BLISS Etc…40 Days In

40 Days In by Valerie K Valentine

(Professional photos provided by richards and company art & photography)

Hands with JoeyThe countdown is complete. The wedding and honeymoon have taken place and we are 40 days into marriage and it really is BLISS! I am sure it will not always feel like bliss, but in those moments I am confident the Creator of love will be there to pick us up and move us back into bliss.

I so enjoyed writing about my wedding preparation that I thought it may be fun to share some of my experiences as a newlywed. I am certainly not a marriage expert, but I would love to share what God is doing in our life and marriage.

Zack and I are both well aware that that we cannot have a successful marriage within ourselves no matter how hard we try. The element of God and His grace is ever on the forefront of our minds. The grace He gives us allows us to give grace to each other. Our goal as a couple was for our wedding day to keep the main thing the main thing, and that main thing is God as the source of our marriage. Sometimes in the craziness of life, or a wedding day, that can be forgotten.

So allow me to back up 40 days.Chalck board sign

I was told by many that the wedding day will go by quickly and it’s true. Our wedding weekend is a bit of a blur, but there are a few things that I will never forget; the wonderful people who gave their time and resources to participate, that God was the central focus of the day, that I got to marry to the most amazing man, and we had a LOT of fun!

I cannot thank enough our bridal party and their families for stepping in and helping us so much! They helped to Flowerstransform the kid’s chapel at our church and reception hall into exactly what I had in my head. It was like everyone stepped into my mind and brought my vision to life!

We had members of our bridal party come in from across the United States, several with little ones, in order to be with us for our wedding. I so enjoyed having many people I love all in the same place! It was a little surreal to have my cousins who have been my “sisters” as long as I can remember mixed with my friends from college, mixed with friends and family I have now. It was so fun to see my entire life within the relationships of everyone represented. The sacrifices each of them made I can never repay, and I am thankful each of them is in my life!

Valerie WindowThe weather was beautiful. God provided three sunny days in the midst of weeks of rain, snow, and ice. I started the morning with some time with my ladies, and then headed off to hair and makeup with my mom and grandma. My hair turned out beautifully! The appointment did take slightly longer than anticipated, so this schedule conscious bride was a little frazzled for a moment. That only lasted for a short time until we were able to get to our destination for bride and bridesmaid pictures, and completely melted away when I remembered “the main thing.”

We did a first look prior to the ceremony, and it was in that moment when I saw my very soon to be husband that God reminded what that day was all about, the two of us coming together.

Zack Reveal Valerie Reveal  Reveal

There were small things that didn’t go “exactly according to plan,” but it no longer mattered. All nerves, anxiety, and stress vanished from my body as soon as I saw him smile. In that moment the only thing that mattered for the rest of the day is that I was marrying the godly man in front of me, and we finally get to go home together!

Allison on PlaygroundThe next few hours flew by as we took pictures all over the campus of our church, including the playground!

Our ceremony was beautiful. Everything was perfect. God and our covenant in marriage remained the focus. Walking down the aisle with my daddy will forever remain in my heart. Dad walking ValThe man on my right has loved me from before I was born. He has sacrificed for me, taught me, and been there for me in my darkest hours. Now he was giving me away to the man in front of me. In just a few moments, this man will take responsibility for me, for us. Now he will sacrifice for me, teach me, and be there for me.

It was an unforgettable moment when my dad gave me away in the most eloquent way, and my Bill and Valerie Hugalmost husband took my hand to lead us to our new life. This moment set the tone for our ceremony.

God ordained marriage and family, God was our witness, and God is the center of our covenant.

The DipAnd then the ceremony and marriage were sealed with a kiss; the most perfect kiss with an elaborate dip!

It was now time to celebrate! And celebrate we did; food, family, and fun. We had a wonderful venue that created a beautiful environment with little stress on us. They did an amazing job with the service, space and food. The DJ did a great job keeping the evening moving forward.

