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 Marcus & Teresa, married Wed 05-28-2011 Bennett Botanical Gardens, Hermiston Oregon Photography by Colleen Hoke The Ceremony: We are here today to celebrate a great moment in the lives of Teresa and Marcus, and their children. Today we join together to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes to Marcus and Teresa as they unite in marriage. Teresa and Marcus have come to love each other deeply and sincerely. Three years ago when Marcus first saw Teresa at their place of employment, he couldn’t speak, or even think correctly. He felt something he’d never before experienced, couldn’t even utter a ‘hello.’ From that moment on, each time Marc saw Teresa, he would smile, no matter how the day had treated him, and he eventually even managed to find his voice. Teresa saw that smile each and every time and became intoxicated by his blue eyes and his ‘hey you’ greeting. She knew there was something special about Marcus. I think she was right and I bet she has butterflies in her stomach right now, just as she got in those early days of their courtship. I’d like to begin with a poem by Suzanne Heinz Teresa selected to share on this special day, a poem that speaks of the love in Teresa & Marcus’ hearts. "You and I are connected in a way that goes beyond romance, beyond friendship, beyond what we've ever had before. It has defied time, distance, and changes in ourselves and in our lives. It has defied every explanation. Except one: Pure and simply, we're soul mates. I can't explain, I just feel it. It's there in the way my spirits lift whenever we talk. The sound of your voice brings me home, in a way I can't explain. It's in the delight I feel, when we laugh at exactly the same things. When I'm with you, it's like a tiny piece of the universe shifts into place. A place it's supposed to be, and all is right with the world. These things and so many more, have made me understand that this is a once in a lifetime, forever connection. A connection that could only exist between you and me. And deep in my soul, I know that our relationship is a rare gift. One that brings us extraordinary happiness all through our lives." Marc and Teresa, your relationship will take more than love. It will take trust, to know in your hearts that you want only the best for each other. Dedication, to stay open to one another, to learn and grow, even when it is difficult to do so. And faith, to go forward together without knowing what the future holds for you both. While love is our natural state of being, these other qualities are not as easy to come by. They are not a destination, but a journey. The true art of married life is in this- an inner spiritual journey. It is a mutual enrichment, a give and take between two personalities, a mingling of two endowments which diminishes neither, but enhances both.   Marcus, if you are ready to begin this journey, I ask now, Do you take Teresa to be your lawfully wedded wife? Do you promise to commit your love to Teresa; to respect her individuality; to go through life’s changes; and to nurture and strengthen the love between you; to share your life with her, and do you pledge that you will love, honor and tenderly care for her in all the varying circumstances of your lives?  Teresa, if you are ready to begin this journey, I ask now, Do you take Marcus to be your lawfully wedded husband? Do you promise to commit your love to Marcus; to respect his individuality; to go through life’s changes; to nurture and strengthen the love between you; to share your life with him, and do you pledge that you will love, honor and care for him in tenderness through all the varying experiences of your lives? Having this love in your hearts, you have chosen to seal your vows by the giving and receiving of rings. May I have your rings please? From the earliest times, the circle has been a symbol of completeness. It is unbroken and never-ending. Look for it, but you will find no beginning and no end, much like Teresa and Marcus committed love. Rings are made precious by our wearing of them. They become us; they reflect us. They are a symbol of our love, and of the words that you speak today. May these rings be, from this day forward, your most treasured adornment, and may the love they symbolize, be your most precious possession. As you wear these rings, may they be constant reminders of these glad promises you are making today. Teresa, please repeat after me: With this ring, I give to you my promise.  From this day forward you will not walk alone. May my heart be your shelter, And my arms be your home. With this ring, I give you my heart. I have no greater gift to give. I promise I will do my best. I will always try. I feel honored to call you my husband. I feel blessed to call you mine. May we feel this joy forever. Marcus, please repeat after me: With this ring, I give to you my promise.  From this day forward you will not walk alone. May my heart be your shelter, And my arms be your home. With this ring, I give you my heart. I have no greater gift to give. I promise I will do my best. I will always try. I feel honored to call you my husband. I feel blessed to call you mine. May we feel this joy forever. Vows to Children With children present, marriage is more than the union of two people. It is the proclaiming of a new family and a lifetime of caring for one another. Teresa and Marc, do you pledge to Joseph and Tucker to be the best parents you can be, to there for them in times of need and want, to challenge and teach them, to embrace their uniqueness for all the days of your lives? If you will please give the boys the token of your love and promises made here today. (The boys were given dog tags with the wedding date etched onto the back. They loved them!) Family Hand Ceremony As an expression that your hearts are joined together in love, I ask that you all hold hands, so you may feel the precocious gift that you are to one another as a family.  [Everyone holds hands] Each of you holds the hand of your best friend, brother to brother, mother to father. Each hand in yours is full of love for you. These hands will help you hold your family as one. They will work alongside yours as you each build your future. Hands that will comfort you like no other. Hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours, welcoming you home.   Unity Candle
  From this day forth, my soul flows with your soul. I have found in you the one to light my days and warm my nights. You are my love for all my life.   Marcus and Teresa, may your life together be immersed in love and excitement. May it deepen your knowledge of each other and of existence. May you strive to enrich each other and yourselves in every possible way. And may you work to bring the peace you find to the world.  Marcus and Teresa, by the authority vested in me, it is my honor and delight to now pronounce you husband and wife.  Let us end with a prayer, Dear God, Please bless this couple. Grant them a peaceful home. May it be a refuge for their love, a harbor for their deepest prayer. May they come to flourish within safe walls, growing ever nearer to You. May they be blessed with laughter and grace, and surprised by the comfort of kinship. And when darkness falls, find them wrapped in each other, ever warm. May they live each day in light of time, realizing that their love is a gift from You. For to love for the sake of being loved is human; but to love for the sake of loving? This is divine. Amen. From this moment on, you will forever be Mr. and Mrs. Marcus and Teresa Hopkins. Marcus, you may kiss your bride!

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