Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Wedding Stories: The Processional

The processional was very important to me.  I decided if I was going to have a wedding, it was going to be meaningful and symbolic.  I didn't just want to have my friends, all dressed up, walking down the aisle. Every aspect of the processional was carefully selected, not totally for reasons of aesthetic perfection, rather to be meaningful.  When I look back at my wedding I will remember that it was beautiful, but more than that, I will remember how deeply meaningful it was.  I will be able to tell my descendants that I took this union seriously and that it was an outward expression of that commitment.  

The song A Page is Turned, by Bebo Norman, was performed by my two cousins, David and Seth, and my close friend DA.  They are some of my very favorite people and very talented musicians.  Unfortunately, I don't have a recording of them singing the song, but I do have a YouTube of Bebo Norman singing the song. This song is so close to describing Charlie and I and our lives before we met.  The line that says, "boy with curly grin," is cool to me too because curly grin means that he has dimples.  That's definitely Charlie.  Charlie and I both got second chances in multiple areas of our lives.  I love how this song celebrates that.  

Click the video below and scroll down through the pictures of the processional (slooooowly, it's a 5 minute song) and it will be kind of like you were there, but not really :)  

  

My Soul Sisters
These women are my soul sisters. Until the rehearsal and wedding day, they had never all been in the same room at once.  I told them each for years, "If you all met each other you would get along like old friends," and that's exactly what happened. It was so cool to see my very best friends become friends with one another. These ladies are women of integrity, intelligence, wisdom, and deep faith.  They are also quirky and insanely fun!  Most importantly, they are the friends who I know will counsel me to keep working at it when marriage gets hard.  Pretty dresses and walking down the aisle are fun, but the real purpose of a bridesmaid is to support the marriage covenant.  

My BFF Jessie


My sister Myranda.

My BFF Abby

My Cousin/Soul Sister/Friend, Laura 

My BFF Amy

Building of the Chuppah

Flowers are expensive and they die but not having the bridesmaids carry flowers might have increased the chances "what do I do with my hands" awkwardness and we just couldn't have that.  I decided that they would assemble the Chuppah.  So, if you're wondering why, in the previous pictures, they were carrying huge poles, that's why. 









The beautiful covering that they attached to the poles was hand sewn by Laura.  She is amazingly awesome.  She put in 18 hours (or more) of hard work to make the perfect Chuppah covering.  


The "Flower" Girl:  Ellie
She thought it was cool that she got to carry a lit lantern down the aisle.
You can't see me (which was the point) but I sneaked out of the Bridal room before the processional started so I could enjoy it too.  I hid on the staircase and peeked over the top of the gift table until it was my turn.  I didn't want to miss anything!


The Ring Bearers:  Axton and Bunny
Why is there a triceratops and a bunny in our wedding?  Click here  




Finally up front, we had David, Seth, and DA play/sing Dancing in the Minefields by Andrew Peterson.  We love this song because even though it's not totally accurate of us (1st verse) it is accurate, overall, of anyone who has been married whether they stayed married or not.  Marriages in all phases, no matter the number of anniversaries, have struggles and sometimes they seem insurmountable. It's about making a choice to keep your promise. What better time than at a wedding to hear something truthful, humble, and convicting versus cheesy, sappy, and idealistic?  I hum this song all the time.  It's my vow.  "I'll walk with you in the shadow lands until the shadows disappear."



So when I lose my way, find me
And, when I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith to the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me



Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wedding Stories: How a Bunny and a Triceratops Became a Special Part of Our Wedding

While still living in Overland Park, Kansas, my nephew Axton spent the weekend with me.  His weekend visits usually consisted of trips to the park, the mall, Target, watching movies on my laptop, reading a thousand books before bedtime, and eating out at a sit down restaurant of his choice.  He chose On the Border.  

Axton had learned, not too many weeks before that day, that I was engaged to Charlie.  He had spent time with Charlie when Charlie flew into Kansas City for Axton's 6th birthday party.  Axton loved Charlie instantly.  I learned, that day at On the Border, that his excitement for the impending wedding ceremony was a lot more than I had ever anticipated it would be.  Just after ordering our drinks, Axton became very serious.

"Aunt Jessica," he said with his hands clasped on the table, "I want to have a business meeting with you."  He knows the way to my heart and he had also apparently retained a conversation from a year or so earlier when I explained to him what lunch meetings were and that sometimes I had them at On the Border.  Suppressing a smile, I put on my serious face and nodded at him to proceed.

"My friend Rogan was a ring bear and I want to be a ring bear in your wedding," his eye contact never wavered.

