enough to possess such a treasure, assure its purity. Be sure to encourage it to roam and to never wilt. Cherish it and cultivate it. When you manage to do so, I can guarantee her heart will guide her soul to yours and you will both have a life of splendor and a love of grand proportion.
I was one of the lucky ones. Now let me be straight with y’all, I was a bit of a hypocrite. I did not really adhere to my own advice given in the above; however, once I realized how fortunate I truly was, you better be damned that I was not going to let this beautiful blue-eyed lady get away. I was never perfect and may never be, but I want y’all to know how thankful I am for my bride-to-be. Let us talk a minute about sacrifice, and to do so, I am going to have to go back to the beginning. Once we started this rodeo, we were already living in separate cities (this will become a recurring theme for the duration of our pre-marital relationship). I was coaching in Wimberley, TX while Courtney was in Dallas, TX working in a high-rise. After a few months of dating and the constant back and forth commute, it was clear that we wanted to be closer together and take our relationship more seriously. As my lease came to an end in San Marcos, we decided that I would move in with Courtney and I would began searching for a career in Dallas. She was willing to let me invade her apartment, as well as her life, in order to give our relationship a chance. After that lease came to an end, we decided to move into a separate apartment complex nearer to the things we thought relevant. Somewhere in between, we also decided to up the ante and bring home the next love of our lives, our four-legged daughter Miss Becks Henwood Klipfel. Although she was without a doubt the best investment we had made, things were proving difficult with my work situation and Courtney was paying more than half of our living expenses. Courtney and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit my father in Europe where he and Sabine graciously afforded us the trip of a lifetime to Venice, Italy. This is relevant to me (although she may disagree) because for the first time I saw Courtney in utter awe. She was captivated by the beauty and culture (and of course the wine), as we all were, in what is considered the most romantic city in the world. After being laid off from my marketing job at Krave, I received a phone call regarding the potential opportunity to come back over to Europe and give my hand (or should I say “foot”) at being a professional soccer player; a childhood dream of mine. It was this moment that clarified just how fortunate I was. Without hesitation, she said go! Without having any clue of what our future might hold, she allowed me, with no stipulations, other than I give it my all. Some months later, I had a contract and she was faced with a decision to move-on with her life or support my dream and uproot her entire life and cross the pond and enter an entire world of uncertainty. I want to take a second to make sure you understand how much you mean to me Courtney. I am sure there are so many little things that I have overlooked or simply have not picked up on over the years, and for that I am also truly sorry. I want to thank you for understanding and trusting that making a living does not necessarily mean that you are making a life. The life that we have chosen to make consists of foreign languages, castles and monasteries. A life of football matches and museums. A life of adventure and history. One of mountains, monuments and rivers. A life of friendships that will last a lifetime and a much more focused and clearer outlook on what it means to truly live. We have crossed borders hand-in-hand, swam in the Mediterranean as well as the Adriatic and filled our passports with stamps and our lives with memories. The most current being perhaps the best. The moment you said yes to spending the rest of your life with me. The moment you made me the happiest man in front of the highest mountain in Germany.
 
Deciding to ask the woman of your dreams to marry you is never a hard decision to make, but how do you do it in a way worthy enough. Well I had a plan … That is right, the man who never plans, had a plan, a good one at that. I had decided that I was going to ask Courtney to marry me at a winery established in 1824 in Barr, France called the Klipfel Winery. Now I am unaware whether or not they are of distant relations; however, I am certain that Courtney would be ecstatic to visit a winery. I had this grand plan to set up a table for a wine-tasting/dinner somewhere in the cellar where a waiter would interrupt our dinner with 10 bottles of wine, upon which a confused Courtney would ask what was going on. It was this moment I would explain that these ten bottles were significant for two reasons, First, that each bottle was a celebration of an accomplishment. An accomplishment of 10 years, 20 years, all the way to 50 years. Secondly, I would explain that the name of this wine is especially significant because it represented “our” last name. It was here that I would kneel down on one knee and ask her to be my wife. I know, brilliant right?! Indeed it was a brilliant idea and I had planned on making this possible for her trip to come visit sometime in December 2017. I think it was somewhere around mid November when I woke up to a text from Courtney explaining that her and her mother Barbara had purchased their tickets and were flying over in approximately 10 days. With this new and sudden information, my plans of the winery were simply not possible to bring into fruition. In a panic, I began vigorously wracking my brain as to what I could possibly pull off in a weeks time that was worthy of a most special moment. My father was fortunately competing at the European Derby in Lyon and mentioned a name that rung a bell. This particular friend of ours happens to own and operate a five star hotel and wellness situated in the stunning Austrian Alps. I had made my decision.
 
