Aubree and Ian

Image 1 of Aubree and Ian

How We Met

I feel compelled to share our story. I’m not sure why, as Ian and I aren’t really the type to share the intimate details of our lives on social media–but, with our world in such an unprecedented state, we agreed there is no better time to share a story so filled with love and so filled with the Lord. We hope this inspires you as much as it continues to inspire us every single day.

I never wanted to move to DC. In fact, I’m pretty sure I told most of my friends in Austin, TX that I was moving to Nashville for my promotion. But, when I was given only 15 clients in Tennessee and over 400 throughout the DMV (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia for those not familiar with the east coast like I was.), DC was the only logical place where I could successfully support all of my clients. I accepted my dream job with the understanding that it would require a “temporary” move to DC–2 years MAX to kill it in the new role and advance my career. Little did I know, God had MUCH bigger plans…

August 2018 – DC was quickly proving not to be a permanent home for me. After a few tough months professionally, socially, and emotionally, I was dead set on finding a path back home to Texas. *Hindsight: I never would have learned such essential life lessons–value-centered living, resiliency, the importance of cultivating your own enriching environment, handling the impacts of change with patience, building (not manifesting) self-confidence and confidence in decision-making, and, most importantly, trusting the Lord even when you can’t feel His presence–had I not moved to DC. If you’re given the opportunity, TAKE THE RISK. I don’t regret one thing.* So, when I met Ian in the dog park in Navy Yard that August, I paid no mind. Never in a million years did I think a Boston boy would understand my love for Texas or want any involvement in my plans to return there. We had a brief conversation, met each other’s dogs, but never exchanged names or numbers. He was just “the cute boy I met at the dog park,” and, to Ian, I was the “Golden Retriever girl.” Looking back, I’m grateful God didn’t give us any more time to get to know each other that day–if Ian had asked for my number, I would have said no since I was in a long-distance relationship at the time. Our story would have ended before it even started. God tested our patience…

5/26/2019 – My first dog growing up was a black lab named Shadow. She was simply the best dog our family ever had and my very first best friend. For Christmas 2016, I was given Hank as a gift, such a huge blessing in my life. I had never had a golden retriever before. In fact, I wanted a German Shepard I had found at the pound the week before Hank came into my life, but God had other plans. In Boston, Ian had two dogs: a black lab and a golden retriever. In his move to DC, only the black lab joined in the adventure. So when we finally re-met in the dog park in May of 2019–NINE FULL MONTHS after our first, brief introduction–little did we know the strange coincidence that our dogs just so happened to fill the holes that were left in each other’s hearts. Hank and Kaiya brought us together. If we didn’t have them, we never would have met. God facilitated it with flawless timing. That pre-Memorial Day Sunday, when DC was virtually empty from all the holiday travelers, Ian and I felt like the only people in the city, and the only people on earth. He asked for my number, asked for my name, and that’s where our journey *officially* began.

8/21/2019 – Our first few months of getting to know each other we’re just EASY. Fun and carefree and easy. It was hard to believe how well things were going. But returning home to Texas was still at the forefront of my mind, especially with my mom’s cancer diagnosis, our dogs at home passing, and my dad’s retirement on the horizon.

I repeat: Never in a million years did I think a Boston boy would understand my love for Texas or want any involvement in my plans to return there. That all changed when we went to Nantucket and Ian told me how “crazy in love with me” he is. I read him 1 Corinthians 13 – a verse that our pastor at church made central to his sermon just the week before our trip. Ladies: THIS IS LOVE. Love is an action. Love is a choice. The greatest love is our God’s love for us and how He loves us through the people He chooses to place in our lives. I knew, with every ounce of me, that Ian’s love for me was a reflection of the Lord’s love for us. On August 21, 2019, Ian officially became my boyfriend.

