The Ring That Would Change Everything

“Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzumishi krimpatul.”

– Gandalf, Book II, Chapter II;

The Council of Elrond 

Translated, this says:

“One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, one ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”

Clearly the aforementioned ring possesses immense power, so much so that it changes the course of history and sends shockwaves through many lives, both fictional and non.

I digress.

Something quite amazing happened yesterday evening, June 28 2016, around 8:30pm.

Through the scrambled and panicked mess strewn about my kitchen, I somehow managed to manufacture a creamy cheddar roux to pour over the chicken, broccoli and pasta dish I was cooking for the very first time.

I had successfully prepared a home cooked meal for Katherine for (she claims 🙄) the first time ever. And just in time for her to return from a long and difficult day; success!

A few days before, she had found a lovely old wooden table that she absolutely adored, and which was conveniently being stored in my living room. Don’t worry people – this is all coming together.

For your viewing pleasure, a table.

As she arrived for dinner, I was finishing setting up this very table on my back deck, overlooking the woods behind my townhome. Decked out with a nice candle, one of her favorite drinks and Pandora channel, and my heroic attempt at a new recipe, it was time for a cute date night.

Isn’t she a peach?

Little did she know… My intention was far more than any ordinary date night.

Hidden slyly behind the very laptop from whence she was enjoying the music she loves, I had hidden the One ring.

No, I do not mean the same ring that was destroyed in Mt. Doom by two very brave hobbits.

I mean the One and only ring of its kind I will ever need to purchase.

What I’m saying, beloved ones, is this; I have asked Katherine Lee Barkow to be my wife, and she said yes. 

I have long counted myself a man living a life of abundant wealth, blessing and love, and last night has only further cemented that. I am honored, blessed and overjoyed for the opportunity to marry this woman and lead her towards Christ for the rest of our lives.

Feast your eyes below.

Much Love & Many Blessings,

Brady J. L. Smith


Can you believe that I’m THIS blessed?

Morganite, 14k Rose Gold, with diamond halo band. It fits her so perfectly.

We could not be more excited.

P.S. – As for my wedding band…



Oops, I did it again. It’s been nearly a month since I last posted, and in doing so I think I claimed that I was going to post more often… I hereby rescind that statement, and vow to write when I feel moved to.

Ah, the weight is lighter already.

I write today to talk about some amazing people that have stumbled (probably not so coincidentally) into my life in the last several months. In my last post, Through Hell or High Water, I wrote about my best friend for the last 12 or so years. He’s a super rad dude, and for some time after high school I think that I believed I would never find a friend as good for my life as he, nor that I could see myself getting nearly as close. Mind you, Tyler has been and will be my best friend and best man so long as we both live and God wills it, but I have found that my initial beliefs about my own capability to open my life and invest in others’ were incorrect.

Throughout college, I met several people who debunked that belief, some even rather quickly. I made some of the best friends of my life; some of whom I believe will stand by me to weather the storms of life. But even after them, upon moving down to Bloomington, I retained this sort of debilitating fear that I couldn’t possibly do it a third time: I could not possibly find more people with whom I enjoy spending the majority of my time, sharing stories, memories and emotions.

A part of me truly thought it would just be me, Katherine and Jesus down here.

While in many senses that would be more than enough, there is something lacking when one does not find and maintain a sense of community and belonging among a varied group of people. I believe that it’s safe to say that even the most introverted persons are far better off in life when they find just a handful of souls that love, cherish and support them throughout whatever chapter of life they may be in at the time.

This all brings me to the here and now. As may be obvious to many of you, and seems so clear to me in hindsight (it is 20-20 after all), I have indeed found an amazing group of friends that add a tremendous wealth and value to my life.

It all started when I needed a comfortable coffee shop just to get away from the demands and woes of life… Wow that got dramatic fast. I stumbled upon this little shop probably as far from my apartment as I could have found, and when I went in there wasn’t a single seat available at any of the tables and wouldn’t you know it; they were out of the drip coffee I wanted! Things weren’t looking so good, until one of the owners insisted that he make me a pourover cup and take a seat at the empty leather armchairs.

Not long after this encounter the other owner, the sister-in-law of the former, would offer me a homemade bun the next time I visited. I could tell that there was something special about this place and these people. Several visits and far too many cups of coffee later, I considered myself a regular of Crumble Coffee & Bakery, where I eventually ended up befriending everyone on staff. I was asked to apply for a position a few times, have been given more free food and drinks than one could imagine, and have been known to take out the trash and sweep the floor from time to time.

As always, I digress.

The kindness and hospitality of these coffee shop owners would lead to my meeting those whom I would consider my closest friends in Bloomington. Katherine eventually got a job at Crumble, where she is creating delightful espresso drinks and learning to bake some of the most fantastic baked goods that have ever graced my lips, and the two of us have spent an amazing several months with these magnificent people.

One of my favorite things about the group is the sheer diversity of personality, strengths and joys. I have learned much from them already, and continue to be surprised daily. I have found myself, once again, learning to build relationships and love others as some of my closest friends in a way I once believed could not be repeated.

I am so very grateful to these dear friends for opening their homes, their lives and their stories to me; and more importantly, I am so very grateful to God for bringing us together to share in life and community.

Now, I will continue to enjoy life and friendships right where I am, but I think that I will move on from Bloomington with a new peace and understanding that God will always provide the community I need, no matter where He takes me.

Much Love & Many Blessings,

Brady J L Smith