Monmouth County, NJ

Award winning blogger, pastor, and VP of a small engineering firm. Darren and his wife Kristin spend their free time raising 3 girls and helping fuel a movement of #KingdomCollaboration.

Life Ported

Engagement Story with Pictures

By on January 17, 2010

My inbox is bursting with inquiries about the big “Proposal Day”. Yes, it’s true…I’m engaged. I proposed to Kristin wednesday morning with guitar in hand, 35,000 ft above the earth on a flight to Las Vegas. I promised many of you some details so here they are.

Please forgive me as I skip some of the background for now. There are at least three blog entries I’m missing but just haven’t had time to write:
1) How we knew we were going to get married before we started dating
2) How we knew our wedding date before we were even engaged
3) How the heck to date as Christian adults in 2010 (still figuring this one out, but trying really hard)
I do intend to write these in the near future…but for now, let’s stick to the events of Wednesday.

It all started with a slightly over-the-top birthday gift for Kristin. She has some Bette Midler music that she really loves so I figured tickets to see her would be a dream gift. The only place Bette Midler is playing, however, is Las Vegas. So…like any good boyfriend, I figured a day trip to Vegas was the only way to really take care of this problem, right? Now, I know many of you think I’m crazy doing this in a day, but I felt it was wise to avoid the whole overnight/hotel issue since we aren’t married (more on this in “Coming Soon Blog #3″). Now, we had no idea what Bette’s show would be like, but that’s for later in the story. Anyway, the birthday extravaganza turned out to be the perfect cover for my secret proposal plans.

So, Wednesday morning we head out for the airport around 5am. I arranged for our friends Rob and Vanessa Adams to get there early and board the flight before us. Rob and Vanessa (who happen to be a recently married professional Wedding Videography / Photography team) found there seats in the very last row of the 757 and immediately coordinated with the Flight Attendants to allow for the proposal to happen as planned. Kristin and I board and take our seats just 6 or 7 rows up from them. Amazingly, we had the whole back of the plane to ourselves. Shortly after reaching our cruising altitude, the seat belt signs turn off and and I sneak away toward the back of the plane. Rob had carried on my new martin backpacker guitar (purchased for this day..haha) and had it all tuned up for me. A quick check and a clearing of my throat and I was walking up the aisle playing one of our favorite songs: Better Together, by Jack Johnson.

Darren and Kristin Engagement

Photo by Vanessa Joy

I get to our row and Kristin buries her face in the magazine she was reading. I was thrilled that she was actually surprised. I had written new lyrics to the song; lyrics that captured a bit of what my heart is feeling lately. Rob and Vanessa captured it in video and photos. After the song, there were only a few words and she nodded her head in agreement. I didn’t really get a “yes” but the head shake and the hug basically said it 🙂

The rest of the flight was great. The four of us were treated like first class by the Flight staff and the conversation seemed to get better and better. My cute lady couldn’t stop looking at her ring…neither could the flight attendants. Oh, and the plane has a HUGE symbolic significance here…you will just have to wait untill “Coming Soon Blog #2″ (sorry) to find out why I did this on a plane.

We hit the ground around 10am in lovely Las Vegas. I had arranged for one of Kristin’s best friends from San Diego (Kristi) to fly in and meet us. Kristi showed up at baggage claim delivering major surprise #2 of the day.

Lunch at Serendipity 3 was great and we were off to hair appointments in one of Vegas’s best salons; Color. We had to get all done up for our engagements pictures, which we spent the majority of the afternoon and early evening doing. I thought it would be fun to do engagement pictures on the actual day we get engaged…and it turned out to be perfect. The idea was to dress as glamorously as the finely appointed hotels we’d be posing in – so Kristin got a new dress out of the deal as well (which she thought was just for a “nice dinner” before the show).

LeBlanc Villaggio Visit

Photo by Vanessa Joy

We spent hours a few hours with Rob and Vanessa telling us “ok, look at each other, now kiss, now nose to nose” as we toured incredible hotels and local sites. They are are really masters at pulling great images together and the backdrop was incredible. Outside of the proposal on the plane, perhaps our favorite moment was standing outside the bellagio as it started to drizzle and Kristin and I were dacing to “This Kiss” by Faith Hill. We danced and laughed as the iconic fountains blew off behind us. It was truly an incredible moment.

