one little word.

A year ago, I knew there would be hardships in 2013. My grandpa’s health was very poor and a number of Josh’s relatives were also struggling. I thought hard about what would help me get through what I knew was coming and some things I didn’t anticipate; I decided my one little word for 2013 would be FAITH.

While my original intention was to explore my faith in terms of my relationship with God, the word took on new meanings as I continued through the year. I found myself giving up the feeling that I needed to be in control of everything for it to work out how I wanted; I started having faith in those around me to do what they were supposed to. In my personal relationships, I had faith in others supporting decisions I made and trusting them to work out how I did. I had faith that the students who made me crazy would eventually get it, even if I didn’t get to see it happen. My trust in people grew, and it caused my faith in destiny and good things happening to people who are genuinely good to grow as well.

It worked. It got me through rough patches and times of greatness. I felt lighter because of it.

But over the last few weeks, I’ve tried to really reflect. Did I do everything I sought to do when it came to FAITH in 2013? Did I choose this word a year ago because I thought it sounded nice and that it would maybe be something I’d jump on board with over the course of the next twelve months? Did I push myself to grow in a way that I should have at an age where growth is okay awesome? During the last 365 days, I did FAITH, but I did it the easy way. The passive way.

What I really need in 2014, not just in my faith journey, but in every aspect of my life is to be more active. I don’t mean exercising (although that will also be part of my year). I mean choosing to do something and really doing it. With work. With family. With friends. With Josh.

I decided on my one little word for the next year before looking up the definition. After seeing all aspects of it, I’m even more confident that it fits perfectly for where I want to be after the next 365 days: 

Screen shot 2013-12-30 at 9.23.55 AMHere’s to full COMMITment in all aspects of my life in 2014!

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For more information about One Little Word, click here.

For my 2013 post, click here: faith

For my 2012 post, click here: cherish and here: cherish reflection

still alive. (wedding update)

Don’t worry – I’m still kickin.

This school year has been SOOOO unbelievably busy. I can’t believe it’s already almost half over! Even though it’s year two, only one hour of the day (for only this semester) is something I taught last year. Because of this, and because I’m involved in much more around the school, it’s as though I’m in the midst of year one all over again. It’s fantastic, and I still love (almost) every minute of it, but I’m still pretty tired most nights.

I’m not sure how many people expected me to be updating about wedding stuff on here, but I think I’ll do an overall recap in this post. Sorry, Mariclare – I’ll be better during the second half of planning!

CELEBRATION

As I said in my post about the engagement, we spent the weekend after the question was popped in Chicago with some friends. It was SO fun! We went to a few hot-spots in the area by our hotel and went to a late show at Second City Comedy Club. When we left the show, the stars had aligned and there was a limo waiting for us to head back that cost us about the same amount a cab ride would have. Talk about a quality way to end a celebration!

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VENUE

Soon after Josh proposed, we toured a few venues in downtown Milwaukee. I don’t have a super deep connection with the town I grew up in and he doesn’t either, so we thought we’d have our wedding somewhere we just really enjoyed. There were a couple weeks where we tossed around the idea of a destination wedding so we could just go and not worry about having a big to-do. Because we really want our grandparents to be present, and we weren’t sure that was a practical trip for them, we decided Wisconsin was the way to go.

We realized quickly that the cost of a wedding adds up fast, but the venue we decided on does a really good job of being up front about prices. This along with the fantastic view at the ceremony location sold us quickly.

The ceremony and reception will be at the Miller Room overlooking Lake Michigan. We really like the idea of having everything in one location, especially when parking is such a hard thing to come by in the city. The really nice thing is that we can have the outdoor ceremony we really wanted with only about a 500-foot walk for our guests to the cocktail hour/reception.

BRIDESMAIDS/FLOWER GIRL

I wanted to come up with something somewhat creative but also personal to ask my bridesmaids to be in the wedding. In the end, I decided to give each of them a card with a little explanation of why I appreciate their friendship and why I want them to be with me at such an important time of my life. I took a picture to go on the front of each of the cards (Josh was suuuuper excited to be photographer) close to where the proposal happened and gave them to each of my friends when I saw them next.

Many were able to attend what they thought was just a celebration dinner in Milwaukee where I gave them their cards after we got our first drinks. I saw another the day after and gave her card to her as we were saying goodbye. The last was out of town so I had to get a little more creative with her delivery. She sent me a video right after she opened it talking about how excited she was – I love living in the age where technology makes that possible!

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We created as similar card for our flower girl – the people who took our picture were actually celebrating their 30th anniversary and getting ready for their oldest son’s wedding in a couple weeks. We also gave her a coloring book with activities and pictures explaining what her job was on that day (our ring bearer got a similar one) and some flowers. At first, she was not interested. After we left her house, though, she told her parents she’d do it.

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ENGAGEMENT PHOTOS

One of Josh’s groomsmen owns his own photography business, and he took some amazing engagement photos for us. We did one set in Milwaukee very close to where the big day will be taking place and went back again a few weeks later to take some with Sam.

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THE DRESS

In October, I went dress shopping with my mom, future mother-in-law, grandma, maid of honor, and one bridesmaid. It was a weird mix of overwhelming and fun. I found my dress that day, and I was so grateful to not have to drag out the ordeal for more than an afternoon. I was worried if it took too long that I’d just settle on something so that it could be done.

I ended up with multiple women helping me find the dress. The one who started with me as her client also had someone shadowing her. About halfway through the afternoon, she got sick and had to go home, so I had a new person (and the same one who was shadowing) take over. There were a few minutes where I panicked and thought we’d have to start over, but having one person consistent the whole time helped a lot I think. I’m not sure that I’d have found the dress if it hadn’t worked out this way.

I deleted all the pictures of me in dresses that weren’t the one I ended up choosing. I guess I didn’t think about posting fake ones when I was making room on my computer/phone!

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I think that’s it! We’ve got a bunch of other little stuff figured out, but nothing worth posting about at this point.

Today I’m going to meet up with my maid of honor (yay!) to hang out for the afternoon and maybe figure out some other little details. I’m just happy to see her again because I haven’t since October. It’s hard figuring out times to see each other when we’re 6 hours away and she’s in grad school!