A Seaside Winter Walk

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New Year’s Day promised to be a beautiful 60 degrees outside, so my husband, younger son and I decided to head to the beach for a winter’s walk.  We began at our favorite little cafe in Lewis, Olive and Oats, then fortified with a delicious lunch, which included the obligatory black-eyed peas, we headed to the Cape.

 

Below is the beautiful boardwalk towards the beginning of the trail…

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leading to the spectacular scenery just beyond and along the path.

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colorful marsh
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egrets
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gulls and egrets with WWII lookout tower in background

All along the path were the subdued and peaceful colors of winter, and many other friendly New Year’s Day walkers/cyclists as well.

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escaping the crowd

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Before exiting the park, we happened upon the white-tailed deer, always very plentiful here…

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white-tailed deer fawn
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grazing in playing field

One last look at the sea, then back home to a cozy fire and the promise of more winter walks ahead.

Until next time,

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∼ Jen

Waiting out the Storm

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This has been the rainiest start to a summer I can recall in recent memory.  With one stormy weekend after another, we had not so much as stuck a toe in the sand until the last weekend in June.  So, it was with great anticipation that I packed all of our beach gear and food to finally meet up with one of our favorite families for a beach bonfire….yeah!!

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We never go to the beach early, I’m not a fan of sunscreen and arriving after the crowds leave is even better.  We got there around 4 pm, perfect timing…now to find our friends in the sea of people still remaining.

Her text tells me she is all the way at the end. Unfortunately, for my cooler-toting son and husband, it turned out to be at the very opposite end of where we were…so, after walking and stopping to catch our breath numerous times in what must have been a two-mile hike through the sand, we were more than happy, to say the least, when we finally made our rendezvous.

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Ahh, to at last kick back in our chairs, ocean water lapping at our feet, as we basked in the sights and sounds of the great Atlantic.  It was delightful…until….

When lightening strikes anywhere near the beach, sticking around is not an option, not if you value your life that is.  A few carelessly stayed in the waves, but we high-tailed it out of there, opting to not risk even carrying our metal chairs.  We decided to wait it out a while in our vehicles, eating a few snacks to curb our hunger and hoping the storm would pass so we could continue on with our plans. At least, that’s what a few of us were hoping, another few wanted to pack it in, call it a night, and head for the nearest restaurant. It remained to be seen who would get their wish.

After about 30 minutes and many consumed snacks later, my friend ventured toward the beach, looked back with a big smile on her face, and pointed to the sky…

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Yes, sometimes things are definitely worth waiting through, because you just never know what beauty awaits on the other side of a storm.

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Until next time,

∼ Jen

 

 

∗ Special thanks to my son for sharing his pictures and video.

One Year Anniversary!

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Display from Philadelphia Flower Show 2018

I think there is an unwritten rule in the blogosphere that an anniversary post is to be written each year, and though it seems much too soon for a year to have gone by, here goes!!

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There’s really not much for me to say regarding my blog, but much to say about my blogging experience which I can sum up in two words:

Thank You!

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Thank you to all who have stopped by to visit, and all those with a friendly word to pass along.  Thank you especially to those who have become “friends” in this community.

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You are a very positive, encouraging group of people who have enriched my life with your words and talents.

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This blog was originally intended as a place for me to catalogue mostly nature, but family memories as well for both myself and my sons to look back on, but you have made it so much more.

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So many wonderful people in this big beautiful world, I wish I could share a cup of coffee with you all and get to know you a little bit more!

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So, here’s to many more blogging years, not only to enjoy sharing my memories…

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but to enjoy sharing in your journeys as well!

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Harold

Until next time,

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God Bless!!

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∼Jen

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Because a Song, Needed to be Sung….

 

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Early music days

It all began in a little recording studio where a mutual friend had taken me to cut a demo.  The co-owner was engaged to be married at the time, I became engaged a few months later, at some point we both got un-engaged, and the rest, as they say, is history.

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Lewes, De – First Date

And how can it be we have created twenty-five years of history already….it seems like yesterday, and yet so much has happened in our little lifetimes together. Times of joy, times of tears, new beginnings and new lives…all because a song, needed to be sung.

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We left the altar filled with dreams and hopes of a lifetime together…and we have been blessed.

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First one precious son, then another, and a third child we’ll someday meet in heaven…

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While our sons grew into young men, lines crept onto our faces, and gray, though fiercely fought, invaded our temples…and still we face our days yet to be written, thankfully together.

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  I smile, as the lesson in my Bible study this week just happens to be the love chapter

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor. 13:4-7

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I wish I could say I lived up to all those wonderful words of wisdom on love…yet, it is love, along with God’s grace and a good dose of humor, that has seen us through the past and will hopefully grant us many more years in the future…because, a song still needs to be sung.

