"Let the words of my mouth, and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength, and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Whale Evolution 1

Whale Evolution 2

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dear John Jennings (Brock)

Amy artwork. She just had me forward this and I couldn't resist adding
it to my blog. (John Jennings was her grandfather, my father in law.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Sir Isaac Newton

"Did blind chance know that there was light and what was its refraction,
and fit the eyes of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use
of it? These and other suchlike considerations, always have, and always will
prevail with mankind, to believe that there is a Being who made all things,
and has all things in His power, and who is therefore to be feared."

(Theological Manuscripts, 1950, page 48-49)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Prayer Requests

The Wedding was wonderful but it's now back to real life.

My mother in law sounds like she has pneumonia and I took her to
the doctor yesterday. He x-rayed her lungs and put her on a strong
antibiotic but she is coughing non-stop. At nearly 86 it doesn't take
much to make her really sick.

My dad is down to 103 pounds. I went with mother to the doctor with
him this week too (okay, so I live in doctor's offices really. I get
a lot of crossword puzzles done that way.). His Internist has taken a
"personal leave of absence". Great. So he'll be seeing "new" doctors until
he decides to come back which means they'll be guessing as to what to do.
And this isn't good. He put him on something to "pick his appetite up".
But 2 times nothing is still nothing.

Mother has now called a surgeon to discuss putting a feeding tube back in.
Frankly that is probably the best thing for him. He refuses to try to eat
so what are the options.

I babysat the Twins on Wednesday and both of them are sick (yet to hear from
what but they were running fevers). I have no immune system. Que sera.
Oh well. I pray they don't get the asthma stuff again poor babies. Jacob was
so sad - he just wanted to be held. (Jeremiah didn't act sick so it wasn't until
later that they discovered he, too, was running a fever.). I gave them both
a cookie during the day. Jeremiah ate his. Jacob just held his - all day long.

It's been a long week. But it was a beautiful wedding!

(Jeremiah - with his always present blankie; Jacob with hat; and Kittie helping me with Crossword Puzzle)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Trying to Understand Netflix

I am trying - really trying - to understand why Netflix keeps recommending that I rent Veggie Tale movies.

I return a rented movie and they ask me to rate it. And I do. I just returned "There Will Be Blood" (Based on "Oil" by Upton Sinclair) - I gave it 3 stars, while Amy raved about it. The ending was weird. Okay, it was intellectual.
You can tell it was literature. And would be a great novel/movie to discuss.
But I digress.

So after you rate it, Netflix shows you movies that they think you will like.
They ALWAYS show me Veggie Tales movies. I do not CARE what movie I've returned.
I returned comedies last week ("The Truth About Cats and Dogs") - got Veggie Tales.
I'm getting "Zorba the Greek" next and I can guarantee they will still recommend
Veggie Tales. I have never, ever rented a Veggie Tale movie from Netflix. Now I'm not against Veggie Tales. I've, in fact, seen many of them as I have grandchildren.
However, I'm in my 50's (and that's all I'll say about that!) and have no desire
to watch cartoons!

Are they overstocked on Veggie Tales?? Or is it a conspiracy of some sort? Does
someone there think I NEED to be watching Veggie Tales? I felt like singing "God is bigger than the Boogie Man" after watching "There Will be Blood" but that didn't last long.

Oh well..

Monday, August 18, 2008

More Wedding Photos

Our dear friends Mac and Linda Hurstell from Mississippi
and Ann and Steve Glover from Vidalia, Georgia


Trying to remember all of it is going to be hard - I suspect it will all come in bits and pieces.

Thursday: People started arriving. Heather (Michael, in Army, could not get off) arrived from New Mexico. Kristi, Chris and boys (Thomas and Alex) arrived from New York. (Chris is Matthew's brother). Aunt Lois flew in from Florida (also on the Reed side and I hope to be as spry as Aunt Lois some day!). Some friends groom side also arrived. The Reeds, with new friends from Antigua, drove down from the vacationing in Gatlinburg. So by Thursday night we had LOTS of people here. My sister, Patty had arrived early on Wednesday to help my mother take Daddy to the doctor. John (Duane's brother) and Joyce arrived by car early Thursday and we could not have put this on without them! They helped cook many many goodies and with decorations.

