Gifts made easy

One of the (many) awesome parts of this whole engagement and marriage thing is the photos. We were so blessed to have two incredible photographers do these shoots for us. It’s been great– I finally have some pictures of myself that I love, and the best part during this season– we have instant gifts!

Last year, we had the engagement photos to use. We printed and framed them for parents and grandparents. It was so simple, and they were a hit! The last time there were professional photographs of either of us was in high school (and that was SO long ago for my husband)– so there was some updating to do ūüôā

We used these photos last year for gifts– I still love all of them…webready_BrianLindsey111211_026 webready_BrianLindsey111211_054

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This year, of course, we had the wedding photos. We also had the bridals and our “day after” shoot. Though we love our candid wedding photos best, we printed a lot of the posed photos for family. We also printed a large bridal for my mom. Here are a couple of them…

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Our “day after” shoot made our Christmas cards simple, too. The toughest part was deciding which photos to include– they were so beautiful!

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But unfortunately, we can’t keep this up. Our family will run out of room for framed photos and will probably get sick of looking at us. What in the world are we going to do for gifts next year?! I think we’re going to have to actually use our brains… oh bother…

Those two crazy kids

I don’t like to kiss and tell… but Sunday night I was kissing my husband…

I don’t know if it was the weekend of wedding festivities for our dear friends, or that we were excited about the three month mark, but Brian and I spent an hour Sunday evening smiling and laughing and revisiting our promises to one another. It was such a sweet time.

I expressed to Brian that sometimes I’m so shocked that he’s still here. Then, I’m even more shocked that he wants to be. Brian is convinced that he’s getting the better end of this whole relationship– which just proves how little he knows…

We giggled and whispered, and then looked right at each other and reiterated the vow: forever.

I’m not trying to make anyone gag here. I know it’s pretty mushy. But I guess I’m just hoping that every so often, just like Sunday night, my husband and I will act like those two crazy kids who fell in love.

Three Months Ago

Three months ago today I married the love of my life. This afternoon we are going to the wedding of our good friends Rachel and Ben. All of this has me thinking about that day and the words we said. So today, I thought I would post the words our pastor charged us with, and the promises we made to each other.

The Charge to Brian

Lead. With humility, selflessness, sacrifice that knows no bounds, constantly speaking, acting, and responding to Lindsey for the purpose of her heart falling deeper in love with God. Persevere and endure through the times of difficulty. Hold her. Lead her. And know that non of this is remotely possible if you are not trusting God to lead you. Lead Lindsey to love the Word deeply. Wash her in the Word. Lead her to serve the broken. Lead in a way that causes the world around you to see how Jesus leads us.

The Charge to Lindsey

Show grace to Brian.Serve him. Care for him. Encourage him. Speak truth and pray for him. Surrender to his leadership in a selfless, Godly way. Persevere and endure through the time of difficulty. Pursue righteousness and surrender in a way that will show the world around you how we are to surrender to Jesus.

Vows

I dedicate this marriage today
And our hem tomorrow
To the Lordship of Jesus Christ
I will never leave you or forsake you
Where you will go, I will go
Where you will live, I will live
Where you will die, I will die
Your people will be my people
And your God my God
May the Lord bring anguish upon me
If anything but death separates us
I give all of myself to you.

That couple

We’re that couple.

We’re that sickeningly sweet, crazy about each other, can’t keep our hands off each other newlywed couple… and I love it.

Brian and I are still just so grateful for each other and it’s so apparent in all that we do and to everyone we encounter. We’re in awe after church when there’s someone to dissect the sermon with. We’re delighted to do laundry and prep food and straighten up to prepare for the week ahead.¬† We’re elated to dance at a friend’s wedding in the arms of the one to whom we made the vow of forever.

We had a beautiful weekend, as simplistic and ordinary as it was. Marriage is as difficult as it is life-giving, and we had a sweet weekend of loving on each other and being so appreciative for this struggle. We needed it.

As Brian and I work on loving and serving and submitting and sacrificing, we need these breaks– the precious moments– to remember why we made this covenant and re-energize for the struggles that are sure to arrive in the days to come. This weekend we got to love and whisper and giggle and swoon. And it’s all a part of this beautiful mess we’ve committed to work at the rest of our days.

Recollections of the Wedding Day

Note: This was written the day after the wedding, but we did not have a chance to post it then. Enjoy!

