Last weekend, I was able to travel to Georgia to be a bridesmaid for my good high school friends Carolyn and Trae. It all started when I lived in DC. Carolyn called me and asked me to be her bridesmaid. She asked, (please imagine this in a deep southern accent) "Trae and I have decided to keep ourselves pure..." My response, " What? Ohhhhh!!! That's great!" After she asked me to be her bridesmaid, she said, (remember the accent), "Now, I know you don't show your shoulders, so we'll figure somethin' out..." I was relieved because I knew that would be a touchy subject. All brides love having total control of their wedding and, naturally, since they plan it their whole lives, they want everything to be perfect. I was relieved that she understood.
Amanda, another good high school friend, teaches in Houston. The two of us planned to fly into the Atlanta airport within 20 minutes of eachother so, luckily, I was able to get a ride to/fromt the airport with her wonderful family. I also stayed the weekend with her family. It was super convenient as the two of us had identical plans for the entire weekend. They were so great to me.
Friday, we went to lunch with Megan Childs and Michael Brooks. We went to Zaxby's because I just miss the blessed restaurant. We then stopped by the school and saw some old teachers really quickly before racing home and changing for the rehearsal dinner. This is Carolyn and Trae, the happy (and mature) couple at the amazing rehearsal dinner.
Amanda, Amber, and Carolyn--Just like old times...
Friday night, we went to Harvest Moon, the local bar. Haha--oh man! I was really wanting to get together with lots of high school friends...and apparently, we went to the only possible place where that could happen. We ran into tons, and tons of friends. I was pretty shocked to see so many people still in Albany (and even more who have returned to Alb). While everyone was drinking (and drinking, and drinking) I was running around seeing tons of old friends. Then, I went outside to talk to my friend Michael. He is a youth minister at a local church and didn't feel comfortable hanging around in the bar. I respected him a lot for that. I explained to him that I didn't neccessarily feel the Spirit in the bar (obviously) but I felt that it was OK for a "one-time-in-town" occasion. I know this is rationalizing, but I felt that everyone was watching me. I hadn't been around these people for 4.5 years...and i thought that it was good for them to see me still holding my standards, still not drinking, and still not into the bar scene. In one conversation, a good friend from early high school said, "i feel like such a bad person when I'm around you,"of course I was like, "oh my gosh, i'm so sorry." She hesitated and said, "no. I think that's a good thing...I need to be better." It was a really touching moment.
I went out to the truck with Michael. He had some questions he wanted to ask me about religion. He asked me who I believed Jesus Christ was. He asked me to explain my relationship with him. He also asked me really great questions about the atonement and the Saviors role in grace and basically the plan of salvation (the plan that explains how we came to earth, why we are here, and what are goals are on this earth that will allow us to return to him again someday.) His questions were very well thought out and I hoped that he recognizes the testimony of my Savior I do have. It was a really special moment. I'm glad we were able to have that conversation. It was really good for me to again vocalize my testimony of the reality of the living Christ.
I then returned to the bar (haha--i know...so funny). Said goodbye to everyone. Told a few high school friends who were smoking that they stank (I didn't mean to! I think i've gotten a little to bold in college? maybe?) And we left for the evening.
Saturday morning I loved! Mr. Ruckel made us french toast. Amanda and I then drove to Carolyn's where there was an amazing set up. The hair person (Kate) and picture person (Kate) were there to document our morning. Picture Kate's husband was taking pictures of the guys all morning. I loved that we were able to sit at Carolyn's house and get our hair done and just enjoy getting ready and spending time with eachother. We just snacked, talked, and got dressed. It was great.
Oh, and don't worry. This is Carolyn and Rachel pulling dog "residue" from the dog...on her wedding day...ready to go to her wedding...gross. So sick. That's love right there.
Amanda, Carolyn and I before the photo shoot in the lyme sync. (my sleeves kept falling off until Rachel discovered double stick tape at the Methodist church!!! Great invention)
When we purchased the dresses, we knew I'd be adding sleeves and Carolyn arranged it so that we would all have different styles so I wouldn't stick out too much. Well that plan fell through and I was the only one with a different dress. Well worth it though :) Ms. Sorya (Carolyn's mom) and Ms. Beverly (Trae's mom) wished that we all had sleeves added because they liked it more
Oh, don't worry...we had a strech hummer... naturally.
Waiting in the Bridal Parlor. Carolyn and Trae are Pentecostal but they liked the downtown Methodist Church better so they had the wedding ceremony there. It was beautiful.
Carolyn was gorgeous. It was a very touching ceremony. Trae was in tears (we took bets he would cry...well not really because we all knew he would cry. What a sweetheart.)
In the Hummer again on the way to Stonebridge Country Club for the beautiful reception. This is Kyle another high school friend.
The lovely, hilarious toasts from the maid of honor and best man. What a hoot.
Amanda and I after a LONG day of festivities.
One of my favorite parts of the weekend was going to church at my old ward. It was so great to see so many familiar faces. I absolutely loved it. The Sorensen's picked me up for church Sunday morning and Mary and her two kids drove me up to Leesburg to meet up with Amanda and her family at her church. I loved the great talk I had with Mary. She always inspires me to be better because she is so complimentary, kind hearted, and loving. What a great day!
I loved seeing so many people that I've thought about over the years...and some I haven't thought of too much as well. I absolutely loved it. It was weird going back 4.5 years later. I'm an adult and can even have intelligent comments. The whole weekend, Amanda and I were discussing how grateful we were that we were able to leave town, but gosh, as I was sitting in church, I was so so grateful that I grew up there and I really could see myself going back some day. I just love the south. The people. The weather. And of course, good ol' southern hospitality.
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