About Me

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I'm a loving [although sometimes crazy] wife, a [very] loyal friend, a passionate educator, an involved citizen, a sensitive soul, a faithful Christian, a fiery Aries, and a classy lady.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

If I paid for my friends, I surely didn't pay enough.

In the fall of 2002, I met an amazing woman. I moved to Murfreesboro to start college with two of my friends from high school, and we decided we would go through sorority recruitment together. When all was said and done, I was the only one who joined a sorority at MTSU. I was thrown into a group of 39 women from all over the place, with all kinds of talents, each just as unique as they were beautiful. We all had a common bond - the Alpha Class of 2002 for Alpha Delta Pi.

Sometime during our freshman year, K and I decided we would live together during sophomore year. With another ADPi sister and a Zeta friend, we chose an apartment and made plans. K and I shared one end of the hallway, and the four of us shared a year of changes. That was the year K met her now husband. It was the year my parents got divorced and my great-grandmother passed away. It was the year one of our roommates got serious about pageants and another quit being serious about school. We had many ups and plenty of downs. Come on, four girls in 1,000 square feet is bound to bring the drama. But, I knew even then that K and I would always be friends, no matter what happened in our lives.

K and I have, in fact, always remained close. She is also from Knoxville, and after she married, her and the Mr. settled in Knoxville. We always got together when I was home for the holidays, and we've always had the kind of friendship that you just pick up where you left off. No matter how long it's been since we've chatted or seen each other, we are just right back. I love those kinds of friendship, don't you? When I moved back to East Tennessee, we got together and celebrated that we were living close together again. Sometimes our plans follow through, sometimes they have to change, but we always reunite just like we saw each other yesterday.

After P and I got engaged, I knew I'd want K to be a bridesmaid. She is so unbelievably kind, with the biggest heart I've ever known. She has a way about her that makes you spill every secret you've ever had and is completely non-judgemental. She has a sweet relationship with the Lord that makes you want to find that for yourself if you haven't already. She is the kind of person who makes you strive to be a better person. She is so very smart and is always working to better the world by being a better nurse. K really is one of those people that you couldn't find something negative to say if you tried forever. She has stood with me when I needed someone on my side, stood behind me when I needed someone to hold me up, and I couldn't imagine not having her stand beside me on my wedding day.

Watching K and the Mr. marry was one of the best memories I have a of K. She was the most beautiful, glowing bride I'd ever seen. I am beyond blessed that this crazy busy wife/mom/student/nurse will take some time away from saving the world to stand by me on one of the most important days of my life.

The ladies of 305: Myranda, Katelyn, Erin, & Mandie
Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other. [Carol Saline]

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I'll tell you one thing, meeting them explains a lot about you. [Connor]

Sidda: Such as?
Connor: Well, let me put it this way. You're a hell of a lot more normal than you've any right to be.
[Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood]

MatronOH and I started out our friendship with a question.
"You're L. Jason's L?" - Me
"No, I'm MY L." - MatronOH
Turns out she was NOT in fact the girl I thought my sort-of-boyfriend at the time was flirting with non-stop. I used to be way more confrontational that I am now. But, I digress.

MatronOH and I met in high school. We got in trouble together during chorus, made up secret societies together in Geometry, and generally had a grand time together. We were also the only two of our friends who understood the gloriousness of the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - the book not the movie. Don't get us started about the movie. Her son's name is Baylor, for any of you Ya-Ya aficionados out there. We fought like typical teenage girls, but we've always remained very close.

MatronOH is one of the funniest people I've ever met. She has a fiercely loyal heart and will defend your honor even if you're in the wrong. She will always be by your side, even when you don't deserve it. She is creative and generous. She is thoughtful in very unique, personalized ways and is as stubborn as they come. She is protective and always makes you feel safe. She's definitely the "mama bear" in the group. She is also a strong Christian woman who pushes me to strengthen my walk every day. If you don't have that person in your life yet, I hope you are as lucky as I've been to find/have someone like MatronOH.

