Category Archives: Marriage

Two Hearts, One Love

   Hello again!

I am thrilled to be writing  this post today! I’ve been waiting anxiously all week to be able to sit and write!

My post today is part of my wedding series, and today I get to tell you all about the wedding that Dylan and I got to be a part of on Saturday!

The wedding took place near Bancroft, Ontario at a place called, Joy Bible Camp.  Now, the location is special in two ways. One being that, for many years, the bride and her family attended as campers; And second, this camp is where the Bride’s parents got married 26 years earlier! (so special!!)

The setting was beautiful! The ceremony was going to be held down at the waterfront. Perfectly nestled in between the dining hall where the reception would be held and the Lakeside Lodge, where post ceremony refreshments were offered to all those who attended. All three points were connected by a path lit by lanterns! It was truly romantic.

DSC_0195DSC_0196DSC_0197

DSC_0194

The ceremony was exquisite: The waterfront lined with white chairs, accented by lanterns and crates of flowers, all leading up to a beautiful white arbor, surrounded by mason jars filled with flowers! Pacabel’s Canon started playing and the groom sat his mother, and then proceeded to stand at the front, by the arbor. Then, one by one, each of the six groomsmen, dressed in grey dress pants and white shirts, walked over to stand by their friend, while in turn giving him a hug on their way by…

Boys

The music faded, from the familiar tune into a different song. A beautiful rendition of “Just The Way You Are”. The bridesmaids, each wearing a different pastel dress, started making their way to the front, all smiling at Liam as they walked by, knowing just how beautiful his bride looked, and how magical that moment would be when he saw her.. The anticipation grew as each bridesmaid took her place… Green, yellow, peach, lavender, blue, and finally pink, the colour of the Maid of Honour’s dress…  The music came to a great culmination, and the guests were asked to rise. There she was. A stunning bride. Her dress a beautiful A-line with a magnificent train, all detailed in lace. Joanna was escorted by her mother, down the aisle to meet her soon-to-be-husband. The look on his face: Priceless! The love that was shared in that moment, when the bride and groom saw each other for the first time, was incredible. Here mother gave here away, the audience (and bridesmaids) were in a puddle of tears, and so the two began to take the steps of committing their lives to one another. The ceremony was a bit different from the traditional wedding. The bride and groom wanted to sing a congregational song with their guests, and they had asked myself and my brother to sing. We led the congregation in the song “Amazing Love” and then they proceeded with their vows. the vows were beautiful, heartfelt, loving. Both of them finished by saying “I just love you”. They exchanged rings, and shared their first kiss as husband and wife! And then, as they went to do the signing, my brother and I got to sing for this amazing couple again. We sang “Multiplied”. And then as the lovely married couple made their way back over to the arbor, the preacher announced for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Liam and Joanna Tait!!

jjLiam

Girls

alter

I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who left the  ceremony feeling overjoyed for them! They were married!!

Right after the ceremony, the bride and groom had requested that the photographer get a group photo of all those who attended the wedding! It took a bit of time to get everyone organized, but in the end it was a great shot!

After that, the guests went to have refreshments, and the wedding party went to take pictures around the camp! The weather held off for almost the entire time that we were taking pictures, and it was only during our last shot, that it started to rain! But, we simply retreated to the dining hall, where there was a photo booth set up for the guests, and used that for a few shots. Also the guests were happy as they got to get their picture with the bride and groom.

IMG_0234[1]

Dinner was served at 6pm, in the dining hall. The room was set up beautifully! Round tables, with burlap and lace runners. The centerpieces; a mason jar filled with baby’s breath, as well as, carnations and roses. And the favours: Tiny mason jars, filled with personalized m&ms that said “Joanna and Liam”, “May the Force be with You” and some that had two hearts on them. The dinner was absolutely delicious! The chef prepared chicken and rice, asparagus, and mixed veggies, and on top of all that, there was a salad bar and amazing, homemade dinner rolls!! And for dessert: Root Beer floats, mini cheesecakes, and lava cakes!

