The Anniversary of Triple Tens

One year ago, I married the most amazing man in the world.

I remember how excited I was. It surprised me. I was convinced I’d be a bundle of nerves, or a crying hot mess (tears of joy, but sooo not pretty!).

Instead, I walked to that doorway and I was happy, no, thrilled. The day was finally here. And we fought hard for it. We made it happen despite many unpredictable heartbreaks.

My future mom lay in ICU.

My mother was MIA somewhere in the city of Dallas.

But despite it all, I looked at my four beautiful flower girls, and one handsome ring bearer, and I knew, I would never have this moment again.

My daughter, me, my childhood friend, & my sister

I think my sister was more nervous than me. Her eyes were full of tears and I wanted to smack her with my bouquet and say, “Do NOT make me cry!”

I laughed instead.

And then I walked down the aisle. I did not stumble on my dress. I did not fall, or slip. I didn’t walk too fast, or too slow. I looked straight ahead at the man I was to marry. And he looked sooooo good.

Our wedding ceremony began at about 3:10 (for the three ten’s).

I spoke my vows to him in front of God, our family, and our wonderful guests in the beautiful St. Matthews United Methodist Church.

It was more incredible than I could have imagined.

Then, we played Westside Music Ministry’s – Have a Little Faith in Me – as we poured three tubes of sand into one heart-shaped vase. Pink for the three girls, peach for Jason, and beige for me. We mixed them together symbolizing our new blended family. No matter what, these sands can never be separated. And knowing the difficult future we face, we vowed to have faith, no matter what. Faith in our life together.

In a blink, the ceremony was over and we were man and wife.

Then we played,It Takes Two, an 80’s hit, (also played on The Proposal movie) and did our cool exit.

We purposely did something fun to celebrate this last part of the wedding. I don’t think anyone will forget it, at least I won’t.

Our new family.

Our gorgeous wedding.

Our amazing family and friends.

And the most angelic girls in the world.

Our perfect 10 wedding.

A day I will remember forever.

We had a quite a first year.

These precious moments helped us through them.

Love…

Joy….

And marriage.

Now….it’s one year later.

Happy Anniversary Sweetheart!

Special thanks to Bella Lucia Photography for traveling from Oregon to Texas to photograph our wedding.

To the heroes, and to the perished. I remember you.

Ten years ago today, I remembered where I was, and what I was doing.

I remembered the fear.

I remembered the love uniting us – one nation under God.

But mostly, I remember the patriotism of the strong, and the brave. Lives were lost, and lives were saved.

I may not have pictures of the memorials (how I wish I could be there!). But I do have some poignant images of our freedom and the price we have paid.

My heart moves for all of America; for every hero, every survivor, and every loved one.

Prayers to you all.

    America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee)
    Commonly referred to as America
    by Rev. Samuel F. Smith

    My country, ’tis of Thee,
    Sweet Land of Liberty
    Of thee I sing;
    Land where my fathers died,
    Land of the pilgrims’ pride,
    From every mountain side
    Let Freedom ring.

    National Cemetary Point Loma

    Wreath Rose at the National Cemetary

    My native country, thee,
    Land of the noble free,
    Thy name I love;
    I love thy rocks and rills,
    Thy woods and templed hills,
    My heart with rapture thrills
    Like that above.

    Point Loma, National Cemetary

    Let music swell the breeze,
    And ring from all the trees
    Sweet Freedom’s song;
    Let mortal tongues awake;
    Let all that breathe partake;
    Let rocks their silence break,
    The sound prolong.

    National Cemetary

    Daisy at the National Cemetary

    Our fathers’ God to Thee,
    Author of Liberty,
    To thee we sing,
    Long may our land be bright
    With Freedom’s holy light,
    Protect us by thy might
    Great God, our King.

    National Cemetary

    Flower from the grounds of the National Cemetary

    Our glorious Land to-day,
    ‘Neath Education’s sway,
    Soars upward still.
    Its hills of learning fair,
    Whose bounties all may share,
    Behold them everywhere
    On vale and hill!

    Hillside National Cemetary in Point Loma

    FLowers on the ground of the National Cemetary

    Thy safeguard, Liberty,
    The school shall ever be,
    Our Nation’s pride!
    No tyrant hand shall smite,
    While with encircling might
    All here are taught the Right
    With Truth allied.

    Headstones at the National Cemetary

    Memorial Flower at the National Cemetary

    Beneath Heaven’s gracious will
    The stars of progress still
    Our course do sway;
    In unity sublime
    To broader heights we climb,
    Triumphant over Time,
    God speeds our way!

    View from the National Cemetary

    Memorial Rose on a grave

    Grand birthright of our sires,
    Our altars and our fires
    Keep we still pure!
    Our starry flag unfurled,
    The hope of all the world,
    In peace and light impearled,
    God hold secure!

Plaque at the National Cemetery

Never Forget.

*All photographs taken in Point Loma, California at the National Cemetery.


Travel Snafus Snuffed by Fate

It all started a year ago….

