Several years ago, Josh and I discovered some amazing hiking trails and waterfalls in the Upstate of South Carolina. Josh took me to a bed and breakfast while I was home for a break from school. We drove through the mountains and stumbled upon "Pretty Place," also known as Symmes Chapel, which is located on the grounds of Camp YMCA in Greenville, South Carolina. It was customary for Josh and I to hike the trails in that area at least once a year; the views are breathtaking and the foliage is surreal during the autumn months.
Well, Josh and I went in the beginning of October 2008, and much to our dismay, we went without a camera. We decided that we would go back in a few weeks and bring our beloved dog, Dunes, with us. It was a Saturday, and it had rained the day before, so the leaves were shining and the colors were amazing. I had agreed to babysit that night, so I made the two hour trip up to the mountains early that morning with the intention to being home by 7:30. Throughout the day, Josh, Dunes, and I explored new trails, hiked on the rocks of waterfalls, ran through the creeks with Dunes and had a picnic at the crest of a natural bridge that hovers over a waterfall. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary - just a fantastic day hiking, laughing and enjoying the outdoors.
It was getting late, and Josh asked me if I would like to stop by "Pretty Place" to get some pictures since it was so beautiful that day. I was a bit hesitant because I needed to babysit, but agreed. When Josh and I arrived at "Pretty Place," there was a wedding that had just concluded, and we had to wait in the parking lot until the pictures had been taken. There, Josh talked with some guys about Virginia Tech and Clemson, while I snapped what pictures I could.
Finally, the wedding party left and we went down to the cross and looked at God's amazing artwork in the rolling hills and valleys. When Josh and I were walking back to the car, Josh cleared his throat and I turned around to find him down on one knee uttering those precious words, "Will you make me the happiest man alive, Danielle? Will you marry me?" This was clearly a shock, as I thought this day would never come. I literally dropped to my knees and cried the happiest of tears. Instead of answering Josh's question, I just kept repeating, "You really do want to marry me?" Finally, Josh said, "Well, will you?" My answer was obviously, "Yes!"
There were quite a few people also visiting the chapel that day, and they finally caught on to this crazy display of emotions that we were sharing. A young lady was kind enough to capture the moment in a few pictures. The pictures speak a million words, as my face is red, puffy and joyous, while Josh has a smile ear to ear.
Luckily, Josh was a master planner, and was able to let my dearest friends, Lexi and Celita, in on what was going to happen that day, and Celita was prepared to babysit just in case the events took longer than expected. The drive back from Columbia was full of calling and texting our family and friends, and it was not until the next day that I actually looked at the ring and realized how beautiful it was!
It was, and always will be, a memorable day at such a special place where you can truly feel God's love shining down on you. We will always visit "Pretty Place" each year, and we will be reminded of the passage that reads on the chapel ceiling, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills." And so begins the next chapter of our lives. We could not be more blessed than to have one another to share our lives with.