Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Thunder and Lightning

Our daughter Jennifer and her friend Heather have been friends since kindergarten. Much of their time together was spent in the pool, starting off on the Tiger Sharks, and finishing their swimming career in high school. They also showed cattle together, played Barbies together, were junior high cheerleaders together, and explored Harsh Road together. Not sure I want to know about that one. Heather was Jennifer's maid of honor in April, and Jennifer will be the maid matron of honor at Heather's wedding in just a couple of weeks. It has been fun to have the girls both planning weddings at the same time!

As matron of honor, Jennifer was responsible for planning the bachelorette party. Now I don't think many girls of my era even had a bachelorette party, but it seems that the young women of today see it as an opportunity for an event.

Jennifer wanted to start off the weekend with a dinner and wine tasting at our home. It's always good to enlist your mom to help. :) I looked for ideas for fun wine-themed favors, and found the idea for wine glasses painted with chalk board paint on Pinterest. There were several versions and methods, but the one I used was most similar to this one.

I found great wine glasses at the dollar store, wrapped the bowls in plastic wrap, and taped the stem to the point where I wanted the paint to stop.

I used chalkboard spray paint that I had left from an earlier project. I gave them two coats of paint in an upright position, then turned them over and sprayed the bottoms just to even it out. I let it dry thoroughly (overnight) between coats. Of course, I didn't paint them on my kitchen table! They were dry by the time I took this picture, and ready to have the plastic and tape removed.

I tied a bow on them, and they were ready for the party.

Jennifer wrote her name on hers before the guests arrived. They were quite fun and festive, and a big hit with the girls.

On the day of the party, Jennifer wanted to decorate cookies, and asked Darci to help. Darci is the cookie expert of the family, and brought icing and equipment to make the job go smoothly.

With a little guidance, Jennifer was off and running with the cookie decorating.

A sparkly diamond ring.

A crown for the bride.

And the finished tray of beautiful and delicious cookies. Great job girls!

I contributed a tiramisu cake. I found the recipe here.

Jennifer also made place card holders using wine corks and wire. I'm guessing Pinterest. :)

A pretty table all ready for the party.

We also used corks in the hurricanes with the candles.

 All ready for the bride.

Dinner is served.

The beautiful bride to be.

The bride with her cousins, aunts, and mom.

After dinner, it was time for the wine tasting. Jennifer had attended a similar party at the home of a friend, and scheduled a consultant to come to the house to teach us about wine. He also provided samples. :)

 The party continued the following day, with a photo scavenger hunt, a downtown hotel, dinner, and a night on the town.

It is just hard to imagine these two little girls all grown up and married. This photo was taken on New Year's Eve. Jennifer had experienced a little mishap with our young horse just a day or two earlier. Good to see she was smiling! They were 13 in this picture, enjoying their sparkling grape juice.

At Heather's bridal shower earlier this summer.

Together in the pool. Their coach always called them 'thunder and lightning.' Competitors, teammates, and friends.

They also spent 10 years in 4-H together. You know, raising livestock, playing cards, and checkin' out boys.

They're all done with that now, and on to the next phase of their lives. I pray that God will bless each of their marriages, and I am thankful for the memories of those sweet and spunky little girls and the days of 'thunder and lightning.'

Monday, July 30, 2012

Miscellany Monday

I have several random photos to share, most taken with my phone, so I thought I would toss them all together in a miscellaneous post. Summer is like that, you know, random, fun, busy, lazy, hot, dry, and always seems to fly by so quickly.

Our church was scheduled to have new carpet installed, and one day last week I happened to drive by when the carpet trucks were there. I whipped into the parking lot and hopped out to take a few photos. I actually eased into the lot and stepped out of the car, but it sounds so much more exciting the other way, don't you agree?

This is the alter area after the old teal carpet had been partially ripped up. It was cool to see hardwood floor underneath the old carpet.