Over the dinner, there were a few games to make the happy couple kiss. And of course there were many speeches made. There were also a few songs that were sung. I had the privilege of singing so many times that day, and the final two were at the reception. I sang the song “God Gave me You” with Liam’s two sisters, and his brother’s girlfriend. Later on, Joann’s sister sang a song that she wrote, while Jo and her brother danced. And my brother and I had the honour of singing the song “I see the light” (yes, from Tangled) for the couple’s first dance!

jl

Throughout the reception, there was one thing that really stood out to me, and I’m sure to many others. Something sad and beautiful. Of course most of the speeches revolved around Joanna and Liam, but throughout the speeches made by Joanna’s family, there was also mention of a very special man, who was absent from that beautiful day. That man was Joanna’s father. He had passed away when Jo was quite little, and his absence was definitely felt by all who knew him, but also by those  of us who didn’t. At the end of the evening, the family released balloons  to remember him, as they have done every year since he has been gone.

It was truly a beautiful day! Emotional, also, but in a good way. I don’t believe that I have ever cried so much at a wedding before!!

All I can say is, congratulations Joanna and Liam! You guys are amazing and love you, and I wish you a lifetime of happiness!

IMG_0242

An Inward Battle

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.

C.S. Lewis

It’s funny, really, how unpredictable life is… We all would like to think that life is simple… care-free… easy.. And that beyond the awkwardness that is, being a teenager, there is a glorious land of adulthood that is filled with unending happiness and great success! but the somewhat unfortunate reality is that, oftentimes, our life is much the opposite.

I’m not saying that everything about life is dull and dreary. There are so many beautiful aspects to this life. So many things, that I am deeply thankful for. Family and friends, love, spontaneous adventures, even growing up is beautiful in its own way…

But, with the good, we will often face some bad along the way… an untimely death… a broken heart… an illness… For our little family of two, it’s the latter.

What I want to share with you today, is my personal battle of emotions and anxiety, that often come with living life with a spouse who has a chronic illness.

The Illness:

In 2008, right around the time I first met him, my sweet husband received news that would forever change his life. He was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease.

For those who have never heard of Crohn’s before, here is a brief history of what is known.

The general definition of Crohn’s disease is this:

A chronic inflammatory disease of the intestines, especially the colon and ileum, associated with ulcers and fistulae.

The symptoms:

  • diarrhea
  • fever and fatigue
  • abdominal pain and cramping
  • blood in the stool
  • mouth sores
  • reduced appetite and weight loss
  • perianal disease
  • inflammation of the skin, eyes and joints
  • inflammation of the liver or bile ducts
  • delayed growth and development in children

A bit more info…

Taken from crohnsandcolitis.ca

Crohn’s can affect anywhere in the GI tract. i.e. anyway from the mouth to the anus, but is usually located in the lower part of the small bowel and the upper end of the colon…. it is a chronic life-long illness…. People who have Crohn’s will experience periods of acute flare-ups, when they’re symptoms are active, and other times where there symptoms go into remission……There is no cure for Crohn’s – yet.

Now that you have a better understand of this disease, Here is a little glimpse into my heart. A small tidbit of internal struggle I face,

Where It All Began…

To be honest, before I had met Dylan, I had never heard of Crohn’s, and even after we started dating, I still wasn’t sure what to expect from it, because it’s one of those illnesses, where you can’t really tell from the outside that the individual is sick. but, I learned very quickly after we started dating, just how serious this disease is.

 3 months after we started dating, in 2013. I had been away, visiting family, and was on my way back home, when Dylan texted me to tell me that he was going to the hospital (which had never happened since he was diagnosed 5 years earlier). He told me not to worry, that the doctors would give him some steroids and he would be fine. So I only panicked a little, not really sure what to feel. That same night, he came over for dinner, but, to the unknowing eye, he looked fine; A little uncomfortable, but otherwise fine. We went to youth group that night, and he started looking more sick. I remember playing a game with the kids, and afterwards coming into the kitchen to find him curled up on the floor because he was in so much pain. I knew then, that something was very wrong, but I tried not to worry, because he said he just needed to go home and sleep. One of the leaders drove him home, and I stayed till the end of youth group and tried to not let myself panic. But then, at the end of the night, I checked my phone, and his sister texted me, she told me that he was taken to the hospital again, and that he would be staying there for the foreseeable future.

