One Month ‘Til Wedding – Tips for My Friends

Abigail Grey Photography

We are in the home stretch toward our second daughter’s August 11 wedding and trying to keep it all in perspective and learning as we go. If you have daughters or sons and can benefit from this little reverie, good.

I am daily remembering to enjoy the process. Because. . .

Planning a wedding is an orchestra of art, economics, theology, relational dynamics, and Pinterest. I decided going in that I would roll with it and enjoy each of these facets individually.

Because I only have two daughters. I only get to do this twice.

And declare as I might that I will be frugal and that the budget is the budget and so on, there is really no getting around the basic seven or eight realms of a wedding.

Thus, I find myself managing all the realms like the CEO of a company, weighing options, one eye on the artistic vision, one eye on the bottom line, moving notecards around the design wall when suddenly out of nowhere I remember my wee daughter is about to become a WIFE for goodness sake. And I stand still for a second. Ah. These are the pains of childbirth Genesis foretells. They last as long as motherhood does.

She will call me on the way to her first big-girl, pre-wedding doctor’s appointment, and I’ll say, ‘Bless your heart, my child.’

As the CEO, wedding planning is like setting up a temporary company. Very important, very urgent, then very over. As one husband said to the giddy women in the aftermath, ‘I think people have moved on.’

If that beloved daughter wanted to get married in less than 8 months, I would tell her the truth: “I’m sorry, dear; it can’t be done.”

If two of my children want to get married within a short period, it can be done, but it’s way off the charts and only those with nerves of steel can manage it. (Sue? Donnette?)

I remind myself of the only point of all this preparation: a ceremony that glorifies the Lord Jesus, that centers on Him and the union of this man and this woman in Him. This simplifies and un-Pinterests the whole thing beautifully and bears writing large on the cover of the wedding planner. Which is a good gift idea for friends with daughters.

A second goal is that everyone in both extended families feels honored and thanked for coming. A wedding is all and only about the people, the families and dear friends and traveling guests and the pillars of local friends without whom the whole event absolutely would not happen.

And on that note, the process is so very humbling. I look at the RSVPs and think, Wow, you’re really going to drive all this way?  You’re really going to spend hours in church shoes, for us? Thank you! Here, have a canapé!

A second child’s wedding will be a little more expensive than the first child’s. This is not out of partiality but out of fatigue. The jet-lag is still fresh on my mind from wedding one, so this time around I know to hire it done. I can’t do it again. I don’t feel guilty. The first child will understand sooner or later.

And in so doing, I will meet people like the incomparable Judy Pitts of Top of the Town who, with a few tweaks and suggestions, turned a floundering mother of the bride into someone who felt like she had a handle on things. And turned a detailed planning meeting into spiritual encouragement. And advised peanut butter sandwiches for the children. A master of her trade.

I have learned, too, that starting at about 3.5 months out, I will need to do something every day. Big or little. Put the hotel info on the wedding web page, or buy Spanx and break them in, every single day must be some degree of forward motion toward The Date.

Because The Date functions as a little BC/AD on the family calendar. It divides time like a cleaver. For several months before The Date, a thousand home-improvement projects, from obscure to stains-on-the-ceiling, are hit and accomplished with vigor, and the Pinterest dreams are grand. And then there comes this critical tipping point at which they are all seived through the practicality sifter. Completion looks doubtful. Then the operative phrase becomes, “Ok, that will have to be after the wedding.” And progressively the project list dwindles to a reasonable goal of sweeping the back porch.

The list of the big 7 or 8 realms mentioned above? I say ‘realms’ because each has its own bubble diagram of lists, decisions, choices: Date. Venue(s). Invitations. RSVP method. Dress. Color Scheme. Wedding Party. Wedding Party Apparel. Director (you canNOT do this yourself, seriously, you think you can, but you can’t). Music and Musicians. Flowers. Photographer. Program. Reception menu. Reception Decor. DJ or Band. Playlist (no bad words, and include some awesome 80s dance tunes). Cakes. Cake Topper (not important to everyone but definitive for me). Hair decisions/Appointments. Hostess gifts. Hotel and lodging for travelers. People’s Needs and Feelings. A Thousand Odds and Ends. This is just a quick sampler. So maybe it’s not 7, or 8, but 78.

And like the five points of Calvinism, these are all interdependent; individual parts cannot be plucked out and discarded. One depends on the other which defines the next. It’s a system of all or nothing.

It is irreducible complexity. And even here in the home stretch, awash in to-do lists, it is totally worth it.
~

 

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Song To Keep On Walking This Side Of Heaven

Your statutes have been my songs

in the house of my sojourning.” Psalm 119:54

Yes, Lord, that your word would be my song, 

That I would sing your word as I quarter in this house, 

That your word would last longer in me than even I do,

That you, your name, would receive bright glory 

As your words are sung in notes over the reaches of the earth.

