Tuesday, August 13, 2013

no longer a bride, but now a wife!

After much anticipation and planning my wedding day came and was one of the absolute best days of my life.  Now that the dust has settled after the wedding, honeymoon, and getting back to normal- I am able to properly blog my experience.  I can not let this day go by in my history without writing what I experienced. :)

First of all, it really does go by fast!  It could be accurately described as a blur, because that is how fast everything went.  

It started out early with my hair appointment.  Whitney, Randi, and I went to Harrisburg to get our hair fixed.  As soon as we pulled in the parking lot, I realized I forgot my veil and hair piece!  Of course I would do that, since I forget everything that isn't written on a post-it and stuck on my forehead.  Thank goodness I had a great maid of honor.  Whitney took off back to the house to retrieve my items.  I loved how everything came together with my hair.  My veil was my favorite part.  It was a birdcage veil that just covered most of my face in a very delicate and sophisticated way. 

Next we headed to the church.  Our wonderful photographer had a nice schedule made out for us.  I loved having a schedule written out so I could see it and refer to it.  I know that is very teachery of me.  I love to know what is coming next and what I should expect.  Just a fact about me.  We snacked on yummy left overs from the previous night's rehearsal dinner before getting dressed for pictures.  This is when my  mother showed up with some troubling news.  I could tell instantly by the look on her face that something was wrong.  She didn't want to worry me, but if a bride asks you what is wrong, you better not lie to her.  (a nice tip for anyone)  She told me that my dad was having trouble with some kidney stones.  He was in the process of trying to pass some kidney stones, and if this pain did not subside, he might not be in any shape to walk me down the isle.  Of course this was upsetting to me.  My dad walking me down the isle was one of the most important aspects of the wedding!  So after a mini stress session, and some heavy praying by the time we started taking pictures, dad had passed the kidney stone and was feeling loads better! :) Thank you, Jesus!

As time slipped further away, and the church filled up, it got to be time to prepare to walk down the isle.  I wore a dress that was head to toe lace.  Very vintage, very me.  I love this dress so much!  I had my little veil on, some pearls and sparkle jewerly of mine and my mothers, and of course some champagne colored flats with some sparkle on them. (I'm not a heels kind of girl)  My bouquet had my favorite flowers, white hydrangeas, along with white roses, and purple calla lilies.  I wrapped the bouquet with handkerchiefs from both of my grandmothers so I would have a piece of them with me.  I was ready!  As I approached the doorway to the sanctuary, before my friend Miranda opened the doors for me, she prayed for me.  She prayed for the wedding ceremony, as well as asked the Lord to bless our marriage.  This was a very special moment that I shared with my dear friend who had worked so hard to assist me throughout the day.  Then she opened the doors, I joined my dad, and we walked down the isle together.  It is a very emotional thing walking down the isle to get married.  My arm was linked with the man who has done everything for me to not only survive, but live the life I want to live for my entire life.  We were walking toward the man who is going to be my partner for the rest of my life.  To my right sitting in front my mother sharing all these emotions gives me that grin you have when you are trying to hold back your happy tears.  To my left are three women who have supported my life decisions, and gone on journeys with me in life with both laughter and tears.  And then my eyes latch on to Dexter.  He looks so handsome in his tux!  I can see the emotions in his eyes.  The way he looks at me can always give away how he is feeling.  It's in the eyes.  From the moment my dad said that he and mom were giving me away, Dexter and I locked hands and didn't let go.  We held on to each other as tight as we could through the entire ceremony.  Just holding his hands is a comfort to me like none other.  The ceremony flowed so well.  I loved the words Pastor Ryan chose to say, and the vows he chose for us.  Our timing was perfect on every thing.  I regret now that no one video taped it.  I want so badly to go back and see it through some one else's eyes.  I want to see what every one else saw.  Because what I saw was wonderful.  To seal the deal and end this perfect event Dexter gave me the best kiss ever.  I call those Dexter kisses.  And yes some times I do ask him for a Dexter kiss.  It was sweet, passionate, and had that spark to it!

