Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Wedding Day



At last! The day had finally arrived. May 19, 2018


He had been waiting for this day for some time now. Ethan, the young groom stood at the altar with his best man awaiting the arrival of his bride, our daughter, Mikaela. Tears of joy were already pooling in his eyes at just the thought because he loves her so.


The sanctuary was filled 

with friends and family from as far away as Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. Some had driven over 5 hours that morning to be at this special event.





Best Friends



Ethan invited four of his best friends from High and College. Mikaela had asked her friends, as well, to come and stand with her. Though a very traditional girl, she had also asked her brother, Brett and her nephew, Austin to stand up for her because they were indeed her closest friends. Unfortunately, Austin became ill that morning and was not able to attend.




Grandparents and Mothers all had taken their seats and the bride and groom's wedding party was now in place. 






Music from Tangled, the Disney movie, began to play and his sister, Ericka, sweetly began to sing...

All those days watching from the windows
All those years outside looking in
All that time never even knowing
Just how blind I've been
Now I'm here blinking in the starlight
Now I'm here suddenly I see
Standing here it's all so clear
I'm where I'm meant to be
.
All at once, everything looks different
Now that I see you...

Ethan bowed his head and closed his eyes. He didn't want to see even a glimpse of his beautiful bride until she was standing in the doorway. We waited as the music continued. 











As one of the groomsmen, Mitch, sang out the second verse, the congregation stood and turned. Ethan lifted his head and opened his eyes.

Now she's here shining in the starlight


Now she's here suddenly I know
If she's here it's crystal clear
I'm where I'm meant to go

And at last, I see the light...


And there she was pretty as a picture standing at the threshold of their new life together. She wore a gown of antique satin and Chantilly lace from the same dress her mother and grandmother had worn many years earlier. Around her neck hung a necklace worn by her Daddy's mother.

Tears of joy could no longer stay back as he gazed at his treasured bride. Her Daddy stepped to her side and they walked down the aisle together. Daddy was also in tears. Just the thought of giving away his little girl brought so many emotions to the surface. Both pairs of parents had prayed for this day when each would meet God's mate for life.





A Royal Wedding 

They turned and faced the minister who made mention of the Royal wedding which had taken place that same day “across the pond”. He noted that this, too, was a royal wedding because the bride and groom are children of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.



Her brother, Pastor Brian, delivered a marriage message speaking of the gift of marriage and what it meant to give oneself to each other. He spoke of other gifts as well. The gift of love, commitment, themselves, and more.


Brian stepped aside, and both Dads approached the couple. Since both are ministers, they led the couple in the repeating of their vows. How precious that each father could lead their own child in these most sacred promises. You could hear their voices quiver.



And then, the exchanging of rings.


“With the ring, I thee wed..”

The groom placed his grandmother’s wedding rings onto her finger.

“.. And give to you, my life”


Mikaela placed a ring of wood and fiery opal on Ethan’s finger. Opal is her birthstone. [No comment as to whether "fiery" has any indications.] It could mean he has her wrapped around his finger. But more likely, She has him wrapped around her finger!








Bonded Together Forever


The couple then moved to the side for the unity ceremony.  They lifted a veil to reveal a beautifully stained board with a cross and three cords. Her brother, Daniel, had created this unity board for this day and this moment was the first glimpse they had of the board. 

Mikaela & Ethan began to braid the three cords representing God, Ethan, and Mikaela together.



And her brother, Brian sweetly sang as they spent a few treasured moments together.

“Today you're giving your all
You've never trusted like this before.
Now tears of joy fall like rain
They seem to wash away every fear
You feel God's presence so very near."

Yes, tears fell and Ethan took a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe her tears. What an endearing few moments to watch how much he loves his bride.

And a brand new life is waiting for you
Starting here, starting now

From this moment on
From here to forever
He will carry you
Safe inside His love

The couple returned to the arbor where Pastor Eric,
Ethan’s dad pronounced them man and wife.

“Ethan, You may kiss your bride.”

The kiss was as passionate as their love.

Thunderous applause and cheers rose up from the sanctuary nearly drowning out the pastor’s introduction of the new couple.

“May I introduce to you, 
Mr. and Mrs. Ethan Grimes”



Hallelujah!

Applause rose up again. The joyful strains of the Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus could hardly be heard as the couple stepped out hand in hand.



The moment had finally arrived. 

They were now bonded together. 


Forever.









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Thank you to all those who helped make this day a beautiful day. We couldn't have done it without you!





