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Our First Christmas

Our first Christmas was a great one… and it was a WHITE CHRISTMAS!!! The last time Tennessee or Alabama had a white Christmas was 1989. Our Christmas began on Thursday, December 23 when I got off from work. We decided to open our presents from one another at home by ourselves. I think this will become a tradition because we really liked opening our presents with just the two of us there. Christmas Eve we traveled to Hartsville to celebrate with the Painter’s. We got to spend some quality time with our precious niece and nephew, Evelyn and Isaiah. We had dinner that night, open presents and watched A Christmas Story, which was a little strange since the Painter’s have been watching Christmas Vacation since it was first released every Christmas Eve but for some reason Heather and Greyson wanted a change. We also played with the kids until it was time for them to go home and get ready for Santa. The next morning we woke up to our White Christmas. I was so concerned when the snow started falling the night before that we wouldn’t be able to make it home to Florence. I wasn’t able to be home last year on Christmas because my grandfather was in the hospital so it was really important to me to get home. Thankfully the roads were clear from Hartsville to Florence. At home in Florence, we opened our presents and ate lunch with Mom and Dad. We also played on the Wii. We had a bowling tournament and Dad won! It amazed us all since he has never bowled a day in his life or played a video game. It was such a great relaxing and fun Christmas. The memories from our first Christmas will be ones we cherish forever.

White Christmas
2010

Christmas Eve at the Painter's



Isaiah and Evelyn



Family Photo in front of Mom and Dad's Tree


A Week Without G

A week away from Greyson use to be “normal”. The first 3 ½ years of our relationship was long distance so it amazed me how lonely and anxious I felt being away from him last week. He is in the PGA apprentice program to become a certified PGA professional at a golf course. He had to travel to Port Saint Lucie, FL for a week of seminars. The morning he left it started snowing and didn’t stop until Monday. All I could think about was Libby and I getting stranded at our townhouse and losing power and I wouldn’t even know how to build a fire in our fireplace. Silly, I know! Then there was the threat of an ice storm on Wednesday so I was a bundle of nerves then too plus I had to get ready for a Christmas party I was hosting, a friend’s birthday and a friend’s wedding. And to add to all of that, a night in Nashville to see Garth Brooks in concert. All good things but this girl needs sleep to function and I was running on very little sleep. I also have become use to having a partner who helps me with everything so it overwhelmed me to make sure everything got done. I’ve lived on my own before and have been responsible for everything but I have become use to the luxury of having G around. Besides being anxiety ridden and homesick for G, it was a great week. I got to hang out with my girlfriends at the concert, Christmas party, birthday party and wedding. This is more than I normally get to do a month’s time and not because I am married now but because of our crazy schedules. I had one friend in town from Boston and another from Southern Alabama. It felt great to hang out with them like old times. Plus, I think if I didn’t have so much going on last week I would have been even more homesick for him so I thankful for everything I had going on and all the fun I had.

I am so happy to have G home now. We are looking forward to our first Christmas as a married couple. Merry Christmas everyone!


Andrea and I before the concert. We were so excited!


Celebrating Ashley's Birthday


Greyson made it back in town for Alyssa and John's wedding

SNOW!!!

Sunday was our first big snow of the season. I am a fan of the beautiful white stuff but only when I have a stocked fridge, nowhere to go, and plenty of friends to play in it with. As it turned out, I only had one of those, a stocked fridge. I stayed home Monday morning because I’ve only driven in snow once and that was last year. So needless to say I am not an experienced driver in the snow and ice. I came into work around noon. Beside skidding around in the hotel parking lot, I was good. The forecast is calling for ice tomorrow. I am praying for no ice because ice means loss of power and this girl likes a warm house! Looks like it is going to be another cold nasty winter as if last year wasn’t bad enough. After this winter we may pack up and head to Florida! Here’s a picture of the view outside our bedroom window Monday morning. I may not have to dream of a white Christmas because it may be reality!

Photos from Christmas Past

Celebrating Our 1 Year Anniversary Dating at Orpryland Hotel
December 2006

Greyson's first Christmas at Gran and Papa's house
Christmas 2007

Holiday Party
2008


Libby's 1st Christmas
2008


Christmas
2009

















A Few of My Favorite (Christmas) Things

1. Kroger brand sugar cookie dough with Christmas tree sprinkles- It tastes better than any other brand. It comes precut and already has sprinkles and the best part it is a $1.76 for a pack of 24 cookies. They are perfect to take to a friend or a party. I’ve already taken them to one Christmas party, which leads me to my next favorite thing.
2. Christmas parties- I know a lot of people dread them but I love them especially my annual Christmas party with my girlfriends. We started the tradition in college and I hope we never miss a year.
3. Diet Sierra Mist Cranberry- My mother-in-law got me hooked on it a couple of years ago. We both have our fridges stocked full with it during the holidays.
4. Shutterfly.com- G and I ordered majority of our gifts this year for our families on Shutterfly using our wedding photos. They had some great deals this year too. We also ordered our Christmas cards from there which leads me to my next favorite thing.
5. Christmas cards- I think I started working on our Christmas cards in September. I only wish I was kidding. I debated over the design, scripture and picture for two months. I love sending and receiving Christmas cards especially ones with pictures.
6. Christmas music and yes, I dare to say it caroling- My church caroled every Christmas when I was little to our shut-ins. Yesterday, some of my co-workers and I went to an assisted living to carol. It brought back so many great memories and seeing the smiles on their faces as they sang along with us just warmed my heart.
7. Christmas pajamas- And not just any Christmas pajamas but Christmas pajamas from my mom. She has been giving me Christmas pajamas my entire life. It started because she wanted me to look nice on Christmas morning for pictures and the tradition hasn’t stopped and I hope it never does.
8. Giving- I love how giving everyone is at Christmas and there are so many opportunities to give. This year Greyson have given to three children in hopes their Christmas will be a little brighter.
9. Season of advent- I love being a part of a church that truly celebrates the season of advent. One definition of advent is “the arrival that has been awaited”. Each day of advent our church provides a devotional to help our church stay grounded in the true meaning of Christmas.
10. Old and new traditions- I have so many fond memories of Christmas traditions from my childhood and I am excited about the new traditions Greyson and I will begin as we start our lives and family together.






Six Months

Monday was our sixth month wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it. When I look at our wedding pictures I feel like it was yesterday. I am going to be completely honest and not pretend that we have it “all figured out” or “all together” because that is far from the truth. What we do have is God and His grace! There were some days I wondered what have I done? And I am sure G has thought the same. I thankful for all the people who told me marriage isn’t always easy. If they hadn’t I know there would have been days when I would have told myself that it wasn’t supposed to be this hard.

I am particularly thankful for the Klika’s, one of the couples that gathered around us and prayed for us at our wedding. They have been married 52 years and their love for one another is inspirational. When we decided to get married, Mrs. Klika sat me down and told me about some of their struggles they had faced and if it wasn’t for God they wouldn’t have made it through those times. She then told me that each night before they go to sleep that they pray together. She later gave me a hand carved cross from wood from the Holy Land to keep by our bedside to remember how important prayer is in a marriage. That cross sits on our nightstand.
There have been times in these last six months when we’ve come to God pleading for His provision. Marriage is hard work but it is also the most rewarding relationship you can have (aside from God).

