Monday, September 5, 2011

A Ring and a Rose - The Engagement Story

 My 21st birthday dawned like any other birthday in my history of being. But little did I know that this birthday would change my life forever and be the start of something new and exciting. 
Justin Ryken asked me to marry him while on one knee on the back porch of my house. I (of course) answered with my whole heart, "yes!" Here is the story I wrote out for everyone to read. Enjoy! :) 

August 30th 2011- Melinda’s 21st birthday

The day started out with Melinda waking up at 5:00am because her iPhone kept going off with birthday wishes from her friends on Facebook. She rolled over in bed and grabbed her phone looking to see who on earth would comment at that hour besides the guy she is courting; Justin Ryken. Turns out it wasn’t him... instead it was a couple of girl friends that must have been up that early for one reason or another. Melinda spent the next hour trying to fall back asleep because she knew today would be a long, but fabulous, day and she would need rest. But sleep eluded her all morning long. She finally got up around 6:45 getting ready to head out to do some quick errands with her Mom. After getting her license and her new glasses she and her mom headed back home to get things ready before the Ryken family came. Now the Ryken family was coming over to help Melinda celebrate her birthday and also so Melinda, Mrs. Ryken, Melinda’s Mother, and Gramma could all head out to La-Tea-Da for lunch together. So they left the kids to play and went off to Clinton. The ladies all had a lovely time together talking and also going shopping after eating. It made Melinda’s birthday extra special to have her Mother, soon-to-be-Mother-in-law, and Gramma all with her to celebrate. Once they had their fill of shopping they headed back to Melinda’s house to wait for Justin to get off of work so he could could come over and eat dinner with everyone.
In Melinda’s mind it took forever for Justin to arrive that evening. But once he did, he surprised everyone with a huge gorgeous bouquet of pink roses for Melinda’s birthday! Everyone said “aww” as Melinda took them from him and lifted them to her face to inhale the lovely scent. After talking for a few minutes and getting the roses situated in a vase, Justin showered and then it was time to eat. Now Justin had asked special permission to sit alone with Melinda on the back porch which meant they would be separated from the family by a sliding glass door. And Melinda’s parents decided to put up a sort of white and black screen on the door for some privacy. Melinda started to wonder what on earth was going on, meaning, “We’re just courting, we are not allowed to be by ourselves...?” She told her parents this but they said to just enjoy it cause it’s a special night. So Melinda did enjoy herself immensely! Sitting there, talking, and eating across from Justin was plenty for her. Then Justin started to shift in his seat and talk more serious. From then on the conversation went something like this:

Justin started by saying, “You remember back during Family Camp when Kevin Swanson was telling all the single guys that they shouldn’t be having adventures by themselves? Like to Alaska and places like that?  And that they should be doing it with someone?” Melinda nods with a sort of confused smile and Justin continues, “Well I was thinking about that and I want you to be the one to go with me where ever I go and I don’t want to go on any adventures without you, Melinda.” While talking Justin was looking to his right, but when he said those last few words he stared straight at Melinda which made her heart start pounding faster and her mind start racing as to what this all meant. Justin continued, “I want you with me when I go places  because I love having you around, I love talking to you, and...” He pauses and then continues, “...I love you, Meli. And I guess what I’m trying to say is...” As Justin said this last sentence he got up out of his chair and came around the table to bend on one knee in front of Melinda. At the same time he lifted up a little black box and opened it while saying, “...will you marry me, Meli?” Melinda gasped and ran her finger over the ring and nodded breathlessly saying, “Yes! Yes! It's beautiful, will you put it on me?” all the while grinning from ear to ear. Justin said, “Absolutely!” And pulled the beautiful silver ring out of it’s case and placed it over Melinda’s finger. Melinda grinned at him and stood up wanting to hug him! As their arms encircled one another Justin whispered, “I love you Meli!” To which Melinda replied, “And I love you, Justin!” After that they let go and took a few steps back. Melinda smiled at Justin then looked down at the ring again when Justin said, “You wanna go tell everyone?” With a huge grins on both their faces, Melinda nodded and moved the screen to open the door. Once inside she loudly squealed with delight and announced, “I’M ENGAGED!” and held up her hand with to reveal the ring to both their families who were sitting at the kitchen table eating their dinner. There was clapping, smiles, hugs, and laughter all around the table. Congratulations rang out for the next five minutes and everyone wanted to see the engagement ring. Pictures were taken and then it was time to call all the relatives and let them know the joyous news! Justin called his grandparents first and then Melinda called hers. They could not stop smiling as they told the story over and over again.

