Mandy and Matt

IMG_8222How We Met: We met at Cypress College the fall of 2009; he was a baseball player and I was the baseball office secretary. We started out as friends, hanging out and going to church together. I would not change that part for anything. From the beginning we were very open with each other and spend hours just talking about life and God. My best friend Lauren brags about knowing since the beginning that we were never just friends but on Valentine’s Day of 2010 I got the hint that this was something more when he put his arm around me.

After about a month of officially dating (if a guy doesn’t say the word date, I do not consider it a date)Matt finally asked me the most nerve racking question at that time of “will you be my girlfriend”. This is Matt’s favorite part of the story because I actually told him no. I had said no because I had really valued our friendship and did not want to risk losing it. That might have been the most awkward 5 minutes ever! However, Matt being the fighter that he is argued with me about how perfect we were for each other and that there was no reason we should not be together. I am so glad he did because he was right! There was no good reason not to be together and four years later we are finally stepping into a lifelong commitment together.

How He Asked:

As the saying goes “when you know you know,” and nothing could be truer of my relationship with Matt. He always jokes about the first time I said I love you to him and how freaked out he was. I had just met him and I said, “I love you, you are a great guy,” with no romantic feelings at that point, just admiration of a man and a relationship that was about to bloom. Fast forward to four and a half years later, and it is our four year anniversary. We always knew we were going to marry each other but knew a foundation needed to be established: college finished and our careers started.

March 15, 2014: Our four year anniversary, the day that I had been counting down to what I thought could possibly be that special day. The only problem is he is on vacation with his dad and brother, and here I was miles away. Surprisingly, I wake up to a card at my bedside, “Good morning my love and Happy 4 Year Anniversary. I am sorry I could not be there this morning but I have some activities planned to keep you busy until dinner tonight. Go downstairs to find your activities I have planned.” At this point I am so excited; I rush downstairs to find two-dozen roses with a card.

“Flowers-enjoy your flowers my love, I promise for the rest of our lives to buy you flowers on special occasions and randomly just because I love you. There will be a surprise waiting for you at the spot where you first said I love you to me. I might have been freaked out at the time, but it turns out you definitely know more than me. From “locking in” to our deep conversations to our first date and to me finally making a move on you, I instantly fell in love with you. Dress comfy and be at the spot by 10:40 a.m.” Of course I’m rushing to change and get dressed, having to wait with the patience of a 3-year-old holding their birthday present before I could leave. Finally the time came and I went to the college we met at, specifically the baseball batting cages, where our friendship first began. Waiting for me was a bagel and Chai tea with another note.

“Chai and plain bagel- this is just like I used to surprise you with at Cypress. I promise to always surprise you with little notes and unexpected gifts for the rest of our lives to let you now how much I love you and feel truly blessed each moment with you. I know you had a rough week, and exhausted, so I figured I would lead you next to the place you go to in order to unwind. Enjoy your little goodies on the way! Your massage is at 11:15 a.m. with your favorite masseuse. I love you.” At this point my heart is full of joy and my cheeks are sore from smiling, I can barely control the excitement as I drive from school to my favorite massage place. As much as I loved my massage I could hardly relax, anticipating what could possibly be next.

Upon finishing my massage, there was my mom, with the next note, “Massage- I know I may not like them very much but I know how much you love them. I promise to always allow time/money for you to get massages to relax. Now drive to the place where I first said I love you. I still remember how hard my heart was beating. What I love is that our love grows deeper everyday. You are my best friend and I promise to always show you how much I love you. There you will find your next surprise.” Meanwhile throughout the day, while all this is happening I am keeping my best friend Lauren updated. Earlier in the week she had given me a forewarning that Matt had some complications with the ring and wanted to make sure our anniversary was great. As any good friend she wanted to make sure I didn’t get my hopes up to simply be let down that my engagement wasn’t happening. With that you can guess why I was caught off guard to arrive to my house to see my best friend’s car in my driveway with another note.

