Sunday, July 3, 2011

Goin' to the Chapel....

Congratulations to the new Mrs. Derek gorgeous sister who made a beautiful bride! What a lovely, God-honoring event their incredible wedding day was. Such an overwhelming joy to be a part of it!
My very talented friend Andi juggled her duties as a bridesmaid and snapped these amazing photos. She was kind enough to share as I put aside my camera for the day hoping to schmooze off of others:)
My girls and their pretty cousins

Gabriella all dolled up for the wedding.
It was a handful trying to choreograph feedings around bridal party photos and matron-of-honor responsibilities, but there were lots of willing hands to hold this little sweetie and she was sooo good that day!
My lil' man Tristan had the distinct honor of being the "flower girl escort" in the wedding. He has always had a very special place in his Aunt Katherine's heart. We've had many laughs over how it all went down...
Tristan and Aunt Katherine. Ukraine fall 2005

Katherine and Derek pulled Tristan aside months ago and graciously asked him if he would honor them by accompanying their flower girl down the aisle. As any red-blooded-all-American boy would respond, Tristan said:
" I have to"?
"No, no, no," Katherine assured him. "Only if you want to".
"Ok." he said. "I mean, probably not, but....... Ill think about it".
The only snapshot Ive seen...cant wait to get the professional photos

I guess unlike little girls, boys dont really sit and day-dream about being in a wedding. His fantasies involve capes and light sabers, not suspenders and cumber buns. He gave it some thought for a couple weeks and then called Katherine on the phone with a list of conditions.
"Ok, Ill do it, but..... I dont want to wear a monkey suit (a tux) and you have to tell the Uncles not to tease me".
Katherine met his terms and he conceded.
The day of, he was so cute and proud sporting new clothes, and a haircut, and escorting this sweet girl down the aisle on his aunties special day.
And this little flower girl....oh my! Katherine has nannied for her for nearly 5 years of which she has bravely battled very aggressive cancer. Everyone who knew little Abby couldnt help but tear up at the sight of her walking down the aisle....with a very handsome escort.
Breakin' it down at the reception with Aunt Jo

My parents looking pretty dapper in their coordinating blues.

I could go on and on about my sister, but in an effort to be concise, Ill post the toast I shared at their reception.....
I got through it with only a few tears...

Being the protective older sister that I am, naturally, I anticipated that no one would ever be good enough for Katherine.

My Katherine.

My sister who has shared every significant aspect of life with me.

I was three and a half years old and surrounded by 4 brothers when God blessed me with a sister.

Someone to play dress ups and have tea parties with. I learned to braid hair on Katherine….a skill which has come in very handy later in life with 5 daughters.

Ill always look back on the summer of 97 as bringing us closer than ever when we embarked on a mission trip together to Bosnia and came back with broader horizons and a heart for the world.

When I married 10 years ago, I never anticipated that we’d again be blessed with the chance to live together. But in 2003. Katherine lived with us for a year while we were serving in Ukraine as missionaries. We shared day-to-day life again. As C and I were just married then, Katherine encountered our learning to communicate as newlyweds…and she witnessed an argument….or two……or three.

I am forever grateful for the grace that she has extended to C and I as a couple. Truly, no one has seen our life as transparently as she has, yet she still loves us in spite of our shortcomings. She has overlooked our quirks and always chosen to believe the best and be supportive of us. C has loved her like a sister and my children have been blessed to have her as a tremendously involved auntie in their lives.

You know you hold a very special place in their heart! Tyotya Katya.

I think deep down, I had a fear that she’d marry someone I didn’t really like….or worse, that C didn’t really like.

Well, strangely, we really got to know Derek aside from Katherine. Before they were even dating, C was traveling through Atlanta for business and ended up going out to dinner with Bryan and Derek and Katherine. C called me later that night saying he’d met this guy who reminded hum of his best friend from highschool. I think he described Derek as fun, easy going guy with a southern drawl. And I vividly remember him saying that he’d be perfect for Katherine.

Shortly after, Derek joined our family in Montana where C and Derek worked together on a building project for about a month. It was here that Derek completely won me over. Derek is amazing with children! My kiddos adore him and he graciously put up with 5 kids inceasantly climbing all over him, clamouring for his attention and asking him to sit by them at meals. Love my kids, and you’ll earn my affection.

Derek was batting 100 in my books by this point.

….well, that is, aside from teaching my four year old to head-butt.

My confidence in Derek improved as I saw the way he treated my sister.

I observed him take such a vested interest in the things that are important to her

He labored to design her a web site for her business.

He has developed his appreciation for art and is so supportive of her passion

And has even learned to cook bacon in a skillet instead of a microwave….just because he loves her.

And Katherine, in turn, who before meeting Derek had never watched a single football game, is now an avid Yellow Jackets fan.

I believe God is so honored by the way each of you seeks to grow in understanding the other persons individual interests and passions. May you never become so familiar with eachother that you stop seeking to be a student of the other and grow in appreciation for the others gifts and life loves.

And Katherine, your genuine, gracious, forgiving attitude of which I have often been the recipient, will be an invaluable asset to your marriage. You are going to be an amazing wife. Knowing that Derek KNOWS the prize he is getting in you, makes him worthy of taking your hand. Cherish her Derek. She is a most precious gift and Im delighted about welcoming you as a brother!!

Your new life together is a blank canvas that I know the author and perfector of your faith will paint an exquisite picture as you continue to offer your lives as tools in His hands.

Love you both very much. Lets raise our glasses.

To Katherine and Derek


Trini said...

Aw, Gigi is precious!!!! I'm not surprised that there were many willing hands to hold her! Haha...a monkey suit?!

Danielle said...

Katherine looks so beautiful! And this is such a sweet toast! I am sure everyone was all teary-eyed!!!!

Jennifer said...

I teared up reading it! Such lovely and beautiful words. Thank you for sharing

Laurie said...

Your entire family is beautiful, Mandy! Gigi is just the icing on the cake! LOVED seeing pics of her in her precious dress!
Thanks for sharing!

Evie n Lizzie said...


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