Friday, May 23, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Volume 32

{story of a soul, condensed}

Visit Jen at Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!

{1} We're off to Cincinnati next week for the wedding of one of Andrew's best, oldest friends!  He and his gorgeous bride are getting married in a cathedral and holding their reception in a barn.  But you know, a nice, Pinteresty looking barn.  This will be Andrew's and my eleventh (!) wedding together, but most of our close friends got married in the same two year or so span, so we haven't been to some good ol' nuptials for a while now.  I am so, so excited to celebrate their love!

{2} I know nothing about Cincinnati aside from the fact that the Bengals exist and that some sort of chili over spaghetti thing exists.  So, any recommendations for me?  Andrew's brother and his family will be along, too, and my sister-in-law are planning a trip to the Cincy Zoo with our babies while the boys do bachelor camping things.  What else should we put on our to-do list?  Talk to me about food and I'll consider this trip golden before it even starts.

{3} Have you seen Haley at Carrots for Michaelmas' new Book Club series?  It basically involves her and her readers having a book discussion via a Facebook event and comments (they're doing Brideshead Revisited next week, and the discussion has already started and it's awesome--I've tried reading that sucker three times and still haven't gotten through it, but if you're one of the enlightened who found it more readable than I, go for it).  I love the idea of a live discussion!  So, Haley if you're reading this, I fully admit to copping your idea, though with a different subject.  Would any of you be interested with something similar?  I've talked about plenty of books on Catholic marriage and womanhood on this blog, but it might be fun to just pick a topic and do a chat, yes?  Let me know what you think!

{4} About a month after sending in the manuscript for my upcoming book, I got back the first round of edits this week!  It's an awesome feeling knowing my book baby is that much closer to print, though I'm not sure yet about the exact timeline.  I'm sure I'll be cranking up the obnoxious reminders about it as the publication gets closer (and I can't wait to reveal the title soon!), but for now, I'd so appreciate your prayers for wisdom and clarity of mind as I work through the content over the next month.

{5} That said, who better to give their input on a book about Catholic marriage than the intended audience of this here blog?  If you're engaged, is there any untapped area of wedding planning, either spiritual or practical, that you think deserves attention in a book?  And if you're married, what part of planning your wedding was the toughest to figure out, i.e, what do you wish you'd had more information on?  I'm aiming to include checklists and worksheets for brides to stay organized along with the preparation stuff, so speak up!  Tell me what would be the most beneficial, 'cause I aim to help.

{6} I wrote about love song covers earlier this week--I'm dying to know: what's your favorite love song (and if a cover version exists, I'd love to hear about it!)?

{7} Obligatory baby photos wherein Aaron shows off his latest hobbies, standing (seriously, he could be entertained alllll day just by us holding his arms while he pulls himself up and semi-walks--now you know how I spend all day), playing in the piles of clothes that, well, pile up, and nomming on avocados:

Enjoy the weekend!  I won't be blogging next week, but you can follow the Ohio adventures on Instagram and keep up with the articles and pretty stuff I find on Facebook!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Five Favorites: Love Song Covers

Linking up with Hallie!

The little girl I nanny for has a love for me after about 5 months together, I think, but understandably, she straight up bellows when I show up each morning because she knows it means her mama's about to disappear.  We recently attempted a new maneuver that I'm calling in my head Dance Off Hand Off (alternate name suggestions welcome), where her mom puts on music and holds her while we all dance around the kitchen, and as we get down she passes her to me and sneaks away as I ever so subtly spin the babe in the opposite direction.  So far so peaceful.

The tune by which the magic happens has been a reggae cover of the song "I Say a Little Prayer For You" from the soundtrack to My Best Friend's Wedding, which, I swear, has like four versions of that song on it.  I know sometimes only the orig will do, but I really like covers.  Something about hearing a fresh, lesser-known take on an old, well-known song is so intriguing to me.  And as far as wedding songs go, first dances especially, I think going with a cover can be an inspired choice.

I love me some Boyce Avenue as much as the next girl, but here, for your consideration, five other love song covers.

