Once upon a time, my family lived in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. We moved from there in 2000, when I was in the 8th grade, and came here to Mississippi. Across the way, Kurt was in college and looking into medical schools. He chose Kansas City University of Medicine, which is in (big surprise) Kansas City, Missouri. In this program, medical students choose where they want to finish their last two years of residency. Kurt chose Cape Girardeau, Missouri (!) because it would mean a shorter drive home to see his family (in Ripley, Mississippi).
Well, one day Kurt was in a surgery, and he had gotten to know the Doctors Blaine Russell and John Eaton. Kurt was telling them how he was going to Jackson, Mississippi for his residency. They said "Oh! Well if you're going to Jackson for residency, you need to go to Colonial Heights Baptist Church. Our former pastor is now there, and he has a college-age daughter that you could maybe meet."
Well guess what? The second week that Kurt lived in Jackson, he walked into my church. It was a Sunday night. He had come to services that morning, but he came back because my grandfather, who was filling in for my dad that day, had said "I know most of you won't come back tonight for the rest of the sermon, but you should!" Well, Kurt took that as a challenge. HE would come back.
It was July 9, 2006. That night, my grandfather had asked me to sing and play the piano (yes, at the same time). He had heard me play Ken Medema's "Moses" and loved it dearly. So, because it was my grandfather of all people, I agreed to do it. Keep in mind that while I'm fine on praise team, I NEVER sang a solo in church. I am just fine in musical theater, but the church intimidates me. But just this one night, I made an exception.
So I went up to sing, and Poppy introduced me. Kurt immediately knew it was me, and watched me do the whole thing. Thank goodness I didn't mess up! After church, I noticed a guy in a green shirt that I had never seen before. He kept walking near me, but never said anything.
The next week, I was on praise team for Sunday night. I was singing, and in the very back of the church I saw the random guy again, but didn't think anything about it. After the service, I went to the foyer to talk to my dad. All of a sudden, Kurt walked up to me, stuck out his hand, and said "Are you Ashley Anderson?!" I was shocked. And a little scared. I mean, a cute, normal looking guy in church? Taking INITIATIVE with me? There had to be a catch. He told me that he had just moved from Cape Girardeau, which, as he says, made my eyes sparkle (what can I say....I LOVE that city!). So we talked for about 45 minutes after the service, and when he mentioned that he had graduated college from Ole Miss, my heart sunk. I suddenly got this visual image: Drunk. Fraternity. Polo shirt. Not my type.
Well, he was smooth. He got my number, which I thought was just a contact number for him in case he needed a recommendation for a restaurant or something. Ha!
I left for Texas the next morning with my family to visit our relatives. Kurt waited exactly 7 days to call me. It was Sunday night, and we were watching Design Star on HGTV at my great-grandmother's farm. I picked up, and we talked for 45 minutes. At the end of the conversation, he suddenly remembered why he had called in the FIRST place. "Well, I uh, I was wondering if you'd like to have dinner with me Thursday night?" AHHHH!
I was so excited. This was so grown up! I guy that I didn't know from Adam was asking me out!
We had a great first date. I suggested Alexander's Italian restaurant, and we had a great time. Then, I wanted to show him a really cool place....Chapel of the Cross. It's secluded and just really neat to me. So we walked around there and talked more and laughed so much. We kept wanting to spend more time together, so I took him to see "Lost Rabbit" subdivision, which backs up to the Reservoir. We sat near the water and took it all in. Then...big move....he put his arm around me! Haha! This sounds so stupid, but my heart skipped. I just had a feeling about Kurt.
We dated for about a month, and then some issues came up with exclusivity, where we both saw the relationship going, commitment, etc. Kurt wasn't sure about proceeding and felt like he had some things to work through. Basically, he backed away from our relationship. It stung so badly, and honestly, it was the most painful time I've ever gone through in a relationship. But here's what I learned: in that month that we had dated, I knew he was the man for me. I couldn't explain it, but I just knew. So, as I cried and prayed and cried some more, God kept whispering "It's ok. Trust Me. Just trust Me."
So I trusted. And waited. Finally, in October (3 months after we met), Kurt came to visit me at MC and to meet some of my friends. We went outside and sat on the swings (everyone who knows MC knows the ones I'm talking about), and Kurt told me that he wanted to be with me and move forward confidently with our relationship, and that he was at peace with everything. He asked me to go home with him and meet his parents the next week. I was ecstatic!
We moved forward with our relationship, and had a wonderful time of dating. We went to the theatre, ate dinner out, and just had "lazy days" in. In December of 2006, we went to see "A Christmas Carol" at New Stage Theater, and ate at IHOP afterwards. It was a fantastic date. After dinner, we went back to my house, where we started talking about our relationship. Being the Type-A girl that I am, I asked the simple question, "Kurt, where do you see this going?"
Well, that conversation basically led to us saying that marriage was in our future. I knew Kurt was scared to death, and I didn't push anything, because I never MEANT to make marriage come up. It just did! However, we spent time in Gatlinburg with my family that Christmas and I believe that's when Kurt thoroughly felt a peace about getting married. Then, the time table came up. Originally, I had said that the next year, December 2007, would work best. But then, as our conversation went on, we both started to feel differently. Kurt looked at me and said "Or...the only other time I can see it happening is this May or June."
I was dumbfounded. 6 MONTHS!!!? And I didn't even have a ring yet!
Well, I started quietly planning for a June wedding without telling anyone. But in January, Kurt's parents came to meet mine, and we went to Alexander's (that actually wasn't planned to be special or anything). After dinner, Kurt and I got in the car and he said "You know....where did we go after dinner here several months ago?" and I exclaimed "Chapel of the Cross! Let's go there again!" I was thinking...there's no way he can propose. He surely doesn't have the ring!
Well, we got to the Chapel and sat down on one of the benches where we had had one of our first great conversations. He looked at me and said "Our first date was pretty awesome." and I said "Yeah, but now you're my boyfriend, so that makes it better!" and he said "Well, I think I may have something that tops it."
And he got down on his knee and said "Ashley, you are the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. I already lost you once, and I will never let that happen again. Will you marry me?"
And he opened this box and inside was THIS!
Then we went home and took pictures:
Then this happened....
So, if you've been keeping track, we got married 11 months to the day that we met. (We met July 16, 2006 and got married June 16, 2007.)
And we are currently living happily ever after!