Blake and Jen
How We Met
Our love story is similar to how you fall asleep. Slowly at first, and then all of a sudden. (yeah, yeah yeah .. I’m kinda stealing this from “The Fault in Our Stars”, but it is so similar to our story). We first met at a thing called FCA College Getaway in 2016. Her friend Hannah introduced us, and then later she was like “Blake, you should date Jen.” And I was like “nahh”. Over the next couple of weeks, many of her friends told me I should date Jen. And I was like: “nahhhh”. Do you remember when you were a kid and someone told you to go to bed .. but you wanted to do anything but go to bed? Yeah, it’s kinda like that. I wanted to do anything but date Jen – mainly because someone told me to do it. So for the next few months, I did just that – avoid even the thought of us dating. That semester we started to see each other more at school. Then summer came and we worked the 2016 FCA Leadership Camp together. We took our first picture together and exchanged phone numbers. Did I want to date Jen? .. “nahhhhhh” but having her phone number was nice :-)
The following semester we would see each other around campus and at different events. Just friends still. Nothing too fancy. But on November 30, 2016 she turned 20 years old. I was invited to her birthday party and it was so much fun. She was looking so good. That night we played games and took pictures together and ate cookie cake. Before I left, I wanted to take a “selfie” with her .. little did she know that I had a cupcake in my hand and proceeded to shove it in her face while videoing it. Isn’t the way I flirt so cute? We laughed about it, took some more pictures and then I left. That night she sent me the pics that we took, and I so badly wanted her to post the one of us !!!! Like, I really wanted her to. She didn’t. But goodness, it still is one of my favorite pics of us. Did I want to date Jen? .. “nahhhh” but getting to celebrate her birthday with her was nice :-)
In the Spring of 2017, I was working in Birmingham, so I didn’t get to see her around campus like the previous semesters. It worked out that at least once a month we saw each other though, and I liked that. Late in the semester I asked her if she wanted to go to a Hillsong Y&F concert with my small group. She did. :-) and that night after the concert I drove a minivan 5 hours from Nashville to Starkville and she sat in the passenger seat while the other people in our car slept and we talked about everything. From church to music to school to the future. IT. WAS. INCREDIBLE. That led into a summer of a lot of conversations.
To and from church. In circles with friends. At camps and conferences. Etc. I grew to love everything about her. And that summer was great. It was so great. We didn’t have this romantic summer of kissing under the stars or traveling the world and chasing waterfalls, but I loved that summer. Before the start of the Fall semester, I remember having lunch with our FCA director Jimmy Gilford. I told him all about my feelings for Jen and all of the fears and worries and doubts that come with relationships and I remember him saying “go for it”. Did I want to date Jen? “yeahh, like a whole lot”
A few days after my conversation with Jimmy I left the country. I spent two weeks in Africa with Engineers Without Borders. And then school started. And then I was starting to worry about professional things. And it seemed like everything was going on all at once. But I still knew that I wanted to date Jen and that I would need to ask her. So, on August 30, 2017. Wednesday night after church I was gonna make it happen. Some of our friends went to Chick-fil-A after, so we went and ate. We rode together, so on the way back to Starkville I was going to ask her. Heart beating – actually racing uncontrollably. Hands clammy – actually pouring sweat. Pep-talking myself .. “Blake, you can do this. Blake, you’ve got this. Blake, don’t chicken out.” .. Then I said to myself: “Okay, after this song ends – ask her out!”
– – – *song ends
“So Jen, I’m just gonna say it. I really like you. You’re pretty. Do you wanna go on a date?”
*like maybe one second of silence
she says: “Yes!! oh my gosh, I’ve been waiting so long for you to ask me that !!”
*exhales – because I’d been holding my breath since we left Chick-fil-A.
– – -Then the rest of the car ride we talked about all the moments leading up to that point. And she agreed to go on a date to City Bagel that weekend for breakfast. Did I want to date Jen? “yeahhhhh, and goodness.. I was so excited for Saturday!!”
How He Asked
March 30, 2018. It was the greatest day of my life.