The reception was so much fun!  It too went by very fast.  The food was yummy!  We ate it up and tried to hurry along with all the things we wanted to do.  Cutting the cake was next.  We were a little silly and got some cake on our faces, but nothing crazy.  No one had a cake covered face with icing in their eyes.  Thank goodness.  We played some games for our friends to see, threw the bouquet and garter, and had some amazing toasts in our honor.  Whitney did an awesome job of describing our life long friendship and comparing it to a sisterhood.  She mentioned some of my favorite memories of our time together, including lots from our cross country spring break road trip a few years ago.  I'm glad that was a big part of her toast, because those memories are a big part of me now.  That was one of the most special times in our friendship, and I can't tell you how often I think of those days and smile so big or literally laugh out loud.  Charles also gave a touching speech.  He talked about his close relationship with Dexter and how they were the best work partners and friends.  He also was very nice to me with his words.  He really let me know that he was very happy about me being a part of their family, and that he will treat me like his own throughout my life with Dexter.  This part of the reception left me  very emotional.  Again, I wish some one had been video taping these so I could watch them again.  We kept moving on and were finally to the dancing part.  My dad was still recovering from his hard day and could not make it to the reception.  I hate it that he had to miss it, but him walking me down the isle was the most important thing, so I wanted him to rest and be comfortable the rest of the evening.  I shared a dance with my brother which was very meaningful!  Nick and I have always had a close friendship that I am grateful for.  This dance was precious.  Then for the rest of the evening I got to dance with my friends.  We haven't danced like that since prom times!  And I think quite a few of the songs were ones we danced to at prom.  We laughed so much, and just danced like no one was watching.  It was so much fun, and totally worth the swollen knee the next day.  And of course there was slow dancing.  Dexter and I danced to every single slow song.  We held on to each other and it felt so much more special than any dance before.  There was a spark and emotional connection to each other just through our dances that night.  I don't really know how to explain it other than true love.  True love was expressed through our dances together that night.  You could see it, and we definitely felt it.  The day and night was the most meaningful and precious night of our lives.  I will always look back on it and remember it as the day that went exactly as I wanted, which left me wanting it to never end.  The perfect dress, the perfect dance, the perfect man.  I just don't know how you could get anything more.  

Thursday, July 11, 2013

adventures of the bride to be...it's the little details...

Well we are getting close to hitting the  mark for our one week count down!!! :)  I am so excited about not only the wedding, and honeymoon, but being married to my very best friend!  This week has been a challenging one.  Little stressors have popped up here and there.  I have a few more details to complete before I will be ready for the day before and the day of.

I must say that I have a new found respect for any one who has planned their own wedding.  It is a task like none other.  Like most important things, it will cause stress.  The difference in planning a wedding and anything else is, it can bring out a monster in you.  The term bridezilla was coined for a reason.  If you don't find healthy outlets for your stress during the planning of your wedding, you could turn very quickly into something seen on a past episode of True Blood.  I feel as though I have not turned into a full bridezilla during this task, but I have had fits of anger caused by stress.  

One of the things that has caused more lingering stress with me than anything else was the waiting.  There were certain tasks that I really couldn't get started on until a certain time. If I know I need to do something, I tend to fixate on it and worrying about whether or not I will be able to do it at the time it is needed to be done.  Then I worry more when I realize I could be doing that task right now at this moment and then it would be done and I wouldn't have to worry about it.  But I can't do it right now because I need this first...or this part won't come in for weeks....and on and on.  When something like this comes up, I tend to get grouchy. 

Another item that caused me stress was when I would mess up a task that seemed relatively simple.  Just today I made a simple spelling error.  Dexter brought it to my attention and immediately I felt a rush of stress sweep through my body like a tidal wave.  My voice transformed into a higher pitch, my face wrinkled between my eyes and all the way across my forehead(Dex calls this my Klingon face), and panic set in.  Luckily enough for me he was there to not only witness this, but also to put out the fire.  He reminded me of what a simple fix it would be, and that I still have time to make it whatever I want it to be.  And just like that the world was right again. :)  And just like that, the Lord reminded me of why he is perfect for me. :)

As the time dwindles down I realize that I need to quit getting worked up about the fact that some people didn't rsvp (I fully realize everyone I invited isn't going to come, but I put a stamp on that return envelope to see you check the regretfully decline as well - our biggest fear is to run out of food).  Or that I still am not quite sure if my hair stylist will be able to make my hair look like the picture (I have very fine, thin like hair). And even yet, that I don't have the programs completely finished.  These things are not the important part here.  My friend Miranda said it best.  Enjoy this time.  Don't let yourself stress.  Because no matter what goes not according to your plans that day, at the end of it, you will be married to the love of your life.  So as stress comes my way in this last week of finishing up all the details, I keep thinking about what Miranda said.  Every time I think about it, I get even more excited!  In a little more than a week I get to call Dexter my husband!  :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

tribute to my girls - adventures of the bride to be: bridal shower

This past Saturday was my bridal shower.  I am a very blessed girl to have four friends that wanted to make a special afternoon for me.  They took such time and thought into every detail and made an event that was so "me". :)  

The tables were covered with purple hydrangeas as the centerpieces, purple nail polish for everyone to take home with them, and even the punch was purple(and delicious).  For anyone who knows me, they know that purple is very Erin.  As Miranda said, purple is not just a color- it's a way of life.  True story!  The room looked beautiful!

