Timeline of our relationship

Sometimes I really can’t believe that I’m not dreaming.

A friend asked me, “Do you ever have a hard time believing this is your life?” The truth is, if I think about it much, I do have a hard time believing that I’m living my own life.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was single. Now, 1 1/2 years later, I’m not only ‘not single,’ I’m engaged and nearly married! My fiance and I met on eharmony.com, in many ways, by happenstance. I’d been talking to another guy just a month before I met Brent. It hadn’t gone well and I swore off meeting potential paramours online.

Then I invited my cousin out to breakfast. She was dating a man at the time, and she’d met him on eharmony. I took her advice to try the site once more and within a week I’d met the man I’m going to marry.

To help me wrap my mind around this, I decided to make a little timeline:


1. Met online (July 2012)    2. Formalized relationship (Nov. 2012)      3. Said the “L” word (Dec. 25, 2012)       4. Met in person (Jan. 2013)      5. Visited his home (March 2013)       6. Decided to move closer (a week later)      7. Moved to Dallas (June 2013)      8. Got engaged (Nov. 2013)       9. Moved to Shreveport (Dec. 2013)     10. Getting married (July 4, 2014).



Getting Past the Wedding (Tips for Keeping Your Cool)

Every bride-to-be needs to decompress before her big day. The stress and emotion of the engagement and planning process can really suck the life out of what is meant to be a beautiful time in a couple’s journey together. Here are 3 ways I found helpful to de-stress during the distress:

This is one of the first places my fiance and I went on a date in his hometown of Ponder, Texas.

Get your mind off all things wedding. When I can’t deal anymore, I try to unplug — as in no more computer. I watch Dallas reruns, read Beth Moore books and walk my Labrador retriever outside. Just taking a look at my Facebook page — with all the wedding ads — drives me up a wall. Take time to defrag.

Spend fun time with your fiance. Shoot! Who’s this wedding all about anyhow? He asked you to marry him, gave you a glitzy ring and takes good care of you. Why not hang out with him a bit? And don’t talk wedding. Try going for a drive with the windows down and the radio on. See something new. Take him out for coffee at a trendy shop. Just love on him and remember what’s really important about your wedding is your marriage to this amazing man!

Focus on your marriage instead of your wedding. Try reading some blogs or books about what helps make a happy couple. Start dreaming again … about the rest of your life. There’s so much time after the ceremony that we tend to forget all about.

Choosing Your Mates (Part 1)

One thing I might suggest as you’re planning your wedding is being really, REALLY choosy about who you ask to stand up for you during the ceremony.

I thought people would be honored to be asked, as I would be. I thought the response would be something like this: “Wow! Thanks so much for thinking of me for your big day. It would be my honor to be your bridesmaid, Sarah!” The responses were a lot more like this: “Sure! I’d love to be in your wedding.”

Pick people who are enthused about your wedding, about planning it and about YOU and your fiance. Take your time and think about who reflects you the most. Also, think about who you trust the most. You don’t need anyone adding more drama to an already super-emotionally charged day.

Be choosy when choosing bridesmaids.
Be choosy when choosing bridesmaids.

I had two bridesmaids bail on me for possible future health reasons. What a total slap in the face.

The hardest part of that was not being a total snob about it. I didn’t do so well with the first one. The second one I wished “get well” and let her know I hoped she’d be able to join as a guest.

At first I felt really guilty about being upset, but it occurred to me that a true friend puts herself out of the equation in the good times and the bad. As a bride-to-be, you should never have to worry about being selfish. Your wedding is the one day of your life that you’re actually supposed to be.

As a side note, choosing people you trust means never having to worry about them quitting on you. You’re going to want people who will help you and take pressure off you, not add more.

Speaking of that: my sister also decided to not be in the wedding and to pull her two teenage kids out of it with her. Disaster.* She has since recanted about the kids, and they are both psyched for the big day!

I’ve learned a hard lesson: If you go out on a limb for people who don’t go out on a limb for you, you’ll end up feeling used, unappreciated and less dignified. 

I wanted a big bridal party — always have. My fiance has three brothers and a father he wants for groomsmen. But I’ve moved around a lot and my friendships have been rather fluid. I don’t have any other friends to ask, and at first that made me feel really lousy. But the truth dawned on me today: I also have no one else worthy of being asked.

And you know what? That’s OK!

PHOTOS: Family and Fun

These are a few of my favorite photos I’ve taken over the past few years…


The Planning Phase

Wedding planning can feel like a long walk off a short plank at times.
Wedding planning can feel like a long walk off a short plank at times.

We’re planning our wedding and honeymoon, and it seems like nothing could be more difficult. Is it really that hard to put together a plan? Well, it is when money’s tight, the bride-to-be just got a new job (again) and the groom-to-be will possibly retire a month after the nuptials.

Wedding planning is hard: especially when your big (and only) sister drops out of the wedding, leaving the bridal shower in shambles, and 3 vacancies in the wedding party. And the bride-to-be is out of friends to ask.

It’s hard to make this huge, massive celebration happen when there’s no mom (by choice or otherwise), no mom-in-law (deceased), and a whole great big new city to start over in. Again.

I don’t suppose it was meant to be easy. A good friend of mine warned me that my fiance and I would probably have some “knock-down-drag-out” fights during the planning phase. She was right.

On the flip side, it’s also been dynamic to have good friends (longtime, and new), mentor women at our church and great planning tools to help. Here’s my top 5 list of wedding planning must-haves:

  1. WeddingWire.com — great site for displaying updates on the big day. Also good for organizing wedding itineraries.
  2. A really good, best friend — mine hails all the way back to 1995, through nearly 2 decades of plain-jane-rumpled-old-life.
  3. Recent newlywed — my recently married friend has great, trendy ideas and happens to have some of her planning ideas left over to share with me.
  4. Google Drive — make spreadsheets — of all your details — and update them as you cross things off your to-do list. Load them up to the “cloud” and access them from anywhere.
  5. A solid church/pre-marital counseling plan — we took a class called, “Before You Say I Do,” and met for 6 weeks in the church parlor. Guest speakers touched on things we hadn’t even thought of. Also a great place for accountability.