One of the great things about weddings is that they usually turn into family reunions. Erika's wedding was no exception. My Dad and Mom came from Florida and my Dad performed the ceremony and gave a message. My Uncle Dave and Aunt Gerry came from Pennsylvania and Uncle Dave played the bagpipes. My Uncle Jerry and Aunt Doris came from Texas and Uncle Jerry and I were the official photographers. My niece, Alesha, came from Texas to be the matron of honor along with her cute little son, Shane, who was the ring bearer. Not only that, but there were cousins there that I hadn't seen in ages. And that is just speaking of our side of the family. I know it was a fun get-together for Nate's side of the family, too.
Of course, we all saw each other at the wedding. And then the reception was a good time to visit, too. But I was so busy taking pictures I didn't have much time for visiting. The place where we had the reception is my sister's church, which used to be a restaurant. There was an upstairs section and we had to put some of the tables up there. So, when it was time for the prayer, I looked up and there everybody was on the stairs. It was such a great pose and totally unplanned (the top three people are not related).
The real family reunion for me was on Sunday, the day after the wedding. My dad's cousin, Jeanne and her husband, Ken, opened their home to all the relatives and out-of-town guests. It turned out to be a warm day, more like summer than fall, so we ate outside. First we had a family church service and then we had dinner. Then we just sat around and talked ALL afternoon. It was wonderful. I'll just let the pictures tell the story.
"You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you." Desmond Tutu
I'm so glad for the gift of family God has given to me! My dad shared my great-uncle Bob's testimony, which is just a great story of the heritage I have. He was a young man brought up in a privileged situation as his dad was an executive in a bank. He went off to one of the best colleges, got a degree in theology, and became a Methodist minister. However, he had been taught that the Bible was not to be taken literally, but was a book of allegories and parables. When he sat at parishioners' death beds he was unable to answer their questions about dying and heaven and could offer them no comfort. He decided to go back to seminary to find the answers. However, at seminary they just taught him the same watered down stuff he already knew. He began reading through the sermons of one of the Wesley brothers (can't remember which one) and God began to convict him of sin and to show him the way of salvation. One night as he lay in bed, God began to point out sins to him. He would get out of bed and down on his knees and in tears confess those sins to God. All night long he was in and out of bed, confessing his sins and finding peace with God. As morning broke, he knew he had found his answers. He left the seminary because the purpose for which he'd gone had been accomplished! He went on to marry my dad's aunt, Aunt Jeanette. Worshiping with us at the family reunion were three of his five children (one unable to come, one already in heaven), some of his grandchildren, and some of his great-grandchildren.