Blake and Samantha

How We Met

If you told me five years ago that I was going to be marrying Blake Joyner I probably would have punched you square in the face. So I bet you are wondering just HOW we really are getting married? Well, where shall I begin? Blake and I met a few days before the first day of high school through a mutual best friend. We ended up being in the same 7th period class as freshmen in high school, the ONLY class that you have every single day of the week. What are the chances?! I guess fate was on our side. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time together and quickly became best friends. He was almost as weird as I was. I will never forget the time that he took off our history teacher’s glasses and put them on and sang “Grandpa Got Ran Over by a Reindeer” in front of the entire class. That was the first time I saw it. But I shoved it down. He was just my friend remember?

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Throughout high school, we dated other people and only stayed friends. Everyone joked that we acted like an old married couple and that we would end up together. It just so happened that Blake and I both committed to going to the same college. What are the chances..again!?

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Blake and I dated for a few months freshman year in college, but we both were not ready for a serious relationship. Things ended so badly that we did not talk for months and we actually hated each other’s guts. And this is where God stepped in. See, God has a sense of humor. He also has perfect timing. God is also always about the comeback story. So here is ours. I had been faced with extremely painful memories that had resurfaced in my life. It was a time when I was wondering where God could be in situations like this. In these exact moments of desperation and loneliness, Blake would text me saying things like, “I felt like God wanted me to text you to tell you that He is with you and that He is holding you.” The timing was absolutely uncanny, and it happened every.single.time – without fail. I became angry at God, wondering why he was using Blake of all people to be the messenger of such a loving message. I started asking God and praying to Him about this weird situation, and God started revealing to me things He wanted to tell Blake!! I obeyed and reluctantly would text Blake the things I felt God speaking to me for him, and he like me, felt it was exactly what he needed in that moment. The uncanny timing and words from God that were being exchanged between us became so great that we both felt we needed to discuss what was happening in person. I was not looking forward to it. The day had arrived. As we drove to coffee, I looked over at Blake and he looked me directly in the eye – something he NEVER used to do! I was stunned and for some reason I cannot explain, I suddenly felt like the most beautiful girl in the world. Un-showered, no sleep, no make up, I felt radiant. It was like this inner light was beaming through and melting all of my insecurities away. We pull up to the French Press coffee shop and just like old times, he orders us vanilla lattes. The way he walks is different, the way he talks is different. Who is this.. this… man? We sat down at the back table and talked for who knows how long and who knows about what. I don’t remember a single thing said because I had this overwhelming sense that I was meeting someone new yet familiar. And that I was in love. And I was in deep trouble. Those eyes! That face! I knew sitting there at coffee, I was going to marry Blake. I cannot explain it, I just knew. But I was fighting it. On our drive back home, I broke the silence and I have absolutely no idea where this came from, “Do you have a girlfriend?” He laughs, “Haha no. Why? Do you have a boyfriend?” “Me? Please. The only way I would even look at a boy and ever think about dating him is if God said that He gave me this person.” “Yeah, OK Sam, whatever. You will get married. I just know. I just know these things.” Annoyed and rolling my eyes, he laughs and turns on the radio. The song is just starting and soon it gets to the chorus. *Cue chorus* “…God gave me you…” Blake and I immediately look at each other in shock and then start simultaneously laughing. That moment, we both knew that we had no chance of fighting against it. We knew it was meant to be. The beautiful comeback… And the rest is history.

How He Asked

After more than 9 years of being best friends and three and a half years of officially dating, the day had finally come. July 15th, I woke up and I knew that something about the day felt different. I rolled over to look at my phone and Blake had texted me saying that he had planned a picnic for us in Santa Barbara. (Blake never plans things like this, could this really be happening??!?!!) Blake picks me up looking all cute and we drive to Santa Barbara. Blake was acting really weird, and would not hold my hand. He could not even really make eye contact with me. What is going on? Finally, we pull up to one of my favorite parks in Santa Barbara. Blake gets the picnic basket out and he takes my hand and leads me to the trail head and I see something attached to the pole. I look closer. It is a picture that I had painted in art class for Blake a few years back. Oh. no. It is happening. I totally lost it. Right there at the very entrance to the trail head I lost it and cried huge crocodile ugly tears of joy and excitement. As he led me up the trail, there were letters and pictures and souvenirs of our relationship hanging from the trees. Blake stopped at each one and explained to me the significance it meant to him and to our relationship. I was absolutely blown away.

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As we kept walking along the trail to get to the picnic spot, Blake led me to this gigantic oak tree that was overgrown and you could walk underneath it and it became like a cave. I looked around and saw rose petals spread out on the ground, letters and pictures hanging from the trees like a Taylor Swift music video, and right in front of me, a bench with two copies of a book. Blake explained that the pictures and letters here were the most important and integral to our relationship. He took me to the bench and showed me the book he picked out for us to read called The Meaning of Marriage, by Timothy Keller. THERE IT IS. Marriage. Yikes. Oh boy, this is it! He brought me to the center of the rose petals and took both of my hands in his. “So I talked to your dad…” That is literally all I remember because I totally blacked out.

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And then I saw the ring. And then all of a sudden I came back to life and realized what had just happened. It was actually the biggest thing I had ever seen. I was just staring at the ring and totally freaking out over it and Blake was still on his one knee waiting for me to answer him. “So…. will you?” “YES OF COURSE!” I shouted.

Blake's Proposal in Santa Barbara, California

Blake and Samantha's Engagement in Santa Barbara, California

And then we sat on the bench under this massive oak tree and stared at each other (and the ring, obviously) and cried for about an hour of pure happiness. Blake really pulled out all of the stops and made this proposal perfect and over the top for me. It was perfect. Not to mention that Blake had a secret photographer and picked out the most spectacular ring I have ever seen!!!! I am not lucky I am blessed YES! How about that for a comeback story?!??! Like my mama always says, “What is meant to be will ALWAYS find its way, no matter what.”

Special Thanks

Emily Hart-Roberts
Photographer