Saturday, February 10, 2007

A wistful anniversary

Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that we said good-bye.
I knew it was for the best.
It was a hard thing to do, to say good-bye that day.
While our relationship was the most poignant and significant of my life, the pain you were causing me was intolerable.
Being together affected me in so many ways.
Mentally I wondered if I was going crazy.
Physically I was miserably.
Socially, I was curtailing my activities to accommodate you.
Still, I didn't want our relationship to end.
Four years ago I thought the worst of it was over.
I went to see Dr. Mary, my GYN. She asked how I was doing.
I told her things were going a little better than the last time I had seen her.
A little bit less pain.
A tiny bit less bleeding.
After that Dr. Mary "looked under the hood."
(You ladies reading know what I'm talking about here.)
Then she rolled back on her stool, and gave me a funny look.

"Well," she said "You've got a mass the size of a cantaloupe in there."

(My first thought was "Exactly how big do you mean by "a cantaloupe"?)

"I don't think it is cancer," she said. "But you'll need to go get it checked in a cat scan. Then we'll decide what to do."

Now I had been to see Dr. Mary a year earlier.
At that time I was using "Extra-super plus" everything products inside and out.

(Again, you ladies know what I am talking about here.)
Even with that, I was heading to the WC every hour to re-do the collection.

I had done some research (now there's a surprise!) before seeing her the previous year.

I told her I thought I had:

Endometriosis, andenomyosis

She ordered some tests, and said she didn't think I had these issues.

So I just shut up and suffered.
I was up every hour of the night dealing with this.
Work was almost impossible.

The pain level was so high I was hoarding vicodine pills from root canals just to use for my monthly cycle.
They barely touched the pain.
And I started getting depressed.

Suicidally depressed.
I would walk (exercise is supposed to be good for depression.)
I took St. John's Wort.
I prayed, and reasoned with myself.
My life was good.
Great even.
My husband loved me.
My kids were great.
My parents wonderful.
I had an easy well paying job, a gorgeous house, nice clothes, a few good friends, and no major financial stresses.

Each day I would be in tears, curled up in a ball, unable to function.
I wanted to kill myself.
At one moment of clarity I told my husband to hide all the ammunition that he owned for his hunting guns.
At another moment I realized I needed to see a psychiatrist.

It is really hard to get an appointment with a psychiatrist.
Even when you report that you are suicidal.

The psych I finally got to see was a trip.
She put me on the anti depressant Wellbutrin, and to get a refill, I was required to drive an hour to see her each month, during which appointment time she asked three questions:

Is the Wellbutrin helping?
Do you want a stronger dose?
Do you want to change medications?

She did not want to talk.
To see her to answer those three questions required me to pay her $60.
If I talked, I had to pay an additional $30.

Wellbutrin succeeded in making me zombie numb.
I was so blank, making a cup of tea was a struggle.
Suicide was off the table.
I never could have figured out how to do it.

The day before I saw Dr. Mary I had interviewed for a job.

If I was to get the job, I would need to go to Washington DC in a couple of weeks.
If I got the job, I would receive a week of training on how to research a governmental agency's filings from all companies listed on any stock exchange.

A subject I knew absolutely nothing about.
But it would be a pretty cool job, flying around to different cities and states to train attorneys on how to do research.
Scary, but cool. Good pay too.

So imagine how I was feeling as the cat scan showed that my ovary had bonded with my colon, and my uterus was a disaster, and there was what was known as chocolate cyst (an ovarian cyst filled with blood) filling up the rest of my abdominal space.

Additional testing showed that I had started to enter into menopause, which was why I was doing "a tiny bit better" than the previous visit in terms of tapering bleeding.

And that the amount of hormones that were being dumped (or not dumped) into my system because of this reproductive system train wreck was very likely the reason for my deep depression

Ya think??????

(The discovery of the chocolate cyst answered the nagging question as to why my abdomen looked like I was four months pregnant, while my clothes fit everywhere else. And didn't Bernie feel sorry that he had been nagging me to do sit ups and to suck my tummy in?)

I saw Dr. Mary on a Thursday, and almost walked out of the appointment, as I had had to wait an hour and a half to see her, waiting in a room full pregnant women and new mommies with screaming newborns.

I came that close to leaving.

I still shudder to think what would of happen if I did.

