Dana and Paul
How We Met
DANA: A mutual friend encouraged Paul and I to meet. So, he sent me a Facebook message and we arranged to meet for dinner at Greek Corner Pizza. We talked for several months before officially dating. I was reluctant about dating for many reasons, but after a few months (and many, many prayers) I began to realize the gem that Paul is and the Lord confirmed that he was the godly, trustworthy, gentle, patient man that would balance me. He demonstrates Christ’s love to me daily. PAUL: A friend asked me if I knew “Dana O’Leary”. When I said no, he told me to look her up on his Facebook and send her a message. He mentioned that he had already told her about me, and that she would probably be expecting a message from me. I sent her a message and we arranged to meet.
I was so nervous at dinner. This woman was obviously out of my league! I drove home thinking that I would probably never hear from her again, but just a few hours later she sent me a text. I was so happy! As we began talking more seriously, I knew that Dana was going to need some time, and that I was going to have to be very patient with her and take things slowly with our relationship. I thank the Lord for giving me that patience! During our time of dating, I began to see what an amazing, godly woman Dana is. I am so tremendously blessed to have her by my side.
How He Asked
Our Proposal_00093DANA: It all started on my birthday (7/27). Paul surprised me at the chiropractor with a dozen roses, chocolates and a sweet card that explained his intentions to take me away to celebrate for the weekend. After I got over the shock of the surprise, he handed me an envelope that said “Step 1”. This step (and all of the consecutive steps) was a poem telling me what his plans were. I’m typically extremely inquisitive and try to figure things out, but I enjoyed trusting what he’d planned and going along for the ride.
Step 1- “Today is a reason to celebrate and celebrate we will, With many of the people who think you’re a pretty big deal. So, bring your appetite, but leave your crayons, Tonight we’re going to Melinda and Leon’s.” We had a lovely dinner with my family that night, complete with ice cream cake, and afterward he gave me Step 2.
Step 2- “Dana, day one has now come to an end. We’ve spent time with family and now it’s time for friends. Our next host may be a little less Irish. Tomorrow we’re having dinner with Iris.” It was fun to have dinner with Iris and her family. They prepared an amazing spread of salmon, vegetables and we ended the meal with a delicious key lime pie.
Paul told me that he would give me my next step when he came to pick me up for our weekend away. Meanwhile, I asked him a bazillion questions about what kind of clothes I needed to pack. I thought he might be taking me to the beach, so I asked if I needed to bring my bathing suit. His response was great, “Uhm, yeah, go ahead. You’ll probably get your feet wet on Saturday…” Once we loaded up my bags on Friday, Paul handed me Step 3: “I hope you’ve enjoyed your week so far. This step will require some time in the car. We’re going to continue your birthday celebration. A restaurant in Dunwoody is our next destination.” As we got closer to Dunwoody, he told me we were going to a nice Italian restaurant that his brother Benny recommended. I had the lasagna (classic) and he had chicken masala. We ate every bite.
It was kind of a late after dinner, so I was curious to find out where we were headed next. He then gave me Step 4: “Now that you have been adequately fed, you will need a place to rest your head. A house in the hills, a home among trees, this weekend a cabin is where we will be!” What a pleasant surprise! Of course I had lots of questions about where and how he managed to get a cabin.
He told me a few details, but mainly that it was a cabin in North Georgia. When we arrived and I walked in, I was shockingly greeted by 2 people screaming “Happy Birthday!!!!” and shooting confetti poppers at me. My sister, Melinda, and her husband, Leon, were there! After recovering from disorientation, I was elated that they were there to spend the weekend with us. The next morning Paul brought me coffee and Step 5, which said, “I hope you slept well, I hope you feel new. Have some coffee and enjoy the view! This is sure to be another full day, we have lunch at 12:30 at a special cafe.” It was nice to have a leisurely morning, but then we set out to this cafe…I had no idea it would be at Wolf Mountain Vineyards! Paul and I have been talking for months about wanting to go to Dahlonega to see the vineyards. We had a lovely lunch overlooking the vineyards. The view was AMAZING! I was having such a good time. After lunch, Paul gave me Step 6: “Dana, we did not come here just to eat, I hope you find that this step is a treat. We’ll learn more about the fruit that grows on vines.
Let’s go take a tour and taste some wines!” Aside from being EXTREMELY hot and feeling like I was going to pass out, the tour was lovely. At the end of the tour, I was distracted with talking to people on the tour, but apparently Paul kept saying, “Okay, we should be going now…” I had been saying I wanted to get pictures before we left, so that’s what we set out to do when Paul led me to the gazebo “to get a better view”. As soon as I walked up the stairs and got a glimpse of the setup inside the gazebo, I knew what was happening. It was a very surreal moment. He had soft music playing, a table set up with a rose and another step for me to read, a basin with water and a chair with a towel next to it. Step 7 read: “Dana, this step is very important, and I think you’ll agree. It comes from the words of Jesus in John 13. He sat down for supper with 12 of his friends, Each one he had loved to the very end. With water in a basin and a towel around his waist, Jesus took the lowest servant’s place. What He did next, Peter could not believe. Though he was their King, He washed their feet.
You see, the Son of Man came to us to serve. He poured out a love that we could never deserve. Do this unto others is what He commissioned, And from His actions, I see my mission. I will strive to follow the example of Jesus, To reflect the same love and forgiveness that frees us. Sweetheart, I now ask you to have a seat, I want to symbolize this love by washing your feet…” The tears were already flowing after reading this. I sat down and he lovingly washed my feet.
After washing my feet he then read Step 8 to me: “1 year, 4 months, and 7 days Since we met face to face. Something changed when I met you, dear.
Something that bloomed over the following year. You were unlike anyone I had ever met. And shortly thereafter, my heart was set.
It didn’t take me long to know that you’re a keeper. You’re beautiful and lovely, but this was something deeper. My boat finally had an anchor, And yours had a sail, There’s no doubt in my mind That we balance each other well. It’s amazing to look back and see what the Lord has been doing As we seek Him together for daily renewing. In having you, dear, I am tremendously blessed, And this is a genuine love I confess. I promise to lead, serve and love you for the rest of our days. The more I spend time with you, The more I’m amazed. You are a rare gem, and a precious treasure. You are the one I want by my side in every endeavor. I want us to have a family and grow old together, So, Dana Michelle O’Leary, will you marry me? Will you be my forever?” *Tears, tears, tears* I said yes! (Well, I said “I will”, but that’s what I meant. ;))