In just under 6 months working with CelebrateForever, I have gained so much. From marketing and graphic design experience, to knowledge about relationships, and above all, incredible new friendships. This internship has challenged me to really look at myself, and ask, “How can I improve? How can I change and grow?”, and the answer really is, “It Starts from Me”. These 6 months have been a period of self-reflection and self-improvement, where sometimes doing the hardest thing, like conquering my fear of public speaking in order to host a couple’s event, ended up being the most rewarding experience. As I move forward, I do so as an improved individual ready to tackle what lies ahead with a very special motto in mind, “It Starts from Me, Change Me First.”
Alexa Lua - echo $story_date; ?>
Charlene Cisneros - echo $story_date; ?>
Being a part of the Celebrate Forever team was a truly rewarding experience. Interning at this foundation enabled me to help create an event that brought couples together. It was definitely not easy work but it was all worth it in the end, we had a full house! I was also able to learn many skills regarding efficient marketing and communications strategies which I am very thankful for. Another key lesson that I will take from my time being here is that change will always start from me first, I cannot waste time trying to change others. Moreover, working on projects that revolved around family and relationships really made me think about how I can improve my current relationships with friends and family and boyfriend. Lastly, I will never forget having the opportunity to dance to the song, “Besame Mucho,” with my boyfriend at the April 2018 couples event.
Sarah Colegrove - echo $story_date; ?>
Third Time’s the Charm
Like many relationship stories, ours could be better described as a journey. It is a journey of Josh being true to his heart towards me, and me being true to my heart towards him. Josh and I have been married for six months now, and I have to say, each month gets better and better!
We met in 2008. After Josh and I met through mutual friends, he expressed interest in me and said he wanted to get to know me more. Unbeknownst to Josh, I had just started dating my old boyfriend with the intention of getting married to him. So, I told Josh that he seemed like a good guy, but I was dating someone else…so, “thanks, but no thanks.” He said okay, and that was that.
Because we had many mutual friends, we developed a friendship as we hung out in a group setting. I eventually realized that although my head was telling me marry this other guy, my heart was saying, “no.” Finally, I listened to my heart (after about five years of on-again, off-again relationship with him). Breaking up with him was one of the hardest, yet most liberating, things I had ever done.
After the dust settled from my breakup, Josh asked me out again. I thought about it, then said, “no.” Though we had a connection, I was scarred, not ready, and still trying to figure out what my heart was saying. I didn’t know, and I was afraid of not honoring my inner self again, so I just simply said, “no, never.”
At this point, Josh felt he had to let me go. So, he hiked up a mountain in Northern California, wrote me a letter, buried it, and hiked back down. Goodbye. Shortly after, I moved away, and we barely kept in contact. It wasn’t until we both went on a surf/mission trip to Costa Rica with a group of our mutual friends about a year and a half later that we re-kindled our friendship.
Again, Josh put his heart out on the line. I was getting ready to move out of the country to take a job and Josh flew down to the city I was in to surprise me, see me off, and tell me that he wanted to pursue me. Finally, I realized and accepted that I did have feelings for him, and I told him that he could pursue me. We kept in touch over skype. Josh visited me a few times, and we finally started officially dating. Four months after I moved back to the country, Josh proposed to me. Four months after that we got married. My heart said yes to him, and I listened to it. Because of that, I truly have a peace and resolve about being with him that I had never experienced in any relationship prior. Because I know my heart is truly at peace with being with him, I have the deep resolve and pure motivation needed to face challenge that comes up between the two of us. We are excited to Celebrate Forever together – to thrive and not simply survive.
If you are not married and want to be, I want to inspire you that you don’t have to settle or compromise your heart to find a mate. Be true to yourself, and you will find true love. When you honor the “no” inside of your heart, you give power to your, “yes.”
After we got engaged, Josh hiked back up the mountain to see if the letter that he had once written was still there. He found it!
Check it out:
Janessa Paredes - echo $story_date; ?>
My internship here at Celebrate Forever has taught me a lot in not only professional matters but also personally. While creating social media content, I was able to read a lot of articles about how to make relationships work, which really could be applicable to anyone not just married couples. The work I have done for this organization has given me a new outlook on how I should treat others to build stronger relationships and how I can maintain relationships when conflict arises. Additionally, the courses offered by Celebrate Forever also taught me how to deal with one-to-one conflict, and how I can manage me emotions and feelings in order to resolve conflict without spiking to extreme arguments. Celebrate Forever has given me a perspective on conflict resolution, which does not have to only be for marriage but life as well. Whether you are in a relationship or not, the core values and mission here at Celebrate Forever can benefit anyone and can truly help build better relationships between people.
Aracely & Joseph Medina - echo $story_date; ?>
Our love story, I believe, is one of a kind for sure; I met Joseph back in 1998. We became good friends and enjoyed each others company. Our mutual friends would always encourage us to become boyfriend and girlfriend. But I didn’t feel the same for Joseph at that time. I just wanted to be friends. I will never forget this Joseph was walking me back to my car and he said one day I WILL MARRY YOU! I just looked at him and said yeah right never haha! With a smile. Unfortunally before I knew it Joseph had to leave to Mexico for almost a year and we stopped speaking with each other. I started a new relationship and had a beautiful baby boy.
