Friday, April 28, 2006
This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence, living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very Word, spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for You...desperate for You
And I, I'm lost without You....lost without You
If I would change anything at all it would be the word "to" in the second verse...I would change it to "in"...
words spoken to me often have little effect...I'm easily distracted...I forget...they blow away like the wind...
However, The Word, Jesus Christ, spoken from inside of me where He lives,... changes me. He is the food that sustains my spirit, the drink that quenches my thirst and no spoken word can compare to the eating and drinking of Him. He is the very air I breathe....
breathe...deeply...breathe....whisper His name,...shhhh...listen....He is there....
Breathe Him .... eat of Him... drink of Him....Breathe......
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
when there is no daily revelation of Jesus Christ, no seeing and knowing Him alive and fresh, everything becomes ordinary.
This thought is haunting me....and I know it to be true.
I have seen people sleepwalk through their lives...I have done it...
I have seen entire churches become coffee clubs where social pleasantries are exchanged, potlucks abound, projects are debated and theology discussed....but there is little life within....
You can tell....because everything has become soooo ORDINARY even in the heat of debate or the thrill of theological discovery....ordinary...even the joys of life, fellowship, birth, spring, love....ordinary.
He is so Other...so ExtraOrdinary..... contact with Him has the ablility to change everything...no, the impact that does change everything and I don't mean just that once when you "ask Him into your heart" I mean daily...moment by moment...
I remember Peter saying something to the effect that you could see on their faces that they had been with Jesus....
I don't think my face looks like that lately.....but it has in days gone by....so I know its possible....
Perhaps my greatest fear....to live an ordinary life.....
Monday, April 24, 2006
He's not really mine either...he belongs to Bek...the newly wed....
On Friday nite she and her new hubby flew in from TX to pick up her car, as many gifts as they could stuff into it...and the cat...named McCoy after "Law and Order" :)
But earlier on Friday afternoon, I receive a panicked call from my Mom...she hasn't seen McCoy allll day!
this is not normal...she has searched everywhere...
Could he have gotten OUTSIDE!?!?
surely not...we're VERY careful...we put a doorstop in front of the door when we go out...we close everything behind us...and this is a habit accquired after years of cat ownership...not a new one...in the 5 years we have owned him he has gotten out undetected only once.....No he could not be outside....
Oh brother! and Bek was arriving that very evening to pick him up....the timing couldn't be worse! She will be crushed if he is lost....
What is there to do?? I console my mom, who is getting more upset by the minute...if he's inside, he'll appear, I say...if he's outside...well, nothing we can do...she has by now scoured the neighborhood calling him...Bek will be upset but hey, he might show up in a few days....we can pray.....that's about it
I say a quick prayer...
my mother says a lengther one...(like an all day version :))
I get home about 5pm...do a quick walk through calling McCoy....no kitty
I walk outside to the back yard....calling the cat....nothing....
back inside mom goes upstairs to get her purse so we can run an errand.....then, ever so faintly...I hear meowing....
I open the door to the backyard....and WAHLA!! there he is! GA redclay muddying his usually white feet....he saunters in and goes directly to the hearth where its nice and cool to begin his clean up, just as if nothing has happened .... the epitomy of "cool kat".
"Mom.....here he is!" she comes running down the stairs to see and bursts into tears!
The stress has been wearing on her all day.....
"I spent the entire day, praying for a cat!!" my mom wails..... :):):)
What a kind Lord we have....who hears our petitions....though they be only mildly important in the grand scale of the universe.....He must love us very much...:)
Saturday, April 22, 2006
As mentioned before, Bek had quite the gang of school friends who shared drama club and advanced academic classes so they were always in and out of the house too. One night the girls came home from somewhere very upset....they finally spilled to me that one of their friends.... Vargas...had been thrown out of his house and was sleeping in one of the dugouts at the highschool ballfields, just down the street from our house. Now I have to tell you, maybe its because I was the parent of teenagers for only a few short years before Jax...but I have never seen the likes of kids being thrown out of their homes as we saw in Jacksonville, FL. My kids were closely accquainted with at least 5-6 friends whose parents threw them out during the course of their highschool careers. I just can't reconcile that....kids are kids no matter how awful they are and as young as 16-18 are mostly too immature to fend for themselves out in the world with no adult influence...its asking for disaster...in my humble opinion...although I'm sure there are some exceptions.
