"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

And So....

Two hearts; two lives joined together in love. Actually, the truth is, it’s a whole lot of hearts and a whole lot of lives that are forever joined together when a couple chooses to wed.  And it is an awesome, wonderful thing, created by God.

Of course the two most important are the newlyweds; in this case, my nephew K, and his new bride, A.

K. and A. were high school sweethearts, I believe; and now at age 25 they are ready and willing to strengthen their commitment to one another - a commitment that seemed to be there from the moment they met.

K watches as his bride walks down the aisle and as his daddy looks on.

Groom, Dad and Bro!
K. had his dad stand in proxy for his best man, as at the last minute his best friend from New York was not able to attend as expected. Though I know K. was extremely disappointed, the best man would be there in spirit the groom said, and he was honored to have his dad stand in his place.

The bride and groom chose to be married in the church A's mom and dad were married in more than a 1/4 of a century ago. Of course, the pastor was not the same, but the sentiment in that decision reveals so much of the things that are important to this young couple: traditions, family, and ties to the past..."holding fast to that which is good."

A. was strikingly beautiful in her 1940's style dress and K. the dashing and debonair gentleman suited perfectly for this gorgeous bride and their what could have been "made-for-movies" wedding.

K. was the first to show tears, and when I saw A. reach her hand to his face so that she might wipe away the first moist droplets falling down his cheek, for me the flood gates were opened.  As they also were, I’m sure, for mamas, and sissies and other aunties with hearts opening greater in love during this sacred ceremony.  It was a very poignant and tender moment which revealed so much of what this new young couple will experience throughout their married life.

     A symbol of their union.      
A. places the ring on K's finger.
There were several beautiful songs sung by the bride's sister, specially selected to show the couple's love for one another. The message from the pastor - timeless; Scriptural and nothing short of the age old message that unites two in a dance called marriage.
Mr. and Mrs.

Awesome Adventure Arrives
I love that photo directly above. My son took it, and there is something so magical about it - for lack of a better word.  Such a happy day, so much for which to look forward, hearts forever united; families forever forged.

And so...and so, after the wedding, a wonderful reception was held at the home of the bride's aunt.  The reception was lovely, the early fall weather more like a warm summer eve, hearts joyous...let the dance begin.

<>                 Forever Young - A mama's love for her son.
The bride and her daddy - forever moment; forever love.

And so - they all lived happily ever after and
 the love of a family grows....

More photos on "Photos Page".  Please click on tab above.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Real McCoy

"Would you like a couple tickets to see Neal McCoy?" a friend asked me.  "I have a couple of fair passes, too, if you would like to go."

Oh man!!  Would I!!  So though we didn't think we would be able to fit the nearby county fair into our schedule this season, how could we say no!

Neal McCoy - Photo by Matt C.
Fortunately, both Matt and I had the day off work yesterday, so we were able to attend together. It could not have been more perfect.  The weather was beautiful, the evening presented a luminous, full moon as a backdrop, and Neal McCoy is one of our favorite country music artists. We only thought we knew what a great entertainer he is, but boy, amp that opinion up by about 10 times and that might tell the story of Mr. McCoy's performance.

He not only sang his own hit songs, he treated the audience to renditions of songs from just about every generation, singing hits from the '40's, '50's and  (showing which era he grew up in) especially the '70's. The "spotlight" he shined on his own band, giving each member a chance to "show their stuff" revealed his true professionalism.
Dance moves - "The Shake"

And funny!!  Oh, my!  He danced, and crooned, and told stories with energy that was nothing short of contagious, keeping his audience entertained from the beginning to the end. Before the concert was over, we felt like we had known him all our lives. We knew he was just an ordinary kind of guy. Someone who is real, and down to earth, but with a talent that is unquestionably unique.

His interaction with the audience was amazing and made the concert so much fun! He held a pose so that members of the audience could get the best picture. He made sure children had a souvenir from the concert to take home; he brought attention to girls from a volleyball team whom he had met on the plane when he was coming into the area. He mentioned moms with their sons, ;-) and best of all, he honored our veterans.