Anyway I got the cat scan done on Friday, and rolled into surgery the following Monday, Feb. 10, 2003.
Bernie and Nurse Laura RN were with me.

While we waited for the surgery to begin I worked on the hat I had started to create earlier in the month.

The hat I planned to wear for Valentine's Day.

A saucy little number, just perfect to wear to a romantic dinner out with my darlin' husband on Valentine's Day.

I was stitching the wire to the interior buckram while the medical paperwork was being filed.

(Laura saw the slightly curved heart shape that was to be the crown. "Are you making a St. Valentine's Day yarmulke? she asked.)

Surgery lasted over five hours.
There was a lot of work to be done in there, and two different surgeons did their thing.

After it was all over my uterus, ovaries (even the healthy one on my right side), cervix, and appendix were gone.

Having had two C-sections I knew the drill on recovering from abdominal surgery.
This one was a whole lot worse.
But I got through it.
Having my daughter there as my nurse was extraordinary.
I will NEVER have surgery without her there to care for me.

Instead of going out for dinner on Valentine's Day, I was being wheeled out of the hospital, clutching flowers and heart shaped balloons.

During the six weeks it took to recover, I got off Wellbutrin and got my sanity back.

I also slowly worked on my hat.

My Hysterectomy Hat

If you look closely, you will see the fallopian tube, with the egg follicles tumbling out.
A net of endometriosis encasing the uterus, and flaring out to tie up the surrounding area in a bow.
The velvety blood red undulates, ruched and tucked and surrounded by more pearly ovum.

In a way, it still is a Valentine's Day hat too.

It's a valentine to the uterus that held my precious children, and enabled me to become a mother.

A uterus that's gone, but not forgotten.

Additional Notes: Six weeks after surgery I did fly to Washington for training, holding my tender abdomen, and using a post-surgery brain so affected by five hours of anesthesia that I had almost zero short term memory. My ability to act like I understood what I was learning should have won me an award. It took a full year to really recover from my surgery.

The post surgery pathology report showed that I did indeed have endometriosis and andeomyosis. It was nice to hear Dr. Mary tell me "You were right!"
Anyone facing hysterectomy or menopausal hormonal issues should considered tapping into the awesome resource known as
Hystersisters. They sent me an anniversary email today, urging me to post how I am doing four years later. Seriously, I don't think I would have survived the hysterectomy experience without Hystersisters and Laura.
You are welcomed to go to Hystersisters should you need help with your female issue needs, but, sorry to say, Laura is not available unless you are having chemotherapy or bone marrow transplant work done at her particular hospital.

Millinery notes:
The hat is made using buckram, velvet, veiling, satin, and pearl beads.
The shape was created using a large heart shaped cookie cutter outline traced for a pattern.
After cutting out the buckram, it was lightly steamed to add a gentle curve.
The side pieced were french bias over wire attached. If I was to do it over again, I would curve the bottom of the side band to match the curve of my forehead. The white floral piece is modern, and acquired at a local craft store within its bridal floral trim collection.
The netting has dots. The lining is red satin, and the hat is held on to the head using a round elastic jenny. It is possible to pin the hat on using a hat pin as an alternative.
I have worn this hat on subsequent Valentine's Days, and feel perfectly comfortable wearing it with black slacks, a Valentine's Day tee shirt and a black or red jacket.
I think it would be a gorgeous design in white for a wedding too.

(And no, Laura, even though you look adorable in it, I am not hinting that you wear it in white when you get married.)

Friday, February 09, 2007

Valentine Gift baskets...

In all the confusion of Bernie being in Nashville and then Salt Lake City last week, and my trip to Minneapolis, we almost forgot to get someone to care for Tiggie and Hart.

By the time we contacted our regular person who feeds the cats while we are gone, it was not possible to arrange care.


So Bernie contacted an official bonded pet sitting service. For $16 a visit, both cats would be taken care of.


That was a close call!

When we got back, we discovered that the cats had better amenities than I had had at the Marriott.

Witness: A gift basket!

I sure as heck didn't get any gift basket at my hotel.

Be sure to maximize the gift basket picture for the full effect.

The cats received a fish shaped ceramic cat food dish, with "Meow" printed on the side, multiple busy balls (clear plastic balls with bells or other items inside), a small cat stuffed with catnip, two fish stuffed with catnip, all in a basket that was shaped like a heart.

