Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I absolutely love my Christmas tree.

Ben picked it out and I wrapped it with lights and hung all the ornaments. The needles are shorter than I usually like, but it's still soft to the touch. Our tree skirt is red with little wooden buttons sewn on it.

I turn the lights on just as soon as I can open my eyes enough to see what I'm doing and they stay on until the last second before walking out the door or heading to bed. I literally have warm, fuzzy feelings every time I see our little Christmas tree shining in its' corner.

I have a few of my favorite Christmas cards that I put out every year and some childhood craft projects that are fun to display. Ben has a beautiful nativity set that his mom painted and we got our first ornament together. God is good in this season and others.

We leave for North Dakota on Friday, so I'm savoring Christmas at our house for just a few more days. This will be my first Christmas outside the Pearcy clan. I'm excited to discover what a Striker Christmas is like and have some quality time with Ben's family. Our first two meetings were full of activity and commotion. This was fun, but not my ideal environment for connecting deeply. I'm hoping for conversation, laughter and a chance for our relationships to continue growing.

I'm looking forward to 12 days off all in a row. 12 days to be with my husband, to rest, to play, to read and to talk. I know there will be delicious coffee because we are carting our Nespresso machine with us. I have saved my most recent Real Simple magazine to read on the plane and I'm going to select one or two books that I want to focus on during my vacation. I'm doing laundry tomorrow so that all of my favorite clothes will be clean and trying to figure out how I can fit one or two games into my suitcase. God is good in my relationships and in my activities.

Until then, I'm purposing to see every day this week as a gift to enjoy. Yesterday, God sustained me to see all 10 of my clients and be fully engaged with each of them. Today, God blessed me with 2 cancellations and a no-show. This made it possible for me to go to the Rock River House of Prayer in the middle of the day and practice playing the piano for an hour. This is also what makes it possible for me to sit and write right now. God is good when my schedule is full and when it is empty.

I'm fighting a cold that has settled in my chest. The coughing fits are intense and inconvenient. They seem to occur most when I am sleeping or meeting with clients. I was up several times last night and have had to excuse myself from sessions because I was coughing so hard that I was crying and feared I would throw up. I was feeling angry this morning because I am still sick and did not sleep well. But, I was convicted by 1 Thessalonians and the command to "rejoice in the Lord always." I chose to start thanking God for everything that I could think of and I asked Him to help change my feelings about today and my coughing. He did. God is good when I am sick and tired and when I am well and rested.

God is good in all circumstances and in every season. His goodness is toward you today.

Still Counting Gifts:

  • #929: God loved on me today and I was able to recognize it
  • #930: I am being healed from my cold
  • #931: God is giving me supernatural strength in my physical weakness
  • #932: My dad showed up while I was practicing the piano and surprised me
  • #933: A really, fun, ugly Christmas sweater party
  • #934: Winning the prize for the ugliest outfit
  • #935: Celebrating one year since Ben and I started dating
  • #936: 2nd annual coffee social for Rockford Roasting Co. at Rockford Art Deli
  • #937: Seeing Ben drum with Lights of Albion
  • #938: Holiday mint m&m's

Thursday, December 5, 2013

2 books that have been a gift to me this week

A Million Little Ways, by Emily P. Freeman, is one that has been working on me for a few weeks now. The main premise is that we are all made to create art because we are made in God's image. This isn't necessarily art as we tend to think of it. It is more the idea that who we are and all that we do is art in the unique expression of who God has made us to be.

This book has been coaxing me into exploring art that I had previously ruled out, for various reasons. I decided to start piano lessons after a decade away so that I can finally learn how to play worship music by chords. I am starting to think that the extra time I have been finding in my schedule because I am seeing fewer clients might be a gift from God so that I can read, think and write. God seems to be offering me space to rediscover abandoned dreams and cultivate my creative interests. I'm not your typical art kid and my creativity has always felt more internal than expressive, but I'm want to allow my understanding of my strength, gifts and calling to expand as I connect with God and learn more about who He has created me to be.

