Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Awesome Fundraiser to Bless Many Families!

I LOVE these products! 

Sevenly is doing a fundraiser again this year for Reece's Rainbow, but this year the proceeds are benefitting families who are waiting to travel to bring their child home! 

That includes us! I haven't said much, but with the new regulations, we are no longer fully funded (we will be needing around $1,500 or more in addition to what we have already raised). But so many other families are far short of what they need to bring their child/children home!

 All the proceeds from this fundraiser will be divided equally between all of the families! Check it out and order some T-Shirts - $7 from each item purchased will go to these families  - these are the "almost home" families/children, and we are only one of many families in this category!

These hats are hand knit by women in Uganda

Over $3,000 has already been raised for these families already!  This campaign only lasts a week (I think it started today, but I am not sure).  
These are made in Costa Rica providing jobs there! 

Please consider purchasing something, and please share on your social networking (blog, FB, twitter, Google+) and help these families bring their children home!!!

This event ends January 6, so don't wait to order!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dalek Invasion...Calling Dr Who!

I admit it, we are Dr Who fans.  We are late in coming to this, but this year we discovered Dr Who, and have watched every episode from the newest series.  The blame lies squarely on our oldest son, Jeremy's, shoulders!  He got Jessica to watch the 2009 Dr Who series with him, and she encouraged us to watch...we actually watched the first few from way back in the 60s and Daryl enjoyed them but I was not interested.  So when Jessica got the Dr Who, with Matt Smith, on our Netflix queue, I was not really interested.  But I was so wrong.  We watched all the Dr Who that had Matt Smith as the Doctor that we could get at the time.  His companion for this series was Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillian, and she was very endearing and tragic. We were hooked, but left wanting more.

So we started watching all the episode starting with the March 2005, with The Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston.  While he had his charms, we were not thrilled with this version of the doctor, but found Rose wiggling her way into our hearts.  When it was time for The Doctor to regenerate, we had seen some clips of David Tennant as The Doctor, but we were skeptical.  Matt Smith was our favorite, after all.  And it took a few episodes (OK, so a lot of episodes), but we found that David was THE BEST Doctor of all...so far.  We just finished with the episode where Matt Smith is introduced as The New Doctor and we all have a need to watch a few with him again, just to see if the absence made us forget how awesome he was....time will tell (pun intended).

So, for all my readers who have not caught The Doctor bug (hehe), he is a Time Lord and is over 900 years old and travels through time and space, mostly combating aliens and saving worlds to make up for losing his planet to the Daleks in the Time War.  He travels in his time machine, that looks like a British Police Box, era 1950s.  It is called the TARDIS, which stands for Time And Relative Dimensions In Space.  When The Doctor "dies" he regenerates.  When he regenerates he looks completely different, and has unique quirks/mannerisms.  He like to travel with a companion, and they are almost always a young girl.  There have been older companions, but they are usually in their 20s.  The Doctor has always wanted to be a red head, and is always disappointed when he regenerates and is not a "ginger."  He is a tragic hero, which endears him to us.

Anyway....the epic villain in the Dr Who series is the Dalek.  The Daleks are full of hate and war and want to "exterminate" all other life forms, especially The Doctor.  There are lots of villains in the Dr Who episodes, but the Daleks just keep coming back, no matter how many times The Doctor kills them off.  The are relentless, and terrifying.  If you've never seen an episode, you might think they don't look very scary, but it's the voice and what they do to people that is terrifying....you have to see it to believe it.

Our younger children are not allowed to watch Dr Who, unless it's in the afternoon.  They are scary.  I don't even recommend this series to many people either.  I know lots of Dr Who fans, but there is a down side.  One of the writers is "deviant."  And it comes through in the episodes written by Russel T Davies, so I'd recommend being careful when viewing those episodes as they often have distasteful elements.  Davies stepped down from writing for Dr Who when Matt Smith became The Doctor.  Steven Moffat is an excellent writer and his episodes always have you on the edge of your chair, and they remind me of the early Hitchcock movies...thrillers, without the gruesome gore in his later movies.

So,why am I writing about Dr Who?  Well, our children were inspired to create a Snow Dalek.  The only problem is that we rarely get a decent amount of snow.  But last Thursday we were blessed with around 6 inches of perfect, compacting snow.   So they remembered their wish, and they made it happen.  It took hours, and more than one person. The majority of the work was done by Reuben and Rebekah. They also had to enlist the help of their dad to get the arms and eye right.  But they nailed it!  I send the images to our local newspaper, but we got ignored.  I guess there aren't enough Dr Who fans on staff there!  

