Posts Tagged With: wedding

June: Run With Joy

For the record, I really do not mean to take a hiatus between each post on here. I’m back to re-counting the wonderful memories of 2013.

Working in retail is very stressful at times, but there are moments that make all of the stress worth it. One of my favorite things is when little kids find a flower that has fallen to the ground and they make a point of giving it to me, just because. There was one night in June when this happened, but for the first time, the flower I received was a fully bloomed hibiscus. When a family came up to my register to ring up their purchase, their little boy proudly gave me this beautiful flower. His sister was dancing around and being twirled by their mom. It was a beautiful moment to witness and be a part of. That family is a family full of love. Waiting on those kind of people make up completely for the not so nice customers.

hibiscusatwork

* * *

When I was in high school, one of the sports that I participated in was spring track. I joined track only so I could stay in shape for soccer. I was a distance runner, but mainly stuck to the half-mile for meets. I ran the mile every so often, but never ran the 2 mile race in a track meet (even though I ran farther than that in practices). Aside from practice, I very, very rarely went out for a run on my own. I carried the same mentality into college and into the “real world” after graduation. Going for a run by myself just didn’t seem like a fun thing to do. On a whim last June, I downloaded the Nike running app onto my iPod and went for a run to test it out. I ran just beyond one mile, but it was in that mile that I knew that I was choosing to be a runner again. I had measurable goals to strive towards, all due to my run being recorded on the app. I knew I was choosing to do more than I thought that I was capable of.

strengthinovercoming

 

(image via Pinterest)

* * *

One Saturday in June, I went strawberry picking with friends from church. We had a picnic afterwards to celebrate the fruits of our labor. One thing that I LOVE about living in NJ is the abundance of the best produce I’ve ever tasted. Picking your own fruit makes for a fun experience AND it is super cheap as well! Having an afternoon to spend with fellow believers who are your own age, who have become your friends, is also a wonderful moment to experience and remember.

strawberrypicknicking

(top left image via my friend John)

* * *

I saw The Great Gatsby   with friends when it came out in the theaters. I went into the showing having heard mixed reviews about the movie. A lot of the negative reviews complained about having modern music in the movie instead of music that was more suited to the time period. I think having modern music was a wise decision. Contemporary music helped the viewers relate to and grasp how wild Gatsby’s parties actually were. The story was told very well. The hopeless romantic in me was still amazed at all Jay did in order to win Daisy’s affections back. Towards the end, I found myself almost yelling, “NOOO!!!” when Jay and Daisy got in the car to go back home (I’m not going to spoil the ending, if there are any out there who have never read the book or seen this movie).

gatsby

(image via Google Search)

* * *

June was also the month in which my church held our annual, week long Vacation Bible School. We did a program called “Kingdom Rock,” which taught the kids many different lessons about the Kingdom of God. The main phrase of the week was “Stand Strong!” Even though I am way past the target age of VBS, I also learned more about what it means to stand strong for Jesus.  In addition to getting very catchy songs stuck in my head, I helped as a photographer. Being able to capture the events of the program was a privilege and a joy. I knew most of the kids through helping with Children’s Church, but there were also new faces to meet. The best part about being a photographer for VBS is the fact that you are able to interact with ALL of the kids, instead of just the ones in your group. I might be a bit biased, but these kids are truly world-changers. Their love for God is so sincere and encouraging!

vbsstandstrong

* * *

June 2013 was the month of wedding number 3 in 2014 for me. This time around, it was my lifelong friend Kellianne. Our parents have been friends for years, so there has never been a time in our lives when we have NOT been friends. Growing up, we vacationed together. We celebrated birthdays and New Year’s Eves. We visit them at their beach house in the summer. Kellianne and Brendan’s wedding was the first wedding that my immediate family was able to attend together in a few years. Attending this wedding as a guest instead of a bridesmaid was a welcome change of pace. This wedding was a big deal, not just because of who was getting married, but because of my appearance.  The dress that I bought was one that caught my attention in the store while shopping for something else. I initially did not buy the dress, but upon sharing with my mom and sister about the dress, I went back later that night and bought it, not even knowing when I would have an opportunity to wear it.