The chapter I finished this week explored Psalm 46:10 in a new way for me. "Fail and know that I am God." Emily suggests that it may be in our failures where we find opportunities to know God more. Failures are usually devastating for me; even small ones. So the idea that my failure is actually a gift so that I can experience God more intimately was so encouraging and reassuring.

Becoming Myself, by Staci Eldredge, was given to me just this week. I started reading it when I had a cancellation and have been startled by how it has already impacted me. Twice, I have felt completely undone and found myself crying. This book is about transformation and how it is always rooted in the incredible love of God. We change from the inside out as we encounter His love.

Chapter 2 is about our life stories and how we understand them. Staci offers simple questions to facilitate reflection throughout the book. Rule-follower that I am, I force myself to consider each one. As a result, I have discovered that a core fear I have is that I am not enjoyable. I know that people enjoy me, but I fear that it is because of what I do and not who I am. God is exposing this lie and affirming that He and others enjoy me, as myself, and not for anything external that I offer.

Ben has referred to these as "sister-books" because of how God is using them, in tandem, to connect with me and bless my heart. I am a little apprehensive because God is doing yet another deep and somewhat painful work in me. But, I am mostly excited by how He is lavishing His love on me and healing my heart so that I can connect more with Him, which gives me such joy and peace.

How is God blessing you this week?

Monday, December 2, 2013

What a difference a year makes

On December 2, 2012, I was at home at my parent's house. I know that it was a Sunday, but I don't remember exactly what I did.

What I do know is that I was still thinking about how I had finally reconnected with Ben Striker at a burn at the Rock River House of Prayer the day before. I know that I was trying not to think about him romantically and that I was feeling proud of myself for reconnecting with him like a normal person after two years of separation and the strong attraction that I had immediately felt for him.
Christmas 2012

What I didn't know is that he would have a mutual friend text me just two days later to ask if she could give him my phone number. I did not know that we would have our first date just five days later, be dating after only two weeks or be engaged by Valentine's Day. I definitely could not have imagined that we would be married by the end of September.

I have been thinking a lot about how quickly things can change and how years of unanswered prayers can suddenly be answered. I think about all that has changed in my life while other things are remarkably still the same. I have been thinking, "This time last year..." and wondering what will be this time next year. Between remembering the past and anticipating the future, I find that I am missing out on the present.
Christmas 2011

December is a full month for me and I know that it is this way for many people. I know that I am out of the practice of savoring each day, again. My days feel more like burdens and to-do lists than gifts. I have less joy and peace and more anxiety.

So, I am back to searching for God in my everyday life. I am practicing His presence and looking for where He is at work in me and around me. I am counting every gift that I find and asking Him to satisfy me once more with Himself. I am asking God to expand my gaze so that it includes more of Him and not just me.

December 2010
Still Counting Gifts:

  • #914: Starting my second year of life with Ben
  • #915: Time to write, think and read
  • #916: How A Million Little Ways is inspiring me
  • #917: Starting piano lessons
  • #918: Extending myself grace when I don't practice for two full weeks after my first lesson
  • #919: How our basement space is feeling more and more like home
  • #920: Staring at my Christmas tree
  • #921: I survived another Turkey Trot despite running only twice since my wedding
  • #922: Ordering my wedding photo book
  • #923: My name change is closer to complete
  • #924: New perspective on who I am and what God has given me passion to pursue
  • #925: God's love is stronger than even the most devastating feelings
  • #926: Seeing hope find fertile soil in a person's heart
  • #927: Trusting God with my business and how many people I see
  • #928: Learning how God wants me to spend myself

Monday, November 11, 2013


 It's snowing outside my window. It just started to stick a little bit. I can see it on the trees and covering the leaves.