One day I ran into a mutual friend. He said to me, Aracely, Joseph is back from Mexico can I give him your number. I was happy to hear this news I said ok, I honestly didn’t think he would call me. A few days went by, I remember being in my room a getting a call from Joseph. We talked for hours. It was as if we just started where we left off. I had a feeling that I would end up being in a relationship with Joseph. So I decided to let him know that I was a single mom and I had a baby named Alexander, he was 3 months or so at the time. Joseph wanted to meet him and since that day we have been together ever since. I couldn’t be more blessed. He has been a great father to him. Alexander loves him his dad!
We dated for two years. Joseph and I got married in 2004 in Anaheim CA. ………………… Joseph is my best friend, he is my soul mate. I can’t see myself with anyone else. Like any relationship it’s always a work in progress. We had hit rock bottom at one point and it put our marriage to the test in many different ways. We experienced a miscarriage back in 2005 after trying to have a baby. Since we got married. It was my worst nightmare, this tragedy in our life made our love stronger and helped us to become even closer to each other and have open communication. 6 months later we found out we were expecting a baby. He is now 19 months and healthy little boy, a BIG blessing to us. We have been through so much in our lives. My advice to new couples is doing give up. No one is perfect and it’s about a TEAM. Always keep trying to make things work if you can. We are living proof that if you have open communication, and believe in love for each other, Love Never Fails. Always Believe in Love.
Roland Reimer - echo $story_date; ?>
True Love Story Never Ends
Four-letter words are common in life today. They are found almost everywhere-etched in fresh cement on sidewalks, plastered on walls of buildings, painted over highway signs and even printed in books and magazines and spoken over social media of all kinds.
Love is one of those words most common in every sphere in our culture. Love probably has more meanings than Baskin Robbins has flavors of ice cream. The flavor of love you conjure up in your mind now is partly due to your tastes and temperament in personal relationships.
An unique plaque with a claim of high value reads, “A True Love Never Ends”. That is the goal of all brides and grooms at their wedding altars. There is that unquenchable need in each of us to love and be loved. The source and resource for having the capacity to love and be loved is a gift of God in Jesus, the Christ according to the Bible, “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
What is this gift of love from a God who is love and who loves? Is it a passing sensation we experience by chance? Is it something one “falls into” if we are lucky and “fall out of” if we are average? How do we distinguish true love from a fake love? A friend of mine described love this way: “Love is an inner attitude finding natural expression in concrete actions”. Although that lacks the flavor of romance, it gives the rationale for an authentic definition of the gift from God we call “true love” that starts and/but never stops. It distinguishes between “warm fuzzies” (feelings) and “cold impersonalism” (facts). It includes both romance and reason.
When I traveled in the Middle East including the country of Israel, I enjoyed drinking the cold, clear water from the springs at the foot of Mt. Hermon. This cool refreshing water is the source of the Jordan River which ultimately flows into the Dead Sea. Later I also tasted the brackish saline from the Dead Sea. The source of love, like the Jordan, is a sweet refreshing resource direct from God. We can pollute love, like that river that ends in the cellar of the earth as salty brine. But the original love of God which He gives us is true love-our love gift from God.
And that is THE TRUE LOVE STORY THAT NEVER ENDS.
Tina Siao - echo $story_date; ?>
“Be the best you can be” that is what my dad has told me my whole life. My name is Tina Siao, and I have had the greatest pleasure of being the Marketing and Communications Intern here at Celebrate Forever Foundation. I have always had hard work ethic and dedication to whatever work environment I was in. Having worked since I was 15 years old, I have never really held a serious job to to the point where I was able to know what I wanted to do in my future. When I was looking for academic internships for my education at Cal State Fullerton, I applied to about nine different companies. Celebrate Forever was the only company that I really recognized and appreciated their values. Working here for over a month I really was able to start acclimating to the positive environment Celebrate Forever has to offer. Through the various projects and experiences that I encountered at my time here, I was able to really take Celebrate Forever’s mission into my life, and my family and friend’s lives as well. The online relationship course that I took has not only made my current relationship stronger, but it has helped me to be more confident as my relationship is always approaching the future.
Every family, relationship, and person needs a foundation in something to base their life off of. When accepting the internship position, the main reason why I was 100% in my decision was because of the Christian faith that is strong within the company. I prayed everyday while applying for internships, for God to help me find a place where I would be able to grow in my faith and relationship with our Lord. He truly blessed my life with such an amazing experience and co-workers; I will always remember the times that I experienced here.
Finally, Celebrate Forever helped my embody their values through this incredible professional experience. I have learned and grown in my faith, professionally, and academically here at the Celebrate Forever Foundation. I am truly blessed with what I was able to achieve.
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I believe that in order to celebrate forever, you must do it with your best friend.