To my husband, with all my heart,

∼Jen

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

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Sunset on the Delaware Bay

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Sometimes the best things in life are found right in your own backyard…not literally my backyard in this case, but close enough!

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We have recently discovered that it isn’t always necessary to get in the car and drive to a destination two days away, or hop a flight for a trip half-way across the country, or even out of the country for that matter, we are surrounded by incredible beauty in our own little corner of the world…and for that, we are very thankful.

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One of our favorite places to visit lately has been the Delaware seashore and the quaint little town of Lewes. Founded by Dutch settlers in June of 1631, and named Zwaanendael, which means “swan valley,” it was the first European settlement in what would later become the first state, Delaware.

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On our last trip we arrived shortly before sunset, and walked out on the long pier just inside Cape Henlopen State Park. The park is one of my favorite cycling destinations, and is also where my husband and I had our first date:)

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The lighthouse is visible from the pier, and I can’t look at it without remembering a kayak ride I took there with a dear friend.  She had a tandem kayak and on her last trip out she was surrounded by a pod of dolphins and wanted me to enjoy the same experience.  I was all for it, until we got close to the lighthouse and I started to realize kayaking on a bay is a whole different story than kayaking on a creek.  The waves (I tend to get seasick-that’s an understatement), lack of dolphins, and visions of getting swept out to sea made me wimp out and our trip was cut a bit short. DSC_0160

From where we stood, we were able to see a Cape May-Lewes ferry coming back from its 17 mile journey across the bay to Cape May, New Jersey.  We made a few trips on the ferry when our children were younger to visit the Cape May zoo.  It is a fun trip for kids and adults alike.  It is also a top spot in the fall for bird migration, and I hope to be able to experience that for myself someday soon.  DSC_0081

It is very hard to walk away from a beautiful sunset…

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But eventually we pulled ourselves away and enjoyed strolling the streets of Lewes.  We talked with an exceptionally nice man who worked at The Inn at Canal Square, and he gave us the grand tour.  He also told us about a few movie stars who stayed there, or rather one…the other refused (she shall remain nameless) because she did not think that Delaware was up to her standards.  I really don’t care about movie stars or their opinions, but I did find it ironic when walking through town later, we happened upon this beautiful sight…DSC_0197

and then read the sign just beside this view…..DSC_0201

We also discovered a cafe on a side street that warrants another trip back…

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Just before we headed home I found one more thing to make the night just that much more special…
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It was on a bench where we sat overlooking the canal, but I didn’t know until we got home that I was supposed to re-hide it to bring a smile to another person.  I guess that just makes one more reason we’ll have to go back very soon!

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Until next time, I hope you enjoy all the beautiful treasures in your little corner of the world!

∼ Jen

Where the Wild Ponies Roam

Nobody could capture the Phantom. She was the wildest mare on Assateague Island. They said she was like the wind, that the white “map” on her shoulders was her mark of freedom.  

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

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Saturday was a wonderful day here on the Delmarva Peninsula to escape the 90+ degree heat and head to one of our glorious beaches.  The escape was real…I was actually cool with my beach chair pulled just close enough to the ocean for my feet to catch the refreshing waves.  The ponies evidently had the same idea and provided the show most tourists come to see and one I never get bored with.

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There are two theories about how the wild horses came to be on Assateague Island, which spans 48,000 acres of Virginia and Maryland’s eastern shore. One theory is that they arrived with the early colonial settlers and the other is that they swam to shore after escaping a Spanish galleon cargo shipwreck, of which they were the cargo. I think the latter is a much more exciting theory, and with the discovery of a sunken Spanish ship off the coast in 1997, it is the more credible one as well.

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Sweet family picture…a young foal nursing, stallion in background.

The ponies, officially named “Chincoteague Ponies” for the nearby island off of Assateague, VA, survive eating the wild grasses, bayberry twigs, rosehips and persimmons.  They drink fresh or brackish water found in the lower lying areas of the island. They became famous largely because of the book Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry.

 Though there are signs posted everywhere to stay at least 100 ft. away from the ponies, the ponies, and most people, don’t quite adhere to that warning.  They have been known to bite and kick, so I have a respectful fear of them as I do the ocean.  Apparently, they have also been fed “people” food over the years, also despite the signs, and have developed quite the taste for it. It is common to see them come up to the belongings of beachgoers and rummage through their bags in search of tasty treats…we have been among those beachgoers! They have become quite adept at stomping bags of chips to get to the forbidden contents inside.

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As the afternoon grew late, the ponies started heading down the beach…

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Fires began to be built….

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And by nightfall the campfires burned all around, illuminating the fun gatherings of families and friends, while the ponies slept nearby under the spectacular starry sky.