This is the first snow of the season. It means change is coming. Fall coats are no longer be sufficient. Hats, scarves and gloves become a part of my daily wardrobe. My car needs time to warm up and I should fill up with gas when it gets down to 1/4 tank.

I really like this time of year. Fall is ending and winter is coming. I like snuggling in front of a fire and wearing sweaters. I like drinking hot chocolate, apple cider and spice tea, in addition to my usual coffee consumption. I like Thanksgiving, the holiday and the practice.

While I welcome this change in season, I am so aware of how I am struggling in my own transition.

I have spent several hours contacting insurance companies to change my name now that I am doing business as Jody Striker, LCPC.

Ben is still collecting our things from the various places where we have been storing them. They are piling up in the living room and store room until we can decide how to set up our home.

We are working and reworking our schedules: work, House of Prayer, cooking, working out, church and time with friends. How much time do we invest into each of these areas? When do we say "Yes" and when do we say "No"? What is really important to each one of us and how do we support each other in those things? What does our life look like now that we are married?

I am really struggling in this transition. More than I thought that I would be.

I would like to blame this on the fact that I have basically been in transition for the past two years and I'm sick of it. I'm tired of everything changing and constantly having to adapt.

But, I actually think that it's more than that. Change is hard. For everyone. Including me.

I returned to Centre College in Danville, KY for my 10 year reunion at the beginning of November. It was SO fun to be back and reconnect with good friends. It was also powerful to remember all that God has done since then. A lot has changed in the past 10 years and I struggled to accommodate then as I am now. But, I can also look back and see how those seasons of change helped me to lean into my Beloved God and how that posture of dependence on Him produced such great growth within me.

I don't like transition and how it pulls at me and wears me down. I do like being conformed to the image of Christ and I believe that God uses transition to do that. I hope that I transition quickly, but I choose to trust in God for my joy and help until it's done.

Still Counting Gifts:

#896: A wonderful reunion
#897: Hours of conversation
#898: Beautiful fall colors in Kentucky
#899: Thin mint coffee creamer
#900: Self time-outs in my bed
#901: We finally got our YMCA membership
#902: New clients
#903: Running with Karyn and how she let me walk when I needed to
#904: Sibling bonfire in my parents backyard
#905: First snow
#906: Grace in my weakness
#907: A relaxing bath, with jets, and Real Simple
#908: Working at communication
#909: Forgiveness
#910: Pomegranate seeds in my oatmeal
#911: Ben makes me coffee in the morning
#912: Butter Chicken Curry paste
#913: Patience in others when I am struggling

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Being ruled by love

If you have read my blog before, then you may have already guessed that I struggle with fear and control. In fact, I have wrestled with them for most of my life. Sometimes, I get discouraged because they still have power over me.

Recently, I reached a new level of frustration with them and decided that I was done. I'm done ruminating over what people think, fearing rejection and judgment and trying to control every single aspect of my life in order to protect myself from what I fear. So, I prayed one of those desperate and risky prayers:

God, I want to be ruled by your love, not fear and control. I give you my permission to do whatever it takes to set me free from fear and control. Even if I have to endure difficult circumstances or emotional pain, I don't want to live this way anymore!

Now, I prayed this with a sober mind. I understood that I was inviting God to mess with my life. But, I can't stand feeling this way anymore.

But, what happened next has been even more surprising. God has started to wage war on fear and control in me by interfering with me having my way. These small attacks on my comfort and preferences have produced amazingly big offense.

I was so mad that I didn't think I could even say good-night to Ben last night. And, it was because of laundry. Yes, laundry. Who freaks out about laundry? Me. I do that.

Now, he had taken 2 loads of clean clothes and jammed them all back into the hamper to cart downstairs and then left it there, in the middle of our living room. But, the anger that I felt over this action was out of proportion to the offense. And, I felt strongly compelled to take control of that situation by marching that hamper right back upstairs, emptying that laundry back into the dryer to be air fluffed and then folding every piece neatly in a separate basket. Even though it was late, I was exhausted and Ben had already offered to repair the laundry offense today, I insisted that I could not accept any option other than the one I was pursuing.

