Do Not Be Confused


My plan was to post photos of our great Christmas party and discuss White Elephant antics but I can’t bring myself to that point quite yet. Something tragic happened in Connecticut and there is nothing Christmasy about it. There are tragedies that happen daily causing no direct effect on my life, but, I am sure you agree, this one is lingering in our hearts. With a feeling akin to September 11, I fought the urge to weep all weekend. My husband pointed out the overwhelming nature of this event lies in the overtness of the sin. The plain evil. It is crushing. And it can also be confusing.

As I washed dishes on Friday afternoon, I turned on worship music to battle the sadness. Halfway through the dishwasher loading, my iPod shuffled to talking instead of worship. I walked over to hit the skip button and stopped when I heard my mom’s voice. I hadn’t heard her strong voice, her “I have something to tell you people” voice in years. I’ve been wanting to hear it for so long. And all of the sudden, on a sermon file stuck in a random iPod mix, I hear it. She spoke for two or three minutes and I wept through it, of course. And then replayed it to actually listen to what she was saying. Oh, and it was good.

She had just returned from a trip to California with my dad. God had blessed her and refreshed her and given her words of hope and she was sharing them with Living Stones Church. And she said it in her “Let-me-tell-you” voice that I love.

“You know, it’s really simple, but I didn’t know this. God is GOOD and the devil is BAD. God shuts bad doors. He doesn’t open them but he is the shutter of evil doors. And it is such an amazing thing …and we just need to praise Him to the heavens today because that’s what he wants to do. We get so confused. We think he may not want to shut this door. But God is good and the devil is bad. He is good today. That’s what we need to remember. GOD IS GOOD. Let’s not get confused! And praise God I’m not confused anymore! God is good….”

I listened to this several times over and then I did praise God to the heavens for reminding me that he is good. My mom is not confused on that issue anymore. Sometimes I ache for that clarity and that face-to-face assurance of Jesus that she is basking in every day now. And I know there are parents and families in Connecticut with that same ache today. They know the overwhelming desire that everything be set right, for God to obliterate these evil doors that are open once and for all. We, the nation of bystanders and onlookers into this tragedy, should have hearts full of tenderness and compassion, but not confusion. God is GOOD. Jesus came to take on our tragedies and thank God that one day, all WILL be set right.

This Christmas, don’t be confused. Celebrate that God is good. And come alongside the people in your life that can’t quite see the goodness through their own tragedy just yet. God is good…Praise him to the heavens.

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Health Snob


So as I have mentioned before, the Aussie and I have jumped on the Crossfit bandwagon. Our new crew of fit friends are taking part in a 9-week “Look Better Naked Challenge”. While we won’t be getting naked, we will be taking before and after (mostly-clothed) photos and setting fitness goals. This includes eating Paleo for nine weeks. Cringe. Up to this point we have been resisting the Paleo plunge. Most definitely Non-Paleo. NP for short. Don’t get me wrong, the food is good and we love the idea of going healthy. It’s just the snobbery of fads that I can’t stand…but it’s so alluring… I start doing something that I find cool, and feel the inner snob start to come out. It’s happened before. I just can’t keep up with what I am supposed to be snobby about!

Elementary School: “Oooh, you eat American cheese and white bread? With cheetos? AND a Squeeze-It drink? With Twinkies for dessert? My mom packs me peanut butter and jelly on BROWN bread, sometimes with  raw veggies. And snack crackers and Capri-Sun. And Sweet-Spots for dessert. But that’s ok. You can still come to my birthday party…and maybe bring some of those twinkies.

Middle School: “Ooooh, you eat McDonalds Big Macs and Li-Hing Mui powdered gummi worms? I eat Wendy’s Quarter Pounders, SO much fresher. And PLAIN gummi worms. Let’s go get dropped off at the movies.”

High School: “Ooooh, you eat anything? I eat air. And sometimes ice. I’m so full today from my celery stick. Let’s go for a run.”

College: “Ooooh, you eat hot meals and fresh vegetables? I’ve totally been living on Cheez-Its and Stagg Chili. Isn’t it so fun to be super poor college kids? Let’s go shopping at American Eagle!”

Five years ago: “Ooooh, you eat meat? I guess that’s good for people who are big-boned. Have you tried this tofurkey? It’s Ah-mazing.”

Last year: “Ooooh, you know that’s not actually organic right? You might want to grow it yourself to be sure. Can’t ever trust that USDA stamp. Let’s go churn some butter.”

