Here I am dressed in my wedding gown with butterflies swimming in my stomach. I gather myself into the limousine that is ready to depart my parent's home to meet my soon to be husband. This is it. I'm packed like a pastry in the back of the limo and my stomach is going wild, I have a grin plastered ear to ear.
We pull up to the 'castle on the coast' and I am escorted to the roof top where we had planned our first look, he's standing there dapper as ever. Black tuxedo and groomed hair. I'm losing it at how surreal this all feels. Finally. All this planning has led to this. My forever is out there on the rooftop, waiting for me. I was giggling and explosive with excitement. Each step in my Jimmy Choo's takes me closer to the man of my dreams.
He holds me and the butterflies slowly flutter off and there is nothing else, no one around - just us. He holds me tight and whispers "I can't wait to marry you". August 1st, 2015
What I didn't know then that I know now is that it is so completely true what they say about love. I only love him more with each passing day. When you find THE ONE, there is no doubt. It's not perfect and all roses like social media always wants to display but a love worth showing up for, to make great. Verlon and I are each others team mates and we only have grown stronger because of our story and marriage.
Three weeks after our wedding, there was a terrible wind storm in the Lower Mainland - we were photographing a wedding in Maple Ridge (thankfully they had generators) while being notified by neighbours that a tree fell on our first house we just purchased. Thankfully we had an amazing support system who took care of emergency fire fighters and our dear pets while we continued to photograph our amazing couple and their wedding day. (Iling & Chris, we are so grateful for you both).
Needless to say the months after this were intense, we were working full time and part of house was unliveable. But we did it, and we learned a lot about ourselves, trades, and home ownership. It would be the first of our life changing struggles. Our little fur ball Alfie (he's always on my instagram stories) nearly died during this time… and well that saying that things come in three's….
Verlon was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2015. Cancer affects everyone in some shape or form, little did we think it would be us and at this age. We are changed because of it. And only for the better. I was hesitant to share this part of our story, but this part of our story has made us significantly better artists. We feel such extraordinary emotions now and connect to our images beyond anything I thought possible prior to this struggle.
By the grace of God, who continues to watch over us, (yes, we are believers in miracles) - Verlon has had multiple miracles since being diagnosed. The first was cancer disappearing within 10 days of scans and re-scans when the RX was prayer. Heaps and heaps of prayers, from friends, families and our amazing clients from the past and that year. We were so blessed with an army of support. The 2nd miracle in all of this was in 2018, when a scan was less than encouraging again…. as Verlon was on the CT table to confirm, they couldn't perform the biopsy because what they thought was cancer shrunk so small it was inoperable. Thankfully Verlon's cancer was caught early.
Here's my medical 10 cents: if you're body feels off - go see doctor - you could be preventing further illness.
Going through cancer has changed us. Only for the better. Our marriage has never been stronger. And that excites us for our future couples, because it's naive to think there won't be struggle in marriage. But if we can come out the other side stronger, I only imagine our couples will too. Choose your team mate over and over and over again. That is what marriage is, it's a lifetime of choosing each other and being willing to show up when it's hard, uncomfortable and in those joyous moments.
Both of us are more empathetic, understanding and living a much more authentic life. We are artists with hearts on our sleeves. Since all of this, we have learned to offer a limited amount of commissions because it's true - you do only live once. We want to give you our best and that means being more dedicated to our clients. Life is full of wonder and we've learned this at a young age. Because of this we have done many things on our bucket lists because the future isn't guaranteed (this doesn't negate having a retirement plan, people).
We have made traveling a priority, the following year after diagnosis Verlon drove his dream car (Porsche 911) in Stuttgart Germany to Fussen and we saw Neuschwanstein Castle a.k.a The Fairy Tale Castle (the same one Disney based their designs after). We have swam with sea turtles, seen the rocky mountains, dipped our toes in the Mediterranean, hugged family from across the world, eaten at many of the coolest vegan and vegetarian restaurants, ran up the Eiffel Tower at midnight, snuggled as much as possible while watching Netflix, attended various church services from different churches, prayed, read copious amounts of Brene Brown, and soaked in our friends and family as much as possible.
This is just a small glimpse into our raw authentic story - I cannot wait to hear about yours and document it.