Friday, July 31, 2009

congrats are in order

Happy Anniversary Nick & Michelle!

Exactly five years ago on this day, July 31, my sister and Nick were pronounced husband and wife. Can you believe those two crazy kids were just 23 and 24 years old when they tied the knot? (Just in case anyone is keeping track, that is two and three years younger than my current age...but who's counting, right?)

I still remember the day of her wedding (and those days leading up to it) so vividly, and I have truly never seen my sister look so beautiful. She was positively radiant and her inner glow nearly blinded me (cue the track: "blinded by the light, wrapped up like a...").

sadly, this is the only kodak moment from the big day I have saved on my laptop

While there were definitely some stressful moments (MIA flowergirl) and some mishaps (unity candle...enough said) along the way, it was a lovely wedding and a rockin' reception.

Everything, from the flowers to the dress to the dinner to the band to the cake to the reception site and beyond, was all top-notch. So much so, in fact, that I still fiercely contend she (as in my precious sister) spent both of our wedding budgets, but let's be frank, yours truly isn't headed down the aisle any time soon so not to worry about that. Talk about putting the cart before the horse.

Pardon my nostalgic trip down memory lane, but I didn't have a blog back in 2004 so I'm indulging myself a bit with this mini-blog post of the blessed event.

In addition to surpassing the length of 99.9% of unions made via Hollywood, their marriage has also produced two of my most favorite girls in the world: my nieces!!! Haylee Grace is the love of my life, and Meredith Hope is my little cuddle bug senorita.

Cheers to FIVE years and here's to another half-decade!

As an aside, I will most likely edit this post later to add some pics (for your viewing pleasure, of course), but as I am not on my laptop, that will simply have to wait.

P.S. Does anyone have a favorite memory from Nick and Michelle's wedding? If so, please comment. Mine would have to be dancing with my whole family to "Mustang Sally." I distinctly recall demanding my mother to "ride it!"

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

another day, another shower

This past Sunday, we (my sister, Meredith, Hay-Hay and myself) celebrated the impending nuptials of Meagan Cavanaugh and Bryan Baker with a bridal shower at Las Colinas Country Club. The shower hostesses did a bang-up job organizing the shower, and it was a lovely time from start to finish.

the bride surrounded by all her friends

the bride-to-be, Michelle w/Meredith and me

Side story: Meagan and I have been friends for roughly 11 years. It started back in 10th grade, and I have so many HI-larious memories of the two of us. She was home schooled back in the day, so this pretty much translated into her spending the night regularly on weeknights. I recall many a night watching 90210 and Get Real that Michelle obsessively recorded every Wednesday. We both share an affinity for Sour Patch Kids, board games, bargain shopping and we both have a fierce competitive streak. Meagan has a huge heart and truly cares for all of those in her life. I am so happy to be a bridesmaid in her wedding, and I cannot wait for the big day.

me with the blushing bride, Meggers

After signing in at the guest table and mingling a bit with the other guests, we enjoyed some tasty nibbles including cucumber, chicken salad and egg salad tea sandwiches, copious amounts of fresh fruit and an array of mini desserts that boasted chocolate-covered strawberries, cheesecake filled ice cream cones and lemon tarts. It was just the sort of delightfully dainty food you would expect in a room filled with ladies. (I imagined a guy walking into the room and wondering ummm...where's the food...where's the meat?)

Crystal, me, Katy and Crystal (no typo, just 2 Crystals)

Haylee Grace kicking back in fly style

Once I had consumed my weight in pineapple, we were invited to participate in a little trivia titled: "How well do you know Meagan and Bryan?" Always up for a good party game, I was poised in my chair, pen in hand, ready to dominate...I think we can see where this is going. (Pride cometh before the fall). Unfortunately, as it turns out, I do not, in fact, know Meagan and Bryan very well. I still contest the rules weren't properly explained (i.e. Bryan DID propose in Florida, so sorry I didn't specifically say Sarasota), but I'm not at all bitter at my defeat.

While Meagan opened her bounty of gifts, I played mommy to Haylee for most of the shower so Michelle could tend to the little Mere-bear. Pearl behaved for the majority of the shower, and even dispensed gratuitous hugs to a number of the guests. She did get a little feisty when I wouldn't let her open Meagan's gifts, but I wouldn't expect anything less from my little princess...ha ha.

