Friday, January 30, 2015

A New Appreciation

Today is the last day that you can get this book for 99 cents on kindle
Even if you buy it and read it on your phone (kindle for iPhone, just do it!) you will not be disappointed. 

I never realized that when I started this book, it would leave me absolutely bawling 3-4 chapters in. 
I had to stop and contact my dad and just thank him for never walking out (as the dad did to the author of this book). 
Really, both of my parents have done an incredible job staying together and making their marriage work.

I simply cannot put into words what this book did for me.

As someone who never had a parent leave, whose parents are still married, I can tell you honestly this book is for EVERYONE. Like I said, I cried my way through the first four chapters and the only time I put the book down was to stop and give my dad a very long, tearful explanation of just how grateful and appreciative I am of him. 

For the person whose parents are still together - you need to read this book. You may think it won't move you, because you "can't relate", but that is the very reason I was moved to tears. Thank God for this book to open my eyes to just how much my parents have done for me and how much they love me.

At the end of this book, the realization of the grace of God on my life was simply something I couldn't thank Jonathan enough for. Through his story, he uses examples and scripture to bring hope and healing to those who need it, and a hard truth to those who, like myself, have taken my parents and God's grace in this area for granted.

Some of you know, Ken and I didn't do a first look at our wedding. 
However, I did one with my dad. 
It was such a special moment, and one I will remember forever.

I love that both of my parents were there on my wedding day.
My mom helped me get ready and graciously made sure it was a wedding with everything that was important to me rather than micromanaging, and my dad was incredibly patient and sacrificial with his resources to give me the wedding I had dreamed of.

Above all, I can't thank God enough for the fact that both Ken and I's parents were there, still married to one another, cheering us on and giving us a great example of godly marriages.

I'm in tears even as I write this post. 
I just cannot express how much this book is to read ... whether you resonate with Jonathan (the author of this book) in that a parent has left you and you now have to deal with the repercussions, or maybe you have parents like mine.
 I'm telling you, get this book!

Now... to the lovely pictures that make me tear up and thank God every day for my parents. :)

(notice Ken and his mom in the background)

Friday, January 23, 2015

4 Things Brides-To-Be Have All Wrong

Going through this whole wedding planning experience last year opened my eyes to a lot. 
I don't have time to unveil all that it did, maybe I'll write a book someday, but for now, if you're about to be married, (male or female, bride or groom) give this a read. 
I was talking with one of my best friends the other day, and we talked about how so many brides these days are focused more on the wedding, and less on the marriage. 
With some frustration, evaluation, and some simple problem solving, this post was born!
Let me show you 5 things you should reevaluate during your wedding planning season. 

1. Be a gracious bride, not an outrageous bride. 

This is just a friendly reminder that even though you can have your opinions that you are entitled to,
be gracious every time a vendor or someone you just met tells you what they think is best. 
For example. 
Everyone, and I mean everyone, wanted Ken and I to do a first look. 
Ken and I both really wanted the "first look" to be when the doors swung open and I walked down the isle. 
For over a year of planning I heard from everyone why I should do a first look: for the pictures, for the timing, for the flow, etc. 
Instead of snapping at them and yelling save it, like I wanted to, I tried to remain gracious. 
It's okay. They are just trying to help. 
Be gracious. 
Don't flip out. 
(ps. shout out to my videographers and amazing photographers for running around like crazy in order to make this happen)

On the other side of that, I would say don't let your expectations be so outrageous that you expect everyone to follow suit. 
You don't know everything about planning a wedding, these vendors have done probably hundreds if not thousands of weddings. 
Don't be outrageous in your demands. 

Cue my second point!

