Love and marriage

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Engagement ring bridal shower cupcakes

Marriage is on my mind this week – if you’ve read my last two posts, can you tell?

Maybe it’s because Papa and I are celebrating our wedding anniversary this month.

Or maybe it’s because two of our grown offspring are also celebrating anniversaries this fall with their spouses. Year seven for both of them.

Or maybe it’s because I just viewed Facebook photos that two of my blogging friends proudly displayed of their sons’ recent weddings. Such love and joy radiated from those pictures.

Or maybe it’s because I recently attended a bridal shower for the daughter of one of my best friends. That sweet young lady will be marrying her true love this fall.

Or maybe it’s because my lovely great-niece is walking down the aisle soon to wed her own handsome prince.

So wedding invitations decorate the front of our refrigerator and my thoughts have turned to RSVPs and gift buying…and marriage.

Weddings are the fun part of marriage. All of that planning and prepping to make that special day just perfect. That is definitely exciting and kind of fairy tale like.

But after the big day is over, real life sets in. It may take a year or two, but eventually, that couple in love realize marriage isn’t like a Disney movie; it’s hard work to live happily ever after.

The shine and glitz of that wedding day can wear off and romance may even wane. But that’s when the two, now become one, have to dig their heels in, look each other in the eye, and say, “We are going to make this work.”

And that’s what I wish for these young couples starting off life together.

I wish they would never allow the realities of life to cause their love for one another to fade.

I wish for perseverance when the tough times come to them.

I wish they understand that you don’t just find the right one to make a perfect twosome, you be the right one.  

I wish them love, not just the fluffy, stars in the eyes, giddy feeling of butterflies that the movies portray, but real, honest-to-goodness love.

The kind of love that makes each one of them remember to insert his or her own name in place of the word “love” in this well-known passage from the Bible.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Because that passage easily describes how a marriage can last until death do you part. May all of these marriages be so.

“True love stories never have endings.” ~ Richard Bach

©2019 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

 

Heart to heart windows

blogIMG_1044Wouldn’t it be interesting if you could get a little glimpse of the future through a window?

Just for a moment in time maybe. Just to satisfy your curiosity. Or maybe prevent an event in your life or even prepare for an occurrence so it didn’t blindside you.

“Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window.” ~ Peter Drucker

Of course, there are no magic windows that we can peer out of or into showing us what the future holds.

Papa and I were just talking about this the other day. The day before we celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, we were honored to attend a lovely marriage ceremony and reception. The handsome young groom is the son of one of my oldest and dearest friends, who happened to be my maid of honor in my own wedding.

There was much to celebrate, not just the wedding itself but the fact that my friend who experienced some life-threatening health issues this year was recovered from her scary ordeals and well enough to see her firstborn pledge his love and faithfulness to his beautiful bride.

The wedding took place in a town quite a distance from ours so as Papa and I were traveling along the highway, we had plenty of time to talk, reminisce, and reflect on our own big day those 40 years ago.

We witnessed the young couple’s marriage vows along with all the other families and friends in a small but picturesque old stone church. So much happiness blended in with heartfelt hugs and congratulations.

Later, as we meandered our way down country roads in this gorgeous, mountainous area of our state to the reception venue, I posed a question to my own beloved.

“When we were getting married 40 years ago,” I questioned him, “did you ever look down the road and think about where we would be in 40 years? What our life would be like?”

His reply didn’t surprise me. “Nope, never even gave it a thought.”

Me either, I confessed. And maybe that’s some of the problem with marriages. We get caught up in the excitement and romance of a relationship and the wedding itself  – the fairy tale with a happily ever after ending – without seriously considering the future and what it may bring – rough times right along with the good ones. 

Because that’s what we say to one another in those marriage vows. If you tie the knot in a church like Papa and I did, the minister performing the ceremony asks both the groom and bride if they will take the other to be your wife/husband to live together in holy matrimony.

When you answer those two little words – I do – you vow to love, comfort, honor, and keep the other in sickness and in health, forsaking all others to be faithful to her/him as long as you both shall live.

You promise to take the person who stands beside you in front of all your family, friends, and God from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death you shall part.

It sounds so easy, but it’s not.

And most young couples probably do as Papa and I did – not stop to take a glimpse through a window of time to the days and years to come.

To those days when that elated feeling of being in romantic love begins to fade a bit.

To those days when trouble comes, as it surely does, and you have to purposely choose to love your mate, not just base your relationship on a fleeting feeling of infatuation.

