Danielle and Joe

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How We Met

Joe and I met when we were both attending a Christian college in Tacoma Washington back in 2014. We eventually would hang in the same friend groups, sing together for the chapel, he would go out of his way to give me rides to class or home, we interned in different departments would always pass each other, but upon meeting him – he came across as this very shy guy. As our time in school went on, so did our friendship and through many experiences, it was always God that really shone brightly in many areas for us to grow. Not only as individuals but as friends.

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After we finished school, and I had to go back to Canada as my student visa was up, we kept in touch. It was during this time that Joe had let me know that he always had feelings for me but out of honour and still growing with God, he never pursued me in school. Never made it known, or obvious, but was genuinely my friend. Being a friend was so important to me as well in my life as I had been through a lot of hurts, my focus was on personal growth, walking it out with God, and becoming a better “me”. Yet Joe and I continued to develop a close friendship, and in December of that year he decided to make the trip to Canada in all its winter wonderland glory with another friend of ours, and wanted to ask my parents permission to date me.

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Three and a half years later, all at a distance, with many visits, phone calls, facetime dates or anniversaries, hard goodbye’s, new adventures, and everything in between; we’ve still held onto a pretty amazing relationship. Though distance can be hard, at the same time it has been the most rewarding and growing experience for us. Truly leaning on our faith in Christ to carry us through, and boy has He come through for us many times! Just the same I wouldn’t do this journey with anyone else, and Joe has been nothing but incredible. Always pursuing me, loving me, believing in us, encouraging, and never throwing in the towel.

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how they asked

Danielle: The day of the actual proposal nothing was suspect! Me and some of my family were doing a ton of spring cleaning and projects around the house leading up to the day to “Get ready for summer” and host a graduation party at our home that week as well. My friend Alicia and I had been talking a few days before on different photo shoots, ideas, content, and more as we usually do. She wanted to go out and take photos of me for her photography business that is up and growing, so I agreed as we’ve taken photos together often. So on the day, I got myself ready, she picked me up, and off we went up into the hills close by for sunset.

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It was beautiful out, but there were a ton of mosquitoes that were brutal! She snapped a few photos of me, we’d get eaten alive, move and then move to another spot. We had gone to a few different places in the hills and the mosquitoes were not playin’ and the old lady in me was getting more than tired. Needless to say, I was ready for pyjamas, Dairy Queen, and to get away from these mosquitoes!

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At one point when we were at the second to last location, we drove by an area where the springtime before – Joe and I had some of my favorite photos done by Alicia. So as I was gushing and remembering, we drive past a red pickup and a black Subaru that looked very familiar to Joe’s… but I brushed it off because only a few hours before he had said that he was pretty tired from work and was going to take a long nap because he had another early shift the next day. Meanwhile, we’re at this area and the sun is starting to go down and get dark and we end up not taking many photos here. By this time, I was more than done and more excited to get my ice cream finally! (so I hoped) Once again on our way out, I see these two vehicles and by this time I was really curious to see if the car was his or not, but when I asked Alicia to slow down, she had accelerated down the hill! So there I was even more thrown off but again, kind of thought nothing of it because anyone can have a Subaru, sure…

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Now we’re driving down this dirt road, the thought of which Blizzard I’ll get comes to mind when I hear Alicia go “Ok, we’re here!” and pulls over to the side of the road. Super confused I kindly tell her that “This isn’t Dairy Queen…” to which she then asks me to get out of the truck. Some back and forth later because there was also killer mosquito’s outside still, I finally got out with my big flannel over my head and began to follow after her. Alicia again, mentioned that we were “here” and I rolled my eyes and was about to tell her one more time how I just want my sweats when I noticed a small jar on the ground with a tea light in it. By this time I look up and I see Joe standing in this big open field, on a beautiful blanket, with more candles all around just waiting there for me! Everything kind of stood still for a moment, and was so quiet, yet very surreal pretty quick.

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I was SO shocked that this moment was really here! That it was truly happening and it still didn’t all click in right away but I knew our lives were about to seriously change! I went out to Joe, confused out of my mind (because I’m the one who does the surprising) but very happy to see him. In that moment, mosquitoes and all, Joe said the sweetest things from our journey, then next thing I know he’s really down on one knee asking the question my heart had been waiting for all these years! I was still so shook, at this point that “Duh” came out, but I also said yes quickly! As soon as I did, I hear behind me Whitney Houston’s famous “And I will always love you” from behind a bush! It was my good friend Tim blasting it from his phone! (in total John Cusack style). I then see my other close friends Scotty and EJ there who were hiding in the bushes to capture everything on photo and video! I was just so stunned.

