If It’s Not One Thing . . .

I have had a rough couple of days. In fact the last month or so has been pretty challenging on several levels. So anyway, I had offered to teach a class tomorrow—the note taking class that I taught last year. I actually think it is a really good and helpful class.

I knew I didn’t have to spend too much time preparing, because I had already done all the prep last year and had a nice binder with all the materials, plus a DVD that I use to teach my favorite note taking method. On Sunday afternoon I figured I should start getting my materials together, so I went to pull down the DVD. The case was right where it ought to be—but the DVD was not in it. (It’s a set of 3 DVDs and the other two were there!)

I still was not concerned. I assumed I must have put the DVD in the binder with all the printed materials I would need for the course.

Except that I couldn’t find the binder either.

I went to bed last night in a very disturbed state of mind. I had looked everywhere I thought might be a reasonable location, and had seen no sign of the DVD or the binder.

Guess what was uppermost on my agenda this morning? Now, I knew the really crucial thing was the binder with all the materials I had amassed about several different note-taking systems. I am certainly more than qualified to teach the material covered in the DVD. It’s just so much more convenient to use a video!

I looked in all the same places again and also many new places. I found plenty of things that I had lost track of, but not those two things. I asked for prayer on Facebook. I wondered if I would have to cancel the class, because I did not have time to recreate all my research and work from last year.

I actually got quite a few things organized and put away during my fruitless search. Then, right at noon, as I was searching an area I’d already searched twice, I found the binder—and the auxiliary books to go with it. Hallalujah! The class will go on as scheduled! I am very unhappy about the loss of the DVD, but I can function without it.

So of course I spent the rest of the day doing more research and creating more materials to improve the class, because most of my students who will be coming tomorrow took the class last year and are coming back for a review!

I did take a break to go outside and check on my garden and pick a few tomatoes, at which time I noticed that my basil plants were totally out of control. So I cut a massive amount of fragrant fresh basil, which led to the necessity of making pesto. I made a big batch of pesto and still had plenty of basil left to freeze for future use!

Late this morning, just as I was stepping closer and closer to the pit of despair, the mail arrived, and with it a letter from the Internal Revenue Service. They claim that we made a mistake on our tax return and that we owe several hundred more dollars—which must be paid by the end of this month.

Who knew the IRS could make me cry? In the last month, during which we had a wedding to prepare and pay for, we had to have our air conditioner serviced, we had to replace the alternator in our car, a fridge died, I needed dental work and new glasses, and we had to replace both of the tires on my husband’s work trailer. And now the IRS wants more money.

One step forward, three steps back. *Sigh*

Sakeji Hymn

Since today (August 5) is the 51st anniversary of the day I first arrived at boarding school in 1967, I thought today’s hymn should be the school hymn. I tear up every time I hear or sing it. I feel I should explain that the words were written when the school was strictly for the children of missionaries. That has not been true for a long time now.

 

SAKEJI HYMN

by Julyan Hoyte

 

Come children of Sakeji

Lift up your voice and sing

To praise our God and Father,

Our Lord and Heav’nly King.

His love has kept and blessed us

Right onward from our birth;

His power created for us

This rich and wondrous earth.

 

We praise Thee, Lord, for water

Rained from Thy clouds on high;

It falls on bush and village

Refreshing land so dry.

It fills our lovely river

And floods our bathing pool

Renewing, cleansing, brightening

And blessing all our School.

 

We thank Thee for our founders,

Our teachers, helpers, friends,

And for their love reflecting

Thy love that never ends.

As they so freely gave us

Their strength from youth to age,

Oh make us always worthy

Our splendid heritage.

 

Lord hear us for our parents

And bless their work for Thee.

Help them to build Thy churches

Devoted, true and free.

Oh guard them, guide them, help them

To toil with heart and hands

And spread the name of Jesus

Through Africa’s wide lands.

 

Again, O Heave’nly Father,

Accept our prayer and praise

For each one sharing with us

Our full and glad school days.

