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.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Love that quiets

There is a clamor in my mind these days.

I’m thinking of last minute wedding preparations that need to be made. 23 days and counting. There is the actual wedding event that I am preparing for. On top of that, there is the marriage to follow that I am mentally, emotionally and spiritually preparing for. I had no idea that preparing to enter the covenant of marriage would be such an intense experience for me emotionally and mentally. I knew that marriage was hard, but I thought that engagement would be more like a movie or dream sequence. I imagined myself shopping for beautiful things in luxurious places, tasting delicious foods, smelling flowers and gazing longingly into the eyes of my beloved. I overlooked the possibility of tearful breakdowns, irrational frustrations and wrestling with fear over the end of my lifestyle as a single person.
I was reading Zephaniah 3:17 earlier this week:
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
I remember when I first discovered this verse. I was spending the summer between my sophomore and junior year in college in Daytona Beach, FL on a summer project with Campus Crusade for Christ. I was beginning to experience God’s delight in me and it was startling and wonderful. I kept asking God, “Do you really take great delight in me? How is that possible? How can I produce delight in you?” It’s been over a decade and I am still growing in my belief and confidence in God’s delight in me. I continue to ask God to convince me that I delight Him and I still struggle to believe that it’s true.
But this week, a different part of the verse captured my attention:
He will quiet you with His love
It stopped me; this thought that God’s love could have a quieting effect on me. I thought of my racing thoughts, niggling doubts and clamoring fears. I wondered if God’s love could quiet them. I prayed, “God, please quiet me with Your love.”
Now it wasn’t instantaneous, but I have been praying this every day since and I am starting to feel quieter in my mind and emotions. God’s love is soothing worried places in my mind. God’s love is also working in my schedule to produce greater periods of rest and connection with God at strategic points in my day. He is helping me to hide in Him and find peace and rest in Him despite the busyness and demand of this season of my life. I am SO thankful for how God’s love is quieting me.
Still Counting Gifts:
·         #864: 3 cancellations and 1 no show are actually gifts of time from God
·         #865: Peace in knowing that God is my provider
·         #866: The trees outside my office window have been really beautiful recently
·         #867: Camping in Door County
·         #868: When Ben dragged an air mattress, sleeping bag and pillow out of the tent so that we could star gaze comfortably
·         #869: Watching Lily swim and retrieve sticks
·         #870: Homemade butter pecan ice cream
·         #871: Campfire
·         #872: Riding a bike
·         #873: That I am remembered how to ride the bike
·         #874: When people surprise me with a visit
·         #875: When my mom meets me at the house of prayer with dinner
·         #876: Choosing a wedding ring for Ben
·         #877: Holding God’s hand all through my day