Friday, July 29, 2016

Michael and Hannah: wedding!!! :D {kirksville, mo wedding photographer}



A little over two months ago, these precious friends of mine were united in marriage and I'm SO excited to finally share their happy day with y'all :D :D.

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I loved Michael's unique and enchanting choice of ring for Hannah :D. And, for some reason, peonies grow EVERYWHERE in Kirksville!!! Everywherrrrrre! So, Michael and Hannah's wedding day was easily suffused with big, glorious peonies. It was the best :D :D.

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The morning began with the girls getting ready at +Hannah and her roommates' house :).

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The joyful bride and her dear friends :D :D.

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Hannah is a faithful woman of God and rivals my hugging strength. Haha. Our friendship began at a Bible camp in Louisiana in 2005 I believe and I've always admired her thoughtfulness and joy in the Lord :). And her excited smile is just the cutest thing :D. To see her prepare to marry the man of her dreams was a privilege :) <3 Love you, Hannah!
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Speaking of the man of her dreams! Haha. This is Michael. I met him at the Fellowship Conference in 2011 shortly after he was saved!
Michael is also a good friend and to see him marry the woman of his dreams was a privilege as well :D.

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His comrades (also good friends of mine) are hilarious by the way. Haha.

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I told him to pretend his watch was a spy watch. Haha.
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Dapper, Michael.

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These guys were so fun and easy to take pictures of and they looked great!

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Nice.

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Haha :D

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A favorite :D. Good job, y'all.

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Time to introduce who these compadres of his are. First there's Michael's best man +Taylor Steele. Haha.
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Then there's Hannah's brother and friend of Michaels: Isaiah Lebron.

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Then many of y'all should recognize this guy 'cause I shot his wedding almost two years ago! (Which Michael, Taylor, and Austin [who you'll meet in a second] were groomsmen in actually) +Jase Ely :D
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Here he is. Haha.+Austin Dooley :)
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Then there's +Colin Skinner who whipped out his "wand", so I asked him what it was made of. Haha

Colin: "Uh, wormwood...and phoenix feather."
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And THEN Colin wanted them all to get behind the tree like this, but only a few were brave enough to acquiesce to his request. Hahahahaha.

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But then they redeemed themselves with this manly shot. Hahaha. So great.

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And the posing and greatness continued. Hahaha.

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These guys care about Michael so much. They're like brothers and they are in Christ! :D

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And their humor with each other is just the best. Haha :D




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Then Michael wanted to approach the door of the abandoned building as if they were about to storm it. Haha.

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Taylor's ready. Haha.

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But there was no time to actually storm the building, but there WAS time to form a band! Hahahaha.

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Hahahaha, I love it.

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Then I told the band to go on tour. Haha.

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Then Colin's final request was this. Haha.

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Then it was back at the church building to relax until ceremony time :D (Mom got these shots [and many throughout this post] 'cause, like she often does, she wanted to take extra pictures for fun :D)

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Not sure what's going on here. Haha.

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But I KNOW they're praying here. Hehe :). These young men are super encouraging spiritually, by the way. Michael has got great support in his Christian walk.

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Then the girls arrived at the church to do their final touches before things got rolling! :D

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I loved Hannah's regency vibe; it suited her so well :D :D. (we actually had fun talking about a possible "Jane Austen" themed wedding for her in the early stages of her and Michael's relationship 'cause they both Jane Austen. Hehe :D)
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So happily lovely :D

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Such a beautiful bride :D.
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Hannah and her ladies! :D

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They all looked so gorgeous :D.

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And their sweet bridesmaid dresses came from Mikarose! :D

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These girls are so adorable :D.

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Now to meet them! :D. First there's Hannah's older sister and matron of honor: Rosana Thompson :D.
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Then there's Hannah's younger sister and maid of honor: +Preciosa Lebron :D.
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And this is Michael's sister Jennifer McGovney! :D
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And this is Katherine Feiner :D. She and Hannah have been just like sisters since childhood :).
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And then there's Hannah's precious friend +Angela Schultz :D.
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I love the contended joy on her face :D <3

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And there's me! Hehe :).

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Love :D :D

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And the other girl with a camera is my friend/feels-like-my-cousin +Meghan Kelly! :D This was her first time to video a wedding! :D
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And this is Hannah's sweet mom Myrna :D.
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Hannah made all their bouquets :).

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Yeah, these girls can have fun too. Hehe :D

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These are their "Hannah's getting married!!!" faces :D <3

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Laughter in the parking lot. Hehe :D

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Then Michael and Hannah wanted to hold hands and talk and pray before they met at the alter :).

