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Teacher to marry author

While trying to juggle teaching and coaching, Ericlee Gilmore also is preparing for his upcoming wedding to Dorina Lazo.

The wedding will be held Apr. 13 at the Tenaya Lodge outside the south gate of Yosemite National Park.

“I always dreamed of getting married in Yosemite,” Lazo said who is currently writing a book. “I grew up in Chicago and my family used to drive across country to vacation in Yosemite in the summers. I think it’s truly God’s cathedral.”

The couple met in March of 2000 at the Evangelical Free Church’s young career group called Cutting Edge. Their friendship grew as they both signed up for a 2001 summer missions trip to Haiti.

“I did not think that she was my type,” Gilmore said, “although I did love her heart and hanging out with her.”

While on the missions trip to Haiti in 2001, their friendship blossomed.

“There I began to notice that Ericlee really had so many of the qualities I was looking for,” Lazo said. “He was a servant leader.”

The two spent time organizing a track and field camp and getting to know each other better on a friendship level. It was not until a church retreat to Pismo Beach that Lazo knew Gilmore was “the one.”

“We took a long walk together and talked a lot about our lives, our hopes, our dreams,” Lazo said. “We also prayed together. That was the day I really felt that pressing on my heart that he was the one. He was so accepting of my past and me. It was clear that he was seeking the Lord with all his heart.”

For Gilmore, many feelings developed during a trip to San Francisco when they visited the Lazo family and did some shopping.

“That is when God removed the scales from my eyes and I liked her,” said Gilmore.

While on the missions trip to Haiti in 2002, Gilmore proposed to Lazo. On the Saturday before the mission’s camp opened, many of the leaders went sightseeing to a large fortress named The Citadel.

“While overlooking the incredible view, I kissed her,” Gilmore said. “I wanted to say many things but I was a little nervous. But I bent down on one knee and said, ?Dorina Kailani Lazo,’ you are the one.”

Lazo, in complete shock, first asked Gilmore if he was joking, but soon after began jumping up and down yelling, “Yes, yes!”

“She was the one that God has prepared for me,” Gilmore said. “I love her from the inside out.”

Not only is the couple excited about the upcoming wedding but Christine Karlyn, Gilmore’s mother, is elated.

“Dorina is that special someone we’ve been waiting for,” Karlyn said. “Seeing my son find a godly wife brings the depth of my joy greater than my soul can fully explain.”

According to the couple, the wedding takes a lot of planning and money in preparation.

“Money, money, money; I need a lot,” Karlyn said. “Everything costs so much I want to remember everybody and not leave anyone out. But having family and friends all together is good stuff. It’s also fun to imagine the beauty of this wedding at the lodge.”

The couple is not only anticipating the wedding, but also making plans.

“I love entertaining and planning parties so this just feels like the biggest part of my life,” Lazo said. ” The hard part is focusing on my work when I have this exciting event to plan.”

Among other things, Lazo and Gilmore share a passion for track and field. During the season Lazo became an assistant to Gilmore on the field. In addition, she worked, as a reporter for the Fresno Bee’s Life section, but is now currently a freelance writer and working on her first book.

Lazo’s book is tentatively titled, A Diverse Harvest: a culinary journey through California’s central valley.

She is interviewing nine different ethnic families about their history, heritage and their foods and hopes to complete it by Spring 2003.

” I like the freedom but there are a lot of challenges when you are out on your own and don’t have an editor breathing down your throat,” Lazo said. “My favorite part of freelance writing is meeting people in the community and hearing their stories.”

Despite the couple’s hectic jobs, they find time for each other and the wedding plans. Gilmore is given a daily reminder of the wedding date by having a count down sheet on his classroom wall.

“I think it’s so funny how Gilmore has the count down days sheet on his wall,” Erica McIntyre said. “But it’s cool because it gives him a daily reminder of how many days he has left. I can’t believe he is getting married. I think the whole student body is very excited.”

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