Happily Married: Back to the Beginning

It was about this time three years ago when I was strung out on my parents’ couch, un-showered and on some powerful pain killers, that I met my now husband.

Yep.

I’ll explain.

I went home to have all four of my wisdom teeth removed early on a Friday morning. My train of thought was to get the awful surgery part over and done and then sleep it off on the couch. My sweet parents escorted me there and back, making sure I actually made it to the car (pain pills get me, y’all) and then safely into my favorite corner of their couch. Truthfully I don’t remember a whole lot other than waking up in the car on the drive home and trying desperately to tell my mom a story about my dentist (???) but physically couldn’t even come close thanks to all the gauze and who knows what else in my mouth.

So glamourous.

Saturday morning I woke up on the couch, still in my yoga pants and oversized sweatshirt I had wore into surgery the morning prior. I must have been with it enough to take my hair down and bra-off but not coherent enough to bother doing anything else like shower or sit up.

I told you, glamourous.

I was alone in the den with HGTV playing in the background and then a guy I didn’t know walked in. Correction: a cute guy I didn’t know.

GREAT.

While a lot of the details of this day are foggy this particular one is not. Seeing this cute guy walking towards me I was suddenly very aware of how special I had to have looked so in what felt like slow motion, I attempted to pull my hair back in some sort of ponytail and “fix” my bangs. I’m going to guess that didn’t improve my looks. Next thing I knew he had a bowl of cereal and was sitting on the other end of the couch.

“Hi,” he said.

Indistinct mumbling from me.

Taylor was his name and he was a friend of my brother. I had heard of him before – my family knew him for years but we’d never met – so I connected the dots and tried to smile. He wasn’t anything like I thought he would be – he was better – and I couldn’t believe this was how we were meeting. Nathan was taking him to the airport later but wasn’t up yet so he decided to come talk to me.

“Do you like House Hunters? I love it,” I managed to mumble out, apparently. Because that’s what you talk about when you’re on pain killers and meet a cute guy in your living room.

Awesome.

He finished his cereal while I attempted to look alive – I nodded off twice – and then he said he would see me later. I just knew he would never ever EVER want to see me again after our winning first encounter and didn’t give him more thought.

A couple weeks later we ran into each other and in front of several people I did not know I awkwardly announced: “Look! This time I’m wearing clothes and not strung out on drugs!”

I can’t make this stuff up.

As if all that wasn’t enough to make him run for the hills, my dad decided to jump in the mix. Dad, who up until that point had never meddled in my love life saw something there and for whatever reason, called Taylor. He told Taylor it was about me and his initial thought? Something was wrong. I was sick/dying/moving overseas. NOPE. Dad told him he should call and ask me out and – WAIT FOR IT – if things worked out he “couldn’t pick a more perfect son-in-law or match for his daughter.”

If your jaw is on the floor you had a similar reaction to the one I had when Taylor told me on our third date.

Taylor did call and we talked non-stop for the next two days, including a 6-hour delay from BNA>LGA for a work trip so I knew I had to see him. We went on our first date the day I got home from NYC. He prayed at dinner and we talked like old friends well past midnight as we strolled in one of my favorite parks. We both agreed it was the best first date we’d ever been on and I knew it was only the beginning of our story.

He later told me he liked me from our first meeting on my parent’s couch, jumbo-sized gauze cheeks and all. Love is spectacular like that. xo

Newlywed Life: A Running List

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I like to start my day alone, well Buddy is usually in my lap, with a glass of lemon water, my Bible, and whatever devotional I’m reading because sometimes I just need a minute to get my day going right. Currently I’m working my way through Waiting in Wonder, a pregnancy devotional/journal hybrid that tackles a new topic every day with scripture and encouraging words. This morning’s devo was all about the importance of building a strong marriage, especially before and when children come into to the picture since everything changes (or so I hear). The author tied in my favorite passage of all time, I Corinthians 13 aka “the love chapter” and pointed out how “love keeps no record of wrongs.”

