Saturday, June 23, 2012

One Year Anniversary Open House

One of daughter Leah's great signs

 Before the warm memories fade and smolder to extinction, I need to revisit the Big Day.
The event was so grand and spectacular that few references and photos could never do it justice, but then neither will this dedicated post.

From the early days after the house fire we determined to celebrate God's goodness to us, His protection and provision from day one to the completion of the new beautiful home. Ever since we moved in, January 10, 2012--seven months to the day after the fire--we have sensed an urge to be more intentional about hospitality. A ceremony of dedication was in order. To that end, we asked our pastors to be take part in our Open House and lead in prayers of thanksgiving and dedication.

As soon as the anniversary-celebration idea was born, we asked our chef-son to cater the event. He had nearly a year to ponder and plan. However, we had no idea what he was going to do until the very day. What a grand production it was! He set up a staging area in the garage, made several trips to deliver ingredients and tools, and work on various stages of food prep. Finally the ice sculpture arrived and was unveiled unwrapped section by section. The dining room table was opened to its full length, 9 feet, to accommodate the base, three slabs of ice, the pedestal holding a shelf  and finally the phoenix atop, emerging as from the flames. Stunning! And very practical as well. The ice served to keep the food fresh--servings of ceviche in dainty clear plastic cups lined the top shelf, while a variety of fruit adorned the lower left ice level and gravlax on the right.

Other menu items were still appearing when the first visitors arrived, neighbors Bobby and Glenda bearing a very thoughtful gift--the black marble stone she had rescued  from the rubble and had engraved with our name.

Next came our first pastor, Jay Kesler and his wife Janie, designated to pray for the 2:00 o'clock crowd.
Over the months and weeks of anticipating and planning the event, the idea came to have an official welcome and prayer at the top of each hour. As time passed and the day approached the plan became clearer in my mind, even so it took courage to step up, take leadership, do and say what I felt needed to be said. The two times I followed through were very special. However, the last hour slipped by without pausing to address that new crowd and we regretted that oversight disobedience ever since.
This is what God laid on my heart to share:

"Welcome and thank you for coming! 
The purpose of the Open House: to thank the community for their support; celebrate God's protection and provision; and have a prayer of dedication of the new house for His service and glory.

Before the prayer by .... ...a few things to note:

--the tree sculpture, designed and carved by our son Stephan (professional ice carver) to focus on the blessings of our lives. Pick up a leaflet that explains all the icons and symbols, the story of our life as a family."
At this point I read the paragraph that accompanied the initial concept drawing. Stephan's words:
I believe a simple iconic image such as this cup running over symbolizes our constant receipt of God's provision. God has bountifully given and provided not only for our basic nourishment but in fact He has given life abundantly. Our cup indeed runs over with friends all across the globe, with kindness from people at church, family, international friendships. God continually blesses us with every good thing. 
The porrón [I could not find an English equivalent anywhere for this item which was in our household from our world travels] symbolizes God's provision--provision without end--provision that is more than we could ever need (even if we never close our mouths while drinking from it)...
I tried to demonstrate how it is used. Then Stephan stepped out of the kitchen to add that experienced porrón users can swallow continuously with their mouths open.
...the grapes can refer to the wine of the new convenant or to the wine of the eucharist, the cup represents us as the vessel for God's provision, the flow can be the totem canvas for either country flags, place symbols, or both. 
This is both a dynamic and symbolic image to be appreciated from afar as a stirring silhouette and from close at hand with smaller images.
I put together a brochure to explain the symbols and our life story. Pick one up if you haven't yet.
[Readers may request one, I had many printed.]

--the original house was built by Mike over a period of three+ years, the replacement house by Bruce Sebestyen and crews on the same foundation.

--the spiral staircase is from the original house, refinished and restored by son Sam who also built all the cabinets, vanities, and the dining room table.

--radiant floor heating is a unique and efficient feature of the house.

--Downstairs is the Klaytivity studio and display area--Mike's hobby/business.

Welcome! Enjoy! Ask questions. Sign the guest book if you haven't yet.

Pastor Jay led in a beautiful prayer the first hour, and Pastor Mark the second. One reason I did not call everyone to attention at the 4:00 o'clock hour was that we had no pastor present to pray, faulty thinking added to my lack of confidence.

People came and went for over three hours. The guest book registered 130. We were so honored and blessed by everyone--neighbors, friends, family--and only wished we'd had more time to spend with each one.

Stephan and Karen worked non-stop replenishing the food. Unbelievable, not one photo of the amazing display! The entire counter was covered with artistically arranged focaccia bread, flan, and Yucatecan cochinita pibil with all the trimmings. Someone said it was like traveling the world! Very fitting menu by a chef who's been to 30+ countries! Despite little or no sleep, he enjoyed the event enough to suggest, "We should do this every year!"  A great plan--celebrate God's goodness in style annually!

1 comment:

Kim said...

Looks like such a fabulous day! Enjoyed seeing the photos on facebook, too.

Look forward to seeing the tree sculpture AND the brochure you made to explain it's significance.

If you celebrate again next year, there's a slim chance we'll be there to join you. Still working out furlough dates.