Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tribute to a Marine - Part III

...things which are too wonderful for me...
the way of a man with a maid.
Proverbs 30: 18-19

Garrison came out of active duty in the Marines with a prayer and a plan.
He wanted to find his wife and to go to school to be a Diesel Mechanic.

He also bought a motorcycle.

God heard his prayer and worked his plan;
which was obviously God's plan all along!

Through a series of events, the Lord reminded Garrison of his heart's desire six years previous. When we started going to Providence Church in October 2006, he had noticed a young lady whom he knew he would like to marry some day. As Providence would have it, friendships blossomed but so did Garrison's call to join the military. He put aside his thoughts of marriage and just enjoyed life. In time, he left for Boot Camp and lived the life of a Marine for four years which ended last December.

As Garrison prayed and talked with his parents it became more and more clear whom it was God had chosen to be his wife. 

On December 31st, New Year's Eve,
Garrison sent an email to the girl's father asking to meet with him.
At 5:30 that evening, they sat in a Starbucks.
After some pleasantries, Garrison said,
"I want to marry your daughter.
What do I need to do to make that happen?" 

The father asked a few questions,
then said, "Yes, you may marry my daughter."

James McDonald V has know Garrison for over six years and has watched him grow from a boy into a man. He had also watched how he stayed faithful to his God, his faith, his family, and his church his entire career in the Marine Corps. He was proud of him as his Pastor and now he was proud to have him as a son.

Pastor McDonald went home to talk with his wife and daughter. He made a call to Garrison a little over an hour later. Melissa had agreed to be courted by Garrison. 

That week Garrison bought the ring.

They enjoyed their time together getting to know each other better.
But the whole time, Garrison knew...this was the one!

Less than three weeks later, it was arranged to surprise Melissa at a restaurant were her parents had planned to take her for a birthday dinner. Garrison, with his parents, met them there. She had no idea and took it as just a nice birthday surprise. However, there was a 'problem' (actually created by her father) there was not a table large enough for the six of us to sit together; Melissa and Garrison had to sit at a different table, alone. 

The parents enjoyed the food and lively conversation,
but constantly glanced at the two at the table across the room.
We were waiting for Garrison to move.

Finally, he did.

He told her of how he had always loved her and that he had sold his motorcycle...
then he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him.
She said, "Yes!" 
Garrison had done well. She was totally surprised.
She had no idea he would ask so 'soon'.

The wedding date was chosen...
April 20, 2013

The days flew by.
Melissa's sister, Tiffany, made her wedding dress, a quaint little reception facility was found, the engagement pictures taken, and the invitations sent. 

Finally, the day before the wedding arrived.
Friends and family came to the church to help prepare the food.

TK arrived from Virginia.

The Sanctuary was prepared.

The beautiful bride...

...and the anxious groom. 

Garrison had wanted a Geneva Family Heirloom Bible
for him and his bride to sign on their wedding day.
Dad and Mom gave them one.

More touches to the decorations...

...a lovely pew marker.

Next the reception facility was prepared.

The Sanfords returned to the church to prepare the Rehearsal Dinner they were hosting for the wedding party. 

Aunt Pam with Ashly and Jesi Ryken finished the preparations while we 'rehearsed'.

Some random pictures of the rest of the evening...

Dinner was ready...
BBQ Pork with homemade Barbeque Sauce
Fried Potatoes with Onions
Homemade Cole Slaw
Pineapple and Mandarin Oranges
Apple Crisp with Ice Cream

A sentimental gift from mother-in-law to her new daughter.

The evening was delightful... 
but it was the next day we were all excited to have come!

Saturday, April 20, 2013
The Covenant Marriage Celebration

This girl loves bananas!

Trying to catch a glimpse of the guys outside. 
And capturing the moment.

The Ushers.

The bagpiper, Greg Boyd. 
The girls.
The boys.
The two baby brothers, Luke and William, and nephew, Joshua.

Jael and Grammy...
...Mommy and Hadassah.
The flowers arrived.

The Beauty...
... and the Beast! 

The parents.

The daughters (missing Jennifer and Hadassah)...
...and the seven sons.

He took his jacket off while he waited the final minutes to climb the stairs to the Sanctuary. It was a bit snug.
And it was quite the performance to put on!
TK helps with that last hook.
Tiffany fixes the dress.

A mother's final touches.

A father's prayer 

It was time to begin the ceremony!

The Groom looking to see his Bride.

Waiting their turn.

A father's encourages and comforts his daughter. 

The lovely Jessica McDonald, the maid of honor.

Joshua, Melissa's nephew, the proud ring bearer.

Jael, Garrison's niece, and Lilyana, Melissa's niece,
the adorable flower girls.

