Getting Married: 10 Weeks – Fitting in Lithuanian

70 Days and 10 Weeks. Wow! The time is getting so close!

This past Sunday, Matt and I met with and booked an awesome DJ! I’ll have some more info up for you after the wedding about DJ B. We are pretty pleased with our pick. He was very organized, detailed, and personable. And he could laugh. That’s always a good sign.

Tuesday night, Mom and I lugged my wedding dress and accessory clothing to David’s Bridal for my first fitting! It was pretty fun and informative. My dress is so gorgeous and detailed…that means alterations are going to be a bear. We actually have to go back at the end of April for a Part Two because she could only focus on the top part and not the hem. That’s right. I might be long-waisted, but I’m still short and the back was way too loose. The dress looked so pretty when I first tried it on, but it felt wonderful after she clipped it up to the right dimensions on the top.

Who is this she? Her name is Grazina. From Lithuania and bearing a thick Eastern European accent – she was just what I wanted in a seamstress.  When we bought the dress, we also bought a slip to go under it. It had tulle and a couple layers to make the dress poof out a bit more. When I tried it on for the fitting, Grazina decided that it was too much and found one with tulle only towards the bottom. It fit so much better. Alas, that one was also too long, so she will probably have to alter that as well. But, at least we didn’t have to pay for the second one; she let us swap out the first one.

I have been putting the finishing touches on the design for some of the favors. We are having a couple different favor choices and I love the variety of the reception so far. We have several cake flavors, different favors, and the decorations are going to be cockamamie – just my style. The music too, will exactly suit our taste, spanning a few decades. I absolutely can’t wait!

I got a text from both my bridesmatrons. My MOH, Lanna, found her dress and it is so lovely! Amy sent me a picture of the dress she found for her daughter who is my flower girl. Both of those dresses are in yellow and Amy found red shoes to match. I know she is going to be so amazingly adorable. My sister is going to take my nieces out, who are my junior bridesmaids, to find their dresses hopefully this week.

Things are starting to come together and the RSVP’s are coming in too!  I am so excited for all of this and hope that I don’t get too stressed out throughout the next 70 days. I’m so glad that Matt and I decided to stay home after the wedding if only just to be able to relax and recoup from all the planning and the day. I know that I will be exhausted.

Oh, I bought a necklace to wear with my dress. I won’t post which one it is, but here is the link to the shop. I think her jewelry is darling!

I will leave you with another shop to peruse. I’ve been following this Meg Duerksen’s blog for about a year now. She has creative women come to her done-up barn once a month for a crafting weekend and they get crazy! She is a Christian and inspires me in so many ways. She just reopened her online shop, so I think you should check it out.

This next week will be – shopping for Matt’s outfit and our wedding bands! Yay!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 11 Weeks – DIY Invitations #3

I can’t believe it, but the invitations are finally finished and they were sent out early this week. I am all about helping struggling businesses and I just want to say, “Kudos to the USPS!” Mom dropped off the invites to the post office on Tuesday afternoon. The AFTERNOON people! And I was tagged in a friend’s photo of them on Facebook by late Wednesday morning! Unreal! Friends in Kentucky even got theirs the next day and RSVP’d and everything!

I’m so pumped. We chose to have our RSVP’s go through our wedding website ( and I get an email every time someone uses it. I know about half the people, so some names are a little bit fuzzy for me, but I know Matt will be excited when he sees them.

Funny story. We had to make our reception RSVP only since we have such a large family population coming. It’s been sad to have to cross some people off our list, but we hope they can still make it to the wedding ceremony. Anyway, since we were sending invites to some people even though they weren’t going to the reception, I had typed up two lists for my bridesmaids to write from so we didn’t mix up who got a reception card and who didn’t. The last two weeks have been haywire for me. I work 54 hours last week alone and this week was even more. I was so wiped out typing up the lists that I made a couple of typos.

No, Amy, it wasn’t your fault (even though there were a few envelope casualties). I misspelled the first names of a couple of Matt’s guests. “Arron” became “Aaron.” So, sorry, but it would be a common mistake, I’m sure. “Bob” became “Bon” and we had quite a lot of fun making James Bond-esque jokes. Yes, that we did.

The topper was my grandmother, whose last name I mistyped. She has such an easy last name too, but there it was, written on the envelope as “Dorothy Book.” I am baffled that it even got to her considering I put her in Latrobe, Ohio instead of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. I guess it’s a blessing that I got the zip code right. Another kudos to the USPS! Y’all are beasts!

On to what I’m sure you’re really here for. As a recap, let me point you back to a few other posts in this series.

Week 37 – DIY Invitations, Week 20 – DIY Invitations #2, and Week 15 – Review: The Darkroom.

