How I proposed to Susie Roth

Hey!  So I’m going to do my best to explain all of this proposal process as best as I can, please ask Susie or I if you have any questions that aren’t answered by this (brief) summary.

I decided in the middle of January that the best option of the few I had was to propose to Susie at Miracle Camp in Lawton, MI.  Susie and I met at Miracle Camp over seven years ago on a winter retreat trip with Brookside Church in our hometown of Fort Wayne, IN.  We met playing Kemps, a card game, with some friends the first night we arrived at camp.  I knew right then that she was a pretty awesome girl, but it wasn’t until a little over a year later that I knew I really liked her.  But that’s another reaaaaalllyyy long story for another time.

Because of us meeting at camp, I thought it was most romantic, and personal, for me to ask her to marry me there.  This weekend was the last time we would be at camp together within our engagement time window (Spring semester), so I knew I had to do it this weekend if I wanted to make it the most special.  Before I go through the actual proposal, let me explain my prop.

Throughout J-term, I spent a lot of my free time re-purposing a used book to use for the proposal.  Taylor University has a room in the basement of Zondervan Library that has a huge bin of used books that they’re throwing away.  I was there scavenging for a book for the bookmaking class I was taking in J-term, and I stumbled upon this gem.

I was looking for a thicker book that I could hollow out to cut a hole in, and this was the perfect thickness and had a very appropriate title.

So I spent many hours during J-term gluing hundreds of pages together to eventually cut a whole in.  I had a TON of help from my bookmaking professor, Kathy Herrmann.  She was the mastermind behind the whole operation and was a huge help in cutting out the hole in the book.

This summer, I wrote a poem I wanted to use in the proposal somehow, so last Friday night I spent the whole night writing the poem on construction paper and gluing it to the already-existing pages in the book.  The poem is called, “The Man and the Train.”  My old advisor and amazing English professor, Aaron Housholder, helped me with the revision process.  Huge thanks to him.

Here is the final page of the poem, an acrostic that spells out my initials (CJM) AND Susie’s new initials (SEM).

After the poem, I wrote out 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, reminding her that I desire to love her biblically and that love never ends.

The hollowed out part of book held a playing card box which held the ring.  I chose to put the ring in a card box because I wanted to remind her of how we met.  Here is the box in the hollowed out part of the book.

One of my favorite parts of the book is something I didn’t even notice until recently, and I’m happy I noticed in time to use it.  The dedication page of the book was perfect for the occasion so I glued it onto the page behind the card box so that when you take out the box, you can see the dedication.  Here it is.

I love that part.

Ok, so here’s how the whole thing went down, again, a somewhat abridged version.

I knew that I wanted to propose to Susie at about 5:30 pm on Saturday night, when all of the high schoolers at the camp went to dinner and cleared out of the gym where I wanted to propose to Susie.  There is a room off of the side of the gym where there are tables and games.  This is where Susie and I met over seven years ago.  I wanted to propose to Susie at the very table where she and I met, and thankfully, the tables are in about the same spot as they were way back then.  I had her boss at camp, Jason Coon, ask to have a meeting with her from 5-5:30 so I knew where she was when I wanted to grab her and take her to the gym.

I went to Coon’s office at 5:30 and had to wait a few minutes for the meeting to finish.  I told Susie that her gift was ready (I told her earlier in the week that I had a gift for our 18 month anniversary I wanted to give her but wasn’t finished yet) and asked if I could give it to her in the gym because I left my coat down there.  She said yes, so we made our way to the gym.

In the meantime, Coon grabbed his camera and secretly followed us to the gym, luckily, Susie stalled a bit so Coon was able to get in position to take pictures (Susie wanted pictures of the proposal) before we got into the room.

I read through the poem with her, said a few words about how much I loved her and how I knew when I saw her on stage at her sister’s wedding I knew I wanted to be on a stage like that with her someday, and while we both had our shortcomings, I was thankful that it all worked out in the end (in more romantic words than that, obviously).

As soon as I got down on one knee and asked the beautiful Susie Roth to marry me, she said yes, and we exited the gym where she met a couple of her very best friends and went crazy, of course.

And then, we made our way to dinner where I had coordinated that our awesome high schoolers would be eagerly awaiting our revival.  As we walked up to the glass doors of the dining hall, they were looking at us in anticipation, completely silent.  Then, as soon as all four of our feet touched the floor of the dining hall, they students went completely bonkers, something similar to this.  It was epic.  We love those guys and girls so much.  They’re the best and we’re blessed to share this memory with them.

Then, today, when we got back to school, I had a surprise party-planned, and despite our late arrival, we had a great time hanging out with friends and family.  It was fantastic.

Like I said, this is the extremely abridged version, and if you’d like more details sometime, stop me around campus or give me a call and I will be happy to tell you more!

I’m so blessed to be engaged to my best friend.  Our relationship over the past seven years has truly been a testament to God’s sovereignty, grace, and faithfulness.  I do not deserve Susie in the slightest, but he has given her to me anyway.  I am so thankful to be getting married to my best friend.  Couldn’t be better.

I leave you with a picture!