Category Archives: Marriage proposals

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Books (Episode 14)

Last Friday was the final day of the craziest summer of my life. From beginning to end, the weeks were wild and wonderful.

Charlie Cook

Charlie Cook

Irises at Kintai Bridge in Iwakuni, Japan

Irises at Kintai Bridge in Iwakuni, Japan

My daughter Mandy gave birth to our first grandchild, Charlie, in Iwakuni, Japan on May 23, and my younger daughter, Melanie, and I left to visit them on June 2. Melanie and I are both teachers, and the last day of school was May 30. As soon as we were free, we hit the ground running.

After we returned home (June 18), I began teaching summer piano lessons. On July 6, I published my fifth book, Sincerely Yours, the second book in the Yours by Design series. Indie authors know how busy the weeks are just before and after publishing.

Sincerely Yours  Robin Helm

Sincerely Yours
Robin Helm

On July 9, while Melanie was in Bangladesh, I received a text followed by a call from her boyfriend.

He was planning to propose and wanted to surprise her. He had asked her to pick out a ring months before, so she had searched the internet until she found the one she wanted and sent him a picture. He needed for me to tell him her ring size. I am proud to say that I was able to keep the secret.

When they called us soon after she accepted, she was squealing and he was laughing.

Oh, yes.  She was surprised!

Oh, yes.
She was surprised!

Dylan and Melanie after she said, "Yes!"

Dylan and Melanie
after she said, “Yes!”

During the week of July 20 – 25, I worked in The Way, a church-sponsored ministry to our commmunity, and on July 26 I drove 35 miles each way to the wedding of one of my former students. I was the only one there, much to my surprise, but being the anal person I am, I had the invitation with me. When I checked it, I saw that I was a week early. Ah, the joys of being 60. Melanie went to the wedding with me the following week, and the ceremony was lovely, even if the wedding party had to run from the rain at the very end. After that wedding, Melanie and I rode around to look at reception venues for hers.

The week after they became engaged, Melanie and Dylan set a date for the wedding (June 27) and we went into full-steam-ahead planning mode. Yes, you can plan a wedding in two weeks. Knowing that we would both start back to school meetings by August 7 (and that she wouldn’t function well with all the question marks hanging over her head), we quickly booked the church, the reception venue (The Ivy Place),

The Ivy Place

The Ivy Place

the wedding director, the florist, the DJ, the caterer, the wedding cake, the photographer, the musicians, and the ministers. She called all her bridesmaids and flower girls, we bought the silk flowers for the one church decoration she wanted, and we started looking for a wedding dress. Three dress shopping trips and several upset stomachs later, she found her perfect dress on August 16 at David’s Bridal in Columbia. This past Sunday afternoon, she designed and ordered her invitations, save-the-dates, and thank you notes online. She had already set up her wedding on, so she was able to check all that off and stay within her budget.

My trusty cell phone was with me through all that, so all of my books traveled with me. I popped to the kindle app whenever I was waiting for her and read my headaches away. I even took Laura’s Mercy’s Embrace, Book Three, The Lady Must Decide to church one Sunday. When the flute part rests for 20 measures, I can sneak in a little reading.

Mercy's Embrace Book Three The Lady Must Decide by Laura Hile

Mercy’s Embrace
Book Three
The Lady Must Decide
by Laura Hile

While all that was going on, I had new floors installed in most of my house. I love the floors, but Chloe and Toby don’t. They slip and slide around, and the noise their paws make prevents them from sneaking up on me.

Nana, I do NOT like these new floors.

Nana, I do NOT like these new floors.

I had Open House at school Sunday afternoon, and we started back yesterday. Now do you understand why I haven’t finished writing Forever Yours and I’ve been slack about blogging lately?

