Sammy and Riley

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How We Met

I first met Sammy a few weeks into my freshman year of college at Point Loma Nazarene University. I was sitting in the library with one of my friends when I saw Tori, a good family friend who I hadn’t seen in a while, walking towards us with a cute brunette. Apparently, she didn’t want to come and talk to me alone so she asked her friend who was with her to come over and say hello.  That friend happened to be Sammy! Tori and Sammy made their way over to where my friend and I were sitting. The conversation wasn’t very long;  just a quick hug and hello from Tori and a brief hello from Sammy. I remember being immediately taken aback by how beautiful Sammy was. Once the girls walked away, I leaned over to my friend and said: “Hey bro she’s short like you and really cute, you should go for her!” Ironically, he ended up dating her later that year for a couple of months.

After that day, our relationship grew quickly from acquaintances to best friends! Our friend circles collided so naturally, we started to spend a lot of time around each other. At the start of sophomore year, my friend, whom Sammy was dating, transferred and they ended up breaking up. I started having feelings for Sammy in the beginning of that year but didn’t know what to do with them as we grew in our friendship.  Sammy and I had so much fun with each other and my feelings for her continued to grow as time passed. Although I had these feelings for her I was wrestling with God about whether I was in a season and place in my life to truly pursue her. I wanted it to be all in His timing.

A few months into our sophomore year I finally got the courage to tell Sammy I had feelings for her. So one night, in the courtyard on campus, I shared my heart with her. Unfortunately, she didn’t have the same feelings and gave me the classic, “But we can still be friends right?” Sad, I know! After that day Sammy and I continued to be best friends yet my feelings for her slowly started to fade and we went our separate ways when it came to dating.

During junior year God was doing a lot in Sammy’s life, which was amazing to watch, and our friendship was much the same as before. In November of that school year, my feelings for her started coming back. I began pondering and praying a lot, asking God whether this was from Him and if I should act on them again or if I just needed to let them settle down and pass. I waited and waited and they remained consistent, if not growing more and more. I eventually made the decision that I was going make her give me a chance, and if that didn’t happen then I would move on. So after class one day I told her I had feelings for her again and she gave me a very ambiguous, “I don’t know” which left me even more confused so I asked her on a date to see what she would say. She hesitantly said, “YES!!!!”

Two weeks later we went on an epic date, four wheeling and then to a nice dinner in La Jolla. I wish I could say after that the stars aligned and we fell in love and she finally let me in but that wasn’t the case. The date was great yet the relationship after that didn’t quite take off.  The following month was marked with questions of whether she was willing to let me in or not and it honestly took the voice of God in both our lives to make it happen. I eventually had to tell her I was done and was going to move on because I was tired of chasing her. Funny thing was that this made her realize her true feelings for me and things shifted very quickly after that, as my brother and mother had advised me would happen! Within a few weeks, we became inseparable! I asked her to be my girlfriend and things took off from there! I guess my determination paid off in the end!

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How He Asked

On February 13th Riley and I decided to go on a sunrise hike to Iron Mountain! We planned on leaving my house around 4am because it was going to be an hour drive as well as take an hour to get to the top once we started the hike. When Riley promptly arrived at the agreed time, he found that I had slept through my alarm so I woke up to Riley slowly tiptoeing in my room (as to not wake up my sleeping roommate) to wake me up! We quickly got all of our things together and headed on the road! Once we got there we grabbed a Mexican blanket, mugs, and coffee, put it all in our backpacks and started our climb in the dark. When we got to the top Riley was very adamant about setting our stuff down on this specific rock. Seeing that it had the best view and was pretty sweet I lovingly agreed and we pulled out our stuff and sat down to watch the sunrise. We sat for about a half hour just talking, sipping coffee, singing worship songs and enjoying the morning! About 3 minutes before the sun came up behind the mountains Riley starts to tell me about a dream that he had a couple of weeks prior. After telling me about how much he loved me, my heart starting to beat faster and faster…

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He got down on one knee and pulled out of his pocket a ring! I was so stunned all I said was, “No Way!” Of course, I said, “YES!” and we stood there freaking out while the sun was still rising!! Our friend Garrett Richardson eventually popped out of the bushes with a big ole camera and snapped some awesome pictures of us! After spending some time up there and asking Riley a million questions, we made our way back down to our car and raced off to make it in time for our breakfast reservation.  Both of us were so excited we basically ran all the way back down the mountain!

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When we arrived at the restaurant they led us to our table which was covered in red rose petals!  We ate a yummy breakfast together and he told me I wasn’t aloud to call or talk to anyone all day and took my phone from me. After we finished our breakfast we went on a walk in La Jolla. Riley said he had a destination in mind and led me to a nail salon where he had already made reservations for us to get our nails done…. (yes I did say US)! Riley and I both got pedicures and I got my nails done as well. I think Riley enjoyed it more than I did! Once we were all done he told me we were going to head to the mall. Once there he bought me a dress to wear to dinner and we headed back to my house. He dropped me off and told me he would pick me up at 5 pm for dinner and for another surprise!

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When 5pm rolled around we were on our way to dinner (at this point I had no idea where we were going). We pulled up to my favorite restaurant downtown called “ROYS”! I was so excited! Once inside they led us to our table where our entire families, who had all flown into San Diego earlier that day, were eagerly waiting for us! BEST SURPRISE EVER!! We had an amazing dinner and when it was almost over Riley said we had to leave and walked me outside. We walked over to the end of the dock by the bay and he told me to close my eyes. He then led me onto a little boat and when I opened my eyes I saw two of my friends dressed up as boat captains! They drove us through the bay back over to Point Loma where all of our roommates along with a few other really close friends were waiting for us! We got out of the boat and all gave hugs and took some pictures! I thought the night was over when I once again was told to close my eyes and get into a car. I was then blind folded and driven to another location. I was escorted into the backyard where Riley then took off my blindfold and was greeted by about 50 of my friends and family all yelling “Congratulations!” The rest of the night was full of telling stories about the day, hugs, laughs, food and fun! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day to celebrate our future life together!

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Special Thanks

Garrett Richardson
Photography