This afternoon I had the privilege of shooting a surprise engagement for some friends of mine. It is always a great treat for me to be able to be a part of such a personal and intimate moment as this, I’m honored they asked me to be there. John had this all planned, for quite some time, in great detail, and at least from my perspective, it went very well. Here are just a few of the images from that moment, thanks to the happy couple for allowing me to share some of their private moments with the world. Congratulations guys!
This is of course the day we said “I DO” to each other, some 19 years ago now. I’m not going to post a ton of photos as I have in the past, but I will share this one random shot above when we were walking away down the isle. On a side note, being able to look back historically at blog posts over a period of years is really interesting. I have posted on our anniversary, only on the odd years, like on year 15 and year 17, and now year 19. I’m thinking next year I will have to break that tradition for our 20th. Have no idea why, but, there you go.
Today is year number 19 and I can honestly say, I love my wife more now than I ever thought I could 19 years ago when we got married. Being married this long the question of the meaning of love gets discussed here and there, and of course Scripture tells us a lot about the truths of love. Paul makes his famous statements in Ephesians that I try to live by as a husband.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing that she might be holy and without blemish.
and then he goes on to say
Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh… this mystery is profound…
That is what marriage is, what love is. God forming two separate and distinct lives between a man and a woman, into one, mysterious union, becoming over time, one unit, with the two distinctions in the past. That may scare some, but it encourages me, and I find it completely true, in all sense of the word.
So it’s Valentine’s Day again, and while I would like to say I go all out on Valentine’s Day, I usually do not. Not only that, but I am also not a gift buyer for this day, and much of it specifically has to do with how commercialized every single possible holiday day has become. There is no man alive in this country that has an excuse for forgetting this holiday, or any holiday, at this point, we have been bombarded since New Year’s that this day was coming. I hate force buying something that isn’t really asked for in the first place, and is usually something over-manufactured for cheap pennies overseas (made in China).
So if you take away the commercialization of Valentine’s Day, where did the day come from and why do we celebrate it? As is now standard in our post-mondern society, we have taken a day once commemorating a specific day on the Christian calendar and turned it into cheap plastic toys for lack of a better phrase.
Started in A.D. 496 by Pope Gelasius I (and then later deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI), it was originally placed on the calendar on February 14th to “celebrate” the martyrdom of Saint Valentine (or Valentinus in Latin) the Patron of Love, which was actually around 14 different martyrs, not one specific person or saint. The total number of martyred saints is not completely known, and the reasons for their deaths range as well. First written about in Nuremberg, Saint Valentine supposedly was caught marrying Christian couples who were being persecuted by under Emperor Claudius in Rome (which was a crime). He was then imprisoned, where he also gained almost 50 converts to Christianity before he was executed.
So there you have it. Nothing to do with a box of chocolates, stuffed animals from Walmart, or pajamas from TV mail order.
Some may call it cheap, but I will make a public “Happy Valentine’s Day” wish to the true love of my life, Deborah. I hope I can live out the remainder of our days together as the husband you expect me to be, always ready to show you the love you deserve. Even though I didn’t buy you a box of chocolates today, I still love you very much.
It’s is hard to believe but today, 17 years ago, my wife and I got married. This particular anniversary was a little different since Deborah would normally be sitting in the next room on a normal day, and this week she is in Denver teaching a hand quilting class, and it just happen to fall on our anniversary. So, Happy Anniversary Deborah. I think this is actually the first time in 17 years that we actually haven’t been together on June 11th.
The time has just flown by, yet I can almost remember every day. Anyone who says marriage is easy is crazy (or isn’t married) but I wouldn’t trade it for anything with you Deborah. Sorry we couldn’t be together today, so in place of getting to go out somewhere nice tonight, I, of course decided to make a video for you of little bits of our 17 years together.
Really really hard to believe it has been 17 years. Can’t wait to see what 17 more years has in store for us (which would be the year 2027, yikes).
In January 2008 Elane, a freelance photographer who owns Elane Photography, refused to shoot a gay wedding between two woman and was later sued by Vanessa Willock for discrimination against a person’s sexual orientation. Elane has now lost the lawsuit and is appealing the ruling by the New Mexico State Human Rights Commission.
So, anything goes now, it’s official. Now I understand from the start of this article that I live in Alabama, where I would probably be sued if I did take wedding photography of a gay marriage, but this is just over the edge. This article is not about gay marriage, really. It is about the freedoms you have as a small business owner, and citizen of this country called America. Today, most of you are almost automatically bias and on a “side” depending on your current life situation, but still, this is really out of hand.
Vanessa Willock vs Elane Photography [HRD# 06-12-20-0685]
This morning while getting ready for service, I started reading my usual list of blogs and news articles when I came across the most ridiculous story I have seen in quite some time. In New Mexico there is a woman who has a wedding photography business called Elane Photography.
She was asked to shoot a wedding between two woman (one being Vanessa Willock, a professor at UNM) in New Mexico. When she refused to take the job saying she only shoots “traditional” weddings, she was sued.
Ok, nothing new here in this day and time I guess. Sad, but typical. In this country now, anyone can sue anyone for any reason at all, but one big difference in this case, she lost. The NM Human Rights Division found her guilty and required to pay damages. (See now also the Elaine Photography Case before the Human Rights Commission in the State of New Mexico, and their Final Ruling, see also the Alliance Defense Fund Fact Sheet for Elane Photography.)