Despite the work it took, I had a lot of fun making these. It was my first time doing anything on this scale. I perused online for some ideas and tips, but most of it just came from my brain. I never know how things will turn out when they come from my brain, but I am really pleased with these. Here we go.

week 11 invite front

Sorry for the shadow at the bottom. I’m not very skilled at photo-taking with my phone yet. The concept of lighting is nearly lost on me. I saw something very similar to this stamp set on another website. I may have linked to it in the Week 37 post, but I can’t remember. It’s a two-stamp set. One has our names in a pretty font, and the other is the ampersand. These, I actually cut myself out of a rubber pad and glued onto a block of wood to use for pressing. It took a long time to cut out and a long time to get comfortable using, but it is probably my favorite part of the invitation. The bird in a tree stamp was a quick buy from Hobby Lobby. I fell in love.

week 11 invite inside

Color blocking has been real popular in recent seasons. I wanted the invitation to focus on this kind of style. I bought both of these stamps at Michaels – the M came from one of the dollar bins. It was perfect, except that the indents on the side of the stamp were really on the top and bottom and didn’t help with comfort when using it. Of course, I did stamp something 1,776 times for these final invitations so that might have been a factor as well. We did the math, and it turned out mighty patriotic, so I guess it’s all for good. 🙂 The wildflower stamp at the top was so worn by the time I finished, you could barely see the black “preview” image on the top of it.

week 11 invite insert

Just to be clear, I faded out my phone number on the RSVP cards. I don’t want random people getting my number and harassing me. I already get that dumb “The FBI reports an increase of break-ins in your area…blah blah blah” message all the time on my mobile. I don’t need other misery with it. These are just standard cream paper glued to yellow cardstock glued to red cardstock. Very easy. Glue sticks are wonderful. Next!

week 11 stamps

The USPS comes out with new lovey stamps right around February. I managed to get last year’s Love ribbon Forever stamps AND a couple of weeks later got this year’s heart envelope stamps. I like these way better than the dorky wedding ones. No offense if you like those. Plus, these match one of our colors. 😀 I ordered the heart envelope ones through the USPS website and they came in the mail super-quick. That’s kudos #3 for you USPS…right? #4? #16? Oh, I can’t keep track.

week 11 invite back

Our faith is so very important to us. We thank God for the blessing He has given us in each other and our relationship. This day is one of many days to celebrate, rejoice and be glad in it and who He is – the Giver of good things.


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 12 Weeks – Missing Week

Excerpt from an email to my sister:

Is this the year I get married? Does the sun still shine? Is the war over? Who is the President?

To which she replied, “You should take a picture of the sun.” and “Reagan. I still can’t believe he went from acting to politics. But I have a good feeling about this one.”

Haha. We’re all a bit crazy.

This week, I’ve been trapped in the basement of our corporate office, working on a super, huge project. It’s a big deal. I was asked because I pay attention to the small details and I love filing/sorting/etc. All the paper-pusher type activities just give me a thrill. I’ve been working on a big filing project at my own bank branch, so it’s right up my alley.

My hands have more cuts and marks on them than I can ever remember. And they seem to multiply. But, hey, the paycheck will be really pretty after this week and we get other incentives like free snacks and lunch every day.

Yesterday was the first day in nearly a week that I got to see Matt and give him a hug. We missed each other. Since this is such a big project for me and I’m putting in so much time at the office, he’s getting some overtime with his job too. Might as well. We’ve got a wedding to pay for. But the time away is pretty tough. Thankfully, I’m so tired when I get home that I don’t have much time to think about it before I collapse into bed.

Didn’t stop him from making me an amazing bedside lamp. I got to use it last night and it was glorious! I actually read a chapter of my book, in bed, without having to get back up to turn off my big light, and before I fainted from exhaustion. And I charged my phone from it overnight. Fantastic!

This is the one Matt made for himself. Mine doesn't have a shade yet, but it's nearly identical!

This is the one Matt made for himself. Mine doesn’t have a shade yet, but it’s nearly identical!

Today the plan is to get to church and then my bridesmaids are coming over to help address envelopes and put the invitations all together. I got a text midweek that my matron of honor caught a bug from the kids she nannies and it’s still having its way with her. She will not be joining us today. That leaves me and Amy, who just found out that she is pregnant and that baby is already making her life difficult with morning sickness. Poor things. It might just be me and Mom over here writing away and having a big ole time.

But there is plenty to do and there will be plenty more to do after the invites are in the mail. I will share more with you about them once they get sent out and people have time to see them. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. 🙂

Hope you all have a fantastic week and enjoy any sunshine you get, once for yourself and once for me, the Rumpelstiltskin of the bank basement.

P.S. Um, Once Upon a Time is supposed to be amazing tonight!!! I am dying to know who dies! (pun intended)


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 13 Weeks – T Minus 90 Days

That’s right, we’re under 100 days folks! Wow!

I’ve said this to a few people when they ask how much time we have left: “It feels like it’s going so slow sometimes and so fast others!” I think that’s pretty standard. I’ve never planned a wedding before, but I think I’m relatively on track.

