Friday, August 31, 2007

Our Bride and Groom!

“What therefore God hath joined together,
let not man put asunder”

~ Matthew 10:9

Our brand new "Mr. & Mrs."

We’re back from another whirlwind visit to the West Coast. Over the course of this year a group effort was decided upon with two families at the helm, working together towards the same goal, that of the Sacrament of Matrimony for our daughter to her future loving husband.

Torn between choosing to accompany us on our move to the east and that of leaving the rest of the family in the west, this is the daughter we were very concerned about leaving behind, especially when shortly before the move, she chose to stay in the west with her older siblings, grandparents, and nieces/nephews.

Our bride was having her veil attached to
the headpiece tiara - a something borrowed
from our daughter in law.

Her support system was still large, and became larger when Mike’s family eventually took her under their wing, ensuring us all was well, and keeping the eastern portion of our family in tune with the bigger picture over time. How we appreciated the regular emails from Mike’s mother Carol, knowing too she was overseeing two very precious people on their journey to the altar in person, just as both families were also mentoring them towards the final countdown date, though ours was from a distance.

Hashing over the details together during our last trip west this past March/07, both of the families began to formulate a plan, working to unite in thought and deed, obviously knowing the importance of remaining on the same page. It became the norm to continually offer parental guidance (both requested and unsolicited), and the ripple effect of family continually mentoring the couple, offering an immense loving support system.

He was looking anxiously for the bride and
relieved to see her walking in the doorway.

When necessary we were just a telephone call away when we just “had” to hear one another’s voice, and tears fell within those calls knowing and acknowledging the vast geographical distances between us. Emotions reigned, but the road to marriage luckily wasn’t going to be too terribly long.

It’s amazing what we don’t need in our lives when reviewing past life changing situations, one such of these specifically occurring for me after having to move across the country away from loved ones, and shortly thereafter realizing how ill my hubby had become, necessitating a decision for him to leave work because of it. Moving away left us with deep enduring emotional moments, not only facing concerns as a parent towards the welfare of an older young adult child left alone to support herself, but also having to consequently assimilate passing judgments of others who decided upon the fact we erred by leaving her behind at all. Some felt they never could have, and would not have, but then reality must careen forward when realizing to make such a statement they have not husbands whose career may require a geographical transfer possibility in a married lifetime. Ours didn’t happen for twenty-nine years, and thank goodness for that! Without a transfer, one faces the consequence of a career loss and its benefits, something a large family cannot afford in the first place, thereby having no recourse for other options. Certainly other careers don’t face such decisions so it becomes very easy for someone to discreetly give advice, point a finger where they feel we are erring, or pass judgment.

However, God had other plans for this daughter, better plans actually that we offer prayers of thanksgiving for acknowledging that He does indeed work in mysterious ways, continually disclosing his plans to us along this journey called life when he sees fit to do so.... Thanks be to God!

A very proud father of the bride!

Finally we were back in Vancouver about to witness the beautiful and special day ahead.

All that said, I am thrilled to report a happily-ever-after milestone, the welcomed wedding day we were delighted and so very pleased to attend. We are overjoyed and consumed with great happiness (and confessed relief) knowing our daughter is in great hands with her new husband. We are so proud to be among the two families who literally came together for the good of one young couple we all love dearly.

As another child weds, so too does our family expand. Having experienced several weddings in the family before this one, all of our children’s weddings were unique unto themselves and certainly have blessed our family with continued great joy. We welcome yet another to our fold, and are so very proud to do so on the blog just as we did in person and at the wedding reception. We know Mike will love, honor and cherish Ashley all the days of their lives. It’s a pleasure to have you in the family Mike.

Kneeling for their matrimonial blessings.

As the days moved forward and the wedding day commenced, we were continuously connected and kept in the loop to the whole situation out west with regular emails from our daughter’s new mother in law, our big kids and parents. Assignments had been delegated to all, offering a lighter load to a handful of people. Our family drafted a schedule of where and when to attend functions during the upcoming week, successfully offering us a very smooth visit.

