My Engagement Details/FAQ

So, I have my own engagement story now! And, since many people have been asking me for details, I have created an FAQ for the occasion!

MY RING!

My ring!

When did you get engaged?

I got engaged Sunday, December 1st.

How did he propose? 

Well, we went out on a romantic date to a fancy-ish restaurant in downtown Rochester, MI. Every holiday season, they are notorious for having every inch of each and every building and storefront covered in Christmas lights. They’re all different colors – some patterned, some solid – it’s really beautiful. At dinner, we were lucky enough to be sat a table by the window so I could see the town from my table. This particular restaurant has paper as table cloths and crayons at each setting. I always love this and have fun drawing and writing things to him across the table. It’s fun seeing how well I can or cannot write mushy things upside down. Our food was great, and then we head out to walk a block or two along the lit-up town.

A small, bad angle of our restaurant.

A small, bad angle of our restaurant.Our dinnersOur dinnersI just adore that smirk.I just adore that smirk!

Trying to write upside down on the paper table cloths!

Trying to write upside down on the paper table cloths!

Some were more successful than others at writing upside down ;D

Our next stop was this fantastic dessert and coffee shop that has a significantly artsy, cafe ambiance and atmosphere. They’ve got everything – house-roasted coffee, cheesecakes, mousse, etc. We decided on chocolate fondue for two, and settled into a love seat by a coffee table. We talked while our chocolate melted and got warm, and they brought over the dish of our fruit and cookies to dip. Once we had finished, we began discussing logistics and timelines of getting married. Luke then began an adorable little monologue about things he loves about me and how he doesn’t want to ever be with anyone else, and proceeded to get on one knee in front of me (still sitting on the couch). He pulled out the ring box, asked me to marry him, which I answered “yes” and we hugged and it’s pretty typical from there!

Our yummy dessert - chocolate fondue!

Our yummy dessert – chocolate fondue!

Our last picture of being just boyfriend/girlfriend.

Our last picture of being just boyfriend/girlfriend.

His car has bluetooth capability so we ended the nigh by sitting in his warm car, calling our families on speakerphone together to tell them we were engaged.

It was perfect, and even though it was technically a public engagement, because we were sitting and he just shifted his weight to get on one knee on the floor, it really wasn’t obvious at all what he was doing. It still felt very private and intimate. No crowd applauding, no congratulatory comments on our way out. It was perfect.

Did you cry or scream?

Haha, no, I didn’t. =]

Did you know it was coming?

Yes, I did. I had known for a while because we discussed it a lot. Nevertheless I had been feeling held in such suspense! It’s been surreal that it’s actually happened.

Do you have a date planned?

Well, we have a couple in mind. It’s been less than a week, so any planning that I’ve/we’ve done has been really spontaneous and kind of up-in-the-air still. We want to make sure the date we choose works best for the most important people to us before we move forward with plans and announcements. We are looking at May or early June, though. I’ll keep you posted.

Where are you getting married?

I also have no clue about this yet. Like I said, it’s been less than a week. He proposed on Sunday, and it is Friday (technically, it’s the wee hours of Saturday morning).

What’s the best part about being engaged?

The best part has really been the fact that I have been feeling so special to have my sister and two best friends so excited for me and so enthusiastic about everything, and that Luke’s family has done absolutely nothing but welcomed me with open arms and excited smiles. It’s been very sweet.

Also, I like being able to actually discuss/toy with plans and ideas without looking like a lame person for planning her wedding before even being engaged. I’m not gonna lie, that was definitely happening a little bit. Guilty. Sue me.

What is the most difficult part about being engaged?

In the moment, I want to say the most difficult part has been trying to nail down a date. Luke and I are both anxious to just be able to have a date decided and run with it. I feel like everyday I’ve been making calls trying to figure out what day works for our immediate families and best friends. Once we can just get a solid date decided, we’ll feel like we can actually get started on some other solid plans and begin to flesh out the actual wedding.