 At the end of the concert, he made a point to ask all the veterans to reveal who they were by raising their hands while the audience offered them a resounding thank you with our applause. One young man that sat behind us fought back tears as he raised his hand in the emotion of the moment.  Then as Neal recited part of the Pledge of Allegiance, he pointed his microphone to the audience as we all shouted out the words "under God".  It was especially moving.  Neal has continually revealed his real heart by the giving of his time, taking his music overseas to our service men and women with 15 USO tours.

His final number was a song that he has finished every concert with since the beginning of his career, he told us.  This song also revealed the man's heart. The song was dedicated to the fans.  Our coming to see him, was only half the story he said.  The other half of the story was that he came to see us, and he had the best seat in the house.  This is what he got to see from where he stood:
The Fans
Oh, by the way; did I mention that our seats were in the front row, almost dead center?  It all could not have been more perfect!  Neal McCoy is the real thing and after that concert he has in us, two forever fans, among many, I'm sure; "No Doubt About It"!

"No Doubt About It"
All photos by Matt C.

I'm Your Biggest Fan
Neal McCoy

You stand in line
And you spend your hard earned dollar for a little piece of my time
You cheer me on
Right up through the very last song
You say you came here to see me
But that’s only half the truth
The other half is simply that
I came here to see you

Cause I’m your biggest fan
No one I know, puts on a show quite the way you can
Hey I’m your biggest fan
And to me the best seat in the house is right here where I stand
Cause I’m your biggest fan

Well I thank you
For giving me the chance to do what I love to do
And now it’s time to go
But I’ll try to keep in touch on the radio
Let every spotlight in the house tonight turn and shine on you
So you can see what’s it like from my point of view

I’m your biggest fan
No one I know, puts on a show quite the way you can
Well I’m your biggest fan
So everybody stand up and give yourselves a hand
Cause I’m your biggest fan

Everybody, we appreciate ya!
Thank you y’all
God Bless America!
Have a great year!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

Alan Jackson wrote a beautiful song 10 years ago after the 9/11 attacks asking: Where Were You? The lyrics are beautiful, and one can see the man reflected on the tragedy of that day; more than that though, he asked us all to do the same. 

Today, Mr. Jackson's Facebook post asked us to remember that day 10 years ago:  "A lot of us reflecting today. Sharing stories helps to make sure we never forget..."Where Were You" on 9/11".

So, I stopped for a minute to read all the posts from people that had taken a moment to respond.  It was heart-warming; it was heart-wrenching.  It was a reflection of America, God's grace, and the lessons that can be shared by remembering our history and honoring those that serve. Of course we forgive, but we must never forget. To forget our history, is to repeat our history.  The frightening thing now is there are so many that refuse to admit we still have an enemy; we do.

Today, I too, would like to honor those that have served in our military, past and present; as well as our First Responders.  God bless them!!  God bless those that served and those that lost family on that day.  God bless those that worked after the fact, to keep America safe and those that worked to bring comfort to those that were hurting and lost so much on that day. 

Below are the lyrics to Alan Jackson's song. According to the posts on Facebook this song brought a lot of comfort, to a lot of people, too.

Where Were You?
by Alan Jackson

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that Bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things He gave us
And the greatest is love

The greatest is love
The greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Unlikely Duo - II

"NO! You are NOT having any more cats!" he emphatically told me.

"Yeah, but....", I convincingly explained. He caved.

Soooo, we ended up with Tiger.   Tiger, the Tom Cat.  Tiger, the bad boy. What a funny personality this cat has. I have a ton of stories.  But a picture is worth a 1000 words.

As things would have it, though my husband won't admit it, he loves this cat.  And his is the only lap Tiger will sit on for any length of time. It cracks me up.  I think Tiger loves Daddy best.

Another Unlikely Duo! Though I would have sworn it never would happen, these two bad boys have grown very attached to one another, and kind of belong together. ;-)                                                                                           


Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Reflections

Awe, Labor Day.  I rarely give this holiday much thought, other than it is a three day week-end; the banks and post office are closed; and it is the “book-end” of summer. Of all the holidays, other than Halloween, it is probably the one I give the least attention.

