Before and After

And she’s married. My darling daughter is now married to my wonderful son-in-law . What a full month this has been. What a life this is. I have much to be thankful for as 2013 draws to a close. Perhaps it is best displayed in pictures of the before and after party. The pictures of the during party were done by our dear friend, Mackenzie, at RollinsCole and those will follow. I know they will be beautiful.

A few weeks before:

In the midst of the ice storm that shut down the city of Dallas for four days, my entire family met at home depot so that my dad could buy us all Christmas trees for Christmas:

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When we got that thing home, it was a frozen, solid chunk of pine ice. It sat in our living room for hours, slowly thawing out and the branches began to drop, one by one…

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But it eventually thawed into a beautiful tree…

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A few days after that, my dad had his orders regularized with our church and he was ordained to the diaconate in a special ceremony:

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Then, we had a full-out music fest on Christmas day at my parents’ house, ending with Chris performing the song he had just worked up with my brothers, to be sung during Callie and Jeremy’s first dance two days later:

Then, the wedding. The beautiful wedding in front of a packed house at our church, with friends who came from near and far to be a part of this special day. Then, the party. The dancing may or may not have gotten a little crazy. We won’t know for sure until we see the pictures. But my sore muscles are giving me a hint as to what the answer might be. Then, the after-party at our house the next day. I’m so thankful we got to spend this day with old friends and family who came from far away. And I’m so thankful that the weather was absolutely amazing and that almost the entire day was spent outside. And I’m so thankful that nobody went to the emergency room after trying Donald’s slackline. I’m just so thankful for everything.

Slackline

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My grandma was really good at Ladder Golf

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My nephew was really good at the slackline

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Jasmine was really good at looking beautiful

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And no after party is complete without a good high-kick competition. We all felt like we did pretty good, but these pictures show a clear winner…

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My sister-in-law is the high-kicking queen.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night. See you in 2014.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours! In the presence of so much love, I share my visuals with you now, starting with the light that shines in the darkness.
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We started the week at the home of my favorite artist-priest, who had his own visual of the God who was made man.
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My favorite pregnant friend was there too, with her happy husband.
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Christmas Eve found us exchanging gifts with part of our family, including my nephews and niece who are the cutest.
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Callie got a pillow pet from Seth.
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The pillow pet made stars appear on everyone’s faces.
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Lydia got a dress from Callie, which she put on right away and declared herself “pretty” while running and running and running and running.
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Me and my sweetie did what me and my sweetie do.
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Then we went to the midnight Holy Communion service and came home and opened the traditional Christmas Eve pajama gifts from Grandma Jill.
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They were matching this year, which made everyone appropriately silly. Or maybe the silliness was due to the fact that it was 2am.
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Around 3am, the thunder started, which was right after we all had fallen asleep. We might have slept through it except that this guy doesn’t like thunder AT ALL and likes to let us all know about it. All night long. Until we banished him to the garage to conquer his fears on his own with all the power tools.
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By morning, the storm was gloriously intense and we shared a very dark, very beautiful candlelight breakfast of stuffed french toast.
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There were lit candles everywhere. Even on all the walls.
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It was a beautiful breakfast on a beautiful feast day.
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After presents were opened and everyone was dressed, we met up with our dear friends at a fun restaurant. My goddaughter has been very sick this last month and it was such a joy to spend time with her again after being in the ICU for far too long at Children’s Hospital.
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But I think the highlight of the whole week was looking over the shoulder of this man in that restaurant and seeing white stuff coming down out the window in the background. And telling him about it. And watching him immediately leave the table and run outside to experience it and come back in with white in his hair and wet spots on his shirt and tears in his eyes. Yes, the snow on Christmas made him cry. Which made us all cry.
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And then there was this for dessert. Need I say more?
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It sure made that formerly very sick girl and currently very pregnant mama really happy.
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Even the walk back to the car was beautiful.
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And windy. Very, very windy.
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When we got home, we played with our Christmas presents.
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And with the fog on the windows.
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Chris even got to play with his new firepit.
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In the snow!
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All in all, it was a lovely and peaceful Christmas. Our only sadness was that Chris’ parents got caught up in the travel nightmare happening all over the country due to the many snowstorms. They made it to San Francisco and then had to go back to Oregon. We really wanted them in Dallas and they really wanted to be here, but it just wasn’t meant to be, apparently. So now we have Callie’s graduation in May to look forward to seeing them. There should be no snowstorms then.

And now, a poem about snow, that sums me up pretty well:

SNOW
By Frederick Seidel

Snow is what it does.
It falls and it stays and it goes.
It melts and it is here somewhere.
We all will get there.