However, some moments have got me to the point where I want to freak out. Like, when we ourselves were unable to print out the invitations. When I heard that Fairfield’s graduation ceremony is the same day, just a few hours earlier. When I found out that we didn’t indeed have our DJ booked.

There might have been others, but of such lower intensity that I’ve forgotten about it. The point is that things will happen, either beyond our control or well within the bounds of what we can handle.

And I have a choice.

I have a choice to freak out and let the emotions or situations dictate how I act and feel. Or I can give it up to God and move on with what things I can handle.

I haven’t liked the idea of a bridezilla since the term first became so popular. I don’t see myself as one. If I come across as one (first please tell me honestly), it might just be that I have an idea and I know how I want it to turn out. But I try to be respectful of people around me and their ideas/input as well – even if they’re entirely opposite to what I know or am aiming for.

I think people get into the mindset that they are entitled to what they want and anyone who gets in the way of that is completely against them and should be cut down. I can’t stand that, and I hope to never be one of those people. In the freak out examples mentioned above, I had a flood of emotions and thoughts come through me. They all felt right to feel. But something inside said, “Don’t give in.”

Satan loves to attack us in any way that he can. He wants to ruin our relationships, not just with God but with others. He loves to create discord and animosity between believers and what better time to do it than during the high intensity time of a wedding planning? I had to sift through the thoughts that were coming through and decide that most of them were designed perfectly to drive a wedge between me and someone else. Of course it feels right to be the afflicted one. But it’s not right. It’s not right to lash out at someone just because things aren’t going your way. It’s not right to even keep those thoughts circulating through your mind.

I am learning a lot about myself through this planning. I’m learning a lot about Matt, and about the others around us. This is so good because in our marriage, we will go through numerous high-stress situations. Do we have what it takes to get through them? I believe so. If only just because we have God to depend upon.

We have been talking in church about the armor of God and this morning’s message was on the “Sandals of Peace.” The Gospel is peace and the Gospel preaches self-sacrifice and love for others. We want, most of all, for our wedding to point to God and be a testimony of the work He has done in our lives and in our relationship. We want to be ministers of peace as we celebrate our wedding day and throughout our marriage. Please help us through pray as we plan out the rest of the wedding and for the day of. Your prayers are most appreciated.


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 15 Weeks – Review: The Darkroom – Fairfield, OH

For a quick summary review, you can skip to the bottom of this post. Everything else is all flowery and verbose and not for Cut-To-The-Chasers.

We tried to do completely DIY Invitations and aside from making the paper ourselves, we were on track to doing just that.

So here’s what happened. I’ve been saving up invitations of my friends for years to be sure I had a wide variety of wording and designs. They’re also just great memories of the lives I’ve been able to have as friends, many of whom are now out-of-state and have homes bustling with kids. I heard there would be a huge stationery sale at Michael’s one day and I had another 20% off coupon, so Matt and I went through and found packs of 50 invites/envelope sets. We picked up 4 and some other sheets of paper and went on our way.

I started brainstorming the design and we discussed the wording. I typed it up, made the adjustments for the dimensions of the invitations and emailed it over to Matt for him to print out. Only, the font didn’t keep, and when I saved the file as a pdf, it wouldn’t hold the dimensions. So, Matt had to play around with it for a while and when he finally got it to print the right way, he was running out of ink and some of the lines bled.

I was getting a little stressed about it before all this and that was worrying Matt. He’s so sweet to me. He said that this was a problem he would solve and I wasn’t to worry about it any more. He took the invitations over to Staples to see if they would be able to print them but they refused saying that they don’t work with paper of those dimensions. (Rule of thumb: When getting paper on discount, be sure that the dimensions are something that can be readily put through a printer!) Staples said that a smaller print shop might be able to do it and Matt remembered the developer shop down the street that printed our engagement photos and Christmas gifts (we gave out some framed copies to family members).

This developer shop is called The Darkroom and I’ve mentioned it before in this blog series. They are, honestly, my new favorite place. Before planning this wedding, I’ve only used them less than a handful of times, opting for the quick develop shops, or online developing. The quality of the prints I’ve got from The Darkroom makes the adage ring true, “Good things come to those who wait.” And the wait is not that long at all. They will work with you on a deadline (within reason, of course), but they seem very flexible and determined to help you out.

Week15 Darkroom Logo

The Darkroom

1195 Hicks Blvd
Fairfield, OH 45014

Matt dropped off the paper and the file and presented our case. The man readily accepted the challenge and was to call me when he had a proof completed so I could see the result. The difference was amazing! He and I discussed the price (since we had brought our own paper, they didn’t have a set price for just printing invitations) and came up with an agreeable settlement for the both of us. Those weeks learning how to bargain in China and Egypt really paid off! In the States, we don’t bargain much, so I didn’t haggle the price as much as I did in those countries, but it was fun to do on my home soil.

