Friday, December 30, 2011

Today’s Guest Blogger: Meagan Smith!

Yes, you read that right.  Meagan is writing today’s Smithellaneous post!  She is going to tell you about the picture below that I included in a recent Wedding Wednesday. When I posted the picture, I didn’t look real closely at the ring that was in the box;  it was only this week that Meagan told me about that ring’s significance.  When she finished telling me the story I said, “Meagan, would you please write that story for Smithellaneous?”

And happily she said she would.

A Ring and Two Promises
By Meagan Smith

My sisters and I are close in age with only two years separating us from each other; because of this, we’ve had the opportunity as we were growing up to become very close friends.

As we grew up, our parents initiated what we dubbed rites of passage. At ten, we were able to cut our hair. At twelve, we were able to wear make-up and shave our legs.  At fifteen, we were promoted to eye make-up.

Fifteen years old was also the age when we received our promise ring. This was a special time when each daughter was taken out to a nice dinner with our parents and they would discuss with us the importance of saving ourselves for our husband and for our wedding night.

As time would have it, December 20, 2002, was the appointed day for me to receive my ring; that evening found my mom, my dad and myself cozily tucked away in a booth at Carrabba’s Italian Grill. I had chosen a beautiful baguette diamond ring to remind me of my promise I would make that night.

After we ate dinner, my mom took the ring out and set it on the table in front of me. My dad began to talk to me about the promise I would make that night to save myself for my husband. They explained how this promise was not one that I would only make to them, but also to God and to my future husband.
As I put the ring on that night, I made a vow before my parents and God that I would save myself for the one He had for me. It became very real to me as we sat at the table and prayed that God would help me in the years to come. I was making a vow not only to protect my body, but also my mind and my eyes from the things that would take away from that vow of purity.

It wasn’t just the ring that helped me keep the promise but it was also the many prayers of my family and myself as I got older that reminded me every day of the vow that had been made sitting in that booth in 2002. I wore that ring every day for nine years. And every day I would pray, “God help me keep my promise for one more day.”

Then in 2009, I found him, the man of my dreams, the man I had prayed for so many years. He was handsome, tall, smelled good, was a childhood friend, was good with money, was funny, had a great family, loved kids, loved Jesus--and did I mention he looked good? His name was Nathan Smith and he was a psychology major one year behind me in school, but what does age matter?

We began dating on June 19, 2009, and continued the relationship until February 26, 2011 when he asked me to marry him and spend the rest of my life with him. That night was the first time my promise ring had ever been replaced with another ring. It also meant my second promise would begin just five months from that night.

On July 23, 2011, I sat down in the dressing room of the church where I was about to be married and penned words to my soon-to-be-husband of the promise I had kept to God, and my parents, and him.

I explained to him once again the importance of the ring and what it meant to be able to truly give him the gift of myself on our wedding day. I wrote everything he was to me and expressed how excited I was that my promise had been kept for so many years. I could not think of a better man to give this gift to than him. He was a true answer to my prayers and God had given me the desires of my heart through him.

As I walked down the aisle toward my husband-to-be, holding on to my daddy’s arm with my family, friends and God watching me, I could not have been more thankful that a promise was made, a promise was kept and a new promise was about to be made. Only this time the promise would not be to save myself, but to give myself whole heartedly.  The promise would not be for only nine years, but it would be for a life time.

(Edited to add:  A comment was left asking if Nathan had made the same commitment and he did; he just didn't have the ring to wear.)

Thanks, Meagan, for sharing the beautiful story of a beautiful promise!
And just to make this entry all the more meaningful, tonight is the night that we have chosen to present Sarah with her own promise ring.  She asked Steve and I if we could wait and do our ceremony until Nathan and Meagan got home so that they could take part in it.  (Which I think says a lot about how much she thinks of the two of them.)

