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This is the story of our engagement.
Written by Logan and brought to you by Gold Medal flour.

On hearing that Hayley and I are engaged, people usually ask us the same questions over and over. When did you do it? How did you do it? Where’d you get the ring? What’s with all the flour? Are you some sort of sick twisted weirdo? And so forth. As a public service I will now attempt to answer any questions that may arise by putting to words the details of that fateful winter day…
Hayley and I first met at Blue Valley Baptist Church in the late spring of 1997, and officially began dating the following December. We finally got engaged December 2, 2000. To fully understand the events on the day of our engagement though, we must first look back almost three years to February 14, 1998--Valentines Day. Hayley and I had been dating for about two months at this point. While we had wanted to do something together to celebrate, we couldn’t since she had to attend a musical rehearsal. That didn’t stop me from trying to be romantic though. I say TRY because I really didn’t have any experience at this point. Hayley was my first real girlfriend, and this was our first Valentines Day together. Anyway, back to the story. I figured that at the least, I should get her something nice and give it to her at rehearsal. The only thing I could think of getting though was the hackneyed Valentines fare… flowers, chocolate, sappy cards, etc. fellowship.JPG (10122 bytes)
I needed something different, but I didn’t know what. Out of desperation, I stopped at the grocery store between my house and her school and wandered the aisles aimlessly. I finally had a flash of inspiration. Rather than get her the usual, I would give the aforementioned items, but in different form. From the baking aisle I grabbed a small sack of flour. I then picked up the most florally printed toilet paper I could find, and finally I snagged a nice chocolate bar (the last was so that she wouldn’t think me a complete cheap date). Back in my car, I took the paper and composed some extemporaneous poetry with the title of "Toilet Paper Love." I knew that this would be a watershed day in our relationship. Either she would love me forever, or she would think that I was some really sick creep. Judging by the title of this page, you can pretty much guess the outcome.

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Fast-forward a couple years. Hayley and I are still together, and now we’re both attending school at KU. We already think and act so much alike that many of our friends take it as given that we will get married, often making a point of it in order to embarrass us with this idea. While we laugh about it some, we also realize that the idea is not that farfetched. We had already come to the conclusion that our relationship originated and was well grounded in our faith in God, and that marriage was simply the next step. We figured that we should probably just go ahead and make it official sometime in the relatively near future. We began looking at rings on the Internet and so I knew what sort of things that Hayley preferred. For the most part she desired quality and uniqueness over size and price. While there were some interesting designs on the Internet, there was one store at the mall that sold very intriguing rings at reasonable cost (reasonable because it wasn’t specifically labeled as an "engagement" ring, and thus wasn’t grossly inflated). After we had looked at the rings on a couple occasions, I really liked them, except that I still wanted to have something unique. Finally, I gathered up enough nerve to go to the store by myself and ask some questions. The store manager was quite friendly, and was impressed with my idea for a slight alteration to the ring that I had chosen. The design I settled on was a gold/platinum split ring with a diamond set into the gold end, and a sapphire in the platinum one (replacing a diamond). I am often asked why I chose the sapphire over the diamond, and the answer is simply that I think it looks good. It has nothing to do with birthstones. I just felt that if the ring was going to be bimetallic each metal should be accented with a different stone, and I knew from playing the Crash Bandicoot playstation games that sapphire and platinum look good together.
Finally, all I needed was to get Hayley’s ring size. Because the jewelry in this store was designed in Germany for a European market, the rings were all in European sizes. Since Hayley already knew that I was shopping for a ring, I went back to the shop with her to make sure that she really liked the design and that I got it in the right size. It was Halloween when I bought the ring (It’s weird trying to do business in a shop while there are tons of costumed kids running around your feet), but because I was getting a special order, I had to wait several weeks for the workshop in Germany to make a ring to my specifications and ship it to the US. Hayley and I were real excited now, but we still had to wait another month for the special day. myRing.JPG (10134 bytes)
Now that I’ve told the back-story, we can get on to the good stuff… the engagement itself. After waiting patiently for a whole month, including keeping mum over the thanksgiving holiday, the ring finally arrived on December 1st. That evening I picked it up at the store. Hayley also knew that the ring had come in, because we were expecting it any day, and when I suddenly had an intense need to go to the mall, she knew exactly why. This put me in an incredible quandary though. I wanted to do something really special and unexpected when I proposed, and the element of surprise around the ring itself was gone. I was completely blank as to the how and the where. Fortunately, God was watching over me that weekend. When I stopped in at my parents’ house that Friday evening, my mom asked if I was going to hear Lynnora perform on her violin at the arboretum’s annual luminary walk Saturday evening. Luminary walk? I had no idea what it was until she explained that the Overland Park Arboretum had a yearly event where they lined about a mile of the park sidewalks with candles and had a holiday celebration with music and a bonfire. Lynnora’s 4-H group was supposed to be helping put on the event. I realized that this would be a perfect place. Proposing out in the middle of the woods on a clear cold night by candlelight would be quite romantic.