Now: “Oooooh, you’re NP? That’s ok. Let’s go lift something.”

Being healthy is GOOD. Being snobby is BAD. I have definitely been guilty of both.

Thankfully, we have found a Crossfit with very un-snobby Paleolyths so maybe my inner snob will stay reined in. Our challenge begins in a week. We have been easing ourselves into it but have this loaf of incredibly delicious bread and this stick of really yummy butter that just needs to be taken care of. So, this morning I made the best toast of my life, smothered in the Aussie’s favorite spread: Orange Marmalade. Now, I have never been a marmalade fan. Some fourth grade snack experience involving a Paddington Bear skit and saltines with marmalade ruined it for me a while back. However, there is something about someone else’s extreme enjoyment of something that makes you give something a second try. I have fallen hard for Marmalade. I can’t believe I convinced Roger to buy the cheaper brand. Because if there is something that could improve the orange heaven sitting on this slice of bread, I would gladly spend another dollar to find out about it.

I hope you all have a healthy, unsnobby day. Encourage someone who needs it!

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Protecting the Peace


I often have very clear dreams about my mom. They are usually happy and I wake up glad and go about my day per the usual. But other times I think I must dream about her without remembering because I will have a lingering nostalgic sense of her in my day. Last week I had one of these days and thought of calling her to tell her some news. Twice. Not the usual “I wish I could tell mom about this” but two times during my day I actually thought “I should call mom and tell her this”. Don’t worry, I’m not crazy and I don’t believe in communication with the dead so put your theology back in your holster. I think that must just happen. Something great comes along and you automatically want to tell the person you have always told. Even if they’ve been gone for over a year. So, I usually pray through the sadness until God restores my peace. And then call Dad and chat his ear off.

What has happened that is so great, you may ask? Roger has started his first American job. That’s right, before you know it I’ll have this guy pledging allegiance to the U.S. of A.

Last week we came home from Kona after a gorgeous Thanksgiving and immediately stopped giving thanks and started asking questions. Should we move? Should Roger apply somewhere we haven’t thought of? Is that even possible? So, unbeknownst to me, the Aussie set aside a morning to pray some serious, down to business prayers. And that very day, he got a call for the best job we could have chosen for him. And we started Thanksgiving all over again. It has been four days and I think my husband is the happiest I have seen him since we moved to Oahu. He bounces out of bed and comes home dog-tired but I have a new found understanding of what work means for the male gender. He is operating on all cylinders now and deliriously happy to be doing it. And trust me, four months, even four years later, he will have the same grin because this guy truly does “do all his work as unto the Lord” and I LOVE it.

So, as the Christmas season traipses along, we are settling into a new routine and I am working to protect my peace. We haven’t landed ourselves solidly in a church community yet as we alternate between our North Shore church and our Kailua church. I have written before about my college friend Todd who preaches up a storm at Kailua Baptist and his wife Natalie. There is something so down right comforting about being around folks who have known you for over ten years . These two have been an encouragement to us. They remind me of college and long conversations over coffee about Jesus and the church, about which plate lunch place made the right color chicken katsu and how to put just the right spin on the ping pong ball.

For the record, that’s the right color.

It was during this time that I memorized the verse Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in You. I was reminded of this verse again this morning as I listened to my dad’s sermon online (Yep, I’m gettin’ sermons from all over the place!). He challenged us to protect our peace during this season by avoiding robbers of peace and trusting in God’s pardon, protection, and provision.

So, no matter what is going on – happy news, nostalgic moments, stressful days – keep your mind stayed on Him. He WILL come through. He WILL give the victory. He WILL bring encouragement. And He WILL keep us in perfect peace this Christmas.

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Remember the Rush


So, as I’ve mentioned before,  I am darn near crazy about holidays. Love them. The older I get though, the more I realize why adults get stressed over the winter months and for some it is a crazy time of laboring under expectations and fighting for joy.  The more I see this trend, the harder I try to buck it. And to do that, we have to be brave.

I know it may not naturally be the hap-hap-happiest time of the year, but it should be merry and free. After all, these holidays are all about freedom: we are free to worship and not worship as we please thanks to the voyaging of the founding fathers. And we have the ultimate freedom through what happened on that night in Bethlehem when God pierced this hurt-filled world with the most thrilling hope ever. That piercing, freeing, miraculous, rush of a night. But round ’bout this time, complicating factors steal the rush.

