Listed Tuesdays: 5 Ways I’ve Changed Because of My Wedding.

Hey, everyone! Today’s post is a link-up with the lovely Erica Jaquiline! Every Tuesday, she does a “Listed Tuesdays” link-up and I’d love to get into the habit of participating each week!

So, here’s my list: 5 Ways I’ve Changed Because of My Wedding!

1. I’ve become more flexible and level-headed.

I’m aware that, for the majority of my life, I’ve been the high-strung, inflexible girl who stresses out easily. However, throughout the wedding planning process (and especially the wedding day), I had to practice being calm and patient almost constantly. Being zen was a choice I had to make every moment during the wedding (particularly during the post-ceremony family shots? Ugh, those can be a nightmare, am I right?). Even during the honeymoon, with all the flights, confusing navigation, language barriers, and packing it would have been easy to lose my cool. To be honest, I think all that practice has really stuck with me since the wedding in my day-to-day life, and I try to consciously choose chill and calm as often as possible.

2. I’ve become more grateful.

My wedding was as wonderful as it was because I had so much help getting everything put together, planned, and set up. Sure, it was amazing just because it was my wedding day, but I feel so humbled by all the generous people (friends as well as family) who really went above and beyond just to do what they could to help. Whether it was absolutely stunning paintings done especially for me by my sister-in-law, Erin (see below!!) or getting the reception hall set up or contributing financially towards the wedding, I feel so blessed my the generosity and kindness of the people in my life.

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3. I love more.

Between cards and video messages and bridesmaids and new family and conversations and hugs, I’ve grown to know just how much more love I’m surrounded by than I thought. This, in turn, has made me feel more full of love than ever, and I feel like I try to speak and act on it more in my day to day life.

4. I spend less.

Uhhhh…. duh? Like, for real. I can’t jump at every impulse or promo code or flash sale anymore. Part of me misses this, most of me knows this is for the best (okay, all of me knows it’s for the best), especially since it’s been an issue for me in the past. That’s a whole other post for me to write. Maybe. Bottom line – it’s uncomfortable to have a joint account and share a budget, but it’s so good for you.

5. I more strongly advocate staying true to yourself.

Planning and envisioning a wedding involved a lot of soul-searching and pondering what’s really important to me and coming to understand what really isn’t so important to me. We wanted a first look. Many people thought that was crazy, but we knew it’d be important to us. I didn’t want to wear a blusher going down the aisle. I wanted dancing – no question (no way was I giving up my daddy-daughter dance opportunity!). All being said and done, I’m so happy with the way things turned out, but it took a lot of courage for me to be conscientious and self-aware enough to be able to discern what felt true to myself/ourselves and not get caught up in things “because they’re tradition” or because I felt it was expected of me. A handful of my friends are also planning weddings right now, and this has generally been my main piece of advice for them.

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Go check out Erica Jaquiline’s Listed Tuesdays and participate yourself! (I know I’m getting this post up late, so maybe ponder about a list for you to write about next week!)

Erica Jacquline

Wedding Reflections (and photos!)

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     I’ve officially been married to the man of my dreams for 17 days now! It’s crazy to me to think that now my wedding day is a thing of the past and I’ve loved unfollowing every pinterest wedding board I’ve ever followed (except for my best friend’s, who got engaged the day after my wedding!). From the moment I walked into the rehearsal to see almost all of my extended family waiting in the church foyer for me and giving each one of them big hugs, I felt so much love and felt so very blessed all weekend. There’s been so much celebration and joy and anticipation in my life for months, and now it’s calm and quiet and peaceful (and oh so happy). 

     My wedding day was absolute perfection. There were like, maybe 2-3 bumps in the day but they’re so not even a big deal. Whenever people would ask me if I was going for any kind of theme, I’d simply say that my goal was for it to be one big celebration. And it was! I feel pure joy when I think about it (and when I re-watch my wedding’s highlight reel for the 1094235094094th time). Additionally, however, I just feel so incredibly grateful and humbled by the love and support which surrounds me. To see so many people come to my wedding to support our marriage and celebrate with us was so touching. Every moment was something sweet and every person was some one I was happy to have there. 

