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From Sara’s Perspective:

On Friday August 10th, 2012 we had been officially dating for 3 years, 364 days. Our lives were already so intertwined; his family had become mine and my family had become his; we were best friends and relied on each other for everything; we believed that we could be used by God better together than apart. The only thing missing was a ring and a home. I will confess right now that I was starting to get antsy. I was paying month by month on my apartment and was having a hard time not already imagining our lives as one unit. During the planning process for the proposal (of which I was completely unaware) he put up with quite a few moments of “when?” and “why not now?” and “what else are you waiting for?” Bless his heart, he handled them all with tenderness and concern without giving away even a single hint about timing.

The week of August the 6th his sister Jessica sent out an invitation for a game night on Friday the 10th. We had a standing volleyball game on Friday nights so Jessica knew that we wouldn’t be able to show up until about 8:30. Our 4 year dating anniversary was on that Saturday, August 11th, so we planned a trip to Phoenix to celebrate. Friday the 10th was a crazy stressful day at work. I was already trying to figure out how I was going to leave in time to make it to our volleyball game at 6:00 so when I received his call that afternoon to let me know that the sprinkler system had burst, the volleyball courts were flooded, and our game was cancelled I was almost relieved. He said that he wanted to go out to dinner with me instead and we could still show up late to his sister’s game night. We hadn’t seen each other much that week so it was a logical decision. I told him that I was so busy at work that I just needed him to pick a restaurant.

I was maybe 10% suspicious, so when I got home I took a quick shower and washed my hair, just in case. When I went to put my purse in his trunk I saw his volleyball stuff and the suspicions immediately disappeared. I mean really, who would be smart enough to think through all of those details – to put volleyball stuff in the trunk of the car knowing he was going to cancel the volleyball game? Only J.J… He said that he had gotten us reservations for Antiquity which is a sweet, fancy restaurant in Old Town. We had an hour to kill before our reservations so he suggested we go buy disposable cameras and reenact our first real date where we had a photo taking competition in Old Town. We stopped by Walgreens to buy the cameras and then headed downtown. Once we got downtown we started taking our pictures and meandered towards the plaza. There was a band there playing “Fly Me to the Moon” which is one of our songs. We started dancing to it just as they transitioned to another song. The lead singer mentioned that she was a big Boston Red Sox fan and had their World Series ring to prove it. I leaned over and told J.J. that I thought she was going to play “Sweet Caroline” (a song that is played at both Red Sox games and Isotopes games so it has kind of become one of our songs, too). As she kept talking about what a big Red Sox fan she was, J.J. agreed that they were probably going to play Sweet Caroline, which we both thought was hysterical and awesome! I got out my phone and started videoing as we sang along. At one point I jokingly accused him of planning the whole thing, which he denied. While the song was playing he leaned over and said: “actually, I know that piano player. I was going to take lessons from him.” I didn’t really think much of that comment.  After the song was over, we saw the piano player lean over and tell the lead singer something and then point over at us. She then said into the mic, “I hear we have a very talented singer in the audience. Why don’t you come on up and play us a song?” He started backing away from the stage saying “no no no” and I bet him money to go up and sing. After I reached a $500 bet and started pushing him towards the stage he agreed and went up there to sing. He took a long look at the set list and ended up picking a song, which he then proceeded to dedicate to me. Once the band started playing I immediately recognized it. It was “Everything” by Michael Buble. He started singing, while I started filming. I was dancing and shaking my head in disbelief that they actually had this song on their set list. I was clueless. At the very end, he added a verse and at this point my hands started shaking. The verse went like this:


"You're the brightest spot, in the darkest sky
 You're my restaurant pal, even when you cry
 You're the sweet surprise on a blind date
 And you're a 10 on a scale of one to eight
 And I can't perceive, why you call me stud
 But that's alright as long as I'm your restaurant bud
 Sara, this is real, what we have in us
 And we are blessed by God if you say yes"