2. It's not all about little miss Y-O-U

Okay, I get it, to a point, the wedding is all about the bride. 
Your maid of honor/mom/cousin shouldn't be planning your wedding while living vicariously through you. You have the say so on what you like, what you want to wear, what you want other people to wear, etc. I get that. 
However, I think this gets taken out of hand by way too many brides.
Brides get into this mentality that it is all about them, and if they want their parents to buy them three different wedding dresses to find the perfect one, then gosh darn-it they better! 
I'll be honest, my dad never gave me a number or a budget to stick to for my wedding. He just didn't. He was so gracious and sacrificial when it came to me planning my wedding. I can't thank Him enough for it. 
But I never once tried to take advantage of that. 
I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, but I'm saying that there comes a point, that you don't take advantage of what people give you.
Just because your parents, grandparents, or whoever pays for your wedding is loving enough to pay for things you really want or "just have to have", doesn't mean you take advantage.

I tried to cut costs wherever I could. I skipped on some things I thought (at the time) were really important to me, and I still had my dream wedding. 
Get over your unrealistic fantasies... which (maybe not so graciously) leads me to my third point.

3. Get rid of your Pinterest fantasies

If I see one more picture of a big celebrity ring pinned on Pinterest I think I'll freak out. 
Would you stop?
Could you stop putting unrealistic expectations on a man for what he is supposed to propose with?
Don't get me wrong, I love my ring. I do. 
All I'm saying is that dreaming up elaborate million dollar weddings isn't the way to go. 
It'll leave you focused on the wrong thing...things! 
All that to say...

4. Stop prepping so much for the wedding, and start prepping for your marriage 

As some of you know, Ken and I got engaged October 4, 2013
I honestly felt like something was wrong with me because as the wedding drew closer (and I'm talking 5-6 months before the big day), I was less excited about the wedding day, and more excited for living with Ken, always (minus his away game series he would frequently go out of town for) having him to wake up to every morning, being a housewife, having someone love me knowing all my imperfections and character flaws, and everything else to do with marriage. 

Was I missing something?

I mean, I'm in NO way saying I wasn't excited for my wedding, but I remember something inside of me cringed a little when girls and women would ONLY ask if I was so excited for the wedding. 
I mean, sure, I loved (and still totally do) when people would talk about wedding flowers, bridesmaid dresses, the wedding cake, the wedding venue, my wedding dress, my wedding hair, our wedding vows, our wedding DJ, our wedding theme, our wedding colors, our wedding wedding wedding wedding! 
I have to be 100 percent honest and tell you (especially girls) that your wedding is NOT the thing you should be most excited about. 
It just isn't. 
Let me explain. 

I went to a wedding one time, and leading up to it, all the bride did was talk about her wedding. 
I asked her if she was excited to be married, and she answered with how amazing her flowers were going to look and how beautiful the venue was that she just booked. 
Something inside me cringed. 

Bride. Groom.
Listen to me. 
I'm not saying you have to be okay with going to the courthouse and saying I Do there... all I'm saying is that if you are spending ALL of your time prepping for this wedding, and NONE of your time studying and researching and letting God work on you to prepare you to be a wife or husband, I would re-examine everything. 
In pre-marital counseling (which I advise to EVERYONE), if you aren't being honest, open, and vulnerable, but only giving the "right" answers, please, PLEASE re-evaluate the reason for getting married. 
It breaks my heart to see the pressure men AND women feel to get married these days. 
Stop it. 
Marriage is a great thing, but if it's not right, or not God's timing for you... it's okay to call things off or wait. I promise you.


I'll go one step further and just ask you this--

What will your attendees leave with?
(and I'm not talking party favors)
I'm talking about the lasting imprint you want to leave on every person who attends your wedding.
For me personally, I didn't want all the focus on me. 
Well, I did, but, I didn't want it for the reasons you may think. 
I knew that it was the one time that I had all of my family and close friends' attention at one time, and I wanted to make sure that by the time they left that place, they knew that they were loved, deeply cared for, and honored.

I still had MY dream wedding, while making it all about someone else, and I'm not talking about how I wanted to impress my attendees, my groom, or my parents. 

I had my flowers and dress and bridesmaids with their hot little gold dresses and dark wine lipstick *insert heart eye emoji*, but what I was most excited for out of the whole shebang, wasn't any of those things. 