Anyway......I/we could not allow this kid...headstrong though he was, to sleep in the dugout at the baseball field...what would he eat...how would he finish school? He and Bek were mere weeks from graduating...
After a brief conference with my hubby, we sent the girls right down there to get him....I might mention that we did know him a little as he was one of the kids that Bek ran around with. I can't advise doing something like that blind but to do nothing was not an option either. We had that gut instinct that the Lord wanted this to happen.
They brought him home where we fed him and put him to bed on the couch...every other bed in the house was already full...:)
Vargas lived with us for several weeks...we got through graduation and he started trying to figure out what he was going to do. All his friends were heading off to college in the fall but he had squanderd his good grades in HS and didn't qualify for any scholarships....he applied to Univ of Penn as well as a couple of others and got in but had no money to go...he was a lost soul...wandering what to do next...18 yrs old with no parental guidance at all. Extremely smart, very good looking, talented and charming...but he had blown all of his options and didn't know where to turn. (He was good friends with James and they were often all out together..one day he told Bek...I wish you and James could get together...you are the nicest girl I know and He is the best guy I know...you'd be perfect for each other. I guess he was physic.:))
We knew that the situation couldn't go on forever...so one night my husband sat down with him and talked real straight with him, man to man...much the same way as we would talk to our own son....He talked to him about the Lord and his life and his choices....no threats, no ultimatums, nothing like that, just straightforward and caring...the next day Vargas was gone. Just like that...out of our lives...but not out of our thoughts or prayers...
He managed to find another friend to stay with for the rest of the summer and come fall he enlisted in the Army. He served 4 years, was one of the first teams into Iraq and spend 2+ there. Occsionally Bek would get an e-mail or IM from him just saying he was OK or James would hear from him. Last fall we heard that he was home, living again with his parents in Jax and going to school, courtesy of the US Army.
2 weeks ago at the wedding, I saw Vargas again for the first time in 5 years ....tall (6'5" maybe) dark (Puerto Rican heritage), dashingly handsome. He'd definitly grown up to be a fine looking man. He was a little nervous about seeing us again, but I gave him a big hug and kiss and he put his arms around me, gave me a kiss in return and thanked me/us for "saving his life". He said, "I don't know what I would have done with out you guys". He said "I'm home!" and he meant that in so many ways, . It was a special moment for me. I'm very proud of that kid!
Thanks Lord, for answering our prayers. For not only keeping Vargas safe physically but for making him into a real man, growing him up as only You can!
Friday, April 21, 2006
Just a few more touching moments and I'll stop, I promise...:)
We were priviledged to have very special people joining us for our celebration...as I have mentioned, the minister who performed the ceremony was the same one who had married my husband and me, he has been my mother-in-law's pastor for 30 years and is my mother's cousin as well. It was really a treat to have him present.
So awesome to have our families, who came from far and wide for this very first wedding on either side as far as our siblings and Bek's cousins are concerned. On James's side as well, this wedding was a first so everyone came out. It was so nice having eveyone together.....
Especially since James' grandparents were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary the very same weekend. They were very gracious to share their big day with the B&G and their children gave them a lovely brunch the following day for their own celebration.
A couple of memorable quotes came back to me today as I was reviewing things in my mind...
