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Lessons From 35 Years Of Marriage (Courtesy of my Parents.lol)

August 4, 1984 two lives blended into one. I’m sure plenty of couples were married on that very day, but none as important as George and Sandra Drawhorn.

Okay so I’m biased on this – so what, they’re my parents. What did you expect?

 

My parents have been together over half of their lives. They met towards the end of college and pretty much never separated since then. I have learned so much from them – practically and spiritually – and as they return with stories from their 35th wedding anniversary adventure, I’ve been unexpectedly thrown a few things that have caused me to reflect.

 

REFLECTION #1

Romance is intentional.

My parents have been together a total of 41 years and while it was normal for me to see a loving marriage growing up, as I got older and looked outside my house; I saw that it actually wasn’t as common as I thought. ESPECIALLY in other countries. There are some countries where marriage comes first (function/necessity) then the love comes after (luxury). I realized that it wasn’t a ‘natural’ thing to be romantic or do romantic things. It takes work.

From what I’ve learned of him if you give my dad a bucket of popcorn, a pillow, and enough space for him to sprawl out across my mom’s lap….he is SET! He’s very simple and doesn’t really like a lot of flash and flare – though he won’t turn a pair of NBA courtside tickets if you give them to him. Lol, My mom, on the other hand, is big on experiences and travel. She loves discovering new foods and cultures. On paper, they are very different and define romance in slightly different ways. That’s why when they planned their getaway trip to the mountains, it was intentional. It was a blend of low key relaxation (my dad) and exciting excursions (my mom). This trip was intentionally planned so that both of my parents were able to have a romantic time.

REFLECTION #2

Having a reset button IN marriage is okay.

If you’ve been together as long as my parents have, you get used to a certain way of doing things. A certain way he likes his eggs. A certain way she does the clothes. A certain station he likes on tv. A certain way she styles her home. Shoot, even being at the same job can get routine FAST! That’s why it’s good to refresh and reset every now and again. This wedding anniversary trip for my parents was like hitting a symbolic ‘reset button’.

With the responsibility of helping EVERYBODY else and balancing a full-time job or two, it had honestly been a MINUTE since my parents have had time to actually spend TOGETHER.  This trip was a FULL WEEK of the two of them. They had time to rediscover each other and themselves as a couple. Sure I face-timed them at least once a day, but I left it up to THEM to do it. I tried my best to handle things back here in NC so they wouldn’t have to stress or worry about coming to anyone’s rescue. Having this reset to totally download and clear up space to upload new memories and more love was needed. Some marriages grow predictable, and while a sense of stability IS good/necessary for marriage, LIFE can squeeze out all the fun in the process. INSERT RESET BUTTON. This past week I could HEAR the stress melting off and the energy returning with every call. This is something every married couple should be mindful of. If you take a good inventory of the last time you’ve had QUALITY time to spend with your spouse with no interruptions and draw a blank, you should really look into planning something. It doesn’t even have to be expensive. Maybe it’s sending the kids away for a week or using a few vacation days to go road tripping to the city. Go. Do it.

REFLECTION #3

Young married couples have a LOT to learn.

It seems like every day I hear of someone getting married then someone getting a divorce. I can’t help but hear it because I’m now in my 30s. I can’t help but pay attention to it because I’m still unmarried and want to make sure I do this thing right and do it once. I know on paper there are no perfect people but it’s one thing when you actually have to live life out with them. It’s hard enough at times to stay connected to your BLOOD relatives, let alone meld your life with someone with a totally different upbringing and set of values and habits and goals and dreams.

With the social media culture we are in, I think a lot of people who are married fall for the looks and ONLY the looks. Fall for the money, or subconsciously seek perfection. I can include myself in the last loop because this is something I’ve had to work on throughout my latter 20s. I grew up in a semi-traditional household that was God based/nurtured and I expected everyone to basically agree with that type of lifestyle. As I began dating, I found out that this wasn’t the case. Some people aren’t faithful. Some would never think of cheating. Some people believe a man’s only job is to provide financially. Some people want it to be split exactly 50/50. Some people don’t agree with the husband helping with household duties if needed. Some don’t care. Some don’t believe wives should work outside of the house. Some people are fine with the wife working multiple jobs. Some people don’t want kids. Some say no kids is a deal-breaker. Some people drink and curse – a lot – while some don’t believe in it.