I am so thankful to be married to the man who knows the good, bad and ugly and still loves me unconditionally. He is so good to me. Libby and I are treated like a princess and a queen. I can’t imagine having to live without him and hopefully I never will. Love you, G!

In celebration of our sixth month wedding anniversary we had cake from Julia’s Bakery! We find any excuse to go to Julia’s.

Our Thanksgiving

We just had a great Thanksgiving. We met my parents and our friends, the Pace family in Franklin, NC at the Pace’s cabin. There is something about the mountains that is so relaxing. As I would step out on the front porch and could hear the running water of the creek, I would think to myself there is nowhere else in the world I would rather be right now. I’ve been vacating at the Pace’s cabin since I was fifteen years old. I have so many great memories there and I am so happy we got to spend our first Thanksgiving as a married couple there.

On Friday of our trip we went to Highlands. We LOVE Highlands. It is such a fun mountain town about thirty minutes away from the cabin. They have a lot of cute shops and it is a very dog friendly town. People walk their dogs as they stroll in and out of shops. We bought Libby a new winter coat just so she would fit in. It looks like it should be right off the pages of Southern Living. That is probably why it was featured in a story two issues ago. It is just a peaceful and fun place. I wouldn’t want to spend anywhere else shopping on Black Friday.

As we headed out of town on Saturday we stopped and took some pictures of the mountains and stood in awe of God’s creation. When we got home I was able to reflect more on my time there while I was reading my nightly devotion. It was from a devotional book that our church produces each year for the month of advent. I wanted to share a piece of that devotion with some our pictures from the mountains because this is exactly what I felt standing there taking pictures but not sure I could have put my thoughts so poetically.






“I believe we are drawn to the mountains. They rise is majestic glory surrounding our country. Their height and beauty are no accident. They are created by God. Some are shaped by folds, others by faults and some are shoved over others in a process called overthrust. God made each in a demonstration of his power. The same Creator who pushed together some dust and breathed into the breath of life, mashed together the rocks of the earth to create the high places that draw our attention.”

CHRISTMAS CARD

Introducing our 2010 Christmas card! I've only been debating on the design, picture and scripture for over a month now. Hope you love it!

Joyful World Religious
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

15 Days until Thanksgiving and 15 Things I am Thankful For This Year…

1. The number one love of my life, my savior Jesus Christ and His new mercies each day
2. Greyson and his unconditional love for me
3. My precious Libby, who manages to put a smile on my face every single day
4. My mom and dad, for the Christian home they raised me in and the values I learned from their actions and not just their words. And for realizing this now as a young adult and having the opportunity to tell them at my wedding.
5. My new family, the Painter’s for their warm welcoming and love
6. Our new church home
7. May 29, 2010, the wedding of my dreams
8. My job
9. Greyson’s job
10. My friends, the most amazing friends in the world. I couldn’t have survived this last year without them. They carried and prayed for me when my mom was sick and I felt so hopeless. No matter what they are always a phone call away.
11. My friends’ new husbands and soon to be husbands
12. My mom’s health. This past year was rough. There were times I worried she wouldn’t even see the holidays and now she is doing so much better.
13. Our wonderful honeymoon in Key West and the wonderful memories from that trip
14. The countless wedding gifts we received. We are still amazed at our friends and families’ generosity.
15. Our Thanksgiving trip to Franklin, NC with my mom and dad and the Pace family. Two years ago, I had the most relaxing holiday of my life there and plan to do the exact same this trip

HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise! Give thanks to Him; bless His name!—Psalm 100:4

A Day of Celebrating

The past 24 hours have been full of celebrating. My hotel was recently awarded a coveted award for my hotel’s brand. It’s the CARE Cup Award which in summary represents we are #1 in guest service and service to our community. It is a huge honor. Top executives from our company and the owners of our property were there to celebrate with us. They treated some of the key players in receiving this award to dinner last night and attended a brunch, where community leaders and our top accounts were invited. It was an incredible opportunity to meet and get to know our leadership. I am very fortunate to work for brand that makes service a priority and empowers each one of their employees to CARE for the guests and for our community.

I also had a co-worker pull me aside to today to tell me he has been accepted to go to Youth with a Mission international training. I immediately started jumping up and down with tears in my eyes. He had pulled me aside several months ago to let me know he was being called to missions. I am waiting until he tells everyone before I post more about this but he has an amazing testimony. I know God is going to use him to do amazing things. I know he has brought so much joy to me and to so many others at the hotel. We were not sure if he would be accepted into this program… again I will blog on that more after he shares. But I just had to share my happiness and ask for you to pray for him as he begins this amazing journey. LOVE YA SB!

The Purpose Driven Life

The other night I was watching one of my guilty pleasure, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and one of the ladies was moving. I saw her pick up the book The Purpose Driven Life and pack it into a box. I had not thought of this book in years and yet it sat right beside me in the bookshelf in the living room. As soon as my quality TV program went off I picked up the book and blew off the dust and took it to bed with me. (Does this remind anyone of how I found out about Choosing to See?)
I don’t remember how long I’ve had the book or if I bought it or if my mom got it for me but I do know that I got in college. I remember wanting to read it and find out what my purpose was. I’ve never been the type of person that has a clear dream or desire about what I am suppose to do. Several thing interest me but I’ve never had a passion. Unfortunately, I never made it through the first chapter. It was just asking way too much of my selfish personality and I wasn’t ready to receive its principles that I never finished it.

This time I am committed. I am on the 11th day out of 40 consecutive days. I even made myself sign the commitment page to hold myself accountable. In the past 11 days, I have really learned some amazing lessons. All I can think about is how those lessons could have really impacted my life if I had been willing several years ago. Yesterday, I attended a conference where in a room of 50 or more women only two women raised their hands to show that they felt they were doing what they were meant to be doing career wise. I have the want it all mentality just like these other successful women whose hand wasn’t raised and I am not satisfied. I still find myself thinking all the time just like that younger version of me that I still don’t know what my purpose is for my life. But when I think purpose, I think career path. When in reality my purpose and my career path are two separate things. But I have learned some valuable lessons about my dissatisfactions.
1. My identity is in eternity and my homeland is in heaven. When I grasp this truth, I’ll stop worrying about “having it all”.
2. The fact that earth is not my homeland, explains why as followers of Christ we experience difficulty, sorrow and rejection in this world.
3. It also explains why some of God’s promises seem unfulfilled and some circumstances seem so unfair. It is because this is not the end of our story. Our story as Christians does not have an end because we have eternal life.
4. Our dissatisfaction helps us from becoming too attached to earth because we know our longings will never be fully fulfilled here.

I know these are lessons that I will have to remind my earthly brain often but I am so thankful to have received them. I have been less concerned about figuring out what I am supposed to do because I know my purpose. My purpose is to glorify God.