The Darkroom has so many products and services, it really is amazing. Here I thought they just developed pictures! According to the website, they provide the following:

  • Hardbound Lay Flat Photo Books
  • Canvas Prints and Gallery Wraps
  • Fine Art Metals
  • Candids, Portrait Units (which include – Magazine covers, key chains, luggage tags, trading cards, photo buttons, fridge magnets, t-shirts, coasters, keepsake box, coffee mugs, aluminum water bottle, and mouse pads.
  • Shoot for special events and Prom
  • more information on the website.

Within a week’s time, I received a call that the invitations were ready and Matt swung by to pick them up. They turned out beautifully! Now I’ve had the task of handstamping the details, but the text is lovely, precise, and just what I wanted it to be. I would put up a picture, but I want the final result to be a surprise to my guests, so that will just have to wait for an update until after the invites have been sent out. I’m sure you’ll understand.

So here’s the breakdown:

The services:  I didn’t even know that The Darkroom did invitation printing, but Matt happened to notice it on one visit there. We saw another sample set out and it was exquisite, with beautiful embellishments and colors. So, they provide this particular service and just about any other service one would imagine along with photo services. You can find them here.
The help: Richard Braun and the ladies who help out there (I’ve never caught their names, but they are lovely) are very helpful and attentive to their customers’ desires and needs. Richard has been doing this for years, and worked with his father who started the business 34 years ago.
The parking: They have their own parking lot. It’s kind of across from Skyline and near an intersection on Route 4, so sometimes traffic is a bit tricky if you park in the spots along the road.
The facilities: The shop itself is small and unassuming, but I’ve only seen a small part of it inside. I will tell you, though, that someone on staff smokes, so you can smell it when you first walk in. However, the smell didn’t transfer on my invitations or photographs at all.
The results: The results are highly professional and just what you order. If they can’t do something, I’m sure they will tell you, so you have realistic expectations of what you are going to get. The color in the picture prints was lovely and my invitation text was crisp and exactly what I had wanted.
The price: Price is very reasonable for a professional shop. If you’re looking for a cheap shop, then this isn’t for you and maybe an hour developer is what you’re looking for. But you get what you pay for. The quality just is not going to be the same.
Returnability: I plan to use this shop much more in the future, even though I won’t be living in the same zip code. I anticipate bringing our wedding photos to be developed here as well.

Thanks for the read!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 16 Weeks – More Random

Ok, ok. I know I’m behind. I totally had a great post in mind for 16 Weeks, but then time just went crazy and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to write it how I wanted, so it’s on hold. Here’s what we’ve got going on though.

I am so not a cook. I can bake up a storm, but cooking…eesh. I think it’s because there are no real set rules. There are loosely put together guidelines. I like rules. I like formulas. I loved Chemistry because things had to go in a specific way in order to get the right result. Baking is Chemistry. Cooking is…well, I don’t know…not a science that’s for sure. It’s more of an art form and while I love art and being creative, food is not a medium I’m well-versed in yet.

While we were visiting Matt’s grandma, she told me that she could barely cook anything when she first got married. She is such an incredible cook now. I told her, in my most Anne of Green Gables fashion, “You have given me hope beyond anything I could have imagined. I will always remember you as a benefactress.”

By the way, I’m in the fourth book of that series, Anne of Windy Poplars. It’s a sweet book. I love all the chapters that are just letters she’s writing to Gilbert. And how it shows where sections were omitted because Anne had just the right pen for writing love to him.

Back to food. I tried to make a pork chop dinner for Matt and I the other weekend. It was…alright. I think Matt liked it, but I know that it didn’t come out alright. Timing is such a hard thing. Mine and his mom encouraged me that it does take practice to get the timing of meals down. I will not lose heart. Matt says that he is looking forward to me learning how to cook. I reminded him that I will fail quite a bit, but he said he didn’t mind. We’ll see how that goes. There’s a pizza place and Subway just down the road. We might keep them in business – all by ourselves.

We got our invitations back from the printer so now I’m working on stamping them. It’s a process. I did a bunch of stamping while listening to the State of the Union address the other night. It helped me have the right amount of pressure to get the stamps pretty well even. I get fired up sometimes. And John Boehner and Joe Biden’s exchanges of looks were quite amusing. Usually with Biden grinning widely and then catching Boehner’s eye and slowly dropping his smile and clapping slower. It was humorous. Boehner’s eyes were daggers over his glass of water at times. I can talk about him like that because he’s from around here.

I have just 45 mins to finish Matt’s Valentine’s Day gift. Last year, I made him a cake loaf with red and pink heart sprinkles in the batter and icing. It was yummy. I’ve not had much practice with Valentine’s Day, so I’m still a little rough around the edges.

I scheduled my dress fitting! Now, I just have to get my hair scheduled and I’ll feel a little better about my appointments.