What I wanted more than anything, was to make it all about Jesus, and to make His name known. 
Ken and I literally prayed every night leading up to the wedding that our wedding would be all about Him, and that people would see the gospel that day either for the first time, or in a way that they've never experienced. 

One of the moments I will absolutely never forget (besides the very vivid memory of our vows being exchanged) and will always be the most grateful for, was when my dad gave his toast, and the first thing he did was give an invitation to know and follow Jesus. 
With tears in my eyes, I couldn't help but feel the close, intimate presence of God in that big ballroom. 

If people didn't remember my dress, my hair, my flowers, my shoes, my earrings, my nails, my makeup, my tan, or the details of "my" wedding... I didn't care. 
All I cared about is that people had the opportunity to see Jesus that day. 
To experience what His love has the power to do. 
To know that without Jesus, Ken and I wouldn't be able to make the vows we did. 
Without Jesus, Ken and I wouldn't have even been brought together.
Without Jesus, Ken and I wouldn't have lasted longer than the honeymoon stage of long distance dating. 
I wanted people to look at Ken and I on that day, and be pointed to only one thing-
Jesus. The gospel. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"Major" News

 Thought I would share a short and sweet blog post (you're welcome) to keep you updated with baseball, and our time that is ending here in Tennessee!
We are so excited to announce that Ken has been invited to Major League Spring Training!
I couldn't be more proud of him, and we both just feel so blessed by God and His provision in our lives.
We move from Tennessee to Arizona (for Spring Training) on February 9th.
We are excited at this opportunity and can't wait to see what God has in store for us this season!
This is one step closer to fulfilling goals and dreams, all while knowing that our true fulfillment rests in God and His love towards us. 
Prayers are much appreciated as we travel, and as Ken starts this new season! 

"never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do"


Friday, January 16, 2015

Wedding Bliss

If you haven't seen the photos that the amazing Terra Nyce put up on her blog, check those out! 
But here are some of my favs (okay I loved all of them I just couldn't post them all *insert cry face emoji*) from getting ready through the ceremony itself... and this still isn't all of them! 
Hope you enjoy, and feel free to click on the photo to view it larger! :) 

(yes we texted each other randomly throughout the morning- do what you want! it's your day!)

(my mama looked fabulous!)

 (yum.)...(and I'm not talking about the mimosa)

(I love my daddy so much. He set an amazing example of what to look for in a husband.)

(prayer with our pastors and mentors- so thankful for these people!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Our Love Story Video

I wanted to post all of the amazing photos my wedding photog captured, but I think I'll save that for Friday's blog post. 
For now, I'm excited to finally get to share with you:
our love story- the video version.
Enjoy :)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Affordable Attire To All Those Wedding Events: How To Create Your Perfect Look

Do you ever search Pinterest or google search what to wear to a rehearsal dinner/bridal shower/couple's shower, etc.?
Well search no longer! (okay, still search, we all do)

For events like this (my event was an evening couple's shower at a ritzy place in Nashville), you never want to look more done up than the bride.
If you're a lipstick lover (like myself) and you love big jewelry and hot little dresses-- ditch at least one of these for this type of occasion!  

(Not fully accessorized yet)

For my look, I felt my dress was a little on the edgy side, so I decided to do minimal (yet classy jewelry) and a light gold eye shadow and lip gloss. 
(My fav lipgloss is by Lancome -- you seriously can't beat it!)

For these events, you only want one statement piece. 
You have other events (such as the wedding itself) that you can wear the hot dress, chunky jewelry, and that new trendy lipstick you just got. 

For this event, my statement piece was my dress. 
Since my dress had the triangle look at the bottom, I tried to stick to simple accessories that accentuated that same shape. 
I did pointed rather than round toe shoes, and gold triangle earrings to give me the complete edgy look from head to toe, again, without being too gaudy. 

Hope this helps! What are your favorite event tips or trends? Comment below!


Shop My (Affordable) Look Now! 