This wedding was also the first time I CHOSE to wear makeup and the first time I APPLIED my own makeup, ever. Yes, I know that most girls apply makeup on their own long before they turn 25, but I’m not most girls. It was a “coming of age” moment, of sorts, and a moment that I was very proud of. For most of my life, I NEVER thought that I would EVERY buy and wear makeup on my own free will. In the words of my co-worker, “there really is a girly-girl inside” of me. A huge shout-out goes to my friend Steph and my sister for teaching me how to apply makeup.

The ceremony was beautiful. There was an extended period of time between the ceremony and reception, so my family did the most obvious thing possible–stop by Chick-Fil-A for some food to tide us over. Walking into Chick-Fil-A fully dressed up was a weird experience, but no one said anything about it. I’m sure people wondered to themselves why in the world we were dressed up for a meal at Chick-Fil-A.

The reception was wonderful and full of precious memories. My sister and I danced a lot, even though the dance floor was crowed. We took a ton of family photos, which is something that we don’t do on a regular basis. Above all else, we simply enjoyed celebrating the marriage of such a close friend.

kelbrendan

(top left image via my sister)

* * *

The month ended with a birthday lunch for my grandmom, a church picnic, and a store meeting in which our managers rented an ice cream truck for the night. In other words, I got paid to eat ice cream. Yes, there was work-related things that were addressed that night. But getting paid to eat ice cream is a wonderful, wonderful gift.

hdmtgicecream

 

 

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May: Birthday Week And Then Some

I have a confession: I love cake. If there is a celebration where cake is involved and I refuse cake, it would be wise to make sure that I am not very ill and on the verge of dying. Cake is the perfect complement to any celebration–light, sweet, and delicious. A day when I can enjoy a slice of cake is a good day. When life allows an entire week of enjoying cake almost every single day, that week is bound to be a memorable and important week.

Cue April 30-May 5, 2013.

April 30

A group of friends and I decided to surprise our younger friends on the college campus where we all met. We all became friends through a campus ministry organization, so what better way to surprise our friends than by crashing the last meeting of the year for that ministry? Our group of alumni first met up for dinner on the opposite side of campus. When we are all together, especially for the first time in a very long time, we become that group of obnoxiously loud, always laughing people. We may or may not have actually scared the girlfriend of one of the guys as she met us for the first time. She’s still friends with all of us, so we couldn’t have scared her THAT much 😉 After we ate, we headed across campus to put our plan into action. We gathered in the kitchen next to the meeting room where the campus group meets. Excitement was bursting out of all of us. We tried to keep our voices down, but the more we whispered, the more excited we got for our plan. Once we were all ready, we opened the door, yelled, “SURPRISE!!!” and ran out of the kitchen. Sean, a fellow alumni who had taken up a leadership role in the club after graduation, went around and picked as many of us as he could hold in one hug off the ground out of sheer excitement, until he had picked up all of us.

 

The night was spent laughing, sharing stories, and taking pictures. It also happened that one of the underclassmen had a birthday that week. A cake was bought for that person. Well, once there was word that a birthday cake was involved, Megan and a few others made sure that the whole room knew that my birthday was only a couple of days away. When “Happy Birthday” was sung, I was included. A night with dear friends, in the place that brought us all together, celebrating Jesus, laughter, and a bonus birthday cake? Yes, please.

scf_alumni

(Most of these photos are courtesy of my lovely friend Kristen).

May 1

May 1st was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner for Sam & Krystle‘s wedding. I made sure to get out of work on time and went right to the wedding venue. Under most circumstances, a rehearsal is done the day/night before the wedding, but the only day that was available with the venue was one in the middle of the week. One of the other bridesmaids, Leanne, had gotten engaged since the last time I saw her. Before she even said hello, she jumped up and down and showed me her gorgeous ring. We ooh-ed and ahh-ed over the ring and chatted until everyone who was able to make to the rehearsal arrived.

