Thursday, May 31, 2012

Celebrating a Marriage

On Saturday, May 26, we had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate the marriage of our oldest daughter at the Minster Church of St. Andrew in Plymouth, England. This Anglican church is the home church of our son-in-law and has the second longest church (non-cathedral) aisle in all of England.


The ladies gathered at our hotel to get ready for the day. Stan snapped this photo as we waited for our rides to the church.


One of our sons walked me down the aisle, and then in traditional English fashion, Stan walked the bride down the aisle followed by the bridesmaids. See below for some American traditions brought into the wedding!


The service was a wonderful time of worship with five hymns, the repetition of vows, a charge given by a friend of the groom (who is also a clergy), prayers and Stan giving a blessing.


After the blessing, the bride and groom, along with their parents, maid of honor and best man, and other members of the wedding party joined the vicar in the "vestry" to sign the official wedding documents, while a friend of the bride sang "'tis so sweet to trust in Jesus."


Following the signing, we all lined up behind the bride and groom and recessed to the back of the church and out the door under the bell-tower, where the bells were chiming. Our second daughter said it was just like Cinderella!


Group photos were quickly taken (this is not the professional photo here, but one we pulled of someone's facebook site!). This is a group shot of the De La Cour and Bowden clan (which far outnumber us!) and wedding party.


The reception was at a Yacht club just off the Plymouth Hoe--about a mile from where the Mayflower set sail for America.  This is one of the first photos their professional photographer has released. Aren't they a lovely couple?


And while not the best photo, here  are the bride's parents, thankful for a wonderful day of celebration and rejoicing in God's wonderful blessing in bringing their daughter to this day. 

We have enjoyed the time getting to know our son-in-law's family.  They graciously opened their home to us for two nights earlier in the week, and we spent Sunday afternoon around the table on their deck enjoying a delicious dinner and Sunday afternoon conversation.

Now the new couple is on their honeymoon in France, our second daughter and my sister have returned to California, and the four of us from Japan are wrapping up a few days touring London.  We take the Eurostar to Paris tomorrow and then go on to Normandy for a church retreat. We'll be back in Japan by June 6.

**American Traditions brought in:
  • "Her mother and I do" in answer to "Who gives this woman to be married..."  In England it appears to be only the father that gives her away.
  • "You may kiss the bride."  
  • At the reception, the maid of honor spoke, not just the best man.
  • The garter...created some anxiety among not only some of the guests (who pumped every American attending to see if this is really done) but also the groom wanted assurance that this was really done.



Friday, May 18, 2012

Presence

How can I be in so many places at once?
- with daughter #1 in England, getting ready for her wedding, wishing I could hug her and support her in person through the next few days. (Grateful that I will be with her for the final five days to the wedding!)
- with daughter #2 in England, who IS there to hug her sister, and at the same time is wondering about her own future when she returns to the States.
- with a number of coworkers who are going through transitions, wishing I could help pack a box and encourage them about God's faithfulness in unsettled times.
- with friends who are walking through illnesses, some heading into the shadow of death, praying that they find their rest in the Shepherd of their souls.

I am grateful that we have One who can be everywhere at once.  And He says,

“Be still, and know that I am God.
     I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10 (ESV)

Monday, May 14, 2012

The list...

We arrived back in Japan six days ago.  While we were gone the sun started shining a little earlier here in Tokorozawa, so it has matched the jet-lag early morning wake-ups.

We are seven days from departure to the UK for a very special wedding.  Before that I have a page-long list of things to do. I'm grateful to say that some things are marked off, but I've penciled in others.  My hope is to be ready for this trip before "the night before."

I am grateful to be a list person.  Many times I feel like there isn't "enough of me to go around" so when I've been pulled in one, two or multiple directions, I appreciate being able to go back to the list to find my way back to what needs to happen.

Many times those things on the list don't actually take a lot of time--but they would cause problems for me or others if they aren't done.  Having a long list looks overwhelming, but there is a freedom in working through it.

I also have a packing list--which has been invaluable in my multiple trips.  Since I've started using it, I have been able to release some of the stress of the day before departure.  If I have time, I'll try to create one for the others traveling with me this time.

Meanwhile..I need to get shirts for the men, shoes for the younger two, and finish some travel planning--after two projects I need to wrap up for Asian Access.

See you!

Monday, May 07, 2012

That's my girl!!!

On Saturday we attended our second daughter's graduation from Vanguard University in Southern California. She has completed a B.A. in Musical Theatre.  We did our part to cheer her on as she received her diploma.


The Theatre students were the last ones to receive their diplomas, and instead of filing off one by one, they lined up at the far side of the platform until the last name was read, and they did what all actors do at the end of a performance--




--took a final bow!  We loved it!



We feel blessed to have been able to be here and that our oldest daughter was able to come from the UK to see her little sister graduate.  My sister (on the left) joined us, as well. 

God has been gracious to us, and to this girl who has spent most of her college years without having parents at special school events and especially at her performances. We missed having our boys with us for this event, but are thankful that they were well cared for, and will be with us all for the upcoming wedding in a few weeks.


While we weren't near her those years, God provided some special friends for her in that time, and we were able to meet some of them for the first time.  


In addition, we met a darling set of twins who were born last fall to a dear friend of hers. A has spent at least one afternoon a week over at their house being "Auntie A" to them.  We've followed them on facebook, and looked forward to meeting them up close and personal. 


Their mom had dressed them in personalized t-shirts. This young lady's shirt says "I love Auntie A." 

~~~

So now our two and a half week trip to the States is coming to a close. This has been a wonderfully packed (with a little time out for fishin) schedule we've kept.  We visited with folks at three churches that partner with us in the ministry in Japan. We have been able to meet with many friends and appreciated each one's insights. We fly out tomorrow-the two of us heading back to Japan, and the two girls heading to England.  

In two weeks we head the other way around the world to celebrate another milestone!

Gone fishin...

When we left California the 26th of April, we headed to the east coast for a week.  Our first stop was in Charlotte, where we visited the SIM campus, and Stan had an opportunity to meet some of the people who are involved in helping US based Asian Access missionaries transition into the SIM operational support structure.  We had lunch with our friend Bruce Johnson, the President of SIM USA, as well with a couple who served in Japan a number of years ago but are now actively involved in mobilizing missionaries for SIM (including Japan).  We also visited with a few of Stan's friends from his Bible College days.  We enjoyed our time there very, very much.

Then on Friday afternoon we drove up to another friend's place outside Stuart, Virginia, for a long weekend of fishin...  Well, Stan went fishing, I curled up in a hammock and took a few naps.


I'm not quite sure how many hours he spent down at the pond...but this is what he looked like for most of the weekend...


He has dreamed of this time for months, and while it wasn't the warmest and obviously not sunny, the fish were biting some of the time, and  even took off with some of his favorite lures.


Stan brought in both trout and bass, and we ate fish made different ways a couple of times over the weekend. He even made sushi out of one of them, surprising our host and their guests at how good it tasted.

Stan has often talked about going fishin but it isn't always that easy to do it in Japan. Maybe you can pray he finds some fishin buddies there.