Mariah and Andrew

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How We Met

Andrew and I first met when we were 11 and 10 (respectively). We attended the same church, and our families were good friends. Despite this, however, we remained basically unaware of the others existence until the summer of 2015.

In August 2015, our church sent a group of young folks on a week-long missions trip to the Gleanings for the Hungry base in Dinuba, California. Andrew and I had both participated in this ministry before, but somehow hadn’t noticed each other until this summer. We worked alongside each other all week, and spent increasingly more of our free time in each other’s company. By the end of the week, we were good friends and sorry to say goodbye. He returned to his home in Washington, while I went back to Southern Oregon.

We frequently corresponded through email over the next couple of weeks. We even planned a weekend trip for him to bring some friends to visit, at the end of which he asked my dad if we could get to know each other more intentionally.

And thus started it all.

The next month comprised of daily phone calls, emails, and chats – a flurry of questions and answers sent back and forth as we tried to get to know each other and discern if a deeper relationship was worth pursuing. We discussed our beliefs, our core values, our pasts, our strengths and weaknesses, expectations, anything and everything we could think of that would help us know one another on a deeper level before emotional attachment came into play full force. After a month, we decided that we wanted to proceed, and we officially announced our relationship.

We dated for eight months, with Andrew driving four hours (each way) just about every other weekend to come and visit. When he wasn’t here, we wrote each others letters and emails, and also talked frequently on the phone and over chat. I am thankful that it wasn’t a horribly long distance LDR, but it was still hard having to say goodbye every weekend. Each time he came to visit, I fell a little more in love.

How He Asked

This summer, Andrew tagged along on my family vacation. While we were staying at my grandma’s house in San Diego, she got us all tickets to tour the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. Everyone was looking forward to it, although the little boys in particular were excited to explore the ship. Andrew also seemed unusually excited about the photographic opportunities it held (little did I know that he was actually excited about something else).

Tuesday morning we got up, packed a lunch, piled into the van, and drove to the harbor. The aircraft carrier was immense. After all our tickets were checked and we were officially on board, Andrew suggested going straight up to the flight deck. He and I were more interested in the view than we were in exploring the inside of the ship. Mom agreed that it was a good plan, so we all climbed the stairs to the top.

At the far end of the deck, there were these two little ramp-like structures that extended past the end of the ship – not exactly sure what their purpose is, but they offered a nice place to get a view, and Andrew suggested that we walk out on one so that my grandma could take a picture with the water behind us.

We both walked to the edge and I leaned against the railing, taking in the view. Andrew was standing behind me to my left. After a moment, he said, “You know that question I’ve been meaning to ask you?” Before I had a chance to respond, he said, “Mariah, will you marry me?”

I let out a little laugh and responded, “No.”

Now, I had NO idea that he was actually proposing. We often joked about him proposing (although he had never said the words directly), and I knew that there were various pre-engagement goals that hadn’t been met yet; it didn’t even register in my brain as a possibility that he could propose to me while on vacation in California. Of course I did want to marry him, but it felt odd to say ‘yes’ if he wasn’t seriously asking, so I said ‘no’.

I turned around and caught my breath as I saw him down on one knee, holding an open ring box, his eyes lit up and the most adorable smile on his face.

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I can’t put into words all the feelings that overwhelmed me as I realized that he was actually asking me to spend the rest of my life with him.

“I’m serious.”

“Oh my gosh.” My heart was pounding, and tears filled my eyes as I started laughing. “Yes!” Then, like the girl I am, I started crying as I hugged him. We were both shaking.

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The rest of the day was filled with laughter, exclamations of “We’re getting married!”, random hugs, and admiring the gorgeous ring on my finger.

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It was (and honestly still is, to an extent) so surreal.

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I am so thankful for this wonderful man, and I cannot wait to live the rest of my life with him. <3 Photo credit goes to my amazing grandma, who wielded my Canon DSLR like a champ. I am so grateful to have pictures of that precious moment!