 
Using my father as a liaison for me, I asked a handful of questions as to whether or not my idea was possible. Klaus gave me a brief rundown of what he thought would be possible and I agreed it to be worthy. Step 2 was securing the ring (still back in TX) and finding a way to transport it to Austria without Courtney realizing or becoming suspicious. Truth be told, Barbara is a saint and found a way to make this possible literally the day of departure (round of applause for Barb! Come to find out, Courtney had checked moments before leaving for the airport whether the ring was still there). The next dilemma resided in dealing with two ladies that had just flown some 14 hours having very little sleep and not much to eat as well as  maybe a little to drink (thanks for the free booze Lufthansa). After picking up the girls from München, we had about an hour drive to the resort. After checking-in and having everything brought to our rooms, we were offered a complimentary glass of champagne while admiring the gorgeous view of the highest mountain in Germany. Having reserved only a nights stay, I was eager to get ahold of the boss and finalize details regarding the proposal. After several calls paired with a handful of texts, there was no response. At this point I was not extremely concerned and figured maybe it was supposed to occur the next day around lunch or something along those lines, optimism is key, right?! After a brief session in the heated infinity whirlpool outside in the crisp air of the Alps, we had to return to our rooms and prepare for dinner. A four course meal with a cheese and salad bar. A bottle of wine and a few beers later we had our fill and decided to migrate towards the bar/lounge area for a night-cap drink before calling it quits. By this point my nerves are full throttle and I am thinking this idea is totally imploding given I hadn’t heard back from the boss. As fate would have it, the boss strolls into the lounge and says hello to me and introduces himself to Barb and Courtney. A sigh of relief right, wrong. How am I supposed to go talk to him without it being extremely suspicious? Not possible, that is until Saint Barbara strikes again and convinces Courtney to go with her to the restroom. Here was my moment to finalize everything. I casually stroll over to the boss and interrupt a business meeting and start to ask a few questions. It becomes evident and clear that nothing has been set-up and I was entirely responsible for setting up the whole thing. I left the conversation holding a small piece of paper with the name of the restaurant situated at the top of the mountain. No phone number, no name to reference, simply the name of the restaurant. Now you are thinking “that is difficult but all you have to do is find the number and call” right? Well my friends, let me remind you that we are in a foreign country, that speaks a foreign language and did I mention, you have to take a lift to the top of this mountain. Yeah, that is quite a bit of organizing to do in one morning with a slight language barrier. As the night fades away and Courtney quickly falls asleep (jetlag is real y’all) I began running scenarios throughout my head and start searching for the number for this restaurant. I give myself a pep talk and convince myself it will all work out and nervously fall asleep with a racing mind. When the alarm clock rings in the morning, I shoot up without hesitation and began preparing for the big day. At this point I am so consumed with anxiety I haven’t even considered what to say or how to ask. It was sometime after showering that I realized that it was extremely cloudy and a thick layer of fog covered about half of the mountain. Shit, shit, shittttttt! What is the point of taking a lift to the top of a mountain if you can not see anything? I felt beat, defeated. I casually convince Courtney that I am going to go check on her mom (in reality I needed a quick therapy session). Okay not really, but I was damn close. I consulted with Barb and asked her opinion on several topics, but the only one that really mattered to me was whether or not it would be special enough for Courtney. After talking for a few minutes we decided it was now or never. I ran down stairs to give the barkeeper, Frank, a quick rundown of what was about to happen. He was enthusiastic about the occasion and asked me which bottle of champagne I would like to purchase as well as “where are your flowers” which I politely responded, “this is plan B Frank, I don’t have any damn flowers”. Frank then busted out his wizardry and told me he would set a white linen table on the patio, with