"Perfect!  Charlie and I already decided that you are going to be our ring bearer."  He smiled and I started to look at the menu.

"I'm not done, though."  I closed the menu.  "Bunny wants to be a ring bear too."

I had anticipated this and had even thought to offer it up.  Bunny has been Axton's favorite stuffed animal since birth.  He has infused so much personality in his stories of Bunny and what Bunny says or does that most of the adults in Axton's life feel like Bunny is alive too.

"Okay," I say.  

"Really?  Can he wear a tux too?  Do I get to wear a tux?"

"Yes, you get to wear a tux.   We will have to try to find a tux for Bunny.  Maybe they have one at Build-a-Bear that will fit."

"Wa-hoo!"  He picks up scraggly, dirty bunny  from the seat next to him.  "Did you hear that Bunny?  You get to be a ring bear!"  Bunny was pleased.  

"Anything else?"

"Yes.  Uhhh...do I have to carry the rings on a pillow?"

"Well, I don't really like the pillow idea but I don't know what else to do.  So, I don't know."

His eyes lit up.  "Well, I was thinking maybe I could carry them on a triceratops.  You know, on it's horns."

I laughed and said, "That would be awesome!" 

We discussed the possibilities of finding just the right triceratops and that he would have to walk very carefully so the rings wouldn't slip off the horns.  I also texted Charlie to let him know about the idea and make sure he didn't think it was weird.  Although, regardless, we would've ended up with a triceratops anyway.

We found a tux for Bunny at Build-A-Bear.  He wore both a tie and a bow tie since Axton couldn't decide which looked better on Bunny.  Charlie found the perfect sized triceratops at ToysRUs and it now lives with Axton.  

Axton practiced very very hard, the day before and the day of the wedding, to walk carefully down the aisle with our rings around the triceratop's horns.



Axton and Bunny were the coolest ring bearers ever!

That conversation with Axton set the tone for how I wanted our wedding and wedding planning to be.  I wanted the people involved, who had to sacrifice time and money, into being part of our wedding to have fun.  Why not have a bunny and a triceratops in the wedding?  The ring bearer should get to have fun too!  Some brides might be focused on everything being perfect and matchy, but having Axton's input and excitement is part of what made our wedding perfect.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Failure to Connect

One year living far, far away from my friends and family, co-workers, favorite dining spots, routine, and I find myself more than a little shocked that I am exactly where I started one year ago.  Uncomfortable, unsure, hoping to fit in, and totally void of personal connections here 1500 miles away from home.  Shocking.  I really thought the being open to making friends and putting forth effort would have helped in some way, but it hasn't.

What's wrong with me?  What's wrong with them?  I have racked my brain and can't figure it out.  I'm sure stage of life has something to do with it.  People have demands with work, family, and extra curricular activities, but didn't my friends and family back home in the Midwest?  Didn't we all have things going on that could keep us apart for long periods of time?  Sure, we did but it didn't keep me from making new connections on a regular basis, acquaintances at least.

I feel more perplexed than bitter, for right now.  More hurt than angry.  I feel very lonely and I feel guilty saying that because my marriage is awesome.  My husband is awesome.   I have a best friend here and he's proven to be totally willing to be my fill-in shoe shopping buddy, my coffee date, and my all-things-vain consultant.  I'm here, away from everyone and everything I love, because of my connection with him.  That is what keeps me sane.  This is right for me.  He is right for me.

I am lonely.

I crave the random moments when my schedule would magically sync up with a good friend's and we would excitedly meet up for an evening cup of coffee or fit in a dinner date, or even show up at each other's homes for chips and salsa and a movie.  All the while, talking about life.  Sharing joys and frustrations, making jokes, and feeling free and comfortable to be vulnerable, even stupid sometimes, knowing we weren't judging one another.

Connection is much more complicated than I thought.  The lack of it has stripped me of knowing who I am when I'm here.  Where do I fit?  How do I act?

Throw in the complications of being thrown into a Just Add Water Family, a job with no co-workers, a church with no one my age, and crazy deep longing to be able to see my sweet nieces and nephews more often and it equals a difficulty I never imagined.  I thought all my difficulties here would be external; they would be learning to be married, learning to be a good step mom to teenagers.  I did not think the struggles would be so deeply internal and complicated.

One year without connections is devastatingly difficult but I still have this hope, this drive, to figure out how to find a semblance of home here, maybe a different kind of home, to find something that drives me, and just one objective, impartial, cool person who gets me so that my poor husband can go back to doing manly activities.

For now I have failed to connect.  We'll see how tomorrow goes.