In November of 2011, Sarah and Derek both created profiles on ChristianMingle. Within three weeks, they began messaging back and forth; Derek would send a message to Sarah and get a response almost instantly. They spent a lot of time getting to know more about their common interests, such as God, music, and outdoor activities.

On Monday, December 26th, they decided to meet at Java Teas in Ephrata. Conversation came easily and time seemed to fly by quickly. They both could tell that there was a mutual connection and wanted to spend more time getting to know each other. Sarah had plans for that evening and needed to stop at the grocery store after their meeting, so Derek asked if he could escort Sarah to the store (which just happened to be right across the street). She immediately said “yes.” After shopping it was time to say goodbye.

On Derek’s way home he realized that online dating sites aren’t so bad after all, and looked forward to seeing Sarah again.

Sarah spent the evening with her friends, and they told her that they didn’t think anything could wipe the smile off of her face. She was definitely excited to see how long it would take Derek to contact her and was hoping for a second date.

They spent the next few days texting (they sure were glad that they both had unlimited texting plans). On Thursday, December 29th, they went to Ciro’s for dinner and Sarah introduced Derek to the most amazing dessert in the world, gelato. They didn’t want to end the evening, so they went to Park City and walked around the mall.

They didn’t get a chance to spend more time together until January 8th because Sarah was out of town visiting her sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. While she was there, she told them all about meeting Derek, and her sister insisted that Sarah do a background check on Derek before she saw him again. It was the best $35 she ever spent! It, of course, came back perfect, and Laura could rest easy.

On January 8th, Derek took Sarah to Longwood Gardens for the last day of their Christmas lights display. Derek knew this was the perfect evening to ask her to be his girlfriend.

Sarah and Derek enjoyed spending time at Akron Park, so Derek thought it was the perfect place to ask Sarah to marry him. Derek thought it was appropriate to ask Sarah’s dad for permission, so they decided to have dinner at Red Robin and the three hours they spent there (along with 6 baskets of bottomless fries) gave them ample time to get to know one another.

Derek spent a lot of time planning everything leading up the “big moment.” He purchased silverware, purple cloth napkins (Sarah’s favorite color), glass bowls, wine glasses, one of Sarah’s favorite wines, and fruit trays for the “informal” picnic he told Sarah they would be having.

During the month of May, there were a handful of possible events where Sarah thought the “big moment” might happen. On Friday, May 10th, they went to Akron Park to have their “informal picnic.” Sarah noticed that Derek kept looking all around the area and thought it was because of the storm that was coming. (It was actually to make sure there were no police because of the “wine on park premises”.)

After enjoying the evening talking and laughing, Derek knelt down on one knee and asked Sarah to marry him. She was at a loss for words and was trying not to cry. She said “yes” and Derek suggested celebrating with a toast. Ten minutes later, the storm arrived, and they quickly packed up and left the park to go tell Sarah’s immediate family.

On Mother’s Day, Sarah and Derek visited his family. They took bets in the car on how long they thought it would take for one of his family members to notice the ring. While Derek’s mom was taking pictures of them, she commented on the ring that was on Sarah’s right hand, never noticing the ring on her left hand. During dinner, Derek announced that he and Sarah were engaged, leaving Derek’s brother speechless for the first time in his life.

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