Celebrating Love, Year FIVE!

WHAT THE 5 YEARS BATMAN?! I just can't believe it, yet he's been here for just about as long as I can remember, and every year I just grow more and more grateful. 

Needless to say, this was a special #lfpcelebratinglove year because 5 years feels special! We've shared our story over the past few years as we've done this giveaway and continue to be blown away by the #storieslovewrites that you share with us in return. It's just amazing, really, where love takes us and there always is surprise, heartache, determination, and adventure mixed in! 

This year was no different. Our couples shared their stories on Instagram and we were blown away by the grace and love filling their lives! From newlyweds to longtime sweethearts, the legacy of relationship was undeniable in these stories and J and I (as always) had the hardest time choosing our winners. I mean, just look at these faces! 

BUT. We had to choose. Because that's the blessing of this contest! And so, I'm thrilled to announce the year 5 Celebrating Love winners. First up, Cindy and Tom from Illinois won our date night box (yay!!!). Here's what Cindy shared about their journey: 

"Tom and I met when I was a freshman in high school. When we met we didn't exactly get along. After a year we somehow found each other again. Tom was having back surgery to prevent paralysis. I was in the hospital visiting my grandma and decided to visit Tom. I just knew there was something about him and didn't want to give up. A few months later he asked me to be his girlfriend. That was September 23, 2006. Ten years later, 3 states, multiple trips to Disney, the deaths of many of our favorite people, and here we are. We've been married for a little over a year, and it still is just as magical as it was when we were kids. "

We are so excited to encourage these newlyweds with some special gifts and hope they can enjoy a fun date night soon! 

Next, we've got our *drumroll please* Tampa photo session winner! This couple's story spans decades-- something we hope we'll be able to say someday! We loved his pursuit of her, even at age 15, and got goosebumps reading about how they were married 7 years and 1 day after they met as freshman in high school. In this season of parenting K, our 18 year old foster daughter, we were also excited to read about their teenage kids and are SO excited to give these two portraits together. We understand now more than ever how much (fill in the blank!) raising teenagers takes and how much parents are sacrificing to make it all possible. Here's a bit of their story in their own words-

"When I was 15 years old, I got a phone call from a boy I barely knew. He'd asked a mutual friend for my number after we'd run into each other the previous weekend. If I'm being honest, I wasn't really interested, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings so I talked to him for a few minutes that night. 
He called me back the next day and we talked a little longer, and a little longer the following day, and after a couple of weeks our conversations started lasting late into the evenings (without my parents finding out.) Then, one day he told me he was in love with me and asked me to be his girlfriend. Whoa! It was that very moment that I realized I was head over heels in love with him, too. 
We started dating at the end of my freshman year of high school and were married 7 years and one day later. We've been together 25 years, married for 18 years, and have two of the most wonderful teenagers that have ever walked this planet. I'm not going to lie and say it's been a cake-walk, because we've had several ups and downs in the 25 years we've spent growing up together. 
We've gone from teenagers, to young adults, to parents, to entering our middle age together. We've been together longer than we were alive before we started dating! It's been a journey and I wouldn't change a thing."

Thank you, thank you, thank you for another amazing year of this little contest, friends! We skip cards and gifts every year to enjoy a mini fall vacation and always "unwrap" your stories sometime during our anniversary weekend. It really is the best gift! 

Until next year :)

Laura & Jordan (who got to meet their idols Jack & Sally for their anniversary! AH!)