Weddings! You either love them or hate them. Love them because they are so beautiful, and hate them because women find their makeup smearing under their eyes when the joyful tears drip onto their laps, into their tissues or silently down their cheeks.

Blessings of this wedding;

  • For us, it was such a blessing to be able to be present to witness another beautiful daughter making her vows, thusly becoming a married woman. We were teased all evening; Four down, four more to go! (Lord willing)

  • Having the family all together, watching the grandchildren intermingle with our younger ones and their distant cousins, but most of all; getting another family picture with everyone in it this time! Timeless!

  • Having very special family members and cherished friends coming together for the sole purpose of sharing in the occasion of the couple’s “Sacrament of Matrimony”.
  • Seeing the little great nieces/nephews again! The power of “The Family” is immeasurable, precious and irreplaceable. It was a delight to see cousins again, inlaws, siblings and special friends. These are what memories are made of – family and friends who come together celebrating pivotal moments in one another’s lives. We love you!
Guest book attendants!

  • Meeting so many wonderful people in Mike’s family, and viewing the abundance of smiling faces, obviously they were happy people - also happy to be present! Finding out all the boys paths had already crossed long ago with hockey the evening before, those in the wedding party, Mike and our boys. Very funny, small world. Welcome to our extended family Wayne, Carol and Bryan!

  • Thrilled with the way two families merged together, emotions were shared, and a plethora of plentiful hugging offered over and over again. As our other children's marriages - THIS is how a marriage should be! THIS is how both families should come together. We are blessed to be in unison with all our children’s in laws!

  • Another amazing experience was attending the dinner at Wayne & Carol’s after the rehearsal the evening before the wedding, with all the immediate family members present and the bridal party, coming together in a very unique and tremendously emotional evening. LOVED it! Thanks again!

  • Watching the continued and ongoing efforts of some pretty special people in action, taking over details of a wedding planner’s position to assure all was smooth and easy. Many thanks to Carolyn and Jackie for being there, both have allowed me to be their “second mothers”. Love you!

  • Taking a few photos myself in the front pews before realizing we had a photographer there, and then observing the multitudes of other photographers in our midst, snapping photos to offer even more still life memories to cherish forever. We’re only a postage stamp away, please send us some. We’ll pay you back! (smile) Until the photographer sends the photos, you'll have to put up with the few I've included here.

  • So many more blessings continue to pour in, thank you to everyone! I'll be back with a second part to this writing as the photos pour in. We have many more memories to share from our week there in the west, too many for this blog writing!

Unexpected curves;

Crisis for the mother of the bride;
The family heirloom pillow...
forgotten at home in the east!

  • Forgetting the family’s heirloom sewn ring pillow at home, discovering this was so when catching our connector plane half way to Vancouver! Mortified I realized we would have to purchase one instead of having this child follow in it’s use as her older siblings all have. Ugh
  • The wrong size of wedding dress was ordered into the store necessitating five inches of excess fabric on the side seams. The seamstress changed the entire look of the bodice piece, and I had a very emotional telephone call from the bride to be from the shock of the new dress look. Not a pleasant thing to also be charged with a whopping alteration bill! The dress was NOT the same, less modest and more difficult to wear properly. All was well though, it's in the past.
The dress before the alterations...much
higher in the bodice and not such a deep cut.

  • Our granddaughter who would be the young flower girl was bitten by her puppy the evening before during the rehearsal dinner and had a deep cut over her lip to contend with. The butterfly band-aid was removed shortly before the wedding and luckily it held together.

  • The best man was in a car accident the morning of the wedding and it looks as though his vehicle is a write off. He was most nervous about his speech that day, and after the wedding had to tend to the car.

