Believe it or not, the video featured above is a one minute clip of a WEDDING.
This wedding will most likely not be featured on MARTHA STEWART WEDDINGS. The bride's dress will probably not make an appearance in BRIDES magazine. The decor, venue and catering might not be used as inspiration for people planning their future wedding on THE KNOT.
However, I believe this wedding should be an inspiration to all. Not only on their big day, but EVERY SINGLE DAY. This wedding is LOVE in the purest form.
Of course every wedding is about love, or at least should be. But, this was different.
This wedding did not care about the details. This wedding did not fuss about seating charts or arrangements. This wedding did not have plans. From the outside, this wedding did not resemble what we are made to believe the day should look like.
However, on the inside of this wedding was space.
A space where family and friends gathered in love to celebrate life. A space filled with calmness and peace. A space where worries did not exist. A space where the present moment was the most important one.
A Heaven-like space where you could hear the angels singing in approval.
This wedding was a perfect reflection of the way Matthew and Madison choose to live their lives as independent souls AND as a beautiful union.
On August 11, 2018, Matt and Madi hosted their 3rd annual pool party. Matt and his best friend, Ross (marriage officiant), were the ONLY two humans in attendance that knew what the day would entail.
A day to celebrate the beauty of life turned into so much more. Within the span of a few hours everyone in attendance experienced a surprise proposal, an impromptu wedding, unplanned speeches, last-minute dances and a celebration.
Madison was given 40 minutes from the time of her engagement until her wedding ceremony.
She was not given time to make a Pinterest board or follow Instagram accounts for wedding ideas. She was not given time to stress about the invites or worry about the colour palette.
Heck, she was not even given time to find a wedding dress.
She was given a moment. A moment to decide if she wanted to walk in the direction of love. A moment to move forward without fear of the future.
A moment was all she needed.
I cannot remember how long the entire ordeal was. At times, I felt behind. I felt like I was trying to catch up to the beauty of what was happening.
In some ways it flashed before my eyes, but in the same breath, I can recount so many memories.
I remember the backyard erupting in excitement when Matt got down on one knee. It felt like we ALL GOT PROPOSED TO. It felt like our team just scored the winning goal in a championship game.
I remember being called up as Madison's "babe of honour" and feeling completely overwhelmed with gratitude, but also wondering if my swimsuit and towel was acceptable attire for the ceremony.
I remember frantically writing a speech on my phone that would adequately articulate my love and appreciation for Madi and Matt.
I remember seeing the smiling faces, the happy tears and the endless amounts of hugs. It did not matter if you knew the person or not, you hugged in celebration.
I remember Brandon (Madison's brother) asking me to play Old Blue Chair by Kenny Chesney as he took Madison's hand and danced with her in honour of their father.
I remember being fully present.
I REMEMBER JOY.
The day was about love without expectations. The day was about giving without the hope of receiving. The day was about unconditional love.
Love that accepts one as they are, completely and utterly imperfect.
Love that is unafraid of what is to come.
To the outsiders the day looked very spur of the moment, and in many ways it was.
But, Matt put in A LOT of behind the scenes work. He planned and kept BIG secrets to pull this off.
He made sure to fly people in who were important to Madison. He hired caterers, photographers, videographers, and bartenders. He made everyone believe, including his wife, that the day was nothing more than a pool party.
And folks, he did it all while battling one of the most ferocious and uncontrollable diseases out there.
Talk about a fighter.
Matt did much more than just plan a wedding for his future wife. He planned something that could touch the lives of many outside of that space.
At the end of the night, he handed out little cards that asked guests to donate to CancerCare Manitoba in lieu of presentation.
He asked for generosity and kindness to those suffering with the unbearable.
He asked for wedding guests to give to a foundation that aims to provide people with more time.
Today, they have raised close to $20,000 for CancerCare Manitoba.
CAN I GET AN AMEN??
Matthew and Madison are two of the greatest LIVING examples of what is means to love without restraint, to give without expecting anything in return, and to live every day like it was your last.
So very blessed to know them and be part of their very special day.
If you are inspired or feel like giving this Holiday season, feel free to donate by clicking the link below. All proceeds stay in Manitoba and go directly to helping those have more tomorrows with their loved ones.
Taking the road less traveled often looks REALLY COOL on Instagram. But, let me be real with ya here for a second, sometimes it hurts my heart and is not what it seems.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. They say that a photo conveys a message more accurately than a description. But, they forget to tell you that those words and that message are most likely, entirely false.
Do not get it twisted, people.