1. In Your Eyes: No contest, you guys.  This is my favorite song, hands down.  The vulnerability ("Love, I get so lost sometimes"), the self-gift ("I reach out from the inside"), the fulfillment of a soul's longing (the whole dang chorus)…it stirs me so good.  Andrew thinks the original Peter Gabriel version sounds like The Lion King, and maybe he has a point (one I don't see a problem with!).  He approves of this understated acoustic version by Matt Ketteman and Cameron Mizell.  Listen to it on Spotify here.

2. Let's Stay Together: I first encountered Obidiah Parker by his mellow redo of "Hey Ya."  Inspired, my friend played it on guitar during dinner with my roommate and I, and it somehow resulted in us dancing around the apartment so enthusiastically, I guess, that the downstairs neighbor banged on the ceiling.  Maybe it wasn't such a mellow cover after all.  Anyway, he also has his own rendition of Al Green's "Let's Stay Together."  At the risk of disrespecting a classic, I think I like this one more, if only because the words sound a little clearer (Al Green: marblemouth?) and because the melody just sounds so great.  Have a listen:

3. Crazy In Love: Classic (sidenote: I'm illiterate…is Bey pronounced "Bee?"  Sorry, Beyonce).  This vintage take by Emeli Sande from The Great Gatsby soundtrack would fit in perfectly for your reception cocktail hour, in my opinion.  Yes?

4. Dance Me to the End of Love: I heard this song for the first time back in high school, thanks to a friend who introduced me to Leonard Cohen, the musician who also wrote "Hallelujah."  "Dance Me to the End of Love" was gorgeously haunting and poetic and sexy, but despite the beautiful lyrics I thought Leonard sounded a little, um, creepy.  I love the whispered harmonies in this version by the Civil Wars so much.

5. Is This Love: One time in the car, my chastity speaking partner and I were talking about our parents' wedding songs.  After I serenaded him with my most expressive attempt at my mom and dad's ultracheesy 80s power ballad, "Just You and I," he played me Bob Marley's "Is This Love," which his parents danced to.  So much cooler (sorry, parents, if you're reading this), and it was that song that took me from a casual to more-widely-listened Marley fan.  Corinne Bailey Rae takes the reggae jam and turns it into a classy, soulful affair.  Beauty.

Your turn!  Any other romantic covers I should know about?  Share 'em in the comments, and tell me your favorite love song!

P.S.  5 1/2: I wrote about Adele's incredible cover of Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love" here!

P.P.S. Like the sassy new Pinterest feed on the sidebar?  Hover over the images to see the pins, and follow me here.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Love Notes: Men and Mary

{small ways to show great love}

 from my Insta
When I was in high school, I'd spend the time before going to sleep ticking off on my fingers the qualities I wanted to find in my future husband: I hoped he'd be, in no particular order, funny, musical, a reader, from a big family, and naturally, handsome.  As time passed and my spiritual life flourished, my list started changing.  Actually, I still prayed for all those things, but meeting and marrying a man of deep faith pushed things like "able to make me laugh" from the top spots on the list.  Specifically, I hoped that my husband would have a relationship with Our Lady.

Suffice it to say I'm blessed beyond measure to have found all these qualities and more in Andrew.  When we started dating, he told me how starting to do a daily Rosary had brought order and peace to his life at a time when he knew he was wandering from the path of virtue and true masculinity he so deeply strove for.  Nighttime Rosary walks around our college campus quickly became a ritual we loved, and I can so clearly remember the clarity I sensed with our prayer.  Within a few months, we talked together about feeling such a healing from past sins against chastity and such a certainty and purity in the start of our relationship.  Eventually, it was after a Rosary walk that Andrew asked me to be his wife.  We chose a line from the Memorare, "before thee we kneel," for the inscription in our wedding rings.

To me, there is nothing more attractive, more admirable, and more masculine than a man in love with the Blessed Mother.  It seems easy sometimes to think of Mary as pious and quiet--the image of a docile woman--what with all the statues of her serenely holding baby lambs and things.  A friend of mine has told me before that as a man, it's not the piety and docility that draw him in.  "Mary can be a badass," he said (pardon the language; I just felt like I had to say it for the full effect).  Think the Battle of Lepanto.  Her love can be stern at times, even to Jesus at Cana, yet like any mother, she knows so well what each of her children's hearts needs at different times.  I myself think it's also important to consider her fullness of humanity and what I like to think must have been a rich emotional life: a pure-hearted passion for her husband, an abiding love for her son, and an emptying to the depths of her being at the foot of the Cross.  She is so alive, and can truly show a man how to love his bride, by loving her and imploring her intercession.