We started with a delicious dinner and some time for the bride and groom to mingle. My amazing husband put together a beautiful video telling the story of Val and Zack. Our Maid of Honor and Best Man gave us a lovely toast, and from that point on it was time to party!

I had the privilege of dancing with my husband for the first time to More by Frank Sinatra. My dad showed off his dance skills in our father daughter dance to My Girl, and Zack and his mom had a truly touching mother son dance to All of Me. We moved to our legacy dance where we honored all couples on the dance floor. As the years increased my Grandma and Grandpa Baldwin showed us not only how to really “cut a rug”, but also what true love and lasting covenant means; 60 years and counting!

As the night moved on we did a dollar dance to help us have some extra cash for the honeymoon, and it was so fun to get to dance with young and old alike! I tossed the bouquet to a dear friend and the garter was grabbed by my oldest brother. There may or may not have been little bit of cake smashing, and the evening ended with the night lit up with sparklers.

G & G Heritage Dancefootball helmets on cake Helmets Valerie and Maggie Andy and Allison Superhero Val and Dad Dance Val with Super Heroes

CarWell, I thought that was the end… until my brother jumped out of the back seat as we pulled away and about scared me half to death!

Well played Ben…. Well Played.

While dropping him back off at the reception hall, I was informed of an imposter on my front grill. A final wedding car Val ripping off plateprank… My beautiful Buckeye license plate was gone, and a disgusting yellow and blue one was in its place. As any bride would, I walked up to said plate, went She-Hulk, and pulled that sucker right off! It was a beautiful thing.

It truly was a…

dream come true wedding!

Val and Zack Pronounced

Countdown to BLISS-Day 0

My Baby Girl is Getting Married by Elaine H. Baldwin

Me and ValerieDear Valerie,

Today is the day! We’re both pretty busy right now and I’ve already shared this with you privately. But I want to share it here as a testament to God’s grace and mercy in both our lives.

I love you more than words can say, even for this writer mom. How a heart can be so full and ready to burst every second of every day, is mystifying to me. But I am grateful and praise God for every bit of you. You make my heart sing and sometimes cause the tears to fall. But it’s all you being a part of me and it is all priceless and more than I could have ever imagined when the doctor said, “It’s a girl!”

It is my privilege to be your mom, Sweet Valerie! And it has been my joy and honor to plan this day and now enjoy the fruits of our labor. We did good! But more importantly, God is good and His plans are perfect.

I pray you and Zack will have many many years of BLISS!

And now let’s talk about getting me some grand babies…

Countdown to BLISS-Day 5

It’s the Final Countdown by Valerie K. Baldwin

5 days to go… 5! I can hardly believe it!Engagement

In the last 24 hours I have had the 80’s song The Final Countdown d stuck in my head! It is here, the final week, the final countdown to the Baldwin/ Valentine Wedding. Even our date suggests a countdown 3-21, and the final countdown has certainly begun!

This week the countdown is certainly in its final stages. This week culminates six months of work and planning done by so many wonderful people. And this week marks the beginning of a new adventure!

I have had so many people ask me how I am doing.

Are you excited?

Are you nervous?

Are you stressed?

To be honest, I am a little of all three plus countless other emotions.

Actually, the word excited just scratches the surface of all the wonderful emotions I feel. Dressed Up 3

I am beyond excited to marry Zack! I love starting the process of organizing and decorating our home! I am thrilled that so many of my friends and family are able to come and participate. I am blessed by my parents and siblings for doing so much and providing tremendous support. And I am so thankful for Zack’s family and how they embrace me as their own.

I am excited!

Stress is a perception. It is what you make of it.

Have there been stressful moments? A few. I’ve tried to take the advice of many and let the little things go, and be willing to adapt. Have I been somewhat irrational out of frustration? There have been times where I let the glitches and roadblocks get to me, but then God gently reminds me of what is important; starting a new life with Zack! Nothing else matters.

I am not stressed.