Instagram will show you that I am living in one of the most beautiful places in the world. It will show you that I am eating delicious Greek cuisine and have million dollar views from my bedroom.
That accurately describes approximately 3% of my life.
What Instagram will not show you is that I cried EVERY SINGLE DAY for the first three weeks I was here. It will not be able to share the dark place my mind goes after spending too much time alone in my hotel room.
The pictures and stories on social media will not describe the other 97% of my life because that certainly does not look like I am "LIVING MY BEST LIFE."
Now, do not get me wrong. I am in NO WAY suffering, The fact that I am breathing means more is right in my life than wrong. I am SERIOUSLY blessed and grateful for this experience.
But, yesterday was the first day since arriving to Greece that I felt peace in my soul.
Most days I felt ungrateful. Some days I felt insane. Mostly, I felt bad about feeling bad.
My homesickness convinced me I should be with my family immediately.
The discomfort of a new place told me I need to go home and be in familiar territory.
My apprehension made me want to take control and make drastic decisions.
The uncertainty of the next six months allowed fear to surface in all areas of my life.
And the WORST and most DESTRUCTIVE -- seeing y'all on Instagram going to the grocery store with your family, hanging with friends after work or taking your kids out for Halloween made me feel like the grass was greener on the other side.
Like I should be somewhere else, doing something else.
DO NOT BELIEVE ANY OF IT.
Maybe some of you were sitting there and wishing you could ditch your day job and/or kids and swim in the Aegean Sea off the coast of Santorini. Maybe not.
Some nights I wished for a regular job and to come home to family.
Comparison is the devil's work.
Do not believe your thoughts. Do not trust your emotions.
And certainly, CERTAINLY DO NOT BELIEVE THE LIES SOCIAL MEDIA WILL FEED US.
Especially with some of these apps. Filters are a thing of the past. Now we have people re-creating their entire image. Tweak this, slim that and eventually you are almost unrecognizable.
Talk about an issue of the soul.
I think our minds and hearts are beautiful creations. But, when you become a slave to them like I was it becomes chaotic. Combine that inner turmoil with a few hours per day spent scrolling on the gram...
RECIPE FOR DISASTER.
This post is just a friendly reminder to myself and whoever else needs to hear it. Exercise your use of social media with caution. Become an observer, but do not indulge the thoughts and feelings that come up. Question your assumptions and be a skeptic because things are not always as they seem.
Finally, if you are anything like me -- probably just limit your use and trust in God.
Thanks for reading.
Ranges from 4,000 USD to 1.8 million USD
Full payment of salary is not guaranteed
Time of payment is at discretion of management and subject to change
Pregnancy results in immediate termination of contract
Everywhere, except North America
Schedule released monthly, maybe weekly or possibly daily
Days off are not guaranteed
No personal days, no mental health days, no stress leave
Seeking a highly-skilled athlete who is capable of performing his or her sport every single day for the duration of the athletic season while maintaining top physical condition.
Athlete must sign contract prior to arrival. Athlete is subject to fines/sanctions if breach of contract. Athlete may be subject to all forms of abuse.
I wrote this piece to shed a little light on what it is really like for an athlete to be on the road.
It is not what most people think and maybe one day I will have the courage to share more.
Traveling to Europe to train and play volleyball for three weeks does not mean shopping at the Grand Bazaar in the heart of Istanbul. It does not mean taking a train around Italy admiring the architecture.
It does mean high-level training and strong competition. it does mean opportunity to grow personally and as a team. It is a business trip.
We may or may not get to experience a bit of the culture and what the country has to offer. But, expectations are usually pretty low. Our sights are set on working hard and accomplishing goals.
Some time during the last three weeks on the road together, my team and I still found the little moments to enjoy each other and this life we are blessed with.
The last twenty days on the road were eye-opening for myself and maybe others on my team can relate. It was very exciting, then it became routine. It was new, then it got old. It was inspiring, and then it was dreary.
It was full of highs and lows.
I often wish a camera crew would follow us around to document the day-to-day life. The pictures we share on Instagram/Facebook shed light on about 6% of our time on the road. The other 94% is spent playing, practicing, strength training, scouting, watching video, meetings, eating together as a team, sleeping and just keeping it together mentally, emotionally and physically.
It is a grind.
Somewhere around day 10-13 of our trip to Turkey and Italy, some of us lost it a bit. Whether it was feelings of homesickness (I swear this never goes away for me), missing significant others, anxiety, or dwelling on performance — many of us felt in need of a break. Just a minute of alone time. Just one day to not be on a schedule.
This lifestyle is unlike anything else I will experience in my life. I stepped away from the sport a couple times before and it is nearly impossible to replicate this environment.
