525,600 minutes

“We held you & loved you from the moment you came into this world & if you forget, we are here to remind you as many times as you need.” (Brian Andreas)

First of all, I hope reading this title puts the opening song from Rent in your head. If it doesn’t, please go Youtube the song and listen to it immediately. As I finally found a chance to begin writing to reflect on my first year of motherhood and Ezra’s first year of life, this was the song that came to mind.

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Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets
In midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles
In laughter, in strife
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life
How do you measure a year in the life? It’s been the longest shortest year. I feel like anyone reflecting on their first year as a parent will understand what I mean by that. The first 6 months when E only slept 3-4 hour stretches at a time (one time he slept 5 and I woke up in a panic thinking something had happened to him), but I honestly thought I wasn’t going to make it. Everyone kept telling me that he would sleep and that I would sleep again, but those first 6 months, I did not believe it. The first time he slept through the night, I only slept for 6 hours and couldn’t go back to sleep, but it was victorious and glorious.
What kept me going and sane was that he was otherwise a very happy and easy going baby…and he still is. I count my blessings around that every day and every night as I put him to sleep. Oh, and just for the record, he sleeps for 10-11 hours every night now with an occasional restless night. It’s a MIRACLE.
Becoming a mother this past year was just that…it was becoming. People would tell me before I was a mom that I was a natural mother, but when you have your first child at 37 years old, it comes with what I would guess as a bigger transition in some ways. When you’ve lived your life with just you and maybe a partner for that long, you really know who you are, what you like, and how you function. And although I had always wanted to be a mother as previous posts will indicate, I wasn’t quite prepared for the loss that comes with that new identity too. I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining. I love E and can’t imagine life without him, but everyone expects you to be super happy about being a mother and no one asks you about what feels hard and what is lost with that new identity. And I guess I didn’t like to really talk about it either because I felt like I was being ungrateful or that maybe it would sound like I didn’t love my son with a depth of love I’ve never experienced. But I want to put it out there that there were and sometimes still are moments where I feel some kind of loss. Basically, no decision I ever make, EVER,  is just about me anymore. As I began this post, I was literally eating sliced cheese and tortilla chips as a late lunch after feeding my son a gourmet meal and putting him down for his afternoon nap…on my day off.
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But along with my truth and my own process of becoming again with its growing pains, every minute this past year, however hard, however joyful, are minutes I wouldn’t trade for the world. And although I wouldn’t have thought it was possible, I love E more and more every single day.
And in this horrible political climate and bizarre time in our country and world, a time where my heart aches almost every time I read the news, what has kept me going, sane, and hope-filled is this little child of mine. He reminds me and teaches me to see life for what it is, to live each moment fully, to laugh, explore, try, and be willing to be held by someone else. He is the reason I never forget to say a prayer at night. He is the reason I have measured this year in love, despite the messages of hate that surround us. He is the reason why I feel more convicted that we must work for love and change and justice with some measure of courage because I need things to be better for him…and for all children born in this time.
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So, in case one day E grows up and cares about what his Umma had to say about year one, here’s also a note for him.
Dear Ezra,
I stared at a blinking cursor for about 5 solid minutes before I decided to type and tell you that I stared at a blinking cursor for 5 solid minutes. Trying to think of the words to say to you to express everything you could mean to me in this first year of your life is overwhelming and all I can tell you is that I have so many feelings rushing over me right now. You are my love bug, my baby, my beautiful boy.
You have brought incredible life and nonstop joy to me and your Appa. Every night, before we go to bed, we reflect on the day and talk about what you did and watch my Instagram stories, yes, the ones that disappear after 24 hours, and yes, the same videos of you playing, eating, and doing something silly. Even after you’re asleep, we can’t get enough of you. You remind us that there is so much to be grateful for, and we make sure we acknowledge that every single day.
At one year old, you officially have 8 teeth (!), you wave, high five, manseh (lift hands up), pray (praying hands) at meals, and blow kisses. You shake your body to music, and recently you started shooting baskets into a little hoop you got for your birthday. You love trucks (pick up trucks, dump trucks, or UPS trucks), airplanes, birds, and dogs, and will always make an excited “ooo ooo” sound while pointing at them when you see any of these things. You LOVE BALLS and we are pretty sure your first word where you associate it is “baaa” for ball. You’re not a fan of stuffed animals. You prefer real objects over your toys in general. You love books. You love when people read to you and you have your favorites that rotate on a regular basis.
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You can say “Umma” and “Appa” but you don’t specifically call us by those names but instead will randomly say it. You do whisper “up” now when you want to be held. You always whisper it. Ever since you began laughing, I’ve always been able to make you laugh. Appa, not so much, but you’re starting to finally think he’s funny too. I am guessing you’re going to be left-handed like your Appa, but only time will tell! You go back and forth with your hands a lot.
You love being outside.
We are pretty sure you are an extrovert. You love being around people, definitely get energized by them, and could keep going and going if I would let you. Sometimes, it takes me putting you into a darkened room and holding you for you to realize how tired you are, and then you literally crash in my arms.
You can sit through most of a church service (much to the happiness of your church family).
You seem cautious in general. You’re not walking yet and it took you a long time to figure out how to crawl on hands and knees and pull yourself up. You were an army crawl champion for a long time though and you can still move super fast that way. You never minded being on your belly and you prefer to sleep on your belly now.
Your bedtime ritual consists of us putting on pajamas, giving you a bottle, reading you some books, and then hugging and waving goodnight to Appa. We then go to your room and sing “Jesus Loves Me, Twinkle Twinkle and ABC” and then you go to sleep.
So far this year, we discovered that you’re allergic to peanuts and massively allergic to sesame. We found out about the sesame allergy one week before your birthday and were in urgent care for hours after your massive reaction. An epipen probably saved your life. I had never been so scared since you’ve been born. I had given you hummus and apparently, it was the tahini in it. I spent that night laying on the ground next to your crib to listen to your breathing per the doctor’s suggestion, just in case. I’m glad we found out, but we are also pretty bummed because almost everything in Korean food has sesame or sesame oil in it. We are just so glad you’re okay.
Anyway, those are some of the things we want to remember.
I want to close with this poem that was given to me at one of my baby showers…it made me emotional then, but now that you’re here, it speaks a louder truth in a beautiful way that I can’t do on my own. It says:

