Calandra and James
How we met: Initially I met James’s brother, John, by working with him at Austin Community College. Instantly, John and I became friends. A majority of our conversations revolved around church. So, he invited me out to his church Bible study. This is where I first saw my now fiancé, James. We spoke briefly, he welcomed me, and inquired how I knew about the church. I informed James that his brother invited us.
I explained that I regularly attend church at New Light and we found that both of our churches senior pastors fellowship. This led James and his family to attend worship service at New light. When I would run into him at church I would be friendly saying hi and moving on.
One of the final times crossing paths, was at a love social event that his church had for Valentine’s Day. My family and I were invited and thought we would check it out. I was a little reluctant to go because I just had a breakup the day before and the plan was to go to the event with him. I went anyways because I didn’t want to be at home thinking about the break up.
The event was grand and I’m so glad I attended. James was there hosting the event and was walking around to all the tables ensuring that everyone was fine. There was a candy bar set up toward the back and as I walked over James approached me. “Where is your ‘guy’?” he questioned. I just shot him a glare that meant don’t ask. James just responded with “Oh ok, well how have you been?” So began the small talk.
Then maybe a few months later James added me as a friend on Facebook. He would casually send me messages asking about my day. I didn’t think anything of it except this guy is really kind and friendly. Then, one day the small talk led into an extended all day conversation in which he asked me to lunch.
I was nervous! I didn’t know what to do because it had been awhile since I had been on a date. James’s approach is what was very attractive. He was very respectful and such a gentlemen. I was accustomed to guys that want to hangout and/or come over late at night. Meeting a guy like James was new and refreshing. After our lunch date we never stopped talking. We began seeing each other more often. We remained friends for a while and just took things slow because he knew I wasn’t ready to rush into a relationship.
On Valentine’s Day he surprised me at work with roses and a pizza box that read, “Will you be my Valentine and girlfriend or is this too cheesy?” I couldn’t stop laughing, I thought it was the cutest thing ever and so did my co-workers. Of course I said ‘yes’ and we’ve been together ever since.
How he asked: It was a regular Sunday afternoon, I had just got home from church about to take my usual nap. James called and ask me what I’m doing because his church lets out later than mine. I told him intended on taking a nap. He then stated, “Ok, well after I get home and settled, let’s go eat.” I was ok with this because that’s our normal routine after church. He then goes on to say, “I noticed that your nails aren’t manicured, so how about I take you to the nail salon first and then we eat.” Part of me thought, what is he up to? It didn’t catch me off guard too much because he has done acts of pampering randomly before. So, I figured it was one of those days he wanted to pamper me, plus he loves when I keep my nails nicely done.
After I got off the phone with him, I realized that the nail salon normally closes early on a Sunday. I called James back to tell him this news, and stated I could just wait until next day. Before I could even finish my sentence, James suggested a salon that he found one that stayed open late on Sunday. I thought, wow he must really think I’m in need of a manicure. I obliged and he proceeded to pick me up and drop me off at the nail salon.
He then went home to change out of his dress clothes. By the time he made it back, I was finish and starving. It looked like it was going to rain outside and as we were heading to the car, James kept looking up at the sky to see which way the clouds were moving. I kept thinking who cares where the clouds are moving. My focus was on if we can make it to the restaurant then we won’t have to worry about the rain. Once settled in the car, I asked where are we going to eat? James looks at me with a smile and says it’s a surprise! I said, a surprise for what? I’m not even dressed to impress. What is the special occasion? He exclaimed, “Baby you’re fine, it’s ok you don’t have to be dressy.” Then as we are riding to the restaurant he stated, “Oh I forgot something at home and need to go back and get it for a client.” James works in marketing and graphic designs, so he sometimes meets up with his clients on different projects.
I then became annoyed. At this point, I hadn’t eaten all day so I’m really hungry. What I didn’t know was James was trying to kill time because he was getting text messages that people were running late to the location where he was going to propose.
We made it back to James’s house. He goes in and gets something that turned out to really be nothing, but I wasn’t paying attention to what it was because I was ready to eat. As we were driving I noticed that we were heading toward Mt.Bonell. It is a place where I first took James and told him I loved him. I started reminiscing and then I came back to reality, realized that I’m still hungry, and we are not going to a restaurant.
We finally make it to Mt. Bonnell and I start trying to guess what he was up to. I started thinking ‘oh he has a picnic basket in the car and he is going to set it up on the hill top.’
We get out the car and I sort of walk ahead of him giving him time to pull the basket out the car. I turn around and noticed there is no basket. So now, I really have an attitude because I’m walking up this hill top and he has no food! I said James, where is your picnic basket? He looked at me with a what are you talking about expression. I then second guessed myself and thought ‘oh I bet he has the picnic basket set up already on the hill as a surprise.’
Once we finally made it to the top I noticed a photographer standing taking pictures which I thought nothing of because Mt. Bonnell is a place where people hike, take pictures, have romantic dinners and etcetera. At this point I’m confused because I still see no picnic set up which meant no food.
James guides me to the area where we stood and looked at the view when I brought him and told him I loved him. There was a banner hanging that read C + J and immediately I starting crying because it was at THAT moment I knew what was going on.
I couldn’t look him in the eye because I didn’t want him to see me crying. Instead I kept asking what is going on? At that point I knew why the photographer was there and James took my hands and started telling me how much he loved me, and how he wanted me to be in his life forever along with other sentimental words that I can’t remember in the middle of sobbing.
Next thing I know, I look up and my mom, sister, best friend and all of James immediate family comes from out of the trees holding this huge banner that said Calandra Clark Will you marry me?
He had a Bluetooth speaker and it starts playing music by Cece and Bebe Winans “When I found you.”
I really broke down at this point. James then takes my hand and gets on one knee and ask me if I would marry him. I said YES!!!
Everyone started clapping! Even strangers were watching and started clapping with our family. It was a moment I will never forget. It’s very hard to surprise me because I’m nosey and can almost always guess whenever something is going on. I always thought I would know when the day would come, but I was wrong. It was a total surprise that I did not see coming at all. I thought maybe it would happen later on, so I was shock and very emotional when he proposed.
It was so sweet, creative and very well planned. I love this man and God couldn’t have blessed me with anyone better than him. I can’t wait to marry my soulmate for life.