Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Big Day

Wow!  Where do I even start?!  It has been so amazing to watch this all unfold.  Having our oldest son Christopher come to Roger and I and tell us that he was ready to ask Emily to marry him and then see him plan and orchestrate all of the details of this special day has been such a blessing.  Seeing his heart for the woman he loves and wanting this day to overwhelm her with happiness and joy has been a sweet gift to this mama's heart as well.

From seeing the notes he was making about the timeline of the day to hearing all of the minute by minute details as he planned and prepared, it was all so very thoughtful.  I loved that he involved family and friends in this very special day.  That was a gift to all of us!

I have lots of friends that have asked for details and I want to share some of that sweet day here.  First Christopher went to a lot of work to plan an "alibi" for himself and being out of town working on this week-end.  From posting on the work website to texts from the camp he was working on that day - all to prevent her from suspecting anything.  To keep her busy while he was gone, another sweet friend set up a friends photo shoot.  (This was a sweet way to have her dressed and looking cute for the day!)

The photo shoot was to be held at a local park.  Thankfully, the weather was sunny and beautiful!
 Not nearly as cold as I thought it would be either.  It was a gorgeous day!

Friends and family arrived at the park early to set up and figure out what we were doing.

We had a practice run for all of us and I especially wanted Eliana to know what she was doing.
We all had signs.  (The girls are missing in this picture as they are waiting to meet Emily).

When they arrived at the park, Emily was told that there wasn't going to be a photo shoot and that she was going for a walk instead.  She walked with 7 friends who spent the time sharing, encouraging her and praying with her.  :)  The last friend brought her to an amphitheater and told her to go read the journal in the middle of it.

The rest of us were eagerly waiting nearby - but not able to see anything.

Emily went to read a letter that Christopher had written to her.  When she finished, she looked up and Christopher came out of hiding to meet her.  He then got on one knee and asked her to marry him.

And posted by Christopher on facebook:

On Saturday I got down on one knee and asked my best friend to marry me! I'm so very blessed and thankful for all of the amazing friends and family that, helped, loved on and celebrated with Emily and I on this special day! It's been an exciting whirlwind of a weekend, filled with joy, love, laughter, tears, and the biggest, happiest smile I've ever seen on Emily's face! ‪#‎shesaidYES

There was a group of family and friends hiding (and out of view of all of this).  We waited for a cue from one of the photographers and then to music, we all came walking out in pairs holding signs.

 Each pair of signs was an event and a date - the timeline of some significant events in their relationship.  :)  We lined up around the amphitheater until the last sign was presented.

Eliana brought the last sign which said ... Engaged!

We waited a moment before going down to join them, hug and them and take lots of photos.
Is this not a precious picture of Emily with her Dad

Ficken and Nelsen families
Fun shot of Emily with her girlfriends
Leslie, Emily, Christopher and Roger
Emily and Christopher with the guys
Me and my girls!
Eliana and her buddy Jim who was a great help in keeping her doing her job!
Afterwards, we went back to Emily's family home for dinner.  The decorations were all so amazing!

Love the sign!
 And my camera ended up being full while we were here so I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked.  But just look at the fun we were having here!  This was obviously all a surprise to Emily too!

Nelsen Family
Ficken Family
Friends picture
Delicious dinner!
After eating and playing games, it was time to leave.  What Emily didn't know was that when they returned to Christopher's quiet and darkened house, was that another party was waiting to happen.  Surprise!  More friends and food and fellowship and fun!

The last surprise of the day was waiting for Emily when she returned to her apartment.  Her room was filled with balloons.  This was something that Christopher did for her birthday just before they started dating.  :)

This was an amazing day.  So many moments of God's goodness and grace.  Joy, laughter and love.  Celebration and excitement.

We could not be any more excited for Christopher and Emily!  Their relationship is a beautiful reflection of God at work in their lives.  I am praying for you both daily and love you both so very much!

With a full heart,

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Graduation Celebration!

