Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How It All Went Down

So lest some of you worry that all of my class has gone out the window and I actually asked Whitney to marry me online, and for those of you who want the whole story because you love that kind of thing, here we go:

The Story of the Ring

Over the summer, Whitney and I started looking at engagement rings, mostly online (I know..we're a part of THAT generation...) but we found a setting that her and I both really liked, both because it was beautiful and it had some great symbolism. Of course, i didn't tell her at the time that I ordered when my next paycheck came in..

Whitney also told me over the summer that if I wanted to use it, she had been offered her Grandmother's center diamond to use in her engagement ring. Naturally I jumped on the opportunity since I love things that are meaningful like that. She said that she would contact her mom and see if she could get the diamond out of the ring so that I could take it with me when we out to Oregon in August.

But..of course...her knowing that I had the diamond wouldn't be any fun at all...

So I got a hold of her parents and asked them to pretend like they weren't ready to give the diamond up. Then when we came out in August I brought the setting with me (without Whitney knowing of course) and gave it to Whitney's parents. While we were out there, Whitney brings out her grandma's ring to show me the diamond again. I decide this is a great opportunity to cement the deception, so I say "wasn't your mom supposed to get that out for me this week?" I'm so horrible.

They brought the setting and her grandmas ring to the jeweler who originally made the ring and had the diamond set into Whitney's setting and then gave the ring back to me when I came out for Thanksgiving. Her parents also used the other diamonds in the ring to make a band for her mom and a new band for her dad - which they wore over Thanksgiving. I was afraid that Whitney would catch on, but her parents had carefully planned their story to make sure that she didn't.

The Thanksgiving Mess

Well, the next mess that required another lie occurred when Whitney got home from Thanksgiving and several people checked her hand or asked if she was engaged. (Thanks guys) so I had to come up with something to throw her off the trail (just in case she had gotten on).

So in conversation I asked "So do you think you could get your grandma's diamond when you go home over Christmas break?" Again...I'm horrible, but it needed to happen.

The Story of the Blog:

I decided that there had to be some "long-distance" element in the proposal since nearly our entire dating life had been long distance, but I refused to propose online, thus the "12 Days of Whitney" was born.

The posts were scheduled to go up every morning at 9 o'clock mountain time, so they would come up when Whitney was at work and could see them. Except the last one, which I programmed to go up while Whitney was picking me up from the airport in Salt Lake.

The whole day while I was getting ready to drive to Indianapolis, I was threading this long yarn that began with me saying "You haven't said anything about today's post yet!" and ended with "I'll have to fix that when we get to home tonight!"

The Night

I told Whitney on Sunday night that I wanted Monday night to be ours alone, since there were a lot of people who had already asked to spend time with us. I, with the help of my sister and several very helpful stewardesses on my flights, successfully kept a bouquet of flowers alive on my flights from Indianapolis and gave them to her when she picked me up. I also had bought a fun "wintery" fondue set (a snowman where the chocolate sits in his to come later) that I checked in my luggage that I thought would be a nice precursor to the whole "question." My mom had even bought fresh fruit for us to use and left it set out on a beautiful table at her house.

My bags got lost.

I suspected the bags might get lost because my first flight was significantly delayed, so I had time to realize that this was another great opportunity to throw her off the trail. Since I was worried that Whitney might suspect (come on...when have I EVER wanted to stay up past midnight, especially after a long day of flying) I just told her "My plans for tonight are in my bags that got lost! So lets just hang out for a bit and go to bed, ok?" (As I learned later, this little distraction was completely unnecessary...)

We went to her house, she showed me her christmas tree, we put the flowers in water (which are still living I might add!) and then she said "Should we see if we can fix your blog?" Music to my ears!

We walk in to her bedroom where she opens up her computer and types in the address to the blog. I'm sitting on the edge of her bed, ring in my pocket, just waiting.

It pops up.

She jumps up and says "its up!" i figured she caught on...i start to get down on one knee.

She looks really confused.

"You didn't read the blog, hun, did you?"

She whips back around and sees the picture of the ring, then whips back around to me.

I ask her to marry me, she says yes, then we hug, I'm still on one knee.

