Saturday, September 7, 2013


Photo Courtesy of Ranella Photography

“We will shout for joy over your victories and lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.”  
Psalm 20:5

Last Saturday my daughter, Alicia, got married to Brian Vosburg, making her Alicia Robynn Vosburg.  The next day she changed her name on facebook and I got tears in my eyes.

My friends have asked me if I’m going to write about it and (to tell the truth) I don’t know how to.  The day was such a flash of light, such a fast blur that I can at best, piece together all of the beautiful parts.  I also see it as my daughter’s day – the day of the bride.  Those clichés you always hear about the wedding being “all about the bride” – they’re true. 

But, since I am a writer, I will write.  I’ll do my best to encapsulate one of the most complicated days of my life.

Here are my memories of Saturday, August 31st.

1.  Alicia was beautiful.

Alicia was born beautiful; she’s lived a life of being beautiful.  But she’s the “pull my hair back in a ponytail and let’s go” kind of beautiful.  She’s casual and relaxed a bit on the tomboyish side.  

On her wedding day, my daughter looked like a Disney princess.  She had her hair and makeup done (thanks to her bridesmaids who whisked her away) and she wore her beautiful white dress that I had seen her pick out.  That day seemed so far away but had only been a couple of weeks before!

The dress fitting - David's Bridal

She had dark eyelashes that made her (already Mediterranean) eyes stand out and be the kind you see from far away. 

I walked into the “bride room” and saw her, surrounded by Ashley Z and Morgan and my heart melted.  She looked just like a bridal magazine…and no ponytail. 

2.  Brian was as cool as a cucumber.

Brian, my new son-in-law, seemed to take the day in stride.  He didn’t seem nervous or hurried or stressed.  He wore a tux with a white bow tie and shoes that made me think of the mafia.  He looked very handsome, and he was ready. 

“Are you nervous?” I asked him in the morning. 

“Yeah,” he smiled.  “But happy.” 

I smiled back.  Brian looked ready – like a kid about to go to Disneyland.  I wished for his composure… and was grateful for it at the same time.

3.  The bridesmaids looked so grown up and beautiful.

Photo Courtesy of Crystal Saxon

Pardon this point, but with the exception of three of the girls, I have known all of these eight (!) bridesmaids for quite a long time.  My niece, Renee, I have known the longest...:)  

 I would catch myself talking to them like they were still my former students, or they were Alicia’s friends coming over for a sleepover.   

In reality, they had all matured and grown and now came together for a reunion: all of them so different from one another;all of them holding special places in Alicia’s heart (and mine).  All of them looking gorgeous.  

Three of them brought their children who buzzed about the hallways and the grounds like their mothers once were – free and without care. 

It occurred to me as I watched them take pictures that they had all grown up.  They had all come together for Alicia.  It was a collection of personalities only Alicia could put together in one place.

The thought made me get tears.

4.  Brian and Alicia were surrounded by family.

Alicia and Brian have had two children, our most beloved Harmony and Alannah, who were the cutest flower girls God ever created.   The wedding was held in an orchard and the reception next door, literally at the home of Steve and Suzanne Lange, Brian’s step-father and mother.   

Steve officiated the service, which was beautiful.   The Lange’s even catered the food.  Brian and Renee Vosburg  (Brian’s father and step-mother)  were right there with us, bringing a special gift: wine with labels announcing the couple’s wedding.

Joe was the only brother who could make it and had come all the way from Seattle.  My sister-in-law, Shirley had come from Arizona.  Our beloved Alice (Mario’s “step-mother”) had come from New York City.  My parents were there from Tracy, despite having to leave the next morning at 4:00 a.m..  My sisters, nieces and nephews, Aunties and Uncles were there.   Ryans, Rodriguez’s, Harwells, Langes, Vosburgs…. 
Photo Courtesy Crystal Saxon Photography

Everywhere you looked were family, everyone in one place to celebrate.

5.  We got by with a little help from our friends.

“A little help” is only in reference from the Beatles song – in truth, we were flooded with it.  Thank God for the love of friends, who were there as soon as preparations started.  A local artist and friend of our daughter, Kim Ranella, did all of the flowers.   Her son, Tyler, and another friend of Alicia’s, Crystal, were the photographers.   

Our DeeJay was in a car accident and was hospitalized during the wedding.  Instead of the party being without music, a friend of Steve’s stepped in and set up a whole music system to save the day.   

People stepped in to do whatever was needed and there is so much needed to be done for a wedding.  Suzanne and her sister, Nancy, worked so hard that the food was served up hot and delicious.   

Thank you, thank you, thank you…..

6.  Mario prayed and I cried.

Mario was Mario, thank God.

When it came time for the toast, he faced the bride and groom and made his toast be more of a prayer.  He told them both how much we loved them and prayed for them.  He wished them the love and commitment that we had shared it. 

I was grateful for videography because I knew I couldn’t possibly absorb the true beauty of the moment.  Halfway through what Mario said, I could no longer keep back my tears and my granddaughter, Alannah, tried to cheer me up by being silly as I held her. 

Thank you, Jesus.

7.  Butterfly Kisses

The Father-daughter dance was to “Butterfly Kisses” where both Dad and Daughter cried and danced.  I was so touched and moved and joyful…  It had long been her dream to dance with Mario to that song and there it was – happening right before me. 

The Mother and Son dance came next and I don’t remember the song, but I do remember Suzanne being joyful.  It made me smile….

8.  We all danced – and danced!!

It was so fun.

My Uncle Jim used to say “I’ll dance at your wedding” when we brought him coffee.  I used to wonder what he meant.  Now I think I know what he meant:    “I’ll celebrate the day that will be one of the happiest in your life by making a total fool of myself on the dance floor”. 

Out came the the robot, the insane gestures, the shimmy and the kicks!  

We danced and danced.

Harmony and Alannah seemed to enjoy it the most, and Ashley and Morgan entertained them by dancing dance after dance with them. 

It was incredible. 

Crystal Saxon Photography

This morning I was thinking that we only have been back five and a half months.  We moved back to the USA from Africa, bought a repo-house and restored it, then married off a daughter.  Not bad…

I opened my Bible this morning and it fell open to a bookmark of Alicia in the eleventh grade, smiling at the camera.  It was Psalm 20, verse 5 – the verse that I began this blog with. 

I have been praying this verse for my daughter since 2005, the year she handed her package of school pictures, coming with a glossy bookmark.  “I hate this picture,” she said back then.  “I don’t want to buy them.”

I bought the whole package, thinking them to be one of her most beautiful shots.  I saved the bookmark for myself  and placed it in Psalm 20 verse 5 – for 2005.  I prayed this verse for her everyday- that God would fulfill every deep desire in her heart…  especially the one where she knows she is beautiful. 

Because she is, after all, so beautiful.  

And now I have witnessed so many of her victories, including her wedding.  

Crystal Saxon Photography

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