Monday, February 29, 2016

Proposal Details

Since so many of you have are the details...with some guest writing by Jim as well :)

Jim's Side:

A few weeks before Valentine's day, I told Melissa I was going for a long run on a Saturday morning with my friend Joseph, who was training for a marathon. Thankfully, she didn't ask where we would be going for this long run, because we were going to Brazos Bend State Park to scout potential locations for the proposal to take place. Melissa and I had tried going to Brazos Bend last year, but the park had been closed due to heavy flood damage. This time was going to be much different. Joseph had casually asked if I had any Valentine's Day plans, and I let him know that I had him and his wife Lauren in mind for helping me carry out my plans.
The spot I picked was a dock on a small lake, not far from the observatory, within the park. I knew we could watch the sunset next the observatory and then take a short walk before she would stumble onto my surprise for her.
My plan was for our walk around the lake to take us right past the dock, just after sunset. Seemingly out of nowhere, the dock and the table would be romantically lit and have a table for two ready for us to walk up and have dinner.
That afternoon, we tried looking for geocaches at the park for the first time, but were unsuccessful in finding any. We did have fun just hiking around the park, climbing trees, and crawling through brush off the trail. And a little bit before sunset (which research told me would happen at 6:10pm) we sat on a bench by the observatory, enjoying the peace and the sounds of birds overhead.
While we were out, I'd left instructions for Joseph to send me texts updating their status - not that I'd show myself getting distracted by my phone (how unromantic!), but that I could feel it vibrate in my pocket - one buzz for all clear, two for potential issues, and three for big problems. I got the first text at 4:00 - the dock was clear. But signal in Brazos Bend is a bit questionable. At 5:00, I got no update that they were setting up, nor at 6:00 that things were ready. At 6:05, my phone battery ran out, and so I would not receive the last text scheduled for 6:10, right at sunset, that we could walk over to the table.
So I asked Melissa to keep an eye on the clock. And at precisely 6:10, while she was still enjoying the sky and the view, I gave the word that we needed to move out. She didn't know it's because I worried our food would be getting cold, and that someone walking by might take an interest in the scene, while nobody was at the table. I prayed that Joseph and Lauren were on schedule.
So we started walking, at first in the direction in the car, until we got to a fork in the road, and I said we'd take the long way around the lake. And five minutes later, as we came around the corner where we'd be able to see the dock, I saw Joseph and Lauren leaving the dock, taking with them the empty bags. Melissa saw them too, and turned towards me, full of questions. And in that turn, she also saw the dock and the table, lit under the dusky sky. Joseph and Lauren went above and beyond my plans with the decorating, adding touches of flowers and petals. And so, as they cleared the area, we sat down to dinner.
Melissa's Side:
Jim had told me a few weeks before Valentine's that he had the day reserved. I wasn't surprised by that because he put together a really sweet dinner surprise on our first Valentine's together the year before (our 4th date :) ). The day before, he emailed me a pack list. It was hugely varied - from a star chart, head lamp, colored pencils to dancing shoes and a coat that I would consider "cute and nice." I was thinking we were doing something outside and then going somewhere for dinner. 
After church we headed out and after a little bit (Jim was driving) I realized we were headed to Brazos Bend State Park. I pulled out my Texas State Park pass. He just grinned and played all innocent. We parked and he pulled out his GINORMOUS backpacking backpack...I was starting to think that maybe we would eat in the park. And then he pulled out his GPS watch, a compass, and a list of geocaching sites. We had both mentioned that activity before but had never tried it. So we went on the treasure hunt. We climbed through a lot of bushes and trees and found all of the coordinates we set out to find, but no actual geocache. 

We headed back to the Observatory where Jim said we would watch the sunset (it did flash through my mind VERY quickly, "is he going to propose!?" but I quickly squashed it because I had been working really hard not to try and guess when he would since I really wanted to be surprised. We sat at the observatory and chatted and talked about the past year together. 

Sunset was at 6:10pm (it didn't surprise me that he knew that, he always looks up sunrise and sunset times when we are outdoors). A little before 6pm, he was getting his phone out to take a picture (or so I thought) and he worriedly said "oh no, my phone died." I was like, no big deal, I have mine to take pictures. And then he proceeded to ask me what time it was about 4 times in he next 10 minutes. I was thinking "why is he being so weird about the time?". Right when it hit 6:10pm, he said "okay, let's go." I kinda just stood there for a few seconds as I watched him walk away thinking "but the sun JUST set, the colors are still pretty, why are we going?" but I figured that he wanted to get dinner started before it got too dark (even though I had brought my headlamp ;-) ).
Instead of walking back to the parking lot, Jim turned me onto a trail and said we were going the long way around. We walked and chatted (or I chatted...) and then I saw what looked to be our friends Lauren and Joseph ahead. I turned to Jim to ask if he saw them and that's when I saw the table and chairs and lights and flowers. I started crying. I couldn't believe someone would do that for me! I was so blessed by his attention to detail and thoughtfulness. He had cooked the dinner the night before and our friends had reheated it. It was all gluten and dairy free! 
We chatted and even though I was still a little weepy, I realized this was a nice dinner and nothing more. And I was totally okay with that and just enjoying the moment. AND THEN he turned the conversation serious by mentioned the book we had been going through "101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged" and asked me how God had grown me since we started dating. So I shared, and then he shared, and then he wrapped up by saying "I want to be your husband." And he got down on one knee (I was totally crying at this point) and asked me to marry him. And then I ugly cried into his shoulder...and I think I said yes then, but neither of us can remember! A bit later, I gasped and asked "Did I say yes? because YES!" - he laughed and said he had taken my tears as a yes :).
After some emergency battery charging at the car and some time for me to fix my twig-filled and humidty-frizzy hair and put on my "cute and nice" coat, our friends came back and took pictures.
Perfect, perfect, perfect proposal! I am so thankful that God allowed me to trust Him and be surprised and for all the time and thought Jim put into planning the whole day.

"I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I hope." Psalm 130:5