Archive | July, 2009

Show Us Your Life – Bridal Party & Flowers/Ceremony

31 Jul
Today is another edition of Kelly’s Korner Show Us Your Life.  Today’s topic is bridal party and flowers/ceremony.
So …

Welcome to my wedding day!!

We got married on June 13, 2009 (only about a month and a half ago!!)
We were married at the First Congregational Church of Kent in Kent, CT – a VERY small (less than 3,000 people) town in northwestern Connecticut.  My mom has been the pastor of this church for the past 15 years and it was really special to be able to share this special day not only with my friends and family, but with a group of people who watched me grow up.
People were shocked when I told them that my mom was NOT performing the wedding ceremony, but this wasn’t ever a possibility for me.  She needed to be the mother of the bride.  A good friend of mine actually performed the ceremony – he was ordained the summer before I went to seminary and I admire him as a person and as a minister.

The church is classic New England – a wooden church with a big white steeple, no air conditioning and BOY was it HOT under all that tulle!!
For those of you Gilmore Girls fan, Kent is very much like Stars Hollow – a friend of mine from Georgia came in for the weekend and she said she felt like she was living in an episode of Gilmore Girls!!

Here are the bridesmaids beautiful flowers.  The girls were in red and I didn’t want red on red, but wasn’t sure what my other options were.  My florist suggested orange with some yellow and I’m SO glad I trusted her.  They were beautiful!!

We had two arrangements to match the bridesmaids flowers at the church.  That was it for decorations – I didn’t want to take away from the simple beauty that is an old congregational church.
I walked down the isle to the Taize song, El Senyor (In The Lord).  Bruce proposed to me at an altar filled with candles after a Taize service at our church and that was the song that was playing.  To hear it as I walked down the isle brought me back to the night he proposed.
Our ceremony was really well-crafted.  A friend of mine sang “How Great Thou Art” and “Someone Like You,” another friend read from John 15 (I am the vine, you are the branches) and Max preached a sermon about how we were not only celebrating the covenant Bruce and I were making, but also the family and friends that we are connected to through the Body of Christ.  The sermon was right before the vows and I never imagined I would be so touched by a sermon just before saying my wedding vows.  It was JUST what I wanted.
So … my bridal party.
Two weeks before the wedding we got word that Bruce’s brother, the best man, was being stationed at a Coast Guard base two days before the wedding and wouldn’t be able to be there.  It’s so hard to be so proud of someone for what they’re doing and yet so disappointed at the same time.  About a week later, Bruce’s cousin (another groomsmen) found out that his wife needed surgery.  He really wanted to be there, but Bruce assured him that being with his wife and one-year-old son was more important.  
At that point we had six bridesmaids and four groomsmen so we asked Bruce’s sister (one of my bridesmaids) if she would be the “best woman” and she stood next to Bruce for the ceremony.  In a way, we were making the best out of a bad situation, but I also thought it was special that Steph could do that for Bruce – they’ve always had a special relationship.

This is me and my bridesmaids and my dad before we all hopped on the fire truck and road to the church.
My adorable flower girl is my cousin, who is eight years old (I had to use this picture because it was too adorable to pass up).  My aunt adopted her from Vietnam when she was four months old and she had brought so much joy to our family.  When they went to the orphanage to pick her up, my two aunts and my mom (my mom and other aunt had gone to Vietnam for three weeks for the adoption) all wore red because it is the Vietnamese color symbolizing good luck and happiness.  That’s why I chose red for my bridesmaids!!
My sister is standing behind my flower girl, she was my maid of honor.  I’m being honest when I say that the wedding wouldn’t have gone off without her – she was AMAZING and took care of details and was just amazing.
And now for one of my favorites … 

Bruce has some of the most AWESOME friends who he asked to be groomsmen.  We were down two groomsmen but they did everything they could for me and my family the weekend of the wedding to try to make things go as smoothly as possible.  The hung tulle, they mowed lawns, they made small talk and they helped with music at the reception.  I’m so glad to be able to have them in my life now!!
Thanks for stopping by!!
Smile big, love hard, rejoice always, find grace and live in peace,
Sarah

