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Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I simply come. Drawn into Your presence by the power of Your name, I simply come. You call me Your friend and reveal Yourself to me. How could I ever resist You? You have given me all I've ever dreamed of and so much more. You bring things into my life at just the right time when I am in need. I'll never fully understand why You care so much but I am thankful that You do. I can't help but dream of the day we'll be together for eternity. I live my life in expectation of that day, but until then I will continually lift up my imperfect praise to You and patiently wait for the time when we will worship together. Keep me in Your perfect peace until then and never remove Your hand from me for without it I will always fall. You are my stronghold, it is You I run to for comfort and no one else.

I tried to let go, You tightened Your grip. I pushed You away but You came back. I turned away from You to separate me from truth. Only You never left my side, You assured me of You love, with You arms still open wide, You came down from above. In this place of quiet rest I listen for Your voice to whisper words of love You know I need to hear. Your devotion is like no other I've known. Cast out the doubt in me, Oh God, make me a child of belief. Let me trace Your footsteps in the sand, as we dance remove this grief.

These were a couple of things I wrote a few years ago and came across the other day and thought I'd share them 'cause I like them. Enjoy my musings!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Wedding

Well now that my internet is up and running again (for now, it was down for about a week, as well as our phones) I figured I'd write about Jared and Heather's wedding. Before I do though, I just have to say that Germany seems to be the land where electronics never work! In my mother's own words "It's like it's a third world country or something!" Hehe I love my mom! :-)

Alright so the long awaited wedding! It took place on Saturday April 22nd. I flew into Atlanta on the 17th. I found out a few days before I left that the other bridesmaids had planned a trip to Savannah, Ga as Heather's bachelorette party. It was to be an over night stay. They would leave on the morning of the 17th and come home the evening of the 18th and I was going to miss it 'cause my flight didn't get in until 2pm on the 17th. They were very sweet and upon finding that out said they'd see if they could push it back a day so I could go along with them but they then found out that a couple of the other girls wouldn't have been able to take more time off work to do that so I told them not to worry and just have a great time! It did make me kind of sad though that I didn't get to spend that time with Heather in the last days of her single life, on the up side however I'll have all the time in the world to spend with her since she's married to my bro! :-D

So on with the story! The Wednesday before the wedding my mom and I went over to Heather's parents house to help with decorating stuff. My mom helped with cookies and I helped Heather by holding a wreathe and embossing some little flags. I didn't feel like I was very helpful but at least I got to spend a little time with Heather which was nice. :-) Btw embossing is quite fun as long as you're not burning things, like the paper or your fingers!

The next event was the rehearsal dinner. It was so much fun to watch Jared and Heather together during the rehearsal, they were so cute! When it came time to practice "the kiss" out of respect for Heather (she was kinda shy about kissing him in front of her family, too cute!) Jared would only kiss her forehead! It was darling and of course we all teased them which I'm sure didn't help the situation. Sorry guys! We got through the rehearsal without any major problems, though we all seemed to walk in and out too fast but I think we got it down in time for the actual wedding.

The rehearsal dinner then of course followed, which was pretty yummy. We had BBQ chicken and pork (I think). The chicken was great and I heard the pork wasn't to shabby either, I wouldn't know I don't eat much pork these days. Anyways, during the dinner Jared and Heather gave out their gifts to the bridal party. It was a lot of fun for me to watch Jared give the groomsmen their presents 'cause James and I had a hand in getting them. Jared gave them all authentic (and limited addition) beer steins from Germany. It suited the guys well 'cause they all like to drink! Jared gave a little speech about each person before handing off the gift which I thought was nice. They all seemed pretty jazzed about what they got. Then it was Heather's turn and like a good soon to be wife she had her soon to be husband hand out the gifts! Classic! The gifts came in a small Whitman's Chocolate sampler but it wasn't chocolate they were pearl necklaces that matched our bridesmaid dresses, very sneaky. Heather, from what I understand, made them herself and they were/are very beautiful and a great keepsake! Jared also gave a little speech about each girl and was at a loss for words when he got to me, which I thought was funny and sweet in a weird kind of way! It was a great time of fun and fellowship as two family's were about to be joined as one!

And then the wedding. Heather was probably the most beautiful bride I've ever seen. And no I'm not just saying that to get in her good graces, I truly mean it! Of course that's not to say that the other brides I've seen were ugly, by no means they were beautiful also, but Heather, wow! Words can't describe! Anyways, on with the festivities. That morning I was picked up by one of the other bridesmaids, also a good friend of mine, to go with her and another bridesmaid and mutual friend as well, to get their toes and nails done. It was fun getting to spend some time with them 'cause it had been awhile since I'd seen either of them. Afterwards we went to the church where everyone started getting ready. Heather's gown was stunning as was she in it. I can't believe she got it off of ebay for like a hundred and fifty bucks, or there about! Gorgeous! After we got ready lunch was provided for us and then it was picture time, woot! Pictures can be a painful thing sometimes, I mean with all the smiling and such but I think we all had fun with it. Jared and Heather didn't take pictures together until after the ceremony.

