Tie the Knot Tuesday, 12 Weeks and Counting

Believe it or not, SO MUCH has happened in one week.

Since last week, I’ve started the process of ordering our wedding invitations. The invitations that Korey and I both really like do not match our wedding colors (eggplant, lavender, olive, and grey) so I kept looking. I found, customized, and sent Korey about 4 other designs that do match our colors, and my mom and I asked him rate them on a scale of 1-10. The only invitations he handed out a strong ten to, we’re the non-matching ones. I’ve gone back and forth about whether we should order them or not, but you know what? We’re only getting married once, and whether they match or not, if that is what we love, by golly, we are ordering those black and gold invitations.

Now for the wedding dress! The dress came in last Thursday (I did mention it was coming last week on the first edition of Tie the Knot Tuesday). On Friday, my mom and I went to the dress shop so that I could try it on. Before I go into how that went, let me say that the dress is more beautiful than I remember, which is fair to say since I haven’t seen it since January. Second, let me remind you all, as mentioned in All About That Bass, that I have picked up some pounds since the first of the year (this also happens to be when I was measured for said dress). I had been talking with my mom all week, hoping, and praying that I could fit into the dress (it fit perfectly when I ordered it, so my concern was legit). Long story short, it zipped up, BUT it was a struggle. Had we not been running for the last 5 weeks, the dress literally wouldn’t have come above my thighs, so I am thankful for the dedication to running this summer. Now, the running must continue, so that I don’t have to be stuffed into my beautiful wedding dress on our wedding day.

I also ordered our wedding cake topper last week, which was a wonderful experience (I just love Etsy). While I was browsing and looking at all of my options (and there were many), I was having a hard time finding a bride silhouette that looked like me… mainly in the hair department. Most of the silhouettes had long and wavy hair, or some other style which were a far cry from my actual short, kinky, and curly hair.  So I emailed one of the shops, and asked if there was any way to customize the hair. After a few correspondences, they requested pictures, and I sent several. One day later… Wah-lah! Magic! You cannot tell me that bride doesn’t look EXACTLY like me! It looks like it could be an actual picture of Korey and I. Amazing.

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Last main thing, but certainly not least, my bouquet came in (shriek)! You may be thinking that it is way too early for me to have a flower bouquet (considering that the wedding is 88 days from now) and you’d be right! Next you may be thinking that the bouquet is made of fake flowers, but you’d be thinking wrong (I’m not knocking fake flowers). I’m not even going to guess what you’re thinking now, but I will say that this type of bouquet is totally new to me, I’d never even heard of these before I started wedding planning. My friends, when you see me coming down the isle, it will be with this gorgeous brooch bouquet. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It is absolutely stunning.

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A couple small (but major) things also happened last week: Korey and I decided on our first dance song, and my dad and I decided on our father daughter dance song! Whew! There you have it! All in a week’s time! More to come next Tuesday!

Until Then,

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Seeds of Trust

More on “mini heart-attacks” from my mom’s perspective 🙂

Mom Knot Daughter

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When I read Keturah’s post “The Ingredients that Made Us, Us”. I had to chuckle.

Mini Heart Attacks” is an understatement.

Picture me driving and listening to Keturah tell me about what was happening in school and about some of the things her friends were doing. It was challenging for me to sit and listen without thinking, OMG.  But I wanted to demonstrate that I trusted her and I was there for her. One of the foundational principles of Keturah and I having a great relationship is “I purposed in my heart that I would always listen to her.”

I believe middle-school was the most challenging for both of us.  It is a time when young people’s peer’s approval take percedent over obtaining approval from their parents.  Times have not changed that much since I’ve gone to school. In today’s society, people want others to conform to their views and…

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Flashback Friday

Psalm 116

I started a blog about 4 years ago but never knew anything about how to get people to actually read it. I had one follower – my mom (always a faithful follower). Eventually, I just stopped blogging. My mom has been there with me through everything so there was really no reason for her to reread the experiences that she just went through with me, so I just stopped.

Today, I went back to my old blog and I found some pretty good treasures. I’m grateful to have taken the time to write my testimonies, and wished that I had continued to do so. After reading the one I am sharing today, my eyes started to water because I remember that struggle, and God has been so faithful.


June 16, 2011 – Blessings in the Apple Store?

