Friday, July 23, 2010


Set me as a seal on your heart,
Set me as a seal a seal on your soul...

Such were the words sung by the wedding party as they walked forward in the wedding procession. How fitting that the bride and groom, both lovely singers, chose bridesmaids and groomsmen with beautiful voices to proclaim their love and dedication as the ceremony began.

It was a warm afternoon, shadows started drifting over the audience as we began and with no rain, all was well. Song of Solomon 8:6 set the stage for as spiritual a wedding ceremony as could be planned on this earthly stage. A stage of His own creation -- a woodland cove and grassy meadow, inhabited for the hour by His people, joined to celebrate the sacred trust of marriage. A serene bride stood with her father and a gentle groom waited patiently as the best man and maid of honor spoke of marriage commitment and duty. A groomsmen led us in the singing of "The Sands of Time," starting with the verse:

"The Bride eyes not her garment, but her dear Bridegroom’s face;
I will not gaze at glory but on my King of grace.
Not at the crown He giveth but on His pierced hand;
The Lamb is all the glory of Immanuel’s land."

The father of the bride delivered his remarks, then Luke and Sarah read the vows each had written. It was easy to recognize that Luke based his on 1 Corinthians 13, and Sarah engaged the wisdom of Proverbs 31. Sarah's father sweetly lifted her veil and handed her to Luke. We sang another hymn: " God Is a Fountain Whence." At this point the father of the groom finished presiding over the ceremony.

Luke's father was overheard to say later that it was very hard to do your own children's weddings...this makes his second. He did very well, though; choosing as the basis for his thoughts the love theme of Song of Solomon to match the wedding's beginning. He did forget the next hymn on the program, "For the Beauty of the Earth," but that was certainly a small matter. How sweet to see him grin and say, "Well, son, kiss your bride." as he closed.

Throughout the ceremony, prayers were offered by special men: an uncle of the bride, the groom's father and grandfather. All transpired with reverential praise, faith and hope. A once in a lifetime event for a very special couple ... now happily joined in marriage.

A joyful reception followed and with the singing of "Blessed Be the Tie" the newlyweds departed on their great adventure of a new life together. How exciting!


And yet, and yet....I must confess there was a part of this day that was more thrilling for me than this lovely wedding. As happy as the events of the afternoon made me, there was joy beyond measure through the morning that preceded.

The dawn broke with lovely birdsong in the wedding cove; I sat on the benches, soaking up His glory and their praise; then dared add my own prayers of thanksgiving, petitions for blessings on us all. Later, friends and family of the bride and groom (around 60 in number) met together with the church in Clendenin - an hour of song, scripture reading and prayer followed by our regular Sunday morning worship service. The rafters rang with the glad voices - among whom were all but four of our own (those four being well represented by the two oldest siblings of their clan). Our youngest son guided the services, one grandson preached, several other sons and grandsons took leading parts as needed. No feeling can compare to gathering with children in spiritual communion.

My cup runneth over ... to God be the glory!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

LIKE ... ... ... MAGIC!

I think myself not at all superstitious; nor do I believe in magic. Whimsy, yes - magic, no. Yet we have experienced a month of magical  events -- thanks to the willing hearts of family and friends who lent their time, talents, hands and backs to pull off an enchanted forest wedding for our grandson and his bride.

DD Laurie and DGD Audrey arrived a month ahead of festivities to help set the stage.  They started with the Barn. Like magic, ten years of clutter disappeared from the lower level; including boxes packed from our last move, lots of junk and no small amount of dirt and sawdust. Without that clutter the floor was transformed with space for woodworking tools and storage shelves. And did I mention a clear path through on both sides? Now, when I take down laundry or step up on the treadmill, I look around and shout, "I love you, Laurie!" Hard, hard work is a precious gift, (especially on older parents' behalf) don't you know.

Just the beginning! A trip to the Farmers' Market and Garden Centers of several stores yielded annual blooms for planting. No magic, just labor. Plant them in large pots, shelter them from the noonday sun and behind the garden fence (away from deer) and water them daily to ensure full, presentable growth for the wedding venue. These plantings were icing on the cake - the cake was seven acres worth of mowing and trimming all around. Grandfather did much of that before company started arriving; including hand raking a back breaking amount of cut grass when our neighbor hay reaper failed to keep his annual June hay cutting appointment. The groom was intent on as natural a landscape as possible, however, so most of the grass cutting was done well ahead of the wedding date. Good deal, as more pressing tasks were afoot.

Next, mother and grandfather of the groom (DH & DD) set their sights on arch and arbor designs. Drawn by the groom on his last visit, Laurie was interpreter of her son's schematic. She and her dad pulled red cedar and poplar boards out of the shed, ripped them down to size, sawed and planed and sanded; marking each upright, slat, brace and header. The arbors' sections were sealed, the arch awaited construction before being painted white. Benches were needed too, so Grandfather set out with his handy chainsaw - I'm quite suspicious that is his very favorite tool; he gets this gleam in his eye as he goes to the woods, saw in hand. He cut a couple poplars for posts and enough planks were found among stored timber for top seating; they too were sanded and sealed. Bench parts were set in the meadow and so began the sweet wedding chapel in the cove.

Inside the Barn, DGD Audrey and I played and piddled...painting on slates and signboards, making aprons, slicing cucumbers, baking cookies, etc. In truth, my whole month was the easiest of parts - that's why I'm calling it magic. How could so much be accomplished with so little effort? Easy enough when others are shouldering the work!

A week before the wedding, bride, groom, bridesmaids and groomsmen began arriving. Together they assembled arch and arbors, nailed down benches, made wedding cake, arranged bouquets and decor. We shared a meal together at least once daily with DD Laurie the master planner/provider of great menus - a daunting task indeed as the number grew from four to forty and more by the weekend. But DD Laurie excels at such provision, deliciously and with flare.

Family and friends were all present and accounted for by Saturday. The groom's folks had rented a local house for the month and most of the guys camped there; the bride and her maids slept (or not) in the Barn with DH and I downstairs. Spare cousins joined the wedding party at one place or the other and the rest found hotel rooms or other friends and family willing to board them. There would have been a time when families lived within sight of each other so such random arrangements were unnecessary. Still, we had time enough together to come pretty close to filling that nostalgic image even with folks coming from California, Florida, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, Georgia and New Jersey - ah, the magic of airplanes, autos and interstate highways.

A group effort may indeed make work disappear like magic. No words will describe the sweetness of seeing good and loving people joined in a common objective. Everyone here wanted to make preparations for the finest wedding day possible for Luke and Sarah Jane. The stage was set at the farm, the reception room was beautifully decorated just down the road, and the food for the reception was washed, sliced, diced and divided between counters and refrigerator. All was in readiness. After an evening wedding rehearsal, we enjoyed cleverly assembled gourmet boxed dinners in happy fellowship on the grounds of Teelside.

The wedding day is another story - one which I choose not to taint with even a hint of "magic." It was extraordinary in every way from start to finish...and finishing that story will wait for another entry.