MatronOH has been slowly but steadily pushing me to find a kind, strong, loving man. She'd heard me talk about P over the years, but she was beyond pleased to see him arrive with me to dinner one night during the summer of 2008. She just smiled and waited. She had a feeling this would be the one for me. She urged me to stop letting my fears of getting hurt stand in the way of falling in love. Boy, was she right. But, she knows a thing or two of the trials and tribulations that come with love. She and futureSquid were married not long after high school and have been blessed with two beautiful and amazing children - Bug, who happens to be our ringbearer, and Sugarplum Fairy. Their marriage is one that P and I look to as we find inspiration for this lifetime ahead of us. It seemed only natural that she would be my MatronOH.

I asked MatronOH in a similar manner to MaidOH. After calling family and MaidOH, I called MatronOH. Much like MaidOH, MatronOH rarely answers her phone because she is wearing one of her many hats. However, she did, and I couldn't even contain my excitement. I said "I'm so glad you answered. I have something to ask you." She laughed and said "Ok?" In a burst of emotion I squealed, "Will you be my Matron of Honor?" She then stuttered "wh-wha-what?" before agreeing to hold the super important role. She even pointed out that I made her stutter and that it'd be a long time since she'd done that. I do aim to shock!

MatronOH has been such a strong support during this wedding planning process, just as she's always been for me. I am so lucky that she will listen to my never-ending questions on her opinions from flowers to music to invitation paper to ice cream flavors. I'm so grateful to have her in my life. I'm blessed that she would agree to stand with me on one of the most important days of my life.

A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same. [Elliot Hubbard]

Monday, January 24, 2011

If Friends Were Flowers, I'd Pick You

MaidOH might be kindest, most considerate person I ever met. She really is the kind of MOH/Bridesmaid every girl dreams of. She's the friend you count twice in your blessings. Seriously, if you don't know her, shame on you.

MaidOH and I met during GARP (Graduate Assistant Recruiting Program) at the University of South Carolina in March 2007. She was applying for one of the first-year graduate assistantships in the University 101 office where I worked. Her resume was stellar. She's won every academic distinction you could imagine while also doing a million hours of community service and holding every leadership role known to man. She also happened to be incredibly sweet. I actually told RevDocJLa that MaidOH might be too nice to be a GA in our office. Our director at the time needed people who would stand up to him, and I was afraid he would run all over her. But, she of course, knocked our socks off in every possible way. We also had so many things in common, it was kind of creepy. She was from Seymour, Indiana. Most of you know, I hail from Seymour, Tennessee. She has a Yorkie named Brinker. I have joint-custody of a Yorkie-Poo named Ilyana. We both have an obsession with Moe's and Dave Matthews. We were meant to be friends.

We were instantly close when she arrived in Columbia to start her grad school adventure. We bonded quickly (and often) over homemade Chex Mix and puppy play dates. During my last few months in Columbia, we spent almost all of our time together trying to soak it up before I had to go on the "real world." She was one of the first people I told about P when we started dating in summer 2008. I called and told her that this was the man I would marry before I even believed it myself. I called her first thing after he told me he loved me, and I called her crying when we broke up and when we got back together. She was my rock, even while she was starting her job and finishing up her graduate work. We lived about 10 hours apart while I was in Statesboro, but that didn't stop us from talking often. I knew she'd be my MaidOH, and I knew how I'd ask her.

On that glorious March evening when P surprised me with the most amazing surprise of my life, I grabbed both our cell phones and a glass of wine and ran outside. After calling the families, I called Michelle first thing. I was almost sure I'd get her voicemail, as she is busy every waking moment with her job. But, she answered. I tried to contain my excitement and asked how she was, trying to make normal chit-chat. Then I told her I needed to ask her a question, and I believe she really had no idea what was coming. When "Will you be my Maid of Honor?" came out of my mouth, I think she screamed, gasped, cried, and laughed simultaneously. By the time we got off the phone that evening, we'd made several plans.

