5.14.2018

Carson + Carolina's Love Story

 
Hello friends! Today Carson + Carolina are here to share their love story with you! It has been awhile in the writing but here it finally is! I love how unique their story is and how God worked in their lives to take them from being totally indifferent about each other, to falling head over heels in love! 
The following pictures were all taken in random order throughout their relationship.
Enjoy their story!
(their first combine date, the day after they started their relationship)

Carson: "I met the Bowers family in 2011 when our family invited ourselves to their home for a visit.
I really didn't think about Carolina at all at that time, and I was only 16 years old...so probably a bit on the young side then anyways."
Carolina: "In 2011 the Bontrager family came in their bus to visit us in Idaho, while they were on tour. Their dad had called mine and basically invited themselves over! We were all complete strangers! I don't remember Carson, but my first impression of their boys wasn't an excellent one. They seemed shy and hard to talk to. The girls, though were sweet and we talked about lots of things!"
(making deer jerky together)

Carson: "Well, the years came and went.  The Bowers family came to our farm twice to sing and speak for our Labor Day Turning Hearts Celebration, and we saw them a number of times in our travels or when they were traveling through and stopped by. We were also one of the drop points for boxes of dvds that they needed. We all got along great, but I still didn't have any thoughts for Carolina."
Carolina: "My family began traveling in a bus, and visited the Bontragers off and on for Turning Hearts Celebrations or whenever we "conveniently" came through Iowa!
Honestly, I never thought much about going to their house and didn't care much about the visits. My parents mentioned something about Carson to me on several occasions, and each time I readily refused this thought, even though I did pray about him a few times. I just thought that we didn't have things in common and didn't have anything to talk about."
(country date down under the bridge, beside the creek)

Carson: "So basically, for a little background on my thoughts during my teenage years: I always figured I'd get married when I was about 20. ( I know, I missed it :) I don't really know why, other than I don't think I prayed about what age God thought would be best. As I got a bit older, about sixteen, I began actively praying and seeking the Lord for his will for a wife.  I had been praying for a Godly wife since I was about 5 years old, but somehow I just felt the need a little more in my teenage years. =) I was trying to prepare as best as I could for marriage, but I think I often put too high a priority on trying to figure out who I should marry. (It is very important for young men to be getting to know young ladies in a wholesome manner, but our relationship with the Lord should always be top priority!) Anyway, as a couple years went by, I began to pray and fast a bit more seriously for a spouse.  I really wanted the Lord's will and didn't want to pursue a young lady without His leading."
Carolina: "Fast forward to 2016: my family traveled all year and ended up at the Bontrager's house at least 5 times!"     
(first hunt together!)

Carson: "About the end of August to beginning of September 2016 I heard a lesson in church that very much convicted me.  Our class teacher brought out the parallel between two young people going on a special date, and what our relationship with the Lord should be like. I knew right then that if I were to get married and not have any better relationship with my wife than I currently had with the Lord, that it wouldn't be a good thing. I decided to take a break from praying so hard for a wife, and to just seek the Lord to draw closer to Him. It wasn't more than a week later than we our annual Turning Hearts celebration at our farm.  For some reason, that Monday the thought popped into my head that it would be fun to have a young lady with me in the tractor as I pulled two of the wagons.  And I thought that Carolina would be great!  I honestly tried to brush it aside, as I was trying to take a break from thinking and praying about a wife.The next morning we had breakfast at our farm with all the families who were still around, including the Bowers. I just went about everything like normal. I don't even think I hardly talked to Carolina. After breakfast, Mrs. Bowers pulled me aside and said she thought it would really be good for me to spend some time getting to know Carolina.  I was just a bit surprised, as I had never had anything like this happen to me before, but I did tell her I would at least try to get to know her a bit better. "
Carolina: "In August/September 2017, I felt I should be praying and fasting about if Carson was possibly God's will for me, though I still didn't have any feelings for the idea."
(one of maaaaany fun evenings Carson spent at the Bowers', whilst our family was on winter tour)

