An entire decade.
Steve and I have made it.
Can I get a whoop whoop?
This is big stuff people.
10 years ago, Steve and I made vows, and promises, and committed to
whatever the future would hold.
This has the potential to be a really long post from me...
however last night Steve and I had the opportunity to have dinner together and celebrate a little early.
(That's how married life with kids works people, you frantically grab for time any where, and any way you can.)
and he gave me one of the greatest and most romantic gifts he's ever given.
so the long post is really his, not mine. :)
before i go into all that detail;
here's something you should know first.
i'm not a flowers and chocolate kind of girl.
i will even pass on jewelry
and fancy commemorative trips (ahem i'm still getting over this one)
for a gift that is heartfelt, meaningful, and drunk with inside jokes.
my all-time favorite gift from steve was before we were even dating for my birthday.
it's how i decided i wanted to pursue a relationship with him.
he gave me crunchy m&m's, individually wrapped ball point pens, top ramen, and a package of napkins.
don't even roll your eyes.
it was romantic.
they all told a story.
they were already a part of OUR story.
he had LISTENED.
he had been my FRIEND.
and he had REMEMBERED all these cute conversations.
they were representative, and it melted me.
i knew then he was a keeper.
Last night he reminded me on such an important occasion why God chose him for me.
My love language is all about the follow through of intention.
Your yes's are yes's and your no's are no's.
Steve not only has good intentions, he follows through and it takes romance to a whole new level for me.
Are you dying to hear about my gift yet?
Are you guessing in your head what could possibly be such an amazing gift to celebrate 10 years?
Here it is, in all of it's amazingness.
I have tissues.
(Steve contacted everyone who was an integral part of our wedding day, gathered their thoughts, and relayed to me their remembrances and stories.)
From Stephanie: (the maid of honor)::
Has it really been 10 years? Wow. I can vaguely remember sitting at Joni’s dining room table and reading these little notes you (Steve) had written. I think you were on a trip, and so you had left her a note for each day you were gone. She was a giddy little girl reading those…..or was it that she had written you a note for every day you were gone? Either way, bottom line, I remember being so blown away at how much she adored the little notes.
I remember our bible study group with Kristi, Vanessa, Suzanne, Francesca, Lindsay….and our times with the ‘boys’ bible study :) We certainly enjoyed hanging out with the boys :) Didn’t we go bowling…then we started that book….we wrote in it what God had taught us….there were some amazing thoughts written in there…..
From Max: (the best man)::Ah, the wedding day…I remember what a hot day it was…and sitting in the little ‘cabin-type’ room waiting for the wedding to begin, being so excited for my best friend…..how could one not forget the fabulous and not-so-fabulous, but now infamous speeches that went down that night….’Tonight you married a sinner….’
I have 2 memories of your wedding day. First, it was as hot a day as I can remember with the ceremony being directly in the sun. It was hot!
The second was how my best friend was taking the next big step in manhood and marrying the woman he loves. I am so proud of you two for making it to the decade mark! there have been ups and downs but you have persevered. I am honored to have played an important role in your wedding and am glad that though we have both been busy lately the love and friendship is lifelong and unchanging.
From Heidi: (Steve's sister and a bridesmaid)::
This memory isn't directly related to your wedding day, but it definitely made me think that a wedding should happen one day. Here goes:
The Lloyd family was all set for our final family vacation to for 2 1/2 weeks. I thought I had all the travel supplies I needed to endure two long flights to get to . Boy, was I wrong. When each of us was lovingly given a survival bag from Joni full of treats and things to keep us occupied during our travels, I knew this girl was not only the "one" for Steve, but the one for our family! I could understand why Joni would do something like that for Steve, but for me!?! And my parents and siblings? I've never had an older sister, but this is exactly the kind of older sister I wanted. But here's the thing: it wasn't what was in the bag that said, "Steve has gotta keep this girl." It was all the time, thought, and love that was invested into putting those survival bags together that spoke so highly of the quality of Joni's character. I always knew Steve deserved a quality girl: someone generous, compassionate, thoughtful, and with a bit of spunk (you know, to balance his mellowness out ;). That girl was Joni -- it was always Joni -- and I knew it from such an early point in your relationship. The gift of a survival bag seems like such a small thing, but it wasn't to me. It was huge. It was a gift of love that said, "I care about you -- even though I don't know you very well yet -- but I want to get to know you." Your relationship has been a gift of love given to me: you've invited me, and now Joe and Elizabeth, into the adventures of your life together as husband and wife and as parents. It has been encouraging and challenging to see you walk the road ahead of us, showing us that the abundant life God has for us is full of joy, excitement, highs and lows, but never lonely -- because your best friend is with you in the journey -- perhaps even with a survival bag.