Since that wonderful evening, MaidOH has attended bridal shows and dress stores, poured over decorations, talked about cake/cupcake/icecream options, and gotten sucked into more of the wedding planning details than she probably ever really wanted to. She rocks. Hands down. The most amazing thing about having MaidOH in my life is knowing that this is only one of many events we'll share in our lifetimes. We've watched each other become "Masters" of education, start new jobs, move to new places, and I've watched her complete a 60 mile 3-day walk for breast cancer with RevDocJLa. I know I'll watch her say her "I do's," and we'll be there for each other when babies come around.

"A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future,
and accepts you today just the way you are."

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Really Big Question

FutureDrKG, Disney Princess, and I have a regular tradition of Sunday night dinner. A lot of times Librarian, Beer Man, and Pretty join us. P has attended these dinners when he has been in town. This time, though, I didn't know he was in town. P spent the day at Pretty's house getting ready.

Although exhausted from the week, I still wanted to go to Sunday night dinner per usual tradition. I also had to go get Pongo, who'd stayed with Disney Princess while FutureDrKG and I were away doing the conference. P was supposedly at his parents helping with yard work and having dinner with them, which assured that I wouldn't call to interrupt. While waiting on Librarian to arrive, I was sitting in the kitchen talking to Beer Man. Beer Man knew what would soon be happening, so while I was freaking out about moving in with a man I wasn't even engaged to, he just kept poking me along saying things like, "Well, he might not ever propose. You should be ready for that." Sneaky, sneaky, Beer Man. There was a knock on the door, which I assumed was Librarian.

However, P walked in. I was completely surprised (remember how I said I didn't like surprises?) and said "what are you doing here?" to which P replied, "It's celebration Sunday, isn't it?" I again asked, "But what are you doing here? I'm coming home next weekend." All this time I was still assuming he meant celebrating my new job. Silly me. P explained that he had an important question to ask me, which went something like, "You've been my best friend for a very long time, and now I want to know if you'll be my wife?" I was ridiculously excited and of course said "YES!"

There are many good side-stories that go with this story. The second best part of this story (other than the proposal, duh) may be Pongo, who was jumping on P while he was down on bended knee because clearly he was there to see him. Everyone comes just to see Pongo, didn't you know that? It's also a wonderful memory how Beer Man sat at the kitchen counter with his chin perched on his hand just smiling like an awkward stalker. Anyone who knows Beer Man will be able to picture his creepiness immediately. Love you, Beer Man.

At this point my phone was dying but I HAD to call everyone I knew. I'd made a promise a long time ago that the super important people would not find out via Facebook. When I called my dad, he was waiting by the phone. It turns out that P had visited him the previous Monday and asked for his blessing. Then his question from Thursday made perfect sense. Way to almost give it away, Dad! I also had to call my mom, who was ridiculously hard to get a hold of that evening. She actually kept trying to blow me off saying she couldn't talk right now because she was doing something with her car. Of course she stopped when I finally got the news out! With joy, everyone drank wine and celebrated a wonderful night.

I will be posting individually about my wonderful bridesmaids and how I asked them to hold those positions. They are extraordinary women, and I am truly blessed.

I would tell you about them now, but I have another issue I'd like to address. Friends don't let friends get proposed to in pajamas and with no makeup on when they know the groom-to-be will be dressed well. FutureDrKG and Disney Princess had ample opportunity to get me dressed up. I'm gullible. Seriously, very gullible. They could've just said, "Let's dress up and celebrate your new job while drinking wine and being fabulous!" But, no, they did not. They let me look like a hot mess. Oh well, good memories I suppose. So here is pictorial evidence of P's hotness and my hotmessness on the day that changed our lives with one big question.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yes, I Guarantee, Things are Sweeter in Tennessee

