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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Proposal Week: Post 2

     The air was crisp as my then boyfriend (now husband) climbed the mountain. Rocks lined the path. His hand touched the ringbox in his coat pocket. A miners' cut diamond from his great grandmother reset now in white gold. I'd never seen the ring, didn't even know it existed.
        Was he nervous if I'd like it? More importantly, worried if I'd say yes?
       Naw. He picked up his pace to the top of the mountain. Of course she'd say yes. He was, after all, a really good catch.

       During this week, six years ago, my husband proposed. In honor of that, I'm designating this week proposal week on my blog. I'll be sharing some proposal stories from other authors and then finishing off with my story.

Next up, Karen Wingate.


From across the seminary library, I heard this articulate, confident bass voice.  I had a thing about deep bass voices and this voice sounded like one I wanted to hear more of.

“Who is that talking?” I poked one of my roommates sitting next to me.

“Oh, that’s Jack Wingate, the library media director,” she told me.

As I went through the course of my days: classes, chapel services, and study sessions, I kept listening for that voice.  Finally, I came face to face with the man behind the voice at a Christmas party held in one of the professors’ homes.  We spent a lovely twenty minutes standing in front of the fireplace, exchanging casual chit-chat. I know.  How romantic! I definitely wanted to know more about this man.

So when I returned to campus for my second semester of graduate school, I started to park my stack of books at a cubical near his open office door. As one of the few female seminary students, I got quite a reputation as a diligent student.  If they only knew the truth. Everyone but one certain person noticed me in that tucked away study carrousel.  It took three months before Jack finally noticed me and asked if I’d like to go get lunch with him at the school cafeteria.  My roommates say I stuck my foot out in the aisle to trip him.  Not true, but I had to invite him to a music concert at my church to finally wrangle a date out of him!

We were talking to each other more by the time I left for a three month mission internship. I feared my absence would snuff out our budding relationship. But over that summer both of us thought a lot about the person we had come to know.  I came home so conflicted.  I wanted to be involved in mission work but the man with the deep voice wanted to teach or preach.  Foreign missions was not part of his make-up, he told me. 

After a lot of soul searching about my motives for wanting to be on the mission field, I told him one night, “I’m not so convinced any more that God wants me on the foreign mission field. Perhaps I can serve Him in the States just as well.”

“Oh?” He stopped what he was doing.  “I think we have a lot to talk about.” 

I had to rush off to an evening class right then, but I don’t think I heard a word of the professor’s lecture.  Three hours later after talking about goals and dreams and life paths, we narrowed it down to one question – would we serve God better together or apart?  It was 12:15 in the morning. 

We fell silent, then Jack asked, “So, do you want to get married?”

“Well,” I tried not to sound too excited.  “Yeah.”

Three days later, I realized what a catch I’d made.  We went shopping for rings and as I peered at the broad variety of diamond solitaires, Jack stopped me.  “Since you have trouble seeing, I want you to have a ring you will be able to see.  How about this ring with alternating rubies and diamonds.  You would be able to see that better, wouldn’t you?”

How perceptive! How sensitive!  I knew Jack was the man for me.

P.S.  How much of an introvert is my guy?  He had not even told his parents he was dating me until after we had become engaged!

Jack and Karen Wingate will celebrate their 30th anniversary next June.  They live with their Welsh Corgi in Western Illinois and wish their two adult daughters had not grown up so fast. Karen spent twenty-five years writing Christian education curriculum that made its way into several countries beyond the United States borders.  She and Jack have served in ministry in six different states.  Their current ministries is involved in supporting a college ministry with an outreach to international students for whom Karen often bakes homemade cookies.  Karen now divides her time between writing historical fiction and teaching women’s bible studies.


  1. What a great story! I love about the rings. That is sooo sweet of him!

  2. Great story, Karen! And I'm guessing you did stick your foot out. Maybe just a little? Congrats on your upcoming 30th anniversary!

  3. This is such a great post. The part about the ring is just plain awesome.

    1. Over the years, people have commented on how different my ring is from most engagement rings. Then I get to tell the story. You think your engagement ring should last as long as your marriage but several years ago, several prongs broke. Fortunately Jack found another ring with alternating simulated diamonds and rubies. Did I say my birthstone is the ruby?