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:D :D
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Oh, man. Hearing their prayers was SO so precious <3 <3 <3
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Colin's super cute wife Tori :D

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Ceremony time! :D

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There's my Dad on the left! :D And my bestie +Allix 
and her dad on the right :D.

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He got scared when he got to the alter and his daddy wasn't behind him anymore. Haha. So daddy came and rescued him :D.

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Michael seeing his bride. Aaaaah <3 <3.

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:D :D

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The church was maxed out with people who love Michael and Hannah :) :).

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Yaaaaaay!

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Husband and wiiiiiife! :D :D

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TOO MUCH! <3 <3

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Sweeeeet :D

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Hooray for tears and hugs of joy :D.

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Aaaah, I love these two :D :D <3.

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Check out Michael's "Space Invaders" socks. Hahaha :D.

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Yay wedding party :D

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:D

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:D :D

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Then things got a little too close for comfort for Michael. Hahahaha.

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Hahahaha :D

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And then as the rest of the company went on to the reception, we went to Truman State University's campus to take pictures and let Michael and Hannah relish in being married away from the crowds before they rejoined everyone :D.

And now, it's time to learn about how God brought them together :) :).

"We met in December 2011, when a mutual friend of ours brought Michael to a gathering at my house. However, we didn’t actually start talking to one another until 2013. He was friends with one of my close friends, and so we hung out occasionally because of that. I remember a particular evening at another friend’s house, where I spoke to him about an encouragement I’d received from one of his recent tweets. We chatted for a while about the Song of Solomon, and also about coffee, homeschooling, and other matters. I remember enjoying the evening immensely, mostly because of the time spent talking to Michael.

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On September 7, 2013, an older brother from my church emailed Michael, asking him whether he’d ever consider me as a potential wife. It was not the right time; after praying about me, Michael dismissed the idea. Around this time, I visited Columbia during the week and attended his church’s Bible study. Afterward, some of us went to McDonald’s, and he seemed particularly attentive to me. I recall his changing his seat to ask me if I’d seen Doctor Who, and to attempt persuading me into watching it—to no avail.

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About a year later, I saw him again in Kirksville and my heart unexpectedly fluttered. I was shocked and ashamed of myself, and I spent the rest of that time he was in town avoiding him. I think the reason this happened is that the idol of marriage had far too large a place in my heart. But early in the year 2015, the Lord in His faithfulness took that away and taught me to let go of this desire.
 
Sometime after that happened, I became romantically interested in Michael. Not wishing to merely have a crush on him, I took these thoughts about him to the Lord, praying specifically that if this were from Him my feelings for Michael would grow, and that the next time I saw him I’d enjoy being around him.

The next time I saw him was at the Fellowship Conference in early April 2015. We barely spent any time together, but I watched him from afar. He allowed me to use his electric kettle to make coffee, and so we talked while making coffee. The only other interaction between us was when I approached him on Saturday after the evening meeting to inquire about his kettle-packing plans for the trip home. In that short exchange, although not many words were said, a brother watching us saw a tenderness that made him say to his wife and daughter afterward, 'I think those two are going to get married.'

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He visited Kirksville again near the end of April. We spent a few hours together, the entire time of which I spent wondering whether he liked me or not—and whether I liked him. 

In the middle of June, Michael and his roommate visited Kirksville for a weekend and we spent a lot of time together. We had planned that part of the time which surrounded a viewing of the D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones documentary 'Logic on Fire'; part of the time was sporadic. But I enjoyed every minute with him! Two evenings in a row, the guys from Columbia and my brother hung around my house until 11:30 at night, at which time I felt it necessary to ask them to leave. When Michael left that final evening, I secretly hoped that we’d share a side hug, but there was no way I was going to initiate one. But he did, and I was happy.

 It was during that weekend that he really noticed me for the first time. We had been friends, but he had never considered me as a potential wife. In his words: 'It was as if the Lord had shone a spotlight on her sitting there on the couch and asked me, almost audibly, "Have you considered this, my servant Hannah?" '

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After that weekend we talked off-and-on all summer. It wasn’t every day—usually these conversations had more than a week between them—but at times I questioned whether we should be talking so much. I knew that I was not giving him any false ideas about my feelings: they were real—that June weekend had solidified this fact in my mind. I had to be careful with my heart, though. As far as I could tell, we were only friends in his mind. I knew that he had other female friends and surely he had little more than friendly feelings for me. We were friends, which was exciting; but I wanted more than that. Each time we talked, I told myself not to talk to him again the next day. One particular conversation began in the evening and continued until the following evening. It was a most enjoyable 24 hours, but it was also a huge distraction. One day in August I resolved not to initiate another conversation with him; we had talked and I felt so emotional that had he begun another conversation the next day I would have told him that I couldn’t talk to him anymore. Thankfully he didn’t, and my feelings were able to return to their steady glow.
 
