Each passing day I cannot help but stare into the eyes of my beautiful Annabelle, thinking “I must be the luckiest man on Earth to have you as a daughter!” This routine gesture constantly reminds me that she was birthed from the love of a dear and blessed marriage to an amazing woman, my wife, Lisa Joy Cartee. In these moments of blissful wonder, I often go back to read my marriage vows that were recited at our wedding party, ceremony, and reception in May of 2017.
These vows serve as a keepsake of unity and a reminder of God’s grace when I met Lisa for the first time. Sometimes, amidst a crazy busy day, I intentionally take a minute to reflect and remember that our most precious gifts should not be taken for granted. The past defines who we eventually become up to the present. We, as individuals, cannot forget those who stood by us with unflinching certainty and sound dedication when we needed a support system during adverse times. These are the folks we should keep around for many decades to come. In addition to my immediate family, that special someone for me is Lisa, who eventually birthed my next favorite extraordinary person, Annabelle Merci Cartee.
For your viewing pleasure, please read the following marriage vows.
Marriage Vows – James and Lisa Cartee
Saturday, May 20, 2017
“To those of you attending today, thank you for coming. Thank you for supporting and believing in this marriage.
For as long as my affections for Lisa have existed, she never, and I mean never gave up on me. Her persistence is one of her most captivating qualities. It was I, James L. Cartee, III, who wanted to let go. Lisa would not have it. She would not let go of who she called ‘her best friend.’
While one might say the boy wins over the girl, here in this story, the girl won over the boy. And that devotion would be the reason that my life changed forever!
In life, I often talk of things I should have done before my present age, such as obtaining a doctoral degree, which is a destructive and negative exercise to be so self-critical. However recently these thoughts seem to be less and less. If anything in the timeline of my life had shifted in a different direction, I would not have met the best part – Lisa Joy Cartee. Things do indeed happen in God’s good timing.
That sometimes feels like where my real story began, the day I knew Lisa was the one. Of course, do remember how hard she fought for me. Any woman that fights that long and hard is one worth having.
Therefore I will thank God daily for His Grace, His Mercy, and His Willingness to bless me with Lisa. I have walked through the darkest of mental valleys where no light seemed present in a cave that never ended. As uncertain temptations clouded my mind, Lisa shined, sometimes as a lightning bug, sometimes as an oncoming train. She pulled me out of the darkness where eventually I embraced the light once again. One step, one day at a time, Lisa was the constant reminder of God’s eternal love. In the dimness of a perfect night storm at sea, Lisa was the lighthouse that brought my sinking sailboat back to shore.
Like my Cartee clan of support, Lisa serves as an example and driving force of why I continue on those down days. She gives me hope that everything will be okay. Lisa remains calm and courageous. She cares for the welfare of those suffering with compassion and never-ending patience. With both a beautiful spirit and figure, Lisa is my wife, my prayer partner, my best friend, and my teammate. With God by our side, we are unstoppable! We are champions destined for greatness and abundant blessings! Like Lisa fought for me in my most desperate hour, I love her, and I am here with her until the end of the line.”
For a flashback on this special day, these are some photos from the wonderful marriage occasion!
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