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The way everything worked out, how this “photo shoot” was a total gag, I had this gorgeous ring on my finger somehow, with my friends there to surprise me who were also in on it … was just amazing and a day I will always treasure and laugh about!

Also, all the slaving away around the house – turned out to be for my very own party! Because after we left the hills, we went straight to my house where both our families, some friends, and even Joe’s parents who had come up from Tacoma were all cheering and celebrating us on our engagement!! It was unlike anything I had ever had before but my heart was so full! My siblings had helped out, kept it secret too, my younger brother came up from Vancouver (drove two hours to come celebrate for only for an hour or two) and headed back that same night because he had to still work the next day, and my other ones made this incredible spread of food for everyone. From favorites, to everything and then some to feed an entire village… I have never been so surprised, thankful, and blown away in my entire life. This was a night; the night that would forever be in my books as one of the greatest days of my entire life.

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*sidenote: I had been holding onto a ring that Joe and I had looked at the previous summer on one of his visits… But it was never my intention to propose first but to hold onto it and give it to him as a ‘thank you’. To honor him for who he is and everything he has done in our time together that was so very supportive – even in the hard times. Once things had begun to settle after he had proposed, I ran to grab it where I had kept it, took a deep breath, and came back more nervous than I even thought! But began to say a few words of my own with our families and everyone around. He was totally stunned to get proposed to as well but I knew I really wanted him to be celebrated as well since we’ve been in this together, and for the amazing man that he is through and through.

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Joe: On the night of June 5th I woke up around 2 am tired and somewhat delirious from just having one hour of sleep. In my tired groggy state, I was the happiest I’ve ever been because I knew that later that day I would be on one knee asking Danielle to marry me.

I left my house at 4 am to head to work and everything was just silent and strangely calming. For my 30 minute commute to work, I just prayed for the day, everyone involved in the engagement and just for what’s to come for Danielle and I. Pretty normal day at work except for me constantly thinking about the engagement and how it’s all going to work! Needless to say, I was a nervous wreck. Luckily, I ran into some mentors throughout the day and all of them just told me to just breathe and take in the moment because it would be something we would look back to for the rest of our lives.

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With my coworkers cheering me on, I raced over to my church to pick up two friends coming up to Canada with me and we were on our way! Throughout the day I was thinking back to important moments in the last few years with Danielle. I thought moments like the first day we met, moments that built our friendship, our first date, our first kiss, and the countless hours of Facetime and messaging and road trips to each other. All of these monumental moments and the little moments in between were running through my mind. I had finally known what I would tell her when I proposed. It would be all about the moments that lead to me asking her to be with me for the rest of our lives.

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On the way to Kamloops, BC we got stuck in traffic and then I got a call from Danielle’s mom telling me that the jeweler wouldn’t give the engagement ring to Evan, my future brother-in-law. Trading multiple calls at a gas station we got it all figured out! A few hours later, once we got into Kamloops we met Evan and another friend of ours in a Safeway parking lot where I changed clothes and brushed my teeth with a bottle of water. Time was ticking and we had to race to the engagement location. We were looking for the same spot where Danielle and I had taken pictures before so me and the guys tried our best to find that spot and create the space where I would propose. I was sweating and my hands were shaking from nerves as we put tea lights into mason jars and placed them in a trail that would lead Danielle to me. All the while giant mosquitos were eating all of us alive! I never prayed for a species to go instinct but you better believe I asked God to get rid of those demon creatures.

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A few moments later, everything was set. I paced back and forth just thanking God for what He’s done for Danielle and I and praying that He is the center of our future together. All of a sudden I hear a truck pull up and two people talking. Danielle and our friend Alicia had arrived. I took one last deep breath and watched my future bride walk towards me. She was so confused and surprised! I looked at her as she was just trying to process what was happening. I’ve never ever seen her this genuinely surprised! I took her hands as mosquitos were biting the both of us and for a second just stared into her eyes. I talked about those monumental moments in our relationship and how it all lead us to that spot.

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Before I knew it I knelt down on one knee and asked her to marry me. She said “DUH!” and then “YES!”. Joy filled my heart and the sound of Whitney Houston filled the air from my friend’s phone at the perfect moment! Everyone came out of their hiding spots and we celebrated in those hills. Although, it didn’t finish there. We went home and Danielle was surprised and welcomed by a small intimate group of our friends and family. We got to take in and celebrate this new chapter with this group of people and it was the perfect way to end a glorious day. This day and the moments leading up to it will forever be with us and we couldn’t be more thankful!