I have been sitting around wondering what on earth is happening to my money! It disappears and I have no idea where it is going. I have written down so many budget plans that I should be a millionaire by now, so what aren’t I?

In the past, I paid my tithes… not faithfully, but I paid them. Here lately I haven’t been able to afford to pay them, so I didn’t. Recently I was sitting in church (Antioch Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church) listening to a message on stewardship, and I thought, maybe this is why I am broke. Maybe it’s because I haven’t been giving God what is his. So I decided – the next time I get paid (which is only once a month mind you), I am going to give ten percent to the church before I run out of money, I am going to pay it all at once.

 The following Sunday, I wrote a check, and I was having an extremely hard time departing with that piece of paper. I prayed and I said, “God, this is ten percent of my income – I am sewing faithfully into your kingdom, please honor this because I have no idea how I am going to make it otherwise.” Then I dropped it in.

A few days later the check cleared along with my rent, car payment, and utilities. I thought, “this isn’t bad I have plenty left for the month. I just need to pay my mom for my cell phone bill and my car insurance and I’ll be fine.”

Except, SURPRISE – my annual renters insurance is due! Oh and your quarterly loan payment is also due! There is only one word to describe this situation… Crap.

All day I sat around trying to come up with a plan unsuccessfully. I called my mom after work, panicked – she gave a few suggestions. I was completely at a loss. I told myself this will get better. So, I packed up my belongings, grabbed my cell phone, started walking to my car. I proceed to then drop my cell phone and shatter the screen (are you kidding me right now?). This wasn’t a cute shatter either, this was a, “use this phone and your face will be electrocuted” shatter.

The whole way home I was so irritated. I was mentally ranting, “Here I am trying to do the right thing. I paid my stupid tithes and now all this extra stuff pops up that I have to pay (I hadn’t quite mastered giving with a cheerful heart). To make matters worse, THE STUPID PHONE IS SHATTERED and I know it’s going to cost a kidney to get it fixed. I KNEW I SHOULDN’T HAVE PAID THOSE TITHES!!!”

I walked into my apartment, plopped on my couch, scheduled an appointment with Apple and got online to do some research. How much is this going to cost me? Scanning the page…. $199. Crap.

I called my mom and asked her if she would like to accompany me to the Apple Store – both she and my aunt came. We waited for about 45 minutes to be seen (in true Apple Store fashion). During that time I decided to share with my mother this tithing dilemma. I said, if I hadn’t paid my tithes, I would have money to get this phone fixed and still be able to eat for the rest of the month. Because there is no other way to be a Marilyn, she tells me a scripture about tithing – something about the ocean- and tells me not to think that way. I am thinking “yeah, yeah”.

The apply guy finally calls us over, assess the damage, gives us the “this is not covered by warranty” speech and lays it on me. This is going to cost $99. Okay that is better than $199…. I’ll pay it, who needs food anyway?

He disappeared with my phone for about three minutes. When he came back, it looked like new. He typed some junk on his computer, disappeared below the counter, and then popped up to ask me the most RANDOM question. “How has your day been today?” Really? Did you see what I brought you? I told him my day was pretty decent until I shattered my phone. Then he says, “how about now?” He points to my receipt of 0.00 balance and says, “free of charge”…. Did he just say free of charge? I asked him, “Are you serious?” He then says, “you ladies were SO NICE and SO PATIENT as you waited to be helped that I just want to do something for you.”

At this point my eyes start watering, I tell this man that he has just saved my life (life was a little of an exaggeration, but budget for sure). I told him he has NO IDEA what he just did for me. Then, because there is no other way to be a Marilyn, she says, “YOU OWE GOD AN APOLOGY!” Indeed I do.


As you can see, I haven’t always been faithful in tithing or giving, but what a way to get started! God showed up and since then, God has blessed me in more ways than you can imagine. The windows of Heaven have been opened to me and there has been poured into my life blessings in overflowing proportions.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. – Malachi 3:10

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7

Until next time,

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Tie the Knot Tuesday, 13 Weeks and Counting

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Last week I ran across a blog entry by Kaycie Vanden Top called “Wedding Wednesday“. Each Wednesday Kaycie tries to write a post updating everyone on what is going on with her and her fiancés wedding plans. I was inspired and wished this was something I ran across 9 months ago! Korey and I only have three months left! Nevertheless, I have decided to do the same, but I am calling it “Tie the Knot Tuesday.”