I am your parent you are my child
I am your quiet place, you are my wild
I am your calm face, you are my giggleBabyEzra'sFirstBirthdayShoot-QuiannaMarie-68
I am your wait, you are my wiggle
I am your audience, you are my clown
I am your London Bridge, you are my falling down
I am your carrot sticks, you are my licorice
I am your dandelion, you are my first wish
I am your water wings, you are my deep
I am your open arms, you are my running leap
I am your way home, you are my new path
I am your dry towel, you are my wet bath
I am your dinner, you are my chocolate cake
I am your bedtime, you are my wide awake
I am your finish line, you are my race
I am your praying hands, you are my saving grace
I am your favourite book, you are my new lines

I am your nightlight, you are my sunshine
I am your lullaby, you are my peek-a-boo
I am your kiss goodnight, you are my I love you

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Thank you for making me a mom, Ezra. Happy 1st Birthday, baby. I love you.
Love,
Umma

P.S. All of these pictures were taken on the day of your 1st birthday, close to the time you were actually born.BabyEzra'sFirstBirthdayShoot-QuiannaMarie-35

 

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Photos by QuiannaMarie Photography

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One Decade

Ten.

Ten years since that day in which I made vows.
Vows made not to a human partner, but to a Divine One in divine community, where bread was again broken, the cup shared, a natural flow to the rhythm of my life.

Ten.

3,650 days of swimming, of flapping, of wonder, of confusion, of proclaiming, of baptizing, of sitting with, of crying, of laughing until my belly hurts. 3,650 days of memories in hospital rooms of the dying and the sweet squirming of new life.
3,650 days of teenagers.

