How We Met
We first met four years ago as huddle leaders at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes Camp in Girty, Oklahoma. DJ had his entire huddle send me notes on my birthday that I celebrated at camp that week as we both noticed each other’s competitive nature and fun personality. We immediately hit it off…as best friends. Over our college years we kept in touch and deep down we both knew that if the timing ever presented itself, we would make a great team! Fast forward three years to September of 2019 when we decided to finally give each other a shot at forever by leaving the friend zone behind.Looking back over the past four years, it is so fun to see how the Lord’s hand was on us. He brought us together in such a sweet and unique way as we built a friendship that eventually led us here. He is my very best friend and I just can’t believe I get to love a man as amazing as this one for the rest of my days! I have the Lord to thank for it all. We realize that this is not our story.It is God’s story of grace and God’s best for us.He is the one writing it and we are just the lucky ones living out His plan.
How They Asked
DJ’S POINT OF VIEW!
In early June I was really starting to put a plan together to propose to Grace. I made the decision to ask her to marry me before the end of the summer so I could do it when we were together and not doing long distance. I can’t tell you how hard it was to keep this a secret for almost two months… I had to fake argue, say we’re not ready to get married, convince her I haven’t even thought about buying a ring, and persuade her in thinking I am scared to talk to the Parker family about it. Being best friends for a long time I knew if we started dating it would go really fast (which is why it took us 6 months to even start dating)… Grace wanted to get her ring size with her roommate and I never wanted to be apart of it.
Once she was actually going to go I got really excited and decided to take her myself! I told Grace that we’re doing this super early on so she will never have an idea of when I decide to ask her. So weeks before the engagement I had everything planned out, venue ready, lights scheduled, photographer and videographer set, and the engagement party group text named “Utah Coaching Staff” made. It was a very detailed plan. I made an itinerary for the day. When I and others would get there, when Grace would get there when she would walk up when the families arrived, when the set up happened when friends arrived, and I even highlighted spots on google maps to show everyone where to park hahaha! There were a couple of times I felt like she was getting skeptical about what I was doing.
Especially the day before our special day when I told her I was meeting a friend in OKC for the night (I was actually going to check the venue out and go over the plan with the workers in charge). She caught me in a lie when she asked about dinner and I told her she ruined the surprise of the special flowers I was getting her for our 6th month. July 25th marked our 6th month of dating. Just like every 25th of each month, we played a round of golf! I came over early, well now that I think about it I was late because I went to get those flowers I was just talking about, but picked her up and headed to the golf course. She was already upset at me because I told her I had to work at my dad’s training facility all day.
Grace felt like we weren’t getting to spend time together on a special day of ours and I would be leaving soon, so you can kind of imagine how that golf round went…After loosing about 8 golf balls into the trees at the Trails Golf Club, we headed to OU’s campus. Grace and I hung out at the spoon holder on the north oval where it has been said that if you kiss your significant other there, you will end up getting married. We talked about our future, me leaving to take the Utah job, and how crazy our story has been with God having his hand over it the entire time. Grace took me back to my house because I forgot her golf clubs at the house to begin with (another reason why she was annoyed with me). Once she left it was time to go to work! I went to my parents’ house and hung out there for a while.
That is where I stored the ring, picture frame I made for the engagement, and traded cars with my dad so Grace would never know I was at the venue. After hanging out at my parents for a little, while also telling Grace how hard the work was, I headed over to my buddy Blake’s house where he and my other buddy Ben was hanging out. That is where I got ready for the engagement. Shout out to Alexa Nelson, by the way, helping me pick out an outfit because I had no idea what to wear and I pretty much brought over a closet full of options. After hanging out at Nelson’s house, I met Jana Beth “JB” (now her nickname is “mom”) and her brother Jeff in the city to grab some food, flowers, and the rug for the proposal. Jana was eating with Jeff, her hubby Bill aka “dad”, Grace’s sister Caitlin, and her boyfriend Bobby. Grace had no idea that her sister was in town because they flew on that day and her parents drove down that afternoon as well. The surprise was almost ruined because someone saw them in the city!!
More from that to come later. So it was 6:45 pm. We were able to get there at 7:00 pm to start setting up the rooftop. I was already sweating at this point… Everyone that came to help with the set up for the engagement party was all in the kitchen in the back of the building. Some were helping me get things up there and checking out the rooftop during this time. I was talking with the workers at the Capitol View and going over all of the plans with them. That’s when I received a walkie-talkie so when I was upstairs, one of the workers would let me know what is going on the entire time! Grace showed up to the venue at 7:45 pm with Alexis Appling.