Out with the old, in with the new. The old teal carpet at the bottom of the photo, the new tan carpet at the top. New carpet at the church seems like a good metaphor for life as a Christian. Just when we get comfortable, we realize that it is time to move out of our comfort zone, and, as Ann Voskamp says, "into Christ's zone." It is an exciting time for our church: new pastor, new carpet, and a few of us who are discovering anew that "faith steps out of the boat." Such beautiful words from Ann Voskamp.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; 
the old has gone, the new has come!" 
-2 Corinthians 5:17

The new roll of carpet waiting to be installed.

Half of the pews pushed to one side to allow for the installation.

We don't often get a chance to see the church looking like this. I don't have 'after' photos, but I trust that it is securely installed and will give us years of service. It's a good time for me to clear out those things in my life that keep me from Christ and move to a place where I am turning toward Him.

On Wednesday, to celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary, we went to Indianapolis for dinner and stayed at the beautiful Canterbury Hotel downtown.

Our view was of Lucas Oil Stadium. Won't be long now. Are you ready for some football?

Dinner was at St. Elmo's Steakhouse, and of course we had the famous shrimp cocktail. The photo prompted many comments when I posted it on Facebook, but I think my favorite came from our friend and pastor, Jimmy, who said,  "Good marriage, like the shrimp cocktail at St. E's, has a way of opening you up." In case you have not tasted it before, it's hottttt stuff!

Dessert was blueberry bread pudding. We shared. :)

Jim was even able to correctly select my choice from the dessert menu. It only takes 31 years to learn to do that!

The end of the week included pool time and lake time with good friends, and we were so busy enjoying ourselves that I failed to get even one picture. We did have rain at the lake, and since it has been a long time coming this summer, I took a couple pictures of the wet stuff coming down.

Praise the Lord!

Darci sent me this cute photo of the girls getting ready for football season. Who Dat!

And we finished the weekend at the lake with good friends and their good dogs who came for a visit.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

31-derful Years

Thirty-one years ago today, Jim and I stood at the front of the church we still attend, on a hot hot day, and promised to love, honor, and cherish, according to God's holy or- or- ordinance. Though we may have stumbled on a word or two in our sweat-dripping nervousness, we meant them then, and have tried to live by them for thirty-one years. We understand for better or for worse, and try to focus on the better as we walk through this life together.

In honor of the day, I thought I would borrow an idea from a blogger friend (thanks Joyce), and share a little bit about our wedding day.

After choosing our wedding date, one of the first things we did was book the  photographer. He had a studio in his home, and was the best around for weddings at that time. He is the same photographer that took each of our five kids' senior pictures many years later. I went to the studio prior to the wedding for a wedding portrait. This was done so that we would have a photo for the newspaper the week following the wedding. Photos had to be developed back then. It was important to my mother us that the newspaper account of the wedding be printed just days after the event. And it was. :)

As mentioned, the day was hot. The morning of the wedding was spent pool-side for the girls, while the guys played golf. This was to keep everyone out of the way entertained while they set up for the reception at my parents' home. The wedding was a candlelight ceremony, held at 6:30 p.m. We were married by a pastor friend who was the district superintendent for our denomination, and had lived across the street from us.

Our church has two aisles, so the bride enters on the left, and exits on the right. The aisle cloth was only placed on the left aisle, where the bride entered.

I don't see many of these hand photos of the rings anymore, but it was the tradition at that time. I remember seeing another couple in the jewelry store before our wedding, who was getting married the same day we were. Making conversation, the girl asked Jim what colors we were having for our wedding, and he nodded toward me and said, "Well, she's wearing white."

One of my sorority sisters sang, and another, the younger sister of one of my bridesmaids, played the flute. Vocal selections included Edelweiss, Whither Thou Goest, and With You from Pippen. A good friend from grade school through high school played piano and organ, and accompanied the flutist on All Good Gifts and Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring. The bridesmaids entered to the Wedding Processional from The Sound of Music.

Of course, we did not see each other before the ceremony, so the pictures were done quickly afterwards so we could all get to the reception to greet our guests.

