Thursday, December 23, 2010

Anchors Aweigh

...The Return Home

If you remember my entry for July 16, 2010,  (see it here) I told you about Natalie and Jordan, who had only 3 days to honeymoon before he got on a U. S. Navy ship headed to the Somali sea. He is an officer on the USS Kauffman, a vessel that was committed to thwarting piracy off the horn of Africa. 

 I've kept in touch with Natalie over the months and I admire her strength as she waited for her man to return. The joyous reunion happened today as the ship pulled into harbor, making 8 ships in four days to return home. Seven hundred fifty heroes are home for the holidays. I cannot think of a better Christmas present for either one of them. This picture was taken just after he stepped onto the pier.

Merry Christmas, Jordan and Natalie!

update: just found out that Jordan and Natalie have several weeks together to enjoy married life. In February, he's being sent to the Persian Gulf for seven months. I so admire this couple and what they are contributing to our country's freedom.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tim and Miss Jamie

...and Nik makes three

This afternoon I had the pleasure to perform a wedding ceremony for Jamie and Tim. At their request, and with my encouragement, they wanted to include Tim's 9 year old son, Nik, in the ceremony. I'll have pictures later and make another entry about this ceremony but right now, a particular moment in the ceremony is on my mind.

Nik, a wonderfully sweet and articulate 9 year old, has autism. He calls his new step-mom "Miss Jamie". Not only was he the ring bearer, he served as best man for his dad. He looked great in his tux with red tie and red pocket square.

Tim and Jamie wanted to have a unity candle along with a beautiful Hawaiian tradition called "blending of the sands". During these two special touches, as the three were blending their colored sand into one vessel, Nik looked up and whispered, "Miss Jamie, you're so beautiful". It was so quiet that I almost didn't hear it. Love comes softly.

Frankly I was glad that the sand blending took a couple of more minutes, so I had time for the lump in my throat to subside so I could go on with the ceremony. If only we could all be so direct and honest and innocent as Nik.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Happy Birthday the greatest Mom ever

December 9 would be the 83rd birthday for Jeanette J. Byrd, known to all her friends and grandchildren as JJ. It's been almost 13 years since we lost her but it's a rare day when she doesn't cross my mind. She was much like her father, in that she was the fun spark in any family gathering. She celebrated life, children and grandchildren, and I know that she would be celebrating her great-grandchildren if she were still alive.

She always told us she loved us and was proud of us (by us, I mean me and my sisters). She encouraged us to tell our loved ones how we felt while we had the chance. She also told us that if we wanted to bring her flowers, we should do it with a living plant and while she was still living. She even (jokingly?) told us that if we ever put cut flowers on her grave, she would come back and haunt us.

To this day, my sisters and I have never put flowers on her grave, even though we've been there many times. We stand there and celebrate her memory.

Happy Birthday, Mom, from your baby boy.


Monday, December 6, 2010

The LoveNotes Staff

...December 2010

Thanks to super-photographer Laura Parker of
Fairy Tale Photography, the LoveNotes staff (or at least a majority) had a photo shoot Sunday afternoon in McKinney at the Adriatica development, which includes a wedding chapel.

In addition to several group photos, she also took solo shots which should be available soon. Given her wedding and other photo obligations, we're honored that she made some time for us.

If you're looking for professional photo work, you can't do better than Laura. She's been published in numerous national magazines. BTW, this group photo is a sneak peak; she hasn't even worked her editing magic on it yet. We've been assured that we'll all look taller, slimmer, and without the second chins (and I'm speaking of us guys; Carol Sage-Younkin looks fine just as she is).