  • Losing the piano accompaniment suddenly for my sister in law, who has become the vocal soloist in a family tradition, always gracing us with her rendition of “Ave Maria” at most family functions when she is able and in town. She was forced to make a quick decision to change the version of the song so she could play the music herself and not have to encounter those high note pitches, requiring her to stand to attain them.

  • Big billowy black clouds appearing out of nowhere from behind blue skies, threatening to ruin the day, but on the bright side our great photographer had big black umbrellas to protect the wedding party when taking photos outdoors.

  • Not able to spend a lot of time with good friends, but grabbing hugs and what we could during the time together.

  • The acoustics in the building were terrible for some reason, not as good as those offered for our son’s wedding day in the same venue. The Master of Ceremonies spent much time attempting to change the microphones, and obtain better visibilities to the video performance without proper equipment present as we had hoped for. Kudos to him though, he did a great job!

Emotions play a funny part when a couple proceeds to the altar, vowing to one another those special faith and moral issues, plus their promised fidelities a marriage must have to succeed with down the road. Once the promises are uttered and a multitude of invited guests have witnessed the scene before them, it is the couple’s duty to live up to their promises. It is the guest’s duty to assist when able as well during the years ahead into their married lives together.

During our daughter’s walk up the aisle, it was once again a reminder of the journey our newlyweds encountered to the final stage of their forever commitments. Each couple is guaranteed to have their very own story, featuring pivotal and timely moments when everything comes together. In our family we tend to celebrate the ordinary, feast over the milestones for each individual and certainly when a young couple is in the midst of marriage preparations, it is an emotion like no other for the parents, let alone the bride and groom. The entire family has been touched tenderly in one or more ways with this wedding. May we never forget it.


You either love them or hate them!

We love them!

Congratulations to our newlyweds!

We love you!

to be continued with other photos in the future...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We're home safe and sound...

Wedding bells rang.
We rejoiced!

Three airport tours today and alas the final flight eagle landed. We collected our luggage, caught the shuttle to the parkade and proceeded to drive home.

I awoke at 1:10 am, and sleep wasn't to be. I woke everyone else up somewhere around 3:30am, so we are all very tired tonight! Most are already in bed, happy to resume sleeps in their own beds, I'm off shortly myself.

Truly, it was a marvelous whirlwind visit to the west coast, the purpose as I've mentioned before was for celebrating a marriage in our family. Our daughter married her Mike, and it was a most memorable time for all!

Back when I recover...and I gather pictures from the camera. For now, here's something to see - truly happy parents. Yoohoo Carol, where we you? hee hee (Next time!)

Father of the Bride (my hubby),
Mother of the Bride (myself)
and the Groom's father,
all smiles as this was a grand day to rejoice!

(P.S. I have to say it was so cold on the westcoast, I placed socks on my feet to warm up for the first time in nine weeks. Back home today, it's a balmy 86 degrees, and tomorrow is supposed to hover around 92 degrees. Yahoo!!!)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Five days...

Five Days!

The countdown is ticking, the sand in the hourglass is tumbling down, sifting through the moments of time, and the wedding day is fast approaching!

We are flying west to attend our daughter Ashley's wedding, visit with family and friends and enjoy a whirlwind, hair-straight-back busy time.

We will welcome Mike into our family officially, celebrate my parent's 55th Wedding Anniversary, our son Aaron and his wife Jennifer's Wedding Anniversary, Mike's birthday (he turns 30), and so many other festive gatherings worthy of our time and affections. We'll fill you in when we return. For now though, we are preparing ourselves emotionally and mentally (who are we trying to kid?) for the day ahead when another child leaves the nest, cleaving to her husband forevermore.

Going to the chapel and we're gonna see our daughter's married....going to the chapel of love....

Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Announcing new things here!

Of Interest..

There has been minor changes on my blog, sweet little HTML computer page devices I found particularly touching to place within my personal space here.

If you've not been to the very end of this page in some time, why not press your "end" button when the page has fully loaded to observe what's new these days.

