Tag Archives: wedding

Make ‘Em Laugh

Margaret Barr's "Strange Children" [ballet], 1955 / photographer unknown

Did I ever tell you about the time I got kicked out of class?

It was a Spanish language intensive in Oaxaca, Mexico, where I spent the first semester of my senior year. Something was funny–I don’t remember what–and my classmate and I locked eyes and started to laugh. Since we were in class, and our teacher was kind of strict, we immediately looked away and tried to pull ourselves together.

We failed.

Whatever it was, I know it wasn’t that funny, but we could. Not. Stop. We laughed uncontrollably, and when our teacher sent us out of the room to compose ourselves we laughed even harder. It probably took us ten minutes to calm down. A classic case of church giggles.

I mention this because a similar thing happened at Saturday’s wedding. Continue reading



Filed under Marvelous Miscellany, Ministry Matters

Double Digit Love


When I turned ten, my mother took me out for a Ladies’ Lunch. It was Very Special and Very Fancy. (Pro Tip: Capitalization Makes It So.) It may also have been at the mall, but give me a break: I was only ten.

The big deal about ten, of course, was simply this: Double Digits.

Today, Mike and I have reached the Double Digits of being married. I am thrilled to celebrate this milestone, while also a little stunned that we are already here. In honor of this Double Digit anniversary, we are enjoying two nights at the Konsbruck Hotel in nearby St. Peter. We are small town folks with small kids (and a small budget), so this feels Very Special and Very Fancy to us.

I don’t know if I can better express my love and appreciation for Mike than I did in this Very Romantic post about puke. And I’m sure I don’t have better advice for a happy marriage than Jane’s mom’s mom.

But, as a bishop once said at a forum I attended in seminary, “Everything has been said but not everyone has said it.” (Pro Tip: That was one self-aware bishop. Although, he did go on to say more or less what others had already said.)

In that spirit, here are ten things I’ve gained in my ten years of being married: Continue reading


Filed under All in the Family, Thankful Hearts

Fortunately . . . Unfortunately

The Southwest Limited passenger train is halted at Albuquerque, New Mexico, on its trip from Los Angeles, California, to Chicago to pick up passengers and baggage, June 1974

The method of transportation I wish we had used.

Did you ever write a “Fortunately . . . Unfortunately” story?  The first sentence starts with “fortunately”, the next with “unfortunately”, et cetera.  I haven’t done this since second grade, so I apologize if the details are murky.

Our recent Chicago road trip inspired me to return to this genre.  Read it and weep (or laugh):

Fotunately, we left for Chicago at 8 AM.

Unfortunately, we meant to leave at 7:30.

Fortunately, Zoe made it through the whole trip without an accident.

Unfortunately, she needed a pit stop in the middle of Minneapolis.

Fortunately, Zoe did not throw up in the car.

Unfortunately, Zoe did throw up next to the car, all over her clothes and shoes.

Fortunately, we did not get a flat tire.

Unfortunately, we did spend nearly half an hour refilling air in all four of our tires.

Fortunately, it was not winter.

Unfortunately, it was construction season.

Fortunately, Zoe was happy to relax while watching videos on her portable DVD player.

Unfortunately, this meant I listened to the same Olivia DVD over and over.  And over.  And over.

Fortunately, it took us less than 12 hours to get from Litchfield to Chicago.

Unfortunately, it took us 11.5.

But most, most fortunately, we made it!  We arrived in time for a delicious dinner with Gram Marilyn, Papa John, and Aunt Claire.  We were there for the manicures, the pedicures, the bridal luncheon, the rehearsal, the rehearsal dinner, the getting ready, the fabulous downtown photo shoot, and the wonderful wedding itself.  We were there for the dancing, the celebrating, the happy tears, the Sprinkles cupcakes.  It was so, so worth it.

Unfortunately, a few short days after we arrived . . . we had to drive home again.

Desert Dream caravan on the road, 1950

This method of transportation would have been nearly as fast.

What are some of your favorite (or least favorite) road trip memories?


Filed under Marvelous Miscellany

What I Learned from My Sister’s Wedding

The Big Day has come and gone.  The happy couple is currently on a beach in Hawaii, and the rest of us are back in the real world, where we have to provide our own food and entertainment and wear our regular clothes again.

It was a spectacular weekend.  Here are some things I learned:

1. When “airbrushing and lashes” are included in the price of your professional make-up artist, it does not mean photoshopping and basic mascara.  It means getting your face sprayed with mysterious products and your lashes enhanced with false ones, glued on one by one.  (Pro Tip: I wear glasses because I cannot touch my eyes.  Guess which of these services I did not accept?)

2. You may be riding a bus around Chicago for the fabulous pre-wedding photo shoot, but you will still have to do a bunch of walking in those pretty but punishing shoes.  Wear your flip flops or lean heavily on the arm of the best man.  Do not lean heavily on the bride, who will not be amused when you stumble and nearly knock her to the ground.

3. You will cry.  You will tear up when you see your sister all gowned and veiled for the first time.  You will cry when you hug her before walking down the aisle.  You will cry when you walk down the aisle.  You will cry when she walks down the aisle.  Then, if you’re lucky, you will laugh when your mother’s heel gets impressively tangled in your sister’s cathedral length veil.  This is the stuff memories are made of.