We had our first premarital counseling last night. It was mostly about the order of operations for the ceremony. It ended with me all jittery inside – in a good way. 🙂 I’m so looking forward to it and I’m hoping that we can fit everything in that we want to without making it too long. We’ve got some good ideas, but I will not stress about it. I.Will.Not.

This is the book we will be using during our counseling:

The Most Important Year in a Man's/Woman's Life

The Most Important Year in a Man’s/Woman’s Life

I’m pretty jazzed about it. I want to take it, and highlight, and write notes in the margins, and then keep it on my bookshelf for forever and ever and ever amen.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Now I have 30 mins. Eek!

Catch ya later!!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on


Getting Married: 17 Weeks – Prep Work

This post will be a bunch of random items. So, here we go!

week17 sailor

I found this on Pinterest and it is so true. I have no aspirations to be a sailor, or have any skill on the sea itself, but you know, it’s not literal, just representative.

week17 keys

It seems as though people have decided I should be the keeper of their spare keys. As such, I have a hard time remembering which key belongs to which person (maybe they should rethink their strategy! lol). After seeing this Pinterest project, I decided it was high time to work it out myself. I really enjoy the colors and the polish seems to be staying on without much issue. For those keys that are unknown, maybe I should just start going around to everyone’s house and start trying out keys. Hmm…I think the middle of the night would be the best time, especially if they have dogs. 🙂

week17 jars

We have all these baby food jars. Well, this isn’t even all of them and we have more promised to come! They have all this wonderful sticky gunk on them too. This was a great Sat avo project.

week17 cleaning

The tools. I will say right now that the acetone worked above and beyond the best. I don’t like vinegar because I’m allergic to it, but you know, it’s said to have amazing abilities at, oh, everything. So I gave it a try. It was a fail. Nail polish remover was the best. Our hands were a little sticky following, but that washed off. Fumes weren’t too bad either.

week17 bottle

We also have a whole bunch of glass jars and bottles. A WHOLE bunch. We’re repurposing them for the wedding. I’m excited. We tried spray painting this one months ago to see what it would look like and discovered the issue with the glue AND the little factory printing on them. That stuff bled right through the spray paint. Let me point out that the nail polish remover took that stuff right off too! I was so excited!

week17 bulbs

Remember this post when I said I planted bulbs in the garden in the spring and summer? With southwest Ohio’s goofy weather, they have begun pushing up early. Eeek! But hey, at least that means I planted them the right side up!

week 17 finds

Matt and I ran over to the antique mall and found 4 of these sunflower plates for $10! Yeah! We also found a glass jar in the shape of a bear and that super-sweet cranberry tin. I love them all.

??????????????????????week17 Maggie

This was my last week tutoring. I’ve been working with these kids since I came home from Japan. When I first started with David, he really couldn’t stand reading at all. He still stumbles over words and skips lines when we read out loud together, but what kid doesn’t? What inspires and encourages me the most is that this kid loves to read! We started with The Chronicles of Narnia, moved on to Moby Dick, The Hunger Games, and the Redwall series, plus a few others. He has learned how to identify the stories that will interest and challenge him and he “theater reads.” That is my description of when someone is able to read with inflection and in the character’s personality. He does it really well and I would often have to tell him to keep it down since we mostly read together at the family restaurant. I am so going to miss this kid and his 104 million stories and questions. He is a dear little Brother.

His sister, Maggie, hasn’t been with me as long. She is the epitome of the cute little girl who gets all the attention from patrons of the family restaurant. She has sass and personality galore. She and I have had a fun time getting to know each other and some dear characters in the books we’ve read. We like series books, most especially the Ivy and Bean collection and the Ramona books. She is goofy and can throw out one-lined zingers out with the best of them, but I will miss our spunky time together each week. I have such precious memories to keep with these two kids. I can’t wait to see what happens in their lives over the next years and onward. I pray for them and their family constantly. They have been a sweet chapter in my life.


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 18 Weeks – Visits

Over Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend, Matt and I hopped in the car and headed down to visit his grandma in Kentucky. I’ve been to Lexington before, but I’ve always just carried on through on I-75 or stopped in the city itself. Matt’s grandma lives in a small town just southeast of the city and you have to drive through Red River Gorge to get there. I love driving through and stopping at this kind of country. It is so beautiful! It reminded me a lot of my drive through West Virginia on my way to Virginia Beach last April for some friends’ wedding. Lovely! I’m reminded how great of an artist God is. The way the late afternoon sun fingers its way through the leafless tree branches, and is hidden from the cliff walls by other cliffs.

One absolutely beautiful effect was that, in the cold temperatures, there were streams of water coming off the tops of the cliffs, running down the sides and then, once it met the forever-shadowed bottom of the cliff face, it would freeze again. Freeze, but not before it would drip to the forest floor and roadsides, making curly, twisty piles of ice. I wanted to take a picture of some of them so bad, but we both agreed that it would be too risky on the sides of those twisty, hidden park roads. I wish I could transfer the memory onto this for you though. Have you ever seen it before?