So, without further adieu, for all my readers who are Dr Who fans, I present "Invasion of the Dalek", Einfeld style!

We just got news that our photo was recognized in our local paper!

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Surprise Blessing!

Photos taken 12/14!
We had something amazing happen last week!  While I was reading a blog from a family who was on their "meet ya" trip this week in Christy's country, I recognized Christy's city!  This family was able to bring their son to stay with them for 3 days instead of visits twice a day like we had!  Then she commented that now they have to find things to do.  I contacted her, as I had seen that she had the same translator/driver that we did (Yavor), to see if it would be possible to check in to see if the thickener I was able to have brought to Christy was working and how the supply was lasting.

Not only were they able to do that, but Yavor was allowed to visit Christy and take photos!  He said she was quite tired (probably just laying down for a nap).  He also found out that the thickener is working well, and that the supply I sent should last a long time.  The nurse also requested that we send her some orthotic hose to help with her legs as she is super flexible and they think it would help to limit her movement.  It would take yet another miracle, actually a series of miracles, but we might just be able to pull it off and get her some "hip huggers."  I will work to get the hip huggers to our adoption agency attorney over there through a family who is going over there for their first trip in early January, and then she'll need to give it to Yavor and he would have to be going to her city with another family and have time to go to Christy's group home in order for us to get them to her, but it is possible...Please pray that we will be able to do this for her.

Her email was so fun to read, I'll quote it here:

"Dear Ruth!
We were able to go to Christy's group home today twice. The first time we went and Yavor went in and the nurse wasn't there until 12:00. This was in the morning. Yavor got to see Christy, and the care giver told him that Christy was doing really well, but she didn't know about the thickener, or anything about the supply of it needed. She said he should ask the nurse. Yavor said Christy was doing really well, though, and the caregiver told him that she'd had a medical appointment the week before and that went great!

So we went and had Jerry's visa picture taken and then we went to the mall and had lunch and then came back to the group home after noon. I said to Yavor, "see if you can get some photos of Christy and tell them her American Mama would be soooo happy!"...so Yavor took my camera and went in to check with the nurse. On his way in he said.."Now you realize that I probably won't be able to take any pictures, but I"ll try anyway!"...and then when he came out he brought me these on my camera!

Oh Ruth! She's so beautiful! I'm so thankful that we got to encourage you in this way! I said to Yavor..."Bravo!" "Bravo!"..he was beaming that he got to do that!

So..the report from the nurse:
Christy is doing great. She's off of her heart medicine now and only on her brain medicine. She's growing and actually outgrowing all of her clothes! She doesn't need any more thickener at this time. It's working well, but she has enough for a long time to come she said. Also, she mentioned wanting some stretchy ortho type socks or tights that would help to keep her legs straighter. Not sure what that meant, but she thought you might know, and if you could send those, that would be great. When you come for picking up, you'll need to bring her bigger clothes, the nurse said!

Okay..love to you!! Praying this blesses your day greatly!


Um, yeah!  That totally blessed my socks off!  And she's a woman after my own heart with all those exclamation points!  LOVE IT!!!!!!

As far as our adoption stuff goes, we were able to get our fingerprints done last Thursday, and I will be mailing them in through an FBI Channeler.  This way we should get our background checks back in about 2 weeks instead of 6 - 8 weeks!  Then I will have to send them to Caring Hands (a service that hand delivers documents to the US Secretary of State in Washington DC to get apostilled) and we will have them send the apostilled background checks directly to our adoption agency!

I am still hoping to hear any day now that our second stage dossier has been submitted.  These fingerprints/background checks will not be needed until we are assigned a judge/court date (and they might not be needed at all, as it depends on which judge we get), so this is not slowing anything down.

So here are the steps we still have left to go through:

-Article 5 translated/authenticated and  added to complete dossier submitted to Big Wig (approx 12/18)

-Complete dossier goes through 1 month of passing through lots of hands (finish approx 1/20)

-Gets signature from big wig (approx 1/27)

-is taken to the courts. (approx 1/31)

-assigned to a judge (approx 2/14)

-assigned a court date (approx 2/20)

-court date/adoption granted (approx 3/1)

-adoption gets signed court decree from the judge (approx 3/10)

-new birth certificate is applied for (approx 3/11)

-travel dates given once new birth certificate is done (approx 3/18)

Then we get to go bring her home (end of March?)

