Hart's Memories - Post 1


So I, Hart, have been cleaning up my Google Reader (deleting blogs I no longer read, or blogs that people no longer update, etc) and I came across 2 blogs I had actually forgotten about because they haven't been updated in forever. What a punk right? Start a blog, post some decent things, and then never update it again. Lame. Oh but wait. Those 2 blogs were blogs I started and never kept up with! Actually most of the posts in them are not that good, but there were a couple that I thought would be fun if over the next coming days I post (or I guess re-post) them for you to read. So without further ado, here goes!

"We're Engaged (from Hart's perspective)"
(originally posted on Monday, January 14, 2008)

So on January 5th Vanessa and I finally got engaged! I had been planning things out for about 2 months, and the Lord allowed all of it to work out! Praise the Lord!

So I guess I'll start from ground zero and take you through the planning and proposal and everything. I'm going to try and get Vanessa to write something from her perspective, which I'll post on here:

Well, about 2 months ago I started seriously think through things for the proposal. I wanted to propose to Vanessa privately and then have a huge surprise party to celebrate with our family and friends. Well I wanted Vanessa's dad, and stepmom and step sister to come down, but her dad was overseas on business. I knew he wouldn't be getting back until sometime in December, which was around the time I was wanting to propose. So I emailed her dad to find out when he would be coming back, and if he would like to come to the party. After many emails, Saturday January 5 was determined to be the best and most ideal date.

During the emails I was also beginning to talk with my parents and some close friends, to get ideas, etc. After finally setting the date, I still kept it fairly secret, but was beginning to let a few people know when the date was and to make sure to save it, etc.

My original plan was to propose to Vanessa later in the afternoon, then take her to the surprise party. However, after receiving her dad and stepmom's flight plans via email, I realized Vanessa and I would need to spend more time with them because they had gone to the trouble of buying plane tickets, renting a hotel room, etc. and I felt bad that they would go to that trouble, only to spend 2 hours with us. So after much prayer over what to do, the Lord gave me the idea to 1st have a surprise dinner with our families. So after making that plan I informed the families where and when it would be.

Around Thanksgiving time I got in touch with Lexington Pres church to see if I could rent out their dining hall. After about 2 weeks, I finally heard back from them, and they said that I could rent it out, and that since I wasn't requiring much, they would let me have it for free! Praise God!

So now that I had the destination for the party set, I decided it was time for me to begin informing friends...especially since this would be over Christmas break, and many people go off and do things. So I sent out the big email to friends concerning the surprise party. I must confess I was quite nervous sending out this email, because after tallying up the numbers, I figured out I would be sending this email to over 100 people, and that's 100+ people that could slip up and mention something to Vanessa. But I decided that if God wanted this to be a surprise, He's the Almighty, and He can keep it a secret. So I sent out the email, with all the info.

With about a month to go, I started getting overwhelmed with everything, and realized I needed to delegate jobs to people because I saw there was no way I could go to the dining hall at LPC to set up for the party. I spoke with some of Vanessa's close girlfriends, and her mom, seeing if they could be in charge of decorations, etc. Then my mom and our good family friend, Danielle (who does catering for a living) took over the food aspects.

Anyways, I'll fastforward to closer to time now....

Friday Jan. 4:
The night before the big day, I asked Vanessa out on a date. Of course she said yes, but was some what reluctant because my sister and bro-in-law were in town...Vanessa thought they were in town to help my parents with cleaning, reorganizing, etc. So Vanessa felt bad they we weren't going to be helping. She was also a little frustrated because I told her to be ready at 10am (she had gotten back from skiing in Nevada with her dad and stepmom, brother and step sister the day before, and so was still a little tired..so waking up early was not very appealing).

Saturday Jan. 5:
I woke up Saturday morning and was again overwhelmed. My plan was to write and record a song for Vanessa that would be the main/primary way I proposed to her. Well, for some reason God would not let me come up with any song. Finally the day before He started giving it to me. But Saturday morning I still had not finished it, and still needed to record it. So I woke up around 7, finished writing it and recorded it. But praise the Lord, He always provides...because He laid it on my sister's heart to help me with whatever I needed done. So she and Mike (her husband/my bro-in-law) went to Publix and got the food I wanted for the picnic I planned to take.