Only My Dog


We found out on Monday from our veterinarian, who also happens to be our brother-in law, that our sweet Libby most likely has a dog food allergy. More specifically she probably has an allergy to either chicken, beef, or corn, which are the main three ingredients in most dog foods. She’s had a serious of health problems and behaviors that have led to this assumption. We are now having to buy her lamb and rice dog food in hopes that she is able to eat that but if she is allergic to the lamb and rice than we will have to go to more extreme measures like making her food. So far it looks like the lamb and rice might work and she actually likes it more than she did her old dog food.
This isn’t the first time we’ve dealt with allergic reactions with Libby. Her last set of vaccinations a month ago resulted in a trip to the emergency vet clinic in town because she broke out in hives and her entire body started swelling once we got home. It was horrific. We found out after a serious of steroid shots and dosages of Benadryl that Libby is one of the small percentages of dogs that develop allergic reactions from vaccinations. And now it seems she is among the even smaller percentage of dogs that are allergic to dog food.
Greyson keeps kidding me that only my dog would have all these allergies because I also have a long list of allergies. It’s almost like she is my child who has inherited these things from me. Let’s just hope she doesn’t get all my other bad qualities. Ha ha!

Our Weekend with John




Last weekend, my mom and John came up to visit. John is my great-nephew. (No, that wasn’t a typo. He is my half-brother’s son’s son.) We started the weekend with spaghetti for dinner and then a visit to not one Target but two. John was on a mission for the perfect toy and I was on a mission for a dress. Both missions were accomplished. John picked out two Nerf guns for him and Greyson to play with. Then the night ended with reading books and then off to bed. On Saturday, we had a lazy morning with a great breakfast. John is not a great eater so whenever I am with him I try and get as much food in his belly as possible. He ate a plate full of whole wheat pancakes. Then we headed to the Avenue for some more shopping but this time it was just for John’s school uniforms. We finally found some pants that fit his small waist and were long enough for his long legs. Thank you Old Navy for making a size 5 toddler. Then we headed to Old Fort Park where John ran around nonstop for over 2 hours. He wanted to go to Chuck E Cheese but we promised him the park would be a lot more fun. And thankfully, we were right. He met up with 5 little boys and they played so hard. From there we went to “Longhorns” aka Longhorn for dinner. And this little boy must have really worked up an appetite because he ate a grilled cheese, fries and several ounces of steak. He even said the steak was better than Papa Billy’s. So it must have been really good! We came home and played some more until Greyson got home from work and we took him to Sonic for ice cream and stayed up until 11 playing with him. He was so exhausted from Saturday that he slept all during church and then cried when Greyson took him to ride go carts because he was so tired. It was a great weekend full of great memories.

Our New Church Home

Today we made First Baptist Church Murfreesboro our official church home. We’ve attended both their traditional and contemporary services several times over the past couple of months and we really felt at home. We have talked about joining but it wasn’t something we were planning to do today but God spoke to our hearts and we knew we wanted to be obedient to His calling. I am sure the people sitting in front of us thought we were being rude as we talked during the time of dedication but we were talking about being obedient and how there was no reason to wait. We met some really nice young couples today and I am excited about getting involved in their small group. I really feel like we found our home. Greyson and I were both very blessed to grow up in two amazing churches and we thought it would be hard to find anything to compare but I think we have found an amazing church home for us. The first time we attended I could imagine us bringing up our children there. We are both very excited and glad we made the decision to join today.

The DREADED 25…

I know some of my wiser (hum… older) readers are thinking “really 25” but trust me this is a birthday my friends and I have been dreading. And lucky me, I am the oldest (besides one friend) in our group by a few months. Literally for the past two years, we have talked about it and fretted about it. Why 25? I don’t know. I guess because we are afraid people will start expecting more from us. Like it is the official "you're an adult birthday". And it is goodbye to our early 20s and what we can’t help but believe were some of the greatest times of our lives. Come on when else do you get to live with your best friends, have a diet that consists of frozen meals (or a box as we called it) and fast food, stress was only associated with school, and every weekend was a three day weekend. We had it MADE! So it is hard not to see 25 as an end to era, even though this era already ended on May 3, 2008 for me (my college graduation). I know that I’ve already done some great grown up things like get married and get involved in my community and that not everything after 25 will be bad. I just know it will be a different kind of good and fun. It may be an even better kind of good and fun. I know I will look at this post in a few years and laugh my butt off but I had to put it in writing. I know there is nothing I can do but embrace it, so here’s to 25. May you surprise me!!!

Choosing to SEE


Last week I picked up a guilty pleasure of mine, PEOPLE Magazine. I try only to purchase it when I am on vacation but it was a special edition with Elin Woods on the cover. I had to hear her side of the story. I’ve definitely heard everyone on the Golf Channel’s side of the story thanks to G. While reading the book reviews for new releases I read about Mary Beth Chapman’s new book. She is the wife of Contemporary Christian Music Artist, Steven Curtis Chapman. In the review it told briefly about her son accidently running over their adopted daughter in their own driveway at their home. I remembered hearing about this story a few years ago so the next day I went on Amazon and there I was able to read the first 20 pages. In the dedication, she dedicates the book to her son Will Franklin and says, “You were entrusted with an incredible pain! I’m so sorry. I wish as your mom I could take it away, but I know God has a plan for you to steward this story well and minister to others through your suffering. You are my hero, as well as Maria’s… she loved you so much as do I!”

I immediately picked up the phone and called my mom and told her there was something I wanted her to get me for my birthday. I knew if a book would have a powerful dedication such as that, then I had to read it. So when I arrived in Florence for Labor Day weekend she had it waiting for me. I couldn’t put it down.

To say I am in love with this book feels like an understatement. It’s about Mary Beth’s journey through life with her own struggles. Many of her struggles reflected those of my own. Reading this book for me was like sitting down and talking to a best friend. Her issues started with self esteem issues as a child, not understanding God’s grace as a teenager, then following in love with a man whose career path didn’t follow along with her plan, her struggle with depression, the journey of adoption that again didn’t follow her plan and then the ultimate struggle of her life, losing her five year old little girl in an accident. (Side note: it was 100% an accident with Will Franklin not at fault. The little girl was excited to see her big brother pull in the driveway because she knew he would lift her up to touch the monkey bars that she was trying to reach in the yard. She darted in front of his large SUV and he never saw her, while her older sister was screaming for her to stop running towards him.) Then she takes you on a journey of her grief and her countless questions for God. Then ultimately she realizes that we have a choice to SEE God in EVERY situation because God is there in every situation. (Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe God EVER is the cause of harm but I do believe He allows things to happen to fulfill His plan.) And even when we don’t understand, we must see and remember Romans 8: 28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” We are not called to our own purpose or subject to our own plan. We are called for God’s purpose and His plan. That is probably one of the number one struggles as a Christian here on earth. We often think it is about ourselves when it is not. Our number one purpose is to glorify God.

I was deeply impressed by Mary Beth’s honesty with her struggles especially after losing her daughter. Some of the things she says in this book a lot of people probably think she shouldn't have said and that maybe she was too honest. But she was handed an uneasy task, and it is natural to question your beliefs when tragedy strikes. What matters is what you do after you ask the questions. Ultimately she has turned this tragedy into good but she was honest about her journey through the “shadow of death”.