My husband has taught me so much about what it means to love someone with your whole heart and as he says, despite. Despite all my flaws and mess-ups and less than glamorous moments he loves me unconditionally. He has taught me how to forgive annoyances and move forward with the kind of optimism only found in love.

If you love somebody, you don’t keep score of times they hurt your feelings or when they didn’t pick up their dirty clothes from the bathroom floor. You don’t remind them of the times they royally messed up and put their foot in their mouth or were short with you while hungry and tired. You don’t keep a record of wrongs to bring out whenever you feel like it because that’s not what love’s about.

Love is about keeping track of the good stuff – all the times they get it right and remind you of the million reasons you love them. So I keep a running list of all the times he makes me laugh until I’m crying. The way he holds my hand in his when we pray together. The look he gives me when I’m being ridiculous or overreacting. The hilarious sounds he makes when he eats something he really likes. The way he takes care of me and leads our family.

TIME magazine recently featured an article simply titled “How to Stay Married” in which they shared insight from 500+ couples who had been married 40+ years. Each couple polled agreed on two things: 1.) Marriage is hard 2.) It’s more than worth it. One couple went on to say the best thing they learned early in marriage was to communicate and not hold grudges. Such fantastic advice not only for marriage but for all relationships, right?

Love keeps no record of wrongs and I choose love. xo

Real Talk: No More Single vs. Married (Please)

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We’ve all seen them. The articles that poke fun at married women who are labeled as “sublimely unhappy” and “overcompensating” if posting too many pictures of one’s spouse – The Most Annoying Things Married People Do On Facebook – and even more annoying, those that pit single ladies against the married starting in the very title – What Single Women Hate About Married Women. Sure, it’s all in good fun but is it helping anything?

I was single for a solid 27 years before I was ready to meet the right guy and then later tie the knot. To some that was a long time to be stay single, I am Southern after all,  and believe me, I heard it all from “When are you going to finally settle down? to “Enjoy these single days while you have them!” For a while the majority of my girlfriends were also single and we shared the good and the bad of being on our own and embracing life as free agents. When those same girlfriends got married my relationship with them changed, sure, but never once was I made to feel inferior or “less awesome” because they were in a serious relationship with a man and I wasn’t. Honestly it was pretty great to see my friends happy and so in love, which gave me hope that one day God would bless me with a good man. (Insert: Taylor)

As a very new newlywed I read “Why I Refuse to Join the Smug Married Club” thinking maybe there was a list of behaviors I should note and avoid like the plague. Are married women smug? Is that a thing? Is it inevitable that both groups secretly dislike each other simply because of their relationship status? Does something terrible happen to our manners once we add the Mrs.? I’d like to think not and now eight months into marriage I can proudly say I just don’t get it. I have friends who are happily single and happily married. Oh, and I also have friends that have KIDS. Can you believe it? As women, we are always evolving and changing, whether it be chasing the career of your dreams, marrying your best friend, working on your nursery to welcome in a little one or planning that trip to Vegas now that you’re retired. Who says we can’t all be supportive and happy for each other during every season of life?

Maybe I’ll alone in this, I don’t base my friendships on my girlfriend’s relationship or marital status. The guy they’re with – or not – is not why I cherish their friendship. They are supportive, hilarious, fiercely loyal and overall go-getters. We talk about men and relationships from time to time, but there are plenty of other topics — answered prayers, work, trips, where we ate the night before, whatever’s in People, etc. Being in a relationship hasn’t given me some sort of amnesia about being single, nor has my new role of wife made it impossible for my girlfriends to stomach hearing about what’s new with me.

No matter what box you check off to describe your status: single, married, divorced, widowed, or it’s complicated, that alone does not define you. Sometimes being single is awesome, and sometimes it’s not. I’d say the same is true for marriage! I have never been happier than I am today, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love so much about my single days. We’ve gotta stop with the negative and embrace where we are today, in this moment.