I returned to Adelman Travel as a new employee with my co-workers of over 10+ years….

Within a few weeks, there was a drawing for FREE Continental airline tickets (two of them). And I became the lucky recipient. Since I was engaged and due to be wed in five months, this made the honeymoon planning a whole lot easier. We were ecstatic. How it happened seemed meant to be.

So I planned with a smile and heavier pocket book.

I scheduled a wonderful trip that October for Seattle and Vancouver. It even worked out that I had saved enough Radisson hotel points to receive six nights hotel in Vancouver absolutely free.

We were excited. A dream wedding and a dream honeymoon planned MONTHS in advance.

Then? Disaster.

Less than two weeks before the wedding, Jason’s mom, my future mother-in-law, my wedding planner, my friend, had a devastating brain aneurysm and stroke.

She was in ICU. It was a very scary time. We continued with the wedding, but cancelled our dream honeymoon to be close to the hospital.

The airline cancelled the tickets for us and advised I could rebook by July 18, 2011 for no cost, or fees. The hotel refunded ALL the points. It worked out for the best, except, no honeymoon.

Then, the week we would have been out of the country on our honeymoon, Jason was put in the hospital for seven days. Later, he would be diagnosed with Lupus. We were very glad we were not out of the country.

This June, I looked into flights, not to Seattle, but California. We opted to save Vancouver for another time and even save “honeymooning”. We just wanted a trip to visit our favorite places and celebrate my 40th birthday (plus I had to rebook the free tickets by July).

So I did. I even got all the hotels free with my points. Even better….I ended up with five free rental car days.

July 17, 2011, one day prior to the expiration of rebooking our FREE Continental tickets (which I thought I had already done). I realized I needed to make sure our seat assignments were together. Kinda dumb to think of it a month after rebooking, but yo, I’d been busy.

As I began my quest of coordinating seating, I discovered, I was missing Jason’s itinerary. To my horror,he was not rebooked as I was.

I called the airline. I begged. I pleaded. I blamed. I mean, just because I cancelled a honeymoon doesn’t mean only one of us was traveling, right?!?

But to no avail, there was just not space for free tickets one month out. Not to anywhere in California, anyway. I was in tears. How could something sooo meant to be go wrong so many times?

I took a deep breath and used my mad travel agent skillz to get him a flight separate from me, but arriving about the same time.

In the end, I conceded to the fact THIS was for the best. He had been in a car accident and hurt his back. Now he had a non-stop flight versus Continental’s flight connecting through Houston. And? It was only $160.00. A small price to pay to get this trip together (finally!).

Fast forward to trip departure day, arising early to get to the airport for my connecting flight. Packing til midnight the night before and hating this part of the trip. The airport. The lines.

I am always afraid, I’ll oversleep, get the time wrong, the date wrong, or encounter delays that make me miss my flight. I don’t know why I twist myself up like that. I always have. I guess I always will.

It’s 6am when we reach the DFW toll booth (basically on-time). I wasn’t checking bags. I pulled up my 6:55am flight on Continental to check flight status. I wanted to make sure it was on-time. What do I see?

111 minute delay.
111 minute delay will cause me to miss my connection flight to Orange County.
111 minute delay will result in one less day of vacation and one LONGER day of travel.
111 minute delay will affect Jason on an entirely different flight. Not to mention, he can’t get the car or check-in at the hotel. Those are booked in my name under travel agent discounts.

We continued towards the airport, my mind racing. I checked other flights to Houston on Continental. Nada. All sold out. I pulled up my confirmation on Continental, travel agent tip-airlines now auto-rebook on next available flight, by going to their website, you can see what flight they confirmed you on-end tip.

I saw I was booked on a 459pm flight Houston to Orange County getting in about 644pm.

Not the end if the world, but a long day of sitting in airports. Separate airports at that.

Then I saw the date on the flight was the 21st of August. A DAY later. I think my heart stopped beating. This trip…. Uggg, what is going? Are we not supposed to go somewhere together?

We wait in line at the Continental counter. I keep telling myself to have faith, but MAN, it’s tough. This trip has canceled before and we would survive it being cancelled again.

When we told the agent, Jason was on a different flight than me (our passive way of saying I can’t go tomorrow). The agent never hesitated, he said, “I am going to get you on the same flight as him.”

And he did.

I couldn’t believe it. The mistake in rebooking all those months ago was not to cause us to miss our trip, but to ensure we WOULD get to California on the day we were supposed to. If we had both been on the original flight, we might not have arrived until Sunday.

It’s been a gentle reminder to me that God’s plans are bigger than ours. When something doesn’t go our way, maybe it’s God way that will.

By the way……

20110821-090516.jpg

We’re here!

🙂

Fractured Moments

A frantic voice calling hello on a voice mail; scared, and hurt. A stranger telling you from your husband’s phone that they were in an accident. They. The family. My family. Two little girls – my stepdaughters, my husband, and………my teenage daughter? Was she with them?

I can’t understand him. This stranger. This man with my husband’s phone. I start to panic. How will I know where they are, or what happened? I hear a hospital name. THAT I do know.