1. The groom, when giving his speech, said that his idea of heaven was a place where all his favorite people would be together and this was it....(awwww:))
2. More importantly he said all the things a new MIL wants to hear...:)...he said he couldn't figure out how he got to be the luckiest man alive....he said he had married the most beautiful and wonderful woman in the world....and...he said he loved his in-laws! (he's such a good boy! :))
3. My husband, upon giving the Father of the Bride speech, looked into James' eyes and said "I prayed for you a long time ago" ...both had tears in their eyes...as do I now....
We did pray for him and we have prayed for 2 more, yet to be determined mates for our other 2 children....may God bless them with a love such as my hubby and I share together.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
The Bridal Party was introduced and asked to line the dance floor for the Bride and Groom's first dance. They had chosen "Faithfully" by Journey. Having lived in seperate cities for the last 5 years, faithfulness has become a theme for them and it came up several times during their wedding....even the cake was named Forever Faithful. :) They were so sweet during that first dance, alternately conversing, smiling broadly or shedding tears, a private moment being observed by the whole party. It was very touching...
Of course my second daughter and my son were attendants so they were there on the front line. I didn't witness this myself but a guest told my second daughter later.....and I quote..." I feel so priviledged to have met your family...you are all very special and obvioulsy love each other a lot. I knew this was the real thing when I saw both you and your brother crying during the First Dance." (sniff, sniff, I'm tearing up even now...:))
I do have some very special kids...and yes, I am a proud momma..lol
She danced with her daddy to Rod Stewart's "The Way You Look Tonight"...of course...:) that's when I shed my tears...boo hoo!!
Ahhh the music!! If you know me, if you know my family, you know that we LOVE music. All kinds...pop, classic oldies, 70's, 80's, Broadway hits, jazz, hip hop... you name it.... and Bek has the most eclectic taste of all of us. She is a virtual walking library of songs and can sing almost any song, even after hearing it only once or twice. She's been accused of knowing every song ever written...I don't know about that but she's good, real good....although her brother studied jazz, plays professionally, and may know more "about" music...she knows the words...of thousands of tunes. Needless to say, she was very particular about the songs played at the wedding. She made lengthy lists of "must play" tunes as well as a "must not play" list...(She said the "gang" would get crazy if certain songs were played and she wanted to have relative sanity at the reception:))
Here's a run down of the fun we had...wish i had more pics but once again...the photographer still has those....trust me there are lots of them! He told Bek later that this was one of the top 5 weddings he has done and that everyone really had a good time. At least he had lots of photo ops. :)
This pic is probably the Electric Slide (which gets played at all weddings, right?) fun anyway...that's me in the dark dancing with some of the bridesmaids. I love to dance but don't get the opportunity very often...
I danced with my sisters(3 of them at once :)) for "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You", I danced with my hubby, well several times but notably to "Remember When"...Alan Jackson(I think)...and I cried...:)
The whole room danced to "Shout". The Groomsmen did a hilarious rendition of YMCA for the Bride with the Groom and his Bestman performing outrageously just before the garter toss...For a Grease medley....the whole gang sang "Tell Me More" to the B&G in the middle of the room...the Groom got the microphone and danced to Greased Lghtening...on top of the head table!... LOL......then the Bride and Groom finished up with "Summer Lovin", singing into each other's eyes in mock drama. It was all very humorous...remember these two are theater nuts...
I think the crowning height of the dance scene had to be when the entire room...and I mean every person within sight joined arms and kicked and sang "I've Got Friends in Low Places"...Garth Brooks..(I told you she was eclectic:) My son was outside and said that when he opened the door the entire room was viberating...He had to rush in to make sure he didn't miss anything. lol
I don't think the DJ got to half of Bek's requests...but he tried...
