10 Jan 2014: Jacob, Danielle, and Dylan in Jacob's car behind us
when we got stopped 30 minutes for roadwork on our way down the mountain.
Seven of us made the drive down to "The Valley" on Monday, specifically to the towns of Mesa and Gilbert in the Phoenix metro area. Sarah, Jacob, Danielle, Dylan, Ryan, Shera, and I left home at 7:30 that morning and made the 3-hour drive for the purpose of touring the new Mormon temple that was just built in Gilbert, Arizona. We had tickets for the 2:00 tour.
Little did Danielle know that my son Jacob had an even greater purpose in mind for this little one-day jaunt to the Valley. Tucked safely away in my purse was a beautiful engagement ring which Jacob hoped his sweet girlfriend would accept when he proposed to her on the grounds of the Gilbert Temple. Originally he'd planned to propose on Valentine's Day, but he and Danielle both work on Friday, so Sarah suggested he ask her to marry him when we toured the temple on the 10th instead. Jacob liked that idea, especially because he knew how much Danielle loves the temple.
Ryan & Shera, Jacob & Danielle, and Sarah on the edge of the highway
leading down into Salt River Canyon, while we wait.
It was a pleasant trip. Everything went smoothly. No car trouble, accidents, flat tires, or illness. Just a very long wait toward the top of Salt River Canyon for some roadwork. Ryan and Shera hadn't been off the mountain since they arrived here from Missouri, so they were excited to see more of Arizona. They were impressed by the striking beauty of Salt River Canyon.
Jacob and Danielle in front of the Christus in the Visitors Center
at the Mesa AZ Temple.
Arriving in Mesa more than half an hour later than planned, we went straight to the Mesa Temple, which was begun in 1922, dedicated in 1927, and remained the only LDS temple in all of Arizona until the Snowflake Temple was dedicated in 2002. Now Arizona has 4 temples.
Danielle and Jacob behind the Visitors Center, with the Mesa Temple behind them.
Since Ryan and Shera were baptized only 3 weeks earlier, we decided to stop by the Visitors Center at the Mesa Temple so they could experience some of the programs and videos there.
Danielle and Jacob on the steps of the Mesa Temple entrance.
From the Mesa Temple, we drove a few blocks to Deseret Bookstore, another LDS place Ryan and Shera had never experienced. Lots of cool stuff there!
Jacob and Danielle exchange their Valentine gifts a few days early.
After we checked out the bookstore, Jacob and Danielle opened their Valentines Day gifts to each other. She gave him a picture of them together in a beautifully personalized frame. He gave her a pair of teddy bears, a pink-jeweled necklace-and-earrings set, and a pretty pink ring (pink is her favorite color). Just a little teaser of things to come?
Shera & Ryan, Jacob & Danielle outside the Gilbert Temple after our tour.
Then we toured the brand new Gilbert Temple. It was amazing. No cameras are allowed inside, but we took lots of pictures on the grounds afterward. I'll post more pictures from the trip in a day or two.
I almost expected Jacob to propose as we walked through the gorgeous Celestial Room but, no, he made us all wait.
Three stalkers watch for progress from afar: Dylan, Shera, and Sarah.
We walked around the temple grounds for the longest time, waiting for Jacob to slip away with Danielle and pop the question. I had already slipped the ring to him before we even entered the temple, while volunteers were putting white booties over our shoes. We thought we were good to go, so we couldn't figure out what was taking him so long. We kept trying to catch his eye with our best "Get on with it" looks! I'm amazed we didn't give it away.
As Jacob explained later, he'd found the perfect setting for his proposal: exactly where the rest of us were sitting! He was waiting for us to go away, while we were waiting for them to go away! I guess we should have arranged hand signals.
We finally headed out to the parking lot. To our relief, Jacob and Danielle did not follow us. As soon as he realized they'd stayed behind, Dylan headed back to watch the action through the fence around the grounds. We told him to stop being a stalker, but he was determined. He was soon followed by Sarah and Shera, who couldn't contain their curiosity. They couldn't really see what was happening in the distance, but that didn't stop them from trying!
In the end, Jacob asked a stranger to take a picture of him and Danielle (but he whispered to the man that he was going to propose and the cell phone was actually set to record the moment). It turned out that the man was a professional wedding photographer, so afterward he also took some still photos with his good camera and promised to email them to Jacob.
Click here to see a short clip of the proposal: I'm sorry that I can only link you to the video on Facebook, but Jacob's phone won't allow him to send me the file. I also apologize for the sound being too low to hear, but we know Danielle said yes because she let Jacob put the ring on her finger!
When they finally joined us in the parking lot, we were all straining to see if Danielle was wearing the ring. Finally I demanded, "What took you guys so long?" That's when Jacob finally lifted her left hand and flashed her new ring for us! We were all so relieved. You'd think we were more excited and nervous than Jacob was!
Danielle texted family and friends to share the news of their engagement.
Look, you can see the engagement ring on her left hand!
It was about 5:00 when we finally got to the home of my sister Karla, where many of her children gathered to join us for dinner at Mi Amigos. From the restaurant we got back on the freeway headed for home, with a side-trip back to the Gilbert Temple. Danielle, Shera, and Ryan wanted to see the building all lit up at night, as LDS temples always are. More pictures of that visit will be posted later, as well!
Danielle and Jacob in front of the doors to the Gilbert Temple after dark.
And so it was almost 10:00 when we got back on the road, and 1:15 a.m. before we pulled into our own driveway. We were exhausted, but what an exciting and memorable time we all shared in the Valley that day!