Carson: "One week later our family was at Village Creek Bible Camp, where we help lead a family camp every September.  The Bowers family was there attending, so I thought I would at least try to spend a bit of time getting to know Carolina better.  I also didn't feel like I would be overstepping my bounds at all either since I already had her mother's blessing! =) The week went great, and I really enjoyed getting to know her and found her to be a more amazing girl than I had thought! (She was amazing all along obviously, somehow I just had it in my head that we wouldn't mesh) The Bowers family stopped by our house for a bit that weekend after camp. Everyone was very excited at that point because Joshua and Cassidy had just begun their relationship while at family camp, actually. Farm work was very busy for me though, so I really didn't have any time to talk to Carolina again during that visit. I did, however, start to seriously pray about Carolina that week of family camp, and spent some extra time in prayer and fasting the few weeks following."
Carolina: "We got to spend quite a bit of time talking while at a family camp, and a few other times, and I found out he was not too bad! He was actually likable! So I prayed and fasted a whole lot more."
(plane ride date)

Carson: "The Bowers family moved to Iowa about the middle of October. They bought a farm house about 30 minutes from our house. A few days after they had moved, I set up an appointment early one morning to meet with Mr. Bowers. (I hardly slept a wink the night before!) I needed to get his permission to pursue his firstborn daughter! 
I had a great meeting with him. He gave me his approval, and that he would talk to Carolina."
Carolina: "In the middle of October my family bought a home in Iowa! I still had no idea if Carson had ever thought about me, but I prayed that if it was His will, God would put me on Carson's heart, mind and prayers."
(visiting friends in Michigan and helping them with their maple syrup business)

Carson: "That same evening (the day I talked with Carolina's dad) I was over at their new house to help with some landscaping.  I wasn't even going to say anything, but my brother Joshua said he figured that Mr. Bowers had already talked to Carolina and that I should ask her what she thought.  So a bit after we got there, I just asked her if her dad had talked to her, and what she thought of everything. She said he had, and that she would be willing to begin a relationship with me! (relieved sigh!)"
Carolina: "We had only lived in Iowa for three days when Carson asked my dad if he could get to know me. I was not surprised because I had been praying, and yet I was very surprised, because he hadn't seemed interested hardly at all."
(picture taken by Cassidy, the night after we got engaged)
       
Carson: "Over the next few months we spent a lot of special time together harvesting in the tractor, walking the woods, hunting, being at their or our house around the table, and other ways as well.  We both continued to enjoy being together, and we officially went on our first dinner date in December.  Throughout the winter while my family was on tour I especially spent a lot of time at the Bower's home with their whole family, and going on more walks and dates with Carolina. Mr. Bowers also took the time to go out for breakfast with me every couple weeks. Those times were very special as he got to know me better, and I learned what an amazing dad Carolina really had! The relationship wasn't always perfectly smooth, but the Lord did bless us and we did have a wonderful time getting to know each other.  (On a side note, it is also a blessing to have such amazing in-laws!)
Carolina: "So we began a very great relationship full of activities and quality time! Carson is adventurous and hands on, therefore, we did many things like hunting, flying riding airplanes, hiking, shooting guns, and also lots of great walks and talks, time with our family, dates in tractors and trucks as well as at Scheels and restaurants. He bought me a bow and arrows and taught me how to use it for hunting season! We were blessed to spend lots of time together very frequently!"
(one of the pictures from our engagement photos)

Carson: "On April 18th, 2017, I proposed to Carolina while we were sitting in a treestand. And....... She said yes!
Carolina: "We got engaged in a tree stand in April and the next few months until the wedding were full of house preparations/ building, lots of planning and projects and spending special last moments with our families."

Carson: "We got married on September 1st, and I am so blessed to have such an amazing wife! She is such a wonderful helpmeet and I am grateful to the Lord for her!"
Carolina: "We got married September 1st along with Joshua and Cassidy, in a big double wedding! It was a day to remember forever! Carson is truly an amazing man! I can't imagine life without him. He is an amazing leader, is so hospitable, is a witness wherever he goes, has a joyful, happy heart, loves children, and wants to do God’s will for his life! He is gracious, sweet, tender, helpful, hardworking and loves good deals and quality! He is gifted in finances, budgeting and business endeavors! I’m very thankful for how God worked to bring us together and I'm looking forward to seeing what He has in store for the rest of our lives."


"He hath made everything beautiful in His time...."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

5.12.2018

AND THE WINNER IS........

Thanks to all of you dear mommies who entered our drawing.  Your response was overwhelming!  I do hope to eventually address each and every one of your topics in a future mommies post.
We would love for each of you to win a copy of Mrs. Campbell's encouraging and insightful book but as promised, we chose only 2 winners.  And they are.........Rosalind Atkinson and Sarai Avina.  Please email us with your address so we can have your book shipped to you.
Happy Mother's Day to all of you!