The Aussie has been on the Big Island for work this week and I go over in a couple days for Thanksgiving week. He took the Porky Terrier with him so that the whole family, dogs included, would be together for Thanksgiving. So, missing my little family, I went and spent a few nights with friends Zan and Matt and their massive hound Harley.

There is something about spending a night or two away that simplifies your life. I think that is why I love hotels so much (well, also the puffy robes and room service with the metal covers on the plates). I like the fact that I can get by with two sets of clothes, a toothbrush, a few books, and my laptop. I am more productive with studying (as evidenced by this blog entry) and I’m not surrounded by half-finished projects and distracting tasks like laundry and dishes. It’s been refreshing to sit and study over cups of coffee with Zan and take breaks to listen to her sage marriage advice or dream about the rural health clinic we will open one day.

These few days have made me look forward to joining the whole family with a simplified mindset for the first round of holiday cheer. It is undeniably a season requiring bravery. It is only our second round of holidays without Mom. And we have elected to spend them at home instead of in a memory-less vacation house. I know a lot of you are steeling yourselves for a fresh wave of grief in the coming months. But remember, these holidays are about new life and freedom. So be free to grieve. Don’t steel yourself against it. Just make sure you have people who love you close at hand and keep it simple. If we don’t belabor the minutia, keep from emphasizing expectations, and focus on a free and purpose-filled future, it can and will be a hap-hap-happy time.

Let’s all buck the trend and remember the rush.

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Crossfit and Corrections


First, a few minor clarifications to yesterday’s blog: 1) My grandmother LOVES Roger. Especially after he cooked her a lamb dinner.  2) Roger has work. Not his dream job. So keep the connections and suggestions coming our way.

The Aussie and I made a pact when we were engaged that we would exercise together until death did us part. We actually said we would exercise every day but that has quickly spiraled to include things like taking the dog out to pee or sweeping the floor. Although I did finally run my first Dekatriathon in September, we haven’t exactly been disciplined.

So three weeks ago, we went along for a trial class at Crossfit Destination. This class is conducted in Kapiolani Park and gives Crossfit a good name. Noah and Greta are the nicest, fittest, crazy head trainers we know.

http://audwolf.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/20121024-151111.jpg

That is Roger and NOT me. That’s one of our trainers, Greta. She’s the female half of the team that kicks our butts three days a week. (Photo compliments of http://www.goteamwolf.com)

Our friends Matt and Zan have been raving about Crossfit for a while now and my Super Runner friend Audrey goes too. The workouts are different every day, the people are encouraging, and the scenery can’t be beat.

We jumped on the band wagon and now we are too sore to jump off.

Hopes Raised


Well, we are still married. Just in case you were wondering. I mean, I think my grandmother still wonders sometimes. During those few minutes when Roger and I were dating, I would get a Grandmomie Voicemail once a week. “Hi Erin, just calling to say hi and I love you. So, are you still dating that Australian? Just checking. Love, Grandmomie.” You always wait for the sign off because she always signs off and that’s how you know it’s authentic. So I try to keep her updated regularly now that we are indeed still married. And since my blog has gone woefully silent, I thought I should just let you all know too.

The past month has been a rough one in some ways. Jobless, car-less, and bordering on hopeless on the worst days. I kept trying to think of ways to put a cute spin on it but would inevitably circle back to the fact that we still had no jobs, our car was smashed on the curb with threatening neighbor notes attached, and sometimes entire days were used just trying to remedy those things. But after stressful days of studying, job-hunting, and car shopping, we have still been having fun. We walk the beach, we play with the dog, we cook, and lately, we have been enjoying our new favorite show, Raising Hope.

My childhood friend, Kelly Metcalf Wilkes, recommended it to us and it couldn’t have come in a better season. The Chance family, struggling to make ends meet, dealing with their collective idiosyncrasies, and loving each other fiercely, has us belly-laughing every time no matter how many lemons we test drove that day. When Burt Chance struggles with understanding politics, I sneak glances at my Aussie husband. And for some reason when the demented MawMaw dances around the house with her clothes on backwards, Roger sneaks his glances. Which is weird. Because I don’t do that often. The thing we love most about the show is how much Burt and Virginia Chance love each other. Through it all.

So we’ve been trying our best to love each other fiercely but sometimes we just remember the fiercely part. These little life hiccups of not having a car or a job kept leading to arguments. Our arguments have been pretty spectacular as most newly wed spats probably are. My parents did their best to train me out of my temper but sometimes I take the attorney part of my father and the spitfire side of my mother and take arguing to legendary levels.  Thankfully Roger hasn’t learned too many arguing strategies beyond keeping his cool and ending them reasonably (amateur) and I wear myself out pretty quick and learn valuable lessons. Monday was a great example.

