Tag Archives: wedding

Our Engagement Story

Guys I am soooo overjoyed to share with you Clayton and I’s proposal story. This past week has been the best week, full of excitement, friends, family, and a promise that I get to look down at on my hand every day! I can’t say enough about how thankful I am to be Clayton’s girl, and how excited I am that I get to spend a lifetime with him!

So let’s hop into the story, shall we?


We were in Portland, OR visiting one of my college roommates and her husband who moved there about a year ago. I had been searching for a good time to come visit, and when I saw the ticket prices drop, I jumped on it and invited Clayton to join too! The whole weekend was absolutely incredible. From foodie spots to hikes on the coast, it couldn’t have been a better trip. Clayton has been sooo busy with American Native and we had been fighting for quality time together, so this trip came at the perfect time. We hadn’t even started our first day in Portland when I mentioned how good the trip had already been, being together and focusing on nothing other than being together. Little did I know one of the biggest moments of my life was around the corner!


It was our first morning there and we woke up early,  our bodies touching the ground on each of our deflated air mattresses in Julie & Trav’s living room. Luxury travel, I know. Because of the time change, we were up preeeeety early, so we decided to go on a little run through the city to get the day started. It was absolutely perfect weather, sunshine and only slightly chilly. We got back, and Clayton seemed a little eager to get the day started. (I only found out later that he was on a timeline with the photographer). So, we decided on a breakfast place, and headed out to enjoy one of our favorite meals of the day together.

We settled on a brunch place called Screen Door. They specialize in southern food and let me tell ya, it was probably my favorite meal of the trip.We love early mornings and breakfast food, so it was the perfect way to start an engagement day. His order: chicken and waffles. Her order: Veggie Egg Frittata. Um, YUM. We had the best time, people watching from the patio and seeing multiple trucks come in with farm-fresh produce. Needless to say, I was already loving Portland.

To my knowledge, the day was free and there was no agenda to be had. I was open to anything! Clayton mentioned going up to Mt. Tabor, a mountain that overlooks Portland to get a better view of the city before we jumped into our weekend activities. I had heard him mention it before, so I had no obligation! We headed that way and it was the first time I had a good look at the trees in Portland. They were huge, and made you feel so small. I haven’t seen anything like them before! From where we parked, it was a short 10 minute walk up to the top of the mountain, where the overlook was. We parked and started our ascent.


As we walked up, I noticed all the wild daisies sprouting up everywhere. Wild daisies like this are my absolute favorite flower, and every spring I feel like a kid in a candy store, nose against the window looking at these beautiful little things that just grow on the side of the road. These daisies that sprout up, without permission and in no need of adoration, are one of the ways I really feel Jesus and am reminded of how much he loves his kids. It’s always been that way with wild daisies, and so it was just that much more special to see these all over the place I would be getting engaged.


We got to the top and saw the overlook of the city, the trees, and enjoyed the sunshine for a bit. Clayton suggested going down in the center of the park, under the trees. When we arrived, he reached into his back pocket and pulled out a little book. He suggested it was just a ‘little something’ and truly y’all, at this point, I STILL did not know a proposal was about to happen! I flipped through the book and saw that Clayton had compiled all the polaroids that we had taken over the past 16 months of our relationship. Pictures from our trips, various dates and events, all such sweet memories that I loved looking back on with him. Polaroids are kinda ‘our thing’ so we have quite a few piled up over the past year and a half. When I got to the end of the book, I saw that he had written a little something: “Will you be in my polaroids for a lifetime?”


My heart stopped, and as he sunk to one knee, I was truly in shock! I could not believe THIS WAS THE MOMENT!!! I kept saying “oh my gosh, wait, wait! slow down!!! Pause! Let me soak this in!” But of course, he didn’t stop, he continued to pull out a beautiful blush, crushed velvet ring box with a gold-foiled “C” on the top (Chamberlain, his last name). When he opened up the box, I truly couldn’t even keep myself from freaking out. I was shaking and tears were comin’ and I just couldn’t believe how beautiful this ring was! He slid it on my finger and I even think I forgot to say YES because I was so lost in the moment (I followed up with a YES, DUH, OF COURSE afterwards).

As if this wasn’t like the peak experience of my life, Clayton tells me that my favorite photographer, Phil Chester, was here to photograph our proposal!!! I hear some clicks from a camera, and there he is!! I start shaking and freaking out even more. Phil has been like my favorite photographer for YEARS and I couldn’t believe he was HERE to capture OUR engagement!!! CAPS!


It was such an unbelievably special time and even now, I can’t believe it’s real: that I actually get to marry Clayton Dean Chamberlain!!! After Phil finished up our photos and headed out, Clayton and I continued to stick around and talk about what the heck just happened. I begged to hear all the details: how he got Phil, how he decided to do it in Portland, when he got the ring, how he got the ring box, what secrets he (and all my friends and family) had been keeping from me! I wanted to know it all, and he was an open book.

After I had heard it all and cried some more, we got to spend some time praying together. I think out of everything, this was my favorite moment of the day. It was the first time Clayton and I were able to really pray as a couple committing their lives to each other and to Him together! It was such a freeing moment, not having to worry about emotional/spiritual boundaries because of the promise wrapped around my finger. It truly was amazing and opened up the door even wider for thankfulness, joy, and expectancy for what’s to come.

The rest of the day, as you can imagine, we were just on cloud 9, loving life, loving eachother, calling friends and family to share the exciting news. The rest of the weekend was enjoyed in Portland as a committed, engaged couple. (Stay tuned for a Portland recap and Bae Vacay video ROUND TWO!).