As I stood in that laundry room, I realized that I was not being ruled by love, but by control. I'm not sure exactly what fear I was trying to manage in that moment.

But, there was probably some should shouting in my mind that clean laundry should always be folded and put away. I think there may have been some judgment and rejection toward people like myself who would even think about leaving clean laundry crammed into a hamper overnight. I know that there was offense against my husband for doing such a terrible thing to me.

I wish that I would have accepted his sincere apology, allowed him to fix the laundry problem today and received the love that he was extending to me in that moment. But, I'm even more glad that God is answering my prayers and challenging fear and control in my life.

Even if it means that my way and preferences will be offended.

Still Counting Gifts:

  • #889: my 10 year college reunion
  • #890: seeing old friends
  • #891: my husband is generous and patient
  • #892: pumpkin whoopie pies with cream cheese frosting
  • #893: a huge tree with beautiful yellow leaves outside my window
  • #894: an old record player that is new to us
  • #895: the satisfaction of reconciliation after conflict

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How do I like being married?

People keep asking me how I like being married.

I get it. I’m adjusting to a major life transition. People are excited for me and this is an easy way for them to enter into my joy. They ask this question and I start gushing.

I say that I love it. It’s wonderful. Yes, we’re settling in well, there in the basement of my parents house. I may mention that Ben has been hanging things in our room and brought furniture out of storage to make our space more like home.

If the conversation lasts long enough and becomes more intimate, I may even tell them that some of my favorite things are when we pray together in the morning and he makes me coffee to help me wake up. I like when we fall asleep with hands and toes just barely touching; in our space, but still nearby. I like calling him my husband and hearing him say that I’m his wife.

Being married has been wonderfully different and also surprisingly the same. My life at work, for example, feels exactly like it did before I was married. I can get so distracted there that I forget about Ben entirely. We have had several days this week where we had completely separate schedules and only saw each other in the morning and at bedtime. I almost feel single again in those moments.

My insecurities have not changed either. I’m still somewhat stunned that this amazing man chose to commit the rest of his life to me. Having his love and last name has not changed the way that I struggle to believe what God says is true about me. In some ways, being married to Ben just further exposes the same weaknesses that I have had all along. And Ben can’t fix them, as much as he wants to and starts talking about crawling into my head to kill the accusing voice that taunts and judges me.

One thing that is different and helpful as I face my insecurities in the context of marriage is the way that God will come shining out of my husband with truth and love. I experience glimpses of God in the way that Ben looks at me and how he treats me, especially in my weakness. I feel a gentleness and acceptance that invite me out of my defensive and scared posture. Ben is wise and has good ideas about how I can change my thinking, but invariably the most helpful and supportive thing that he does in those moments is to pray for me. He ushers me into session with the Wonderful Counselor who heals my hurts and makes me whole.

Whether or not you believe this, I still have deep fears that I am wrestling through. I have told God that I want to be ruled by love, not fear. I have invited Him to set me free and to use whatever process He deems best. I’m not sure what He will choose, but I am confident that my new husband is an important part of His plan. 

Still Counting all of God's good gifts to me:
  • #878: I saw 29 clients last week and this is the most that I have seen in one week since I changed offices
  • #879: I discovered just how relaxing and delightful a facial is
  • #880: Singing with Ben 
  • #881: Going out for breakfast spontaneously
  • #882: That I was not seriously hurt when I made the poor decision to stand on the toilet seat to adjust the shower head and ended up tearing down the curtain and falling into the shower after the toilet seat broke (I'm sure it would have been hilarious to see, but alas, I was all by myself.)
  • #883: Sister visits
  • #884: Cookies and Cream ice cream
  • #885: Doc Martin marathon's
  • #886: Dinner and catching up with a friend
  • #887: Ben's birthday
  • #888: A weekend in Chicago

Saturday, October 19, 2013

3 weeks ago today

I got married three weeks ago today.

