Thursday, March 21, 2013

Currently

Reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn for book club! Loving this one so far.  I'm only a few chapters in but am already hooked.  I can't wait to report back to you on this one :) I'm also now reading/flipping through several bridal magazines, including Southern Weddings (a new favorite of mine).  I've been trying to read through the Gospels for the Easter season, but must confess that I have not been as dedicated to this as I would like to be.

Listening to country music! Any and all country music.  As soon as I start to feel a hint of spring in the air, I immediately switch over to listening to country music.  I have trouble listening to it in the fall and winter when it's cooler out, but warm weather calls for country music in my mind.  I'm hoping to go to some concerts in Raleigh this year with some friends who have purchased the Megaticket! I can't quite bring myself to buy one myself but hope to join them for a few of those concerts.

Eating my own home cooked food FINALLY.  My week of engagement and the beginning of the following week were filled with meals out with family, friends, and the fiancé.  I was so happy to be able to cook my own meal last night and take control over what I put into my body again (not that this didn't happen when I went out-- I did choose healthy options when I could.  But I also splurged on a burger and fries, more dessert than I usually eat, and a soda).  Last night I made turkey tacos (healthier substitute for ground beef, and I also used Greek yogurt as a topping instead of sour cream) with black beans as a side.  I also made my favorite salad: mixed spring greens, Craisins, walnuts, goat cheese, topped with strawberry balsamic vinegar.

Feeling a sense of anticipation and excitement.  I'm excited for all of the planning, preparation (as far as reading and pre-marriage counseling goes), crafting (I'm a low-budget girl with an eye for a good deal.  Of course I'm crafting and DIY-ing it up for my own wedding :)  It wouldn't be me if it was a formal, expensive affair), and all that is to come with the next year.

Watching not much, actually! I can't tell you how many shows I'm behind on these days.  I've been entirely too busy for tv the past few weeks!  However, I am watching One Tree Hill (the pilot episode) as I write this right now.  I used to LOVE this show.

Running for my half marathon training.  Up to 8 miles so far!  Y'all. I am a blessed girl.  I've been worried for weeks that I wouldn't be able to get off of work for my half marathon in Indianapolis/Scott's birthday in May.  Not only did I get the weekend off, but I was given the entire 7 days off that I requested.  AND to top it off, one of my dear friends is driving from NC to KY the day I was going to leave, so she is going to scoop me up on her way out to the midwest to ride with her.  She only lives about an hour and a half from Scott so I'll catch a bus or meet him halfway to get to Indy.  Such a huge blessing, I only have to buy a one way plane ticket and I get to catch up with Lindsay on our long car ride :)

Wanting to get some decent sleep this week during my string of nights.  I'm finding that nights are more challenging than they were when I first started.  Thankfully, after a week of vacation, I'm feeling refreshed and open-minded about work this week.  Let's hope it's a good one!

Needing as per usual, more time in prayer and in Scripture learning from Jesus.  I feel like I've been very self-centered the past couple of weeks with being caught up in engaged life, but what I need to remember is this: "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change." -James 1:17.  I'm so thankful for so much right now, but I need to remember to give thanks to God instead of just reveling in my joy on my own.  

Writing a few blog posts here and there, but the book is moving slowly.  I've been busy editing things for Scott for a scholarship and doing things here and there that keep me from writing the book.  Maybe this summer?

Planning our wedding for April 2014 :) I have a venue, pastor, dress, photographer, (fabric) florist, flower girl, and a working guest list.  This is going to be a whole year long process but I'm trying not to let things stress me out.  I was all worried about colors this week and kept thinking about how silly I felt being stressed over wedding colors.  At the end of the day, I just want to marry the man I love and share a beautiful journey together.

Wearing a mixture of spring and winter clothes.  It's technically spring, but the weather in NC doesn't know that yet.  Today is a high of 41. What? I thought one of the perks of living in the South was the warm weather? March is that weird time of year when you could be wearing running shorts and a t-shirt mid-afternoon yet need a winter coat at night.

Anticipating so many things.  Summer, beach trips home, our half marathon, visits to Indiana, the marriages/weddings of SIX friends this year (so much love in the air!), my brother's graduation, grilling on our back porch, and sweet tea.

Enjoying this season of life and the opportunity to experience deep relationships with friends, family, and God.  I've learned this year just how important it is for me to nurture my relationships with people, and this is becoming ever more evident to me as I consider my future marriage and upcoming move to Indiana that comes with that.

Loving the beauty of creation.  My runs are my chance to see the beauty that God has created.  I bask in the gorgeous views, pretty sunsets, and natural scenery and greenery around me.  Here's a photo I snapped on my beach run at Kure Beach a couple of weekends ago for Katie's bachelorette weekend.  This was my 8 miler and it was such a beautiful place to do that run in.


