Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thirty-Nine Years and Counting

December 27, 1972. Rehearsal Dinner. The groom was so nervous that he could not enjoy the meal.

December 28, 1972, early afternoon: The bride drove by the tux shop and saw the groom - gunned her Mustang so that the groom didn't see her - the old legend says that the groom is not to see the bride before the wedding (that certainly has gone the way of the dinosaur since most pictures are now taken before the ceremony).

December 28, 1972, 6:00 p.m. - The florist messed up and didn't send the boutonnieres, nor the bouquet intended for the bride to throw. The boutonnieres arrived just in time, the extra bouquet never did arrive.

December 28, 1972, 7:00 p.m. - The wedding began. The bride had wanted the two of them to sing to each other. The groom said he didn't think he could do that. It's a good thing he knew himself that well, judging by the rehearsal dinner situation (above). The groom's sister sang, "We've Only Just Begun," by the Carpenters. The groom's parents later sang "Together Forever," from the musical "I Do, I Do." The bride and groom exchanged vows that had been written especially for them by the bride's sister. The prayer song was "Saviour, Like a Shepherd Lead Us," again by the groom's sister. The bride and groom prayed separately - the groom's prayer almost had the bride in tears. The final song was "All Our Lives," also by the groom's sister. Can you tell that music plays a big part in the lives of this couple??

Both pastor fathers performed the ceremony and they presented a copy of "The Living Bible" to the couple.

The church was decorated with white flocked trees, white lights, and blue satin balls (did anyone notice the oversight on the bride's part - some sort of skirt under the trees would have been nice!) The church building had been sold, but the new building had experienced many delays and was not finished. The pews had been sold to a small church in Denver. For some reason the bride's father, the pastor of the church, let the members of the little church come and pick up the pews BEFORE the wedding! As long as the lights were out and the candles glowing, it looked okay. But those folding chairs looked a little less than elegant when the lights came on!

The honeymoon was to be in the Grand Canyon and vicinity.

Just before the wedding, a storm blew in, which came from that direction. The travel agent encouraged the groom to change plans and not head into that situation. The first two nights were in Estes Park, until the groom developed a sinus infection!

The couple headed down the mountain to see the doctor. While he was out getting checked over and medicated, the bride spent the time at the new apartment, opening gifts, hanging pictures, and generally making it habitable. The groom came back with an entirely new plan - stay home until after New Year's Day, then fly to California to Disneyland, Knotts' Berry Farm, and the Japanese Village. The couple had family over on New Year's Day to watch football and "dine" on Tuna Touchdown Casserole, in honor of the theme of the day.

The couple expected to bask in the warmth of California, but it was in the 60s. They froze! But considering that there was a huge storm back home, they felt blessed. Because of the weather, it was as though everyone cleared the streets for this couple to be alone on their honeymoon. It was glorious.

The years have brought many adventures, mountain peaks and deep valleys. God has always been there, by their sides and in their lives.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


It's Christmas Eve Day. Grandpa took the girls for an adventure, so I could have some alone time today. He is a blessing to them and to me. Kristen has to work all day at Hobby Lobby - I'm not happy with HL today, staying open until 5:30 so that she can't get to church at 5:00. I may write somebody about that - a Christian company staying open too late for their employees to get to Christmas Eve service.

The gifts are wrapped, stacked, and sorted under the tree by Miss Hayley, the organizer. All I have to make today is scalloped potatoes for dinner tonight at Dwight's sister's house. We're having a simple early evening cold buffet tomorrow night, since we're celebrating Jesus' birth on Sunday. I have to figure out a dessert to make (or buy) today.

Anthony will be with us tomorrow - he is so excited to see his sisters. It has been a year since he has. He is coming to church with us tomorrow - I know many still think of him and pray for him. Our prayer has always been that the seeds planted in his young years in our church and home will come to fruition. I have faith this will happen.

