Sunday, September 8, 2013

An Unexpected Gift

    On Friday evening, The Husband and I were blessed to witness a wedding between two people that we love. We have known and loved The Groom for a very long time. We count him as one of our closest friends and more like family in many regards. We have done life together with him and his family for most of our thirty-nine year marriage. Our lives are deeply interwoven.
     One evening our friend was invited to attend a book signing at a friend's home for a local author who had just published her first novel, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter. The author had labored hard to bring this endearing Southern novel to print, and she was justifiably very excited, as were all of her friends. I didn't know her well, but we had lots of friends in common who raved about her, so I knew that she had to be pretty special. She also had an entire entourage of childhood friends who made the trek from Memphis to attend the book-signing. I spent the evening watching her joy unfold. And from time to time, I saw my friend's eyes begin to follow this lovely woman around the room. Usually among the first to leave, he stayed late at the party. And we began to wonder...
   I won't go so far as to say it was love at first sight because they had met before, but something special between these two began to unfold that evening and over the next several years. Things progressed slowly. It took a while. It was nice in that the Husband and I and many of The Groom's friends came to know this lovely Memphis belle who was becoming very dear to him. She is godly, sincere, funny, and delightful. She has two handsome grown sons, two sisters, and more friends than I can count, including her surrogate family of childhood friends from Memphis. She and The Groom spent a lot of time getting to know each other, and coming to appreciate all that the other considered most important in life, including faith, family and friends. Their lives began to overlap and intertwine.
   I could write a short novella about all that has transpired over the last few years, but let me just say that I feel that the Lord has given these two people a very precious treasure and an unexpected gift. It's a gift from God, this love that comes when you least expect it, this Christ-like love that allows one person to commit heart and soul to another living person. For these two, it is especially poignant and especially sweet. Without a doubt it is a God thing because He has His handprints all over it.
    The Bride and Groom's words in the wedding program say it best:
               Thank you all for joining us on this happy day. Every one of you hold a special 
               place in one or both of our hearts and we are honored that you are here. 
              We humbly ask for your prayers as we begin the second chapter of our life's journey.
              Out of His great love and through His perfect gift of redemption, God has brought us                           together. We know that most certainly.
Here are some pictures of their beautiful wedding:

Lovely Stanford Chapel of First Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tennessee is the setting for the wedding.
These gorgeous flowers are hanging below the carriage lamps on either side of the entry

 Lovely wedding programs are tied with soft pink watered silk ribbon

     Music has always been important to The Bride, and it was with great care that she made the selections for the wedding. A string quartet led by Sam Levine was responsible for the Prelude. Pieces included the lovely Gabriel's Oboe by Morricone as well as Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring followed by a medley of timeless hymns. Prior to the ceremony, dear friend and recording artist Tammy Jensen sang the traditional Irish hymn, Be Thou My Vision. 
     Then it was time for the service to begin. The Bride's childhood friends entered the church in pairs, followed by The Groom's son-in-laws and daughter-in-law. Bach's traditional Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring played softly as the three daughters and son of The Groom came down the aisle to stand beside their father. Then as the strains of the all familiar Jesus Loves Me by Bradbury began to fill the church,the first of the nine grandchildren of the Groom, Rylan James Harris,entered the church carrying in his arms the youngest grandchild, tiny Wendy Anne Southard, just six weeks old. Rylan was followed by Levi Thomas Harris carrying baby, Arie Kenneth Wolf Sorensen, 3 months old. The remaining grandchildren quickly followed suit: Ty William Harris - 7 years; Anne Clare Cline - 6 years; Quinn Matthew Harris -4 years; Elisabeth Maddux Cline - 4 years, and last, but not least, Judah Andrew Cline - 2 years, who literally ran down the aisle!
 The altar flowers and kneeling bench
The windows overlooking the gardens were filled with vases of lovely flowers in shades of
pink and peach accented with touches of blue and white.

The Bride's bouquet and the bouquets for The Groom's daughters
 My first glimpse of The Bride getting ready! She is flanked by her sisters and
The Groom's oldest granddaughter, Anne Clare, who can't take her eyes off of her soon-to-be new grandmother who will go by the name of Hunee.

 The youngest grandbaby, six-week-old baby girl Wendy Anne Southard, relaxes before the wedding.
She will still be sleeping when she is carried down the aisle by cousin Rylan James Harris.
 The oldest granddaughter, Anne Clare, now waits patiently for the wedding to begin. 
 Granddaughter Elizabeth (Ella) Maddux Cline is in awe of all that is happening.
Every crown needs adjusting...even those made out of flowers

 The Memphis girls arrive to take a peek at The Bride. How I love their faces!

 The Bride and her sisters.
 The youngest grandson, Arie Kenneth Wolfe Sorensen, 
is carried down the aisle by grandson Levi William Harris.

Family waits for the wedding to begin

I don't think there was a dry eye in the house as The Bride enters the church with her
sons, Michael Patton Brown and William Alexander Brown, by her side.
Her joyous smile meets its match with The Groom's beaming grin!
"Who gives this woman to be married to this man?"
 And the The Brides' sons say in perfect unison, "We do..."

 "You may now kiss your wife..." And he does!

 My favorite wedding picture. No words for this kind of happiness!
 More joy!

 Immediate family photo time!
More Memphis friends!

And now for the reception...
Time to celebrate!

 A pair of flower filled urns flank the fireplace
Wedding cake!
Close-up of the embroidered linen on the cake table which echoes the design on the cake
 A mixture of table sizes (a hightop here) with linens of different color, pattern, and texture
add a special touch.
Cocktail tables laden with flowers and food
Silver pitchers served as flower containers in one of the rooms
 Sam Levine and the City Lights keep the party going and the dance floor filled!

And off they go to the adventure of a lifetime!


  1. Thank you for sharing the wedding of one of the sweetest, dearest friends I've ever known and had the pleasure of working with. I pray their lives will be happy and joyous and Christ-centered. I love this girl. She deserves the very best life has to offer.

    Much love,

  2. Beautiful! Dorena and I wish we could have been there to celebrate with all of you. Pastor Chris

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me to have a glimpse of this joyous celebration!!! I so wish I could have been there! My heart and face are smiling so much!! What a delight to see these precious people that I have loved for a very long time! Sug


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