My lovely wife (wife! What a great word!) is sleeping next to me on the plane right now as we head off on the honeymoon. We’re exhausted, just wiped out by yesterday.

But it was great! It was so good, we just can’t seem to stop talking about it. If you read our post that went up this morning on wedding planning advice you might get a different impression, but that is just one side of the coin. This is the other side.

The day started for me in the best way possible. About a month ago I had an idea after discussing the wedding plan with Lindsey. I asked my good friend Carlton to help me out and he graciously agreed to host a prayer breakfast time at his house. As a result the start of my day was bathed in prayer from men who have the most influence in my life and faith.

My day was obviously filled with family as well, which was a great thing thing. All of them made the trip to Austin from Oklahoma and we were so pleased to have them here. At one point in the morning we had what felt like every single relative from my dad’s side of the family in my (now our) house and I was so happy to see it. I remember thinking several times that I am so blessed.

Of course, for those of you who were there I bet there is one thing you all will remember for a long time. For the ceremony we crammed 200 people into a space that fit about 50. You see, in the month with the lowest average rainfall, where the average high temp is 72 degrees and in a state that has been woefully bereft of rain in the last year, it poured on our wedding day. It was not just a little rain either. As my best man Justin put it, “God sent the second flood.”

So, the plan for the outdoor garden wedding was scrapped, the outdoor seating for the reception was moved inside resulting in an intimate ceremony. It was great!

Of course, there was confusion and a few miscues. Almost everyone stood and more than a few folks could not actually see us. And the best man performed heroically and delivered the missing communion wine at the last second. Well done, sir.

The ceremony was great, the reception was a blast, and at about 9:15 Lindsey and I decided to take our show on the road. It was a wonderful time and a wonderful day. In a few weeks we’ll get the pictures back and share some of them here.

I wil truly remember the day as the second greatest in my life. All the things we talked about in planning are still true, but we had a great time. Now we have the exciting part, the marriage.

A funny story…

It’s called Memory Lane. And I wanted it. I wanted it so badly I could taste it.

Mom and I sat there in the office as they walked us through the ammenities. I was sold. This is where I would be getting married. I would be married in Dripping Springs, my home. There was only one small problem… our date was unavailable. See, there was one date that we could get married that worked for EVERYONE. One date in the entire spring– unless we wanted to wait until summer– and we didn’t want to wait.

My attempt to cajole Brian into switching “our date” (which would have ultimately meant that someone dear to us would miss the wedding– NOT an option) resulted in a bit of humor. Brian joked, “Hey. Call up Memory Lane and ask them to give us the name of the couple getting married on March 10th, and we’ll just try to break them up!”

Switch to March 13th, three days after the wedding. Brian and I are in Jamaica at a resort waiting in a martini lounge until there is a table available for us to eat downstairs. The bar is crowded with hungry patrons and we are seated at a table for four. A young couple approaches and asks if the other two seats are taken. Brian graciously goes to the bar, seeing as my martini glass is empty. I remain at the table with the new arrivals and conversation ensues.

Pretty girl: “Hey! Where are you guys from?”

Me (proudly): “Austin, TX.”

Pretty girl: “Really? Me, too! Are you guys here are your honeymoon?”

Me: “Yes, we got married on Saturday.”

Pretty girl: “Us, too! In Dripping Springs!”

Screeching halt.

Instantly, I know who these people are. I know where they got married. I know what I did to them in my heart those many months before. That’s right, folks– this is the couple that got married at Memory Lane on “our date.” God has a sense of humor.

We love Jordan and Taylor. We hung out with them after dinner. They are lovely, and we are cruel. I know that we were joking, but these people are real, their relationship is real, and in God’s eyes, what we do in our hearts– we actually do. Brian and I had to meet Jordan and Taylor to realize that even joking the way we did was wrong.

And I learned a valuable lesson that I will take back with me to the classroom next week. You see, God has a great deal to teach us– we are broken, stubborn, prideful, and arrogant students. Sometimes he has to put our sin directly in front of us for it to even occur to us that we have done is wrong. And it helps when He wraps it in some humor. So, of all the martini bars in all the world, Jordan and Taylor walked right into ours.

