Canada Day this year epitomized why I love my life. It was a day filled with fun, family, and friends.

We woke up bright and early to get out the door and reserve our usual spot to watch the parade. We ended up an hour early and with a good chunk of sidewalk reserved for a large group of our friends. The parade definitely left much to be desired, in fact I’m pretty sure there were only two or three really good floats this year but the kids still enjoyed it and hopefully for years to come they will remember the people we were spending time with rather than what the actual parade looked like.

The kids pretty much had someone special to hang out with throughout the day. Sam saw his friends, Evan and Caleb (which meant we only saw him for about five minutes all day), Jake hung out with his buddy Nolan a little later in the afternoon, Lanae had her two good friends Natalie and Monica and Annie was snuggling with me and Julie. There was definitely an abundance of good company. I, of course loved the many kidisms that were heard throughout the day and many good laughs with some of my best friends. I think James just enjoyed not working on a random day during the week and would take a break like that every week if he could.
Later in the evening after a BBQ at “the Tams” we headed to my parents house for pizza and chillaxin’. The kids needed to wind down and have some quiet time before we made them stay up until 11:00 watching mediocre fireworks. It was one of the best evenings with my family, although it was rather unfortunate to have some key people missing, but we really just talked and laughed and enjoyed being together. I have to say that as we get older there are so many more opportunities for that even though the amount of time together isn’t as great it’s definitely more quality. Anyway, the kids ALL enjoyed the fireworks. The only one I was slightly concerned about was Annie and she clapped her hands, danced and kept saying, “wow, that’s pretty”. Overall I was so proud of my kids for the good behavior and just being together with no major issues. It was definitely a day to be enjoyed.

I found the prayer below from a blog of an author that I’ve been reading lately. This prayer was written for her kids but as I read it I realized it’s something I need to pray for myself before I can pray it for my children. So as I read it I changed the “you’ll” to an “I’ll”. It was a just a neat reminder to me of how much I need my heavenly Father and that only once I’ve discovered that truth can I really begin passing it along to my children.

By Lisa T. Bergren

I pray you’ll get caught doing things wrong—before they get too big

I pray you’ll fail—in things that don’t matter

I pray you’ll have to say you’re sorry—and get really good at it, so that when the time’s right, you can always find the courage to say the words

I pray you’ll cry, really hard—so you feel free to express both tears of anguish and tears of joy

I pray you’ll sweat—and learn what it means to work really hard for something you want or to reach a goal or to cross a finish line

I pray you’ll get lost—and discover you have the Compass within to help you find your way

I pray you’ll get weary—enough to know that you can’t do everything on your own strength

I pray you’ll give up—and rely on God for your strength

I pray you’ll experience unanswered prayers—and discover deeper, wider trust

I pray you’ll feel foolish—and realize we’re all nothing, without Christ

I pray you’ll suffer heartbreak—and grow in the discovery of how your Creator can use all things for good

I pray you’ll be shattered—and be reborn in the Spirit

I pray you’ll be near-sighted—unable to see anything but God, right beside you

I pray you’ll be far-sighted—unable to see anything but God, right there on the horizon

I pray you’ll lose a job—and know that your Provider is ever present

I pray you’ll brush up against death—and recognize that this is not the end

I pray you’ll have to wait—and learn the value of patience

I pray you’ll be deaf—to all but the Father’s voice

I pray you’ll be scared—of living without God in your life

I pray you’ll take crazy risks—and dare to adventure where your Shepherd leads

Amen.

So it’s taken me a bit to get this post up but I wanted to make sure I covered it here on my blog as it will always be a day to remember for a variety of reason! Some reasons I will gladly share here and others will be for the memory of those in attendance only.

Although I thought it a bit odd at first to have such a late wedding, in the end I thoroughly enjoyed having my day and then heading out for an evening of celebration. I didn’t feel that I missed much in only sharing in Joel and Meghan’s time through the night because we spent so much time together as family in the days preceding the wedding.