You get my point.

I really do HONESTLY believe a lot of people between the ages of 25-40 look at marriage like a fairy tale or hold their potential partners up to the unrealistic standards of social media. If they’re not going about it that way, they end up settling because they feel like they want SOMETHING rather than nothing at all. Some people will marry people to get ahead in a certain social group. Some people will get married to appease family and stop the seemingly unending pressure of “so when ya gonna get married?!”. Some people will get married to the most attractive person they can find despite their personality being trashy or despite getting cheated on because they want pretty kids. I DON’T WANT TO BE ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE. So I look to my parents as a guide. Sometimes it feels hopeless because half of me thinks I’m being picky but the other half of me says “What’s wrong with wanting someone to love me like my dad loves my mom?” Sure it’s very rare these days but a girl can still hope right?!

I’m basically saying WE as 20, 30, 40-year-olds have to REALLY take a good look at how these older couples have been together so long and realize that we won’t always FEEL in love. Things won’t ALWAYS be 50/50. Outside beauty fades with time. A good, lifelong marriage takes time, understanding, communication, and a TON of intentional cultivating!

I’m not sure what my parents will do to celebrate their next milestone together, but my prayer for them is that they will have a fantastic time and that they continue creating memories that give me great things to blog about!

 

Peace & Blessings,

-Joc

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People Ain’t Even Dating “No More”…..

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My timelines and mini-feeds are flooded DAILY with posts and status from men/women questioning “if there are any good ________ out there.”

They are “tired of the same ole same ole”….”sick of bummy dudes cheating on them despite the fact that they give them everything”….”trying to figure out where all the ‘queens’ are…the list goes on and on (and on).

Though I’m young in years, I know that DATING like they did it in the ‘days of old’ is the key to knocking out most of these questions and frustrations.

Let’s look at how dating was a few decades ago…..

STEP 1 – You are friends and spend time together

STEP 2 – You express your interest and go on ‘dates’ to find out more about the other person. (if you find that they aren’t someone you’re interested in romantically you stop it right there and either stay JUST friends or nothing at all).

STEP 3- If things go well, you begin to date exclusively (meaning NO one else in the equation and no sexual intimacies)

STEP 4- Enter into a long term relationship which leads to marriage.

Not to say everything went perfectly and everyone played by the book, but for the most part this was the overall standard on how things rolled.

Looking at the ‘dating’ scene today, you could get any manner of situations….

STEP 1 – You see someone out or in the club you think is cute and exchange numbers or have sex

 STEP 2- You chill on the regular (aka have sexual relations) and eventually call yourself “talking”; meaning you are an item, but are free to do whatever you want with whomever because you are not in a CONFIRMED committed relationship.

STEP 3 – You grow used to the person and start living together or driving each others cars or having each other babies or putting major purchases in each other’s names despite the fact that you’re not confirmed as an exclusive couple

STEP 4- One or both of parties start to wonder “what are we”? and demand commitment, but when they get told “you know how I feel about you” still stay in the “situationship” and settle with life the way it is waiting for the day you get a commitment (sometimes one of the parties get fed up and actually leave the relationship but most times that takes years)

STEP 5 – Stay in a sexually physical relationship for more than 2 years awaiting the day you (A) feel  like you’re tired of playing around and are finally ready to settle down or (B) finally get the ring you’ve wanted forever.

 

Not saying successful relationships haven’t come from scenarios like this, but often times it’s like 1% that come out together in the end. This is also not to say that people dating the “old fashion way” don’t break up either — I’m calling attention to the point that it will help weed out a few bad seeds before you’re in too deep.