This will be a fun way for me to share what Korey, our families, and I are doing and have done to prepare for our wedding, and more importantly our marriage. That way everyone can be in the loop, and when you wonder how the wedding plans are going you’ll have a better answer than “it’s going,” which is usually what you’ll get if you ask me.

So, nine months ago, on October 29th, Korey and I got engaged. Hopefully you have taken the time to ready our engagement story, it really was my best birthday. Immediately after we got engaged, we started searching for wedding venues. We visited so many places, they all started looking the same. Several places we went to we liked but were already booked for the date that we’d chosen (and we were nearly a year out)! We were not willing to move dates, it is significant to us for several reasons, so if they were already booked for October 24th, we were out.

In total, I think we visited about 8 different venues. Korey, my mom, and I spent a lot of time in prayer because we wanted to make sure we followed God’s leading to the right place. Sure enough, we all felt our spirits leading us to one place in particular and we booked our date with The Piazza. The team of people at the Piazza are phenomenal to work with. They’re all God-fearing people and it’s very evident if you spend any amount of time with any of them.

After the venue was picked, we started working on finding the dress. I made an appointment at David’s Bridal and went there with my mom, soon to be mother-in-love (a term I’ve picked up from my church family), and two bridesmaids. The consultant asked me several questions to get an idea of what kind of dress I liked and she started bringing me dresses to try on. Each time I tried on a dress I had to give it a rating 1-10. It felt like I tried on a million dresses! I found a 9, but I didn’t find my 10. As we were ending our appointment time, the consultant told me I needed to go ahead an buy my 9, because I wasn’t going to find anything better. She tried to pressure sale me. Poor girl, she just didn’t know that I was not going to walk down an isle in something that didn’t make me kick my leg out (that is another story).

We ended up leaving David’s Bridal with a second appointment to go back. When we went back, I tried on a million other dresses and STILL DID NOT FIND A DRESS. My small entourage encouraged me not to give up and not to settle. Before we left, we scheduled a third appointment to take place. Before I went back to David’s Bridal a third time, I decided that I better look elsewhere. I had an appointment at a small bridal shop called Distinct Elegance. My appointment there was one week before my next appointment at David’s Bridal. At Distinct Elegance, I tried on about 4 dresses before I found one that I loved. It was fun and crazy, but it almost seemed a little “too fun” (if you’ve ever been to the Piazza, then you know it is very elegant and classy and I just didn’t think this dress would “fit” there). I expressed this to my consultant and she said that she did have a dress beautiful, elegant, but also fun, and she brought it to me to try on. That was it guys. That was my dress. It was ordered at the first of the year, is expected to come in this month, I will go try it on (this week actually – I am excited). Too bad you can’t see it until October – it really is beautiful.

The other things we’ve planned and booked so far have been much easier. We don’t have to worry about food or drinks because the Piazza is awesome and they take care of that. We have already booked a photographer (this was actually the first thing we booked after picking our venue) Tyson Pough, who is amazing, seriously amazing. We’ve booked our honeymoon- JAMAICA HERE WE COME! We have a DJ, tuxedos, bridesmaid dresses, bride and groom cakes – delicious, delicious cakes, and we also have one heck of a wedding planner who is about ready to strangle me because I’ve been a little too laid back during this planning process.

Although we have done a lot of planning on the wedding front, the most important thing to us is planning on the marriage front. The wedding (although it costs a fortune) will only last a few hours, but this marriage will last a lifetime. In our efforts to prepare for a lifelong marriage, we are going through the pre-marital sessions at our church, which really has been wonderful. We have learned a lot about what God expects from us as husband and wife. We have awesome mentors and have been in constant communication with our Heavenly Father during this entire process!

Thank you for tuning in to Tie the Knot Tuesday, more information coming next week!

Until Then,

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The Ingredients That Make Us, Us.

Mom Knot Daughter

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If you walked up to anyone who knows me (or knows of me for that matter) and asked them to name someone I was really close with, I guarantee you that my mom would be amongst the top of the list. My mom and I have always had a close relationship (even during those rocky teenage years that all girls go through when they’re trying to find themselves).