We went through the details of how we were to be lined up and who would walk in when. We then did a practice run. Rocky, our maitre d’, was impressed that I knew how to lead off the bridesmaids with an appropriately timed walk, even though I told him that I had the same responsibility in January. 😉 Once we all got to our places, Rocky was explaining to Krystle and Sam more details of the day. Leanne and I were talking and joking around. I noticed that the lighting was AMAZING and snapped some photos on my phone.

rehearsal_light

 

rehearsal_lighting_tree

The rehearsal itself was pretty short. Soon enough, we were getting ready to leave to head to the dinner. Krystle’s dad asked if we all knew how to get to the house. The rehearsal dinner was being held at Krystle’s childhood home–which is three blocks away from my house. Growing up, the easiest way to see if she was home was to stand in the middle of our street and look to see if there were any cars at her house. I responded to her dad, “Umm…..I am not quite sure…….”  to which he gave me a look, smiled, laughed, and hugged me. Even though Krystle and I have been friends since 6th grade, her dad never hugged me until that moment. It was finally the right moment for a hug. 🙂

The dinner was good all around–good food, good conversations, good company, good dessert, good laughs. Even though the night was celebrating Krystle and Sam, when it was time for cake, part of me couldn’t help but see the moment as half celebrating the happy couple and half celebrating my birthday. It was the day before my birthday, and I got cake and gifts. This thought was given more validity when Krystle and Sam presented the bridal party with gifts for being part of their wedding. We ended the night seeing our bouquets, figuring out some last minute details, and almost everyone practicing the dance to “Gangam Style.”

May 2

HAPPY 25TH BIRTHDAY TO ME!!! I celebrated by working at returns from 10 am-7 pm. Of course, there were some crazy/stressful moments, but the fact that it was my birthday made the stress not a big deal. On my lunch break, I got free Chick-Fil-A and free Rita’s water ice.  After work, I came home, opened my gifts, had a little bit of family time, read all of the birthday posts on my Facebook wall and then had to get to sleep early, as I had to open the next morning at work.  I did not have my birthday cake on my birthday because I have problems as it is getting a good night’s sleep before an opening without having a sugary dessert right before bed. Free Rita’s water ice made up for the lack of cake.

bday_2013

May 3

I worked in the morning. My family and I went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday. I chose Applebees as the restaurant. After we ate, we went home and I finally had my birthday cake. I had no idea what kind of cake my mom had made me. Prior to my birthday, I kept asking her for sprinkles on my cake. She kept telling me no. No part of me could understand why my mom, of all people, was not allowing me to have sprinkles on my birthday cake! When she opened the cake pan and I saw the cake, she explained why she had been so “mean” about the sprinkles. If there had been sprinkles on my cake, the smiley face would have looked diseased!

bday_cake_dinner

May 4

Birthday cake is never finished the first day. I’m positive that at some point, I enjoyed some more birthday cake, because why not? It was still my birthday week and completely acceptable.

In the evening, Krystle, Gina, and I met up to get our nails done for Krystle’s wedding. While we were in the salon, I also saw a friend from church and her daughter and took a few minutes to talk to them. While we were talking, I also saw Sam’s brother and his girlfriend. Apparently the thing to do the evening before your brother’s wedding is to take your girlfriend on a date to the mall. Who knew.

dodge_nails

After our nails were done, we drove over to Michael’s, since Krystle still needed to get her “something blue.” We walked back to the ribbon section and rummaged through the ones on sale and found a cute, small ribbon with blue bows on it. We walked up front, Krystle paid, and we got in our cars. Krystle took Gina back to her parent’s house, where she was sleeping over. I drove home, picked up all of my stuff for the next day (dress, shoes, bag, etc.) and  went over to Krystle’s house to drop off my stuff. I put my things in what used to be Krystle’s bedroom (but was now being used as our dressing room). Krystle, Gina, and I talked for a little bit. I don’t even know what we talked about, except we were SO excited and giddy. The day was finally almost here!!!! I did not stay long. Once I got home, I took a shower and got my last minute stuff ready. I tried to get to sleep early, but I probably did not get to sleep as early as I wanted.

May 5

“He doesn’t want to heal you. He wants to resurrect you.” Moment Maker, Carlos Whittaker

The wedding of Sam and Krystle, a day that was one of the best days of my life. This day deserves it’s own entry (or a handful of entries). Be on the lookout for this!

(And yes, there was cake at the wedding).

 Dodges_teaser

Other highlights of the month of May include celebrating my Mom’s birthday, playing one game of softball with my church team, and deciding to go for a run after the game. Going for a run might not sound like a big deal, but it was the beginning of a new chapter in my life.