The days leading up to the wedding left much to be desired, weather-wise. It was overcast pretty much all three or four days before and many intermittent sprinkles. Needless to say we were all a bit nervous about what Saturday would bring us but God is good, all the time! We awoke to a beautifully, stunning sunny summer day…a day so warm and balmy that I managed to sport a sunburn on my left shoulder after sitting outside for a couple of hours in the afternoon watching Sam play baseball.

Around 3:30 I headed to Amber’s house to meet-up with my sisters who were going to “beautify” me. Although I’ve never felt like I missed out on having sisters I did enjoy this opportunity and it made me realize that as adults we can now enjoy something we didn’t have as children. Trish is the only one who had sisters growing up but for Meghan, Amber and I this is a new adventure and I think one we are all eagerly anticipating. After spending an hour curling hair, putting on make-up, accesorizing, and changing clothes we all headed to family pictures.

As is the case with most extended family photos it was a little chaotic. We were trying to photograph two separate families in a rather short period of time. We managed to get what we wanted though and after seeing some of the teasers from their actual wedding photos I’m pretty sure it will be impressive. Above are a few candid photos before the wedding.

The photographer got some good shots of our family, the gigantic mass of people that it is. A shot or two Joel, Meghan, mom and dad, the siblings and their spouses and one of the nieces and nephews with the bride and groom. We laughed at that one because we told them this was their future and neither of them looked super impressed but both of them are so good with the kids and I know they’ll make great parents one day.

After that we headed to the ceremony which was so beautiful. The grass was dry, the sun was beginning to set but as the summer days stretch out the sunset lasted so long. We watched as my mom did an amazing job of performing the ceremony and got through with only a tremble in her voice. I cried, of course, but only a few times and none of it was all out sobbing. Just the tears of joy that my little brother was committing his life to one of the greatest joys one can have. They released two white pigeons (symbolic of doves that find one mate for their entire lives) and then a whole group of pigeons that all flew in pattern over the ceremony site.

Then we headed back to the barn for the rather lively reception. It was a party to say the least but I enjoyed the fact that my children were extremely well behaved, they headed home to my good friend Christa around 10:30 and I was free to enjoy the rest of the evening with my husband. I danced, I chatted, I enjoyed people watching, I just appreciated the fact that this would be last time in a very long time that I would be celebrating a wedding with my family. We have some to look forward to with cousins, of course, but most likely the next ones that we will all anticipate with great joy will be one of the grandkids.

Although that was a lot to write it only encapsulates a mere moment in the many memories that will forever remain in our hearts. Stories will be shared, laughter enjoyed when we look back on this day. And as Sam has so emphatically stated to many people, “Joelie is FINALLY married”!

Here is a link to the site for a few teasers of Joel and Meghan’s professional shots.
http://jonmarkblog.squarespace.com/blog/2010/6/14/meghan-joel-teaser.html

So it started so many years ago! October of 1982 to be exact…a man and a woman made a commitment to spend a lifetime together and share the joys and sorrows of married life. I’m sure it hasn’t been easy, in fact, anyone that’s been married KNOWS that marriage takes work, love, and true sacrifice. However, the rewards that you receive far outweigh any heartache you experience along the way.

I hope in the years that my parents have been together they know that they have truly inspired four individuals to make that commitment a reality and honor the example they’ve set along the way.

11 years ago, I made that commitment and have never looked back. James and I continue to grow in the depth of love we have for each other. As we move through the many stages of love and experience our own joys and sorrows, I think I can speak for both of us when I say we have only learned to love each other deeper.

3 years ago, my brother Ben made a choice to follow in my parents footsteps and chose a wonderful woman, Trish, to share his life with. Their commitment and love for each other has been a blessing to our family and knowing the joys and sorrows they have already experienced I can honestly say that I admire their deep connection.

A year later, Tim added another woman, Amber, to our family and again blessed our family with an example of sacrifice and commitment. Their fun-loving, playful enjoyment of married life is refreshing and a great reminder that keeping love fresh is so important.

Now, today we join together one last time to witness and support two more individuals who are choosing this journey. Joel and Meghan have already shown their commitment to each other and the desire to make this life-long road a priority in their life. I know we will celebrate many years of blessing and love.