Brooke and Steven

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How We Met

The year was 2015 so it wouldn’t make sense for our love story to start any other way: Instagram. Okay, let’s be real: it didn’t actually start there, but it was absolutely the first place that I locked eyes on this Steven Keller guy. A few months after laying eyes on the boy from social media, I graduated from the University of Arizona, moved from hot (Tucson, AZ) to hotter (Phoenix, AZ), and started my first “big girl job” in hopes for the biggest adventure of my life. Little did I know, that adventure was actually nestled in the heart of that boy from Instagram.

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Anxious butterflies soared through my belly on the first day of this “big girl job” until I met a fellow co-worker who was in the exact same position: no clue how to tackle this whole “adulting” thing. In the midst of our conversation, she interrupted me and said, “This is a really random question, but do you know who Steven Keller is? I went to college with him and he’s the greatest – I feel like you two would be a match made in heaven.” Jaw. Drop. From that moment, Steven and I were properly introduced and our love story actually began – reluctantly, he “stumbled” upon my Instagram prior to meeting, as well. Right off the bat, it was Steven’s smokin’ good looks, height (yes… he played basketball & yes… I have still beaten him in a game of H.O.R.S.E. before), and confidence that he exuded that caught my eye. As time went on, it was his desire for adventure, his love to serve lost people in our city, and his heart for Jesus that made me fall in love with the man that he is.

Whether it was spontaneous trips of jumping on a plane to watch the sunset somewhere new, road-tripping the entire coast of California, or backpacking throughout the Grand Canyon, Steven and I did it together – with joyous hearts and the desire to deeply love others around us. Steven knew that I loved to hike so he planned a trip up to Flagstaff, AZ, to tackle Humphreys Peak together. Let me preface this: Humphreys is the highest natural point in the entire state of Arizona (with an elevation of more than 12,000 feet) and I had not stepped foot in a gym since 2007 (exaggeration – but you get the point). Waking up at 4 a.m. to drive to Flagstaff from Phoenix, conquering the torturous terrain up, and trying to fight off elevation sickness (hint: I did not win), we finally made it to the top. Taking in the incredible view, Steven pulled me close and said, “I’m going to marry you, Brooke Beard.” Since that day, my heart learned how to beat in a whole new way. I love that it was the first “mountaintop” in our relationship and sure as heck has not been our last!

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how they asked

The four core elements of how Steven asked me to marry him are these: a puppy, Southern California, a letter, and Jesus. Let’s start with the puppy (I know… I was freaking out, too). Steven and I are both dreamers and constantly talk about what our future looks like – some dreams are more realistic than others – and a golden retriever puppy was at the top of our list. A few weeks before Steven got down on one knee, he was hanging out with two of his Young Life guys (holler at Cole & Jonny) and made the bold decision to get me a golden retriever puppy. When he walked through the doors of my house with that sweet little pup (named Bowie), that was just the start of this new exciting chapter of our lives.

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Fast forward to a few weeks after Bowie entered our lives, we were headed out to Southern California for a family party that had been planned for quite some time. Southern California has always been our favorite place to run off to together. Partially because it was my childhood stomping grounds and partially because our love always seemed to grow when we were there together. As I was packing up my car to make the trek to California, Steven let me know that he was going to have to meet me in California that Saturday because he had work appointments he needed to be at. He sent me off with a kiss and his flight information.

Saturday morning I woke up with the wildest butterflies – I don’t know if it was the anticipation of seeing all of my family later that day or the fact that I actually had a golden retriever (pinch me: I still feel like I’m dreaming). After a full day of running errands and setting up our family party, Steven texted me around 3:30 pm and let me know that his flight was delayed. 4:00 pm… delayed again. 4:30 pm… finally on the runway for takeoff! Around 5:30 pm, I was about to jump in the car to pick up Steven at the airport when my sister ushered me over and handed me a letter.

Letters have always been a significant aspect of Steven and I’s relationship. Whether it was love letters left on my windshield before work, the letters that Steven had all of my best friends write me for Christmas, or letters filled with prayers for our lives, all of them will forever live in a sweet part of my heart. The letter that my sister handed me was written in Steven’s handwriting and said: “Hey babe! Surprise – I’m already in California. Hop in the car and meet me at Riviera Beach. I love you!” To my surprise, Steven had been in California for a few days in preparation for this moment. I hopped in the car and drove straight to Riviera Beach (making sure to stay within the speed limit in spite of my excitement).

As I arrived at the beach, I saw Steven standing at the top of the stairs wearing one of my favorite outfits on him – Levi’s, Clark’s desert boots, and a short sleeved button up. I parked the car, jumped into his arms, and saw that he had the biggest smile on his face and tears welling up in his eyes. As we walked hand in hand down the stairs and approached the beach, Steven told me how much he loves me and how he wants to spend his entire life with me. He poured his heart out right there on the sand and told me that he had been waiting for this moment since the day he met me. As we walked down the beach and the sun was setting, I noticed in the distance a cute trendy blanket, pillows, champagne, and sunflowers perfectly set up in the sand. It was like Pinterest fell right out of my computer screen onto the beach. Steven walked right onto the blanket, dropped down on one knee and proposed! Diamonds are hard, but finding an answer to his question was NOT.

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After the proposal, we drove back to my family’s party where my best friends from around all around the country had flown in to surprise me! We all excitingly celebrated the day, laughed about everyone’s adventures of getting to Southern California for this moment, and praised Jesus for creating our beautiful love story. I can’t wait to continue this adventure of life with my best friend!

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Special Thanks

Ty French
 | Photographer