An Engagement Story


My oldest son walked through a door on Friday and asked a girl to spend her life with him. I’ve been dreaming about this time of launching for years, and here it is. Can I blab about it for just a bit? I need to download.

Sam was an unusual child. He learned to read when he was three. While other kids were playing football in the back yard, Sam was making 3D models using Blender.  He finished high school when he was 16 – had a 2 year degree and was three credits shy of a four year degree at age 18. He has been running his own, thriving business for two years.

But for some reason I thought he might not get married until he was much, much older. He didn’t seem interested in girls at all. In fact, I remember just a year ago visiting with another couple from church and telling them I was worried that he might NEVER be interested in getting married. He seemed so content to just focus, focus, FOCUS on his work. He didn’t have time for a girl.

But then a girl came along who wouldn’t be ignored. Tess literally inserted herself into his life, and Sam looked up from his work and promptly fell in love. I’m not sure what would have become of him if Tess had not asked him if he could tell her ALL ABOUT—CLEP tests!

Sam met Tess through our church’s small (large) group for single young adults. The group has a Sunday School class on Sundays with a fabulous teacher whom they all adore. (Hat tip to Mr. Thorson.) They also meet every Saturday night for Bible study and fellowship in addition to camping, swing dancing, and all kinds of other fun things. It’s a fabulous group of beautiful young people, and we have been thrilled with the friendships and fellowship they’ve all enjoyed together.


So these two kids got together one day to discuss CLEP tests over a cup of Caribou coffee. Sam, in his usual business like way, gathered up his large briefcase full of papers and sample CLEP study books and made his way to Caribou where he proceeded to wax and wane to this beautiful audience about the wonders of CLEPPING.

Tess, not the academic type, and not a little amused at Sam’s enthusiasm for CLEPPING, politely listened for a while before turning the subject to more intriguing matters. And the rest is history. If these people interest you, I wrote about Sam’s college path HERE and his unusual childhood HERE, and I scribbled a few thoughts about dating HERE.

They got engaged on Friday. Some of you have asked for details, so for anyone interested, here’s a brief rundown of what happened—from a third party perspective, of course. This engagement story just goes to show that even the most cerebral of Wemmicks have a streak of romance flowing through their veins.


Sam put together a scavenger hunt for Tess. Here’s how it played out: Tess woke up on Friday morning to a bouquet of flowers and a poem that contained a clue. This set her on a hunt that would take her to all the significant places in the (short) history of their relationship (about 8 months). Of course, the first place was Caribou coffee.

At each location, Tess was required to ask (in various clever ways) whomever was working for the next clue. Each clue was a carefully crafted (and funny) poem. At one of the stops she was given some money to get her nails done and go shopping (her mom was following her and met with her at this point to go shopping) for a dress and accessories for an evening out.

After her shopping was finished, she went home to get ready. A limo came to her door to pick her up and bring her to the restaurant where Sam was waiting at a table. After a lovely dinner, the waiter came out with Tess’s favorite dessert. The story behind the dessert is that Tess is gluten free and has a dessert she loves at a bakery near by – so Sam had brought that dessert to the restaurant where the chef dressed it up with chocolate and flowers – and set the ring on top as the crowning glory. It was gorgeous.

Sam took the ring and got down on his knee and said words – I don’t know what they were – and Tess said “YES!” We actually have some very blurry pictures of this whole thing because my sneaky husband and 17 yo son took their cameras and hid up in the balcony where they could see the couple and shoot a few photos. Unfortunately, Joe (my husband) thought he had turned on the movie camera – but he had actually turned it OFF. So we have no video footage, but Phillip got a few blurry pictures that were fun to look at.

Apparently the whole restaurant and hotel staff (the restaurant was in a hotel) knew what was going down – and Sam and Tess enjoyed the attention they got from the live band and several other folks who smiled, stared, and wished them well. They had a wonderful evening. Tess’s aunt took some engagement pictures the next morning, and now they are busily planning an August 16 wedding.

They are both 20 years old and on the cusp of growing up.