The ceremony started around 2pm that afternoon. The church was pretty much packed. The decorations were absolutely beautiful. She had candles with bows every where, greenery and flowers to match, and two gorgeous banners that she and her mother made to hang on the walls in the front of the sanctuary. It made me sad that I wasn't more creative with my wedding and also made me wish we'd been married in my parents church, oh well! It was beautiful! They picked out some great music for the whole ceremony. We sang two hymns, Be Thou My Vision and I wasn't familiar with the other one we sang but it was beautiful too. There was a prayer said over them which I thought was great. I think every wedding ceremony should have a prayer said over the couple. Heather, like myself, for the longest time had wanted bagpipes played at her wedding and it just so happens that her brother is like a master player of the bagpipes! I don't remember the name of the song she walked down the isle to but it was awesome 'cause it was played on the pipes! They walked out of the ceremony to one of my favorite songs to hear played on the pipes, Clumsy Lover! If you've not heard this song before google it and listen to it, it's so awesome! Again I wish I had known about this song for my own wedding, it's very powerful. All in all it was a wonderful celebration to be a part of, I was very blessed by it. Though I will say it's much more nerve racking to be a bridesmaid (or matron, I'm not sure what I'd be classified as) than it is to be the bride. Weird, I know. Maybe it's just me but when I got married I wasn't near as nervous as I was standing up there watching them get married.

There were more pictures of course after the ceremony of the two newly weds and then the other festivities. Their cake was the most unusual cake, it was French and not really a cake at all. It was a bunch of puff pastries filled with custard, I believe, all stacked in the shape of a cake topped with caramel and some sort of brittle. Very different and not bad. They actually had to cut the cake with scissors instead of a knife because of the way it was designed, very cool! And then there was the flower and garter tossing. It was weird to stand by and not participate, but still fun to watch the scrambling! After all that there was still more fun to come...

That evening, at Heather's parent's house a select few were invited over for dinner and dancing. It was great fun! It kind of made me sad too though when the dancing started 'cause most everyone was paired up with their husband or wife and James wasn't able to be there for any of it which made me miss him all the more. I still had fun dancing with Heahter's sister Greta, even though I ending up being the boy of the pair! Hehehe. We did traditional folk dancing, it probably has another name but the closest thing I could compare it to is if you've ever seen Pride & Prejudice (the new one, 'cause I don't remember much about the old one) it's like the dancing they do in that movie. It was really fun and made for good memories! After a while, as most couples do, they decided it was time for the honeymoon to start and they whisked themselves away with lots of hugs and goodbyes to start their new life together!

And what a life it will be. Marriage is a wonderful journey especially if you're on it with your best friend! It will be the most disappointing and the most rewarding relationship you'll encounter. As long as you keep Christ at the head your sorrows will never out way your joys! I love you guys and wish you nothing but the best!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Ireland is my favorite! Well actually America is my favorite but Ireland is a close second. As I'm sure you can tell we were able to pull the Ireland trip off, YAY!! I've always wanted to go there, I'd seen so many pictures and had people tell me who've actually been there that the pictures don't do it justice and well I have to agree with them. I've decided that I'm going to stop trying to figure out how to put pictures up on this blog and post them on another site so you guys can finally see all the ones I've been wanting to show you. It'll be easier for me to do it that way and now that we've started our traveling adventures I'll have more to post, Woo Hoo!!

Anyways, back to Ireland. It was so great! We took a plane there, the flight was super cheap and only 2 hours long but it was very painful. You know how in movies when a character gets on a plane and they're sitting right in front of a baby that screams and cries for the duration of the flight? Well that's kinda how it was though it wasn't just babies (and with babies it's understandable) but it was little kids also, like 6 and under! And they weren't just behind us but all around us, it was crazy! I was thankful the flight was only 2 hours.

Alright so we get there at roughly 10:30am and go to check into our hotel, The Abbot Lodge, which is in (I would say) the heart of Dublin. We checked in and asked where we could find this particular bus station that we'd bought passes for at the airport. We were told were a bus station was that we could probably get info at and that we should also check out the tour office first 'cause they'd have information on that bus line too. By this time (it was around 1pm) James and I were starving and we remembered passing a pub on our walk to our Bed & Breakfast. O'Shea's Pub, that's where we had lunch, a very good lunch. James had a traditional Irish Stew, which was made with lamb instead of beef and had potatoes and carrots and was in a yummy stew sauce. I tried it and it was good for the most part. I'd never had lamb before and I'm not really sure what I think about it...jury's still out on that one. I had roast chicken with a sage and onion stuffing that was just delicious with some mixed veggies! Oh it was sooooo good!! Makes my mouth water just thinking of it!

