"WHEN would the wedding date have to be according to the U.S. Navy?"
"Well..." there was a LONG pause. "According to the ship's schedule, either this November or next Autumn sometime." I couldn't believe it. Be THAT far apart for over a year? But the thoughts of planning a wedding...the wedding of a 28 year old lady's DREAMS...in 2 months...??? Well, I always wanted an excuse to elope *_* But, no, the families would want the big wedding get together, and, well, I DID TOO! But...all the planning...in 2 months...could we do it? And, where do I begin???
"I'm afraid your Mother's wedding dress is beyond repair; the lace is actually brittle in places. I'm so sorry."
Patricia was so kind, but there was no way I could afford my dream dress from the shop on the corner of our hometown. But since I was a little girl, I had looked in the windows of that shop, staring at the beautiful wedding gowns and lovely formal dresses. I had made a promise to myself in college though not to actually "plan" my wedding or "try on" gowns until I was engaged. I had never entered the shop of my girlhood dreams until Daniel and I were engaged. On my first visit to the store, the first dress I tried on--which fit my 6'1 frame PERFECTLY-- was nearly twice the amount I had budgeted. So I went back, desperately hoping that my Mother's beautiful wedding gown could be "refurbished" somehow. What was I to do?
"But did you notice what my husband was putting up on the windows? All the dresses are 50% off because we're closing out our wedding line."
"ALL the dresses? Even the one I tried on last week?" Yes, our LORD works in mysterious ways! At 50% off, the dress was well within my limits! Dear Patricia...Patricia LAMBright *_*.... What a blessing she and the ladies in her shop were! How thrilled they were to see how every step of the way the LORD worked things out for us! When they first heard the time alotted until the wedding, they nearly fainted! But they were witnesses to God's working!
"You're a Christian, aren't you? I just know you are, because there is no way all of this would be coming together so smoothly and quickly without God's intervention."
"Yes, the invitation company DOES have that invitation!" That was a miracle in itself as the invitation I had fallen in love with 7 years before (shown above) was quite unusual.
"We found the lace for the sleeve alterations! We had looked everywhere, and finally my mother and sister who were with me suggested we pray about it, and THERE IT WAS!!!"
And just LOOK how the scallops of the lace at the hem barely touch the floor...not too short. The gown fit PERFECTLY! It fit ME!!!
Those precious ladies!!! They just LOVED our story! I felt like Cinderella with several talented, thrilled-to-see-me-in-my-finery Fairy Godmothers!!! And of course, Patricia LOVED the fact that I had wanted a dress from her shop since I was a little girl *_* I even wrote her a letter about it and sent a wedding photo of me in my "dream gown" after the wedding! OOPS! I gave away the "ending"...*_*
"Have you seen the Lenox bride and groom cake topper?"
"Oh, Sissy, have you seen the PRICE?" My sister Joann, whom I had told my desire to elope and evade all the planning and headaches, was doing SO much to help with the planning. Momma was in heaven, Mom Seest in Minnesota (further away *_*). So it was Sissy's help that got me through all the planning...and her prayer-answering LORD and mine *_* She had spotted the Lenox cake topper in a JCPenney catalog and cut out the photo for me. She had called the rental people about the arches and kneeling bench and pillars. She had worked on the list of photo poses (for our photographer, Dove Photography *_* LOVE the name *_*). She had gone with me to look for my gown. Well, the Lenox bride and groom just weren't in the budget. I'd find something.
We saw the figurine in person while shopping for the bridesmaids' dresses. Just as I thought, PERFECT, but too expensive as exquisite as it was. So we continued our desperate search for the bridesmaids' dresses. I wanted something tea-length, deep purple, modest. There was no such thing at the wedding outlets. Bright purple. Long. TOTALLY immodest...it was as though the slits up the side and the plunging back were meant to meet in the middle *o*! JCPenney's was our last hope. But again, off the rack dresses? In those sizes? Amazingly enough, YES!!! Four tea-length, deep purple, modest bridesmaids' dresses. Then the lady at the checkout said, "Oh, and did you know that today was the last day of our 25% off sale? I know the fourth dress won't be in from the other store until next week, but we can apply it to that one, too, since you're paying for them all today." PRAISES!!!! And when we looked again at the JCPenney catalog, we saw the dress, but GUESS WHAT? It didn't come in purple...only navy, aqua, and black! Yes, He works in mysterious ways!
