Breakthroughs; from Hellish to Glorious!
Our North Woods Wilderness Wedding, July 30, 2005

“We MADE it!” (You know this feeling…. You’ve been there – in one way or another.)

There are any number of various experiences that can create this sense of elation in our lives. But most often, the highest elation stems from the lowest moment… A darkness. A shifting. A much needed change. A breakthrough. A renewal.

I liken it to planting a seed. You desire something. There is a goal in planting the seed. But in order for that seed to begin to grow and sprout, it first needs to be buried away – deep within the dark soil. You give it time. You believe. Somehow, the light manages to miraculously penetrate that darkness, and the seed begins to evolve into a living plant. It breaks free of the darkness of the soil, but it still needs that soil – to nourish it and help it grow and continue to evolve. But as it continues to burst forth – embracing the light and its own intrinsic beauty and ability to BE – it flourishes and radiates color, texture, maybe it bears fruit – each stem unique & amazing in its own right.

You can will it to grow all you want – but it will grow only of its own accord, in alignment with its very nature, and the energy and will of the Universe.

You may recall my recent posts where I shared a very personal breakthrough involving my marriage. I recognize so many things that transpired in that process of self-renewal – stemming from that dark place – bringing me back into the radiant light that is all of ours to fully embrace and own! It was about self-examination. It was about refusing to settle for something that wasn’t fully aligned with my core….. But it was also about letting go of the the things that I cannot change, and determining what I can change from within me instead – and this involved much more than just the two of us.

No longer do we feel the need to explain ourselves, our priorities or preferences, our choices – to anyone. For me personally, I no longer need people to even understand me. I’ve concluded that certain people simply never will. And if they choose not to accept me because of their beliefs – that is their issue – not mine. I hand it right back to them.

Some will refuse to look at themselves in the mirror, and will attempt to deflect their own insecurities, guilt, shame, fears onto you – – but I’ve since learned that they can only do this if you allow them to. (To avoid allowing this, we need to set those boundaries, embrace who we are, and radiate love!) This is their choosing to stay with the darkness. It’s a choice. We all have the choice. It feels too scary to some to evaluate the truth, and make adjustments accordingly – to realign ourselves with our highest good. But for those of us who decide to deal with it head-on, regardless of outcome, our highest desires will be met by Uni – even when it doesn’t seem like what we truly desire is where we’re even heading. Uni/ God knows our hearts. We just have to trust….


With my marriage, specifically, I saw the person who I knew was deep down in there, emerging again – through my husband’s own renewal process. He began to embrace himself, and shake the fears that held him back from being the person HE had always wanted to be! He utilized some tools to help him on his way to self-discovery and self-renewal, and he did this for HIMSELF. NOT for me. NOT to appease anyone else. NOT to prevent certain circumstances from playing out… (Hey – they already had!) NOT to avoid reality – but to take it for what it was – and what it was helping to teach him about himself – FOR himself. He chose to look into the mirror and ask why he was diminishing his own value, (and at that time, mine too). He chose to no longer be a victim of fear, and he began to allow himself to be guided toward what held true meaning for him. [This was extremely appealing to me – and what I’d hoped he’d be able to do all along – Live in faith rather than fear!]

This was more than just about a marriage – or even about ‘us’ as a couple…. This dark, difficult, scary process enabled 2 individuals to have their own personal breakthroughs and prompted distinctive growth. In turn, this meant that when we came together in friendship through that – we also felt the intense love and appreciation we’ve always had for one another – even in those dark times – and found a renewed sense of who we wanted to be both individually, and with one another.

It all came to a head and prompted growth, change, new personal insights, and new approaches to so many of life’s winding curves – starting from – WITHIN. We each needed this for our own personal reasons… the RIGHT reasons for US. Again – it has impacted how we view and interact with everyone around us, including one another and ourselves – in the most amazing ways.


Throughout all of this – the woman whose work I rely on first and foremost for spiritual and emotional inspiration – Danielle LaPorte – has seemingly been able to read my very mind (er, soul) along the way. Various posts she’s put out into the world seemed to line up EXACTLY with where I was at in this journey of mine in each stage. I was blown away – and utterly inspired & reassured as I read her words. Two of her teachings in particular stand out – and have to do with ‘after the breakthrough’. I highly recommend these short & to-the-point, AMAZINGLY inspirational and intuitive reads. They may also help you along on whatever path you may be on at this stage in your own journey. And, they can also be applied to our progress with incorporating clean living and clean eating into our lifestyle. (Can I get a bama?!)

1) Danielle LaPorte’s take on “Shrinkage” following the breakthrough…. (“You’re going to shrink after you expand….” Meaning – it’s not going to be perfect…. flow with it, and when you expand again – WOW!)