We had just pulled our borrowed car into its rightful garage to return it to our friends after a month long loan.

Roger: [Turning hose on inside of garage] Let’s give it a quick spray.

Me: [With frantic look] No, no, no! Don’t wash it in the garage!

Roger: [In a slightly more irritable voice than I deemed necessary] Ok, move the car then and hurry up.

Me: [With a haughty silence that we both know I can never keep up for long] You can wash the car yourself! Something unreasonable! And rude!

Roger: [Manly silence that we both know he can keep up for as long as it takes]

Me: [While dumping soapy sponges down his back in a more Angry Housewife way than Desperate Housewife way] And wash this! I’m going to study at Starbucks.

Roger: [After washing and drying the car by himself and coming to find me and buying me my favorite Green Tea lemonade]: Reasonableness. Unnecessary apologies. Good husband stuff.

And that’s the kind of guy I am dealing with here! I know, so hard. He makes me better every day. But our difficult times have made it really hard for me to translate into cute blogs. I’ve been discouraged that my prayers for an extraordinary life that changed other lives had been reduced to “let us get through the month” prayers.

But this week we have had our Hopes Raised. We found a fantastic deal on a beautiful little 2003 Jetta and we bought it on Saturday. Which is the reason we returned the car and then after our Car Wash Explosion, Roger was called in for a job interview. He starts next week. God answered our prayers. And this morning I had a conversation with someone very important to me about God’s plan for her life. We talked about Jesus’ fantastic love for us. And she lifted my eyes to see the goodness of our Savior in the good and the difficult.

So here’s my encouragement to you, whether you are newly married, oldly married, or single: Take Hope. It’s not always about looking extraordinary to the onlookers, it’s about never losing hope that the extraordinary will happen. Despite of tempers like mine.

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Aussie Aussie Aussie


I have found recently that I don’t have long stretches of time for blogging like I used to. I used to come up with sentences in my head that sounded SO good that I just had to share them.  Now, I just say those sentences to Roger. Sometimes he responds by telling me how awesome I am and how life-changing my words were. Other times he continues building a bookshelf or fixing the car or cooking a gourmet meal and only “hums” and nods at my brilliance and I realize I should start doing something a tiny bit more useful. But today, I finished a midterm Pediatrics exam and have two hours until my next useful task and I can tell you about our most recent adventure.

I’m hooked on this place.

A few weeks ago Mama Leanne called to chat and asked when we may be able to take them up on their wedding gift of tickets to Australia. The conversation went something like this: New Years? Sister Samara will be in Europe. Christmas? Papa Paul will be in Africa.Thanksgiving? Leanne and Paul will be in Perth. Ok, this family does some serious traveling. Wait, what about next month? It’s crazy but it could work. Hang on, tickets are a lot cheaper next week. Booked, done, heading to Australia that Tuesday! It took a few days for it to sink in that we were going on an international trip….I felt very American and inexperienced. Who knew I needed an online visa? Not me. And a passport? Yep, dig that up in Kona and have it expressed over! Roger even made an appointment with immigration to make sure he would get back in the country. I didn’t think of that either. Good thing my husband is so international. This also means that he is still getting used to the right side of the road. A fact he insists had nothing to do with totaling our car the night before we left (stay tuned for more on that little episode).

We hopped on the plane happy with some upgraded seats and 10 1/2 hours and 6 episodes of BBC Sherlock later, landed in Roger’s Homeland. We spent twelve days with Mama Leanne and Papa Paul, Brother Bruce and Perin and kiddos, Sister Samara and Heath and baby, and Sister Tiffanie and John. We ate fish and chips at Byron Bay, explored Surfers Paradise at night, toured around the countryside, and saw all manner of Australian animals. I “pumped yabbies” and caught more fish than I’ve ever caught in my life (like five). Some of my favorite days were spent on the water in the Beasley’s 83 year-old boat, the Coranto. Think African Queen minus the mosquitos. Absolutely gorgeous.