Aunt Chie-Chie with Haylee (and her ever-present sippy cup)

the bride holding up her gift from me and the sis

me with the sis and a slumbering Meredith

Perhaps the most unique component of the shower was that all 3 sets of sisters were in the same place at the same time: Misti & Crystal, Stephanie & Meagan and Michelle and me. Crystal, Meagan and I all have sisters who also happen to be relatively close in age. It has been quite some time since our last sister photo opp (I'm postulating Macaroni Grill circa 2001), so we all took ample opportunity to pictorially document this rare occurrence.


I am thrilled we all could be together to celebrate this special time for Meagan, and I look forward to us all being together soon.

Tasty Tuesdays: numero six

Welcome all culinary minds to your highly anticipated weekly edition of Tasty Tuesdays. I sincerely hope you have been enjoying this series and that it has at least encouraged you to get in the kitchen (even if you haven't actually tried one of the recipes).

Given my propensity to sleep far beyond breakfast time (if provided the luxurious opportunity), it should come as no great shock to you I have acquired several signature brunch recipes that I can throw together in my sleep. These recipes have graced the tables of holidays, family get-togethers, informal gatherings and the like.

Today's "dish du jour" is my loose adaptation of an easy garden bake recipe I discovered many moons ago. It's not exactly a quiche since it is not anchored by a crust, but I still use the term loosely so forgive the error of my ways.

Rachel's Easy Garden Bake

1/2 C sliced mushrooms
1/2 onion, chopped
1 pkg frozen broccoli florets, defrosted and chopped
1 can of artichoke hearts
1 can of Rotel*
1 C egg beaters
1 C milk (2%, 1% or skim all work)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9" pie plate with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Saute mushrooms, onion, broccoli and artichoke until tender.
3. Spread vegetables into pie pan evenly.
4. Whisk together the egg beaters, milk, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
5. Pour over the vegetable mixture and bake for 30 minutes or until set.

I love this recipe because of its simplicity and adaptability. If you don't like mushrooms, leave them out and add red pepper. If you don't like spicy foods, ditch the Rotel* and throw in some plain diced tomatoes. Craving some cheesy goodness? Top the quiche with 3/4 cup of grated cheddar, mozzarella, or swiss cheese before baking. This is simply an outline for your own creation. Make you own modifications and call it your own!

And don't sequester this dish to the breakfast or brunch table. Do like the French do and serve it for dinner. Pair it with a nice green salad and a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio. Cheers and have a Tasty Tuesday!

Monday, July 27, 2009

happy blogiversary to me + my 100th post

Happy blogiversary to me.

Happy blogiversary to me.

Happy blogiversary, dear abundant life.

Happy blogiversary to ME!

Granted, it's a few days late, but I really wanted to do this post to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of my blog. July 23, 2009 was the official date, but I found myself a tad busy to prepare a proper post. Being the gracious readers you are, I know you will forgive the delay.

Coincidentally, this celebratory post also marks my 100th post. What are the odds?

Of the 100 posts, some have been reflective, some have been frivolous, some have been informative, some have been in praise of others, but overall, most have been personal journal entries of my life that I have chosen to share with you, my loyal readers.

Speaking of my readers, while I'm sure my max readership is capped at about 20 people, it is always so fun to run into someone and have them comment on my blog. In my head, I'm thinking, I had no idea you even knew I had a blog. It is such an honor that anyone would even spend 2 seconds reading my words.

As I stated in one of my inaugural posts, most people start blogs to document their engagement, their wedding, their pregnancy, their move across country, their married life w/kids, etc. However, I think we all know I am not documenting any of those life stages. Rather, I actually started this blog as a means to write. Some of you may not know this, but I have always loved to write. In fact, I started writing short stories as a child, and one of my most notable works was "The Magic of Dolls." It was a fictional tale where my dolls came to life. A couple weeks ago, I found the original draft, complete with illustrations, as I was cleaning out some boxes at my parent's house. Let me know if you'd like a copy...

Through this blog, I have rediscovered my love for writing. It has gradually become one of my greatest sources of joy. I have been given an outlet to express myself through the English language which I happen to adore. I love words, and I think we do a great disservice when we limit our vocabularies to such a small percentage of the dictionary. I have grandiose ideas of returning to a time where individuals spoke eloquently and chose their words deliberately and purposefully. Alas, I digress once more.

The point is that I love writing this blog, and I hope at some point, the words have brought encouragement, joy, peace or just a much-needed laugh. Most of all, amidst all of the pictures, mindless rants and superfluous baked goods documented on this blog, I ache for you and hope there has been a post that pointed you to Christ and His ever-present, captivating, relentless love. There is nothing on earth that can satisfy apart from Him. There is no such thing as abundant life without the Giver of all gifts.