So what exactly does a “close relationship” look like? A lot of people think that to have a close relationship with your mother she has to be a “cool mom,” and I’m not saying that my mom isn’t cool, because she is, but she wasn’t what society deems a “cool mom” is… You know, the mom that lets her daughter underage drink at home because “I’d rather her do it here under my supervision than be out there where I can’t monitor her.” I…

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All About That Bass

One of the things I have always struggled with is my weight. I’m not one of those naturally lean people, who can eat whatever they want and not gain a pound. Carbohydrates really, really like me. I know I won’t ever be a “stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,” as Meghan Trainor so eloquently stated. But I would like to get to a comfortable weight and maintain it.

According to this weight chart (that I now want to burn), a “normal” weight range for a female who is 5’5” is 114 to 149 pounds, said female is “overweight” if she weighs between 150-179 pounds, and “obese” if she weighs between 180-234 pounds. Currently, I fall into the overweight category, and quite frankly, even when I was at my record lowest weight (picture below) I still didn’t weigh less than 150 pounds.

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I didn’t mind being over 150, I felt good. I liked the way my clothes fit and I didn’t mind the way I looked in pictures. I know a lot of people put a lot of value into the number on the scale (I’ve been there), but I’ve come to realize that it isn’t the number on the scale that matters, but how you feel.

For me, I’ve gone through periods in my life when I am heavier, and then I lose weight and I’m healthier, then heavy, then healthy, heavy, healthy… It’s a freaking roller coaster! I am consistently inconsistent. I find things that work: south beach diet, weight watchers, running, Eat to Live, etc.  Clearly I know how to lose weight, because I have done it successfully several times, but the longest I have ever gone without gaining the weight back was about 18 months. It just seems like eventually, I hit a road block and I don’t know how to get around it. Then I’m feeling miserable and the confidence I have in myself diminishes (which I know isn’t an attractive quality).

I’m sure there are ladies out there who weigh the same as me or more, and feel great about themselves, fierce even. Take these ladies below, they are “plus sized” models. They’re beautiful and they are rocking every curve they have. They clearly have a lot of confidence in their bodies and they look as if they feel very comfortable in their own skin.

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I’m just not there yet. I feel very self-conscious 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I look in the mirror I see a lot of flaws: double chin, flabby arms, big thighs, and a tummy that sticks out more than it should. It has nothing to do with the number on the scale (even though the last time I weighed myself I almost passed out). It also has nothing to do with the people around me. Yes, a few people have noticed that I have picked up weight, but no one has given me a hard time about it. As far as I know, no one has called me fat or made anything major of it. It definitely isn’t Korey, he tells me I’m beautiful every single day, multiple times a day, and assures me that I am attractive to him. He would never tell me to lose weight, even if he thought I should, he just isn’t that kind of guy. With that being said, it all boils down to how I feel, and right now, I feel so uncomfortable.

Don’t get me wrong, there are things about myself that I love. I love my skin, I rarely wear make-up of any kind outside of chapstick, I don’t wear foundation or blemish cover up stuff… for the most part my skin stays clear and smooth (except for my freckle-like moles – which I also love). I love my hair, I mean I really love my hair, I am proud of my red, wild, crazy, and kinky curls. I love my eyes, they aren’t any special color, but they’re huge and different! I can’t control them – they just express themselves.

You know how you open a can of biscuits, and the dough pokes out?

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That’s the only way to describe how I feel in my clothes on a pretty consistent basis. A simple fix would just be to buy new clothes, but NO ONE and I mean NO ONE likes to go shopping for BIGGER clothes. Even if I could bring myself to do it, we don’t really have a lot of extra shopping money laying around with us getting married in the next few months. So I’ll just feel like biscuits for the time being… but hopefully not for long.

I don’t know who to blame for why I feel this way… Should I blame the “mean girls” who gossip about everyone that walks by, judging them by their size or what they wear?

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Do I blame society for deciding on what is beautiful?

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Or, do I blame myself for listening to, and embedding the world’s view of beauty into my heart, instead of my Creator’s?

1 Samuel  Proverbs 31-30

Psalm 139-14

I know if I’m uncomfortable, I should be doing something about it, and I am, but change takes time. I am working on a life-style change that works for me on a long-term basis, and not just a quick fix (to end this roller coaster ride). I am also working on seeing myself through God’s eyes, because I know he created me as I am intentionally.