Here is what I would suggest doing if you want a meaningful and successful relationship (and yes, I am working on practicing this myself):

#1 When you meet a person you think you’re interested in, make it known that you’re interested by suggesting you go on a date or hang out. If you’re a woman who wants the guy to ask YOU, don’t give him a hard time and make him guess — let him know you’re interested in him. This could be something as simple as a smile. If you’re a smiley person…um you may want to try something else. haha

#2 Once it’s established that interests are sparked and you go on your first date and DO NOT INTRODUCE SEX!!!! This will totally cloud your better judgement I DON’T GIVE A FLYING FLIP WHAT ANYONE SAYS! Soul ties are real and you can be the ‘hardest dude’ or ‘baddest chick’ out here…you still have a heart and your feelings will get played with. Take time to get to know about the person you’re on a date with. Their interests, their background, what they currently do. If at the end of the date you’re feeling like this isn’t going to work. Suggest you continue hanging out as friends….other wise, just cut it off.

#3 If you find yourself going on multiple dates with ONE person in particular, and introduce kissing and touching, I think it’s safe to say that you are ready for an exclusive relationship. MEANING you should stop dating anyone else you have lined up. This is VERBALLY established. No ghost texting or wondering…it is understood by BOTH parties that you are not to date ANYONE ELSE. This will make things sticky, messy, and a lot of wires can get crossed. If you’re into one person in particular…BE into them. If you keep stringing 2 or 3 other folks along – what’s going to happen when you’re ready for marriage? You just gonna cut them off out of the blue? Are you going to cheat because you don’t know who you love? EXCLUSIVE denotes ONE!!! So do that!

#4 Eventually you find yourself exclusively dating someone for 6 months to 2 years…it’s time to start thinking about marriage. By this time you should be pretty familiar with the person’s family and their habits. Not to say you will know EVERYTHING about them, but you should know the important stuff. I still wouldn’t suggest living together — even IF it’s “gonna happen anyway”. This leaves the door WIDE open for sex and even though you’ve probably been dating each other for awhile, it still may cloud your judgement. Say you find out something terrible after a year and a half of dating. You’d be lying to yourself if you say that sex wouldn’t cloud your better judgement. Shoot, if it were me, I’d be weighing out the pros and cons of this thing; so I know you would be too! SEX can lead you to make decisions you otherwise wouldn’t. Not saying you have to be perfect, I’m just making the point that your relationship could be that much more exciting if you save everything until AFTER you’re married. It gives you something to work for…to look forward to.

If you’ve been living with the same person or in a relationship with the same person for over 2 years and you’re an adult…it’s time to think about marriage or get out. Though I know plenty of people who have ‘common law marriages’….I personally don’t agree with them. I still love the people, I just think that they rob you and your ‘special someone’ or the happiness and adventure that is marriage. If you’ve been living with someone for 8 or 9 years, have kids by them, share the same bed, and do everything else a married couple does — but STILL don’t get married….I just don’t understand, nor do I desire to. If you’re a woman who wants to get married and have been with the same guy for 15 years, he’s probably not going to marry you. There goes your marriage benefits and TECHNICALLY if he cheats on you, you can’t say too much because essentially you’re just dating.

I also don’t agree with getting married JUST because or just to have sex and get government privileges. That’s a slap in the face to the blessedness of marriage. It’s like you’re taking it as a joke. TAKE YOUR TIME…DO IT RIGHT….ok I’ll stop before I start singing the entire song.

But do you get me? Great!

– Joc

 

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Waiting Until Marriage (God AND Celibacy) Is So Worth It (according to Javon)

Do you all remember the college friend I posted about last week? You know, the one who (along with his fiance at the time) posted ‘facts about his relationship’ as he counted down the days until he was a married man?! Well, as of this past weekend he’s married now (Shug Avery voice)!

I’m always pumped about weddings because I love when people find the love that is meant for them; however this one is special. As a photographer, you know I was super excited to see a few previews he allowed us to see since we weren’t actually in town to attend the wedding. What made it even more fantastic……Javon (also a photographer) made a video of he and his wife-to-be just giving some insight into their relationship and their feelings towards each other and getting married! Enough typing….check them out!