So tonight Sarah will make her own promise of purity, surrounded by a family who loves her.  What a joy it will be to see the tradition continue as we wait with her to meet the man that God has set aside to be her husband.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Calendar Confused, Jet Lagged, Whiplashed Blog Experience

Okay.  Just so you all don’t get a bad case of Calendar Confused, Jet Lagged Whiplash, let me just mention that I am rewinding time just a bit (a nice little trick, if I do say so myself) so that my upcoming blog posts have some semblance of order in the space-time continuum.  (Naturally, I have no idea what a space-time continuum is, but it’s another one of those things I’ve always wanted to use in a post.)

However.  There is some small possibility that you may become even more slightly kind of confused by the fact that that I’m rewinding time to such an extent that I’m actually rewinding it back to a point before a point I have already written about. 

But really, the only reason I’m even rewinding things that far back (besides finally getting the chance to type space-time continuum) is that there were a few little pictures from our Airport Pick Up last week that I wanted to include but didn’t.  And so before I fast forward to the rest of the rewound week, I wanted to rewind far back enough revisit those rewound and unvisited photos.

Got that?

Good.  Then let’s get started.

Since the Norfolk airport wasn’t very busy when we arrived to pick up our very own personal Royal Couple, Steve and Sarah had plenty of space to walk forwards as well as backwards on the moving sidewalks, just to see what would happen.  My family is easily entertained.

christmas1 2011 022

When we had finished our moving sidewalk entertainment extravaganza, we moved on to the gate area to await the Big Moment.  Of course, when you’re at an airport greeting your son and new daughter-in-law for the first time since their wedding, you can’t possibly just stand there and smile quietly and demurely when they appear in view.  No, you have to clap, scream, and cheer wildly.

Do you see the lady on the right who is turning around to stare?  It’s only because we were being just a wee bit loud.  (Yes, even my demure little self was being loudish.  Right in public.  It was historic, I tell you. Historic.)

christmas1 2011 033

A few minutes later, there was cause for even more staring as Steve tried to walk up the down escalator.

Well, actually, what he was trying to do was just stay in one place without moving up or down.  The little girl to the right was obviously entrance with his efforts.

christmas1 2011 052

After getting home from the wild shenanigan-ish airport experience, we allowed the newlyweds a whopping 1.2 minutes of rest before we launched into the making of our pancake/bacon/scrambled eggs dinner which we whip up each year on the night we decorate the tree.

christmas2 2011 067

Meagan was also inducted into the Smith Family Christmas Antlers Club. I know she thought she became a Smith on July 23, 2011,  but it actually didn’t become official until until she donned yon antlers.

christmas2 2011 069

Getting the ornaments on the tree was rather entertaining since Nathan was behaving in his best Golden Retriever Puppy Dog Fashion.

christmas2 2011 083

christmas2 2011 091

christmas2 2011 094

christmas2 2011 096

christmas2 2011 113

christmas2 2011 115

Then our (three) children instructed Steve and me to stand in front of the decorated tree and look entranced.

This is about as entranced as I get.

christmas2 2011 105

It was so much fun having Nathan and Sarah together again …

christmas2 2011 123

…along with our newest Smith.

christmas2 2011 100

Hard to believe that I’m no longer sitting beside a College Dude but a real married fella!

christmas2 2011 145

A married fella whose shorts-clad legs made a nice frame for the decorated tree.

christmas2 2011 177

This year, Steve went out and bought a third stocking for Meagan.    I told him not to buy a nice one because it had to go with the ones we’ve had for Nathan and Sarah all these years.  Meagan asked how long the Smith Kids would have stockings hung up for them and I told her that it would be a long, long time—probably until each of the Smiths Kids is at least 75.   (Which would make Steve into into a rather ancient Stocking Filler but it’s a job he loves so we have decided not to fire him.)

christmas2 2011 178

Since we opted to wait for Nathan and Meagan’s arrival in order to do many of our Christmas traditions, we had to sort of smoosh the activities pretty closely together; therefore, the pancake/tree decorating night was followed immediately by the gift opening night. 