Another really difficult thing is still dealing with the recent passing of my wonderful grandmother (my mom’s mom), and figuring out how to make room for all the happy and excitement in all the grief and pain and complicated family matters that arise from such events. Luke told me the night he proposed that he was hoping to propose on my birthday (September 16th), but nothing about that really went right (the weather was awful, and our plans involved a lot of outdoors – and also I hurt my ankle very badly), so he held off. The first thing that popped into my head at that time was If he had proposed on my birthday, I could have called Grammy about it. I did tell Luke this. We’ve talked about it and he actually told me it came up in a conversation with her and he got to tell her how he had a ring and was planning to propose ASAP. That makes me really happy, that she knew. Grief comes in waves, and more than once in just this week, I’ve found myself looking at one thing or another that made me think of her, or even just thinking about how excited and adoring she would be over the situation and crying. But it’s okay. Ultimately, right now I’m so very glad to have a reason to bring my family together for something to celebrate, considering a funeral was cause for our last gathering.

Additionally, I’m having a terribly difficult time getting used to calling him my fiancee. So, that’s pretty hard. Words are hard. whomp whomp.

Wednesday Things

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(this was the sunrise on my way to Pennsylvania last weekend)

  1. I’m so sorry that you’ve already heard this a million times by now (and 500,000 of those times were probably already from me), but I think the tricks that the sun plays on us this time of year are lame. I remember it being harder than before last year, too. Maybe it’s an age thing? Does this get harder as I get older? I hope not. It already sucks.
  2. I miss fruit. I miss the mangoes and the pomegranates and the berries and leafy greens and all things plant and delicious. I can still get my smoothies in with frozen fruit, but I feel like I’ve been eating soup and cereal for like, the past month already. Also: I should really take time to sit and cook real food again. I’ve fallen out of that habit. But what is there to make in the winter time? All I can think is chili and pasta.
  3. Freaking love this: 24 quotes to inspire you to write more.
  4. The new Pentatonix album is out and I’ve maybe been blasting it at intersections and all the time, really. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I really think you should. It seems like every person I know in Chorale has been freaking out about it, too. This is justified.
  5. This is the third day in a row I’ve blogged (in like, years). I don’t really know what made me feel like I just have to dive back into it this week, but I’m glad I did. I forgot that I get lots of good things out of it. What I am currently getting out of it is even more procrastination from the lab report that’s due tonight (Hey. All I have left is the abstract [A.K.A. the worst, most repetitive, and boring part about writing these things. I’ll get to it after this mental break).
  6. I got a whole two days with my bestie in PA recently, and I already miss her so much. Today is her senior recital jury, and I couldn’t be more confident that she is going to knock their socks of. She’s basically the best pianist and friend I could ask to know.
  7. I lost the charger and syncing tool for my FitBit, so I haven’t used it in like, three weeks. I’m also bitter because two weeks after I had JUST bought my Flex they came out with the Force, which has a display – which was the only feature I wished my Flex had. Fortunately, their customer service is great and they’re letting me return my Flex for a full refund even without the missing pieces. I get to turn around and by the Force, and I am so excited to be moving more again and get back on track.
  8. Speaking of, I’m really feeling just how little physical activity I’ve been participating in for the past week or two. Between catching up on all the homework I’ve fallen behind on (which is a lot, thanks to procrastination and dealing with my grandmother’s passing and all the family stuff and traveling), catching up on sleep, cutting work hours, and allowing myself some “me time” for the sake of restoration, I’ve been so sedentary. Blah.
  9. While we were in London, my grandmother and I each kept a notebook that we journaled in on our trip. When my mom was going through her things after the funeral, she found her notebook and gave it to me. I just today gathered the strength to pop it open and peek at the things she wrote. I guess I was expecting a lot of significant and emotional revelations to come from her writings, and I’m only two entries in, but so far most of it has been recapping our flights, layovers, and how tired we both got by the end of each day. I’m surprisingly thankful for the simple memories so far. There’s still a couple days and conversations I’m anxious about reading her perspective on, but I’ve read enough for today, and it’s been mundane and sweet.

Remember, Remember

As most of the people in my life know, my lovely grandmother, Faye, passed away a couple weeks ago. However, I am indescribably fortunate to have had the chance to go to London with her in 2012. One thing I just really remember well is, while walking down the street from Bayswater tube station to our hotel, I brought up one of my favorite lists of things to remember:

  1. Whoever comes are the right people
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time
  4. When it’s over, it’s over

I don’t remember the context of the conversation, and I don’t really remember her reaction to it, no matter how much I wish I could. One reason I like these points so much is because it helps me remember that there are things I just can’t control – especially timing and the way some things turn out. 