3/22/2020 – After months of spending time together, laughing, traveling, and making memories, the world came to a halt: COVID-19 threatened to end our good time. To minimize the spread and reduce our contact with our neighbors and friends we decided it was best to temporarily live together. As hard as the start of this pandemic was for the world around us, in Ian and I’s little world, we felt truly blessed to get to spend every single moment together: working, interviewing for new jobs, cooking dinner, working out, date nights, weekend “getaways” in the living room, doing laundry, heart to hearts, balcony wine nights and birthday celebrations. In the last four months of living together, Ian and I have become coworkers, teammates, parents to Hank and Kaiya, and best friends. We were thriving in our own little 600-square-foot world–all because of a plan much bigger than any we could fathom.

Amidst COVID, amidst the best chapter of Ian and I’s journey so far, I was finally blessed with a new role within VMware: I would be leading territory in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex! I was over the moon with the offer, and Ian was right by my side cheering me on. After a year and a half of searching for a path back home, closer to family, God placed an opportunity right in our hands–Ian and mine together–because He knows there’s no better way to start a new chapter than with your partner by your side. In the middle of a global pandemic, and, now inseparable, Ian and I found our new home in Dallas, right where we’re meant to be.

How They Asked

6/23/2020 – Like many of you, the coronavirus threw all our 2020 travel plans for a loop. This was supposed to be our year to travel. Alas, we were meant to stay indoors bonding instead. We canceled some incredible trips–Maine, Boston, Philly–but one trip we were praying we would get to keep: our second trip to our favorite place, Nantucket. We kept our eye on the news for months, watching as states slowly started to open up. When Massachusetts announced its reopening, we were pumped we would salvage at least one trip this year. Thank the Lord.

Ian and I were back in our happy place, back in the place where it truly all started for us. It was good to reminisce. On Tuesday, June 23rd, we woke up as usual to the birds outside, wild deer, and a cup of coffee courtesy of our Air BnB (now our second mom). We planned a trip to the brewery that afternoon before the beach. It was the most PERFECT sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. We drank and talked and laughed and right when our reservation “time slot” was up (thanks Coronavirus) and it was time to head to the beach, this crazy, thick, wild fog came out of NOWHERE. If you’re familiar with Nantucket, the islanders call this the “Grey Lady,” but usually, the marine layer was a morning fog that burned off by the afternoon, not one that crept in during a beautiful, sunny day. It was eerie, in a meaningful kind of way. Ian and I rode our bikes to the beach, parked them, and as we were walking along the path to the beach he said, “Can I blindfold you? I have a surprise for you.” Immediately my stomach DROPPED like it does when you know something BIG is going to happen. He used his sweaty, biking shirt to blindfold me (nailed it) and held my hand as he led me (basically dragged me, the poor guy was too excited) around a sand dune towards the ocean. He brought me to a halt, took off my blindfold, and told me to look to my right. I was absolutely SHOCKED. Never in a million, BILLION years did I think this would EVER be possible, but my FAMILY WAS IN NANTUCKET! Ian flew my parents, my brother, and sister-in-law, and his parents to Nantucket! Everyone was TOGETHER!! Our parents, acting like they were old friends when they had only met the day before: My heart melted. Ian got down on one knee and said something wonderful that neither of us remembers. It was surreal. I looked at Ian, my future HUSBAND, and tried to take as many mental pictures of the moment as possible. The grey lady, the thick fog, was absolutely surrounding us at this point–like Ian and I and our families were wrapped in the Lord’s embrace–we were on our own private beach on a deserted island with the fog around us. It was so peaceful. It was beautiful. It was perfect. Ian absolutely KILLED every detail. I said YES!! What a gift.

Regardless of the world around us, regardless of how hard, messed up, and frankly claustrophobic things may seem, I challenge you to take a step back and piece together the journey of what led you to where you are today. What has led you to all the things you have to be grateful for at this moment right now. There is a purpose to every pain, every heartache, every blessing, and strife. But it’s up to YOU, and only you, to uncover that purpose, map it to the next, and fill your life with love. Because in this world, love wins.