Definitely inspiring! And so super cute!!

– Joc

HERE ARE THE VIDEOS THEY MADE LEADING UP TO THEIR WEDDING DAY:

VIDEO #1 – The Proposal

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLiZ-bpZAZo

VIDEO #2 – “Hey Mama”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VECy1wP9ILI

VIDEO #3 – “Our Story”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ijlgqgcfrug

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Keeping It Saved, Fun, and Romantic While Engaged – according to Javon

So a college friend of mine, Javon Starnes, is getting married to his lovely fiance this weekend and I must say that I’m excited from afar! I slightly feel like one of those stalkers — but I know I’m not. haha

A little background, Javon was actually one of the coolest people I met back freshman year…and the strongest. He lived with his mom who passed away like a couple of months after school got started and was ultimately left to do everything on his own. He had aunts and family members to help him through, but with God’s help, he learned to adopt an independence that most of us couldn’t dream of at the age of 18. Since then we have both grown in our love for photography, but most importantly, our love for Christ. 

Which leads to the topic of this post.

After some time he announced that he proposed to the young woman he’d been dating for a year or so and the photos from the proposal were just beautiful. He’d finally found the woman of God that he’d been praying for and undoubtedly a one that his mother would be proud to have as a daughter-in-law.  A few weeks ago, Von’s finance started a countdown with facts about their relationship — he chimed in. Each post he made inspired and encouraged me in my singleness. I’m going to keep it real, I didn’t always get to read them in depth and on time because I’m always working, or scheduling something, but I finally got to catch up today. Here’s what he’s put…..


10 Days left .. 

So I’ll play this 1 fact per day games too .. lol I’ll probably get sidetracked the closer it gets, but for now none the less … Boom!

A long time ago I prayed for God to show me my wife, a short while later I had a dream, but could not see the face. The figure I saw was Nelle D ‘ s height and complexion. She had a ponytail and was holding a baby in a dimly lit hallway. During the relationship stated below, I remember talking to my cousin Loleitha and she specifically asked me about the dream and compared it to the female I was dating. I was speechless because what I saw didn’t match and the person I was with. Once Nelle and I had been dating for a while and were already working our way to marriage, I remembered that dream. I also remember going to her parent’s house and seeing her in almost the exact setting as the dream.. Kinda freaked me out lol.

You want something from Jesus, just ask!
#Fact1DoneSon
#BoomShockALocka

9 Days Left until the wedding!!!
Fact number 9 about Nelle D & I’s relationship.

Lanelle is a tough little chic. This one time at [band camp] the Spring Lake walmart, it was dark and I was returning the grocery cart in the parking lot and Lanelle thought this crack head was rolling up on me so she almost jumped out the car to fight her, lmbo!! Then like a month later, once again at night I was pumping gas and this thug drove by at an attempt to size me up.. we had a brief stare down [I was fresh from the gym with a cutoff shirt on] needless to say he drove off. When I returned to the car telling Lanelle about it she had already known because she was behind me sitting in the car mean mugging back too hahaha!!!! Don’t let Lanelle think you’re bothering me, because it’ll be a wrap! I love you boo

#NiveaFTjaggedEdgeSongDontMessWithmyManFadesIN


8 Days Left until our wedding … ohhh sookie snaps! lmbo

Fact number 8 about Nelle D & I’s relationship.

Lanelle values all of the small things I do for her… I mean like REALLY values them!! I remember one of the first times I got her flowers she held on to them for weeks and even looked online for a way to preserve the petals. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that leave a lasting impression.