Cheers to 2 years and 100 posts! I'll leave you with a few pics of my favorite toasts.

a toast fit for 2 years
a bellini toast
a three-beverage cheers

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

you know you make me wanna shout!

Welcome to the end of the line comrades. I must admit that I am pretty pleased with myself to be wrapping up this series of posts (Lianna and Ed's wedding weekend) prior to the end of the month. Initially, it was a daunting task, but like all posts of this magnitude (it's a very riiisonable price for a cake 'a this magnitude), breaking it down into 4 manageable segments proved to be the way to go.

The Reception

After Ed McCabe and Lianna Dehan became Mr. & Mrs. Ed McCabe, it was officially time to let our proverbial hair down, indulge in a savory meal, sip a cocktail (or 2) and bust a move on the dance floor that had been calling my name ever since I heard the words live band. (You just can't beat live music. I know it's not always in the budget, but I would postulate that forgoing extravagant decor, food or drinks in favor of a band is totally legit).

me, Michelle, Mere-Bear and Mamacita pre-dinner

While I hear the cocktail hour was lovely, complete with scrumptious passed appetizers, I cannot say I arrived in adequate time to imbibe in the aforementioned treats. Despite my tardy entrance into the reception, I was not going to dwell on what I missed, but instead focused on the fun that would surely commence.

Knowing the bride and groom would be introduced in just a matter of minutes, I grabbed my table card with seating assignment, hightailed it over to the bar for my signature drink (a glass of the bubbly) and hustled on into the dining room to take my seat. Lucky for me, I was at a table with some of my favorite peeps: my cousins Micah and Marissa, my sis and Nick, and some of the Dehan cousins whom I knew from previous family gatherings.

The bride and groom were announced and quickly ushered onto the dance floor for their 1st dance as a married couple. The tune of choice was the always popular, classic hit "The Way You Look Tonight." The newly minted couple dazzled the crowd with a few showy moves taught to them just the night before, courtesy of their professional instructor, Miss Christina Dehan. Their crowd-pleasing jaunt across the dance floor was just the right mix of flashy moves and slow dance sway. I heartily approved.

the couple's 1st dance

giving the crowd what they want

Just prior to dinner service, the illustrious Elisa made an announcement regarding a little table activity that involved group sing-a-longs for the bride and groom. In lieu of the traditional tapping of the glass to prompt the bride and groom to kiss, each table was to sing a verse from their love song of choice. I must be forthcoming in saying I was not entirely sold on this idea. I really did not expect it to work, but lo and behold, the tables rallied and it turned out to be a rousing good time. Memorable song choices included "Sweet Caroline" (amended to be "sweet Lianna"), "You've Lost that Lovin' Feeling," and "A Whole New World." After watching My Best Friend's Wedding for about the 986th time the night before, the natural choice for our table was "Say a Little Prayer for You."

While the tables performed their hearts out, the club staff actually managed to serve dinner. The plated menu included salad, salmon, rice and green beans. It might sound a bit crazy, but I think the highlight for me was the salad. I cannot recall the components, but the dressing was superb and there was some delightful cheese involved. I devoured most of my meal in order to adequately fuel a good 3 hours of non-stop dancing.

Michelle, me and Marissa at our table

As soon as the band got cranked up, I can honestly say with complete certainty that I do not think I missed dancing more than 2 or 3 songs. I only abandoned the dance floor to visit the ladies room (is that TMI?), assist Lianna in the ladies room with her somewhat cumbersome gown or to grab my camera when I spotted a prime Kodak moment. Our resident party animal, the one and only Haylee, was quite the dancing queen herself and could only be coerced off the floor for just a hot second in order to devour her own piece of cake.

bustin' a move with one of my fave dance partners (pardon my scary face)

Haylee with her favorite Mimi boogying to the music

Aunt Chie-Chie with Haylee on the dance floor

Haylee took over the stage and displayed some sweet dance moves

Speaking of cake, there were the traditional 2 cakes at their reception: a classic 4-tiered white cake decorated minimally with an elegant spray of flowers and a round chocolate cake emblazoned with an electric guitar as an ode to the groom's mad musical skills. The couple kept it clean during the cake-cutting, so there is no cake in the face shot to post here...

