Going to the Chapel…A Lot!

Summer is wedding season. And I love both summer and weddings, so naturally it is a fun time for me.

I love watching two people show their love and make that commitment of partnership.

I love seeing groups and communities rally behind them for support and encouragement. (It’s also fun seeing these groups intermingle.)

I love dancing, eating, and drinking-all of which are staples of most wedding celebrations.

I love seeing children dressed up in suits and flower girl dresses. I am already gearing George up to be the perfect ring bearer-any takers?

I love seeing the couple’s personality come through the little wedding details.

I love wedding cake.

I love singing/chanting the Clemson cadence count and Tiger Rag at weddings…oh wait that’s not a normal wedding activity? (Sorry Tom did not do very well catching the video of this little wedding wonderfulness that occurred at the last wedding we attended. Too good for video I guess.)

I love dressing up all classy-like just so I can cut a rug later.

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Golly! Isn’t my husband just as handsome as can be?

 Weddings are just great.

We had our fair share of wedding invites this year. We made a majority of them, but unfortunately there were a couple we were not able to make due to conflicting schedules. It has also been interesting attending these with my temporary latch-on, George. It has made the dressing up part, dancing the night away part, and other wedding festivities different. Not bad, but different. Don’t worry, I still boogied and ate my heart out at buffets, I just had to take more breaks than usual. It did give me more opportunity to people watch, which is fantastic fun at a wedding. The things seen…

Each time I am at a wedding it reminds me of my own marriage and the blessings I have because of it. It’s rejuvenating to witness someone else’s love and think, “Yep I have that too, and it is pretty great.”

I have talked a lot about weddings and marriage on this blog, but it never gets old!

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Wedding One in Iowa

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Wedding Two in Missouri

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Wedding Three in Oklahoma

We missed out on a wedding in Minnesota and South Carolina, but I am so excited for those couples and hope that they had the best day!

Our whirlwind travels to weddings is now done for the summer since this baby is due soon. After this weekend of being home for the 4th, we will be staying put probably until the holiday season. (We are welcoming visitors any time though!)

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I am a new mom, and she is a new wife! Yessss!

It was fantastic and amazing to be able to see old friends and celebrate a new beginning in their lives. I wish the best for each of the couples, and can’t wait to see how awesome their marriages are!

The Iowa Reunion Tour

Tom and I had a great time (expect all the driving) being in Iowa this past weekend.

It was kind of hit or miss last week whether Tom was going to be able to join me. Fortunately his pass was approved the day before we were scheduled to leave. Thank goodness because that 12 hour drive back would have been awful. Plus road trips are always better with him!

We had a wedding in northern Iowa for a former student of mine, but we decided to stop in Ames the day before to a) break up the trip and b) see our old home.

We lived in Iowa for 3 years. It was the start of our life as a married couple and became real adults. We made some great friends and had wonderful memories from our time there. Also, I believe Iowa is a hidden gem of the United States. I really loved it there.

It was hard to leave Iowa a year ago after Tom returned from deployment, but we knew that it had to end. It was great to be back in Ames and to see some lovely faces again.

We made the most of the afternoon we were in Ames by eating in some of our favorite restaurants.

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I definitely miss the college coffee houses and cafes.

We chatted with my old supervisors which was so great for me mentally. It reminded me of a time where I thrived professionally, and that someday I will have that again.

We were able to catch up with several of our old friends that night. It was awesome to be able to chat and pick up right where we left off. With Facebook, you can still follow along with people’s lives, but there is just something about being able to be face to face with people that does something for your soul. Lots of laughs were had!

We also went by our old digs. And I am not going to lie, I almost broke down in tears as we drove away from Friley I was so emotional, and I am not sure I can blame that on hormones.

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That building behind me was our home for 3 years. I love how big it is; you can’t get it all in one frame. Yes we lived in a giant residence hall. We were given a really nice apartment in there. Oh Friley.

I also was spoiled by my old neighbor/partner in crime who has been stocking my favorite ISU dining muffins. I swear these things have drugs in them, they are so addicting. (I am aware that they do not, and they are just really delicious.) We used to text each other when it was chocolate muffin day so we could fill up our to-go containers with just these goodies.

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Then we headed even further north for a wedding.

It was the first Catholic wedding I had ever been to, and Tom wasn’t too familiar either. We were fish out of water.

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When they had the congregation do the greetings where you apparently say “Peace Be With You” to each person you shake hands with, Tom instead introduced himself. The ladies in front of us were not impressed with, “Hi, I’m Tom.”

I also made a blunder when they recited the Lord’s prayer. FYI the Catholics do not say the whole thing! I did not know this. I just felt really proud of myself that I actually knew something they were doing, so I just went along merrily! Unfortunately, when the rest of the church stopped reciting, I kept going. Just me, practically sounding like I was screaming the end of the Lord’s prayer all by myself….Embarrassing.

There were quite a few of my former students at the wedding. It was so good to hear what is going on in their lives and where they have moved on to. Each of them had such a huge impact on my time there since we worked together practically every day and some of them for almost the entire time I was there. It was fun to see them all grown up!

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Sorry for the bad picture quality! They were all of my staff members at one point in Friley. And of course Tom was the odd resident of the building being neither staff or a student…

It was a fast trip since most of it consisted of us driving across the midwest. Let me tell you, road trips are not as fun when you are pregnant. At least the people on the other end made it all worth it!

Thank you to everyone we saw and made an awesome reunion for us!

Those of you who we didn’t see, I am just saying Tennessee is really pretty and we are happy to have visitors…

A Weekend Refresher

This last weekend, Tom and I finally made it up to Indiana to see some close friends of ours. The four of us met in Iowa while Kate and I were working at Iowa State. Tom and Jordan started “The Husband Club.” So naturally the four of us became fast couple friends.