Ten.

Ten years of Easter sunrise, celebrating the resurrection, and having the privilege to proclaim it again and again and again. Ten years of regular attentiveness to the Spirit movement. Ten years of hard work. Ten years of easy work. Ten years of Heart work.

Ten.

It feels like a lot and yet each day it’s just a new beginning because it’s really just one.

One.
Decade.

And so may the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart continue to be acceptable in Thy sight, our Rock and our Redeemer.

Amen.

#ordiversary #tenyearsofministry #MinisterofWordandSacrament #grateful

2017

“I breathe you in & there it is again, my heart saying thank you for this whole life that brought me here to you.”

(brian andreas)

IMG_5053I found out I was pregnant in early February of 2017. So pretty much the entire year was Ezra on my heart and mind. Being pregnant and laboring hard to bring forth this life was also the hope and motivation I needed in the midst of a year where when I looked around all I wanted to say was WTF. (And those of you who know me well know it takes a lot for me to swear). 😊

My heart ached for the world and at the same time grew with each heartbeat I heard in my womb and now with each cry, smile, and snuggle in my chest. It didn’t seem possible to keep hope, love, justice, mercy and kindness on the forefront of everything I tried to be and do without being super cynical.

But I did and I will continue to do so because at the end of the day, I am choosing gratitude. I have an amazing, loving family that would do anything for each other. I have badass friends who are smart, compassionate, and practice what they preach. (Yes, you!) I have a partner who brings light and levity into my life on the regular and who has stepped into a different place of goodness toward me since the birth of our son. I now have a child along with all children who deserve love and hope for this world and the future. And I still have a God who has continued to show me through Christ that a life of service is not one that is lived in vain.

2017, as a new mother, my heart has only expanded. So even though my heart ached more than it maybe ever has for the world and this country, you didn’t rid me of love and joy. I am indeed grateful for this whole life that has brought me here to the close of 2017.

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Things I want to Remember: 39 weeks pregnant

“For a long time there were only your footprints & laughter in our dreams & even from such small things, we knew we could not wait to love you forever.”

-Brian Andreas

It feels like only yesterday that I took the pregnancy test and yelped in disbelief. Thank goodness I was home alone because I really wanted to surprise Marion when I found out… which, if you haven’t seen the YouTube video yet, I managed to do with great success.  (Click here to see it again: Surprising Marion: pregnant!)

Over the last 39 weeks, everyone has been asking me how I’m feeling and how the pregnancy is going, and my standard answer has been, “I’m feeling good! I’m doing fine. I’m tired, but good.” These are all true statements. I’m still feeling pretty good. He’s sitting cozy in there.  But now that I’m winding down toward the end and washed all the baby clothes, organized every closet, and done everything I could possibly think to do to prep for family leave from work, I wanted to take time to actually write down some things I want to specifically remember about this special time of being pregnant with my little one.

One thing I want to remember is how from the moment I found out I was pregnant, that I  felt like baby was going to be a boy. I have no rhyme or reason for this. Marion really wanted a girl and I was just so excited to be pregnant, I didn’t care either way. But I “felt like” it was going to be a boy. It was interesting because a majority of folks thought it was going to be a girl. But one night, I don’t remember how far along, we woke up one morning and Marion turned to me and said, “I had a dream about our baby last night! It was a boy!” This only surprised me because that same night, I also had a dream that we had a baby boy! We were both pretty sure at that point it was going to be a boy…and we were right.

Cravings: I didn’t really have any specific regular food cravings except in the first trimester, I wanted chocolate milk like no one else’s business. It only lasted 2 weeks, but man, was it an intensely satisfying thing to drink chocolate milk! I never bought it regularly before. It was completely random. I had days where I wanted specific foods, but the most notable thing about this pregnancy is that normally, I plan my next meal, knowing what I want to eat. This whole time, I haven’t really wanted to eat anything in particular, but also didn’t have trouble eating once I started. That was weird. Oh, and I LOVED WATERMELON the whole time.

