Near the end of last year, we posted that we were looking to hire 1-2 Shadows for Spring 2019, and we were blown away by the number and quality of applications that we received. After carefully reviewing and interviewing, we offered the position to two amazing women, and I am thrilled to introduce them to you this week!
We’ll start with Leah. Leah has been anxiously awaiting her Shadow Program to begin since we offered her the job back at the beginning of February. She’s already attended a consultation with us for one of our May brides, and she has completed her Shadow Training. She is so joyful and has a servant’s heart…I’m excited for you to get to know her today!
Tell us a little about yourself and where you are in life right now.
Hi, I’m Leah! I am a huge fan of my recently declared forever (as of July 2018!!), a mom to two cutie pups, and an enneagram 3w4. I am an advocate of celebrating people, being intentional with the words you choose to say, and recognizing how capable you are and pursuing that thing you love, even if it means taking the road less traveled, all the while cheering you on. I am a follower of Jesus, a sinner saved by grace, and I believe in a God that fully redeems.
Where are you from?
Winter Haven, Florida! I took a huuuge leap and moved states away from my family and community for college. I first went to school in North Carolina until I transferred to USC Upstate in South Carolina where I now live with my husband. Let me tell you, it sure is hard being away from the people I love the most but I do love the sweetest little towns of Greenville and Spartanburg.
What attracted you to apply for our Shadow Program?
Bespoken makes it a priority to come alongside the bride and groom and be more than just a service that is being offered, but a safe place that fosters and values developing real relationships. Shannon and her team embody what it means to celebrate and love people well, which is something that is very important to me. They prepare their couples not only for their wedding day, but they also prepare them for the greatest covenant and step of faith they will ever embark on, and that was something I wanted to be apart of.
What do you love about weddings?
Am I allowed to say everything?! Because I honestly love every single second of weddings. It is a beautiful privilege to be apart of a gathering where the sole purpose is to celebrate and pour out your love for two people becoming one. From seeing how the couple’s stories intertwine through the people that are gathered around and the stories that are shared, to the giving of the bride away after watching her walk down the aisle, to witnessing the beginning of a beautiful covenant, to the dancing and celebrating. I love it all. The feelings and emotions that day are raw and honest and I am continually in awe at how joy-filled and wonderfully sacred weddings are.
What are you most passionate about?
Celebrating people. I have always been passionate about relationships and people but after my husband and I got married, Ryan challenged me to something so unique and wonderful. He said, “When we get our wedding pictures back, what if you posted a picture every day for the next month that highlighted everyone else at our wedding. I want to be able to celebrate the people that were there to love us just as much as they celebrated us.” And so a couple of weeks later when we received our wedding gallery, I took on that challenge and spent the next month and a few extra weeks happily celebrating the people who have loved on us so well. I prayed over each of those posts hoping that the words I wrote and the stories I told did justice to the people they were about, for they were words that truly came from my heart that I will continue to stand by. I prayed that each and every single one of those people felt incredibly celebrated and loved and that they believed those words to be true of them as well, for they were worth every bit of the celebration. I didn’t exactly expect those posts to be that vulnerable, but I am so glad they ended up being exactly how they were. They triggered this passion in me to celebrate people and pray that they see in themselves how I, and the others that love them dearly, see them. For every person is worth the celebration.
What are some small things that make your day better?
I looove reading! Being able to sit down and immerse myself in a book to the point of feeling all the feels and having my heart being pulled in every which way the author so chooses to take the reader on will always and forever make my day better. But I also love receiving (and writing) handwritten letters and talking to any one of my four siblings.
What is the last adventure you went on?
I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I went on an adventure. Life got a little crazy this past year. The last adventure I went on, though, was for my birthday last August. It’s only been the second time I’ve been able to do it, but I decided that for every birthday I want to spend the whole day in the mountains with my husband. So that’s exactly what we did. The day leading up to my birthday weekend we prepped and packed snacks, food, and our bags so we were all ready to leave bright and early the next morning. We drove to Tallulah Gorge State Park in GA this year and had so much fun! We hiked a couple of different trails, walked across a suspension bridge, took snack breaks, sat by waterfalls. Anything you can think of really! It was a wonderful day.
What is your favorite book?
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling is my all-time favorite series, to the point of reading each of the seven books four times, but a less cliché, more recent favorite of mine is Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
What is your favorite food?
Right now I am really loving eating and making soup! Maybe it’s because it’s cold outside or maybe because there are endless options when it comes to making soup? Either way, I’ve had a lot of fun trying new soups these last few months.
What is something that no one else knows about you?
In fifth grade I had to get 30+ stitches in my bottom lip/chin. It was a pretty traumatic experience to say the least.
What is your favorite thing to do on a beautiful day?
Be outside! Oh, the endless possibilities there are to do outside on a beautiful day! Anything from reading a book in my eno, to going to the dog park with my husband and two pups, to throwing the frisbee or football outside, to hiking; anything really!
What are you most excited about in the next 12 months?
The amount of opportunities there will be for both Ryan and I! We have a lot of change coming up but we are both so excited to see how it will all be orchestrated. Especially with our rock solid community praying for us and being our biggest supporters.
Coffee or Tea?
I love both and go through phases! Right now I am in a tea phase, but will never say no to a cup of coffee.
Morning person or night owl?
Definitely a night owl but mornings aren’t so bad for me!
What are you grateful for right now?
My husband. Ryan will always be a reason for me to be grateful. He has extended more grace and more forgiveness than I could ever deserve and he continually gives me full assurance in the way he loves, cherishes, protects, and leads me. Knowing him and being given the privilege to love him is life-giving and his sacrificial love reminds me so much of how Christ loves His people. He is my better half.