Also candy, and two pens.

I wonder what he thought the cats will do with the pens?

Next to the basket was this letter.
It was signed "Uncle Scott."

I think this guy is a hoot.

Wonder if he would come over and pour something in a bowl for me, tidy up my bathroom, brush my hair, bring me the mail and newspaper (off the wet lawn...sigh), and then we could visit and "get to know each other a little better."

Then he could leave a gift basket for ME.

I think everyone needs an "Uncle Scott" in their lives from time to time.
Especially if he only charges $16 to do all that stuff.

Bernie's met the guy.
Bernie hopes the guy doesn't want to become friendly with him, if you know what I mean.
As long as the cats are fine, Bernie is fine with keeping things just the way they are.

Emily Sunshine...

Usually I don't bother reading our little local area paper, "The Tribune."
It serves simply to cover the news of our little townships of Kingwood, Atascocita, Huffman, Porter, New Caney and Humble.

I usually read The Houston Chronicle, the local newspaper that covers world news and all the "big stuff."
It has the comics too, so that makes it especially important in my world.

"The Tribune" had a picture on the front of Mike Wall, of Cowboy City Texas riding his horse in the Rodeo Days Parade over in Humble.

(For you non-local types, that town's name, "Humble" is pronounced "Umble."
The H is silent. Even when the word is being read aloud from the King James version of the Bible, it is pronounced here like they pronounce the name of the town.
I always have to suppress a giggle when they do that.
All of us with 'umble hearts know better than to laugh at the preacher.)

Now I've met Mike Wall.
He runs the cowboy church over in Atascocita.
His church meets in a barn with horses nickering outside, and the ranch dog sitting next to the preacher as he talks.
Everyone is wearing cowboy boots and cowboy hats while they worship because that is what they usually wear.
Nothing fake about it at all.

Anyway, I kept reading "The Tribune" and on the last page was the listing of local births.
I like reading those lists, not because I know anyone here who would have given birth recently, but because I always enjoy seeing what names are popular for babies.

Here in Kingwood, the name Madison is very popular name for girls.
So popular that at one event where mothers and daughters where being called up to receive prizes, we counted 18 Madisons before we got tired of counting.

Some of the names in today's list include:

Hayden Matthew
Brayden Don (not twins...different parents)
Valerie Sierra (my niece Sarah named her daughter Sierra. Try saying those two names outloud. Look for problems later when saying who the phone call is for.)
Anyia Josephina
Emma Grace
Grant Milus
Stacie Lea-Ann
Elaina Rae
Aaliyah Morgan
Colton Andrew, and twin brother Cody Allen (good cowboy names...)
Landon Elijah
Blake Evan
Courtney (no middle name, but it is also a very popular name around here)

My absolute favorite though, was this one:

"Haley Roderick and Eddie Roberts, of Huffman, welcomed 8 pound 5 ounce
Emily Sunshine Roberts
on January 15, 2007."

(Music swells in my mind as my favorite childhood Sunday School song, "Heavenly Sunshine," gets permanently altered.)

"Emily Sunshine
Emily Sunshine,
Flooding my soul with glory divine.
Emily Sunshine, Emily Sunshine
Hallelujah! Jesus is mine."

Wonder if her parent's would sing along.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

New Look

I'm still messing with it, but hopefully the HUGE font should help my folk's ability to read my blog (and me too...aren't we all getting fonder of large type?)

The original blogger book that I read told me Rounders templet was the way to go.
Guess I shoulda listened.
You'd think all the templets would have the same designing functions available.
You could think that.
But you would be wrong.
(Oh so painfully wrong...)

I've added a few Valentine's Day hats on the side bar, and I'm praying that you can see them like I can.
In these trying times, things aren't always as they appear, at least electronically server to server.

Blogger admits they've got problems, so maybe all will be well soon.

Off to work, doing my part to win the war on ignorance...

St. Jill

Add a St. to my name.

Patience is a virtue, and trials serve to develop character.

Given enough opportunity via trials and tribulations, I hear you might have your name bandied about in Rome.

They have a process there by which "sainthood" is conferred.

I think Blogger/Picassa should receive the Vatican's "Saint-making Seal of Approval" due to all the trials and tribulations that have been afflicted upon the lowly bloggers of this present age.

It's just that most afflicted bloggers use such shocking language as they post on the help pages.