Friday: The rental stuff began arriving at the church and some of the family (Reeds and Brocks) began setting up the reception hall. Amy planned all the decorations and we just followed her ideas. Duane even built a cake stand for the "Groom's Cake" and for extra pies and cakes. Joyce and John brought dozens of terrific cookies! We had to buy Christmas lights for the dance floor as the lights the rental place sent just would not work. (Fortunately Hobby Lobby had great prices on white lights.) Duane and John strung the lights and we let the church keep the lights. We had previously unloaded a LOT of "sticks" and fresh hydrangeas (ordered earlier and delivered Friday morning). Amy showed us how she wanted the arrangements in the large vases, with Eucalyptus (see photo) and they turned out lovely.

The rehearsal was at 5:30 and then the rehearsal dinner at a local eatery at 7.
Christi did a wonderful slide show of Matthew and Amy from babyhood to now. The food and fellowship was great. The rehearsal went well too.

(Christi is where this all began. Amy stayed with Christi in Brooklyn, NY during the summer last year. She visited Saks 5th Ave with her while there. Vera Wang has her Bridal Gowns there. They did NOT want to let Amy in to see them without some special card or something or other but Amy somehow talked them into letting her see the discontinued gowns. To make a long story short, she got a 2006 gown at a "bargain" price (of course it depends on your view of what a bargain is. For a Vera Wang dress it was indeed a bargain.). She opened her own credit card account and is insisting on paying it off.
But the "small informal wedding" that she WAS planning from that point on became a large formal wedding. And you know what - I'm glad. It was simply stunning! I wouldn't have changed a single moment! Thank you Christi! and Vera Wang!)

Saturday - THE DAY: Amy is nervous but not overly so. She is holding together far better than I did on my big day. Mandii has not yet had her baby and is holding on.
Brianni finally got off work (her Maid of Honor) and got the cake there. The cantors both arrived (from MS and TN). The photographers and baby sitters arrived on time. All the Brides Maids and Grooms men came - and had their clothes to dress in! (And the Little ones did too!) We put finishing touches on the reception hall (lots of finishing touches! there was a lot left to do - lights were still not completely up, flowers were not finished, candles needed to be placed AND my dear friend Linda and Mac from MS arrived around Noon with 3 stunning candelabras that they assembled (And I had guessed at the sizes of candles to buy and they were PERFECT!).
Shortly thereafter, friends Ann and Steve from Vidalia GA arrived. We put both the Hurstells and the Glovers to work. (Thanks to both!! You are dear, dear friends!! We'll have to share a mansion in heaven so we can just talk and talk and talk!)

The Photographers began to demand photos so the Brides Maids and Amy and Darcy disappeared for pictures. I tried to go watch but kept getting "shooed" away so I left. I want to see their photos soon!

We also made the Brides Maid's bouquets and Darcy's flowers. After Amy decided to use Dorothy McDaniel's Florist - and they ARE the best Florist in Birmingham but they also KNOW they are the best florist in B'ham and charge for it..
we decided about all we could afford from them was the Bride's bouquet and mother's
coursages. And they were lovely!

Nabeel's (A Greek food caterer and cafe) did our food and they delivered right on time. Ernie is the Church wedding person and is GREAT. We could not have done any of this without Ernie. He had hired 3 help staff and that was just right. Amy set up the vegetarian menu so I'm not sure what all that stuff was but I know the grape leaves, Eggplant Parmesan, Greek Salad, Spinach spanakopita (Pie),
tabouli, lots of cheese (feta and more) - the rest I had no idea. I MADE her order
Baklava. Not much was left so I think it went over.

People began arriving around 5. I was watching for my mother and sister to arrive with the dear MIL so was sort of at the door of the church and became the unofficial greeter (hey, it was FUN!) until I was told that was NOT my role. (HUMPH! Who made
that rule up???!). My Bible study ladies ALL got there early - most of them have watched Amy grow up. I love them all! And they got GOOD seats by getting there early too. Way to go!

I finally moved out of the door though and waited patiently back in the hallway a piece. Service began at 6 (a few late arrivals).

The Groomsmen and Ladies of Honor all came in (Nicole with Darcy and Matthew with the Twins who did not have a CLUE what was going on but everyone was smiling at them;
and Christi had her two boys, Alex, 5 and Thomas, 3). Jeremiah insists on carrying his blue blankie everywhere and had it (it was cute!). The hardest part was keeping
them from running to me, Papa D, or Grandma! John took them (with a bribe of yogurt covered raisins!) right back out to the nursery. Darcy stayed JUST a bit longer
but she didn't last either.