We also were blessed to have one of our photos of our visits with Christy put in a video that was just released today!  Please share this video, and consider participating in the 2013 

And please read about the Winslow family and there visits with their precious children last week.  This is the family who worked with Yavor in order to get updates on Christy! They still stand in need of funds to complete their adoption, so please consider donating to their grant!

Thank you Mary Winslow!

Thank You Yavor!!

Thank You God!!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Messiah, from a very different perspective...

Tonight I had the privilege of going to a live performance of the entire Messiah (by Handel).  Three of my children were in the choir (there were about 80 voices).  There was a live small orchestra, with an electronic harpsichord. a trumpet and tympani drums.  I was only 4 rows back so the sound was very good.  They were all talented musicians and the performance was incredible.  I'm sure there are better/more professional groups doing this around the world this time of year, but I think that the little town of Lynden outdoes itself with this performance every year, and this year was the best I've attended.  This is only my third time I've attended, but it is also the third time in a row.  It is the first time I have heard the Messiah in it's entirety live though.  In the past I have sung the Messiah several times, both in a mass choir and in a college choir.  Every time I loved it.

But today was different.

I didn't expect anything different.  Yes, I looked forward to seeing/hearing my children in the choir.  Yes, I looked forward to hearing the beautiful music that is The Messiah.  But I got so much more.

Things started out normally enough.  The tenor solo of "Comfort Ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God.....that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned."  The soloist is amazing.  One of the most beautiful voices in our area.  He goes on with "Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill made low; the crooked straight and the rough places plain."

About this time I start looking into the program and I notice something for the first time. There are "Parts."  Three Parts.  And Scenes.  This looks more like a play.  Part 1 - Prophecy and Promise of the Redeeming Messiah" Scene One - God's Comforting Promise.  I have never thought of it that way.  The Messiah....a play.   Scene two: The purifying Messiah is Prophesied...Scene Three: God's Glory Comes Through a Virgin....the soloist are singing verses from Isaiah that foretold of the virgin birth...Scene Four: The Christmas Story....Scene 5: Christ, the Shepherd-King's Ministry on Earth

I'm reading ahead....and then WHAM....it hits me.  This isn't an entire book of songs about Christmas.  Handel did not write this to make Christmas more memorable.  This is about Christ, THE MESSIAH.  What the Bible tells us about Him.  How it foretold His coming, His purpose.

And then in some Twilight Zone movie I get this perspective in my head that blows my mind.  It's like I'm standing outside of time and space looking down at creation as more of a timeline...able to see the past, the present and the future....

The Messiah reveals in the beauty of music God's eternal plan.  He revealed His promises and gives men prophesies about how the Messiah would come into the world to save mankind from sin.  That the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all shall shall see it together.....that the God of Heaven would send His only Son to be born of a human virgin girl....that God's WORD would become flesh!  That the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light!  That "unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given....

Now I'm really into this performance.  100% committed.  We are at Scene Four:  (I've been mulling all this over during "Scene 3").  This part is the "Pastoral Symphony."  You know, that part you skip because it's an instrumental piece...or you ignore while you find a fresh piece of gum...or start looking around to see if you see anyone you know in the audience....Only today, I hear it.  I hear the meadow.  I hear the crickets.  I hear the rustling of dirty stinking sheep.  I am in a pasture...Pastoral Symphony....it's so calming, relaxing and lovely to listen to.  And then I see them...the shepherds!  "There were shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night."

"And lo! the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were sore afraid"

I'm getting it.  The music, the solo...it's painting a picture in my head.  Almost like I'm watching a movie.  Out of the blue, the quiet of the night in an wilderness outside of Bethlehem, the shepherds are doing what they do every night...and the WHAM there's an angel and the night is lit up by the glory of the LORD!  The soloist continues with the unbelievable message that The Messiah has been born This Day....and Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  (do you hear the soloist...I still can!)

"Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth, good will towards men"

The power of the choral voices conjure images of HOSTS of angels shouting Glory to God.  I can see it.

