30.10.14

Honeymoon in the San Juan Islands

hon·ey·moon
ˈhənēˌmo͞on/
noun
noun: honeymoon; plural noun: honeymoons
  1. a vacation spent together by a newly married couple.
  2. "romantic hand-holding breakfasts together on their honeymoon"
  3. from the idea that the first month of marriage is the sweetest





Humorous and not-so-humorous honeymoon anecdotes abound (we missed our flight! we forgot our luggage! we got third-degree burns from the sun!). Aside from the general fatigue and recovery from the wedding preparations, however, our honeymoon week was as near-perfect as one can get this side of heaven. Joel planned every detail beautifully, Providential blessings showered down upon us, and we basked in the joy of being together.













After a day in Seattle and two days of tearful goodbyes with our families, we flew home and were so blessed by a wedding reception our church here in Maryland threw for us! 

                            hon·ey·moon
The first month after marriage, when there is nothing but tenderness and pleasure.
~ Samuel Johnson

{Dear Mr. Johnson, may I amend your quote to say "the first two months after marriage"? For I can certainly attest to the fact that these sixty days have been nothing but tenderness and pleasure. Methinks my enjoyment of marriage might even stretch into three months, six months, thirty months, or thirty years! Will you wait three decades for my report?}

22.10.14

Musical Chairs



Where you sit matters.
When  I walked in the door for some of my first childhood concerts, I picked my seat carefully with one objective in mind: the best view of the violin section.  Somehow, though, I still knew that no seat in that auditorium was the best seat, for you couldn't physically feel the music from that vantage point.  Since I surely never dreamed I had a chance of sitting up on stage with the music-makers, though, I was satisfied with my spot in the audience.  

Now I play in concerts several times a year, and a few weeks ago when the lights were dimming and the hush was falling, I realized with the crescendo of the drum roll that I have the best seat in the house!  Joining me in that position are nearly fifty musicians, our conductor, and one very special person each concert who gets to sit in our "Merry Chair."  With sponsorship, an audience member is ushered on stage to sit in this specially placed chair in the midst of the symphony, and my ten year old self is intensely jealous!

For believe me, there is a mammoth difference between staring down the bell of the trumpet as it bellows at you versus living amongst the music while it swirls around you.  And the leap from sitting amongst the music to being a music-maker is even more indescribable!  My violin vibrates with the ring of the cymbal crash behind me, white rosin dust puffs in clouds at our first bow strokes, and fifty people are swaying as one.   Nowhere else do I get the same pull of tension and delight that comes from creating and enjoying at the same time.  

So where are you sitting in the symphony God conducts?

Are you in the audience?  Appreciating God's mighty master hand as He works in the lives of others in the world?  Looking to the "professionals"--the missionaries, pastors, and leaders--to make great music, and being comfortable in your position of observer. 

Or maybe you're in the Merry Chair.  You're rubbing elbows with those through whom God is working.  You even look like you could be making music.  You're in the midst of the music-makers, but there is one key difference between you and them: you're not being led by the Conductor. 

So why not be a music-maker?  Don't just casually observe what God is doing, and don't just look like a music-maker to satisfy other's expectations.  Own the instrument God has given you.  Tune it well and play under the Master Conductor!  Be led by Him, and Him alone, through all the time changes and key changes and grand pauses that could trip you up.  He knows what happens after that page turn better than anyone. 

And while I still stand by the statement that where you sit matters, know that once you're a music-maker, it doesn't really matter anymore.  Whether you are the soloist or the violinist nearly hidden by the stage curtain, as long as the music you make is led by the Conductor, it is important, and it is beautiful. 




“Abandoned cinema 1962,” © 2010 phill.d, used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/.

14.10.14

Joel and Mikaela Begin Their Happily Ever After

My eyes opened in the weak light of a five AM dawn and adrenaline coursed through my body. This was no ordinary wake up. This was the wake-up Joel and I had been counting since May. 90 days and a wake up...73 days and a wake up...46 days and a wake up...29 days and a wake up...11 days and a wake up...2 days and a wake up...a wake up...August 30th was upon me, and my heart throbbed with the excitement of marrying my Joel.



Two of my dearest friends--Lauren and Sarah--were beside me, enjoying one last night sleeping on the floor together as we had scores of times throughout our childhood, teens, and adult years. Together we got up and began our Saturday.



The morning passed quickly in a beautifully girly tangle of bobby pins, hairspray, tea, hairspray, laughter, hairspray, and chatter. My nervous energy began to ebb, thanks to the dear women around me, and by the time we left for the church, ducking under umbrellas in the driving rain, I felt peaceful and calm--yet still incurably excited.



At the church, we dressed under the watchful eyes of my three sweet flower girls and the attentive lens of my photographer. Tears sprang out without warning, especially when my bridesmaids laid hands on me and prayed for me. I posed for pictures, hugged friends, and sat down to write a card to Joel with a heart full to the brim. What was this moment only thirty minutes away now? How could it be that in a few short hours, my name would be changed, my home would be changed, and my life would be changed? The greatest mystery of all, however, was that upon being faced with change of such import, I found myself not scared, or nervous, or worried, or uncertain. I am in love with this man, absolutely. I adore him and ardently admire him.



So as I wrote a love note to my dear man, I felt nothing but excitement, anticipation, confidence, serenity, and purpose. As I held his hand and prayed with him before the ceremony (without actually seeing each other!), I felt elation and deep, abiding love for this good man. 




As I walked into the hallway with my bridesmaids and flower girls, as I received my bouquet, as we sang "Favorite Things" and other songs to keep ourselves from crying, I felt awe and wonder. 







As Papa took my arm and looked at me and cried, I felt wistful and breathless. As he and I stood behind closed double doors, knowing our turn was next, I felt alert, expectant, sanguine, and joyous. 



Those doors opened and I saw the sanctuary filled with hundreds of friends and family--dear, familiar faces in every pew!--and then I saw him. My groom, my handsome Joel, my soon-to-be husband. I felt buoyant and enraptured.





The ceremony was a sacred hour, and it seemed as though in the blink of an eye, the year and a half of waiting was over, and the man before me was my husband, and I was his wife. Oh the joy!



Great was the merriment and celebration at the reception. Friends worked hard to serve the food while other friends and family shared words of wisdom and advice. The Best Man (Joel's brother, Adam) shared beautiful words of blessing to us that brought tears to our eyes, and the Maid of Honor (Lauren) told a story that made me sob and ache for the delight of being her sister and twin. Joel and I basked in the glow of being married, fed each other cake (nicely), and five hours after the ceremony began, we dashed through a mass of bubbles and glitter and escaped in a stunning old car.


























And then? Well, we're living happily ever after. God is good!



Joel and Mikaela's Story

~ Read our Love Story

~ Our reunion in the midst of out-of-our-control circumstances and a 3,000 mile separation: Raindrops on Roses

~ The struggles of unemployment and of waiting and trusting in God: Jesus Wept {With Me}
 
~ Joel's Graduation from Law School

~ Together for the New Year after 4 months apart: Keeping Christmas

~ Together in March and 11 months into our engagement: On the Other Side of the Continent

~ God provides a job for Joel! Waiting in God's Best
 
~ Life gets busy: {Right Now I Am}


~ A summary of August and the wedding: For Everything...Thank You

~ Lauren's Maid of Honor speech: A Story for You

~ The Week of the Wedding: Preparing for the Long Walk

For more pictures of the wedding, another perspective on the day, and to check out an amazing photographer, click here (i.e. the blog of Christa Taylor, our wonderful photographer). All pictures taken by her!
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