Shaking……..Shocked……..Shocking……..I leave. I don’t know what I’ll find, but I head to the hospital.

I text my daughter. TM: Were you with them?

She is always with them, but she had told me she might go to a friend’s house. Did she?

There was no reply.

They weren’t at the hospital. There are no ambulances in dock. No sirens. Nothing.

The silence is deafening. The unknown – terrifying – pressing and pressing its steely claws of fear.

My phone rings and it’s my husband’s name, but it’s not him. It is a paramedic telling me my two step-daughters are being transported to the children’s hospital in downtown. My husband, and sixteen-year old daughter to the hospital across the street from the children. This? Made it very real.

I left the wrong hospital. I still didn’t know if they were okay or not, but I knew it was very serious.

My husband’s brother is with me. He is calm. I feed off his calm. I need calm, because I so badly want to fall apart. But I can’t. Not now. Maybe? Not ever.

I use the phone. Shaking hands dial the number. I call the mom of my four, and seven-year old step daughters. I call her to tell her…….both of her children are on the way to a children’s hospital by ambulance.

And I don’t know. I don’t know anything.

It is the most helpless feeling in the world. I hear her pain, her panic, her raw emotion. I wish I could help her, comfort her, but I am numb.

I have to pick which hospital I go to. I have to choose a room, and a person. I can’t see all four. I can’t know all at once.

I need to pray……. but I can’t remember how to pray. I want to cry……..but I can’t remember to do that either.

All I can do is repeat the phrase going through my mind. I trust you, Lord. I trust you. I know you will keep my family safe. I know you won’t give me anything I can’t handle. I trust you, Lord. I do.

In the ER, in a tiny room off the red line. I see my daughter’s gray-blue eyes. They are just above the rim of her neck brace. She has blood streaks all over legs. A spot of dried blood on her forehead and in her ear. She cradles her right hand covered in a bloody gauze. But she is awake. She is aware. She knows I’m here.

I want to cry, but I can’t. They are taking her off the back board.

My husband is around the corner. I find him. I see blood. So much blood. He is in a neck brace too. They are cutting his clothes off. But I see his clear blue eyes. I hear him talk. I bend my face over him. I am here.

Tears well, but they do not fall.

The paramedics tell me the little girls are at the ER and in rooms. Sydney tells me they were okay when she was with them, just scared, but not hurt (I hope).

I try to make sense of what happened and how. I ask questions.

I hear different versions from traumatized accounts.

I try to piece it together. The back drivers side tire struck by a turning truck. The Jeep rolled and landed upright. Pieces all around.

I head across the street. I have to see the little girls. My husband, their dad, on a stretcher in the ER needs me to see the little girls. My eyes spot the littlest one first. She is so scared. I can see it in her lower lip quiver. I ask her if she can speak and she nods. She takes a deep breath and says, “Yes, I can.” Using her brave voice with no quiver. Breaks my heart. I touch her silky hair. Her little voice so small trying to be so big.

The oldest step-daughter, Molly, smiles when she sees me. Her smile is all I see beneath the hulking neck brace. I see all her teeth in her bright grin. I almost lose it.

These precious babies…….so brave……so scared………but alive and breathing. I hug them. I kiss them. I tell them I love them. Oh, how much I love them!

I witness…. a miracle.

My family survives a very tragic, and scary ordeal.

Six hours after their arrival, I drive Jason and Sydney home. The little girls released long before to their mother who hugged me when I saw her, because God knows we needed all the hugs we could get.

It was over. They would heal. Emotionally and physically, but they were all still with us by the grace of God. His hand on them. His protection over them. I trust you, Lord. I do.

I visit the wrecker service lot. I see the Jeep. I feel the impact of what my family went through. I finally cry.


2008 JEEP Wrangler rolled.


Point of impact, back tire wheel.


Thick metal chunks were found through the entire car.


The spot where my sixteen-year old sat. Passenger side front.


She was eating an ice cream cone…with sprinkles.


The crushed windshield from the roll.


My step-daughter Bridget always holds this phone and plays music on it. She was holding it when the accident happened.

My step-daughters visit the day after the accident. They look amazing, and more beautiful than ever.


The littlest.


The biggest.

Their faces are so happy. So full of life. So overwhelmingly gorgeous.

We try out the new booster seats for my car. Ones that have the high-back like they had in Dad’s Jeep. But this time…they have a protective head rest too.


New high-back booster with head rest.


The youngest in the car ready to head home.


The new car seats are pink. Of course….

These fractured moments bring me clarity. They breathe new appreciation for our most precious cargo – family. My Sydney survived a horrific accident in the front of a badly crushed vehicle. I will never forget the moment I saw her side of the vehicle. My husband got to hold his children again and tell them he loved them after losing sight of them at the scene and not knowing for many hours how they were and not seeing them for more than 24 hours. I get to appreciate life in a whole new way.

One second. One moment……can change everything.

I know many of you prayed from Facebook. I can’t thank you enough. I believe God heard our cries.

I trust you, Lord. I do.