Natalie Klejwa is a Wemmick, loved by the Woodcarver, wife of 22 years to Joe, and mother to 9 Wemmicks ages 2-20. She is a business owner (Apple Valley Natural Soap), founder and administrator of the Visionary Womanhood blog, publisher and contributing author of Three Decades of Fertility, You Can Do it Too! 25 Families Share Their Stories, and The Heart of Simplicity: Foundations for Christian Homemaking.

You can hear her being interviewed on Kevin Swanson's Generations with Vision radio program.

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33 thoughts on “An Engagement Story

  1. Oh Natalie – I loved it (I’m a bit on the romance side too). How exciting for your family. They are a beautiful couple! Congratulations dear sister.
    Much love from the Ferrell Family <3

  2. Congratulations Sam and Tess!! Aww what a beautiful love story written by the Author of Love (and Love Himself)! Congrats to both families and what a wonderful post today. It brought a BIG smile to my face!!

  3. Congratulations, to you and Joe, and especially to Sam & Tess! I had an inkling, from the clues you dropped last week, that Sam might have something special planned for Valentine’s Day. Sam’s engagement story reminds me of another very special, creative one I once saw featured, a little over 20 years ago, on a local tv show, called Twin Cities Today ,0)
    We are so happy for Sam & Tess. Thank you so much for sharing their special story, and please send them our heartfelt best wishes for a wonderful future together!
    Love, Greg, Kerrie & the girls

  4. Natalie, I’m so excited for you all!!! Thanks so much for sharing! Congratulations on the soon to be added daughter! What a wonderful Engagement story! May the Lord bless their life together and all the richness that Tess will bring to your family and all the richness that Sam will bring to Tess’ family! Blessings to you!

  5. Wonderful news! Congratulations, you must be such a proud mama! Good job raising such a sweet and thoughtful son, and to think you doubted he would ever be interested in romance!

  6. Thanks for sharing. What a blessing when our children follow Christ and choose His best for us. Enjoy the whole process of planning a wedding…..Hmmmmm, wonder if you could come up with some awesome favors, wedding party gifts??????????? :)

  7. How exciting! And it makes me so glad that they’re only 20! My warmest congratulations to the whole family. It’s clear in the pictures that Sam and Tess are BEAMING. (:

  8. What an exciting time for all of you! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. Congratulations to Sam and Tess, and many blessings on their marriage!

    • OK, I’ve definitely had that thought cross my mind…but when I see it in black and white letters as you have written it here – I must admit it freaks me out just a wee bit. I just turned 16 yesterday. Grandmas are super old. Right? Not 16, like me. ;)

  9. Hello. I rejoice with you and your family that God’s plan for your son has become clearer and that His gift to your son was in fact to get married.

    My comment’s perspective is from 1 Cor. 7 and Matthew 19:11-12, where Paul and Christ speak of marriage and singleness. BOTH are gifts and I feel as a parent we need to make sure that we are not pressuring our children to get married as God gives a calling to some to remain single. Unfortunately, many in our society blame, pity or treat unmarried people as if God has withheld His best from them and that they are missing out. It is possible to be completely happy, fulfilled, and satisfied in Christ, seeking His will for your life. Jesus Christ, Paul and John the Baptist all had the gift of singleness.

    Congratulations and best wishes!

    • While what you share is absolutely true, I have to admit that in light of our current rejoicing, it is a like a splash of cold water in the face. Truth is best and most lovingly shared at the appropriate time.

  10. That is beautiful! And a handsome couple, too :) Congratulations to all of you! It strengthens my faith to see that God will accomplish things, such as marriage, for our children without us needing to orchestrate a thing. You did put in the time as a faithful parent, and He took care of the rest. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

  11. Aww! Congratulations! My oldest is also 20, but I jokingly told him and his girlfriend to wait until I’m 50 to get married because, at 39, I’m just not ready to be a Grandma! ;)

  12. I’m overwhelmed! Thank you Sam for including me in your wonderful plan. :-) As Tess’s mother, I can only say that God is good, the future is bright, and I’m so excited to see the looks on your faces Sam and Tess when you say “I do”.
    Love you, love you, love you!