"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her."  Proverbs 31:28

5.03.2018

Mother's Day Book Giveaway and Review of "100 Days of Blessing"

MOTHER'S DAY GIVEAWAY!!


"100 DAYS OF BLESSING" BOOK REVIEW:

Have you ever discovered a treasure that was in your house, untouched, after 2 years?  That is exactly what I did about a month ago when I opened up the book, "100 Days of Blessings-Volume 2".  Wow!  What an inspiration this book has been!  Every chapter is filled with many Scriptures and nuggets of truth to help mothers remember what a noble calling is theirs.  Mrs. Campbell covers topics from "attitudes" to "training children to be royalty" to ""not ashamed" to "teaching our children to listen" and much, much more.  Every morning that I take the time to read another chapter in this book, I am edified, encouraged, strengthened, and reminded  that it is an honor to be a mother! I find that no matter what season of motherhood I am in, I need to fill my mind with truth to combat the humanistic, worldly teachings that are everywhere.  Books, movies, magazines, conversations, and media are many times filled with half truths and outright lies that do NOT agree with Scripture.  What a blessing it has been to read a book that not only agrees with the Bible but has many verses of Scripture throughout the book.   I still don't know why I didn't begin to read it 2 years ago when Nancy Campbell, the author, gave it to me after our concert in the large basement of their country home but I do know that I am very thankful that I found it and began to read it.So please head on over to Above Rubies to order your copy today.  Or you can enter our giveaway for the chance to win either Volume 1 or 2.

We are excited to partner with  in the giveaway of this life-changing book, 100 Days of Blessing, by wife, mother, grandmother, author, and legend, Nancy Campbell. This book will encourage all mothers to maintain a grateful perspective amidst the busyness and challenges of life and raising children.

VOLUME 1 or 2 of this book  could be yours for free! There's only one catch. You must be a mother or mother-to-be in order to enter the drawing. Right now, simply enter the following information in the comment box: What's your name? How many children do you have? What topic would you like to see addressed in the "mommies" series?

We will draw 2 winners on May 10.  Until then, you can go to Above Rubies to buy your own book.  If you're reading this post and you're not a Mother, consider giving this excellent book to your mother, aunt, wife, sister, cousin, pastor's wife, or friend (or any other mother who needs some encouragement) for Mother's Day.

Proverbs 31:28-31"Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.  Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates."



4.28.2018

Summer and Fall Tour Dates!

We are thrilled to release our finalized schedule for the rest of 2018! We will be traveling the Midwest and Eastern United States, as well as central and Western Canada. We would love to see you at one of our concerts!

June
9...Gilbert's Sale Yard, Floyd, IA, 7pm
10...Real Life Community Church, Storm Lake, IA, 9:30am
10...Crane Chapel, Austin, MN, 6:30pm
12...Hawk Museum, Wolford, ND, 7pm
13...Sheridan Civic Center, Plentywood, MT, 7pm
15...Ukrainian Hall, Rothern, SK, 7pm
16...Bethany College Chapel, Hepburn, SK, 7pm
17…Prince Albert Baptist Church, Prince Albert, SK, 10:15am
17...Brian King Center, Warmen, SK, 7pm
19...North Ridge Community Center, Martinsville, SK, 7pm
20...Acadia Colony, Acadia, MB, 7pm
22...1000 Oaks Gospel Sing, Winkler, MB, TBA
23...1000 Oaks Gospel Sing, Winkler, MB, TBA
24...1000 Oaks Gospel Sing, Winkler, MB, TBA
26...Beaver Lake Camp, Dryden, ON, 7pm
27...The Legion, Sioux Lookout, ON, 7pm
29...Faith Baptist, Forrest, ON, 7pm
30...Mapleview Mennonite Church, Wellesley, ON, 7pm

