Cierra and Andrew chose to have their engagement session at the Barn at Reynolda Village in Winston-Salem, N.C., due to the fact that Cierra is from Nebraska and, as she puts it, “I was basically raised in a barn so this just felt right!”. / Images by Red Boat Photography.
Says Cierra, “I’m saying this at the risk of sounding cheesy or maybe even a little bit cliché, but truly, if you would have told me that I was going to marry Andrew when he and I first started talking, I would have fought you.
When Andrew first came into my life I was frankly not in the best place in my life. To explain, in the weeks leading up to our first point of communication, I had gone from my last summer in Alaska to back home on a flight that landed me within the 24-hour window that we would bury my brother.
In a few short days following his funeral, I packed up my life once again and my mama and I moved me into a brand new school, in a brand new city full of brand new people and nothing familiar. For the first time in my life I was facing a homesickness so fierce that I couldn’t sleep at night and I dared not go home before Thanksgiving break because I knew if I went too soon, I wouldn’t come back to school. All of this to say that when the person who told Andrew and I about each other kept pushing him onto me I responded with, “Listen, I’m sure Andrew is a really nice guy, but I’m not moving to North Carolina, I’m not marrying him, and I am NOT having his babies, so stop”. Ha. And here we are. Thank God for grace and second chances for stubborn ways.
Our story would have turned out very differently had the person on the other end been anyone other than Andrew.
I felt no need to impress this boy, so I gave him every honest truth about myself, my life, my current situation, my beliefs, my views, what makes my heart sing and what makes my heart ache. He may not have understood all of it and he may not have said much but what he did do was listen, and through it all he never saw the crazy that I so strongly felt, he only saw my heart in its true and raw form—that what pushes me through and fuels my ability to overcome is my heart for people, for doing the right thing and above all, a tested, tried and unbreakable belief that my life is riddled with purpose and promise. I invited him to see it all, but all he saw was all that mattered.
Andrew and I spoke with a distance between us for four months before we finally met. From September to January we spoke to each other daily through texting, phone calls, hand written letters, and FaceTime.
With such a big distance between us we became pretty crafty pretty quickly when it came to date nights after he asked me to be his girlfriend. A typical distance date night for us means I block out time during the evening that cannot be interrupted by homework, friends or roommates, he orders me my favorite pizza from Domino’s and cooks his favorite pizza at home and we watch a movie on Skype. Voila! Distance date night. When we’re together, every date night begins with a solid jam to LA Woman by The Doors (my dad would be really proud of that). And in between those nights we’ve spent many days and one amazing summer growing together as a couple and getting to know the family and friends that we hold so closely.”