Cat Grass

29 Jul
I can’t keep flowers or plants in our apartment.  Lilly mistakes them as something grown for her own edible pleasure.  Too bad it not only ruins the flowers or plants but it also makes her sick.
Last year Bruce discovered Cat Grass – it’s a grass that is actually good for cats.  It has natural nutrients, helps with digestion and eating it is supposed to satisfy the cat’s cravings for grass so they stay away from other plants and flowers.
We picked some up the other day and have been growing it for the last week.  We brought Lilly out on the porch this afternoon to see what she thought … 

She loved it!!

Yumm – this is WAY better than that dry crunchy stuff you always give me.
She then proceeded to abandon the grass and headed straight for the ferns Bruce has been growing.
Sigh … 

Ahh, I sous-stand

28 Jul
Does anyone remember the Friends episode where Phoebe comes to visit Monica at work and develops a crush on Monica’s sous chef?  Phoebe asks him if he’s Monica’s boss and he explains that actually Monica is his boss, “sous” is the french word for “under.”  Phoebe replies by saying, “Ahh, I sous-stand.”
Well I think – after last week’s kitchen debacle(s) – I’m starting to sous-stand some things in the kitchen.
For starters – I make a phenomenal sous chef.  Bruce called me yesterday from work and told me what he was thinking for dinner, that he was going to work a little bit late and asked if I could get some things ready?
I could try?
Well, as it turns out, I defrost a mean chicken and scrub and peel a mighty potato (if I do say so myself).
When Bruce got home, he took over the cooking of the chicken while I took care of the potatoes.  The vegetables steamed themselves and voila!!  Dinner for two with no tears.
I’m starting to sous-stand that when you’re new to this whole “cooking on a regular basis thing” you should abide by the three S’s.  Start small, be simple and take things slow
So, to be continued … 

Weekend Wrapup

27 Jul
Ohhhh Monday. Why are you always here?!

So Saturday night the “stuff” finally got to me. I know, I know. You’re all probably rolling your eyes and saying, “I’ve heard this before, she’ll scrub the apartment clean, file away the pile of papers on her desk and feel better.”

But this time it was different – the apartment wasn’t messy, just cluttered. We officially have too much stuff.
I went to Target on Saturday night to get some storage bins. While there, I came across a stack of “under bed” storage containers that I used to use in college. I decided to buy one and see if I could get rid of some of the clutter in my dresser and armoir and hide it under our bed. When I got home I realized I would need to do some major clean out under the bed first (apparently the dryer hasn’t been eating my socks, the bed has – along with ice packs, water bottles, hair clips, books, etc. etc. etc.). Of all things, I found the journal I kept for Bruce when he was in Africa and I was cruising the Eastern Mediterranean with my parents. Obviously, I was THRILLED that my parents had given me this fabulous opportunity, but a recurring theme in my journal posts was the shear amount of waste that I saw. I remember vividly being Monte Carlo, France and standing outside the Grand Casino, horrified that people from our group were gawking and taking pictures of the cars parked just outside – cars that were worth more than any house I’ll ever be able to afford.

Maybe it was the hot sun. Maybe it was the fact that I had been living in a stateroom the size of a small walk-in closet with three other grown adults for two weeks. Or maybe it was the fact that Bruce had been living in a house with no electricity or running water for two months, spending his days at an orphanage with children who had to be taken from their homes because of abuse and neglect.

It could have been a combination of all three.
But it just didn’t seem right.  We do a program at my mom’s church called “Tortillas for Teupasenti.”  For $1 a day, you can feed a child at the Children’s Rescue Mission for an entire year.
How many children could have been fed with one $250,000 car?