Food Aversions: Only one. Baked chicken. I couldn’t eat chicken, which stunk because it’s a healthy protein. The smell bothered me too. Let me say, I didn’t have trouble eating it if was fried chicken…but even then, it had to be the smallest part of the chicken…like the chicken wing. SO WEIRD.

Total weight gain: I really wish I had started at a healthy weight, but starting overweight managed to get me to really focus on better eating and health, so maybe it all worked out in the end. My total weight gain at this point is 21 pounds. Which is a lot. But not as bad as I thought it would be, and I’m actually pretty happy with it. I also totally thought I would get gestational diabetes, but I didn’t. It was a miracle.

Sleep: I generally sleep pretty well except for the 4 times I have to get up to use the bathroom. I’m used to that now. The maternity pillow has been a life saver! There are nights I wake up and can’t fall back asleep. I’m sure that’s just my own anxiety.

Miss anything: Raw fish and deli meat and regular iced coffee. Oh, and sleeping on my back!

Movement: SO much movement. My belly looks like something is literally trying to come out of it at times…but I also LOVE IT. We had one scare a couple months ago where I hadn’t felt him move in 24 hours and we had to go into the hospital and be monitored. That scared the poop out of Marion. My worst case scenario that day was that I was going to have a baby THAT day. Thank goodness baby was okay. When he started moving like usual again, I spent the next day reprimanding him in my belly: “Seriously, you couldn’t even give Umma ONE little movement and had to scare us like that?!” So, I’m going to be THAT mom.

No morning sickness, a little nausea in first trimester, fatigue is my biggest complaint: Which really is nothing to complain about. And I’m definitely not complaining about it.

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Labor signs: Still just the Braxton Hicks on the regular. I had one painful contraction a week ago, but it went away after moving around for a bit. I’ve been experiencing some “cramps” but I can’t tell if it’s anything…and so far it’s nothing.

 

Happy or moody most of the time: So happy. I know this sounds so cheesy but I honestly find myself smiling more than ever lately. Although, I did read that Brian Andreas quote at the beginning of this post and got choked up. I’m going to be that annoying person that says that I really enjoy being pregnant. (Ask me again if I hit 41 weeks).

Baby’s Dad: Marion has been so great and supportive overall. He has his daddy mood swings sometimes (haha) but every night we manage to have some “family” time and he will scratch my back and/or give me a little head massage, we read books out loud to each other, and baby will let him feel some good movements. I’ve only had leg cramps in the middle of the night twice, and both times, Marion jolted up and helped me massage them out. Marion is so excited to be an Appa, and his positive attitude and joy helps me to keep things in perspective-to really enjoy this time.

My prayer: It’s funny to notice what I’m praying for when I pray for this baby and our family. It’s rarely about the actual labor or birthing process (although I do pray that all goes well! Someone throw in some extra prayers around that for me!) I feel this urgency in my prayers for a kind, generous, and good person to be born. One that will respect all people and work toward goodness and justice in this world. I also pray he is healthy and whole.

Anyway, I’m sure there are going to be other things I want to remember, but that’s what I can think of for now. I’m spending time drinking Philz, sitting outside and writing and reading solo. I’m sure I’m going to miss these days, but I really can’t wait to meet our little one…and to love him forever.

25 weeks

I wrote the below reflection when I was 18 weeks pregnant and at the Presbyterian CREDO conference. Tomorrow, I will be 25 weeks along and the time has already flown by. Looking at it again, I decided to post it here so I could “keep” it but also being mindful of the women who are still struggling to have children or who won’t have the opportunity to be mothers in the ways that they thought. My love and my prayers for all of us on the journey.

May 20, 2017
18 Weeks

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” -Jeremiah 29:11

I’m pregnant.

Or rather, really how I want to say it every time is, “I’m pregnant!!”