Here's the truth: Your work, your love for each other, your commitment to following Jesus, and your endless creativity....inspire. There may not be a better word than that, to describe your family. So keep doing what you're doing, loves, cause' we're watchin'.
From Jamie: (a bridesmaid)::
Dear Joni Lane Taylor Lloyd –
This note is so long overdue; forgive me. Thank goodness for your awesome husband and his note about your TEN YEAR anniversary (CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!) I can’t believe it’s been ten years since your wedding!!! I still have that beautiful bridesmaid dress (and I have worn it since, although thankfully I’m less thick now J), and I fondly recall the fabulous ceremony and reception. CONGRATULATIONS Joni, to you and Steve, on your ten years of marriage. I’m so happy for you both; congratulations on your life together, your gorgeous children and picturesque family. I’ve been meaning to write and tell you how much I LOVE reading your blog – it’s SO YOU; fun, creative, beautiful, artistic, original, and inspiring. I read up on you and your fam every couple of weeks; it makes my heart smile to see and ‘hear’ about the rich and real life you’re all living together.
Although it’s been ten years, I still remember the excitement and beauty characterizing Steven Lloyd’s bride; you absolutely glowed (and from your awesome blog/pics, I can tell you still do). As I recall it was a toasty day in the lovely San Joaquin Valley, but that certainly didn’t lessen the joy and happiness felt by everyone in attendance. Your wedding was what weddings are meant to be– a joyful, heartfelt celebration of promised lifelong commitment between two people, commemorated by those family and friends nearest and dearest; a defining moment of perfect beauty, epitomizing truth and hope and love, between two souls who recognize their counterpoint in the other, joining together on this crazy life adventure. And in that moment, wisely embracing the unknown future highs and lows, while trusting in the love of the other and ultimately, His smiling grace…
It’s crazy how life turns out, and yet so perfect in its unexpectedness. And it’s not even over yet, hurray! J I’ve learned that life is profoundly simple, and what really matters are those that we love. The rest is just details.
I wish you, Steve, Macy, and Zach continued blessings, abundance, and love; may you always know the light that you are, and how brilliantly you illuminate the lives of all you know.
From Aunt Karen: (our candle lighter)::
My wedding memories are many! Here are a few - First of all, as we pulled into the wolf lakes parking lot I will always hear your uncle Don saying "look! it is 108 degrees and i am wearing a tux! what was joni hoping for at 5 o'clock the end of july?!" hahahaha
Next are vivid memories of Joni in her dressing room, with the girls in her wedding party and Betty. I couldn't believe how beautiful and grown-up she looked, and the pride and joy in mama's eyes as she helped her get ready. I felt so honored and privileged to be sharing those moments.
Next are you and Joni sharing your first kiss as a married couple. SO much love in both of your faces. And i have only seen it grow.
And of course my brother through-out the reception- so proud! So relieved it was over! And so adorable dancing with your bride and then with his bride.
And of my husband and Marland becoming fast friends and fellow drunkards alike!
