Sunday, August 31, 2008

love never fails

This weekend I had the privilege of attending and participating in a beautiful restoration ceremony for my friends, Danna & Paul in Atlanta, Georgia.

I landed in Atlanta during rush hour on Friday evening. Paul picked me up from the airport and I realized quickly we were going to have an adventurous ride (especially as I became close friends with several bumpers...apparently Paul is known for his tickets in the mail :) I did arrive safe and sound at Danna's house and entered into the ever-delightful Henkelman Zoo.

We enjoyed a delicious dinner and caught up on the happenings of each other midst the din of four energetic children, two (maybe three) curious cats, and six chatty adults (Danna's parents and sister, Kelley, were also there).

Next on the agenda was getting everyone over to the chapel where the ceremony was to be held for a little set up/rehearsal. The kids loved practicing and using the mic to recite their verse (or in Karis's (age 4) case, "wadies and gintilminnnn!"). Kelli (age 7 almost 8) had memorized verses in I Cor 13 and Ryan (age 2) assisted at the very end. They practiced this many times and always at the end Ryan would say his part and then leap from the stage. So cute, and so many times. We had no doubt he would jump off the stage on Saturday too!

After the rehearsal it was off to Target for a few candles for decoration and then home to assist with the bedtime rituals. Danna, Kelley, Paul and I enjoyed more catching up after everyone else was in bed.

Saturday morning started off later than I thought it would, and that was a good thing! :) We spent the morning getting the house and ourselves ready and then we headed out the door for the ceremony...on time, which surprised us all!

The ceremony began with a welcome from Paul & Danna's counselor and then a word from Paul. After Paul spoke, I sang Grace by Carolyn Hamlin. Kelli & Ryan then recited a scripture passage and Ryan did NOT jump off the stage! He said his part very well: "Wuv nebur fails!" and then calmly walked off the stage.

We then heard a message from Paul & Danna's Sunday School teacher and that was followed by a powerful video presentation of Third Day's "Love Song". Danna and Paul exchanged vows and then Kelley sang an emotional "Come to Jesus". Then those in attendance were asked to participate by promising to love, encourage, and pray for the family.

After the ceremony a small reception was hosted at Paul & Danna's where the members of their Sunday School class provided food. Also a couple who Danna & Paul had never met until that day but had been praying for them during the past several months, drove from Tennessee, I think, to attend the ceremony and bring punch to serve. They also took a few pics of Selah as he is a photographer.

Another friend from childhood, Dana, was able to join in the festivities. She arrived from Tennessee as well just in time to jump in the van and head to the church with us. We had a great time playing/hanging out with Danna's kids. The day ended with us (Danna, Kelley, Paul, Dana & I) entertaining each other with stories of the good ol' days and then later some very funny YouTube videos: Brian Regan, Tim Hawkins, Terry Fator, etc.

Sunday morning we went to Danna & Paul's church and heard a great sermon on Psalm 119. From the comments made after church everyone came away with something special from the service.

I was very glad to be a part of this special time for my dear friend Danna. Love you guys!

I Cor 13:4-8a

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
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