Monday, July 25, 2016

The Little Touches ❤️

There are some events that are just meant to be savored. Like the wedding we enjoyed this past week-end.

While I've already posted about the wedding HERE, I wanted to post about all the additional little touches that made this day so special.

My dear friend, Sharon, from my town of Frydlant in Czech, who I've had the joy of sharing life with these past twelve years, was the mother of the bride. It's hard to explain how much it meant to be there to share in this day with her and with her daughter, who has been like a niece to me all these years.

I loved being at the hotel beforehand, watching the bride and her bridesmaids get ready. And I loved watching Sharon make last minute tie adjustments on her husband, Paul!

Lisa, another one of my dear Frydlant friends, and a special person in Lucy Rose and Claire's life when they were growing up in Czech, was here for the wedding too. She was the matron of honor!

Over at the guestbook table, a sweet surprise greeted the guests.

Gifted artists, Lucy Rose and Sheldon prepared postcards from their art as a small gift to everyone in attendance!

Not only that, but Sheldon was the master arranger for all the beautiful flowers on the tables!

These dear girls, from all walks of Lucy Rose's life, served her as her bridesmaids.

A 97 degree day with what felt like 100% humidity couldn't detract from the setting of this beautiful, meaningful wedding at Pottawotamie Park in St. Charles!

There were many touching moments after the wedding was finished, like this one between Lucy and her dad's mom...a beautiful story long in the making.

I loved getting to be at the wedding with my Claire, who flew in that morning from Colorado to be one of Lucy Rose's bridesmaids.

And it was so fun to have my parents there too! They've known Lucy Rose since she first moved to Czech (because of their many visits to see us) so couldn't miss sharing in this special day as well.

Who knew the four of us would come from our different corners of the world to meet up in Chicagoland for a wedding?!

And to my dad's delight, Lucy Rose had doughnuts at her wedding!

In the evening, the mic was opened up for anyone to share a toast to Lucy Rose and Sheldon. One of the best ones was her brother, Paul Hugh. I can't even begin to describe the content of his toast, but let's just say - it was unforgettable!

And brought a lot of laughter and smiles to his sister and new brother-in-law!!

Lucy Rose's three friends from Czech were delightful too in their toast, as they shared about the first time they met her when they all began high school in Ostrava. They never could've imagined that seven years later they would be in Chicago attending her wedding!

But the best part of the wedding came at the end as Lucy Rose came to the mic to speak.

She spoke about how she lives a fractured life: part of herself comes from Czech, part of herself lives in Wheaton, part of herself was a child growing up on the north shore of Chicago, and part of herself attends a Spanish speaking church with Sheldon (where she's learning to speak Spanish!).

For one evening of her life, all of those fractured parts came together to make her whole.

And she thanked us all for making that possible.

I cried.

It was absolutely lovely to be at a wedding with so many precious little touches that made it very special.

For our Lucy Rose. ❤️

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Family Fun in Chicago

Who would've imagined that in the middle of the summer, coming from three different locations, we all would get to meet up in Chicago-land?!

After the wedding on Friday, with a treasured day of nothing to do but be together, mom, dad, Claire and I took off for downtown Chicago to enjoy time with each other.

Claire was happy to be back in her stomping grounds (she's a student at Moody Bible Institute), and was the perfect tour guide for the afternoon. My mom and dad had never experienced the "L", Chicago's transit system, so she made sure they did!

My dad remembers being in Chicago as a boy and seeing the "L" out his hotel window when he stayed there with his dad. Now he's here with his wife, daughter and granddaughter, actually getting to ride on it!

You just can't beat the view from the "L"!

This special occasion called for a selfie of us on the train. But this isn't just any selfie. This is the first one my dad's taken! He did a good job didn't he?

When in downtown Chicago, my wishes are pretty simple. A gluten free donut from Do-Rite Donuts. All is well in the world now that I've had that taste again. HA!

Although the day was cloudy, it was very hot and humid. So stops for lunch and shopping in air-conditioned places was a must.

Thankfully one of those places had an early birthday present waiting to be found for me from my mom and dad!

Thanks for the fun gift Mom and Dad!

My dad is, and always has been, such a trooper when it comes to shopping with the girls. He finds a spot to wait and never complains. However, twiddling of thumbs does occur from time to time. 😉

He smiled right after this! 😊

A stop at Intelligentsia in Chicago is also a "must". This is the firm Tyler worked for the past three years before his recent move to Tennessee with Lara and Judah.