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∼ Jen

 

‹My apologies to the ponies, as cell phone pictures don’t do their beauty  justice.›

Beach Days

“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought. ”     Helen Keller

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The above quote could very well be mine…..there is never enough time spent on the beach. I usually leave the shore most reluctantly, the last to ever want to start packing up to go, as if, somehow, I’ll never be back again.  There simply is nothing quite like the feeling one gets on the beach or the myriad of memories to be made there!

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Brothers making beachy memories

Not having to keep an eye on little ones of my own anymore on beach outings, I find my eye is drawn to the antics of other children on the beach. The two boys in the foreground of the above picture were so much fun to watch. They were about the same age difference apart as my own two sons, and brought back so many wonderful memories of our own beach days, gone too quickly by.

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“wave-jumping”

The larger group of boys in the picture were having the absolute time of their life! The squeals from them jumping the waves together as they came rolling in one after another quickly caught my attention and provided amusement to anyone watching.

I love the freedom and joy kids have to just be kids on a beach….laughing, squealing, jumping, running, playing, splashing….the sand and waves make for the most wonderful playground of all!

Add a bucket or a giant hole in the sand and what kid could ask for anything more!

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Taking a walk down the beach we came upon this royal work of art. I can only imagine the fun had building this sand castle…I do hope they got pictures of their wonderful masterpiece!

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Drip castle building on Jekyll Island, Georgia

My favorite sandcastle picture of all-time, however, is this picture taken years ago of my own two boys creating their ever favorite “drip castles.” There is a beautiful story behind this picture, but I will simply say, it is a tangible reminder to me of the love and care the very Creator of the waves and sand Himself  has for me, and indeed, each of us.

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Brown Pelican

I don’t remember seeing Brown pelicans on the beaches around here growing up, only seagulls. Perhaps I was too busy building my own sand castles to notice back then, but either way, I enjoy watching them now as an adult.

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Bottom brown pelican with fish in its pouch

I can tell you pelicans don’t sneak in and steal your fries from under your nose when you least expect like the rascals below have been known to do! And as more than a few members of my family will attest to, they also have habits a little more annoying and messy than simply stealing your fries! Still, the beach would not be the same without the sounds of gulls in the background.

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“Laughing Gull”
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remnants of a beautiful day at the beach

By far, the best way to end any beach day is sitting around a bon-fire with family and friends…a true highlight of any summertime memory.

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I wish you and yours many wonderful summer moments, beachside or not:)

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∼ Jen

Beauty Comes in Many Forms on the Cycling Path of Life

 

screen-shot-2017-06-29-at-11-47-13-am.pngIn another lifetime, long-ago college days to be exact, I was one of those cycling enthusiasts-logging 20-30 miles a day anywhere I could fit it into my college schedule. I have to admit I arrived late to more than a few classes while training with a college classmate for the upcoming Seagull Century-fun times! I had all the gear a poor college kid could afford: the all-important, padded cycling shorts, and trust me, they are important; cycling shirts with strategically placed pockets for all those bananas; and the snazziest helmet I could afford!

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Fast forward more years than I will say, and I still long for mild days when I can hop on my bike, getting, as my husband says, “absolutely frantic” when winter looms, threatening the end of my cycling season.  My purpose in cycling has changed drastically you might say, one of the beauties of getting older I guess.  These days it’s all about enjoying the fresh air, exercise, and more importantly the view along the way. Sometimes I do pack my camera to capture it, but mostly I just enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of nature and the serenity it brings.

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Marsh with WWII observation tower in the background and ocean beyond

I do also enjoy the fellow cyclers and walkers on the path, all ages and abilities are out enjoying the fresh air and nature views. From the casual cycler to the spandex-clad, outta-my-way racers going by, you see all types. The joggers take their place, too, along the path and are not in the least inclined to engage in any way as they log their miles. It’s all business with them and that’s ok, to each their own-I admire their stamina! I can’t help but wonder, however, in my very biased opinion, if they wouldn’t be happier on a bike:)

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Yesterday was one of those picture-perfect days.  When I saw the mild, perfectly-suited-for-cycling temperatures heading our way, I made plans with one of my dearest friends-a friendship that dates back to elementary school-and fellow nature enthusiast to ride some trails at one of our favorite spots.  This place ranks as one of the best because the paths are not only well-maintained, but very diverse in scenery. We rode wooded trails as well as marsh trails with views of the ocean in the distance, inhaling deeply the fragrance of pine and marsh scents simultaneously as we pedaled along. Ahhh, it doesn’t get much better.

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Beautiful wildflowers that grow in front of the marsh grass
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Marsh grass surrounding the brackish pond
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The pine trees adding their evergreen beauty

The above pictures show a bit of the diversity we enjoyed, but more beautiful than the scenery, had to be the kindness of strangers at the most opportune time! As we were riding along, basking in the perfect temperature and the peacefulness of it all, a loud pop like a gunshot went off.  In 25+ years of cycling, I’ve never had so much as a flat, but it didn’t take me more than a second to realize that loud pop was my tire, and I was probably in for a nice walk now instead of cycling.

