My Very Own Happily Ever After: Part 4/4

Just tuning in?  I’m sharing Dale and my story with you this week, in honor of our 9th Anniversary! 

Get caught up here…..

Part 1: Once Upon A Time

Part 2:  Summer Love

Part 3:  When God Writes Your Love Story

  I was engaged to the man of my dreams!  Now the wedding I had in my head since my childhood could take place.  Well, a budget version of that dream, but my dream wedding, none-the-less!  I had always wanted a huge foo-foo Princess wedding dress and a fancy night-time wedding in a church packed full of the people I loved most……


  By the time the invites were done, we had invited 800 people. I had chosen 7 special people to stand up with me as bridesmaids and witness our vows and Dale had done the same, choosing 7 groomsmen.


  I wanted to involve all 7 of my nanny kids, whom I loved and adored, as well as those who I babysat for for years.  Scan_Pic0048

  Scan_Pic0049And Dale, coming from a large family, thought it’d be nice to involve his cousins too.  In the end, we had 12 flower girls, who would head down our churches 4 side aisles that day, while handing out flowers to start the service.  Next would be 2 bell ringers down the Center aisle, followed by the Jr. attendant walking with the 2 more flower girls.  I wanted it to be a day to remember, Dale just wanted me to get down the aisle already!


  I’d like to tell you May 24th, 2002 dawned bright and sunny, but it didn’t. Well, it was bright and sunny on the inside, but outside? Terrible storms and rain.

My best friend called me in a panic that morning, worried how I was handling the weather, but my cheery “HELLLOO!” took care of any concerns she had.

 This was my big day, a few thunder claps weren’t going to ruin anything!


  I had never been more thankful that God had restored my parents marriage and that I, once again, had a great relationship with my dad.  Because I had not moved out during our “rough patch” as I family, I woke up the morning of my wedding, in the bedroom of my youth.  I smiled to myself, giddy for the day to begin, and tried to capture in my mind the regular morning noises of my mom, dad and little brother making breakfast downstairs….for this was the last time that would occur.  When I left the church that night, I’d be heading to the home I would share with Dale, the one we still live in today! I was a 20-year-old young woman, ready to spread her wings and fly for the first time!

  After all the hub bub of hair and make up, Dale and I met pre-service for what is now called a “First Look.”  We wanted to get photos over with ahead of time, but still have a private special moment when we first saw each other.  I don’t have the professional photos to capture it, but this is a snapshot from a friend.  Dale meet me at the end of the aisle with tears and a smile.  Before we parted ways, he grabbed me, pulled me close and whispered a prayer in my ear.  I loved that when the big moment came for me to enter the church and walk down the aisle on my Daddy’s arm, the butterflies were gone because I had seen my man. He had prayed with me and calmed my spirit. I was ready!


  The wedding was at 7 pm, and it was everything I hoped for.  The church was dark, the stage accented only by soft lights and twinkling candles.  Scan_Pic0102

  Our pastor gave a beautiful wedding charge, and when it was time, Dale and I  tearfully read our written vows to each other. 



  Soft piano praise music played in the background the entire time, thanks to the musical talents of Dale’s friend on the Baby Grand, inviting the Spirit of the Lord there in the church with us that night.  And He was there, I could feel Him and He was smiling at us. The angels in Heaven rejoiced as they sat back and watched another “Happily Ever After” of a Love Story written by the Author of Love Himself.   


  Lest things get too serious on our big day, we tried to end on a fun note, and lighten the mood with the recessional song: 

  A roarin’, piano-thumping rendition of Little Richard’s “Great Balls of Fire.” It wouldn’t be complete without the part where you zip up and down the piano keys, and Dale’s friend nailed it! 


WOO-HOO!  He’s finally MINE! 🙂


  After an appetizer reception in the church gym-turned Garden, with twinkling lit trees, shrubs, gazebos and winding lit paths, Dale and I took off for our new home as a couple.  The day was everything we’d dreamed it would be and so very much more. 

  To end a perfect day, we sat down on a quilt in the bedroom of our new home, opened the picnic basket my mom had packed for us, and had a carpet picnic; eating all the wedding food and cake we had missed at the reception, as we greeted and hugged our guests for hours.  During this picnic, I presented Dale with my box of letters and purity ring.  As we ate, we opened them and read them from earliest to most recent.


  We laughed at the little-girl scrawl of age 13, starting with “Wuz up?” and ending with an oh-so cool “Ciao”, smiled at the grown-up words of a 17-year-old young lady, had flashbacks of a difficult time during the broken-hearted letter of age 18, full of apologies for giving her heart away to a guy named Dale, and finally, a tearful letter addressed: “My dearest Dale”, full of love and devotion from a 19-year-old woman, engaged to be married to the man of her dreams.  It was a beautiful moment, one I will not soon forget.