Lastly, though, I just have to say – Jesus is so faithful. Since I was young, I have hoped and most importantly, prayed into my future marriage. I would day-dream about what he’d be like, what his qualities would be, made my list and checked it twice of my ‘wants’ and ‘musts’, and while those ‘musts’ are important, Jesus knows my desires and needs wayyyyyyy better than I do. Clayton is my answered prayer, but he’s so much more. He’s God’s grace on my life, he’s all I want and exactly what I need in a life-partner. He makes me better and stretches me to be more Christ-like. So so so thankful and can’t wait to begin this adventure through life with him.

Photos by Phil Chester

Spotlight: Phil Chester

This morning, I stumbled across a photographer by the name of Phil Chester out of Portland, OR. What began as a quick glance at a few photos evolved into an hour of distraction, scanning each collection, mesmerized by the story-telling qualities and dream-like style of his photos. In an industry filled with over-used poses, and traditional, been-there-done-that moments, Chester captures couples in a way that even the subject itself feels that it is learning about it’s own love story for the first time. If there’s one thing I feel from his photos (though there are many), it’s that love has the ability to create it’s own beauty. We need not focus on the ‘perfect pose’ or the most beautiful location, but rather, let romance and love speak for itself, let it fill up the lens, the room, with color, with the beauty of giving yourself away to another.


Spend way too much time clicking through his portfolio like I did here.

LOVESTRUCK Sessions: Julie + Travis Harris

Travis and Julie are one of a kind. I don’t think I’ve ever met a couple whose intimacy breeds inclusivity the way theirs does. Julie and Travis fell in love in Thailand years ago, and just a few months ago returned to the place their hearts first embraced to exchange their vows. They’ve travelled the world, pushed through 2 years of long distance, and have loved each other, Jesus, and those around them radically in the process.


Q: How did you two meet?
THEM: We both decided to take a gap year before college and go on a 9 month long mission trip with Adventures in Missions going to Nicaragua, Thailand, and Kenya. We met on the first night of training camp, sitting right across from each other at dinner, and became good friends from then on.


Q: What’s the most impacting memory you two have with each other?
HIM:  Four days into our honeymoon we were in Pai, Thailand and got awful food poisoning. We both needed taken care of, but we both felt terrible. We took turns throughout the night singing to each other, praying for each other, and scratching each others backs. A few days later I woke up to Julie with the sudden realization that she is my family now. I said, “You’re my family” over and over again with tears coming to my eyes. 


Q: When did you first know you were in love?
THEM: We started developing a love for each other toward the end of our time in Thailand. For first two months we were in Chiang Mai together, but for our last month all of the guys on our team went to Burma and the girls to Phuket, Thailand. Our friendship had grown so much while we were in Chiang Mai, and before parted ways for the next month, we both knew that we were both in love.


Q: How did he propose?
HER: I thought we were just going out to California to visit Blake and help her move back to Arkansas. We had an awesome week on Newport Beach and as we left to go to San Diego, we made a surprise stop to Salvation Mountain, a beautiful place Travis and I had been wanting to go to for a while that we found out about in one of our favorite movies- Into the Wild. Even when we got there I had no idea he was planning on proposing, and then he pulled me around the corner, took off my sunglasses, said some beautiful things, and proposed. It was still to this day the most joyful moment of my life, we couldn’t stop laughing or crying or smiling.


Q: What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from one another?
 The biggest thing we have learned from each other is honesty with our own hearts. In our experience, a lot of people are quick to give advice, especially when it comes to relationships and marriage. Everyone has different opinions, and no two relationships are the same.  But we’ve found that we’re much happier when following our hearts. And this is what led us to getting married in Thailand.  We weighed the pros and cons of various times and places to get married and realized that we had to take our first step in deciding what kind of family we wanted to be–a family that listens to and follows their hearts.

Q: How has your relationship changed over the years? From traveling non stop together for 9 months, to 2 years long distance, to married?
 Well all of those seasons we have been through being in a relationship together have been so drastically different. In each of them we have learned such different things. On the mission trip, community, friendship (with each other and others) was a huge focus, along with seeking God’s heart for people together. While doing long distance we learned a heck of a lot about communication, being present where we were, and about sacrifice. Not the burden or pain of sacrifice, but the joy- Sacrifice just feels like passion when you are in love. In marriage, we learn everyday the gift we have getting to be so close with another human. It is the most beautiful time of my life yet.


Q: What’s your favorite quality in each other?
My favorite quality in Travis is his confidence in his own heart and his assuredness in who he is as Travis Harris, a son of God. He doesn’t walk in insecurity and brings freedom to everyone he meets.
HIM: One of my favorite qualities of Julie is her ability to see the best in people and her ease in making people feel known and most themselves.


Q: What is a word you feel that has marked your relationship & marriage thus far?
 Fearlessness – we haven’t let the “what-if’s” keep us from going where we know Holy Spirit is leading us. From falling in love on a mission trip, to over 2 years of long distance dating, going on a ladyboy mission trip in Bangkok, to then getting married in Thailand right after, and now living in Atlanta in our little studio apartment.

Q: What does it mean to love?
HIM: To be present.
HER: To honor.


Q: What are some of your dreams for the future?
Going after the parts of God’s heart that are highlighted to us at the time, whether it be a specific country, people group, family member, business model, or creative project.

We realize that obedience to what Holy Spirit has put on our hearts is the number one way to enjoy life and that is our aim.


*All photos by Sterling Graves