St. Louis de Montfort described devotion to Mary as being "Our Lady's slave," an image that's understandably uncomfortable across 400 years and an entirely different culture.  When I first heard it my freshman year of college, I was kind of freaked out, honestly--I was just starting to learn more about the faith and was considering Marian consecration.  To discover that Mary wanted to chain me to her for eternity didn't exactly seem loving, let alone pleasant.

I'm glad I heard out the explanation of the language, and am grateful for the grace of developing a devotion to her.  Now, when I think of being chained to Our Lady, I don't think of it as a burden, or a literal ball and chain.  Instead, it brings me deep comfort to know I'm forever tethered to her.  It's impossible for her to let me go, even if I try; by grace alone, she's always pulling me back to her and into a deeper love for her son.

That said, how can you cultivate a deeper devotion to Mary, especially during this, her month?  Make a habit of praying the rosary with your fiancé or husband each time you're together, even if it's just one decade.  Hang an image or icon in your home.  Do something celebratory, like a really nice dessert, on Marian feast days (I really want to explore living liturgically!).  And, consider consecrating yourself to her as a couple.  I made my consecration 7 years ago, and Andrew did it with his family when he was really young, and we're considering renewing them together for our anniversary in a couple months (you can read about my consecration experience here, and about a fantastic consecration preparation here).

What about you?  Tell me about your experiences with inviting Our Lady into your prayer life and into your relationship!  Do you have any Marian traditions?  Any stories about how she's shaped your love story or yours or your fiancé's lives?  I'm all ears!

Friday, May 9, 2014

7 Quick Takes, Volume 31

{story of a soul, condensed}

Visit Conversion Diary for more Quick Takes!  Thanks, Jen, for hosting, and here's hoping I can get my hands on a copy of Something Other Than God soon!

{1} I entirely credit God's grace with getting us through Andrew's first year of his PhD.  As of this week, he's done with papers, classes, lesson plans, and grading until school starts again in August!  The last month or so of every semester is especially hard, as it becomes crunch time for all of his assignments as both a teacher and as a student.  Of course, having a baby has put more demands on both of our time than when it was just us, but I've been amazed at my husband's ability to get so much work done ahead of time and to really crank things out while still helping me out so much.  His first day off on Wednesday, I came home from nannying to find the laundry folded, Aaron's dipes washed and hanging to dry, the dishwasher whooshing away, the bed made, and the entire apartment swept.  He should be on break more often.  I'm excited for the next month or so we'll have together before his summer job starts!

{2} One of the things we're most looking forward to this summer is the watching one of Andrew's best, oldest friends get married at the end of the month!  It'll be Aaron's first wedding, and our first overnight wedding trip (we have been to 11 weddings together in about 4 years, but never one more than a day trip away).  So suffice it to say this should be a good, but pretty different, wedding experience.  I'm a little concerned that Andrew's in the wedding party, so I'll be taking care of Aaron on my own for about half the day (though my sister-in-law will also be there and we can herd the total of four chickadees around together).  And I have these conflicting desires that Aaron sleep for most of the 8 hour car ride,  and also that he wake up often enough that I'm not packing overstuffed boobs--ever since our hospital stay, when he didn't nurse for about 17 hours, I've had this irrational fear of mastitis.  So, hit me with your best tips for traveling with a baby.  Please?

{3}  I posted Captive the Heart's first-ever linkup earlier this week!  Share your somethings old, new, borrowed, and blue if you haven't yet, and check out other brides' traditions!

{4} Have you heard about Bare Minerals' new liquid foundation?  Through high school and college, I was blessed with even, clear skin, thanks to unhealthily large doses of Proactiv, though eventually I think my skin got too tolerant of the active ingredients and they didn't work as well.  A little after that I went on a crunchy bender and quit the Proactiv cold turkey (don't do it don't do it), leaving me with pores that basically purged out all the stuff the medicine had been suppressing all those years in the form of serious cysts and scars.  Bad news.  I was super foundation-phobic since my skin was so sensitive, but I started wearing the classic Bare Minerals powder foundation and still absolutely love it.  Liquids always seemed so thick and like a recipe for breakouts to me, but I'm really intrigued by this new version--apparently, it's formulated without oil, water, parabens, and other artificial toxins, and is meant to go on more like a serum to actually improve your skin.  I actually just replaced my powder version a few weeks ago, so I don't feel like I can justify a whole other foundation purchase right now, but I'm pretty interested to try it!  Tell me if you decide to!

