The Aftermath

When you spend weeks focused on a goal like a wedding, and you work very very hard to get everything done in time, it’s tempting to think that as soon as the happy couple drive away, you can finally relax. Of course, that’s not how it works. We still had plenty of family here in town and we wanted to spend time with them!

So Sunday morning I got up and made three pans of egg and sausage casserole (two with hash browns in them and a potato free and gluten free one for Mary and me). My family has a new tradition of a family brunch the day after a wedding. This was the third wedding and the third brunch. Flynn and Tiffany picked up and brought some donuts, and we also had juice, coffee, and tea. We had sixteen people here for breakfast—mostly family, but also Mercy’s friends Bri and Joy.

It was a fun and relaxed meal, and we visited for quite a while afterward. The only dark side to the day was the fact that my daughters and I all had severe headaches all day. I’m not sure what the cause was—possibly a pressure change in the air, or dehydration, or a combination of both. But after the intense pace of the last few days and the lack of sleep, combined with the monster headache, I was far from my best as the afternoon wore on. I desperately needed a two-hour nap but I did not get one!

By the middle of the afternoon, several people had left, so we invited Daniel’s family to join us for supper. And no, I did not cook another hot meal. I do have my limits. We put out cold cuts and three-bean salad and had leftover wedding cake and ice cream for dessert. Our guests did not stay late as my parents and Daniel’s parents all hoped to be on the road by 5:00 a.m. this morning.

This morning I tried and failed to sleep in. My brother Jon, and Mary and Jordan, all came over for breakfast before setting off on their respective journeys home. We had some leftover casserole, plus I made a new one to supplement it, and we had a bowl full of berries too.

Shortly after we had said goodbye to Jon (headed back to California) and Mary and Jordan (headed to Tennessee), we learned that Daniel’s sister and her husband needed help. They had some car trouble and had been unable to leave town. The car was in the shop, but they needed a ride back to the campus so they wouldn’t be stuck up at the mechanic place all day.

Lina was waiting for an important phone call, so I got in the car and drove up to the north side of town to pick up Ruthanne and Stewart. Stewart has been a real trooper the last few days. He was a groomsman, but had very recently had serious jaw surgery, so he is restricted to a liquid diet and has to wear a strap around his chin most of the time. Last night he was cleaning the immersion blender he uses to liquify his food, and there was a mishap that ended with a trip to the emergency room to get his finger stitched up. The last thing that guy needed was car trouble.

So anyway, I took them back to the dorm and offered to host them at the house until their car was fixed, but I think they just wanted to rest! Later in the afternoon I took Stewart back to pick up the car and eventually they were on their way home to South Carolina.

Meanwhile, at lunchtime Lina got a call from Mary. She and Jordan had made it a couple of hours down the road before Mary realized she had left her computer and hard drive here! These items are essential for her livelihood. So Lina got the computer and started driving north with it, and Mary and Jordan turned around and started driving south, and they met up a few miles south of Texarkana. The computer made it into the correct car and Mary and Jordan still made it home by about 10:00 tonight.

My parents also made it home, much earlier thanks to their early start—but they arrived home to the concerning news that my aunt was in the hospital after having a crisis related to her blood thinning medication. Please pray that she will be stabilized soon and will be able to return home to her condo.

Also today we got the rest of our stuff out of the dorm and hauled all the linens home and have started washing them. Since so many people flew in, they were not able to bring their own sheets and towels. I think we managed to make sure that everyone who needed them had towels and bedding.

Flynn had a job interview today. He thinks it went pretty well. He is pretty focused on trying to find a full-time job with benefits, something that contract work does not provide. And tomorrow Mary has a job interview in Memphis, the city to which she’ll be moving in less than two weeks. She also needs to find a good job!

 

The Big Day

After getting only two and a half hours of sleep, I was up and showering at 6:30 the morning of the wedding. Then I had to make a double batch of guacamole and eat some breakfast, because otherwise I knew I’d feel sick. I was racing to try to get to the dorm by 8:30 so I could zip Mercy into her wedding dress, but I didn’t quite make it because there were so many things to do for the reception. And I also had to get dressed myself!

About that. Several weeks ago, I ordered a very gaudy necklace and earrings set from Amazon. My idea was that since my dress was so plain, I should spark it up with some meretricious finery. When the jewelry arrived, it just seemed so flashy, I wasn’t sure I could wear it.

