This is our story. The heart of Psalms Thirty Four.
It begins in Joshua Tree, California February of 2015. Raul was hosting his third Instameet through QuietGenius, a ministry focused on creative outlets he had founded in 2003. Ariel had been invited from a friend via Instagram to tag along. Though she was a bit hesitant to go, as she knew no one else attending or what to expect, Ariel took a leap of faith and went anyway. Taking along a few close friends they headed out into the California desert to meet up with a group of strangers. In short, it was a blast; the Instameet was a success and around 20 young adults with similar passions and creativity got to share in an amazing experience. From there, many were able to connect and follow each other on social media to stay in touch, including Raul and Ariel. After meeting each other, if someone was to ask Ariel who her favorite photographer was she would have exclaimed, "My new friend Raul Esparza, his work is amazing!”. Later that summer, Raul was taking a trip to Yosemite and left an open invite to anyone who wanted to join. Being the adventurer she is, Ariel thought it would be amazing to visit Yosemite for the first time especially with a great group of friends. There they met up once again for photography and exploring.
After connecting on such an artistic level, that fall, Ariel, invited her new photographer friend, Raul, to join on a road trip up the coast with other likeminded photographers to Big Sur, California. All five photographers had an incredible time getting to know one another on the trip and become very close friends. Wanting to continue to hang out after coming back home, Raul agreed to meet up with Ariel to help mentor her in all things photography. As she was taught to learn from best, utilize what is given to her, and grow with other creatives, Ariel was very eager to learn from him. Raul was honored, and immediately they connected. Growing and learning from each other, their friendship was developing.
A few months later, Raul took two weeks off of work to take some personal time on a road trip up north. Wanting friends to join, he asked Ariel and her best friend to come along, as both of their schedules were flexible to travel. After many long days of driving and exploring with over 4,000 miles of the US and Canada behind them, they had a marvelous time. Upon coming home, Raul had began to see Ariel in a new light. He started praying of the possibility of something more than a friendship. As the months went by, the Lord was fervently working in both of their lives, changing both of their hearts. It wasn’t until January of 2016 that Ariel’s heart was softening toward Raul and she was beginning to think of him as more than a friend. After being apart for a couple weeks, they both knew they needed to talk things out. Raul explained to her what he had been praying about the past few months and they both shared their hearts and mutual feelings towards one another. Not wanting to rush into things, they took their relationship first to the Lord. Placing it at His feet and surrendering their desires before Him. After a week of individual prayer and talking together, they knew they could step forward into a new stage of their relationship. A whole year after they first met, February of 2016, Ariel and Raul began their dating relationship. Two creatives, who became best friends, and fell in love.
It really is the greatest kind of love story to fall in love with your best friend. And that is exactly what happened with Ariel and Raul. The Lord took two independent individuals with similar goals and passions, and brought them together to share their talents and grow them in love.
A note from the couple.
"Thank you so much for visiting our website. Please take you time to explore every curated section of Psalms Thirty Four. The work and words you will discover come from our hearts and the perspective of our adventure together. These captured moments were made by the people we’ve had the privilege of meeting and connecting with through our passions. Psalms Thirty Four exists for you create any content in whichever outlet you desire. Whether it be through photography, graphic design, video, or any other way. We are so thankful and grateful to God for blessing us in ways we can share and serve those around us. This is our work but also something we love. We look forward to creating with you."
Ariel + Raul