...is the process by which we create, discover, learn and grow with those we cherish most.


a love story

When I was a little girl, I was into ant farms, chasing ice cream trucks, and collecting stickers. It wasn't until college before I started dreaming about prince charming {sparked mostly when I'd procrastinate studying at the library}. And because life seems to swivel faster with each year, I decided {and secretly hoped} that fate would bring him to me. Maybe I'd rear-end him with my car, and fall instantly in love... or we'd bump shopping carts in the grocery store.. {you get the idea}. For someone who is always chasing time, I was certain that the love-at-first-sight scenario was the most efficient approach to this entire matter. I really believed in this. I had to, there were so many other important things to do... like graduating.

I transferred to a state school, where among 35 thousand, I felt small, bright-eyed, and comfortable. I was walking slowly across campus one day, with my nose stuck in my history book, when out of nowhere someone in a black shirt appears right in front of me. I stop, annoyed for a sec and about to say, "excuse me," when suddenly I feel a gust of butterflies in my stomach. My knees felt weak when I realized, he wasn't a stranger at all. He was the humble, charmingly witty {to an eleven yr old}, dirty-blonde haired boy from my 6th grade Science class, standing tall, dark and handsome right before me. I thought the butterflies were because I had found an old friend. But a few weeks later, on March 25th, 1998, we went out on our first date. We both went home that night, and knew. Our fairytale was just beginning...

Three years later, on this day, Aaron and I tied the knot before God and our loved ones.

wedding ceremony

Little did we know about the amount of work that goes into a marriage... preparing and planning for the future together - All we knew on this day was that this is the hand we will be holding, long past we are old and gray - rocking on the front porch, waiting for the great grand-kids to come over. And that image still gives me butterflies.

The image in my head - not this one {Aaron PhotoShopped us into this pic back in '04}. It makes me laugh.
We've been saying it all week - "I can't believe its been 10 years... really?" No! The laugh lines on our face confirm this to be true. I went through some of our old pictures today {spring cleaning still..} and there were so many journeys from this past decade - globe trotting to more than 50 cities, two home renovations, and our own new lives as parents to two amazing children.

I am so blessed to be walking this earth with you Aaron, holding my hand. Happy 10th Anniversary...


... you still give me butterflies....


  1. YES, YES, YES! I never knew of the love story you shared. Thank you for posting this! Love the pictures. You guys are so adorable!

    And happy anniversary!

  2. OMG! You are going to make me puke with the mushy stuff. ha ha ha. Just kidding. I remember meeting Aaron for the first time and giving him the third degree. Surprised he still wanted to go out with you after that night. ha ha ha Alonzo got off easy when Aaron met him. We had so many great times before Aaron came along. Yet, it seems that he was always around. He just fit into our group and lives as if it was meant to be.Just if his feet can stay away from me!!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, ZARLACHT AND AARON PATENODE! Love you both.......SaraLee

    ps....I can see my head way in the back next to lisa in wedding photo. Yes, I'm vain enough to look for myself. ha ha ha ha

  3. Dear Zarlacht and Aaron!
    Congratulations on your 10th year anniversary.
    May the years to come bring bright dreams for the future, and every blessing to you both.
    wish you all the happiness in the world in coming years.

    Happy Anniversary!

  4. Congratulations guys :)
    I did 9 ;)

    A biiiig hug

  5. Zar, I am so glad you shared your story. I always wondered how you two got together. :) Congratulations on 10 years! Here's to many, many more.

  6. Oh, happy day!!! I didn't know that your first date was March 25th! Happy 10th anniversary, you two are a shining example of true love! Here's to many, many more years!

    We love you both so very much,

  7. My dearest sister and brother, I am so grateful to have shared the past ten years with you and see how God has blessed your marriage with love, a love that has touched all of us, our parents, our children and especially my own marriage. I pray for your journey together to be blessed with happiness and good health. I love you both very much. Happy Anniversary

  8. So very sweet! Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your anniversary weekend. :)

  9. congraatulation zarlacht and AAron for your 10 years Anniversary.I pray to God for long life with health and happiness.love u both!! your mom najia.

  10. How beautiful and sweet story.

    Happy Anniversary!!!!

  11. How lucky were Joel and I to be part of your special day and witness your union? You were simply glowing with beauty that day. Radiant and lovely. And we're so lucky to have found you again as friends. xx

  12. Zarlacht

    What a beautiful blog post. This is the absolute best card anyone could ever hope to receive. One of the great things about being married to a writer... they really express how they feel - and tell a story at the same time!

    I know all of our friends have heard the story over and over, but for those of you that have not - it was pure luck (fate?) how we met for the second time in our lives in college. I don't think i had seen Zarlacht for a while and I was not expecing to see her walking across campus. I didn't know she had transferred. So when I saw her, I took off in a slow jog across the big field in the middle of campus and stopped right in her path. Her face was buried in a book and she probably couldn't see more than a few inches ahead. I waited patiently for her to bump into me and she apologized once or twice before she realized it was me. I think we had lunch at Mr. Chopstix a few times after that and before long... well - you know the rest of the story.

    Now we are working on the 'married happily ever after' chapter in our lives together.

    Thanks everyone for your comments!

  13. WOW. Thank you soo much everyone!... for all your wonderful blessings and sweet comments about our love story. We're so lucky to have all of you in our lives. :)


Thanks for sharing - I will respond to your comment here as well so check back! xo


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