     It’s funny how everything works out. If you’ve been following my blog for some time at all, you probably know that there were a whole lot of obstacles on the way to planning everything. From my dad losing his job (and starting a new one), to me quitting a job I hated, to changing venues about 2 or 3 times… there were so many things that happened along the way that led us to have all of the details fall into place better than I could have imagined it. But everything worked out – a lot because it actually did, and a lot because I learned to let go of things and relax my controlling behavior. 

     I know, I know — pictures! Here comes the fun part! (I don’t have all of my photos in from my hired photogs, but I have some, and then also some great ones from family!)

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My bridesmaids! My best gals!

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Me, my parents, and my sister. We always look like this.

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The whole wedding party. This was right after I shouted “Everyone, pretend you’re a spy!”

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This is quite possibly my favorite picture from the whole day. It totally captures exactly how I felt the whole time.

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Us, pretending we knew what we were doing while cutting the cake (why are there no rehearsals of that??).

ImageAt the end of my first dance with my Daddy!

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Dancing with my Momma!

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This was at the very end of the night. Luke and I had changed into our getaway clothes, and ran onto the dance floor for onelast song (Journey, of course), where everyone just surrounded us dancing. Right after this, everyone went outside to the front of the church for our sparkler send-off! 

Why We Work

For Valentine’s Day, Bonnie wrote a post  about why she and her husband work (for a link-up I missed. sad face.). I’ve been thinking about it since I read her post, and the idea of writing the same regarding my relationship has been brewing in my mind.

Last night I had a wonderful evening with my fiancee full of a great dinner, pre-marital counseling, and ugly-laughing at hilarious Youtube videos. Driving home, I felt especially grateful for my relationship and decided to finally write this post when I got home.

Why we work
We work because we’re individuals. We have out own friends, jobs, schedules, and tastes. We each have our own worlds, and we like it that way.
We work because our relationship is “should-free.” We know each other’s insecurities, strengths, weaknesses, an bad habits – and we love each other all the more for them. I don’t have to make dinner every single night, and he doesn’t mind getting Chinese takeout.
We work because we know it’s not always fun to be in a relationship, and we don’t take that personally. Sometimes one of us is having a really crummy day and in a funk and there’s just nothing the other can do to make it immediately better. And that’s okay.
We work because we don’t take other things personally. We don’t text each other compulsively all day everyday – and we know that’s not reflective of the quality of our relationship. I don’t think I’ve ever been in his Facebook profile picture (or that he’s ever had his relationship status on his profile) and that doesn’t mean anything’s wrong. Sometimes one of us just doesn’t feel like cuddling. And we know that’s not the end of our relationship.
We work because we ugly laugh. The kind of laughing where your mouth is just totally, unflatteringly wide open, your head is thrown back, you’re kinda crying, and you can’t even speak. This happens at least once on the daily. We thrive off of being goofy together, and that does miracles for our relationship.
We work because he’s bad at reading minds, and I’m bad at being subtle. Seriously, I just say whatever I need, want, or think. Which many people think is a fault (and it can be), but it’s a godsend for our relationship because what Luke really needs is for me to be upfront and never try that “hint-dropping” thing and hope he reads my mind. That system doesn’t work for either of us. He doesn’t end up getting it, and I’m too impatient to try and wait for him to.
We work because we’re not trying to impress each other.  It can be one of those days where I haven’t showered, am not wearing makeup, and am wearing sweats and he adores me and makes me feel just as special as any other day. I can make an accidentally crappy dinner and it’s no big deal.
We work because we both know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that we’re on each other’s team, unconditionally. “You and me against the world.”
And, most importantly, we work because we both agree that if one of our children ever weirdly ends up with some kind of super power we would come alongside them and help them learn about and control it instead of hiding them away (see: obligatory pop culture reference to Frozen).

Love Story

In lieu of my usual Wednesday Things post today, I’m debuting my beautiful new look and name for my blog! I’ve created lots of new pages (check out the links and menu on the top!) and created a new name that allows my blog to be more of a self-brand. I’m also creating a fabulous banner/logo, Facebook page, and buttons for sponsoring! Keep an eye out for the finished product.

Today, enjoy one of my new pages, dedicated to My Love Story! (Cue the mush)

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This man is the love of my life.

His name is Luke (also sometimes known on here as L) and, yes, he is genuinely named after Luke Skywalker.

And this is how we met.

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Wait, no, that’s not it.