Brandon and I met at our first jobs at Toys “R” Us when we were 15 years old. As we got to know each other, we really bonded over the fact that we were both in long-term relationships with our high school sweethearts. We would often confide in each other for male/female advice, and enjoy the similar experiences that we shared with each of our significant others.
After several years of working together, I went off to college in San Francisco to be near my current boyfriend, and Brandon went to college in San Bernadino to live with his current girlfriend. Despite the fact that we lived 400+ miles away from each other, we still kept in touch. Within that first year of college, we had both broken up with our high school sweethearts and had found ourselves in a bit of a quarter life crisis. Brandon decided to move back to Orange County and I quickly got back into a new relationship with one of my dorm neighbors in San Francisco.
Brandon would often make trips up to San Francisco to stay with me. We had some of our best evenings together as best friends in the city of love. Brandon started dating different women and I kept my college boyfriend. Throughout my 5 years in San Francisco, Brandon and I traveled the world together – New York, Mexico, wine country. Our significant others had nothing to be worried about, because Brandon and I truly only had intentions of being the best of friends.
As college came to an end, I realized that my college boyfriend and I were drifting apart. I was starting my career and wasn’t certain that I was in the right relationship. Shortly after I graduated, Brandon and I decided that it was time for our annual best friend vacation. We were going to meet right in the middle of San Francisco and Orange County in an adorable little town called Solvang. It was the first time that we were going to both be on vacation and be single at the same time. That trip to Solvang is when I realized that Brandon is everything that I have ever wanted. It was so clear to both of us that we had our true loves right in front of us for the past seven years!
After that wonderful weekend in Solvang, Brandon and I didn’t waste another minute and started our new romantic relationship. Once we saw how very different our connection was compared to our previous relationships, we realized that it was because it was based off of the greatest foundation – friendship. Three short months after Solvang, Brandon proposed to me and I said yes! We plan to have a longer engagement to make sure that we continue on the right path to a happy lifetime together.
We have already started our pre-marriage courses with Celebrate Forever and we have found such success in them. Many couples don’t realize how important it is to discuss certain things with your soon-to-be spouse before you walk down the aisle. Although we have known each other for seven years, it doesn’t mean that we have discussed certain very important details (children, in-laws, financial stability). These courses are helping us figure those things out and we plan on celebrating forever as best friends.
Thinh Huynh - echo $story_date; ?>
Being a part of this foundation has enabled me to gain valuable knowledge in regards to; event planning, marketing, and building and maintaining community relationships. Another very valuable lesson that I have learned is that change starts from me, in other words, I cannot expect to change others if I don’t change myself first.
Kate & Gus - echo $story_date; ?>
My name is Kate, and this is my love story(in a nutshell)….
When Gus and I met, we were two little romantic, wide-eyed child-adults. We were in a community of like-minded, loving and confident people at a school in Northern California. Life seemed so easy. We began our friendship on a mission/surf trip to Costa Rica, where Gus helped unleash my courage in the ocean, and I unknowingly began to open his heart to a love beyond friendship.
We climbed mountains together (literally), witnessed miracles, laughed ‘til we cried, spoke Spanish, and just played. Life was better with him from the start.
After almost a year of solid friendship, Gus and I went our separate ways. He moved back to Southern California to work for his family’s skateboard business, and I stayed in Northern California (10 hours north of him) to continue the school program. After 2 years of long-distance on-again, off-again “friendationship” (a friendship where you have romantic feelings and gestures), I saw him in the late spring of 2012 for the first time in 8 months. I was making a detour on my way to Nicaragua, where I was moving indefinitely.
When I saw him that springday, I knew I wanted to be with him. I didn’t want to separate, and he felt the same. I followed my commitment and left for Nicaragua, but after 8 months of Skype calls and e-mails, I moved to Southern California to pursue what could be with Gus. Six short months later we were engaged!
Gus and I have been fortunate enough to have leaders and older couples around us to pour into our relationship and give wise counsel. We are listening to Relationship Education DVD’s, seeking a marriage counselor, and allowing our community around us to know our struggles, failures, victories, and hopes!
Several months before our engagement, I found the Celebrate Forever Foundation and desired to jump on board, knowing firsthand the amount of education, tools, and community it requires to thrive in a romantic relationship. Gus and I were blessed to have great chemistry and affinity for one another from the beginning, but when the going gets tough, we have relied on other people, resources, and communication tools to help us move closer to each other rather than shutting off and running away. We choose daily to maintain our connection by honoring, nurturing, and celebrating each other! We are so excited to take the pre-marriage courses on the Celebrate Forever website and to become a part of the community of couples seeking to better our community, our relationships, and ourselves.
Marcus - echo $story_date; ?>
Our story is one of…we shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place! We had all the chemistry in the world, but looking back on it, we didn’t match together well at all! But here’s the cool thing, after counseling and going to several seminars, we actually learned how to love each other…never knew that love was a skill, but it totally is. Married 20 years now, and loving it!