We first met when Johnny moved to Fairfax and began attending Mantua Elementary...it was 3rd grade. We actually lived about 3 streets away from each other. We knew each other all through our school years. While our friend groups overlapped at times, we were never really close friends.
At our 20th H.S. Reunion, we were reunited. Johnny had just finished his final USA Rugby International Tour - looking very hot - he was the "talk" among the ladies. He was also recently divorced. I had been a single Mother for years with a teenage son. We spent lots of time talking. While there was an obvious attraction, God did not intend for us to be together at this time. John was a perfect gentleman & walked me to my car as the evening closed,
About 10 years later, imagine our surprise when we ran into each other in the hallways at McLean Bible Church. We didn't even know each other attended MBC. I had just finished teaching my Single Moms group & Johnny was on his way to teach his daughter's Sunday School class. Again, it was not God's intended time. We wish each other well & went on our way.
In late November 2011, Johnny friended me on Facebook. I asked him if he was still attending McLean Bible Church. Since his reply was yes, we arranged to meet for coffee in the church cafe. We talked & talked for hours taking up the entire afternoon. Then, we headed off to a restaurant in Tyson's to continue catching up on each others' lives. It was obvious to both of us that there was a connection. God's timing had prevailed and this was the first day of the rest of our lives together. We are so blessed that His hand was directly involved in the development of our relationship.
Johnny said he knew he wanted to marry me on our third date. I knew Johnny was special & unique, but I had never thought of remarrying. However, this wonderful man had me believing it might actually be possible after 25 plus years of being on my own. We naturally had previous life challenges to reconcile, but together with the Lord we really felt we could have a successful Godly marriage and be extremely happy together. The passing of one of Johnny's dearest friends brought our decision to the forefront quickly. At 50 years old, why were we waiting? God had kept us at a arm's length distance most of our lives. Yet in His divine timing He blessed us with the opportunity now to be together & make a lifelong commitment to one another.
Oddly enough, the rings were the easy part. I knew I wanted something very simple. After some Helzberg internet shopping, I found a simple one band ring & our local Helzberg store actually had it in stock. Johnny selected a band that memorializes his faith in God & his love for me. His band is inscribed with God, Strength, & Honor with crosses between the words and then Faith inscribed inside. It was the perfect symbol of our love & how God brought us together with the right mind, at the right time, and the right place.
We knew we wanted a small gathering, no fuss, no major planning & definitely nothing costly. We also wanted to be outside with God's beauty & power as our backdrop. Great Falls Park was the place. After identifying what was necessary to have a wedding at a US National Park, the ceremony itself monopolized our discussions. We met with Jerry Leachman, former Redskins' chaplain & Johnny's friend from MBC Community Bible Study. Jerry agreed to marry us & we worked on selecting a date that would work for all 3 of us. May 9th was selected.
My dear friends & former members of my Single Moms in Christ group, Mary & Kathryn planned a spa day for the three of us. We met at Sugar House Day Spa in Alexandria VA. After I enjoyed a facial; Mary a massage; & Kathryn a mani/pedi, we dressed in the "Breakfast at Tiffany's" theme for which Mary had scoured 2nd hand stores to find period gloves, hats, pearls, etc.
Once dressed in our themed attire, we were off on a short walk to the beautiful Morrison House for tea. What I didn't know was that Mary had prepped our table area. Bringing in 2 beautifully decorated cakes she had made & decorated to look like Tiffany's gift boxes. The ladies went way over the top with a beautiful silver bracelet with a Tiffany's heart.
The tea & yummies were spectacular & we had a wonderful time catching up on what all the kids were up to...us Moms are always talking about our kids! However, the special joy was spending the day with my friends and being so thankful for the extra effort Mary went through to make our day together as a trio so special & memorable.
Mary, our friend & once a US Marine photo journalist, arrived early at my house to take "getting ready" photos. Amazingly enough, we were actually ready early & along with my Mother headed off to Dante's in Great Falls to sneak some house & garden pictures before the restaurant opened. Still ahead of schedule, our foursome stopped in the Old Brogue for coffee. As we walked in it began to rain.
As we had been doing so all week, all began praying again for the rain to cease. All arrived at the Park and with a light sprinkle. My friend for over 20 years, Jessica was my Maid of Honor & was kind enough to bring my flowers.
Kevin, John's friend of 15 years, was his Best Man. This was extra special as Kevin was married to John's friend of 27 years, Roberta, who had recently passed. John's co-workers & friends Oliver & Chris escorted our guests to Overlook 3. Kathryn & Judy were the Bible verse readers. Mary continued to take great pictures throughout the ceremony.
John came to the parking lot to escort me to Overlook 3. After saying hello to our guests including Aunt Bunny & Uncle Charles, we were ready. The day had begun with fog & intermittent rain, but as Jerry said "let's begin", the clouds parted and the sun shined brightly...again reminding us how the Lord was with us completely!
The ceremony was wonderful with God's beauty all around. Kathryn & Judy shared God's word by reading Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-13. We made our lifelong commitments to God & to each other. We exchanged rings, vows, & the kiss! Jerry then presented Mr. & Mrs. Flamish to our family & friends in attendance. Everyone was so happy for us & we were so honored & blessed to have this group witness our marriage commitment.
Following the ceremony & more pictures by Mary, the entire group headed off to The Tavern in Great Falls. Kevin the manager had a beautiful setup & was ready to welcome us with his great smile! My friend Judy was bringing the cake, but again, little did we know Judy had arranged for a beautiful cake & decorations. The table as setup with the cake, hydrangea, champagne, OJ and glasses and looked so impressive & beautiful! Everyone had a wonderful time & the food was great.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS - 6/22 from 4-7pm. If you're in the Northern Virginia area on June 22nd, please join us at Kilroy's, Ravensworth Shopping Center, 5250-A Port Royal Rd, Springfield, VA 22151. We'll be on the back patio celebrating with all our friends.
First, we praise God for His many blessings & His impeccable timing...HE knew before we knew!! We also want to thank everyone who helped make our wedding day & all that lead up to it so incredibly special.
Donna was great in helping us prepare for remarriage and we will continue with this study as it will help make our marriage strong!
We were thrilled that Jerry agreed to marry us as we know he does this now on a limited basis. We also appreciate how he emphasized the importance of our convenant before God & to one another.
To our friends & family - we were so blessed to have you share in our special day...even if you were not present!! Thank you for your love & support. Now as a couple, you remain in our family prayers from this day forward.
The Lord has been so good to us. He created a beautiful atmosphere for our relationship start to finish...growing our love & making it easy to commit our marriage to Him. We pray everyday to honor our commitment to Him and to each other. We will always trust in the Lord knowing that He has a plan for our lives & it is way better than we could ever imagine!
We love you all!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!
Paula & Johnny