In February 2010, I stumbled across, quite by serendipity, a position at Tennessee Wesleyan College. It was the perfect position for me, and it was conveniently located in the place I wanted to live. For those of you who don't know much at Student Affairs/Higher Education, you typically find your niche within the field. Usually there is one office at each institution for that area. Within that office can be 1-8 people. The odds of finding your dream job in your dream location at the exact time you want the job are pretty slim. People also tend to stay in their jobs for multiple years, so it really is a special moment when the stars align and God blesses you with your exact perfect prayer. In my case, it was a brand new office and position, so that was extra exciting and extra scary!
So, I submitted my application on a Wednesday night. They called on Thursday. Apparently they were in the middle of the first-round interviews, and I got very lucky with the timing of my application. I was offered an on-campus interview, and my mentor, RevDocJLa, assured me that the worst that could happen is they paid for me to come home and see P for a weekend. SCORE! As it turns out, they liked me. Almost a month after interviewing (I was the first of five candidates - long wait!), they called on Thursday, March 18 to offer me my dream position, in my dream location, in my dream time slot. I called P and my parents after getting the great news. My dad congratulated me then said, "So, when are you getting married?" As a 25 year old woman living in the South who had yet to marry, I was REALLY used to getting that question. My response was, "I don't know. When P asks, I guess."
After celebrating outside the dining hall with FutureDrKG (the only person there who knew I'd been job searching), I was on cloud nine. I was also a little sad. You see, I was in the middle of a week long leadership conference with over 50 amazing and wonderful students from Georgia Southern. I was there with students who I'd really bonded with during my 19 months at GSU. I couldn't tell them yet since there were other "higher-ups" who needed to know the news first. So I just smiled. FutureDrKG also smiled and off I went just being super excited that I was moving home.
You see, what I didn't know was that FutureDrKG had other secrets hidden behind his big smile.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Air Force Shorts and Third Times a Charm

To understand the power of the shorts, we must go back to Spring 2005. They weren't meant to be anything special. They weren't a gift or something sentimental or some other token of love. But, over time, that's what they turned in to. These shorts were P's from basic training/tech school. You know how boy's shirts are always way more comfortable than our own t-shirts? Same goes for workout/pajama/lounge shorts. P lent them to me one night while we dated in Spring 2005. I never gave them back. Funny how girls always manage to keep a guy's clothing around.

Anyway, after not speaking to P for 5 months, I decided that I really needed to let go and move on. To fully do this, I had to give the shorts back. I'd had them for 4 1/2 years at this point, and I didn't want to hold on to anything that caused me to hold a grudge just because a guy made a choice I didn't like. So, I wrote a letter to him explaining that I wasn't sending these shorts back out of hate or anger, I was sending them back out of love and forgiveness. I was giving myself closure, and I wished him well. With a heavy heart, I mailed him his shorts. Of course, I knew I hadn't truly let go, but I hoped it would come with sending this package.

Getting this package in the mail was what gave P the final kick in the booty to pick up the phone before he lost me for good. I expected some sort of response, most likely in the form of facebook email. I didn't expect what I got. Even though I'd deleted his number from my phone, I knew it was him when it rang. It was one of those moments that time stops because the possibilities of what's on the other end could be so great or so very bad. I let him leave a message. I then made two friends listen to the message. I was terrified. It was the strangest feeling ever. But, then I called him back. We talked for hours. We agreed to meet in Atlanta the following weekend to see how things went.

I don't know if I'd ever been so nervous to see someone ever. It was like a blind date with your best friend. The weekend ended with us deciding to give love a third chance. We were equal at this point - I'd broken his heart once and he'd broken my heart once. This was either going to end horribly or be the best decision of our lives.

Over the next nine months, we worked to rebuild our trust in each other and to bring back the romance we'd missed. I started job searching back in Tennessee, and we started talking about a future. I guess there really is something to that saying that "Third time's a charm." It sure was for us!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Yellow couches, road trips, and I love you.