Grateful

Brian and I can’t stop talking about our wedding. It was such fun. Sunday’s post about wedding planning may have come across a tad anti-wedding, which is certainly not the case. We stand by all of it– honest sentiments in an honest moment. But here’s the rest of the story…

We are so grateful for our wedding day. Truly. We are grateful for our families who helped us to pay for and plan the day. We are grateful for our amazing vendors who cared for and spoiled us. We are grateful that so many of our friends and family came, braving the minor hurricane that raged outside, to celebrate our special day with us. It was amazing.

We didn’t get pulled apart too often during the night, as when we did I began to yell “Husband!” until Brian returned to my side, but we have so enjoyed filling each other in on the moments that the other was not there for. There were precious words whispered in ears, hilarious instances with family, and truly wonderful interactions with friends. Sharing these with each other– filling each other in on the other parts of the wedding– has been so joyful. I would encourage all of you to continue to share these moments with us when we return.

Moving the ceremony indoors at the last second ended up working out after all. No, not everyone could see us say our vows, but all could hear them. And those who didn’t see the vows witnessed my father seeing me as I came down the stairs. It went from an outdoor garden wedding to a cozy, intimate affair– complete with a roaring fire. It was so sweet. And it allowed us to refocus our minds to what was really important that day– no, it was not an ideal situation or even entirely comfortable for everyone– but Brian and I entered into a convenant relationship with God, committing ourselves to each other and to Him as a unit for the rest of our days.

I was talking to another bride here on vacation who also got married last Saturday in Austin, and they, too, had to move their outdoor ceremony indoors. As my thoughts on the day rolled off my tongue, ¬†realized that they were true. I told her that the rain didn’t change the important things. Sure– the party planner inside of me was disappointed that my party that I worked so hard to put together wouldn’t be executed as envisioned. However, the most important parts of the day not only remained intact, but even rose to the forefront in importance (as they should have from the beginning): we said our vows and made our commitment, surrounded by the friends and family we love and hold most dear. And for that, we will forever be grateful.

Change Is Moving In

While we are away on our honeymoon we have a few posts lined up and scheduled in the likely case we are too busy to post anything. So, enjoy this auto-scheduled content while we enjoy the beach, a few pina coladas, and I’m hoping enough Jimmy Buffet to drive Lindsey crazy. ūüôā

I¬†am writing this on Monday, the 5th. In 5 days I will be married, and I am just now starting to grasp the depth of the impact on my daily world (I’m a slow learner sometimes‚Ķ).¬†After a weekend of getting the house ready for Lindsey to move in, I appreciate¬†the massive amount to change that is about to come my way.

Sitting here at this moment I have no idea of what exactly will be changing, but it is obvious that my life was missing something. I knew I needed a partner, a helpmate, someone to share love and life with. But as much as I knew I needed it, I’m not certain exactly how I need it, how that partner would fit into my life. The picture is becoming clearer though.

Lindsey is bringing her sweet spirit and heart, her love for the weak and oppressed, her desire to know God and grow and much, much more to this home and I cannot be thankful enough for it. She is changing the way I see the world and the way I see her. I’m marrying a truly remarkable woman, and I cannot wait to see the ways in which she makes my life better, and I certainly hope that I return the favor to an even larger degree.

Here is the point, I am sitting in a clean living room, the wedding gifts are sorted and stacked, there is more open closet space than there has ever been and my garage is full of donations for the Salvation Army. We spent the weekend clearing out my old stuff so she can move in. I willingly and solely did things that I hate to do around the house, and with a real sense of joy. It was a shock and surprise to be honest. I mean, let’s face it, I am lazy. But the sense of calm and clear that comes with this is surprising. Not only am I cleaning out the actual junk in my house but through our relationship so far, the premarital counseling through our church and the other things we have done to prepare I feel like I am cleaning out the junk in my mind and soul. It’s an all around housecleaning.

I think this is how it should be. This should feel exactly as it does: clean, free and optimistic. It’s a fresh start, a wiping away of an old life that often centered on selfishness and replacing it with a relationship based on loving, serving and supporting each other. It’s a radical shift in my life, but one I am more than ready for.

His and Hers Advice for Wedding Planning

Well, by now the wedding is over and we are off on the honeymoon enjoying a well-deserved rest. At least, I hope so. We are writing posts this week ahead of time to publish while we are busy doing a whole lot of nothing… in Jamaica. Woohoo!