We are missing Kevin and Angie today. But I am excited that they are spending their first Christmas alone together in their 10 years of marriage. They will spend tomorrow with the guys at the Teen Challenge house, after church tomorrow and a midnight Christmas Eve service tonight - they have found a church they really like and are becoming involved. That, as a dear no-longer-blogging friend would say, is a blessing indeed!

I posted this picture on Facebook today with my greeting. I decided to post it here as well. I believe I was 9 years old - Hayley's age. I was so proud of this quilted fabric circle skirt.

Have a wonderful, blessed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the best year ever to come!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas at My House

Another week has flown by, and it has been one full of music. I calculated this afternoon that in the last 3 days, I have sung 86 songs in performances - 4 concerts with the Loveland Choral Society and 3 songs in each of the two services this morning at church. That number doesn't count singing along with the radio or the congregational singing this morning. Needless to say, I am weary. But it has been an amazing time - our director decided that it is time to really "bring Christmas back" and chose the music accordingly. He has always chosen wonderful, "real" Christmas music, along with the "fun" stuff. But this year he went an extra step and included narration of the Christmas story from Scripture, read by his pastor. I wish you could all have been there.

But - my visit to the podiatrist last Monday left me in this condition:

This is the next step in surgery prevention. But it made getting on and off the risers, and standing for hours at a time, challenging to say the least. My singing partner served as my crutch getting off and on the fairly steep risers. I start physical therapy tomorrow - I'll keep you posted!

Once again, decorating, baking, and card sending has taken a back seat to singing. I'm thinking of a New Year's letter, or even possibly a Valentine's one instead. But then I thought that last year also. I used to put up two trees, but my designer one has not made it upstairs - this makes the third year. Hayley wants me to still put it up, though it's only a week till Christmas now. We did manage to decorate the regular tree and have enjoyed it very much.

My growing collection of snowmen occupies this corner ...

... and the angels sit in the opposite corner ...

Remember my little broken snowman that I bought in Maine? Dwight did a great job of repairing him - finding a new right arm out in our back yard. (I love the pictures of Kristen and Kevin on the wall behind him).

For years I had this one nativity set, the only ceramics project I ever did.

When grandkids began arriving and spending lots of time at my house, I acquired this Little People one, which has been used with great imaginative playing for 7 years now - the figures spend a lot of time on the floor. When you push down on the angel on top of the stable, it plays "Away in a Manger."

This is another child-friendly one, which tells the story and plays "We Three Kings." When both it and the other one are put into action, it is wonderful cacophony.

This is the third one the kids play with - I got it at a fund raiser when Hayley was in preschool. Last year Baby Jesus disappeared, and has not been found. I placed one in there from a different set, which totally doesn't fit. But that's okay.

Back in the day when we used to do blogging Christmas Home Tours, I saw the Willow Tree sets for the first time and fell in love with them. I began getting a few pieces each year. This year I completed my set with the wise men. I know there are more things available, but I don't plan to spend any more on this project.

I have acquired several more sets, small ones that fit on the shelves of our new entertainment center. This one came from Miles Kimball catalog and it's called the "thimble collection."

This one is miniature, with the pieces only about 3 inches high.

... and these are about 6 inches

This came from Louise in Maine - I love it.

I love Hobby Lobby's 80% off sales after Christmas ---

Kristen works there now, and this one was 50% off, plus her 15% employee discount!

This one is WAY abstract, but it is special because Dwight's boss gave it to her staff, made by her husband.

This was a gift from my sister-in-law ...

... and this one is very special to me, carved from olive wood and brought to me from Israel by my brother, who is privileged to go there often.

The rest of these don't technically qualify as nativity sets, but do represent parts of the wonderful story.

This one I showed in my last post, but it fits here ---

My mother-in-law made these for us years ago. I haven't put them up for years and Kristen was so happy to see them. She said she always knew it was Christmas when she saw the wise men.

Kevin found this at the Cracker Barrel one year for my birthday, and it meant so much to me because it was at a time in his life when the fact that he bought me something so special gave me so much hope. The girls love watching it twirl in the candle heat.