After they were placed on the front row, the Reeds were seated, the me and then
Duane brought his daughter down the aisle. Amy was beautiful.

I've already basically described the service. Father Paul did a short service following the traditional portions in which he gives his "sermon" or thoughts. He told Matthew that he was now the King of the Household and Amy was the Queen. And he jokingly told Matthew that that might only last a day or two...but then he solemnly talked about the joys and responsibilities of the husband and then of the wife. He KEPT talking about how many children they were going to have(smile).
It was lovely. (I like to hear him preach but this was fairly short.).

He then said the traditional in all marriages "you may kiss the bride" and then presented Amy and Matthew Reed. Amy and Matthew then came down to greet his parents and then us (which I liked a great deal) before walking back down the aisle.

Reception followed. Much laughter, visiting of guests. New friends and old. Amy was the perfect hostess (I have already heard from some of my friends how she visited their tables and was so warm towards them.).
The Jazz band she hired was good (if a bit loud - I wanted to TALK!(smile)). People enjoyed dancing and Amy and her dad had a special dance.

I was beginning to think Amy and Matthew were never going to leave. A lot of the guests had left. Linda Reed came up to me and said, "Our Children need to leave." and I wondered what I was supposed to do but I agreed with her. By then my feet were killing me. Amy and Matthew were having too good of a time to quit. Someone must have told them that if they didn't leave soon there would be no one left to throw rose petals on them because shortly thereafter Amy disappeared to change clothes. After she changed they had one more dance and they came out to leave.
We were waiting with our rose petals. Heather (our DIL) had prepared everyone "Count your petals. However many you throw is how many you have to pick up!" So people were pretty stingy with the petals and we did pick them all up.

I still can't believe it's over.

Of course that wasn't the end for us.

We still had to take it all DOWN again. The Hurstells and the Glovers stayed to help. (I think I owe them!) It was midnight when we left. We should have stayed for Sunday liturgy. Nah. I'd have slept though it.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Greek Orthodox Wedding Ceremony

We had programs that Amy had prepared ahead of time (printed herself of course) that explain to the guests of their wedding the meaning of each part of the ceremony.

So I shall include the explanations in brief.

The ceremony has two parts - the service of the Betrothal and the Ceremony of the Sacrament of Marriage.

The Service of The Betrothal:
The highlight of this portion is the exchanging of the rings. The priest (Father Paul) blesses the rings and the rings are placed on their right hands for it is the right hand of God that blesses, it is the right hand of God to which Christ ascended, and it is also to the right that those who will inherit the eternal life will ascend.

The Sacrament of Marriage:
The ceremony consists of petitions, prayers, the crowning, reading from the New Testament, offering of the Common Cup, the circling of the ceremonial table and the benediction. At the conclusion, the priest joins the hands of the Bride and Groom and their hands are kept joined until the end of the service to symbolize the union and oneness of the couple.

The Crowning:
This is the focal point of the marriage ceremony. The crowns are the signs of the glory and honor with which God crowns them during the sacrament. The wedding crowns are joined by a ribbon which again symbolizes the unity of the couple and establishes them as the King and Queen of their home.

The Dance of Isaiah/The Ceremonial Walk:
The priest leads the Bride and Groom in a circle around the table on which are place the Gospel and the Cross (The Word of God and our Redemption by Jesus). The Bride and Groom are taking their first steps as a married couple and the church (in the person of the priest) leads them in the way they must walk. The way is symbolized by the circle at the center of which at the Gospel and the cross of our Lord. This expresses the fact that the way of Christian living is a perfect orbit around the center of life, who is Jesus Christ our Lord.

At the conclusion of the Ceremonial Walk, the priest removes the crowns and beseeches God to grant the Newlyweds a long, happy life (and Father Paul kept adding many children!).

And they proceed out and new husband and wife (after kissing as they do in all ceremonies) smiling and happy.

It takes about one hour.
The music is done by chanters (Amy, being a gad about, has musician friends and
friend Ephraim Gresham of Umbrella Tree of Nashville and Stephanie Baker of Mississippi with a voice of an angel (I wish I had her voice) were her guest singers and they were perfect!).

The Service was simply beautiful.

More Wedding Photos

The Wedding

Meet Amy and Matthew Reed.