I want to tell you what a rough road it was to get to this point, and how it felt super hard. Yes, it did take us a lot longer than either one of us thought it would take for us to get pregnant. Yes, we did have to go through a hell of a lot of testing and yes, eventually we did have to go through fertility treatments to get to this point. And yes, getting here felt more like a ritual or formula and definitely discipline than “That was super fun, and now we’re pregnant!”

But it did not feel hard or rough in the ways I thought it would. I don’t mean to say that to minimalize the ups and downs and “hard” that many women who struggle to get pregnant go through. I also know I do not speak for my partner. But today I begin and I’m mindful of the fact that although there were stressful moments in the process, overall, I felt a deep peace throughout the whole journey, and I want to begin there, because looking back to where I am today, at 18 weeks pregnant, I am so grateful.

I’m grateful that I’m married to someone who wanted kids as much as I did when we got married. We both “goo goo” and “ga ga” whenever we see babies.

I’m grateful that when we found out that the road might be longer than we initially thought to get there, that we talked through and prayed through the possibility that maybe this wasn’t the plan for us in the way we had initially envisioned. We even considered the possibility that we may be a childless couple, and that didn’t freak us out (too much). We stayed hopeful and committed ourselves to loving the children in our lives and to keep love for one another in different ways as we got older. After all, I have friends and colleagues that model that for me already, and we are blessed to be already a part of so many children’s lives.

I’m grateful for doctors and specialists and health insurance.

And I’m grateful to be 18 weeks pregnant. Every day, I wake up grateful for this gift growing inside of me.

And I don’t know what the future holds.

Now don’t get me wrong. I do worry. I have no idea what it’s going to be like to be a mother. Of course, I pray every day for a healthy baby. I worry about how I’m going to shift and live into a calling I LOVE as a full time minister and as a mother and in the midst of a discernment process. I worry about balance. And I worry about being called into a new direction at the same time that I’m pregnant with my first child.

But when I quoted the Jeremiah passage, of God knowing the plans God has for me, plans for a hope and a future, for me that didn’t only translate into this baby in my womb.

Rather, it reminds me that no matter what happens, in the face of so many unknowns and worries ahead, that somehow I’m being asked to trust that future into God’s hands. And it may sound trite and corny even as I’m writing this, but I also believe it with every fiber of my being. Not because I’m somehow more faithful, but because as I approach the 37th year of my life, I’m recognizing more fully how God is faithful to me. And how God has been faithful to me despite myself.

Nothing has actually gone according to MY plan, and for that, I thank God today.

It’s also a strong reminder that I need to continue to be willing to leap into unknown waters, to enjoy the life I have been given, and to soak in the moments where I am right now.

Dear Baby,
This Umma loves you so much already. Your Appa is so excited to meet you (I even have video footage of how happy he was when he found out you existed). We hope you continue to grow healthy and stronger every day.

Dear God,
You know the places between this new calling of motherhood and in my vocation where I feel incredibly called to both places. You have been faithful to me. Help me to keep trust in you, and to live each day with continued gratitude.

Amen.

24 weeks

Hope-ly

book-study-2015_2016I wrote this piece for 2015-2016 PW Horizons Bible Study, Come to the Waters by Judy Record Fletcher. It was published in Horizons Magazine, March/April 2016 issue.

Scripture: Revelation 21-22

I grew up with two wonderful parents who moved to the United States from South Korea almost 40 years ago. They moved to the U.S. in their mid-20s, and Korean is still their primary language of communication with one another. My siblings and I all speak what I fondly like to call “Konglish”-Korean and English. We move between these two languages fluidly. It probably sounds very confusing to anyone hearing us speak.

I honestly think my parents’ English is just fine, but I know they sometimes feel self-conscious about it. Comedienne Margaret Cho does many stand-up routines in which she imitates her Korean mother. I always laugh, but I am also always in awe of how carefully she must listen to be able to imitate so well. For me, I never hear my parents with an accent when they speak English. Instead, I think, I mentally auto-correct and translate what they are saying. I do not hear the incorrect grammar and wrong words. I understanding what they’re saying; I get it.

