Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Temper Tantrums and Culotte Camp

Sometimes I am a huge brat.  I know it's hard for you to imagine.  But sometimes I want my own way so badly that I sincerely consider throwing myself on the floor, kicking and screaming "I don't want to!".  Then I remember that I am 34, and that I am about 31 years past that being age-appropriate behavior.  Not to mention the fact that my back ain't what it used to be, and frankly, lying on the floor for any length of time often proves to be regrettable.

Several years back, when I was young and single and stupid, I remember my friend Jeremy making plans for us to go hang out with some of his friends in Hendersonville, Tennessee.  Not only was this a 45 minute drive from where we lived, we were also going to hang out with people I didn't know.  I absolutely did not want to go.  And so rather than being a grown up and telling him what I was thinking, I gave him a little dose of the silent treatment.  I was annoyed, and I let him know it.  I was a huge grouch all the way across town to pick up another couple that was joining us, and I sat in complete silence until we stopped at a grocery store just outside of town.  The guys went in to pick up something, and the girls stayed in the truck.  For whatever reason, I felt comfortable expressing my hatred for the night's plans to the other girl as we sat and waited.  She laughed and said that she had been feeling the same thing... she had been dreading the night.  She was tired and just wanted to stay home.  Me, too.  We were able to commiserate and we talk about our jobs and got to know one another.  When the guys got back into the truck, they were astounded at the difference ten minutes had made.  The rest of the night we were comfortable and talkative, and we had a great time.

Thankfully, I have grown up a little bit.  I try to avoid temper tantrums and silent treatments alike.  But sometimes I revert on the inside.  Like several months ago when Jake wanted to go hang out with some old friends.  These friends were friends with Jake's ex-girlfriend, and the thought of hanging out with them made me nervous.  Every weird, insecure part of me seemed to ask "What if they end the night thinking My goodness, Jake should have stuck with the last girl?".  I just wanted to climb into my coat closet and hide and hope that maybe Jake would go without me.  But I didn't.  I texted a girlfriend who encouraged me to go and have a great time, and you know what?  I did.  I met fabulously fun new people.  They didn't kick me out or send me home or encourage Jake to dump me.  The night was a success.

Around the same time frame as the scary dinner, I found out about Culotte Camp*.  If you were not raised in a super conservative Christian home, then let me explain Culotte Camp**.  It is a youth camp where the dress code is super strict.  No sleeveless shirts, skirts and culottes on girls, only long pants on boys.  It is a dress standard that most of us are not used to.  Our church went to Culotte Camp last year, and while the accommodations and the food were great, the spirit of the camp did not fit the spirit of our church.  But for whatever reason, the decision was made, without my input, to attend this camp one more year, until a more suitable camp could be located for next year.  To be honest, when I found out about having to return to this camp, I wanted to sit right down in the floor and cry.  First of all, camp starts on July 4.  I have a new husband.  I did not want to spend our first major holiday apart.  Second, the cell phone service at Culotte Camp is non-existent.  Last year I felt completely cut off from the outside world.  It was terrible.  So when I heard the news about our planned return, I spent several days on the verge of a full-blown kicking and screaming meltdown.  I did a decent amount of whining.  And then I knew I had to make a decision.  Camp seemed like a certainty.  The plans had already been made.  The only choice I had in the matter was how on earth I would deal with it.  I could be a brat and be miserable, hating every second that I was stranded with no husband and no cell phone service, or I could suck it up and be a grownup and make the best of it.  I chose the latter.  And I am so glad I did.  I added camp to my prayer list, and I began to pray for a different experience than we had last year.  I wanted our kids to look past the differences in standards and the mild inconveniences the week would bring, and I wanted them to see Jesus.  I wanted the kids to leave with changed hearts because of a week spent with Him.  My attitude towards camp began to change.  My sweet husband took camp week off so that he could attend with me.  That made the thought of camp far more bearable.