the beautiful wedding cake

the new couple cutting into the bride's cake

politely feeding each other bites of the groom's cake

Once the frosting-coated masses of flour and water ("a cake, Fronc, is made of flour and water. My first car didn't even cost 1200 dollars") had been cut, the band fired up the next set of tuneage and took the party to a new level. That dance floor was h-o-t-t, HOT!

me, China and Li out on the dance floor

Aunt Linda and the moms workin' it with some sweet dance moves

While I normally favor dancing sans-partner (in the past, they had the tendency to totally cramp my style), this wedding had me turning over a new leaf. Ed's groomsman were avid dancers and not shy about grabbing a girl and taking her for a spin out on the floor. I happily obliged to multiple dancing partners and had the time of my life. I so badly want to remember all of my favorite songs they played, but I was having so much fun that it's really all a blur of spins and dips. A few highlights for me were "You Look So Good in Love," "You Don't Know Me," and "Shout." I am not exaggerating when I say that everyone who had functioning legs was out of their seat and on that floor, so much so, that the band even did an encore to appease the rockin' crowd.

a very excited Michelle and Nick dancing the night away

the mother of the bride with the new couple

Sean taking his older sis for a spin on the floor

After the last song had been played, we were corralled outside and given sparklers to light as the newlyweds made their way out to the car. Nothing says congrats like flames, sparks and mild burns from lighters...ha ha.

a sparkler send-off for the bride and groom

At the risk of sounding utterly redundant, I have to say once again that I had the best 3 days. All of the festivities were so fun, I met some amazing people and I got to share it all with my family (immediate and extended). I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

one last photo opp of me with the bride

Congratulations you two crazy lovebirds! I hope the honeymoon was perfect in every way and I cannot wait to hear about your new life together. I am honored to have been a part of your wedding and am so grateful I got to share in the happiness and joy of your day!

Tasty Tuesdays: 5th edition?

I am fairly certain this is my 5th post for Tasty Tuesdays, but instead of just scrolling through my blog to "fact check," I am feeling rather lazy and decided to simply follow the blog title with a question mark to keep things simple.

Do you ever have those days when convenience trumps taste and quality? I will admit that there are those times (more often than not) when I just want to open a few cans, do a quick stir and call it a day. Today's recipe reflects that very sentiment. It's a no-brainer recipe that's perfect for cookouts or outdoor dining because it does not need to be kept chilled.

3-can Black Bean and Corn Salad/Dip


1 can black beans, drained
1 can golden sweet kernel corn, drained
1 can Rotel*, drained
1/2 small onion, chopped (optional)
a few spoonfuls of salsa (optional)

Combine the contents of the 3 cans in a medium-sized bowl. Add onion and salsa if desired. Stir and enjoy.

You can serve this as a dip with tortilla chips. I personally like to eat it on its own as a side dish or salad. It's also a nice topping for tacos, fajitas or grilled chicken.

Have a Tasty Tuesday!

*denotes trademark

Monday, July 20, 2009

i'll cheers to that

A Feast Fit for 35 Years

Since July 20, 2009 marks the 35th year that my parents have been married, I thought a celebratory dinner, prepared by yours truly, was the least I could do to honor this momentous occasion. I wanted to create a menu that was comprised of elements they didn't normally eat, but I also wanted a couple of things to be relatively easy and simple. This is the menu I came up with:

spinach, pear and blue cheese salads
crusty italian bread with olive oil for dipping
shrimp scampi over linguine
molten lava chocolate cake

Once I packed up all the necessary components for the menu listed above, I made my way out to their new house in M-town. As soon as I arrived, I located the necessary cooking equipment and got busy prepping their anniversary meal.

I started the two lovebirds off with some warm bread for immediate carb satisfaction. I was able to put the salads together pretty quickly, so I served those in conjunction with the bread.

the cute couple at the dinner table

Once they were appeased with some initial nourishment, I set to work on the entree: shrimp scampi. I sauteed some garlic and mushrooms in a combination of butter and olive oil. Once that had some time to work, I hit it with a healthy dose of white wine and added the shrimp. Finally, the linguine was tossed in to the mix and I finished the plates off with some salt, pepper and freshly chopped chives.

the anniversary shrimp scampi

It should be noted that I had to wait for both of them to finish cell phone conversations before I could serve them the main meal. And I told them as I was taking the following picture that it would be posted on the blog...and I firmly believe in keeping my word.