With all of that said, I’d like to leave you with a challenge! I know it takes way more positives to counteract all of the negatives that people have had poured into them. So, I am challenging you to compliment someone’s beauty. You never know how people are feeling, even if they appear to have it all together. Tell someone they’re beautiful. If you notice someone losing weight, TELL THEM, “Hey, you look great, have you been doing anything differently?” Pray for your friends, and definitely pray for our young girls. They need to grow up loving themselves because truly, every inch of them is perfect from the bottom to the top.

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F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Friends

There are a lot of ladies out there who have a friend(s) that they grew up with. Their parents were friends, so they were raised as friends. Or they met in the Kindergarten and have been best buds ever since. I used to be envious of those people because I didn’t find my best friend for life at infancy. As a matter of fact, I was the odd girl who just really loved her mom, which apparently wasn’t “in” (especially in middle school).

I wanted to be friends with someone who grew up with me and knew me from early childhood like some of the other girls. I wanted to have a lot of friends. I wanted people to call me (not on my cellphone, because we didn’t have those… I grew up in the “have your own phone line” era), or page me (oh yes, I did have a beeper). Side note, how many middle school aged children even know what a beeper is these days? I wanted to be someone’s number one, go to person. Instead my adolescent friendship story went a little like this:

When I was Kindergarten to second grade age, I attended a private school. There were literally about 8 kids in each of my classes, three of which were girls (including me). During my time at this school, I had a hard time making friends with the girls. There was so much drama. I remember coming home crying, not able to understand why they were so mean. I have always been an extremely friendly and outgoing person, a social butterfly if you will. I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but I am a pretty awesome person to to be around – God just made me that way (not my most humble moment). So I didn’t understand, and I always took personal offense when people didn’t like me (I think I grew out of that in college – sorta).  On the plus side, I did have friends in my neighborhood, but eventually we moved, and long distance friendships are hard to maintain when you’re eight.

The private school that I was attending only went up to the second grade, so my third grade year, I started going to public school. Making friends there was much easier (maybe because there were more than 2 girls to choose friends from). Once I got enrolled, I stayed in same school district with the same friends from third grade through my senior year in high school. My elementary friends were great, middle school friends (do we even want to go there), same friends, a bloody NIGHTMARE (second grade drama magnified by one million). High school – pretty stellar (mostly because of band, yes I was/am a nerd – great memories). Then there is college. By the time college arrives, the drama stages are over (for most of us). You gravitate toward people who are like you and BAM! Friends! Just like that! It’s not complicated, it’s perfect.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a friend as a person who you like and enjoy being with. I like that definition. It is so simple. However, Merriam-Webster does NOT have a definition for a best friend. I did find one, but I do not consider Urban Dictionary a credible source of information.

So what is the difference between friend and best friend? There are several people in my life who I consider a friend, and I only pick good ones. I do not want to, in any way, diminish the value of a friend. I do however, want to recognize that there are some friends who move past good and become best.

These are the friends who have become apart of your family, who understands the drama and everyone’s personality, the only person other than you who can talk about how crazy they are. These are the friends who hurt with you, cry with you, and drop everything to be with you in your time of need no matter where they live. These are the friends you can go months without seeing and pick up right where you left off. These are the friends that if you randomly knock on their door in the middle of the day, they’ll open it, and be happy to see you. These are the friends who will tell you when you’re wrong, when you’re too loud, when your attitude is bad, when you need to apologize, and when you need to mind your own business. These are the friends who you’ll have a great time with whether your schedule is jammed packed with “girls day” activities or you’re just sitting around in your pajamas all day watching TV and movies. These are the people who the word friend just isn’t enough.

Although I didn’t find these friends at the ripe age of 2 or 3, I did find them, and they are such a blessing to my life.

As I’ve gotten older, I have recognized that the amount of time you’ve known someone doesn’t factor into the meaningfulness of the relationship. I have also learned that it isn’t the quantity of friends that you have that add value to your life, but the quality. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that friendships sometimes have rough patches (just like all other relationships) and to overcome them brings you closer. Looking back, I’ve realized that in addition to the people who God sent me to be my unbiological sisters, I’ve had what I thought I wanted all those years ago, which is a person to be friends with from infancy, and her name is Mom.

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” ~Proverbs 18:24

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