Lizzy Oke (aka The DIY Lady) met the love of her life – Amen when she was 17 at the movies and before a car accident, which changed her life. The couple got engaged in November 2015 and are set to get married. They shared their beautiful story and pictures from their engagement shoot with Damell Photography with us.
The couple are hoping to build a wheelchair accessible home. You can contribute towards making this a reality for Lizzy & Amen by donating HERE.
How we met (His Version)
I liked Lizzy when I heard about her, fell in love when I saw her. Now I want to cultivate my love for her forever.
I first heard of Lizzy at my home boy D-mite’s house (music producer extraordinaire). A bunch of us were over there laying some tracks and spitting verses (yes, I was a rapper in my other life lol) and the name “Lizzy immature” came up. She was a Nigerian girl who started college at 15 years old and got the “immature” nickname to differentiate her from another Elizabeth who was older. I quietly took notice of her because I too was young when I started college and I had a feeling we would relate.
I finally met this “Lizzy immature” at the movies on an unforgettable day in 2007. I was leaving the theatre with my brother, D-mite and other friends; while, Lizzy was just arriving with her best friend, Faith. We couldn’t have been any more polar opposites. I was the shy skinny dude in the corner while she was the life of the gathering. She had her 8.0-megapixel camera (inside joke) and was determined to use it to break every wall of shyness around her.
We all took pictures and although I had my mind set on Lizzy the entire time; everyone else, including her, thought I had a thing for her best friend Faith. Faith is cool, peoples and she has been instrumental in Lizzy and I being together, but Lizzy was it for me. She is the perfect combination of pretty and outgoing that brings the excitement to my life. Case and point, when I got home I mustered enough courage to add her on Facebook lol (Facebook was the in thing for college folks back then). However, after she accepted my friend request I shied out again and did not talk to her. Lizzy wasn’t having it lol so she sent me a message first (even though she wouldn’t admit, I think she was interested too). It was all the fuel I needed to step up my game.
Lizzy and I have been dating for over 8 years now and it has been one of those growing experiences that keep getting better with time. I remember when we first started talking. It was non-stop Facebook (FB) messaging and back and forth poking (I don’t get why FB poking was so fascinating then). Our conversations will go to the wee-wee hours of the night with no topic off limits. We could start at family and end in politics or music and end at school (I wish y’all could get a glimpse of our banter, it is for the fonder).
My favorite thing we would talk about is our faith and the Bible. She was subject for the development of my affinity for exhortation and uplifting her uplifted me. FB messages turned into phone calls and phone calls turned into dates and dates into experiences. What haven’t we done (for real, someone tell me so I can add to our to-do list).
We’ve gone to concerts, baseball games, seen plays and even experienced skydiving (everyone should try it once even if it is simulated with a big fan like ours was lol). I think every man’s dream is to find someone you enjoy who enjoys you. Now, throw in Lizzy’s live to the fullest personality amongst her other attributes; I’ve found exciting companionship in enjoying the fullness of life. I want this forever so I invested in a ring and I went to ask her father for her hand.
The Bible says that “a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24) I am looking forward to that new beginning. I feel like Adam finding “the bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” She is my pretty Lizzy, my photography Lizzy, my detective Lizzy, my exciting Lizzy, my-you-ain’t-gonna-act-shy-around-me Lizzy; my syrup to this buttermilk pancake they call life. I invite you all to come and join us in celebrating the beginning of this beginning that will be forever in Jesus name, Amen.
How we met (Her Version)
Man where I do I begin in writing our story though? If you know me, you know that writing and talking are some of my strong points – but when it comes to telling the story about my relationship with Amen, all I can come up with is something that usually ends up sounding like a Sunday morning message in church.
Why you ask? Well, it’s because Amen and I are where we are today because I have no doubt that God destined for us to be together. Cliché as that sounds, it’s the truth because Amen is a confirmation that God loves me and our story would be incomplete if I didn’t start with God.