Since Snowy considers himself to the Big Dog around here, his self-assigned task was to sit in the Man Chair with Steve and assist him with the reading of the Christmas Story.  (He even donned his little Christmas sweater for the occasion which, unfortunately, detracted a bit from his Big Bad Dog Persona. But don’t tell him I said that.) 

Also, unfortunately, Big Bad Dog Snowy was struck with a gargantuan doggie yawn just as the story was beginning, so it turned out that his inspiring presence in our midst wasn’t all that wasn’t that inspiring after all. Entertaining, yes.  Inspiring, no.

christmas2 2011 186

The Smith Kids listened quietly to the story, a story they’ve heard every Christmas and many times in between--a story that still brings them to a place of peace.

christmas2 2011 194

And then we opened gifts.   And talked a little.  And laughed a lot.

We also (big surprise, I know) took a lot of pictures.

Here’s one I caught of the new sisters whom I have hereby dubbed, Smithsters.  (Cute, I know.)

 christmas2 2011 182

And then for the finale, my pastor’s kid children told me that it would be funny if I took a cookie and pretended like I was smokin’  a stogie.  Can you tell I’m a bit out practice in the stogey-smokin’ department?

Oh well.  It made them laugh.

christmas2 2011 199

Alrighty then!  That’s it for today’s edition of the Calendar Confusion Jet Lagged Whiplashed Blog Experience.

And in future posts?

The story behind this picture.  And much more! 

christmas in charlotte 082

Wedding Wednesday. Or Not.

Happy Wednesday to you!   

After giving it a little thought, I decided it would work out better schedule-wise to postpone this week's Wedding Wednesday just a little since I'm many days behind in posting and need to use today to catch up with what's been going on over the past week.

We may (or may not) have a surprise (or two) for you to reward you for waiting a little longer so please don't be too terribly awfully mad at me for the delay.  I know we have some staunch Wedding Wednesday Aficionados out there which have made Wedding Wednesdays all the more fun.

Thanks to those of you who left comments about some of your favorite Christmas memories these year.  I enjoyed reading each one so much and was alternating between smiles and teariness the whole time I read.  Thanks again for sharing.

Okay.   I know I said today was a catch up day but since I don't have my Catch Up Day Post written yet, please check back in a little while.  I just wanted to get a little something written to let you all know Wedding Wednesday would be postponed.

Be back soon!   


Monday, December 26, 2011

Update Paucity

All is well here in Smithellaneous Land.

We've been coming and going in a variety of permutations and directions for the past three days and much of that time, my computer has not been able to get Internet access. (I'm writing from Steve's mom's comptuter at the moment.)

So at any rate, that explains my paucity of updates.  (I've always wanted to use the word paucity so it looks like today was my big day!)

Much more to come as the week the meantime, would anybody care to share what your favorite memory or part of Christmas was this year?  A gift?  A surprise event?  An unexected blessing?  A family stress that  was less than last year? A sweet moment?

I always love to hear what's going on with you all! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Home Again

We went to the airport on Friday to pick up some certain some ones.

christmas1 2011 016

christmas1 2011 025

christmas1 2011 031

christmas1 2011 036

christmas1 2011 048

Nathan’s magic gestures helped the tree to get decorated in no time flat.

christmas1 2011 089

Meagan was sweet to capture a picture of the four of us.

christmas1 2011 121

So thankful these feet are home again.

christmas1 2011 150

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wedding Wednesday: Dancing The Day Away


Nathan and Meagan’s wedding and reception were both occasions for great joy.

However, after the smile-filled wedding was over,
and before the joyousness of the reception could commence,
the bridal party had to do a little lurking in the entry hall of the country club
so that they could be officially introduced at the proper time.


The ladies in lurking. . . er.. . waiting.


The whole bridal crew waiting for the big moment.

DSC_0582 2


At last!
The Mister and the Missus make their entrance.



