[featured_image]Today my niece Ali Austin married Erik Schlagel in Farmington, New Mexico.

It was a great privilege for me to be here with my daughter to celebrate! Ali is the first of all my nieces or nephews to get married. That makes today a special day.

It’s also particular meaningful to me because Ali is the oldest daughter of my sister Mary Austin who passed away in January 2006 after battling brain cancer. I am so proud of the young woman I watched walking down the aisle today with her dad.

As I watched and felt the emotions freely, I reflected on how thrilled my sister would have been to have been able to see this day. While we were so excited for Ali and Erik, at the same time we missed Mary’s presence. Her smile and laugh and love for her family were all contagious.

It’s been so special to see Ali and her 3 sisters and brother be blessed with Steve’s second wife Karyn as their mom for these past seven years. She is amazing — really. We love her so much and can see her imprint in remarkable ways on each of Mary’s five children. We thank God for her love and sacrifice!

After the ceremony, my thoughts focused on Paul’s encouragement to the church in Philippi in the beginning of his letter…

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil 1:6)

I am so confident that God is working to accomplish His good work in Ali and Erik. Please join me in praying for His blessing on their marriage.