There was good food to eat!  We had yummy chicken salad sandwiches on croissants, bacon wrapped little wienies, veggies, fruit salad in cute little mason jars(went with the theme), and chocolate cupcakes that looked like hydrangeas in the icing. All I can say is YUM-O!

They picked out a few games with me in mind.  I had such a good time playing Miranda's version of famous couples.  I especially liked the "nerd" category with all the couples I knew!  Couples like: Sheldon and Amy, Ron and Hermione, Nathan and Haley, and of course Dexter and Erin! :)  They had Dexter help them by answering 30 questions about himself for me to answer.  When I got one wrong, I added a piece of bubble gum to my mouth.  By the end of the game I had eight pieces of gum chewing around in there.  Not too bad for there being 30 questions, and I think I was robbed on at least one question. ;)  The door prize was so unique!  At every seat there was an envelope that had a little groom inside.  Who ever had Dexter won the prize.  Every one else just got to see a cute fantasy groom (celebrities).  I had such a good time!

It was a wonderful day, and I wanted to take time to recognize and thank my dear friends that were responsible, and have wanted to do this nice thing for me since the moment I told them I was engaged and getting married.  I am a lucky girl to have these friends that stay a part of my life no matter how busy life gets!  We may not talk every week, but we stay connected and make the effort to be a part of each others lives and I know that they will always be there for me.  I can't wait to celebrate my big day and have each of them with me.

Whitney-
As far as maids of honor go, she is the best!  She has made everything so wonderful for me so far.  She has come to every thing that I have asked her to, gave me advice, and just been a helpful aide during the planning process of the wedding.  She cut out the heads of fifty of today's best looking celebrities, and glued them on little tuxes.  Dedication!  She is still working hard and planning my bachelorette party.  She hasn't stopped working for me yet, and has made herself so available to help.  She is a very giving friend.

Randi-
Give her a task, and she is on it!  She was our shopper for the shower.  She could find all kinds of shades of purple nail polish.  Thanks to her, everyone had purple options to take home with them.  Even though Randi is super busy being a great mother to her three kids (including new baby girl!), she was there to help every step of the way as well.  

Richelle-
All of the beautiful decorations were thanks to Richelle.  She made all of the centerpieces and the rest of the little bits of beauty that were stuck every where in the room.  She took lots of time to make sure everything looked just gorgeous!  And she made her chicken salad croissants,  which are one of my favorite things she makes. 

Miranda-
Every bottle of nail polish had a cute saying attached to them.  Mir was the creative mind behind the gifts for every one, as well as the games.  She really made the party unique with her cute ideas that were made with me in mind.  I really appreciate her thinking of things that I would love.

I just can't say thank you enough to these four ladies!  I am having such a good time doing all the traditional wedding things.  They made my shower such a fun time, I just can't wait to see what they have in store for me and my other friends at the bachelorette party!  

Friday, May 31, 2013

Adventure of the bride to be: dress alterations

Tuesday my mother and I took off bright and early to Paducah to run some errands before my late morning appointment at David's Bridal to get my wedding dress alterations.  Little did we know that we would be spending the entire day at Paducah!

When we got into the dressing room is when the trouble started.  When I last was at David's I tried on lots of dresses, found the one that was exactly what I wanted, rang the bell, and left a happy camper.  In that big dress bag, it contained all the undergarments I would need to wear this dress on the day.  Well, when I put the dress back on Tuesday, you could see my bra in the back. WHAT?!  I tried this on.  I know I did.  It fit ok.  What is different???..........Oh that's right, they don't have clips holding this dress in  the best way this dress could ever look on your body.  While I tried dresses on, the wonderful lady at David's would clip the straps where they should be (straps are always way long on me), bring the dress in anywhere it is sticking out, and just make it look wonderful on you.    Well of course minus those big clips, the dress looked outstanding.  Now that the clips were off, this bra just didn't work.  I found myself going from calm to melt down in less than 30 seconds.  She gave a few options that I was just not comfortable with...no way am I going without any undergarments!  And as I stood there on the verge of tears they told me that they had another appointment open at 4:30.  I could go to the mall and look and come back later in the day.  As I breathed a sigh of relief we marked my back the highest the bra could go, took off the dress, decided we weren't as hungry as we thought earlier, and went straight to the mall and headed for Victoria's Secret.  Now I am happy to say that we found something.  We were able to go back later that day and it worked. :)

Bridezilla almost came out that day.  I must say right here and now it would have only been out of panic and fear.  The ladies at David's Bridal are just the best!  They are so helpful, and always remain calm.  This in turn kept me calm.  It kept the dreaded Bridezilla away for hopefully  not another day!  Maybe I have just had my big wedding flaw happen.  I hope that any others that happen are solved as simply as this one.  