Also, as a whole the Chapman family demonstrates how to turn something so bad to good and use it to glorify God and advance His kingdom. The Chapman’s have started two amazing ministries. The first is, Show Hope. Show Hope is a non-profit organization that mobilizes individuals and communities to care for orphans and provide waiting children with families by giving grants to those adopting. (Learn more at: http://www.showhope.org/AboutUs/WhoWeAre.aspx ) The second is Maria’s Big House of Hope. Maria's Big House of Hope is located in Luoyang, China and is dedicated to saving the lives of special needs orphans in China by providing surgeries and medical attention. This home will offer the highest level of care, enabling the children to thrive, and greatly increasing their chances of being adopted. (learn more at http://www.showhope.org/OrphanCare/MariasBigHouseofHope.aspx )

You are probably thinking there is no need to read the book because I just told you everything but I can promise you there are many great lessons to be learned from her story. I am planning on rereading it because there are so many powerful messages that I don’t want to miss one.

Love is in the Air



On September 1, two of our great friends, Trina and Marshall tied the knot on Key West. Unfortunately, Greyson and I were not able to attend their “cruise wedding” because of conflicts with work but Trina made me feel a part of the day by having people send me pictures all day. She even had someone send a picture to me right before she walked down the aisle. So I even got to see her before her groom did. It really meant the world to me for her to think about me right before the ceremony. While, I am so sad we could not go, I am absolutely thrilled for this couple. I love them both so much. I really don’t know any other two people that love and make the most out of life as these two. I know they have a great life together ahead of them.
On September 2, my best friend and college roommate, Ashley was proposed to on the wedding cruise in the Bahamas. She was completely surprised as were we all. Since they were in the Bahamas she couldn’t use her phone so I received a call bright and early on Saturday morning. If you know me, you know I don’t do bright and early and especially on Saturday mornings. She then sent me a picture message of the ring knowing she would get a call back from me, even if it was an early Saturday morning. I am so happy for Ashley and David. This is such an exciting time for them both. And this means two of my best friends are engaged so I have lots of fun planning ahead of me with throwing parties, showers and teas. And let’s not forget as much wedding planning as they will let me do. I am so excited!
And I guess this also means that we are growing up… which is a little bittersweet for me because I have made some lifetime memories with these girls and I like for things to stay the way they are. But I have to remind myself that there are a lot more memories to be made. I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends.

August: A Busy Month and A Lot of Celebrating

August has proved itself to be a month of celebrating. We have got to spend a lot of time with our friends, which is rare these days. We kicked off the month hanging out with our friends Chris and Meg, celebrating Meg’s birthday. We started her birthday celebrations with a boat ride on the lake on afternoon after work. This was my first time out on the lake on a boat all summer. For a girl who was raised on the Tennessee River and most of her first memories were on my parents’ boat, the mere thought of this makes me want to cry. That Friday we all went out to Old Chicago Pizza to continue her birthday celebration. We then had Libby’s birthday party and had some of our close friends over for a cookout.
The next weekend, was graduation weekend. Two of my friends graduated from MTSU. We went to a shrimp boil in Brentwood on Friday night for Andrea’s boyfriend, Nick, graduation party. The next day Ashley came into town for another one of our friend’s, Alex, graduation party in Mt. Juliet. It was so much fun catching up with everyone and playing corn hole. Sunday, we went to Miller’s Grocery in Christiania after church to eat with my friend who was in town and some more friends. It is such a rare occasion now for her to come into town that it is always a celebration. (Miller’s plug: If you ever get the chance to go to Miller’s Grocery on a Sunday do not pass up the opportunity. It is a buffet of the best country food you can imagine and your choice of about ten or more desserts. It is heavenly. But make sure you don’t have dinner plans because you will not be able to eat.)
On Thursday the 19th, while they were at the beach, Andrea and Nick got ENGAGED! She called me twice while I was giving Libby a bath and Andrea never calls me twice so I knew something was up. I called her back and got her voicemail. She then sent me a text that said “I will call you in ten minutes. You better pick up.” As soon as she said that I knew. I texted her back “are you engaged”, knowing that she was a good friend and a good friend would never text “yes” back. So I then did what any good friend would do. I waited 10 minutes and she still had not called me so I called her. And the first words out of my mouth were “are you engaged”. And she said “YES”. I started screaming and crying and Libby went and hit from me because I was acting like a crazy person. I have never been so happy for anyone in my life. She deserves to be happy more than anyone I know. They are the perfect pair and I love them so much. On Friday, I met them when they pulled into town with Gigi’s cupcakes (wedding cake flavor) to celebrate. The next day, Greyson got a rare call. His work called and told him to take the day off. He had worked 14 hours on Friday. We went out to dinner and to the movies like a normal couple, ha ha. It was so nice. We had such a great time. On Sunday, we went to church and then I went to Hartsville (his hometown) to his cousin’s baby shower that I was helping host. She got so many cute things. I am so excited. This little girl has two wonderful parents and such a loving family. I can’t wait to meet her in late September, early October.
And next weekend we are going to a friend’s wedding reception. WOW! As you can see, August has definitely been a month of celebrating. And let the celebrations continue in September with my birthday, the marriage of Trina and Marshall, and Trina’s birthday.

Libby's 2nd Birthday



Yesterday we celebrated our baby Libby’s second birthday with a cookout with friends. It may seem a little silly that we had a birthday party for our dog but we’ve wanted to have friends over all summer and it was a reason to celebrate. And since she brings so much joy to our lives it was only appropriate for us to have a little party. For dessert we had strawberry cupcakes (which she had last year on her birthday) and sugar cookies shaped like dog bones. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LIBBY!

Two Nephews Off to Kindergarten





This week two of our nephews will have their first full week at kindergarten. We can’t believe they are old enough to start school but we are so excited for them. They have definitely been a topic of conversation at our house. They are both very well behave and so smart. We know they are going to do great. We love you, Isaiah and John.

And They Said It Wouldn't Last


They met at a going away party (just like Greyson and I did). She spotted him across the room and it was love at first sight. Their friends and family didn’t understand their love for one another at first because he was twenty years older than her. When they married, everyone said it wouldn’t last six months.

On August 7, 2010 they will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. And after all this time they’re still madly in love with one another. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad! Thank you for providing me a true example of unconditional love.

Coach



Today Greyson is playing his first tournament as a PGA Professional! In May he played his first tournament as a professional but this is the first tournament that he’s playing with his PGA status. He was officially accepted into the program last week. It literally took an act of God for this to happen. His course already has two PGA Pros so it took some convincing for the course to sign off on it but they did! He passed his test with flying colors and had taken his playing ability test last year. He then had to play the waiting game on the PGA to hear about his status.

The tournament he is playing at today and tomorrow is the City of Crossville State Team Championship
Honoring PGA Professional Bobby Nichols. Bobby Nichols was an American professional golfer, best known for winning the 1964 PGA Championship. He was also Greyson’s college golf coach. But calling him just his coach does not seem fitting. “Coach”was a mentor, a friend, a father, and always an encourager. He was not only these things for his players but he was to me as well. I am sure there are many others that can say the same thing. He was always teasing Greyson for being so cheap and telling me I deserved a nice dinner. He would let me ride around in his golf cart during tournaments. And trust me this was a big deal! Have you ever walked 18- 36 holes as a spectator? Golf and his players were his life. Unfortunately Coach is not here with us to see this day. He passed away after a short battle with cancer in March 2008. His last days were spent with his players surrounding his hospital bed and their friends and family including myself. Some of the players including Greyson had a tournament they were suppose to leave for the morning that he died. They went to the tournament because that is what Coach told them he wanted but as soon as they pulled into the parking lot of the golf course they received the call that they were expecting. They immediately got back on the bus to Cookeville to be with the rest of their team.

