the wedding.

you know, there is a lot that goes into planning a wedding.
a lot i had taken into account…and a lot i hadn’t.
there’s the easy part, which actually involves the planning process.
booking. reserving. inviting.
no big deal. all of these things are handled according to some pre-scripted timeline.
but there are others that creep up along the way…mainly in the days preceding for me [like the set-up fk and i found ourselves doing the morning of the wedding…somehow i missed a few details along the way].

there is the coming home.
there are the last minute meetings, phone calls, and emails with the vendors.
there are the lists that pop into your head that you can’t make go away until they’re done.
there is the worry that comes along with not getting the list(s) done.
there are the arrival of the out-of-town guests, wedding party, and family.
there is the meeting of the future in-laws…for the first time.
there are the wedding festivities.
there is the waiting.

there is the surreal…never thinking or imagining this would be you, but somehow it is.
there is THE day you’ve been waiting for…and somehow it is so much more than you ever dreamed.
there is the leaving.
there is the good-byes…in my case, the tearful ones.

and it is all so overwhelming…so emotionally overwhelming.
but it is all so good, so sweet, so beautiful, so hard to take it all in.
and now it is over, it is time to process, it is time to remember/recall.
and i sit here this morning, smiling…

i can’t believe it is all here…and i can’t believe it is all over.
i loved every minute. i think i was able to truly relish in the moment when it all came down to it. i loved being the bride. i loved marrying the man i have waited for…the man who is far better than i could have ever dreamed or imagined.

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overwhelmed.

i have to admit i am overwhelmed. i am getting married in 30.5 hours. the past few days have been mixed with getting stuff ready for the wedding, hanging out, last minute preparations, shopping…a mixed bag of events that has been hard for me to figure out where i am or what i am doing. but today it all starts. today is all about the wedding. today is full of nothing but pre-wedding festivities.

so maybe being in one world will be helpful. maybe only having one thing on my mind will be better for me. i think being overwhelmed has come not just from feeling like i have so much to do, but vacillating between the world of planning a married, of getting married and who i am–and my life–normally.
i feel as though i have moved from location to location without spending much time–or any–with people.
i feel rushed.
i haven’t taken one picture–yeah, me–the entire time i have been in bama…and i hate that.
i feel like i am either trying too hard or not trying hard enough.
i feel tense.
i feel awkward.
and this part of being overwhelmed–by the details, by the planning, by just the nature of the event–i don’t like.

but i am overwhelmed in a different way as well.
i have been overwhelmed as to how generous everyone has been.
i am overwhelmed by how accommodating everyone has been–offering cars, places to stay, last minute change of plans, going along with my schedule.
i am overwhelmed by my family’s graciousness, love, support, concern, and walking alongside me every step of the way.
i am overwhelmed by my friends checking on me, being with me, doing for me, and those who will stand beside me.

and i realized all of this last night. i realized it in the way in which fk’s parents treated me. from the moment [or actually before] they met me, they have embraced me with love…embracing me with open arms. they have opened their hearts, minds, and lives to me…acting in a lot of ways like they have known me forever. they have generously given me a suitcase full of gifts–clothing, jewelry, handmade suits, chocolates.
and this was overwhelming…
seeing them grab item after item from this suitcase that was bigger than any bag i own and giving it all to me…each one fitting perfectly, both physically on my body and my unique style. seeing the joy and excitement on their faces as they took out each piece that had been handmade with care and willingly gave it to me, unsure of my response.

it was more than i could take in…and still more than i can take in [which is why i sit here with tears pouring down my face]. pouring out their lives to me over this suitcase…causing me to realize what these people who have just met me are now doing is what my family [each and every one of them] has done my entire life.
giving sacrificially.
loving unconditionally.
offering up their lives [and their son, the best gift of them all].
…without expecting anything in return.

and i am overwhelmed by it all…

committed.

i just finished reading elizabeth gilbert’s newest book…

timely, huh?

and even more so after having a conversation with someone i haven’t really had contact with in several years who made some off-hand remark about knowing how much i wanted to be married…which may have been true the last time we truly had a conversation about relationships. i am sure it followed a break-up i had gone through, the place i was at, the devastation i felt, and the intense longing for another in my life. i am sure. but i thought it ironic that she assumed this was still the place i was in…
lonely,
longing,
unfulfilled,
searching.
which couldn’t be further from the truth.

when i met fk, i was in a place of beginnings. new job, new apartment, new life…
i was excited about the possibilities…no expectations of meeting anyone, not really wanting to as the world was my oyster, so to speak. but i began spending time with this man anyway.

it wasn’t until we broke up a few months later that i began to see my part in our downfall. i realized i had too many expectations of him. too many in the sense of expecting too much. expecting him to meet all my needs. expecting him to be my everything…when he was just my boyfriend. seems like i have had similar expectations in previous relationships as well. seems like it had become a pattern.

so the second go-around six weeks later, i was in a different spot. somewhat jaded. even more cautious. care-free. more sure of myself. less sure of this thing called relationship. more skeptical, you could say. so this time, needless to say, i vowed not to make many of the same mistakes twice. i, then, began to realize when i was placing too many expectations on the one man…instead of looking to my friends to meet some of my emotional needs, some of my needs of companionship, some of my needs of socialization. and i was taken by surprise.
surprised that i so easily entered into this thing called relationship…again, so quickly.
surprised that several months later i would find myself thinking and talking openly about our lives together, our future, marriage…when i had just come from such a closed-off place, when i was scared to death of such commitment now, when this wasn’t quite the way i had planned things.
surprised that i was so willing to take a risk.

so it seems apropos that i would choose this book merely weeks before becoming committed myself. apropos that it’s subtitle “a skeptic makes peace with marriage” seems not so far from where i had come as of late. apropos that some of the same subjects gilbert addresses, i had just or was now facing…questioning, debating, mulling over in my own mind.

on the subject of expectations, gilbert writes,

but how does marriage become hard work? here’s how: marriage becomes hard work once you have poured the entirety of your life’s expectations into the hands of one mere person. keeping that going is hard work….that our very job description as spouses was to be each other’s everything….for the first time in my life, it occurred to me that perhaps i was asking too much of love. or, at least, perhaps i was asking too much of marriage. ~pages48-49.

perhaps.
and perhaps that is a simplification of what makes marriages hard work…but i think there is merit to the statements made. at least i find it to be true that when i look to fk to be my everything it tends to complicate things…and, in fact, makes things much harder.

on the subject of what she calls infatuation, but what i will call realistic expectations, she writes in his words [about her husband’s professional gemstone buying], followed by her own,

you have to ignore the perfect gemstones. don’t even look at them twice because they’re blinding. just put them away and have a careful look at the really bad stones. look at them for a long time, and then ask yourself honestly, ‘can i work with these? can i make something of this?’ otherwise, you’ve just spent a whole lot of money on one or two gorgeous aquamarines buried inside a big heap of worthless crap….

can you look at your partner’s faults honestly and say, ‘i can work around that. i can make something out of that?’ because the good stuff is always going to be there, and it’s always going to be pretty and sparkly, but the crap underneath can ruin you. ~pages 129-130.

and that’s what love is. that’s what marriage is.
it is living with the crap so you can live with the beauty.
it is taking the good with the bad.
it is accepting all of one person–the parts you love, and the parts you would rather not love.

and this is the undertaking i will begin in less than 4 days.
and i am…

committed.

chicken or pork?

i requested the help of my favorite 8 year-old to help me do the placecards for the rehearsal dinner. now the reason i chose sarah for this special task is because she is known for–in my book at least–her placecards. for the past 2 thanksgivings i have had the privilege of sitting at a table with sarah’s placecards directing me where…and they couldn’t have been cuter. so i needed her expertise…which is exactly what i got.
i got the supplies.
she researched the drawings.
and thus, we began.

chicken or pork? we’ll let you know your preference…
and where you should sit to partake of your southern-style BBQ!

a little obsessed.

i’m a little obsessed with this new app that i actually bought for my phone. i’m not even sure how i found out about it or why but i found it and i had to have it…so i splurged the 99ยข and have not quit using it since.
hipstamatic. it’s this photography app that allows you to pick your own film, lens, and flash. limitless possibilities,
i mean, really? really? how could i not buy this app?
here’s the by-product of the app i just had to have…

giving up…

GOD.

lent.
it’s a season.
a season of giving up.
a season of fasting.
a season of re-thinking, of re-assessing, of re-forming, of re-framing.
it’s a season to take stock.
it’s a season to remove…and to add.
and at the church i go to, it’s a season to remove god…to give up those images of god that sometimes get in the way of truly experiencing god. asking the question,

what if god is other than what we think about god?

and a timely message i needed to hear…a message with which, it seems, i have already been wrestling.
in the midst of the message, barry spoke personally, saying that for years he went through believing he was supposed to do/be something other than himself…until he came to the conclusion that maybe it isn’t about working out your life to what other people think your life with god should look like.
maybe it’s your own burning bush.
maybe it’s your own personal burning bush.
maybe it’s your own personal burning bush you work out together.
maybe it’s your own personal burning bush you work out together in community.

and i must admit that a burning bush is a little freaky.
it isn’t safe. it’s not normal. it’s a little out of the ordinary. it’s unconventional.
maybe we ought to look for more of that…look and seek that which is not so safe, not normal, that which is out of the ordinary, and unconventional.
and then, maybe our own personal burning bush will come calling…where and when we least expect.