Although the reception food was fabulous,
I think Nathan and Meagan only ate about two bites each. 
Too much excitement! 
Too many people!
Too much joy!


Too much dancin’ to be done!dance







Meagan had two special men to dance with that day;
this man is the one who has known her and loved her the longest.





I had a special guy to dance with, too,
someone I have known, loved (and liked) for twenty-two years.
He was so sweet during the dance,
telling me I was doing great even though
I felt as graceful as a 7-legged, pregnant rhinoceros trying to tango.


nate beck dance


And just think! 

The Mister and Missus mentioned above are even now packing their
bags and preparing for Friday’s flight to Manteo.

Nathan is packing his special ping pong paddle and has challenged me to a duel to a death.
Or at least a duel to the point of him laughing so hard at me that he can no longer play.

That works, too. 


(Photos by  Front Porch Photography.)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Smiley Face. Sad Face. Christmas Space.

Below you will see an entry from our December calendar.  If you put on your Sherlock Holmes hat for a minute, you can probably figure out pretty quickly what the entry refers to.  But for those of you whose Holmes Hats might be at the cleaners, I will go ahead and explain it for you.  Because I’m nice like that.

December 23.  Nathan and Meagan fly in from Florida.  Hurray!

December 31. Nathan and Meagan leave for Florida.    Boo hiss!

misc dec 177

Steve and I have never had a daughter-in-law fly home for Christmas before and Sarah has never had the chance to be a Christmas sister-in-law, so we are all excited about welcoming Meagan to her first Smith Family Christmas.   (And as much as we love Meagan, I did remind her to please remember to bring her husband with her.)

In the days leading up to their arrival, we’ve been putting a few little Christmas-touches on the house.   We usually have our tree completely decorated by this point but we wanted to save some of it for Nathan and Meagan to do with us, so we put the ribbon on and will wait for their arrival to add the ornaments. 

Steve was sitting on the couch watching TV while I took these pictures and I just want to say how considerate it was of him to be drinking something berry colored that perfectly matched the décor.   (Let’s hear it for pomegranate/cranberry juice!)

christmas lights dec 18 146

christmas lights dec 18 157

More Smith-esque décor.

christmas lights dec 18 019 

christmas lights dec 18 024

christmas decor 022

christmas lights dec 18 026

christmas lights dec 18 030

christmas lights dec 18 051

christmas decor 010

christmas lights dec 18 065

christmas lights dec 18 082

christmas lights dec 18 033

And now for a quick update on the pending blog makeover/changeover/do over.   The guy who is helping me with the switch said he could do it this Thursday and Friday but I sort of panicked about doing something that big so close to Christmas so we are going to wait until after the first of the year.

Just a reminder that if you click on this blog during that period of time, you will not be able to access it because we will be working on the change. But trust me, the wait will be worth it.  I am so excited!

And finally, here are a couple comments.

Connie said (about last week’s Wedding Wednesday), “What song is being sung when so many have their hands raised in praise?
I too will be sad when WW's are done.  Hugs!”

Connie, I have to say that I don’t have any idea what song we were singing; my mind is a complete and total blur because I was in “wedding mode” rather than “music mode” at the time.   I do remember the songs being lively and beautiful and very meaningful, even if I can’t remember the titles.
(And if Meagan reads this, maybe she could chime in with the titles.)

Gayle said, “Another great set of WW pictures! And the photographers are from the town right next to ours!! They did a great job and I'll certainly remember to recommend them if I know anyone needing a photographer. Do they have an actual business?”

Gayle, Kristen (the photographer) actually answered your question herself; I wanted to be sure you saw it so I’m re-posting it below.

Kristen wrote, “This is the photographer! Mrs. Becky, I've really enjoyed reading these posts, and seeing the day from your point-of-view! And thank you, as well, for mentioning us several times!

To Gayle in AL- What town do you live in, if that's not too personal? We started our own business this year, but currently 95% of our business is on location. I do have a small studio set-up in Ozark at our church. Our website is here.