Thanks Jenn for taking this!
{5} Now that it's warmed up we've loved being able to take Aaron outside every day, and now that the's a little bigger it's been fun doing things besides go for walks in his carrier.  We just broke out the jogging stroller (ours doesn't have an infant seat attachment so we had to wait to use it until little dude could sit up), he cracks up when we roll a ball to him, and he stuck his toes in the sand for the first time yesterday on a lakeside trip with his cousins.  Easily pleased, that one, and I couldn't be happier.   I took pictures, but didn't post them here since I haven't had a chance to unload my camera onto the computer yet.  That's because…

{6} …I need so much help storing and organizing my photos!  I got a new camera back in the fall, and it seems to store photos at a super-high resolution that take up a ton of space on my hard drive.  Andrew, who knows more about bytes and the mega and the giga and all that, took a look at the numbers and told me each photo is about equivalent to the memory occupied by one CD, so with literally thousands of photos it's easy to see why my computer has slowed down big time.  Admittedly, I should just look in the manual already and figure out how to change the settings for smaller files, but meantime I've been culling my collection like crazy and searching for an online storing and sharing device I like, which I figure will be good anyway because it'll back everything up.  So far Shutterfly seems to be winning, but I haven't had time for much uploading yet.  I'd love to know: how do you organize your photo files?

{7} A college acquaintance of mine recently got engaged, and she and her fiancé recently posted this video of their yearlong commitment to abstaining from sex for the year leading up to their wedding.  I totally dig their commitment to helping their marriage to make it before it even starts, and am super intrigued to hear more about their take on chastity as the year progresses.  Check it out.

Enjoy your weekend!  Tell me what you're up to and have a beautiful Mother's Day!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue Linkup

Get this graphic for your post here
If there is any dwelling of a Catholic twentysomething out there without at least one Save the Date magnet, wedding invite, or bridal shower invitation on the fridge, I would like to see it.  It's that stage of our lives, and summer wedding season is upon us, yeah?

I've loved watching my friends get married over the last few years--in addition to the complete joy of witnessing two souls promise their love and fidelity to each other for eternity, before the One who brought them together, I particularly enjoy all the little reveals a wedding day brings: the bride in her dress (no matter if you've already seen the dress, or even her in it, there's something entirely different and special about watching her wear it as the doors open and she makes her way up the aisle), the music and readings the couple chooses for their liturgy, their first dance, and the funny stories I might not have heard before that come up during toasts.

Those sorts of wedding deets are the big, surface-level ones, which, don't get me wrong, are awesome in their own right.  But I also love hearing about the more hidden aspects that go into the day, which brings me to this linkup.  Tell me about your somethings old, new, borrowed, and blue!  Often, these items have the most special, traditional, or romantic stories attached, and they aren't always obvious or well-known.  I think they deserve to be shared, so if you're up for it, spill!  I'll go first.

I didn't initially put a huge amount of thought into my special somethings until right before my wedding.  Everyone in my family was so stressed leading up to the big day, and I was trying, probably a little too hard, to make a point of being laid-back.  So, while the idea of carrying these four items as a bridal tradition was appealing to me, I sort of figured they'd just fall into place.

All photos by Natalie Franke Photography

That was why, until about a week beforehand, I figured I had the Something Old box checked with the pearl earrings I wear almost every day.  Honestly, I just buy a new, cheap pair from Claire's every year or so, the bigger the better, and I didn't see a reason to get new ones for my wedding day when the ones I'd been wearing were perfectly serviceable.

My mom surprised me, though, with a last-minute DIY.  She bought a locket to attach to my bouquet, its frame intended for a photo of me as a baby with her dad, my grandfather, who died when I was three.  In went the picture, out flowed my tears, and on the back she wrote "Papa te ama," Spanish for "Papa loves you."  Yes.  That little photo from years ago was a treasure, and a much worthier something old.  My sister will carry the same locket (with a different photo, of course) when it's her turn one day!

