"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chapter Three: When the Saints Go Marching In

After the wedding, my parents headed home, and we were left with an empty house. It took me a week or so to get the Christmas decor put away, and even with our life returning to normal (somewhat), our house showed the effects of two months o' parties.

It was a given that we wouldn't be entertaining again for several months -- We needed desperately to reestablish some kind of order and routine. And in the week that followed, as we returned to work and school, we subconsciously let our housework go altogether....simply because we could.

And then, on January 13, Ryan's precious grandmother passed away. Knowing that she was nearing the end, Ryan had set out to visit her in her nursing home that afternoon. When he arrived, he was greeted by the nursing staff with the words, "My condolences." He had missed it by about 45 minutes.

(Ryan's grandma with Ryley, about five years ago, right before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's:)

I loved Ryan's grandma. "Granny Franny" was a spitfire...a ball of energy with bright red lipstick and a gigantic smile. She lived for Jesus and nobody else, and she couldn't care less what anybody thought. She was the one who marched Ryan down to the altar when he was five years old so he could accept Jesus as his Savior. In recent years she hadn't known us....Her mind was too far gone. It was sad and very hard on her children to watch her slow decline. So, though we will miss her, we know she is with Jesus, and we know she is finally whole again!

Three days after she passed, Ryan's three siblings (and three of their kids) arrived from New York, Georgia, and Florida, to stay with us for the funeral. There was hardly any time to clean and prep the house for their visit, so we just made do. Good thing we have become so adept at handling large amounts of company!!

Despite the sad occasion, it was nice to see everybody again. It had been over a year since Ryan had seen any of his siblings. And it was neat to have all of our kids together for "cousin time."

Ryley and her cousins Sammy and Raegan watch cartoons:

Ryley and Raegan give Baby Olivia some love!!

Ryan's sister Rhonda introduces Olivia to Aunt Gayla and cousin Annika at church. :-) So sweet...the girls are only a month or so apart in age.

Ryley and Raegan shared a bed. They really are the best of friends!!!

Ryan and his siblings at the reception after the funeral...Ryan and Derrick served as pallbearers. The hymn "When the Saints Go Marching In" was played as we all filed out of the church behind Grandma Moore's casket. I don't know that I will ever view that song the same again. :-)

Gwen, Ryan, Rhonda, and Derrick

Raegan's 4th birthday was the day of the funeral, so we celebrated that evening with ice cream cake and presents!

Sweet Sammy!

We were so grateful that Ryan's siblings could make it out here to honor and remember their grandmother. Some of them were here for six days, and we had some good family time with everyone. The funeral went very nicely and was a beautiful tribute to a beautifully lived life.

And now our house is empty again.

There is, however, more to share.

On another night. :-)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chapter Two: Wedded Bliss

The majority of my family headed back home on December 27, and it was time to throw my efforts into a new venture...my beautiful friend Kendra's wedding! Kendra and Chris's wedding festivities just happened to land on Ryan's and my 11th wedding anniversary on December 28, and it was so much fun to reminisce and relive our own wedding memories by participating in theirs!

It was a little surreal to leave Kendra's bachelorette party -- 11 years to the day after my own -- and drive home to the little cozy house where Ryan and I have built this sweet, happy family life in 11 years' time. We joked that the enormity of 11 years hits home when you break it down thus: 2 years + 2 years + 2 years + 2 years + 1 year + 2 years. :-) We have known so many couples who have gotten divorced in the last few years, and we are incredibly grateful to God for our relationship and its steadfastness in Him. We pray that Kendra and Chris will be equally as happy and content!!!

So, we started out with the bachelorette party by going bowling downtown, at the bride's request!

Then we had a late dessert at the Cheesecake Factory!

The wedding was absolutely beautiful, and Kendra was a gorgeous bride!

Here is Christie, the lovely matron of honor.

Pre-wedding toast...

Christie, Kendra, and I have been the best of friends since we were nine years old. We went to school together all the way through college! Even though we had spread out all over the world (literally) after we graduated, we were all living in the Denver area for the few years leading up to the wedding, which was really, really nice. :-)

A sparkly farewell!

And that was the last time I've seen our dear Kendra. After the honeymoon, she and Chris moved to Minot, North Dakota, to set up house and make a life together as youth pastors. Maybe she will set up a blog so we may share in her northern adventures (hint, hint).

We are so happy for them, and I feel so blessed and privileged that I could serve as a bridesmaid on such a happy evening. :-)

Next up: Chapter Three.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It's getting to the point that if I don't just jump in and type, I may never. As I've said before, I am a therapeutic journaler....I don't really move past situations until I have thoroughly debriefed. And I must admit that I am seriously backlogged at the moment! So you will have to bear with me as I start with December and move forward from there....

I simply have to share about my ingenious "doubleheader party plan." Clean the house once and have TWO parties in one day (though it didn't seem so ingenious when we were madly cleaning the house that morning!).

At 1 p.m. on a Saturday, we held my students' piano recital:

All of the kids did so well, and I was so proud of all of them! We cleaned up that reception, and then at 6 p.m., we had our annual Christmas party for our group of friends from high school! So fun!

The next week, we went with some friends to the White Fence Farm for dinner. Ryley had never wanted to meet Santa before, but when she saw that Mrs. Claus was with him, she finally agreed to go meet him! We have waited six and a half years for the customary "Santa picture." :-)

That weekend, Ryley participated in our church's Christmas children's production! Were we ever glad to be done listening to those songs. Ha! :-)

In the next several days after that, my family began arriving for Korell Christmas Extravaganza Denver 2009. My aunt Coleen and I had decided several months ago to invite the extended family to Denver for Christmas. It even ended up being a white one, which was perfect!!!!

Justin and Aly brought Betsy, their Cocker Spaniel, so Juliet got to meet her cousin. :-)

I absolutely love this picture...a quiet Christmas Eve morning, with a little girl and her daddy...

We went ice skating as a family on Christmas Eve...so special and fun!!!

That night we had a talent show and sing-along. Yes, my family is goofy and wonderful. :-) Don't ask what my brother and I are doing there...

And then, the long-awaited Christmas morning! Santa brought Ryley a writing desk and chair, which is exactly what she had asked him for when she saw him a week earlier!

It was a wonderful Christmas morning, and then the family began arriving again for the noon meal! Over the four days, we had between 15 and 21 people in our house at any given time. It was so much fun! Lots of work, but lots of fun. I have new appreciation for what my grandma has done twice a year for generations! :-)

We were able to take some pictures of my immediate family, which was really nice....

Our ongoing joke all weekend was how those of us with I-Phones were constantly on them. So we had some fun with it!

That brings us through December 26, and yet more fun awaits! However, as it is nigh midnight, the debriefing will have to wait until another day. :-) Thanks for bearing with me through this leg of the journey!

Good night!