To those days when you or your spouse lose jobs and you may not have all the wealth you hoped to accumulate.

To those days when you lose cherished family members and you struggle with grief.

To those days when you may be a little heavier, your hair is turning silver, or you’re losing it entirely.

To those days when one or both of you have health issues, or suffers from depression, or is incapacitated in some way.

To those days 10 years from the wedding date.

Or 25 years. Or 40.

Or 50 years from the day you said I do.

Or if God grants you long lives beyond the golden anniversary mark, when your spouse has become more than just your romantic love, but your treasured companion, your best friend, and your entire being is entwined with the one you have chosen to love for life.

Heart to heart. Soul to soul.

Looking through the window of marriage into the future to ensure a long-lasting relationship, until death do you part.

That is my wish for young wedded couples.

“There is a window from one heart to another heart.” ~ Rumi

This past week’s photo challenge theme was “windows.”

©2017 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

One year into the adventure

The milestones…they just keep adding up.  We reached another one this past weekend.

One year ago on a blustery November day, our first became the last.  Our oldest daughter wed the love of her life and best friend; it was the last of our three adult children’s weddings all taking place in the same year.

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And we welcomed another new family member to the fold with overflowing love.  Even though it was chilly outside, the glow of happiness over our entire family made us warm.

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One year later, this happy couple celebrated their first anniversary on an adventure in Costa Rica.

20121102-1032Happy First Anniversary, beloved oldest daughter and son-in-law.  May each year ahead of you not only be filled with love but bring new adventures for the two of you to behold.

“We love because it’s the only true adventure.”  ~ William Gladstone

©2013 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Wordless Wednesday: Sweetly favored

[A word — I know it’s Wordless Wednesday and I’m breaking the rules — from Mama.  Pictured here are delicious chocolate truffle favors from my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding.  For more information about these yummy handmade delights, click on this link: Bluejay Chocolates.]

©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Fairy tales do come true when God writes the love story

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“Once in a while,

Right in the middle of an ordinary life,

Love gives us a fairy tale.” ~ Anonymous

It really did seem like a fairy tale.

Amid fragrant, gorgeous flowers and glowing candlelight, there stood the handsome prince, tall and oh, so charming.

When the beautiful princess arrived attired in a stunning gown befitting the ball, she created a vision of loveliness as all eyes turned to her.

At the first glimpse of his princess slowly making her way to join him, the prince’s eyes filled with tears at the sight of his true love.

A bevy of lovely lasses arrayed in flowing gowns of purple, the color of royalty, served as ladies in waiting.  A gaggle of good-looking gentlemen, spruced up and dashing, escorted the fair maidens.

There was even a chariot to whisk them away to the grand ball that followed where there would be feasting, toasting, and merry dancing.

It was my son’s wedding just a few weeks ago – a fairy tale wedding with a happily ever after ending beginning.

It’s taken me some time to be able to write about this celebration.  I needed to process, weigh, and consider the feelings that washed over me throughout the wedding weekend and since.

Not because it wasn’t a joyous occasion, it truly was!  We were exuberant with happiness, welcoming a new member to our family, so very pleased and delighted for the newly married couple.

The wedding ceremony proved beautiful and meaningful as the two of them pledged their love to one another until death do they part.

Later, we feasted on sumptuous food, toasted the happy couple, and danced the night away at the reception with family and friends.

Yes, it did seem like a fairy tale, but the love that permeated their wedding day was much more real than fairy tale love.  It was love with purpose.

Even though rain descended on the wedding day, sunshine reigned in our hearts and love was the conduit. Like sunbeams reflecting onto a piece of glass and spreading out in multiple rays, love cast its light in several directions.

My son’s best guy friends all gathered to cheer on and support their friend as he took the biggest step in his life into matrimony.  Every one of those young men has been a blessing to my son and to our family as well.

Love infused my already emotion-laden heart when my son showed me the cuff links adorning his shirt.  Not just any fancy cuff links.  Especially treasured ones.

Cuff links that once adorned my father’s dress shirts.  The ones that my beloved dad, before he passed away, gifted to my son, the grandson he named.

The fact that my son chose to wear those special items of jewelry linked more than just his shirt cuffs, they linked present to the past.  Love remembered and honored from grandfather to grandson.

And love – that once in lifetime kind of love that waits for the right one –bestowed itself when my son’s bride quietly and privately presented the purity ring, which graced her finger until her wedding day, to her groom.