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
As Bek and her entourage were waiting in the Bride room, James' grandmother, whom Bek had never met, arrived and was escorted back to meet her. She brought her little 2 yr old granddaughter with her, who I might add, was adorable! (she's the little princess in the photo dancing with Jada) At first the little one was afraid of Bek and wouldn't come near her....a little later she was overheard whispering to her grandmother..."is that Cinderella?"....:):):)
The cake arrived at 3pm...beautiful! and perfect in every way...it was to be on display for the evening and served from the grand piano in the foyer. We had an above average size and weight topper(which we mentioned when we ordered it, but they seemed to have forgotten). Around 4pm...we noticed that the cake was falling!!...little by little the top was slipping down in the back until a huge chunk of cake had fallen off.... "OH Lord! Don't let Bek see it!!" was all I could think of...but my quick thinking sister who happened to be dressed and helping with details got right on the phone to the bakery....they were extremely busy and really wanted it to just be "our problem" but would my sister settle for that?? You don't know her, do you?.... lol
She stayed on the phone for at least half an hour and insisted they send someone over to repair the cake. Eventually they did send a decorator as well as a bakery manager over to mend the cake(I think the entire backside ended up being icing) and to stay and watch over it to make sure it stayed together...I must say..I am so thankful I didn't have to deal with that headache...Bek never really even knew...I mean she knew but everything looked fine so it was no big deal to her, thankfully. :) the colors didn't come out exactly right in the do over and we left the topper off till the last minute...but hey, it worked! the picture is of the orignal...:)
Here's another for you....the two flower girls...both very lovely in their soft yellow dresses against their Greek skin...obviously were too young to have been in attendance at many, if any weddings ever... Much less been the flower girls! they were very careful about learning when to walk in, how to walk in etc and followed directions beautifully....they were to walk side by side down the aisle, a long white runner, dropping their yellow rose petals as they came, not too slow, not too fast and dropping plenty of those petals. Everything went just as planned....they came down the aisle side by side dropping handfulls of petals along the way......The one on the right dropped petals with her right hand...the one on the left dropped petals with her left.... when all was said and done...not one single petal ended up on the white runner...all of them fell to the side of the runner into the grass...LOL...the bride walked up a very clean aisle with rose petals filling the sidelines! I guess no one thought to mention that the petals were supposed to be ON the aisle for the bride to WALK ON!! LOL
shhhh don't mention any of this to the flower girls!
Back inside while the guests were waiting for the Bridal Party to appear, there were of course, drinks and hor 'd oervs to keep them busy...also the DJ was set up and music was filling the ballroom. Of course it wasn't proper for the guests to begin dancing yet, as the Bride and Groom had not been introduced. However the youngest of guests totally disregarded protocal and insisted on dancing anyway.....:) the DJ obligingly provided bubbles..:)
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
The first time I ever saw James, he and Bek were both juniors in highschool. It was a powderpuff football game where the girls play flag football and the boys act as, yeah.....cheerleaders. :) James, along with several other boys, was dressed to the hilt, complete with Dolly Parton wig, makeup, short skirt and .....Dolly Parton sized bra filled with water balloons. LOL All the boys were funny but James was the star of the show, hamming it up big....very entertaining and absolutely hysterical! Not a shy bone in this boy's body. I took pictures of him and remember thinking..."he's really cute, I wonder if Bek knows him"...:) Turns out, Bek did know him.....
They had already met earlier that year and soon became fast friends...both shared a love of theater... both served as drama club officers and they spent long hours together, along with other friends (several who were at the wedding), rehearsing for school plays, traveling to competitions and just hanging out. They had the opportunity to see each other in many situations.....silly, irritated, tired, unshowered, dressed for prom etc. long before they thought of dating and were very relaxed together. I think they probably even asked advice of one another about their current loves as both were seeing other people at the time. After highschool they began dating as a fun diversion before college...but when fall came they decided to give the long distance thing a try as he would be at Univ of FL and she would be at FSU.....4 years later they graduated and last May became engaged. James moved away for his Naval flight training and Bek move to Atlanta with us to plan the wedding. By wedding date they had been seriously seeing each other, but living in seperate cities for almost 5 years. They could hardly believe the time had finally come when they could actually BE together.... These two kids have waited a very long time for this day.
and here they are...Ladies and Gentlemen....for the very first time.....