For months I had been brainstorming and thinking and planning for this day. I wanted it to be PERFECT. And it turned out better than I ever could have imagined. It was so cool how everything just fit together so seamlessly. I put a lot of effort into making this day the best, but so many things worked out so well even without my planning. It was beautiful. So, here is the story:
I worked as a DJ at WMSV (the on-campus radio station at Mississippi State University) and I had the thought – “What if I could use the radio station somehow as part of the proposal?!?!” We both love music, and I thought this would be a great way to add a personal touch to the proposal.. play some of her favorite music, but also talk to her through the radio. So I went to my boss, Anthony Craven, and laid out my plan. He was very excited to hear the news and agreed to let me do it. So the stage was set. Now I just had to figure out what to play and how to get her to listen to the radio for an hour. Then I thought it would be cool if she could visit some important people/places that have impacted her life while she was in Starkville. So I asked her best friend Hannah if she could drive her around Starkville for an hour. She was so excited to do this. I planned out the stops and the music and what I would say during each voice break and what each person would need to tell her and everything … but I still didn’t have the place I was going to propose. I had looked at different places, but nothing felt right. Then I thought about the field behind my church. Yeah, random. But so significant. See, this was the 7th month that we had been dating. This was also Good Friday. And the field that I’m talking about was at the base of a tree formation that was planted in the shape of a cross – so from the sky, it is the shape of a cross. All of these things were so significant to me and so symbolic of our Christian faith. I knew that was the place to do it.
Fast forward to the big day. We woke up early to drive an hour away to Tupelo for an FCA breakfast. Since it was our 7 month anniversary, I told her we could go to the mall after that and shop (we were shopping for a dress for her – so she could wear something cute to church that night *we were having a Good Friday service at our other campus in Columbus) and that we could go to Olive Garden for lunch (her favorite place). After breakfast, we went to the mall. She looked and looked and finally found something that would work. I also found something (so we could take matching Easter pictures). After we finished shopping, I took her to get her nails done.
I told her it was a “gift” for us celebrating 7 months. She was so excited !! After that, we went to Olive Garden and then drove back to Starkville. I dropped her off at her apartment and said I was going to get dressed and come back and pick her up at 6 pm. BUT that is when Hannah would actually pick her up. So after I dropped her off, I went to my apartment and got ready. Then I went to the radio station to make sure the hour was set to start on time. Then I texted Hannah and told her to pick Jen up. At 6 pm, “Give Until There’s Nothing Left” by Relient K played on the air. By this time Jen was in Hannah’s car on her way to the first location. She was asking so many questions and was thinking something was up from the get-go. The next song that played was “Screen” by Twenty One Pilots. This made her stop and think. Woah, they never play this song. And it is my favorite Twenty One Pilots song. Then after this song ended, my voice came over the radio. I said that this is an hour dedicated to my girlfriend, Jen Huckaby. (I wasn’t totally giving it away that I was proposing just yet.) She went to the different locations I had planned and met with the people there and listened to the music I had picked out for her and listened to the stories I was telling about us over the radio. It was an awesome hour. (also, btw while she was riding around in Starkville I was at the final location putting all of the finishing touches together).
So now, she is on her way to the church. And the last voice break of the hour comes on. I end that voice break with: “Jen, you’ve got one more stop. At this last place, I’m gonna be there actually. And I’ll have a question for you. And Jen, I just want to let you know that I am excited for what’s to come!” (the “I’m excited for what is to come” part had been a phrase that each person told her before she left). So then, “Waiting for My Time to Come”, her favorite Colony House song played. And then “Forever Like That” by Ben Rector played. And just as the song finished, they pulled up to the church. I was standing there. She got out of the car and I walked her through the field to the place I had prepared. (I honestly can’t remember what I said this whole time because my heart was beating so fast.) And then I proposed !!!
And she said yes !!! (I cried a lot .. like a whole lot, but I did manage to get out “jen, will you marry me?” lol, so that was good). After that, we took some pictures and then walked into the church. On the way back, she told me she wanted to call her parents, so I said we could FaceTime them when we got inside. We walk inside, and there they are !!! It was her mom, her dad, her two brothers and her grandma!! I asked them to come in from Dallas a few months prior, so they were in the loop. She was so surprised and so happy and she cried so much !! (haha, she didn’t like the pictures of her crying, but it was a beautiful moment). Then we walk into the next room to so many friends that meant so much to us! They popped confetti cannons as we walked in (she loves confetti) and then we just enjoyed the rest of the night with our friends and our families.
Phew. A long story, and I feel like I’ve missed a lot of the minor details, but there it is !! How I asked Jen Huckaby to be my wife. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her :)))