And this one below is a photo I took of the sunset at the beach on the night Scott & I got engaged.  We were supposed to be watching the sunset after all... even if a proposal distracted us from that a bit :)


Grace & peace,
Cristina. 


Monday, March 18, 2013

The One My Soul Loves

I don't even know where to begin with this post.  But I'll go ahead and tell you how this long, drawn out story ends: I said yes. One week ago today, the man I have loved since I was 16 years old asked me to marry him, and with tears in my eyes and deep love in my heart, I said yes.

I'm going to post a lot of pictures here that, if you're friends with me on Facebook, you've already seen.  But what you haven't seen or heard is my commentary on each one or what exactly we were thinking and saying as the photos were being taken.  I'll warn you now, this tale is long.  I'm not giving you the truncated version, for I believe you deserve the story in its entirety.  

Let's start at the beginning.  Where is that exactly?  Maybe some background would help.  Scott, my boyfriend (now fiancé, as of Sunday) came home for his spring break on Friday, March 8th.  I was so thankful that I was able to take off from work for a week of vacation to spend some time with him.  I picked him up from the airport on Friday evening and we headed off to Wilmington.  The plan was for me to drop him off at his house, and then I was heading down to the beach for my sweet friend Katie's bachelorette weekend.  

Let me back up to about two weeks previous to this.  Scott's sister had asked me for my dress size.  I found it an odd request, but told her anyways.  That same night, Scott asked me if I wanted to go watch the sunrise or sunset with him at the beach and maybe grab a bite to eat after.  We often watch the sunrise/sunset at the South end of Wrightsville Beach, so this didn't seem odd to me.  What did seem odd was that he was trying to look up the weather two weeks in advance and was saying things about how we couldn't dress up if it was cold outside.  I was thinking, Dress up? Why don't we just wear sweatshirts and jeans like we always do? We hung up and I started putting together his questions and his sister's request for my dress size.  Hm. I was speculating, but was trying not to get my hopes up.

You can imagine that over the course of 7 years (I'm rounding up-- our anniversary is the beginning of June technically), marriage had been a topic of discussion once or twice (or five hundred times).  I knew I wanted to marry him, there was no doubt about that.  It was just the logistics of when.  With him being in dental school so far away, it seemed like we would date forever and ever at a distance before it would be possible.  Even with all of this talk of marriage though, I never imagined it would happen so soon.  He had asked for my ring size before and asked for what I liked in rings, but I thought it would be, at the earliest, late summer before I added a little sparkle to my left hand.

Scott completely threw me off though and made me push all thoughts of a possible engagement out of my mind.  For starters, during our ride home to Wilmington, he pulled over on the side of I-40 to give me a present.  It was a beautiful dress (you'll see pictures in just a bit) that he had picked out for me.  He explained that this was why his sister had asked for my dress size and said that he saw it in a window and thought it would look beautiful on me.  Now I knew my suspicions were off.  I concluded that he was just being really thoughtful in buying me a dress-- why would I think anything more of it? 

The following day, I was at the bachelorette weekend and we spoke briefly on the phone.  Another way Scott threw me off was by letting me pick the day that we went on our date.  If he really was going to propose, why would he do that?  I accepted that we were just going on a lovely date together and I told myself to enjoy every moment with him as he wouldn't be in town for much longer.  We pulled up the weekly weather and he started asking me questions. 

Which day is the warmest?
Which day has the least wind?
Which day is the sunniest?
And finally,
What do you think the best all around day is?

I said Sunday.  Meaning the very next day.  He didn't miss a beat; he said he'd see me tomorrow for our date.  

Side note: the previous week, I had looked up weather and was discouraged to find that we would not have a good day to find the sunset.  Scott nonchalantly replied "Well, if the date happens then great and if not then oh well."  Another way to throw me off.  The boy is good.

So Sunday.  I finished cleaning from the bachelorette weekend while talking to Scott on the phone.  He told me he was heading to church.  Lies (but lies that I will forgive :)).  He was actually on his way to breakfast with my dad at Jimbo's, a local Wilmington diner, to ask for his permission to propose.  I also later found out that he had already spoken with my mom the previous day... and she told me that she was so glad that I wasn't home that weekend because she wouldn't have been able to keep the secret!

I spent the afternoon with Scott and his sister, and then I headed home to get ready for our date.  I only had about an hour to get ready, and I was to pick him up around 6 so that we could be at the beach by 6:15 to get settled before the 7:15 sunset.  I get a call from Scott at 6; I still hadn't left my house.  He asked where I was, and I said I was walking out the door.  When I got to his house, he asked to drive and proceeded to whip through Wilmington traffic to get to the beach.  Our time of arrival was 6:30.  Not too bad in my opinion, but I didn't realize that there was a photographer being paid by the hour for this particular date :) Had I known, might have made it a bigger priority to be ready on time!