So I went on Etsy and found a crystal necklace that was the same basic colors but looked a lot daintier. I ordered it and then waited anxiously because it had to be handmade in England and then shipped here. It took so long I feared I’d have to wear the first necklace after all. The crystal necklace arrived on Friday afternoon, the day before the wedding, and I was so thrilled.

Then I opened the package and took out the necklace—and just started laughing. The crystals that had looked so refined and delicate in the photo were in fact GIGANTIC sparkly rocks that made the first necklace look positively sedate! I guess that necklace will be okay for renfaires, but it was far too obnoxious to wear to my daughter’s wedding. So I am really glad I got that first necklace!

Having adorned myself and gathered up everything I thought we’d need for the wedding, I got my husband to take me to the dorm so I could get right to work. I even remembered an apron! The first thing I did was set up the cake. My friend Robin arrived with her daughter Mary right before I had to go to the chapel for pictures. Robin and Mary have been absolute troopers helping with both the shower and the reception.

I left preparations for the reception in Robin’s capable hands, and then went to the photo session in the chapel. The sign I lettered was in the foyer and I think it turned out pretty well.

7-28-18 sign

Mercy asked me if Robin had remembered to bring her dishes for the reception. Robin has over 100 glass plates and punch cups, and months ago she had offered to bring them and we had accepted, but we hadn’t mentioned it since then, so she hadn’t brought them. And we were counting on them. Fortunately, Robin’s husband Doug was still at home and she was able to call him and ask him to bring the dishes. However, this meant that she and her family missed the wedding. I still feel terrible about it.

The photo taking went well and I was very happy to see that Lucy’s hem turned out just right. Mercy was a radiant bride and so beautiful!

The chapel was tastefully decorated and the ceremony was beautiful and sweet. Mercy and Daniel both came close to tears while saying their vows. Spencer played the guitar to accompany his friend Justin who sang a beautiful song after the vows. So most of my kids were on stage! Lina, Mary and Lucy were all bridesmaids. Jasper was a groomsman. Jordan (Mary’s husband) was the accompanist/piano player, and Spencer played his guitar.

What a joy it is to see your daughter marry a good man who truly loves and cherishes her.

After the ceremony, I headed over to the reception, only to find Robin and her family and several others standing outside the entrance to the dorm. A fire alarm had gone off, and they had to leave the building. Robin couldn’t figure out what could have set it off. She was sure they hadn’t burned anything in the kitchen!

My husband was called to unlock the dorm for the firemen. Because of course, if the fire alarm goes off, the fire department must send a firetruck complete with ax-wielding firemen in full gear. So as we, along with all the other guests, stood outside the glass doors, we watched the firemen come barreling through the reception room in search of fire.

Some anxious moments ensued. Obviously, we all hoped there wasn’t a real fire. And I, thinking of the cake, hoped that no sprinklers would be deployed!

Eventually, the alarm was turned off and we were allowed into the building. The residence director of the dorm had been cooking bacon in her apartment, it turned out. It seems she likes her bacon very very well done.

The reception was a potluck and people had brought a wide variety of delicious food. Our family’s contribution was: the wedding cake, gluten-free cheesecake (2 kinds), chips with onion dip and guacamole, a vegetable tray with ranch dip, a fruit and cheese tray, and deviled eggs. The room was so nicely decorated and Robin and her family had worked so hard to set everything out. Rebekah also did a lot of work before and during the reception. Here’s what the cake looked like:

7-28-18 cake

It was not a large wedding, so the reception felt intimate and friendly. I tried to visit with out-of-town guests and also spend time with Flynn and Tiffany. Spencer’s best friend Britton came with his wife and nine-month-old baby girl, who charmed everyone in the room. Friends had come from Colorado, from Georgia and from Wisconsin.

Walter and Mary both gave speeches. Mary’s was so beautifully touching, a fitting answer to the poignant speech Mercy gave at Mary’s wedding five years ago.

The cake was eventually cut and tasted. Mercy and Daniel both liked it. Whew! It was a small cake but there was still quite a bit left over thanks to all the cheesecake that was also on offer.

Robin and her husband and girls were the true heroes of the day in my book. After missing the actual wedding, they worked through the reception, picking up plates and cups and washing and drying them. How do you even thank a friend for that kind of loving service? Their sacrifice made it possible for me to talk and connect with friends and family I so rarely see.

