Wednesday, August 17, 2011


It's been a long time since we've posted, but it's time to give Joe some more attention.

Most of you always want lots of pictures, so I'm going to start with the version of few pictures and reasonably concise story for those who are in a hurry.  Then, further down in the post, I'll put lots of pictures and details for those who are interested in such things.  :-)  Does that work?  Great!

Here goes!

Last night (Tuesday, the 16th), our brother, Joe, got down on one knee and asked a young lady to be his wife.  The young lady's name is Mary Jane Stoll...and she said "Yes".  :-)

Congratulations, Joe and Mary Jane!

Mary Jane is a very sweet young lady.  We have really enjoyed getting to know her a little bit over the last few months, and look forward to getting to know her even more as the days go by.  We love to spend time with her family too - it's such sweet fellowship - and that's a wonderful thing as well.

It was really sweet that Joe wanted both families to be there.  We got to help set up "the spot", then waited out of sight and earshot until he was ready to surprise her with our presence, and then we were right there.  It was a very, very special time together for our families.

Afterward, we went back to their house for some great food and more wonderful fellowship...and watching the video that was set up on them (at Joe's direction).  It was all very sweet and special.

Following is an excerpt from Mom's version of the announcement that gives a slightly different perspective and a little bit more detail about Mary Jane.

Joe & the Stolls were so kind to invite us to share in this special occasion.  We went a bit early to a beautiful botanical garden where Nick (Mary Jane's second brother) was to set things up to be all ready for the big moment.  Joe had given specific instructions. Then we hid out behind the bushes nearby to give them time alone together.  When it was all settled, we came out to surprise Mary Jane and give our congratulations all around.   Both families are very close knit, so this was such a treat for all of us!  Afterwards we had a little celebration at the Stoll's house.  How fun! 

Mary Jane is one of six children.  She has two older brothers (eldest is married), and three younger sisters.  Mary Jane plays viola & got her degree in Bible & Secondary Education (I believe).  She had surrendered some time ago to full-time missions, but wasn't sure exactly which field God would call her to.  Now she is delighted to know she will be the wife of an international evangelist.  God has prepared her well to be a perfect helpmeet for Joe.  We are excited that God has brought them together.

Oh, yes - a picture of the ring.  The post would be incomplete without a picture of the ring.  :-)

I don't think we came up with a very good picture of it actually on her finger (the sun was setting and the lighting hard to work with), but here are a couple of the ring itself.

(Some - but not all - of the pictures should show an enlarged version if you click on them.)

OK - Here comes the long, picture-full version.  :-)

Meet Mary Jane!

Here are some pictures from relatively early on in the courtship.

The Stoll girls stayed at our house over the 4th of July weekend.  Just one little tidbit about their family - the girls all play stringed instruments and Mary Jane is a violist.  :-)

Joe had been traveling a lot this summer, but happened to be able to stop by for a little while.  It is very hard to surprise Mary Jane, but Joe was successful that time.  :-)

Mary Jane's response when Joe appeared. 

"So how long will you be able to stay?"

"Well, actually, I don't have to be back until late afternoon...tomorrow."
(Do you think she liked to hear that?  :-)  )

We always said that one of the best ways to get to know a person is to spend some time doing the dishes together.  Many of us very politely vacated the kitchen so they could have some special time getting to know each other better.  :-)

At the fireworks

"I have to go back now...."  (long goodbye)



We met up with the Stoll children at the garden and assisted a little bit in setting up "the spot" while Joe, Mary Jane, and Mr. and Mrs. Stoll were out for dinner.


Isn't this so exciting?!  :-)

Checking out the gardens during the time of waiting

Some of the roses were just gorgeous!

I know you wanted to see the pictures of the roses!

Setting up "the spot" - Nick, one of her brothers, was the one in charge of making sure everything was exactly how Joe wanted pressure.  :-)

Setting up the camera (at Joe's request), but trying to put it in a place that could record them and yet not be noticed by the observant Mary Jane.

Trying to hide the blinking red light.  Mom provided a band-aid and a black permanent marker.  Nick colored a portion of the band-aid.

Dad provided scissors with which to cut off the colored portion.

Nick applied the band-aid to the camera.

"Are you sure they won't see it?"  "Which direction will they come from?"  "When do you think they'll get here?"  "Hadn't we better be finding our hiding place?"

Plain, simple, and pretty - isn't it?

"See 'em yet?"

We know they're in the gardens somewhere, but have they made it to "the spot" yet?

Hiding out and waiting...for a very long time  :-)

Nobody is nosy or anything....  :-)
Could't see Joe and Mary Jane, just Mr. and Mrs. Stoll as they stood nearby and took pictures for Joe.

Mary Jane's sister, Kate, trying to see...

After Joe proposed, Mrs. Stoll gave us the cue that we could come out of hiding.  We stood there quietly waiting to surprise Mary Jane after they finished praying.

I know it's really blurry...but I kind of like that effect every once in a while.

We're all waiting, (not exactly out of sight any more, but since they're looking at each other, we were just about as good as being out of sight)...yet to be revealed.

"We have an audience."

I believe she expected her siblings to be there, but she was pleasantly surprised to see our family.

...and happy.  :-)

Zachary shouted out the very first "Congratulations".

Very quickly surrounded

The camera must have been on a weird setting 'cause it wasn't nearly that dark yet, but it's kind of cool how the ring glows.

Then we went back to the Stoll's home and had a very nice time with the cell phones going crazy receiving one texted "Congratulations" after another as Joe, Mary Jane, and all the family members shared the great news.

Yep, she still looks happy.  :-)

Food and Fellowship

 Joe is really good to give all his siblings attention too.
Here are a few photographs - not everybody got caught by the camera.

Joe & HB

Kim & Joe & Heidi

Kim & Joe & Julie
(in the background)

Picture attempt at the ring on the hand

Happy girl  :-)

Ring and Red Roses

Mary Jane, Emma, Annie, Nick, and Kate

We thought it quite funny that the dads had accidentally worn matching shirts.  :-)
After that, we came home and went to sleep...that is, after some of us e-mailed a few people with the news.  :-)