If you have hung around the blog at all, you know that our transition into the Army life has not been all roses and rainbows. Despite the struggles, we are making the best of it and are not quitters. We still put all that we are into the things we have here. There are days, however, when you lose hope and pieces of yourself.

This weekend gave us both a boost that we desperately needed. It reminded us of things and reignited our hope for our future.

(Nothing like a road trip in the middle of no-where to talk about your dream house, especially when someone insists that we take back roads the whole way there. We did successfully make it there by only using an atlas, so there is something we have going for us.)

Being able to spend time with Kate and Jordan was just the refresher that we needed. We were able to relax and chat about nonsense. It was great to be in a college town again, which is something we didn’t realize we missed so much. There is just something in the air in college towns:  always living the dream and pursuing even bigger dreams. It is really energizing (or we are both just huge college nerds…)

They were the greatest hosts who showed us around the area and provided us with great meals and fantastic company. And I am not sure our dogs wanted to leave their cute window filled home.

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We hopped up to Indianapolis for a night to see a minor league baseball game. Who doesn’t love baseball and hotdogs?

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We had a wonderful Easter brunch including a grown up Easter egg hunt.

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I will say that this brunch will always make me chuckle because Tom and I go from Army talk on a normal basis to this brunch where it was mostly doctoral students talking about their trips and plans of study. Two different worlds…

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Sometimes you just need little reminders that things will be OK. (God is good like that.)

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And sometimes you just need randomness to take stress away and reconnect with those around you.

This was the perfect change of pace for us.

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Tom did not win the egg hunt despite his best efforts.

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Kate got the most, but she didn’t manage to find any eggs with stuff in it.

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We had such a great weekend. And many thanks to our friends for letting us crash in their abode for a few days. Hopefully, we will not wait as long until the next time we reunite.

Friday Filter: Book “The Worn Out Woman”

Upon the move to KY, I was anxious about making a new friend base. And I knew that church hunting may take awhile due to traveling and Tom and I’s various tastes in church services.

Not wanting to leave the connections I had made in Iowa behind, I reached out to two girlfriends of mine with the idea of doing a women’s devotional virtually. The three of us share a lot of philosophies and beliefs, and made it to church together on a few occasions. I knew they would be good women to “meet” with regularly. One for my sanity, and two for spiritual growth.

Now we all live in 3 different states: Iowa, Indiana, and Kentucky. Bummer.

After kicking the idea around with several different book titles and how we wanted to actually enact this plan, we finally settled on this book.

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Being in a highly demanding field and with our roles at home, we felt like this would be a great read full of discussions about how we can simplify our life and wake up our spirit.

The way that the book is structured makes it really easy to do a group devotional. There are 18 chapters which are fairly short, and make for a pretty quick read. In the back there are suggestions of discussion questions. There is also a note section for each chapter as well, which I found interesting to find corresponding Bible verses.

We video chatted once a week when our schedules permitted about a chapter or two (sometimes three). It took us most of the fall semester to finish the book even doing several chapters at a time because of our “full lives.” I don’t think we met for most of November…

We would spend about half the time chatting about the chapters, and then the rest of the time was catching up and being a support for one another.

I will admit, that this would not be a book that I would recommend readily. Most of the things are pretty self-explanatory and ideas we had heard before (especially for us 3 coming from a helping profession and with Master’s degrees heavily inundated with counseling skills).

I think we were all disappointed as well on the lack of scripture throughout the chapters as well since we had set out to do a Bible devotion. Like I said it does have some references in the notes section in the back to the Bible, but not every chapter had it.

However, it does serve as a great pick-me-up and a good reminder on the little things we do every day that wear us out. All three of us were starting some new things in our life that were a tad stressful to our loads. One was starting her PhD, the other going through the Dave Ramsey financial class plus moving houses (again), and I was just all kinds of new down here. So in that retrospect, we did have a lot to talk about with each chapter, but it became more of a release than a life changer. The chapters just became a starting point for our discussion on how things were going. The book did helped us realize we weren’t alone and was a reminder about attitude adjustment.

My favorite chapter was the “Yellow Umbrellas.” This portion discussed random acts of kindness and encouragement. Everyone wants to feel special and needed, so even little things can make a person’s day. There is a wonderful story about a man who randomly bought an elderly woman flowers while in line at the store. She said that she had not gotten flowers since her husband passed. These flowers meant the world to her in her time of loneliness. This is really the only chapter that resonated with me past finishing the book. It was just so touching and endearing to think about the small things we can do for one another, and how in turn that can lift our own spirits.

Favorite Passage:   “On days when you are feeling negative and irritable or just plain worn out, let the simple pleasure of doing random acts of kindness lift your spirit. It’s like giving yellow umbrellas to cover the rainy days of life.”

(I had thought about making Yellow Umbrella my blog domain for a bit. I was so inspired by this chapter, but with How I met Your Mother being all about the mystery woman with the yellow umbrella, unfortunately most variations of that title have already been taken.)

I even had it planned out that this would be my header before I decided to nix the idea and have plans for a different direction. I just love this photo though.

This does specifically gear towards women, however I think the concepts are universal. As I said, most of them are pretty obvious concepts. This book will repeat what any self-help/distressing book is going to say. This just had the undertones of a devotional.

All in all, though, we had some great discussions. This chat was something I know that I looked forward to each week. It was a great way to stay in touch and gab about life.

Thanks to technology and Google Plus, we can all video chat at the same time which is awesome!

We have picked out our next devotional and will be starting back up this weekend!

Have you ever done a group devotional? Do you have book suggestions for us in the future?