On February 15th, my parents, Lawrence and Thais celebrated 38 years of marriage, 40 years together. My parents' marriage has been far from perfect (don't worry Mom, I'll retain my blackmail content for now ;-) but one thing that sets it apart is the immeasurable grace that they share.
My father was a self-proclaimed hippy who loved (and still does) Jesus, the combination of which, caused him to travel throughout Central and South America. My parents met in Maracaibo, Venezuela in December (1976). Like most romances, my parents' first met as coworkers and did NOT like each other. Looking back, my father described it as "Thais didn't like my style - i.e, know it all American". They didn't become mutually interested until after both had gone their separate ways and reconnected a year and a half later. The relationship evolved quickly with both my parents committing to each other in February 1978, later making it official in 1979.
There is a lot I could go into about my parents and their love story, but one thing I want to highlight is that my parents are amazingly hard workers. They exemplify to me how far integrity, patience, and elbow grease can take you. They are dreamers who live outside of the box and have encouraged me to live a more daring life. When my parents commit - they go all in, just like in their relationship. Here are a few facts that amaze me when I think about my parents:
They were missionaries for over 12 years in South America.
During their wanderings, my mother birthed me and my 5 siblings (6.... SIX KIDS in TEN years)
When my family moved to Maryland in 1990 due to my father's health, they made the decision to home-school all (yes - SIX) of us.
My father would do any honest job to make sure his family was cared for. He started from humble beginnings to working at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda.
My parents' marriage has survived immense pain and difficulty, including serious illness and the loss of my brother John.
I asked my parents to share their favorite advice for a healthy marriage and I'll leave you with these nuggets of wisdom from two people who continue to leave a legacy through their marriage:
Communication is very important.
Don’t take "it" so seriously.
(...I had to include at least one "outtake" to coincide with that last piece of advice!)
P.S - I took these images last September at Renfrew Park in Waynesboro, PA. My parents patiently let me practice a panorama technique best known as the "Brenizer Method", the results of which are the first and last photos of this post. - both images are actually over 30 images taken at one time and later "stitched" together in post processing.