We live with so much excess. Bruce and I really don’t have any money – in fact, I started taking out student loans last semester to ease some of our financial stress. But we still live in excess. I really don’t know how that happens.
So back to my apartment. I’ve decided that every day until classes start back up again I’m going to get rid of two things that I don’t need. They don’t need to be huge things (the bed and couch are staying!!) but they need to be something!! Some of the things – like yesterday’s just about gone bottles of perfume that I haven’t worn in four years – can be thrown away. But I’m going to try to donate some of the stuff as well. One of today’s items is my bike. It’s a clunky mountain bike that I’ve ridden twice since being in Atlanta. It doesn’t really work for the type of riding Bruce does that I may eventually want to get into. But it may work for someone in transitional housing (a stage between living in homelessness and getting an apartment) who needs to be able to get around to run some errands. Bruce brought my bike to MUST Ministries this morning. They fix bikes that come into their warehouse and redistribute them to those in need. I’m not sure what else I’ll get rid of today – I’ll keep you posted.
There is something so freeing about cleaning out and finding ways to recycle things. As happy as I will be to get home and not see my bike hanging on the balcony, I’m more happy to think that someone may ride it every day.

I took a walk yesterday and came home to find this.

Bruce on the porch reading; Lilly had come out to bask in the sun and jumped up with him.

That’s what’s really important anyway.
I hope everyone’s week is off to a fabulous start.

Smile big, love hard, rejoice always, find grace and live in peace.
Sarah

He Gets an "A"

25 Jul
Look!!

Bruce wanted me to feel better about the whole cooking debacle so he brought me flowers and chocolate!!

I’m SO lucky!!
I hope everyone is enjoying their weekends!!
Smile * Love * Rejoice
Sarah

Show Us Your Life – Wedding Dresses

24 Jul
Kelly’s Korner’s “Show Us Where You Live Friday” has branched off into “Show Us Your Life” and today’s edition is Wedding Dresses!! I thought I would join in on the fun since I’m not even two months into my marriage and have been showing little tidbits of the wedding anyway.
So here goes …

I got my dress at David’s Bridal.  My mom and sister and I went in shortly after I got engaged “just to look” and before we knew we just got swept away in the process and bought the dress, shoes, undergarments, tiara and two veils.  My father was both amused and horrified when we got home.  There were times throughout the planning process that I wished I had taken more time to shop around, saved some money, picked either the veil OR the tiara, etc.  But in the end, I LOVED every piece of what I wore that day and wouldn’t have traded it for anything!!
(and I found ways to cut costs in other places – my father was grateful!!)

About a week before I went looking for dresses, I attended a friend’s wedding and was introduced to the “pull-up” look.  I fell in LOVE with it and knew I had to have a dress with that style on the bottom.
The bodice of the dress had a really slimming frame as well as beautiful beading that ended up matching the tiara PERFECTLY (fate, right?)

There was a beautiful simplicity about the dress, so my hairdresser matched it with an elegant Audrey Hepburn, swept back look.
To contrast that look, I used dark make-up – smoky eyes and deep red lipstick and nails.
… the red matched the Fire Truck!!
This is how my girls and I got to the church.  My mom is a pastor in a really small town in Connecticut.  The local fire department is really active and many of our church members are firefighters.  The department was gracious enough to let one of the members drive me and my girls to the church on the truck!!  It was awesome – my veil flew out the window and as we approached the church the siren went off!!  Talk about a grand entrance.
Walking down the isle – Bruce hadn’t seen my dress before so when the doors to the church opened he just smiled and smiled.  I was SO happy to see him!!
One of my favorites – is hanging above my fireplace right now 🙂
I LOVE my top gun sunglasses and had to have them on for at least one picture!!  This picture kind of makes me feel like Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.
I kept my veil on all night – Bruce asked me why and I told him because I would only get the chance to do this once!!
Once we bustled the train it just flowed with me and I felt like an absolute princess!!  A night I will never forget!!
Thanks for stopping by!!
Sarah 🙂

I’m Hopeless

23 Jul

I tried to make dinner for Bruce tonight.  We were having our weekly “date night” and because he planned last weeks night out I thought I would plan a menu and treat my husband to a yummy meal.