Ladies, let’s pull it together and support each other in every season of life. Enough with the team single and team married business – let’s all make the choice to be happy and live full, extraordinary lives. Let’s stop telling ourselves we can’t relate to that friend anymore because we’re in “different phases.” Enough with the silly articles that cause division and try to put us in categories. I pray you’re in love with your life and everyone in it, and not afraid to show it! Happiness is contagious and love is necessary. xo

Links I’m Loving

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1. A photographer set out to capture beauty around the world and the images are stunning. (cnn.com)

2. How exercise can make you happy – in just 20 minutes. (self.com)

3. If you’re an Amazon shopper – and why shouldn’t you be? – you need to know this stuff. (buzzfeed.com)

4. Throwing an Oscars party Sunday night? Make it interesting by asking guests to make predictions using these nifty ballots. (glitterguide.com)

5. Do you want to build a snowman? Here are 40 oh so creative ideas. (buzzfeed.com)

6. This one is for the women afraid of commitment. (theeverygirl.com)

7. Would you say you treat yourself well? Great article with simple steps to self-love. (darlingmagazine.com)

Links I’m Loving

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1. Winter is coming – let’s keep our skin glowing, shall we? (instyle.com)

2. This is a must have for the next party I throw. (jacquelynclark.com)

3. 5 Signs You’re In A Toxic Relationship. (womenshealthmag.com)

4. Try not to break into a serious smile after watching this. (today.com)

5. Ever wondered what Disney Princesses would look like with realistic waistlines? Then you will love this. (huffingtonpost.com)

6. 5 Ways Your Faith Improves Your Health. (relevantmagazine.com)

7. Meals, hopes and dreams, and lots of other things you should be able to share in a (solid) relationship. (hellogiggles.com)

XOXO,

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Six Things

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[ Adding a little more blonde at my favorite, Dandelion Salon. ]

This past week was a good one. Busy, of course, but filled with wonderful things and people I love including a much-needed hair appointment, a hilariously bad pedicure from the fiance, early birthday celebrating with my sweet family complete with the most amazing cupcakes, and plenty of surprises!

photo 2 (3)[ I’m not sure how any polish made it to my toes because I was laughing so hard. ]

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[ There’s no better way to kick off the birthday celebrations than with the most delicious cupcakes! I shared, of course. ]

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[ Beautiful BHLDN piece that just might be making an appearance in the wedding….Thanks, Mom! ]

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[ My sneaky fiance made sure I was treated to an Italian rendition of the Birthday Song, complete with homemade birthday hat. Really, you shouldn’t have. ]

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[ Dad and Charlie. Love these two! ]

With this week comes fun celebrations for my actual birthday (!!!), wrapping up last minute plans for my best friend’s baby shower this weekend, and working on my wedding dress worthy arms at the gym with my personal trainer, aka my fiance. Have a great week, lovelies!

XOXO,

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10 Ways To Soak Up These Last Days Of Summer

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August is coming to a close – can you believe it? – and while it doesn’t feel like it right now, Fall is almost here. (YAY!) So in an attempt to be present and appreciate the here and now, I’ve thought about some ways to enjoy these last days of summer before we bid the heat farewell. Who’s in?

  1. Grab a magazine and an extra large ice water and head to the pool for one last hurrah! SPF required.
  2. Wear your favorite sundress and strappy sandals to run errands or for date night!
  3. Grab some peaches and make this. (NOM) 
  4. Wear white from head to toe because hey! you still can.
  5. Get your HGTV on and DIY something, whether that’s giving your kitchen a fresh coat of paint or giving your doormat a facelift that all your guests will ooh and ahh over.
  6. Go to a late movie and don’t feel bad one bit for eating too many sour punch straws and popcorn.
  7. Take full advantage of your hammock and relax for a while underneath the stars.
  8. Have a porch? Grab some sweet tea and good friends and sit for a while.
  9. Work on your fitness outdoors. Tennis, running, or touch football anyone?
  10. Popsicles at the park. If you’re in Nashville, might I suggest here.

XOXO,

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