Choosing A Season Of Joy

I’m baaaaack! A lot has gone on in the week and a half I took off, but I’m ready to write again and update you all on some new developments.

It’s been crazy rainy lately and my POTS symptoms seem to get aggravated during changes in weather. Something interesting about POTS is that it affects a bunch of important organs, and has trouble finding homeostasis when even minor changes are introduced. My physical therapist takes my blood pressure and heart rate every single session — before and after and sometimes during my workouts — and it’s crazy to see that whenever I feel symptomatic my blood pressure is super low, and my heart rate is higher than usual. One cool thing about people with chronic illnesses is that we really know our bodies well. I can almost always pinpoint what is physically wrong with me because of the way my symptoms are behaving. We are going to start looking at the barometric pressure and my blood pressure throughout the day, just as a little test to see how they compare since both of us have noticed this trend. I can’t wait until POTS has been studied better and we can just look up a million and one facts about it, and one day there can actually be a cure.

Which leads me to my next point. I have been trying to be really cognizant of the blessings I have in my life lately. It makes every obstacle a whole lot easier to tackle, and I have felt more peace and joy by looking at the great things God has given me, rather than focusing only on the pain or discomfort. Today, for example, I saw a sweet little bunny outside on our front lawn. He was eating part of our flowers, but I sat and watched him until he was ready to leave before I walked past him. While I was sitting on the porch I saw a little red robin fly into a puddle next to our yard, and he started to fluff his feathers and bathe himself. These two little moments made my heart so warm the rest of the night.

As far as wedding planning goes, we keep making slow and steady progress. Robert and I got our wedding bands this week and they’re absolutely perfect. I keep putting mine on every time I go to his house because I love it so much! I am super sentimental, so I love that he picked everything out for me, but it’s also just so me. I love his too, and I think he looks super handsome with a wedding band. I wrote a little message to him in it so he’ll always be reminded of how I feel when he looks at it. 🙂 Despite all the stress of planning, I keep realizing how fast this time is going by and reminding myself that the primary feeling of this time of engagement should be joy. We have four months to go as of today, and I am so, so excited.

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From Girlfriend To Fiancée

Wow, the past few months have been crazy in the best way.

Robert and I got engaged in November and I had plenty of time to breathe and enjoy our new titles as “fiancée” and “fiancé” (Side note: did you know that the word differs in spelling for a man and a woman? Two “e’s” mean the word is for a female, and just one makes it male). Now that I’m in month five of being engaged I want to tell you all how everything has been and what kind of advice I have for people when they first get engaged too.

First, one thing I did that I would absolutely do over and over again is that I kept the engagement off social media for a little over a week. It was so special having this little secret with Robert and all my loved ones, and it made that time so memorable and easier to live in the moment. Rather than getting hundreds of calls, texts, and well wishes online, we were able to hold hands and be quietly excited at the thought of getting to marry each other one day in the near future. It felt a lot more intimate and all of the new changes had time to sink in before announcing our new status to the world.

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Second, I recommend actually searching for venues after taking a few weeks to let everything sink in. My initial response to the dozens of “Have you set a date?!” question was, “I am just taking some time to enjoy being engaged.” While that is all fine and dandy, I knew I wanted to get married in the fall. We got engaged in the winter, and wanted a fall wedding. Had I started right away I would have had about a year to plan, whereas I knocked off about a third of that to just sit back and relax. Luckily, everything on that front has worked itself out and I’m really happy with the way our plans are materializing, but the Washington DC area is super competitive, even in the wedding industry. If you want to get married on a certain date or time of year, you should keep that in mind while figuring out how long you are going to be engaged and when to start planning.

Third, there is no right or wrong timeline. Some engagements are short, others are long, and there are a million in between. Figure out what you think is right, then just go for it! Planning such a big event is definitely a new and unique challenge, but it’s also a lot of fun once you stop dipping your toes in the water and just jump into planning. Luckily, all of the research I’ve done in college and assignments I had at Seventeen are really paying off, because it takes a lot of work to find the right vendors to create a big event like this.

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Finally, enjoy second of being engaged and make sure to still go on date nights and do things outside of planning your wedding. Time goes by so fast, and before you know it you’ll be a husband or wife instead of just a fiancé(e)!

There Are More Than Four Seasons In Life

Our mid-twenties are kind of a crazy time. Something I find so interesting is the incredible difference between people’s lives. Up through high school we all had so many similarities. We were all in school, spent our free time studying or doing some sort of hobby or sport, and we all relied on our parents to take care of us.

Once we graduated, most of us went off to college and had pretty standard experiences. There was more room for difference, but we all worried about similar things and had the same goal — to graduate and get a job.

Becoming an adult and trying to figure life out has been a new ballgame, and our Facebook newsfeeds are filled with such different journeys. Some of my friends are already married with kids, while others have crazy nights similar to those we saw in college. I see pictures of short skirts and clubs, and photos snuggling with babies in pajamas early on a Saturday night. There are other girls like me who are doggie moms, and then those who hope to be one day when they have enough time to spend on a pooch.