So after lunch we went a walking and found the main bus station which we thought for sure would have some info on what we were trying to find out, but nope, we had to find the actual Dublin City Bus station to get what we wanted. They told us where it was so we walked back across town to find that our bus station was closed because it was Good Friday. So we thought the tour place would surely be open so we retraced our steps to the other side of town and found the tour office......closed at 2pm, it was 2:45pm when we got there. They closed early 'cause of Good Friday. It was a little discouraging but we made the best of it and walked on to try and find St Patrick's Cathedral.

We were stopped at a bus stop hoping we could take it to St Patrick's Cathedral because it looked really far away from where we were on the map when on old lady noticed we were looking pretty hard at the bus stop sign trying to figure out if we could take the next bus or not. She asked us where we were trying to go and we told her and she said we were better off walking, so we chit chatted for a minute or two figuring out how to get there and went on our merry way towards the cathedral. On our way there we passed by another old church Christ Church, a very big and beautiful church half of which was turned into this thing called Dublinia. Dublinia basically gives you a run down of Dublin's history from something like the 400's B.C. to roughly present day times. It was one of the places we'd wanted to check out while we were in Dublin so we decided to go ahead and go through it. It was very informative (though I couldn't tell you a thing about it) and kinda fun. They had 3 floors to explore and the 3rd floor was all about the Vikings, very interesting. Anyways at the end of this self tour Dublinia thing you usually were able to go right into the "church" part of the tour but it was closed for the evening because, yup you guessed it, it was Good Friday and they were having a service. So we moved right a long to St Patrick's Cathedral.

St. Patrick's was just down the road from Christ Church/Dublinia so we thought maybe we'd get a chance to see it since it was only 4:30 in the afternoon. Well, we get there and we see people coming out of the doors followed by someone who looked official and thought maybe they only take a certain number of people at a time. We watched a little longer and a bus pulled up and a group of people got out and went through the gate, stop, turned around and got back on the bus because, yes, they also were closed for Good Friday. But the official looking guy said they'd be open again from 9am til 6pm the next day. So instead of getting to see the inside of St Patrick's we took tons of pictures of the outside which to me was more grand anyways. Not that the inside was bad when we actually got to see it but I think the outside is prettier.

By this time James and I were pretty frustrated that nothing seemed to be open and all we'd heard all day was that there would be no pubs or any alcohol sold at any restaurants that were open because it's forbidden for you to drink in Ireland on Good Friday. That kinda bummed be out because you can't go to Ireland and have a dry visit and by dry I mean no alcohol! Don't get me wrong, I didn't want to get drunk or anything I just wanted to have a Guinness or two 'cause I've heard it's much better in Ireland than it is in the states which is the only other place I've had it. And it is. ;-)

We decided to go shopping to see if we could find any gifts for other people or even for ourselves. We didn't buy anything. Instead we found as we kept walking that more and more shops were closing and it was only 5:30pm or so. We were tired any how so we went back to our B&B (bed & breakfast) to rest and wait till we got hungry. Before we left to go find food we asked the guy working the front desk seeing as how he was a local where a good place to eat might be. Since we were Americans he suggested to us the McDonald's up the street one way or the Burger King up the street the other way. It was said in jest of course so we all laughed and he then suggested a few other places to eat and I think we ended up eating at some Italian place that really wasn't very good but oh well.

Saturday the 15th we started fresh and got to the tour office and the right bus station shortly after they opened and booked ourselves a bus tour for about half the day. On the bus tour we stop at one of the oldest Churches in Dublin (or in one of the out skirting towns) that is still in use. I want to say that the church dated back to the 1300 or 1400's. It was really small but had a cool wall around it and beautiful architecture. Our next stop was Malihide Castle. Man I love castles!! We were able to take a tour of the castle which is always fun and it was kind of a self tour but kind of not. They basically hit the play but on a tape that played in each of the rooms telling about the castle and what the room was used for and about some of the furniture in the room and when you were supposed to move to the next room it would direct you to which door/doors you were to take. It was pretty neat but again I think the outside of the castle was more exciting for me to see than the inside. It was still cool though. One of the paintings they had hanging on the wall was of a brother and sister sitting with their mother in one of the castles rooms. They or the tape rather told us that the kids in the picture actually lived in the castle (or something to that effect) until they both passed away in the 1970's I believe. I thought that was kinda cool 'cause it looked like an older picture than what it must have been. The castle grounds were absolutely beautiful! It has something like 240 acres and some of it was turned into a park for the locals. There was a really cool tree around one side of the castle too, it looked kinda like a really big huge Bonzai tree. Good stuff. After the castle we made a couple other stops, mainly for picture taking, along the coast line of the Celtic Sea. I can't even begin to describe to you how beautiful the scenery was and we weren't even on the "pretty" side of Ireland or so we were told! The color of the grass in Ireland is like nothing I've ever seen before, it's the brightest, yellowiest, green you can think of with just hints of darker greens here and there and whatever color you just pictured in your head doesn't do it justice! It's so amazingly beautiful! *sigh*

