Thursday, December 10, 2015

{pretty, happy, funny, real} in a season of abundant celebrations, part 2

| a weekly capturing of contentment in everyday life | 

We're still in full-on celebration mode over here.  Here's a few more photos people sent our way from Ordination and Confirmation + a recap of the lovely dinner party our kids threw us for our 25th anniversary.  In the middle of that was Thanksgiving, a wedding shower for Alex & Bekah, Alex's birthday.  Oh, and the first days of Advent!  past two weeks were full to overflowing with people to see and things to celebrate. 

This week we're celebrating our baby girl's 18th birthday and our new daughter-in-law's college graduation.  I'll have to share those photo stories in a part 3 post next week.  You might be counting down the days until a certain major holiday, but in our house we're counting down the days to a beautiful wedding -- 24 days and counting!

(Here's part 1 of this series in a season of milestone celebrations for our family.)

A few photos to practice contentment the past 2 weeks

| Ordination, part 2 |

Our friend Eleanor worships (that's my hand in front of hers)

Natalie's best friend Hannah (daughter of Christ Church's long-suffering Business Administrator, Laura) took some gorgeous photos of the Ordination service that I didn't want to miss sharing on the blog.

*[The Oath of Conformity]
The Bishop says to the ordinands: Will you be loyal to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of Christ as the Church has received them? And will you, in accordance with the Canons and Constitutions, obey your bishop and other ministers who may have authority over you and your work? 
Answer: I am willing and ready to do so; and I solemnly declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Anglican Church of North America. 

 **[The Consecration of the Deacons]
The Bishop says this Prayer of Consecration as the ordinands kneel: O God, most merciful Father, we praise you for sending your Son Jesus Christ, who took on Himself the form of a servant,and humbled Himself, becoming obedient even to death on the cross. We praise you that you have highly exalted Him, and made Him Lord of all; and that, through Him, we know that whoever would be great must be servant of all. We praise you for the many ministries in your Church, and for calling these your servants to the order of deacons. 
Here the Bishop lays hands upon the heads of the ordinands and prays: Therefore, Father, through Jesus Christ your Son, give your Holy Spirit to Brian; fill him with grace and power, and make him a deacon in your church. Make him, O Lord, modest and humble, strong and constant, to observe the discipline of Christ. Let his life and teachings so reflect your commandments, that through him many may come to know you and love you. As your Son came not to be served but to serve, may these deacons share in Christ's service, and to come to the unending glory of Him who, with you and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. 
The People in a loud voice respond: Amen.

| Confirmation, a video |

Natalie's Confirmation, a video from our friend Dr. Bill (Papa) Taylor

What a joy to celebrate Brian's ordination and Natalie's confirmation in the same weekend.  A few years ago, when Brian, Kendra and I were confirmed, I wrote this post: Becoming Anglican.  Natalie was blessed to be part of the first Catachesis class at Christ Church (led beautifully by the dear Sarah Smith).  What a gift to have our community join us in training Natalie in the truths of Scripture and the traditions of the Church. 

[The Prayer for Confirmation]
Defend, O Lord, this your servant Natalie with your heavenly grace, that she may continue yours for ever, and daily increase in your Holy Spirit more and more until she comes into the fullness of your everlasting kingdom. Amen.  
| Thanksgiving |

Thanksgiving with the Cummins family 

This is another one of those times we rave and rant the sheer good fortune we've been given in being welcomed by our son's new in-laws.  To have our son marry the wonderful Rebekah would enough, but to become friends with her entire family is grace upon grace.  (Not to mention they are excellent cooks!)  We missed Andrew, Amber & Elayna today because they were visiting Amber's beautiful family in Dallas (which was right and good for them to do, of course).  

May I just say that I could get used to showing up at someone else's house for the Thanksgiving meal.  I mean, we did our part with a few side dishes, but still....

| Wedding Shower  |

Thanksgiving Evening Dessert Open House/Virtual Wedding Shower

I was assured that I didn't need to throw a wedding shower, and I knew it was true.  In October, some beautiful women, friends of Rebekah's mother, hosted a lovely wedding shower.  I guess I must have tucked away in my dreams -- when my kids were little and I dreamed of the day they would marry -- an idea that I'd throw them a shower, too.  Of course, in those dreams I was always living a few minutes away from my family members, and they would be the ones attending!  I'm so grateful for family members who sent gifts from a long way away, for family members willing to play a goofy shower game via Google Hangout, and for local friends who -- GET THIS! -- were willing to come out to our house on Thanksgiving evening to eat pie and bless Alex & Bekah.  It's just another example of the ways God sees my dreams to bless my kids and meets their needs when I'm scrambling a bit. 

| 25th Wedding Anniversary |

Anniversary Celebration
Speaking of dreams, when my kids asked me several months ago how I'd like to celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary, and I couldn't think of anything better in the whole world than to have all 9 members of our (expanding) family under one roof for a meal.  I'm so grateful to my kids for working hard to get together in one place at one time during this very busy, transient season of their lives.  They cooked for us, they pulled out all the old photos and love notes (ack!! ) and took us down memory lane; they prepared artwork and wrote songs and stand-up monologues and prayers.  They blessed us greatly.  

No moment was more meaningful to me, however, then the moment when Brian and I pulled into our driveway (they'd kicked us out of the house so they could prepare) to find them standing on the front porch cheering for us.  Seriously, I could bawl just remembering that moment again.  You guys, hang in there with your families - if for no other moment than that one right there.  

One other tiny little, boring gift:  they created an IndieGoGo campaign to send us to Ireland for a second honeymoon.  WHAT?!?!?  For a couple hilarious photos and stories of our first humble honeymoon adventures (as scripted by our slightly irreverent sons), watch the campaign video they created: 
Help Us Give Brian and Tamara A Second Honeymoon 

And I've wanted to write something profound here on the blog about being married and staying married.  Hopefully, I still will.  In the meantime -- all disclaimers aside about real reasons for not staying married - might I just say the best advice I can give you is to just keep going?  Learn well, seek healing, give forgiveness, be in community, let the Gospel save you, yes.  All of those things, but really just stay together.  You'll be so glad you did.  

| Alex's Birthday |

Alex turns 22
I'm not going to lie: Alex kind of got the short end of the celebrations for his birthday.  I don't think he minded too much, since people are basically throwing him wedding presents from right and left.  We did go out to a quick lunch after church on Sunday, before he headed back to Houston.  We didn't even have a cake or sing!  

I did write a blog post about his birthday.  It only sort of counts, though, because I've been meaning to write it since his last birthday when he turned 21 and we gave him a new name.  He's a good boy, though, and read the same words I gave him a year ago as if I'd just written them for the first time.

There was also that tearjerker of a slideshow.

| Advent 1 & 2 |

We're slowly taking up our Advent practices.  So far, we've listened to the Messiah a few times (once live, thanks to Austin Symphony Orchestra!) We've pulled out the nativity sets (although I was sorely tempted to leave them in a big choral formation, just for fun this year). We've lit candles and tried to gather for prayer each night.  I've curated another series of Daybook posts. It's a strange waiting this year, more anachronistic than ever - the world is raging and gathering up ammunition even as we set up mangers for the baby Messiah. The world mourns tragic deaths, fears unseen terrorists, and our little family keeps throwing one party after another.  

A strange Advent, indeed.  

May each word of grief or triumph, each fast and feast serve only to reflect Christ's "kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Kingdom peace to us all, friends.

Have YOU captured any contentment this week? 
 I'd love to hear about it!

| Join in at P,H,F,R to see other wonderful people practicing contentment. |

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