 

May 2013 is a year that will be hard to top with any birthday celebrations in the near future.

 

 

 

 

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January: Let Our Hearts Embrace This Moment

2013 started with eager anticipation. I celebrated New Year’s Eve with family friends, a lifelong tradition with only a few exceptions. We ate far too much of our share of pizza, snacks, and desserts. As we shared a simple meal, we also shared our hearts with each other, catching up on what has happened in our lives since our last gathering. We played Bananagrams until a couple of us were too tired to make words. My parents and I left before midnight and rang in the new year on our couches, snuggled up under blankets. I wanted 2013 to get here, and get here quickly. I knew that once 2013 arrived, it was only a matter of weeks before two of my best friends got married. Working the days in between didn’t seem as stressful as usual, because I had such a major milestone to count down to.

NYE tree 2013

   In between New Year’s and my friends’ wedding, a little event called Passion 2013 happened in Atlanta, GA. Passion is an organization that seeks to “glorify God by uniting students in worship, prayer, and justice for spiritual awakening in this generation.” I had attended Passion conferences in the past, but was unable to be in Atlanta for 2013’s conference. I was still able to attend the conference, thanks to the donations of some very generous people that allowed the conferences to be streamed online. I wasn’t able to watch every session, but the ones that I did watch were amazing. It was during Passion 2013 that God showed me what would end up being my theme Bible verse for 2013.
   The conference also unveiled new worship songs. As I watched the conference on my computer, two of these new worship songs invaded my heart. “God’s Great Dance Floor” and “Shout” became my new favorite worship songs because through those songs, I was able to embrace freedom like never before. I danced around my room, knowing how silly I looked. Regardless of how silly I looked while dancing,   I was dancing in freedom. over every one of the chains that used to hold me captive. My dancing was proclaiming TRUTH where there used to be only lies and confusion. I was taking full claim of the promise that God IS DOING something NEW in my life. A line in “Gods’ Great Dance Floor” says “Let the future begin.” I held that line close to my heart–I could sense that a whole new adventure (one of immeasurably more than I could dream of) was about to begin.
   Before I knew it, the time for my friends’ wedding had come. I had been looking forward to this wedding since the fall of 2008. I had already become friends with Derek the year before through a Christian group on campus. Megan and I became best friends right after we met at an outreach event on campus. It wasn’t long before Megan and Derek met and I found myself  answering Megan’s questions about Derek and giving her relationship advice (including the simple statement, “Meg, when he asks you out, say yes.”). He did in fact ask her out, and the rest is history. Megan and Derek have the kind of love that would make a Hollywood chick-flick jealous.  In their four years of dating, I have had the privilege to see their love for God and their love for each other deepen and intensify to a level not seen by many in today’s world.
   In the months leading up to Megan and Derek’s wedding, God was preparing my heart for what was yet to come. He was answering prayers that I had been holding in my heart and asking Him for years and years. Jesus showed me that He sees me as beautiful. What better way to fully celebrate for the first time the understanding that I am beautiful than being a bridesmaid in the wedding of two of your closest friends?

Everything about the wedding weekend was beautiful, wonderful, and perfect. I went to a nail salon for the first time in my life and got my first manicure. As an added bonus, the lady who worked on my nails gave me a shoulder massage as my nails dried. I am very ticklish, so for someone to be able to give me a massage without me laughing and telling them to stop a few seconds into it is a huge deal. I also wore makeup for the first time in my life (not counting the couple of times that I wore just one or two types of makeup, usually under much protest). I rode in a limo for the first time.

The ceremony brought almost everyone in the room to tears. I could not look at my friends during the ceremony, because I knew that certain ones were bawling their eyes out—if I looked at them, I would have started to bawl my eyes out. There is nothing wrong with crying, except when formal photos still have to be taken afterward. The ceremony was a mixture of Chinese and English. Derek’s family is Chinese, and some speak very little English. Derek’s mom read some Scripture in Mandarin Chinese for her family.

The day ended with a joyous reception. I looked forward to dancing as a way to celebrate the day itself, to celebrate the joy of realizing that God sees me as beautiful, and to the freedom God had given my heart earlier in the month. I’m not a good dancer, and I don’t know many moves, but the few songs I danced to became treasures in my heart.

