Dear Ashlyn, I wanted to write down our story so you will always be able to look back and remember how your mom and dad met and fell in love...
Your dad and I met in college at Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. We were both there on athletic scholarships...baseball for him and basketball for me. We first met toward the end of our freshman year, and really started to develop a friendship during our sophomore year. I remember he would come by my apartment, always asking to borrow random things. It makes us both laugh now thinking about all the creative things he would do to try to see me! During our junior year, my roommate Amy and I thought it would be fun to take a trip to Disney World during fall break. She was dating one of the guys on the baseball team, and we asked him and another friend, Spence, to go with us. Spence ended up having to cancel last minute...and Amy and I came up with the idea of asking Chris Newman to join us instead. He immediately said yes, and the four of us left for a long weekend in Florida.
We had such a fun trip! I can say that there was definitely some magic that sparked between us while we were there. After spending the day at several of the parks, we ended up putting some beach music on in an empty parking lot. Christopher and I danced and danced...and there was something about the way he looked at me that night that literally made my heart skip a beat.
We talked the entire 7 hour drive back home while our friends slept in the back...All I can say is, that was the weekend your dad captured my heart.
After we got back from Disney World, it seemed like it took him FOREVER to call and ask me on a date! But he finally did call...and asked me out to lunch. Our first official date was a picnic by the pond on our college campus. We picked up Subway and sat on a bench, talking, eating and feeding the ducks. I was completely captivated by how charming and handsome he was...but even more so, I was so impressed by his passion and love for Jesus.
We went on a few more dates...he even brought me home to meet his parents one night during Christmas break! I was so nervous about meeting them, but as I am sure you will agree, your Mimi and Pop are absolutely wonderful. In February of our junior year, we had "the talk." He told me that he wanted to date me exclusively...and I completely agreed!
After only dating a couple of months, I knew your dad was the man I wanted to marry. He is the kindest, most caring and compassionate man I have ever met. He loves me despite all of my imperfections. The love that we share is so amazing...Your father is exactly the type of husband I pray you will find one day.
In October of 2004, the day before my birthday, your dad took me on a "birthday picnic" in the North Carolina mountains. What a beautiful day it was. I remember opening a beautiful jewelry box, and being utterly speechless when I saw a small black velvet box inside. He got down on his knee, and asked me if I would be his wife. I remember feeling so excited, happy and overwhelmed all at the same time. He really did surprise me that day...and it was the best surprise I could ever ask for! I remember waking up that night and just staring at the beautiful ring he had given me. We planned our wedding for the following January...less than 3 months away!