So as the years roll onwards

And we full stature see,

Lord bind us all more closely

One family with Thee.

 

 

 

New Beginnings

Yesterday Lucy received a packet from the university with the big news that she has been accepted as a regular student. This has been quite a journey for her. She has taken several classes there over the last couple of years, but due to some irregularities in her high school education, she had to take the classes as a dual credit student. Now she is a “real” student. She plans to take several classes, play rugby, and work in the library. I’m so proud of her for hanging in there and getting to this point.

The funny thing is that she still has to go to new student orientation—even though she’s lived next to the university all her life and has been taking classes and going to events there for years! She is unlikely to be surprised by anything they cover in orientation.

This morning I made it outside while it was still cool enough for me to work on weeding my neglected rose bed. Around the time of the wedding, weeding was pretty low on my priority list. I am kind of disappointed though by how many weeds are popping up through the mulch I put down. At least I am working on them before they get too big!

I also spent some time today mending, and editing on the project I’m being paid for. Now I finally have time to really work on it.

Then there was the sourdough crisis. Our overflow fridge is still not keeping things very cold, although it’s doing better than it was before my husband cleaned the coils. So during the time when it was way too warm, my sourdough starter apparently grew some mold. This is not fatal, if you are careful, and I was very careful. I saved what I could, threw out most of it, and revived what was left by making some sourdough ham-and-cheese crepes for supper. Obviously, I couldn’t have them, but they were a hit!

After taking Lucy out on a quick errand this afternoon, our car ended up with a flat tire. Apparently I drove over a nail. Lucy changed the tire for me! And since I had to go to Walmart anyway this evening, I did one last Walmart walk even though I didn’t necessarily have to. I am pretty tired of Walmart right now, to be honest.

Mercy and Daniel made it back into town this evening. I took some things over to their apartment, where they were busy unloading all the wedding gifts from their car. They have had an exhausting couple of days and I hope they get plenty of rest tomorrow!

Gaudy

Years ago, a women’s clothing store opened up in our town. It is called “Dressin’ Gaudy.” It was soon joined by it’s sister store, “Gaudy Me.” I have never darkened the door of either establishment, because gaudy is so not me.

Until now, apparently. I’ve had a few requests to see the jewelry I talked about—the jewelry I wore to my daughter’s wedding and the jewelry I thought would be less gaudy but turned out to be even flashier.

So here you go:

7-28-18 wedding necklace

This is me at Mercy’s wedding reception, looking positively prehistoric. I know I’m an old lady, and I’m okay with it. I just wish it wasn’t so blindingly obvious. This necklace and jewelry set came first, and when I saw them I thought they were just too flashy for me to ever wear.

 

How wrong I was.

 

 

I ordered a second necklace-and-earring set from a seller on Etsy. The photo made them look dainty and kind of delicate.

 

 

They weren’t.

Are you ready for this?

8-3-18 gaudy necklace

This photo does not do them justice. It does not capture the magnitude of the sparkle. I did not see the earrings until they arrived, and I think they may be the biggest earrings I’ve ever owned. Yikes! I don’t think even Wilma Flintstone had rocks this size.

This evening Mercy and Daniel had their second reception in South Carolina, and will be heading back here tomorrow. I hear the reception went well, and the few photos I’ve seen are beautiful. We are looking forward to welcoming the newlyweds back!

Reveal

Lucy, as I think I might have mentioned, has been working on the university’s paint crew all summer, but she finished yesterday, wanting to take a couple of weeks off before classes start. Her final project was painting a mural in the library.

There is one wall in the library that features a succession of student-created murals, but the final section of that wall has remained embarrassingly bare for some time. So when the powers that be heard that Lucy was an actual artist in addition to being a painter, she was given the chance to come up with a design. The design had to be approved, of course, but then she got paid for painting it in the library. (No more than she was paid for painting any other wall on campus, alas.)