Once P and I were both back in Knoxville, we hung out a lot. I was around town until it was time to move to Georgia, and he was starting his new job. It was only about 3 weeks, but we spent pretty much every day together, mostly as his place since I was staying with the fam. I noticed when I first came to visit his apartment that he had this amazing yellow love seat. I'm talking, mustard yellow, and the style you'd find at your grandmothers. But, if you know me, you know how much I adore the color yellow. As it turns out, this love seat was part of a couch/love seat/chair combo one of his friends on base was getting rid of. Did I want him to see if I could have the other two pieces? Absolutely. My mom agreed to store them for me until the move to Georgia, but how, oh how, would we get them to her house?

Remember how I mentioned that I'm the only girl P's every said those three magic words to? I'm also the only girl he's ever taken home to his parents that wasn't clearly labeled as "friend." So we drive up to his parents house to borrow his dad's truck. I try to be as polite as possible, since I have no idea if they've ever heard my name before. They are the sweetest people ever, and of course we bond by poking fun at P. It's a glorious first meeting, if I do say so.  After we get the furniture situated at my mom's house, we decide to meet with some of my friends for dinner. Shauhn and Lindsay are some of my oldest, closest friends, who know alllllll about my commitment issues, so they are pretty excited to meet this "new" boy in my life. You'll meet Shauhnie Poo and Linds in their own posts, but suffice it to say, they've been pushing me to commit to a "nice guy" for a very, very long time. This day, this yellow furniture, would be connected to our story more than we could've ever guessed.

Moving to Georgia was both exciting and terrifying. P and I still hadn't really decided what we were, I had no friends in this new town, and I was starting my first ever big girl job. P has every other Monday off, and he came down to see me a lot. I accrued one vacation day per month, so getting home was a struggle for me until the holiday breaks. P, however, was very kind to spend many hours in a car just to see me. I made friends, they met P, and of course they adored him. I kept getting the question, "So are you together?"

In mid-October 2008, we went to see one his favorite artists, Ryan Adams. Since my country and pop music radio doesn't tell me to listen to Ryan Adams, I had no idea who he was, but P was really excited, so off I go to meet him in Atlanta. We're at this concert, which is actually pretty good, and P says, "So, I need to tell you something. I love you." I mean, I KNEW this, but hearing it was a totallllly different story. So I take a big drink of my beer and say, "I can't say that back right now." WHAT!? I would be devastated if someone said that to me but here these words are coming out of my mouth. P smiles and just says it's okay. Remember the patience thing? It's amazing. It took me about 3 weeks to admit that I loved him, too. He smiled sweetly and just said, "I know. I love you, too." So there it was. No fireworks, no passionate embrace, just love. And, that was enough.

So it's all rainbows and butterflies and long phone calls, for about a month. Long distance is hard. Really hard. Really, really hard. It's even harder when a grandparent dies, a car dies, the holidays are coming up, and the reality of seven hours and 400 miles apart sets in. After Christmas, everything just got to be too much. On Valentine's weekend, we met in Atlanta. We'd be fighting for over a month. We talked about the distance, the fighting, the chance of me ever moving home, but nothing was OK. So on Valentine's Day 2009, in Olympic Park in Atlanta, P broke my heart. We didn't speak for 5 months. Then, I mailed him a pair of shorts.

Like I said, this is not your typical love story.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The First Three and Half Years

For the sake of all our sanity, I will attempt to break down our courtship into smaller increments so you're not staring at your computer for hours. This is the first three and a half years.

I met P at a holiday party of mutual friends in December 2004. I worked with the host, and P was one of his fraternity brothers. I thought he was someone else during about 75% of our conversation, a fact he didn't know until many years later. It seemed strange that I hadn't met him before. My sorority and his fraternity were homecoming partners during my freshman year, we have numerous mutual friends, and, well, MTSU is sort of a small community considering the 23,000+ enrollment. Anyway, he will tell you that he knew he loved me when my red high heels were sinking into the ground of the front yard as my girlfriends and I were leaving. I handed him my beer and said, "I'm done." He then asked for my number and gave my car keys to the DD.