Thought.
Here was what was on the menu:
Appetizers – Tostitos with a Spicy Cheese Dip
Dinner – Ham & Scalloped Potatoes, cooked all day in the crock pot
Dessert – Layered Devil’s Food & Yellow Cake (the same flavors as our wedding cake)
I was even going to be cute and make little menus for the occasion.
Here’s what happened:
– I overestimated the size of my small crock pot and had to move the spicy cheese dip into a pot on the stove where it subsequently burned to the bottom.
– I left the big crock pot (with the ham) on high for too long; everything dried out and burned to the sides of the crock pot.
– I didn’t let one of the layers of the cake cool enough and when I went to move it, it fell into a bunch of pieces.
That’s right, in one fail swoop I managed to ruin not one, not two, but THREE COURSES of a meal I tried to cook.
It’s almost comical.
Almost.

Barefoot in the Kitchen

22 Jul
Joking, of course, my mom’s response when I told her that I was changing my last name to Weaver after the wedding (and dropping Keck all together, not hyphenating or adding a middle name) was, “What kind of feminist did I raise?!”
Well, no worries, mom.  Becoming Mrs. Weaver has apparently not turned me into a barefoot-in-the-kitchen housewife.
Here’s how I know:
Neal and I were talking about our cooking abilities this afternoon.  I explained to him that (even though I hated to admit it) Bruce is a much better cook than I am.  He’s more creative, cooks to taste rather than to recipes and genuinely enjoys the process.  I – on the other hand – need recipes and I need them to be simple.  I tend to obsess over meat and whether it’s cooked all the way through (subsequently often overcooking it) and the first time I tried to make breakfast for Bruce and me (first weekend alone in Atlanta) I burned the bacon, filled the apartment with smoke and stood in the middle of the kitchen and cried.
True story.
I digress.
So Neal and I were joking about the fact that we need recipes because what if there is an off chance two spices absolutely CANNOT be mixed and we happen to mix them?  I don’t remember much of high school chemistry (I spent most of it practicing my saxophone in the music hallway, honestly), but I remember that you weren’t supposed to just mix chemicals.  Is the same with spices?  How do I know that I won’t mix the right amount of spice A with spice B, top it with some oil and vinegar and POOF!! I have carbon monoxide?
These are the things that go through my head.
So anyway, you would think after this particular conversation I would throw in the dishtowel and order pizza.  But – recipe in hand – I ventured to the grocery store after work.
And this is what happened in one short trip to Publix … 
– I had to ask an employee on the refrigerated dairy isle where the blocks of Velveeta were only to be informed they were “down on isle 10, Velveeta doesn’t need to be refrigerated until after it’s opened.” (who knew?!)
– I walked up and down the canned vegetable isle thinking that because there were canned tomatoes I would find taco shells and seasoning (I did not).
– I circled the store three times before I found potatoes (they’re in produce near the onions, if you’re curious).
– Once I found said potatoes I had to call my father (yep, I’m a big girl – I’m married and live 1,000 miles away but I still call my parent’s house from the grocery store) and ask him what russet potatoes were.  I think it’s safe to say my father was trying hard not to laugh as I lowered my voice and muffled the question into the phone as to keep from drawing attention to the people around me with my embarrassing lack of potato knowledge.
And Bruce wondered why I had a weird look on my face when I walked in the door with the groceries.
So barefoot-in-the-kitchen housewife is out.
How about wearing-spike-heels-while-holding-a-pink-cocktail?  I think I can pull that one off.
Maybe there’s still hope.  We’ve only been married for 39 days, after all … 

Betty’s Diner

20 Jul
We had a really special service in church yesterday. Kim was inspired by the Carrie Newcomer song, Betty’s Diner. The message of the song is that the community that often forms in local diners is one similar to one that forms in a church family. Here is the chorus:

