“Oh, to be married to the one you do love, and love most tenderly and devotedly… that is bliss beyond the power of words to express or imagination to conceive.” Hudson Taylor

Andrew and I have had so many adventures in such a short amount of time. We moved to Colorado temporarily, and saw God provide everything we needed and more. We moved back to the constantly-freezing area we both grew up in, and are settling back into life here, but also chiseling out our own, new life together. Finding an apartment has been tough, and we still haven’t lived by ourselves yet. Looking for new jobs and figuring life out has been keeping us busy, as well as getting ready for Christmas and becoming used to the idea of having a baby. Surprise!

The most important thing I’ve learned for our marriage, so far, is to not be a dream-squasher (a term my parents, brother and I stole from Everybody Loves Raymond; the clip is about 20 seconds in from the start of this video I found on youtube. Watch it, it’s funny).
Why is that so important, you ask? We all have dreams. We all want things that haven’t happened yet, and who has the most influence on a husband’s outlook for their future? His wife. My husband wants to go to graduate school ($80,000 a year and we’re going to have a 3-month-old when the semester would start). He wants to work with NASA (He’s 6’2″). He doesn’t do everything perfectly. And guess what? He’ll never do anything that will hurt his family. Even when it was just thinking about the future for the two of us, we were a family and I was secure in knowing he would never, ever do anything to jeopardize or hurt his family. Sure he spent money to bring cleaning supplies to his brothers, and is also stopping to pick up breakfast, and we don’t even have jobs or an apartment of our own. I can think of ways that little chunk of money could be saved and spent on something I would deem “better.” That doesn’t mean the money isn’t being spent well. It doesn’t mean my husband’s time or resources are being wasted. He is spending them the way he sees best. I get to be the one who sees him bless others! I get to see the ways God has provided for us, and the ways we get to share with others.

I do continue to struggle at times with the ways my husband uses our resources, but that is my struggle, and a blessing when he lights up because I’ve said in words, “Alright, have fun!” and with my heart, “You are my man. I support you. I trust you.”

“You are the most handsome of all. Gracious words stream from your lips. God himself has blessed you forever. Put on your sword, O mighty warrior! You are so glorious, so majestic! In your majesty, ride out to victory, defending truth, humility, and justice. Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds! Your arrows are sharp, piercing your enemies’ hearts. The nations fall before you, lying down beneath your feet.” Psalm 45.2-5

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(Cue up-tempo Sister Sledge music: “We Are Family… All of the people around us they say/ Can they be that close? Just let me state for the record/ We’re giving love in a family dose!”

Soon after Andrew and I became engaged, he came over after going to a bachelor party bbq and mentioned that we’re becoming a family. Now, when I hear the word “family,” I think of a mom, a dad, and at least one child, and usually a dog. Always more than two people. Andrew told me, after seeing my confused expression, that with or without children, we are a family.

If you’re planning on having kids, then you’re essentially marrying the other parent of your children. Hmm, perspective! Maybe there are no children in our future, but we will still be a family. It is just as important to be a team, to work together, to struggle and to triumph together.

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“Heaven brought me to this moment, it’s too wonderful to speak. You’re worth all of me, so let me recklessly love you, even if I bleed. You’re worth all of me.” ~sung by Matt Hammitt

I’m not very old. I always thought that if I ever did get married, I would be closer to 30 than 20. However, on my wedding day, I’ll be 23 years, 13 days. I always thought people getting married before being 25 were crazy. Maybe we are crazy. We probably are, but not only because of this. We were so focused on staying true to what God had for us, that we had never gone out with anyone else before going out together. Our first kiss will be at our wedding ceremony before our King Jesus and those we love and who love us. If that isn’t crazy in this world, I’m not sure what is.

Up until the day Andrew proposed to me, I felt young-  as in I-should-still-be-in-high-school four years after graduating young. I was learning what it would be like to be a family with Andrew, but I still belonged exclusively to the family I’d grown up with and felt on the edge of his family, not outgoing enough to make myself belong and not uninterested enough to ignore them completely. Friends would ask, “Hows it going with Andrew?” A smile on their faces, eyebrows wiggling on their foreheads. “Um, it’s good,” I’d reply earnestly before looking away for another topic.. Help! What was I supposed to say to that? I had no idea, no experience. Eventually I’d babble on about somewhere we’d gone, or the always enthralling-to-every listener, how we were playing frisbee on Saturday, or ask what books they’d been reading (a solid subject with homeschoolers). But when Andrew knelt down and asked those four words, suddenly I grew up, in a way different from the way people grow up after a traumatic event. I stood taller, I was stronger. Someone had chosen me! Not because I thought I needed to be chosen by a man- God has chosen me, and I’m part of the kingdom of my King. What more can I ask? I didn’t need to be chosen again, and Andrew didn’t need me, either. But he’d chosen me anyway. I felt so loved. Our families were so excited for us! Andrew texted or called literally everyone to tell them I’d accepted him, that we were getting married. I got messages from people I rarely talked with saying how excited they were for us- I was so happy. God has blessed us.

