We had a very good weekend to end the Thanksgiving holiday. Saturday (28th) was Drew Carrie's 6th wedding anniversary, Jane's brother Mark came for a visit, Saturday we did the 'shop local trolley tour' of Fort Wayne, and today was a very nice worship gathering followed by everyone coming back to our house for turkey leftovers.
I remember that day like it was yesterday in many respects. One of my very best memories of all time is when it came time for the ceremony to begin. I went downstairs in the old church basement to get Carrie. I opened the divider door into the room where she was waiting.... And there stood my little girl, looking like the most beautiful bride ever in the world, and she had the biggest, prettiest smile I have ever seen on her face. Oh my... I was bursting with pride and joy. Then I led her upstairs and escorted her down the aisle to Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic."
The ceremony itself was splendid, I thought (I wrote about it HERE). My friend Tom opened things up so I could walk Carrie down the aisle. Then I took over officiating the rest of the service. It was one of the greatest privileges of my life. Afterward we had a great party and Jane and I enjoyed every minute of it. There was no commotion, no drama, no worrying or stress whatsoever. It was a beautiful weekend.
Since then... Well, they've had 3 beautiful children: Anna, Bennett, and Caleb. Carrie works at home as a full-time mom, and has also started working part-time at the Downtown YMCA (which is such a great place for her to work). Drew works for the same self-storage company I do. He actually got me the job there, and he is the assistant General Manager. They are super parents, and I can't wait to see how their family matures in the coming years.
Jane's brother Mark usually comes out once or twice a year for a visit. He is closest in age to her - though he's still 9 years older. Our families kind of grew up together and we have much in common. It's always nice to share stories, and we spend a lot of time laughing together.
Mark recently retired from the company he has worked for since he was in high school. That's a pretty remarkable feat in my opinion. Hopefully he will be able to come for more visits now that he's a little freer - though he is now working part-time helping an uncle farm.
I'm not sure exactly what it was called, but Saturday we went downtown FW for the "shop local; small-business-Saturday; trolley tour." They had a bunch of small shops in Fort Wayne that were organized and connected via one of three trolley cars that ran the streets. We went to several of the shops - sometimes just walking from one to the other, but we did ride the trolley for awhile. It was fun, and fun seeing all the people walking about the downtown area of our fine city. I do like living in Fort Wayne.
This was the first time we'd taken Mark to the church we are connected to now. We weren't sure how he would feel about it since it's a little different. Grace is in a big industrial-looking room, which gets very dark during certain parts of the service, and the music gets pretty loud, and then the speaker stands in the center of the room filled with tables and chairs surrounded by gobs of other plastic chairs. There are 2 services at this location, and one at another location (right by my office, actually). It also defies the 80/20 rule, in that we have been running above 80% capacity for awhile now. It is often hard to find a seat.
Anyway, it happened to be a very nice service today, I thought. We had communion, the Scripture readings and music were nicely done, and Andy B. shared what I thought was a really good message. At least it was something I needed to hear. I actually felt some hate and bitterness lift off of me during the service.
The only bad part was that, for some reason, they lost water to the building sometime during the service, so none of the bathrooms were operational. Not good when you've got 5-600 people gathering in a rural location together.
Anyway, we survived, and the three of us and the Feipel Five came over afterward and we finished off some more of the Thanksgiving Day leftovers. It was then neat to watch Anna reading (or at least pretending to read), Bennett quietly sitting playing games on a phone, and Caleb just being Caleb.
It was a good day, and a good weekend.