Monday, May 17, 2010

The Story

The slight breeze coming through the open window brings in the sound of crickets singing. It's evening, and I'm sitting here on the couch, a pillow in my lap, and a journal on top of that, my pen idly lain on it's pages. The supper dishes have been cleared away, and the dusk is fading to night. Soft lamplight makes the two seated across the room seem to be shrouded in golden shadows, her earring catching the light occasionally, the rocking of his chair a steady, calming rhythm. It's a beautiful thing to watch, these two young people-committed to each other, in purity, committed to the Lord Jesus, and just enjoying falling in love with the other. She looks down with a smile and shyly back up again, then laughs, with a soft grin, at his words. His quiet confidence. He loves telling her things, and she loves to listen. They were made for each other.

This is beautiful. This is holy.

"And here" I take up my pen again and write "is the story."

"Some may think this story started two weeks ago, while others believe it's been years in the making, and still others know it really started when they came into the world. While all of these are true in their own way, the time it all truly started, was when there was no time at all. Before the foundations of the earth was laid, God had a plan. And now, in the year 2010, that plan, with all it's intricate wheels and parts, has finally come together, in His prefect timing, in a way that we can see now, with our own eyes. The people in the plan, those affecting it, some we know, some we don't, some are just names on a mossy tombstone-but whoever they have been and are, God knew, and knows, and continues to rule and reign in the affairs of men and in the lives and hearts of His children.

They began their roles in this grand plan, like most people do, as babies. Noah Edwin Sanders was born on the 30th day of September, 1988, to a steady, kind father and a vivacious, red haired mother, and one adoring big sister. He was to be the first born son, ahead of 7 more siblings that came as the years passed by in their Alabama way...

About one year later, in a small Georgia town, a 5th child and 2nd daughter was born on February 19 to a loving, incredible mother and a kind, gracious father. Right after she came out, the first thing this baby knew was the doctor lifting her high up in the air, committing her life to Jesus Christ...

So he grew, and she grew, and the years passed, and they were very, very happy.

Then one day, on a Spring afternoon at a butterfly garden in 2005, when Dorothy was 15 years old, she and her Daddy and sisters met three young ladies and their Daddy, who would help shape a lot of her story. A few months later, in a buffet line at the Smith's memorial day BBQ, she remembers seeing him for the first time in her life. She did not know he had already heard all about "Dorothy!" but was not sure who she was, just that she was an amazing girl. So, they filled their plates with BBQ, and kept right on keeping their eyes focused on the Lord and all that He had for them to do and learn as they were in their father's houses during their time of singleness.

That summer and then for many months afterwards, Dorothy's family, Noah's family, and three or four other families got together - it seemed like every weekend, and spent the days helping get relief down to New Orleans, building barns, playing cards, having sewing parties, bridal showers for big sisters, going on road trips together, eating chocolate, doing hair, learning to dance, staying up late at night talking, eating ice cream, watching fireworks, reading P&P around a roaring fire on cold winter evenings...So many special memories fill my heart as I write I cannot name them all...but ever since that summer, we have known and loved each others' families so dearly, and have been continuing to fellowship whenever we could.

So then, this year, on May the third, Noah Sanders called Dorothy's Daddy. After praying about it for about a week, and after Daddy, Mama and Dorothy went over a package of essays and letters Noah sent (so they could better understand his vision), Daddy called Noah and told him it was a go! The next step in the story, was a visit.

Noah and his three sisters arrived Tuesday at noon. We all tumbled out of the house, and ran and gave the girls good hugs...I was watching to see what Dee and Noah would do or say. That unspoken excitement and delightful suspense is delicious. :) After we all exchanged greetings, and the opportunity for them to give a personal one to each other had not presented itself, Mama said with a twinkle, "Y'all say hello, now." to which Noah made an gallant, exaggerated swoop of the arms with a slight bow and a

"Hello, Miss Dorothy!"

After she said some charming "Hello, Noah, sure am glad y'all have come down." we all proceeded to march into the house for lunchie! Daddy took Noah off for a bite, and we girls and Mama enjoyed soup and conversations about gardens and house building, etc.

Upon the men's return home, Dorothy and Noah began to spend one on one time together for the first time. They took a walk outside, looked at the garden, chickens, and later, worked on a brick path. We all watched from the windows and laughed and cried and stood in an odd and amazing, but good feeling. It's a whole new thing to see your sister walking with a young man, and sometimes it puts a strange lump in your throat. Then you're so excited you end up suppressing a squeal, too.
John dear was honored with first chaperon duty. :)
These darlings are just-well, darling!!
Shelling peas and laughing and visiting with folks on the porch...