Meeting Amen for the first time at the movies during spring break of 2007, I was just so happy to finally know someone else who was “really young and in college”. Most people I knew back then marveled that I got into TCC at 15 years old even though it was very normal to me as I had gone through high school in Nigeria before moving to the U.S.
Amen was one of the few people who quickly saw that it was a normal thing, and that I wasn’t a genius or anything – I could barely even compose two sentences without throwing a bullet because who English epp?
We met through our mutual friends at the movies and it was just a very regular meeting FOR ME! I was there with my bestie and I kept trying to “ship” her with Amen because they both had similar body build back in the day. I would call both of them and force three way phone calls after 9pm when it was free. My bestie was NOT having any of it but I seriously thought Amen was amazing and really enjoyed chatting with him and that was the beginning of it all o. Though I thought so highly of him, it never occurred to me that I should date him. I believe Amen didn’t mind my cupid playing ways as long as it meant I’d still be in the middle of things and talk to him. Dude just enjoyed getting to talk to me and didn’t hide it at all – Please don’t believe it when he tells you that I chatted him up first. LOL
In the beginning of our friendship, Amen didn’t express bluntly that he wanted to date me, so we were just friends, and friendship was all that I thought and felt. I liked him, enjoyed chatting with him a lot and was so free with him that I’d find myself sharing intimate details about my life with him. We’d be on our Facebook walls chatting for hours and talking on the phone almost every single day back then (Amen’s calls/texts are amongst the reasons my dad had to switch our mobile plan to unlimited everything – Lol… I love you Daddy).
Conversations with Amen were so fluid and I eventually stopped trying to put him and my bestie together when it became apparent that they both wouldn’t get past their age difference and when Amen explicitly showed that he was interested in me.
Well, as a fine girl who was also equally stupid, I told Amen I only liked him as a friend and would even tell him about other boys I was “talking to”. He’d listen like a champ and just tell me to be careful. He gave me selfless advice and was always so understanding. The crazy thing about the whole thing however was that no matter how many guys I connected with or “talked to” or tried to make it work with, I’d always compare them with Amen and not be fully satisfied with them. The relationships I tried to “make work” with other guys somehow ended up not working due to one reason or another.
Amen continued to be my very good friend whom I knew I wanted in my life forever, but wasn’t into “like that”. Talk about ‘friend zoning’ before it became a word.
I am however not proud of myself for treating him as just a friend all those years, because I realize that I wasted so much time not acknowledging God’s gift and blessing in my life. Amen has been everything that “1 Corinthians 13:4-8” describes to me. I will forever willingly admit I was foolish and blinded by the stupid things in life when I gave him so much grief by not accepting to be his girlfriend. Admittedly, I was young and just a teenager but I seriously wasted so much time in recognizing that everything I felt towards Amen is called Love.
Fast forward to the spring of 2008, I knew at this point that if I was to date Amen, it’d have to be FOR THE LONG HAUL because he was always so focused and appeared to know exactly what he wanted in life. You know, those people who said that girls matured faster than boys obviously never met Amen because he was always way ahead of everyone else his age. In his teenage years, Amen was already on fire for Christ, always included God in everything he did and I just didn’t want to ruin him by being his girlfriend. We were 18 and I thought to myself that we had the whole world ahead of us, and there was just no reason to fully commit to dating someone I knew would want a long term relationship.
About that same spring of 2008, I made it a life mission to get Amen to kiss me so that I could confirm our “compatibility” and then finally say yes to being his girlfriend. Well, that plan failed miserably because Le Boo shut me DOWN and said “The right way, or no other way”. I’ll be honest with you, I was very disappointed and told him we couldn’t date if he wouldn’t even kiss me. Something I would later come to regret, because right after spring break 2008, I headed back to school in Oklahoma and it was on my way back to school that I got into a car accident – a story I will not get into right now as most of you already know it.