4. In a weekend filled with sweet moments, one of the sweetest is standing in the lobby of the Newberry Library on a crisp September evening, gazing at the smiling, tear-stained faces of aunts and uncles, cousins and friends, and feeling the love and joy that glow as warmly as the candlelight.  (Pro Tip: This is a sentimental family.  What do you expect?)

5. How you know the wedding was a smashing success: the next morning, your three-year-old declares, “I don’t want to go home.  I want to go back to Aunt Claire’s wedding.  I want to be a flower girl two times.”  The praise of a preschooler is truly priceless.

Thanks for getting married, Claire and Doug.  We had a great time!

What are some of your favorite wedding memories?


Filed under Learning Opportunities, Thankful Hearts

Big Day

It’s a big day for the Lux and Winnard families and their many friends and admirers!  This baby is getting married:

Can you believe it?  A baby.  Getting married.

Technically, the baby is 29.  But she’ll always be my one and only baby sister.  The baby of whom I famously declared, “Nobody asked me if wanted a baby.”  And again, “Throw that baby  in the garbage!”

But later, I defended that little girl: “She’s only a baby.”

Now she’s a grown up, with a law career, a mortgage, and a man who, before the day is out, will be her husband.

And a sister who is full of love, joy, and pride.

Happy wedding day, Claire and Doug! For you,  I will try to stay at the reception until at least 10:45 PM.


Filed under All in the Family

Shower of Love

“There better be a really good blog post about this,” said sister Claire.

She was standing in a living room so familiar it feels like our own.  A living room I first entered 29 years ago, when I was three and a half and sister Claire was only a half.  Childhood living room of my best friend Sarah, and center stage of Claire’s beautiful bridal shower last weekend.

I have vivid memories of playing in and around this living room.  Of wearing a white slip and pretending to be a famous singer named Orchid. Of mousercizing with all my heart.  Of treading very carefully on the pristine white carpet (gone, but not forgotten).  Of opening gifts at my own bridal shower six or so years ago.

So there was something sweetly surreal about sitting in that living room, watching my baby sister open her own stack of Crate & Barrel loot while my three-year-old  daughter napped in Sarah’s childhood bedroom and Sarah’s baby boy napped across the hall.

Adorable and delicious.

The shower hostesses were our mother’s friends, several of whom we’ve known almost all our lives. The guests were thirty of Claire’s dear friends and relatives. The food was amazing.  The gifts were generous.  The shower game was hilarious (Pro Tip: Because I wrote it, of course).  The weather was perfect.  The laughter was happy and loud and long.

A lovely afternoon.  Thank you, all you wonderful women who made it possible.  Thank you, you wonderful living room.

Baby Jakey, Bubbe Sheri, and Zoe try out the piano.

What’s your favorite party space?


Filed under Marvelous Miscellany, Thankful Hearts

Never Had I Ever Been So Thrilled to Hear the “S” Word

Sharon Monts-DeOca looks at stuffed rabbit she was given on her first Christmas: Jacksonville, Florida

When you tell someone that you are a pastor–or that you are going to be a pastor–the person usually responds in one of two ways:

1. By telling you all her problems.


2. By frantically replaying the conversation in her head to see what curse words or incriminating details she let slip.

(Or, if the someone is a cute boy who has been flirting with you at work, he will immediately cease and desist, then act weird when you and your new boyfriend see him at symphony concerts, not that I’m speaking from personal experience or anything.)

Man and woman in bathing suits in a rowboat near Tacoma, Washington

There’s just something about Identified Religious Leaders (as we say in the seminary) that makes people a little uncomfortable.  When Mike and I were planning our wedding, the photographers and DJs and florists we met always asked us how we met (at church) and what we did (go to school to be a professor and a pastor).  Then, they responded like this:

1. “My grandma’s a Lutheran.  My girlfriend and I got married on a Wednesday because she was pregnant–whoops!–and we were in a hurry.”


2. “Oh . . . well, we believe in God, but we don’t go to church much.  And sometimes we swear.”

(Or, charmingly: “Oh, I’m Lutheran, too!  I was on the call committee that chose our new pastor!  Do you know her?”  And I do.  And she is great.)

Guess what?  We hired the non-churchgoing, swearing photographers, and the pregnant-girlfriend-having DJ, and the Lutheran florist.  Because we were actually  interested in their skills as photographers and DJs and florists, not the state of their souls or the cleanliness of their language.

(Pro Tip: They were all awesome, and if I remembered their names I would recommend them to all you Milwaukee brides and grooms.)

American Magazine, cover, No Swimming Allowed

So, when the conversation at a recent church council meeting lingered overly long on the subject of the planter in front of the church building, and I told a story about a long council meeting at another church (lo these many years ago) where I heard all about what color the newsletter cover should be, I was delighted to hear these words come out of one council member’s mouth:

“And now you’re hearing about shit and dirt,” he said.

We all laughed.  No one looked at me nervously.  No one whispered, “Not in front of the pastor!”  It was no big thing.

Truly, I was thrilled.

Now, I’m not saying you should curse a blue streak at the next pastor you see.  But if you do meet a pastor, or have a pastor, try to relax and be yourself.

And if being yourself includes some colorful language, God can handle it, and so can the pastor.

Helene Madison in a bathing suit with Seattle Park Board President Simon Burnett, Seattle, Washington

What’s the best (or worst) reaction you’ve gotten when you tell someone who you are or what you do?


Filed under Never Had I Ever