A Vow to Walk with God Together

Senior Plans Upcoming Wedding

Bailey Spencer

Bailey Spencer , Assistant Editor of Copy

A familiar face walks around the corner of the restaurant- of the place where it all started- and begins strumming the guitar. The chords and lyrics merge to create a melody that the couple knows all too well.

“Would you like to dance?” the man asks extending his arm. As they sway and spin to the lilting lyrics of the country artist, a voice draws the woman to look behind her. There, at the back wall of Love and War, her whole family stands gathered with endearing smiles. Heart thundering inside of her chest, senior Mattie Stricklin glances back to the man in front of her and gasps as he bends down on one knee.

As seniors walk across that stage come late May, they will transition into the adult life of bills, groceries and marriage. In November of 2020, Stricklin plans to walk down the aisle and exchange vows with Van high school graduate Carson Adams and share her life with him.  

“I think the coolest thing is that when you start out young, you get to grow up together and mature together,” Stricklin said. “In relationships that start off later in life, a lot of stuff has happened prior to the relationship. [Starting] now, Carson and I get to experience those highlights together. We get to go to college together, [and] we get to have our first house together.”

Adams and Stricklin knew each other through mutual friends, and when Stricklin started her online-based pastry business, Adams messaged through Twitter to congratulate her. They went on their first date a few days later at Love and War.

“I think of it being genuine,” senior Lily Phillips said. “They are unlike any other couple I know, and you can see how much they care for each other when you look at them.”

The couple enjoys discovering hole-in-the-wall restaurants and thrift stores, and their favorite date spot is Studio Movie Grill. To prioritize God, they attend the Church of Garden Valley on Sundays, pray for each other and send Bible scriptures back and forth.

“I think the main thing is that God needs to be at the center of the relationship because without that, it’s not going to go anywhere,” Stricklin said. “I would say that whenever Carson and I had our lows it would definitely be because we weren’t focused on God primarily.”

One year after their first date, January 11, Stricklin and Adams went back to Love and War to where they first met. Lindale graduate Klaire Hicks walked around the booth playing their song, “Then”, by Brad Paisley.

“It was one of the most surreal moments of my life,” Stricklin said. “I have dreamed about that moment since I was a little girl, and to finally experience it with someone I love so much was incredible. Overjoyed is an understatement.”

Adams asked Stricklin to dance, and as they swayed back and forth in the restaurant, Stricklin heard her nephew, Eli, call out her name. She turned around to find her entire family and all of their friends gathered. When she turned back to Adams, he was bent down on one knee.

I have dreamed about that moment since I was a little girl, and to finally experience it with someone I love so much was incredible. Overjoyed is an understatement.””

— Mattie Stricklin

“I was so excited for Mattie, but I was also really nervous because I knew Carson was nervous,” senior Jolie Moorman said. “He is not really a person to want to be in front of a lot of people, but he did really good. I am really happy for them.”

Because the wedding is two years out, Stricklin and Adams are planning  little bits here and there. Stricklin currently holds a Pinterest board of  inspiration for a Bohemian-styled wedding with green and natural accents.

“Of course I’m so excited for the dress and the venue and all the wonderful things about a wedding, but I am most excited to just finally be together forever,” Stricklin said. “I can’t wait to make so many more beautiful memories together as a married couple.”

Carson is currently going to Tyler Junior College and will graduate in July with an associate’s degree in art and psychology. They plan to move to Corpus Christi and attend A&M together. Stricklin plans to attend the University of Tyler and pursue a business in baking.

“I’ve learned that patience is key, and most importantly, you have to love them before yourself,” Stricklin said. “I think that a lot of people want to prioritize their happiness, but I think that it is really important to love your partner more than you love yourself.”