"Whitney...I have a ring for you."

"Oh...that's great!"

"Its in my right hand right now..."

She ends the hug - rather abruptly I might add - and finds the ring in my right hand.

The Aftermath

So then we went back out to the living room and I had to unload the web of lies that I have been feeding her since August, and then tell her congratulations from all of her friends in Illinois. She apparantly had absolutely no idea, and was completely blown away by the whole prospect.

So for anyone who might be asking, we're looking at a mid to late August wedding in Portland, as soon as we figure out the schedules of immediate family.

I feel like the luckiest guy in the world!

Monday, December 15, 2008

1st Day of Christmas......


Well...she hasn't yet...but I'm sure she will...when she sees this...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2nd Day of Christmas....Charity part 2

In addition to Whitney’s love for her family, she has a real talent for loving everyone around her. So often, I am the person who is really good (if you can call it a talent) at picking people apart. Whitney is very willing to look for the best in people. She makes friends with everyone she meets and loves them sincerely.

I think that is the thing that is most impressive to me, she is dedicated to her friends. She wants to be there for them, and she does everything she can to help them. When Whitney is friends with someone, you know that you will have someone who will drop whatever she is doing to help you.

For example: This past summer we were in Oregon for a friends wedding. The day before the wedding she and I had planned to head to the coast and spend some time there. (Neither of us get out to the coast very often, and so we were quite excited to be able to go.) Well we found out that our friends needed some help getting things ready for the reception the next day. Of course, we were both a little sad that we didn’t get to go to the coast, but we were happy to help our friends out. What amazed me is that she immediately jumped in with everything she had and figured out what she could do to help and made it happen. This is one great little example of her incredible ability to have real charity for everyone she knows.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

3rd Day of Christmas...Charity part 1

A picture of Whitney's extended family at Thanksgiving

Whitney absolutely loves her family! It is such a joy to go home with her and see her spending time with them. You can tell that they are the most important people in her life. The picture below is a picture that she took of her first (and so far – only) niece. She is dedicated to them and wants to do everything she can to help them to be happy. What really impresses me is that way that has dedicated herself to my family as well. Before she even met some of them, she has been interested in their lives, wanted to know about their lives, and immediately fell in love with them.

Friday, December 12, 2008

4th Day of Christmas....Hope

A couple of weeks ago, I was out at Whitney’s house watching a very important game of the OSU Beavers. It didn’t start off very well. The Beavers were doing absolutely horribly. Her dad and her brother were yelling at the TV every time they made a mistake, and I was sitting on the couch resigned to the fact that the Beavers just weren’t going to win. Whitney (and I should also say her mother) were criticizing the rest of us for giving up on them. For those of you who didn’t see it, the Beavers won in final seconds of the game.

Albeit this is a relatively unimportant example, it certainly is an example of Whitney’s ability to live her life full of hope. She always sees the best in every situation she faces. In addition, she always sees the best in people around her. That’s really good, because that means that she sees the best in me too!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

5th Day of Christmas.....Faith

Today begins a triptych (plus one) of reasons why I love Whitney. As I started to make the list of reasons that I love her, I found that a great number of them related to three great qualities that we find listed in the scriptures: Faith, Hope, and Charity.

As I think back to the times when I realized how amazing Whitney was, it was when I heard her pray. She approaches her Heavenly Father with a real sense of humility and sincerity. You can tell by the way that she addresses Him that she knows that He is real and that He loves her. Even better is that she lives her life in a way that shows her love for Him and shows her faith in Him. It is wonderful to see as she faces difficult times and decisions that she turns to Him and puts her trust in His promptings. Her strong faith has been such a strength and support to me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

6th Day of Christmas....Long suffering

This picture is the "calm-whitney"

It’s really pretty difficult to get Whitney angry. That’s really lucky for me, because sometimes I can be pretty insensitive. I also tend to get angry about the simplest of things. Whitney, on the other hand, doesn’t really let things get to her. She can be working with the most frustrating people or placed in the most difficult situations, but she simply puts her head down and keeps on working, making the best she can out of any situation, and many times the situation gets even better because of her willingness to work with them.