Need to see more pictures? Click here

Photos provided by Lynn's Photography

Thank you, more photos, & personal info from Ethan & Mikaela on their page. www.ethanandmikaela.com

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Celebrations in Spring 2018

We are still getting used to a new way to celebrate the holidays. We have been so accustomed to planning an uplifting resurrection celebration, but now we learn to be participants. It's good but not the same since retirement. Anyway, I took the opportunity to get a few snapshots of the family while we were "all dressed up."

You can see who is still in charge.
Doesn't it look like he's preaching to us?

The tall guy is Ethan Grimes, Mikaela's fiance'





Ethan
Brett          Brian
Daniel


Speaking of Celebrating




Mikaela and Ethan will tie the knot on May 19! Find out a little about them and more info on the wedding at their wedding website. It is getting real now that they have found an apartment and the invitations have gone out.

Mikaela had my (and my mother's) gown re-styled. It is so beautiful. Can't show you a picture just yet.  :) Looking forward to seeing some of you at the wedding!

www.ethanandmikaela.com 

Other Things Going On in the Family


Brett has been promoted to store manager at Thompson's Sports in Savannah. Michael's sister reports that the boss pulled her aside the other day at church to say that hiring Brett was the best business decision he has ever made. He said Brett can do anything.

*********************************************


Brian is in Savannah temporarily, re-connecting with the family, getting to know his future brother, Ethan, and preparing for his move to Minneapolis. While he's here, he's driving for Uber and Lyft, and enjoying it even more than he anticipated. He's been able to see the Savannah area from all directions and has met people from around the world. 

He is gaining quite a repertoire of stories to share. He shared this one with us recently.


His first week on the job, he dropped off a pair of passengers out on Tybee Island, which was crowded with tourists that afternoon. Upon picking up his next passengers, he discovered that the people he'd dropped off a couple of minutes before had lost their keys in the front seat of his car. The family he was picking up graciously agreed to wait while he attempted to return the keys. As he got out of his car, he wondered how he was going to find two 
 two men he'd dropped off several minutes before in the sea of humanity on the island. Amazingly, upon closing the driver's side door and turning around, he saw the men standing on the sidewalk directly in front of him, and promptly waved them down and returned the keys. The Lord works in amazing ways.
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Daniel & Tina are starting a family business carving, making & restoring furniture, making brittle, anything we can do we are doing. Daniel & Austin have been working on something very special for Mikaela and Ethan's wedding. (Can't show you til the wedding.) Even learning new things. Back to gardening. Austin is working some and will go full time soon at Mock where his dad works. Their grandkids, Cody and Lizz, just got new pigs. :)








And Tina's daughter, Loran just announced they are expecting baby #2  in November! 

Tina's children and grandchildren


This will be the last you hear from me until after the wedding sometime. Hope that you have a wonderful springtime!

With Love,

Mandy, et al

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Coming Forth as Gold


But he knows the way that I take;
 when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
Job 23:10



I'm sitting here thinking of all the blessings that God has given us. We are traveling a difficult journey but intertwined with the brokenness is so much beauty that we just cannot think that God is anything but good. 

I am reminded of the Japanese art form where pottery is repaired with gold.

Photo Credit: LakesidePottery.com
I see that God is working in our family to make something beautiful. Something that can only come through pain but then the beauty brings glory to the Creator, our God. It can only happen through the work of His hands.

I'd like to take you on a short journey of our recent lives to show you where God's workmanship is coming forth like gold. To make a long story short, I will include links to details so you can read them if interested.

Our Budget / His Providence

When you put it down on paper, every month finds us shy of meeting expenses. I'm understanding now the comments from senior citizens when they say they are on a fixed income. It is truly fixed. Even when the government gives you a "raise", they take it right back and give it to Medicare. Well, at least they are giving us the increase to cover the increased premiums.

However, God's budget plan is quite amazing. I don't know how it happens but each month, we have paid our responsibilities. Every month cash comes from someplace. In February, I was PAID to write devotions for the church. Nearly every month, Michael has had opportunities to preach at the two Nazarene churches here in Savannah. Even I was asked to speak a time or two. Click Here to read my devotions on personal trauma

The greatest gift of gold is that we are learning real trust in God. Trust that rests in Him when there is nowhere else to rest. No leaning on bank accounts and regular jobs .. Just rest and peace in Him.

Speaking of jobs, God provided new jobs for Brett, Mikaela, & Ethan (her boyfriend, now fiance') all within a few weeks of each other. Brett is now an assistant manager at Thompson Sports Shop. Mikaela is working for Flowers Bakery at their "Day Old Bread Store". And Ethan who started handling boxes for Fed Ex in April has recently been promoted with a raise and full benefits.
We also celebrate with Brian. He has been pastoring at Cairo First Church of the Nazarene for 11 years now! It's a small church but it has produced some of the great preachers of our time in the Nazarene church.