bigFlour.JPG (22626 bytes) Now I just needed to figure out how exactly I was going to propose. I wasn’t sure just what to do, but I did know the one thing NOT to do. Ever since that first Valentines Day, I had teased Hayley that if I ever proposed I would hide the ring in the bottom of a sack of flour. Her response is that she would follow her mom’s advice and dump the flour on my head and then pick through it for the ring. After short deliberation, I decided that putting the ring in flour was a bad idea. I did like the idea of teasing her about it though. So, Saturday morning I went to the local grocery store and perused the baking aisle. I was in luck. Gold medal flour comes in four sizes; 2, 5, 10, and 25 pound sacks. I bought one of each, and then stopped at the customer service counter to show Lauren (Hayley’s best friend and maid-of-honor) the ring and my purchases. Lauren thought it was funny and wished me a LOT of luck. Now, off to Hayley’s house. I stashed the two large bags in the trunk and placed the 5-lb. in the front seat. I then took the small one with me and rang the doorbell. When she answered the door, I announced that I had a special surprise and then gave her the flour. I could tell that she was amused, but a bit disappointed that it was just flour. I assured her that there was no ring inside, as I really didn’t want to have to clean up the mess. Our plan for the morning was to go shopping with Byron to find a DVD player for their dad, so we went to get in the car, and there she found the 5-lb sack of flour. Now, Hayley was wondering just what was going on, and though she may have suspected where this was leading, she still had no idea of where it would end up. After we finished shopping, we spent the afternoon doing whatever but were wondering what to do that evening.
I casually suggested that we could go to hear Lynnora perform, since I don’t get to her performances very often. Hayley thought that it sounded like a decent idea, but was still wondering when the ring would appear.
That evening, we drove out to the Arboretum. By now, Hayley was really starting to wonder what I had planned, as she had received the two bags of flour that morning, but nothing since. The event was much more crowded than I had expected, and so we had to park in an overflow area. Still, that worked well, because there weren’t as many people around. As we were getting out of the car, I told Hayley that I something very special that I had been waiting all day to give her, but that I wanted her to have it before we went in to see my family at the event. I then pulled the 10-lb. bag of flour from where it was hidden in the back seat and gave it to her. She was very surprised to get such a big bag of flour. But alas, still no ring. We left the flour in the car and went to the main building where my family was working. After listening to Lynnora for a bit, we went to the actual walk. We were enjoying the candles and just being there together as we walked along the path. Everything was so romantic, so perfect. We stopped and sat on some benches under an extended trellis that went over the walkway. Here, I thought would be perfect. As we were sitting there enjoying each other’s company, one of the people working the event showed up with a stereo that he plugged into an outlet next to where we were, and put on some Christmas carols. He then turned the volume up quite a bit so everyone in the woods could hear it. funnyFaces.JPG (29505 bytes)
So much for the perfectly romantic location. Still, we were there, I had the ring in my pocket, and I was ready to propose. I wanted the moment to be just us though, which was a bit difficult as families were walking by on the path at a fairly constant stream. When it looked like we would finally have a few minutes to ourselves, I made my move. I pulled out the ring and asked Hayley if she would marry me. Obviously she said yes. We kissed, and then admired how nice the ring looked on her. Finally, we headed back to the main building to show off the ring to my family.
alongi4.JPG (32751 bytes) When we got to the building, both of my parents were busy helping with event things, so we decided to show them later. We did find Lynnora outside giving directions though. We stopped and showed the ring to her. Lynnora was ecstatic. She was thrilled that we were engaged and was jumping up and down in her excitement. Hayley and I thought it was quite humorous. Now that the ring was out of the bag, we wanted to go show it off. Our first stop was the grocery store to show Lauren. When we arrived, I had Hayley wait for a moment. I told her that I was sorry for stringing her along all day with the flour and that I had something to give her to make up for it all. I then opened the trunk and gave Hayley the 25-lb sack that had been waiting there all day. Lauren’s reaction was mild, but that was mostly because she knew what was coming as I had been there earlier that morning. Next, we went to Hayley’s house to show her parents. They were about to turn in for the night, but we got them up and out to see the ring. They were impressed, but weren’t quite sure what to think of or do with all the flour. Finally, we took some pictures of the ring, the flour, and us and called it a night. It was a very long but quite memorable day.