Finally it was time to see Mercy and Daniel off. The streamers waved wildly and the bells rang merrily as they made their way to the waiting car. We have not heard from them since!

Many friends stayed to help clean up after the reception. We left a few tables set up and invited all the out-of-town guests to join us for supper. We had enough food left over from the rehearsal dinner and the reception to feed everyone! We sat around visiting until pretty late in the evening, but I was so glad I didn’t have to stay up past midnight again.

Parting Shot:

7-28-18 Mercy and Daniel

This is just about the only photo I’ve been able to find of Mercy and Daniel on the wedding day. I stole it from Daniel’s dad’s Facebook page. The professional photos are yet to come!

Before

Don’t feel obligated to read this or the next few posts. This blog serves as a historical record for my family, and that means that sometimes the events I record are not at all interesting to anyone else!

Thursday was a big day around here. Rebekah jumped right into helping with everything she could. Lina and Bri and Mary were busy preparing for the bachelorette party, after the disaster of the night before. Bri had gone to pick up Sarah (the photographer) from the airport in Dallas on Wednesday night. On the way back here after midnight, she had a blowout, and her car had to be towed. Meanwhile, Mary went to pick her and Sarah and Lucy up where they were stranded about an hour’s drive away. There was an incident that shut down the interstate for three hours so they were stuck and did not get home until 4:00 in the morning!

I hemmed the lining of Lucy’s dress, based on the markings I made earlier. Before tackling the hem of the actual dress, I had Lucy try it back on, only to discover that my plan was not going to work. I had assumed that the original hems were designed to hang evenly, but that was a very mistaken assumption. In some places it was much shorter than in other places. Which meant that the only way to get a good-looking hem was to pin both layers all the way around and start over.

I was so discouraged and Lucy didn’t have time to have her hem pinned that day, so I just set the dress aside and went to work on the rest of my to-do list. Much of it involved running errands and buying stuff. I am so sick of shopping!

After lunch I took Mercy out to coffee at her favorite coffee shop. Every time I go there, it is a sacrificial act of love, because it is way, way out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to have at least a few minutes alone with my daughter before her wedding!

After that I drove back up to the north side of town to get my hair trimmed so it would be looking its best for the wedding. It was an indulgence, I admit, but I had saved up for it and it ended up being such a nice peaceful interlude in the middle of all the craziness.

By late afternoon the girls had all left for the bachelorette party. They rented an AirBnb and it sounds like they had a great evening.

My parents arrived in time for supper that evening, and Daniel’s family also came over, so we had a nice visit over tacos. It turns out that Daniel’s dad and my dad have many friends and acquaintances in common so they had plenty to talk about!

While entertaining dinner guests, I was also finally baking the wedding cake. By the time it was cool enough to work with, it was very late at night, but I got a batch of icing made and got the cake assembled and crumb-coated. Mercy had requested a lemon cake so I made lemon icing as well.

Flynn and his girlfriend Tiffany arrived that evening also, and it was so nice to finally meet Tiffany in person. Flynn stayed with Spencer, and Tiffany stayed in a hotel, which was helpful, because virtually all our spare bedding ended up being needed by out-of-town guests who were staying in the dorm!

Friday I was up and busy first thing in the morning despite my lack of sleep. While drinking my morning tea, I tied 72 silver bells onto the ribbon wands that would be used to wave farewell to Mercy and Daniel after the wedding. Then I went out to buy the fruit and veggie trays for the reception. Rebekah valiantly peeled and chopped many onions for me here at the house.

Meanwhile, Mercy and all her bridesmaids were getting manicures at a nail place on the north side of town.

I had hoped to get the cake iced that afternoon, but I ran out of time because I had to make the rehearsal dinner. The kids helped haul all the stuff I needed over to the dorm. (The out-of-town guests were staying in dorm rooms and we used the lobby for the rehearsal dinner and the reception.)  I used my big roaster as a slow cooker to make the stew (“relish”) that would go with the nshima. I had cooked and frozen six chickens ahead of time but the meat still needed to be thawed and chopped up. Once again I pressed Rebekah into service making the gluten-free mini-cheesecakes for the reception.

So I got the stew started and then went over to watch the rehearsal. Fortunately, the chapel is right next to the dorm—so convenient! I had to leave toward the end of the rehearsal to chop chicken and start heating the water for the nshima (cornmeal mush). Mercy and Daniel chose to represent their cultural heritage by having Zambian and Korean food for the rehearsal dinner. A Korean restaurant provided the kim-bap and I provided the nshima and relish.