We got back to Dublin around 1pm or so and went back to St Patrick's Cathedral to see the inside this time. They let us in and we got our pictures and read some of the plaques they had describing who the statues were and all that fun stuff. It was pretty and the architecture was gorgeous but I still think the outside was better. After St Patrick's we moved on to Christ Church again to see the inside of that one as well. It was pretty also but not nearly as beautiful as St Patrick's. Although this church had something Patrick's didn't, a crypt. And, yes, you can go down into the crypt. That was pretty exciting, I've never (to my knowledge anyway) been inside of a crypt before. It was a lot bigger than I thought it'd be and it didn't smell funny like I thought it would. They had all kinds of display stuff down there and there were a few stone graves that had been opened and the body had been removed and at least one of them I remember being really short and super tiny almost like it was for an anorexic kid only it was actually for an adult woman. Craziness! So the crypt was cool.

After that we went shopping again and ended up buying a shirt for James and one for me and also a zip up sweat shirt for me 'cause I really liked it. There wasn't really much in the way of gifts for other people, I mean they had tons of stuff just not much we thought any of our family would really like. Oh well. After shopping and all the sight seeing of the day we went back to our room and napped for a little while then went back out later for dinner at a different just as bad Italian restaurant and went back to the room again. Still no Guinness for Leah. :-( That night however, Saturday night was probably the coolest and most fun part of our trip.

You remember O'Shea's Pub that we ate at the day before? Well we went there at around 10pm or so on Saturday in hopes that it'd still be open seeing as how the next day was Easter Sunday we thought things may have closed down early. Well it was still open and as we were walking past the windows of it we saw and heard live Irish music being played. We then got really excited because that was something that we both really wanted to experience while we were there. So we get inside and make our way through the packed standing room only crowd to the bar and I order a Guinness and James orders a Murphy's (Guinness Light ;-D). That's when we began to revel in our beer and the wonderful Irish music that we were being serenaded with! It was soooo awesome. There were two guys playing the music. One on the guitar, he also played a bass drum and one on the fiddle who also played a small drum thingie, the flute and the Irish bagpipes which sound slightly higher than the Scottish ones if I remember correctly. It was soo awesome!! We stayed there and listened to them play until about 12:30am or 1am when they finally finished. We told them they made our trip for us! They were really amazing!

Okay so, last day. We take a train ride along the coast of the Celtic Sea, the same as what we took on the bus only much closer to the water (which was also a kind of bright green) and the rocks and we went further on the train than we did on the bus. An acquaintance, Colum, one of my dad's Irish buddies he met through his job, recommended that we take this train trip and have a quiet lunch or dinner in Dalkey in Queens Pub. So we did just that and on the train ride we went through a few big mountains and again the scenery was just so beautiful! The pub/bar was really nice too. We weren't really hungry when we got there so we order dessert instead of a real meal and then promptly lost our appetite shortly after our goodies came because a family with a kid came in and the kid threw up all over the floor! James saw it happen and I just heard it so we were both really grossed out and couldn't really eat our goodies. We waited until they cleaned the mess up and left to explore the castle that the bar was conveniently located next to. It was a very small castle, not much to explore but it was a nice day so we took some pictures from the top of it and headed back to the train station and back to Dublin. Then we caught a bus back to the airport and hung out at the airport until our flight left.

The flight home was the same as the flight to there, I think it was probably all the same kids too! Our flight got back to Germany at like 9:30pm or so and it took us forever to find our way back from the airport because it's out in the middle of nowhere! We didn't get home until after 11pm and as soon as we did get home I finished unpacking what I wanted from our Ireland bag and put it into my Atlanta bag so I could get to bed and get some sleep for my 10:45am flight to Atlanta the next day that I had to get up for at 6am! Boy that was fun! Anyways, we had a great time in Ireland and want to go back to see the other side and maybe some of the north side too! I'll tell you about Jared and Heather's wedding that was on the 22nd of April in my next post but for now I think this one is long enough! I'm so excited for the both of them, I love them so much and wish them nothing but the best of God's blessings for their new life together! Now one last thing before I sign off.....James and I are gong to Scotland on the 26th-29th of May!!! We'll be in the highlands for most of the trip too!!! I'm stoked!!! YAY!!!!!!! ;-D