Our Vulnerability / His Protection


Savannah can be a dangerous place to drive. As many of you know, we don't take likely the danger involved in driving a car. We have lost too many family members to car accidents in our lifetime to not take it seriously. But we can't control the irresponsibility of others on the road.

God has sent his guardian angels several times this year keeping us safe. Austin was hit broadside by a woman going the wrong way on the highway. He was hit directly behind the driver's seat, and yet, he walked away with only a bit of whiplash. 

They no more than found a replacement car, when Daniel's car was hit in an intersection near their home. Thankfully, again no one was hurt. The man stopped to see if he was okay but then got in his car and left. They finally, after several months, have found another replacement car.


Oh, Ethan and Mikaela have been able to save enough to purchase their first car! It's been a bit of a challenge with both of them borrowing a parent's cars. This extra car has helped to make a difference in getting where they need to get. We're proud of them for saving up their salaries and paying for this car in cash!



Brian upgraded his car and bought one of those hybrids, Toyota Prius. He is really liking it. AND it gets great gas mileage.





Reconciliations


Tina has been somewhat estranged from her children from a previous marriage for many years. One day, I received a text from her daughter asking if she could have Tina's phone number. This became the first step for her reconciling with her son and daughter, getting to witness their weddings, and meeting her kids' spouses and getting to know her grandchildren. This has been a long-standing prayer for Tina. What joy she has had this year to the extent of being invited to join them in a Florida vacation.

Tina's family @ daughter, Loran's wedding


A Roof Over Our Heads

How wonderful and pleasant it is
    when brothers live together in harmony!
For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
    that was poured over Aaron’s head,
    that ran down his beard
    and onto the border of his robe.
Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
    that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing,
    even life everlasting
Psalm 133


We saw from the start when we moved to Savannah that God prepared this place for us to live. We love this little community called Harmony. It's quiet and safe. We have even been safe riding through two Hurricanes (Matthew and Irma).  We have enjoyed great relationships and Bible Studies with the neighbors here even though we all come from different backgrounds. (something the press says isn't happening here in the U.S.) 

Daniel, Tina, and Austin purchased a home in the historic district of Savannah last November. They had been wanting for years to move back into the city. God brought them to a beautiful home just 5 minutes from work and church. Daniel has been using his free time to re-surface the floors. How beautiful are those hardwood floors. They, too, have found that different people can live together in harmony. They are excited to be building great relationships with their neighbors.



Note that their new home and the hurricane provided an opportunity for Brian to spend a couple days with Daniel, Tina and Austin complete with his two cats, Chester and A.J. who managed to travel very well on short notice and not get too freaked out by their dog, Lexi (a Doberman).

A.J. and Chester

Brian also had a chance to get away from ministry for a week or so at Thanksgiving. He took a much-needed vacation and went to the Twin Cities to visit some very dear friends. He found Minnesota to be very nice. 

Health Challenges

I have been managing chronic pain fairly well with regular visits to Mayo Clinic. I'm not able to get injections quite as often as I would like but God gives the ability to endure.

Thankful for my pain management since Michael is taking his turn at not feeling well. It's been a challenge with government health insurance to find specialists, and even hold on to regular doctors. It seems every year we are having to find new insurance and new doctors. This issue does seem to be settling down a bit and we finally were able to see a dermatologist where we learned he had some melanoma on his back. Thanking the Lord that the surgeon was able to remove it all! We still have to visit some other specialists for other issues but happy to be clear from cancer and see the blood pressure coming down also. Maybe we have found a doctor that can get things done.

Looking to the future.


Michael and I hope to continue to accept speaking engagements. He supplies for pastors on Sundays. And I, speak to women on leaving a legacy and living through the pain. I have been blogging consistently for two years now. After I wrote the seven devotions for the church (Click here to download for free), I took on the challenge to write devotions on perseverance. I hope to get these together and publish them in a book. But you can receive them by e-mail once a week by signing up here.

I have also found that there are a lot of questions from people wondering about fibromyalgia and I decided that a Question and Answer book on Fibromyalgia would be something people might find helpful. So I created a facebook page, for now, to answer questions as I work on putting these answers in book form. Maybe you will see these available in the near future.

And the most exciting news is Ethan and Mikaela's engagement. They have set the wedding date for May 19, 2018. She plans to wear the gown I wore which was made and worn by my mother in 1956! We found a lady that works with antique fabric and she is making it into Mikaela's size and style! We hope you can come to Savannah to celebrate with us. You will be hearing more details soon. There is a wedding website where we are adding details as they come available. In the spring, you will be able to RSVP on the website!

I doubt that I'll get back to this blog before Christmas arrives, so Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

May your lives come forth as gold;

Mandy et al