Another speech from the wedding:
Hello. My name is Lorne stapleton. I'm Danica's dad. Today I am the father of the bride and consider it a great honor!
Welcome to all of you and thank you so much for being here and helping us to celebrate the marriage of Drew and Danica O. I had no idea the amount of work, planning, time and effort that goes into a wedding and reception. To tell you the truth, I still don't. Not fully anyways. But I do know that it's a ton. And couldn't happen without many people coming together and contributing in some way or another.
I'm not going to try and name everyone. Mostly because I don't want to forget anyone, but also we don't have time enough. Let's just say there were many family members and friends who really came through! So to all of you - a heart felt thank you!
One person went way beyond the expectation of a friend however. And I feel she must have a special thanks from Christine and I. Cheryl has been there right from the beginning and has been an enormous help to Danica with words of wisdom, encouragement and an overall sense of calm which was needed more than once! Thank you!
The last time Cheryl was over Danica gave her a break down of all that needs to be done the morning of the wedding and Cheryl was blown away with Danica's planning, attention to detail and organization. Yes. Cheryl saw a pretty amazing young lady!
Caring, passionate, loving, artistic, giving, creative, to many she is a mentor, an amazing listener, a voice of wisdom. She is immensely creative. She has a love for all things that spring from imagination.
But to me Danica is something way more than a list of positive adjectives. I am after all her father and have been working on a relationship with her for 22 years!
Danica is like a great mystery, a story book that gets better as you read it and pulls you in deeper as you discover all of the character than lies within... As the years go by I feel like I'm learning as much or more from being a part of her life's journey than my own.
Danica I love how you are your own person. You respectfully listen (to understand) other's opinions and then offer up such incredible insight with patient words of wisdom!
But I'm getting ahead of myself...
I remember the day you were born and a few of the different emotions I had. When the nurse announced you were a girl I was shocked. I was convinced we were having a son. I literally said are you sure? and did a double take to confirm that we indeed had a daughter!
I have a confession to make here. I was actually concerned about having enough love for Danica because ..... Well ..... You see - I had already given my daddy heart to another. Her name was Austin. And at the time she was two and I loved her so much. How would I possibly be able do THAT for another girl?
Well as every parent learns, I, thankfully, discovered that God has given us the ability to love more than one child!
But who was this new child?
She was Danica and let me tell you - I was to begin a lifetime discovery of just how unique she is! Like when we were watching a movie when she was six and the story had a number of intertwined subplots. Half way through she turns to me and says, oh. I. Know what's going on here! This is going there. And that ones doing this. And in the end it'll be like - that! Right?! Yeah! That's what I thought too!
Or when we were on our way home from a losing soccer game and she was clearly one upset eight year old. I had to push her a bit to find out what was wrong? She went on a rant "if the forwards did this and the mid fields did that and we played defense like so - WE WOULD HAVE WON DAD!! (You're an eight year old girl! Where does this come from?)
When you got older you continued to shine. When you got your first job in a salon that was to eventually close. All of your co workers ended up quitting for one reason or another (no one was getting paid) and you stayed until the very end.
I remember thinking that you should leave too but you persevered and your boss was so grateful for your concern for her and her business and all of your hard work. You stuck it out in such a stressful challenging circumstance and in the end you were rewarded. Your dedication, empathy, hard work and willing to learn (even if IT WAS forced upon you because you were the last one there) it all paid off. It lead you to your new career - with clients in hand - and new employers that were able to pour into your development.
You are always aware of people's needs and have such a giving heart. I love how you pour so much into your relationships and make time to ensure that they remain healthy. I especially appreciate your pursuit of your relationship with God. And your love of movies; regular and animated; more specifically princess movies. Deep down I think you always wanted to be a princess.
Well today, more than ever, you certainly look like one! The Bible tells us that when we accept the gift that God has freely given to us, He makes us His children. We become His sons and daughters. He IS a king. That makes you, what I believed all along, it makes you a legitimate princess!!
Danica those concerns of not having enough love have long since been replaced with admiration, pride and an intense love of you. My girl.
When our girls were young I would occasionally think about their distant future and that one day they would probably be getting married. So as a 'good' father I would send up a prayer for these young men out there that would one day be my sons.