Our first interaction is one I definitely remember every moment of, but L doesn’t even remember me from.  It was a party that one of our mutual friends was hosting. After some time with the usual fun of Apples to Apples and other games, some one had the idea to go outside. Somehow, we ended up playing this dumb camp game where everyone gets in a circle and puts their hands in the middle in a jumble. The goal is to grab a random hand, and then everyone has to work together to get untangled and ultimately end up in a circle with everyone holding hands. I hate this game. But L was playing. Therefore, I jumped right in for the chance to hold his hand. Despite my efforts to deliberately grab his hand in the beginning instead of a random one, I was not successful.

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The next time we ran into each other, it was at yet another friend’s open house. All of us teenage kids hung out for a bit and then everyone decided to get up and go to Steak N Shake for dinner. When I stood up, I realized I was now taller than one of my good guy friends.

“Is there no one left that’s taller than me?”  I exclaimed. And, to my utmost joy, a handsome voice responded behind me.

“Helllllooo.”

I whipped around and L was standing right there, a good 4 or 5 inches taller than I am – which is an amazing thing because I’m very tall myself “Hi! Wanna be my friend?” (Wow, I’m such a nerd).

“Of course!” he said.

We sat at the same table at dinner and got along famously.

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Our third meeting was yet another get together at a restaurant that’s always open late. At this point, I totally knew I wanted this boy and I flirted shamelessly. We talked about science fiction shows and  I found an excuse to write a list of my favorites for him to watch, and I ended the list with my phone number.

Because L is just soooooo smooth, he read over the list, and asked out loud in front of everyone, “Is this your phone number??”

That was definitely a moment. After we all left the restaurant, Luke had texted me before we even left the parking lot and we texted up a storm for the next couple months. However, the texting did slow and we hadn’t talked much lately when we met for the fourth time.

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Our fourth meeting (the third one he remembers) is the instance that, if you asked either of us, was the moment we both new we really liked each other. We were inseparable, I tried that lame put-my-hand-weirdly-next-to-him-doing-nothing thing hoping he’d make the move and hold it (spoiler: he didn’t).

After this, we knew we had to spend more time together. We started going on dates, and five years later, we’re getting married on May 4th, 2014. (National Star Wars Day… What else?)

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You can read about how he proposed here.

Remember, Remember

As most of the people in my life know, my lovely grandmother, Faye, passed away a couple weeks ago. However, I am indescribably fortunate to have had the chance to go to London with her in 2012. One thing I just really remember well is, while walking down the street from Bayswater tube station to our hotel, I brought up one of my favorite lists of things to remember:

  1. Whoever comes are the right people
  2. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have
  3. Whenever it starts is the right time
  4. When it’s over, it’s over

I don’t remember the context of the conversation, and I don’t really remember her reaction to it, no matter how much I wish I could. One reason I like these points so much is because it helps me remember that there are things I just can’t control – especially timing and the way some things turn out. 

These points are particularly poignant for me in the wake of her passing. in times like these, I think we all tend to reflect upon things we feel we could have done differently or done sooner or things we should have said. For me, the most significant thing was getting over a huge obstacle in my relationship with Grammy. For years, I went through this angsty, resentful, and jaded phase with her in the wake of her first husband’s death (more me/my issues than her). Thanks to time and also our trip together, we had lots of opportunities to talk through a lot of this (and more).

“Whenever it starts is the right time.” I have to accept that this healing process for our relationship started when it was the right time for it to start. I know I gained so much life experience and perspective and maturity in the time between Granddaddy’s death in 2004 and our trip in 2012. I have to think that that time and that growing process were things I had to go through in order to get to a level where I could meet her in conversation about it. 

“Whatever happens is the only thing that could have.” Obviously, this is a significant concept while dealing with the death of a loved one. What if she hadn’t been where she was or doing what she was doing or dealing with what she was dealing with? Couldn’t we have made it better or hold on to her longer if one thing or another was different? Blah blah blah, and the list goes on as long as we let it. It means we can fret all we want about changing the past, but the important thing is to learn to accept it and reflect on ways you can help yourself heal and continue on. (Not “move on.” I don’t think you ever really move on from a pain or loss of some one dear to you. Continue on. Keep going.) There’s nothing that could have gone any differently, and that’s really okay.

“Whoever comes are the right people.” At the viewings for my grandmother, the lines of the visitors were out the door. Each one had their own story about ways my grandmother had touched their life or helped them in one way or another. Some were even people who had met her when she just started talking to them while waiting in line somewhere. When people come into your life, there’s always something you can get from interacting with them. Sometimes the influence and presence of others is very clear and loud; sometimes their influence is quiet and only comes into your perspective later in life.

