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Lemonade and Ice Tea

It took gallons and gallons of lemonade and ice tea to feed the thousands... ok, maybe 180 people! But in the moment it felt like gallons and gallons and thousands and thousands! Dexter (my son) mixed more juice than he has in his whole 'almost 22' years of life!

Almost two weeks ago to the day, we celebrated together with family and friends, the upcoming wedding of my daughter, Rayzanna to her fiancee, Nick. It was a very special evening and the start of the roller-coaster ride called the 'Pre-Marriage Stress Monster'. It's a ride that starts slowly and cozy... eases you into it gradually. As you start up you see blue skies, sunny sunshine, rainbows and maybe even the occasional unicorn! At some point it reaches a pinnacle - one of many - and then there is the roar of an engine as the ride starts ripping down a long metal track. You've lost some control and the sky disappears for a bit - you are asking yourself, what have I gotten into?! But then it comes up again and the sky reappears and you breathe for a couple minutes until the next dive occurs!!

Some people find this adrenaline pinching - some find it scary - some take it in stride - some may even sleep through the ride - but all engaged couples and their families take this ride to some degree or another.

As I watched my daughter and soon to be son-in-law, prepare for this coffee house event and then execute it with their amazing bridal party - I stood in awe of their calm demeanor. I mean there were moments of - Wow... that looks like it is a long way down - but together they hung on and got through it. I've been watching them continue to walk through their engagement together - listening, respecting, allowing, talking.

The coffee house was the first 'event' on a list of events that will take place before that very special day in August - and what an amazing start it was! The Exchange (Seeds Church) in Altona was full of friends and family. It was so awesome to see who came - so many that we didn't know were coming - and so glad they did! There was fantastic food that was donated by loving hands - there was hot chocolate with all the fixings, coffee donated by Starbucks, tea and, of course, gallons of ice tea and lemonade!! There was music and visiting and prizes. There was so much visiting - it was great.

It was fun to watch non-wedding party people also participating in the set-up. Maddy (Dex's girlfriend) was adamant about getting the napkins lined up 'just so' on the serving tables. My niece, Lacey, made some amazing chocolate covered strawberries... with a little help from friends! Ashley, my first married in child, bringing cookies to feed an army! and sooooo many more.

What a great night - what a great way to spend an evening with an assortment of ages, from very young to quite old!

Now, the showers begin... one has already happened and a couple more are planned. Dress has been fitted. location is confirmed. food is confirmed. Check. check. check.

Rayzanna and me at her first bridal shower - while in a rain shower!

(My beautiful daughter and myself before the start of her first bridal shower!)

The roller coaster has definitely picked up speed since the Christmas engagement. And there have been some sharp pin turns, stomach gulping weaves and possibly a corkscrew or two - but, again, these two have handled all of that by holding on, not only to each other, but to their God, family and friends. I am deeply moved by the faith of these two young people. I am deeply moved by the support of their friends. I am encouraged by the way they hold on to each other and consider each other in every move. That can be a hard thing to do - but they are showing a maturity beyond their years.

So I take their wisdom and try to apply it to my own marriage and friendship. We go for a walk. We talk. We share our ideas. We have gotten off that "Pre Marriage Stress Monster' a long time ago and have been on many other roller coasters since; the "First year Together Dragon Breath" ride, the "OMGoodness, It's a BABY Monster" ride, and many others since then. There have been amazing ups where the unicorns are sparkly and the skies are clear and the winds are calm. But there have definitely been some corkscrews and some motion sickness as well.

So I pray for these two young people and for all those heading into new relationships and adventures - hang on tight, hold on to those you love, trust in God, ask for help, be gracious, accept grace, laugh, live, dance and eat a couple chocolate covered strawberries with a tall glass of lemonade! (Call Dexter, he just might stir you up a cup!)

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