"So, boy-we hear you're a wanting to marry our sister?"
Love this picture. :)
Chicken tour...
That night, as the sun was setting, we all sat out in the side yard and had supper by candle light-it was so peaceful and fun!

The background story of how the meal was made ready was hilarious - Abbi, Bekah, Samuel and I had a great time running around town all afternoon shopping for this meal. :) Walmart was out of everything, and I accidentally got raw briskets. LOL, now I know better. We even peeled sweet potatoes in the car with a pocket knife to save time. Cleve saved the day and went back and got pre-cooked brisket. The sweetie.Edwin lights candles...
I love sunlight through glass!Grace and...
...Bekah serve food...
Abbi acts as photographer, and Rachel acts as Beautiful Mother Holding Smiling Child. (16" by 16", oil on canvas, $1500)Candle Light - yes, there were two candlelight meals this week - this one just to welcome Noah and his sisters and one to - well, keep reading
Our group from the top deck...
That night, some of us stayed up late and played cards and talked, well, we talked, LOL, and just looked at the cards. "No way, this is my favorite picture, I'm keeping this one." :)
On Wednesday, those of us who could, went down to MacClay Gardens in Tallahassee-it was absolutely gorgeous, and the perfect place to walk, talk and take pictures. While we were there we saw two or three photographers there with clients. Hey, who needs clients to photograph when there are family members to take pics of? Just kidding. Clients are awesome. :)
Mum-wua, looking like a painting, chats with the lovely girlies.Stopping for a moment.
Almost every spot was perfect for a picture.
We kids sat around in the grass and learned how to make grass whistles and played a hilarious animal impersonating game. (nothing better than my brilliant elephant debut. ;) and our grass whistle chorus sounded like a flock of angry pea fowl! We had a ball.Mama darling through the moss...
Here's my precious dragonfly picture! I tried so long to get one. I wanted a green one to land on my pink skirt, but, alas, it never obliged me. But the blue one is amazing! I think they're so pretty. They're one of Dee's favorite emblems. So it was neat that they were everywhere.
While Dee & Noah talked under this beautiful oak, we all played in this other huge one nearby. Here's dear Stead-Stir up top. The only bad thing was that poison ivy was everywhere. We discovered that afterwards....Oh, well. :)
Abigail Rose
Samuel QuentinMy newest favorite picture of Mom!
Martha rests on a limb...
MamaAndrew Tully
"Smile, honey!"Sam and 'de oak!John and his awesome hat...What five sisters do to pass the time...
Bekah in Hallway
Going into the secret garden...Inside.....
Walking along....
And still walking along...I almost started crying as I watched this older couple walk, so precious. So faithful.
Through the leaves...
Jeanine Dorothy
Dorothy Jeanine and Noah Edwin
Ah, Thursday beautiful, so joyful!! After we enjoyed talking over a yummy breakfast, we kids got our assignments for the day, and everyone was excused; Dee & Noah set out to be together. (Grace acting as chaperon, with camera and zoom lens in hand!)
They went down to one of Dorothy's favorite spots in the woods, where there are these beautiful blooming trees and a creek, and they talked and talked. They were gone for hours, and when they came back down the lane, Dorothy had the most beautiful diamond on her finger!! We all hugged around, and cried and laughed in pure joy and wonderment!!! Phone calls and skype and emails went out to friends and family! Our two families were pretty much the only people who even knew there was anything brewing!! So it made the telling even more fun with the surprise factor. :) It is so precious to watch them together. Whenever you meet her eye from across the circle, it brings tears to your eyes to see hers sparkle so. Praise the Lord!!
(Sadly, I have no proposal pictures- those were on Abbi's camera) but here are some Celebration Dinner pictures!Our Two guests of Honor

The rest of the Sanders family drove down that evening, and we had BBQ in the front yard-what pure joy it was to have both families, all together to celebrate this wonderful event!!!
Mama serves the BBQ...
Miss Dorothy Morton....soon to be Mrs. Noah Sanders..."Bless this food to the nourishment of our bodies, and please bless the hands that prepared it. In Jesus' name, amen."The groom-to-be's spot...
Kress and Jonathan!!
Supper starts...
When sisters watch their brother grow in love...Mr. Critter Morton III
Daddy tells how he and Mama met...Aunt Wendi and Uncle Tim (I love the way that sounds!) kept us all laughing over their story...
Little William gets sleepy...William Cleveland
Here we are, all together, enjoying life together, looking forward to what's to come. Praising the Lord."

I set my pen down once more. The dusk has turned to darkness, and the sound of the rocking chair is getting fainter. I guess it's time to go to bed.

Something else I was thinking of. When you belong to Christ, your story never has to say "The End" Our love stories are wrapped up in His, and our love story last forever, and ever, and ever with Him in heaven.

That is beautiful. That is holy.