We walked onto the beach to find a spot to sit.  Scott was carrying a blanket (apparently a signal to Ben, our photographer.  They had never met before but Scott and Ben agreed that the blanket would be the signal), which he proceeded to set up once we found a good spot.  As he was setting it up, I looked around to see the people around us.  There were a few people around us, the most noticeable a photographer nearby snapping photos of a woman and her dog.  Scott finished with the blanket and said I could sit.  The photographer shook hands with the woman with the dog and then started walking towards us (I later learned that this woman was our photographer's fiancé! He is good at this scheming business). 

Huh. This was strange.

He walked up to us and apologized for intruding, but said that he was a student trying to build up his portfolio and was wondering if he could take some pictures of us.  Scott hesitated, but we agreed once Ben said we could gain access to the photos.  About two photos into the photo shoot, Ben said he was going to step back to take a look at how the shots were coming out.  Apparently, this was another signal.  This was Scott's cue to start his speech.  All of the sudden, Scott was very serious and was holding my hands, saying sweet things to me (of which, sadly, I can barely remember), and at the same time backing up towards where he had left his coat.  (Unless otherwise noted, all photos are courtesy of Treece Photography)



The ring was apparently in his coat pocket, and he had taken his coat off for the pictures.  Here's what I looked like as he was backing up.

This is when I was starting to freak out. I couldn't believe this was happening.

So much anticipation here. 

And then, there was that moment that every girl dreams about, the moment when the man she loves most gets down on one knee and asks her to marry him.  I always wondered how I would react to this.  Would I cry? Pass out? Run away? Scream? I did none of those things.  Tears welled up in my eyes, but none were shed this day.  My heart felt full, like it could burst out of my chest at any moment.  And I knew without a doubt in my mind that I wanted to say yes to him, so I did. 


I LOVE this one because I remember what I 
was saying to him here.  I hadn't yet taken the
ring but had told him yes.  And I whispered to
him, "What do we do next?" He laughed and said,
"I think I put the ring on your finger."  I'll never forget this moment.



I think I'll always remember this one, too.  I remember how
overjoyed I felt and how appreciative I was for this man in my life. 
I was relishing the fact that I would soon call him my husband.

 


I love this one because Scott came up with this "broke man's" pose all on his own.
I'm supposed to be flaunting the ring in the background.  I love his creativity with this one.





Funny story about this one.  It kind of looks like I'm eating his face.  In fact, Scott and I are not fans of PDA. At all.  When we're out, we hold hands, hug, and that's about it.  So when Ben told us to kiss, we felt incredibly awkward.  In this picture, I'm actually laughing because I feel so awkward. 

 


Here's Ben's website for the blog entry about our engagement as well
as his information if you want to use him! We had such a great experience with him.
Thank you to Ashley and Chris (Scott's sister and her boyfriend) for this sweet gift. 
Ashley's engagement present to us was this photography session, which I will
forever cherish.  How lucky that Ben captured this special memory for us on film.

Now for our own pictures...

Excitement all over our faces.  We are finally getting married!!

My beautiful ring.  This will forever be so special
to me because he picked it out.  Also, it's designed by 
the same jeweler who made one of my best friend Lindsay's ring.
Lindsay played a part in recommending the jeweler, Dallas, to Scott.
Dallas is a true artist and I am so thrilled with this creation.  Almost as
thrilled as I am about the commitment behind this piece of jewelry and
what it means about our life together.  The symbolism of the woven band
is incredible to me and something I've always loved. 

And that's about all for now, folks.  I'm a blessed girl to be marrying a man with such integrity, commitment to the Lord, and a kind heart.  I know that he cannot make me happy in and of himself, but I'm excited to share a life with him and to share happiness and joy with one another.  I know marriage isn't always rainbows and butterflies, but I have faith that God will lead us closer to Him through marriage.  I'm so excited to marry this man and can't wait to see what's in store for us together.  April 2014 can't come soon enough :)  


Also, we are now gladly and humbly accepting marriage advice, books to read, pre-marriage prep advice, wedding planning advice, etc.  We're so excited (yet, at the same time, overwhelmed!) about all of this.

And to Scott: Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this adventure.  I never could have predicted that the boy I met in precalculus at Hoggard High School would be the man I would one day marry.  You captured my heart from a young age and have stood by me through thick and thin over the past years.  I love you in a way that can hardly be described in words and cannot wait for all that is to come.  

"...I found him who my soul loves." -Song of Solomon 3:4