Monday, May 27, 2013

adventures of the bride to be: planning mode

The clock is ticking, and it is a mere 57 days to go.  That is what my profile on The Knot tells me.  They have this wonderful check off list on the website to help keep you on track while planning your wedding.  The to-do items start a year from your wedding date.  Now as the time starts getting closer, like now, there are many more items to be aware of that need to be done and checked off.  As I checked my list yesterday I was pleased with the fact that I don't think the list is out of control.  The major items are under control, and the little things are starting to pop up and need my attention.  Since I am on vacation, I feel like I will be able to handle it.  Now, while I was still working and looking at the check list, I would get very stressed and feel a sense of accomplishment when I clicked the window closed and the list that was once haunting me had vanished.  The items didn't get finished, but I felt like they weren't staring at me and tapping their foot in that annoying way when someone is waiting on you to do something.  Now I am taking it one week at a time, or one day at a time and getting things that need to be done checked off.  

I had a shower thrown for me by Dexter's family over a week ago.  We had such a nice time!  His family and friends were so generous to us.  What a blessing to have people in your life that want to celebrate your happiness with you. 

I have been booking our honeymoon online this week.  We are going to Branson!  Last summer we went to Gatlinburg, and Dexter proposed.  This summer we are getting married, and going to a place sort of similar to Gatlinburg, but different in many ways.  I have reservations at what looks to be an amazing bed and breakfast.  I can't hardly wait to get there.  I am doing research on the other things that we will do while on our honeymoon.

My bridesmaids are throwing me a shower this Saturday.  They have already gone above and beyond with their attention to detail.  From the beginning of the planning, they have been awesome about making it all about me.  I am not used to such events happening, so at times I have been a little quiet or indecisive just because I was afraid of becoming a bridezilla!  They assure me I have not.  Hopefully it stays that way.    We will get together again on Wednesday and finish putting things together and talking out the details.  I am super excited about Saturday!

Tomorrow my mom and I are venturing back to David's Bridal for my dress fitting!  I am also very excited about this!  I just hope nothing crazy has happened with my body, and the dress looks exactly like I remember.  I am sure this will be an emotional task for the both of us.  We tend to be very sentimental and this will be one of those times when tears are a good thing.  Before and after the fitting, we are going to use our time in Paducah well and get some errands for the big day, and the upcoming Shower on Saturday.  If we happen to do a little shopping in between, well that would be a reward for all our hard work. :)  And of course we will have to stop for lunch.  Do I hear Pasta House calling our name?  If their soup of the day would be Italian Wedding Soup I would do a dance!  

Little by little I am getting things going for this wedding.  It will be here before we know it.  I will keep you posted on the many planning items I get checked off, as well as any instances where an ugly bridezilla might try to peek out. :)  



Monday, April 8, 2013

two years ago...

First and foremost, I know - I've been MIA for too long!  I just happened to realize during some quiet time this evening that blogging is much like my PiYo class -it takes my stress away.  I have got to get back into my blogging habit.  I dearly miss it.

I sit here in the still of the evening reflecting on the past two years.  Just this past year alone has been quite a roller coaster.  There have been things taken from us - loved ones, and special things that we held very dear.  There were times when tears just seemed like the only thing to do.  But then there were also extremely wonderful things. Last summer Dexter proposed, and we have been planning our wedding that will be happening in a few months.  Through our ups and downs, we have remained steady and true.  It's amazing to think how far we have come in the past two years.  

On April 9, two years ago my life changed forever.  As I sat on the best first date of my life, somewhere in the back of my mind I remember thinking - this is a good thing.  It was more than a good thing.  It was happiness.  Dex and I have been reminiscing about that night and what each of us remembers.  I remember that we were almost late for the movie, because we were talking so much at dinner.  He remembers that I couldn't quit fiddling with my straw wrapper.  He opened all the doors for me.  Brought me purple flowers.  Told me he would really like to see me again.  Here we are two years later, and I still catch myself staring at him sometimes.  I think to myself, the Lord blessed me with this man.  I sat around thinking I would never find a mate.  Dexter is so much more than I ever dreamed I would find.  He is my very best friend.  We laugh together and act silly all the time.  He is my confidant.  I tell and trust him with things I never did or would anyone else.  And he is the love of my life.  I didn't know love like this really existed.  I'm excited about what the rest of our lives hold and the adventures we will go on together.  But most of all, I am so excited that our next anniversary, I will be celebrating as his wife! I love you Dexter Parks!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Thankfulness...


Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18



Last week pastor Ryan asked me if I would be willing to give a testimony in church about what I am thankful for.  He also added that he would be focusing on being thankful for our freedom in his message, and that I could add to that in my testimony.

When I think about what I am thankful for, the first and foremost thing that comes to mind is my salvation.  The greatest gift that was ever bestowed upon me was when Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross for me.  I am also thankful that I have always believed in God and never doubted my faith in him.  I have led a life that I have put the Lord first and always trusted in him and where he was leading me.  Through this, I have had a very blessed life.

I love the facebook tradition during the month of November of posting something different you are thankful for each day.  I actively participate in this.  Each day I think about something different I feel blessed to have in my life and give thanks for it.  I have been provided a very blessed life.

I have been raised by two extraordinary parents who set forth a wonderful Christian example for me and my brother.  They took care of us and gave us everything we needed and more.  Life in our house was not only comfortable, but enjoyable.  We always knew how to enjoy each other and have fun.  I am thankful to say that I have had a wonderful childhood thanks to my parents, and my brother.  I am one of those fortunate people to say that I have always been close friends with my brother.  Even though we lead our own separate lives today, we still come together and laugh and have the best time when we are together.  I am thankful for my family.

I am lucky enough to say that I have found love.  Around a year and a half ago I started dating Dexter.  Now he is my best friend, and the love of my life.  I am thankful for the opportunity to spend the rest of my life with him.  I am blessed to be able to plan this wedding, and even more fortunate to have the means to have a wedding celebration this coming July.

I am thankful that I have the necessities of every day life.  I am not wanting for food each day at meal times.  I have plenty of blankets, clothing, and toiletry type items.  And my items for entertainment are abundant enough that some might think I needed less.  I have all that I need, and much more.

I have a job that I not only get to go to every day and get paid to do it, but I LOVE it!  I am thankful that I have been able to do a job that brings me joy for eight year now.  The real blessing of my job is that I learn something new all the time.  It is funny how much these little guys teach me on a daily basis.  And it may sound silly, but children's books teach great lessons.  It's very interesting as an adult to read books that are aimed to teach children a lesson, and I get something out of them as well.  Sometimes the meaning I get out of the book is not its intention, but I know it is the Lord speaking to me in a way that I will understand, and enjoy.  I am thankful for this.

After Ryan asked me to speak on being thankful  for freedom, I began reading a book to my class about Thanksgiving.  Since it is November, and we love our Junie B. Jones First Grader series, we started her new book: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff).  For those of you who have never read these books, Junie B is a very active child.  She has an active imagination as well, and she is always saying something interesting and most of the time humerus.  In this book, her teacher asks the class to make a list of things they are thankful for.  When the class starts only listing tasty food items they enjoy as the only thing they are thankful for, their teacher tries to give them another example of something to be thankful for.  He says, "...there are other things to be thankful for boys and girls.  For one thing, in our country we're lucky to have freedom.  Freedom is one reason the Pilgrims came to America.  Did anyone put freedom on your Thankful list?"  While all of the children look at their list and ponder over what he has just said a boy named Roger stands up and says, "We're only six.  We don't really have any freedom.  I'm not even allowed to cross the street by myself."  A boy named Jose continues, " I have to go to bed at seven-thirty.  And half the time it's still light outside!"  Then Herbert stands up to say, "Well, wait till you hear this one!  I have to eat cooked carrots or I don't get a cookie after dinner.  And I am forced to take a multi-vitamin!  Does that sound like freedom?"  Their teacher then realizes what a concept freedom is, and tries to reach his class on a new level by letting them be thankful for the rainbow sprinkles, toilet paper, and money that they chose initially to add to their list.  And he goes on to say that part of freedom means, they can be thankful for whatever they wish.  So this week, I realized with my class that being thankful for freedom doesn't necessarily mean we are thankful for getting to vote, or the opportunity to better ourselves through an education, but it means we can be thankful for the freedom to eat Kit Kats cause they are our favorite candy bar, or thankful for our favorite stuffed elephant who we can always depend on.  My class taught me that being thankful for freedom is quite a big concept.  And I am thankful for them.