Jennifer & Johnny Pic 1

Jennifer & Johnny Pic 1

New York City.  Central Park.  Shakespeare’s Garden.  I can see Johnny, the man of my dreams, down on one knee, presenting me with the most gorgeous ring I have ever seen and asking me to marry him....that's my perfect proposal.  And that's exactly how it happened! 

That is, after he talked with my parents, kept me entirely in the dark, and perfectly orchestrated every detail, including the photographer he had there to capture the moment, to make this once in a lifetime moment absolutely perfect.    

Our engagement story actually started months before he proposed to me.  Johnny and I had gone to New York last summer for vacation and to visit some of my family.  We had an absolute blast; we went everywhere from Manhattan to Montauk

We had such a great time that we talked about wanting to go back again and before I knew it he had called my brother and made arrangements for my whole family to spend Thanksgiving together in NYC.  I didn't know at the time, but he was preparing one more step towards our perfect proposal by bringing my whole family together to be able to celebrate the engagement. 

Finally, it was the day before Thanksgiving and we had been so busy that everyone decided to just take the day to relax, or so that's what I thought.  Johnny had been mentioning for months prior that he wanted a nice picture of us to be able to share with his class. 

 Johnny is an elementary school teacher and some of his students that hadn’t met me were asking to see a picture of me.  So under the disguise of wanting a photo to share with his class, Johnny had arranged for us to have some pictures taken that day. 

Over the summer I had been simply captivated by Central Park and we had enjoyed it so much he suggested it would be a great place to go to get the pictures taken.  So we strolled through meadows and over bridges, by streams and by cityscapes.  We ventured through so many amazing parts of the park....and then we came to Shakespeare's Garden. 

It was enchanting.  Colorful arrays of autumn leaves surrounded us, beautiful flowers peeked out from everywhere and a quaint trail led us to a beautiful carved wooden bench.  We were taking some pictures there when Johnny said he had to blow his nose.  When he returned a moment later he wraps me up in his arms and tells me he loves me.  I melt.  And in that moment we're perfectly content. 

As we're enjoying the moment he goes on to tell me that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me.  That's when he starts to get down on one knee and opens a red box with the most breathtaking ring I could imagine and asks, "Will you marry me?"  My jaw drops, I'm smiling and shaking as I respond, "Yes.  Yes please!"  He slides the amazing ring on my finger and we embrace in sheer bliss.

Now about that gorgeous ring I mentioned, with the help of Robbins Brothers, Johnny designed the perfect ring for me.  It's truly stunning.  It's classic, beautiful, timeless and suits my style and taste perfectly.  It's like a he designed a ring to match my personality.  I couldn't fathom how he found a ring so perfectly fitting for me! 

It was in my awe that I learned that he had hand-selected the exquisite colorless princess cut diamond and had every detail custom tailored for me in this simple yet elegant designer hand-crafted ring.  The fact that he put such thought, time, energy and effort into creating the perfect ring for me was yet another outward expression of his love and devotion for me.  A brilliant one that sparkles and I will adoringly treasure every day of my life.

Now I'm sure you're wondering how it all started.  How we arrived at a proposal so perfect that I can genuinely say I couldn't have dreamed of something better.  Our love story actually began years before....

Johnny and I met at a local martial arts school where we were both training in Brazilian Jiu-Jistu.  Johnny is far more advanced than I am in BJJ, but one day as class was wrapping up I asked him if he wanted to roll.  He said he was tired and was going to rest that round.  Teasing him, I told him that if he deserved that blue belt around his waist that he should be able to handle a relatively new white belt chick, even if he was tired. 

Thus began our affectionate bantering.  Johnny tied me up like a pretzel and playfully, yet relentlessly, tapped me out that round (I lost count after the first three or four times,) and we had tons of fun.  He started working with me and helping train me.  Effortlessly, we always had great conversation and lots of laughs as we started becoming friends.  Throughout the next year or so Johnny and I would see each other at the gym, at social gatherings and around town. 

After training me one day Johnny and I were talking and I came to learn that he had major ear issues as a child.  Resultantly, he was never allowed to swim, nor did he ever really learn.  Being the fish that I am, my heart sunk when I found out he had been missing out on the joys of swimming!  So we worked on it; as Johnny continued coaching me at jiu-jitsu, I started teaching him how to swim.  We had countless hours of fun on the mat and in the water! 

Johnny and I are both dog people.  So one day we brought our dogs swimming with us and afterwards we decided to take them to the dog park.  Thus began what we now fondly call, "the dog park days."  We started frequenting the dog park quite often, almost every day.  Not that we didn't enjoy the dog park, we very much did, but it almost became an excuse to get to see each other for hours at a time....every day. 

Then it happened.  Johnny asked me out. 

I'll be honest,  I was excited - I was downright giddy.  Granted, I was a little nervous because I greatly valued our friendship and feared we might risk it if dating didn't work out for us, but with great risk comes great reward.  And we were perfect for each other. 

Before Johnny and I started dating I never understood how people could honestly say "when you find the right person, you just know."  I thought perhaps it was my overly-analytical side, or perhaps it was my skeptical side, or perhaps some people were just a little over zealous with their optimism, but I just never really believed it. 

Until Johnny.  Then I knew.  Then I understood.  It's not something that can be explained, because there are simply no words that can do justice to the experience of finding your soul-mate, the person you know God made for you. 

Johnny and I bring out the best in each other.  We're always laughing, always talking, always sharing, always helping, always caring.  We're both genuine people and that is something we've actually always admired about one another. 

And I believe it's part of what makes us perfect for each other.  We push one another, we challenge one another, we support one another and we complement one another.  We can learn and grow together.  We not only make each other happy, but we make each other better people. 

Johnny and I are simply meant to be together.  And he has already stood by me and my entire family throughout some of the most trying times of all of our lives.  He surpassed all the best hopes and expectations any woman could have for her husband long before we were even engaged. 

He's my best friend.  He's my everything.  He's Johnny. 

And one of few requests Johnny has made about our wedding is that he doesn't want us to have to wait forever for it.  Yet we both have followed our callings to work in elementary education, so we don't exactly have the funds to get married right away. 

That's part of why I'm entering this sweepstakes; Johnny has done everything to make all of my dreams come true, and if we were to win, with this assistance, I'd be able to help make our dream of getting married soon come true too.