Nerves are relative. I am not nervous, about some things; other stuff, maybe just a little.

Am I nervous about the wedding being perfect? No, what is perfect? Whatever happens; happens. At the end of the day we will be married. Mission accomplished. So if something random happens (as I am sure it will), oh well.Val and Zack 20

Am I nervous about Zack? Absolutely not! There is nothing but peace in my heart and joy in my soul when I think of marrying Zack, so no nerves there.

Am I nervous about what comes after the countdown, and being a wife?

Yes. I am an organizer who likes to have a plan, so embarking on this new journey does have some nerves to go with it. I think if you truly understand the covenant of marriage it should make you have some butterfly nerves.

Engaged 3But if I am honest, I must confess that I have struggled these past six months of engagement with unhealthy nerves. Well, let’s call them what they are; lies or “Schemes of the Devil” as the Bible puts them.

I have struggled wondering if I will be a good wife? Will I measure up? Will I fail?

I have feared failure for as long as I can remember. Fear has been a stronghold in my life several times over. But I believe God has used those past struggles to prepare me for now. He has prepared me to recognize these fears for the lies they are, and how to give Him each and every one. I will fail at some point that is a sure thing. Marvel NightBut God has given me a wonderful partner to do life with that can help me get back up. So I can rest in Whose I am, and I will not fear.

Zack and I are two broken peopleCleveland Wedding 3 doing our best to serve God and each other, so there is nothing to be nervous about.

Am I nervous? Not anymore.

Countdown to BLISS-Day 9

“Are you nervous?” by Zack Valentine

It is nine days from the wedding. It is nine days from saying “I do.” It is nine days from being married to my best friend.

Marriage License

I can’t tell you how many times I have had individuals ask me if I am getting nervous following the proposal and the closer the calendar moves toward March 21, 2015.

My general response is to simply quip “No.”

However, that may not be the full truth.

It’s not so much about being nervous from fear, but rather the joy and excitement of starting this phase of my life with my best friend! The reality is truly embedding itself on my brain and the thought makes me glow as well as brings a smile to my face.

I am so glad that Valerie is a planner. She has made the entire engagement and wedding planning an absolutely easy process. Between her and my future mother-in-law, they are a dynamic duo like that of Batman and Robin!

As much as I have wanted to be actively involved with the process, there is only so much I can do working full-time, running my Remix (youth) group, attending my college classes, and packing stuff to move into our home. As of this writing, I have taken charge of the transfer or activation of services like our internet, water, and electric (we wouldn’t want to have any of those shut off a week before the wedding).

If anything, I am not nervous about the actual wedding.

I am more nervous about what soon follows…life.

Zack and ValI see the responsibility that God is calling me into as I transition into married life with Valerie. Our pastor, Marty Sloan (Harvest Time, Fort Smith, AR) absolutely loves marriage. Pastor Marty has been so good to Valerie and I in sharing with us a glimpse of what marriage life will be with resources of counseling sessions, one-on-ones, as well as reading materials. I see the future roles of our immediate families and having to take considerations of mine and Valerie’s needs when seeing and spending quality time with them, especially during the holidays.

So am I truly nervous?

That question brings up a scene from one of my favorite comic book characters, Iron Man. In Phase II of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man 3 explores Tony Stark’s fear of whether or not does the man make the suit or does the suit make the man? In this case, I make the suit.

Once the wedding is done, my suit (tux) will be off and returned. Then it’ll just be me. I’ll go from being trapped in that suit for an entire day to being freed from it and Valerie will officially be Mrs. Valentine.

That’s when life happens.
That’s when the journey begins.
So to answer the question, “No. I am not nervous.”

Countdown to BLISS-Day 10

Lasts by Elaine H. Baldwin

One aspect of this wedding planning thing we didn’t realize would be so relentless was the amount of shipping that would take place. We’ve shipped everything from jewelry to sparklers to programs to favors to photo books to flowers.IMG_2962 And we’ve been doing so pretty much weekly since January. Amazon, Shutterfly and Oriental Trading Company are my new best friends.