Tsk tsk.

No St. for you!

I'm refraining from using words with vowels while expressing my frustration, to keep from accidental saltiness.

I use sound effects like:




Ch ch ch

(Lamaze breathing helps...)

Anyway, just to let you know, I am one-by-one attempting to reload the missing pictures on my blog.

You are welcome to flatter yourselves that I am so concerned about your visual entertainment and your intellectual enlightenment about Texas dentist offices that I am willing to go to the tedious trouble of posting pictures to one site, copying said picture's htlm, then opening Jill's World, logging in, and pasting html.

Over and over again.

But us St. types are honor bound to tell the truth.

I plan to eventually have each year of posts printed out in hard copy and bound for future generational um...(drat, that truth thing again...I want to say pleasure, but more likely it is...) boredom.

Red Xboxes just won't cut it.

It is bad enough that I have to always be watchful for grammar and spelling errors on each post so as not to alienate current readers.

I'm hopeful that future generations will continue to care about spelling and grammar, despite the failure of my current relentless battle with my own children to cease and desist from using such phrases as "Me and Erik" and "Me and them".

(All it took was public school for high school and bang, their private school grammar education was shot.)

Thank you all very much for letting me know when pictures are not displaying properly.

It really is an encouragement.
Please let me know about typos and errors too. I won't be offended at all!

I'll just correct the errors and not publish that comment, so it can stay a comment just between friends.


Your friend

St. Jill of the Laptop

(Who is gunning for the additional title of "Patron Saint of Electronic Blog Publishing")

PS: A quick check on Bernie's computer (different server) shows that now pictures that did show last night have gone AWOL again.
The Texas ironing board that I posted this morning does show for now.

I'll hold off on any additional attempts to re-do the missing pictures until all this electronic tomfoolery resolves.


Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Funky Inner Hair Color is: White.

Your Hair Should Be White
Classy, stylish, and eloquent.You've got a way about you that floors everyone you meet.
Yup, and my funky outer hair color is white too.
Now more than ever.
I saw this little test on another blog, and thought it was pretty cute.
Especially since the natural blond with strawberry undertones hair color that God gave me when I was born is now mostly white.
Not gray, just plain white.
Pretty amazing a little test can be so true!
I'm thinking Blogger posting issues is going to accelerate the blond to white haired process.
I was so happy when apparently the glitches were fixed in the new blogger.
Merrily was I, as I posted away.
And I saw my happy colorful pictures punctuating each post.
A special "thank you" goes out to Lovella who was kind enough to let me know that she couldn't see my pictures, and which posts were sans photo.
I headed over to the public library (eww...) and used their computers (double ewww....) which are on a different server than my home computer.
Sure enough, my posts show red boxes with X's where the pictures should be.
How weird is that?
Looks like other bloggers are having this happen as well. I'm crossing my fingers that the pictures will "pop" later.
If anyone reading this want to help me out a bit, please scroll back through my blog until you see pictures and let me know at which post the pictures start again.
I'd give blogger the old "heave-ho" but my parent's webtv has issues with other blog hosts.
Electronics, what a blessing, what a burden!
Anyway, so tell me....
Did you find out?
What did the test say was YOUR funky inner hair color?
(I'm guessing pink!)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

A crowning moment

Want to go along with me to the dentist?

They've got all kinds of bird feeders and squirrel feeders and even a bird bath to watch from the dental chair.

Here's my really nice dental team.
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We're getting to be really good friends now.

My crown collection is magnificent!

See, isn't this a pretty view from the dental chair?

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I've had the worst luck with dentist in the past.
Horror stories, really.

Most visits felt more like an assault than dental care.

I'd stagger out of dental appointments, wondering if I should call 911.

It got so bad Bernie used to have to go with me to see the dentist and hold my hand so I wouldn't sob.

Turned out I have a strong reaction to epinephrine, the drug they give you to numb you up.

It wasn't that I "needed to straighten up and stop shaking", or that it was all in my head.

It took me finally figuring out at what point the shaking began...about 90 seconds after an hearty injection.

Let me tell you, this dentist is different.

Dr. Rowntree, (the guy in white, first picture above) is the first dentist I have ever had that hasn't made me feel physically and emotionally miserable.

He's not at all like a former dentist who shot me up with epinephrine, and then chewed me out for shaking.

Or the one that started a root canal and decided half way through it he wouldn't finish it.