Oh and I proposed on OCT 20, 2013… I knew she would say yes and I had to stop by the my apartment before taking her home that night, so I decorated my it with flowers and a sign on the wall that read, “SHE SAID YES TO JAVON” … Tell me why still to this day (APR 17, 2014) I am not allowed to take that sign down! LMBO

#UsherSingsItsTheSimpleThingsInLifeweForget
#DontBelieveMeJustWatch #PeepThePicBelow #IAintLyingTheSignStillThereSucka

7 Days until the wedding suckaaaa!!!!!Fact number 7 about Nelle D and I’s relationship …

We be trippin lol!! & sometimes hard over small stuff.. Like she pointed out the other day, we don’t always see eye to eye, but no two people ‘always’ will… BUT we made an agreement early in the relationship. An agreement that meant we don’t lie to each other and it was ok to have differences BUT we would not carry them over into the next day. We agreed, and to this day still have not broken it. It’s funny because I remember a few times waiting right before midnight to call her, say our prayers together and then reconcile & ask for forgiveness (if I was wrong lol jk). This has helped us admit when we truly are at fault and it usually doesn’t take very long. I remember one time Lanelle jokingly said something like, “I’m glad we only stay mad at each other for less than 3hrs.”
FB I personally think that’s ” a good problem to have” … This technique that we use basically comes from the bible in EPHESIANS 4:25-27

[Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin” : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (Ephesians 4:25-27 NIV)]

I believe it’s like anything else .. With good practice it becomes much easier to sometimes deny pride and for the sake of peace just take ownership. Fellas sometimes this may be hard but BE A MAN! If you lead her towards God it makes it easy for her to follow you! You may mess up, but still try!

#NoSongHashTagTodayJustWord
#ThatsREAL

6 Days until we get Hitched Suckas!!!!!

Fact number 6 about Nelle D [my beautiful wife to be] and I’s relationship.
I have a secret weapon… (skip the NEXT paragraph to find out what it is)

L-O-V-E & R-E-S-P-E-C-T .. that’s right, Love and Respect!
As many of you know, before getting married it’s a good idea to get counseling [preferably from someone who is SAVED and Married in my opinion, but that’s another topic], attend classes, study it in the bible, or read a book or two that ties everything to the bible. Well that’s what Lanelle and I did. We sought counsel from pastors, signed up for a class at church, and glanced over a book called ‘Love & Respect’ by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs.(Stop skipping paragraphs sucka! lol)
FB Fam.. my secret weapon is Ephesians 5:33 (NIV) which reads
33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Simple scripture, but powerful impact with limitless potential in my eyes. Males need to be respected and Females need to feel love. Think about it, arguments that you’ve had with your loved one, drama, etc… Once you get to the root issue it probably was because the guy felt disrespected and the female didn’t feel loved. A lot of it can be tied back to these two things. Within the book Dr. Emerson states the following:
“When a husband feels disrespected, it is especially hard to love his wife”
“When a wife feels unloved, it is especially hard to respect her husband”
But check this out…
“Without love, she reacts without respect” .. “Without respect, he reacts without love..” .. I thought on this theory for some time and even applied it to our relationship before marriage. It works! If I love Lanelle with that agape type love then she will learn to respect me unconditionally and won’t play my face in front of the fellas because I’ll tear this house apart lol JK JK she’s nvr done that, but seriously.. Christ is our example for how to love and check out EPH 5!

#HeavyDNowThatWeFoundLoveFadesIn

5 DAYS UNTIL IM MARRIED .. oh snap suckassssss! lol

Fact number 5 about Nelle D and I’s relationship

[For us] Love sometimes means making a choice.
I choose to Love Lanelle even though … 
Lanelle chooses to Love me even though … 
Here’s a better example, because I love Lanelle I’ll choose not to invite any ex’s or anyone I’ve shared an intimate moment with to the wedding. We don’t want anyone sitting there with wishing it were them standing in place of her. The same goes for her.. I don’t want any guy sitting there wishing he was standing in my place. That would bother me.[For us] Love also means communicating effectively. Take this small example from the bible [I love this example by the way]

John 11:11-15
11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” 12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”

13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep. 14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

In this passage Jesus was speaking about Lazarus and trying to tell his disciples what was happening and what he must do. They didn’t understand him the first time, so he explained it in a way that they would understand.. he flat out said “Lazarus is dead”.. When communicating, misguided information can cause confusion in a relationship. Simply because we love each other, we try not to easily get frustrated with each other and take the extra 2 sec out our day to effectively communicate with one another. Try it! .. not saying it’s easy but give it a try.