Although I loved being a tourist, the best part of our Australian Adventure was falling in love with my husband’s history. Basically, I have eight new best friends. His family is legitimately awesome and I now know my husband in a completely new way. He fishes and boats because the WHOLE country fishes and boats, hee builds things because he was raised with a garage FULL of building materials and he knows wildlife because it lives in his backyard. His sisters talk like him, his brother laughs like him, and his parents cry like him. He teases his sisters like he teases me, he walks around barefoot like his brother, and if anything is broken, he can figure it out just like his dad. His mom looks into my eyes like she is reading my thoughts (and she usually is) just like my husband does. He just makes so much more sense.

And I love it.

 

 

 

 

 

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It Was a Good Day


As promised, an embarrassment of photos. You have my permission to scroll quickly. It’s just another wedding blog. But it was MY wedding. How crazy is that.

Mom’s dress from June thirty-one years ago. Perfect fit.

Last minute choices from a dainty array of heirlooms.

My something blue from Grandmomie Carol…little sapphire earrings.

I won’t devote the rest of my blogs to wedding reminiscing but I will say that I unashamedly reveled in the best day of my life.

We had a wonderful little cottage on the ranch to use for the ready and waiting spot.

One of my favorites with my favorite sisters.

Joining the marrieds.

They were the best bridesmaids I could have asked for. A twin sister, a little sister, a hair-dresser best friend that gave me any sense of style I may have today, a best friend from 1st grade, a pen-pal from middle school that turned into a real life best friend, and a missionary roommate that prayed me through nursing school.

I tried to enjoy every moment but at this point I was close to sprinting down the aisle.

One of my photographers had this fun idea. I think she’s good at what she does, what do you think? http://www.rebeccaarthursblog.com

The boys had some fun getting ready too. Please note the Aussie pose. Without fail.

had no idea how deliriously happy and exhilarated I would feel. It felt like a combination of winning a contest, taking a bow at the end of a Broadway musical, and having a surprise party thrown by all your best friends in your honor.

Papa Paul – the best man. Rog comes from a long line of handsome and good natured.

Sam and the final brother-in-law.

Australian-American Lesson #59: Boutonnieres are put on upside down. Both ways looks pretty good. Also, for the record, Mama Leanne is a former model and is positively stunning.

The Maid of Honor definitely found those yellow ties the day before the wedding. Lindsey saved the day about 500 times in one month. That’s like 16.6 times a day.

Saying yes to this guy was a breeze.

It was perfect. Sunny and misty.

We used one of Mom’s songs for the processional and Sara and Ryan sang some beautiful hymns during communion.

Sister Sara’s daughters were my flowergirls. Sometimes I stare at this photo and wonder how it is possible for kids to be this stinking cute.

Merry Married Mitsudas.

I know I should have expected my wedding to be great but I was surprised by the level of greatness. Seriously. Heaven celebrated with us. I’m not making that up.

Roger’s crates that we feminized. Also, can you believe those flowers? Those are thanks to Maid Of Honor’s Mama Linda.

Photographer Eric captured many of these images including this promise over our celebration. http://www.efrankevisuals.com

Worth. Every. Penny.

And this guy was the one who got me here. Had me, raised me, prayed me through the wait, paid me through the wedding, and remains the best dad I could ask for.

And this is the one I get to spend the rest of my days with. Happily Ever After.

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Hello From a Brave New World


And I’m back. In an abundance of words, thoughts, and happenings, I froze. But the blogging hiatus is over.

The Perfect Day (the next blog will have an embarrassing amount of photos so get ready.)

After a storybook wedding, a honeymoon in paradise, and three months of Mr. and Mrs., I am now writing to you from the tropical land of Married People. It’s a pretty great place to live but here’s the thing, I kept waiting for the Super House Wife phase to set in so that I could make my blog look really good. You know the kind: Polaroids of aprons and cookies. Homemade decorations. Lunches packed in eco-friendly ways as my husband traipses off to his perfect job. I could even change the name of the blog. Something like “EbdoesPerfect”. But it’s been three months now and I’ve made one batch of failed cookies, my decorations are barely out of storage, and we are still waiting on Roger’s Green Card so he usually packs my lunches for school.  We are hilariously happy and stupid in love but, I have had the epiphany that most of you Married People have all had: Marriage is the ultimate test of bravery. Yes, it is.

I started this blog as a way to stay brave as described here. I am naturally fearful but I don’t like being afraid. God has led me through some scary times including quitting a good job, starting a career I never knew I wanted, taking care of my mom for a five year fight against a truly terrible cancer, figuring out how to live without her, and watching friends marry off and reproduce as I tried to hold it together. All of these things took a brand of courage one only gets supernaturally and, although I have a fantastic family and incredible friends that were in it with me, I was still alone. Now, I am finding that joining my life to another human being is wonderful, comforting, exciting, and essentially, pretty terrifying. No, really. He would agree. It’s straight up scary.