Something New is an easy one when getting married means buying more stuff than you've ever bought in your life.  I'll go with my dress, which you can read more about here.  This was a little before the dawn of photogenic, Pinteresty hangers, but here she is, accompanied by my grandma (She's been a seamstress her whole life and disapproved of the hemming job that was done.  The gown was still a little long, so she actually basted a new hem for me, making me stand perfectly still while eating cocktail meatballs--she also in her very Grandma way made me eat--between the Mass and reception!  She's a champ).  It's a strapless, slub-textured silk ball gown  with a sash.  Clean and classic, just like I wanted.  And it had pockets, which I actually used!  I wish it were socially acceptable to wear it again.

I didn't have anything Borrowed picked out, but I should've known I was bound to forget something important until I realized I needed it.  The wedding was on Andrew's and my college campus, which meant getting ready about an hour and a half from my parents' house and all of my stuff that still resided there.  As I was getting ready for bed the night before, I found out the only outfit I'd packed for all the prep time was a low-cut dress I usually wear as a layer, but I hadn't brought an extra cami or sweater to wear it with.  Since I didn't want a bunch of my wedding photos to have all the goods on display, I called my friend and bridesmaid Beth around midnight and asked her to bring me a button-up shirt I could wear over the dress while I got my hair done and put on makeup, one that I told her I shallowly hoped would look okay on camera.  "Only the best for my Stephy," she assured me.  She delivered.  Here's photographic evidence that I was moved to hug her for letting me borrow that gingham.

My Something Blue was the only item I'd had chosen for ages. Blue undies, y'all.  Self-explanatory.

No problem if you don't have a blog--I'd still love to hear about your special day!  Leave a comment and share your wedding Somethings there.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Guesting at Cherishing Everyday Beauty

I just really like koalas.
If you've spent more than about two seconds visiting this corner of internets, my obsession with Pope John Paul II is probably crystal clear.  When Sarah asked me to write about a favorite saint for her blog, Cherishing Everyday Beauty, I thought about the holy men and women whose intercession has meant so much to me.  I've told a few of those stories before, here and here, but as far as choosing someone for my piece, this man, hero, lover of Our Lady, peaceful voice for freedom, and newest saint immediately came to mind.

Much as I love him, I'd never put into many words exactly how Saint John Paul has shown me God's glory and left a deep imprint on my soul--I found writing about it surprisingly challenging.  But, here's my best shot, from my heart and with so much gratitude for his prayers and his loving wisdom.  Check it out:

If, like me, you are a child of the 90s, maybe you remember this little radio gem: 
Show me love
Show me life 
Baby, show me what it’s all about.

 As a little girl, I loved the idea of love, thanks to things like pop songs and good ol’ Disney magic.  Fast forward to college, and I realized my younger self’s concept of love was little more than infatuation when compared to what it could really be.  Pope John Paul II introduced me to another view, and I fell in love with love for real.  

Read the rest here, and browse the rest of Sarah's posts!  She just relaunched her blog, formerly Footprints On My Heart, under this new name and format! 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Veritas: Michael and Nicole

{real life love}

Maybe you, like me, have heard stories of newlyweds sprinting through St. Peter's square to get a coveted spot up front for a papal marriage blessing at the Pope's weekly audience (Exhibit A).  But how many couples can say their first meeting was in front of a Pope?  Michael and Nicole met during Benedict XVI's pilgrimage to the U.S. almost 6 years ago, and are getting married in October.  As a fellow wife of an Arab, I can say I'm so excited for them!

Nicole is the author of an awesome book introducing children to the Theology of the Body called Forever You: A Book About Your Soul and Body, and she has a new book in the works!  Check it out, and Like her author page on Facebook here.

His Story:

Hayete, where have you been all my life?  Nicole's my hayete and how appropriate a name for her…a name that in Arabic means, "my life."

Little did I know that this beautiful girl I met on the bus on the way to see the Pope would be my fiancee and future bride! I remember sitting on the bus, locking my gaze on her beautiful eyes and thinking to myself, "I have got to meet her!"

On our first date I remember taking Nicole to watch Caramel, a Lebanese romantic comedy and ending the night over tea, coffee and wonderful conversation at Andala Cafe in Cambridge. Unfortunately, a few weeks later Nicole moved to Florida and I was left like a wandering nomad--never feeling deeply happy again until years later when she moved back to Boston and we finally reconnected. It was in those years of patiently waiting where the Lord prepared me for the blessings to come. And now, I have never been happier in my life!