However, I did reflect on Labor Day a few years ago, when a local photographer did a “Labor Day Photography Story” in our local paper.  It was a tribute to the workers of our state, and specifically this local area. Telling a history only through photographs, it invoked deep emotion for me. It was absolutely heart-warming, beautiful in the skill of his photography and emotional in its impact because of the way he captured the jobs that are specific to this area.  He pictured a logger, a miner, a pastor, a teacher (a home-school mom, no less) and a waitress; all simply doing what they do every day.  But he had so much captured the heart of this area through these photos, that it really had an impact on me. 

My late Uncle Frank at Sunshine Mine Memorial
Photo by my sis - LN
“Oh!” I remember thinking, “JH (the photographer) understands our state, our history, and what has made this area so great.” 

I knew the photographer personally, and the next time I saw him, I complimented him on the fine job he did on that wordless “story” in the paper.  I couldn’t express all that those photos meant to me and how much it seemed to reveal of his heart – as well as the heart of our state - through those photos. I absolutely love our area and I am so proud of our history and he had captured it with the same love and pride, it seemed. This Labor Day week-end, I find myself thinking about that photography spread and wanting to attempt to express some feelings about Labor Day.

I guess emotional thoughts started as I was leaving work Saturday afternoon.  I had had a talk with another employee there.  He was broken hearted about having to leave his job.  It was due to circumstances really that were simply out of his control and it made me sad too. 

Truck Drivin' Man
(among other things)
A stupid truck driving song came on the radio - C. W. McCall’s “Convoy” - and I can’t help it; that song always makes me cry!   Though this song is meant to be light hearted and funny, ever since I married a truck driver, I cry when I hear those truck driving songs. The impact those songs have on me will be for another post.  But…“Man [those guys] work hard!” They are really the life blood of our nation, and most of the time given very little respect. Just stop to think for a moment where we would be if those guys were ever shut down.

Traveling into church Sunday, morning, the emotions were triggered again when a fire truck raced by me as I pulled to the side of the road.  I couldn’t help but think of those guys that put their lives on the line every single day that they go to work. So little thought and prayer we give to those men and women, I would believe.

At church, my pastor was only doing what he always does, but, oh my, how that man can teach!  And though he is always passionate at what he does, his passion was especially relevant on this day. His passion was especially contagious when it needed to be.  Our pastors deserve our respect, our prayers, and our love.

God bless those that serve!
As I was leaving church, I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in some time. I absolutely love this man and his family and we go back a long way when our kids were just toddlers.  He stopped to say hi and we gave each other a hug. When I apologized for not being at church for awhile because of my work schedule, he told me this would be his last time too, for awhile… he was getting deployed to some country over by Afghanistan that I can’t even spell.  Just doing what he does.  God bless him…and those that will have to wait.  More reflecting; more prayer.
Crop Duster - "A dangerous job!"

A visit to my folks and as I sat in the peacefulness of their beautiful back yard, I thought about all the years of hard work my dad and mom did to raise their kids - in this very home.  I thought about the years my dad spent serving his country in the Army Air Corps during WWII, and I thought about the other dangerous occupations he had had such as crop dusting, and cat skinning; and I am proud and thankful for the sacrifices he made. I’m thankful for the retirement years my folks have been able to enjoy, continuing to serve the Lord in untold ways. Retirement is a blessing; not a sin, as some, recently, would try to have us believe.  I’m thankful.

Labor Day’s beginnings go back to 1882 when the founder of a carpenter union, Peter J. McGuire, suggested a national holiday to honor the nation’s working people. In September of that year, the first Labor Day Parade occurred in New York City and the beginnings of a campaign to make Labor Day a national holiday was set in motion by organized labor groups.  In 1887, our neighboring state, Oregon, was the first to make Labor Day a legal holiday. It became a nation wide holiday in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed the bill to honor the workers of America.

Hmmm, honor the workers, I will.