I had very recently gotten out of a 2 1/2 year on/off relationship with C, a guy who took every one of our "breaks" to check another sorority (and once my own sorority sister) off his list. I also had standing plans to visit my "First Love" over the Christmas holiday in St. Louis (that's what you do after a break up, right, run back to your ex?). Regardless of this ridiculously messy situation, P insisted that we get to know each other. We clicked rather quickly, talked for hours (even during my road trip to Missouri to see First Love), and managed to make it to a pretty sweet first date at our still favorite restaurant.  A lot of craziness happened that will test the strongest of relationships, and we weren't anywhere close to ready to tackle what was in front of us. I think we'd both prefer to forget Spring 2005. Ultimately, we (read: me) weren't in the right place to get into a relationship. When P deployed to Turkey for the summer, I started dating J. P returned, took the news in stride, gave me an amazing puzzle ring I disassembled during a pitcher of margaritas, and we agreed to be friends. Remember how I said this man was patient?

After graduation, I moved to South Carolina to continue my education and P stayed in Murfreesboro to start a job. We remained close friends and visited with each other when we were back in Knoxville for holidays. J and I ended our relationship, and I swore off long distance romance. P once came to visit me in Columbia, and my back and forth, come and go affections were testing every ounce of patience he had in him. He came to Columbia with far greater expectations than I had for our visit. This was one of the first times I saw P truly angry with me. He had every right in the world to be so, but I wouldn't admit that for years to come.

Because of my refusal to work at my fear of commitment and his refusal to play my games, we didn't see each other again until I moved home during the summer of 2008 before moving to Georgia to start my first job. He had also moved back to Knoxville to start a new job. Looking back, it's amazing that he had any interest in remaining my friend. I chalk it up to our lives in our hometowns having moved on in our absences. Most of our friends were married, had families, careers, etc., and we were still drinking on week nights. So, we started hanging out again. Have I mentioned P is patient?

Monday, January 3, 2011

About a boy. About a girl.

Just over six years ago I met the man I now call my fiance. You should know upfront, this is not a story of love at first sight or any form of a traditional love story. Instead, ours is a story of a persistent and extremely patient man, a very stubborn, career-oriented gal, a pair of Air Force shorts, and some yellow furniture. Let's start this journey with a little bit about who P and I are.

P is this puzzle of man, whose pieces don't really seem to fit until you get to know him. P is one of the most laid back, go with the flow people I've ever met. He is messy, listens to completely obscure bands, has an obsession with crackers, and is color blind. He's also a structured, clean cut, and respectful military man. He is an old hippie dressed in frat boy Polo shirts. He is very private. When he gets mad, he is quiet. He is a pack rat and eats like little kid. He loves with his whole heart. He moved around a lot and makes new friends easily. He knows something about almost everything. He loves sports and the Food Network. He eats lots of meat and very few vegetables. He has never kept up with a bank register of his spending. He is great with technology and is learning how to be a handyman. He is hard to surprise.

I might be the complete opposite of P. I'm probably also a puzzle. I'm fairly high-strung and keep several calendars and to-do lists. I like schedules and clean on Sundays after church. I'm a planner. I listen to mainstream music because my radio tells me to. I love bright colors, but my closet is mostly black, white, and red. My only real food obsession is tater tots. I love my career in a way that is almost obsessive. I forgive quickly and easily. I am an open book with very few regrets. I am a fiercely loyal friend - I'm still friends with my Kindergarten best friend. I've been a pescan vegetarian for three years. I am a saver and balance our checkbook almost daily. My phone frustrates me because it's smarter than me. I hate surprises because they make me anxious.

Maybe when you put our puzzle pieces together, we fit. He randomly sends/gives me flowers and regularly gives me simple, incredibly thoughtful "Because it's [fill in the random day]" gifts. I've learned how to read a book straight through a sporting event on TV (unless it's football, then I'm yelling right along). I'm the only girl he's ever said "I love you" to, and he is the only guy I've ever been willing to move for. Our engagement was the only time he managed to surprise me because he usually gets too excited and spills the beans. It's also the only surprise I've ever loved.

We are far from perfect, but we are definitely meant for each other.