Wednesday, August 29, 2007

One Month Down, A Lifetime To Go

Niels and I were able to celebrate our first month anniversary today. Bailey was first to congratulate us--with a 4am request to see the great outdoors. After Niels was back to sleep, Jen slipped downstairs to make a surprise cinnamon raisin loaf for him (Thanks Schmidts & Dudiczs. We LOVE the breadmaker!) But her math was off, so she got the enjoy the new loaf herself.

Once Niels was off to work, Jen worked on her gift to Niels...a new name! Yep! Jen Abbas is now legally Jen de Jong, according to the Social Security office. When she arrived home, there was a nice big package from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Thanks, Basses, for contributing to Jen's culinary collection!

Niels arrived home with red roses for Jen (yay, Niels!) and Niels arrived home to a good cooking test day. Yummy stir fry (thanks again, Schmidts and Dudiczs for the wok!) with apple juice in our new wine classes (thanks, Kennedys!) We played our own version of Go-Fish/Uno with the Mahjong set Jen got in China. And for dessert, Jen made a heart shaped cake.
The night ended with the very good news that Jen and Niels' very good friend, Mark Meyer, got engaged to his new fiance, Lori this weekend. We were very happy to inundate him with our newlywed wisdom and look forward to hosting the couple when they come visit us in Canton, hoping in November for the Viking/Packer game and Hall of Fame tour. (Lori, did you know the football Hall of Fame hosts wedding receptions?!? )

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

Dutch Dad's Pictures


Click here for pictures from Niels' dad.

If you were a guest, please send yours as well...don't hold out on us!

The Rose Nose

The intelligence Jen fell in love with... ;-)

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The first official pictures

Our photographer, Terry Goodman, just posted the first of our wedding pictures. Take a look.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A wedding memory


This week has been so wonderful and lowkey. I've been spending my time in all things domestic. As I type this, I've got our inaugural loaf of bread rising in our bread maker. We've also been able to enjoy reminiscing about our wedding day.

Niels and I chose July 29 as our wedding day for several logistical reasons, and one very important sentimental one: it would have been my mom and dad's 40th anniversary. My matron of honor helped us make the decision. She reminded me that so much of my life has been about redemption: living my life in response to Christ's atoning work, but also seeking to redeem the hurts in my life, like writing Generation Ex for other adult children of divorce. With the prospect of my own marriage having been such a terrifying prospect all these years in the shadow of my parents' divorces, it seemed very fitting to us to redeem July 29 for our family. No longer is it a day of what could have been. Now, what a wonderful day it was, and we look forward to celebrating forty or more July 29ths together in our future.

In our ceremony, Niels and I both offered tributes to our parents, and our parents each welcomed their new children into their family. But the moment that made me most proud of my parents was when my mom and dad danced together briefly before mom turned dad over to my stepmom, Carole. It was a very symbolic moment for me, seeing my parents set aside their pasts, and for a moment, acknowledge the history that made me come to be. I couldn't have asked for a better gift. Mom has often said that she's happy that Dad found love again, which in instead, I think, is evidence of healing and redemption.

I had a little heads up that the dance would take place, and I was able to choose a song that reflects my thoughts and gratitude for their gesture.

In My Daughter's Eyes
performed by Martina McBride

In my daughter's eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes everyone is equal
Darkness turns to light and the
world is at peace
This miracle God gave to me gives me
strength when I am weak
I find reason to believe
In my daughter's eyes

And when she wraps her hand
around my finger
Oh it puts a smile in my heart
Everything becomes a little clearer
I realize what life is all about

It's hangin' on when your heart
has had enough
It's giving more when you feel like giving up
I've seen the light
It's in my daughter's eyes

In my daughter's eyes I can see the future
A reflection of who I am and what will be
Though she'll grow and someday leave
Maybe raise a family
When I'm gone I hope you see how happy
she made me
For I'll be there
In my daughter's eyes

Thank you, Mom and Dad. In this daughter's eyes, I see two parents who love me enough to show me in the way I most wanted to see it.

Our Vows

Several weddings ago, I began asking my married friends for copies of their wedding vows. As our pastor shared with us, sometimes when couples write their own vows, their words tend to be more of a tribute to their intended, rather than a stated commitment of their covenant. I like to have copies of my friends' marriage vows as a way of continued support of their marriage. I use the vows to guide my prayers for them, and my conversations with them. Niels and I included our vows in our wedding program because we welcome and desire the prayers of those who know us, to keep us accountable to covenant we made. For this reason, we're sharing our vows here:

Niels’ Vows to Jen:
With deepest joy I, Niels Olaf de Jong, receive you, Jennifer Ann Abbas, into my life, that we may be as one on this day in a covenant, not just between you and I, but between the two of us together, and the Lord our God. In front of our Savior, our families and our friends, I promise to:
pray for you * love you * protect you * comfort you * provide for you * care for you * guide you * initiate reconciliation with you * forgive you * hold you * cherish you * listen to you * encourage you * and inspire you.

I will support your talents and abilities that make you unique and to lend you all of my strength to all of your dreams in order to make them our own, for the rest of my days as today I pledge not only to make us happy, but to reflect Christ‘s image to the world through our life together.

