Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Plans

This Thanksgiving was the first that Daniel and I spent together, and this Christmas will be the first time that we go to Christmas Mass together. I’m so excited—number one, because I love Christmas Mass (especially on Christmas Eve night, which is when we’re going), and number two, because Daniel and I get to be together!

After Mass, though, Daniel will drive back home to his parents’ house where he will spend Christmas day. I will be sleeping at my parents’ house for what will be my last Christmas morning with my family. I know, of course, that Daniel and I will see my family on Christmas after we’re married, but it obviously won’t be the same.

Christmas mornings at my parents’ house are always so fun, especially since I have siblings who are still little. I’m so excited for some day when Daniel and I can make Christmas as wonderful for our children as my parents have always made it for me and my sisters and brothers.

In other news, I ordered my veil (beautiful mantilla style) and my shoes this week! Also, my cousin Catherine makes jewelry, so I have a custom-designed necklace, bracelet, and earrings that she finished making and put in the mail for me the other day. I can’t wait for everything to get here so that I can try on my whole ensemble!

Friday, December 12, 2008

So much going on...

Now for the updates I promised you. The weekend before Thanksgiving, Daniel and I began marriage prep by meeting with our sponsor couple for the first time. We were at the couple’s house for about an hour and a half. This first session was basically to meet and get to know each other so that we can feel comfortable in the following sessions. In the car on the way over, Daniel and I were joking about how we would have to take a test to make sure we were allowed to get married. This ended up being partially true!

We completed a questionnaire, separately, that is supposed to bring to light any issues we may not have talked about before. The test is called the FOCCUS Inventory (Facilitating Open Couple Communication, Understanding and Study), and our answer sheets are being sent to the archdiocese so that we can find out our results! There were about 150 questions that had to be answered “Agree,” “Disagree,” or “Uncertain,” for example, “We are in agreement about how we will make financial decisions between us” or “There are qualities about my future spouse that I do not respect.” I tend to think that Daniel and I will have the same answers on almost every question; since we’ve been together for over four years, I feel like we know each other very well and have talked about pretty much everything. But I guess we’ll see! Next time we meet with our sponsor couple, which will be after Christmas, they’ll have our results for us.

We will also be taking a Natural Family Planning class with a Couple to Couple League teaching couple that lives near me, starting sometime in January. I will be writing a column for CCL’s magazine Family Foundations that will follow my experience with the series of three classes, starting with their March/April issue. If you happen to get that magazine, you can watch for me!

So the other day, with Caroline’s help, I brainstormed a list and realized how much I still have to do in the next five months, including but definitely not limited to:

- Meet with potential photographer
- Meet with potential deejay
- Figure out flowers
- Finalize guest list
- Send out Save the Date’s
- Pick out bridesmaid dresses
- Buy wedding bands
- Figure out cake
- Choose readers, gift bearers, Eucharistic ministers, etc. for Mass
- Register for gifts…

And the list goes on! Last week I mailed requests to the churches where Daniel and I were baptized for official copies of our baptismal certificates, so at least that’s one thing out of the way. The day after New Year’s we plan to apply for our marriage license and for our passports. The wedding keeps inching closer, and a lot faster than I thought it would!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Will You Marry Me?

I was expecting a proposal the summer of 2007. In the meantime, I would daydream about what Daniel might be planning and look at rings online when I was supposed to be writing papers.

One week in the middle of April that year, Daniel (a psychology major) asked me to go with him to a “Careers in Psychology” presentation in one of the auditoriums on campus. This didn’t seem unusual to me, since I had gone to one on “Careers in Communications” earlier in the semester. The presentation would be on Friday afternoon, and I wasn’t thrilled to be going with him. He insisted, though, saying that he really wanted me to hear the presentation, since his career would also affect me. I wasn’t totally convinced, but I agreed to go—Daniel had the idea that we could go out for ice cream at Friendly’s afterwards, so that put me in a pretty good mood. It was a beautiful day, and when it was time for the presentation I sang “I’m Alright” by Jo Dee Messina as we walked across campus.

When we got to the auditorium, no one else was there yet. I thought Daniel had gotten the auditorium wrong, and was about to turn around to go back out the door when I froze. Projected on the wall in the front of the room was a picture of me and Daniel from our freshman year. “Daniel, why is someone looking at a picture of us on there?” That particular picture was part of a photo album I had on Facebook, so I thought that’s where it came from. It was eerie, like I was part of a Twilight Zone episode or something—I’m sure you know the feeling.

Daniel led me to a row right in the middle of the auditorium and told me to sit down, and he walked down the steps to the front, where the laptop computer was set up. After a few minutes of technical difficulties (during which another couple walked in and was told by a flustered Daniel to leave because whatever event they were looking for was clearly somewhere else), a slideshow started.

Three songs played (“Accidentally In Love” by Counting Crows, “Lifesong” by Casting Crowns, and then “Everything I Do” by Bryan Adams) while various photos from throughout our relationship appeared one by one. Every time a distinctly seasonal picture would show up on the wall, such as the two of us bundled up with snow falling, Daniel would say, “It’s winter,” or “Look, it’s fall.” I figured I knew what he was doing, but I kept second-guessing myself for some reason or another.

As the last song was nearing its end and a sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean took its turn on the wall, Daniel said, “Look, it’s summer. Sarah, what happens in summer?” I was scared, which is something I definitely didn’t expect. I had known for a long time that I wanted to marry Daniel, and there was not a doubt in my mind. But I was scared anyway. It was really and truly happening. Right then.

Daniel got down on one knee and pulled a small box out of his pocket. “Sarah C— B—, I love you, and I will always love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” I wasn’t crying. I always thought that I would cry. “Will you marry me?” He opened the box and put the most beautiful diamond ring on my finger (with the words “In Christ” engraved inside the band). And even though my heart and mind were both racing, I had thought about this moment enough to know what I wanted to say. So I said “yes.”

And then we went out for ice cream with our friends, as if the day needed to be any more perfect.

Check in next week for miscellaneous updates!