I’m presently setting up the Music Academy lesson schedule and looking forward to getting back into my routine. My days at school have changed to Mondays and Fridays, so my blogging and writing days are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Football season starts next week. Let the games begin! I’ll be cheering for my future son-in-law and his team, the University of South Carolina Gamecocks.20140606_121814 Charlie is ready. She’ll be wearing her infant sized Gamecock jersey signed by her favorite football player and future uncle. Bows and ruffles are courtesy of Mrs. Susie Nichols. A girl must have her lace.

Go, Gamecocks!

Go, Dylan!

If you’re looking for us Thursday night, August 28, Gayle and I will be at Williams Brice Stadium, cheering for the team. Yes, we’ll be tired as we teach on Friday, but these times will soon be gone. I want to enjoy it while I can.


An engagement ring for Christmas? Hmm . . .

christmas-engagementAccording to WOKV, a state court in Georgia recently ruled that Christopher Ned Kelley owes his former fiancee Melissa Cooper, with whom he lived for more than a decade, $50,000 for cheating on her. He had fathered her child and given her a $10,000 ring, promising to marry her. Cooper had resigned from her job to raise their child, depending on Kelley to provide for his family, but when she found out Kelley had cheated on her for a second time, she sued him for fraud and for “breach of promise to marry.” She also broke off the engagement and kicked him out of their home.

His defense was that he never intended to marry her. Here’s his statement: “I never initiated the concept of marriage with her, outside of giving her that ring,” he said. “I never said the words ‘will you marry me’ to her.” I guess the ring and the baby were a ploy. He said that she was actually his prostitute. He paid for things, and she provided sexual services for him.

Georgia abolished common law marriages in 1997, so she had no grounds there, and I don’t understand why she didn’t break it off the first time he cheated on her. Besides, he is clearly not husband material. He doesn’t even know the difference between a statement and a question.

I think the case is interesting. Gentlemen, be warned. If you give her an engagement ring and a baby, you have promised to marry her, even if you have cleverly avoided asking the question.

In Regency times, engagements were legally binding. Before a formal engagement, young ladies were expected to be chaste, but once the engagement was announced, the rules were substantially relaxed. Therefore, a broken engagement ruined both the reputation of the lady and the pocketbook of the gentleman. Because the woman was unlikely to find another suitor with such a blot on her character, her male relative could sue the jilter, most often resulting in his payment of a fine (250 pounds). Occasionally, the man would choose instead to marry the lady, though I would not have been amenable to that arrangement for a daughter of mine. That’s too similar to the redneck “shot gun weddings” of them thar hills.

Is romance dead?

Last week, rapper Kanye West proposed to Kim Kardashian, his girlfriend and the mother of his child (North West – really), by renting out the entire San Francisco Giants stadium and using the scoreboard to say, “PLEEEASE MARRY MEEE!!!” Again, I’m completely serious.

The Perjured Proposal

The Perjured Proposal

In a move which is truly ridiculous, they are suing Chad Hurley, their videographer, for posting the video of Kanye’s proposal on the internet. Guess why? “Hurley proceeded to try to turn the event into one starring himself, broadcasting the images he knew were the exclusive property rights of someone else.” That’s what they said. I couldn’t make this stuff up.

Kim's instagram post "Yes!!!!"

Kim’s instagram post

So it was a private event, meant to be exploited only by Kim and Kanye? That would appear to be the case, especially in view of the fact that Kim publicized it immediately.

Kim posted this picture on her instagram herself, with the caption, “YES!!!” just after the big event at AT&T Park.

I don’t think romance is dead, but it is certainly sick or injured. Maybe it just has the flu. I can only hope that it recovers quickly, but then, I’m a hopeless romantic.

I wanted to tag this “Marrying Well for Fun and Profit,” but that’s Laura Hile’s domain.

I guess he really fell for her.

This is definitely “guy humor.” I don’t know if I’d marry him or not if his idea of a joke was scaring me to death. What might he think would be a good joke involving their children?

At least he didn’t do a zombie themed proposal or wedding.

This is love?