We had a lovely time while we were down there. Matt was enlisted to install a floodlight for her backyard and that makes things so much brighter out there. But other than that, we just had a sweet time together. A nice time getting to know her a bit and her to get to know me a bit more. She kept saying she’d like to keep me and send Matt back home, so I guess I did alright. 🙂

Matt had to take this bed because while it only comes up to his hips when he stands next to it, it came to my waist and I wouldn't have been able to climb up. But it was fun, nonetheless. :)

Matt had to take this bed because while it only comes up to his hips when he stands next to it, it came to my waist and I wouldn’t have been able to climb up. But it was fun, nonetheless. 🙂

One fun thing was that she had just got some new mattresses in her guest rooms. They were considerably tall, and I felt a bit like the Princess and the Pea, but I slept so soundly while I was there. Also, she keeps the house very warm…very warm. And I love warm, so I was very nearly in heaven. Speaking of, we picked up some postcards after Sunday lunch at The Lodge in the Red River Park and one said, “I wasn’t born in Kentucky, but I came as soon as I could!” Haha.

We had church on Sunday and then treated her to lunch at the aforementioned Lodge. It’s kind of up and around on a ledge looking over part of the rivers. So beautiful, the one side of the restaurant/hotel is window and you can watch the birds and squirrels play/fight for seed from the feeders.

week18 squirrel

I successfully identified a titmouse. I was so pleased with myself. I thought she was a stout, pregnant blue jay at first, but her tail and body just weren’t the right length. I thought she might be a titmouse and so I looked it up on Wikipedia and it was like someone had snapped a picture of the very bird in front of me. I don’t know all that many birds by sight, but I want to get better at recognizing birds and plants. I feel like it might someday be important and regardless, it’s like making new friends. 🙂

On our way back, we decided to stop by Matt’s grandpa’s grave. He hadn’t seen it with the new headstone. It was very lovely.

week18 grave 03

The graveyard is relatively new so there weren’t that many stones yet. It was nice to see, but when it got too much for us, we headed back to the house to relax until evening service. I have been working on a piece quilt since a bit before the holidays and so I took my needles and yarn down with me to get some more squares done while sitting and chatting. Grandma shared how she and Grandpa met. I love hearing those kinds of stories, they’re always bound to be interesting.

We left Monday afternoon to come back home and avoided all the crazy accidents on the highways around Cincy. Wow! We kept getting a bunch of texts and phone calls about them from friends/family. I monitored the news on the drive back and everything was pretty well cleared out of the way by the time we go to I-75. Unreal to see some of the pictures of the accidents and a coworker later told us that she was driving by as they were giving someone CPR – she thinks the little girl who died.

On other news, Tues morning, I had my very first ever gynecologist appointment. I have some friends who highly recommended The Bowen Center in Cincinnati and I scheduled the appointment with Dr. Wall, an associate there. Everyone I’ve spoken to about it has raved about the personal attention and sensitivity they offer there. We just had a consult about birth control methods, though. He offered several ideas, but shot a few down himself. The one option he wanted me to consider was an IUD called Paragard. An IUD was one thing I was certain I didn’t want to get because I’ve heard terrible things about them going through the muscle wall and such. Mom also told me that if you do end up getting pregnant while it’s installed, you have to abort the pregnancy to have it removed. That sounds crazy! He still gave me a DVD to watch and consider. I’m still pretty sure it’s off my list of possibilities. Plus, I don’t think my insurance covers it.

He gave me a sample pack and a year’s prescription of Lo Loestrin Fe. I didn’t know much about it but I took to the pack and script and decided I’d check into it later. Seems to be a toss up on people loving or hating it. Has a low amount of estrogen and other hormones. When I got the script filled, it didn’t cost me a penny, which is amazing since it’s reported to be one of the more expensive kinds. I figure that I have a few months to try it out before the wedding so I can see what MY side effects will be. I’ve never been on birth control before or any other kind of medicine I’m supposed to take every single day.

I guess we’ll see how it goes. I plan to start it tomorrow.

Here’s hoping I don’t turn into a hormonal mess, but if I do, you’ve been warned. Haha.


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 19 Weeks – Single Advice

I feel very blessed with the path of singleness and relationships that God brought me through (even my mistakes) before Matt and I finally got together. From my boyfriend at 2 years old, to the puppy love boyfriend of junior high, through those awkward years in junior high too that extended into my high school years, to my liberation of college when I embraced my singleness, to those years when I didn’t…it’s been everything I could have wanted it to be and even those things I didn’t enjoy at the time, I know that it was for my benefit.

But even now, I know that I can’t comprehend the blessings of that time in my life fully. However, I’m still close enough to remember the painful evenings, or the times when my friends were getting married and I was going to the wedding by myself, again. I’m close enough to remember the pangs, even though they are greatly diminished, of longing to be with someone who I was certain had no idea I existed or was interested. Of dreaming of some kind of idyllic future that played more to my selfish wants. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.