As I was in the Intensive care unit (ICU) and during my physical rehabilitation, Amen was the one constant person I’d tell everything to other than my best friend. I would share the nitty gritty details of what the doctors said was happening to me with Amen, and he’d go on the internet and read more about what life meant with a spinal cord injury so that he could better relate with me. Communication was the rock on which we started this relationship and we still talk about any and everything on the surface of the earth. I’ve learned so much from my love and I’m inspired by how hardworking, smart, God-fearing, kind and genuine he is.
After the car accident, Amen continued to make it a point to let me know that he was still interested in having me as his girlfriend – however I was just not having it because I didn’t feel like I deserved to be loved by him. We were friends and that was that. I wasn’t willing to automatically accept his proposal to date me after the car accident. As a matter of fact, the car accident became a MAJOR reason why I was determined that dating Amen just wasn’t going to happen. First, was because I felt like I was damaged goods and second was that though we chatted frequently and I was already falling in love with Amen, he hadn’t visited me in the hospital, and only came to the rehab once. My 18 years old self was quite hurt by his physical absence but I was still so grateful for the emotional support he gave and also the friendship that he maintained with me.
After months of therapy and finally getting back home, Amen would visit me at home constantly and it was then that I came to find out the reasons beyond his control as to why he hardly visited me during my hospitalization and rehabilitation. I forgave him and the hurt I felt was no longer a reason for not dating him. Though I could deal with everything else life threw at me, I couldn’t forgive myself for wasting so much time in accepting to be his girlfriend. So while he continued to show me love and declare his interest – even after the car accident – I did what every foolish girl would do, and wasted even more time.
I was in love with Amen and he knew it, but I managed to convince myself that I was of no use to him and we were still too young to go through any major life crisis together.
Amen wouldn’t budge. I even tried to date somebody else to send him away but Amen persisted. My Christian and prayer life got stronger as we’d pray together.
With all of the love he showed me, I’d feel even worse. Why was he so good to me I’d ask myself. I’d question God. I’d question Amen. I’d question myself. We’d pray some more. Laugh some more. Cry some more. Amen saw the raw version of me. He was patient, he was kind, and he was once again everything in “1 Corinthians 13:4-8” to me. He saw my unedited version and still loved me. He’s not a man of many words yet he found the words and backed it up with actions because he was determined to break down my walls, especially since I believe he knew I was falling in love with him but just wouldn’t allow myself to LOVE him.
We remained friends and I went back to college in January 2009. Living a new life with spinal cord injury and in nursing school, I’d share everything with Amen! We’d Skype, call each other and were basically inseparable. We shared something we knew was deeper than we could put a label to, but we both knew we had to define our relationship and make progress in life. As I was healing from the physical trauma caused by the car accident, I was also healing emotionally and coming to terms with the fact that God had given me a second chance at life and at Love.
Praying together, laughing together, crying together, and doing everything together, I came to realize that Amen is my blessing from God and if I ever had any moment of doubt of how much God loves me, all I had to do was look at Amen and I’d immediately be reminded that I am blessed beyond what I deserve. Amen asked me to officially be his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day year 2009 and with all the love and joy in my heart, I said YES! Did I mention we eventually had our first kiss and it was EVERYTHING? Ok, TMI… but everything I ever worried about regarding dating Amen was so insignificant looking back on it now. Having officially dated for 7 years, LAWWWDD I AM SOOOO ready to be his wife!
I am so in love with Amen and although our story is not one of “boy meets girl, both fall instantly in love”, I am surely grateful for where we are right now.
I’ll continue saying to him and to anyone who cares to listen that I wish I could change so many things about our journey, but deep down inside of me, I am just JOYFUL that it was still OUR Journey. God made me for Amen, and made him for me. I love my handsome, God-fearing, very smart hot milk chocolate. I am so ready to get married and live the life God has planned for the both of us.
