The Engagement

How fitting that my first post on this website would be about the biggest change in my life recently. I promise not all my posts will be whimsy and mushy, but this whimsy is real and it’s HUGE. A lot of people have asked about our engagement story and I thought I would share because it was so special and hilarious and romantic all at the same time. 

Ashley   11/07/1990                                                   Zack   2/25/1990

I’m not a fan of taking it way back when it comes to telling stories, but ours is so unique. Zack and I were both born at Long Beach Memorial Hospital in California in 1990, him in February and me in November. From there our lives would go in so many different directions. I would go to San Diego until I was 14 and he stayed in Orange County until he was 24. I moved to Virginia because of the military and stayed here up until now. Zack moved to Virginia to take a full time Student Ministry Director position at my church, the same ministry I volunteer in. After a few months of him working at Spring Branch, we got to know each other and began to hang out socially (that sounds so adult-ish). Our stories aligned in so many places. I couldn’t believe it. He, like anyone else moving across the country, struggled adapting to the weather and culture but it was fun to walk alongside of him as I once had to do the same thing.

We started dating September 20th, 2014 and haven’t looked back. 10413373_10154054614872985_7479882730177117845_n

Ok, now on to the engagement. That’s what you’re here for. We flew to California to visit his family for Christmas/New Year. This is us on Christmas Day flying first class because the airlines messed up our flights. We got a ton of money in flight vouchers and I ate lobster macaroni and cheese. It was a weird day.6434_10154054622162985_6703833026641209122_n.jpg 


We spent a lot of time going to different beaches, our favorite southern California restaurants, and meeting up with friends and family. We even spent time with my Dad and sister. It was gearing up to be the best trip ever. I went shopping all day with Zack’s mom and went to the movies to see “Sisters.” Zack told me he was out and about with his dad, so I didn’t think anything of it. Little did I know they were out having an engagement ring custom made just for me. Zack knew that I loved the look of a pear-shaped diamond, which is a lot harder to find than you think. He also said that I’m a unique and creative woman who deserved something just as unique. 1918264_10154054622252985_7695072856717006177_n

New Years Eve rolled around and there was no movement on the forefront. Here’s the thing though, I wasn’t expecting anything. I knew that rings were expensive and I wasn’t sure Zack was at a place financially to move forward on that. I mean, we both work at a church. In essence, we both make for great window shoppers most of the time. He also led me on saying things like, “I’m going to have to take on a 2nd job if I’m ever going to get you a ring.” Cruel right? The whole time he knew it was happening and that he was going to propose to me in California. TorreyPinesBeach2008.jpg

When Zack and I were planning our trip to California, we came up with all the places we wanted to go. One of my top choices was Torrey Pines Beach. It was my absolute favorite beach to go to when I was growing up in California. I spent so many summer days there catching sand crabs, being an awkward teen in my first bikini, learning to surf, and watching hang gliders take off from the the cliffs. So, like the great guy Zack is, he made sure we went there. It was Saturday January 2nd. He said we were going to Torrey Pines. I invited his parents because it was a Saturday and they deserved a day at the beach too. They agreed, even though they knew Zack was going to propose and were worried he wanted it to just be us two. Leave it up to me to make everything a party! Again, I had no idea what was happening. I hadn’t brushed my hair that morning or even put makeup on. I thought we were just heading down to San Diego to catch waves. 1923789_10154059841907985_7772668050106774644_n.jpg

We walked up to the beach and it was beautiful. The sky was like a painting and the water was just as beautiful as it was when I was 14. It had been 10 years since I’ve seen that beach and I couldn’t help but tear up in the nostalgia. We found a perfect spot to set up camp. I started setting up all the chairs, towels and surfboards with Zack’s parents. Little did I know, Zack walked 10 feet away to set up a Go Pro in the sand. I was still catching my bearings when he grabbed my hand and pulled me aside. My exact words were, “What the heck are you doing?” The next 30 seconds of him pouring his heart out to me were so special and emotional. I love keeping that part of the story to myself because it makes it mine. It makes it ours. With his shaky voice and hands, he asked me to marry him and put the most gorgeous ring I have ever seen on my hand- that was just as shaky. I didn’t cry at first. There was a lot of shock that was still setting in. I said YES and hugged him harder than I ever have before. I looked over at his parents as they were crying. I started to cry tears of joy. They would soon be part of our beautiful journey. 12495219_10154059842017985_648474876199304675_n



I first called my mom and told her I was engaged! Zack had called her for permission to marry me a little while back, so she knew it was coming but didn’t know when. My Dad and sister knew as well. It seems like everyone knew but me! We celebrated by going to Old Town in San Diego and eating Mexican food with his parents and sister. 

It was the BEST. DAY. EVER.


I loved being able to share the news with everyone we loved and cared about. So many people have been part of our story and supported us from day 1, so it was a blast to share such an exciting moment with everyone!


Sharing the news with my high school small group was SO FUN. At the end of our small groups we always lift up our prayer requests and I always close out with praying for our future husbands. God knows our future husbands need all the prayers they can get if they are stuck with any of us crazy God-fearing women. All this time, God was preparing Zack to one day be my husband, and they were able to see this come into fruition. 


We of course had to share a fun photo on social media. As I said before, I wasn’t looking glamorous that day so I insisted this photo happen in the ocean when I’m the all natural mermaid God made me to be. It was us. It was two California babes showing our true personalities. I got some slack for taking my very pretty and expensive ring in the ocean, but it was only for a little bit and I wasn’t thinking clearly while floating on cloud 9. 




The Go Pro caught a pretty great sequence. 



I din’t know rings came in fancy light up boxes. So fun!


Before we left California to come back home, we went to Barnes & Noble and sat on the ground looking at a dozen different wedding books sprawled out on the carpet. It was so fun and exciting, and it still is as we start planning this huge day. Leslie and little Hayden picked us up from the airport in Virginia.

Hayden asked, “when Zack kisses you,will you be married?”

I love a children’s view on love. It’s so beautiful and new and pure. 

I of course agreed with Hayden. That’s definitely how it works. 

Wink Wink. 


I never would have imagined all the amazing things God had up his sleeve. He took two people born in the same year and the same hospital and sent them on a journey.

He had us mature and learn hard lessons. He had us move all over the country. We had to date the wrong people, make mistakes and feel pain. In the end, God brought us to an opportune moment to choose grace. He brought us to this moment to choose a foundation built on Him and he chose us to do that together. Our paths that once separated in 1990 have joined as one and I can’t wait to see what happens next. 

By the way…



2 thoughts on “The Engagement

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