I am in a Sunday School class with some very sweet young women. I enjoy the class so much and cherish our time of fellowship, study, encouragement and admonishment. We were talking about relationships this week, as we often do, and it reminded me of just how much God has taught me throughout the last 10 years, especially about being single in this world and dating, etc. I am not without faults. I very often balked at what God was showing me, determined that I knew a better way. And very often, God would show me that He did indeed know better and I’d realize it was better to submit than to stubbornly push on my own way. Sometimes it was painful, sometimes it just made me feel ashamed, sometimes I was so relieved to be out of whatever mess I got myself into.  That’s been true in other areas of my life, but I think I’m learning to submit more readily than before.

I thought I would give some advice. Rather, some strategies I found that worked when I was feeling sorry for myself, missing someone I hadn’t met yet, and nursing a bruised heart. The strategies are for those who are single and have never married. I can’t speak to those who have been divorced or widowed as I’ve never been either of those. There might be some parallels in here for those situations, but you will have to glean them out yourself. I also do not claim to be an expert. These are just some tools I found to help.


I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I was amazing at falling to my knees whenever temptation or loneliness tried to overpower me. Nope. I will freely admit that my prayer life is not what it should be. BUT, I have witnessed in my own life that when I am eager to turn to God to talk things through, I am ten times better off than when I turn to Him as a last resort. Also, God is not afraid of emotions. It’s ok to sit and mean to pray to God and just cry instead. Been there, done that. God created us as emotional beings and I’m sure I’ve been more afraid of my emotions than God ever could.


I have been journaling since I was in high school. I never thought much about it at that time. Most of it is the typical sappy, angsty stuff of teens, but I am one who likes to flesh out my thoughts on a page. I avoid journals with lines because sometimes the best therapy is to write something down and then have the pleasure of scratching it out again. Now, I write down my sermon notes, reflections to things I’m reading or just thoughts throughout the day, important events in my life, etc. There are lots of little gems in those books throughout the years, and it’s good to know that I have that book handy when I just need to write something down, whatever it is.

I also had a friend recommend journaling to her future husband. This has been such a fun thing to do. I’ve taken the journal with me to other countries, I’ve written dreams, hopes, disappointments, life changes, prayers for him, etc. I can’t wait to share it with him.

Pray FOR him (or her)

I know I didn’t come up with this myself, but I can’t for the life of me remember who I got it from – no doubt one of the many books I’ve read on relationships. Whenever I felt like I was totally completely ready to meet The One, but God hadn’t brought him to me yet, I would get this image in mind. Imagine the two hands of God. You are in one hand, while The One is in the other. You are in one place and they are in another. You are both having your own life experiences, your own triumphs and challenges. You might be on a mountaintop, but they might be in a valley and desperately in need of prayer. I’ve noticed that when I am becoming too self-minded, it’s best to start praying for someone else and God has an amazing ability to turn our hearts and prayers to something uplifting to that other person. Maybe your One needs you on your knees while he faces one of the biggest challenges of his life. Maybe he is on cloud nine and would like you to rejoice with him. When I had these times of prayer with God, I liked to document them. Maybe I can compare notes and find that I really was needed at that particular moment. It might not be something we know until heaven, but I’m a firm believer that our prayers are effectual and when we pray in faith and in God’s will, He can do great things.

Find a mentor

I have been blessed with some wonderful mentors throughout my life. They have come in a wide variety of places and relationships, I can’t even begin to share who they all are. Find yourself an older “you.” Someone who is firm in their faith and actively living out the commands of God. They don’t have to be perfect; no one is, after all. In fact, someone who doesn’t “have it all together” is great because they can show you how to seek God’s will when you struggle. Mentors are great because they’ve been in a similar place as you and have the benefit of hindsight. Take advantage of that and use it to your benefit. Learn from their mistakes and successes and ask them to pray for you. Look for ways to serve them as a way of thanks.

Be a mentor

This is a big deal. You might not feel like you have it all together yourself, but investing in someone else’s life is a big distraction from any heartache and loneliness you may have. It’s not a cure, but it’s a command of God – when Christians mentor someone else, they are to be building a disciple of Christ. When you are following God’s commands, you are in a better place. Period.

Find accountability partners

What’s an accountability partner? It’s someone who is a peer and willing to help keep you on track to avoid temptation. You know what will trip you up. You know what kinds of things feed into your pity parties. For me, it can be love stories. I love Jane Austen, and I still read her books every so often, but for a time, they were a stumbling block for me. Certain movies too. Facebook can be a stumbling block too, especially if you have an object of affection and find yourself spending an increased amount of time “checking in” on them. Oh, you know you’ve done it! Share those things with a close friend and ask them to help you avoid them and keep tabs on you. And you do the same for them.