Even starting to look into where to hold our wedding didn’t dampen our excitement- at first. Watching pictures from wedding websites and decorations and venues began to detach me from reality. I was looking to resources to help me get ideas, but all they did was give me a million options. I didn’t know where to start! Quickly I realized that adding “wedding” to the description of anything made the price triple, but heck, I’m getting married only once! I did some research (okay, a lot of research- that is one thing I’m good at, though it can quickly become a not-so-good thing when I become overwhelmed by the vast amount of information online), made a list of “necessaries” that is three-plus pages long, Andrew and I decided how much we were willing to spend; an amount ridiculously below the ridiculously high average of $30,000+. When Andrew and I talked about planning the wedding, I came from the few I’d attended and the elaborate glimpses of weddings held in the pictures from wedding sites. Andrew came from the weddings he’d been to and what he thought was expected. I wanted a garden wedding with good weather; Andrew wanted an elaborate ballroom. Andrew made a guest list of 160 people. Mine was under 45. We had no idea what we were doing, but I knew I wanted a dress and we needed a location. Dress shopping was fun, but also not fun. The lowest price range at a bridal shop is about our whole budget. I hate trying things on, I hate showing things off. I was trying on huge, fluffy wedding dresses and having my mom, maid of honor, and future mother-in-law watch and say what they liked. Which was great, and they were nothing but supportive, but still-! They also had visions of what a wedding dress should be. Andrew and I picked out a venue, a beautiful historical mill 45 minutes away. We didn’t bring a check that day, one piece of advice (out of an overwhelming amount of advice too vast to keep track of) that I did follow. It was beautiful, even only sparsely decorated. My parents liked the pictures, and, nearly empty, it seemed huge. It could fit 150, which was more than we wanted. Getting plates and food wouldn’t be an issue- right?

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Planning a wedding…

Planning a wedding has its stresses. Finding a place for the ceremony and reception that has a rain option, finding a balance between those-who-will-never-speak-to-us-again-if-we-don’t-invite-them and everyone else we want to invite. Finding a dress that is in budget and still makes you “feel like a bride!” (especially when you decide to take the money that your parents want to give you and use it to start off this phase of your life, and pay for your wedding all on your own!)

Then, of course, there are the people whose names I barely know who suddenly speak with a familiarity usually reserved to close friends and my mom. It seems everyone has advice for exactly what we ought to do and everyone knows someone who can help us- “My 2nd cousin’s step-brother’s girlfriend took this random gorgeous picture of me- I can ask if she’ll be your wedding photographer!” Um, no. But thanks (Luckily we are blessed with the friendship of a lovely woman who also happens to take amazing pictures… not only randomly, but constantly).

You know, it’s not really that bad. I’m marrying my best friend, and no matter how much tulle I’m wading in (or not…), I’m going to be a bride. However much the centerpieces cost or how many nights are spent putting together the programs and making sure this person is not sitting beside that person, it’s going to be amazing and special.

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“The wedding isn’t a surprise party for the groom.”

Well said =)

From the sample of the book I read on Kindle, A Practical Wedding.

I’m getting married! I’m doing this once- we’re doing this once. I want it to be amazing.

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“Even if the healing doesn’t come and life falls apart… You are God, You are Good, Forever Faithful One”

This song from Kutless came on the radio last night, and when I heard that part about the healing I had to turn it up. What if the healing doesn’t come? Yet, how can it not? Where is God’s faithfulness if it doesn’t come? For over 3 years I have struggled and survived, regularly waiting for the crippling pain to kill me, then jumping out of bed the next morning to praise the Lord. I know it’s not about me. Maybe it’s about the glory of God when someone cannot function sometimes, but praises Him anyway. Right now I can’t keep that up. I have tried to be strong. I have been forced to lean on Him in my weakness.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creating waits with eager longing for the revealing of the Sons of God.” Romans 8.18-19

Now I’m tired. I’m frustrated. I’m so ready for the healing.

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How Much Does a DIY Wedding Cost?

I recently read an article on weddingchicks.com about how much a DIY wedding costs. The couple was trying to cut down and stick to a small budget- of over $18,000!  Andrew and I are trying to keep ours under $1,500. So how much does a DIY wedding cost?

The other day I bought a dress- technically, separates- from BHLDN. Maybe not the one I’ve had my eye on for awhile, but still gorgeous and unique. I don’t feel that I’ve missed out or settled in any way. It came to $485, including $25 in shipping charges. A significant amount for such a small budget, but half of what many “less-expensive” dresses cost. I’m looking for hair accessories to finish the look, and eventually I’ll have to look for shoes. Blue, to go with our color scheme? Once we decide on a venue I’ll know whether to get flat or heeled shoes; it will also depend on how long the skirt is on me!

We’re researching venue options now. Many places seem to expect their customers to hand over thousands, so it’s been a long and involved search. We shall persevereImage =)

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