He meant so much to Greyson and was such a big part of Greyson’s golf career. It is only fitting that this tournament be named after him. Good luck G and we miss you Coach but know you are looking down smiling and telling him to “practice, practice, practice and when you are done, practice some more!!!

Wedding Pictures

Our wedding pictures are up! I have spent countless hours looking at them and I am so proud to share them with you.
http://www.photoreflect.com/store/thumbpage.aspx?e=6904847

I Sing for Joy at the Work of Your Hand

I am writing with amazement of what God has done for us since I last blogged. We have both been so discouraged lately and then all of a sudden we have both taken a complete turnaround. God hasn’t reveled where or what He wants us but I can feel God’s hand guiding us in the right direction. Opportunities are landing in our laps and we are perusing them prayerfully.
I am filled with joy. But in order to find this joy I had to take a step back and look at what God was already doing and not what we wanted Him to do. I had to remind myself the words of one of my favorite hymns, “Morning by morning new mercies I see; all I have needed Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!” I had to ask myself what were we really worried about. Everything we needed God was providing for us. We need nothing more than what we have right now. It was then when my attitude changed that things started to change. Doors have begun opening for us. I can’t wait to keep you updated on this journey.

How's Married Life

We’ve been getting this question a lot. Sometimes I feel like it is a lot different and then sometimes I feel like a single girl all over again. The reason I say I feel like a single girl is because Greyson has a new schedule at work. He goes in late in the afternoon and gets home around bed time. So it is just me and Libby on the couch and dinning on cheese and crackers for dinner. I never minded cooking for one when I was living on my own but I hate the thought of it now. For some reason it is disappointing for me to prepare a meal and not have someone there to enjoy it with me. But I think we’re managing around this schedule pretty well. I think us living an hour away from each other the first three and half years of our relationship helped. I am use to doing stuff on my own and our time together minimal. Although, when we were dating our minimal time together was quality time and I can’t always say the same for now. But it is something we will have to adjust and work on. Thankfully we have our Monday nights to be together and lunch dates.
God has taught and revealed so much about Himself to us this past month and revealed more to us about one another. Our patience and determination is being tried daily. And we are learning to serve one another as encouragers when our patience wears thin. We want things to happen instantaneously with Greyson’s career. He has worked so hard in school and is entering into the PGA program to be a golf professional. His long time goal is to combine his level of education and love for golf and be a general manager of a golf course. I have no doubt in my mind that he can do it and will do it if it is God’s will but that job is not going to come overnight and he must work his way up in the industry, as he has already done so. We just both keep getting frustrated. We live in a world that wants things done instantly. We have to constantly remind ourselves and encourage one another. It hasn’t helped that he has received a lot of criticism lately. He has had several people ask him within the past two weeks what he was doing in the golf industry with his MBA in finance. He’s finally got where he tells them his heart. He doesn’t want to waste this life going to a job he hates like he has seen so many others do. Money does not outweigh happiness. As for me, I’ve never had something I was as passionate about as much is Greyson is about golf but I know I am suppose to be doing something else. God has not revealed to me what that is yet but I have a yearning in my heart that tells me this isn’t it. So we are both waiting for God to tell where He wants us. And wherever He leads we will go. Isn’t it incredible though when you really think about it? We don’t have to figure out what it is because God already knows. We just have to wait for His perfect timing.

Since the wedding is over I hope to continue to blog about our new journey together as husband and wife.

Honeymoon in Key West




This is another recap blog. I wanted to savor some memories of our wonderful honeymoon in Key West. We left out for our Key West on Monday morning. A friend of mine had told me when she got married a few years earlier that they waited another day to leave out for their honeymoon and it was the best thing they ever did and wanted to pass on that advice to me. So now I am passing on this advice to anyone else who is planning a honeymoon. Do it and wait an extra day before you leave. Trust me you will be so exhausted from the wedding you will need a day to rest before you jet off to paradise. Besides if you have a reception that runs late like ours did that will only leave you a couple of hours before you have to be at the airport.
Our wonderful friend Trina let us leave our car at her place so we wouldn’t have to pay to store our car at the airport and she drove us to the airport at 4 am for our 6 am flight on Memorial Day. Did I tell you what a wonderful friend she is? Haha! From there we flew to Miami and had a short layover and we were in Key West by noon.
We stayed at the BEAUTIFUL Waldorf Astoria Reach Resort. We arrived before check-in so we had our bags stored and decided to explore the island. We walked down Duval Street and took in the sights and sounds. We couldn’t help but feel like we were in a foreign country because there were so many Europeans vacationing there and there was definitely an island attitude. Within 3 blocks we saw chickens running around like we were in Cuba. And there was a whore house with a sign outside of it like a menu at a fast food restaurant with all of your options. Down a couple more blocks was Jimmy Buffett’s Margaretville and we decided to dine there for lunch. I had steamed shrimp and black beans. A lot of the dishes and restaurants had a lot of Cuban influence. And Greyson had one of his first of many Mahi Mahi sandwiches. We then walked backed to the hotel and enjoyed the pool until we could check in to our room.
The next morning it rained and was a little overcast but by the time we went down to the beach and had one of the cabana boys put out our chairs the sun was blazing down. We never saw another drop of rain. The temperatures were cooler in Key West than at home but I promise you this had to be one of the hottest places on earth. I’ve been to Mexico when it was 107 degrees outside and it did not compare! The UV index was unbelievable. One moment out in the sun without sunscreen and you were burnt. Thankfully we had our cabana boys who had umbrellas at the pool and beach. During the day we stayed out by the pool and ocean. The water and sand was so beautiful and most of the beaches at Key West are private. The beach at our resort was private and we had access to another Waldorf Astoria Resort that was one block away from ours that also had a private beach. There were several activities and games to play at both resorts, including our favorite, corn hole.
We ate some great seafood the entire trip. We ate at the famous Hog’s Breath and at the Sunset Pier, which is exactly a restaurant on an open pier. We saw some unbelievable sunsets at the pier, our resort and on the sunset dinner cruise we took our last night there. I think that had to be our favorite part of the entire trip. It was incredibly hot until the sun started to set but it was so worth it. I have never been in more awe of God’s great creation.
We had the best time and we kept saying over and over again how we felt like we made the perfect honeymoon choice for us. It was a perfect trip minus the plane ride from Miami home where we took a nose dive in the middle of the flight and had turbulence the entire way. We both thought that “until death do us part” was coming a lot sooner than later. Thankfully we landed safe and sound in Nashville and after kissing the ground, some more wonderful friends, Allison and Andrew, came and picked us up from the airport. I am so thankful for our wonderful first week as husband and wife and such an awesome honeymoon.

Wedding Recap and SO MANY THANK YOUS




I have to admit I feel a little lost not planning for the wedding but all my planning definitely paid off. I got pretty much everything I have ever dreamed for. The wedding weekend started on Friday with my bridesmaid luncheon at Arrington Vineyards. For those of you who are not familiar with Arrington it is a beautiful vineyard located between Murfreesboro and Franklin. It is owned by Kix Brooks of Brooks and Dunn. We had a great time. Newk’s ,one of my favorite restaurants, catered. We enjoyed a wine tasting; my favorite part and I presented the girls with their gifts. After lunch, we caravanned to Lairdland Farms. I showed the girls around and we unpacked and got settled in our cabin.