#Communication
#Love #LazarusBetterGetouttaThatBed #JamesBrownGetUpUghGetOnUpUgh
#HappyResurrectionSunday

4 Days until we get married #whatwhattttttt

Fact number 4 about Nelle D and I’s relationship

Pray together / Stay together.
Early on in our relationship we made it a priority to pray together. We would call each other at night just to say our prayers together [sometimes I would fall asleep on the phone because Lanelle can pray for a while when she’s fellin it lmbo!]. Still to this day because we know each other so well, when we see a trick from the enemy bothering one another we stop what we are doing, hold hands and go to war! I remember this one time she grabbed my hand out of the blue and began praying. When she finished she looked at me to pray also, but it was so hard to open my mouth because I was so upset.. she didn’t give up, that girl stood there just looking at me. So as soon as I opened my mouth God began to move.We go to God for everything. I remember praying that our relationship would improve everyday and it has. This baffled me because I guess in my mind I viewed a relationship as something that would plateau and eventually the joy/excitement would have leveled out by now. This didn’t happened.. it’s like each day with her gets better and better. In essence, I was putting a limit on God. Why couldn’t our relationship get better each day?.. was it because of what other people say or because it hasn’t happened to them. Or was I going to put my faith in God and make a simple prayer? Family and friends don’t define your relationship! You can let people talk and walk away taking nothing from the conversation, I’ve learned to do this because sometimes they have good intensions but it’s not Godly advice or wisdom.

#HammerTime !! LMBO
#YouGotToPrayIfYouwantToMakeitTodayFadesIn

3 Days until the wedding!!! #HipHipHooray

Fact number 3 about Nelle D and I’s relationship

Sex! God created it.

That got your attention huh? lol.. Well let’s talk about it! Everybody does it right .. In the words of Steve Harvey, “Where do you think all these little (baby) Christians come from!?” Let me be clear…… I am not perfect, nor am I here to paint a pretty picture of us as if we were. Now that that is out the way. The next question is, have Lanelle and I had sex with each other yet?The answer is NO. Neither of us are virgins, but we choose to abstain from sex until marriage. Why? Simply because we wanted God to bless our unity. We want God to get the glory for bringing us together. We want to give each other our bodies after marriage. Is it hard?
HECK YEA !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL

I’m not gonna front! It’s been some very very very VERY tough times, but I had to think to myself (like the Vine video) “I ain’t gonna do it”. People often ask me what’s the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life. I usually reply, “OCS (Officer Candidate School)” because I was getting test like everyday physically, mentally, emotionally, and even my faith got rocked. Not to mention we received peer evaluations and if you failed events or ran to slow, etc, we either got kicked out of the program or had to start over from the beginning. Back then usually getting kicked out meant we were out the Army or couldn’t be an officer and were locked in as a Specialist. Well now waiting before Lanelle and I have sex is up there with that.

The bible speaks about how the flesh constantly battles with your spirit. Rom 8:13 says
13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

What are some fleshly acts? Gal 5:19-21 speaks on it.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Just like OCS, everyday can pose a new battle with waiting to have sex. The flesh can test you daily; physically, mentally, emotionally, and even rock your faith (if you allow it).
But we are here with the help of God as a testimony that it can be done. Also, learn to ignore people that make unwanted comments about this topic. I’ve even had someone say, “I feel sorry for her, it’s going to be horrible…” speaking about the amount of time I’ve been waiting. I beg to differ because just like everything else, God has his hands on it and is blessing our relationship (all parts of it after Friday! LoL)

#NuttyProfessor #FridayNightatEightGotMyselfaDate#ItwillBeSoGREATGREATGREATGREAT lol #ImATrip

This is the post he made today. Are you inspired?! Whether you’re single, engaged, or already married — you have to admit this is pure goodness!
– Joc

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