Some of the massive shipping is because the long distance planning piece of this wedding, but anymore with Internet options, IMG_2961shipping is a factor that needs to be considered in any wedding scheme and budget.

And speaking of shipping, one of the first of several “lasts” happened today.

Today I shipped the last boxes of wedding stuff to Valerie. A box of homemade wedding mints, a precious photo of my deceased parents and a box of everything else I forgot are on their way to Arkansas. It was a surreal moment to realize that all the hard work was winding down and will soon culminate in the wedding vows of my precious daughter and her fiancé .

But another last snuck up on me and it took my breath away. It was in the simple task of filling out the mailing address on the third box. For the last time I wrote down my daughter’s name…her Baldwin name. After March 21st, any letter or box I send, I will be addressing my daughter with her married name AND that is awesome!

God is so very good to give her this blessing called marriage and to a man who loves Jesus and loves her so much. She’ll always be a Baldwin, but soon she’ll have her own Valentine family and that is a very precious thing.

Since sending off those boxes today, Sweet Valthis Mother of the Bride has dabbled in a little bit of precious remembrances of other lasts in her baby girl’s life.

Things like…

The last time I held a bottle to her tiny lips.

The last pink onesie sold at the garage sale.

The last time she jumped down from the high chair.

The last time I rocked her to sleep.

The last time I put her on a school bus.

The last time she used training wheels.Val and boys

The last time I listened to her AWANA verses.

The last time she let me put a perm in her hair!

The last time she put on catcher’s gear.

The last time I bandaged a knee.

Val and meThe last time I sat in the gym bleachers.

The last time she let me in the Macy’s changing room.

The last time she let me help with her homework.

The last time I inspected her “clean” bedroom.

The last time I stayed up late until she came home from hanging with friends.

The last time I grounded her and took away her car keys.

The last time I drove her to the horse barn.Val and Delta 2

The last time we talked all night about stupid boys and life dreams.

And the last time we cried together about growing up and God’s unyielding faithfulness.

Valerie 2Lasts are not to be feared. They are simply transitions to the next God has for us. And this Mama is already celebrating the next He has for my daughter in 10 short days!

Countdown to BLISS-Day 17

Party 11Details! Details! by Elaine H. Baldwin

It’s crunch time for the Baldwin Clan. But we are not in a panic and I am confident we will not be in a panic during wedding week and even on“V-Day”, as Valerie has come to call her wedding day; the day she becomes Mrs. Zack Valentine.

The reason we aren’t “sweating the details” is because we have paid attention to those very details and at the same time, held those details loosely in our hands because we can’t control 99% of the circumstances surrounding said details. It’s taken me awhile to figure that out.

As my poor kiddos and husband can attest, I have too many times let the details control me which wasn’t very pretty to watch much less experience. And it would be easy and probably politically correct to say that now, “I don’t let the details control me, I control the details.” But that wouldn’t be the best God has for me either and is really an oxymoron anyway.

It’s really quite impossible to say we control the details because we have absolutely no control over anything. Even the next breath we take is completely out of our hands. And all God has to do is send a little snow or send a little wind and all our human grandiose plans come to a grinding halt!

That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan or take care of the details, though. The Bible is full of God taking care of details and expecting us to do the same. From creation to tabernacle building to manna gathering to festival planning to 12 baskets full of leftover food or washing some else’s feet, God is all about details. And He has plenty to say about the slothful, foolish, lazy person who refuses to even think about the details let alone take care of them. And none of God’s thoughts or treatment of such a person is pleasant.

So, Valerie and I, with the help of so many have thought about, listed, re-listed, and taken care of as many details as Detailspossible in getting ready for “V-Day”; well really “V-Week.” It is our hope that by attending to as many details now, the wedding week will be an enjoyable and even relaxing experience for everyone involved.

