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.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Hey baby, I think I wanna marry you.

Most of you have read A Really Big Question and know all about our love story. If you're a details oriented person, you might realize that this really big question happened exactly one year ago today! It was the happiest day of my life to date. In 81 days, I will become Mrs. Patrick Beeler. I saw my name as Mrs. Amanda Beeler on a reservation for our honeymoon, and it hit me like a ton of very nice, pillowy bricks. I've imagined it, I've doodled it, and I've had Beeler inspired monogrammed items since we announced our engagement. But seeing it there, written on a reservation for our honeymoon, made it all seem really, really real. And I cannot wait!

In 81 days I will get to marry the kindest, funniest, sweetest, and most stubborn man I know. So it is quite serendipitous that our invitations are being mailed out today. OK, maybe not serendipitous exactly, but whatever word means "a happy something-on-purpose." I didn't know a year ago that the timing would work out quite so perfectly. So, maybe it is serendipity.

Either way, invitations are in the mail. Today. They will be arriving in the mailboxes of our loved ones over the next week or so. I cannot wait to start getting those YES! responses in the mailbox. And on a side note - Did you know the only postcard stamps they make display polar bears? Don't people on beach vacations usually mail postcards? Polar bears just seem silly to me, but oh, well.

For those of you who would like to go ahead and start your travel plans, or if you just want to know more about our wedding plans, visit our very cute wedding webpage.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Special Week

This exact week last year changed my life in many, many ways. On Thursday, March 18, 2010, Dr. Suzanne Hine from Tennessee Wesleyan College called to ask me if I was ready to move back to East Tennessee and start a new job developing a service-learning/servant leadership program.

I was at LeaderShape that week, and our location was, to put it mildly, out in the sticks. My phone never rang, just got voice mails. It rarely got text messages, and the internet service was hit or miss. And, I have a good network! It's just when they say you're staying at a rural, country, hunting lodge, they are not kidding.

So I was driving around Flat Creek Lodge in my golf cart, probably getting chased by crazed geese, when I got a notification that I had a voicemail. I'd assumed I'd missed a call from my On-Site Coordinator or one of the facilitators. But, when I listened to my voicemail, I heard the voice of a soft-spoken Tennessean asking me to call her back. Just the night before, during Guest Leader night, my Director had informed me that TWC had called to check my references. He said it sounded pretty likely that they'd be stealing me away soon, but as everyone in higher ed knows, you have to wait (somewhat patiently) for that official phone call no matter how promising the situation seems. At this point, I'd prayed about it, talked to P about it, and mentioned to a select few friends that there was a possibility that I'd be moving back to Tennessee soon. It's been over three weeks since my interview, and I had been very busy to keep me distracted. God had put a sense of calm over my heart, so I was surprisingly calm when I got a chance to talk to Dr. Hine.

After I'd accepted, I was in a state of shock. I was about to move back to a place I hadn't lived in 8 years, to solidify a relationship that I hoped was headed toward marriage (and it was being planned, completely unbeknownst to me), and to have the opportunity to be a key piece in a creative process to start a new program. God had truly blessed me! I called P and my parents. This was the time my dad asked, "So when are you getting married?" and almost spilled the beans about upcoming events!

But, then I had to go to the dining hall with a group of students I adored knowing it was one of the last events I'd get to be a part of with them. I love these students, and I'd gotten to be very close with several of them during my two years at GSU. It was a bittersweet time, since LeaderShape was my favorite GSU event to plan. I smiled and enjoyed my time, and I told the people who needed to know while keeping it from the rest until the right moment.

I went home from that week exhausted, excited, anxious, nervous, and eager. There were so many questions and so many plans, and I just wanted to sleep. So Saturday when I finally got back to Statesboro, I crashed. I had no idea that the excitement of the week was about to get turned all the way up just 24 hours later!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Beware of the Guestzillas

From the very moment planning begins, people tell you to "make it your own" and choose things that "the two of you love." Yeah, right. You see, I'm a pleaser. I like to make sure everyone is considered and taken care of. Even on "our day." So, from the second I started planning, I've considered what people will think of:
- My dress
- My bridesmaids dresses
- Our flowers
- Our church
- Our reception venue
- Our reception food
- Our lack of wedding cake
- Our bar selection
- Our choice of music
- Our reception decorations
and the list goes on.

It's easy to say, "Don't worry about it! It'll be wonderful!" But, I know there will be Guestzillas.

You know those people I'm talking about. There are always people that go to a wedding and snicker, "Can you believe she choose as _____(fill in the blank with strapless, halter, material, etc.)_____ dress?" Or those people who judge the food, the drinks, the dessert, the decorations, etc. and try to blow it off as "Well, it's not what I would've done." Well, of course not, since it's not actually your wedding, so you didn't get consulted.

It's so easy to say you don't care what people think of your wedding, but the truth is, your wedding is one of the most personal experiences you can share with people. You invite people you care about and hope they are as excited to share your day as you are to have them there. But, I've noticed that weddings tend to bring out the worst in the people you think love you unconditionally.

Since I've started planning, I've had people complain/make snide comments about:
- Our date being on a Friday
- Our date being in the middle of Bonnaroo
- The time of our wedding (seriously, it's 7:00 PM, it's not midnight.)
- My bridesmaids not wearing the same dresses
- The location of our reception (because it's a whopping 4 miles from the church)
- The fact that we're not serving a traditional wedding cake
- Our dinner menu selection
- Having a DJ instead of a band
- Our wedding colors
- Where we choose to register
among many, many others.