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He left little hints on Instagram and Twitter that there might be some interest on his part. He had the entire week after his June visit off work; a few days after his return home he posted a picture indicating that he’d purchased a set of books to which I had made reference while we were hanging out. He also replied to a mutual friend’s tweet, mentioning 'witty repartee with a beautiful woman.' Did he mean me? I dared not believe it—but he did!

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On Tuesday, August 18, I moved houses. I was excited enough to post about this move on social media, and in response to this, on Friday, August 21, I received a text:

'So, when’s the got-a-new-place party?'

He proceeded to ask me about particular times that weekend, such as Saturday afternoon at 2:00. I was busy Saturday afternoon, and I didn’t want to have a welcome-to-my-new-house party only five days after moving in. Chaos still reigned, as my roommate and I were both working and we hadn’t had time to unpack everything. But then a thought occurred to me: maybe he’s planning a visit this weekend, and he wants to see the new home of his friends.

So I asked him what he was planning.

Two hours later, he responded:

'Well, sort of. I was thinking of asking a friend of mine to coffee but their schedule is proving difficult to work around. Might not be this weekend after all.'

Now, I knew this Michael Ford well enough to know that he would not use 'their' to refer to one person unless he wanted to conceal that person’s gender. And why would he wish to conceal a friend’s gender unless that person were a girl? And why would a guy ask a girl to coffee but to ask her about entering a relationship? And why would he tell me any of this at all?

My heart plummeted. The man I loved was planning to ask another girl out for coffee this weekend. I struggled to maintain composure at work during a busy Friday afternoon. But I turned to the Lord and surrendered Michael and my future hopes and dreams to Him. I believe I said something like, 'Okay, Lord, I guess I’m never getting married.' If I couldn’t marry Michael, I didn’t want to marry anyone.

But then I realized that if I truly loved him, I’d place his happiness above mine. If he would be happier with someone besides me—if the Lord willed for Michael Ford to marry someone other than Hannah Lebrón—who was I to be upset about it?

All this happened in the space of about six minutes. In full surrender, wondering whom he liked, I responded to his message:

'That’s too bad! I hope you can work it out somehow.'

Taking my response as encouragement, he replied:

'Yeah, I’m working on it. I’m running out of ideas, though. Do you have any…?'

...and then one entered my head: 'Maybe it is me!' So I asked the following question, thinking that if he had asked his friend, it wasn’t me; but if he hadn’t it might be me and this might prompt him to ask me.

H: 'Have you tried outright asking your friend when they’re free this weekend?'

M: 'I haven’t, actually. I guess that could work, but I’m skeptical.'

H: 'Usually when you’re trying to make plans with someone, that’s the best way. :)'

M: 'Alright. Hey, would you happen to be free at all this weekend to grab a cup of coffee with me?'

Had the man I loved actually just asked me out for coffee? In the summer, it is not uncommon for me to wear two or three sweaters when I’m at work; but now I was warm enough to shed all three. I couldn’t believe it: was this actually happening to me?!


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H: 'Me? You want to have coffee with me?'

M: 'Yes…? There’s content behind that inquiry that I can’t quite reach, but "yes" is the answer to those words.'

Due to the diminutive size and correlated population of hipsters in Kirksville there are no coffee shops open past 6:00p.m. on Friday evenings. We decided that ice cream would work better, so our 'coffee date' was frozen yogurt.

'Would it be weird if I bought yours?' he asked. I saw no objection to this, so he paid and we went outside to sit in the warm summer evening and chat.

He began awkwardly.

'So, I really enjoyed that weekend I spent in Kirksville in June; and I was hoping to hear your testimony.'

And I thought: 'He drove all this way just to hear my testimony.'

Eventually the truth came out, each of us revealing little bits of our hearts, fearful of sharing too much too soon.

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 We talked all evening and well into the night, wandering around downtown Kirksville for hours. We weren’t certain how to proceed, but we both knew that we couldn’t continue as before—being 'just friends' was no longer an option. Not wanting to date without purpose and not wanting to proceed without the counsel and blessing of both my parents and our pastors, we finally resolved that talking to the appropriate people was of paramount importance (per Proverbs 11:14).