Here is the scary truth: we moved to Oahu with no jobs, one car that’s been giving Herby-esque farewell hints, and definitely no idea where we were going to live. For two weeks we established home-base in a friend’s guest bedroom where I would be alternately reading every single post on Craigslist or breathing into a paper bag as landlord after landlord asked us pesky questions like “How will you pay rent?” Details. It was in these hyperventilated moments that my husband came through, because he is a champ, and prayed me back into shape. We were in it together. I had the responsibility of encouraging him and respecting his decisions and he had the responsibility of lovingly scraping me off the floor every time I melted down. All I wanted was to pack him a lunch but we didn’t have a kitchen and he didn’t have anywhere to go. So I had to be a different kind of awesome. A brave kind of awesome.

Today, we live in a delightful house on a Kaneohe hillside with super neighbors and a landlord that loves to give Roger construction projects. The place is so cute these days that I may have to take some polaroids soon and show you. Our car has even been starting regularly and Roger has some job leads that look very promising. As for me, school continues to truck along and I am in a pediatric clinical rotation that I love. So, the scary truths aren’t SO scary. I still have the brave responsibility of encouraging and trusting Roger with my well-being and he has the courageous duty of loving me through my fear and pulling me back into orbit when I start to whirl away.

We are figuring it out a day at a time and almost every morning I wake up and realize that there is a human being who will always be there. ALWAYS. This is both weird and wonderful.

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Gotta have the Rain to Make the Rainbows.


When one does not write a blog entry for several weeks, it always helps to have something life changing happen to get the writing back in gear. On Saturday, sister Megan married Shaun Mitsuda. Three cheers for marriage, rainbows, and adorable Caucasian-Asian babies one day.

Megan planned the most excellent wedding ever (photos to prove it coming soon) and then let us take it from her visonary hands the day before the wedding as we forced her to be the pampered bride. Don’t get me wrong. she was no bridezilla. She was gracefully and happily calling, erranding, and directing and would have given J-Lo a run for her wedding planning money but we insisted she prepare for her walk down the aisle. And she did, beautifully.

A team of expert friends and professional family readied the ceremony site into a garden walk and the reception site into an evening garden wonderland, exactly according to Megan’s dreams. There were hanging potted plants, 200 bottles of garden roses and ranunculus, a photo booth, a dance floor rimmed in large bulbed lights, and individually wrapped matchboxes waiting for the sparkler exit. And then, at 5:25, it rained. A lot.

Sara and I sat in the car with Megan that was to bring her around for the beginning of the ceremony and as the rain beat harder and harder on the windshield and Megan became quieter and quieter, I thought about Mom. I haven’t been angry about it for a long time but sitting there watching Megan fight the emotion of a possible rain-out, I felt the anger rise up that God didn’t let Mom stay for our weddings and that now he was letting it rain.

My prayers in my head began sounding the same as when Mom would be hurting and I didn’t feel like a calm nice prayer. I felt like shaking my fists and reminding God of what we were all going through and that he was in charge of it. In that rainy car, I couldn’t say anything but “Jesus” because I knew the fists would start shaking. And then Dad knocked on the window and squeezed in to the backseat with us and he prayed. He told God how good he was and how thankful we were. He told God how much we loved him and trusted him. And he asked in Jesus name for a beautiful wedding. I watched Megan praying silently and not allowing her emotions to overcome her. And I was filled with a huge joy to be part of our family and gratitude for the roads we have walked together. The rain relented to a shower rather than a downpour. And we were a go.

Somehow in the space of 25 minutes, Sara and I had a few last moments of sister jokes with Meg, Dad found a beach umbrella to walk her down the aisle with, and Shaun and Megan pledged their lives to one another under a beautiful double rainbow. And there was not a dry eye in the garden. Or a dry anything else either. But it was perfect.

The rest of the night was a 400 person party complete with luau food, the greatest best man speech I have ever heard (followed closely by the maid and matron of honor speeches), and some seriously good dancing. Yes the bride and groom have moves but my fiance also made a pretty lasting impression on the extended family with his line dancing skills. And I was grateful once again for the man I get to marry.

And it only took six hours to clean up. Let’s do it again in two weeks.

No really, we are.

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