Now that a challenge, finding another dentist willing to finish up an open tooth on a late Friday afternoon.

Nope, Dr. Rowntree is a good old Texas doc.
He loves to go fishing, and he lives out in the country, where he and his wife can sit around a campfire at night.
He's relaxed.
So I feel relaxed.

Sometimes he speaks at dental conferences.
I guess you could call him an authority on a lot of dental stuff.
(I know he is an authority on a lot of dental stuff.)

I like that he tells me what he is thinking about doing about the stuff going on with my teeth before he starts.
I like that he explains in simple terms what the procedure is, identifies what he actually IS doing DURING the procedure and at the same time manages to make me feel both intelligent and cared for.
Surprising how often those two things don't go together.

And I really, really like that mostly he remembers not to use epinephrine on me.

Because of that issue, he has to work very swiftly to finish procedures on me before the numbing wears off.

Epinephrine apparently lengthen the amount of time the numbing lasts.

Now to hear him talk, you might think he's planning to ride a horse on the next cattle drive.
He's got that Texas country accent.
Listening to him, you'd think maybe he'll pin on a sheriff's badge and join a posse rounding up cattle rustlers.
His office LOOKS like he might possibly live on a Texas ranch, doing roping and cowpoking, and gitten them little dogies along.

Posted by Picasa(Check out the picture above with a cowhide ironing board, lantern and cowboy boot vase holding the flower arrangement. He's even got his "R" for Rowntree branding iron up there!)

His whole office looks like what anyone visiting Texas would hope Texas would look like.

Some day I'd like to wander around the whole office and check out all his great wild life art and Texas country memorabilia. Pretty interesting stuff.

The only thing missing that I can see is a big ol' white hat for our drill wielding hero to tip as he says good bye.

I can see him doing that.

It would be a great shtick at conferences.

Now I would be remiss to not mention the office staff, the friendly women who care enough to keep up with how I am are doing, and they share enough about what they are doing that it feels more like we should be having a cup of tea and a visit together instead of grinding away at aging teeth.

There were blue jays, cardinals, doves, sparrow, downy wood peckers, ladder back woodpeckers, sparrows, finches, and I don't know what all else outside the dentist's window while I was there.

And lots of squirrels too.

Most of them left before I could get a good shot.
I did catch a woodpecker hanging from the bird seed basket, and a sparrow on the edge of the bird bath.

There's a bird guide book on the table below the ironing board.
With all the birds coming through in winter, sometimes it is needed.

You know, it's pretty relaxing to talk with your dentist and dental assistant about the birds outside the window.
It's almost like being in a park.

I'll be back in the chair in a couple of weeks, as soon as the replacement crown comes in.

I can think of "funner" ways to spend $998 and 90 minutes.
(Crowns that go ON my head, instead of IN my head would be great!)

What can I say.

Dental work costs. Thank heaven for insurance.

And thank heaven for a dental team that keeps me comfortable while they get done what needs getting done.

Good job, ya'll.

MN Journal: Final moments

Last moments together as we wait for our flights out of Minnesota,
She's heading for San Diego, I'm going to Houston.
Bernie's already in the air, winging his way home from Salt Lake City.
We talk about when we will see each other again.
Maybe in Denver, maybe in April. Maybe in Salt Lake City.
Perhaps in Kingwood.
Hard to say for sure.
We both hate to say good bye.
Sunset from the plane.
It's wonderful to step off the plane and see Bernie's face in the crowd.
It felt so good to be home.
Bush Intercontinental Airport's Terminal B has great art.
This is just part of a long wall/walkway that mimics bayou water life in our area.
The terazzo floor has bronze inserts of fish and frogs and underwater fauna.
The walls are mosaic tile scenes of birds, flowers, and animals that would naturally be found beside bayou edges.
The scene above it only a small part.
I couldn't take any more shots.
I had run out of room on my camera's scan disk!

Yes, it is good to be back to my temperate bayou city.
It feels good to be warm again.

MN Journal: Looking for MN

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Braving the cold, Laura and I went forth to try to find places that said "Minnesota."
This house looked vaguely Norse.
A guy wind skating on the lake...that seems like a Minnesota type thing.
The Danish blue trim...that might qualify.

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And the state capitol in St. Paul.

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Yes, the sky really was that blue.