  We were blessed to go on a week-long Honeymoon to Maui the next morning, thanks to the generosity of the amazing family I nannied for.  It was Paradise, just like they say!



A lot has changed in 9 years, and we are not without our trials and tribulations, fights and tears. But I can tell you one thing, there is not one time I look back over our Courtship and that particularly difficult time in my life, and not see the Lord’s Fingerprints ALL over it. He guided us when we were lost, He carried us when we were too weary to stand, He lifted us up when we were broken down, and most importantly, He lovingly took us away from each other, to prepare us to one day be together again, this time FOREVER.


  When I said “I Do” I meant it, forever and ever, till death do us part.067

I leave you with 2 thoughts:

Guys, “If she’s amazing, she won’t be easy. If she’s easy, she won’t be amazing. If she’s worth it, you won’t give up. If you give up, you aren’t worthy.”

And girls remember this, “A girl should be so lost in God, that a guy has to get lost in Him to find her.”  You must be content in who you are alone, before you’ll ever be content in who you are with someone else.

  Take these quotes to heart, hold out for your very own “The One” and GO get those books by Eric and Leslie Ludy.   They are LIFE CHANGING!

Thanks for letting me share our Love Story with you! It’s been a really fun walk down memory lane for Dale & I!



19 thoughts on “My Very Own Happily Ever After: Part 4/4

  1. I woke up this morning, dying to read the rest of this story! (I’m such a hopeless romantic….) And I cried through it all. It is truly a fairy tail, Tonya. I pray my little girl has the strength and faith to remain pure as you did. It’s SOOO nice to hear that there are a few people out there who have done it right. Thanks for letting me read this!

    • Shana, thank you for your sweet words this week! It did my heart good to read those journals and remember all we went through. I want to encourage you that you can prepare Adrienne for purity! We have been praying for our children’s future spouses in front of them for years, and after 7 years of hearing it, Destiny has recntly added prayers for her future spouse to her bedtime prayer. It blesses me so much to hear those sweet requests layed before Jesus at such a young tender age. We also talk a lot about saving your hugs and kisses for your husband or wife with all the kids, and when watching a family movie with kissing characters, all of them pipe up, “Uh oh, they are not married!!!!! They should not be kissing yet!” This is our way of starting to promote the idea of waiting in all areas. Destiny knows about just being friends and what courtship is, and she is so excited to turn 13 and be given my purity ring. We want to expose them to these ideas early on, so they are hard wired into theirw ay of thinking, but we sure don’t want to shove it down their throats and have them rebell either. Guess time will tell if this was the right way to handle it or not!!!!! 🙂 Prayer is a powerful tool for parents! Hugs! T

  2. A beautiful ending as I knew it would be. I will say that this was super emotion packed and from the beginning I was hooked. Thank you very much for sharing this with the world wide web. I’m glad to have found your blog. Have a nice Memorial Day Weekend!

  3. What a beautiful Love story and what a beautiful family you all are.
    Many blessings to your family as God continues to lead you down “his” path.
    Thank you so much for sharing yor Amazing Journey!

  4. What a precious love story!! Thanks for sharing your heart and life. I’ve been praying for my future daughter-in-laws and my sons too. It’s just amazing the power of prayer and what it can do. Happy Anniversary!! We’re just about to celebrate our 16th in September. It’s amazing how fast time flies when you’re having fun!! : )

  5. Thank you, thank you so much for sharing your story! I have 3 teenage daughters who have chosen courting to find their future husband. It has not always been easy, but it has always been right!! Thank you for giving them someone to look up to!

  6. So, soooooo beautiful!! I’m taking a break from a weekend of painting and this was such a delightful sashay into the beginnings of your love story. You were a gorgeous bride–and you remind me of one of my friends, who was a piano teacher at the time she got married and had 11 flower girls! (You can’t leave anyone out, not at that age anyway!)

  7. What a gloriously beautiful story! I just found your blog today and am hopelessly in love with all you’re doing here. Thanks so much for standing for what’s right and sharing it. God bless you and yours abundantly!

    • Thank you! I am so glad you came and stayed a while. Come back soon! When the kiddos are quiet I plan to spend some time over at The Better Baker, from what I saw, it looks GOOOOOD! 🙂 ~Tonya

  8. Pingback: 4 Little Fergusons Top 20: #9 – 4 «

  9. This story is so inspiring! Thank you so much for sharing. I straight away went online and ordered the book you suggested. I can hardly wait for it to arrive!! I dearly, dearly hope that God is in the process of writing my love story. I am 23 years old and I have been trying to patiently wait for a man. I pray that God will bless me soon with a man that reflects His image and love. Thank you again for your incredible story 🙂

  10. Wow, what an incredible story! I’m 17, and though young, am waiting for my Prince Charming. I’m actually reading When God Writes Your Love Story by the Ludy’s right now! I adore them. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful God scripted love story! I can’t wait for my own. 🙂

I adore hearing from you, comment away! :)

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