God bestowed His blessings of love in sunshiny increments that day in so many ways, but I first caught a glimpse of it the morning of the wedding.

Our family traveled to the state next door for the nuptials.  The evening prior to the ceremony, we all enjoyed the rehearsal and a scrumptious rehearsal dinner.

Afterwards, everyone helped themselves to an ice cream sundae bar graciously hosted by the bride’s parents at their home.

The next morning – the wedding day –  we texted our son, who was staying in the same hotel as us, to join us.  Nine of us piled into cars in pursuit of breakfast together.

Much discussion ensued as to where we would eat and after several changes of mind, we wound up at a family style restaurant nearby.  Totally random and totally unplanned, we thought.

As our waitress Shirley good-naturedly took our orders, my sister casually mentioned that we were celebrating her nephew’s wedding that day.  Shirley congratulated my son warmly.

We stuffed ourselves with breakfast food, shared stories and teasing, and enjoyed each other around the tables pushed together to accommodate us.  As we prepared to leave, our waitress reappeared at our table and asked, “Would you do something for me?”

Sure, we answered, not knowing that she would actually do something for us instead.  She asked if she could give us a blessing on our son’s wedding day.  We assented, and right there in the middle of a Bob Evans Family Restaurant, that waitress asked us to stand in a circle, holding hands.

She joined hands with us and prayed the sweetest words over our day.  She asked the Lord on behalf of our family for a beautiful wedding day for our son/brother/nephew/brother-in-law/friend and his bride.

She prayed for blessings for their new life together, for their children, and their grandchildren.  Her prayer for a total stranger and his bride, my son and soon to be daughter-in-law,  moved me to tears and prompted me to give Shirley a huge hug as we departed.

We hurried away to prepare for our son’s big day, but I couldn’t stop marveling at that waitress and how obedient she was to the Lord’s prompting.  I believe He tapped her gently on the shoulder and whispered in her ear, “Pray for them.”

And she, in faith and obedience, did so.  In front of other patrons, her fellow workers, and us.  What a walking testimony she provided to each one of us that day.

That testimony was just another example of love – yet another ray of light piercing the rainy day.   Even rain and a chill in the air could not dampen the joy and love we all experienced that amazing day.  A love that is real.  A love with purpose.  A love story written by the Almighty God.

Yes, it seemed like a fairy tale, but it was real.  Really wonderful.  Really blessed.  Really love.

©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

One down, two to go!

Whew!!  Our middle daughter’s big day has come and gone.

Mama and Papa are back in the empty nest trying to rest and recoup as best they can and still go to work.

Mama’s taking some time to get things squared away (our phrase from Papa’s army days!) and get geared up for the next event,   but I promise I’ll be back to blogging soon and posting some photos from the wedding.

In the meantime, this song keeps playing in my mind:

 The Party’s Over

The party’s over

It’s time to call it a day

They’ve burst your pretty balloon

And taken the moon away

It’s time to wind up the masquerade

Just make your mind up the piper must be paid

 

The party’s over

The candles flicker and dim

You danced and dreamed through the night

It seemed to be right just being with him

Now you must wake up, all dreams must end

Take off your makeup, the party’s over

It’s all over, my friend

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Wedding Central

blogDSCN8746It’s beginning to look a lot like wedding central.

The countdown for wedding number one (our middle daughter) is now down to two digits.  The planning is mostly accomplished, now we’re down to the ‘doing.’

We’re making lists and checking them twice, happily marking our progress.  Church, reception venue, photographer, and DJ were booked long ago.

All the fashion accoutrements needed for the bride to make her grand appearance are purchased as well as the bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and gifts.  We haven’t forgotten the groom and his cadre of men, so tuxes have been ordered.

Mama’s got her fancy dress but is still searching for shoes.  Papa’s been fitted for his tuxedo.  Invitations are printed, assembled, stamped, and being addressed.  Wedding food tasting is on the agenda for this weekend and then flower choosing.  Dress fittings are also scheduled.

Yet there is still much to do and the bevy of wedding preparations yet to be completed swirl around in my brain like a whirlpool while ideas dart in and out of my thoughts like fireflies flashing in the dark night.

And then I’m reminded that I will be caught in this wedding web two more times this year when son and oldest daughter also marry.  It’s enough to make me dotty.

So what are my thoughts in the middle of all this much ado about weddings today in my book called Opportunity?  I awakened this morning singing the following ditty to the tune of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas:”

It’s beginning to look a lot like a wedding,

Everywhere you go.