First of all I've placed several long counters with photos of the people who are counting down the days (and sleeps) to something very special in their lives. These are the people we are praying for amongst many others of course. It's been fun to watch the countdown in progress, the daily reminders of celebrations and blessings to come in the near future.

Secondly, you may or may not have your speakers turned on and noticed I've added music selections here. I've placed four of our favorites these days, ones to lift ANY weary soul, offering kind thoughts to those who are remaining in the west and our friends all over the world in general.

Yes.....for sure....
  • You'll be in our hearts!
  • Find your wings!
  • Friends are friends forever!
  • I can only imagine...
To you all, sending lots of love to you through the countdowns and, of course, the music.


The beauty of creation...

For the love of flowers...

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary.

To one without faith,no explanation is possible.

~ St. Thomas Aquinas

August blessings continue...

August Blessings continue...

Our summer weather has been truly fantastic, nine weeks of sunshine to date and only three stormy wet days to care for thirsty grounds.

The humidity has not been horrible, a mere few specific days when hubby had to remain indoors with the air conditioning humming along, offering everyone cooler reprieves from the burning rays outdoors, results of the summer’s heat waves.

Our great weather continues to be such a lovely blessing, enhancing our recent company's visit during this month of August. Surely it is a bonus reward, allowing for tours around our eastern areas and fun geographical explorations, including also all the summer season typically includes - even if only simple pleasures of lazier and longer days with their accompanying beautiful sunsets.

So long, until next time dear friends.

This morning we bid farewell to our dear friends from Indiana, thoroughly enjoying our past few days with them here in our eastern home. As only kindred spirits can do, it was such a pleasure to see them, observe their easy comfort inside of our home, all of us taking the time out to nurture our friendship for continued growth. We made memories to tuck in the recesses of our hearts. Certainly our “Caribbean Couple” (wink) left us all wonderful pleasures while we were enabled to spend the quality time with one another. How it would be grand to have them living closer!

Looking ahead over the next few months, we will more than likely make our next trek to Chicago again, dreaming of special medical possibilities for hubby, also knowing we will be passing by their home, allowing for more visiting in the near future.

The children were given a weekly assignment challenge to query their father using a specific question; “When will we be going to Chicago again?”, something to we're definitely looking forward to for enjoying further friendship moments and geographical adventures in their locale as offered.

Thank you to you both!


The beautiful colors of summer...

Summer's bounty!

Summer’s bounty surrounds us at this time of year. Delicious aromatic scents reach out to grab our attention, and wonderful visual temptations encourage drooling sensations deep within.

Popping up within our country location, there seems to be a plethora of temporary stands popping up upon occasion, filled with garden fresh offerings fresh from the farmer's fields. Our grocery stores are stacked with bulging bins of freshly picked fruits and vegetables, and of course, we have our incredible organic delivery service arriving each week with freshly picked colorful delights.

Who can resist a carrot fresh from the garden, a sweet cherry tomato picked from its vine, or a handful of plump blueberries to savor the summer’s gifts to us?

Fresh from the garden...

With fresh eyes, may you see the beauty of the simple before your eyes this time of year, the bountiful garden of gifts beckoning your attention, and all the possibilities for color at your table for nutritious fare over the coming weeks.

Who says fresh is not the very best?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

So long, farewell, see you next week!

Our precious week came to an end...

Life gives us brief moments with another…but sometimes in those brief moments we get memories that last a lifetime…”

How does one sum up one week of bonding time with loved ones, a week where precious people traveled east to spend time with us here, a time we thought wouldn’t present itself so soon.

We were simply thrilled to have family visit us in our new home and allow them to experience life in the east as we have grown to enjoy. The weather co-operated very well, with only one morning shower within an eighty-degree humid period.