Now we are not so naïve to think there won’t be any glitches to our details during wedding week. That’s the whole reason for taking care of details now so when the glitches come, we won’t panic…we hope! That’s Plan A, anyway. Do not panic!!

After all, it’s just a glitch. And bride and groom will be husband and wife come 5:20pm (give or take a few minutes) on March 21, 2015 no matter how many of our so carefully planned details go down the wedding glitch drain.

In practical terms, every wedding has some very basic details that must be attended to. There must be a bride and a groom, a preacher or justice of the peace, two witnesses, a marriage license and a date/time/place for these folks to show up and have the ceremony and then sign off on said marriage license. That’s the basic details. Every other detail is the icing on the cake.

Party 10For this MOB and her bride daughter, though, we like lots of icing (figuratively and literally)!! But we have not been extravagant either in budget or design. We’ve worked hard to keep a healthy balance as we’ve learned a balanced life doesn’t just happen, it does take effort.

So what have we learned about wedding details?

  1. We’ve forgotten something. Don’t know what it is yet, but there will be a detail or two or three we’ve forgotten. When said detail is remembered, handle it. That’s all you can do.
  2. The more attendants you have the more details there are! Lots of fun and wouldn’t change it, but it does increase detail management. But it also increases the workforce!
  3. Planning long distance increases the amount of details and increases the chances for details missed. Can’t change it, so go with the flow.
  4. The reception carries not only the largest chunk of wedding budget, but also the largest amount of details. Be sure to work with a venue and/or person who gets this and is willing to guide you through the myriad of details involved in a wedding reception.
  5. As often as is needed, get the details down in writing. This not only applies for church and venue contracts, but also with timelines for the wedding party, photographer and others. Don’t rely on verbal instructions. Write things down and get it before the eyes of those who need to see it.
  6. If budget allows, hire out as much as you can or delegate like crazy or both. Saving $200 bucks may sound great until you’re shopping at midnight at WalMart the night before the wedding because groomsmen found the meat for the reception in the fridge and ate half.Zacks bliss blog
  7. Surround yourself with willing and able hands. Valerie and I could probably do it all ourselves, but why!? Half the fun of planning a wedding is doing the planning with people we love and they love us. It’s been a joy to share in these kinds of moments. That’s what we’ll remember, not the details.
  8. In light of #7, delegate, delegate, delegate. And then delegate some more, especially the day of the wedding. Things won’t get done just the way you want, but who cares! Things will get done and you will or should be able to relax and enjoy this special day.
  9. You must have alternate plans. It matters not what season of the year your wedding day takes place, the weather can change everything. Too hot, too cold, ice, snow, tornadoes, or crashing rain will all change your details. Even a few sniffles, or God forbid, flu bugs and the like will indeed change your details.
  10. Don’t sweat the details, but do take care of them. There is a difference between the two.

Photo Booth Fun 5Plan A-Don’t Panic Wedding is in full swing for this bride and MOB. The test will be in 10 days when I arrive for wedding week. But, with God’s help I think there will be few panic moments and trust they will be fleeting. We have too much to celebrate, too many loved ones to embrace and enjoy to let a few detail glitches spoil “V-Day”!!

Countdown to BLISS-Day 21

Cold Feet by Elaine H. Baldwin

With just 21 days to go, cold feet are setting in! It’s inevitable I suppose, but still I regret the nature of its showing up just now.

I mean, we do have a wedding!Shoes

Are you worried?

Don’t be!

It’s perfectly natural around this time.

I mean, most of the country (USA) has been in a weeks long deep freeze/winter wonder land weather pattern. Thus the majority of the wedding party and the wedding guests literally do have cold feet.

(Sorry to put you on the edge of your seat, but this writer could hardly pass up the chance!)

I must make clear that there is not any kind of wedding or marital cold feet by either bride or groom, for which this Mama is deeply thankful. God continues to bind two hearts into one and it is a joy to watch, even from a distance.