It wasn’t until my parents got an email account and started texting me that I couldn’t help but notice their particular use of words and sentence structures. It made me really happy, actually, to see them write exactly how they speak. One of my favorite words to this day-that my parents coined, and I never discovered until they used it in an email-is how they say “hopefully.” They say and write, “hopely.”

I love this word, and I think it fits in well with this final lesson in the study. The author writes that we are now living in an in-between time, “when we know the revelation of the Christ but not the revelation of the end times” (Come to the Waters, 73). The final revelation has not yet come, so this partial word-hopely seems to fit in well. God’s realm has not been revealed in full yet, but we live in an in-between space.

I think this in-between space relates well to many of us living in a multicultural, multiracial, multi religious world, which is why I must confess that I struggle a little bit with these passages from Revelation. As much as beautiful imagery pours out from it, the idea of hope coming from this vision of glory is difficult for me. In my limited human experience and limited vision, I cannot imagine a life or world without pain or struggle, where no tears will be shed. As much as this vision sounds like it is a good thing, as a “hope-ly” person, hope for me has always come from the struggle.

How do I live into hope when there is no more struggle or difficulties to overcome? Being intentional about living in the in-between spaces, in relationship with those who differ from me, requires sacrifice, compromise, truth-telling and struggle. But the beauty that flows out from that intentionality is worth its weight in gold…perhaps even streets of gold.

And along those pavements, I envision the river of the water of life that sustains different trees and different fruits. I love this imagery.

So, as we complete this water series, think about your life-giving water of hope. Where do you find it?

What sustains you for the journey in these days and in the days ahead?

How are you living in this in-between time? How do you desire to live in it?

What fruit have you been called to bear in this season of your life?

Hope-ly, we will always remember, through all the ups and downs of this life, that the gift of the water of life is always extended to us through God in Christ and Spirit. “Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as gift.” (Rev. 22:17).

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The wedded details

“You will find, as you look back upon your life, that the moments when you have truly lived are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love.”
—Henry Drummond

(I started this post 3 weeks ago and I’m just posting it now. I just wanted to remember all of these things).

I had one year to plan a wedding… which means I had one year to pay attention to details and figure out what I wanted to do. Questions such as where I wanted to invest $$ and the places where I wanted to invest time (i.e. not spend $$)…there were a lot of details. And I LOVE the details. Even if no one notices them, I know it contributes to the whole, and thus why I care. So, I wanted to post a blog about the details of the wedding.

  1. First, my accessories. Click on each pic to see more detail about where I got them and why they are meaningful to me.

2. The DRESS: My gorgeous dress was from Trudy’s in Campbell. The service was amazing, they respected my budget, and their expertise led me to wear a dress I would have never thought to try on…and fell in love with. I never thought I’d be wearing a more form fitting lace dress on my wedding day, but it was the right dress. I knew it the second I put it on.

3. Flowers-Soooo… I LOVE real flowers, but I did not love the price of wedding flowers. I swear, it was out of control. I decided I wanted to invest $$ elsewhere and not on flowers for our wedding. So, I had a friend of mine, Gwen, MAKE the bouquets for my bridesmaids and for the groomsmen from fabric and bling.

As for my bouquet and Marion’s boutonniere, we also went the fabric flower route, but ordered them from My Vintage Wedding who I found on Etsy and is based in Australia. They were all beautiful, and I saved beaucoup bucks. PLUS, I get to keep my bouquet forever!

As for our parents, they insisted on real flowers…so when my mom found out that the price of real flowers for just the parents would cost more than all the fabric flowers for all 14 members of our wedding party, she volunteered to make them herself. The 3 roses and baby’s breath and ribbon? She bought the flowers from Costco and made them with love.

4. Our CAKE… or rather, cakes and tons of cupcakes!

Our wedding cake was from Jen’s Cakes based in Willow Glen, CA. I wanted a simple look with some kind of flourish. I bought the black ribbon and the brooches that are accenting the cake. It was a green tea cake with white chocolate mousse filling (AMAZING!) and white cake with raspberry filling. It tasted SO GOOD (yes I ate cake at my wedding!)