But that's it about "The Christmas Story."  I'm reading ahead again during the next solo.  This is when it really gets into my brain.  The Messiah isn't a Christmas Cantata.  It is So Much More.

Scene Five is Christ's ministry on the Earth.  The blind will see, the deaf will hear, the lame will leap as a deer, the dumb shall sing.  Christ feed His flock like a shepherd.

This solo really resonates with me.  "He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and gently lead those that are with young."  He is a loving, gently savior.  We can find rest from our labor, and his yoke is easy and his burden is light.

It makes you really want to have been there.  To witness Christ walking on the earth and loving His people...how they must love Him in return.  Who wouldn't love a man like that?  "Gently Lead"...isn't that we all look for in a leader?

But it's intermission.  And while I really need to stand a stretch and I'm sure all the performers need a break, I don't want a break.  I'm afraid I'm going to lose this epiphany I am experiencing.  It's too incredible to talk about, so I just do small talk.  I can't wait for it to start again...I really want this experience to continue!

Finally...the lights flicker signalling time to get in place.

Part 2 - The Suffering Lamb Who Redeems

Scene 1:  The Abandoned Messiah Suffers Scorn.

Wait a minute....I wanted more of this gentle shepherd thing.....

Then I remember that I am out of time and space and this is something long ago and that I am only witnessing it from some crazy, far out place....and my eyes were focused on this tiny, three year spot in history when God walked the earth and loved on His people...but it came to an end.  An abrupt end.

Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.....

Yes, we are still talking about a lamb, but no longer is this a lamb with a loving shepherd...we're talking about a little lamb who is perfect, that is being SACRIFICED in our place to pay for our sins.

"He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.  Surely, Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.  He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him...and with His stripes we are healed."

Those people who The Messiah came to love on, in God's amazing sovereign plan to make a way for men to be reconciled to Himself, turned on their shepherd.

All we like sheep have gone astray;  we have turned everyone to His own way...

This is were it got really interesting.  The music for these words is bouncy, reckless, fast paced....all we like sheep...all we like sheep...have gone astraaaaaayyyyy.  Voices running over each other.  Near chaos in the intertwining of the different parts.  Intense...unrelenting...everyone to his own way....everyone to his own way...almost like all the parts are doing their own thing, going their own way....chaos.  And then suddenly the entire choir is saying together "HIS OWN WAY"  and the music stops for a moment...time suspended....not one moves, not a muscle...no one breathes...and suddenly the music starts again, still intense, but so different, like a dirge

"and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all....."

And then I see Him.  My shepherd...with stripes on His back, with sorrow etched on His face, surrounded by hostile people....but it's my sins that had been laid on Him....my sins that caused Him to be stuck....

"All they that see Him laugh Him to scorn;  they shoot out their lips and shake their heads saying.....He trusted in God that He would deliver him; let Him deliver him if He delight in Him."  And I see them all in the voices in the choir.  Chaos again.  So many voices running over each other all jeering at the wounded Messiah.  So terrible, so sad....I'm breaking inside.

And then the soloist comes again and sings something I've never heart before..."Thy rebuke hath broken His heart.  He is full of heaviness.  He looked for some to have pity on Him, but there was no man, neither found He any to comfort Him."  Oh the tragedy.  The loving shepherd abandoned, abused, rejected, scorned...having loved and comforted so many in His short ministry....but no one to comfort Him...

"Behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto His sorrow...

He was cut off out of the land of the living.  For the transgression of Thy people was He stricken"


and then.....hope breaks anew!

"But thou didst not leave His soul in hell, nor didst thou suffer Thy Holy One to see corruption.  This is amazing.  This is a message of great hope!  Yes, The Messiah died, but He did not stay that way!

Part 2:  Scene 2

"Lift up your heads, o ye gates and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors and the King of Glory Shall Come In!!!!!!!!!"

This song now has an entirely new meaning to me!  The King of Glory!  The Glorious resurrected Messiah, coming through the gates of death.

Who is this King of Glory? Who is this King of Glory?  So many voices asking who this could be!  No, it couldn't be...

The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle!  Yes, it is the Messiah!  He has won that battle over death and lives again!  And He's returned to heaven to continue....