That being said, there are genuine concerns about the weather that must be addressed. On December 24th, a deep freeze and snow in Arkansas would be counted as a blessing, magical and a most wonderful time of the year.IMG_2737 But in March that same cold and snow are received more like a root canal torture procedure. And for a certain bride and her mama, it is received with just a hint of, “Why did we pick March 21st for the wedding day?” syndrome.

And I am quite sure all our side of the family is probably wondering the same thing; especially since they recall being trapped in Branson, MO with a snow storm for our son’s wedding five years ago. We do not despair, however, because March in Arkansas can just as easily be 80 degrees as 18 degrees. In fact, the average temperature for March 21 in Valerie’s hometown is 65 degrees; very pleasant for all things wedding day.

We don’t think about the tornadoes that are also quite prevalent in that state in the month of March. And rain! Don’t get me started on the downpours of rain that can soak a person in just seconds in Arkansas in the early spring. And we also do not think about the ice storms that cut out power just like “that” because the newly budding trees get too heavy and branches snap onto power lines. But as I said, we don’t think about those things. Honestly, we don’t, not in the way you might think.

When Zack and Valerie started talking about marriage, as all good mothers and daughters do, we started thinking about wedding dates. Valerie has always, and I mean always, wanted an outdoor wedding; and not just any outdoor wedding, one with a jet black horse and canopies and a gorgeous sunset. Well, you say, certainly some day in the summer should have been the perfect choice for a wedding.

But there are three other “musts” that have preempted Valerie’s perfect summer wedding.

The first is to have a good long honeymoon which can only happen during her soon to be husband’s school breaks and spring break was the best choice. The second is to have both brothers stand with her on her wedding day. And darn if those Marines just don’t cooperate in changing their deployment duties to accommodate the wedding wishes of sisters! And third, and possibly most importantly, neither bride nor groom wanted to wait an extra three months!

Add to this crazy mix, Zack’s clan embracing these desires with grace and love. and then we are truly blessed.

Rain and snow and ice and tornadoes have never been on Valerie’s list of wants for her wedding day. Val and Zack 1But we will think about those things and have a Plan B, C, and D ready for implementation so that she and Zack will have a full glorious seven days of honeymoon bliss. And so both her brothers will stand with her and her groom on March 21st. And so she will be Mrs. Valentine three months sooner than horses, and canopies and warm sunsets would have allowed. For no matter what else may happen, as long as Valerie says, “I do” and Zack says, “I do” and the preacher says, “I now pronounce you…”, everything else is just extra and we will embrace whatever extras God, in His goodness and mercy, brings our way!

 

Countdown to BLISS-Day 30

30 Days until Marriage-by Valerie K. Baldwin

Zack and Val 1I can hardly believe it is 30 days to the wedding! 30 days before I become Mrs. Valentine! 30 days before I go from a “me” to a “we”!

In the midst of the craziness that occurs 30 days before a wedding there is an essential element that keeps me sane, and that is the man that will be standing at the end of the aisle waiting for me. He is not perfect, and he does not “complete me,” only God can do that, but he is the reason I am excited for March 21. He is the reason I am ready for marriage.

In today’s Christian culture, in particular young girls, dream of their wedding day, but how many dream of the man that will meet them at the altar? How many girls marry the first man who asks them, just because they want a wedding with no consideration for the life that will begin the next day? Do not get me wrong I cannot wait for my wedding day. I get to wear a beautiful dress, take lots of pictures, and have many people I love all in one place for a few days! But it is not the wedding that I look forward to the most. It is the life that will start the next day, and the man God has provided for me to do that life with!

The wedding is the icing on the cake of getting married, but it is not the cake. I see the scenario over and over of women in particular marrying men they have no business marrying. Why? I think they do love them, but is the allure of a wedding part of the problem? I believe it is.

