"He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy."
- Job 8:21 (NIV)
Well, it's time to share with you the incredible weekend we had with family and friends celebrating the vow renewal of our son Terry and his wife Jill (They have been married since January of 2015 but this was the first opportunity they've had to have a wedding celebration). It was a full weekend of activities and was a total blast. We had a lot of our family join us in Asheville which made the event even sweeter. In attendance were: my sister Lois, her daughter Andrea and Andrea's daughter Avery, and Lo's son Trevor. My sister Carolyn brought her boyfriend Ken and my dad (who hasn't traveled since before my mom died in 2006). Last but not least, our daughter Jill and her two daughters, Paige and Kendra, and our daughter-in-law Aime (who is about to give birth, but was a total trooper).
The fun began on Thursday night at Jill and Terry's house. This was a very informal "meet and greet" for those who arrived early. It was a riot watching Sofia and Avery get to know each other. I think Sofia was a bit surprised that she wasn't the smallest person in the room. The two were playing together and Sofia kept patting Avery on the head - - I guess to say to herself "Hey, you're shorter than me!" Terry, Jill and their friends stayed out until 3:00 a.m. having a great time, which they paid for the next morning.
Friday morning we went on a group hike at the Frying Pan Mountain lookout tower. This is a 2.12 mile round trip hike, the first part of the journey being straight up. As you can see from the pictures, it was quite a gain in elevation even before we got to the tower. Once up top, however, the effort of the journey gave us a great reward. The views are incredible from here - - just looking out over the vastness of the mountainscape was breathtaking. God creates some really incredible things for us to enjoy and it should be cherished and appreciated every day. What was especially fun for me was hanging with some of Terry's friends again. Some of them I haven't seen since he did his undergrad at the University of Michigan (which has been nearly 20 years ago). Others were people Steve and I met when Terry first hiked the Appalachian Trail back in 2007. So much fun to reconnect with them. Later in the evening, about 60-70 people met for a little party at the Burial Brewery in downtown Asheville. This is a craft beer house that is owned by Terry and Jill's friends. That was a great party and one which our little Sofia was the star of the show.
The next day was the wedding itself. The venue for this event was Jill's parent's house in Asheville which is quite lovely. They have 3.5 acres of flat land with beautiful landscaping and a nice little gazebo which acted as the stage for the vow renewal. There were around 100 people there for the ceremony and Jill and Terry had lawn games for people to play and a volleyball net as well. People were all over the place enjoying the incredible setting. Then came the ceremony. The officiant was Terry and Jill's friend Brian who they met on the trail in 2012 (along with Brian's wife, Kelly). He talked about Terry's love of life and his ability to find joy in all things. He spoke about Jill's support of Terry and her loyalty and the beauty of her character and her spirit. I guess that's why I chose the Scripture above - - it really describes these two so well. Kelly read a poem by e.e. cummings called "i carry your heart with me". I am sharing it with you because it is just so fitting for Jill and Terry and may be for you and your beloved as well:
i carry your heart with me
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
Our darling Sofia was part of the ceremony and watched as her parents shared their vows. They wrote their own vows which spoke of love, of course, but also mentioned how important it was that they were able to "ask each other for help when they needed it" and their promises to always support each other's dreams. The whole thing was just so beautiful and it made not only me cry, but my dad got very emotional as well. So sweet! After the ceremony came dinner which was all vegetarian fare and delicious. Everyone partied into the night and then Terry, Jill and their friends headed downtown to continue partying well into the morning hours.
On Sunday, Steve and I took my dad on a drive through the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was so much fun to spend this time with him and share with him the beauty of God's creation. He was taken aback at the awesomeness of the views we were seeing. We stopped at the Pisgah Inn for lunch which is a restaurant that sits on a cliff overlooking the mountains. He was blown away by it. We then parked ourselves on some rockers outside the restaurant and just chilled. Later that day we had dinner with Jill and Terry and my sister Carolyn and her friend Ken. My dad got to spend some time with Sofia as well as check out Terry's awesome garden.
Whew! It was a whirlwind but an incredible time. Steve and I have so many wonderful memories to keep from this weekend. It will be hard to leave Asheville after being here almost 5 weeks. Next week's blog will be about our hikes and the fun things we've done in addition to the wedding.
Talk to ya later guys!!
Lauren (and Steve too)