Sunday, August 5, 2012

Stu & Rachel's SoCal Wedding ~ Part 1

It all started with two people moving to southern California from other southwestern states {Arizona and Texas}, deciding to go to the same church there in Palm Springs, volunteering to work with high school students there, connecting with mutual friends, and being introduced over dinner.  Then it was a first date consisting of kayaking and sushi-eating, an eventual and thrilling hand-holding moment at the beach, and then a mountain-top proposal.  Yep ~ that's how we got to take a trip to California for my brother's beautiful beach wedding!

After arriving at the Los Angeles airport, meeting up with my dad and sister, making our way through LOTS o' traffic, and checking in to our hotel, our first stop was the Santa Monica Pier  for Mexican food and ice cream with Stu and Rachel.
 The next day, the cousins arrived from Austin, TX and we HAD to go to In-N-Out Burger!  None of us had ever been, and our hotel was only 5 minutes from this one near the UCLA campus.  {They will wrap your burger neatly in iceberg lettuce if you need a gluten free variety!}
Later, we all got dressed up for the rehearsal dinner, which was to be more formal than the actual wedding, and held conveniently on the top floor of our lovely hotel.  Stu pulled the curtains open right at sunset, and we all enjoyed a gorgeous view of the lights of Los Angeles on one side, and the mountains toward Malibu on the other.  The hotel was round/cylindrical and the view at the top was a 360 degree one ~ so perfect!
We {well, really it was mostly me} kept waking up at about 5am due to the three hour time difference. On the first morning, I stayed in bed until about 6:30am California time, and then sent a text message to my sister Melinda around 6:45am asking her if she wanted to go for a run with Robert and me.  She was awake, too and met us at 7am.  We headed to the beach area in Santa Monica along the Pacific Coast highway, and enjoyed a run along the walkway and park right above the beach and amongst all of the outdoor yoga and pilates classes, still sleeping homeless folks covered in blankets, and lots of  interesting people walking dogs. We continued this tradition nearly every morning we were there.  Talk about a "rave run"!
The part I haven't told you is that my poor Kayla was suffering with a pretty high fever this whole time. {Don't be fooled by her beautiful, smiling face in all of these photos.  She felt horrible. More on that later.} an effort to let her rest before the wedding, she and I camped out in our hotel room all day Saturday while the boys went to Hollywood.  Robert posed with all of his favorite 1980's music heroes' sidewalk stars, and they also enjoyed finding Russel Crowe {Coop loves Mr. Crowe's films}, and Sylvester Stallone, and their all-time favorite ~ Olivia Newton John.  Now, there's a lady who deserves a star on the Walk of Fame. {And Stu and Rachel ~ if you're reading this, I went ahead and bought you guys tickets to see her at your local Fantasy Springs Casino on Sept. 15, so mark your calendars, okay?}
After some Chipotle burrito bowls at The Grove, they also stopped at the La Brea Tar pits ~ a place where naturally occurring tar seeps up from the earth and has trapped whole animals, trees, and more throughout the centuries perfectly preserving their skeletons.
Poor mammoth...
The boys returned to the hotel around 4pm, and we all got dressed and headed back to the beach for photos and the wedding ceremony.  In this picture we are standing on the balcony where the ceremony took place.  The guests sat on the chairs in the courtyard below, and the beach was directly behind us.

This one is of my dad, his four children, two sons-in-law, and six grandkids.
This is Natalie and Trey ~ high school students who were hosting the pretty "rock welcome table."  As each guest arrived, they could write a message to Stu and Rachel on a rock and place it in the tall glass vase.  I asked them how they knew Stu and Rachel, and Natalie said that Rachel is her small group Bible study leader, and Trey said that Stu is his small group leader. There were LOTS of other high-schoolers there as well doing the last minute decorating, setting up chairs, and ushering guests to their seats.  It was clear that they love Stu and Rachel, and have been greatly impacted by them as well.  So fun to see!
Stu, Rachel and Stu's sisters in the above photo, and our whole side of the family minus children below...

My handsome bro, and his beautiful bride.
A wonderfully humorous and authentic sermon by Stu's good friend and pastor, Jeff, about Stu and Rachel's courtship, the biblical purpose of marriage ~ to "showcase the gospel," Communion, a unity sand vase, and this song ~

Let no one caught in sin remain
Inside the lie of inward shame
We fix our eyes upon the cross
And run to him who showed great love
And bled for us
Freely you bled, for us

Beneath the weight of all our sin
You bow to none but heavens will
No scheme of hell, no scoffer's crown
No burden great can hold you down
In strength you reign
Forever let your church proclaim

Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling over death by death
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Christ is risen from the dead
We are one with him again
Come awake, come awake!
Come and rise up from the grave

Oh death! Where is your sting?
Oh hell! Where is your victory?
Oh Church! Come stand in the light!
The glory of God has defeated the night!

By Matt Maher

And lots of streaming tears in the midst of worship from this sister who was {and is} humbled and so grateful for the Lord's goodness, provision, and answered prayer in my brother's life. Christ's glory does indeed defeat the night!

Stay tuned for Part 2:

The Emergency Room, Malibu, Pepperdine, Palm Desert, a Cute Black Lab, and a Very Scary Mountain Tram Ride

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Blessings, blue skies and congratulations to Stu and Rachel. Love from K&J