Alexis is the owner of Stella Rae’s, an awesome boutique in Oklahoma. Before the COVID 19 pandemic, Grace would do photoshoots for them throughout the year. In June is when I called Alexis and asked her if she could help out and act like there would be a photo shoot in the city and she was more than happy to help! S/O to Alexis for help! So Grace and Alexis arrive for the ‘photoshoot’ that was about to take place. Alexis brought a rack of clothes like she usually does so Grace can take pictures in all of the clothes. The funny thing about the selection of clothes is that two dresses in there were already bought by Jana and given to Alexis for Grace to wear. During the time Grace was getting ready in the bridal suite for the fake photoshoot, I was upstairs with Courtlyn (the photographer) and Meg (the videographer). Leading up to 8:05 pm, which is the time Grace was supposed to come up the elevator if you were checking the itinerary!! I realized the walkie-talkie had stopped working.
I was told over the walkie-talkie that Grace had arrived and that was all I had heard! I was in the dark and had no idea what to do! My phone also had no service and stopped working at this time. I was freaking out. Luckily I somehow got a phone call through to Blake Nelson. I told him what was going on so he was peeking his head behind a door in the main lobby to let me know when Grace was heading up to the rooftop. It’s 8:12 and the flowers were already set on the ground and flying everywhere because of the wind. Alexis was waiting on a text from me, but my phone wasn’t working so she didn’t know if it was ok for her to come up. I am on the phone with Blake waiting by the speaker on the rooftop because I was going to play a special song for Grace when she walked out. The itinerary had the families arriving at the venue at 8:15 and walking in the front doors at 8:25.
I guess there was a miscommunication because right when Grace was walking out to the lobby to go up the elevator, the families were about to start walking in! I knew this because Blake said, “Okay DJ Grace is starting to walk out!” He also said right after that, “Oh crap DJ the families are walking in!” Thank the Lord for the worker in the lobby because I think she told the families to hold on and Grace went into the elevator. You can imagine the type of emotions that were running through me at that point and time. So finally Grace is coming up to the rooftop and I then counted 25 seconds before I started the song because I knew it took the elevator 30 seconds to make it to the top. Once I hit play on the playlist and started walking out to the carpet where I was going to get on one knee, I felt God’s spirit at that moment. It all hit me at once and that is when tears started to come out. I knew this was His plan and knowing the feeling that you get to spend the rest of your life with the person He set out for you was amazing. I was looking out towards the city with tears in my eyes.
I turned around and there she was. My soon to be fiancé. All I could do is smile. I was so happy at that moment and it’s hard to even describe what I was feeling when I saw her walking through those doors. I don’t remember much of what was said, but I do remember her keep saying “You’re kidding”, “This isn’t real”, “What is this!?”, while she was walking towards me. I then said, “Yes Grace look around this is real!” Then it all kind of went blank after that. I got down on one knee, asked Grace to marry me, and she came down to hug me while I was trying to put the ring on her finger hahahaha. We then took pictures up on the rooftop and were pretty much just in shock about all of it! During this time the families went into the bridal suite to surprise Grace and all of our friends were pulling up in the parking lot.
After about 25 minutes on the rooftop, I told Grace that we have somewhere to go so we need to hurry out of there. We head down to the lobby and I told Grace to grab her shoes really quick so we can go. All excited and chirpy she was practically running/skipping down the hall to get her shoes. When she opened the door to see all of our family I hear a, “Oh my gosh no way!!” We all then hung out in the bridal suite talking about what happened, cracking jokes, and said a prayer together. My phone wasn’t working so I couldn’t text the “Utah Coaching Staff” to let them know it was all ok to come in. I don’t know who told everyone, but everyone was walking in and our close friends were the first ones on the elevator to set up the food and party upstairs!
After the prayer with the family, I told everyone to come upstairs with us so they can check out where it all happened. The door opened and Grace was the first one in the elevator (insert eye-roll). It took a tad convincing and a little attitude from Grace to get her to wait for the next elevator with me while the family went up first because there was ‘no room for us’. Still in shock and saying how crazy it was, we walked out of the elevator and opened the doors to everyone upstairs on the rooftop! Grace had no idea about the proposal, our family, or the party!
The plan went perfectly!!!!!!! We all hung out upstairs and then went to the Jones Assembly after to hang out more with a group of our friends. Come to find out Grace had a text message from her friend saying, “Hey I see your family in OKC right now”. Luckily Grace didn’t check her phone seconds before she headed to the rooftop because that would’ve been a disaster! The plan was long and extensive with a ton of scares, but if there aren’t any scares is it even a good plan??? I thank God every day that I get to spend the rest of my life with the girl of my dreams. July 25th, 2020 will forever be embedded in my heart. The emotions I felt that day will never be repeated.