Also, she has a great ability to calm other people down. When things around her are going absolutely crazy, she has the ability to think with a clear mind, calm everyone down, and get things done.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

7th Day of Christmas...Courage

There's just one word to say about this: Sushi.

So....I decided after I saw this post go up that I just HAVE to tell the sushi story....Thank goodness for the ability to edit posts!

I really like sushi. A LOT. I really like fish. A LOT. Whitney doesn't like fish that much, she only likes the Salmon that her grandpa catches and cooks fresh.

Whitney decided (after much cajoling from me) to try sushi, at least try it. Now lets realize the string of complications here: first off, she doesn't like cooked fish very well, so making it raw is just making it more difficult.

I tried to find a cooked sushi, and I think that I did. I was also excited, because she LOVED crag rangoon that she tried earlier, so I got the crab and cream cheese one (forgot the name of the roll), thinking we were moving along similar lines here. The deal was that we would have plenty of other food for her to eat, just in case she couldn't handle the sushi.

She almost gagged on her first bite. Apparantly sushi isn't for her, which I was okay with. I was really proud of her, though, for not spitting it out. She kept on chewing and eventually swallowed it.

THEN!! She tries it again! I was absolutely amazed! She said that she thought she might like it better with the second bite. That is courage! Almost gagging on the first one, and then diving in and trying it again!

She would totally rock on Fear Factor!

Monday, December 8, 2008

8th Day of Christmas...Supportive

In a recent conversation with my Bishop out here in Illinois, he said “I just pray every day that all of you will make it through this difficult stage of your life, find good jobs, and get started with your families.” Through career decisions, the frustrations of school, financial worries, and family challenges, Whitney has been willing to support me and stand with me on all of them. I suppose that, to her, it probably doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, but to me it means that instead of having to stand alone, trying to figure out what is the best decision, I know that I will have someone who will listen to me, even argue with me if necessary, but in the end make a decision with me and support me in that decision. And that means the world to me!

The great thing is that, when Whitney says she supports me, it means so much more than just agreeing with the decisions that I (or we) have made. It means that she does everything in her power to make sure that I’m successful. From helping me out with the projects I have to do, or just making dinner while I work on them, or simply telling me that it’ll all turn out okay. It means so much to me that she is willing to sacrifice so much for my success. I would like to hope that I do the same for her.

(PS....this picture is not of the two of us! Although Whitney did take it, along with most of the pictures in this series)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

9th Day of Christmas...Her Voice

Well, while we are talking about it, we might as well discuss another one of the things that I find absolutely beautiful about Whitney, her voice. Whitney has two voices. Her first voice (even though its not the first one I heard) is her soprano/classical voice. She has an incredibly rich soprano voice and amazing talent for picking up a song really quickly (even though she doesn’t think so). Her second voice is the one that I fell in love with first. Its her “sultry” voice. If you haven’t heard her sing jazz, you would be absolutely amazed! It is so rich, low, and soulful! I was completely surprised that she was a soprano after I heard her sing like that!

What’s more important is that she loves music. That is something that is super important to me. She is singing all the time. I think its absolutely hysterical that she is already singing along to a song after she’s listened to for only 30 seconds! Who does that? She knows so much music and introducing me to so many different types of music. It certainly makes spending time with her wonderful!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

10th Day of Christmas....An Eye for Beauty

On top of being beautiful, Whitney has always had a real eye for beauty. Several years ago, Elder Scott gave a fireside for the members of the BYU Choirs. One of the most memorable things that he said was, “You people should be the happiest people in the world, because you can find beauty in the simplest of things.” This perfectly defines Whitney! She’s recently acquired herself a camera and has been taking tons of photos. This picture was taken just a couple of weeks ago while we were out on the coast.

Isn’t it absolutely beautiful? The thing that I think is most interesting about her eye is that it usually doesn’t take the type of pictures that everybody else takes, but ones that are taken from an unusual perspective, or particularly close up. What she’ll tell you is that she’s trying to come up with a perspective that most people usually haven’t looked at before, or that she’s showing how beauty can be found in the most un-beautiful things (just take a look at her picture of my desk at school! It’s a ridiculously old, falling apart and MESSY desk, btw). It is inspiring to see how she can find such beautiful things in the most basic situations!