These points are particularly poignant for me in the wake of her passing. in times like these, I think we all tend to reflect upon things we feel we could have done differently or done sooner or things we should have said. For me, the most significant thing was getting over a huge obstacle in my relationship with Grammy. For years, I went through this angsty, resentful, and jaded phase with her in the wake of her first husband’s death (more me/my issues than her). Thanks to time and also our trip together, we had lots of opportunities to talk through a lot of this (and more).

“Whenever it starts is the right time.” I have to accept that this healing process for our relationship started when it was the right time for it to start. I know I gained so much life experience and perspective and maturity in the time between Granddaddy’s death in 2004 and our trip in 2012. I have to think that that time and that growing process were things I had to go through in order to get to a level where I could meet her in conversation about it. 

“Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.” Obviously, this is a significant concept while dealing with the death of a loved one. What if she hadn’t been where she was or doing what she was doing or dealing with what she was dealing with? Couldn’t we have made it better or hold on to her longer if one thing or another was different? Blah blah blah, and the list goes on as long as we let it. It means we can fret all we want about changing the past, but the important thing is to learn to accept it and reflect on ways you can help yourself heal and continue on. (Not “move on.” I don’t think you ever really move on from a pain or loss of some one dear to you. Continue on. Keep going.) There’s nothing that could have gone any differently, and that’s really okay.

“Whoever comes are the right people.” At the viewings for my grandmother, the lines of the visitors were out the door. Each one had their own story about ways my grandmother had touched their life or helped them in one way or another. Some were even people who had met her when she just started talking to them while waiting in line somewhere. When people come into your life, there’s always something you can get from interacting with them. Sometimes the influence and presence of others is very clear and loud; sometimes their influence is quiet and only comes into your perspective later in life.

Sometimes the people in our lives hurt us. Sometimes we fall into unhealthy patterns with others. As much as it flat-out sucks to be honest about this, there is still always a takeaway. Now, I can tell you “everything happens for a reason” as much as any other person, greeting card, keychain, poster, song, or status in the world tries to, but what I need you to know is that I’m not actually confident that there really is any light, simple, logical reason behind every little thing that happens. Stuff happens that doesn’t make any sense.

The only thing I can say is that there can probably always be something you learn or experience or takeaway from these times. And I need you to know that these revelations come when you don’t know they will. You will overhear one of your classmates talking; your barista will make some small-talk with you; you will read a text message or a Facebook comment; you will listen to a song you’ve heard a thousand times over and you will hear something strange and new; you will re-read a book and have a completely different  experience; some one will simply ask you how you are.  It’ll click. Or, you’ll become aware of something lurking in your head and you will wrestle with it until you can verbalize and define it. You’ll make connections between events, quotes, shared glances, lyrics, and thoughts. Don’t worry about trying to find some elusive meaning or a silver lining in the midst of dark and confusing events. Try, instead, to remember to keep yourself open to and aware of anything you may feel or think or need. Notice everything. Write about it. In a week, six months, three years, a decade, you may make one of these connections; you will gain some understanding and perspective.

It’s more than likely that this conversation I had with my grandmother happened after finding out that her mother figure had passed away back home while we were in London, which makes me all the more curious about her internal reaction to them. I’m sure this list meant even more to her than it did to me at the time.

“When it’s over, it’s over.”

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Queen Victoria and My Grandmother

Write hard and clear about what hurts .

-Earnest Hemingway

My grandmother passed away three days ago. That’s what hurts, Earnest Hemingway. It hurts really badly. So I’m going to write about it because I don’t know how else to understand it. I’m confused, and it doesn’t make any sense.

One of the most important times in my relationship with Grammy was the trip to London she took with me in the spring of 2012. This was my 16th birthday present. Okay, so I was 19, but we were making up for my 16th because I had gone through a hard time with the death of her husband, my Granddaddy,  years ago and also struggled to understand some things she did to cope with it. That’s a completely different conversation, but long story short, we had come to a place where we were closer and more understanding and we had decided to go on the adventure she offered me when I turned 16.

Death was surprisingly a significant presence on the course of this adventure in London. I don’t think I quite recognized this before the reflection that I have been plummeted into due to her own death, but looking back, I recognize a lot of connections, conversations, comments, and experiences relating to death that were a part of that experience.

