Saturday, March 08, 2008

For the love of marriage...

For the Love of Marriage..

Thank you for the flowers!

It’s been quite a week here in our home, so much so I’ve completely skipped posting anything about our wedding anniversary’s special day.

One year ago exactly, our long awaited year in production’s grand family reunion and "Trip of a Lifetime" was in progress. This was the trip we had all been waiting for, one where we would have all of our children (those living at home and those married), their spouses and the grandchildren, all in one place, at one time, celebrating life and love together in one huge rental home on the beaches of Oahu.

This specific day one year ago, we were immersed in the culture of the Pacific Islands, also celebrating our thirtieth wedding anniversary at a dinner luau held inside the Polynesian Center.

Adorned with floral scented leis and floral headgear, we were gathering incredible moments to cherish, knowing we’d never forget such a “trip of a lifetime” together. Who could predict when we could, or would, ever be together like this again in the future? The time to celebrate and reunite was here, and one year later we can attest to it all being very an incredible and wonderful endeavor.

All of this week, our children at home have been reminiscing about that trip from last year, and steadily perusing through our “Storybook Album” I created online using the “Creative Memories” free software (find the link HERE)

Our family all resides in various locations geographically now that we've moved away, yet we were all able to share our photos from this trip for all to see. We came upon a clever idea to upload all camera owner photos into “Snapfish” folders we each configured individually, gathering them into our own computers, or having them printed online through the same company.

For Christmas gifts, I used every single photo from the Snapfish folders (over 700 photos), enjoying the creation of an incredible storybook, with the memories from each camera user’s viewpoint. Each of our married couples, and we, were gifted recipients of such a loving and fruitful project. Dare I say - what a keeper this album is! When flipping over page after page, all can’t help but marvel at the memories, the vivid and stunning scenes, the sights, the life together as family, and become filled with emotional intensity, as flashbacks of our trip of a lifetime together inside of a private beach side home overwhelm our very souls.

We have another snowstorm warning today; supposedly the forecast has been stating it will be the worst of the season thus far. (goodie, goodie - snicker) When taking a quick glance out the window just now, I see the snowflakes drifting downward and we are gearing up for a brutal wind which is supposed to accompany it. Therefore, it is good to glance through our Storybook, remembering the Hawaiian sunrises and sunsets, and recall the bronzing of the sun on our bodies, and the warmth of a breeze kissing our cheeks from the gentle waves lapping up onto the sandy beach.

As many of you know already, I am a person addicted to all things scrapbooking, card making and sewing, let alone the other hundred hobbies I try to make time for and struggle with of course, but oh when I retire…. (grin)

All of our wedding photos were originally stored and placed into a magnetic album for safe keeping, but after many years, they all turned yellow or orange and began to fade.

My original experience in “Storybook" album making occurred last year when I had procrastinated long enough about reworking all of our wedding photos into a new album. Sadly most of the photos were ruined, therefore it wasn’t just a simple task of placing them into a new album, rather each photo was going to have to be recopied and the color touched up back to its original state. Bah-humbug! Moreover, just where was the photo negatives when one needed them! I never had possession of those either, so it was a huge task.

I began the first task of preserving these photos the only way I knew how at the time, by scanning one photo (yawn!) at a time on my computer’s scanner at home. I felt at the very least I could retouch them on my computer’s software a little bit at a time, day by day, but I soon became overwhelmed at the work involved, especially after all the standing to get the wedding photos scanned initially.

The first thing I did was back up all the photos onto a disk and now I have them on file for the future. But, it was something else when I finally decided to try the “Storybook” idea, grabbing the keyboard to navigate my way onto the url for downloading the free software from Creative Memories. I soon became awe-struck when I discovered the photos not only uploaded with ease, but I also noted the built-in assistance to revamp each photo’s color restoration detail and resizing abilities. After just a short time into the project, I was hooked.

The trial 8 X 8 Storybook

In just a short time, I had a wonderful album in my hands, delivered by a private courier to my front door. How great is that?

Though I had merely sampled an 8x8 inch album as a trial run, once this trial album arrived, I grabbed my cuppa java and accelerated with great guns, gathering every single photo from my computer of our wedding day, to create a completely new album, an 8x10 inch one, complete with plenty of journaling scattered throughout.

The all-complete wedding 8 X 10 album

The initial goal of course was to get on with the show and have it ready for our thirtieth wedding anniversary celebration. What would an anniversary be without remembering the memories of the years past? How can a married couple ever dare to block out their love story beginnings, at least all of the joyful ones to date? I have news for you - sorrowful ones will always remain but it’s how we choose to overrule them that will make us the people we are meant to become. Remember too, no one said it would be easy…

In addition, realistically, our wedding photos had been in storage for so long after their removal from the unsafe archival album, many of our children had not remembered seeing them. When viewing the album, and subsequent video we had produced, there was an abundance of laughter, not only from their fashion minded parents in days gone by, but also from noting those popular colors of the seventies woven throughout our wedding day and beyond. Yes, we were groovy parents to them in our brown, orange, and yellow colors, but little did they know we haven’t changed, and still are the grooviest, the coolest and most funky parents all these years later.

Our Marriage Prayer
(added inside our wedding day handouts)

Lord, we’ve chosen to walk the pathway of life,
side by side, as husband and wife.
May we conquer together over the wrong,
and trust YOU to keep our partnership strong.
Help our love for each other always to bloom,
as the day we became a new bride and groom.
And as parents today we are privileged to be,
let us teach each child about Thee.
May loved ones and guests, who enter our home,
feel the warmth of the love as well as our own.


May I give you a vision, something tangible to hold onto and cherish with all your heart? No matter how many years your marriage has endured, I urge you to celebrate the ordinary and not wait to do so only on your wedding anniversary date specifically, rather find all things great and wonderful to celebrate all through the year. Aside from child rearing, marriage is the single most difficult challenge you will ever greet, and the most important work of art you can strive for. Keep it healthy, keep it happy, keep it strong, and keep it memorable whenever possible.

Where are your wedding photos right now? Are they near at hand so you can peruse through them any time the going gets tough, if only for remembering the day you became husband and wife and the incredible joy you both felt that day?

For the Love of Marriage

On the other hand, are they packed away gathering dust, or sitting in albums unsafe for archival keepsake heritage values?

Are they in an album, ready to view at any time? If not, why not get moving and make it your goal to create one in the near future.

We need to reflect on our beginnings often, remembering the purpose of marriage in the first place. We need to view our spouse just the way we began, remembering always the intense love we had on our walk to the altar.

Sure, marriage can require a tough delivery at times, maybe even yours has had many years plagued with unhappiness which has semi-ruined your passion for your mate. Offer up any hardships or negative emotions, pray for sacramental grace, get to confession often, and do not ever (!) compare your marriage to anyone else. Find something to celebrate, anything, and find joy together again looking through your love story beginning photos nearby in that album you have or the one you will set a goal to create in the near future.

In all things, do not allow the desires of your heart to fog your sunglasses if they are unrealistic, skewing the intention of marriage in the first place, in other words, never forget to be thankful for what you have because that’s the true starting point. Every day give thanks for the person you made vows with, until death do you part, and that might be a long, long time away...wink. Enjoy the journey, because like a fine wine, it gets better with age.

Our Day of Days

From this day forward,
let us laugh together,
and plan together,
find our favorite place and go there together.
Let us enjoy the sunshine,
and the rain,
being alone,
and in crowds,
From this day forward,
let us love!