In front of the capitol dome there is statuary of golden horses and a Roman god and two goddesses.
It is called Quadriga, four horses, a golden man in a chariot and two women walking.


Should be the other way around.
But then again, as they say on the Prairie Home Companion about the mythical Minnesota town of Lake Woebegone:

"Where the women are strong
The men are good looking
and the children are all above average."

Guess if you're strong, you get to walk!

We, however, rode and stayed in our nice warm car.

We're strong, good looking AND very, very smart!

MN Journal: How cold?

Laura and I stayed at the Airport Marriott, the full service available hotel.

The picture above was shot from the INSIDE of our hotel room

With the heat on.This shot was taken at 11 am, Sunday, Feb. 4th.

Laura has a picture of when she was in the car and it was minus 16 degrees F.
(-26 C.)

Minus 9 degrees F. (-23 degrees C.) was cold enough for me, thank you very much.

Wind chill?

Oh yeah.

Somewhere around minus 30 degrees. F. (-34 C.)

The wind was ablowin'.

Minneapolis viewed over frozen Lake Calhoun.
Minneapolis reportedly has the most sunny days per year of all the USA cities.
Yeah, it is sunny all right.
Just don't ask about the temperature!

MN Journal: Mall of America

I guess this is what they wear in Minneapolis when they get dressed up.
Pretty wild stuff! But then what do I know?
This is what I wore when I went to the Mall.
I think minus six degrees weather influenced my fashion sensibilities.
Just a tad.

We tried to find someplace good to eat.
Kokomo's food was awful.
The lobsters made out of pipe cleaners, glued to a tooth pick and inserted into a straw in our drinks...well now.
There's a reason to visit Minneapolis Mall of America, don'tcha know.
You betcha!
Uf dah!

MN Wedding Journal: Final Scene

The end of the wedding story...
Now for the beginning.

Notice anything about these above two pictures of the bride?
All of the pictures of the bride for that matter?
While everyone around her is smiling ear to ear, she is smiling a very unique smile.
That smile is what lead her now husband to her in the first place.

When Andrea was a girl she was afflicted multiple times with Bell's Palsy.
BP rarely happens on both sides of the face, but Andrea is a rare person, and she was one of those who did have BP on both sides.
BP mostly affected her lower face.
Smiling with facial paralysis creates a mask similar to a "Popeye" caricature.
I was affected with BP this past October.
It is not the worse thing that could ever happen to a person.
However, the loss of normal facial expression is heartbreaking.
Smiles and laughter normally bond people together.
A smile from a BP person can be unsettling as the paralyzed face contorts, closing one eye, dropping the face on one side while the other side over compensates.
As a married woman in my fifties, I was irked that this was happening, but it wasn't the end of my world.
For Andrea, BP happened to her as a young woman.
A six foot tall young woman with glasses.
It happened as she began puberty.
And just when the BP would begin to improve, she would relapse again.
There was even surgery performed on her facial nerve in hopes that pressure could be relieved.
It didn't help.
When the facial nerve is paralysed more than a smile is lost.
Chewing food become difficult, as the paralysed cheek is unable to move food effectively.
The lips don't purse. (Lipstick application and kissing is different)
Whistling is no longer possible (I still miss whistling...)
Sucking on a straw is no longer possible.
And for many BP effected people, keeping saliva inside is not automatic. (Mostly my eye was affected)

We all know how difficult it is to go through adolescence, feeling sensitive about our looks.
Imagine what Andrea went through.

I know what it is like to be tall, and wear glasses while growing up.
It's hard to feel good about yourself, to feel feminine, and to fit in.
Even with great faith, and a caring family, it gets tough when you look different.

Andrea's two younger sisters and brother found spouses, got married.
And Andrea had a turning point with her relationship with God.

It was rough.
She made some bad choices.
Some could have had permanent consequences.

She had just moved to Hawaii, and had made a choice one evening that could have jeopardized both herself and Laura's safety.

(Scared was pretty wild crazy behavior)

It was a wake-up call.

Andrea turned a corner. She turned her life back over to God.

And she made a list of what she hoped for, someday, in a husband:
A big man.
Taller than she was.
A scruffy manly man (no metrosexual type guy)
An outdoors type.
With large hands,
And a very large faith in God.

Meanwhile Laura "The Good One" was getting engaged to "The Wrong One."