So today I asked her to come with Jasper and me on our pilgrimage to admire her work. Her mural is in the space with the best lighting, right next to the wall of windows on the south side of the library. I will refrain from giving my opinion on the other changes in the library and focus just on the change I approve of—Lucy’s mural. Here is a photo of Lucy with her work:

8-2-18 Lucy's mural

Isn’t it lovely? It’s my favorite of all the student murals, and I’m not biased at all!

This afternoon I drove up to my friend Robin’s house in order to take her things back to her. We had borrowed quite a few things from her for the wedding. Of course, this gave us an excuse to discuss the wedding at length and drink tea and eat curried pecans. It was a great way to spend the afternoon.

This evening as I walked around Walmart I was glad to reflect on the fact that I only have one more Walmart walk left before the gym reopens! I am looking forward to getting back to the nice quiet track in the gym.

Wind, Water, and Entertainment

Today I did something I’d promised myself I would do after the wedding. I took my “bookend” kids (Lina and Jasper) to the lake for the day. I had been watching the weather forecast for a good day, and today couldn’t have been more perfect. It was sunny, but much cooler than last week. The high was only in the low 90s!

We couldn’t do any grilling or cooking out because of the burn ban, so I had Lina and Jasper make themselves some sub sandwiches to take, and I allowed myself a simple salad. The drive to the lake was beautiful, and when we arrived we found a nice shady picnic table overlooking the water. A lovely breeze blew all day and I was never uncomfortably warm—practically a miracle at this time of year.

When the kids were little, I would have spent a lot of time playing in the water with them, but those days are long gone. My goal for the day was just to soak up the fresh air and absorb the peace. As usual, I took knitting to do and then didn’t do it. I napped in my chair after lunch and Lina stretched out on the grass. Jasper was more active and spent some time in the water while we rested and watched the wind rustle through the leaves and pine needles of nearby trees.

Later in the afternoon, we all went down to the water and did nothing strenuous at all—just floated and talked and enjoyed being in the water. We watched an egret who didn’t mind hanging out quite close to us, and a man who was hunting for treasure with his metal detector. It was just the kind of relaxing day I needed.

On the way home, I stopped and let the kids get snow cones at the fancy place where all my friends like to go. I of course could not have one and was quite happy to wait until I got home and could make myself a mug of tea!

After Jasper and Lina had a quick bite to eat, Lina and I dropped Jasper off at youth group and then continued on to another church where we’d been invited to see the final dress rehearsal of a musical that a friend of ours is in—You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. The little kid who played Woodstock was so adorable. It was the perfect way to end a lovely day.

The Fez Story

I failed to mention something about the wedding weekend, so I will tell you about it now. A couple of weeks ago a package arrived in the mail. Since most packages arriving have been for Mercy (wedding gifts), she opened it without looking at the address label. Imagine her bewilderment when she found the box to be full of red fezzes.

Then she looked at the label, and saw the box had been addressed to Flynn. Naturally she contacted her big brother to ask why he had ordered a bunch of fezzes and had them shipped to our house. He assured her that she had agreed to this brilliant plan when he had been visiting her in Russia last March. She had no recollection of any discussion involving fezzes.

Flynn wanted to do something to acknowledge the fact that many people in our family circle are very fond of puns. These people include, but are not limited to: himself, Jordan, my dad, Daniel, Daniel’s dad, and Flynn’s girlfriend Tiffany. Flynn decided the best way to memorialize this would be to get red fezzes for the punsters to wear at Mercy’s and Daniel’s reception, because then they’d all be “feztive.”

It ended up not happening at the reception, but Flynn produced the fezzes at our family brunch on Sunday. Obviously Daniel was not there to model his fez, but I got a photo of the ones who were:

7-29-18 Feztive

Aren’t they a feztive bunch?

Today I succeeded in sleeping in and taking a nap too! The best part was waking up this morning to the sound of rain. Oh, how we need rain. I am finally beginning to feel more like myself. Yesterday I struggled with my Walmart walk, but today went much better as I was more rested. Next week the gym will be open again and I won’t have to keep walking past the same Walmart employees several times in a row.

 

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!