Sometimes the people in our lives hurt us. Sometimes we fall into unhealthy patterns with others. As much as it flat-out sucks to be honest about this, there is still always a takeaway. Now, I can tell you “everything happens for a reason” as much as any other person, greeting card, keychain, poster, song, or status in the world tries to, but what I need you to know is that I’m not actually confident that there really is any light, simple, logical reason behind every little thing that happens. Stuff happens that doesn’t make any sense.

The only thing I can say is that there can probably always be something you learn or experience or takeaway from these times. And I need you to know that these revelations come when you don’t know they will. You will overhear one of your classmates talking; your barista will make some small-talk with you; you will read a text message or a Facebook comment; you will listen to a song you’ve heard a thousand times over and you will hear something strange and new; you will re-read a book and have a completely different  experience; some one will simply ask you how you are.  It’ll click. Or, you’ll become aware of something lurking in your head and you will wrestle with it until you can verbalize and define it. You’ll make connections between events, quotes, shared glances, lyrics, and thoughts. Don’t worry about trying to find some elusive meaning or a silver lining in the midst of dark and confusing events. Try, instead, to remember to keep yourself open to and aware of anything you may feel or think or need. Notice everything. Write about it. In a week, six months, three years, a decade, you may make one of these connections; you will gain some understanding and perspective.

It’s more than likely that this conversation I had with my grandmother happened after finding out that her mother figure had passed away back home while we were in London, which makes me all the more curious about her internal reaction to them. I’m sure this list meant even more to her than it did to me at the time.

“When it’s over, it’s over.”

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Land Ahead

The anchors of our hearts brought us through the daunting billows of tumultuous times,
where we now have torn down,
brick by chain
and chain
by
link
the imprisoning hesitations of diving into each other’s very souls.
Your words, like waves, wash over me and recede,
leaving a feeling of profound okayness,
an overwhelming rightness
on the shores of my spirit.
my chaotic habits and anxious inhibitions
drown
and sink
amongst the shipwrecks,
tangle in the seaweed,
and in time become forgotten in the
sand.

All this way
no compass on board,
yet I see land ahead.
And when our toes  meet the shore
and our lungs secure the sky of the world
we won’t have a clue where we are.

Exhaling all that we have within us,
we will rest in the peace
that it doesn’t matter.

December, be good to me.

the first snow.
I love it.
When you walk outside into this wondrous scene, everything
everything.
is quiet.
muffled.
muted.
Even the air your lungs try to obtain seems to be far away from you,
waiting.
Still.
holding its breath.
All you can hear is your own boots shuffling along on the concrete sidewalks
and a little place in your mind is sure that time really has stopped, and you don’t even need to go to class
or that you might be the only person left on this planet.
or that perhaps you’ve finally gone deaf.
But you’re walking,
and it comes to mind that you want to be walking with some one.
Now, I don’t care who it is, or what your relationship is like,
but you want them with you.
Perhaps smiling at you over a steaming mug of stupendous hot cocoa,
or speculating about the best defense strategy were you to get ambushed by snowball-throwers.
Or, even some one to there to catch you if you slip.
and you’re never sure if that electrifying jolt of adrenaline is because you nearly fell,
or from their arms protecting you
from melting away
seeping into puddles and icicles and snowflakes and trees
Whether you prefer indoors or outdoors in wintertime, walking inside is so much better this time of year.
the rush of warmth,
the heat hugging you enveloping you
it’s cozyand the white dust in everyone’s hair
melts
away
and you are all left with damp, imperfect tendrils
and rosy cheeks
and cold noses
All the energy and lightness
the Christmas trees(!)
and sweet Christmas lights (!!)
and the giving and the getting and the glowing
and the loving and the lighting and the listening
and the sweets and the songs that get stuck in your head
“bury me in your quiet love
and we
will blow
away”
breath becomes visible
as if a reminder
that you are doing something.
that you are living.
that you are here.
and that the air you’re breathing and living on is the same air sustaining every other person
As for me,
I’m a snowfall kind of girl.
indoors, outdoors, cuddling, curled alone with a book
it’s all for me
this
winter
is all for me
and better call me inside
or I will become part of the snow.