This past week, the pastor and I started looking at our camp numbers.  Because of the timing of camp, being held during July 4th week, participation was kind of scarce.  Our church that should be taking 35 kids to camp only had 7 campers signed up.  It seemed like a long way to go to take such a small group.  And do you want to know what God did?  He performed a miracle, right in front of my very eyes.  He changed the pastor's mind.  (The pastor is my dad so I am allowed to say that)  We began to brainstorm about some camp alternatives, and we came up with an incredibly fun alternative plan that does not include culottes or driving to a state with the bumpiest highways in the U.S.A.  I cannot divulge all the secret information about where we are going, and what we will be doing, but I can tell you that I am excited to get to spend time one on one with these kids.  I am excited about what God will do in their little lives, even though they will not be sitting under preaching three times a day.  This is going to be a great trip, and I am expecting great things.

I can't promise that I am over it.  I will probably be a brat sometime in the future over another situation that I dislike and I can't control.  But for now, I have a fair idea that when I it comes along, God will be looking down at me, and I thrash around on the floor like an idiot and scream my disapproval (in my heart, if not in real life... hopefully not in real life) for what He has allowed to come my way.  He will have one of two things waiting, an alternate plan or grace to handle the plan I hate.  And I will be humbled again as I am this moment, knowing that He is a God who cares about the little things that I care about and truly does work all things for my good.  And for that, I am grateful.

*Culotte Camp has been renamed to protect its location and reputation.  And only my family calls it Culotte Camp... it reminds us of our culotte cousins, family members that I will blog about another time.

** Let me establish here that I am not mocking culottes.  I wore them for years.  I am just not particularly fond of the way they look on me.  If you love them, you have all of my support and love and admiration.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Big Fat Hairy Deal... my tribute to Garfield and a lifetime of bad hair decisions

I am usually a decisive girl.  Give me a tough choice to make, and I will confidently make it in a few minutes, as long as it does not permanently alter lives.  If it does, I might need a day or two.  But I have no problem making decisions.  I am a dream to shop with because I don't linger over a pair of jeans or shoes or  a purse.  Either I want it, or I don't.  End of story.

But there's my hair.  What on earth am I going to do with my hair?  It's one of those decisions that gets made for you if you choose not to make it.  If I do not choose to cut it, it grows longer and looks scraggly.  If I do not choose to color it, my roots, which are made up of a lovely mousy brown color mixed with a healthy amount of premature gray, begin to show through.  My hair has a mind of its own.  Left to it's own devices, it will turn me into a frizzy, gray mess.  And so here I am.  I am needing to make a decision soon.  My original thought was that I would grow out my hair really long one last time before I got too old for it.  But alas, I may already be too old for it.  My hair is barely long enough to really be called "long", and I am already dreaming of cutting it off.  Girls measure long hair by where it falls in relationship to the bra strap, and it's barely there.  (Is it okay to mention a bra strap in a blog?  Those of you who are in-the-know, please advise)  But my long hair is getting to me.  It's hard to manage, and it takes forever to fix.  If I don't take the time to straighten it, it just ends up being a dry, frizzy mess.

So, I have been looking, scouring the internet for photographs of fabulous hair, hoping that I will find the perfect haircut and hair color to make me look 10 pounds lighter and 6 years younger (to match my husband's age, of course).  It needs to be low maintenance and completely flattering.  And so I search.  I Google.  And I imagine my face in place of a model's.  And I show my husband and ask his opinion. And he says that he has a hard time imagining what certain hairstyles would look like on me when they are a different color or on a different face.

Yesterday I decided to go through past hairstyles and make a little folder of photographs of pictures of me where I actually liked my hair.  Let me tell you that the results were quite disappointing.  The folder is very, very small.  Apparently, I never have cute hair.  Or at least I have not had hairstyles that I would like to revisit.  They may have been fine at one point, but they are no longer fine.  And so, in honor of my years of hair cuts, colors, and perms, I am going to take you on a walk down memory lane.

Baby Julie 1977
Feathery baby hair

Julie 1978
Maybe my mother cut this herself?

Julie 1979
Honestly, I am including this picture because I am sitting in a folding chair in the back of a van.  Apparently, child safety was not an issue in 1979.  I am sporting an amazing bun, though.

Julie 1980
This was the beginning of the side part/barrette stage that lasted a good 6 years.  I think I started wearing shirts after 1980, too.

Julie 1985
Still wearing the side part/barrette combo.

Julie 1986
The poodle mullet

Julie 1987
The relaxed mullet

Julie 1989
The winged mullet

Julie 1980
These are my bangs and you can't convince me that I will ever regret them.

Julie 1993
I finally discovered hot rollers

Julie 1994
Face has been blurred to protect the innocent, but seriously, we both had some hair issues here.  We both loved us some hairspray.

Julie 1995
"The Rachel" with a big Texas hair twist

Julie 1998
The bob that stayed in one form or another for about 5 years

Julie 2004
The long hair I was trying to go for this time around

Julie 2007
Finally got the nerve to cut it off

Julie 2009
A little longer

Julie 2009 (Part 2)
A little shorter and darker

Julie 2010
And longer and redder with bangs

Julie 2011
And now back to longer

And so I have no idea what I will do next.  I am not into extreme changes when it comes to hair.  Some women can make extreme changes to their hair and still be beautiful.  Not me.  No way.  I like safe hairstyles.  And ones that require little to no maintenance.  So if you have any ideas, I am taking suggestions.  If I choose to go with your suggestion, I will give you something fabulous.  Like a Garfield poster.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Showing some skin.. my soapbox speech about scandalous Facebook photographs

Welcome to my blog.  This is my own little corner of the internet where I tell you stories and make confessions and opine about all things, significant and not.  For the easily offended, please stop reading right here.  Go back to watching Grey's Anatomy or Glee or whatever else it is that you do for fun.  You might not like what I am about to tell you.  I don't even like it.  But here I am, ready to say something about it.  Needing, even, to say something about it.

Social Networking.  It has changed the way we do almost everything.  From communicating with friends, to dining out, to getting opinions on important decisions, and presenting who we are to the rest of the world.  Everything has changed because of social networking.  For me, it started with Bebo.  All of my New Zealand friends had a Bebo account, and in order to keep up with their lives and growing families, I signed up.  Then it moved to Myspace and now it is Facebook.  I am a Twitter dabbler (I hate the word dabbler, really), but I am not committed.  You could say I am just casually dating Twitter, and always have the breakup in the back of my mind.  But these days, I am married to Facebook.  I love it.  And I am not here today to give you a sermon on the evils of social networking.  But the photos.  Oh the photos.  My goodness at the photos.

Boys don't do it.  Boys don't take fleshy pictures of themselves and post them on the internet for all 456 friends to see.  If a boy posts a picture on Facebook, it is almost always for fun.  Wrangled fish, funny signs, food, etc.  Guys don't purposely take photographs of themselves for Facebook.  They just don't.  The majority of Facebook pictures come from the girls.  Pictures of vacations and weddings and children and date nights.  And I get it.  I love pictures.  I am the Facebook picture queen.  I love my iphone and my photography apps.  Love them.  But almost daily I am shocked by the amount of cleavage and pregnant bellies and teeny tiny shorts that my eyes are exposed to.  I don't go searching it out.  I log into Facebook and there it is, right in the middle of my screen, photographs of people I know (and love) showing far more of themselves than should be seen by anyone other than a medical professional or a spouse.  And there are two sides of me.  The judgy side that wants to post "PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!" and the side that tries to reason it out, to blame the pictures on low self esteem or neediness.  Maybe there should be another side to me, a side that doesn't care or think twice, but there isn't.  That side does not exist.  And so I am left with the dilemma of speaking up or keeping my mouth closed.  

This is me speaking up.  And in the interest of full disclosure, I hesitate to do it for fear of hurting feelings or fear that I have posted something less than appropriate at some point and someone is going to call me on it.  I have decided that I am okay with that.  I don't write this because I am perfect or have everything figured out or have always done the exact right thing.  I am not, I don't, and I haven't.  But almost all of my Facebook friends are Christians, and though I am certainly not wanting to let the religious pendulum swing to the side of legalism, I believe that we speak volumes about our spiritual life by how we present ourselves.  Go ahead, gasp.  Shake your head.  Disagree if you like.  We can disagree and still be friends.  But first, please hear me out (unless you want to go back to watching Grey's Anatomy like I suggested before...  seriously, last chance).

One of the benefits of our relationship with God is the unconditional approval and acceptance.  When we are right in that relationship, we feel fulfilled and loved and validated, and we need those things.  When we are struggling in our relationship with God (and we all do at times) we search to fill that legitimate need with the approval and acceptance of people.  In today's culture, we do it in so many ways, with so many things.  But you see it all the time.  

Girl posts slightly scandalous photograph.
Female friend posts "Looking great!"
Male friend posts "Whoa.  You are looking hot."
Female family member "You are so beautiful."
Girl posts the obligatory "Aw, thanks guys."
Girl feels validated.  Filled.  
Who needs God?

The scenario is most disturbing to me in two situations, the first being a young girl who doesn't know any better and whose parents do not stop it.  The second is when it's a married woman who does know better.  Either way, this is me, telling you that it's not okay.  Not even a little. 

So to my teenage girlfriends: Your body is probably in the best shape it will ever be.  Take the time to be thankful for a great metabolism.  You are adorable.  You are young and social and you love boys, but when you post pictures of yourself in tiny little things, you present yourself as less valuable than you are.  You make guys, young and old, think thoughts they shouldn't think.  You would probably be horrified if you knew the effect that your pictures can have.  Take pictures of yourself with your girlfriends, laughing and being silly. Go ahead, be young.  Just make sure that you have proper clothes on.  Not pajamas.  Not short shorts and a bikini top.  Real, actual clothes that cover you.  Make sure your intentions are pure, and that you are not just seeking out the attention of guys.  If you look especially nice, have one of your parents take your picture.  I assure you that your pose for your dad holding the phone or camera will be way different than the bathroom mirror pose you do for the photo you take on your own.  If you are feeling bad about yourself, pick up your Bible, read Psalm 139 and know that you have so much value to God.  I love you, and I don't want to see you finding your worth in all the wrong things.  

To my adult female friends: Please, please be careful.  Think of the people that you affect when you post photographs where we can see down your shirt.  Think of the boys and men who struggle with lust and work hard to keep their thoughts pure.  You are making things difficult.  I know we all want to feel beautiful, and some days that comes easier than others.  Or maybe that's not it.  Maybe you are proud of the hard work you have put into losing weight and keeping in shape, but please, be considerate of our husbands and fathers and brothers and sons.  Please cover yourself.

So there it is.  I warned you that you might not like it.  Again, I don't even like it.  A decent part of me wants to delete this post so that no one gets upset or offended.  But like I said, my corner of the internet.  My opinion.  And since you've made it this far, thanks for being here.  Thanks for reading.  I appreciate you.  Now you may go back to Grey's.     

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Not Who I Was

When I was 17, I packed up my clothes, a stereo, a caboodle full of makeup, a diffuser, and enough Paul Mitchell mousse to keep my hair looking authentically Texan, and my parents drove me to Springfield, Missouri to attend Baptist Bible College.  I did not own a car, and I had not even applied to the college that I was going to be attending.  No joke.  College application seemed like a unnecessary formality, and in this case, it was.  I showed up on campus and was allowed to move in immediately.  My application for admission was approved after I had been attending classes for three solid months.  See?  Just a formality.

I settled right into college life.  I did all of the things that I was supposed to do.  I slept through class, stayed up too late, subsisted on Mountain Dew and pizza, failed exactly one class for not completing every assignment.  Yep.  I was a full-blown college student.  I tried out for cheerleading and was amazed that I made it.  I happily went to practice every day and loved every second of cheering on the Baptist Bible College Patriots.  Other than the one failed class, which I repeated and aced, I was a decent student.  I rarely studied and I always used my maximum number of allowed absences, but I made good enough grades to keep my scholarship and to keep my parents from bringing me back home and grounding me forever.  I got written up.  A lot.  For practicing cheerleading jumps past curfew and wearing my "shorts" too long (they were actually palazzo pants, and I knew I was pushing the "no pants on girls" rule when I wore them) and listening to James Taylor "How Sweet it is to Be Loved By You".  I probably paid more in fines than I did in tuition.  And I dated.  Oh, how I dated.  I had never seen so many Christian boys all in one place.  And I was a flirty friendly girl, probably less threatening than most, and so I was asked out.  And I said yes.  Almost always.  I didn't have too many girlfriends, and to be honest, I probably wasn't nice to most of the girls.  I was young and selfish and self-centered.  Rather than taking the time to ask questions and get to know the girls down the hall, I assumed they were mean and gossipy and I pretended like it didn't matter whether or not I knew them.  I was intimidated by the girly packs they traveled in, and so I covered up my fear by not associating with them.  I had more guy friends than girl friends, and I didn't really care what people thought.  Or at least I thought I didn't care.

My junior year, I was hanging out with a girlfriend, and I could tell something was on her mind.  Then she shared an incredibly unkind name that she had overheard someone calling me.  And apparently, the name had spread.  She had heard it from several different people.  I can't tell you how I cried.  I am not sure how I reacted to her, but I distinctly remember being curled up in my JCPenney quilt on my bed in my dorm room and bawling my eyes out over it.  As much as I thought I didn't care what people thought, I absolutely did.  I traced back the name's origin to two different guys, neither of whom knew me at all.  I will probably never know where it came from.  And it really doesn't matter.  It was never true, the name.  But it did cause me to think.  There were plenty of real live mistakes.  There were lots of unkind things said about others, plenty of wrong relationships, and more than my share of bad decisions. There was a huge pool of giant mistakes that the name callers could have chosen from and been more accurate.  Justified, even.

This past Sunday night I saw one of my favorite Bible college friends.  I met him my freshman year, and our friendship continues to this day, some seventeen years later.  Makes me feel old to say that.  We talked a little bit about our college days, and some of the dumb dating mistakes that we made.  We laughed about our ex's and the ones that got away.  And I walked away smiling about my four years spent in Springfield, Missouri.  Despite my mistakes, I made some wonderful friends.  There are people that I barely knew then that I have reconnected with (and now adore) because of the genius that is Facebook.  I had four years of living and learning and ministering alongside some of the coolest people ever.  Some have grown into writers and musicians and missionaries and mommies, and I love keeping track of them.

Today I am thankful for those college memories but also time and for change and for grace.  I am thankful that God is wise enough to put us through hard things to shape us.  I am thankful that he redeems our mistakes and makes our story a tool to minister to others.  So to those who knew me then, to those that I may have ignored or hurt or gossiped about, those of who you witnessed my mistakes firsthand, I am sorry.  To those who have given me a second chance at friendship, either in real life or through sharing your struggles with me on Facebook or this blog, thanks for understanding that I am a work in progress.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Quest for the Big Comfy Couch

In a perfect world, furniture stores would host nap time.  Around 2 p.m. every day, they would dim their lights, maybe play When Harry Met Sally or some other familiar movie on a huge screen, and they would allow their customers to test out their couches for what I like to call napability (actually I just made this up, but from now on I will call it napability, thus making this statement more or less true).  Around 3 p.m., the lights could come up, and the customers could wipe the drool off their mouths, pick up their pillows (gotta be sanitary somehow, right?), and evaluate the napability of the couches they tried out.  Couples could spoon for an hour to see if they both fit.  The couch arm-to-couch cushion distance could be measured in the most practical way, with an hour long nap, so as to prevent neck cricks and back pain.  We could wake up to warm chocolate chips cookies and milk.  Okay, that one might be pushing it.  But really, in a perfect world, you would never end up with the world's most uncomfortable couch.  Here's how I ended up with mine.

It was 2005.  My living room had several large pieces of furniture that desperately needed replacing.  My couch and love seat were hand-me-downs from my parents.  They had seen me through my high school and college years in my parents' home and then eventually they made the trip with me from Corpus Christi, Texas to Murfreesboro, Tennessee and then a final move to Portland, Tennessee.  I am sure these couches were cute in the 90's... not so much in 2005.  They were burgundy tapestry with flowers of gold and sage.  They were not hideous, but they were old.  I have pictures of me sitting on this couch in high school with various boyfriends, and then more pictures of boyfriends that came to Texas to visit while I was home for breaks during college.  After years of providing seating for me, my siblings, and our random dates, this furniture moved to Tennessee with me and was often home to my brother Craig (my Tennessee roommate for for years), his blanket, and the remote control.  In his defense, he traveled and sang for a living, often traveling overnight and sleeping very little.  So when he would come home, his first day or two was spent on the couch, recovering.  Then I had married, moved the couch to my new home, and my sister's little boys moved in.  For an entire year, these couches endured the beating that only toddler boys can give.  They jumped on, poured milk on, climbed across, kicked, and did heaven knows what else to this furniture.  It was time for the couch and love seat to go.  So I started shopping.

Red.  I wanted red.  I hired an interior designer that I met at an upholstery store to come out to my tiny house in the country for a consultation.  She shook her head no as I told her.  You will hate a red couch.  What about a tan couch with red pillows? One hour and $85 later, I sent her home.  I didn't know anything but that I definitely wanted a red couch and I definitely did not want to hire her to decorate.  A few weeks later, I said goodbye to my tapestry couch and love seat, having nothing with which to replace it.  For three months, my living room had zero seating.  The kids thought it was awesome.  The living room was a wide open space, perfect for running and flipping and wrestling.  Thankfully, we didn't have cable so there was no quandary about where to sit while watching TV.

One lazy Saturday afternoon, I strolled into a Lazboy furniture store, and there it was.  It was red, perfectly simple.  It was a floor model, and it was on sale.  I wanted it.  End of story.  Oh, I did the random tests that people feel comfortable doing while in public, in front of sales people.  I sat on it, held the ridiculous floral pillows in my lap, arms crossed.  I tried to imagine myself sitting on this couch, holding babies and reading books in my pajamas.  I sort of bounced up and down a few times very lightly.  I have never understood the purpose of this test, but everyone does it when trying out couches.  And I was sold.  I paid for it, and I had it delivered two days later.

I found perfect pillows at Pottery Barn.  I purchased a fluffy throw blanket, just perfect for covering my legs while reading.  I made up rules about when the kids were and weren't allowed on the couch.  Basically, the rules were just one rule... if you are a child and you are freshly bathed and pajama-d (yes, I just turned that into a verb), you are allowed on the couch, otherwise, no way.  If you have little boys, you understand this rule.  If you don't have boys, please borrow three little boys from a friend and turn them loose in your living room... you will understand.  I kept the couch free from Sharpie markers and chocolate syrup and crayons.  And you know what I got in return?  A backache.  I had just purchased the world's most uncomfortable couch.  It's fine to sit on... for about 45 minutes anyway.  And then I find myself adjusting and readjusting, trying to find a way to sit that does not send a shooting pain up my spine.  The napability level is a 2 on a 1-10 scale.  I don't always realize it while I am napping, but the second I stand up, my 34 year old body reminds me of the failure that is my couch.