July 
1...Chesly Community Church, Chesley, ON, 10:45am
1...Carrick Camp, Mildmay, ON, 6pm
2...Pigeon Mennonite Church, Pigeon, MI, 7pm
4...Christian Reformed Conference Grounds, Grand Haven, MI, 7pm
5…Berean Baptist Church, Grand Banc, MI, 7pm
6...Portuguese Club, Leamington, ON, 7pm
7...Springfield Hall, Springfield ON, 6:30pm
8...Beacon Bible Chapel, Tillsonburg, ON, 10am
8...Word of Life Church, Milverton ON, 7pm
9...First Baptist Church, Eden, NY, 7pm
12...Grace Christian Fellowship, Bainbridge, NY, 7pm
13...Christian Church of Rural Grove, Rural Grove, 7:30pm
14...Sacandaga Bible Conference, Broadalbin, NY, 7pm
15...Naumburg Mennonite, Naumburg, NY, 7:30pm
19...Yates County Fairgrounds, Penn Yan, NY, 7pm
21...Scotland Avenue Church of God, Punxsutawney, PA, 7pm
22...Hinkletown Mennonite Church, Ephrata, PA, 7pm
25...Lebanon Valley Bible Church, Lebanon, PA, 7pm
26...Locust Grove Mennonite Church, Bellville, PA, 7pm
27...Walnut Cheese Nook, Miflin, PA, 6pm
28...Walnut Cheese Nook, Miflin, PA, 6pm
29...Strasburg Mennonite Church, Strasburg, PA, 9am
29...Chambersburg, Mennonite, Chambersburg, PA, 7pm
31...New Hope Christian Fellowship, Grantsville, MD 7pm

August
1...Mountain View Mennonite Church, Lyndhurst, VA, 7pm
2... TBA, Farmville, VA
4...Greenwood Mennonite School, Greenwood, DE, 7pm
5...Shore Haven Baptist Church, Sudlersville, MD, 9:30am
5...Franconia Mennonite Church, Franconia, PA, 6:30pm

September 
3...Turning Hearts Celebration with Flip Benham, Bontrager Family Farm, Kalona, IA, 1:30pm and 6:30pm
4-9...Homeschool Family Camp, Lansing IA
10-15...Homeschool Family Camp, Lansing IA

October
2...Caswell Family Farm, Freeport, IL, 7pm
4-6...Bluegate Theater and Fall Crafters Fair, Shipshewana, IN, TBA
7...Grand Rapids Baptist Church, Grand Rapids, MI, 6pm

4.23.2018

Announcing the National Bible Bee Competition Show!

Since 2011, we have competed in the National Bible Bee. We're amazed at how the Lord has used the Bible Bee to transform our children's love for God and His Word.

We're excited to announce that beginning this Tuesday at 5pm EST, the National Bible Bee Competition Show will air on Facebook LIVE! If you never watched last year's competition, you can watch it Tuesday night! If you watched the National Competition live from Nationals last year, you will still enjoy being re-inspired by God's Word!

When you watch, you'll see Denver and Hudson compete on stage! You'll also see the top fifteen and top five contestants in each division powerfully recite the Word of God

In the words of the National Bible Bee,

"Don't miss the premiere of the National Bible Bee Competition Show, starting [this] Tuesday. Beginning April 24 at 8 PM Eastern, you have the opportunity to witness this heart-grabbing competition that highlights and honors the Word of God on National Bible Bee Facebook LIVE.

This six-episode show will feature the top 15 contestants in each age division from around the nation who memorized between 600 to 950 verses to compete in the 2017 National Bible Bee Competition.

Be challenged, encouraged and inspired by God’s Word in these fast-paced weekly episodes. Don't miss out on this amazing proclamation!"

Go to facebook.com/nationalbiblebee today to watch the trailer and learn more!

If you're interested in competing in this year's National Bible Bee Competition, be sure to read "Why Your Family Needs the Bible Bee." You can also view last's year recap here.

"Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." --Psalm 119:11


4.20.2018

Wrap-up From the Winter Tour!

Our three month winter tour began on January 15 and ended on April 12. The last 3 1/2 weeks of our circuitous journey took us through 11 states--Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, and finally sweet Iowa. This post tells the story of the last leg of our trip. 
After an eventful border crossing, we traveled through Texas and New Mexico into Arizona.
While in Arizona, we sang in Tuscon, Phoenix, and Flagstaff. 
Some friends from Bible Bee took us on a scenic hike.
On our way from Arizona to California, we drove through Grand Canyon National Park. As we drove into the Canyon before sunrise, we watched golden rays of light steal up through the darkness, bathing the Canyon in splendor. Though we had seen pictures, we were awe-struck by the massiveness and spectacular grandeur of the Grand Canyon, a majesty impossible to fully comprehend until witnessed firsthand.  
We hiked part ways into the Grand Canyon. 
Joshua and Cassidy viewed the Grand Canyon on Joshua's 21st birthday. 
Inside the Kolb Studio, we learned the fascinating story of the daring Kolb brothers, 
who came in the early 1900s to photograph the Grand Canyon.
After Arizona, we headed to California for 2 1/2 weeks.
In the midst of a busy singing schedule, we visited Yosemite for a day. 
While we did go on quite a few hikes, we spent most of our time singing. Unfortunately, most of us were too focused during concerts to take pictures. Hence, the scarcity of concert photos in this post. 
Almost any place works for Denver to teach history to his voracious students.
We reconnected with these friends we hadn't seen for about nine years.