I know I've not loved every single detail about every single wedding I've been to. But, you know what, it wasn't my wedding, so why did I need to love every single thing about it? I have worn dresses I hated because I loved the bride. I've not been able to eat at the reception because there was no vegetarian option (during my 3 year stint as a veggie). I've gotten lost driving to the reception site because they forgot to include directions. But you know what - I loved those people. Those people loved me, which is obvious by the fact that they invited me. I wouldn't have traded any of those experiences for anything in the world because seeing those people I loved in one of the happiest moments in their lives made me happy beyond words.

Planning this wedding is one of the most stressful, exhausting, scary, exhilerating, and anxiety inducing things I've ever done. On this day, I do not care if I have fancy table linens or huge flower centerpieces or a five-tier cake. As stated in my last blog, I just want to marry Patrick. And, those things are just not important to me.

And, for the record:
- I LOVE my dress. As my MatronOH stated, "There was never another dress."
- My bridesmaids look BEAUTIFUL in their unique dresses that fit their personalities.
- Icecream trumps cake. End of discussion.
- Yellow is my favorite color and P is colorblind. If he doesn't care, neither should you.
- Sunflowers have always been my favorite.
- Church Street is the most beautiful church in Knoxville.
- The Knoxville Zoo rocks.
- Our food is delicious and filling. You can make the choice on whether or not you enjoy it. I'll be sure to enjoy my plate enough for the both of us.
- If you'd rather be at Bonnaroo, then just go.

We can't wait for everyone to celebrate with us. I hope you enjoy the special time with us, the different choices we've made, and if you get a chance to hop on the carousel with RevDocJLa, I promise she'll be entertaining. Just bring her a class of wine when you come.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

On (not really) Being a Bridezilla

Towards the end of the series, I got into watching the show Bridalplasty. Brides are competing in various challenges to win plastic surgery, and the winner gets this big, fab, expensive wedding and all her "wishlist" surgery done. At the end of each episode, other brides choose to RSVP to someone's table, and the bride with the least RSVPs goes home. The host tells the losing bride, "Your wedding will still go on; it just won't be perfect."

Hold. The. Phone. Stop. It. Right. Now. Are. You. Serious?

Let's be clear about something - I am a control freak. I live by my color-coded planner and closet, and I have a difficult time believing that my way is not the absolute most efficient and well-planned way of accomplishing whatever task is at hand. I thought I'd be a bridezilla. Some of my bridesmaids thought I'd be a bridezilla. I'm sure all of you thought at least once that I would be a bridezilla. But, by the grace of God, I've actually be pretty chill. In fact, I've had several people say, "This is your ONE chance to let it be all about you! You realize you're being TOO lax, right?" Well, maybe. Maybe not.

Here's the thing: On June 10, 2011 at (around) 7:00 PM I will be walking down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams and become Mrs. Beeler and spend the rest of my life with the funniest, kindest, most handsome, charming, and overall best person for me I could've ever imagined. I will be surrounded by six of the most amazing women to grace this earth. I will have my family, my friends, my co-workers, and the random church janitor there to oohh and awh and whatnot.

Yes, something will go wrong. Events ALWAYS have glitches. It might rain. The florist might show up with pink and purple flowers instead of my beloved sunflowers. I might break a heel on my amazing yellow shoes. Heck, I might fall down the aisle. My dear friend might slip up on the words to the verse she's reading. The organist might play the wrong song. I might run out of programs or birdseed or napkins. Someone might forget the rings. Marble Slab might bring the wrong flavor of icecream. Someone might have a severe nut allergy I'm unaware of. The table linens may be off-center. My grandmother might flip out that we're serving alcohol. RevDocJLa might not ever get off the carousel until the end, so her legs might not work properly. People will choose Bonnaroo over our wedding. Who knows? Something will go wrong. As with everything else in my life, I've made the best plans I can, and it will be what it will be.

But one thing that will absolutely not be affected by anything that might go wrong: Me becoming Mrs. Patrick Beeler.

For this to happen, my bridemaids don't need to have matching dresses or shoes. I don't have to serve traditional wedding cake. I don't have to have gigantic centerpieces or fancy linens on my reception tables. I don't have to be getting married on a Saturday. I'm still going to be marrying the man of my dreams.

Before you former or future Bridezillas lash out at me, I know there are many women out there who've dreamed of this big, "perfect" wedding with matchy-matchy maids and the perfect food at the perfectly set tables. The wedding industry makes big, big, big bucks off these dreams. There is absolutely nothing wrong with women or men who have these dreams. Everyone deserves to have their version of a perfect wedding. This is ours.

We're getting married at the church I've wanted to be a member of and get married in since I was a little girl. We're having our reception at a place that brings out our childish side. We're serving food we love. We're being surrounded by people we love. We could not be happier. Something will go wrong. But, unless he decides not to show up, the only thing that really must go right, will.

This past week I got some really great advice. A woman I look up to a lot told me to step back two days before the wedding and remember that it's all been planned, it's all being taken care of. If I'm worried about something, I'll pass it off to my mom or his mom or those wonderful bridemaids and girlfriends of mine. She told me to remember that this is our party. Our party. Not anyone elses. I sure don't want to miss it. I will enjoy our wedding day - with all it's beauty and wonder and quirks.

Disclaimer: I hope each and every one of you holds me to this.

If you want to hear God laugh, just tell him your plans.