How and or where did you meet?
We actually went to school together and grew up just a mile apart, but Richard was two years older. We were friends on social media, but barely more than acquaintances. After high school, we both moved away to attend college – Richard at Arkansas Tech University, and Samantha at Missouri State University. As luck would have it, Richard attended Missouri State University for his Masters degree, and we graduated in the same ceremony on the same day, just a few rows apart (but neither of us knew that at the time).
Many years later, we would both be led to move back home, and God would cross our paths many different times. We were both on a similar journey at a similar time, and we began to take notice of one another. We started to exchange a few messages here and there, but nothing more. Until one Sunday morning in August… I woke up and immediately started planning for my weekly meal-prep, but NOTHING sounded good. So I opened my Pinterest and started browsing. White chicken enchiladas – yum! Go figure I had no ingredients, and Sunday is never my shopping day – I have an hour-long commute every day, and another day on the road wasn’t ideal. But being able to take my time to shop didn’t sound too bad, so I rolled out of bed and got dressed. I threw on my favorite baseball cap, and on the way out the door I said “Do I look like I should be embarrassed if I ran into someone I know?” I was assured that I looked fine, and away I went.
Once I arrived at the store, I took my usual route – toward the cosmetics side and to pick up some vitamins before circling around to get my groceries. So I walked in, took a left, and immediately ran into – you guessed it – Richard! I said ‘hi’ and he responded enthusiastically, but we both clammed up and parted ways. I immediately thought “Oh Lord, that was pathetic. Give me another chance!” About 5 minutes later, we crossed paths again. This time we simply nodded and continued on, all the while I’m thinking “Yep, I blew it.” And then we bumped into each other a THIRD time! This time we both laughed at the irony and talked a bit more. I finished up and called my sister to tell her about the encounter – in total disbelief! That next morning she had to talk me out of reaching out to him, and said “Don’t force it. Let him message you.” An hour later, that’s exactly what he did!
We talked everyday for about two weeks, and then he asked me to lunch. We started spending more time together, and it was amazing just how many times God had crossed our paths over the years. One of the funny things about my life has been that with every move, God always brought me to a place of familiarity and a tie to home. When I moved to Springfield for college, I lived on Harrison Street. When I moved to Columbia, I lived in Boone County (Harrison, AR is also in Boone County). When I moved to Kansas City, I lived on Highland (my dad worked for, and retired from, Hiland). So I always felt like I was in the right place, up until my last move – there was no tie to home and that ended up being very temporary before He ultimately brought me home. I say all that to say, I grew up in a little house on Harness Road.. just a mile away from the man that was meant to be my husband, on the street that bears his last name. When God brought Richard into my life, I quickly knew, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
How did you get proposed to?
We planned to visit my parents for the weekend to celebrate my mom’s birthday. My sister and her family were planning to make the trek out there as well, and we were collaborating on a Mexican fiesta to celebrate! Enchiladas, chips, salsa, guacamole, and a homemade birthday cake – the whole nine!
I knew the proposal was coming, but I didn’t think it would be that day – the timing didn’t seem quite right. We were celebrating my mom’s birthday, and I was running around like crazy to get ready! Richard was glued to my side, acting very strangely, when he asked me to go for a walk. Is he crazy?! It’s, like, 20 degrees! So I just looked at him and said “WHEN?!”
A little while later, he asked if we might have time for a four-wheeler ride – at this point I’m thinking “what is with this guy today?!” Which I would soon find out… I protested again, but this time he said “Please! I promise it’ll be worth it,” so I reluctantly agreed.
We asked to borrow dad’s four-wheeler and he insisted that I needed to bundle up. I really just wanted to hurry, so I protested that too, haha! But they both insisted, and dad offered to let me borrow his parka. Dad LOVES a good joke, so I swear he did this on purpose — that parka was about 10 sizes too big and went all the way to my knees. So glamorous! After bundling up, we hopped on the four-wheeler and Richard took me to my favorite spot.
I’ll give you a little context on why this is my favorite spot… After I moved back home, I spent a lot of time in nature and in quiet reflection. This is the place where I grew and became the person I am now. This is where I came to know Jesus as a close, personal friend. All of those days that I would get out of bed and go for a walk, I would walk with Jesus and confide in Him all that weighed me down; but there is a little spot just around the bend from mom and dad’s house that overlooks the rolling hills and pastures. That is where I concluded every day and thanked God for giving me this place. I shared this place with Richard the first time he visited, and this is where he wanted it to be.
Now I am fully aware that he is about to propose, and a million thoughts enter my mind, but mostly it all starts to make perfect sense. I had questioned his timing, but it was clear to me why it had to be now. He pulled out a letter and asked me to read it, but again, I protested (are we seeing a pattern here? – pray for Richard, haha!). I wanted the words to come from him, and I wanted to listen and take it in. So he read the letter and dropped to one knee in that beautiful place. Through blurry eyes, the only thing I wanted to say was “YES!”
A little later, God reminded me of a prayer that I had prayed one year prior. It was something that stirred me enough to want to write it down, so I went back to find it. On February 14th, 2018 (almost one year to the day), I prayed this prayer in my favorite spot: “That one day in the future, with God’s timing, I will be able to look back on today a remember what I prayed for on this day… that I will find myself walking next to the man I’m meant to love on the same dirt road that I’ve spent so many days walking with God and praying for him.” Richard never knew I prayed that prayer. Nobody did. Only me, and only God.
What was your favorite memory from your wedding day?
While deep in the wedding planning process, Richard and I struggled to decide what we wanted to do for our unity ceremony. Nothing really felt quite right, and we wanted to do something a little different. I stumbled across a photo of a group prayer that took my breath away, and then it started to take shape.
Our preacher led us in communion, and then he invited our immediate family to envelope us – our first layer of support as we begin our lives together – and then he opened it up to our guests. Richard termed this our “Holy Huddle” ?
I remember looking up in this moment to see the magnitude of our support system and prayer family that we had surrounding us. It was an amazing moment, and I’m so glad I did.
What vendors did you use at your wedding?
Photographer: Aaron Clark Photography (Branson, Missouri)
Wedding dress: Norman’s Bridal (Springfield, Missouri)
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse
Flowers: Sister’s Flowers & Gifts (Harrison, Arkansas)
Cake: Bake to Create (Harrison, Arkansas)
Hair: Mackenzie Adams, Sachet Salon (Harrison, Arkansas)
Makeup: Cindy Harness, Mary Kay (Harrison, Arkansas)
What was your experience like at Normans Bridal?
My experience here was incredible! I have worked with you before, so I knew this was where I wanted to look, and I could not be happier with the experience. I had a large group of women with me, and Norman’s was so accommodating to them and me. My consultant met with me to get an idea of what I was looking for and pulled several styles that matched my wish list. I had an idea that I wanted to have sleeves for a fall wedding, but she wasn’t sure, so we tried one on and I immediately knew that wasn’t the style for me. We tried on two styles of dresses which were beautiful, but not quite the “one” (the color was off, or the neckline wasn’t quite right). She thought for a moment and said she knew just the dress! It ended up being perfect! A beautiful ivory lace dress with an antiqued gold underlay – and it fit just right. The perfect, romantic look for my outdoor fall wedding with its warm tones that matched my bridesmaids perfectly. I could not believe it was the third dress I tried on! She was great.
I returned later to pick out my veil, which was another lovely experience. There was a festival downtown, and it was very busy, but they pulled me into a side room away from the busyness and gave me their full attention. We ended up finding a beautiful chapel-length veil with lace that perfectly matched my gown, and she had me wrapped up and checked out in no time! I could not recommend Norman’s more highly.