I have had the great pleasure of knowing Hallie since she was a young girl. I met her about 8 or 9 years ago while Debbie, Hallie's mother, would bring her and her brother, Paul, in to volunteer at Save the Family's Thrift Store. Back then I was in charge of all the thousands of volunteers that donated their time and Debbie was then and still is very involved. I believe her commitment to the community is one of the reasons why Hallie has moved to South Africa to pursue her college degree and volunteer her time to the people in dire need. Here is an excerpt from her fantastic blog:
"I am attending a “world class university.” In the minds of students and alumni of UCT, this place offers the best and most diverse education out there. I just wanted to make a quick note on the time I have chosen to come to South Africa. A time where there is unrest politically because of arms deals and rolling blackouts, a time of unrest for those who have yet to be given the homes they were promised at the end of Apartheid, a time of unrest for students who find themselves in a powerless minority, a time for great change and for great opportunity to light a fire under those who have lost hope and encourage them that this world can be tackled, a time for God to change lives."
What an outstanding young world leader.
Anyhow, while on her journey she continued a wonderful committed relationship with a young man named Dustin who is from South Africa and is also continuing his education there. To clarify, Dustin and Hallie actually met at Arizona State University but decided to both study aboard in Dustin's home country. About 2 months into Hallie's journey in the beautiful country, Dustin charismatically popped the question and now the two are joyously engaged. To read more about how the proposal went click here.
After the engagement was announced Debbie, Hallie's Mother, called to tell me the good news and due to the distance and frankly just not knowing enough about the wedding planning process she reached out to me for assistance. Amongst all the emails that all four of us have been exchanging, (all the way from South Africa, isn't email amazing?) I received one from Debbie that Dustin's mother had sent with several pictures of an engagement party that their closest family and friends had thrown.
"Hi Brian and Debbie, We are having a wonderful time in Cape Town. We had a dinner party tonight with some of our family (Dustin's grandparents and some Uncles and Aunts and cousins) so that they could meet Hallie. It was a lovely evening of celebration. I wish you could have been here to enjoy the evening with us. Here are a few photos so that you can somewhat share it with us.I know you are looking forward to Hallie returning home, but in the meantime we are loving every minute with her and Dustin and Sam. It won't be long before they are off to the USA for you to enjoy their company. Love, Michelle"
After reading I proceed to scroll down and see all of these wonderful pictures and got a little melancholy. This was the sole reason why I am completely in love with my work. Both families are overflowing with love and a commitment to supporting these young people, their children, on this adventure together through marriage. It warms my heart so to be connected to the celebration. Thank you Debbie, Thank you Hallie, and to Dustin..I can't wait to meet you and be a part of the festivities.
Enjoy the pictures of the engagement party.
Hallie and Dustin visit with friends.
Pretty beautiful tablescape, Michelle!
A toast to the two love birds. Congratulations you two.