“Lauren- your best friend, the one who saw this happening first. She is your constant dependable source who loves you tremendously. I could not be there today, so I invited her over for some girl time. I promise to balance our lives so we can have time to just hang out with our friends. I promise to take you dancing once a month and to start learning some new dance moves. She is going to take you out so you two can enjoy your time. Have a great time catching up and at 1:40 p.m. you will get your next surprise. She will drive you to something you’ve always wanted to do but have never done…” So my best friend and I head out to eat some lunch however I was way too excited to sit patiently and eat. Being on cloud nine really quenches your hunger. 1:40 p.m. comes around and I receive my next note.

“Hair: You always say you would love to get your hair done in the mall. I’ll do you one better, enjoy your hair styling! I promise to always know when you do your hair for me and will always let you know just how beautiful I think you are. After you are done… head back to the place we would host those barbecues at. I cannot wait until we have our own place and can’t wait to invite people over. At this place you will find your next surprise.” After getting my hair done my best friend drives me home where I see my sister waiting inside. My sister then hands me my next note.

“Your sister: there is no doubt of the love your sister has for you. In the toughest situations you can always count on her for sound advice. She has always been rooting for us and you have no fear because you know she has your back. I promise to make sure you and your sister spend time and can always have sibling time. Enjoy getting all dolled up for our date tonight. Are you excited? After this you are going to be escorted by your best friend to your next surprise.. Enjoy getting all dressed up! We are going somewhere fancy!” After my sister did my makeup and I picked out the perfect outfit I was on my way to the secret location. All this time and all this love that was being showered on me made me want to see Matt all the more.

In the car Lauren, hands me another note. “As you are leaving for this final surprise before dinner I wanted to let you know how much I love you. I hope you are enjoying the day I planned in advance. I cannot wait for you to finish this last surprise so I can finally see my baby! I love you! I promise to keep your life full of adventure and spontaneity. I promise to explore new places and continue adding to our countless memories.” As I was sitting in the car I could not help but reflect on how God has blessed me. Since I can remember I have been hoping for my own happily ever after. Night after night I would pray that God would give me my own prince charming, a man that would love me so deeply and truly, that I would not doubt His love for me. More so than that I prayed that God would give me a man after His own heart and that out of his love for God I would be poured into. I was overjoyed in that moment to know that I had found that man.

My final note was given to me in the car, “You have reached your final surprise… ask Lauren for a journal…” She handed me a black journal and inside read “Our Love Story.” In this journal was written all the things he loves about me, his promises to me and our fairy tale of what happened that day which ended with “You complete me and are my best friend. The only problem is that these last four years are not enough. Now go meet your prince charming at the end of the walkway and start the first page of your happily ever after.”

We had just parked and I began to walk down this walkway which lead me to the end of a cliff overlooking the ocean and there waiting for me was my prince charming looking as handsome as could be. He got down on one knee, held me by the hand and asked me the question I had been longing to hear. “Amanda Veronica Manley, would you do me the honor of marrying me?” My heart skipped a beat and all my dreams had come true.

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I said yes and we kissed and laughed with joy. My mom, his mom, aunt and my best friend were there taking pictures of the happiest moment of my life. My ring was custom made just for me and had everything I had ever wanted.

At that point I would have been satisfied going to Burger King, but to celebrate this joyous occasion he took me to Flemming’s where we enjoyed our time together and he explained everything that he had hidden this last week from me. We leave to go my house to spend time together and soak in all the events of this wonderful day. As we are walking into my kitchen I hear a big “Surprise!” My house was decorated and all my close friends and family were there to celebrate our next step in our relationship. Matt and I soaked up the affection from our dearest friends and will forever be appreciative to the ones who took time to celebrate with us.

This day was full of adventure, surprises and love. I could not have imagined anything so special in my life and I am so blessed to have such a romantic, God loving man to be my future husband.