In front of the Bellagio

Photo by Vanessa Joy

A quick dinner at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill and we were off to see Bette Midler. Unfortunately, the only thing I knew of Bette was her song “God is watching us” and neither of us had any clue what her show would be like. I kinda feel silly having told people I was going to see her, because it turns out that the content of her show wasn’t really something that either Kristin or I enjoyed very much. But regardless, it was a perfect day. We rushed from the show back to the airport to catch an 11pm flight back to east coast.

Anyway, the new One Republic disc just finished playing and my green tea has lost all it’s warmth so it’s time for bed; church starts in a few hours. Goodnight friends.

(Thanks to Vanessa and Rob, Kristi, Michael, Rachel and Leah, Sarah from Jared in Eatontown, the impressive guys at James Allen, my parents, Mom Jackie and Grandma Lucy for helping pull everything together)

1 Comment
  1. Reply


    August 31, 2016

    These comments were copied from the original posting in 2010:

    30 Comments so far

    Sam George January 17th, 2010 8:36 am
    Darren I am so happy for you and Olivia. Congratulations.
    Praise the Lord for blessing you with a beautiful, godly woman.
    I am so happy for you. Thank you Jesus.

    Sarah January 17th, 2010 9:53 am
    WOW!! Darren, that last photo is magazine worthy. You guys are just glowing!!!

    Amen to new beginnings 😉

    PW January 17th, 2010 11:53 am
    Again- not knowing who you are, but knowing we serve the same Savior, I am just thrilled for you and your new bride.

    Tara January 17th, 2010 7:48 pm
    what an amazing thing. what an amazing blessing.

    Jen January 17th, 2010 8:43 pm
    Amazing!!! What an incredible day for your bride to be. Your story is one that is well written by our Father 🙂 Thanks for sharing it with those you don’t know!!!

    emilie January 17th, 2010 10:43 pm
    Could you have been any more romantic????!!!!! Fantastic plan you put together- every girls dream come true!

    Becky January 18th, 2010 12:36 pm
    That’s awesome Darren!! Prayers and blessings with you both and for Olivia too!

    Suzanne R. January 18th, 2010 7:01 pm
    Congratulations..I can’t wait to hear more of the story..But just from what I have read and seen, your relationship really seems to be a huge gift from God 🙂 Totally awesome pictures by the way…Paul and I just watched Oceans 11 so I knew just what fountain you were in front of 🙂 Enjoy this time!

    Amanda Balina-Ayers January 18th, 2010 7:45 pm
    wow…..thats SO romantic, Darren! (I’m going to make Marcus read this!!!) lol
    Love you!

    Katya January 18th, 2010 9:24 pm
    Darren, I have been following with interest your story. It is an interesting contrast to another blog I have followed about a man who also lost his wife and was left with a baby girl to raise on his own. The great difference is that you have been looking to the Lord in all you do and He has blessed you in ways you never expected!
    Your engagement story is certainly like one from a fairy tale! How wonderfully romantic and awesome your story is!
    May God (richly) bless you in this new season of your life. I am sure Olivia is going to be one happy little girl as well!
    Thank you for sharing this…it is always refreshing to hear good news from believers!

    Vanessa Joy January 19th, 2010 4:14 pm
    YaY!!! Pictures!! Haha, I love the “ok, look at each other, now kiss, now nose to nose” part….haha so true!!!

    Rob and I are so glad to have been a part of this!

    Jai Brinkofski January 20th, 2010 2:29 pm
    Dude, my wife says she can’t read your blog without crying. I think you owe me some money for tissues.

    And congrats, man. It’s always good to see the good guys win :).