I’ve been thinking a lot about our wedding since that day. This was my first week back to work, which meant that I got to talk a lot about that day and show pictures, because everything is still fresh and new and people are anxious to know how it went.

I have missed writing. Several times during our honeymoon, I almost grabbed my laptop because I had the urge to write. I never did, but I wanted to. I think that it felt too intimate to record in some ways. And, in others, I was just enjoying being lazy and carefree.

I plan to write about what I remember from my wedding. (Maybe even some things from our honeymoon. We shall see…) I don’t know what I will share, but I want to make a record of my memories and experiences from that day. Just three weeks later, but the feelings are less vivid and the mental pictures are less crisp. Fortunately, our photographer did an amazing job and I am thankful that I have those images to remind me.

Some of my favorite memories and snapshots:

Having Amy and Jessi escort me around that morning. They were not official attendants, but they attended to my every need that morning and I cherished their company.

When my mom was helping me with my jewelry and she teared up with joy. That was probably the first moment of the day where I felt the weight of what was happening and the ecstatic joy that accompanied it.

Making my way to our spot, up by where the barn used to be. It was there, just outside the door, where I first met Ben Striker. It was there, under a night sky with fireworks that I told him I would become his wife. And, it was there that he stood, blind-folded, waiting for me. I held the train of my dress high, to keep it out of the dirt, clutched my gorgeous bouquet of wild flowers, and went out to meet him. I had never seen such a look of delight and wonder on his face as when I lifted that blindfold.

Wandering all over the farm with our wedding party and photographer to capture moments.

How God was literally a rushing wind all around us. The wind was gusting strong that day. To me, it meant that God was with us and He was so excited that He was racing around the property all day long.

Standing in the kitchen, watching all of our friends and family arrive and find seats. Knowing and struggling to believe that they were there for us and that our day had finally come.

When the wind was threatening to carry away the chuppah that we were getting married beneath. Without a word, Eric and Andrew came to stand on either side of us and hold it firm. It was a beautiful reminder of how strong God’s covering is.

Dancing with my dad and when he told me that he loved me and that he was so proud of me. I felt the warmth of his approval and affection.

Riding away in the hay wagon, pulled by a tractor, through a tunnel of beloved people cheering for us was one of my most favorite moments.

I can remember that day during my internship at IHOP-KC when God pressed me to ask Him for a wedding blessing. I wept because my heart was so tired of waiting and hoping. It felt too risky to ask God to bless me with a wedding when that possibility felt so remote.

I am thankful that God encouraged me to pray as He did. I am thankful that I made my request for a wedding blessing known to Him. And He did bless me and my wedding. It was so much more than I could have ever asked for or imagined.

Friday, September 27, 2013

1 day of wedding anticipation

On the last day before my wedding…

I got up early because I was awake and so excited to start my day. I straightened my hair, put on make-up, drank coffee and visited with my family and my childhood best-friend, Amy, who arrived last night.

Ben and I invited our wedding party and our parents to breakfast at Stockholm Inn so that we could say thank you to these wonderful people who have been so significant in our story. Then, we headed over to the farm to set up tables and chairs and rehearse our ceremony.
I felt my heart swell as I walked down the aisle toward Ben and stood under the wedding canopy with him. I can’t wait until tomorrow when we will make our solemn vows to one another.
We had a fun rehearsal dinner in the park behind my parents’ house and then wine and dessert back at home afterwards. I gave Ben one last kiss and said good-night before his groomsmen took him away. Now, I’m winding down with two close friends before I go to sleep for my last time as a single woman.
This has been such a beautiful week and a wonderful end to this season of singleness. I thank God for His love and goodness which have been so rich toward me! And, for blessing me with a wedding.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

