I know you’re 23 now (Happy Birthday!), taller than me & stronger than me, but I’m always going to think of you as my baby brother – the mischievous little boy whom I coerced into playing dress up and the friend I later confided in when I was in the midst of another big drama in my life. Remember when we would play Power Rangers together? And remember how you always got into trouble and then made our parents chase you around the yard, knowing that when you were caught you’d get a “spanking”? I remember, too, my first heartbreak & the conversation we had about that. You reassured me that you loved me and were always on my side. I still remember the one birthday where you and Lindley weren’t together. Mom & I went to her party because you had somewhat been uninvited but we still loved her and considered her family so we went in your place. Awkward…but looking back, I’m glad we were there. So many other memories we’ve shared together: the countless nights I froze on the bleachers watching you play soccer & then enduring some of your bad moods after the team lost. Then there were the sweet moments….the victories, the great test grades, the days when you were so thrilled about your career & calling in life. Some of my most fond memories were when we were younger, but nothing much about our relationship has changed throughout all these years. We are still buddies and each other’s confidant. You’ve always patiently comforted me and continuously offer a listening ear. And, you’re always there when something in my house breaks or I need a picture hung. Why do you think I threw you a tool party as a wedding shower? I knew I’d someday reap the benefit of those toys!
You are the best around. You love helping people; heck, you genuinely love people. Continue being the wonderful person you are, but make it your goal to never be complacent, and to always find opportunities for growth, so that you can be everything Lindley needs for the rest of your lives. It has been a pleasure being your older sister. Of course that won’t change; I’ll always be your older sister & you’ll always be a my baby brother – whether you’re a married man or not. Today, I just wanted to openly declare the great respect I have for you. And to remind those who know you, what a wonderful, handsome, smart human being you are. You have taught me to love others, not only unconditionally, but also fiercely and passionately. To actively pursue people, because they are what matters most. Thank you for this. I am so grateful that you are my baby brother. Looking back over my life, I know that without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today. You’ve been my biggest supporter, my strongest confidante and my truest friend. Patch, you have blessed my life with a richness I hardly feel I deserve. You’re my brother and my friend, and you’ve always known instinctively when you’ve needed to be more friend. You enrich the lives of all those around you with your inner strength, your compassion, your sense of right, your humor and simply…your love.
Since you were in middle school there has been only 1 girl for you, and on August 8, 2015 you [finally] made her your wife. A lot of people say that marriage is the beginning of the end. [Some joking, some not.] But I think that marriage isn’t the beginning at all. Nor is it the end. It’s just a very big intermission where you got to introduce a new, beautiful character onto the scene. She took every one’s breath away. She changed the entire feel of the play & She’ll make it a little better. The thing is, Lindley was always there…in the back, getting ready. Makeup, hair, life, love. She’s been here the whole time. Since you were young she has been the thing that drives you. Everyone knew it. Even you two. And watching you become husband and wife at your romantic outdoor wedding was magical. Our two families “officially” joined as one, but have been fusing together for the last 10 years.
I hope these photos of your romantic outdoor wedding take you back to your wedding day 2 weeks ago. I hope they help you remember all the teeny, tiny details & that they continually remind you of how loved you are. I hope you remember the way you and your groomsmen joked with silly handshakes, the way Lindley looked floating down the grassy aisle with The Fredster grinning ear to ear, the way you had big, huge golfball tears in your eyes seeing your bride, the way your big sister cried BIG HUGE UGLY tears and had to get help from Mr. Tim to wipe them away. I hope you never forget dad’s strong hands resting on your shoulders throughout the processional- his sign of encouragement and support. I hope you always remember your dance with mom & the way she cried, tears of joy I’m sure. And that hilarious family dance…we’re so very white & I’m sure that Justin could school us all on any given occasion. 1 year from now, your wedding day will likely be a blur of happiness…I hope these images continually take you back year after year.