I then got ready for the rehearsal and walked over to my parent’s cabin which was located next door to the Lairdland Farm house where we got married. As soon as I got over there, it started storming. I kept trying to tell myself that is was just a small summer pop up storm and it would be finished before 5:30 pm when the rehearsal was suppose to start. For those of you who do not know, this was an outside wedding and reception. Unfortunately, the rehearsal never happened. Half of the guests were at my parents’ cabin and half of the guests were at the Farm House. At about 6 pm, I started to get upset. There were no tears yet on the outside. Everyone was asking me what I wanted to do and I had no clue. So I turned to the only one who could help me. I went upstairs where no one was, shut the bathroom door and dropped to my knees. I prayed for good weather the next day, acknowledged God was in control and found comfort in knowing God knew the desires of my heart. I went and got my little cousin Gabriel and asked him to go get Greyson for me who was on one of the two porches with his groomsmen. Greyson came upstairs and I grabbed his hand and we then prayed together even though I struggled to get my words out because I began to cry. I knew though that I didn’t have to say my prayers out loud. We had a backup plan for the ceremony, a small country Presbyterian Church down the road. Greyson tried to talk me into going down there and rehearsing there but I would not hear to it. In my mind going there to rehearse meant I was giving up on having the outside wedding of my dreams. Around 6:40 the rain slacked up and everyone gathered at the huge covered front porch of the farm house. We still were not able to rehearse because it was still storming but I tried to tell everyone what their roles were and how the day would play out. We then left for our rehearsal dinner in Lewisburg at Russell’s Catering. The food and fellowship was wonderful. My advice for any bride to be is make sure you take your time to go around and visit with each of your guests at your rehearsal dinner because you will not get a chance to do so at your wedding reception.

From there I went back to Lairdland with my bridesmaids and parents. My bridesmaids were in one cabin and my parents were in another. I stayed over at my parents’ cabin for a while talking to my dad. I started to breakdown. I didn’t know what we were going to do about the reception if it rained the next day. We had spent so much money and I was so afraid I wouldn’t get to see everything I had worked so hard pay off and have the wedding I had been dreaming of. Once I calmed down I went over to my bridesmaids’ cabin. My head was throbbing when I arrived so I took some Tylenol and sat up for a little bit laughing with my girls. I loved how we were able to have “one last slumber party” as Andrea called it. After a little while Andrea and I decided to go to bed while the others stayed up and talked.

The next morning when I woke up in the tallest bed in the world (seriously it took 3 steps to climb up into), I was able to see the sun trying to peak out through the overcast skies. Andrea sat right up and said, “It’s wedding day”. I got my stuff together and went back over to the my parents cabin to eat breakfast and then I instructed the delivery guys from our rental company where to set everything up and then my bridesmaids came over and helped with the centerpieces and putting out all the decorations. I don’t know what I would have done without them, my great aunt Mary Anne, my cousin Carla, Deanna and the Pace Family. They all helped decorate and get everything in its place. At this point it was still a little overcast but we had not seen a drop of rain all day. I also want to thank my prayer warriors who were texting me and reassuring me everything was going to be ok.

Before I knew it, it was time for me to go have my hair done. I was at such peace while I was getting my hair fixed. It was just like another day but it could be that I am very much like my Aunt Michelle in the fact that I love someone to do or play with my hair. It relaxes my body like a glass of wine. I still had one eye on the skies though. I was so relaxed there I asked if they minded if I did my makeup there. I was afraid there would be too many people getting ready and there would be too much going on for me to concentrate on myself. But it was there at the hair salon that it hit me. I was getting married that day. I kept telling people it had not sunk in and there it hit me right before I left.

When I got back to Lairdland my photographers were there and were ready to start taking some bridal portraits of me and then pictures with my bridesmaids. Before long it was time for the guys to arrive and me to go up to the bridal suite. Greyson and I did not want to see each other before the wedding so we had pictures made separately before. The guys took some pictures before the guests arrived where I hung out with my bridesmaids while they took care of last minute touches on themselves. I just sat back and tried to stay cool and enjoy my time with my girls. I also had a glass of champagne to cool me off and to keep me from getting nervous. I will admit that I thought this would be the longest part of the day because we were supposed to be up there for about an hour and half but it wasn’t. I don’t know that any part of the day was long. Then my wonderful wedding coordinators, Jennifer and Cindy came and got us and told us it was time. We walked over to the side of the house where the guests could not see us and where my family was. It was great getting to spend some precious moments with Greyson’s family and my grandparents. Then the music started. I selected the song “Your Love is Extravagant” to be sang by my lifelong friend Timmy Ray. I had such a joyful and worshipful spirit because it was here that I reminded myself of God’s great love and as much as I love Greyson. God is my number one love and He had blessed me with the wedding of my dreams. The skies were clear and the sun was beaming down. It gives me chills just thinking about that moment. Then the wedding processional began. I kept thinking of my dad and how hard it must have been for him to give me away. I had been his pride and joy for the last 24 years.

Greyson and I had waited to see each other partly for tradition and partly because I wanted to take his breath away. But as I was walking towards him he was looking off and not looking at me. Once I got to him I realized he was fighting back tears. I am proud to say our ceremony was center around God, whom we want to be the main focus in our marriage. Yes, there was some hiccups during the ceremony like the unity candle being blown out, some issues with the prayer circle and the preacher forgetting to tell Greyson to kiss his bride but don’t worry, I reminded him. I thought the ceremony went by quickly until we watched the video the other night. We did not realize how long the ceremony was. He had told our pastor that we wanted it to memorable and we didn’t want to walk down the aisle and turn right back around like some weddings so I guess we got what we asked for.

This is where it all gets blurry and it is like a series of snapshots in my mind. Everyone told me it would be that way but until you experience it, it is hard to believe it will truly be that way. We took a few pictures with our family and then bridal party and then we took several pictures by ourselves while the guests enjoyed dinner.

We were announced by our friend Marshall and then our friends Andrea, Ashley and Parker all gave amazing toasts. Probably the best ever! They all moved me to tears and laughter. We then cut our cake. I had planned for Greyson and I to eat after the toasts but by the time the toasts where over all the guests were finished eating and if there is anything I have ever learned from being a wedding coordinator it is DO NOT make your guest wait for cake. Afterwards we had our first dance, father daughter dance and my sorority sisters sang to me. I was honored by so many of my sisters who traveled to be with me on my special day. I then was able to spend a little time visiting with our guests. And then it seemed like I blinked and it was dark and it was just our close friends and family left. We danced and we danced and danced. I don’t know that I have ever had any more fun in my life. Then it was time for us to go. I couldn’t believe it was over and I was so sad to leave. I think I would have done anything to make the night last a little longer. I had already bribed the band to play five more songs. We were sent off with sparklers and with Greyson’s car decorated and on my side of the car it said “the boss”. I still can’t believe the day is over but I am so blessed to have had so many months celebrating our marriage with showers and teas and to be surrounded by all of our closest friends and family as we committed to be husband and wife.