And thus ends the romantic story of Melinda Sanford and Justin Ryken’s engagement.

I feel more than blessed to be engaged to such a godly and strong man. I just cannot stop praising the Lord that such a man would actually, willingly choose, and not to mention want to spend the rest of his life with little ol' me. *smiles* It's a very humbling and joyous thought. 

Thanks for reading and God bless!
~Melinda-the-bride-to-be <3

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Graduation and the beginnings of a Courtship

On Saturday the 25th of June, Justin had his graduation party. It was perfect timing for all his grandparents, Aunt, Uncle, and cousins to come and celebrate with him and also for me to meet all of them. :) I was so excited that morning, I could hardly eat! I couldn't wait to meet these people who are very important to Justin. In this first picture I am meeting Mr. Ryken's parents for technically the second time... 

Meeting Justin's cousin Waylon who's being held by Mrs. Fennema. 

Playing ping-pong while waiting for all of the guests to arrive. 

Once everyone had arrived Mr. Ryken and my Daddy gave the announcement that Justin and I were courting. 

Going through the food line.

My sweet and wonderful friend, Jesi. <3

This picture makes me laugh! :) Daddy really was happy with this courtship but that doesn't mean it's easy to figure everything out. Dad is blessed though cause he has at least 3 more times to practice doing the courtship process right. *grins*

I had to sneak this picture in again cause I love it so much. :)

My amazing family. *happy sigh* I love them so much and couldn't live without them in my life. 

The rest of our week is going to be spent getting ready for the 4th of July party we are having at our house. *excited* We don't have much left to do but it's the little things we put off that start to pile up. It's such a joyous time to get ready for though so I don't think any of us are complaining. ;)   

Until next time have a great week!
God bless,

Saturday, June 25, 2011


This past Sunday the 19th of June 2011 dawned like any other Sunday in my little world. I had no idea why it would be any more special than all the other Lord's Days I had gone through. Little did I know there was someone in this world who wasn't as relaxed or clueless about what this Sunday would mean. Unbeknownst to me, Justin had asked my Dad if he could "talk" with him after the service. Dad of course told him 'yes'. So after church and the fellowship meal were done I suggested Jesi, Mama, Mrs. Ryken, and I all go on a walk around the church neighborhood. All the while, Justin and my Dad were in the Deacon's office at church talking. If you haven't figure out yet what they were talking about I'll fill you in now; Justin asked my Dad to court me for marriage. *happy grin* To which my Dad replied with a tentative 'yes'. Once I got back from my walk my Dad told me he needed to see me and my mother in the deacon's office ASAP. I seriously thought I was in trouble! *laughs* Once the door was closed my Daddy then tells me that someone has asked to court me. I don't think Dad even had to say the name of this person because I figured it out by the happy expression Dad had on his face. :D When he told me that he had given Justin a tentative 'yes' I said, "Well why didn't you tell him, 'heck yeah'?!" *laughs* I had a few questions for Justin so when we got home from church Dad wrote him an email with those questions. My parents and I were completely satisfied with his answers and impressed. So that night we made it official. :) The next day was a rainy stormy day so Justin didn't have to work. I asked Dad if we could have his family over just so we could talk all of this relationship stuff through. So Monday afternoon the Ryken family came over and had dinner with us where we discussed everything we expect to see happen with this courtship. 
We all decided to wait until Justin's graduation party on the 25th (today) before we would tell anyone (except family members) about this new relationship.   

The happy courting people...

Well there ya have it, our "courtship story". For those of you not able to make it to Justin's graduation party I'll be posting pictures of that soon. ;) 

Until next time!!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Strawberries and golfing

Summer is here, people! And we have all been blessed with an absolutely beautiful one. *happy sigh* 
Fruit is always in abundance at our house, which is something I absolutely love. And the other day while we were out grocery shopping Mama found these delicious HUGE strawberries! So here's an artsy picture of one right before I cut it to go in a fruit salad. 

Since the weather is gorgeous outside, all of us have been going out to soak up some Vitamin D as much as possible. One of my siblings new favorite thing to do is tee-off on the back of our property and see how far they can hit the golf balls.  They are somewhat lacking in the correct form for hitting a golf ball. But who cares? They're having tons of fun. :) 

An artsy picture of the golf ball taken by-yours truly. 

Adrianna likes to be the caddy. 

