Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sunny Days Are Here To Stay!

WARNING: Incredibly lengthy blog entry ahead! Read at your own risk!

Yesterday was a great day. The sun was shining brightly with hardly a cloud in sight, the temperatures were climbing steadily, and the mountains were capped with fresh snow after a week-long winter storm. It was the perfect day for skiing...and engagements.

Of course, preparation for this day had begun weeks before. First, I had talked with each of the parents and asked their blessing on this important step. (Unbeknownst to Sunny, the last blessing was obtained on Valentine's Day!) I also had consulted with close friends and counselors. By Thursday, I was fasting and praying one last time. Finally, I was ready to propose!

So yesterday I took Sunny skiing at Snow Summit Mountain Resort in Big Bear. We had a great time enjoying the beautiful scenic views of the lake and the non-black diamond ski runs. Luckily, we both were at the same approximate level of expertise. Naturally, one of us was more graceful of a skier and the other was more daring. (Note to self: next time don't wipe out so much in front of Sunny.) At this point, Sunny had no idea that a proposal was imminent.

By lunchtime, we were ravenously hungry (and one of us had a bruised ego and needed to regroup). After a lunch that I was supposed to make but Sunny ended up making because I ran out of time, I left to return our leftovers to the car while Sunny bravely stayed behind to guard our cheap, nondescript rental skis. Secretly, I stashed several gifts in my spacious ski jacket (borrowed from Al) while trying not to look too bulky. On my return, I barely managed to avert certain disaster when, as Sunny gave me a side-hug, her arm almost squeezed one of the gifts hidden in the side pocket of my coat. I was ready to propose but getting a little nervous.

To my dismay, the first lift we rode to the top of the mountain carried us to the wrong peak (I wanted to propose on the higher peak at 8,200 feet). I ended up having to ski all the way down the mountain (1,150 vertical feet) with some very fragile and expensive cargo, hoping I wouldn't fall like this guy. Not the best way to earn points with a girl, I suppose.

We finally got to the right mountaintop (that's 5 points for me!) and found a private deck (+3) overlooking a gorgeous mountain vista (+3). With practiced flair (+1), I pulled the first gift from my pocket. It sparkled in the sunlight (+2). After the appropriate oohs and aahs were over, I announced the next gift. Sunny was impressed that there even was another gift (+10). This gift elicited unabashed wonder and admiration for its delicate beauty (+2). Ah, but there was still one gift left. I dropped to a knee and presented the final gift. It was wrapped around an expensive-looking pillow in a special box (+3). I had even remembered to remove the price tag first (+10).

Perhaps now would be a good time to reveal the gifts and explain their background significance, in order of presentation.
Gift 1: Picture frame with a photo of us on one side and a Bible text on the other

I have to give credit to Mel for the idea, and to Matt Parra, our current Restoration speaker, for actually shopping with me and finding the perfect frame. Now as I look back, I can just imagine shards of broken glass piercing my body as I crash awkwardly to the snow with the picture frame in my pocket.

At any rate, I definitely wanted to include this particular Bible text somewhere in the proposal. The verse is taken from Psalms 127:1, "Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it." It represented our past, how we learned to let go of our own desires and allow God to fashion our lives according to His will. See my previous post.

Gift 2: a fresh-cut pink tulip with accompanying note

Although I visited a half dozen stores, I couldn't find any tulips the day before. Even the florists (that were open on Sunday) weren't carrying them. Nearing despair, I finally found potted tulips (Thanks K-mart!). I cut a blossom that morning and gingerly carried it up the slopes in a battery-less flashlight (hidden in my jacket of course).

The accompanying message was a quotation from the book Adventist Home p. 50: "Love is a plant of heavenly growth, and it must be fostered and nourished." This represented our present relationship and the love that we were cultivating together.

Gift 3: a simple yet elegant watch

I spent a day and a half shopping with Adrian until I found the perfect watch (which also happened to be the same watch I saw at the first store). It was a Seiko watch with a rectangular face and a narrow, two-tone wristband. As you might expect, it represented our future.

By this time, Sunny was beginning to catch the drift of where I was heading. And more importantly, she was completely surprised (+7). Early that morning, I had crafted an eloquent and moving speech designed to tug at the heartstrings (+2), but as I stared into Sunny's eyes, all the lines I had carefully composed fled from me
(-15). I did remember to mention how much I had come to admire and respect her over the last four years. I also reminded her how divine intervention had led us together. The impromptu speech ended with "Will you marry me?"

She said, "I will." (+1811)

The final surprise of the day was orchestrated by Sunny's sister. Melody and her friends decorated their house to reproduce the ambiance of a romantic restaurant, aptly named "Love Bird Cafe." Some close friends were there to share the moment (and meal) as well as hear our story which Sunny happily recounted. More photos can be seen here.

Truly, Sunny and I are grateful to God for His divine guidance throughout this journey. We also appreciate friends and family who support us and celebrate with us. We hope you have been blessed by reading this latest installment of our saga, and if you want to know more of our story, just come ask us!