    Kathy January 20th, 2010 9:29 pm

    I stumbled upon your website because of a friend. I am so enraged and irritated that you can actually look at someone else right now in the same way you looked at Misty. You really think that you have completely gone through the greiving process in a mere 15 months? What a travesty to Misty’s memory.
    I am a strong Christian and know that God does miraculous things and leads our paths. I am aware that we should praise him in ALL circumstances.
    The reason this hits so close to home for me is because my good friend just lost her husband to cancer and was left with 3 small children. Both she and her children were very involved with counseling and going through the grieving process. By no means did anyone ever tell her that it was a good idea to start dating again so soon. I don’t think that any counselor or pastor in their right mind would advise someone to get married so soon after a spouse dies, no matter if you feel that its a “God” thing. Just because we would like it to be a God thing doesn’t mean it always is.
    It seems to me that you cannot face living life alone for one more second than necessary. Give yourself some time to adjust to life before jumping into a marriage again. Are you really that scared to be alone? I’m sure Misty would want you and Olivia to be happy, but you should be putting your trust in God alone right now. He is who you should be clinging to soley for now.

    Rachel January 21st, 2010 1:25 pm
    My mother suffered a heart attack shortly after my father died of lung cancer. The doctors later diagnosed it as a broken heart. Two and a half years later her heart has only started to heal, though she is no where near ready to start dating, let alone get married. So I too was sad and surprised when I read that you are engaged. If you are so open with your thoughts and feelings, so quick to judge others, it only makes sense that you should expect the same in return. I have noticed a dramatic change in your blog which started out as an inspirational story of your beautiful wife’s courage and strength. If you’re not open to other people’s opinions, then perhaps you should stop putting your life on display.

    Jennifer January 21st, 2010 9:05 pm
    Life is for the living & while you are welcome to your opinion,I’m not sure why you think that your mom’s timeframe is the one everyone else should follow. I knew Darren & Misty in college & in fact lived with Misty for a year. Darren loved her & stayed with her when she was sick even way back then. He deserves to be happy. His blog has changed because he’s learning to LIVE without his wife, not to just hold on to memories & never move past that. I’m sorry you feel the need to be negative to someone who has been through a lot, someone it sounds like that you don’t even know personally. Congrats Darren! Love, Jen & Greg Roth

    Rachel January 21st, 2010 11:28 pm
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion even if it’s wrong. I guess you heal faster than others.

    darren January 22nd, 2010 6:02 am
    Response to Kathy and Rachel

    I’m so sorry you are enraged. I am honestly surprised though at those feelings, as we have never even met – according to your account, you just “stumbled upon my website”. Your opinions on timing are just that, opinions. We all have feelings on the subject, but at the end of the day, I am the one on this planet who God has put in charge of my family. I am the singular person responsible for making wise choices for what is best for me and Olivia. I don’t fully understand feelings of being enraged or irritated when you are not in any way a stakeholder.

    I am honestly so sorry for the loss of your friend. That is something I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I am sure that going through that has given you some strong feelings about this topic. Please though, be courteous with your words as they are really just your subjective opinions…We are all entitled to opinions, but I feel the way you have expressed them is a bit accusatory.

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your father and thanks for sharing your feelings. Jen is right, no one experiences grief the same way.

    You note that there has been a dramatic change in my blog. Yes, there has. I used to write everyday, without fail. I felt it necessary to update the world on Misty so they could 1) pray and 2) be encouraged. I don’t have a story like that right now. Instead, what is going on in my life is a beautiful story of how God is teaching me that his intentions toward my family (though i have doubted them at times) are ultimately good; a story of how I lost more than I’d wish on anyone, but even in that dark place, God met me and has restored my heart.

    There are people that find value in this story, just like those that found value in stories of the last couple years. Just today, I got a personal email from someone telling me their family has been greatly impacted (in a positive way) by seeing God’s provision in my life…and seeing my ability to date and move towards marriage again. If my story is no longer encouraging for you, I apologize, but that’s not everyone’s opinion.

    McGarbage January 22nd, 2010 7:30 am
    Congratulations! Jenny and I are happy for you. Praise God for how he has sovereignly ordained your circumstances. I wanted to say thank you for continuing to write on your blog as it gives us a way to somewhat keep in touch with you. Glad to see you are doing well. If you are ever in Hbg, please look us up.