Scotland the Brave played by Greg Boyd      

The beautiful Bride and her father.
Look at the smile as she sees her groom!

while Garrison was watching his Bride and Josh 'had his back', 
their parents were filled with pride for their military service
and for how handsome they looked together up there in uniform!!

His Best Man kept reminding him to breathe!

Singing "Guide Me, Oh, Thou Great Jehovah"

The exchange of rings.

Just look at the smiles on these two...

Signing of their Family Bible and lighting of candles.

All the while,
Lily played for Melinda and Jessica to sing "The Flower Duet".

These two blessed their parents by coming down to give them a hug.

Rev. Bryan Evans truly enjoyed watching these two as he officiated!

Now presenting for the first time...
Mr. and Mrs. Taylor Garrison Sanford 

Garrison's dad stood and sang 'Non Nobis Domine' accapella as the Bride and Groom walked down the aisle. Then the piano and guests joined in as the rest of the wedding party and parents filed out. 

Gathering in the 'Blue Room' to wait for the guests to exit the Sanctuary
so photos could be taken.

Time for picture taking!

The McDonald Family

The Sanford Family

The two 'Clans' together!

The Wedding Party

Bride and Groom.

The Reception!

The fathers enjoying a few laughs with the couple and guests
before blessing....

...the Mediterranean Style Feast.

Papa and Gramma as well as Aunt Pam and Jordan 
came from Virginia to celebrate with us. 

While everyone got their food...
the wedding party had some 'fun in the sun'!!

Back to the Reception...don't think they ate much!

Jessica put together a slideshow of Garrison and Melissa. 
It was very well done and very touching!

Melissa's mom shares with everyone the loving letter she had written
and given to her daughter that morning.

Melissa's dad gives her 'heart' charm to Garrison.
(There were no dry eyes afterwards.)

The cake... 
(This creation was done by the very talented Grace Bandy.)


A reality check for the parents and grandparents of these two girls...
one day it is going to be their wedding day.

Joshua gave his speech to the bride and groom.
It was amazing and had us all in tears.
He is a wonderful big brother!

The Best Man's Speech

I have had the joy of knowing Garrison his whole life. We grew up thick as thieves, partners in crime, and the best of friends.

First, a confession. One year old me wasn't as fond of him when he first arrived. I did drop him on his head soon after he was born. I can't take responsibility for the way his face turned out, but the occasional blank stare may be my fault.

Fast forward a few months and we did everything together. Some of my earliest memories are the two of us exploring the forest behind the house, searching for adventure, peril, and other really cool stuff. Then Dad bought us our first Desert Storm guns and army men, and we became brothers in arms, fighting alongside (and occasionally against) each other. Garrison has found another adventure now; he has a new lifelong comrade to protect. I knew when he sold his motorcycle that either he had been blackmailed or that he had finally fallen head over heels for his girl like I always predicted. He who findeth a wife findeth a good thing indeed.
Garrison has a faith in God that rivals many. He has followed God's call around the world, literally, and continues to see large life issues as simple because of His faith in God's providence over his life. The Lord has richly rewarded him with the blessing of Melissa's hand and heart; they were truly made for each other.

Garrison, the Lord has given you someone to walk beside you, love you, and honor you. We praise God for ordaining you to have a lovely helper in Melissa and pray that He will continue to knit your hearts together in the years to come.

So, Melissa, as it has been my privilege these many years, may you and Garrison be thick as thieves, partners in crime, the best of friends. May God bless you two in your union in Him and may He make you fruitful in this life. May your home shine with the brightness of His joy and may your children arise and call you blessed. May you stand in the gate and may you stand in the gap. I pray His provision over you both. May His face shine on you all your days and all the days of your generations.

A toast to the bride and groom, blessings.

Melissa's sisters created and preformed a very fun song,
"Moosh, has a heart as big as a whale"
with Christa on the piano, Jessica and Tiffany singing. 
They did a great job!

Their first dance to 

The Father-Daughter dance to
'Butterfly Kisses'.

The Mother-Son dance to
'I'm Ready to Fly'.

Then others joined in the dancing.

Our married children are a blessing!

The Reception was drawing to a close. 
Garrison and Josh changed out of their uniforms.

The guys took that opportunity to decorated the car.

Time to throw the bouquet.

Little sister Emma got the bouquet.

Dad carried out the bowl of birdseed for people to grab from.

Then it was time to say, "Good-bye".

Garrison grabbed the hand of his Bride and headed out the door!

More 'good-byes' while Garrison 'cut' the car out!

Then in they go to start their life together.

Driving off into the sunset to spend two wonderful weeks
on the Oregon Coast and in Washington Mountains.

March 2009, this Marine stood beside this Maiden....

...surrounded by her family.

April 2013, this Marine took her as his Bride...

...surrounded by her family who loves them both!

May the Lord bless you, Garrison and Melissa,
as you begin your new journey together as husband and wife!