That’s when the full-blown panic mode set in. I went home that night because I had no way of getting to the hospital, and I wasn’t sure if I should tell anyone about what had happened. It was one of the most unbearable nights of my life. I didn’t know how Dylan was doing, I didn’t even fully understand what was wrong, I couldn’t talk to him. It was awful.

The next day, I told my parents what had happened, and they drove me to the hospital to see Dylan. I remember it all very clearly… rushing through the ER… seeing him in a hospital bed… everything. I don’t remember ever feeling so scared. This was definitely not something that I ever thought I would face in my life.

Dylan ended up being in the hospital for 13 days. The doctors told him that he had a very severe Crohn’s flare, that his disease had gotten worse, and his body had essentially poisoned itself, and that truthfully he was lucky to be alive. They said that looking back, he had probably been sick for months, and that he would need several months to fully recover..

Since 2013, Dylan’s health has been mostly stable, which I’m so very thankful for! Though he’s had two flares since then, but nothing as bad as his first one. But it is still an ongoing struggle to make sure he stays healthy. from medications, to getting enough sleep, to eating the right food. Our life, in many ways, revolves around this disease.

And that’s where I am struggling. I am so happy to be Dylan’s wife. I love taking care of him, I love doting on him and making him happy. I love spending my life with him! But it can be hard, and sometimes overwhelming. Often I find myself a little anxious about when our life will be turned upside-down again because of Crohn’s.

If I’m being honest, my issues with fear and anxiety started when Dylan was hospitalized.  I’m not saying it’s his fault. It’s not. It is simply who I am, and it comes with the territory of being with someone who has an unpredictable illness and also comes with loving someone. You care about them, and therefore, you worry. There is seldom a day that goes by that I don’t wonder if he is actually OK. If he was being honest about how he’s feeling, or if he’s pushing himself too hard at work… I always wonder… I’m fairly certain that I always will.

I find myself  anxious about the food that he eats. I know that there are certain things he really shouldn’t have… apples… popcorn… lettuce… but, in the back of my mind, when I make something new for dinner, I’m praying that it doesn’t hurt him, that I’m not the reason that he gets sick the next time…

I’m anxious about his medication. A few months ago, Dylan had a mild flare, and his doctor put him on a very strong medication, one which had cancer as one of the side effects.. The first week he took it, I cried. I cried, because he already had an incurable disease, and now he was at risk for another. I worried every time he took it… wondered if the next pill he took would give him cancer…

I’m anxious about him getting sick again (having a flare) because the reality of Crohn’s, is that he will get sick again.

It seems that life, for me, has become a constant cycle of being anxious and worrying…

But, despite my life being a whirlwind of emotions, my real battle lies in finding the peace and strength to get through each day. My real struggle, is trusting that God knows what’s best for our life, and that He will provide for every need that we have, emotionally, spiritually, physically…

I know that I painted a bit of a dark picture of what my life looks like, but I’m just being honest. There are days when I’m totally fine. I have a positive outlook on life and I know that God is in control. But, there are also many days when it is hard to even crawl out of bed in the morning. Days, when I feel very distant from God…

What I’ve Learned

I’ve learned a lot, over the past 3 years, about how harsh life can be. About how difficult it can be to stay strong, how tiring it is to “put on a brave face”, how painful it is to feel like no one understands…

But I have also learned how beautiful life is. That each moment that I get to spend with my husband is a gift. That, laughing, in spite of a really bad day, can make your heart feel light. That, even though you’re in a hospital room, it can still be a romantic date..