You know, God has made us creatures of community for a reason. We thrive on relationships. Yes, the relationship between a man and a woman in marriage is a special thing, something God made with a specific purpose. But there are so many other relationships that should have our attention, relationships that have an eternal purpose. Focusing on these things not only gives us a healthy distraction from any loneliness we might be feeling, but also prepares us for any future romantic relationship. Every season has a purpose and every relationship has a purpose as well. Make the most/best out of each one. Some will fail and some will endure.  This feeds right into the next tip.

Embrace it and serve God

When you are single, you are in a unique stage of life where you answer to only one: God. Take advantage of your freedom to live drastically for Christ. I was able to do some amazing things before God called me back to Ohio, I believe, to be ready for Matt. I spent a summer in China, graduated college, served in my church for several years, taught in Japan, etc. I was free to travel around to build relationships with dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ around the globe. There have been so many things I can’t even remember them all to list here. I wouldn’t trade those opportunities for anything. They were an important season in my life and have grown my faith.

Also, as someone who had ever so many crushes on guys until now, I have witnessed the benefit of unanswered prayers. Some of my crushes went on to meet and marry amazing women. They lead a life now that I could never have been prepared to handle. Some of them turned out just awful and I’m grateful that God didn’t allow me to get into a relationship with them because I would probably be in a terrible state now. If you are struggling with why God is keeping you from someone, ask Him to reveal the reason to. God loves to illuminate dark places, and a question is just that, a dark place. Keep in mind, He won’t always reveal it on your time, so be prepared to have to wait a bit. The waiting is hard, but hopefully, there are enough strategies here to keep you occupied.

So in summary: Pray, get your focus off yourself, love God, serve God, love others, serve others.

Do you have any advice or strategies you used while you were single or are single?


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 20 Weeks – DIY Invitations #2

This week, I started working on the invitations some more. You’ll remember that last year, I started working on the hand stamps I planned to use for them. You can find that post here.

First came the wording and the placement of the text on the card stock. I have been saving wedding invites, save the dates, programs, etc for years now. I gathered them all into bag and have been reading through them, getting ideas on verbiage and layouts. Matt and I discussed certain details we wanted, needed, and didn’t need in the invitations. One detail was that we didn’t necessarily need to have the names of our parents in them. We love our parents, but we are kind of pressed for space. Also, it seems that couples include the parents’ names when the parents are the ones throwing the wedding. Given our age and stages in our careers, we’re able to handle most of it on our own, so we’re throwing our own wedding. We, therefore, settled on including the line “Together with their families.” This includes more than just our parents in the invitation as well, since we are both close to our siblings and others.

Another tricky wording was that of the reception. Our ceremony is open, but the reception is a closed event and by special invitation only. However, how do we convey that in an invitation that we will be sending to everyone? After some wordsmithing and testing phrases out, we decided to include after the ceremony details this sentence: “Private reception to follow.”  For those who are invited to join the reception, there will be a separate insert with reception information and instructions to RSVP on our wedding website.

Now we’re just trying to figure out how to print them from Matt’s printer. It works really well, but so far, I haven’t been able to save the file as a .pdf  with the right parameters of the invitations. Oh well, that problem is fairly easily solved.

Next is how to easily replicate the same pretty look of the invitations using my homemade stamps. I really wanted to use paints instead of inked stamp pads. One major problem with the stamp pads is that I could not find a good, sweet looking yellow. I looked in a bunch of different shops and couldn’t find anything…even on the Stampin’ Up page. I was shocked!

So, I opted for my old reliable medium: acrylic. I grabbed a paintbrush and painted some yellow over the stamp and then pressed down. The image was alright, but I knew I’d have to rinse off my stamp before the paint dried. FYI – acrylic paint will not wash off after it has dried onto a stamp. Wash it off immediately. This went directly against the “easy to replicate” stipulation.  When I bought the rubber pads and tools to make my stamps, I also picked up a Speedball roller and some paint for it. I tried it out just for the heck of it, but that paint is also acrylic, so that’s a no-go.

The next idea was to get some washable markers and try inking the stamps that way. The image turned out a little faint and I ended up having to use the markers to fill in spots that didn’t transfer. Also, I wanted to have more of a watercolor image and that meant using a wet paint brush to extend some of the ink. This also went against  “easy to replicate” so I went back to the internet to search for some yellow ink pads.

Success!! Amazon carries a couple different shades of larger ink pads, so I ordered them and now I just have to wait for them to arrive before I can test them out more. The following pictures will give you an idea of what my Thursday afternoon looked like.

IMG_20130112_143654 IMG_20130112_143926

I can’t wait to finally get a finished product and get started on the rest of them. It will be quite a project, but I’ve got some wonderful ladies who have volunteered (right? You all did volunteer, right?????) to help me finish them. Just have to find what works best!

Did you buy your own invitations? Did you make them? What kind of roadblocks did you have?


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on