Joel and Makoto

How We Met: Makoto and I met at a friend’s house during a Game Night back in the Fall of 2008. Our very first date was to a “Prom Themed” birthday party at our friend Brittany’s house (who just so happens to be the official Wedding Cake Baker!).

That same night, I asked if I could pick Makoto up again sometime for coffee; but she declined, stating she was not in the position to be dating but that she would be open to hanging out in a group setting.

Being optimistic about the rejection, I decided to take the only angle she gave me. Since salsa dancing was her preferred social gathering, I courageously began to make casual appearances at the local salsa clubs, hoping she would be there.

When my awesome salsa dancing skills failed to catch her attention, I resorted to my natural talent… COOKING! This resulted in hosting countless BBQ’s at my place hoping that she would turn up. Sometimes she did, and sometimes she didn’t…

Slowly but surely my deliberate yet subtle attempts of getting to know Makoto proved successful and our friendship finally took root. Soon we were hiking together, going to the movies together, and the most influential part of the early friendship was of course when we began to cook together.

The rest you can say is history… And A LOT of good eating!

How He Asked: The morning of the proposal, Joel picked me up early for a hike.

But instead of going “hiking” Joel surprised me by arranging a guided horseback ride through the pasture lands of Mt. Julian!

After having lunch, we headed back down the mountain to get ready for the annual Encinitas Holiday Parade. Down at the parade, we made our way to this little restaurant called Q’uero where Joel of course had already made dinner reservation for two! (Sneaky guy!) As the parade came to an end, the restaurant started to close down and I began to doubt if Joel was ever going to pop that question…

On our way home, Joel pulled off the road at Ponto Beach where there was a bonfire and two beach chairs awaiting our arrival!

We sat down to hot chocolate and S’mores all prepared and ready to enjoy! As we sat there Joel said, “I think I see a fishing pole cast out into the water over there. Let’s go check it out!”

I played along and walked over to find a fishing pole stuck in the sand at the water’s edge. As I began to reel in the line, I felt something tug on the pole! It was really dark and I couldn’t see anything. All of a sudden, tied to the end of the line, a little white jewelry box came up the beach into the light.

I opened the box and there, inside, was —– nothing! Joel got out his phone and shined the light into the box and there, tucked away on the inside of the lining was a little scripture card. As I read it out loud, it told of how Jesus called His disciples to be fishers of men. When I looked up at Joel, he had a very serious look on his face, and that’s when I knew the moment had finally arrived!

He said, “Makoto, there are three things that I want in life. One, is to follow Jesus with all my heart. Two, is to be a fisher of men. And three, is to be with you for the rest of my life.” Then he got down on one knee, pulled out the ring and said, “Makoto, will you fish with me, and will you marry me?”

And I said “YES!”

Photos by Paloma Lisa Photography in Southern California. You can check her out on FB too.