Most of all I remember the first day I met you and your friends when Joni brought you to our home in Tustin. She thought you were the one. Now, you must understand, I think your wife is incredibly talented, amazingly smart, riotously funny & heavenly full of love. BUT! Whatever the initial attraction, SHE IS GENIUS! For you, dearest Steve, are the absolute best decision she ever made; one of the best things to ever happen to the Taylor family en total, and a gift to both Don and my lives. I could never thank her enough.
So, in summation, the best part of the wedding for me, was the fact that Joni was now going to have you in her life for always and forever. And so were we.
I love you BOTH to the moon and the stars!
From Amy: (a bridesmaid)::
Steve,You are so thoughtful! I love your idea of getting memories from your wedding party to celebrate your 10 year anniversary!Wow...first of all I can't believe that it's been 10 years!My memory of you two leading up to the wedding was Joni was beyond excited to become your wife. I remember every morning before you proposed she would get dressed for the day and come into my room and ask "does this look like a good outfit to wear when I get proposed too?" You fulfilled every dream she had about her engagement day...and the funny thing is I still remember what she was wearing!The next thing that I remember is that your whole relationship, engagement and wedding was Christ centered. You both put him first in everything you did, which is not easy to do. You both set a great example for your family and friends.The wedding day...well I remember that it was a classic July day...with temperatures over 100 degrees! With sweat dripping down our bodies and the heat exhausting us everyone couldn't help but smile watching you both make a promise to spend your lives together. The joy you had to start your lives together was contagious!Happy Anniversary to you both! Cheers to many more anniversaries!
From Rob: (a groomsman)::
I have great memories about your wedding and the events that led up to it. Because I was privileged to see your relationship grow from the very beginning, I was really looking forward to the big day. I remember going out to Wolf Lakes early in the morning with your brother to pray for the ceremony, your marriage, and all the people that would be coming to your wedding. We were praying that people would have the opportunity to see (as Matt and I had seen) Jesus in your relationship. I think the temperature was already in the 80’s at about 7:00am. As we gathered together for pictures and all the pre-wedding tasks I remember thinking that you seemed very relaxed. I made a mental note that I wanted God to give me that type of peace when I got married. As for the actual ceremony the one thing I remember was looking into the sun as we waited for Joni to walk down the aisle. Even in the midst of the heat and sun, your face was full of joy as you watched her walk down the aisle. The reception was a lot of fun with many (and I do emphasize many) meaningful speeches. It was a really fun day.
Although the circumstances of life have prevented us from hanging out as much as we did back then, I have learned a great deal from you and Joni. One thing you really modeled to me was seeing your spouse as your best friend. The two of you really enjoyed spending time together, and I learned the importance of that from you. I also feel that you and Joni are the type of couple that I could be completely open and honest with. Even if we hadn’t spent a lot of time together, I would not be afraid to be myself with you guys because I know I would be accepted and loved. I think that is a great quality and another thing I truly admire.
Congratulations on 10 years.
From Max: (j's brother and groomsman)::
I remember being really happy about Joni ending up with such a cool guy, and getting drunk and saying "GO DODGERS" in my wedding toast.......dang champagne.It has been great watching you two build a home and a wonderful family in the last 10 years and looking forward to being a part of the next 10!
From Bill: (our pastor)::
Happy anniversary you guys! Wow… that means we are getting even older!!! We love you guys and wish our paths crossed more often.
What do I recall about that great day 10 years ago…· It was hotter than H – E – double toothpicks!!!· Kylar was super hyper but pulled it together wearing his little tuxedo!· Steve and waited up front for what seemed to be like 3 hours (probably more like 5 minutes) for the wedding party to join us!· We had a sense that God would you and your family in mighty ways… and we were right!
From Kristi: (steve's sister and a bridesmaid)::
I remember Jonis bachelorette party and her "wife in training" outfit. She looked fabulous. I was so vain back then (and maybe I still am) and thought she was such a good sport. I think she even had fun. I remember how happy I was that she was so enthusiastic to marry you.The wedding day came and the one thing I remember most... The heat. I have a fond memory of all of us girls standing around in the bridal room and our prayers for the day and how beautiful Joni looked. I was also very impressed with the skill my brother displayed when removing the garter and how painful it may have been for my mother to watch.As far as advice goes - keep doing what you're doing because it's working. Keep loving, keep laughing, and keep living each day wrapped up in each other. Your relationship has always been one I have admired. I aspire to cultivate a relationship like yours with my future spouse and am glad I have such great role models displaying the way a marriage should be.I love you both very much.