We’ll start with probably the most significant: Grammy had been taking care of a woman, Ruby, who was really like her mother – she was the nanny for her and her siblings, and she even saved her life once.  Grammy just adored Ruby and would talk about her all the time and you could tell it was just a joy for Grammy to take care of her and see her every day. Ruby hadn’t been doing so well when we took off for London, but she was in the care of her family for the two weeks we would be away. I remember Grammy saying “Don’t let her die while I’m gone, okay?”

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“Old” – a Number or a State?

Today in my Community and Public Health class, we discussed old age. This topic is definitely not one of my favorites, and for a bittersweet reason. The sweet is that my family has very good genetics: no one anywhere in my family tree (that I’m aware of – specifically up to great-grandparents) has ever smoked, led a sedentary lifestyle, there’s only one case of diabetes, no one has had cancer, and no one has died of causes other than old age, except my Granddaddy, who died in a car crash. I am fortunate to have these well-aging genes (knock on wood), and I also make a point to be healthy now to have an even better last few years on Earth.

The bitter is that I’m pretty sure I’m going to outlive my spouse, and a lot of my friends. And my parents. And my grandparents. Okay, as obvious as that sounds, the deaths of those I love are the last thing I ever want to be an aspect of my life, yet I know it’s inevitable. It’s a part of anyone’s life, and I am going to have to learn how to cross that bridge when I come to it. (However, I must confess that my most paralyzing fear is outliving my spouse. I honestly don’t even know how I’m going to function after that. But, like I said, I can’t worry about this now, and all I can do to help it is take care of my significant other and invite him to work out with me and such.)

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. My professor posed a few questions to us regarding our perspective about old age. One was, “what do you want your future as an elder to look like?” Personally, I want to be a constant source of encouragement, an amazing cook, always opening my home to friends and family, active, able, and joyful. I know I do not want my future to look like wheelchairs, needing help getting out of a chair, having a metal railing in my shower or by my bed, walkers, or nursing homes. If I ever have to ask for help out of a chair, it will break my heart. That’s not how I ever want my life to look, and I think the way I live now is evidence to that in how I take care of myself.

“What’s important to you?” – My capability, and my loved ones. These values don’t compete; I can value and grow and enhance my personal capability, while taking care of and inviting/encouraging my loved ones to do the same.

“What age do you define as old, and why?” – Personally, I define “old” as fragile, probably sad on some level (even just an inner sadness), incapability, dependence, sedentary, and alone. “Old” to me is a state, not an age. My mother’s mother is in her mid sixties and I don’t think she can ever get old. She’s constantly going, having fun, doing something, planning something, learning something, going somewhere, and with people. And I think that’s great. She says she doesn’t ever want to slow down because then she’ll get old and lazy. I would have to say that I agree with her mentality.

“Do you fear getting old? Why or why not?” – I’m not anxious about getting old, but at the same time, I’m not looking forward to it. Like I said previously, I don’t want to go through deaths of my loved ones, and I don’t want to be dependent and fragile, but I can only do what I can do at my current age to keep them around as long as possible. I know I will find ways to cope and adjust when those times come – people have been for centuries – and I just have to trust that God will give me the strength and support system when I need it.

How do you define old age? Are you afraid of it? What do you want your elder years to look like?
Do you think old age is a number or a state? Share your thoughts! =]

Then He Loves You.

(Repost: from Brandy)

If he always gives you the last bite of his sandwich or the first lick of his ice cream cone, then he loves you.

If he’s seen your high school yearbook photo and says he still loves you, then he loves you.

If he’s counted all your freckles,- even the ones behind your knees, then he loves you.

If, right before sleep, he leans in, buries his nose in your hair and inhales, and when you ask what he’s doing, he smiles a smile that reminds you of a secret and says ‘nothing’, then he loves you.

If he tells you that you make chickenpox sexy, then he loves you. He’s lying, but he loves you.

If he’s laid beside you in a too small bed, in a too dark room and listened as you told him all the ways you feel like you are failing, then he loves you.

If he remembers the name of your arch enemy from the sixth grade and hates her because he knows all about how she started the rumor that you only used boys deodorant, when you didn’t– then he loves you. And he hates her. But he loves you.

If he’s ever attempted to wash your hair because you said that scene in “Out of Africa” really gets you, then he loves you.

If he makes sure that you never have to sit beside his friend Dominic, the one who never washes his hair and smells like the bottom of a dumpster, then he loves you.

If you are Salma Hayek, then he loves you.

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