On July 9, 2017, I was a little bit nervous. Firstly because I was going to talk in front of the church, and second because I was planning on proposing to Hannah💕.
I was by far more nervous for the first, even though it had fewer implications upon the rest of my life and ended up not taking that long. It's probably partially due to the fact that ever since I left elementary school, I have very rarely enjoyed being the focus of others, especially if it involves me speaking to a large group. It appeared that I had preferred to listen and not to talk for too long, as I was called on to do a short talk on the fruit of the Spirit goodness.
I had put many hours into the preparation of my presentation and knew that what I had planned would take 11 minutes. Apparently it took no more than 9 minutes, so I guess I went a little quicker then planned, but I was told that I didn't go too quickly. Oh well I guess. I was extremely nervous as I began, but I became more comfortable as I continued. I stumbled over a couple of words just over half way through and got nervous again, but I was able to hold things together until I finished.
I really appreciated all of the comments I received afterwards about how I had done. I do believe that I could actually be good at speaking if I did it often enough to overcome my nervousness and became able to think on the fly while up in front. But, I don't see myself pursuing that too quickly.
I was relieved once I finished, but I knew that the excitement really hadn't started yet. One of Hannah's co-workers had graciously offered to take pictures of us, as we hadn't yet had "couple pictures" taken. When I had first learned of this many weeks prior, I had told Hannah that I wasn't proposing then... I changed my mind like a week before the 9th. I had made an effort to make sure she knew that it was very possible that I wasn't going to propose for a while, to make it as much of a surprise as possible
The day prior, my mom and Liz and I got the necessary items to pull off the proposal in woods of Riley Trails. I was lucky enough to have enough willing participants so that my only job that day was to distract Hannah. So after church we all ate, and then her and I went on a walk. Little did she know that that walk was carefully designed to keep her away as tiny cupcakes were created in the kitchen. I had specifically picked mini penguin cupcake holders because penguins are Hannah's favorite. As we walked, I tried to slow down the pace just enough so that she wouldn't notice, and I made sure to point out every pretty flower I could find because she always loves stopping to take pictures of them. The mission ended up being successful and the cupcakes were finished and carefully hidden... in the microwave.
We watched Star Wars up until we had to get ready to leave. We drove to the trails and I brought up the prank we were planning on pulling. We were going to do a fake proposal to mess with her co-worker and our photographer, Lauren. But Hannah had some second thoughts about going through with it, so I had to think quickly because that was my way of getting her to where my sister and her sister had set things up. I told her that I would suggest we go to a certain place for pictures and she didn't have to figure out if she wanted to go through with the prank until then. So we got out of the car and we walked to Lauren, and I made my desire to head to a certain place known. I had only been there once before, to scout out the best proposal spot, so I wasn't totally sure we were going the right way. But after what felt like much too long, I knew we were almost where we needed to be. As we approached the trap, Hannah noticed the rose petal trail. So we followed and it led to a blanket on the forest floor surrounded by white and red roses in clear glass vases and 2 cameras that were recording. Upon the blanket there was stacked 15 heart-topped cardboard boxes (14 with a mini cupcake and 1 with something else). I told Hannah that she should open one, and it was a cupcake, and so I told her to open some more. As she continued, I made my way around the northwesternmost corner of the blanket and picked up 3 roses lain there. I continued to move until I was standing right in front of one of the cameras, which I didn't realize for a minute. I waited as she opened the 7th and 8th boxes, and then she lifted the 9th, her facial expression changed and she paused before seeing that there wasn't a cupcake this time. So I asked if she wanted to trade and I handed her the roses in exchange for the little white box with bow on top. I opened the box and pulled out the container within, letting the empty box fall to the ground. Then I read her a poem I prepared and opened the container to reveal the ring. At this moment in time I went down on one knee (which almost ended up being both knees as my other leg was in an awkward half-kneel) and I said, "Hannah, will you choose me forever." I think the nerves had gotten to me because after she replied yes, I didn't move until her hand caught my attention and I was like "Oh yeah, the ring goes on the finger now."
She was crying and we were hugging and Lauren was picturing and I motioned for Liz and Bekah, who had just set everything up not too long ago to come out from behind the big tree where they were hiding. Hannah was surprised and hugged them and she cried some more. Then there were pictures of us and mosquito bites of us and laughing amongst us.
In short, it was perfect. Thank you again to my parents and Liz and Bekah for helping with setup. Thank you to Ken and Carol for raising a truly incredible woman and being okay with all of this. Thank you to Lauren for capturing the moments of our engagement and afterwards so well.