Mr and Mrs. At Last!!
Monday, April 17, 2006
James has old friends from when his family was stationed in Cuba who are here, as well as family from NC, GA and across FL. There are brides maids and groomsmen from as far as TX (the VA and CA ones had their leaves denied so they didn't make it :( though they tried very hard) Bek has family and friends from AL, NC, SC and PA arriving. Its a melting pot of all our favorite people...what a grand time we are going to have!
Here's a peek at 3 of the most adorable guests present.
From L-R James's cousin, Beks' cousin, and Jada, Beks' neice(eating a strawberry, one of about 14 she ate that night...haha). Hopefully I'll have pics of these three tearing up the dance floor tomorrow. :)
The fly away chairs are filled, (a server is holding the arch upright.. lol) the harpist is in place. Lovely ethereal music is wafting across the lawn....miracle of miracles, the temp is a nice 80 ish with the wind blowing, a little more than gently. :) I'm not melting in my dress and its a bit hazy so the guests aren't sweating either.... the ceremony is beginning!!
The minister is an old family member and friend who, get this, also married my hubby and me 30 years ago. (I know, I'm too young to have been married 30 yrs but I do have 3 grown kids so it must have happened, right?) He was very gracious to travel several hundreds of miles to bless this union and of course my mother and my mother-in-law loved it. :) My brother-in-law is reading and sharing from Song of Songs 8:6&7, (His sharing was so powerful, people are talking about it still.) We are so grateful to have such dear believers in our family! There is a blessing of "Hands" to be shared and the unity candle will be lit (in spite of the wind, it stayed lit, ya'll :)) ......and the moment we have all been waiting for!
Here comes the bride! She looks incredible on her father's arm, he is holding his composure rather well but the groom is very blown away and I don't mean by the wind...LOL. He is seeing his bride for the first time in all her glory and she is radiant. He looks about as excited as a kid on Christmas morning and is grinning from ear to ear. Only formality kept him from jumping up and down. lol
I think this must be a little like how the Lord looks at His Bride each day anew...as if She is the most amazing woman He has ever seen and He can't believe He is so fortunate as to be spending all of eternity with Her. Joy shines out from His face, just like the joy that was on James' face this happy day!
Sunday, April 16, 2006
Have a glorious Resurrection Day!
Saturday, April 15, 2006
The guys are cloistered in the "Gentlemen's Lounge" :) Now picture this...8 twenty somethings confined to one room with a big screen TV, waiting to be told what to do next....they end up playing cards with sugar packets and cheering on some wrestling match. You should see them all going out to the ceremony site to have pictures made. Its sort of like releasing the hounds! They look like a bunch of gangsters with their black tuxedos and sunglasses....lol Great pics! Can't post yet....still have the photographers name across them. The wind is starting to whip up...if you remember, last Friday and Saturday were stormy days across the south and midwest.....
The girls are tucked away in the Bride Room, all decked out in curlers and applying makeup for hours it seems. There are 7 of them plus 2 flower girls, plus me and my sis (the flower girls' mom). The flower girls and ring bearer are running around everywhere and I'm praying they don't lose their flower baskets or the ring pillow. :) Bek has had her hair done and the veil is inplace so she is adorable in shorts, a flannel shirt and her veil...:) I am already "made up" and very busy with last minute details...we built a garden in the foyer with a fountain and trees and such...., flowers are arriving...cake is arriving....eveything has to be perfect and of course I'm the only one who knows what "perfect" is.....haha
Neither the groom nor Bek's dad have seen her in her dress nor today at all. My hubby braces himself for the beautifulness of his daughter (he's very sentimental about these things and wouldn't even look at the dress til a few days before the wedding). She looks amazing of course!