My maid of honor was my friend Ann, who I have known since nursery school. The bridesmaids were all college friends and sorority sisters. They wore dresses made by my grandmother (assisted by bridesmaid Dana, on the right). They carried hurricane lanterns with candles in them and flowers at the base. Jim's niece, Elizabeth, was the flower girl.

Jim's brother was his best man. Groomsmen included my two brothers and two of Jim's fraternity brothers. Jim's nephew Josh (brother of the flower girl) was the ring bearer. Jim's sister embroidered the ring pillow, and it was used again this past April at the wedding of our daughter Jennifer.

A traditional pose with our parents. Don't we all look young. :)

The reception was a buffet dinner held in the front yard of my parents' home for around 300 guests. We my mom worked for months to plan every detail. For instance, there is a train track across the road from their home. Several months prior to the wedding, there were box cars parked on the tracks, apparently being stored there. The box cars were not all that attractive, and would not add to the ambiance of the evening reception in the front yard. My mom made some phone calls to state government officials, and sure enough, by the day of the wedding, the box cars were gone.

You also might notice in the picture below, that our wedding cake was rather, um, short. There were originally two more layers in there, but due to a hot day, uneven ground under the table, and a gust of wind (or some combination), there was an unfortunate mishap causing the cake to fall. This all happened during setup, while we were still at the church. Thankfully, our caterers, who were experienced and resourceful, salvaged what was left of the bottom and top layers, and brought in sheet cakes to serve our guests.

We had a receiving line in the driveway, that went on for ever. My parents moved their piano to the driveway as well, and had a pianist playing throughout the evening. This is a picture of us with my parents and grandparents.

We left the church in a Cadillac belonging to Jim's aunt and uncle, heading straight for our life together as husband and wife. It's been 31 fun-filled years, and I look forward to at least 31 more. (The number 31 always reminds me of Baskin-Robbins. Maybe we should celebrate our 31st year of marriage with ice cream. All. Year. Long.) The traditional gift for the 31st anniversary is actually timepieces, but I think ice cream sounds so much better. I do need a new watch though....
And time marches on. One day you get married, and the next day you're celebrating your 31st wedding anniversary. What a blessing it has been to share life and love together.
Happy Anniversary, Jim. I love you!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Show Me the Cattle

Last week was our county fair. It has always been one of my favorite events. When I was a child, I would beg to go spend the day out there, watching the livestock shows and hanging around the barns. I think I was wishing I was a farm girl. Thankfully, I married a farmer, and that wish came true.

Our children showed livestock. Sometimes they were happy about it, and sometimes they were not, but I do think they all learned something valuable from the experience. They did sometimes require bribes threats gentle encouragement along the way.

As I drove to the fairgrounds last Monday morning to watch the cattle show, I was thinking how nice it was to just jump in the car and go. I didn't have to worry about five sets of show clothes, belts, boots, socks, record books, cold water, sandwiches, and making sure everyone was wearing a happy attitude. Those were the days.

As I approached the barn, the first person I saw was Andrew taking a phone call. He must have learned something from his cattle show experience, since he is now the herdsman at the farm.

The show started with the heifers, and cousin Nick was ready to take her into the ring.

Here is Nick, setting up his heifer for the judge. For all you cityfolks reading, a heifer is a female who has not yet had a baby. Once she has a calf, she is called a cow.

Watching from the rail is serious business.

The judge is selecting the champion heifer.

When the heifers are done, it's time for the steer show. Here is Andrew giving Nick some advice on how to best show his steer.

Ella was happy to be at the show too.

She was even happier when she was able to get out of the stroller and look around a bit. She liked the goats.

Big sis Haleigh was happy too.

Looks like she is thinking about the day when it will be her turn in the show ring.

 And just for fun, a vintage photo, circa 1996. A great group at the Indiana State Fair.

This year's state fair will be The Year of Dairy Cows. While the cattle we raise are beef cattle (Angus), we do enjoy many tasty products from dairy cows. Milkshake anyone?
The Indiana State Fair tweeted the link to this awesome parody called "Farm It Maybe." It's worth a few minutes if you haven't seen it. So cute!