Hillary and Connor

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How We Met

The first time Connor and I met we were 15 years old and sitting on a driveway outside of a friend’s house. We both grew up in neighboring cities and coincidentally each of our good friends had houses next door to each other. I really didn’t think much of this “neighbor boy’s friend” except that he was tall and could play the guitar. Connor, on the other hand, remembered me as the girl with blonde hair who (as a new freshman in high school) thought she was way cooler than she was.

About two years later, to our surprise, our sisters met in college at Texas Christian University and became best friends and then roommates. Since they grew up close to each other in California, this friendship turned into our families spending dinners and going to football games together when they were home for the holidays. Naturally, the “neighbor boy’s friend” and I became “forced” friends since our families were spending so much time together. While I thought Connor was nice, I was dating someone else and didn’t think twice about being anything more than friends. We were so different, and for sure not each other’s types.

To the lack of my knowledge at the time, Connor had been telling my sister since the first day we spent time all together that if me and my boyfriend ever broke up, he wanted my phone number.

Years went by and I moved to Charleston, South Carolina for college while Connor decided to play football at TCU. As sophomore year rolled around, my high school boyfriend and I broke up and sure enough, my sister stayed true to her promise. Less than a week after the break up I received a text from Connor. This text turned into a conversation and the conversation quickly turned into phone calls multiple nights of the week.

When we both arrived home for Christmas break, our Sophomore year of college, I drove over to Connors house after talking with him every day for the last three months. Not thinking that we were anything more than best friends, I knocked and the door opened to a much more tall and attractive man than I had ever remembered. I whispered to my sister who was standing next to me at the time,

“Kaylin, what in the world. Why did you fail to mention how crazy attractive Connor was! Is it healthy to have a best friend that is this cute?”

After a few moments being together in person, Connor told me that he wanted to take me on a date.

“Connor, no. We are just best friends. We can’t date.”

Fortunately, Connor wasn’t great at taking no for an answer and continued to other me about this date until I had no choice but to agree.

“Okay, one date. But that is all.”

Less than a week later, Connor took me on the most amazing date I have ever been on. We picnicked on a cliff over the ocean and danced under the stars.

I wish I could write now that after this perfect night we have been dating ever since, but that would be far from the truth. While Connor since day one was convinced he would one day marry me, it took me the next three years to decide to fully date him. I was uncertain on my future and thought that he was too good to be true. While I told him about every three months that we would never work out, we remained best friends and he never wavered in how he felt.

Finally, with the help of friends and family and the overarching grace of the Lord, I came to my senses and became Connor’s girlfriend (and now finance!!).

I am still now even the slightest bit sure of why he continues to pursue me the way he does, but he remains the biggest picture of undeserved love and grace in my life. The greatest reflection of the One who knit the entire story together to begin with.

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How He Asked

About a week ago, Connor asked if we could get breakfast in Palos Verdes with some good friends who were visiting California from out of town. Halfway along the hour long journey from southern Orange County, we received a text from our friends that they were running a bit late so Connor suggested that we walk along the beautiful cliffs of Palos Verdes until they were ready to eat. Completely oblivious as to what was about to take place, I agreed but complained about my feet (in heels) as we journeyed down the steep cliffs edging the Pacific Ocean.

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As we were walking I noticed what looked like a small sign on a plateaued area of the cliff in the distance. Utterly unaware as to what this was, we continued to walk and I began to hear notes from the song we first danced to years back on our first date. Then, as we got closer and closer to the sign, I realized it had lyrics from the song on it…. “Put on your old black dress and grab your dancing shoes.”

And then, there hanging on the sign was my favorite black dress, and a pair of vans (our favorite shoes together).

Before I could say a word, I heard my name and turned to see my best friend, Holly Beth, from Charleston who I hadn’t gotten to see since moving a year ago. I knew at this point what was happening and could barely breathe.

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Holly was radiating with joy and held up a towel.

“Come on Hill! Come change into your black dress!”

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Quickly I changed and turned to see Connor, sitting and ready to put on my new shoes. I sat down on a tree stump as he began slipping my feet into the Vans and as my left foot slid into the shoe I felt a ring box at the toe of it.

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The rest of the conversation that would follow I don’t quite remember as I was still in shock, but soon I had my grandmother’s ring on my finger and was dancing to the song we first kissed to on our first date, 4 years back.

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As we were dancing, I saw both my sisters and his sister run out of the bushes and look up to hear a roar from the cliff above us. More than 40 of our closest friends and family were cheering at the top of their lungs.

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After many hugs and tears from my sisters we walked up to the top of the cliff to a perfectly set table with catered food and sunflowers. There, we ate the most incredible lunch along the cliff as I sat in disbelief at how undeservedly loved both Connor and I were by our friends and family.

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Special Thanks

Sara Klepacki
Photography