the bottle of champagne on ice and call the town florist. I handed him a twenty and fled upstairs to make sure nothing was out of the ordinary. After packing up and waiting on Courtney to finish wrapping up with getting herself ready, we stood on the balcony and took in the beautiful view (we could also see Frank at work but thankfully no red flags). I then offered to take the luggage down to the car before checking out and discretely made the exchange of the ring with Barb. We made a quick plan to take a picture of Courtney and I outside to get her out there so I could start the show. After hauling the bags down to the garage, we decided to have one last libation before hitting the long road back to Steyr. After ordering a round, I received the nod from Frank that it was a go. As our drinks arrived, so did about a dozen ladies in jolly spirits celebrating a girls weekend away (they would later offer a round of applause when we returned inside to finish our champagne). I told Courtney I wanted to go take a couple of photos with my GoPro and secretly put it on video mode and set it up to record the occasion. Barbs acuteness again came into play when she discovered Courtney was wearing her beloved Aunt Jojo’s ring on her wedding finger. She casually made small talk and asked to look at it and hands it to me to inspect. Somehow, Courtney forgot all about the ring and I slid it into my pocket. Minutes later Barb asks Courtney and I to step outside for one last picture. There were a pair of doors on each side of the patio and it was paramount that we didn’t leave outside the doors nearest to us, given Courtney would see the table and perhaps the camera as well. I quickly stepped that direction first and acted as if the doors were locked (of course they were not). We stroll casually through the lounge and emotions begin to peak. We step outside and are taking in the view and realize the clouds have momentarily split and the sun beamed through (it was like a movie, I can’t make this stuff up). I still think that was Jojo wanting to witness such a special moment. Barb also notices this simple miracle and asks us to get together for the picture while the sun is coming through the clouds. After a picture, or two I can’t remember, Courtney realizes that we are actually standing a few feet from a table with a vase and a single rose, paired with a bottle of champagne and two glasses. Giving me the perfect intro, she says “what, is that for us” and smirks with sarcasm. At this moment, I literally fell into a type of euphoria. I had words I had wanted to say, but they disappeared. All I could muster up, was a measly question of “how long have we been together”. For the first time in my life, I was in complete shock. An emotion I expect to never feel again until the birth of a child, ran through my bones. Choking back tears I kneeled and asked Courtney if she would make me the happiest man on the planet and take my last name as hers. With emotions on high, she obliged and said yes. It was official. I had the woman of my dreams, forever. After a long embrace and some pretty big smiles, we popped the champagne and toasted a moment that we will forever cherish. 
 
That moment will forever be etched into my memory. You see, when you commit to someone, when you offer them your all, you are no longer two separate individuals. You are bound by certain aspects. You must strike a balance between one another and most importantly, you must try, and try hard. Try to ensure your love for her and not just parts of her, but all of her. Try to comfort her when she needs it. Try to encourage her to follow her own ideas and passions. Try to enlighten her that she is indeed beautiful, intelligent, and perfect for you. Try not to point out flaws, and instead ensure her that they are not flaws but rather her unique and personal characteristics. Try to cherish the little moments that mean so much. Try to understand where she is coming from. Try to never let your emotions speak louder than your heart. We can never be perfect, but when you try, you enable one another to grow and evolve as one. When the effort is there, you will find it easy to fall in love over and over again. 
 
 
Courtney Sue, I would not trade you for the world. Thank you for being exactly who you are. We have written quite a story thus far, and I can not wait to see what the future holds for us. I love you darlin and thank you for choosing me to share your beautiful life with. I look forward to falling in love with you all over again and again … forever.

 

November 10, 2017

-Colt

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