gabbing on the phone while I tried to serve them dinner

While they were stuffing their faces, I mean eating their plates of pasta, I began preparing the "piece de resistance": individual molten lava cakes. I combined butter, semi-sweet chocolate, powdered sugar, eggs and a little flour to make the batter. I popped those babies in the oven, and they were done before the V.I.P. diners had a chance to digest their pasta. No worries, though. No one can resist an oozing mass of chocolate and warm sweet glorious goo. They happily obliged and snarfed up every last bit of lava goodness. Can you blame them?

hello gorgeous

All in all, I think the my diners enjoyed their meal courtesy of Chef Rachel and I hope it made for a memorable anniversary. I aim to please and I hope my customers will return for another meal.

a group shot at the end of the meal

A Family Champagne Toast to 35 Years

To keep the merriment going, we all met up at Michelle's the next day to toast the 'rents 35th wedding anniversary.

cheers to 35 years

Of course, no anniversary is complete without a little anniversary cake. Enter Rachel to the rescue once again with my highly requested white cake with a raspberry filling and homemade buttercream icing.

the guests of honor with their cake

a peek inside the layers

Per usual, Haylee's cake radar went off as soon as the cake was placed on the counter. She remained incorrigible until she was able to dig in to her own piece of sugary sweet goodness. Judging from the picture below, I think she heartily approved.

yummy in my tummy

An afternoon of cake and champagne - what more could you ask for? Happy Anniversary again. I hope we helped create some good memories.

35 years ago today


the two lovebirds

Thirty-five years ago today, Marion Julia Lyons married Charles Michael Lawrence in Dallas, TX. He donned a "novy blue tuxado" (Father of the Bride reference...Armani also don't make polyester) and facial hair (rarely a good look). She wore green eye shadow (tough to pull off) and her hair was almost past her calves. Despite their seemingly less than stellar decisions regarding appearance, they still made a handsome couple. (I would kill for a scanner to post a wedding pic).

As one could probably assume, and rightly so, their 35 years of wedded bliss haven't been all rainbows and sunshine. Shocking, I know. I can hear the audible gasp making its way through every nook and cranny in cyberspace. They have endured various trials in their marriage, deaths of family members, raising 2 kids, moves across the country, becoming grandparents, job losses, disappointments, failures, being there for each other through sickness and in health. There have been ups and downs, good times and bad.

While I don't intend for this to be a negative post or an opportunity to stand on my ever-present soapbox, it should be noted that in many ways, one could say life hasn't been fair to them and there were certainly countless opportunities to throw in the towel. Hey, everyone else does. Who hasn't heard the veritable rundown of excuses: we've grown apart, we're just not the same people we were when we got married, or my personal favorite, we're just not "in love" anymore. Oh really? Did your vows specify you were free to walk away if you stopped getting butterflies when you saw each other? Alas, I digress...that is for another post at another time.

The point is that for better or worse, my parents have stuck it out. They have honored their commitment to God and have not cheapened the covenant they made 35 years ago. They have shown me what forgiveness, grace, mercy and service through love looks like. I don't think they will ever fully comprehend what it means to me to have parents who are still married. It is such an anomaly in today's world where instant gratification reigns supreme and commitment is a 4-letter word. I am beyond grateful to them and to God for giving them the grace to sustain their relationship.

Congratulations on 35 years Mom and Dad! May the future years in your marriage be overflowing with joy, peace, love and "abundant life."

P.S. I will also post a quick recap of the anniversary dinner I made them, as well as the cake and champagne toast we enjoyed on Sunday afternoon. So check back soon!

Friday, July 17, 2009

my lover is like a gazelle!

Hot diggity dog! This blogging stuff is hard work. I think I could make a full-time job out of this little hobby of mine. Anyone interested in providing the funding?

Well, enough chit chat I suppose. I had originally intended on keeping the wedding ceremony and reception together in 1 post, but I've got to break it down into 2. It's much more manageable that way, and makes me feel more accomplished.

So, without further ado, let's get down to business, shall we?

The Day of the Wedding

Despite the fact we had already had a day and half of fun-filled wedding-related festivities, the best was yet to come. While I slept in upstairs, the Dehan family enjoyed a little french toast breakfast before all of the wedding prep and mayhem began. Once I pulled myself off of the couch, I helped the bride-to-be with various things and ended up taking her to her hair and make-up appointment downtown. I was so glad I could actually be useful to the bride in her "time of need."

