Saturday, January 4, 2020

50th Anniversary Celebration

 An appropriate sign hung in the hall of the big house as we walked in.

Because God brought us together many years ago and kept us by His grace these 50 years, and because our children worked so hard to honor their parents, we had a spectacular celebration.
We had left the planning up to them, suggesting a festive finale to our family vacation on Sunday, our last day together.
However, when you have a professional ice carver, an event planner, a decorator, a technology guru, (and many hard working minions) in the family, the event becomes extraordinary.

Saturday some of us were downstairs working on a puzzle, playing games, watching shows.

Interesting round puzzle

We learned a couple new games during our time together. Splendor was for four players.

Playing Splendor

Another one called Shifty Eyed Spies, for eight players, kept us hilariously entertained trying to send secret signals and clues (winking) without getting caught.

Meanwhile, a crew upstairs, was busily staging the grand fiesta. Every so often someone would be summoned upstairs to contribute to the preparations.

At 5:30 or so, we were called upstairs for the evening meal. This was the surprise that awaited us.

Including a Stephan-special--an ice-sculpture that sat in a protective carrier in his car for two days [ah, that's why Saturday not Sunday!], and that Jimmy spent time decorating with a million gold stars!

Several cameras were out busy documenting our reaction. Before having our photo taken in the frame, I ran to our room to get the bridal veil I had brought for the occasion. (Interestingly, after the house fire the restoration company returned it alone, even gray and discolored, but the dress never came back.)

Others made use of the photo op.

However, we did not get as many photos of the entire celebration as we could have. Even if we had, there is no way photos or a blog post could ever do justice to the wonderful way we were blessed.

The best was yet to come. After dinner, we went downstairs again for the family talent show, now a two-year tradition. 
The very first act was a technically-perfect 24-minute video that Matt put together--select photos of our life and family, and many tributes that people sent in (hounded by Kayla). Every member of the family honored us with beautiful words, and friends thanked us for things we could not possibly remember (and even wondered whether they were true!). 

A few of the acts that followed were part of the celebration. There may be more photos and videos still out there. But for now, and for this post, these are enough.

The ice melted considerably overnight, and several large buckets watered the lawn. But the love we were shown will ever be remembered. We came home with a couple visual reminders--a portrait (rendered by a fellow ice carver and artist) and sweet written words.

Next episode: Two Crises/ Grace upon Grace.

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