Coming together from different worlds, born oceans apart, brought together on this day in God’s perfect time, we will now travel together as we will embrace both the joys and hardships that God will allow us to face together and together experience the satisfaction of working through any and all struggles He allows.

I promise that as long as you are alive, I will never marry another. I choose to love you, and I promise to be faithful to you in heart, mind, body and spirit, from better to worse to better again, until death brings us new life.

Jen’s Vows to Niels
I, Jennifer Ann Abbas, joyfully join with you, Niels Olaf de Jong, this day in a covenant, not between you and I, but between the two of us together, and the Savior we seek to serve. In front of our loved ones, who we freely invite to hold us accountable to these vows, I promise: to choose to love you for the rest of my days as I strive not only to make you happy, but to make us holy. I promise that together we will embrace both the joys and hardships that God will allow us to face together and together experience the satisfaction of working through our struggles. I commit to creating a marriage in which our children, our family, our friends and others will see Christ in us and through us as we model His love, His life and His reconciliation. I choose to think the best of you and to follow your lead to seek righteousness over just being right. I promise that as long as you are alive, I will never marry another. I choose to love you, and I promise to be faithful to you in heart, mind, body and spirit, from better to worse to better again, until death brings us new life.

And for our Dutch family and friends.../En voor onze Netherlands familie en vrienden...

Niels' Gelofte aan Jen:
Met grote vreugde, welkom ik, Niels Olaf de Jong, jouw, Jennifer Ann Abbas, in mijn leven, dat wij op deze dag in een overeenkomst, niet alleen tussen jouw en mij, maar tussen ons tweeen, en God onze lieve Heer. Voor Hem, onze families en onze vrienden, beloof ik:

voor jouw te bidden * van jouw te houden * jouw te beschermen * jouw te troosten * jouw te verzorgen * om jouw te geven * jouw te begeleiden * verzoening met jouw in werking te stellen * jouw te vergeven * jouw te koesteren * naar jouw te luisteren * jouw aan te moedigen * en jouw te inspireren.

Ik zal jouw talenten en capaciteiten steunen die jouw uniek maken en zal al mijn sterktes aan al jouw dromen geven om ze samen waar te maken, voor de rest van mijn dagen, aangezien aangezien ik niet alleen ernaar streef om jouw gelukkig te maken, maar ons samen meer op Christus te laten lijken.

Wij, te samen gekomen uit verschillende werelden, elk geboren aan de andere kant van de oceaan, die op deze dag met God's perfecte timing worden samengebracht, samen zullen wij nu door het leven reizen aangezien wij zowel de vreugden als ontberingen zullen omhelzen die God ons zal toestaan zodat wij samen de tevredenheid mogen ervaren van het verwerken van deze vreugden en ontberingen.

Ik beloof dat zolang jij in leven bent, ik nooit een ander zal trouwen. Ik verkies om van jouw te houden, en ik beloof trouw te zijn aan jouw in hart, gedachte, lichaam en geest, van beter tot slechter en weer naar beter, tot de dood ons het nieuwe leven brengt.

Jen's Gelofte aan Niels:
Ik, Jennifer Ann Abbas, verbind mij in grote vreugde met jouw, Niels Olaf de Jong, deze dag in een overeenkomst, niet alleen tussen jouw en mij, maar tussen ons tweeen, en God onze lieve Heer.

Voor Hem, onze families en onze vrienden, die wij uitnodigen om ons aan deze geloften te houden, beloof ik:

om voor jouw te kiezen voor de rest van mijn dagen aangezien ik niet alleen ernaar streef om jouw gelukkig te maken, maar ons samen meer op Christus te laten lijken.

Ik beloof dat wij samen zowel de vreugden als ontberingen zullen omhelzen die God ons zal toestaan zodat wij samen de tevredenheid mogen ervaren van het verwerken van deze vreugden en ontberingen.

Ik verbind mij aan het creƫren van een huwelijk waarin onze kinderen, onze familie, onze vrienden en anderen Christus in ons zullen zien aangezien wij Zijn liefde, Zijn leven en Zijn verzoening modelleren.

Ik verkies om het beste van jouw te denken en jouw te volgen om onder jouw leiding naar oprechtheid te streven.

Ik beloof dat zolang jij in leven bent, ik nooit een ander zal trouwen.

Ik verkies om van jouw te houden, en ik beloof trouw te zijn aan jouw in hart, gedachte, lichaam en geest, van beter tot slechter en weer naar beter, tot de dood ons het nieuwe leven brengt.

(Since we are hoping to raise any children to be bilingual, you can also pray for my Dutch language skills!)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

We're home!

We're home from our amazing trip, but the honeymoon is far from over. I love being married to Niels!

Here's the view from our room at the Breezes resort in Curacao. What a beautiful way to start our married life!

To see a few more pictures from the week up to the wedding through our honeymoon, click here.

If you were a guest at our wedding, we'd love to see your shots as well.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Married now... ;-)

OK, still a place-holder, but we're married now !!! Check back soon for the launch of our virtual family to complement our real family.