Once I made it back to the Dehan casa, I piddled around on the computer, laid around, stuffed my face with some chicken salad and finally decided to get myself ready for the main event. In order to attain the optimal lighting and space, the girls and I commandeered my aunt and uncle's bathroom (much to my uncle's chagrin). Once each section of hair was curled, lips sufficiently glossed, cheeks adequately blushed, jewelry securely fastened and dresses donned, we were on our way to the chapel (cue the track for "Going to the Chapel" and feel free to sing along in your head).

Upon our arrival, we made our way inside St. Michael's to a "holding room" of sorts where we could hang out and help Lianna get dressed. The bride was as cool as a cucumber and absolutely beaming. (It should go without saying that I never had any doubts about this union. You simply cannot fake the love these two have for each other. It is ever-present and always irrepressible).

a lovely shot with the bride pre-dress

As Lianna put her wedding gown on and placed the veil on her head, I was overwhelmed with the magnitude of the situation. My little cousin was a grown woman, a bride no less, and she was getting married to a wonderful guy whom she adored and who adored her.

the self-proclaimed "maid of horror" zipping her up nice and snug

capturing the expression that the reality is sinking in

another shot with the picture-perfect bride

the stunning bride ready for her walk down the aisle

a lovely shot of the complete bridal party

And just like that, I had to scurry on out of there, find my seat in the chapel and attempt to compose my fledgling emotions on account of my impending reading.

The Wedding Ceremony of Lianna & Ed

The musicians began playing the processional music as the bridesmaids and groomsmen made their way down the aisle. Once the ring bearer and flower girl (Ed's little brother Max and little sister Ava) had fulfilled their duties ("I forgot, is it right together left, or left together right"), it was time for the bride's grand entrance.

the line of bridesmaids awaiting the bride's grand entrance

The chapel doors opened wide and the bride made her way down the aisle with her proud dad by her side. A quick look and reassuring smile at her dad was the only time Lianna took her eyes off her groom who was waiting for his bride at the altar.

the proud father walking his baby girl down the aisle

As I looked on intently at the groom's face, I was reminded once again we are the bride of Christ. Seeing the apparent love in Ed's eyes, I could not help but reflect on Christ's inescapable and all-consuming love for us. While I had thus far managed to let only a few respectable tears slip down my cheeks, it was at this precise point in time I officially lost control of my emotions. I was no longer guiding the reigns of the metaphorical horse I was riding and was quite literally lost in the moment. So much so that when it was time for my reading, Lianna's aunt (and fellow scripture reader) had to nudge me up there.

I was a bit dishevelled, to say the least, and had to almost grip the podium for fear that my legs might give out. The passage was so beautiful and such an amazing picture of, not only a Christ-centered covenant between a man and a woman, but also an awesome expression of the way Christ longs for us as a lover longs for His bride. Of course, these thoughts began to permeate my mind and I struggled to resist the natural tendency to succumb to an emotional display of sorts. Every line successfully read was a mini-victory for me as I methodically made my way through the passage. I made it through and almost ran to my seat out of sheer relief.

The wedding mass of Lianna and Ed continued with the wedding vows, exchanging of the rings, scripture reading, a beautiful homily, communion and several truly beautiful songs. It is worth noting once again how much I adored Father James, the presiding priest over the wedding. His homily was so apparently inspired by God and such a firm, but gentle reminder of our primary call to love and serve Christ.

the lovely couple from the back

It was beautiful from start to finish, and even more than just a lovely ceremony, it was ordained by Christ, which at the end of the day, is more significant and far more important than everything else: the flowers, the dress, the programs (a sore subject), the tux, the rings...they all pale in comparison to the covenant that is made between two believers who are coming together under the call of Christ.

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. McCabe! I was honored to be a reader and a witness to your vows. I pray for Christ's richest blessings on you both as you seek to serve and love each other in the way He has instructed us.

Highlights of the wedding:
1. The obvious one: Ed's face as Lianna made her walk down the aisle.
2. Father James 2nd reference to Barry White as he quoted Song of Songs during the homily. (This, by the way, is the meaning behind the post's title. His vocal interpretation of this line was priceless).
3. Seeing how unbelievable giddy and radiant Lianna was as she got dressed in her wedding gown and veil. Her happiness was both precious and contagious.

Stay tuned for the reception post. It was the party to end all parties!

P.S. I forgot to include my highlight from the previous day. It was singing an impromptu version of "Going to the Chapel" atop the Doubletree Hotel, overlooking the Austin skyline...whilst waiting for the rest of the crowd to spontaneously join along in one accord...except that they never did. Nevertheless, I have no regrets!