We also had a church reception in which we had volunteers make cupcakes of their hearts desire…and they were all GORGEOUS! People put so much love and care into each of them, and it was so apparent. We also had a beautiful coconut wedding cake for the church reception made by a church member, Emily. I won’t lie, someone saved that cake for us and I might have been found eating it throughout the following week. It was DELICIOUS.

5. HAIR & MAKEUP-Okay, I have to admit, this was one area that I wanted to invest because I’m vain and I want good hair and good makeup. I couldn’t have asked for a better stylist and makeup artist than Ann Ho from A-List MakeUp. The other truth is, I could only hire her because we had a January wedding and we got married on a Sunday, but holy crap, she was incredible. I wanted a natural look, but of course, beautiful…and I needed my hair to be up because of the opening in the back of my dress, and she just went above and beyond. She also had someone join her do hair for some of my bridesmaids who wanted that service as well. Check it out. WORTH IT! (P.S. I got that hair piece on Ebay for $2.50)

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6. Flower Girls & Ring Bearers

I had lots of kids in our wedding because I love kids. The flower girls wore dresses I found on Etsy through ekidsbridalusa, and no lie, each dress was only about $25.00 each! That’s a steal. I had our ring bearers wear black bow tie and black suspenders and black pants and white button up top. SO CUTE.

Since I had 4 flower girls, I had two of them throwing petals out of baskets, one holding a large oversized fake flower, and the other holding a sign that said “here comes the bride.” Our older ring bearer held the ring pillow and the younger one held a sign that said “ring security.” They were so fun to watch.

7. Ceremony details-I hand made each program (I cut so much paper), had fun ribbon wands that decorated the aisles and that were used at the end of the ceremony to wave us out (cut up crepe paper and scotch tape and sticks), our guest book was a book of our engagement pictures made into a guestbook, we had ribbon decor made by an amazing church member, and the AWESOME CRANES that came from friends and family from all over the country and world! I couldn’t have asked for more… all at the beautiful church I serve at the Stone Church of Willow Glen.

8. Our evening reception was held at the beautiful Silicon Valley Capital Club in downtown San Jose. The whole story of how we ended up booking this place is a long one…but let’s just say, it was totally a “God thing” in my book. We had struggled to find a place for a long time, and through connections and timing, we ended up booking a unique venue of our dreams!

9. The details of our evening reception included the crane theme in the name cards with tables named after our favorite foods. We also had a “selfie station” with props and a selfie stick and our wedding favors were chocolate covered Oreo pops that we made at home! They were a hit! We did floating candles and pillar candles for centerpieces and kept it simple on that front. The open window views of the city at night added so much to the ambiance in the evening, so it all worked out well!

Quianna Marie Photography - PakLee2016 - Reception-1

10. Videographer-EJ from Reel-Motions was amazing! It was actually my parent’s idea to get a videographer. We hadn’t considered that, but they asked for so little and were incredibly supportive, so when they asked me and Marion to get a videographer, we had to oblige! We were so glad we made that decision! I thought it would feel like we were on a reality show with a video camera in our faces the whole day, but honestly, I hardly noticed him and his team at all! They were awesome. Here is the highlight video he made for us! We are still waiting for our “full footage” video, but after seeing the highlight, I have no doubt that we will absolutely love our full footage video!

11. Last but not least, we hired an AMAZING photographer! We had interviewed a few photographers, but knew immediately that Quianna Marie Photography would be the right fit for us. Almost all of the images you see above were taken by Quianna! She has such a bubbly personality and passion for her work and it comes through when you talk to her. She got all the major shots and all the DETAILS that I had hoped she would capture! Getting the right photographer is so important and we definitely made the right choice with Quianna.

Quianna Marie Photography - PakLee2016 - Stone Church-31

So there you have it! All the little details that equaled a beautiful, memorable, and wonderful day!