Scene Three:  Spreading the Gospel

This was another song that really came to life for me.  The voices are singing "The Lord Gave the Word"  in unison.  All the men.  Strong...loud, like a voice from heaven.  And then the many voices start running over each other again:

"...and great was the company of the preachers"

I see it - the baby church.  The disciples and the new converts.  All preaching the good news.  That The Messiah has come and that He has conquered death and made a way for us to be made right with God.  So many voices, each saying it a little different, at a different time, different volume....and then the voices merge to one voice, and then back to many voices.  I see it.  So many people sharing the good news...different places, difference voices...yet ONE Message!

And then more about these preachers..."How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things.  Their sound is gone out into all the lands, and their words unto the ends of the world."

I picture the early church, scattered by persecution...sharing the good news as they scatter across the world...through time and space....mankind finding God through The Messiah's blood, and then sharing the good news...spreading all over the world..many voices...yet one story.  A perfect ending...right?

NO...man does not get it....not everyone...

"Why do the nations so furiously rage together?  Why do the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth rise up, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and His anointed."

But the people who have found the Messiah say "Let us break their bonds asunder, and cast away their yokes from us"

Victory In Christ!

"He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh them to scorn; the Lord shall have them in derision.  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron. Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

The victory is victory over sin and death.  And when that is realized, that death and sin has been conquered for you, that you are no longer under the bonds and yoke of sin...you HAVE TO PRAISE GOD!

I am so ready to stand up for the Hallelujah Chorus.  I get it now.  The Hallelujah Chorus is about realizing that Christ has done it all for us...He has won the battle over sin and death and hell and has offered us the free gift of salvation!

Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth.  The kingdom of this world is become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and of His Christ!  And He shall reign forever and ever.  King of King.  Lord of Lords.....

I see this song in a whole new light.  I've always loved to praise God through this song, but I never grasped the meaning of the words, until tonight.  This song is a song of amazing enlightenment.  You know, the moment you get it.  You realize the truth of what Christ has done for you...that He has done it all for YOU...and praise gushes form from a thankful heart!  When there comes a firmness of faith...faith in the one who has redeemed your life...

"I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.  And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.....

We are WAY beyond the Christmas story now....this is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt, that even though it doesn't make sense...I will behold HIM FACE TO FACE!  MY Savior!  My God!  My Gentle Shepherd!

For Now is Christ risen from the dead, the first-fruits of them that sleep.....

"Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead, For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

Yes...Christ became the solution to the crisis that happened in the garden of Eden.

Praise God....

"Behold, I tell you a mystery, we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet."

Oooohhhh....I'm getting goosebumps now....I know what's coming...I've read to the end of the book....but I've never heard it like this....never seen it like this....

"The trumpet shall  sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible"  And then the trumpet rings out in the music.  I hear the trumpet call.  I imagine what it might be like on THAT DAY when THE trumpet will sound, heralding The Return Of The King!!!  And then I see them - all these precious believers who lived before rising up in new bodies and the living believers being changed in an instant to incorruptible bodies and going to be with their Lord!

"For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality!"

"Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, "Death is swallow'd up in victory"

"O death where is thy sting....O grave where is thy victory"

No grave can hold us back!  Praise God!

"But Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ"

And then, my really truly favorite song from the Messiah takes on a whole new level of awesomeness.

"Worthy is the Lamb, Who was slain,
and hath redeemed us to God by His blood"

I see the risen Christ, The Messiah, martyrs standing around Him dressed in white...all the characters from Revelation appear in this room...and millions of people....and everyone realizes fully what The Messiah has done by His life, death  and resurrection....

"Worthy is the Lamb to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing...."

I am caught up in this picture of millions upon millions of voices joined together in spontaneous praise of our risen Lord and Savior.


I have a glimpse of the difficulty that John had, in describing  in the book of Revelations,  trying to share what He saw when He was caught up to the heavens and shown so many wondrous things.  There are not words to describe...it will be beyond amazing...beyond description.

Worthy is the Lamb.....Worth is the Lamb...to be praised.

I am humbled that God gave me this today.  I will never hear the Messiah the same again...and I don't want to.  God used Handel to take thousands of years, hundreds of books and authors, and condensed it down and put to music His amazing plan of salvation in the one, The Messiah.

My Messiah.

I am out of words...but still praising Him!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Jeremy and Sam's Wedding!

I just realized today that with all the craziness of leaving for Eastern Europe just days after Jeremy's wedding, I totally forgot to blog about it!  So, here is that day, almost 2 months ago now!