She can even make me look good!

Friday, December 5, 2008

11th Day of Christmas....

Alright, I know that girls want us guys to not be very shallow, and to fall in love with a girl for her personality, for her smarts, etc – and I’ll talk about all of that later – but, let’s face it, she’s beautiful! This is one of the first pictures that I took of her, and its still one of my favorites. Straight hair or curly, dress up or casual, early morning or night on the twon, makeup or not, she is always beautiful!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

12 Days of....Christmas...??

For those of you who don’t know, I’ve got a pretty impressive girlfriend. I decided that as part of her Christmas present this year. I would do a sort of “12 Days of Christmas” for her. But, of course, its going to have a few variants: First off, its going to be the “12 reasons I love her.” In addition, I decided that it would be a lot more fun to count down to the days until I get to see her again (Dec 15th). That probably has more to do with the fact that’s its gonna’ make these next couple of weeks a little more bearable. So, we start today. For those of you who aren’t Whitney, you may or may not enjoy this, but then again, I’m not writing it for you anyway

When I started to think about it, the first thing that popped into my head about Whitney was her smile. So it seems like it’s the best thing to start with, right? Whitney has the most beautiful smile. There are so many smiles out there that are tentative, forced, and insincere. Although Whitney does have one of those smiles (it mostly occurs when we’re having an awkward moment), her regular smile is something that spontaneously bursts out onto her face. Quite simply, it’s the result of her tendency to find joy in anything that is going on in her life. Which is really an accomplishment! If you really think about it, her life isn’t super exciting: she spends all day in a windowless office that is several stories underground dealing with books that are hundreds of years old. Then she gets to come home to a boyfriend who is four states away where sometimes her only contact with him is text messaging until 10:30 at night. But if you ever ask her how her day is going, you would think that she is living in the lap of luxury.

I remember asking her one day, “What makes you happy?” When most of us hear that question, we usually think of some specific situations that we love most. Whitney, on the other hand, has a whole list of things that make her happy. Some of the things on her list were complex, but so many of them were beautifully simple. She just knows how to be happy, even with the simplest of little things.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My favorite Christmas "Story"

So...for years I have loved the message "Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus" simply because it says so much about what I think Christmas is really about. You can decide for yourself what he's really saying about Santa Claus, but it seems to be so very important, at least in my book. Even cooler is the fact that I found a digital image of the original publication! How cool is that?

And since none of you can read it is typed least the part I enjoy. Merry Christmas all!

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Soup!

So...I've been trying to become more of a soup master of recent. I can make an alright chicken soup, and have a lot of success with that. I've also figured out some nice chilies and had a lot of success with those as well. But I wanted to try something different, something that at least looked like christmas, even if it didn't really taste like it. (A soup that tasted like christmas would have to be a dessert soup, although the wheels are turning now...) So, I figured I would make a soup that had a nice red base...what came to mind as I went into the store??


So I combined Beets (3 Medium sized) with Sweet Potatoes (2 large ones) and boiled them in Chicken Broth until soft (The beets take a lot longer, so put them in first). Then I used my handy blender and smoothed it all out. Added a little more chicken broth, added some leeks (for the green part of my christmas soup) and let that simmer for awhile. Salt to taste. Then add some buttermilk. It tastes pretty dang good!

So, as I was reheating it for round two today. I realized a different kind of red soup that I would have a LOT more success with....Tomato! We'll see where it goes!

Monday, December 1, 2008


I still haven't found the time to take a picture of it...maybe tomorrow. But this particular snowfall is absolutely beautiful. It started last night around 7 and continued all through the night and until after 1 this afternoon!

This weather creates the necessity to share my personal feelings about driving in the winter. There is, of course such a thing as driving too fast. But lets remember folks that there is such a thing as driving too slow! ESPECIALLY if there isn't that much snow under your tires!

Also, it means that its really time to start thinking about Christmas. I have the christmas music (classical christmas music, of course) running through the house, and my DVR is set to record all of the good ABC 25 days of christmas! What a great season!