Countdown to BLISS-Day 42

Long Distance, Please! by Elaine H. Baldwin

It’s day 42! That means there are just six weeks to go until wedding day! And, of course, there is still much to be done. Valerie and I make and remake our lists and we check them a lot more than twice. We text, we email, we call, we even have a private two-person Facebook group so we can keep the lines of communication wide open. But more importantly we do all that to feel close to each other even though we are 1,919 miles apart.

I have to admit, that not a day goes by that I wish, just a little bit, I was there; right there.

The challenges of planning this most important day in Valerie’s life from so far away have been stressful sometimes. I won’t lie about that or try to sound all spiritual about handling it. Some days it is just plain hard! Not just emotionally hard, but in practical matters as well.

Valerie has a wonderful theme and vision for the ceremony and reception decor and I have a ton of stuff at my house that would be just perfect. But I can’t get it to her; at least not without great expense and high percentage of it getting broken. That doesn’t mean I haven’t shipped things. Goodness! The lady at the post office knows my first name. But I am always conscious of weight and breakage, etc… as I should be.

And it was with great fear and trepidation that I mailed my wedding dress to her so the dress designer could assess if any of it could be used in my daughter’s dress. (You’ll have to wait and see the answer to that!)

BUT…bottom line is I have shipping options and everything I’ve shipped as arrived in a timely fashion and in tact.

Praise the Lord!

You’ve already read about the save the date cards and formal invitation challenges that we’ve faced. I can’t help but wonder if I was closer, would some of those glitches been avoided. But, as you know, “what if’s” serve no purpose and they get you no where fast. So, Valerie and I buckled down and with the help of some amazing and talented relatives (who by the way are overseas right now. Talk about long distance!) there will be formal invitations in mail boxes sometime before March 21st.

And like I told my daughter in a text: “The important part is that those receiving them (the invitations) are so happy for you and Zack.”

And isn’t that what this day is all about? It’s a day for all those who love my daughter and soon-to-be-son-in-law to come together (in spirit if not in body) and give them a great big group hug. It’s called a wedding.

Praise the Lord!

I’m not the first mother who has faced these type of long distance challenges and sometimes tears. I won’t be the last. Goodness, moms in the Bible often never saw their daughters once they were given in marriage. Or think of Rebekkah and Isaac. She got on a donkey once the engagement was decided and her mom never saw her again. As far as I know, that will not be the case for Valerie and me.

And just so this doesn’t end in one great big pity party for the MOB. I have to shout out my thanks for the multiple trips the Dad in all this, my hubby-Bill, has provided for me to do a lot of face to face planning and participate in key events.

He sent me to Arkansas just a few weeks after the engagement to get this wedding thing rolling and most importantly to share with Valerie a day of wedding dress shopping. Amazing memories there and tears of joy still shed in holding them close.

He is sending me again in just five short days to attend several wedding showers, check more wedding details off the list and see Valerie perform in a play. (One of my favorite past times, by the way!) And another big shout out to all the folks planning these showers to think of me in the scheduling.

And, he is sending me three days before anyone else arrives for wedding week so I can help Valerie with all those pesky final details; like doing laundry and cleaning her house. LOL!

Praise the Lord!

How blessed I am! Truly, how blessed! There is so much pain in the world today. So many mothers and daughters estranged from one another. So many mothers ache for the daughters they will never hold again in this lifetime. So many daughters who long for their mother to sit in that place of honor in the front row on the day of their wedding, but it will not be. So many women choosing lives far from God and far from all the love only He can give.

ThankfulLong distance will still be a challenge over the next six weeks. But in light of all the more life shattering events millions of people will face in those six weeks, I say…

Long distance? Yes, please.



Countdown to BLISS-Nightmares

Day 45-by Elaine H. Baldwin

I guess it might be bad luck to admit that I am having wedding nightmares. Well, they’re not really nightmares with zombies or falling and never landing kind of thing. But they aren’t pleasant dreams either. They’re actually pretty funny; comical even. And without exception the theme of each of these comical nightmares is determined by whatever wedding topic Valerie and I talk about that day.

Example #1: Valerie and I talk about what vehicles are needed the day of the wedding for photo shoot, ceremony and reception. That night I have a dream that includes Valerie driving one of the cars and her dress gets caught in the gas pedal. (The real Valerie didn’t think that one was very funny and I’m sure her dress designer won’t either when she reads this.) Another part of the dream included the groom, Zack, Val and Zack-Arkansaspushing a vintage car into the church parking lot with all eight bridesmaids stuffed inside. There was more, but thankfully I don’t remember anything else.

