Straight to True North

Happily Five Years After

We’ll have to make a stronger effort to take photos of our everyday lives for our next anniversary. Each anniversary, I sit down and look through the photos from the last year as well as blog posts to see where God has taken Jennilyn and me. As an observation of the obvious, ever since Kadie was born, most of our photos have been about her. Then about both kids after Violet was born. Our lives are very much involved with our kids, as it should be, but I hope that we get more photos of only Jenni and me next year, as this blog is called right?

Ok, with that monologue out of the way, I’m thankful that we both are in awe at each anniversary how much time has passed since we said “I do.” It never feels that long ago, but whenever we recount all the “life” that has happened since that day, then it feels like a long time.

Our New Violet

During our fifth year of marriage, the most significant life milestone was the birth of Violet, our second daughter. Like her older sister, she was many days past due when she arrived. It seemed like she was quite content being inside Jenni—that she didn’t really want to come out. But after nine days of waiting, we took a trip to the beach where Jenni walked several miles, and we believe that got things going.

Just a week after Violet’s birth, we held a small family celebration for Jennilyn’s 30th birthday. I had surprised her with a slumber party a month prior because of her being close to term. We’re so thankful for our family helping out as much as they do. Taking on two babies made just one baby feel like a breeze.

Click, Click, Click

The Lord blessed us with thirteen photo jobs in our fifth year together. The big honor was capturing our dance friend Trina’s wedding and reception. Jennilyn has taken on a more prominent role than she had in previous photo jobs. We rented some high-end lenses, she worked as an assistant photography, and I felt she got better shots than I did during the Trina’s wedding ceremony (perhaps it was the Canon 24-105mm f/4 she was using).

Though photographing a wedding was still nerve-racking to me, mainly from the expectations and pressure I put on myself, it was wonderful working with Jenni, from watching her set up her shots to reviewing the photos afterward and complimenting each other’s work.

Best of all, Jenni has gotten much more comfortable using a DSLR for day-to-day photos. Much of the recent pictures of our kids were taken by Jenni. She’s gotten pretty good that I doubt anyone could tell when I take a shot and when she does. I’m pretty proud of her.

Sitting Out this Dance

Last night, Jenni and I counted that she had only gone dancing seven times since our last anniversary, and myself, eight times. We’re thankful we’ve danced more times than we can count in one hand.

One weekend, when Jennilyn’s parents had Kadie for the weekend and Violet wasn’t born yet, we attended our first Come Rain, Come Shine. It was a smaller dance event but we were thrilled to get out dancing and see our friends. I competed even though I don’t dance very frequently and still managed to squeeze in fifth place in my division.

We went to Bridge Town Swing with both our kids for Sunday afternoon to watch the pros and dance a little ourselves. We were a little sad that we couldn’t attend the whole weekend, but we’ll have to wait until Violet is weaned before attempting to go to a full dance event, if we want any chance at dancing and sleeping.

While we couldn’t get out dancing often, we had recourse and inspiration from watching So You Think You Can Dance. It is the one television show we watch and we attempted to blog about each episode, up until Violet was born and we were too busy with babies.

He is Faithful and All-Powerful

The five years we’ve shared has been happy because of the Lord. When I said, “I do,” I really had no idea what it meant to have someone completely depend on me. Especially when we first married, Jennilyn’s health created situations where I had to rely on the Lord to guide me as to what would be best to help her when she couldn’t tell me herself. Or I had to make a quick decision to walk away from something I really wanted or committed to because she needed me.

Praise the Lord that Jennilyn’s health is leaps and bounds from when we first started our journey together. However, it’s still not normal, as in, living pain-free. And adding in two kids have complicated some matters, but I cannot imagine not seeing the smiles of my daughters when I come home from work.

I am reminded again and again how strong and courageous Jenni is when she loves on our kids and me with a terrible headache or body ache that goes on and on until she gets treatment. We both have hope that if the Lord wills it, Jenni will be pain-free in this lifetime. In the meantime, He uses her chronic pain to help us prioritize and draw us closer together and to Himself. Neither of us alone have the strength to carry the both of us when our kids aren’t sleeping or sick, but God has been there to help us at 3am. He encourages us that He loves us and gives us all that we need if we rely on Him.

When we were engaged, I thought it was awkward to invite Jesus in being first in our marriage from several books I read. I took it as adding a third wheel to a crowded two-seated sports coupe. But what I’ve come to realize is that by putting Jesus first, my commitment to Jennilyn is not dependent on her performance, her appearance, or her situation. Nor does she have to bear the weight of my happiness, needs, and guidance.

Placing Jesus first meant that I’m aligning myself to a perfect example of a life lived in love and by keeping God as my center, Jennilyn will have the best husband I could ever be. And I wouldn’t want anything less than that. He is our love song and we aspire to dance to His choreography.

Lord, You’re Beautiful

Here’s a brief slideshow of photos from our fifth year. The song I chose is by an acapella group who performed at our church.

Beautiful, sung by Rescue.

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