Living in a hotel with your teammates and coaches for three weeks straight. Eating every meal on schedule with one another. Wearing the same matching attire every day. Sweating together in the gym. Sleeping five centimetres away from each other in the euro-style hotel beds. Being on call for the next impromptu meeting. Laughing together, until we cry. Crying together, until we are laughing at all the tears. The time together is A LOT.
It is easy to feel that it is too much, but one day I know I will miss these times.
One day I will miss the little moments we have with each other between practices. Whether it is a coffee run or nap — we do it TOGETHER. I will miss the adrenaline rush of a surprise free day and the chance to explore a foreign country. I will miss the late night gelato runs to soften our emotions, TOGETHER. I will miss the bus rides to and from the gym. I will miss accomplishing goals with a group of like-minded women. I will miss seeing fifteen different and very beautiful faces every morning, whether I want to or not.
One day I am not going to have this.
I have a teammate to turn to for a cry. I have a teammate who I can go to when I am in need of a laugh. I have a teammate who is guaranteed to bring the pump-up tunes. I have a teammate who inspires. I have a teammate who offers logical/practical advice. I have a teammate who is young and reminds me why I play. I have a teammate who is compassionate. I have a teammate who will tickle my arm or hold my hand. I have a teammate who is not scared to give a compliment. I have a teammate who is corky. I have a teammate who is selfless. I have a teammate who I look up to (literally and figuratively).
I have a teammate for each and every situation this life has to offer.
I never had a sister growing up, but I imagine that this was God’s plan for my life. To give me a team of sisters. To allow me to share my life with beautiful women who motivate, empower and challenge each other in ways I never knew possible. To give me a family that I do not HAVE TO love because of blood, but I GET TO love because we go to battle for and with each other every single day.
It is a really neat experience that sometimes gets lost in the hours of video/scouting, the seemingly endless running, the practices with no end in sight, or the monotonous routine.
When I went through my camera roll today I was reminded of the little glimpses of our life outside the gym. I was reminded of why I sweat A LOT and sometimes cry. I was reminded of what this experience is all about. I was reminded how much I love these women, the memories and of course, the pizza.
I love you all.
You are more than a competitive sport to me.
You are more than a game I play for a living.
You are much more than I ever imagined you to be.
You mean more to me now than my twelve-year-old self could ever comprehend.
Let me tell you why.
I struggled with self-worth from a young age.
This world tries to shame us to believe we are not good enough.
I fell into that trap at an early age.
I let my physical appearance define me and make me fell less than.
My smile was crooked. My bottom jaw protruded much farther than my upper jaw.
I had an underbite.
Not a big deal in the grand scheme of life. I know that now.
When I could not find my place in this world, I found it in you.
When I experienced major anxiety every picture day, I found a confident version of myself at practice.
When I dreaded public speaking, speeches and meeting new people, I craved to be in the spotlight on the court.
When I felt fear in every day life, I found courage in you.
When I felt lost, you gave me purpose.
You kept me above the water throughout my life.
I found my identity through you.
If you were not there, I am not sure where I would be.
I am not sure I would be here.
I have to apologize for how I treated you as I got older.
As time went on I began to resent you for the same reason I now love you.
You were my scapegoat.
I blamed you for feeling like I did not have a purpose outside of the sport.
I blamed you for taking me away from life's big events.
I blamed you for the distance in my relationships.
I blamed you for the void I often felt.
I am sorry I forgot how much you did for me.
I wanted to prove to myself that I was more than just a volleyball player.
I took things into my own hands and left you.
Not once, but multiple times.
You did your job as best you could.
I stepped away from you more times than I would like to admit.
But, you came back to me in the most miraculous of ways.
I thank God for that one.
He knew I needed you.
You always provided me a space to be myself with out limits.
You showed me the world.
You introduced me to my greatest friends.
You gave me all life’s most memorable experiences.
I am entering my sixth season on the Canadian Women's National team.
I have sixteen years of playing you under my belt.
It makes me weep.
Like really sob.
I thank you.
I thank God for placing you in my life.
Time and time again.
I have to tell you something though.
I do not feel like I need you any more.
But, I want you.
I want to play for all those years you gave me.
I want to show you what you mean to me.
Now that I have found my worth in God's love, I can give you the love you deserve.
It is not about what you can do for me any more.
It is about what I can do for you.
And when I am running my 14th suicide in practice this summer, I hope to always remember that.
You were there.
You saved my life. Truly.
Author: Megan Cyr
Born and raised in Canada. College educated in America. Currently residing wherever volleyball takes me.