On Danica's 16th birthday I was introduced to a kid named Drew.
"Daddy this is my boyfriend!"
When I first met Drew, like all great fathers, I was - well - concerned. I mean. We all agreed on 16 years old for dating but I was hoping more for the 30 to 35 year old range. And this young man's style was suspect. What with the pants down here and the under wear hanging out. Cmon man! You're with my Danica. Get those pants up!
Drew's intentions were different than mine. And those differences began my admiration for him.
(As I wrote this and reread it I caught myself getting a lump in my throat and tears in my eye. I tried to tell myself that it was because I was in my woodworking shop and it was probably just some random sawdust in my eyes. Truthfully it was a fact that this young man has grown on me. In a big way!)
His dogged determination to have Danica as his own began, I think, when he was 12 and first asked Danica to be his girlfriend. To which she replied "I'm not allowed to date until I'm 16". This went on every few months until finally she turned 16. But Drew never wavered in his pursuit oh her. I know why I love Danica so much and know that she would be a fine catch MUCH LATER IN LIFE, but how was it possible that this young kid also figured this out? And so early on?!!
I loved the fact that Drew actually seemed to enjoy being around our family. And not just being with Danica. He developed a relationship with each and everyone of us. Hmmm?
After a few years there came some turmoil that I like to refer to as 'the time that Drew put aside to become a man'. He separated with Danica and went on a path to ultimately align his life and set significant goals for what he believed God had designed for him.
(For the record, everyone was broken hearted in our house and I was the sole one explaining that you're a good guy.)
When Drew decided that indeed he and Danica were destined to be together this was the time that my love for Drew grew the most. His steadfast love and determination to make their relationship work knew no bounds. He was willing to do whatever was necessary and believe you me Danica had a few hoops for him to jump through.
I watched proudly as they negotiated a tender time of healing and then worked on a very purposeful path to an amazing relationship. They are way ahead of their years and it is because they didn't run from challenges and pain but rather worked through it, came together and relied on God and their faith in Him to move ahead.
Drew, we've spent our lives raising three daughters to be ladies that I know I would want to spend the rest of my life with. I'm so thankful that God answered my prayer with you. I'm so grateful to Jane and Mark and Sherry for the man that you have raised. He is the product of your love and devotion all of these years. Thank you.
Drew, you truly love Danica with all of your heart. Your humble in your life walk and bless us with knowing that you care for our whole family and genuinely want to be a part of it. You are THE man I would choose for Danica and YOU will always be the first boy that I finally get to call "son.,"
Lastly I would offer you two some advise. Not because I think I'm an expert at being married even though today is also our 28th anniversary!!
Lets be serious. The only reasons we've made it this far is God's grace. I'm the poster boy for that, and Christine is an unbelievable wife and the most devoted and loving mother. I'm truly blessed to be married to her for all these years.
We have an amazing teacher that speaks wisdom at our church every Sunday. He is Mark Clark. He is currently doing a marriage series.I truly believe that last week's message, if applied to one's marriage, is some of the most powerful stuff for a great marriage. Mark talked about how women are God's pinnacle of all creation. They are amazing at all things and are able to juggle so many roles and responsibilities to making a home and family be successful and thriving.
- I see this in my own home with MY wife and daughters. - I see it in my workplace where there are so many great women who balance successful careers and their families as well.
- Drew you've got one of these kinds of women in Danica so....my advice to you is this:
Drew: love Danica with all of your heart. Every day. Good times and bad. Make it a game with yourself to find new ways to show her love daily. Create ways to love her when she's down or not on her A game. Be loving in the small stuff. Appreciate what she brings to the relationship and give it right back to her.
Danica: respect Drew. He's a man. We thrive on the praises of our ladies. We remember the compliments they gave on a shirt we worn every time we wear it after. We get filled with confidence and self worth when you tell us that you believe in us and our efforts. Pour into Drew all of what you see in him. Let him know every day why you chose him and believe he is worth you working so hard for. When you two do this for each other you life will continue to grow. And that is amazing. Look at all that you are starting off with!! Imagine it being even better and it will!
Would you all join me and stand. A toast to a life of happiness, adventure and love!!
To Drew and Danica!!
The rest of the "Til Death Do Us Part" sermon series can be found here: