Beauty through the mud

Had a rough day yesterday, just feeling ugly.  So I told my fiance about it, and here’s what he said to me:

“I love you. You’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. I love your personality. If anyone can get Brent Bays … going it would be you. Well, Honey, I love you the way you are. You are the only one and God who can define you … You have to stand up and stand your ground spiritually and as Sarah.”


Puppy love

Photos of me and Brent on a table at my bridal shower.

There was warmth in the air, from both the fire behind the stone hearth and from the great friendship that courted us as we celebrated.

My bridal shower was more than I could have expected! My sister and good friend Monique rented a cabin at Chestnut Ridge State Park in Orchard Park, NY and it was outstanding. Inside were two great stone fireplaces, a kitchen, finished picnic tables and amazing mantles. Outside we were surrounded by smoky colored birches stabbing through the spring fog.

Stepping through French doors out the back of the cabin, we found a large patio with a wooden banquette. A small grassy knoll led down a little grade and up to a wooden corral fence. Large, old maples, birches, beeches, cherries and chestnuts served as natural framework for the gorgeous view we had of a sparkling green lake.

A gentle rain sprinkled the top of the water, pounding out its own tiny tune for us to enjoy in between snapping photos, hitting the trails and warming our hands by the fire. The rich scent of pulled pork, bacon-stuffed mushrooms and orangey mimosas infused laughter, games, storytelling and novel reading.

It was a truly grand day.

The girls strung a pennant sign reading “puppy love” on the hearth and set up photos of me and my fiance with tea lights surrounding on the tables. Mason jars with floating tea lights lined the center of our table. Stainless steel dog bowls wrapped with paw print ribbon held “puppy chow” snacks. Jar favors holding matches and specialty tea lights were covered with paw print cloth and little collars and tags. A sticker pasted on them read “It’s a Match!”

Overall, the day wasn’t what I expected it would be like. I thought it would be chic and sophisticated, much like my sister’s was in 1998. Instead, my bridal shower was a whole lot more like the summer after I graduated from high school, also in 1998. I had a few good friends, acted silly, played corny (yet awesome) games, cooked, baked, ate good and had a big time just being ourselves.

It was a perfect day.



72 single days

It’s May 1, the last May Day that I will be single for the rest of my life (Lord willing).*

I have to admit, it’s a strange feeling when everything in my life has been my own. 32.5 years I went before I met my soul mate, my life mate, my love. I had given up, fairly completely, on finding him and there are times I still have the strong urge to pinch myself and realize that this beautiful relationship is happening to me.

Tonight I’m visiting my home in Niagara Falls, NY for my bridal shower. Some of the best friends any girl could have are putting it together for me. I’ve only been away from Brent (and Toby and Jeeves) for 1.5 full days but I already miss them terribly. As my friend Monique says, pretty soon I’ll never be away from him again, ever. For the rest of my life I will be fused to this man’s soul.

And my, the time has really flown since we met. Reeling it backwards:

3 months ago: I’d just begun working for the local GEICO agent in Shreveport. The move was hard on both of us, and after finally storing my belongings in Dallas and moving me out of that apartment, we were ready for a break. It has been a great privilege to spend so much time with Brent. I don’t think I realized, until writing these words now, how much I mean that.

6 months ago: We got engaged. He knew our relationship was being strained by the distance between us. Would I move closer to him if we were engaged, he had asked. I said I would, and I told him I wanted him to ask formally. He said, get on up here. I hopped in the car.

9 months ago: Brent had just made it past the point of being sent over to Guam for 6 months with work. We had shaken in our boots over it for 1.5 months or so, just hoping it wouldn’t happen and trying not to think about it too much. I was living in Dallas, spending a lot of time with him in Louisiana, but the distance, and the travel, were stretching us both very thin.

12 months ago: I left my apartment in Buffalo, NY to move to Dallas. My best friend Melissa and I hopped into a U-Haul, hooked up my SUV to the back of it and pulled out into God’s country. I started working at GEICO in Dallas, got my Texas insurance license and went through the terrible claims process after my vehicle was destroyed during the move. Rough way to start out.

18 months ago: Brent and I were getting a lot closer. We’d had a blowout and it wasn’t pretty. In fact, I wasn’t sure we would continue dating. My family and I were painting my new apartment and I was getting moved in. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that day. I didn’t sleep the entire night, worried that Brent and I were over. We ended up making amends and making plans to meet in person. We said “I love you,” to each other for the first time very early on Christmas morning.

24 months ago: I responded to a match on This cute blonde man, a military man, popped up on my matches page. I thought to myself, “He’s really hot. A classic American look. I’m not going to write to him b/c I don’t think I’d be his type. I’m not sure I’d want to be with a military man anyhow.” Thankfully, gently urges you to respond to every single match. So I clicked on the cute blonde’s profile, sent him a note, and accidentally called him “John.” He wrote back and the rest is history.


*I learned long ago that if God doesn’t will it, I don’t want it. And if God wants to change the plan, at any time, it’s His decision to make. I believe that for me and Brent. We are in God’s hands.