Vanessa Willock Was Laying in Wait, it Seems
The gay couple who wanted Elane’s photography services, filed this complaint, but it looks like she was just waiting for someone to turn her down. Turns out of course that along with working for UNM, Ms. Vanessa Willock is also an EEO Compliance Representative with the Office of Equal Opportunity.
What does she do there? She investigates claims of discrimination and sexual harassment for the state, and to top it off, she is also a member of the Diversity Committee at the University of New Mexico. All that begs the question of the motives Willock has or had when trying to hire this photographer and a case could be made that she was just waiting for someone to say no!
New Mexico Now Picking Your Clients?
Last time I checked we still lived in a free country? This is not some big organization under equal opportunity laws, this is a two person husband and wife photography business. I don’t know anyone that does freelance work that is required to take a job, but now the state of New Mexico is telling this couple what business clients they have to accept!
News West 9: The state Human Rights Commission ruled in April that Elane Photography violated the Human Rights Act by discriminating against Vanessa Willock on the basis of sexual orientation.
Willock contended Albuquerque photographer Elaine Huguenin told her that she photographed only traditional marriages.
I don’t really care what the issue is pertaining to, how in the world can the state tell a two person business what clients they can and can’t take. I know there are a ton of photographers who have refused certain jobs for one reason or another. What happened if the “minister” refused to marry them (unlikely I know, they would have hand picked her) on the basis of Paul’s letter to the Romans or something. Is the state going to “force” religious institutions now to marry people just because the state says it is ok?
Any small business can be sued for any reason if they refuse their services to anyone now I guess. What ever happened to “we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone”? Guess those days are long gone and the only thing that remains is the actual sign on the business door.
A free marketplace dictates that if one business refuses, another will receive that business. You know, Supply and demand, expenses, profit, all that business type stuff. Obviously the money is less important to Elane Photography than the issue, so just take your business somewhere else. Do we have to sue EVERYONE now?
New Mexico Getting Slammed for Good Reason
I guess this is where New Mexico wants to be. Apparently there are also 20 others states that have these types of refusal laws in place. You take one tiny, and I mean TINY minority (the gay population is said to be around 2%) of any kind, doesn’t matter what it is, their rights supersede those of everyone else. There are so many issues with this particular case it is hard to know what to pick on, but leave it up to the bloggers and they will do a good job as always. So, blogs and news sites galore are slamming New Mexico for good reason. Just to name a few, we have:
- Christian Photographer Hauled before Commission for Refusing Same-Sex Job
- Christian Photographer tried before Human Rights Division in New Mexico
- Elane photography violated NM law, rules commision
- NM commission rules photographer discriminated against gay couple
and it really just goes on and on. I am sorry, but how stupid are these people on the New Mexico commission or the state in total for putting these ridiculous laws in place and for telling a two person business what clients they have to take. Not only is the state telling me how to run my business but they are requiring someone to do something that is against their religious principles in favor of something that most people in this country are against in the first place.
Have You as a Photographer Ever Refused a Job?
So, I know there are tons of Christian Wedding photographers out there. Are you going to do a wedding because the state tells you to? I really don’t care what the issue is, gay marriage, the intelligence level of the bride/groom, green men from mars, who cares, you own your own business so you can take the clients you want to take, right?
Well, the suit is now up for appeal and The Alliance Defense Fund‘s appeal asks the state district court to reverse the commission’s decision and dismiss Willock’s complaint.” Hopefully cooler heads will prevail and Ms Willock will have to pay for her own expenses and this won’t set a precedent across the states, making it illegal to not work, if that is the choice you make.
Update :: You can also see additional information at Willock vs Elane Photography Refusing Gay Wedding Update
I rarely make such personal statements on my blog, but I thought it would be appropriate today for what truth is spoken and pronounced in public, becomes even more validating to me in private. So here goes.
Today, Deb (see her blog) and I made it to our 15th year together (at least post marriage). I can’t at this point do anything that will be able to express what those 15 years have been like with you but to say, thank you. We have done so many things and gone to so many places together over the last 15 years that it is hard to express with any written manner what they have been like.
We have been through so much together and I still can’t wait to see what the next 15 years is going to be like. I think and dream about all the places we will go, things we will do together, and how our lives will change together. I think about the what, where, when, and how of our future, all with excitement and anticipation. I love being able to grow older (not old yet) with someone I care for so much. We have grown together in our faith, our love for each other, and even the understanding of our purpose together. What hasn’t been a perfect 15 years, has been something I cherish in my heart.
You have always supported me in whatever I wanted to do, have pulled me and stretched me to grow, and have been the love of my life since we met. This blog is our life going back only 4-5 years or so, but the pages of this blog and our life going forward are white and un-written yet. I can’t wait to fill the pages in with you. I love you Deborah. Happy Anniversary.
New From Old
We had the diamonds in my old engagement ring made into a pair of beautiful triangle earrings and a custom made white gold pendant.Â This was something very special for us and we were thrilled with how it turned out.Â The center diamond here is the main diamond on my original engagement ring.Â The original design called to remove the pieces going from the center of the diamond out to the flower peddles but we liked it like this and decided to leave it this way.Â It has great new meaning to both of us and I love being able to wear my original engagement ring on a pendant around my neck.Â The local jewelry designer here in Auburn did a great job (Wears in Auburn is quite famous around here but we went to the one in Opelika this time).Â We have used them now for several different pieces and I am so thrilled with how this one turned out.
How do you like it? I think it turned out just beautiful myself.