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Macy and I spent a Saturday night in watching a Taylor Swift concern on TV.
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One of our favorite activities on the weekend is going to get ice cream together! Macy usually ignores the dog treat and goes right for the vanilla cream.
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Jax is my little teenager and loves going on adventures at the dog park or around the lake. 

So many of my single friends are tired of being in a dating rut. Being in your mid/late twenties and trying to sift through dozens of guys on dating apps is hard work. Our hearts are made to love, and built for companionship. It is absolutely normal to desire a partner in crime to battle the trials in life with and celebrate the little wins you have every single day.

Just because you are seeing more and more engagements and marriages on social media does not mean that you are behind others in life if you don’t have a partner to spend it with yet. You may not have met the right person or finished everything you need to do as a single person. I believe that God’s timing is perfect, and that He often works in mysterious ways. Loneliness is one of the most difficult feelings to sit with, but if you try to learn from it and be productive throughout every season, in life you will reap the benefits in your future relationship.

Whether you are in a season of singleness or in a new season of partnership, make sure you try to live each day with a grateful heart. We always have something to be thankful for in life, and temporary loneliness can often create a new appreciation for companionship. Remember that feelings are fleeting and are not permanent. This is something that can be hard for someone who’s heart is led by feelings to realize, but it makes life a little easier when you know that a difficult season will eventually come to an end.

If you are struggling in a new season of companionship with someone — guys, trust me, I don’t have personal experience but I know the beginning of marriage can be a difficult adjustment too — know that this will pass, too. Learning how to live a life together and not getting to make decisions on your own can absolutely be trying. There is a reason so many people say the first year of marriage is the most difficult and I believe it’s because of all the new changes you must adjust to. There are little differences that you guys have which can get annoying — dietary needs, cleanliness in the home, and work schedules to name a few — and there are big life decisions that need to be made as a team. You will not see eye to eye on every single thing — after all, some of your differences are probably what united you in the first place and make you a better unit! You will, however, work through things together and continue to learn how to communicate with one another and grow from your disagreements. As long as mutual respect is kept in the relationship, this season of marriage will one day be in the past and have created an even stronger bond than you had before.

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Today’s lesson: Your story is unique, and everyone has a different time table for how their life is going to go. Just because many of your friends are experiencing one thing right now doesn’t mean you will today, too. Enjoy every minute of every day. Whether you are super-single and figuring out how to navigate the world by yourself, or are busy creating a family of your own, remember that life comes in seasons and as quickly as this one came to you it will one day be gone and you will be in a new season of life. 

June Is For Weddings

I’ve been incredibly busy the past couple of weeks because I’ve had to save all of my energy for weddings! It’s crazy how I had only been to a couple of weddings before this year — now I’ll have been to four this year alone.

26 is a funny age because half of your friends are engaged or married, the other half are super-single. I wanted to write a little note of encouragement to each type of person, as I know there are highs and lows associated with each.

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To my married friends: I am so happy that you found your person! I always hear that the first year of marriage is the hardest. I’m no expert on this, but I would assume it’s a huge adjustment suddenly sharing everything with your significant other. Having to re-budget finances and learn how to save together, sharing living quarters with someone new, and fighting for the last cookie in the pantry are a few that come to mind. Be kind and patient with one another — and to yourself — and always remember why you choose to love each other first every day. It takes time to adjust to big changes, so it’s normal that you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed after the excitement wears off. You’ll get the hang of it soon enough, but in the meantime make sure you still have the time to go out on dates and continue to speak your spouse’s love language to them.

To my engaged friends: Congratulations! I’m sure you’re incredibly excited and overwhelmed with planning a wedding, but remember that your wedding is just one day out of forever. My hope is that you are incredibly excited to celebrate with your friends and family because you just cannot wait to spend the rest of your life with the most special person you’ve ever met. Try to enjoy your time being engaged and don’t stress too much over the little details for your big day. Remind yourself that this time is such an exciting one to bond and continue to learn about your fiancee, and make time to enjoy one another amidst all of the chaos wedding planning ensues.

Remember, though, that marriage doesn’t fix things. Signing your name on a piece of paper with another human being and moving in with them or having children won’t make you closer or communicate better. If you feel in your gut that the decision you’re about to make isn’t right, please take a minute to reevaluate. Seek counseling if you need to get an outsider’s opinion on your relationship. Breakups are tough, but it’s so much better to have a few months of grieving the loss of a relationship than spending your life with the wrong person — or going through an incredibly painful divorce in the future.

To my single friends: You are not alone. I know sometimes it feels like everyone around you is having a really easy time navigating the dating/relationship world, but always try to keep in mind that although you may see a million and one social media posts about great relationships, the other singles out there are just quieter. People don’t typically post things like, “I’m currently not in a relationship!” or “Doing nothing in my PJs by myself this weekend!” If you want to get married one day, your time will come. Celebrate healthy relationships with your friends now, and one day they’ll be excited to celebrate with you!

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I’ve felt so lucky having such a great date to take to weddings this year.

Today’s lesson: We are all on different schedules in life and you can’t always plan when people come into your life. Try to enjoy each stage to it’s fullest. One thing I’ve learned is that time is something you can never get back, so try to look at the positive things about today so you can feel like you fully appreciated each stage in life.