"Missed seeing you at your Intelli Tyler! Coffee tasted as good as ever though."

We headed back out to the Wheaton area in the late afternoon, to our friend's home where we're staying. After dinner I loved seeing these two enjoying time together as a big old thunderstorm brewed outside.

And then, the deluge of rain and the cracks of lightening ensued! What an awesome Midwest storm to enjoy from the front porch!

Maybe one of my favorite pics ever of Claire and my dad as they enjoyed the storm together!

I am ever ever ever so thankful for the joy of sharing a few fun days with my family in Chicago!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lucy Rose and Sheldon's Wedding

Twelve years ago, a missionary family of five moved to our little town of Frydlant. They spent their first few nights at our house.

And a lifetime friendship was born between our families.

Fast forward through twelve years of life. Last evening we were in St. Charles, Illinois at the wedding of Lucy Rose Till, the daughter of Paul and Sharon who moved with their family to serve at BMA, the high school our kids attended in Frydlant.

Lucy Rose graduated from a Czech high school in Ostrava, and then left for Wheaton College three years ago. It was there she met the man who would become her husband.

Last evening, on one of the hottest nights I've ever experienced, we all forgot about humidity and heat for an hour as we witnessed a truly meaningful and lovely wedding.

Wearing her grandmother and her mom's dress, Lucy Rose was a radiant bride as she walked on her dad's arm to meet her groom, Sheldon.

With his dad officiating, they pledged their love and commitment to each other as the sun set over the Fox River.

With bridesmaids from Czech (Claire being one of them!), Wheaton College and her life as a young girl in Chicago before they moved to Czech, they, along with Sheldon's groomsmen, stood alongside the couple for the ceremony.

There were so many touching moments, like Scripture reading in Czech by a friend who travelled from Czech to be there. Actually THREE of Lucy's closest friends from her high school in Ostrava came to be there for her. SO dear!!

Lucy Rose's brother, Patrick, wrote a delightfully hilarious song for the couple that brought many smiles, chuckles and outright laughter!

And Lucy Rose's dad gave the most beautiful blessing over Lucy Rose and Sheldon.

And with the sun casting its last glow over the couple, they sealed their marriage with a kiss.

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Sheldon Campbell!

Later in the evening, a brother shared thoughts about Sheldon and called him Mr. Happy, which is so true. So here are Mr. and MRS Happy! :)

Lucy Rose's grandparents from Texas were not able to attend the wedding, but a dear, computer whiz friend, who also came all the way from Frydlant, figured out how to Skype them in for the entire ceremony. They're saying hello right after it finished. This is one of my favorite photos of the evening!

One of Lucy Rose's bridesmaids created the cake that they ate together as the evening faded into night. It was gorgeous.

Soon afterward, Lucy Rose and Sheldon were toasted with beautiful thoughts from friends and family, and then danced into the evening with those same dear ones.

And finally, everyone gathered the lanterns from the tables and carried them to the bridge across the Fox River. We waited on both sides and watched as Lucy Rose and Sheldon passed through to our claps of joy and well wishes as they headed to the other side of the bridge by themselves, into the beginning of their new life together.

It was SUCH a lovely wedding, and I'm so thankful the Lord made it possible for me to be there to watch my "adopted niece" of twelve years enter into a lifetime of love and companionship with her dear husband!

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Big Event

Some special visitors arrived into Chicago yesterday afternoon!

My mom and dad are on a road trip to the Midwest, visiting lots of family all the way from Colorado to Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota. They were able to return from their Wisconsin part of the journey to Chicago in time for a special event.

While Claire's arrival at O'Hare International this morning from Colorado could be considered the special event, she's actually here for what IS the main event: her dear friend, LucyRose Till's wedding today!!!

We picked up Claire at the airport this morning and then delivered her to a hotel in St. Charles where the wedding party is prepping for the big event tonight. Claire has the honor of being one of Lucy's bridesmaids.

I had the joy of seeing some very dear friends at the drop off: Sharon, the mother of the bride, and Lisa, the matron of honor! We three Frydlant girls are reunited in the States for the very first time ever!

Since the wedding is not until this evening, what are my parents and I to do but make a little stop at DQ on this muggy Chicago afternoon?!

We'll soon head to a lovely pavilion at a park in St. Charles to watch beautiful LucyRose marry her handsome groom, Sheldon. More photos tomorrow!