Water Into Wine Version 3.3

Photo credit: Bill Oechsler
When Spencer arrived at our doorstep in the fall of 2010, under the guise of bringing me a book to read, I knew we were in for a wonderful, emotional, unprecedented ride. The book he brought was AW Tozer's The Pursuit of God, and a simple request to date Melissa.  We joked with him, but he was dead serious.

Spencer was pursuing Melissa.

He courted her for her affection.

He took her on dates to pour out love on the needy, destitute and down-trodden.

He started conversations with her about seeing the manifest presence of God along this earthly journey.

He waited for her to return affection.

He prayed with her and for her.

He drove to Evart every week-end for over a year.

He wrote to her.

He called her.

He spoke kindly to her, even when she was frustrated and confused.

He wanted her.

After reading and rereading the book Spencer let me borrow that evening AND AW Tozer's God's Pursuit of Man, we watched as Spencer went full out to become Melissa's bridegroom.

It really is a testament to how God works, is it not?  

So let me say here, and then I feel strongly as if this blog is going to twist and turn a bit; 

Spencer, In my words to you on wedding day, I said "We're 3 for 3" and I spoke lightly of class clowns, college dropouts, and where y'all met.  But what I wanted to say, but could not for the fear of ugly crying is we feel completely and totally blessed by God for the mates our children chose. They are kind, funny, caring, loving, warm, accepting, and most of all pursing God themselves, dreaming dreams, and going about the works of the Father. 

Let me also say to Bob & Jodi and to the row which started with Table #2; Thank you for letting us marry into your family. Thank you for pouring into Spencer's life, walking alongside, keeping him accountable, and challenging him in so many ways. Thank you for your part in helping him become the man he is today. Thank you for the gift of Spencer in our lives, the most amazing soul mate Melissa could ever dream of, and a completely perfect fit in our family of ten.

And now to you both, 

You are now Team Spencer & Melissa! Oh, you're not alone, by any means, but you are off on your journey, together. You are following God in the ordained covenant of marriage. As the wind calmed and the spirit fell over the whole farm, you spoke the words that will bind you forever together in God's eyes.  You don't know for certain where your path may lead, but you know God's strength, grace, and the pursuit of his children will be your guide. And so it is for this reason,

"... a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Genesis 2 and Matthew 19
Photo credit: Kate Wiseman


Water Into Wine Version Table #3

To my dismay, and totally at my own fault, I haven't had one day to sit and savor Melissa and Spencer's wedding day.

Today, this week-end and a quiet recuperating week of October 8-12 I hope to remedy that situation.

Then, during Indian summer and winter to follow I will work at blessing the people in my life who blessed me so abundantly during this magical and momentous time.

I will start today.  Even though you weren't seated at Table #3, I thank you Mark.  I could not have done Melissa's wedding without you. {insert winks here for however you want to take this statement} Simply put, you have never left my side.  I consider myself blessed beyond measure for the gift you are to me.  On outward appearances it may look like we've had a pretty easy life, but I know, and you know, and now the whole internet knows that looks can be deceiving.  Everyone has their story to tell and I am thankful mine is being written alongside yours. Let the empty nest fun begin.

Next up, (other participants not at Table #3), mom and dad, you deserve the next spot here. Thank you doesn't not seem like enough--this statement will be a recurring theme. I don't know if you saw the horror in my eyes when M & S first talked of getting married at grandma and grandpa's.  If you did, you never let it show. From the first time I went out to the shed, (while you were still in FL) and began to transform your 60 year old working shed, until the day-after hotel convention, you were on board.  I'm praying about the future of the wedding shed.
Somehow, someway, and someday,
I envision the Story of your life and faith being told and retold to present and future generations. Psalms 89:1put into living reality and with 4-part harmony, of course. Though the years, the tears, and the laughter, you have been there for us, and one of the highlights of my life now will be sharing 9.22.12 with you guys by our side.

I'm still not to Table #3 yet because Ben, Annie, Tony & Jen were seated at the Head table, and rightly so.  You guys may have not had physical hands all over this wedding until late in the game,
and I don't mean to minimize the last minute details cause sound equipment, table decorating, bridal party duties, and forever capturing the still & moving memories are "biggies". But you've been there from day 1 emotionally, spiritually, and mentally with words of encouragement, and sibling support with  quiet understanding of the workings of throwing and mainly enjoying wedding day. Since we sorta bailed out of Michigan right when Melissa moved back there, you guys have been her constant companions and "go-to" family.  And for us, you've helped keep forefront and in priority, that the wedding is not near as important as the marriage. Once again, thank-you doesn't seem like enough but thank you anyway for everything from the moral support, words of encouragement, thank you notes, clear down to decorating the car. I know you'll think totally cheesy here, but I'm gonna say it anyway, you're the wind beneath my-our-their wings.

And that brings me to Table #10. A big big thank-you to Max and Lilly for your total cuteness and genius thinking to hang out with your grandparents until right before family pictures.  Don, Martha, and Pam; I so wanted to party with you guys. I wanted to talk about how we have the cutest grand kids on the block and dance to "we are family".  I wanted to find out how you guys are doing and ask how I can pray for you. But I could feel your support all the way from entertaining an 18-month old at the Super 8 to
jumping up and down behind the photographer to squeeze a smile from Max and Lilly.  We ARE family.

