How We Met: Ashton and I met while attending Ozark Christian College. I knew him because he was in a band that often played at our college, but I had no idea that he even knew who I was. I observed from a distance that he was loud and fun. Honestly, I was probably a little put off by that at first. At Ozark, intramural basketball season came up and he and some of his friends formed a team that really didn’t take the game seriously. I saw an Instagram picture from one of our mutual friends of their team after their first game and they were all dressed up funny. They had their pants pulled way up and some of the guys’ hair was in pigtails. They looked completely ridiculous. I commented on my friends picture and Ashton must have saw it because he commented and asked for me to join the team! I quickly learned that though he was fun and loud, his heart was great. In fact, a few weeks after I joined the team (and on Valentine’s Day) he texted me and asked if we could meet up to talk. It turns out that he wanted to make sure that I knew that he just wanted to be friends and that he wasn’t trying to persuade me to date him by any means. So, we left that meeting thinking we were going to develop a good friendship and there was no romantic interest. So much for that! Maybe a week later, we went on a coffee date! We played more intramural games, hung out a lot, had long talks and walks, and about a month later, he asked me to be his girlfriend while sitting by a campfire.
how they asked: Almost two years after we started dating, Ashton and I found some time over Christmas Break to drive from Missouri (where we attend school) to his home in Colorado. We were so excited to get away to see his family and the mountains right before we had to start classes again. We arrived in Colorado on New Year’s Day and the next day he mentioned how we should go up into the mountains that Saturday morning. Of course, any chance I have to go up into the mountains, I’m going to take it! He asked if I would like to get up early and watch the sunrise, also. I loved the idea – so we bundled up at 5:45 am and grabbed some coffee at Starbucks and drove to Rabbit Mountain, a place where we had hiked before with his best friend, Dane, the August of the previous summer. He told me to grab my bible and my journal and he would grab his. I had my coffee and he also grabbed the lawn chairs. As we made our way up the mountain, he was asking me how I had seen the Lord work in my life the year before and what He was teaching me recently. After hearing what I had to say, he shared how the Lord had been working recently in his own life. It was a really sweet and meaningful conversation and it paused whenever he stopped to ask me if where we were standing was a good place to sit down. I looked out and there was a bush and tree in the way of what was going to be the sunrise….so I took a few steps to my right and asked if that was okay. He hesitated and complied, but at almost 7am, I didn’t think much of it.
We folded out our lawn chairs and continued to talk about the goodness of the Lord and as our conversation drifted, he started talking about metaphors. This wasn’t unusually as it was a common topic for us because I always pride him in being so good at coming up with metaphors or analogies because that’s not something I am naturally good at. I stood up to take some panoramic pictures of our surroundings: the empty snow-dusted mountains, the deep gray skies, and the approaching sunrise peaking in the east and Ashton continued to talk about metaphors. He related the snow to something, the mountains to something, and then he stopped to ask me if I knew what else might be a good metaphor. I simply said, “What?” He turned towards me and said, “A ring.” I still dismissed the thought because I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I simply stared at him blankly…that was, until he pulled the ring box out of his coat pocket. When I saw the ring box, I immediately started sniffling. The sniffling turned to crying. The crying turned to sobbing. I don’t remember much of what he said, but I know that they were really nice things. I remember looking back at him and him saying, “Well, do you think you would do it?” And I cried, “Yes.”
He hugged me and had me put the ring on. (He was shaking.) The surprises, though, did not stop there. I was still crying when I asked him who had known about the proposal. He listed off many family members and then said, “Do you want to know my favorite person who knew?” And I just looked at him puzzled and said, “Who?” It was then that he yelled, “Hey, Victoria!” Sure enough, I turned around and one of my best friends had driven to Colorado from her home in Nebraska to take pictures of my engagement. When I saw her in her puffy green jacket, I could not believe it and started crying even more hysterically. This was the reason that Ashton had initially given me a hesitated response when I asked him to move the lawn chairs; I was thinking that I want to be in the best spot to see the sunset and he was thinking that he wanted us to be in the best spot for pictures. Victoria simply smiled, waved, and said, “Oh, hey!” We ran to each other and hugged and I living for several moment in complete and utter shock of what had just happened over just a few minutes.
Ashton, Victoria, and I had been talking and laughing for a few minutes when I saw two men walking down the trail towards us. I moved out of the way of the middle of the trail so they could pass, but to my surprise, they started walking towards me. I couldn’t recognize the closest one’s face because his scarf was covering him. When Ashton’s best friend, Dane, pulled the scarf off of his face, I jumped, screamed, and hugged him! To make it even better, Ashton’s brother was following behind him, capturing everything that was happening on video. I gave him a hug and all five of us stood there for another 30 minutes – laughing, telling stories, and being in the moment. There was no one else around. Just me, my friends, my fiance, and the mountains.
It was the best day of my life thus far because I don’t know if I ever have felt so loved by the Lord, as he had given me a very epic moment that which I did not deserve. We celebrated with a morning of long chats and lattes at the coziest coffee shop in Ashton’s hometown!
Photography by Victoria Quirk Photography