Then all the girls troop down to the ceremony site for their pictures....the groom and his posse are carefully barricaded in the Gentlemens' lounge for that time. So no peeking is allowed. (My girl is a bit old fashioned and traditional, not like her mom in everything..:))
As soon as the girls arrive......wind is pretty gusty by now....all 100 chairs and the wedding arch...BLOW OVER...just like dominoes, row by row! It was quite funny!
No problem...They just turned a different direction to make the pictures and the photographers were right on the spot snapping away at the rows of upside down chairs too..... the servers had quite the time of it the rest of the day, keeping the chairs and arch upright.
Friday, April 14, 2006
Bek has been living in GA for the past year and has a GA drivers liscense...her proof.
James has only been in FL & TX for the past 8 mos or so in flight school for the Navy.
They went on line and also called to verify what info they would need to get their marriage liscense in one day since that would be all the time they would have, with James arriving in FL on Thurs before the wedding on Sat.
They were told an out of state ID, lease, or Military ID. with out of state orders.
When they arrived at the courthouse they were denied a marriage liscense!!
Yep, believe it!
Now that can make for some drama the day before a wedding, not to mention more than a little stress.
Bek was fine with her ID but they had issues with James' info. His ID was FL, (what about his military ID?), his orders were old (don't they apply until changed??) He had a lease in TX (didn't that count?). These people were just being jerks and throwing around some weight, it was ridiculous. We were thinking as fast as we could as to what exactly we would do if this didn't work out, not to mention praying hard.
At last James got hold of someone in the downtown courthouse who agreed that this was all ridiculous and told the branch courthouse at the beaches so. The beaches court house amazingly "found" some "waiver" (yeah right) and accepted his orders to be back in TX on Monday as proof of out of state residency (well imagine that?) After 3 hours wrangling for what should have taken half an hour, they were finally issed a marriage liscense. Thank the Lord! we were all getting a little freaked!
:) (I can smile about it now) :)
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Rehearsal, the temp is about 86 at 4pm and the ceremony is set for the great outdoors. Not a tree in sight and I fully expect to melt in that lovely green dress with the sequined jacket. Its a pretty spot, it overlooks one of the many small lakes that dot Florida and there is a small bridge and a willow tree in the distance... but no shade anywhere near us.....
We spend about an hour practicing then head out to a very nice restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. It is a very Floridian place right on the beach serving a scrumptious seafood buffet for dinner. Our reserved spot is a wide open "room" on the back near the sea. Lovely! Besides us there are 2 weddings going on, yes, 2. It is very crowded...dozens of people trying to squeeze into those weddings. I'm sooo glad we weren't doing that!
Aren't they cute?!
Hubby and I didn't go the route of buying the kids cookwear or electronics, we got them more personal items and presented them at the rehearsal dinner. For James, a nice belt with a monogramed buckle, he seemed very excited....for Bek, a lovely engraved silver jewelry box with a tiffany style bracelet inside. It has her new initials engraved on it and their wedding date. she was so thrilled and so sweetly excited. I told her she didn't have to wear it in the wedding ...but she did. Love that girl!
I think I'll be doing a few posts on the sights and sounds behind the wedding of the decade so stop by often if you can stand it...LOL
As a preview I'll just say that the storms blew by us, the Bride was gorgeous, the cake fell, the entertainment was hilarious (YMCA quality) and the under 10 generation was dancin crazy in a sea of bubbles. The Gator/Seminole rivalry was kept under control and a good time was had by all.....especially the bride and groom....just as it should be.....
Stay tuned for details and pictures....
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
You probably won't hear from me til sometime next week. I'll be back with all the glorious details and humorous stories of the weekend. Pictures too, very soon.
Til then here are a couple to give you a smile.....
2 adorable flower girls trying out their costumes
1 gorgeous Jada trying out her new shoes...who needs clothes when there are sooo many shoes to choose from! She loves them like all the rest of her female relatives...its genetic! See ya later......