Through everything that I have been struggling with, and the many lessons that God has been teaching me, there is one that stands out about the rest. I need to rest in Him. He is my Rock, and I need to trust that He knows what’s best. Even if I don’t agree with Him, he knows what’s best for me, for Dylan, and for our life together.

When I was at camp, many years ago, I was challenged to pick a “life verse”. One that I could memorize and turn to when I was in a crisis or just needed to be reminded that I have a purpose. For the longest time, I didn’t have one… But my dad sent me this verse a few months ago, when Dylan was going through a rough time, and it has stuck with me ever since

 Psalm 61:2

From the end of the earth I will call to you when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

I hope that my story hasn’t been too depressing. Really, that was not my intention. I simply wanted to share my thoughts and feelings about this subject, in hopes that it will encourage anyone who is on a similar journey.

DSC_6740

A Tale of Two Weddings

When I was about 16, I stumbled upon the well-known show, Say Yes to the Dress. Ever since then, I have been obsessed with weddings!! I loved everything about them, from the story of how the couple first met, to the flavour of cake they decided to go with! I never get tired of talking about weddings! I was over the moon excited when I got to plan my own wedding in 2014 and now, this year, I am so happy to have been asked by two of my best friends, to also be a part of their big day!

Both of these beautiful women, were a part of my wedding party as well, which makes this even for special (for me anyway) that I get to also stand up with them as they say their vows, and commit their lives to the wonderful men that God has given them!

Friends bw

The first wedding that I’m a bridesmaid in, will take place on May 7 of this year, in Bancroft. Very close to where I got married actually! (The couple in the middle)

And the second wedding, which I am the Matron of Honour in, will be on August 27 of this year, in Peterborough! (The couple on the far right)

It’s been so exciting so far to share a lot of special moments with each of these amazing women! Dress shopping, discussing centerpieces, music… weddings truly are my addiction…

Right now, though, the wedding in May is coming up in just over two weeks, so I’ve been pretty focused on helping the bride with whatever she needs, and making sure all my duties as a bridesmaid are fulfilled!

The last two weeks before the wedding are so exciting! I feel a tad bit sad for the bride, as this time can be a bit stressful, but the excitement usually outweighs the stress as everyone prepares for the Day!

This week, for me, is all about getting my dress altered, and my hair cut and dyed, so I don’t look too unruly for the wedding!

I’ll keep you all posted on how things are going before wedding and hopefully I’ll have pictures to show you!

You and Me Forever

 If you live to be 100, I want to live 100 minus 1 day so I would never have to live a day without you ~ Winnie the Pooh

Love is beautiful.

Like so many others, as a young girl, I dreamed of falling in love with a handsome prince (I know, cliché) and living happily ever after! I truly believed that falling in love was just like in the movies. You would bump into a random stranger, go on one date, and fall madly in love… Of course, as I grew up, I quickly came to realize that was not how it worked. At all.

I distinctly remember, when I was about 14, having a conversation with one of my best friends and stating that when I was 16 I would have a boyfriend, be married by 18 or 19, and probably have kids by 21…. Looking back, I just have to laugh at my naive, 14-year-old self… Clearly that’s not how my life turned out… But in the long run I’m very thankful that it didn’t turn out the way my teenage self thought it would. Turns out, I needed to learn a few lessons along the way to finding the amazing man who is now my husband.

My 16th birthday was when it all began. I remember spending this birthday at my best friend’s house, which was fine with me at the time, as I had a little crush on one of her brothers. (oh silly me) Anyway, it was then that I started to care what boys thought of me, and I started to panic (ever so slightly) about the fact that I did not yet have a boyfriend, or even a prospective boyfriend. (my crush didn’t like me back.. it was all very dramatic) But still, I clung to the hope that by the time I turned 17, I would have a special someone to bring home to meet my family…. To my great disappointment, by the time my birthday came along, there was still no boyfriend… that was when full panic mode set in! I remember feeling very depressed over the next year, crying myself to sleep on many occasions because I thought that no boy would ever love me. I began to think that it was because of my disability, that no boy was interested in me…. I mean, who would want to date a girl who wears orange glasses, right?