2) D. LaP’s wisdom on getting through the pain to near-blinding RADIANCE! (aka: palpable, contagious joy)


SO – again – WE MADE IT! WE F’ing MADE IT!! We are celebrating 10 years of Marriage (and 20 years together!) This isn’t a ‘finish line’ by any means…. But we made it through the dark & scary transition to the beautiful bright white light of clarity, truth, and depth of understanding. In fact, it’s more like a new beginning. And, through times like these, you learn who your truly trusted friends and supporters are (as well as those who only love you conditionally – based on their fears, perceptions, and beliefs.)

We’ve never been more alive, more connected, more self-aware and therefore as compassionate and understanding of one another… We’ve never been so full of joy and optimism, so free from fear and our ‘small selves’, so aligned with our cores as individuals – and as a couple. We’ve never been so in tune with our inner-most spiritual selves, our God/ Uni, and therefore – also in tune with one another!

It took a genuine desire and authentic motivation – for both parties, facing ourselves in the mirror and facing our realities. Then, it took an open mind and heart and willingness to take steps toward our joy, and an ability to disallow our fears to compel us… AND – – – WE MADE IT! It feels like we started fresh, without the outside crap getting in the way. We GAVE that to ourselves (and to each other) – intentionally, with our hearts truly in the right place.

When you’re in a difficult place of transition – remember – it’s prompting your growth, a re-evaluation of your joy, your purpose, your ability to live your fullest potential. If you are able to take it in stride & keep it in perspective, trusting that you are worthy of love and joy in this life – you can soak up the nutrients within that deep, dark soil, and carry it with you as you continue to break free of the soil, and evolve into the ornamental flower or that luscious fruit!

Now, TO CELEBRATE with us – enjoy a little glimpse into our wedding – 10 years ago today. Re-living the joy is also part of embracing life. We acknowledge the pain. We accept it for what it is. We seek the lesson in the pain. We LEARN the lesson, so we can appreciate and move past the pain. And once again, we – LEAN INTO JOY!
(Photos by Jen Wheeler and Liz Allen of Serendipity Photography.)

PS! SUBSCRIBERS received the ABSOLUTE BEST MARRIAGE ADVICE I’ve ever heard (and during my 13 years as a wedding photographer – I heard lots!) Subscribe to gain instant access to your subscriber-only links and get that phenomenal marriage wisdom! [And speaking from experience, it’s very very legit.]
There is definitely a theme!
A family canoed past on the lake just outside the sliding doors as I was stepping into my gown. They got quite the show! Funny memories~
My weddin’ shoes 🙂
The girls having some fun on the tire-swing
Handsome groommmmm
Two people who are still very prominent in our lives – our brothers! We made corsages for the guys from our natural surrounds.
Boys being boys!
Us atop our overlook!
a walk through the woods~
Very handy hand-outs!
Our ‘church’
The rings NESTled in snugly
The men enter the ceremony site on the overlook. (One of my very favorite photos from this day!)
LOVE that my photographer (and friend) brought a fisheye lens! Look at that amazing rock and those clouds. Nommy.
My mom and aunts gathered these cattails for us. I love cattails!
No place more beautiful. We travel here together (and now with our girls) every year, and had even camped here with our families when growing up.
I had wanted to do a dragonfly release – but couldn’t find any such thing! My grandma shows up for me in this form on a fairly regular basis – and she made sure we knew she was there – buzzing around our heads as we sealed our vows. (What a capture!)
Stolen moment!
Our ‘aisle’
Some fun!
More stolen moments by the lake
Another favorite photo & fond memory (of my photographer ‘nearly throwing up’ – in a good way – because I sat and kicked the water for these photos!)
Another top-fave photo – showcasing a very natural smile on Joel~
Our kick-ass DJ and another fave photo of the blast we all had celebrating! (This really depicts the mood!!)
Our first dance beneath the antler chandeliers.
“Rollin’ out the barrel” as I polka with my dad!
A super fun dance shared with my bro!
My nephew was only 7 at the time, and he was break-dancing in style!
Yep – a theme 🙂
We took swing dancing lessons locally leading up to the wedding, and we had a blast at the reception!
Another fave photo – of swing dancing!
And spin!
And dip!
This is my response to a lodge staff member who was like, “You’re going in the canoe right now? THAT is HOT!”
Canoeing into the sunset
Unique bride & groom ‘get-away’ – wouldn’t you say?
Another absolute FAVE photo!! [My album cover!]
Look at my bare toes!
Enjoying the sunset over the lake~
Sunsets are one of my favorite things 🙂
So is NATURE! (And so is JOEL.) 😀
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2 Responses

  1. […] In the spirit of true optimistic revival, I got centered and reminded myself of these 6 necessary ingredients for having a successfully BENEFICIAL break-down (to breakTHROUGH!): […]

  2. […] Thankfully – we are in such an AMAZING place of JOY now, that I am actually grateful for what we’ve come through together in order to get to this very authentic place – as individuals, and as a couple. Because I can only be me – fully – if I acknowledge, and take aligned action in accordance with my CORE. My HEART. My SOUL… And Joel was able to reassess his fear-based-living, and transform it. He is now remaining true to his core too. Here’s the thing, we can’t TRULY connect with others until we’ve done the work to fully connect with OURSE… […]

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