I LOVE Costco's dresses!
It really started early in the morning, with my sister, Beth, getting some hair done for our girls.  Rebekah, Rachel, Elizabeth, Esther and I all had our hair done at home, and then she left with me and the girls to go to church where she fixed Jessica's hair.  She did an amazing job!  We all looked marvelous!!!!  Daryl brought the boys with him.

Beth also took lots of photos for me, most of these are her photos, and the other are from the photographer who was hired, Furry Portraits.

Not sure she recognizes herself!

I had brought all the children's clothes to the church when I went for the rehearsal, as I had a nightmare earlier in the week about forgetting the clothes at home.  This actually worked very, very well.!  So once we arrived at the church I began the process of getting the little girl's dressed, and spending some fun time in the bathroom with the girly part of the wedding party.  Bringing in the little girls all dressed up was a highlight of my morning!

Oh my!  Amazing beauty
Man, my sister's got talent or what???
All my family looked their best.  The girls in their new clothes were amazing.  The three oldest young men of mine were so stunningly handsome in their tuxes!  My husband, all decked out in his new, first ever, suit was amazing too!  I had fun shopping for him - all new everything!

We were all ready ahead of time, but that worked amazingly well.  The family of the bride were having a little trouble getting everyone ready, so we had our photos with Jeremy first, and then the brides family did theirs.  They did no do any photos of the bride and groom together ahead of time as they had planned for Jeremy to see Samantha in her wedding dress for the first time as she came down the isle.

Here's my little sweety!
What a handsome young man!
After the photos, Jeremy was sent to hang out in the conference room, so he wouldn't accidentally see his bride.  I did the motherly thing and brought him some pain killer for his headache and made him drink some water.  I also got to pin on his boutonniere earlier!

We did steal into the auditorium to see the bride and watch some of the photos. It was amazing.  She was beautiful. The bridesmaids were so pretty!  The love between the bride and her parents was tangeable.  It was beautiful.

 Then we had time to just hang around and greet the guests.  The little girls stole the show, I must admit.  We also had two women helping me by watching after Esther and Carese, mostly in the nursery, but taking them out and about and where they needed to be for photos and such.  This worked so well. I really didn't have to worry about them at all.  They did an amazing job of keeping them happy all day.

Then before we knew it, I was told it was time.  My entry with Jeremy was the signal that things were beginning.  I was supposed to look happy, say witty things to Jeremy on the way up and then sit down.  I have no idea what I said to him, except something about being so very, very proud of him.  Then spontaneously I kissed him on the cheek before sitting down, surprising both of us, but I'm so very glad I did it!

Then I sat down between my husband and my mother, holding hands with both of them and trying to not cry!  I can't just wax nastalgic though, as after the mother of the bride, my friend Julie, sits down, both of us have to, in sync, walk up onto the stage and light the unity candle! We pull this off without a hitch, and I even spontaneously hug after lighting the candles.  She shared with me later that it did her good, helped her to calm down.  I just know it was the right thing to do at that moment.  We've been friends for a long time now (around 10 years) and it was so wonderful to have our children go through such an amazing, God honoring courtship, and now to be getting married.  It was just amazing...

And then it was time.  The bridesmaids made their entrance.  Jessica looked like a model or something.  Graceful and beautiful!  The adorable little flower girl tripped going up the stairs, but the pastor saved the day and got her where she belonged.  Then there was Sam, coming down the isle, looking radiant!

The ceremony went perfectly.  And you could see everyone's excitement as the moment approached...their FIRST EVER KISS!  This was, for both of them, the first kiss of a lifetime.  They did a great job, as you can see.  Another friend of mine sent me this photo that she took with her phone.!

Before I knew it we were taking more photos, and they got more kissing practice too!  After that, it was time for the reception.  It was fun, and the games made it very enjoyable.  The nice part about being a parent in a wedding is that you always get front row seats!  I loved everything about that day.

Jeremy and Sam looked so in love that day.  Their sitting so close together at the reception (for the first time too), was endearing.  I just couldn't take my eyes off them.  Then it was time to say good bye, and then they got to leave, after emptying the Mustang of a million balloons first, for their honeymoon.

God has richly blessed us with an amazing son, and now an amazing daughter in law!

For Unto Us....

A Blessed Holiday Season to all of you!