    Tara January 23rd, 2010 4:40 pm
    My heart is heavy for Rachel and Kathy, as I am not sure why they are harboring so much anger towards someone they do not even know. When my mother died, I watched my father walk away from everything in life because he felt his life left with my mom. I grew up not knowing real love from my father because he did not allow himself to be loved God. We love because HE first loved us. Love is from God, love is God. There is no anger in that. Praise Him that you can love Darren. I am humbled and encourage STILL by how you love Misty.
    Anyway– I am really anxious for those three blog entries you eluded to… you’re leaving us on the edge of our seats! 🙂

    Tammy January 23rd, 2010 10:51 pm
    O my Darren, I am so far behind! for some reason when I was checking your blog, it was not showing any updates, I figured you had stopped writing..but now I see I have missed A LOT!
    Do you realize you are prince charming and you ahve your princess….
    how is your daughter? sweet girl.

    Molly January 23rd, 2010 11:36 pm
    Congratulations Darren, Kristin and Olivia!
    I first started reading your blog in August of 2008 while trying to find ways to strengthen my trust in God. I was 32 and still not married, I felt God was calling me to a period of waiting in trust. Darren your writing has meant a great deal to me. Today I still wait for marriage. It can be easy to be jealous. It can be hard for some of us to see God’s blessing of others with the very blessing we think we want for ourselves (and our loved ones). No doubt you felt that way when others have been healed of cancer but Misty was not. Part of trusting in God is letting go into that mystery.

    I do take a couple of the comments here personally. I’m glad to “good guy” is winning in this case. But plenty of those who don’t win are really good. And another widower’s blog of grief and vulnerability should not be compared to yours. God graces you in different ways than He graces that man, his daughter or anyone else. None of us deserve the abundance of grace God gives us. We can only face the grace with gratitude and be willing to find our joy in your joy.

    Tina January 24th, 2010 3:20 pm
    Congratulations! I am a wife and mother of two teenagers and I have followed your story for. I am thanking the Lord for blessing you and Olivia so richly!

    Thank you for giving Him all the glory in your life.

    Jolanhte January 25th, 2010 1:05 pm
    Read through your post the other day and just saw the many engagement pictures Vanessa posted on Facebook. Amazing.

    So happy for you both and for the amazing gift that God has given both of you in each other.


    Yvonne Moss January 27th, 2010 10:20 am
    Somehow I expected some out there to not be able to share in Darren’s joy. I have thoughts also on this relationship. I am a stakeholder in this couple. I have known Kristin her entire life. I was in the hospital ER when her mother was brought in. I watched her grow up and also watched as she went through times of heartbreak in her adult life. I’ve known Darren for many years. He and Misty shared meals with my family. So it is with love, grace and conviction that I say this….
    God always seeks to help us find redemption in our lives. He takes the tragedy in our lives and makes glory out of it if we let Him. Sometimes, when we hurt… we want others to hurt also. It’s our nature because we’re sinners. Just like its easy to watch a football game and judge who messed up… as if we somehow could do better… we decide what others should do also. I say that we shouldn’t decide that for others. Because I know the parties here, I will say how I see it (not that it really matters) but I believe that God, in his mercy loves Olivia so much and wants her to have a step mother who will love her. No one will ever take Misty’s place. And Kristin, more than anyone knows that. She is equipped with the ability to honor Misty in Olivia’s life. She has a holy respect for link between mother and daughter So… while I think it’s great that Darren and Kristin found each other, I believe God brought two ladies together to heal each other. Kristin will give to a little girl what she knows intuitively in her heart is needed. She is doing this already. And there aren’t too many (if any) out there that could fit those shoes.
    Olivia is the point here. Darren loves that little girl so much that he allowed God to change his heart by giving him an attraction towards a woman who would be the perfect role model for his child. Enough said.

    Annette January 27th, 2010 10:39 pm
    Darren, thank you so much for sharing your stories. They are blessing me in ways you cannot imagine because of some things happening in my life at this time.

    Blessings to you, Kristin and Olivia!!

    Jessica February 16th, 2010 3:26 pm
    Thank you so much for continuing to share your story, your journey. What an inspiration it continues to be for so many. Your pictures together are beautiful and I am so happy for you and your family! May God continue to bless you richly!