So anyway, the big thing with making nshima is that it has to be stirred until it is very, very stiff. I got a couple of the groomsmen to help out but when the going got really tough, we called in the big guns—Spencer’s biceps! He beat that nshima into submission and we had dinner ready just a little later than we had planned.

The rehearsal dinner was for the wedding party and also all the out-of-town guests who had already arrived, so it was over 30 people. The food was a hit and I was so glad that people liked it. Even one person who I think of as very picky liked it, so I take that as a win.

I had to leave while people were still visiting because I knew I had at least 5-6 hours of work ahead of me. I got the cake iced at last while waiting for Lucy, and then had her stand on a stool so I could pin both layers of her dress all the way around. Before I could work on that, though, I had to make three little repairs to Mercy’s wedding dress so she could have it with her in the morning. Fortunately, my repairs held!

Lina made the deviled eggs for me while I worked on decorating the cake. By then I was very tired and struggled with coming up with a design. I wasted a lot of time trying to figure out how to do what I wanted with the area between the pillars. Hot glue came to my rescue and I was able to get the look I wanted.

By then it was after midnight, and I still had two layers of a dress to hem! The dress was very full so it was a long, long hem—and I had to sew around it three times. At 2:15 in the morning there was a knock on the front door and I jumped to greet my brother Jon, who had flown in from California. I gave him bedding and a key to his dorm room and sent him on his way before getting back to work on the hem.

I made it to bed by 3:30, after finally finishing the hem, but I wasn’t able to get to sleep until after 4:00 a.m. Hey, at least I didn’t have to pull an all-nighter!

 

Come Thou Fount

This is the hymn that Mercy and Daniel chose to have us sing at their wedding yesterday.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing

by Robert Robinson

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

 

A New Date to Remember

From this day forward, July 28th will always be “Mercy and Daniel’s anniversary.” I am too tired to give you all a full account, other than to say that it was a beautiful wedding and one of the things that made it beautiful was all the wonderful people who pitched in to help in so many ways.

Mercy and Daniel are off on their new adventure and we are enjoying some family time before everyone scatters back to their far-flung homes again. Maybe I’ll have time to tell you all about it on Monday!

 

Betrayed by an Appliance

We have been suspecting for the last few days that our “extra” fridge in the laundry room was on the fritz. It was confirmed this morning when my poor husband ruined two cups of tea in a row by putting sour milk in them (from two different cartons).

So, while I was out running other errands, Lina and Mary heroically cleaned out our main fridge and then moved all the “important” stuff from the bad fridge into it. This is the worst possible time to lose our extra fridge space! We may need to press one of our larger coolers into service for the next few days.

I did some grocery shopping this morning and also got a few things at Hobby Lobby—including pillars for the cake. I know I have some—somewhere—but it was less time consuming and stressful to just get new ones instead of trying to find them.

I actually started the morning with a dentist appointment. I’ve had a very obvious cavity in one of my teeth for over a year and I knew the time had come to get it dealt with. We finally seem to have settled on a new dentist that Mercy found. I still miss our old dentist though! So anyway, I got my cavity filled and had a little shock when I found out it had cost me $280!

I know this is really going to date me, but when I was a college student and first started going to our previous dentist, he had a set price for fillings. Are you ready for this? $15 for the small fillings and $30 for the bigger ones. By the time he died a few years ago, they were a lot more expensive, but still considerably less than $280. *sigh* I know I need a lot more work done, and so does everyone else in the family.

Mercy’s friends Bri and Rebekah rolled into town today. They will be helping with wedding stuff and we need help!

This evening Walter and I went over to campus and spent some time visiting with Daniel’s family. After today the pace is really going to pick up and we’ll all be very busy.

 

 

New Specs, Cooler Temps

Last night was rough. I lay awake perspiring for much of the night. The temperature in the house finally became bearable about the time the alarm went off this morning.

So we were all relieved when the air conditioning guy showed up later in the morning. There was nothing “wrong” with our air conditioner other than the fact that the coils were very dirty and the machine itself is over twenty years old. He explained that these older units were not designed to deal with temperatures in excess of about 95 degrees. He also told us the expected life of an air conditioner is ten to twelve years—so we are living on borrowed time.

We had a “cold front” move through today so the high was only 96 degrees! Finally the air conditioner caught up and the house is now much more comfortable.

