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.