That those who grieve with tears today

Would find those very tears turn to healing ointment,

Filled with You.

That doubts would be exposed as the enemy’s 

Faulty weapons, dulled and off-mark.

And may your words be my songs

In the house of my sojourning.

Freely Rejoicing In Your List – One Woman’s Journey

Home from Walmart
Laden and bagged.
Paper work I had
Asked Andrew to take to the
Church sat forgotten on the
Kitchen table.
Same instant, snap!
I realized I had
Forgotten to buy trash bags
He had asked for.
A wry little moment as forgettable
As the paper work and trash bags
Themselves. But, I thought:
‘Wait, this is deep!
His list was not my list,
And my list
Was not his.’ Couldn’t be.
Extrapolate.
Lists are the just the
Endnotes to the soul’s
Manifesto; they are as distant as
Capillaries from the heart, as
Chores thrice removed from
The great goal.
Revealing, though.
And we each possess our very own.
What a personal God we serve!
I don’t write your list or
Calibrate your
Passion.
Humbling, that. Instead,
Freely, I can
Rejoice in
Your list.
What peace will
Break out then!

Another Great Thing About AirBnB (And Beanie Babies)

Two blonde buttercups from
Topeka stopped in last night,
Ages Two and Four,
With all of life’s accompanying
Highs and Lows. Bless it!
~
This adult home rang with
Little beings, who wanted salad
And didn’t want salad,
Who followed their hearts and scampered
Diaper-free for a little minute,
Who intuitively embraced
The magic in a bag full of
Beanie Babies – my one ace to help
Them through their 5:15 dinner hour.
The bag held frogs, rabbits,
Fish, bears, puppies, pigs, and
Species indeterminate.

Two hours later, while we dined on our
Thai curry to saxophone covers,
And Topeka Mom and Dad had
Wilted into bed, done for the day,
A little popsicle-pajamaed
Inquisitor came exploring.
Golden hair awry, carrying her pink ‘wee,’
She simply materialized, a personality,
A being intact,
And sat on my lap and discussed life.
Oh!
Memories, voices, of my three dark-haired
Loves who
Rode their own highs and lows
Within these walls.
And Oh, their babies yet to come.

Time is a trickster. All is gone so quickly,
And all is just ahead.

When the buttercups headed out
To see Grandma at the beach,
And I went back to clean the rooms,
Beanie Babies,
Each to their kind, reposed
In rows
Against the pillows.

Such thought
Went into their placement
I want to leave them –

Beanie Babies ordering their world.

 

 

Watching The Cross

Not often, but stunningly when it happens,
I see a minute of Jesus on the cross.
My grief for Him is limited because
I am not gripped as He was with
The joy set before Him.

And as for God watching His Son
Bleed and tremble and anguish,
That does get me closer to
What it cost Him.

I had a dream last night that the
Bad Guys of Dreamland (you know them)
Had come and cut off Will’s fingers.
He was kneeling
On the kitchen floor, bleeding,
Trembling. 

And somehow as I absorbed his pain
Into my heart, this weird dream knit
Me together with my Heavenly Father
As He willed and watched the cross.

And it made me love Him.

What It Is To Be A Mother

On becoming a mother
I contract to:

Exchange my nerves for your peace;
Give my body to yours;
Lay down my time to decorate yours;
Day-labor for your future so it’s ready when you get there;
Feed your heart with Truth, and your mind with Good,
And your body with health;
Stay awake when you are sick in body, or soul;
Wait restlessly for your whispered ‘Hey, I’m home’;
Sleep lightly when you sleep;
Feel every one of your slings and arrows first, for you,
Dream for you when you don’t know how to,
Understand you always,
Learn to listen to you,
Cheer for the smallest big accomplishments,
Toddle beside you and laugh and cry,

And to feel like all of this
Is the best present I’ve ever received,
Better than a day spa,
A lottery win,
A title,
An honors stole around my neck.

Thank you. For being born.

   

Prayers On The Eve Of Hard Things

 

Lord, I call out to your steadfast love,
To the honor of your name,
To the might of your arm,
To the rebuke of your enemies,
To your love that leads through deserts,
Foes, floods.
I look to your face as you see my distress,
To your ear as you hear my cry,
To your heart as you remember your covenant,
To your arms as you enfold me in steadfast love,
To your skin, very skin, of compassion, of pity.
You, O Lord, are the Amen and the Holy, the
Holder of Tomorrow. In those same hands,
Cup my thankful praise of
Your goodness.
~