Andrea knew it, we knew it.

How could Andrea even say anything about this? She spoke up anyway, and spoke truth.

After they both left Hawaii, Andrea returned to her job as a cardiac nurse in her home town.
There was an online Christian dating service in the area.
Andrea posted her picture.

Jason saw the picture.
He sent her an electronic "wink", and wrote her:

"I love your smile."

It was her smile that drew him to her picture.
When they met, he told his friends that she was the most beautiful woman he had ever met.
Andrea is his first love.
And you wouldn't believe how big his hands are!
And how much he loves God and others.

Sometimes there's a reason for things.
Sometimes things just work together for the good.

Laura and I believe so too.

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MN Wedding Journal: The Reception

The tanned ones were from snowy Minneapolis.

The tall white one lives in California.

Go figure.

Now here was a refreshing moment: A couple who had just vowed to love, respect and honor one another tenderly feeding each other a piece of wedding cake.

The last wedding I went to (bride and groom were both graduates from a major Christian University) the bride ground the cake on the groom from forehead to chin.

He retaliated by shoving her down on the floor and smearing the cake from hairline to chest.

And everyone laughed.

Except me.

I was horrified. How rude can one be to someone you love, than to do something like that?

This, on the other hand, was SO delightful to see.

So loving.

I'm tearing up just looking at it.

There was a slide show with music of them growing up.
Very common to see this sort of thing at weddings now days.
I always choke up. This time since Laura and Andrea are about the same age it was especially teary, as even though they grew up half a country apart, the hairstyles and clothing styles that they wore as kids were so similar.
And the pictures of Laura and Andrea together in Hawaii...we had to reach for a hankie at that point.
Her dad really lost it the first time he saw the slide show.
"I just watched my little girl grow up, in three minutes!"
Children grow up during long days and short years.
And sometimes in only three minutes time.Posted by Picasa

Monday, February 05, 2007

MN Wedding Journal: After

After "The Hallelujah Chorus" recessional.

When you finally get married at age 30, after thinking it will never happen, it's the perfect recessional song.

Everyone mingled as hors d'oeuves were brought around through the crowd in the atrium.

Oh man, those cheese stuffed and sour cream with caviar baked red mini potatoes were good.

Aren't these ladies cute?

Old friends catching up.

I had to take a picture.

More yummies!
Beautiful frame too.
The catering staff was part of the church.
I still like looking at my own wedding's reception pictures and seeing who was there.
I liked that this wedding was almost all family and close friends, about 125 people.
That is what is so nice about marrying while you still live in your own home town.
And getting married IN your home town.
And not viewing your wedding as a society/business networking event (ugh!)
Just lots of love and loveliness.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

MN Wedding Journal: The Ceremony

The Bride and her Maid of Honor.

Down the aisle...Laura gives her mom a big smile. The bouquet in her hand is calla lillies with magnolia leaves bent over to show the bronze underside of the leaf.

The processional was Cindy Morgan's "Make Us One" (You might be able to click on that link and scroll down to hear a sound clip from the song on Amazon.)

(As Laura put it, "She went for maximum tear factor in music choice." Tear factor achieved!)

Didn't everyone wash up nicely? I liked that the couple faced the audience.

Laura liked that she could see all the grooms men's lips quivering.

Done deal!
They wrote their own vows and they were lovely.
They promised to encourage and appreciate and love each other more every day.
Me? I really appreciate the traditional nine part commitment:
Someone once told me what you are signing on for was a commitment, even more than love.
Love is a gift from God.
A Commitment you personally have to make happen.
Love is often seen as a feeling.
Commitment is an "even though" promise.
Someone else said you haven't read a book, don't know the whole story until the last page is read and the book is closed.
Only then will you be able to say what the story was about, what it meant, how it turned out.
The nine fold vow includes death...the final page of the marriage, when there will be one person knowing at last the entire story.
Only after the loss of a mate can anyone say: "Our marriage" and be speaking of every day of it.
Sobering thoughts.
We have had, and held, been better and been worse, been richer and been poorer, and have been healthy and been sick during the these first thirty years.
At each turn it's been good to be able to say;
"Yeah, that was what I sign up for that day in the pretty white gown. This (rich, sick, better...) means I am having a marriage!"
Even though the couple didn't say the nine things, I have a feeling they understand what they are undertaking.
They're going to do just fine.