Matt & Jared

Well, our friends from Salisbury have officially been invited to South Carolina to open each of the rallies with one of their Support Huckabee parodies.  Rumor has it that Huck might join them on the bass from time-to-time, and it seems that Church Norris will also be around.

No matter what you think about Huckabee or his campaign, you have to agree that this is a pretty amazing adventure for two guys from Salisbury, Maryland.  The power of YouTube!

Their latest song:

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Doctrine does matter

Combining holidays and wedding, I haven’t had much time to read many of the blogs that encourage and challenge me.  Today I determined to read just a few, and, boy, am I glad that I did.

From time to time when I ask different folks what they believe, or what church they belong to, or what does your church teach about this or that, I frequently get the answer, “We just love Jesus” or “We just believe the Bible.”  And that’s it.  Occasionally I press for more information, but oftentimes I just wait…amazed that that is all I get.  Most of the time these questions are posed to missionaries.  The very people who feel called by God to be here.  And to what purpose?

Today I ran across this post on Doctrine Matters.  I couldn’t say it better myself.

Where do I begin?

Saturday was a roller coaster of sorts — everything with the knowledge that the GOAL and end-product was that Jeanne and Kolya would be married. What happened to set the stage for that end result…well, we had plans for decorations, the ceremony and the reception. But if it didn’t all happen exactly as thought…we would know that the GOAL had still been reached. Honestly, that is the ONLY way to approach a wedding here.

We were picked up at 9 a.m. so that we could load up a van (read about our PLANS for the day here) and begin the decorating by 10:00. This had all been approved by the manager of the site (typical response to any question regarding time or specifics: “As you wish…” “Sure.”).

When we arrived we were absolutely shocked at the condition of the room. There apparently had been QUITE a party the night before. It was actually impossible to start our work. We asked for their ladder so that we could take some exact measurements so that we could at least begin cutting the ribbons that we would hang later. Unfortunately, no one knew where the ladder was!

While we were dealing with these new quirks in the program, we sent Jeanne with the photographer to pick out her cake. Yes, I said to pick it out. Not to pick it up, but to pick it out. Crazy place here. On Thursday she and Kolya had ordered 6 napoleon cakes from our local reenok (bazaar) that would be sliced and served as dessert. He and Jim carried them back to our place on Friday to be added to the other supplies going into the van. They knew that his mother was bringing wedding bread. Yet they also wanted the traditional cake-cutting. But not necessarily the big cake. Soooo, she simply picked it out at a nearby tort store located near Jim’s office — she had peeked in earlier to see possibilities and took her chance that she would be happy with something there on Saturday. The non-stress approach.

We also began to move chairs to the upstairs lobby of the hotel where the actual ceremony would take place. With the extra hands, we were sure that we could at least get THAT room ready. As soon as we moved one chair, we were told to stop. The hotel had a crew for that work and we were not to bother ourselves with that physical work. What to do? We needed to seat 85 people…down from 100. (Did I mention that on Tuesday, the Ukrainian government declared Saturday to be a workday? Several of Jeanne’s closest friends would not be able to be at the actual ceremony because they could not get excused from work…but we still expected them at the reception.) Georgia and I had already calculated how and where to place the chairs — the only concern was whether the restaurant had enough chairs to give up during that time-frame. I won’t get into the details, but all of the chairs were not made available until after 2:00. Not because they weren’t available, but because the workers needed a lunch break. (Not sure what they were doing BEFORE lunch?! Some guests arrived at 2:30!)

As Georgia and crew began to actually hang the ribbons by standing on the tables (still no ladder), the assistant manager began to get very upset with us. Her crew would need 4 hours to properly set the tables, so we needed to complete our work and leave the area…now! You can imagine that we were not thrilled, but the gal would not relent. We then discovered that the actual manager through whom we had made all the plans was home sick and would not be in at all. Finally we called Jim in to talk to the manager, and, like a miracle, her whole attitude changed. Cara, our friend who has helped many couples with wedding details, concluded that in her own experience women here don’t respect other women…particularly in this kind of situation — just who was working for whom?! Once Jim informed her that we were NOT leaving until our decorating was complete, that we were put back over an hour because the room was not ready for us at 10, and that we were more than happy to work with and around her and the workers, then all was well. From that point forward, she was absolutely delightful…even asking how she could further help us.

Georgia and crew created one of the most beautiful settings for a reception that I have ever seen. Jeanne knew that she wanted ribbon streamers and Georgia made it happen. She also brought ivy and wired gold ribbon to decorate banisters, the cake table, even a bench for pictures. Using Ukrainian rushnikis (like table runners) under the low-hanging lights, there was no question but that this was a Ukrainian wedding.

The gal who created the bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres had extra flowers when she was finished, so she put them in multiple small cone-shaped containers. We were able to tuck them into the ivy and around the cake and head table…they added a perfect touch of elegance. Ria is a young pastor’s wife who loves working with flowers. She charged us only for the actual materials because she wanted to present the finished products as a heart-gift from her. How special is that? (She and her husband had 3 daughters and then adopted an abandoned set of twin girls — Jim has helped them on a number of occasions when they weren’t quite sure that they were getting the proper advice from their own doctor. This floral gift was primarily because of her thankfulness to him.)

Once Jeanne was able to describe what she wanted, Ria took her to a flower market where she handpicked just what she wanted. Then on Friday, Ria went to purchase all the necessary flowers so they would be as fresh as possible. She stayed up through the night putting on the finishing touches. The stems of Jeanne’s bouquet were wrapped in the actual lace from her dress — have I mentioned that Jeanne’s dress needed to be shortened (no surprise THERE!) but because the tiers needed to still be equal in length, the seamstress had to take it entirely apart and shorten each tier??!! She worked similar details into Kolya’s boutonniere.

So, all of this is written simply to give you a behind-the-scenes look at how this special day started. No guest would have suspected that ANY of this had taken place only hours before!