Last night Jake and I sat on this couch and watched a movie.  Because the couch is as deep as it is comfortable, there is no lounging on it.  Basically, we have to sit side by side, careful not to get any crazy ideas of having any physical contact other than hand holding.  The couch does not allow for it.  So I abandon all ideas of curling up next to my husband and we sit upright, feet propped up on the ottoman, praying that the back pain doesn't start until the end of the movie is in sight.  And last night, we made an important decision.  We are definitely buying a new couch.  It doesn't have to be red.  It just has to be comfortable.  We briefly checked out Craigslist, and throwing out the poorly lit photographs, homes with smoke and pets, and the outdated styles, we were left with nothing.  So the furniture shopping will begin soon.  I will leave behind my pride, and I will test out each couch prospect thoroughly.  I will go armed with my pillow and possibly a blanket.  I might stuff a portable DVD player and some chocolate chip cookies into my purse as well, just for the heck of it.  And if any of you are interested in purchasing a red couch, one that is suitable for looking at only, never for sitting or lounging or napping, please let me know.  I have one I will sell you for a great price.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What I Have Been Doing

Well, not blogging, that's for sure.  Last month yielded a whopping four blogs, one of which was a list and doesn't really count.  I would make this blog a list as well, if I hadn't already said that lists don't count.  And I need this blog to count.  New month, new dedication to spilling the details of my life on the internet.  So this is what I did during the month of May.

I got married.  Of course you knew that already.  And I have to tell you, it wasn't a dream day.  It was hot.  And heat makes me sweaty and grumpy.  And almost everyone was late, mostly due to wrecks and traffic, things over which we had zero control.  The wedding cake came with one side of the frosting sliding off, and so there I stood in my wedding dress and 4 inch heels, smoothing out the buttercream with a butter knife.  The reception area was not set up and could not be decorated upon our arrival, so we waited for servers to set up the proper tables in the proper areas.  This was one of those days where those of us with strong choleric tendencies have to fight off the familiar belief that "If I want it done right, I have to do it myself".  Eventually, though, things were decorated and things were set up.  And I got married to the funniest guy that ever was.  That was the best part of the day.  And then we followed it up with lunch on an uncovered patio in the 93 degree heat.  It was glorious.  Only not.

Then I went to Mexico.  I almost didn't go to Mexico.  The night before the flight, I could not find my passport.  My passport always stays in the same place.  And apparently, the night before the wedding I thought it would be smart to take it out and put it in a special place so I would know where I was.  I just couldn't remember what that special place was.  And so, after 60+ minutes of last minute packing and searching (after we had spent our whole wedding day in the sun and frustrating heat), I had to confess to Jake that I had no idea where it was.  Within minutes, I found it.  I should have held out and saved myself the embarrassment of him knowing that I am a lunatic.  He will find that out eventually anyway.  But I did find it.  (In the suitcase where I thought I had packed it, but couldn't see it the previous 12 times that I looked.  I hate that.)  So we flew to Cancun, and took a van to our resort.  For 6 days, it was nothing but sun, sand, and sleeping.  And possibly some other things that I won't point out for the sake of propriety.  I decided that resort food is mediocre, but they make up for it by offering lots of it.  In an effort to find something delicious, I ate a lot of it.  I read books in hammocks, and I drank smoothies on the beach.  We went snorkeling and shopping, although not at the same time.  And then we said goodbye to Mexico and came home.

Then we set to work on preparing for reception #2.  Because our wedding was small, we decided to have an additional reception that included our friends and church families.  We wanted this to be a dinner reception, and so we enlisted the help of two of our wonderful friends, who happily cooked dinner for our 90+ guests.  We spent several days turning a church fellowship hall into a party (if you know church fellowship halls, this is no easy task), and this past Sunday night, we were able to spend time with some of our favorite people.  And we got presents.  And both of those things are fun.

So now we are back to regular life.  At least I hope so.  Everyone keeps asking how married life is, and it's great 3 1/2 weeks in.  Is anyone unhappy with married life 3 1/2 weeks in?  I am getting used to living with a person who wakes up between 3:30-5:30 a.m., depending on Jake's work schedule.  He is getting used to living with someone who leaves her shoes everywhere and holds onto things far longer than is reasonable.  We are both adjusting fine.  We are both still having those "oh my goodness... we are married" moments.  The good ones, not the bad ones.  So, there's what's been going on with me.  What have YOU been doing?


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