The Wedding was absolutely wonderful - beautiful. Stunning. And I'm not a bit prejudiced. It was a fairytale wedding. Amy planned the reception decorations (I'll post photos of those sometime soon) and we followed her directions and they were beautiful. The ceremony is so meaningful and the Cathedral was full of friends from near and far.

We have many new friends now too! The Reeds are wonderful people and we are a complete family. Darcy thought it was all wonderful. (The twins were another story but they were too young to understand! although they loved the lights and the dance floor!).

Mandii didn't go into complete labor (she is on her way and if Isaac doesn't make his appearance before Tuesday the will do a C-Section and he WILL be born this week!). At one point during the wedding Duane and I were both a bit more focused on her than on Amy though when she abruptly sat down with an "ooh". (I think we laid hands on her and began praying!).

What fun - I spent more time visiting than taking photos I fear.
But photos will be up (professional ones) at
http://www.pictage.com/520019 at some point.

smiles, Chris

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Engagement Photos

All photos by Mandii Erwin - Amy's friend and an amazing photographer!

It's Getting Closer and Closer

It's getting close - SIX more days!!

And then at 6 PM next Saturday, Amy and Matthew will be wed at
Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Church. Yep. A Greek Wedding.
But no one will be Fat. (But I think EVERYONE has seen "My Big Fat
Greek Wedding" and has asked us about every detail - some I've had to
watch the movie over again to catch. And no, we did not buy them a

They have printed programs to explain the very meaningful service
and I think this will help.

I THINK we've remembered everything and just praying now it all comes
together and all the flights make it here okay and all the dresses fit
perfectly and shoes and hairdos. And no one is sick etc.

And children are cute. Oh wait that goes without saying. They are cute!

And no! There will be NO SPITTING. (and if you are one of the FEW who
have not seen the movie I guess you'll just have to see it now).

Or lambs - we're doing vegetarian at the reception (really vegetarian - no
lambs!). But Greek style vegetarian with lots of Baklava.

Birmingham has a very large Greek population and I think ALL the restaurants
are owned by Greeks so it wasn't hard at all to get it catered. Plus they
all go to this church. So there you go!

And this week is also both my DIL's birthdays AND my dear Sister, Patty's
rather memorable 50th birthday. Now, I think it would be LOADS of fun to
stop and sing a "Happy Birthday" tune to them sometime during the ceremony
but Amy is saying no. Maybe at least a cake at the reception.

Phew...I'm getting nervous..

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Clements Family History

I was posting books for sale the other night when I started to post a novel on "Bacon's Rebellion" - a preview of the War of Independence that happened in Virginia. I recalled reading long ago that one of my Clements ancestors might have
been involved in that rebellion so I got sidetracked and started web surfing. (Yes, I did find that John Clements was the Commander in Chief of the Rebellion.).

Since the Jamestown project more has been posted on the web on the Clements and it
has been fun reading. (I think people, in general, are more aware of their
ancestry and are posting more and more!)

Anyway, look what I found! (Above photo!) That is (I think) my grandfather's dad's
brother and he had TWINS..Photo is dated 1900 in Blount County AL (so that is
right from my grandfather Ollie Clements).

I've also heard via the family grapevine since I was a child that somehow we
are related to Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens - the Clements family tree - some
spell it Clements, some Clement, some Clemens - some in the SAME family root!)
Well, I found the family tree showing how we are related too.

Needless to say I got little book work done the other night..but it was fun

I also found more on Michael Upchurch (who also came over early on - my
grandmother's first ancestor in 1634 from England. Apparently he wrote lots
of letters home and they just found them!)

smiles, Chris

Sunday, August 03, 2008

R.I.P. Alexander Solzhenitzyn

Died August 3, 2008 having made a huge impact on the world but most will not even know his name.

When he won the Nobel prize in Literature in 1970 he said, "One word of truth shall outweigh the whole world".

As much as he despised the corrupt communism of the Soviet Union (and helped bring it down with his books) he also hated the moral corruption he saw in the United States.

In the end he loved his church, his home (The Russian Orthodox Church).

I always have "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" for sale but all of his books are classics.

I hope he has now found the peace he sought for and never seemingly found on this earth.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Follow up on Fat Cat Story

It's SO sad but Aslan is heartbroken and has asked me to follow up.
It seems that the photo posted on the news is that of a Male cat and
furthermore it is a very sad story. His poor owner lost her home to
something called a "foreclosure" and thus both the owner and her cat
are now homeless. Aslan can only hope both soon find new homes!