Not long after Megan and Derek’s wedding, I went bridesmaid dress shopping for wedding number two of 2013. This experience did not go as smooth as dress shopping for Megan’s wedding had gone. The day we went shopping was the first day I met one of the bridesmaids. She is very nice, but that day, we had to deal with the slight awkwardness of not knowing each other, yet having to work together to find dresses for the wedding. Our experience was beyond stressful (our consultant forgetting about us was the least of our problems), but in looking back, many precious memories were created that day. Our dresses were successfully ordered and I started a new friendship.

What a way to kick off a year!

Categories: 2013:Immeasurably More, identity | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2010, summarized

I’m going to be writing about 2010 using some prompts from Reverb 10. I’m not going to use every single prompt, and I’m not going to use them in order.

That being said….

Soul Food What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?

I would have to say that the most memorable meal of 2010 would have to be the dinner at Sean and Jade’s wedding. Sean and Jade had their reception at a place called Ram’s Head Inn. To those who do not live in South Jersey, Ram’s Head Inn is quite fancy. It was far above the price range of a college student, especially considering most of my meals were eaten on campus and paid for with my meal plan. Sean and Jade’s wedding was probably the only chance that I’ll ever have to eat at Ram’s Head Inn. Before we ate, they had appetizers and drinks. Marcelle and I had to constantly remind ourselves to not fill up on appetizers.
Once it was time to eat, we were seated. Charger plates, different courses, waiters with white gloves who carried themselves in a very proper manner and said, “Pardon my reach” instead of “Excuse me”—I knew that I was out of my element. I was seated with friends, and we all admired and giggled about the prestige. We started with a soup course, which was followed by salad, and then the main course. After the main course was cake and coffee. Everything that I ate was prepared perfectly and was quite simply, delicious. I did not finish my entire plate. Of the courses, I remember the main course the most. I had Filet Mignon, vegetables, and a potato dish that I do not know the name of. I gave Kate my fish, if I remember correctly, since she doesn’t eat a lot of red meat (and I wasn’t going to eat it anyway).
The food by itself was memorable, but the day will also not be forgotten. It was a day celebrating the love that Sean and Jade have for each other. It was a day celebrating with friends. It was a day when Marcelle and I sang to Sean and Jade for their video, cracking up the entire time. It was the first wedding that I’ve been to that hasn’t involved family. It was a day that reminded me of the power, beauty, and permanence of love.

March 6, 2010

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Weddings and other girly stuff

Right now, my mom and sister are watching “Say Yes to the Dress,” and I’m in the next room listening.

The tomboy part of myself (the part that doesn’t even like wearing dresses or makeup or doing my hair) is cringing, knowing that I’m publicly writing about something that is so typically girly.

I have many friends who are either engaged or in a serious relationship that will most likely lead to an engagement. I also have friends my age who are already married (and some have kids). I, on the other hand, am very single. “Very single” meaning that there isn’t even anyone who I LIKE like (resorting back to elementary school language). Most days, I am completely content being single. There are some days when being single gets to me and I find myself wishing for someone to come sweep me off of my feet, etc.

It is on the days when I don’t want to be single that the meaning of this ring really plays out in my heart:
ani ledodi vedodi li

The ring, for those not familiar with Hebrew, says “ani ledodi vedodi li,” which translated means “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”

“Woah, woah woah. Aren’t you single!?! What’s all of this ‘beloved’ talk?”

Yes, I am single. The reason that I wear the ring is not because of the love that any guy has in his heart for me. This ring is a reminder that while I don’t have the loving arms of a guy around me, I have the loving arms of God around me, and that is far better than any earthly love. God’s love is a love that is extravagant, never-ending, sacrificial, breath-taking, inspiring, and so much more. His love gives me joy, even in the midst of pain. I can come to Him at anytime and tell Him anything. Nothing on this earth can or will satisfy me as much as He does. His love never changes, even when I try to live for myself.

I still am waiting for God to bring a man into my life to fall deeply in love with. Like most of the girls on the planet (even tomboys), I have ideas and dreams about my wedding. It won’t be a frilly wedding, but when it comes, I know that it will come at the right time. Until that happens, I’m going to keep living in the love relationship that I’m already in.

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