One of the things that we decided early on to write about is the “how” of¬†putting togther a wedding and what we have learned. Hopefully, you will find something here that is useful (or maybe funny if you are already on the other side). So, here are our thoughts on the whole process, from both a His and Hers point-of-view.

Hers:

  • I thought the people who told us to jump on a plane and get married on a beach were either insane or¬†over-exaggerating. They weren’t. Buy two plane tickets and get married on beach in a J.Crew sundress. If you’re not convinced, you can read on, but I urge you to consider the beach. Really.
  • Budget first. We didn’t. We dove in, then budgeted. Budget first and stick to it.
  • Be honest. Be honest about finances, what’s important, and what you want.
  • Go through a serious pre-marital counseling program. The one we did through our church, Austin Stone, was great. I’m so glad that we did it, because otherwise, all focus would have been on the wedding day and I would have had no clue what to do the day after.
  • For the DIY girls: If you want to be a DIY-er that is great and admirable and all, but it really only works if you don’t have a full-time job. I was ambitious and consequently, a bit foolish. Ask for help, get a coordinator, or don’t worry about so many freakin’ details– you’re the only one who is going to notice them anyways! (Note: I’m very proud of my decor and theme and could not have followed my own advice on this one.)
  • Use mine. Use my venue, photographer, florist, bakery, and caterers. Seriously. You’ll be SO happy with these incredible people and you will have a beautiful day!
  • Etsy, Pinterest, Goodwill, and vintage stores are your best friends. And then use your decor to spruce up your new home ūüôā
  • Keep this as your mantra:¬†At the end of the day, we will be married.¬†So when it rains, repeat the mantra. When your decor falls apart, repeat your mantra. When there is a major catastrophe and you’re at your whits end, repeat your mantra. Repeat your mantra. Repeat your mantra.¬†

His:

  • Don’t do it. I’m serious. Don’t do the whole big wedding thing. It’s fun to throw a big party, and it’s great to have your loved ones there, but it’s just not worth the money, the time, or the¬†frustration. I’ll post about the evil wedding industry later, but to suffice it to say… I’m not a fan.
  • Spend just as much time preparing for the marriage as you do for the wedding. They are NOT the same thing.
  • If you do have to have a big wedding, I have two words: Budget and Priorities. Your budget needs to be set first¬†and each line-item needs to be driven by your priorities.
  • Trust me, you cannot underestimate how much a wedding means to a girl and her mother. Even if the plan is to be small and intimate, trust me do not treat anything lightly.
  • The only things you will have a month after the wedding are the pictures and the dress. Everything else will be in a landfill somewhere.
  • Lighten up and have fun. You only do this once, so enjoy it!

Today

I’m going to wear a white dress today. I’m going to walk down an aisle beside my father.

I’ll pass by my friends– the friends that have seen me through everything. There will be friends from youth, friends from college, friends from work and from church. I will see their wide smiles and cell phones poised to take my picture.

Then I will pass my family. There will be tears– joyous tears– and many of them. Mom will smile through hers. I’ll smile back. It’s happening, Mom. It’s really happening.

The man at the end of the aisle, well, he will be mine by the end of this whole thing. We’re ready– oh man, are we ready. I can’t anticipate his face. Of course, there will be a smile, but I’m pretty sure the expression is one I will have never seen before. It should be. I have been his girlfriend and his fiance, but this will be the first time he’ll be looking upon his bride.

There will be a ceremony. Mallory will hold my bouquet and straighten my train. But more importantly, she’ll be the one standing beside me on the most important day of my life since the day I gave my heart to Jesus. Daniel will be up there with the groomsmen. He’ll smile at his big sister, even though she made him trim his facial hair today.

Family will sing. Friends will read and pray. Best friends will wear my favorite color for the first (and most likely only) time in their lives and watch over us.

Tyson will share a message. It will be a good message, though I don’t know if I will be listening. I will be trying to grasp what is happening and savor the sweet moment, for today, I enter into a covenant with Brian and God. We will promise ourselves to each other forever. We will vow to demonstrate Christ to one another daily, to think of the other first, to serve the other, to love the other.

Tyson will announce us. I will have a new last name. And when I return back down that aisle, I will be Brian’s wife. His forever.

We will laugh and take pictures. And I will be his forever. We will eat barbecue and dance.  And I will be his forever. We will hug our friends and our families and be so grateful for their love and support. And I will be his. Forever.

I am going to wear a white dress today.