My heart beams with love every time I look upon Nicole's beautiful face and gaze into her God-loving heart. You know it's right when you feel peace. You know it's right when you smile thinking of the one you love. You know it's right when you hear the Spirit of Truth confirming everything you were praying for with the One in your arms.  And I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with my hayete

Her Story:

Michael and I were on the same bus travelling to New York for a Papal Mass with Pope Benedict XVI in April 2008. I don't remember seeing Michael on the bus, but he saw me!  I do, however, remember that during registration, I liked his last name (who knew it would be MINE someday?).

Michael and I went on a few dates shortly after meeting. I remember us having wonderful conversation and staying up very late chatting in his car. Yet, after only two dates, I moved back to Florida. We stayed in touch as friends through phone and email for the next five years. After my recent move back to Boston, I called Michael in February 2013 with a business-related question, never imagining the true love that was about to hit us. 

After a few weeks of reconnecting as friends, we both knew we were being called into a relationship. We couldn't ignore such a great sense of peace, joy, happiness and contentment. After we prayed and discerned a relationship, Michael asked my father and mother to date me. With their blessing, our love story began! 

I love all of Michael. I love his heart for God. I love his servant spirit. I love his patience and his devotion to his family. I love his compassion for others. I love his generous spirit. I love his understanding nature. I love his dedication to those he loves. I love his depth of character. I could go on and on, but instead, I will share with you one of my favorite snapshots of our time together, which gives perfect insight into his heart. 

For three days, Michael slept at my grandmother's apartment, which is located one floor below my apartment, to care for me while I lay in bed incapacitated from a bad cold. He cooked us breakfast, lunch and dinner, cleaned up after every meal, and made sure I was hydrated and medicated. He told me how beautiful I looked--which I couldn't believe as I lay there sick and unattractive--and made me feel incredibly loved! He was humble and joyful the entire time. He sat with my grandmother every morning, sometimes for up to an hour, just to keep her company because she lives alone. When I thanked him for his help, his response was, "I serve you in service to God. I do it because I love you."

I can't wait to start my life with a man who is gentle and a gentleman, lets me be who I am, is kind to me, supports my passion for writing children's books, is thoughtful and  makes me feel good about myself, and makes me feel happy and loved. 

He was SO worth the wait!

Their Proposal, as told by Nicole:

After Michael asked my parents for permission to marry me, the proposal day was set in his calendar as Sunday, December 15, 2013. But, God had His own schedule! 

Michael's original plan was to take me out to dinner and a carriage ride in Boston, followed by a trip to my apartment, where he would show me the below video and propose. Instead, I injured by back shortly before the proposal night and couldn't make the trip into Boston. We were also expecting snow that day! 

After a last-minute burst of inspiration, Michael called me the morning of December 14, 2013 asking to take me out for a surprise that night. I got myself out of bed for the first time in a week since my injury and off we went. And that snowstorm? It started just a few hours later. 

Michael drove us to the LaSallete Shrine's Festival of Lights. While there, we were invited to attend Holy Mass where the priest's homily just happened to be on the topic of peace. After Mass, Michael asked me, "what is your favorite part of the park?" I told him how much I loved the Peace on Earth sign. He wheeled me up a hill and proposed to me in front of that beautiful Peace on Earth sign, all while hundreds of snowflakes fell on our faces. 

After the proposal, we went into the lobby where we were given 2 miraculous medals by a Sister of Mercy and had the medals and our engagement blessed by 3 priests! This all happened while I was in a wheelchair (although I did stand up for the big moment!). After the proposal, we went back to my parent's house, where we toasted with my family and watched the below video montage of our memories from 2013. I bawled my eyes out! We eventually did go out to dinner in Boston to celebrate our engagement and the lovely staff at No. 9 Park had some fun dessert plates ready for us, because the re-schedule date also happened to be our 6-month anniversary! 

We've decided our marriage motto will be, "Peace on Earth." 

Join me in praying for these two as their wedding day approaches!  Want to see your love story on Captive the Heart (you don't have to be a blogger!)?  Email me at


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