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Lone seabird

I no sooner had gotten off my bike than a nice couple, who had recently retired in the area, stopped and were assessing my situation. In less than 10 minutes, the very kind and very able gentleman had pulled out one of his spare tubes and had me up and going again….long walk averted, whew!  What was also so wonderful was that almost every other cycler going by, and there were many, asked if any extra help was needed as well.

The kindness of strangers is indeed one of the most beautiful things in life.

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Diverse views along the trail

My takeaway from the day: if you want to find a little kindness in the world, coupled with beauty, look no further than your nearest cycling path!

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Happy Trails!

∼ Jen

Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay

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First, I have to thank my younger son for sharing this picture of the dock and for taking a film class in a building with such a gorgeous view:) 

Usually when I visit one of the nearby beach towns this time of year, I’m either sitting on the beach or riding one of the cycling paths nearby. It’s rare that I have the opportunity to just sit on a dock and enjoy the bayside beauty and rarer still to find such a peaceful, quiet dock in the month of June. When my husband and I dropped our son off for his first film class, I wasted no time in grabbing my camera and settling in by the bay to capture some salty-air scenery.

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A lone gull flying over the marsh grasses

The Phragmites pictured above and below, while beautiful, can be very invasive, unfortunately, choking out other native grasses or taking over too much shoreline. It has many positive uses, though, besides being very scenic; it provides a wonderful habitat for several species of birds, it is used to make a musical instrument similar to the clarinet,  its stem and seeds atop the stem are edible, the reeds can be woven into baskets, or used in thatch roofs-these are just some of its many uses in various parts of the world.

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It apparently also makes wonderful nesting material, as this house sparrow proved…

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This black bird, I believe a Grackle, was also a fun little guy to watch as he went flitting through the reeds…

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Now, since I was on the dock of the bay, I did get a few underwater creatures, for instance, the famous Maryland Blue crab:

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A little hard to see through the bay water, but the pretty blue markings are still visible. A few were getting close to the crab trap (below), and I wished I could send a warning down to them to back away!! I must admit, though, I don’t feel so kindly towards them when they pinch my feet in the ocean!

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The last bay inhabitant I took a picture of is the horseshoe crab.  Sadly, I usually only see these washed up on the beaches, so it was nice to see them swimming around, making designs on the sandy bottom with their dragging tails.  I learned many interesting facts about them at the link above… from their blue blood being used in the medical field to their link to the survival of the long distance migratory bird, the red knot. For an interesting video of the horseshoe crab click here.

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While a fascinating creature, it does not make for the prettiest picture with the barnacles on its back, so I’ll end the post with another pretty topical view of the bay.

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Next stop, the beach.  See you there!

A little music for your listening pleasure, the inspiration for this post title, enjoy!

∼Jen

 

 

Wedding by the Bay

Few things in life rival the beauty of a bride on her wedding day.

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That beauty combined with all the laughter, love and joy-set amid the landscape of the Chesapeake Bay, made for a very memorable “all things beautiful” kind of day.

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After several, unseasonably hot days on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Saturday was a mild 70 degrees-a perfect temperature for an outdoor wedding.

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The scenery was spectacular…sailboats, ducks, seabirds, sand, even the infamous…

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…Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  Dwarfed only by the bay itself, it rose in the distance, a rock-solid symbol of strength and support-a very fitting backdrop to the culmination of a relationship that had already stood the test of time.

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The very handsome groom is my nephew, Joe.  He was the first grandson, first nephew. Needless to say, I think we drove his very patient parents a little crazy in the beginning with our baby-loving frenzy!  He is named after my brother, Joseph III, so that would, of course, make him Joseph IV.  That information, however, was not relayed till after a few pranks had been played on my dad, allowing him to believe his first grandson’s name was actually… “Henry!”

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My family remembers well, I’m sure, the t-shirt my ever-comical brother, Steve, bought for him with the phrase “Don’t call me Henry” printed across the front! I don’t recall if the t-shirt was given before or after the real name was revealed….I only remember the huge relief that shone on my dad’s face after finding out his first grandson would indeed bear his name and not some guy named Henry!

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Thirty  years and many out-grown t-shirts later, my first nephew said “I Do” to his gorgeous high-school sweetheart. They are an absolutely perfect couple and we are so thrilled to welcome his beautiful bride, Valerie, into our family!

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Here’s wishing them a long, happy life together…and maybe, some day, a little  “Henry” of their own!

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Modeling the famous “Henry” t-shirt

 

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And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

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♥ Jen