2 days of wedding anticipation

On the 2nd day before my wedding…

I woke up early, but stayed in bed. I nestled in more comfortably and treasured all kinds of thoughts in my heart. This has been such a wonderful wedding week and I know that the best is yet to come. I thanked God for what has been and what will be.
I went out to breakfast with my mom and dad. I drank strong coffee and ate eggs benedict. And, we got to celebrate when my brother Colin texted us to say that he had been offered a job after several months of searching. God is so good!
Back at home, we opened the doors and trunks of all three cars to load up flowers and other items for the wedding. Once the packing was done, we drove in a caravan to the farm, where we opened all the doors and trunks again to unload everything.
Mary, wedding facilitator extraordinaire, directed our efforts as we worked into the early afternoon, transforming the front of the barn. After a delightful lunch break at Greenfire, we continued working through the afternoon. We arranged all of the flowers for the centerpieces and Ben, Andrew and Eric built a chuppah, or bridal canopy.
I cannot believe how beautiful everything is looking. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with such a creative husband and an amazing wedding planner. I am already enjoying the fruits of their labors and I know that all of our guests will too.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

3 days of wedding anticipation

On the 3rd day before my wedding...

I finished my last day of work as Jody Pearcy.

Everyone in the office and even many of my clients have been anticipating this day with me. It was fun to have so many people tell me that they are praying for us to have beautiful weather. I received lots of kind words and wishes and felt very cared about.

Now, I'm cleaning off my desk and wrapping up every loose end. I won't be back until October 14 and my goal is to not think about work during that time. I want to rest and focus exclusively on my new husband. It gives me a little thrill to think that the next time I sit at this computer, I will be Jody Striker.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

4 days of wedding anticipation

On the 4th day before my wedding...

I slept much better and felt like a new person when I woke up.

Matthew Bowie, my wedding photographer, called me to talk about Saturday and saved me from having to call him.

Ben came and saw me at work today. He was officially coming to see Dr. Gray about his poison ivy that keeps coming back. But, he sat with me on my couch while he finished his paperwork. And, he left Haribo gummy bears on my desk when Emily came to pick him up.

We are so close to being married. It's fun to start doing small things as though we are. I got to go in the exam room with him and I picked up his prescription during my break. I'm pretty excited about becoming a wife.

Monday, September 23, 2013

5 days of wedding anticipation

On the 5th day before my wedding...

I was awake between 2 and 3 AM, chasing thoughts around my brain. I almost got up and just got to work when I struggled to fall back asleep. I was relieved when my alarm went off at 6 AM and it was actually time for me to be awake.

I went out just before the sunrise, with the moon still fading and the mist rising above the fields in the forest preserve. Lily and I ran 3 miles and I just let my brain go. It felt good to finally match the pace of my mind with the pace of my body, although my body isn't actually as fast.

I don't feel stressed emotionally, but my body does. It's doing all kinds of funny things as I anticipate our big day this Saturday. I keep leaning into God, however I'm feeling. I bring him my racing thoughts, my physical strain and my full heart. I ask Him to help me savor every moment between now and then and to receive every gift, no matter how small. I know that this is an exquisitely special time in my life that I will never experience again and I want to drink it down and enjoy every last drop.

I enjoyed a huge gift of time at work today. I had no clients from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM. I caught up on things from last week, checked a few more pre-wedding items off of my list and took an amazing 35 minute nap after lunch when my head was pounding and I could go no further.

I'm also enjoying my office today. I had a friend from church stop by today and I was so excited to show her my space here. I love how sunlight streams through the windows and the color is calming. Thank you God that I love where I work.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

6 days of wedding anticipation

On the 6th day before my wedding...

I forgot to blog. Until right before I climbed into my new bed in my new bedroom downstairs.

Ben and I have decided to rent my parents basement for the next couple of months. We would like to buy a little house, but we won't qualify for a mortgage until I can show two years of self-employed income tax returns.

