Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The (Real) Proposal

(Warning: Extremely L.O.N.G. post - but totally worth the read!)

Oh, the wrangling.

Oh, the story-telling.

Oh, the (dare I say it) out right DECEPTION - that went on around the Hawley household last week!

"To what could you possibly be referring?" you may ask. (So glad you did; that's why I blog. Smile.)

Well, it seems that a certain young man - Mr. Nathan Andrew Smith - had determined that February 26, 2011 would be the very best day to declare his undying love for a certain young woman - Ms. Meagan Elizabeth Hawley.

And after spending almost two years observing another man who is an absolute EXPERT at surprise execution - Mr. Frank Hawley - Nathan asked for help.

(Which made glad the heart of the daddy and exemplified a teachable heart in the boyfriend. BIG win all the way around; how many young men are confident enough to ask for help? See what I mean?! Smile.)

Besides, Nate also knows that Frank is the only other man in the world with his same perspective - "Nothing is too good for Meagan!"

"And so it was that the days were accomplished that she should be proposed to....." Oh, wait. That's from an even bigger story! (Can you tell I'm a little giddy with joy?)

By late January, Nathan had his ring.

An open weekend was identified and locked in.

That's when the planning commenced.

Nathan would tell Frank what he wanted and Frank would go to work trying to iron out the details. It really was such fun watching the two of them try to make surreptitious calls and text one another without being discovered.

Men accomplish incredible things when they put their minds to it!!

A friend of ours had recently purchased a home on a lake with a lovely gazebo right on the water's edge. Frank took Nathan to scout it out as a prospective location. Perfect!

Now to the plot.

Nathan wanted her to suspect nothing right up to the very moment. His plan - brilliantly concocted - was to take her on a series of dates through February that would throw her off.

(He had already told her sometime back that he would never propose on Valentine's Day. Too predictable for his taste.)

Restaurant dates have been rare for these two frugal young people. So three in one month set Meagan's head spinning.

"Do you think he'll propose tonight?" was a constant question while talking with her sisters.

Dad came alongside his co-conspirator and declared, "Nathan won't be asking any serious questions until he talks with me FIRST!"

Of course, Meagan had no way of knowing that that conversation had already taken place in December. Chivalry lives!

Nathan told Meagan that on Friday they were going on a pretty big date to Orlando. Dinner and a show.

She borrowed a lovely blouse from a friend. Her sisters were all on hand to do hair and make-up. (When I say sisters, that includes Amanda.) Nana gladly tended Spencer during the prep time. Pictures were taken before the departure of the handsome couple.

Everyone waited with baited breath for their return. (Except Dad and I; we knew there would be no ring on Friday night.)

Nathan (who slept on our couch that night) woke with a grin on his face Saturday morning. He said she was very quiet on the way home. The plot thickens.........

Saturday rolled in with all its activities. Frank and I made excuses and headed to the gazebo to hang lights; set up a CD player with pre-selected music; prepare a small table and chairs; etc., etc.

Our friends got into the fun with us. They pressure-washed the gazebo and checked the electrical outlets. Even their seven year old son (who was eagerly anticipating the big event) offered his opinion of what looked most romantic. Young love inspires us all.

Nathan picked Meagan up around 5:00 for dinner and pottery painting. (Meagan isn't much for movies.)

There was MUCH texting between Frank and Nate as we were the set-up crew in charge of candle-lighting, fruit and cheese tray delivering, and all other last minute ambiance creating.

The evening was lovely; conversation delightful; the meal delicious. Meagan had no idea what was going on!

Nate was totally pleased until............

Meagan became uncharacteristically detailed about her piece of pottery. Nathan said he'd never seen her so meticulous and S.L.O.W. before.

Meagan, on the other hand, couldn't understand Nathan's rush to complete the piece.

She told us later that she thought, "It's only 8:30. Are we getting old or what?!" Smile.

Thirty miles away, we blew out the candles a second time and re-covered the fruit tray.


They finished the pottery and Nathan proceeded to spin his web.

He explained that he appreciated Meagan's patience while he worked diligently saving for the engagement ring. "It shouldn't be much longer now," he said. (HeHeHe!)

"But I wanted to have some fun memories while we're waiting. One of them that I had for Valentine's Day wasn't ready until now. Please put on this blindfold and I'll take you there."

Meagan was a little put off with the idea of being blindfolded but the request came from the love of her life sooooooo she agreed.

Light the candles!

Nathan texted just as we expected their arrival to report that Meagan had asked to stop at McDonalds for a potty break.

Put out the candles.

Next Text: "Okay. We're on our way!"

Relight the candles! Turn on the CD! Run like crazy for the house - there they are!!!!!

We watched from inside the home of our friends as Nathan carefully transferred his "blinded" sweetheart to a golf cart and drove down to the lake.

He slowly walked her around the path; positioned her facing the gazebo; then knelt just out of our view in front of her before telling her to remove the blindfold.

(He told us later that he had the ring box already open.)

They were too far away for us to hear anything. But sound wasn't really needed as we watched her stand in shock; begin to jump up and down; do a little dance of joy; then bend over crying.

Tears filled every eye in the house, too. Sigh.

Mom and Dad slipped away without detection. The family went on to bed. We left them to their privacy and to fully enjoy the moment.

The sisters (who had no fore-warning) were summoned to our house around midnight and we all took an hour to squeal, admire the ring and listen to the story as they told it. (Well, mostly Meagan told it and Nathan beamed!)

The only thing left to say is:
"Well done, Mr. Smith. Well done!"


  1. Simply WELL DONE, Mr. Smith, WELL DONE! OH and yes well done Dad and Mom, well done! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful life long memory that Meagan and Nathan will cherish FOREVER! I remember the night Darrel proposed like it was yesterday, truly priceless! Love you all!

  2. Ah...what great planning by all!! Those are the best surprises!! :)

    Best Wishes to the new couple!!

    I'll be waiting to hear about all the details from this site and Becky's!!

  3. I read about the engagement on Becky's site and it brought tears to my eyes and when I read "the rest of the story", the tears of happiness for all families were back again. Congratulations to everyone. You really do have incredible children.


  4. Sheri! I can't believe I didn't notice earlier that you had posted because I was looking and looking for this particular post.

    But it was worth the wait; what a wonderful story and what a wonderfully told story. Thanks to you and Frank for your magnificently played roles in the Great Romantical Deception! :-)

    Love you guys,

  5. Awwwwwwwwwww! *gush* This was beautiful Pastor Sheri! :) As soon as I saw the facebook status change and the photo album go up on Meagan's facebook, I thought, "Oooooo I hope Pastor Sheri posts about this in her blog."

    And so you did! :) Love and blessings to your family!

  6. Awwwwwwwwwwwwww....tissue alert! Romance & chivalry lives! Well done to all! Truly blessed and warmed my heart! Awwwww...another round of tissues!

  7. PS: So awesome that you and Frank got to be a part of it! What a gift!

  8. Great post. Sniff, sniff. You are a gifted writer and um. . . conspirator.

    Steve S.

  9. I LOVE IT!!! A HUGE congratulations to Meagan! YAY!!!

  10. Now that....is PRECIOUS!!!!

    Congrat's to all!

  11. Pastor Sheri,
    Thank you SO much for sharing this. He did such a wonderful job with the proposal. Your description of Meagan's reaction brought tears to my eyes, as almost a year ago now...that was me! I wish I could be there to celebrate with you all, but please know we are celebrating for her (and you all) here!

  12. I'm in tears and I don't even know Nathan and Meagan! I'm a friend of Becky Smith and am delighted to read the story from your perspective. Congratulations to all! Lisa~