This is love?

When did proposals and weddings become the time to forget romance? I love creative, unexpected proposals, but there’s such a thing as too much fun at an inappropriate time.

If I die, please don’t throw me a Star Wars funeral.

And then the tortoise and the hare got married.

Like most writers, I grew up reading everything I could get my hands on. I loved the Eight Little Peppers books, all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s writings, Elsie Dinsmore, the Anne of Green Gables series, The Chronicles of Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, and many other books. Children’s books are innocent, character-building, and imaginative, but sometimes they are life-changing – as in the case of Chicago native Molly Lipsitz. Reading a children’s book designed by her boyfriend turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Jason Methner and Molly Lipsitz in

Jason Methner and Molly Lipsitz reported that Jason Methner wanted his proposal to Lipsitz to be “creative,” “dramatic,” and surprising. His book, inspired by bunnies, Lipsitz’s favorite animal, was a tale of friendship between a tortoise and a hare which progressed like their own relationship. The illustrated book concluded with a marriage proposal.

After he finished the book, Methner devised a plan to launch his creation at the Harold Washington Library in downtown Chicago. He cleared the plan with library officials, who agreed on the condition that Methner would allow them to post photos of the event to their Facebook page, and he told his girlfriend they needed to stop by the library to view a friend’s book.

Methner took Lipsitz to the children’s section and pulled his book from a shelf, pretending he’d just seen it. She started reading it, and by the third page, had deducted that her boyfriend was up to something. At the end of the story when the tortoise proposes to the hare, Methner dropped to one knee and pulled out an engagement ring. Of course she said, “Yes!” Cue the photographers and social media.

“The book is a parable of our relationship,” Lipsitz told “From when we met, a bit about our lives, and the things we did together. In the book he proposed to me, and then he proposed for real.”

Now, how sweet is that? This man thought of what would most appeal to his beloved, and he went to a great deal of trouble to give her a proposal she would never forget. Marriage to a man like that would be interesting. She’s a lucky girl.

If it doesn’t work out, I suppose he’ll write a sequel. However, in the tradition of Austen, I’m going to declare a happy ending and end this blog post.

Ultimate Nerd Marriage Proposal

It’s June, and the thoughts of the JSI ladies have turned to love! Implanting a marriage proposal in a scientific paper may not be your idea of romance, but for two University of Sydney physics grad students, it was the perfect medium.

"Two Body Interactions: A Longitudinal Study" by Brendan McMonigal

“Two Body Interactions: A Longitudinal Study” by Brendan McMonigal

Recently Christie Nelan posted a scientific proposal online written by Brendan McMonigal, entitled “Two Body Interactions: A Longitudinal Study.” The paper summarizes their meeting and seven-year relationship and concludes that their happiness was likely to increase over time.

McMonigal graphed the correlation between happiness and time and concluded:

The summary of the findings of the study are presented in Figure 1, and show that the projected happiness is upward with high confidence. Taking these results into account, the author proposes to Christie Nelan the indefinite continuation of the study. The subject’s response to this proposal should be indicated below.

Goes right along with, "Your chromosomes have combined beautifully!" and "I would simply walk into Mordor for you."

Goes right along with, “Your chromosomes have combined beautifully!” and “I would simply walk into Mordor for you.”

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, McMonigal said, “I subtly got down on one knee to get the paper from my bag and hand it to her, then stood up to wait for her reaction. She hadn’t noticed what was happening at all, but as a typical physics grad, she read the abstract and then skipped straight to the conclusion and quickly [figured out what it meant].”

Of course, Nelan accepted the proposal. After all, how could she refuse to follow the study to its logical conclusion?

Take note, guys. McMonigal put quite a bit of thought and work into his offer of marriage. He thought of what interests they shared and what would make her laugh. As I told a young man who consulted me about a Christmas gift for his girlfriend, “It’s not what you spend that’s important; it’s the thought that you put into it.”