So my project for today was to clean out the guest bedroom that I have called my own for these past two years and to move all of my things to the room downstairs. This is part of the tangible change that I am experiencing in getting married. I like it and it's different.

I really liked the room upstairs. It got lots of light, had a huge closet and was right across the hall from the bathroom. But, knowing that this room downstairs is one that I will share with Ben as we start figuring out how marriage actually works makes me like it too.

Only a few more days now.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

7 days of wedding anticipation

On the 7th day before my wedding…
The weather is beautiful and I’m sitting outside. I close my eyes when the sun is shining and lean my head against the tall back of the Adirondack chair. Lily, our dog, is wandering around the back yard. She alternates between chasing tennis balls and lounging. As a result, I alternate between hitting tennis balls and lounging.
This morning, I ate oatmeal with strawberries and drank a Nespresso latté on my way to the spa. I had a really nice lady do my manicure and pedicure. It was SO very relaxing and delightful! I read almost my whole Real Simple magazine while she made my hands and toes look beautiful. It is such a gift to be pampered like that and I really appreciated my time there.
I came home for lunch and the gorgeous day called me out of doors. I only meant to stay outside for a few minutes. It was actually more for Lily than for me. After all, she’s been cooped up inside all day. But, once I got out here, I found myself wanting to stay. Just a little longer.
I will go inside soon because I want to have more time praying and resting in God at the R2HOP burn. It only goes until 6 PM, so I will have to get there before then. I’m also looking forward to time with my parents later tonight. We will share church and then go to Granite City for conversation and connection.
I pray that it is just as beautiful this time next week, when Ben and I are getting married.

Friday, September 20, 2013

8 days of wedding anticipation

On the 8th day before my wedding...

I finally posted the link to my 9th day post on my Facebook page.

I also continued to drink lots of coffee and coke. This morning, my dad brewed some of the delicious coffee beans that Ben (Chauvin) and Chris roasted. This is the only coffee that I can drink blank and enjoy how it tastes. Brewing this coffee also had our whole house smelling wonderful! I had more coffee when I got to work. It was pumpkin spice flavored from the Keurig. Then at lunch, I had not one but two cokes, from a bottle no less. So, I'm switching to water at this point. I feeling the edgy, shaky, over caffeinated feeling and my body is probably desperately in need of hydration.

I had tasty Mexican food for lunch with a friend and then went back to work to see a few clients. Soon, I will head to the R2HOP burn. I get to sing with Mackenzie and her team, which is always a treat. Tomorrow I get to go to the spa for my pre-wedding mani-pedi, I will have more time to enjoy God at the burn and I get to go to church with my parents.

Ben is on his way to spend the weekend with two of his childhood friends, who will also be groomsmen in our wedding. They are going to be camping out of a tent, shooting skeet, playing BB gun tag and doing lots of other manly things. This is our last weekend as single people and we are spending it apart.

I'm kind of excited about this. Not that we will be apart, but that we are savoring the end of this season of singleness. We are intentionally doing things that we have enjoyed as single people. I want to recognize this meaningful and beautiful season for what it has been as I prepare for it to pass away.

Here's to savoring singleness.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

