I have been so incredibly blessed in my life. Unfortunately, I don't always see it that way. There are moments, full days, or even longer periods of time that I can work myself into believing that I have it hard.
And you know... I have suffered. My family, collectively and independently, have battled our demons... Suffering is valid. It's okay to let other people in on it. It's okay to work through it. It's this extended-beyond-wellness kind of dwelling on the hard stuff that leaves a person defeated. Suffering happens. And as I look at this title-photo with much of my family smiling back at me, I see that, because of the love of Jesus, we are more than conquerors.
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
We have all been made victorious despite suffering. And that includes my dad. I'm so thankful.
^I didn't intend to "go there" at all, but hey, God works in mysterious ways! All I had intended to say was that, if ever I get to thinking things are rough, I need to look back at the photos from my "Bonus Wedding" for a reminder of what I've been given.
My grandparents weren't able to make it to New Mexico for the wedding (which I don't fault them for at all) so my extended California family got to scheming. About halfway through our honeymoon, Chad and I stopped through Santa Barbara for a second wedding ceremony! My aunts, uncles, and all my cousins rallied to make a memorable experience for us all. My mom even surprised us by flying from New Mexico to be a part of it!
The pictures speak for themselves, but a few things seriously stood out to me that I want to share. First of all, I have five cousins, all male, between the ages of 16 and 22. Prime times to be on a date or with their friends or anywhere other than with family. Yet these men dropped everything they could have been doing that day, put on their button up shirts, and not only participated but helped in the planning and execution of the day for their grandparents. For their only female cousin and her new husband. One came from San Francisco, another came straight from work, they all helped load and unload and load again the tables and chairs, they went to pick their grandparents up from their house so neither would have to drive, and they made sweet, heartfelt toasts in my honor and in Chad's.
Tyler, Reed, Braeden, Kees, and Kole... there's none better than you. I'm so thankful for each of you and I love you so much. You impress me more and more all the time. So lucky I never had to share you with another stupid girl.
Secondly, my aunts, Jill and Jamie killed it with the planning and food and drink provision. The event was a vision, and I absolutely value this day as much as the first. Thanks for making it so special.
Finally, my uncle Scott acted as our "officiant" for our bonus wedding, and he seriously blessed us with his message and words of advice and encouragement. Thanks, Uncle Scott, for believing in us as a couple and taking us seriously. You helped to start us off on the right foot.
Uncle Scott's message led into more toasts from the rest of the family, including my grandma and grandpa. (You see how I cried when my grandpa spoke. He actually didn't say much, but my love for him is huge.)
Like I said, I've been blessed. I got two perfect weddings, and I didn't do a thing to deserve it. Thank you, again, to my family. I wouldn't be me without you.
My grandparents just celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary on the 31st of August. Altogether I think that means they've been together for 64 years now. For their anniversary, Chad and I put together a short video to try to let everyone else in on just how special they are.
Love you, Gawa and Boppa!