After lunch, Lina and I headed up to the yarn store, the one I sometimes call The Realm of Perpetual Bliss and Serenity. Both of the serene sisters were there and happy to see Lina. When I was talking to Frances, the older sister, one thing led to another and I ended up telling her a little about my health and weight loss journey. She was very interested as both of her sons are diabetic.

It so happened that another customer overheard the entire conversation and she approached me soon afterward to ask me some more about it, because she also has a relative who is diabetic and overweight. She was so excited to talk to someone who has made so much progress and I suggested some helpful resources to her. You just never know what will happen at the yarn store!

On the way home from the yarn store we stopped at Sam’s to get my new glasses, which came in several days early. I was resigned to not having them in time for the wedding. They fit well and are definitely an improvement over my old pair. Nobody in the family noticed that I had new glasses, so I guess that means I succeeded in my goal of getting something similar to what I had before!

Daniel’s family arrived this evening right as I returned from my Walmart walking. They are staying on campus and will be helping with the preparations over the next few days.

I also spent hours and hours today working on a sign that will soon be painted over. I am almost done.

Walmart Walking

I know I didn’t post on Saturday. I was up till well after midnight making 92 icing forget-me-nots. I really want to make some more, but I’m starting to wonder if I’ll have time.

Also on Saturday, Daniel moved into the apartment that he and Mercy will be sharing. It won’t be long now!

Sunday we went to church and took naps and I made a big dinner. Jasper didn’t stay for dinner but instead went out with friends from youth group. He is starting to have more of a social life.

Also yesterday, I turned in my last reading record pages for the library’s summer reading program. On the one hand, I feel a little miffed that after all my faithful reading and record keeping, I didn’t win a single little prize! On the other hand, I have done so much more reading this summer than I normally have time for, and thanks to the bonus challenge I read some books that I would never have dreamed of picking up otherwise. So the program was totally worth it for me.

This morning I had to go to the craft store to get a few supplies, and to Aldi to get some groceries. When I got home, I had two more chickens to cook and pick. I have now cooked and pulled the meat off a total of six chickens, to use for the rehearsal dinner. I hope it’s enough!

The gym is closed this week and next, for its annual deep cleaning. I hope this means the running track will actually be cleaned. But meanwhile, I have nowhere to walk because I certainly am not willing to walk out in the triple-digit heat. So today I drove to Walmart and walked laps around the interior of the store for the same amount of time as I normally do. It was a nice change of pace. I did get a few looks from people whom I passed multiple times (including a couple that I know) but hey, I wasn’t doing anything wrong!

It’s been a rough couple of days because the heat has been extreme (heat index of up to 114º) and our air conditioner has not been able to keep up. I don’t think the temperature in the house has fallen below 80 degrees since maybe Saturday morning. We have someone coming out to look at the air conditioner tomorrow, but meanwhile we have a miserable hot night to look forward to. I’ve often thought that if it weren’t for air conditioning, almost no one would live in Texas.

While waiting hopefully for the temperature to fall at least a little, I’ve been working on the sign for the wedding. I’ll show it to you when it’s done. Right now it looks pretty lame.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Adelaide A. Pollard

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit ’till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

 

Shower Day

Today was the day of Mercy’s bridal shower. I was up relatively early, roasting pecans and making bacon-wrapped dates for the shower. Later I made icing for the mini cupcakes and iced them. They looked so cute!

Lina made avocado deviled eggs and I also made a sandwich spread for later. I was finally able to use some of the lemon thyme from my garden to help flavor it.

Lina and I went up to Robin’s house early this afternoon to get started setting up—and also because I selfishly wanted to have some time to visit with Robin before things got too busy! The house was so nicely decorated and set up.

Eventually Mary and Lucy and Mercy arrived, and we got to work decorating some more and setting out the food:

20180720_185517

It was quite a feast!

Mercy didn’t want to do games so it was quite a laid-back party. The guests visited and ate and drank and had their photos taken. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but it was a lovely group. Mercy eventually opened her gifts and received several very useful things for her kitchen. It was such a pleasant evening and I am so thankful for Robin and her girls and everything they did to make it memorable for Mercy.

Tomorrow Daniel will be moving into his and Mercy’s apartment!

Parting Shot:

20180720_175205

I had to make a quick run to the Dollar General near Robin’s house to get something before the shower, and this is the sign that greeted me at the entrance. I have so many questions. What kind of incident created the need for this sign?