Sunday, May 29, 2011


It's a very long word that I have truly learned how to spell over the last several days. This post really has nothing to do with weddings, but due to the last 5 days of my life, wedding trends are not at the very forefront of my mind. However, let me begin this tale by backing up almost two years ago...
In August of 2009, I was set to have the busiest week of my life. I had two weddings, two weekends in a row, and in between these two weddings, was the first week of school. I knew this would be a crazy week and a half, but with my awesome husband's help and God's grace, I knew I would survive. Later, a few events were added to the already busy schedule. First, the new portable of which I was supposed to move in for the first week of school, did not pass inspection, so I was stuck with 13 seventh graders in a tiny room, which was not my classroom, for four days. Secondly, my husband's cousin from Indiana was coming in to visit during the first two days of school. Thirdly, one of my new bride's mom was coming in from Pennsylvania and wanted me to schedule some appointments for her (to which I needed to attend) during this same, insanely busy week that I wasn't sure I would survive to begin with. On Sunday (after the first wedding and before the cousin arrived AND the first day of school) my husband began to complain of feeling a little achy and tired. By Monday, he thought he had a bad case of gas and was pretty miserable, but functional. On Tuesday (although I didn't know it at the time) he was laying on the floor at work from the discomfort. That evening, we talked to the on-call doctor, described his symptoms and the doctor said unless he had a fever, to just wait until the next day and come in. On Wednesday morning, he did have fever, so he went to the doctor to get some prescription anti-gas medicine, but our brilliant doctor figured out that he had appendicitis and he had an emergency appendectomy. Even during pre-op, he was laughing and joking with the hospital staff and everyone stated that it was a good thing we were taking care of this early. One and a half hours after he went into surgery, the surgeon came out to tell me that his appendix had ruptured and he had gangrene. It was close to a month before he began to feel semi-normal.
So fast forward to last Tuesday. My family went on our first vacation since November of 2009. My husband and I decided to purchase season passes to Schlitterbahn. My parents live in San Antonio, which is just about 20 minutes from the New Braunfels location, so we asked if we could stay with them to save money. My husband took the whole week off and we were just going to go to the park all week. On Tuesday, I woke up feeling fine and we went for our second day of fun in the sun. My 6 year old wanted to sit in my lap for one of the tube rides and we all rode on a river ride together and then my little guy and I got off. I started to feel as though I had gas and went to the bathroom to see if that would help. It didn't and I immediately thought of my husband's experience not even two years prior. However, I began to feel better, so we went on the same ride, again, with my youngest riding in my lap, putting pressure on my appendix. We rode around three times, and when I got up that time, in about 10 minutes I began to experience intense pain and went to the EMT office to lay down. I was literally breathing as though I was in labor to help alleviate the pain. After an hour or so, the pain (all throughout my lower abdomen) began to subside and so I began to press on my lower abdomen just out of curiosity and my pain level shot up again. In the meantime, my husband had put a call into my doctor, and about the time my pain subsided the third time (approximately three hours after my initial discomfort began) my doctor called back and told me to go to Urgent Care. He said that appendicitis pain can begin as more generalized before it localizes in your right side. He also knew what had happened with my husband and knew we couldn't mess around.
By the time the Urgent Care doctor examined me, my pain had once again subsided. He stated that he didn't think I had appendicitis, but rather an ovarian cyst since my pain level was pretty low at the time of his examination. He ordered an ultrasound at a local hospital, his staff made the arrangements with the technician and they sent me on my way. He stated that if the test came back negative, then I should have a CT scan to check my lower abdomen. During the sonogram, my pain level shot through the roof (since she was putting pressure on my RIGHT ovary, hence, my appendix) and I actually vomited from the intensity of the pain. Now, I have given birth four times and NEVER vomited from the pain. So, I would say that my pain level, on a scale from 1-10 with "ten" being the worst pain I ever experienced (labor), was a 12 at that point. After that excruciating test, we were sent back down to the lobby to wait for my Urgent Care doctor to call with the test results. (the lab technician had to call her doctor, who had to call my doctor who called his nurse who called my husband) The nurse told my husband that there were no cysts and that the doctor told me to go home, take ibuprofen and go see an OB the next day. What??? What happened to my CT scan? I was practically shouting as my husband is on the phone with this woman, "Can she tell the doctor that I THREW UP from the pain from the ultrasound?" After much debate amongst ourselves, and discussing some with the hospital receptionist, we decided to try to get a hold of our doctor from home. We called around looking for his number. (I had his cell number from two years ago after my husband's surgery. However, my old cell phone was stolen at Spring Break so I no longer had that number; of course!) We finally called the office and put in a request for the on-call doctor to call us. We explained the situation to him and he said to go immediately to the ER and get a CT scan. So, we head over to the ER and got in after about 45 minutes of painstaking episodes of "Deadliest Catch". The ER doctor examined me, and again, my pain level was pretty low because no one had pushed on my appendix in about 2 hours. He told me, "I don't think you have appendicitis, either, but we need to do a CT scan just to see what IS going on." So, I drank the oral contrast so they could get a good look at my insides, went through the extremely UNpainful scan, and waited for results. The ER doctor came back and stated, matter of factly, "You have appendicitis. I've already called the surgeon. She is great, you will love her. We need to admit you to the hospital and schedule your surgery." Wow. Within about 12 hours of feeling just a little discomfort in my gut, and then having a series of atypical symptoms for appendicitis that were strikingly similar to my husband's less than two years ago, I was being told I had the same infection. What are the odds?
Gratefully, we actually DID catch mine early, and I am recovering much more quickly than my sweet husband. I was able to leave the hospital less than 12 hours after my surgery. I went to my parents' house to rest while my husband took the kids to Schlitterbahn on Thursday and Friday.
The funny thing is, sometime during my hospital stay, one of my bride's sent me an e-mail asking me if I heard back from one of her vendors regarding a question she had. Of course, I took care of the situation in between hits of the pain meds. Hmm... I guess weddings really don't get put on hold due to appendicitis. It's happened to me twice now.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happily Ever After

