How We Met
Well, we met in a very unconventional way, haha! I was working as a Resident Mentor in a Residential College at The University of Oklahoma on a co-ed floor, and Braden was one of my residents down the hallway. But, our story goes much farther back than that. I went to West Africa in high school for several weeks at a time. While I was there in 2012 I met what would be Braden’s youth pastor a couple of years later. I encouraged him in his transition from moving to another state to be a youth pastor, and I just prayed that I would meet a man like this youth pastor. Well, little did I know Braden was one of the first kids to come out of this guy’s youth group and was discipled by this youth pastor and wanted to be a man, husband, father like him. Funny how God works. I knew most of his church family and we had a lot of mutual connections. So, it was more than just being his RA. But, that was a lot of our story! We went on a camping trip together with some of the other residents and we spent like 3 hours talking about our testimonies and what God has done in our lives. He noticed I was really not the best at taking care of myself and I poured a little too much into others. So, he invented the movie night! Once a week I was not allowed to do anything at night besides watching a movie. It was a subtle way to show he cared and he says he had no ulterior motives but I would beg to differ. 4 months later we started our relationship after a lot of push back from me, and the rest is history
How They Asked
So, this is crazy and completely out of a movie. I went to the Big Island with my parents to visit my sister, who recently moved to Hawaii. My dad and I arrived on Friday, and my mom was arriving on Saturday night because she was coming from Africa. The airport was on the other side of the island, so we had made plans to meet my mom at the airport to pick her up, run to a nearby beach to take family photos, and then go to dinner afterward. Braden was not able to come because he was in summer classes on campus and was gearing up for finals. I was hoping he could fly out over the 4th of July while we were there to have a mini-vacation. But, it was not going to happen, and I was cool with it. I was not suspecting him of proposing, because we had talked about it being between August-October period. I know I know it is weird to kind of know–but my ring was a custom design with family diamonds, and I wanted to make sure to have it ready in time.
I was a little thrown off by having to take family pictures right after my mom got off of an almost 45-hour flight, but you win some you lose some. On Saturday, the 29th, my dad and I took the long way around the island, and I got to see the most beautiful things. Braden was texting me back in Oklahoma about how sick he had become, and he was anxious about his exams. The time difference was on-par, and he texted me goodnight–because Oklahoma was 6 hours ahead. He made it very clear that he was nowhere near Hawaii. We had talked the night before I left about, no surprises, and just showing up on the 4th, but with tears in his eyes said it was not going to happen. So, I sat unknowingly of what I was walking into. My dad and I enjoyed the sights and things, but my mind was racing. I felt like something was happening or that Braden would also be at the airport. So, I did what any crazy person would do, and I check his locations. And there is was in his apartment in Oklahoma. Little did I know at the time, he had put his mom’s iPad in his apartment and logged into his Apple ID.
I show up at the airport to pick up my mom and take her to the beach spot that my sister had picked out earlier that day. She was not with my dad or me because she said she had to “go work at the goat farm.” I did not even bat an eye because I knew she would be working throughout our time in Hawaii. What she was doing was meeting Braden at the airport at 11 am, picking out a perfect spot to set up, and get me a bouquet and a Haku lei. Sneaky Sneaky. My sister called us freaking out about not being able to get family photos because my mom’s flight was delayed. However, we busted butt getting to the location from the airport and made it right at twilight. They put me in a blindfold, but because I knew for a FACT Braden was still back in Oklahoma, I was convinced it was some first time to the island local Hawaiian tradition. Hahaha, have I mentioned how gullible I am?
Anyway, I was escorted down to the beach where my now fiancé and sister had set up a beautiful pad lined with coral rocks, tiki torches, and smoothed out with a leaf. It was gorgeous! They took my blindfold off, and my mom put the Haku, and then I turned around to my lovely fiancé holding a bouquet a little ways away. It was a perfect surprise and my now fiancé swept me off my feet.