Sometimes it almost seems that every day is laundry day. Not quite.:)
Another famous hike. We have to find some place to exercise!

Practicing music in front of Walmart.
With friends in Oregon after a concert.
We were blessed by the incredible hospitably of many friends along the way.
Allison and Reebs posing before our last concert in Oregon.
We sang hymns and praised the Lord for 1 1/2 hours with these friends.
Smiles.:)
Work, ice cream, coffee, and heart to heart conversation constitute an excellent recipe!
After our last concert in Colorado, we drove straight home to Iowa!
Josh and Cass have enjoyed diving back into home life.
The dairy barn provides many opportunities for exercise, reflection, and industry. 
After using scattered laundromats all across the US, doing laundry in one place is a blessing!
The cooks of the family have been enjoying an immobile, spacious kitchen. 
We'll be hitting the road again on June 9. Stay tuned to see our full summer tour coming next week!

As we reflect on the tour, we're thankful for God's goodness along every step of the way. We're also thankful for the many people who encouraged and blessed us in countless ways. We're thankful for God's grace, a rich grace that allows us to fully complete the duty that He calls each one of us to. 

We're also reminded how much we need revival. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). We must humble ourselves, pray, seek God's face, and repent. True revival begins within the church, as individual Christians humbly surrender all to the Lordship of Christ and strive glorify Him in every thought, word, and deed. 

If we are to experience another Great Awakening, it must begin in the church. "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep..." (Romans 13:11).

May we all pray that God would revive our hearts. May each one of us daily become more grateful to Him for who He is and what He has done. May we live our lives by His Word alone. Only eternity will tell the results of our faithfulness. 

"Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men." --Psalm 31:19

4.11.2018

John + Chelsy || 12.30.2017

Where do I even start? Chelsy and John's wedding day was perfect in every way! I (Allison) don't think I can adequately describe it in mere words. This day was such a culmination of years of prayers and hope. John and Chelsy were faithful, living their single years with intention, waiting tirelessly when they were mocked for being "too picky", joyfully cheering on friends who got married, knowing that God was capable of writing a love story beyond what they could dream. December 30th, they pledged themselves to each other in a beautiful covenant of love. It was a day in which a bit of heaven came to earth. Join me as I relieve John and Chelsy's Wedding Day.
"A symbol of eternal love, the humble wedding ring has been about for years.....an emblem of love through time, a symbol of devotion and an agreement between two parties to love and cherish one another for the rest of their days. Wedding rings are, of course, circular in shape....a circle has no beginning or end and is therefore a symbol of infinity.  It is endless, eternal, just the way love should be." -PortfolioOfFineDiamonds.com
Chelsy has always been classy, her tastes elegant yet simple. Her choices of details and colors on this day matched that style perfectly.
".....prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." -Revelation 21:2
I love the symbolism in weddings. Even the early morning getting ready, the painstaking attention to every detail of herself as Chelsy anticipated seeing her beloved.......so much more we as Christ's church should be consumed with preparing ourselves for His coming.
.....every detail had to be perfect......
....and finally she was ready!
Chelsy and John planned a first look with just their photographer. The setting was perfect.
"....whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge." Ruth 1:16
"If I could have anyone in the world, it would still be you."
We couldn't be happier with John as Chelsy's husband! He is absolutely perfect for her, and such a strong yet sensitive man. He loves and cares for her very, very well. And John fits SO good with our family! From the beginning, we have all loved him. When Chelsy and John were getting to know each other, John spent many weekends at our house, and we all looked forward to having him around. We couldn't have been more thrilled when he officially joined the family!
Our beautiful Chelsy.
The dashing groomsmen: John chose his brothers, brothers-to-be, and best friend.
Since we were little girls, Chels told me I would be her maid of honor. The reality was way better than our little girl plans! Being her right hand lady, right by her side for her wedding day, was incredible!
This photo of Chelsy and Elizabeth is so beautiful!
Chelsy asked her sisters, sister-to-be, childhood best friend/cousin, and our pastor's wife (who she is very close friends with) to be her bridesmaids.
The entire Bridal Party.
The whole Bontrager Family. We've grown by six in the past year (counting the two babies on the way!).  
All the Bontrager girls (left to right): Carolina (married to Carson), Rebecca, Cassidy (married to Joshua), Chelsy, Elizabeth, Allison, and Bryn (married to Mitchell)
Chelsy with her Brothers.
John, Chelsy, Mother, and Father
mother and daughter
Chelsy has a very special relationship with Grandma Bontrager. 
Chelsy and John planned for some of the bridal party to help with ushering/greeting the wedding guests. 
John gave a sweet welcome to all the guests. His (and Chelsy's) heart for all the guests to feel loved and special was evident from the moment the ceremony started.
John walking Mother in.
ready........
These little guys (John's nephews) rang bells to begin the bridal procession.
The girls (John's nieces) sprinkled flower petals.
John's face says it all! Total anticipation, complete joy..........his bride was coming!
Entrance of the bride.......
.....on her father's arm. It was a perfect moment.
a few tears mixed with utter happiness.
Giving their firstborn away.
Chelsy and John started the ceremony by leading in worship. It was beautiful.
Dad shared during the ceremony.
So many family and friends came to celebrate with us.
John and Chelsy shared their gratitude for their parents' investment in their lives.
The parents prayed over the couple.
I will let Chelsy tell the full drone story (because she is a much better storyteller than me).....but suffice to say it was hilarious! You'll have to watch her blog for the whole scoop! I'm really glad my sis married into a family with some really quality humor.:)  Are you curious yet?
And then the vows......oh my! Chels made made her wedding ceremony memorable and hilarious by FORGETTING her vows! Again, I am sure she will be telling the whole story, but it was certainly another unforgettable moment when the pastor said, "And now you may say your vows to John" and she gasped, "I don't have them!"
After a hurried run (from which we weren't sure they would return!) to retrieve the vows, they were back!
This picture is classic Chelsy + John- free spirited, enthusiastic, and quick to laugh!
"Together is a beautiful place to be."
Signing the marriage license......it was getting real!
While John and Chelsy prayed together....
....we sang "Battle Hymn of Love.
First Kiss!!!!!!
And they're married!!!!! Our pastor announced the "New Mr. and Mrs. John Maxwell" amidst loud cheering and applause!
And he carried her out!
Allison + Jesse (maid of honor and best man)
Carson + Carolina
Mitchell + Bryn
Joshua + Cassidy
Elizabeth + Denver + Rebecca
Sarah + Taylor
Mary + Hudson + Anna
Chelsy and John had couple portraits taken at a few different locations, including our friend's beautiful Victorian home in Washington.
"A true relationship is two imperfect people refusing to give up on each other."
Chelsy prayed for snow on her wedding day, and snow it did! The Winter Wonderland was all she had dreamed of and more.
So many friends helped make the reception happen. It was a big, beautiful party- just what John and Chels wanted.
The coffee bar was amazing!
The menu was fun, simple, and filling.
We were overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of countless people who stepped in to serve and make the day happen! To all of you reading this, THANKS! We were humbled and blessed by your kindness.
Dessert: Cheesecake and Cupcakes
Mocha Cheesecake (Chelsy's Favorite)
Vanilla Berry Cheesecake
Salted Caramel Cheesecake (John's favorite)
The bride and groom made their entrance shortly after the reception commenced.
The open mic time was sweet, with special words from various members of the bridal party, family, and friends.
     It was so special to have many out of state family + friends make the effort to be at the wedding. 
Cake Cutting! (with white cake for John and chocolate cake for Chelsy:)
This picture captures John and Chelsy so well- they are all about relationships. People mean more than anything to them, and they stayed at their reception for hours to talk with their guests. 
And they're off!!!!
Chelsy and John came back about 10 minutes after their "official" departure to say a private goodbye to their families.
The last goodbyes were incredibly special, and a bit emotional. We all felt so loved that Chelsy and John wanted to tell each of us goodbye. 
And there you have it! Chelsy and John's wedding day. The first day of a lifetime together! 
"What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." -Matthew 19:6

ps. For more pictures from the wedding day, along with Chelsy's perspective + stories, visit Chelsy's Blog. You can also find links for the bridal party outfits here.