Now, 17 days later, though I haven’t seen you physically since the wedding, I can see how happy you are with your bride-to-be. I can hear the joy and excitement in your voice. Your happily ever after is finally here. You were the guy who was ready to settle down early in life, to find the one your soul loved & to romance her everyday. Ah…finally! I’m so happy for you, wasn’t she worth the wait? Isn’t everything good and right and beautiful usually worth the wait? Your life is like a song right now – a happy, melodious song (Kevin taught me well) – and as your big sister, I don’t want to be a downer, but sometimes that song is going to lose its happy tempo. The difficult rhythm of life will drag you down. Of course, given your optimistic playfulness and the easy-going, chill person that you are, I imagine & pray that it will take quite a lot to dampen your spirits. I’ll be the first one to say that marriage is beautiful – most certainly a grace-filled adventure. But, I’ll also admit (reluctantly so, given the stubborn, hopeless romantic in me) that fully sharing a life – with all of its up and downs – with someone else isn’t always a piece of cake. When you live with someone, you learn more about them; good and bad. You share each and every single day in the same space with them. You learn SO much! You’re going to fall in and out of love with each other. You’ll always love her, but you won’t always feel in love with her. Lindley’s love is always there, but the feelings of passion come & go. Small things – personality quirks, jewelry left on the counter, 2 days “dirty” pajamas left on the back of the toilet, bills left on the counter, socks that don’t make it into the laundry basket, food not rinsed off of the forks & the list goes on…. – can sometimes start to irk you. Difficult transitions. Financial concerns. Sleepless nights. Big tests. Job struggles. Sick family members. Following your dreams. Little and big stresses tug at your heart. I’ve been extremely blessed because there’s been far more glorious moments than worse; yet, it’s when I’ve embraced the “worse” and made the decision to love Kevin as well as to look past how I’m feeling since my feelings are about me, not him, that I’ve grown the most. Seek to understand Lindley before wanting to be understood yourself. What really matters to the person you love is what you DO, not how you personally FEEL. I’m not always so good at embracing this. It sounds nice and wonderful on paper (or this screen), but it can be very tempting to start to collect a list of wrongs against each other and to point out all the things your spouse is doing wrong instead of considering your own behavior and actions. Yet, day by day, grace by grace, you’ll learn (I’m learning too), to love each Lindley for who she is and not the person you wish she would be. Know that I will be praying for you both to continue to put Christ first & foremost in you marriage. I’m always here if you need someone to talk to, to encourage you or to pray with you. You can never be a good husband if you aren’t a good Christ follower first. Seek to love the Lord and to serve him daily & He will reveal himself to you. He will show you the way to be the most perfect gentleman to Lindley. I know that you will love Lindley well because you remain one of the most giving, selfless people I know. Your willingness to put others first is going to strengthen your marriage because, despite what the Hollywood image of love would have you believe, marriage isn’t really about making you happy but making someone else happy. Marriage requires you to out give one another & out FORGIVE one another. Dying to self can be painful sometimes. I know I sound like an old, married fart, which I guess in some ways I am, although I’m still learning all of these lessons every so slowly. My final words of unsolicited big sister advice: Let marriage do what Jesus did at the Wedding of Cana and take the ordinary in your life and make it extraordinary. Let your love, self-donation, and commitment to your bride’s happiness transform you. Oh and while you’re at it, have fun. Make regular date nights a scheduled thing– even when they’re at home when your home starts to be filled with little ones – make them a priority. Laugh a lot. A sense of humor is so important. And I know being married to Lindley, there will be lots of laughter cause she is oh-so-funny! Remember married life won’t always be perfect, but it will be a story & a big adventure that is uniquely yours and its success is a work of sheer grace. I’ll stop my annoying big sister preaching now. I just want you & Lindley to know how much I love you and how happy I am for you both. The fact that you are my brother (& Lindley my sister!) has always brought me pride, and never more than today.
A Very Special “Thank You” to all the vendors who made Patrick & Lindley’s Romantic Outdoor Wedding so magical!
Ceremony & Reception Location: Emily & Hank Martin / Family Pecan Grove
Caterer: McCalls’ BBQ & Seafood
Cake Artist: Phyllis Phillips
Make Up Artist: Alyssa Turnage / Fringe Salon
DJ: Luke Vail / Sundays on The Beach
Wedding Director: Mary Beth Williams
String Quartet: Dee Braxton-Pellegrin0, Chris Ellis, Josh Doggett, Barbara Salter-Gates
Minister: R. Wes Boyd
Tent & Party Rentals: Billie Lynn Thompson / ASAP Party & Tent Rentals
Wedding Planner: Wendy Pittman / Engaging Events
Second Shooter: Lindsey Daniels / Through the Linz Photography
To view Patrick & Lindley’s entire gallery of images click here.