Sorry it took me so long to update! I actually worked on this post for 3 weeks while I had down time. I hope to do better!

TWO DAYS!!!!!!!!

Wow, just the title of the post is a little surreal to me. I don’t know how in the world my wedding is two days away. It’s almost like you spend all those months planning and counting down that you never really expect it to be here and then it is. I am working today and going to try and have a normal day but I don’t know how realistic that goal is for me. As much as I would love to be at home just hanging out with Mom by the pool work has been a great distraction for the most part. Amazingly everything is crossed off my to-do list except just a few minute last things. I need to transfer some songs onto my i-pod for when the band takes a break, pick up my prescriptions, manicure and pedicure tonight, finish packing for the honeymoon and pay bills before I leave town.

Beside the threat of a few pop up thunderstorms, I have a great peace about everything. I am looking forward to spending some quality time tomorrow with my bridesmaids. We are having a bridesmaid luncheon at Arrington Vineyards and then a slumber party last night at the cabins at Lairdland. It’s kind of funny one of my bridesmaids texted me last night and said I can’t believe Friday night is our last slumber party. I replied back “says who”. I love each of my bridesmaids so much. They have all blessed me so much. I am honored to have them in my wedding and more importantly my life.

I am also excited about the love we will be surrounded by on Saturday. I contemplated going off to get married but I kept going back to the fact that when else in life are you going to have all your loved ones in one place. We both are going to have so many people who have traveled near and far to be a part of our special day. It overwhelms me to think about our guest list and all the love that will be present on Saturday. I am actually tearing up as I write this. We both have cousins traveling over 12 hours to be with us.

With all of this emotion hitting me now, I know I will probably need my makeup touched up or redone after the ceremony. If you know me you know I am a crier. I cry when I am sad and even more so when I am happy. I thank God for these emotions though because there is no greater feeling than to be loved and surrounded by love.

Well, the next post I’ll be a married woman. I will be sure to blog about the big day when I get back from my honeymoon!

Proud of My Man


I could not be prouder of my future husband. This weekend he graduated with his Masters in Business Administration with an emphasis in finance from Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Tennessee. We were very fortunate that we got to go to Cookeville on Friday and go to our favorite places. Greyson lived in Cookeville during the first four years of our relationship. Over those four years it became another home to me. We made a lot of good friends there. We went to our favorite Mexican Restaurant El Tap and then met up with some of our good friends at Spankey’s, which is by far our favorite bar. However, we didn’t stay long. We must be getting too old. The band on the patio was too loud so we decided to venture over to Venny T’s where we could actually hear each other talk. We had a great time catching up and we ran into some more old friends there too. And the night ended on the best note, a pizza roll from T-Mart. HA HA!

The next morning Greyson had to leave early for graduation. His mother met me later that morning. When we got into the gymnasium I felt like we were on the scene of Forest Gump where he is on the school bus and the kids are yelling “seat taken”. We were there an hour early and apparently that was not early enough. I think every family sent one family member at 7 am that morning to stake out there spot. We finally found a spot and we were very close to Greyson. By the time Greyson’s name was called the graduation ceremony had been going on for three hours. Greyson snuck out the back after his name was called because he had to be at work that afternoon.

This week Greyson has another milestone. He is playing a qualifier for his first golf tournament as a professional at the state open in Dickson. He is worked so hard for these things and I am so proud of him. I know God has great plans for him and I am honored that I get to be a part of those. My prayer right now is that God opens the doors that He wants open for us and He closes the doors He doesn’t want us to go through. And that no matter what we give HIM the glory.

19 DAYS!

Preparation for Marriage


So much time and energy goes into planning a wedding but I’ve lately wondered how much time people actually prepare for marriage? I know if were able to compare the hours Greyson and I planned our wedding verses what we planned for marriage, we would be horrified at the difference. How ironic is that? Our wedding will last one day and our marriage is a covenant with God that is to last a lifetime. Hummm….. which one sounds like a bigger deal to you? I know which one means more to us and that is our covenant with God.

I will say however I am so thankful that we have both come to this realization and not just me. We’ve both done a lot of preparation both individually and collectively. For any of you in a serious relationship or who want to be in a serious relationship one day, I would encourage you to read “The Love Dare.” My mother gave it us for Christmas and honestly I had no intent on ever reading it. We had both already watched the movie and yes it did have a great message but it was cheesy and reminded me of movies that my Bible teacher made me watch in Middle School. I also thought it was a book about troubled relationships. I wondered what type of message my mom was trying to get across to us. Yes, G and I have had our share of valleys and mountaintops but who hasn’t. Although I had no intention on reading it, I put in on my night stand. About a month later I picked up and I was amazed this wasn’t a book about troubled relationships; this was a book about how to love and glorify God in your marriage. I was hooked from the introduction. The truths were simple but they were revolutionary to me. My entire life I have expected perfection out of everyone and it was no different with Greyson. But this one line of the book changed my perspective. In describing marriage the author writes, “This powerful union provides the path for you to learn how to love another imperfect person unconditionally.” As I said before the truths were simple but this was revolutionary to me. For so many years I had demanded perfection from Greyson, yet I didn’t demand it from myself. I don’t know where this came from. I guess in some weird way I thought your perfect mate was a perfect person. Yet, I am not perfect and if you know me well enough you know there are areas in life where I don’t try to be perfect. So how can I expect perfection from my mate?

I also loved how the book took the attributes from 1 Corinthians 13 and broke down them down. I learned how God wants us to love our spouse. This book has been a huge tool in helping me prepare for marriage.

Greyson and I prepared for marriage together through four sessions of premarital counseling with Greyson’s pastor. I had heard many horror stories from friends about their premarital counseling sessions but ours was wonderful. We learned so much and were provided tools to lay a strong foundation for our marriage.

Although I think we could have done more to prepare for marriage, I am so proud of us both for taking it so seriously and taking time to prepare. We’ve already made a very important decision to keep Christ at the center of our marriage.

25 days!

Where Have the Days Gone?