We hosted a Graduation Celebration on July 11 for Rebecca and her friend Hanna.  Since it was mid-summer, we decided to host it indoors.  This gave us many more options for decorating which was fun (though we also tried to keep it simple as well).  Rebecca and Hanna each picked their favorite colors (blue and green) and we went with that as our decorating theme.

Blue and green for tablecloths, balloons, centerpieces and more.  Can you see what the centerpieces are made from?  Just a little peek at the sweetness that these sweet gals bring to our lives (not to mention that they both really love candy!).

We went early in the day to set-up.  It was fun decorating and so nice to have it done when we arrived later.

Anyone know what this is from?  (Sign above)

Since this was a graduation for two, we worked to make it personal and meaningful for each of them.

Each of the girls had a table with things representing them on it.  (FIAR friends - do you see some familiar books there?)

The dessert table was also chosen by them.  It was so much fun putting this together.  We went to a Goodwill store and found a variety of glass containers to use to display things.  It was well received by children and adults alike.

We were joined by family and friends to celebrate these two very special young ladies.  What fun to be with so many people we love!

 We missed those unable to be there, but are thankful for those who were!
 I also was blessed by two precious friends who took my cameras and took photos during the party so that I could focus on just being there and enjoying the evening and not looking at it through the lens of a camera.  Thank you Elizabeth and Kathy!  The pictures are wonderful!
We enjoyed some time socializing before the event began.

It was fun to introduce family and friends to each other.  
The best picture of Roger and I with Rebecca.  I wish we had gotten a photo of our whole family, but I didn't remember.  We have shots of all of us there though!  :D  

 One of Rebecca's roommates was able to be there!  What fun it is getting to know Carolyn.  Its such a sweet thing that God orchestrated and I'm excited for both of them.  While looking at Rebecca's table, they both discovered something that they had in common - besides a love of many of the same books.  They both had Madeline birthday parties when they were younger.

 It was wonderful to have my mom, niece, sister and brother-in-law here!

 Thankful for family and just wish that all of them could have been here with us.
 It was sweet to see so many friends.
 Eliana enjoyed the evening too.  Can't really tell it from this photo and she was fading fast as the night progressed.  We had a program which was a time to encourage and bless both Rebecca and Hanna as well as their friends and family.
 Brandon Hudson, one of our student pastors spoke and encouraged all of us.

 Each parent spoke to their graduate personally.  Then each graduate spoke as well.
And the diploma was conferred.  
 An emotional moment for all of us.  
 Christopher ended the program by praying over both of them.  I enjoy seeing my oldest comfortable in his faith and in this role.  Watching him grow in his faith has been one of the sweetest parts of seeing him spread his wings.
 Love the sweet expression here.  :)  Good friends are a blessing indeed!
Time to eat!  We catered food from Backyard Bistro.  It was yummy and I highly recommend.

 The table full of temptations was now able to be sampled too.  

 Rebecca and Christopher
 Emily and Rebecca
Sweet cousins!

Emily, Wade and Elizabeth
Well done lovely ladies and CONGRATULATIONS!

After 18 years, its  hard to believe that you are finished.  I've loved being your mom and teacher for all of these years.  I'm thrilled for you and the opportunities that await you at Liberty.  I pray that your faith would grow deeper and stronger as you seek God there.  I love you with all my heart and am so very thankful to be your mom!

More coming in future posts as we are getting ready for the transition to college.  Thank you for the many of you who have and are praying for us.  This is a life-changing event for all of us.  I am so very excited for Rebecca and am also going to miss you like crazy!  Rebecca, your life has had a huge impact in so many ways and I know that will continue - in new and different ways.

This summer has flown by.  In just 9 short days we will be dropping her off at college.  Can't believe that time is almost here.  Treasure each moment and rejoice in all that has happened.  Reminding myself of that daily.  Reminding myself that God has her in His hands.  


And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.  Phillipians 1: 9-11