This was a Christmas card years ago that was drawn by Joni Eareckson Tada. She draws with her mouth, since she became a quadriplegic at age 17. I decoupaged it back in the olden days when that was a popular craft. Remember that?

My sister is heading to Puno, Peru to visit her kids who are on a short-term mission down there - I'm going to ask her to bring me one of their very cute sets. If I get one, I'll be sure to share it with you.

Have a wonderful week leading up to the wonderful celebration of Christ's birth.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Snippets of Christmas Around Here

It's been a very busy, full of Christmas fun, kind of week. Kristen is working at Hobby Lobby again and you can imagine how busy that place might be at this time of the year! And that means we've had the girls alot - but they've been able to sleep at home most nights, which makes them happy - and us as well!

Last Sunday morning was one of my favorites of the entire Christmas season - the children's musical at church. This year's play was called "Christmyth Busters." Hayley had a lead speaking role, and was actually the "myth buster" for the other kids. She was called a "brainiac" by one of the kids in the play - I felt it was great casting on the part of the leader. The gist of the story was that there are a lot of traditions we celebrate that aren't actually in the Bible stories. The truth is that these are not essential parts of the story, but things that we've envisioned over the years - such as 3 wisemen (we know there were 3 gifts, but not necessarily 3 wisemen), the innkeeper does not appear in scripture (but if there was an inn, must there not have been an innkeeper?), December 25 was the date Jesus was born (we don't really know this as fact, and probably it was more like spring or summer that the shepherds were out in the fields with their flocks). But the bottom line is that the basic story is all we need - Jesus was born as the Savior of the world.

Livi played the star in the East -- and she literally smiled with joy through the entire performance.

It was fun watching the twins watching their sisters - soon they'll be up there too!

Friday night was the annual Walker Manufacturing Christmas party - it is always a lovely event with good food, Christmas caroling, a video presentation of the events of the last year at the company, drawings for prizes, and bonuses. Dwight's quartet sang again this year.

A tradition that never changes is when all the guys and their sons go to the front and sing "Silent Night." Hayley thinks there should be equal opportunity for the ladies and girls and that we should sing next year. Maybe it will happen!

Today (Sunday) was awesome at our church. We've been rehearsing for many weeks now for our adult musical. We had such a great group of singers this year, some for the very first time to sing in a choir. Our leader, Rhonda, is amazing and brings out our very best, and we are better than we really are.

My sister and our friend, Ruth, wrote an amazing narrative/drama to fit with the music. Ruth played the grandmother and our worship pastor's daughter played the role of the grandgirl helping her grandma decorate the tree. Maddie wasn't feeling well at all this morning, but she powered through with lots of prayer holding her up.

Before the musical presentation, my parents were given a great surprise. Dad and Mom were awarded with the Distinguished Service Award. This is an honor presented by our church to someone who has given of themselves to God and the church, often times in the background. My folks have pastored in Minnesota, Arkansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Washington. Dad has constructed buildings in many of those locations, often doing much of the physical labor himself. It was my task to find pictures of each of those places we lived for a power point presentation - a challenge indeed, but so much fun to surprise them. They were caught totally off guard, and that was the plan!

My sweetie took me out for a fabulous Sunday dinner at the Bonefish Grill - such a classy place with an amazing menu. Tonight we have our last meal with our 4x4 group, to end a fabulous week-end.

Every year I hang this crewel embroidery picture that I made years ago. I look at it briefly when I hang it, and walk by it many times while it's hanging as a decoration.

One day this week I was showing it to one of the twins when I really looked at it closely for the first time in a long time. I realized how long it's been since I was this creative and was proud that I used to be so good at this kind of thing. It's one of the many things of which I say, "I used to . . . . "

I can't imagine how much time it took me to do all those French knots for Joseph's hair!

So - now it's onward to another very busy week. I have to get to the podiatrist tomorrow to see what he thinks the next move is, since my foot isn't really "all better" yet. I hope, if it's a cast, that it can wait till after the 2 rehearsals and 4 performances this week.

Next up I think I'll share my collection of nativity sets with you. Have a wonderful week!