I have two upcoming vocal workshops I’m excited to tell you about, but this post is personal.

I got married!!!

I have a husband!!!

I’m a wife!!!

Okay, I’ll stop with all the exclamation points.

Or not!!!!!!!!!

George and I have been in a committed, loving relationship for seven years, but it still feels weird to say those two little words. My husband.

The ceremony was short, sweet and simple, planned just a little over two weeks ahead of time.

Still, getting married is a big deal, so I wanted to share our big news and a little bit of our story.

In September of 2010, I started a new full-time job as a Sr. Claims Examiner, while I was completing apprentice teacher training with the Transformational Voice® Training Institute. I was at the studio three nights a week after the day job, doing homework and rehearsing, and dating was the last thing on my mind. I didn’t have the time, and besides…as my marriage of 12 years was ending in 2006…I swore I’d never get married again. (Oddly enough, my new husband was also married once before, in 1994, and divorced in 2006.)

My back, especially around the left shoulder blade area, was bothering me as I was sitting at a computer again for hours a day. It became almost intolerable one day. I had left my previous chiropractor and massage therapist in Salem behind when I moved to Lake Oswego after my divorce. And I had just moved into a new apartment, with a chiropractic clinic right across the street.

I searched my mind trying to remember the name of the chiropractic clinic and thankfully found it online. I called and was told Licensed Massage Therapist George had an appointment available at 5:30. I booked that appointment, and my back was so grateful I did. The owner of the clinic also became my new chiropractor.

For a year and four months, about once a month, I was typically George’s last client of the day, after I’d finished adjusting claims at the office and my body at Curves gym. I’d show up in gym shorts and a T-shirt, and George’s massage would make me feel better. When I was getting ready to go home, he was closing the clinic after the doctor and other staff had left.

We got to talking…George behind the reception desk, me standing in the lobby. We became friends. He told me about local bands he liked, and we became on friends on Facebook so I could check out some of the music he suggested. It turned out we were also neighbors, living just half a block away from each other.

Fast-forward several months. The TVTI graduation ceremony was complete and I had more free time. I hadn’t been in for a massage in a while, and it was around the time of the grand slam tennis events, which came up in conversation towards the end of my massage. I used to love to bat a ball around (I’m terrible at it, but it’s fun and good exercise) and mentioned that to George. He said he had a tennis racquet somewhere.

He flew at the Washington State International Kite Festival while I celebrated my 48th birthday with friends Lorinda and Richard. After George returned from the festival, I received a message that he’d located his tennis racquet.

And that’s how it started.

George had never dated a client and was cautious in his approach. I was just excited to have a tennis buddy again!

We first walked to the tennis court together on September 4, 2012. I thought we were just tennis buddies, until I got an invitation to the Saturday Market. Then I realized my tennis friend might be asking me out on a date.

This is the story we included as part of our wedding ceremony:

L: It all started with a walk to the tennis court

G: Sometimes when you first meet someone, and you feel that energetic connection

L: Your heart starts to show itself

G: So, I took her downtown to Saturday Market and to see the Church of Elvis, which wasn’t really a church

L: Before we got the Moroccan chicken seasoning packet that would soon cement our relationship, and we saw the dragon boat races

G: Somewhere along the way, we realized we spoke the same language

L: And looked at the world through similar eyes, so I asked him to help me hang a sarong on my wall

G: And we made plans for that Moroccan chicken dinner

Both: That was seven years ago today and I’ve loved you more every day since, Baby.

We decided to get married before our trip to South Dakota to visit my family late September and had already made plans to visit our dear friends Kathie and Rod over the night of September 14th. They live in the country, 30 miles from the Oregon coast. After they agreed to host our wedding and be our witnesses, we realized the date was exactly seven years after we’d committed to each other; 10 days after that first walk to the tennis court.

Here we are with Kathie and Rod and Rev Susan Dorn. Photographer Debbie is an old friend of George’s who happened to be available at just the right time, and brought her granddaughter, Gabby.

My favorite florist gifted me with the orchids in my hair.

Each person was integral to our sweet, short, simple and meaningful ceremony. (Which is what I would recommend to younger people getting married, too, by the way. )

I had fun getting married, and I hope you’ve had fun reading about it.

From your voice (and piano) teacher,

Mrs. Laura Lee Handke,

Married to Mr. George Edward Meredith

TWO UPCOMING WORKSHOPS:

October 5, Saturday, 2:00-4:00 pm

Dance with Joy Studios

8051 SE 16th Ave., Portland (Sellwood) OR

Embrace Your Authentic Voice: Four Critical Pillars for Effective and Healthy Vocal Technique

Learn to:

  • Harness the power of the Breath to create maximum vocal impact without weakening your voice or your throat getting hoarse.
  • Avoid harsh Onsets, which can cause damage to the vocal cords. (Internationally renowned pop singer, Adele, had to have vocal cord surgery due to this issue, not once, but twice.)
  • Create vocal Resonance, so your voice carries to the back of room without a microphone, and without pushing or straining your voice.
  • Speak in your natural, authentic Pitch to avert vocal fry.

Tuition: $25 preregistered/ $30 at the door
Register: support@dancewithjoystudios.com 503-704-5617

November 2, Saturday, 1:00-4:00 pm

In Partnership with Brenda Bryan and The Speakers Club

Location TBA

Four Vocal Superpowers Most Pros Don’t Know

Learn to:

  • Harness the power of the Breath to create maximum vocal impact without weakening your voice or your throat getting hoarse.
  • Avoid harsh Onsets, which can cause damage to the vocal cords. (Internationally renowned pop singer, Adele, had to have vocal cord surgery due to this issue, not once, but twice.)
  • Create vocal Resonance, so your voice carries to the back of room without a microphone, and without pushing or straining your voice.
  • Speak in your natural, authentic Pitch to avert vocal fry.

Tuition: $35/$25 for Speaker Club Members.

Register: brendarbryan@gmail.com

Love your voice and voice your love,

Laura

Within the first couple of lessons with vocal coach Laura Handke, I learned to use my voice in a more powerful way using the breathing and resonance techniques she teaches. She is always pleasant and upbeat, which helps me to relax as I learn.  I would recommend her to anyone who wants to take their vocal expression to the next level. Thank you, Laura! –Mary Jo H.  

Laura Handke, Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher

Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice