Our visit to Live-Bio this summer was a very special time for my wife Holly and I. We met in high school in Savannah, Georgia U.S.A. when we were teenagers. We fell in love, and have been inseparable ever since. We have 2 lovely children—Grant (high school), and Jess (college). Life has been good to us, but also bittersweet as we’ve also had the responsibility of taking care of aging parents on top of a demanding workload. This year is our 25th anniversary and we wanted to do something special for ourselves. Greece is our favourite country, and like many, we’d been to Mykonos and other islands, but we’d never heard of Poros, or Galatas. We came across Live-Bio during an Internet search. I remember my intrigue and asking Holly “What the heck is Live-Bio?” After seeing the photos, reading guest reviews and also about Periklis’ and Magdalena’s vision, we were sold. Luckily, what seemed to be “too good to be true,” turned out to be the “real-deal.”
I was there for 2 weeks while waiting for Holly to arrive. (I’m a professor and decided not to teach this summer, but Holly, like the average American, gets 2 weeks of vacation.) This was a time of reflection and rejuvenation for me. I took long walks and spent time on lovely beaches—my favourite, I call “Hidden beach,” it’s on the sea side of Aliki. The water is aquamarine, clear with boulders and teaming with fish — I even saw an octopus! (If you’re looking for adventure there’s a natural bridge that you can climb and jump off of—just be careful!)
During this time, I became a fan of Fix (beer) and the delicious fresh food served at area taverns and restaurants. (With the help of Magdalena and local chef Katerina Sakelliou of Odyssey bistro, I even tried my hand at cooking a few dishes.) Far from living like a hermit, (like I would have if staying in a hotel) Magdalena and Periklis regularly invited me to go into town for a coffee at La Frianderie, and shopping at local markets. They also hosted gatherings at Live-Bio for fellow residents, family, and personal friends. It was such a great time—during our stay, Holly and I met and befriended wonderful people from Poros, Galatas, Poland, Mexico, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, and other parts of the world!
There’s simply too many things that I could go on and on about (like sailing with Periklis, trips to the “Super Beach,” ancient Mycenae, and lovely Nafplio with Magdalena, and a trip to Hydra to see the wonderful underwater sculpture by artist Hortense Le Calvez), but I’ll wrap it up with a highlight that Holly and I will not soon forget—the renewal of our wedding vows.
The vows renewal ceremony on the tiny heart-shaped island
I’m not sure where the idea came from (perhaps watching too much Hallmark TV or just the sheer beauty of Greece), but since it was our 25th anniversary year I wanted to make the trip memorable. Luckily, I had help in planning the surprise. (I told Holly that I’d hired a photographer for an afternoon photoshoot — luckily, she bought it—even after we purchased new rings she didn’t figure it out—I can be a pretty good liar I guess) Magdalena and Periklis helped plan everything—from where it would take place (on magical, heart-shaped Daskalio island), to finding a florist to create an exquisite daisy, baby’s breath and olive branch bouquet. Periklis even filled in by officiating the ceremony when we had to change the day due to poor weather. They reserved transportation (Holly and I were escorted by a special water taxi from Plaka beach), and chilled a lovely South African champagne, which was enjoyed as a post-ceremony treat. To cap it off, they took us on a lovely sunset cruise on their sailboat and a delicious dinner at Odyssey Bistro. My contribution to the wedding? Besides simply showing up, I was to help create the ceremonial structure and wedding vows. (Luckily my brother is a minister and I cobbled things together from a few of the sources he provided.) Here’s the prayer for the blessing of the marriage…
Eternal God, Creator and preserver of all life,
Author of salvation, giver of all grace;
Bless and sanctify with your Holy Spirit Holly and Louis,
Who have renewed their marriage covenant
On this anniversary of their wedding
We thank you for their marriage,
And for all the good they have done.
As you blessed the love of their youth,
Continue to bless their life together with gifts of peace and joy.
Remind them that marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two uniting hands and hearts to serve You. Give them a great spiritual purpose in life. May they seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and the other things shall be added unto them.
May they not expect that perfection of each other that belongs alone unto you. May they minimize each other’s weaknesses, be quick to praise and magnify each other’s strengths, and always see each other through a lover’s kind and patient eyes. Now make such assignments to them that will bless them and develop their characters as they continue to walk together. Give them enough tears to keep them tender, enough hurts to keep them humble, enough of failure to keep their hands clenched tightly in Yours, but enough success to make them sure they are walking with God.
May they never take each other’s love for granted, but always experience that breathless wonder that exclaims, “Out of all this world, you have chosen me.”
When life is done and the sun is setting, may they be found then, as now, still hand in hand, still thanking God for each other. May they serve you happily, faithfully, together, all their lives long. Bless them abundantly, as they renew their vows to each other and to you, today. This we pray, through Jesus Christ, the great lover of our souls. —Amen.
I sincerely wish to thank you—Periklis and Magdalena, for making our vacation memorable and meaningful! I could not have done this without you, and it means so much! Holly and I are truly blessed to know you, and we hope to see you at Live-Bio again soon.
I would like to end this post with something fun—sort of a love song to Holly and to Greece. You’ve likely heard the beautiful lyrics and melody before — “Lucky” by Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat. I created it using emojis/emoticons and rebus puzzles and hope that you enjoy it! Click HERE for the “emoji song”.