At this point I was crying. He called me up on stage in the gazebo and started talking about how there are three words that people say all the time but they don’t really understand the meaning. He waited to say those three words to me to make sure we meant them and understood their meaning. He had written them in the sand, put them in a puzzle, and put it on a necklace in Hebrew but he had never said those words. So he said “Sara, I absolutely, completely…” and then out of no where my sister and her eldest daughter ran up and said “wait, wait, wait! Let me tell you why he loves you. He loves you because you have a heart that truly seeks after God.” She was wearing an aqua blue shirt with a funky symbol on it. Her daughter then gave the scripture Psalm 119:2. Then, again, out of no where J.J.’s brother and sister-in-law with their eldest daughter ran up and said “Sara, Sara, Sara. He loves you because you are a great companion and follower. When he does a good job leading you, you are right there beside him! Ephesians 5:21-22” They were also wearing aqua colored shirts with different symbols on them. I then looked into the crowd it seemed like there were aqua colored shirts everywhere. I had not noticed any of them the entire time. One by one they came up and said “He loves you because…..” Once they were done, someone handed me an iPad with a video of my out of town friends and my parents giving a reason why he loves me. (My parents were out of town on their 40th anniversary trip.) After the very sweet videos, I handed back the iPad and looked up and all of the aqua colored shirts had lined up and formed the words “I love you!!!!” I look over at J.J. and he said “Wait, those aren’t the three words. Turn around!” One by one they turned around and revealed the words “Marry Me, Please?” on the back of their shirts. J.J. then got down on one knee and with ring in hand asked me to marry him. I had the choice between a blue shirt that said “I said yes” and a black shirt that said “I said no” and all of the things that I said yes or no to. I, of course, said yes and picked the blue shirt. He had a blue shirt with an arrow pointing at me that said “she said yes!”

With my new, beautiful ring and our snazy matching shirts we all celebrated with pictures and hugs. We then went to a mexican food place behind the plaza where we could sit on the patio and listen to the band finish playing.

It was so special, so unexpected, and so much fun! Best story ever!

Categories: Proposal

Comments (7)

  • Mom . August 30, 2012 . Reply

    I loved reading about the proposal!! SOOOO sweet. And so glad you picked the aqua blue shirt 🙂

  • Elise Semrad . August 31, 2012 . Reply

    Well, Well, Well—–such a happy time for my sweet and youngest grandaughter. I feel more than sure the two of you are going to be happy and married for many many years. This is going to be a wedding that I will remember and one of the best. Much Love to the Two of You. Gram

  • Anna Mikaelian . September 1, 2012 . Reply

    Holllly moly!!!!! Best story EVER!!!!!!!

    Love you guys and wishing you a lifetime of happiness!!!!!!!!

  • Mom Mancini . September 4, 2012 . Reply

    That was a wonderful night !!!!…. J.J. you are so creative and have such a flare to make things so exciting !! I am soooo excited Sara is going to be my daughter-in-law !!! :-}
    Sara is perfect for you … she is smart ,witty, enjoys your humor, loves you absolutely, enjoys playing games and loves our family !!! … but most of all she loves the LORD with all her heart and wants to share HIM with YOU!

    It is so nice to know GOD is in your lives already and has gone to great lengths to bring you together to HIS honor and glory !!!!!!! I love you both so much … and J.J., I hope you will always be able to WOW Sara!!!

  • Amber Piper . September 10, 2012 . Reply

    Three words: GOOSEBUMPS. GOOSEBUMPS. GOOSEBUMPS. Wow! What a beautiful story that was to read. Sara, I am so happy to know that you have found someone who truly gets YOU and the fact that YOU DESERVE THE WORLD. May the two of you continue to grow and share such incredible moments together. I can’t wait to meet you someday, J.J.. Until then, know that I am sending all of my best wishes forever and always in your direction. P.S. Maybe you can make Australia a stop on your year-long journey together?

    Love and hugs,
    Amber

  • Susan Corley . December 4, 2012 . Reply

    Sara,
    I can’t begin to tell you how amazing it was to be asked by J.J. to be a part of your incredible night. When he called and told me about his idea, I thought to myself, “This is the sweetest, most thorough plan I have ever heard!!” And when he asked us to be your proposal band, I was beyond honored. August 10, 2012 will be one of our most cherished events ever!! Congratulations and here’s wishing you both years of blessed happiness!!!
    All the best,
    Susan

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