So after running around, finishing up last minute things, I had my song on my iPod, my portable speakers for my iPod, my picnic stuff, directions to Waterfront Park in Charleston SC, and a hat full of pieces of paper (whats the hat for?...you'll find out).

I went and picked up Vanessa and gave her a bouqet of tulips, her favorite flowers. Then we got in my car. I told her I wouldn't tell her what the date was (only that it was super cool), but that our date did involve lunch. I said since we have a hard time always picking a place to eat, I wrote some places down on slips of paper, and put them in a hat that she would draw from. I told her whatever she drew, that's where we had to go...so if it was McDonalds, we were going to McD's. Well she drew and handed me a slip of paper. I opened it and said I was hoping she wouldn't draw that one. She asked me why would I put it in there then, and I simply said because I thought it would be a funny one, but with 20 other slips of paper in there, I was hoping she'd get another one. She looked at the slip of paper, and it said Charleston.

A few minutes later, after getting onto the interstate, I pulled out a sheet of paper and acted shocked, saying 'look at that, directions to Charleston! I think at that point she realized all the slips of paper in the hat were Charleston.

We got to Charleston, parked, and surprised Vanessa by pulling out the picnic from the trunk. We went to waterfront park and began eating our lunch and hanging out. Me, being anxious and ready to propose, flew through my lunch, and then had to wait on Vanessa (who is a really slow eater to finish her sandwich...not sure why I wanted to wait until she finished her sandwich, but it just seemed like I didn't want to ask her 1/2 through her turkey sub). So she finally finished, and I told her I had written her a song and wanted to play it for her. I pulled out of my backpack a folder that had the lyrics inside it. (I typed the lyrics up and put 1st verse on one page, the chorus on the next page, etc) I handed her the folder, and selected the song on my iPod. However, a peculiar thing happened...my iPod shut off. I turned it back on, selected the song, and...off went my iPod. This same scenario happened about 5 times...I finally started getting frustrated. Vanessa first said I could play it for her another time. I rudely snapped back, no I have to do it now. I think at this point, Vanessa caught on what was happening...so she sweetly suggested I just read her the lyrics like a poem. I, feeling defeated by the silly little piece of plastic, metal and computer stuff, agreed to her idea. So I read the lyrics to her.

The reason I had spaced out the lyrics (1st verse on one page, chorus on next page, etc) was because at the end on the last page I had written 'turn around', or 'look behind you' or something like that. And my plan was while she was listening to the song and reading the lyrics, I would discreetly get on my knee, and have the ring already out. But you can't discreetly do that when she's leaning against you and you're reading the lyrics to her. So although God didn't allow for it to happen that way, I'm glad He allowed it to happen this way...because it serves as a funny story now...now

Anyways, so she saw the last page and looked at me, and I got down on my knee and pulled out the ring and said 'Vanessa Laurel Settelen', will you marry me? And of course she said yes!!! We hugged and kissed, looked at the ring, hugged and kissed, looked at the ring, hugged and kissed, looked at the ring, you get the picture. We then spent some sweet moments in prayer together lifting up our future marriage to the Lord. We got some people to take our picture. We drank some sparkling grape juice. We swang on the swings at Waterfront park. We walked through the Market. Then I told her we needed to get back home because we were going out to show her mom the ring that evening and I didn't want it to be super late. (by this point it was 2:30...and we needed to be at dinner by 5).

The drive back consisted of me hearing the story retold about 20 times while Vanessa called all her girlfriends/family/etc and telling the story, and then lots of squealing and giggling...I think my squealing and giggling made it hard for Vanessa to talk on the phone :).