Wrong! And that was one of the lessons that I needed to learn. looking back, God had been trying to teach me this for over 2 years, but I had been too obsessed with finding someone to see what He was trying to say to me. Before I could be with someone… before I could love someone… I had to learn to love the way that I was created, I needed to be reminded that I was precious to God. I also needed to be reminded of the fact that God loves me. Even if I feel ugly or useless, or forgotten, He always loves me. So before He could bring someone into my life, I had to learn to be completely satisfied with His love, and to accept the fact that I am beautiful in His eyes.

And that’s when it happened. It’s not like I accepted who I was and the next day God brought me a boyfriend, oh no. But because I was no longer in desperate search of someone to love, I thought nothing of it when, at Bible college, God stuck a stubborn, opinionated, curly-haired man in my life…

College was not technically the first time I had met Dylan. We met at camp 4 years earlier, but he didn’t like me then, and truthfully, I didn’t much care for him either. But it was while we attended school, that we actually became friends, because, upon actually speaking to each other, we discovered that neither one of us was really that repulsing… But as I said earlier, when we became friends, dating was the furthest thing from my mind, which worked out well because, at the time, he was quite interested in dating one of my friends. But as the school year went on, we became closer, and around 2 weeks before graduation, I started developing a little bit of a crush… sadly nothing became of it at the time, and even though we spent the following summer together at camp, I found myself moving on to yet another crush.

During that summer, I had gone on vacation with my family and had become quite infatuated with one of the boys I met while there, and so I became quite perplexed, when I returned to camp, the final week of summer, to find that Dylan had told several of my friends that he liked me (being the true friends they were, they gave me a heads up before he talked to me)

I remember being so confused… How could I pick between two boys, especially when one liked me?! I knew that later that week, Dylan was going to talk to me about his feelings, which was a very scary thought to me, because I had no idea what he was going to say. Luckily when the day came, he simply asked that we hang out often during the upcoming year, which I was perfectly OK with because he was quickly becoming one of my best friends.

And that’s how it went. He was in school that fall, and I would come over and have tea with him, and we would talk and have fun and we never once spoke about feelings.

But then Halloween came around, and his school was having a party, and he invited me. So I went with him, but we soon left to have tea (that was our thing) and he sat me down and asked me 3 questions: Do you like hanging out with me? Do you want to continue hanging out with me? Do you see our relationship going any further? I didn’t answer him right away. In fact, I took an entire week to answer him! (much to his dismay) Long story short, I said “yes” to all 3 questions.

DSC_6475

It was amazing!! Although, at the beginning of our relationship, things were a bit awkward… we didn’t speak much… we were just generally awkward people.. and of course our relationship had some rough patches…but I didn’t care! I knew, shortly after we started dating, that he was the man who I was going to marry… I was in love (finally!!)

DSC_6529

We dated for 1 year and 3 months, and at midnight, on Valentine’s Day, he gave me a scrapbook of all our wonderful memories over the past year, and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!! *spoiler* I said yes 🙂

Ring

9 months later, on September 27, 2014, we were married. It was a beautiful day. Absolutely perfect.

Web-229Web-203

 Web-41Web-512Web-509

Web-464

We’ve now been married for 1 year and 8 months, and it has been quite a whirlwind! It hasn’t always been easy either, we’ve been through some pretty tough times emotionally, physically, financially… but I wouldn’t change it for the world! It’s the tough times in life that make us appreciate what God has given us… and I am truly thankful that he gave me such a loving man to share the good times and the bad with!

It has been quite a journey for me so far, but as I look back on my life, I’m so glad that things didn’t work out the way I thought they would. God has taught me so much about who He is and who I am, and although, some of these lessons have been hard, I know that I am better for it.

I look forward to what God has in store for us in the years to come, and can’t wait to share these adventures with the love of my life.

Web-379