Danny and Yen, Annabella and Grayson
Danny and Yen have an absolutely beautiful family. We were so excited to be able to shoot their holiday photos this year, they are not only a beautiful couple, but they also do ministry full-time at the @ladreamcenter! We had such a fun time at the park with the four of them, it was quite a natural shoot as they all had fun playing together at the park. We felt so blessed to be a part of their day, talking to them and being amazed by their story of love and the testament of God’s peace and restoration in their lives. Annabella is one princess of a girl, one of the sweetest human beings we have ever gotten the chance to meet. Gracen, was full of energy and fervor for everything around him. He would often chase after whatever he saw interesting, and it was so awesome to see Yen pull out her Mom powers and chase him down in her stilettos 👠! Overall, we just had an amazing time with this lovely family and we feel so honored to bless them and to be blessed by them.
We asked this sweet family to share of their story with you, here is what they shared with us below...
Feature: The Slavens Family
What’s something you’re most thankful for in your life?
We are most thankful for God’s Grace. The opportunity to have access to something so powerful is astonishing. Both my wife and I have faced difficulties in life at a young age, losing both of our fathers. We both choose paths that echoed the fatherless life, seeking approval and acceptance through others. God revealed himself to us to acceptance, grace and peace that only He can bring at the perfect time. We recognized our uniqueness and purpose, forgoing all rebellious attitudes and lifestyles. He brought us together, set us a part and allowed us to operate in his purpose. We are forever grateful for Grace. We even named our son Grayson to reflect our thankfulness.
What’s your biggest accomplishment?
Our family, our jobs and our love for others. Shortly after coming to know God we found purpose in serving others at The Dream Center. It isn’t glamorous, it isn’t well compensated but the reward for helping someone find their purpose and seeing a changed life is priceless. We involve our family in serving often, showing them how blessed we are, and it turn we are called to be a blessing.
What’s a way you’ve seen God’s love and/or faithfulness in your life?
From the very beginning of our relationship, especially during our engagement. You see, I found out that my wife’s culture (Vietnamese) doesn’t save money for the girls, only the boys. Well the opposite is true in American culture, families save money for the girls, not the boys. This meant, my wife and I were going to be the ones responsible for paying for the entire wedding…eek! My wife had always had a dream for an outdoor, rustic setting on a ranch or farm. My search starting early for a location only to find out the cost of such location was well beyond our budget. Word must have got around and a family at the church with the perfect location offered their ranch to us at no cost! This one was of numerous ways in which God revealed his love to us; almost a confirmation of sorts telling us that we were created for each other and the union was blessed. In the end, through wedding gifts and other donations, both time and gifts, the wedding cost us ZERO dollars. Best part was, it was just the way she dreamt it up.
Our testimonies are as opposite as we are. Ha!
I was raised in a good Christian home, lost my father when I was 7 yrs old, and allowed the anger, bitterness and fear of pain take hold of my life for 20 years. Finally in 2010 on a unplanned visit to Los Angeles, God caught my attention. For the first time in years I was available to listen to what He wanted to say to me. He boiled it down to one decision. He allowed me to see that everything I was chasing in life was my pursuit of filling a hole, a hole only He could fill. My question had always been, what is the hole? He told me, it’s Peace. Peace. He said all my unruly behavior was I trying to find peace. I wanted the parties, the girls, the drugs, etc. to be long lasting and have a permanent feel. But it never was, it was always temporary and left me feeling empty. He said to me, in this moment Danny, choose… Peace or everything else I was involved in. I chose… peace. It has made all the difference in the world. Eight years now a solid Christian, full of purpose, job and peace. Blessed to be married with two wonderful children and one of the way!
Favorite bible verse?
I have numerous favorite verses but my most of my favorites are listed in one chapter, Colossians Chapter 3. I read this chapter more than any other in the Bible. It’s a daily guide and reminder of how to live life.