And now we're back to Table #1. From moments in a borrowed condo on MI ave to the craziness that was the day before and the day after; Joy and Ruth you have been nothing but unselfish sisters, best friends, and spiritual mentors to me in this last year. The tasks are too numerous to mention {insert here the brilliant multi-tasking of food, festooning, fun, fantastic, flowers, faith, forgiveness, and wedding dress fashionista's, etc. ect, ect} and who the heck is keeping track anyway!  All I know is that Austin's wife better feel pretty gosh-darn lucky cause we will rock that wedding or, at the least, the rehearsal dinner!  ;-)

Heading up the "Church" table was Jeff and Gayle Kraft. Here is where the statement, "Thank-you doesn't seem like enough" comes into play, big time.  When we hosted our 2007 wedding at the farm, Jen's friend Lindsey pretty much rocked at "day-of" coordinator.  Jeff and Gayle, you were our Lindsey.  Looking back, I think Sept 21-23 was a working week-end for you.  Your attitude's and servant's hearts, made my MOB-at-a-home-wedding duties bearable and much less hectic. You covered all the bases plus your enthusiasm and excitement for the day infused  us all. The "words" you spoke to Mark and I at rehearsal dinner meant the world to us and we won't soon forget them.

Scattered down the  "Wilke Table Row" was Uncle Ron, Aunt Ardy and Ariel. You guys never fail to support our family and for that we will always be grateful.  Thanks for The Window, The Star, The Hair, The Pictures, The Make-up, The Aprons and being our first connection to the Blanchards!

Cousins; thanks for sharing your grandparents farm, witnessing the vows and hitting the dance floor to celebrate with people you didn't even know. We can't wait to see what God has in store for all of you. Just as the plaque in the upstairs hallway silently proclaims,  In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will direct your paths.  We admonish you---This is the way, walk ye in it.

Young Americans (you know who you are)plus the one and only Mary, Bill & Brittany, Uncle Paul and Aunt Teresa, you also know who you are! Thank you for making the effort to get here, and in your case Mary buying the bridesmaid dress. You wore it well, as well.

You guys did your part and absolutely made our evening perfect. Weddings are bittersweet sometimes. It's hard to think we didn't really have time to sit and visit with all of you, but we want you to know, your being there buoyed us.

Barb, Spider, Susie, Donnie, Denise, Dana, and Darcy ---  Let's talk about the people that did not even have a Table #. My Magnificent Seven Servers.  Your excitement over serving at our wedding just blew me away.  This is how we do "family" in Indiana. You give whole new meaning to the phrase "The Farm Team."  Seriously, let's start a non-profit ... I know a perfect place for our first fundraiser.  
Also another big thank you to The Homestead, Blossom Boutique, Dick Clark, Deep End Films and Anthony Barlich Photography. 

Mark, Kate, Mike & Meg.  You were at Table #3 from day one.  And because we had to cut Gracie & Adam from the guest list (our first big wedding regret and faux paus) doesn't mean they do not have an open invitation to the farm, anytime! Gracie, we are located just a few short Indiana miles from Lebanon and Adam, we don't have a course, but you could ride around on the golf cart and practice your swing out by the fields.  Bring Mike & Meg with you, we'll finish our half-started conversations from 9.22.12. We can watch the ceremony video, just so you can see what all the fuss was about, and we could even recreate the dance floor along with the blue moon. 
Kate, you called it. You always told me when Melissa fell she'd fall hard and fast. I love your take on their love story and I'll forever be grateful for the friendship I found in you. Thanks Meg and Melissa. 
I'm most thankful for your support during this year, via our physical and skype hh's and e-mails, but I also will forever cherish you photo cd!!! I'd like to insert here your funny and self-deprecating e-mail about your efforts to make port-a-john signs.  But instead, I'll quote my answer to that e-mail. . .


I haven't even seen the signs yet but am delegating a new job to you all.  Your job for the remainder of 
the event week-end is to just be there for us, That is what YOU do best, our BFF's since 3rd grade, our friends and our rocks ... or over the rocks, through good and bad...the ones who mingle and have a great time and stay as long as possible (mainly to keep you away from the Super 8 as long as possible) ...discussing decorating and owning your own businesses with the sisters and politics and guns with my brother John and Mark's brother Paul!      Of course, there'll only be a few of you guys, but would love to get a Mona Shores Picture.  Ben, Jen, Melissa, Mary, Mike & Meg!!!!!!!!!!  And that's because Mary and Meg were always there for Melissa.  Now I'm crying!    So no worries about the bathroom signs.  Your responsibilities go way beyond and you go above and beyond as far as friendships are concerned. Can't wait to see ya'll come walking in the barnyard.

Most photos courtesy of: Kate Wiseman Photography whose tagline is:  "I LOVE A Love Story."

Coming soon: Melissa, her love, & Table #2: