Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pastor Appreciation

I am so touched by my new church family at Calvary Community. October was Pastor Appreciation Month and Paul received so many notes with these kind words:
  • Paul & Elizabeth: You are in this together now!
  • The youth group flourishes under your direction. We praise God for your love of Him and for your service to our youth.
  • What a blessing you are to us. It means so much to me that you asked me to be your prayer warrior. What an asset you are to our church. I'm so happy God sent you your lovely wife and parter, Elizabeth. What a team.
  • Thank you for all the hours and dedication you give and we never see. What we do see is the outcome. Blessings because of you...
  • I have never been in the youth group but can see how the young people love you - and how you love them. I'm impressed when hearing all the special events and trips that you have planned and done. God bless you both with his finest rewards.
  • Thanks Paul' the fruits that are in this church are the sweet rewards of the seeds you have sowed. The youth group has grown under your leadership. Good job!
  • We appreciate your service to our church family. Your message is very touching when you speak. We pray for many more years of ministry to touch many young people!
  • We feel so blessed to have you as our Youth Pastor. Your energy and dedication is having a tremendous impact. God knows your talents and He has placed you where you are needed the most.
  • The youth are the foundation for the growth of the congregation. We see how you and your dedication are "putting the blocks all in the right places."
  • You are amazing with the youth! A blessing from the Lord to this church family! May the Lord continue to bless you and your new wife!
  • God is doing a great work in you.
  • We feel the work you do with the church young people is outstanding. Thank you for all your efforts and hours put in.
I couldn't help but sniffle and wipe away tears today as I sat next to Paul while he read his cards. I wrapped my arms around Paul and said a silent prayer of thanks for my husband. "Lord, you have blessed me with a tremendous Man of God. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

Yes, those are cashews in his nostrils. Can you tell he's a youth pastor?

Speaking of throwing up...

The title of this post sounds gruesome, because our weekend with middle schoolers was just that! Within 2 hours of being at Eagle Fern, we called two parents because their girls were puking. The next morning, we sent another boy home, and the same afternoon, called another mom. This poor guy vomited from his unfortunate perch on the 3rd bunk, which did make it's way to the floor. Yum. These poor kids! Being sick away from home...

I heard yesterday that at least 4 more more kids from the retreat weren't in school yesterday because they were "you-know-what-ing" as well.

Paul and I were definitely exposed this weekend, and are thankful for our good health so far, but are bracing ourselves for the worst!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The wedding weekend! (and then I threw up)

The events leading up to September 19th were all together lovely. My parents made the 5-hour trip on the Sunday before the wedding, so they got to be at the church potluck, meet Paul's parents, and get a feel for where I had been spending a lot of time, and would soon be living.

A few of us visited a sweet lady's backyard where we handpicked buckets full of dahlias. We're talking vibrant, gorgeous blooms which decorated the church. I was able to call on my middle school 4H years where I learned some tips on flower arranging, so we put the flowers together
ourselves. Our theme was to "bring the outside in", which we certainly did! I wanted it to feel like I was getting married outside, so we decorated the stage and aisle with hanging flower jars, pots of chrysanthemums, and live bushes and trees.

My girlfriends treated me to Urban Fondue in downtown Portland on Thursday evening where we dipped chunks of fresh fruit, cookie dough, cream puffs, and cheescake in pots of swirled chocolate, peanut butter, and berry sauces. Delicious!

A wonderful end to the evening was picking Chrislyn up from PDX and returning to Longview with my closest, dearest friends.

Friday morning began with Starbucks and pedicures, a delightful combination which should not only be reserved for wedding days, but rather repeated regularly with good company!

The rehearsal went smoothly and the dinner was held at a family friend's home of the Bricknell's. The back deck was adorned with Christmas lights and we ate a fabulous meal of pulled-pork sandwiches.

Paul and I finished up some last minute details at the church, and I was surprisingly in bed by my target bedtime of midnight. Unfortunately, however, I could not sleep. I was not stressed out, and yet I still spent the entire night envisioning how the big day would go down in history. I must have dozed off at 6am, because an hour later, my bridesmaids woke me up to a rendition of "Going to the chapel."

I was feeling great all through the hair, makeup, and pre-ceremony pictures.

The bouquets turned out beautifully, the 700 (no joke) cupcakes were a huge hit, the bridal party was incredible, the 500 chicken & beef kabobs (again, no joke) hit the grills at the perfect time, etc.

Before the ceremony, enjoying the moments to sit down.

The best bridesmaids EVER! They are even talking about having a bridesmaid reunion. :)

Me with Momma Bricknell

Paul and I with my grandparents who just celebrated 65 YEARS OF MARRIAGE!

Paul led me through communion

We may have danced down the aisle after the ceremony... and Chris may have put on aviators and done some Michael Jackson "Thriller" moves... and the rest of the bridal party busted their moves, too!

Sister, Me, Momma Seybold - notice the *slight* resemblance

So, the only hiccups, err, throw-ups, if you will, were just that. I threw up right before the following picture was taken:

I was mid-conversation with a guest (sorry, Anders), and started to feel nauseous. I turned to Kirsten and mouthed "I'm going to throw up." She graciously escorted me to the bridal room and held my dress out of the way as I leaned over the toilet.

After wiping my face, I stood up and said "I can't believe I just barfed in my wedding dress!" Paul came in shortly thereafter, and as the girls were commenting on how I was still looking beautiful despite my sudden illness, I turned to Paul and sarcastically remarked "Oh, I always look this good!"

Poor guy got a lesson in nurturing after we'd been married only half and hour!

Paul and I made it through pictures at the lake and then arrived at the "after party". I, after greeting a few people upon our arrival, bee-lined it for the bathroom where I had a second episode.

Next thing I knew, Paul and I had our first dance and I came back to the table to find that my shawl had been discreetly wrapped around a bottle of Pepto. On someone's camera there are pictures of me chugging the pink stuff, just in time for the cake cutting!

The DJ made the announcement that it was time to cut the cake, and then I think I turned green. I gave Paul a look that said "I can't do this right now" and turned around just as someone came over with a giant trash can. One of the girls took it and, thanks to a very conveniently and ordained opening in the trees behind the bride and groom's table, I was able to do my business again...and a fourth time, and finally a fifth time. Yuck.

Thankfully, when looking at the pictures and video, you can't tell I was sick. The memory, however, is still ingrained in my head and I've had a bit of grieving over the sickness because I had to miss out on hitting the dance floor, talking to people, and eating the food, all of which I was really looking forward to.

I did, however, make it through the "Sisters" routine with my sister, which was a huge hit!

It is still a mystery why I got sick that day. I woke up stress-free and was feeling GREAT up until the ceremony. I think it was a freakish bug mixed with the events of the most wonderful day of my life.

I am grateful for Paul's wise words when planning our honeymoon. "El, I really think we should wait a few days before we spend a long time on a flight. Let's take a few days to unwind."

Due to the couple of low-key days post-wedding, I was feeling 100% by the time our flight rolled around! Honeymoon stories to come. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

I'm back! And leaving again...

I had wonderful intentions of finally getting caught up on blog entries this morning, and then the morning got away from me.

I watered the plants, got things ready for our dog-sitter, did the dishes, made rice krispy treats, packed, took care of some mail, and now I'm off to a thrift store to buy an outfit for the dance party Saturday night. The theme is "old people." I'll be sure to post pictures. :)

Just as I was rejoicing about unpacking my last suitcase and never having to live out of one again, (for a while, at least) I begrudgingly pulled out a duffel bag and packed for this weekend. Paul and I are going on a retreat to the Dunes Bible Camp in Long Beach, WA for a high school retreat. I am definitely looking forward to connecting more in depth with some of the girls in my small group. I am not looking forward to sleeping alone (if you know what I mean) and wearing wrinkly clothes out of my duffel.

Some snippets of what is to come in the next blog entries:
  • Throwing up in my wedding dress
  • Honeymoon to St. Martin
  • ...and how I'm bonding with Morgan, our dog, despite the taco, chapstick and chocolate chip cookie that she's eaten.