Here we are all in one place

The wants and wounds of the human race

Despair and hope sit face to face

When you come in from the cold

Let her fill your cup with something kind

Eggs and toast like bread and wine

She’s heard it all so she don’t mind

The service was really beautiful. Kim gathered together a worship team for this service and they set up the sanctuary to look like a diner – tables and chairs instead of rows, bulletins that looked like menus and a pot-luck breakfast buffet that rivaled those put together on the Disney Cruise Line.
The concept of the service was centered around the concept of the song verses – outlining individual testimonies of the “diners” – who they are and where they are on life’s journey. When it gets around to the chorus, Betty invites in and serves each of the diners – no matter who they are or where they are on life’s journey. Does this sound familiar? I wonder if Carrie Newcomer has ever heard of the UCC. The worship team had recruited some ready and willing volunteers to “be the verses,” to give their testimonies of what brought them to “Pilgrimage’s Diner,” of where they are on life’s journey. In between each testimony, the congregation sang together the chorus of Betty’s Diner.
I had never really thought about the connection between a church community and a diner community. And yet – it makes so much sense!! At one point during the 10:00 “seating” I started collecting plates as people were done with them. Someone thanked me and I replied with a smile, saying “once a waitress always a waitress!!” I LOVED waitressing. I worked at a place that sounds very similar to Betty’s Diner. It was a local favorite in a small town, catering both to locals and visitors, to the wealthy and to the financially struggling, to the smiling and the scowling, to the elated and the somber. Some days I turned the sign and locked the doors feeling drained, like I wouldn’t be able to get up and face the crowd the next day. Some days I was energized. But no matter what – someone had taught me something that day.
It’s funny – I’ve heard ministers say the same thing about serving churches.
The thing I like about diners is that EVERYONE has a story. When I was waitressing, it was easy to hear those stories. People opened up to me about their marriages and divorces, vacations and educations, new houses and cars, a documentary they got hooked on the night before and (some of my favorite stories) their experiences on the Appalacian Trail (Kent, CT is a popular stop-off town for the trail and a lot of hikers came in the restaurant). What’s a shame is that – because people would sit at their own tables and talk to people they came with – diners never got to hear each other’s stories. I’m ashamed to admit that ever since I hung up my apron I haven’t heard quite as many stories when I walk into a diner.
The joy I have to share today is that at Pilgrimage diners always get to hear each other’s stories. Between joys and concerns, the growing popularity of social networking sites like facebook and an easy e-mail program that can quickly send messages church wide, we all have the opportunity to hear each other’s stories. You quickly realize that – even as a (using myself as an example) straight, white, married young adult who’s struggling through graduate school – you have a lot in common with people who – on the surface – seem drastically different from who you are. We all struggle. We all rejoice. We can all come together to praise God.
I wonder how I can find the same community in the strangers I meet at Waffle House.
I hate watching the news. I really do. Why do differences turn into hatred, intolerance and violence?
They don’t have to. We are all God’s children. Despite our differences, we can all share a meal together. That’s the beauty of Jesus’ message and the beauty of how this song translates it into everyday life. The trick now is to translate it into every day life. It’s easy to share communion with a group of people who belong to the same church. It’s not as easy to do this with people we meet in our day to day lives – people who disagree with us, people who are marginally different from us, people who just infuriate us.
The beauty of Jesus’ message is that we are all God’s children. Despite our differences, we can all share a meal together.
The trick now is to translate it into every day life.
Here’s the song. I encourage you to listen to it and to think of ways to can meet people wherever they are on life’s journey.

Take me out to the ball game … X2

19 Jul
So I failed to mention in yesterday’s post that when Bruce was at the Braves game on Friday night he jumped up to yell and scream during a home run and subsequently dropped his phone.  Off the bleachers.  Onto a beam.  A beam that was more than an arm’s length below where Bruce was sitting.  A beam that – looking at it from the other way – was at LEAST 20 feet in the air.
Oy.
Luckily the woman who the supervisor for the ushers on the level where Bruce was sitting was WONDERFUL.  She let Bruce use her phone so he could call me and made all the calls to the appropriate people to get someone to come in and get the phone down.
Unfortunately, Bruce had taken the MARTA shuttle to the game and needed to leave to catch it back before they could get the phone down.  Which meant, that, on Saturday afternoon … 
TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME!!
Yep, Bruce and I went back to Turner Field to retrieve his phone and take in game two versus the Mets.
Personally, I think he planned this whole thing so he would have a reason to take me to an afternoon game on a beautiful July Saturday.
What do you all think?  Coincidence or not?