Elaina with he golf ball and golf club...

"And she goes for the swing!" Watch out when Rebecca's swinging cause no one knows where that ball is gonna go. *laughs* ;)

And thus ends your little peek into our totally none busy life. Hope you enjoyed it! Have an absolutely lovely rest of your day. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Poor little worms...

Today I discovered I have a new appreciation for worms. *nods* The poor little things get stuck on a hook and then drowned in the water, all for the fun of the fisherman/woman. But don't get me wrong even though I feel sorry for the little guys it doesn't stop me from having a great time with my siblings fishing till our hearts content. :) 

 Our neighbors are so sweet to allow my siblings and I the use of their pond anytime we want to. 

It really is such a pretty little thing...

Nathan the expert fisherman coming to the pond.

The guys lined up... not really on purpose but I figured it was a cool shot anyway. ;) 

Okay I know for some of you this is a nasty shot but bear with me. I noticed before getting my worm that two of the worms were making a heart. It's just too funny to pass up. 

Flip-flops and sunshine. Ahh the joys of warm weather! This is me enjoying the sunshine after fishing for awhile. The breeze was just enough to make it almost pleasant outside today. 

My sister... *shakes head* Most people catch fish but Rebecca catches pond-scum. *laughs* You gotta love her for having such a happy expression after being so disappointed that it wasn't a fish!

Another piece of news in the Sanford family: we found a hurt bird in our yard and have been slowly nursing it back to health. The cute little thing will only let you hand feed it by dropping the food in it's wide open mouth.

Here Peter and Rebecca feed it worms and some berries. It opens it's mouth right up for them both and makes a ruckus until they drop the food straight down it's throat.  

Annnd that's all for now! I hope each and every one of y'all are having an amazing and absolutely splendid Summer! God bless. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Lazy Spring Day...

So today has been super boring and we've had nothing to do all day long. So my sisters and I decided to go get a photo shoot together cause ya know, we just don't have enough pictures of us girls. And it's sad... so today we did something about it. *cheesy grin*

Yours truly...

Adrianna looking as gorgeous as ever...

Rebecca being beautiful...
Elaina being very pretty...

All of us girls squish into the picture so we can get one together. <3


The end. 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day!!

We want to say a HUGE "thank you" to all those who have served or are serving our Country right now. Thank you for everything you have done to keep this a free Nation! 

May God bless you richly and abundantly now and forever. 
With much appreciation and respect,
~The Sanfords

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dandelions on a beautiful day...

My siblings are so goofy sometimes and come up with the most random ideas to do. The other day when it was beautiful outside Adrianna, Zach, and Elaina went out and picked a bunch of dandelions and made them into a heart as you see bellow in this artsy picture they took...

After making it into a heart they decided to put a smiley face in it as well. I thought it was really cute and that's why I'm sharing it. :) 

There ya have it. A peek into the beautiful life we live over here. And now if you don't mind I'll get back to it. *smiles* 

Hasta la próxima vez!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fellowship with friends and horses! :D

This past Sunday the Niesen family invited my family over after church to fellowship together and just to have fun. They are one of the families from church that we have known the longest and been friends with. Through the years our two families have just gotten closer and we all love to just spend time with together. :) One of the many things we love about them is that they have some beautiful horses that they let us ride whenever we come over. *grins happily* So once we got there Sarah tacked up some of them and we started riding together. 

Elaina and Jane posing for a picture together. 

Sarah, the girl who is amazing with horses and knows so much about them. 

Cara is an amazing horseback rider! I'm jealous of this girls abilities. *nods* 

My goofy-adorable sisters. 

The mothers watching as we girls have a good time riding. And Stephanie is just being cute. ;)

The dad's and Garrett talking about whatever guys talk about. 

The girls riding...

Me being a goofball... lol

The girls love to ride double on Shanta and they do a really good job staying on and having fun. 

The guys practiced shooting a little.

Zach petting the ever so gorgeous Remi.

Us girls eating some ice cream and cookies while freezing outside. lol :D We had such a wonderful time with the Niesen's and cannot wait to hang out again! We made soo many inside jokes that night that it made it all the more fun! *knowing grin*

I love my friends. Every single one of them. They are what makes my life amazing, awesome, and just plan old fun. *grins* I'm so glad God blessed me with all of them and having too many to count is such an amazing feeling too. *smiles* 

Hope y'all enjoy the rest of your weeks and have fun with this super-hot-gorgeous weather we are having! 
Hasta la próxima vez!