"Would you like to go with me to Walmart and then by the Kalasniks to pick up a train book for Matthew? We could probably go to Checkers for supper, too!"
Well, Sissy knew my enjoyment of "Wally World", and Checkers was "our place"...the hamburger joint mentioned earlier *_* So, off we went! Checkers was yummy as usual. I knew that I wouldn't have many more chances for a girls' night out with my precious sister. Then we headed for the Kalasniks. "Oh! KC lives down this road, too! I didn't know they were neighbors!"
"Oh, really? You mean HERE?"
She swerved quickly into a parking spot right in front of KC's home...amazing as there were A DOZEN or so cars parked in front of her home. "Gotcha!" The STINKER!!! I never thought I could be "GOT", but Sissy "GOT" me GOOD! And of all things, she had mini-cheesecakes and wedding shower games and a gift in the back of the station wagon!!
The dear "workies"! They had it all planned! So many precious friends, KC, Angie, Naomi, Ingrid, Connie, Linae.... SO MANY memories!! We played some fun games, then had some yummies *_* Then I opened my first wedding shower gifts! So many wonderful pretties for our nest!
"Well, I talked it over with Kevin. This is your 'wedding gift', too."
Sissy was beaming as she handed me the gift from her and Kevin and the little "Peeples". Yes, the beautiful, oh-so-perfect Lenox bride and groom cake topper! Her cake topper was very special to her, too, as it was our parents' cake topper 25 years to the month before her & Kevin's wedding. She knew...oh, yes; she knew.
And being there in my precious KC's home.... She who had "faith" about God's plans for me before I did! And dear Angie, who told me months before not to fret about not dating any of the local guys. "He'll come from somewhere else and take you far away...." They were a bit smug *_*, but we all knew we'd miss eachother terribly.
Then the wonderful showers from my home church...the one's who'd known me since the days of Methuselah? They were so happy that the LORD had sent Daniel! So sad that I would be leaving. So uncertain because they didn't know Daniel themselves....
"I found our apartment!"
Yes, dear Daniel had found our "nest" *_* In between the long hours and even a couple of weeks at sea, he found the perfect "corner of a rooftop" where we would begin our married life together! So one fine October day, Poppa and I were on the road again; only this time, we kept going when we reached Charleston! All the way up to Hampton, Virginia with all my worldly goods with which to "feather" our "nest". We had a wonderful week together...prettying the apartment, visiting the church at which he was a member. And Poppa read another Rush book while Daniel and I toured the tri-city area that would soon be our hometown!
Yes, everything was in place! Invitations sent, many thank you notes already sent, "a place prepared", an "appointed time" when my bridegroom would appear *_* And SO many more blessings than I could possibly tell, like the neighbor who supplied all the greenery and numerous pots of white mums. Or the florist lady who had delivered my first two bouquets from Daniel and now was excitedly preparing for the wedding. Shopping for the cake, the napkins, the bridesmaids gifts, the decorations, the tux rentals. I found a lovely bridal veil with a seed-pearl wreath "crown", and I took the roses Daniel had sent me that I had dried and attached them to it. I found vanilla scented tapers and a large pillar candle plus the 3 brass stands for them and a long-stemmed rose "decorator pin" in solid brass for the cost of a single "decorated" unity candle. We got together 2 notebooks with the wedding music...so many favorites! Momma's high school friend Ginnie played the organ. We had several wonderful organists from our church (where Momma had been the organist for years), but Momma had played for Ginnie's daughter's wedding, so that decided it for me *_* And of course, dear Sally practiced hours on the piano pieces.... So much loving work went into our wedding!
"I just want to be certain that at LEAST as much time is going into the planning of our MARRIAGE as the planning of our WEDDING."
Daniel was having to do his "questionnaire" from Preacher up in Virginia. It was an extensive questionnaire, but he got it done! And it showed me that he was much more the man he had showed himself to be than the man I had been told he was. He WASN'T shy according to his temperament analysis! He WAS a leader, though a quiet one. Preacher had very good counsel even before Daniel arrived the week before the wedding.
What happened next?