Today I attended the funeral for my sweet Aunt Carolyn. She had been sick for many years with Alzheimer's Disease and it was a blessing to know that she is finally out of her broken body and with her Saviour in heaven. I enjoyed celebrating her life although I will greatly miss her on this earth. I had the privilege of being one of the speakers to share some family memories. My aunt was such a mother, caretaker and a servant. She loved the Lord and loved and cared for His sheep. One of her cousins also shared about her life, and reminded all of us that my aunt and uncle were the first people to get married in the new building at the church in which her memorial service was held. She shared how beautiful Carolyn looked on her wedding day. I believe it because I have seen the pictures. Her dress was spectacular and I remember as a young woman wanting to wear her dress for my wedding. However, when the time came, the dress was starting to deteriorate since it had not been preserved. I am certain that there was a coordinator for the church that organized the ceremony. Weddings were much simpler back then; they probably just had a cake and punch reception at the church with a receiving line. They most definitely threw rice as they left for their honeymoon. My aunt and uncle changed clothes before leaving because no one wore their wedding clothes upon leaving their celebration. My grandparents never had much money, so there wouldn't have been thousands of dollars spent on flower arrangements and centerpieces; no DJ, videographer, band... However, I am confident that it was an amazing ceremony and one aspect stands out to me. My aunt and uncle stood before their pastor, bright eyed and joyous on their special day, which occurred on Thanksgiving day in 1959, and they recited the words that so many people have for generations before and after, "To have and hold, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others..." You see, I saw that lived out in their lives. They went through the wonderful times of having babies and raising their kids together. The pain and stress of taking care of her ailing mother in their house, watching friends suffer losses of spouses and children; unemployment. The uncertainty of tomorrow. Their marriage which began on that joyous day over 50 years ago withstood the test of time. While my aunt was still mentally alert, she loved on my uncle. They were always kind to one another, they had sweet nicknames for each other, they told each other they loved the other and they always hugged and kissed. My uncle loved his wife by taking care of her when she didn't even know who he was anymore. He served her until he just couldn't physically handle the care anymore. Then he lovingly made the most painful decision to give her to someone who could take care of her 24/7 in ways that he was no longer able. A couple of years later, he decided to move into the same facility where she lived, but in the assisted living section. He visited her daily and loved her still. "Until death do us part." On Saturday, they finally parted. I think my generation has lost the art of loving in that way. We go into relationships and marriage desiring to be loved and cherished, but not understanding the great lengths and challenges that commitment brings; the difficult choices that must be made. My generation thinks that love is supposed to be like the love we see portrayed in Fairy Tales or in movies. Hollywood has painted a false view of love and commitment. So many romantic films these days find love born out of infidelity and we call it romance. My aunt and uncle are from a rare breed of people who found a way to make it work, no matter what the circumstances. I am thankful for Carolyn's life and legacy, and for her and Ed's example of what true, selfless, unconditional love looks like. It is the kind of love the Jesus showed us by dying on the cross. Because of this love, this great, sacrificial love offering that both my aunt and uncle believed in and their lives reflected, this true fairy tale wedding and marriage does not end today. These two love birds will be united again in heaven, perfect and whole and with their Savior. This story ends with the purest form of "Happily Ever After."

Erin Joyner Wedding Coordinator Bryan College Station, TX

Monday, May 2, 2011

The "Hiring a Wedding Planner" Dilemma

My husband recently talked to one of his coworkers about her wedding which took place a couple of weeks ago. He asked her how her wedding went and she replied, "It was wonderful. One aspect that I would change, however, is that I would hire a wedding planner." When he inquired as to why, she said because she spent the entire pre-wedding, post-wedding and reception answering questions. At the reception, she had to tell people where to go and what was happening next. She said her vendors were wonderful (her photographer was Kathy Norwood- she IS fabulous!) but the bride was the one who had to connect all the pieces. Each vendor played his or her part, but the woman of the hour wasn't able to fully enjoy her most special day since she, in all essence was the wedding planner. Will you save money by not hiring a coordinator? Possibly. Coordinators have great money saving tips, know all the vendors in your area and can assist you in making the very best choices for your preferences and budget. Can you plan your own wedding without the assistance of a planner? Absolutely. However, you should at least consider hiring someone for "day of" or "weekend of" services. Otherwise, you will find yourself being the coordinator, as this bride did, and the wedding of your dreams may not be as enjoyable as you would like it to be. I know, I AM a coordinator, so of course I want you to hire one. However, I've been to weddings without a coordinator; I've lived it. (see this post) It's worth it.

A true story from Bryan/College Station, TX