He went home to Columbia that night, and so began a long weekend of driving for him. The next day, we went to LaGrange where he talked to my parents, and Sunday we both talked separately to one of my pastors in Kirksville. The next few weeks were spent seeking counsel, praying that the Lord would shut us down if it wasn’t His will for us to marry, and spending a lot of time together on weekends. The Lord did not shut us down—in fact, save a few wise cautions from a counselor or two, all we had was green lights. I met his family; he visited mine with me.

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Then one day in late September, he took me to the place where he had been baptized. We sat on a bench and watched the waves roll in while we talked about the future and things of God. Before I grasped what was happening, he was off the bench, on one knee, asking me to marry him. I was so excited that I can’t remember how many times I said, 'Yes!' (He says it was 11 times.)
After establishing that I would indeed marry him, he took me into town where we grabbed some dinner and went to a park to watch the lunar eclipse.
And here we are, beginning the rest of our happily ever after."


God knitting their hearts together makes me rejoice, rejoice, rejoice :D :D <3. And how cute are they?! They did exactly what I want all my clients to do: just be themselves and enjoy the moment :D.

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Swoooon <3
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:D
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The following "Downton Abbey" quote perfectly describes how Hannah knew she loved Michael...

"I would never be happy with anyone else so long as you walked the earth."

<3 <3

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Wind, love, embrace, all this <3 <3

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<3

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Theirs smiles to each other!! <3 <3
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Dreamy

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The new Mr. and Mrs. Ford :D :D.

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Oh <3 <3
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She has been swept. Hehe :D

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Happiness :D
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Aaaah, these two :D :D.

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Michael told me this about his Dove (that's what he calls her <3)...

"Hannah has the 'gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God' (1 Peter 3:4).  Her understated humility had me not even not noticing her for the majority of the time that we’ve known each other—the safest and Biblical position for a young lady—but that is a quality of hers that now stands out to me as exceptional in character.  She clearly loves to laugh and to learn, and her desire is for the Lord.  The efficacious work of the Spirit is evident in her love for God and man, though perhaps hidden under an adorable bit of introversion."

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Hannah did this same...

"Michael strives to please the Lord with his life, and he constantly reminds me to keep an eternal perspective, no matter the situation.  He is very intentional about why he does things, purposefully avoiding that false sense of righteousness which comes through legalism.  He’s wonderful with children, winning their hearts by interacting on their level.  He’s highly intelligent and he uses an extensive vocabulary which keeps me on my toes (and in my dictionary!).  With Michael around, there’s rarely a dull moment, as he’s good at drawing out laughter from others.

Michael is outstanding among ten thousand. 'His mouth is full of sweetness.  And he is wholly desirable.  This is my beloved, and this is my friend…' (Song of Songs 5:16)"

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Again, just being themselves. I did not pose those. Preciousness abounds <3 <3 <3.

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I asked them what they like to do together :)


"We read, pray, and often take longer-than-expected walks, and the occasional run has been great fun.  Our laughs and chats over coffee and tea have been a source of great encouragement, enabling communication via shared favorite movie quotes and a general sense of safe silliness.

Mostly we just love spending time together, whatever that happens to entail."
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Love this shot :) <3

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This is what love looks like :D :D

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Darlingness :D :D

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Me: "Michael, you have a wife."

Michael: "I have a wiiife!"
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Hehe :D
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:D <3

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Looking gooood, y'all.

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Love these intelligent, dear saints <3

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Yay twirling! :D
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And then it was reception time! :D. LOOK AT THE PEONIES. I could not get over them, still haven't really.

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Michael clapping. Hahaha.

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My two favorite parts of Michael's speech were when he said how 5 years ago, besides his family, he didn't know anyone in that room and it's all 'cause of what God has done. So amazing :) :).

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And then when he called out to someone getting food.

"Hey, Jesse." 

Haha :D

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Mrs. Virginia Breshears, who provided most of the peonies from her yard, handed out the yellow ones to some of the ladies there :D :D.

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So cute :D.

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:D :D
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My parents!! :D

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Here they come! :D

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Oh, you know...

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...just trying to eat the bubbles. Hahaha.

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:D

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Congratulations, my friends!! :D :D

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What an honor and joy it was to document their day <3. Love y'all!! See y'all at camp in September!! :D <3

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With a smile,
{ Rachel Leigh }