From Joe & Betty: (Joni's parents)::
Ten years ago you had a story book wedding. Every girls dream of what a wedding should be. Serene lake, harp music, family and friends gathered to share your day.Joni your dress was beautiful & seeing you walk down the aisle with dad was tearful and breathtaking. Steve, proud and handsome was so happy.Every detail was played out perfect for dinner and reception. So many guests said it was the most beautiful wedding they had ever attended. How lucky you both were to have such an amazing day and to be loved by so many. Congratulations my sweet couple. Love MomFrom me,What stands out most in my memory was how proud I was to walk my baby girl down the aisle. It just didn't last long enough. You were definitely a sight to behold.Aunt Gloria passed out.The reception and dinner was top drawer with plenty of toasts and glass clinking.Then came my favorite part other than the walk down the aisle, a dance with my beautiful daughter bride.Much water has been flushed down the toilet in all these years but your love for each other has not faded.You did great in picking a mate. Love Dad
From Jim & Doris: (Steve's parents)::
As with most people, I probably remember how hot it was but even the heat paled in comparison to how beautiful Joni looked! I also remember how nervous mom was regarding the candles-lighting part of the service... How she was afraid that she would somehow mess-up the day. She did a great job, and the rest is history.... 10 happy and productive years together. I also remember Grandma Evie and Grandpa Joe being there for your wedding... Yours is the only one of our kids wedding that she attended and she went home to be with the Lord a year and a half later. I also remember how proud I was of the two of you committing your life's, marriage and future family to the Lord on that special day... And how proud we are of you both for putting into practice and living daily for the Lord for these past ten years. May God continue to enrich you individually as well as a couple as you serve and grow together. Three thongs (oops I mean things) come to mind...Faith, Hope, and Love (I Corinthians 13)
FAITH: This is connected to your walk with God. The greatest strength in a relationship is the bond or glue that holds it together. The bond is Christ. This does not mean there won't be problems, difficulties and adversity (just read Job), but rather you will have the comfort of Christ's presence... It doesn't get better than that!
HOPE: This is related to the dreams and vision you have for your future together... For your work, family, marriage, and all the attachments that come along with this... Career planning, school and college, children's education, marriage and jobs as well as the plans the two of you have when the kids are grown and leave home... This is where the two of you dream dreams and imagine what God is going to do through you and how His Kingdom will be impacted by the choices you make and the prayers you pray
LOVE: This touches directly on your relationship with one another.... First a word for Joni... Understand and support Steven just as you would do for Christ, not just in word but in deed. Steven, Love Joni, provide leadership for your wife and family, not by domineering but by cherishing and loving her as Christ loves the church. For both of you... Hold one another accountable for you're relationship with the Lord, serve one another, and work on being "Best Friends"Finally, spend some time each week and pray together. We love you and are praying for you both...
We got an indication that yours might be a serious relationship when Joni called to say hi while we were all on vacation in summer of 1999!
It was so special to be included in the visits to all the possible wedding sites, getting to know Betty and then the rest of the Taylor clan...fun!
The rehearsal dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory was the forerunner of Macy's great liking of spaghetti:-)
It was the only wedding of a Lloyd child where both sets of grandparents were in attendance and had a great time...
It was a hot day but everything was "cool"...great ceremony, delicious food and fun times visiting with family and
Love the Lord and your spouse with all your heart...be each others best friend...don't go to bed angry...smile and laugh a lot:-)
see. he's the best.
the very best.
and he was so meant to be for me.
10 years later, i'm still love drunk.
and i plan on being this way for at least 100 more.