Take a look at the dining room,

Where much of the decorations loom

The kind that make you smile and think of love.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a wedding,

Bridal goods strewn throughout the place

But the prettiest sight to see is the bride that soon will be

Beautifully all dressed in lace.

A pair of bright yellow shoes and list of who’s who

Are accomplished on the ‘to-do’ things.

There’s still a cake to be baked and favors to make

And a cleaning for that sparkly ring.

And Mom and Dad can hardly believe their daughter is getting wed.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a wedding

Everywhere you look;

There’s a shower to hold and vows to be told,

And hair appointments to book.

It’s beginning to look a lot like a wedding;

Soon the bells will start,

And the thing that will make them ring is the happiness that sings

Right within your heart.

Copyright ©2012 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

She said yes to the dress!

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This is NOT the one!

Surrounded by mirrored walls and racks upon racks of white, cream and ivory-colored gowns with lace, appliques, beads, shimmers and glimmers, bling-bling and what-nots, my youngest daughter, my middle child, said yes to the dress last Friday.

Venturing into the city, we met my daughter at her apartment and with Maid of Honor sister and best friend bridesmaid in tow, we browsed for a wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses at a bridal salon.

While we sat in a row of cushy chairs waiting for our dear one to appear in a vision of loveliness, one of us remarked, “This is like the TV show Say Yes to the Dress!”  The experience proved to be almost as surreal for this mother of the bride as being on a television show might be.

On one hand, I was so happy and eager to watch daughter try on bridal gowns as this is her dream come true.   But on the other hand, I could hardly believe this was actually happening.  How did my little girl grow up so quickly?!  How could she be old enough to become someone’s wife?!

I’m fairly certain both my daughters expected tears from me while viewing the betrothed bedecked in wedding garb.  Truly, part of me did want to weep during this bittersweet moment – joyful with a twinge of melancholy – but reflecting back on the moment, I believe I was in denial.  It just didn’t seem real.

But real it was.  And believe it or not, this sentimental ol’ Mama did not cry.  As my beautiful daughter stepped out of the dressing room each time with exquisite gowns that fit her to a T, her sister, friend and I oohed and aahed and gave opinions.

I know my dear daughter well.  I could tell by her body language whether she liked the gown she modeled or not.  Her face smiled, but her body said no, this isn’t the one.  Even when the sales attendants told her how lovely she looked, or sister or friend would exclaim “So pretty,” I could discern each dress was not her cup of tea.

My middle child is a no nonsense person who admires simplicity for the most part.  She’s kind of a no frills girl, so when she told me several weeks ago that she thought she wanted a lacy gown, I was mildly surprised that she desired something fancy.  But then I realized that this child, now grown woman, has always loved things of old.

As a little girl, she loved visiting antique shops or colonial style homes or museums.  I very distinctly remember her announcing “I wish I could live here” in a 1700’s era home we were touring.  So a vintage look is right up her alley and wedding gowns of lace have a distinct vintage feel.

The first delicate, gossamer-like wedding gown which floated down over her head to settle onto her body, made her beam.   I could tell by the way she looked that this dress was definitely in the running.  She tried on several more after that, but came back to dress number one.   When the bridal consultant added a veil to the ensemble, daughter revealed, “This veil is exactly what I pictured!”

Sometimes, she can be a tad indecisive (a trait she no doubt inherited from her mother), so she surprised us all when the sales girl asked daughter, “Is this the one?”  and she said a decisive, resounding yes! We clapped, we smiled, she glowed.

After we got the ordering accomplished, oldest daughter and best friend began trying on several bridesmaid dresses.  They weighed in on their favorite but the opinion of the two other bridesmaid friends will be consulted before the final selection is chosen.

My daughter’s dream wedding gown is ordered; we left the bridal shop with her chosen veil and accessories.  Along with the church and reception site reservations, we accomplished another important aspect of wedding planning.

I feel happy and excited yet a bit numb.  I keep placating myself that I have an entire year to get used to the idea that my joyful, little rambunctious bundle of energy, who is now a grown-up beautiful, compassionate and gracious young woman of 25, will promise herself to a young man who vows he will love and cherish her for life.

It is Page 17 in Chapter 5 of my book of Opportunity and I’ve decided that in the coming year, I will cherish each moment I’m given to spend with my middle daughter who really is preparing to leave Mama’s Empty Nest to begin a new life of her own with her beloved one.

It’s okay.  I’m not going to cry…..yet.

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com