STOP, TAKE A STEP BACK AND ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE

by Tammy Phillips
May 2, 2021

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” John 10:10 AMPC

I wish that I could just post the title and you would understand, “Stop and enjoy every moment of life!”  Some of you might understand.  I don’t know.

I am speechless.

Father God:  Weave this together through the power of the Holy Spirit because I have nothing and everything to say.  Please use these fingers to type what you want.  In Jesus Name. Amen.

I was blessed with a new daughter yesterday.  Mary Claire took  Brayden, my eldest son’s hand in marriage.  She gets it and I am thankful she is teaching my son a lesson that I did not learn until much later in life.

Thursday night, the destination wedding celebration began at Watercolor Beach Club in Florida.   Family friends of the Bride hosted  an  INTIMATE, CASUAL Welcome Party completed with a  bonfire, charcuterie boards, and smores.  When tiny Mary Claire arrived, I ask her how she was doing.  She gave me one her huge hugs.  She squeezes BIG.  She responded positively as always. She who is wise beyond her years said, “I am trying to make myself stop, take a step back and take a picture in my mind.  I do not want to forget one moment.”  As a photographer, I try to capture every moment.  I do not want to miss a thing.  I love Mary’s wisdom.  I am going to purpose to put down the camera and take more mental snap shots.  They can be filed away and stored forever, when a photo can not.   I chose to step away from the rectangle of the well-appointed beach chairs that encapsulated the small fire, friends and family.  Rain had been in the forecast all week. God graciously answered our prayers and supplied us with His perfection. The evening was cool, and the sunset was absolutely stunning.  She put on a show that was not meant to be missed.  I stepped away and recorded my memory and  I enjoyed every move she made. I thanked God for the day.

Friday provided another ideal day.   It kicked off early with a  12:15 AM  knock on  our bedroom door with an exclamation from the new Great Granny and a call from our sister-in- aw who was a brand-new Granny, “we have a baby!” Oh, Henry arrived at 11:31 ET.  We stopped and enjoyed every moment. We were now the GREATEST Aunt and Uncle.

Friday continued with a quick (thank you, Rev. Leach!)  9:00 AM rehearsal at Cerulean Park.  

The flawless day  continued with the MOST bridal luncheon at Pescado Seafood Grill  and Rooftop Bar, generously hosted by long-time friends, Mandy Lang, Sandra McDuffie, Casey McNeill, Beth Skudder and Charlotte Wheeler,  who were also mothers of  five of the bridesmaids.   No detail was forgotten.   It was simply ELEGANT.  I did not want to miss one thing so I asked my mother-in-law to switch places with me, so that I could take it ALL in and enjoy every moment…the ocean, the rooftops, the laughs, the tears of Mary, the mothers, the bridesmaids, the aunts and the grandmothers. 

At one point I stopped, stepped to the edge of the rooftop and enjoyed breathing in the ocean air.   I thanked God for the breath in my lungs.  With a full but achy heart, I then offered a simple prayer for strength and courage for our family friend, Ranae Osbourne, and her family.  I was sad in that moment that our family could not be there to love on hers.  At the same time of our roof top celebration, she was celebrating the life of her husband who had unexpectantly had an abrupt end to his young life.   We love you, Ranae.   STOP, TAKE A STEP BACK AND ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE…we cannot take it for granted because we do not know when it might end.

The night came to a complete end.  We were honored to host the rehearsal dinner at the Perfect Pig Grill and Fish House in Watercolor.   The restaurants dining room was filled with sixty-five of the kid’s closest friends and family who stopped and unashamedly expressed their admiration for the couple.  Brayden and Mary hung on every word and enjoyed every second. The night could be described in one word- LOVE!  Really, if it had a hashtag, it would be:  #admirable.

Saturday, the wedding day finally arrived after the 10-month postponement due to that illness I am not got going to glorify any longer by name!  The weather had been feared by many  because the ugly disease had cancelled the Seaside Chapel as wedding venue and The Lake House at Watercolor for the place of the reception.  The ceremony had been moved to the open air of Cerulean Park and the reception to the tented Marina Park.  Prayer prevailed and God honored us all with a flawless day. 

Before the wedding began amidst the myriad of pictures being snapped, family friend, Lysbeth Francis offered me some unbelievable advice, “STOP.  GET BY YOURSELF. TAKE A STEP BACK AND JUST ENJOY.  It will be gone before you know it. ”  This is for real.  I am not kidding.  I followed Mary and Lysbeth’s advice several times during the day and into the evening.

  • I looked at my son’s finger and imagined the gold band on it.  I purposely took his hand and looked at it after the wedding.
  • Neither my son nor I like attention, at all.  As much as I wanted to speed down the aisle, I whispered to him to slow down and enjoy, because we would only do this one time.
  • When Mary Claire walked down the aisle, I did not want to miss one second of her radiant beauty.  I chose  to stop and not get mesmerized by her grace but  also to enjoy the look on my son’s face.
  • I stopped many times to relish the love between Mary and B.
  • The last thing  I did was to delight  in the joy on the face of the Mother of the Bride, Cathy Wilcheck, as our babies walked down the long, graveled path  bordering Marina Park.  It was joyfully lined by family and friends yielding large, lighted balloons and fiercely shaking white pom-poms.   Mary and Brayden stepped into the back of their impeccably decorated golf cart.  And flashed us a peak of their sneakers  that they had donned to dance the night away.  Off they went.  Sheer joy and relief crossed Cathy’s face.  In that moment was speechless.   Emotion welled up. 

How could I thank she and Pat for giving Mary and Brayden the wedding of their dreams?  How I could I thank them for not saying “NO?”    The only thing I could say was “perfection.” God had exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ask or think…God had provided all this, and we knew it.  However, she and Pat were the conduit of His blessings.  Our “thank you’s” and gratitude will never be enough.

I enCOURAGE you in the words of Jesus and  beautiful, daughter of the King Jesus, Mary Claire…”STOP, TAKE A STEP BACK AND ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF LIFE.”  Jesus gave His life for us and came so that we may have and enjoy life full overflowing.  Live the life He so freely gives on purpose.

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