We got back to Columbia, and my original plan was to drop Vanessa off at the Nelson's house (where she is living). Then I would go back to my house and set my boombox and iPod out for my friend charlie, who was going to come and pick it up to take out to LPC for the party. However, when I mentioned to Vanessa about dropping her off at the Nelson's, to change, or fix make up, she seemed like I was crazy because she didn't need to do any of that...so I said I needed to go back to my house to get a sweater because it was chilly outside. So we went there, and thankfully she went to the bathroom and I was able to run and grab the boombox and iPod and set outside for Charlie.

One other thing needing to be mentioned: When we got to my house, Vanessa was expecting my family to be there to see the ring...but they weren't..me not being goood at coming up with stories on the spot, couldn't think up a good reason why they weren't there...

Right before we left, I noticed I had a voice mail. I checked it, and it was my mom who seemed a little frustrated, and she was saying that they had arrived at Fatz Cafe (where we were having dinner) and the Fatz people said they couldn't let us have a table together for the 16 or so of us there...which was bogus, because I called Fatz earlier in the week and requested those tables...and though they did say they can't take reservations on weekends, they said if we got there earlier enough, it wouldn't be a problem...Anyways, so I called my mom to find out what was going on, and she said it had all been worked out. Praise the Lord, because Fatz had a nice manager who worked everything out for us. Well, I was trying to get off the phone with my mom..at which point Vanessa walked in to hear me say 'Yes ma'am.' after I got off the phone, she asked who I was talking to, and I tried to cover saying Charlie and that I had said 'yes man'..but she obviously didn't buy it. (see, i'm really bad at coming up with stories)

Well we got out to my car to leave, and Vanessa wanted to call her mom to tell her we were on our way out to Gilbert. Well, I had never told Linelle (vanessa's mom) that I would tell Vanessa we would come out to Gilbert...so I was afraid 1) Linelle might would be confused and slip up about the party and 2) Vanessa would hear everyone in the background. So I was firm telling her she didn't need to call her mom...which raised more suspicion.

While we were driving out to "Gilbert", I could tell Vanessa was deep in though. So I asked her what she was thinking and she told me I didn't want to know...I kept pressing her, and she finally told me...

1) My family wasn't at the house...and I couldn't come up with a good reason why they weren't there.

2) I was on the phone with either my mom or her mom when she caught me saying 'yes ma'am'

3) I wouldn't let her call her mom

4) She smelled Hannah's hairspray in the bathroom..and knew Hannah would only get dressed up if she were going somewhere..lets say, dinner

Therefore, my family and her family were together, and we were meeting up with them for dinner. She says she's a detective...I say she's nosey!

So we get to Fatz and we had to park in the back. Well as we were walking up there was a side entrance that we went through (I hadn't been told what my family was going to do, so I didn't know we needed to come through the front). We get inside, and we see our family all togehter up front with the menus hiding their faces, and some video cameras recording. Vanessa ran up behind them all and yells surprise, surprising the surprisers! However, we did surprise Vanessa (though not the last time) in a big way...she never would have guessed her dad and stepmom would be there!

Well we all ate and had a good time. Then around 6:30 finished up. We all said are
goodbyes, and left. I told Vanessa I wanted to ride around with her for a little while before we get back to my parents house where we wouldn't have time alone together. So we drove around, and I did a really good job of stalling till 7, which was the time we would show up at the party. We drove down towards the Walmart, and I asked her what was behind it, and that I wanted to drive around and see the neighborhoods. So we did that and then eventually started making our way back towards where we started. At this point vanessa could tell I was stalling and was beginning to ask questions. So I finally pulled over, and pulled out a blindfold and told her she had one more surprise, but she had to be blindfolded.

We drove to the church. Parked. And I led her to the door. I opened it up, led her in, infront of about 50 of our family and friends. Our family and friends had all lined up in two lines, making like a path for us to come down in between. I told Vanessa to get ready because I was going to take off her blindfold. The moment I took it off, she opened her eyes, and everyone shouted surprise. If you were there, or you have the opportunity to see the video...or if I ever have the opportunity to post a picture, her face tells it all. she had no idea, and was completely shocked!

The party went on until around 9:30. At that point we left, and have now begun the planning of a wedding.

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