How We Met
Lauren Perry Hartzog… doesn’t sound too shabby does it?! I am thrilled to say that I am Ricky Hartzog’s future wife. I guess you could say our story began when I had PE with Rick when I was in the 3rd grade and he was in the 2nd. From there on out, we have always been friends and we have always been in the same friend group. I have always thought he had a kind spirit about him. He never meets a stranger and he is a hilarious guy who can always lead conversations when we are with a group of people. Rick has always had a confidence and a determination about him that I have always liked and now that has turned into one of the things that I admire most about him. After all that time of knowing each other, the summer going into my senior year of high school, Ricky asked me to go fishing with him at our small town’s local country club. Y’all, let me tell you, I didn’t know how to fish and that afternoon I got eaten alive by mosquitoes…. but I somehow managed to impress him enough for him to hold my hand on the way back to the truck. Moments, not things, are what are the most important to me. And in that moment, I knew that my life would never be the same.
After spending the summer months “talking” (Why didn’t we just call it dating?? Young and dumb.), we ended the summer by going to the high school’s jamboree together and when Rick took me home, he asked me to be his girlfriend in August 2012. I finished my senior year and moved to Charleston, SC for college, and a year later Rick began college in Charleston as well at a different college. We have been together ever since! Like any other couple, we have something that we value in our relationship above all else. As we most definitely respect what any other couple chooses to value, it is our desire to have Christ at the center of our relationship and that is going to be the ultimate goal of our marriage. We see marriage as something that is not limited to our self fulfillment, but we see it as a way to serve and display the Gospel to those around us. My favorite thing that we’ve been able to do together – and probably the best thing we could’ve ever done for our relationship while dating – is working at a summer camp called SummerSalt.
We were able to spend the last two summers together working there. We lead groups of students through a week of bible study and team building exercises and because of working there, we got to spend about 8 consecutive weeks together. What a blessing that was for us personally! We found some of our best friends, mentors, and accountability partners by working there. This summer, Ricky is returning to SummerSalt, but I’ll be heading to Chicago after I take my NCLEX (I just graduated from nursing school) for a summer of Urban Missions through the North American Mission board. We will be apart for 8.5 weeks total, but we are excited for the opportunities that we will have this summer to serve others in whatever capacity we can! We have set a date for May of 2018, and we could not be more excited to have our friends and family witness our love first hand – and of course have one big party afterwards and dance the night away!!!
how they asked
Ricky and his family always go on a family vacation and this year they chose Vegas. They have invited me on their family vacations for the past 5 summers – Myrtle beach, Lake Murray, Panama City beach (two years in a row), and now of course, Las Vegas. Spending the week with them is always so much fun and I have so many special memories with them already!! We flew into Vegas on a Monday night and Tuesday we were excited to hit the strip! We walked around all day – 8.7 miles to be exact – and saw as much as we could! On the way back to where we were staying, I *thought* that the 4 of us made a collective decision to go to the Grand Canyon the next day. I told Ricky a few months ago that the Grand Canyon was on my bucket list and that I was so excited to visit. We drove the 2.5 hours out to the Grand Canyon and on the ride out there, I studied a medication chart in my NCLEX prep book and then fell asleep because I was so bored from reading/studying…. look y’all, I was CLUELESS that I was on the way to the spot where Rick would ask me to be his wife.
Everyone acted so calm and normal so I was never the wiser. We made it out there and we bypassed the first stop on the tour to make our way to the “prettier spot for pictures”. Even that didn’t give it away because if y’all know me, my mom, or Mrs. Lisa, y’all know we believe in a photo opp anywhere we are!! We took some pictures of Mrs. Lisa and Mr. Freddie, and then it was mine and Ricky’s turn.
Mrs. Lisa snapped a few pictures of us and then asked me to turn around so that she could “recreate this really cool picture that she saw on Pinterest”. I did just that. I turned around and took in the beautiful landscape, one that I had always wanted to see, I marveled at the Lord’s handiwork, and then Ricky told me to turn around. As I did, the man who I love was on his knee asking me to marry him.
There’s only one way for me to describe my reaction – stunned. I just looked at him for a moment before what I saw actually registered in my brain as to what was happening. HE IS PROPOSING TO ME. Y’all know the answer was yes. It’s always been yes!
We were able to get enough connection for me to FaceTime my mom, daddy, and sister so they could share in the moment with us. They were all so excited for Rick and I! While I was on FaceTime with KK (my only sister and of course my MOH), she was crying and had the sweetest reaction. The reaction was SO sweet that the security guard overheard what was going on and he also began to cry! It was too funny – shout out to the security guard at the Grand Canyon West Rim, Dustin. Shoutout to Mrs. Lisa (Ricky’s mom) for having a sweet little congratulations bag that she packed full of engagement goodies. Only she could pull that one off. Thanks Mr. Freddie (Ricky’s dad) for telling me not to back up and fall off the side of the Grand Canyon before I could say yes and get that pretty ring on my finger.
And lastly, but most importantly, to Ricky, I love you! We heard at SummerSalt once that, “The value of the object is reflected in the intensity of the pursuit.” Well, you have guarded my heart well and shown me how much you value it by how hard you have pursued and protected it. I read somewhere once that “real love will ask us to do hard things—to forgive one another, to support each other’s dreams, to comfort in times of grief, or to care for family.
Real love isn’t easy—and won’t be anything like the wedding day—but it will be far more meaningful and wonderful.” Ricky, my love, I commit to our love and plan on it being hard work at times; but I also plan on it being the most rewarding work of my life. Rick has promised me a life full of love and adventure and I think a Grand Canyon proposal was a great start to that promise. XOXO