From Silver Linings to Happy Hellos….
I am so excited to finally introduce our lovely Wedding Giveaway winners, Nathan and Celine.
Nathan and Celine represent hope, faith, dedication, determination, patience, honor, and they help me keep believing that the best things in life are delivered to you when you least expect them.
You should know that Nathan is a service member. He spent 15 long month serving in Iraq. We all know someone who has served in this war; we’ve all been affected. Thankfully, Nathan returned home to his family at the end of his tour. However, many of Nathan’s comrades and friends did not. Nathan experienced loss and hopelessness. He came back safe, but certainly not unharmed. In his words, “…countless patrols, brushes with death and a loss of many comrades left my heart empty and guarded.”
Upon return from Iraq, Nathan took a job working at a hospital to fill his time. While it filled his days, nothing really filled his heart. “I still woke up each morning dreading the day ahead. I began each day with a deep sigh instead of a smile knowing that I would never be the man I was before I left for Iraq.”
At the same time that Nathan was struggling post-war, Celine was facing her own battles.
“I was about to leave for the summer and start my new adventure. It was all perfect until I got a phone call late that summer evening.” Celine’s mother ended up in the hospital for weeks on end after a devastating accident. Her strong and tough mother made it through a surgery that left the entire family not knowing whether or not she’d come out alive. “She said good bye as if she was not going to make it out, telling me to take care of my younger siblings. I tried to reassure her even though I had no clue what was going to happen. I think I was trying to convince myself more than anything. I had never prayed as hard as I did that night.”
That’s when the silver linings began to show themselves.
During Celine’s mother’s recovery, Celine began to feel more optimistic and celebrated the little things in life that she and her mother had taken for granted before her surgery. On June 17th, Celine came to the hospital dress up, ready to cheer her mother, and feeling optimistic.
Here’s how Nathan remembers that day… “I woke up the morning of June 17th beginning the day with my usual pessimism. Just before I entered the next room I heard laughter, not necessarily unusual however this laughter was warm and musical. As I entered the door way I saw, out of the corner of my eye, a beautiful girl with the most enchanting smile I had ever seen.”
Nathan and Celine ended up discovering that he spoke her language in more ways than one. Her family is from the Phillipines and they both speak some of the Tagalog dialogue. They continued to date. Nathan says he asked her out again, and again, and again! So sweet. As you can guess, the rest is history…sort of. They dated, fell in love, and ended having most of their relationship and engagement long distance! Nothing stood in their way.
Celine says, “The butterflies return, the giddiness is recreated and when we finally lay our eyes on one another, we get to fall in love…allover again. Our goodbyes are incredibly hard but we have the most amazing hellos.”
This is what Nathan says of their love…this really caught me:
“She was understanding and waited so patiently for me to finally let her into my heart. I am very grateful for her patience. Had she given up on me, I don’t think I would ever know how it feels to fall in love.”
Congratulations again to both of you. Thank you for showing that love comes in unexpected ways, overcomes all, and continues to unravel the best parts of each of us. I can’t wait to be a part of your wedding when we all get to let the sunshine in and celebrate!
Aren’t they the adorable! ❤