I cannot wait to build our life together forever and I’m so glad that I stopped wasting time and listened to everything I was feeling when I felt the confirmation that Amen was the man for me.
The proposal was something special for me. The challenge was to combine sentimental value, romantic ambience and Lizzy’s passion into a surprise proposal that will catch even the you-can’t-hide-anything-from-me “Liztective” off guard. I knew it had to somehow incorporate make up and Lizzy’s camera but I needed help and that’s were Faith came in. After some brainstorming sessions, the Faux-to shoot Proposal plan was conceived.
The concept was to convince Lizzy that the boyfriend of one of her friends, Sandra, was going to propose and he needed to do it during a photoshoot that Lizzy will plan. This was the perfect setup because knowing Lizzy and her “I must get everything perfect attitude,” she would take over and plan it all out. Little did she know that she would be planning her own proposal.
At first, Lizzy was not as enthusiastic as we thought she would be but as the time drew close, she couldn’t resist and planner Lizzy went to action (LOL). The best moment of the whole thing was when Lizzy asked my advice about what place she should do her friend’s proposal. I suggested the spot I actually wanted, the beautiful Mandalay Canal and she chose it. That was priceless (inception at its finest). Once the place was picked, next up was the romantic ambience which was provided by CY and his Guitar sing Bruno Mars’ “Marry You”. Then I contacted some of her close friends, one of them being, Tope, a photographer who agreed to help capture the moment.
The final piece to the puzzle was Faith convincing Lizzy to take Sandra on a girls night out / spa day before the photoshoot. This was to ensure that her nails were done and her makeup was on fleek (that’s how they say it right? fleek).
Everything wasn’t all hunky-dory; however, I still had one more nerve racking thing to do. I had to ask her dad for her hand in marriage. It’s not that he is scary, in fact, far from it. He is a wonderful affable man. The nerves were just there because I was actually doing it; diving into the best days of the rest of my life. Day of the proposal, knowing that Lizzy was out the house on her spa day, I went to ask her father for her hand. He was surprised as well but he accepted me as his son. Now the whole plan was in motion. I headed to the lake and then… (you have to watch the video for the rest of it).
After dating Amen for over 7 years and being friends for even longer, we both knew marriage was gonna happen. The proposal day however was a surprise to me, and I actually thought I was part of a plan to surprise a friend of mine (Sandra) for HER proposal. Since I’m a photographer, my best friend (Faith) sought my advice on planning the perfect proposal for Sandra. I had questions but each of my questions got answers that left me without suspecting that there was fowl play involved.
Over the course of planning the surprise proposal (that we told Sandra would be a photoshoot for her – since she’s been begging me for one), I would share details of the secret mission I was to embark on with Amen. Little did I know that he, Faith and Sandra were in on the whole thing. Amen actually advised me on the location for where our “photo shoot/Sandra’s supposed proposal” should be at, and I went ahead with his suggestion for the Mandalay Canal. It was the perfect spot for what ended up being MY proposal.
Those who know me know that I live for everything wedding, romance, love and photography. This was my zone, and I was excited to be making a friend’s day. I was lowkey jealous of how much work my best friend was putting into another person’s proposal, and I even made remarks like “When my own time comes, you better make sure you represent!! All I need is HALF of what you’re doing for Sandra”.
As I type this, I am remembering once again all the perfect lies the bestie told. LOL…DANG, that girl gave me no clues to work with son!! At a point, I remembered having a tiny inkling that this could very well be my proposal, BUT THE SPEED AND PERFECT DREAM KILLING SKILLS that the bestie possessed was nothing next to my “gut feeling”. She point blank told me not to set myself up for failure! Also, everything lined up well enough that I was totally convinced Sandra was getting proposed to.
Honestly, I’m so glad everything went as it did. The proposal was a great moment and one of the best days of my life!
I wrote more about the proposal on my blog and you can read it HERE
(shamless plug? LOL)