Wow, I didn’t realize it had been so long since my last blog until one of my faithful readers, my aunt, messaged me on Facebook. Sorry it has been a while. Well, we are now 31 days away until the big day. As always we still have a to-do list hovering over our heads but it is a manageable to do list. Hopefully I won’t let the next 32 days sneak up on me.
A lot has happened since I wrote last time. I had a bridal tea in Hartsville, Tennessee on April 11. It was absolutely gorgeous. The ladies from Hartsville really put on the Southern charm and everything look like it was out of Southern Living magazine. We drank almond iced tea and it was wonderful! The tea was hosted by family friends of the Painter’s. I had a great time and got so many lovely gifts.
Then on April 20, my co-workers surprised me with a shower after our daily staff meeting. Unfortunately, for them I walked into the room while they were still setting up. They had brought in all my favorite breakfast foods: sausage and egg breakfast casserole, bagels from Panera Bread with most importantly Honey Walnut Cream Cheese. Again I got so many nice things. Some of them I didn’t even register for. Funny story time: So while I was opening my gifts one of my co-workers asked me why we registered for so many DVDs. I thought she was making a joke at first that I wasn’t following and then I told her we didn’t registered for any DVDs. She said yes you did. Sandra and I both printed out your list and it had 4 pages of DVDs on there. As it turns out they had looked up the wrong name and got me stuff off someone else’s registry. So I got a bright red toaster that some poor bride has always wanted and some Pyrex dishes (which I kept). As for the toaster the lady who bought it took it back to Target and it exchanged it for something that was on my register.
On April 25, my bridesmaids hosted another tea that could be featured in Southern Living magazine. It was beautiful and perfect. The colors on my cake matched my wedding colors 100% which isn’t something that is easy to do. It was so nice having all of my Boro friends at one place. I only wish I could have spent more time talking to some of my sorority sisters that I never see. It was so good to see them and so nice to know that our friends really are for “today and forever”. Again, I got so many time things. My bridesmaids gave us an outdoor umbrella for our patio furniture. They most really know my tastes because it is exactly what I would have picked out. They also got me place mats and cloth napkins and napkins rings to match. I can’t wait to have people over this summer. We are planning a shrimp boil for sometime this summer.
Greyson and I have so much to be thankful for. We have so many friends and family that love us. Even though I do have hand cramps some nights for writing so many thank you notes. I have written 100!!! That blows my mind. I haven’t even had my tea in Florence yet.
Unfortunately, this time has not been as joyous as I would have hoped for. My mother has been sick since Christmas and has missed two of my teas because of her health. She’s had numerous respiratory infections, sinus surgery and issues with her blood pressure. Please keep her in your prayers that she is well by the wedding!
And I promise to blog more often…. Well at least try to.

All About the Invitations


This week has been all about invitations. I set a goal for myself several months ago that I would send my invitations out on Monday, March 29. And I think I am actually going to make my goal. As I mentioned before I purchased my wedding invitations at Michael’s. They were made by http://www.gartnerstudios.com/ . They ended up being about a dollar a piece (this includes the envelope, return envelope and RSVP card. But not the printing). I had them printed this week at FedEx Office (aka Kinkos) for $30. This also included my direction cards. Can we say good job Amy?

The invitation company has a web site where you could download templates for the invitations and RSVP cards. I couldn’t believe it though, there were multiple spelling errors. They were even on the example invitation in the package. I was able to overlook that since it was just an example and I could change any of the wording and I was impressed with the cost.

Unfortunately, FedEx Office does not print envelopes of any sort so they are at another printing company as we speak. I am sending out 240 invitations which means 480 stamps (one for the envelope and one for the return envelope) which equals over $211.20 in postage. I thought about doing the RSVPs online through theknot.com but I decided that wasn’t the best avenue to take since a lot of my wedding guests are elderly and not internet savvy.

I’ve been working on my invitation list forever but I still had some last minute updates. So on top of all this work I also had to tie a purple ribbon to every invitation. I had originally planned on having an invitation party and having some friends over to help me but I’ve been sick the past two days so Greyson and I just did it ourselves. I think we both had finger cramps. I will be so excited to put these in the mail. I think it make it feel like our big day is really approaching.

So be watching for your invitation next week!

Progress Report


Things have really started to come together the last month. All my vendors are booked now except my bartender but I am hoping to get one of my banquet staff members to work that night. I am very pleased to announce that we have booked our band! And it’s not just a band it’s my favorite band in the world…. The Brandon Pruitt Band. We weren’t sure if we would be able to book them at first but we got them! I could not be happier. If you would like to hear a few songs visit their myspace page http://www.myspace.com/BrandonPruitt.

On March 7, I had my first bridal shower. It was so much fun and I got so many nice things. It was hosted by my aunt and my mom’s first cousin. All my family from both my mom and dad’s side was there. That was the greatest gift of all. I got to see many of aunts and cousins that I never see.

I have three teas planned for me: one in Murfreesboro, Hartsville and Florence. I am so excited and I just have a few loose ends to tie up and I will be ready for our big day.

UPDATE

WOW- Where did February go? But I am definitely glad it is gone. I am tired of the cold weather and ready for spring and more ready for May 29. This past weekend was another rollercoaster ride of wedding planning. My Aunt Debbie recommended a lady that does cakes in the area that we are getting married at. Greyson and I made an appointment to meet with her on Saturday with my uncle’s business. The lady forgot about our appointment that I drove over 70 miles together. We then waited an hour for her and she still had not shown up. I called the lady to let her know I was leaving. I couldn’t trust someone who forgot an appointment and then made me wait over an hour to make my wedding cake. It may seem a little bridezilla of me but I just wasn’t able to put my trust in her.
We then left there to meet with our caterers. They amazed me from the beginning. Awaiting for us in the room we met in was appetizers and every requests I had they were more than happy to accommodate. They even offered to do things the day of the wedding that go way beyond their job duties. I feel so blessed that they are going to be such a big part of our big day.
From there, we went to Publix in Spring Hill to order the wedding cake and the groom’s cake. Greyson and I came to the conclusion that it was too hard for us to coordinate with one person and we don’t know when we could find someone else or make the time to drive and meet with them. Publix was very accommodating. I would definitely recommend them to anyone. You can get a beautiful cake customized at fractions of the costs as most bakeries.
The only thing left on our to-do- list is the band and bartender. And I have prospects for both. So as for now, wedding planning is at the top of the rollercoaster.

My "First" Wedding



I survived my first wedding on Saturday, February 6. No, Greyson and I aren’t having multiple ceremonies. I help coordinate my first wedding at Doubletree. February started in full force and I feel like I am just now getting a moment to breathe. The week of the wedding I had my first session of premarital counseling (which I have to spend 2 hours in the car for, one hour there, and one back, and over an hour of counseling), hosted a small dinner party, had back to back functions and went to the Chamber’s Annual Banquet. Right after the wild wedding weekend, Doubletree hosted Business After Hours and my boss Stephanie and I oversaw the whole thing. It was a successful night but it’s been nonstop since the beginning of the month.
My first wedding will be something to remember even during all of this madness. The bride had a very sweet spirit about her and had every detail of her wedding down in her head from my first meeting with her. I will always remember that about her. When working with brides there are a lot of uncertainties. Major decisions have to be made like first dance or cake cutting first. Who should they include at the head table, and the list goes on and on. Not this bride she knew exactly where she wanted everything and how she wanted everything to look. But the most memorable thing about her won’t be her ability to envision every moment of her big day, it will be snowflakes. And I am not talking about all the snow we’ve received outside. I am talking about the snowflakes that hung from the ceiling at Target during the holidays. This bride and her mother saw them over Christmas and knew they had to have them at her wedding. So Target gave them to her. So the Friday before the wedding in midst of sales visits and the Chamber banquet my boss and I hung 6 foot long snowflakes from the ballroom ceiling at Doubletree. I’ve never laughed and griped about something more in my life. It was a hard task and so was overseeing a wedding where the bride knew exactly what she wanted and nothing else would do. But it was also very rewarding. When we got ready to leave the wedding the bride hugged me tightly and thanked me for making her day “perfect”. I left feeling like I had provided a real service to someone even if it meant hanging snowflakes for the ballroom ceiling. I helped make her special day “perfect” just like she planned. It reinforced that I had made the right decision in making this career move to the hospitality industry. I will forever be a part of this couple’s special day and for that I am beyond grateful to have that opportunity.