After a few days of settling into a routine surrounding a typical time change from Pacific hours to Eastern hours, slowly we all became adjusted to a lack of sleep with the initial late (!) nights settling everyone down to sleep, including the adults and teens. The little girls (ages 5,6,7) kept their young auntie awake until almost 3am the first night, and the second night was somewhere around midnight, our time. As is typical, finally on the third night, all four little girls fell into a deep slumber from literal exhaustion and a great afternoon at the beach with plenty of fresh air and continuous running. Hubby here sent us into fits of laughter when cheering them all on yelling out; “Faster, faster”… hee hee

Another beach day saw waves whipping onto the shores, lucky thing for last minute thoughts on bringing along lifejackets for the girls. All wore them and squealed with delight as they were pushed back and forth on their backs, boogie boards, or tummies.

"Memory is a child walking along a seashore. You never can tell what small pebble it will pick up and store away among its treasured things."

~Pierce Harris, Atlanta Journal

Clothesline training was in session every day with the wet towels and bathing suits ensuing from daily swims in the pool, or from the beach excursions they loved dearly. Each of the girls enjoyed this little assigned task, taking measures to use the clothespins correctly, and assuring their gear was on the line at the appropriate time during the day. In the evening, they brought in the laundry, and it was ready for the next day's swimming fun.

What fun!

Baby Bunny doll

At home with the bunnies each day.

The animals on the property were found lapping up all the attention daily, so many people paying them wee visits, petting them, showing great affection to them all. A lesson in patience for them was necessary, each time they say someone they thought it was time to play…again.

Crafts in session.

Crafts were in session often, anything from paper doll creations, to beading necklaces, to coloring. We had it all rolling with our new art center coming in handy for sure.

Guess who's playing tonight's bowling?

With our son toting along his beloved Nintendo Wii game system, he set us all into motion, challenging all to games of bowling, tennis, golf and a couple boxing matches. This is not the ordinary game system, rather one has to become very active in order to play, so no one was a couch potato, believe me. The last few nights together inspired our son to activate a bowling tournament, including all the youngsters.

What fun to see all the children standing up and throwing their arms up with the Wii device tied to their wrists, the motion detected balls using their virtual reality technology went zooming off towards the bowling pins. When someone was lucky enough to negotiate a strike, or a spare, all the cheers offered a surround-sound experience.

Bowling... It's all in the leg curl really.

The funniest of all was our son, a serious player (smile) who had a signature throw with his foot curling up behind him in the opposite direction. His enthusiasm was catchy, and all giggled when watching the happenings each evening when serious game matches were in session.

“Memories are the treasures that we keep locked deep within the storehouse of our souls…”

Taking a drive to visit one of the famous "chip trucks" by the waterside.

As is the summer ritual in the east, our friends hosted their annual pig roast while our guests were here, therefore everyone was able to experience life deep in farm country in the center of nowhere land, roasted pig dinner, hayrides, volleyball games and the grand finale of a very competitive football game on a freshly cropped oat field.

Serious football game about to begin.
Rules are being detailed here.

The bits of stalk remaining in the ground were spiky enough for anyone not to want to roll on it; however some were adamant on the “play” and suffered a few consequences in the end.

They are the first to get onto the wagon
for the hayride. Many joined in on both
wagons shortly afterwards.

One in particular was a grand save winning the game for the blue side. We had one son participating on the blue team, the other on the yellow team. Competition was high; results were many good sports shaking hands upon completion. The final play was captured on a video camera, so instant replays were often requested, quite funny really.

We promised to share the memories gathering here with the girls’ “horse fever”, so a riding lesson was previously reserved before their arrival. Excitement was high as we headed for the horse farm, thirty horses to view and say hello to, awaited the girls. The best part was watching their reactions to grooming the three horses offered for the lesson, and seeing the riding lesson in progress.

The worst part was the high heat and having to dress the girls in warm clothing and helmets, sweat pouring down their faces as they disembarked from the furry beasts. These gals were eager to ride, and loved every second of it.

Our girls were the instructor’s assistants, offering extra hands for personal coaching in learning how to walk, move around objects on the pathways, turn in opposite directions, spring into a full trot, perform scissor kicks, and around the world turns in the saddle for better balance, and other such regular lesson items.