For the young ones who may read this, here is my point. The marriage is more important than the wedding. Choose carefully. I was told many times growing up, “you are too picky.” But I can tell you that it is not the guys I chose not to date that I regret. It is not about being picky on superficial things like hair color or what car he drives, but character, work ethic, and does he show evidence of a growing relationship with God.

Anyone can say, “I believe in God,” but do his actions say the same?

There is nothing I love more than serving our church, having a solid theological discussion, or worshipping in service with my fiancé. Our hearts are bound together in our love for God. It is our love for God and serving His purposes that will keep us together when circumstances are difficult. It is our mutual faith that will bind us in the good and bad times.

It is because he is a man of character that I can say my wedding vows knowing he means them as much as I do.

Not every man has personal character, work ethic, or a heart for God; it is worth it to wait for the one who does.

Countdown to BLISS-Day 37

Families by Elaine H. Baldwin

Today I travel to Fort Smith, AR! Wahoo! Five days packed with all things wedding, plays and just being with my kids; including the new kid…Zack!

IMG_2929

I am also very excited to have some time to see Zack’s mom and sister at a wedding shower. They are such a joy to be with and I truly value these times to get to know them better. And they’ve been so very gracious with our crazy family’s long distance relationships. It’s not something they are complete strangers to, but the vast majority of their family, both sides, lives within 25 miles of each other. And it’s a large family. Valerie’s first experience meeting Zack’s extended family was a little terrifying as a small army was present. But of course, they were marvelous and enlisted her right away!

Being within a short distance of extended family is something our nuclear family has never experienced. In fact as both sides of our extended family continues to expand through marriage and kids, our distance between each other seems to be expanding as well. Hopefully some day soon we’ll have a massive reunion, but for now Facebook and the glorious touch pad phones are the glue that holds us together. And I am so very grateful.

I won’t belabor the distance thing because I wept over that last time. Why I mention it today is because it simply amazes me that this whole marriage and family thing ever works! Think about it. Valerie and Zack could not have had any more different up bringings. Except for the Christian foundation which both families provided, which is absolutely vital, they don’t have a lot in common as far as their childhood experience. Neither family situation was wrong, though on our part I know we sinned daily, it’s just that the life circumstances were different.

ValFor example: Valerie has flown quite extensively; even as a child. She flew with us to be the flower girl at her cousin’s wedding in Philadelphia. Since graduating high school and her parents living all over the country, she’s flown to many different states to see us and to Hawaii to see her marine brother and his wife. And just for fun and college credit, she even flew to Europe for a concert tour.

Zack has never been on a plane. Doesn’t mean he’s never been anywhere. It just means he’s never used wings to get to where he is going. Honeymoon flight should be exciting!

Young ZackAnother example: Valerie has attended, I think 4 or 5 different school systems and was home schooled for five years.  Zack attended the schools in his town for all of K-12. You can imagine the varied stories they share together of the highs and lows that come with each of those schooling circumstances. Neither bad, just different.

Will that play into their decisions for schooling their own children? You bet and they’ll figure it out. How do I know that? Because my husband and I figured it out and our parents figured it out and their parents figured it out. That’s the crazy part I’m talking about. That two people can come from such varied school histories and still come to agreement on schooling their own kids.

Of course, not everyone figures this kind of stuff out in their marriages and that’s why there are divorce courts. But a vast majority of marriages do figure this all out and that amazes me. And yet, it is God’s first plan. That a man would leave father and mother and cleave to his wife and they would become one. Gods_Hand_leftWhat a beautiful mystery and plan. And I think God honors that plan whether a couple know Him as Savior and Lord or not. Though His master plan is that through marriage, the unbelieving couple would see Him as their God and King.

And, oh that more believing couples would be that picture of Jesus and His bride-the Church.

If I have one prayer for Valerie and Zack it is that they would strive to show Christ to others, together as husband and wife. If they do that, all the differences given to them at birth and the ones developed into them from their families will blend into a mysterious and breathtaking beauty that will bring them many years of true wedded BLISS and bring honor and glory to their Savior, Jesus the Christ.