Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Ivan & Leah ~ Their Wedding

The wedding day dawned with beautiful weather . . . the busyness of the wedding preparations were complete, and now was the day that Ivan and Leah were to be joined as one before the Lord. The morning was so fun, relaxed and memorable!

Friends and family gathered at the church in the early afternoon to prepare for the ceremony and each moment was precious from setting things up, until we waved goodbye to Ivan and Leah.

The wedding ceremony was beautiful, so intimate, and so centered around the Lord and family. It was a reflection of Ivan and Leah's hearts. There were happy tears, many smiles, and overflowing joy and happiness!

It was very special to hear the comments afterward from friends and family who had come and who had been touched by what they witnessed as Ivan and Leah covenanted their hearts and lives together!

Dad officiated the wedding and throughout this post, I will be sharing portions of the message that he gave. (It will be in a different font)

"Ivan, Leah, the events leading to this special day began as a casual acquaintance shared through a common faith. 

"Over time, with a deepening friendship, you began a journey, an intentional process, a 'period of discovery', to find if the other would make a suitable life-long mate. The period of discovery was first to find if the other was a true child of God, not just a Christian in name only, but one that possessed a genuine saving faith. Was Ivan's faith an obedient faith founded upon a true knowledge of Christ confirmed by the word of God, was Leah's love for Christ not simply words but a love lived out in her day-to-day life."

 The beautiful, radiant bride

"You each confirmed in the other that Christ was not merely something put on from time to time, but found within the heart and soul of the other, a deeply rooted faith. Secondly, you found that there was compatibility between the two of you, you complemented each other . . . and you genuinely just liked the other person. 

"But something else was taking place, like a field well prepared, a seed of honorable, respectful love was planted and gently nurtured deep within your hearts . . . a love not based upon flighty emotions, a love not based merely upon feelings, but a respect and love built and founded upon the other's character and goodness . . . ."

Praying for Leah . . . so thankful the photographer captured this! 

An emotional, impromptu, very special sister moment 

Such a precious, precious time before my sister became a wife!

 Forever sisters, forever friends

"With the soil now well prepared, Ivan, Leah, you are about to fulfill the promise you made to each other upon your engagement."

Mom and Leah . . . what heartwarming and special moments together! 

 Dad, Mom, Leah and I

"It was God who created marriage. It was God who designed marriage. 
Matthew 19:4-6 'Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female' and said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?' So, they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.'"

Father and daughter . . . their relationship is deep and very close, and it was incredibly special to have him not only walk her down the aisle, but to officiate their wedding! 

"The word joined, is often translated from the Greek as 'to cleave', which means: to hold fast, and to be faithful. To truly cleave brings permanence and structure into your marriage." 
"No one cares more about your marriage than the Lord. No one wants it to succeed more than God does. He does not leave you alone to experiment through trial and error, but the Lord has given specific instructions in Scripture to both the husband and the wife for a successful marriage."

"Marriage is so unique that Paul uses this relationship to draw a clear picture with Christ and His church as a model for the marital union between a man and woman
Ephesians 5:22-23 'Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives out to be to their husbands in everything. 
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself, for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body. 
This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.'"

Ivan's mom pinning on his boutonniere

 The most handsome little ring-bearer ever :)

"In order to have a good marriage, a godly marriage, it is first absolutely necessary to have a right relationship with God. And that only comes by possessing a 'genuine saving faith.'"

 Praying for Ivan

"There is an unbreakable union between faith and its validation through love, and love validated through obedience . . . the three legs of genuine saving faith. 

"No one can be 'good enough' to go to heaven when they die, without first accepting Christ as their Lord and Savior. Obedience is then the result of genuine saving faith and not the cause of it.

Tender, heartwarming moments 

 Father and Son

"There will be many joys in the days ahead, but be aware that there are enemies of the Lord in this world who will attempt to steal your attention, your devotion, your energies, your affections, your love. 

"Keep your eyes on the Lord, rooted in His Word, and continue to develop a strong relationship with Him and with each other. As you do this, you will each be blessed, your marriage will be strengthened, and your love for each other will have no limits."

 This sweet couple led everyone in singing one of Ivan and Leah's favorite hymns, 'Be Thou My Vision'

"Rely on God's strength to carry you through difficult times that will come as you go through your life together . . . and they will come. God never promises that everything will always go smoothly with no 'bumps in the road'. But He does promise that He will always be there to help us get through the 'bumps' . . . if we trust in Him."
Isaiah 40:31 'Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength.They will mount up with wings like eagles,They will run and not get tired,They will walk and not become weary' 

Praying together moments before exchanging their vows . . . while the song "Take My Hand (The Wedding Song)" was sung and played 

 Sharing their vows . . . they each wrote their own vows to one another
"You have family and friends who are celebrating with you today as they share in your joy. They will also be a ready source of encouragement, counsel, support, and love throughout your marriage.

First picture of just them as husband and wife! 

Our families 

Leah with the sweetest flower girls! (They did amazing!) 

Signing the marriage license 

"Ivan, Leah, your marriage will be an example to the world, an example to your children, and it will be an example to those that see you on the streets or know you personally. It is a wonderful opportunity to 'let your light shine before all men.'

"God has greatly blessed each of you in giving you this gift of marriage, and for this we thank Him."

Guestbooks and Memories 

At the reception 

It was so special when Ivan and Leah arrived as they went table to table spending time with each guest that had come. Ivan had also secretly arranged for everyone to have a rose to give Leah! 

Hugs from Uncle Jim 

At the wedding party table right before speeches . . . mine was briefly outlined and shared from my heart. And I barely made it through as it quickly turned emotional! My sister was a bride and is a wife! What an honor and a joy to stand beside her as she married the man she so deeply loves and to witness their lives becoming one. Their marriage already has been beautiful to see and a testimony of the great things that God has done and is doing in their lives!


Photos by Katherine F Blake Photography

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Back to Blogging + Wedding Sneak Peek!

After an unexpected sabbatical from blogging, I am back! And hopefully it will not be a temporary return what with my busiest business season right around the corner. :)

Since the last post, life has been incredibly full . . . it began with the very special and beautiful wedding day of Ivan and Leah (which I am so looking forward to posting about! Watch for a post soon), followed by being out of state for a much enjoyed trip, and then hip surgery for me the beginning of October to repair a torn labrum. Between all of that and recovery from surgery, blogging took a back seat while I spent time with family, kept up with business work, am in physical therapy, and much more.

Until the wedding post, here is a sneak peek (and was it ever hard to choose which ones to share! Their photographer did an amazing job and captured so many precious, special, and memorable moments!)

The wedding party (except for the sweet flower girls who were in a different wedding party photo) 

Mr. and Mrs. 

So happy!

It was so fun and special to get all the 'girls photos' together!

A very special impromptu photo the photographer snapped of them

There will be more coming soon! Much more :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Time with Friends

Laura and Emily's Visit

Laughter, hugs, long conversations, late nights, a movie and ice cream, encouragement, shower planning were all wonderful parts of Laura and Emily's quick weekend trip here. What a blessing and encouragement it was to spend that time with them! Other than the shower, we took some other photos from a walk we enjoyed together . . .

Emily and Leah a ways ahead 

The evening was gorgeous . . . Laura and I stopped often to simply soak it in and talk 

 Picking roadside flowers

The evening sunlight was lovely! 

Best of friends! And better yet . . . sisters in the Lord.

Creek Play

What fun to get together with Molly and her four children for a fun morning playing in the creek and exploring caves!

Throwing rocks in the water

Yay! Big splash!

See the fish?

It has been a great blessing to enjoy many special times with friends and family this summer!