9 day of wedding anticipation

On the 9th day before my wedding…
I went to the mall. Again.
I have been going to the mall once a week for about the past month. But this week, I went twice.
I bought a going-away dress at Charlotte Russe and lots of shoes for the groomsmen at H&M.
I have been to Macy’s to find one of those shapers that are impossible to get into, but make my curvy shape look nice and smooth under my fitted wedding dress. I literally broke out into a sweat trying these spandex suits on and it took me so long to get one off and another on that they were very hard to compare. Finally, I bought two and took them home to ask my mom for her recommendation.
I have been to Charming Charlie’s to look at jewelry. Of course I couldn’t decide what to buy without my personal stylist Karyn, so I had to buy two separate sets. I figured that I would consult with Karyn and then return the set that she voted out. After all, I already knew that I would have to return with the rejected shaper.
I also went to Victoria’s Secret and had quite an experience there. Unfortunately, I had consumed a latte on an empty stomach and was feeling shaky from the caffeine. It was warm in the store and they wanted to size me again. This was quite the process of trying many things on and either they have changed their sizing to make normal people believe that they need a larger size or this lady had no idea what she was doing because the size that she recommended was completely different from what I have been wearing my whole life as a woman. I didn’t feel good and I just wanted to get my free pair of fabulous underwear and my 7 mix and match for $26. Finally, two bra’s and all that underwear later, I stumbled back into the florescent light of the mall and tried to reorient myself. After I returned to my senses, I knew that I had to return one of the bra’s, but the other was really pretty, so I kept that one.
I am hoping to be done with the mall now, but I can’t be sure. There are still 8 days after today left until my wedding.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

10 days of wedding anticipation

On the 10th day before my wedding…
I put on my fall colors.
I usually like to go a little darker in the fall and winter months, although I keep the ombre style all year long. Chrissy Tripodi, at Studio Blu, does an amazing job! We have these little chats before she does my hair. I tell her what I'm thinking and she is full of great ideas. I never know exactly what my hair will look like when she's done, but I have never been anything less than thrilled with her work. This time we even looked at pictures on pinterest and talked about what my hair would look like for the wedding. Chrissy put some extra colors in the hair around my face so that when she puts it all up, there will be lots of dimension to enjoy. 
Ben came too. He wanted to get his hair trimmed. Chrissy cut his hair while my color was setting. We might make it a tradition to get our hair cut together. We went together just before my sister’s wedding too and it's been great both times.
Our shared hair adventure brings us one step closer to being ready for the big day. Only 10 more days now!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

11 days of wedding anticipation

On the 11th day before my wedding...

I'm admiring my engagement ring. Ben designed the setting and the six diamonds came from a ring that belonged to my dad's mom. I love how tall it stands on my finger, the intricate detailing on the sides and how the diamonds are clustered like a flower and look a little like a shiny crown from the side. It's just the right mix of old and new and I like knowing that Ben had me in mind when he imagined it.

This is actually my second engagement ring. My official engagement ring that will also become my wedding ring after we get married. But, for the first four months that we were engaged, I had a different ring.

I still remember how it shone in the light of the flashlight that Ben was shining into the chocolate box when he proposed. I remember how shocked I felt upon seeing how large the stone was, knowing that Ben and I had intentionally planned to reuse jewelry that I already had in order to keep the cost down. I was thinking, "It's SO huge and beautiful!" at the same time that I was thinking, "How on earth did he pay for that? That's not what we talked about!" I felt so much better once he told me that it was not actually a diamond. I would laugh to myself when people admired it and then said something to the effect of, "Didn't you say that you are marrying a farmer?"

I actually still enjoy wearing this ring sometimes, on the ring finger of my right hand.Ben did a great job choosing a ring for me, twice.

Monday, September 16, 2013

12 days of wedding anticipation

On the 12th day before my wedding...

I had an idea to post something short every day in anticipation of the big day.

Today, I'm thankful to have all of my programs printed and stamped with red thumb prints. I'm thankful to my parents for joining me and Ben in our production line last night. I'm so thankful to have one more item that I can check off of my to-do list. I'm excited that the details for our honeymoon stay in Chicago and then Florida are almost all arranged. And, it feels good to have completed another day of work, leaving only 6 more before our two weeks of rest.

I'm looking forward to the day when I won't feel tired from not enough sleep at the same time that I feel jittery from too much caffeine. I'm looking forward to when I can wake up and go to sleep with Ben by my side, thereby removing the need for 30 minute-long good-bye's that last too late into the night. It will be nice to just go home instead of having to plan a visit after whatever it is I have going on that night.

My wedding day is coming and I am thankful.