How We Met
Ken: Once upon a time I was forced to go help my mom work at VBS at the Evangelical Free Church of Chico. This was my third year helping… I think. ANYWAY, there was this girl there trying to paint a volcano. She sassed me about how I was talking to my mom. Come to find out, that same sassy girl was also the music leader at the program. I was volunteering in the tech booth that summer as well. In between times that she led the music we would chat and joke but nothing outside of camp. This pattern continued as we both finished high school, started college and she went away for school.
In 2017 Shaela finished college and moved back home where they saw each other as they both volunteered for the Christmas program. After the last show, Shaela asked Ken to hang out sometime. in January 2018, in the true young adult Christian fashion, Ken went to an evening church service with Shae. Then there was dinner at Burgers and Brew where the conversation never paused for long. Ken agreed to come to the house that Shaela was housesitting. They talked until 2 AM. Ken was very tired the next morning but in his words, “Worth it!” A week later they were on their first date. And the rest is history.
First date: The Greatest Showman and MOD Pizza
First kiss: February 2018 overlooking the blooming almond orchards of Durham
First Valentine’s Day & Trip: Calistoga, CA
How They Asked
Shaela: Rushing home from a trip with my mom for her birthday, I was late to meet Ken for a hike that we had agreed to take when I made it home. As I was getting off the freeway and trying to reassure myself that we had plenty of time before the sunset, I remembered that it was fine because Ken didn’t seem super worried. If we didn’t make it to the hike, it would be okay. I got home, changed my clothes, and opened the door to my handsome (then) boyfriend holding a dozen red roses.
Now, if you know me, you know I love flowers. If you know Ken, you know he likes to spoil me. So, I just thought, “Aww, he missed me! So sweet!” So we put the roses in water and scurried off to Upper Park where we began to hike Yahi Trail. I was tired and just relieved to be home so I was mildly irritated that Ken kept moving so fast. “We should go to our spot!” he said.
Our spot by the river is the place where we first talked about our pasts and our potential future. I “laid down the law” and said, “If you kiss me it means we’re dating. If we’re dating it means that you could picture marrying me one day. I don’t just date for fun.” In that conversation, I was sure I had scared him away.
But here we were two years later trekking toward “our spot.”
We arrived and as I had suspected, that particular spot was under the creek but we were content to sit near it. Kenny began talking and my ears perked up as he talked about all we’d been through the last two years.
Now, if you know anything about me, I’ve been waiting for our engagement with much anticipation (to say the least.) If you know Ken, you know that he wanted to surprise me when the time was right. SO as it FINALLY dawned on me that this might not be any regular old hike, I squinted at him in a curious fashion. “What?!” he said.
“You don’t normally make speeches about our relationship so I’m wondering what this is…” I replied.
“It’s uh… Nah I mean… Yeah, you’re right. I don’t normally make speeches. I wanted to bring you to the place that I knew you were the one for me.”
And as he got down on one knee, he pulled a box from his right pant pocket revealing a gorgeous sapphire ring, and asked, “Shaela, will you marry me?”
Now my response was more of a muddled and teary, “Uhuh!” but it sufficed. I became Ken Hawkins’ fiance on June 13, 2020, and on March 13, 2021, will graduate to his wife. And I couldn’t be happier!