I realize I’ve been extremely neglectful of my little blog, so much so that some people have wondered if I’m even still writing on it. I honestly just haven’t had motivation or inspiration to write for the past month or so….not to mention that I’m chronically lacking time. But anyway, I thought the fact that I GOT ENGAGED this weekend demanded a little post! And it’s definitely motivation for me to write one even though I should really be studying right now!

Jon and I went to Asheville this weekend, and he proposed to me in The North Carolina Arboretum! We had just taken a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway to look at the pretty leaves and stop and take pictures at the overlooks.

When he suggested we do that, I thought he would propose somewhere on the parkway…and then he didn’t, and we started driving home. Jon’s dad called to say he needed us to pick up tea bags on our way home for dinner. Any signs I had seen that it might be that weekend were wrong, I thought.

I’m disappointed, and I start looking at the camera instead of where we’re going. All of a sudden we’re driving into the arboretum. I didn’t really know what the arboretum was, though, so I wasn’t going to get my hopes up again. But then we park and get out, and the first gate we walk up to has a piece of paper with pictures of us on it! The night we met at Jon’s house, our first “group date” to the state fair, and our Halloween costumes. Okay, complete switch in my mind – now I’m pretty sure this is part of his proposal! But I stay calm….we walk over to a bench with more pictures…then a bridge, then a gazebo, then a statue of an Indian with our pictures…taped to his loincloth?! Oh my gosh….there are lots of people around, sometimes looking at us strangely when we walk by because they just saw us in the pictures. Our last stop is farther away…I see a secluded area and the backs of two rocking chairs with an NC State blanket on one and a UNC blanket on the other! So cute. We walk around the front and there is a picnic basket, a vase of red roses and an empty photo collage frame.

Jon gets a plate of chocolate-covered strawberries out of the basket (oh my word!) and then champagne! He isn’t saying a lot and I’m just watching. We eat and drink while Jon talks through the letters/cards I’ve given him over the past year. Then he tries really hard to remember the order of all kinds of sweet things he wants to say about how much I mean to him and how glad he is he met me…getting choked up and it’s hard to talk! He decides to stop and pray for us, and then he swings around onto one knee in front of my chair after he says ‘amen’ and pulls the prettiest ring out of his pocket! He says it would make him so happy to be with me forever…will I marry him? YES!

All the while people are randomly walking through or near our little spot here and there and being so distracting! But it doesn’t matter, we’re engaged now and it’s such a relief! We take it in, and Jon says the night is not over yet! What?! Then he looks at the time and says we have to go!! Wait I want to take pictures!! We do a couple self-timers and get a random girl to take a picture, then frantically pack up everything and run to the car while I call my mom and tell my parents what happened.

Jon starts driving somewhere way too fast. I call my younger sister Ellie after that, and tell her…then I call some friends as we’re entering the Biltmore Estate. We pass the Biltmore house and drive straight to the Inn, right up to the valet circle. I’m trying to get off the phone with one my friends and am totally flustered as I get out and people are saying congratulations!! How do they know??

We go inside and a woman steps forward and says “you must be Kelsey, Hi Jon.” How does she know my name? Must be a friend of Jon’s family? She opens the coat closet and has one of my dresses in there! Of course – my roommate asked if she could borrow it earlier this week!Β  She escorts me to the bathroom, where I try to quickly change clothes as I talk to another friend on the phone. She comes back to take my other clothes and I can barely even think about what to give her and what to keep with me. Too bad I feel sweaty in my formal dress and don’t have all my makeup with me!

I come out and Jon is ready, all changed. We walk into a restaurant, then downstairs. Staff people are still saying congratulations! They open a door and I see a laptop set up on a long dinner table with my older sister Hanley and her husband Michael on video chat! I look to the left and see my parents and my sister all standing with Jon’s family! They cheer and take pictures and I hug everyone….so not expecting that!

I talk to Hanely and Michael for a few minutes before we go outside our private room to take pictures right as the sun is setting!

Then we all sat down at the table and talked about what in the world had just happened from all the different perspectives as we had wine and four different hors d’oeuvres! Bruschetta, surf & turf, some kind of brie pastry and some kind of mini crabcake. (Jon will have to correct me on the food – I wish I had eaten more and paid more attention because it was all so good, but I was a little too busy processing everything!) Then we had either soup or salad, then a choice of 4 entrees, and then a dessert sampler of three awesome desserts! Some kind of chocolate mousse cake, apple cheesecake, and creme brulee! Which was all served on plates that said “Congratulations” and “Kelsey & Jon” along with champagne!

I can’t get over how thoughtful and nice the wait staff was! On top of all that, my mom brought along some presents! A super cute plate she painted herself that says “The Hymels” (ah!) on it, and duct tape for Jon and I to “mend the rifts we cause” during this engagement phase…should I be worried? He got Carolina tape and I got State tape! The rivalry never ends….

It was the most perfect night and SO much more than I could have imagined! Jon’s family did so much to plan that and set things up while we were on the parkway. I am so grateful! And I am most excited of course to be engaged to Jon – to get to spend the rest of my life with him! It is such a testimony to how well the Lord knows me that He brought Jon and me together a little over a year ago. I could not ask for anything more!