Val and Zack-BuckeyesExample #2: Valerie and I talk about how her precious pup, Joey, will be part of the wedding ceremony (gonna be really cute by the way) and that night I have a hilarious dream about every animal I’ve ever had (even as a kid) participating in the wedding in the most bizarre fashions. Think Under Dog (if you’re old enough) walks down the aisle with Tweety Bird. Though I’ve never had a bird, so not sure where that came into the dream except I hate the old thriller movie, “The Birds”, which really does give me nightmares.

Example #3: Valerie and I talk about food for the reception and every food commercial I’ve ever seen shows up in my dreams that night. Yes, all wedding guests should be thankful we will not be serving Cheerios mixed with red Jello and Gummy Bear soup.

And just one more…

Example #4: We spent Christmas holidays with our kids in Arkansas and, of course, did a lot wedding stuff while we were there. You will just have to put on the biggest imagination cap you have to even get a glimpse of the crazy kaleidoscope dreams I experienced. Most were funny weird and harmless. But the last one, the one I had just before I woke up wasn’t funny at all. I was on my way to the ceremony and found myself alone and surrounded by shattered glass; yards and yards of it. I was barefoot with no phone, no money and no way to get to the church. I missed my daughter’s wedding.

I remember waking up from that dream sweating and groggy which is not normal for me. I am a jump out of bed disgustingly alert morning person. But that morning I just laid in bed trying to sort out this nightmare and what was real and what wasn’t. Of course none of it was real, it was just all the dangling pieces of the planning laying at my feet and nothing I could do in and of myself would get me to Valerie’s wedding day; not in the dream.

Guess what? Nothing I do from this day #45 until day #1 will guarantee that I will be at Valerie’s wedding. Only God’s grace and mercy and perfect plan will make that happen. And that gives me comfort because I know I have every intention of being there for the whole glorious week of the wedding, actually, and only God’s divine intervention will keep me from it. And if that is His plan, then all glory to Him.

Hands with JoeyI’m not being morbid, I don’t think that is His plan at all. But it is a good reminder to hold all our plans, even a wedding, in an open palm and let God be God with every aspect of our lives.

To whom then will you liken Me
That I would be his equal?” says the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing.
Isaiah 40:25-26

Countdown to BLISS: MOB Musings

It’s Day 49!

That is SEVEN short weeks from today and by this time (CST) my little girl will be Mrs. Zackary ValentineNew Year and we will all be celebrating away!! All the phone calls, the texts, emails, shipped boxes, tears and fears and smiles will come down to this one day SEVEN weeks from today.

In case you’re wondering, I am the mother of the bride or the MOB. Which, I imagine could also just simply mean mob when some mother’s become the MOB. It’s been my goal since Valerie was born, really, to not be the mob MOB when her time came to marry. I pray I have succeeded thus far.

But, I determined early on when it was apparent we would have six short months to plan a wedding, that I would need a mob of people to help bring this marvelous event about. I was right. It’s taken a mob! And oh how I love our mob!

Our wedding mob is made up of family and friends who simply love Valerie and Zack and share our desire to give them the celebration of a lifetime.

Our mob lives all over the country. From New York City to Florida to Hawaii, back to the Carolinas, over to Ohio and then up to the Great Northwest. And, then, of course there’s Zack’s marvelous family who wrap up this sweet couple right from good ole’ Arkansas! Distance hasn’t stopped this mob from helping this MOB and bride from planning the wedding of her dreams. And I am so thankful.

Our wedding mob is designing and producing 11 flower bouquets, 10 corsages, and 20 boutonnieres. They designed and produced the formal wedding invitations. And others are addressing all of them.  They are making thousands of delicious mints and yes you should be jealous.

They have helped pick out cakes and food and decorations and then  designing center pieces with said decorations. They are even scouring every nook and cranny for just the right shoe.  And they are designing and making the most gorgeous wedding dress!

They have planned and will be attending one “cyber wedding shower” (I’ll let you figure that out) and several local wedding showers. They have reserved plane flights, booked hotel rooms, arranged car caravans and established child-care plans.

And I know they will pick up any ball or combination of balls we ask them to and juggle them all until the celebration is complete.

I just love my mob!! THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!

49 Days…SEVEN weeks and the party begins!!