Friday, January 9, 2015

New Obsession

Part of this whole New Year thing is to try new things right?
Well. I did that on Wednesday.
Can I say I think I missed my calling in life?
I went to a Thai Boxing class.
No no no not the tae-bo hardcore cardio workout kind of class,
the actual learn your fight stance, kick, and punch kind of class!
Was it hard? Yes!
Did I sweat blood and tears? Almost.
Did I love kicking, screaming, and punching? Absolutely.

I felt bad, but I sort of enjoyed fake out punch kicking a cushion held (rather seriously) by a high school girl just trying to get the next stripe on her belt.

I of course came home and showed Ken all my moves.

I tried to start a fight with him yesterday in the closet (I swear we don't just spend all our time in the closet...or do we?), realizing that wasn't a good idea I ran into the bathroom and yelled truce.

Anyways, I'll keep you updated on my new obsession with boxing. 
Until then, have you tried anything new this new year?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

So Long Insecurities!

Happy New Year! Can I still write that being that it's the 7th of January?... Oh well, I did! 
Hope everyone had an AMAZING holiday season! 

I couldn't figure out what my new years resolutions would be or if I would have any, until this one day, something happened and I knew exactly what I wanted to change this year. 
What I'm about to tell you is something not too far from a normal/average day in the life of Ken (unemotional) and I (extremely emotional). 

So the other day I was having a really bad hair day. 
You can tell where this is going... 
Anyways, this day I couldn't do ANYTHING with it, and Ken may have (he totally did) heard me say with frustration that I hated my hair and slam the brush down a couple times from the bathroom.
(Since apparently this is a tell-all post, I'll just go ahead and tell you that one of my biggest insecurities is my hair.) 
I literally got so upset I went into our closet and started organizing it to take my mind off of my hair trauma.
(go ahead and judge, but I know you've had days like this, if you haven't you're lying. Or forgetting. Or something... I swear if I'm the only one...)
Ken stopped whatever he was doing and came in because he knew I was upset.
I was sitting on the floor, messy hair, and a big frown on my face; clothes all around me on the floor. 
He laughed and said... "What are you doing??"
I said in a shaky voice, "I don't like my hair. I'm having a really really bad hair day."
*Cue the tears*
I began to tell him (and cry through it all) that I just can't do anything with it. "Maybe I need to get it colored, maybe I need to get a new conditioner, maybe I just need it cut...."
This lead to him glancing around our room not knowing what to do, and quickly grabbing the book "Walking With God Through Pain and Suffering" by Tim Keller.
He started reading and replacing every sad statistic such as, "children die every day" with "children have bad hair days every day" as I sat and cried/laughed on the floor of our closet. 
After about a solid two minutes of him reading, when I was only laughing, and my tears were half way dried/hardened on my face, he hugged me. 
(husband of the year right here people)

In that moment of hugging, something clicked (besides the fact I just cried to my husband over a bad hair day).
But really. I am so done with insecurities.
I have many insecurities that I just live with. 
I never ever try to put them to death. 
So for this year, my goal is to stare these insecurities in the face, pierce them in the heart, and get rid of them! 
So often we as women just live with insecurities and let them rule our lives and emotions.
This day, my hair triggered it, other days, it may be seeing a woman all done up in the grocery store when I'm in my yoga pants, big sweatshirt, and a ball cap.

This year, and every year, I refuse to let my insecurities take hold of me. 
If I'm having a bad hair day, who cares? That's life! (Low-bun-kind-of-day it is!)
When I start to wonder if I'm a good enough wife or DO enough, I'll tell myself the truth that I am enough, I do enough, and that each day I am still in the learning process of being a wife-- I've never done this before! How could I possibly think I could be perfect at it?

And those are just a few to name!
I want to be the best me that God has created and called me to. 
I don't want to let my insecurities hinder me from that. 
I want to live confidently, the way I was created to live, and know that God made me the way he made me for a reason!
I may not see it some days, but I'm making a choice to see my imperfections, as uniqueness.
I choose to revel in the truth that I don't have to have it all together, and to start loving myself for who I am, what I do, and where I'm at in life.

What are your resolutions? What are your goals? 
Will you take the plunge with me to pierce your insecurities too?