The instructor, our girls’ teacher loved having the three gals for the lesson period, and giggled when our youngest granddaughter broke out into grand laughter during her trotting time, especially when she first belted out “I don’t want to go faster”. How cute this was.

Soccer match playoffs!

Soccer challenges in the back property were plentiful, everyone working hard to get the ball into the segregated net areas.

The dogs were entertained and trained on how to fetch a ball and return it, rather than running away and not wishing to give it up for another throw. Several daily sessions allowed the dogs freedom off their leashes to run about the property, and actually returning to the kids instead of heading for other neighbor properties. Whenever the dogs (the girls) saw our son or his wife, they barked or cried knowing they would come and play with them one more time each day.

One dog in need of plenty of water!

As is our tradition, we all desired a campfire and our wish came true one evening when everyone was gathered around with food and feasting in progress outdoors. The young girls experienced cooking over a campfire, one of them explaining to us that this was how Indians made their food, as she had prior knowledge of this detail from her history lessons in school. When it came time for roasting the marshmallows, they were not sure what to think of it, but loved even the burnt ones. Yummy yum!

Campfire lessons 101

See my tan from the football game!

The girls discovered our GREAT dollar store, one to make any serious shopper go ga-ga, offering stupendous buys for any young person with a bit of change. Earlier in the week we played many games of various “Lotto” versions, prizes being points towards this dollar store expedition day.

Colorful footwear by all present this week.

While in town, a sale on those fanciful “croc shoes” was noted, and we set off to try a few pairs on the young gals, and older ones too! One of our granddaughter’s croc shoes was broken while here after she chose to wear them for a soccer game instead of her running shoes. With fabulous season end pricing, all returned home with a little Dutch heritage in their attire. Aren’t the colors wonderful?

Birthday Duo - 8 & 28 years!

Uncle and Niece sharing the task of
blowing out their birthday cake together

We celebrated two birthdays as mentioned in my previous post. We had an actual birthday party, with ice-cream birthday cake, happily enjoyed by all for a combined celebration. Earlier in the week though, we treated our son and his wife to dinner at a nice restaurant, enjoying our time together.

She lost her front tooth here the
night before leaving for home.

My Uncle pulled out my tooth!

A highlight on the last evening after dinner, was watching our older son pull the loose front tooth hanging delicately by a thread out of our granddaughter’s mouth. Everyone stood nearby, cheering her on and celebrated the toothless grin afterwards. I packed up her newly pulled tooth lovingly to take home for her family to see in an envelope, so I wonder if the tooth fairy came for a visit yet. Smile

Just me and my uncle...

I am a miser of my memories of you
And will not spend them.

~Witter Bynner, "Coins"

Before too long, our time together necessitated the need to turn another page with our memory making, and we knew the suitcases must be packed up for their return flight home again. It was a restless evening sleep, knowing the alarm clock would sound off at approximately 3:30am. to allow for showers and a bite to eat. As we set off on our hour plus drive to the airport, it was still very dark outside, so all were quite relaxed in anticipation of their airplane boarding and flight home.

“Sometimes you already have what you pray for”

Alas when we arrived at the departures designated area, we were all brave and strong, realizing we get to see one another again next week when we fly out west for our daughter’s wedding day. Emotionally we were all very brave this time, containing our farewell cards tightly to our chests. However we will say farewells again in two week’s time from now, fully aware this will be our last time flying west for quite a long while in the future.

All is well, everyone arrived home safely, and it is our turn to begin the suitcase retrieval and packing lists for next week.

To look backward for a while is to refresh the eye, to restore it, and to render it the more fit for its prime function of looking forward.

~Margaret Fairless Barber, The Roadmender

(P.S. Precious memories continue. As we began to doze off late last night, a telephone call came in with a grand-daughter wanting to say goodnight to us. So cute! )