BLOGiversary.

BLOGiversary

I was going to write a post about reflecting on this past year and marveling over how much has changed since I started writing last February. Instead I’m just going to say thank you.

Thank you to all you people who read this little blog, there are far more of you than I ever would have expected. Thank you for laughing along with me as I recount some of the wonderfully awkward moments in my life. Thank you for telling me my outfits look nice, even though I look back at half of them and cringe. Thank you for sharing your own stories with me. Most importantly, thank you for the comments, messages, texts, e-mails and phone calls of support when times get tough. I can’t begin to tell you how far kind words go with me, and how much all the anxiously written posts become worth it when I know I’m not alone.

I had wanted to write a blog for years when I finally began Something Beautiful, and now, a year into, I couldn’t be more glad that I finally did it.

The First Look.

Us Simpson’s have got a lot going on right now, and with a lot of things “up in the air” I am feeling extra thankful that I get to live life with my sweet husband. And since I’ve been meaning to write a post about this for months, I’m finally sitting down and sharing my absolute favorite moment from our Wedding day, our first look.

(All photos by The Schultzes )

(I should note, Clint and I have never actually talked about how our first look went, other than me saying I’m glad we did it, so this is all from my POV.)

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A couple of weeks prior to our wedding I started contemplating whether or not I wanted to do a first look on our wedding day. Photography was one of the top priorities for the wedding and I loved the idea of having that extra photo time. However, that traditional side of me was concerned that it would make my walk down the aisle less special. I ended up e-mailing our photographer asking for her opinion on the first look and she directed me towards this blog post. A take on the first look, on behalf of the Groom. This post conveyed just what I needed to hear, that a Bride walking down the aisle towards her Groom is going to special, and beautiful, and emotional, and unforgettable, no matter what happens before that. The first look would just be the cherry on top.

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When I talked to Clint about doing a first look I expressed how I wanted for him and I to have a moment together alone to bask in the glory of our day, just the two of us. Ironically, a wedding, a day that is about two people, very easily becomes about every other person there. Everyone warns you of how quickly your wedding day with come and go, zipping by in the blink of an eye. I was determined to make the most of every moment we had that day. So after a little bit of back and forth on if a first look was right for us, we made the choice to have a first look be a part of our wedding day. Now cue all those funny looks from our Parents who 1. Had never even heard the term “first look”.  2. Thought we were crazy for breaking such a traditional aspect of getting married.

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On our wedding day I found myself calm, cool, and collected- maybe even too much so. I had been so worried that I’d spend my wedding day a ball of nerves and overcome with anxiety that I actually ended up getting ready for my wedding feeling… underwhelmed? I didn’t have that spark of excitement. It didn’t truly hit me that this was our wedding day, that I was about to put on the big white dress, and marry my best friend. As I continued to get ready and watched as all the people around me got more and more beautiful by the moment I was craving the joy of being a bride.

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As I made my way over to do our first look I had a single moment when I was walking down to get in place and caught just a glimpse of Clint waiting on the docks and my heart could have just burst. For our first look I stood on one end of a dock while Clint stood on the other. He was to wait for me to call his name and when he turned to face me we’d walk towards each other and meet in the middle. It turns out my groom just couldn’t contain his joy as he ran towards me. Tears instantly came to eyes and love flooded every last inch of my heart. I’ll never forget the moment he finally reached me with open arms, as cheers came from the near by boaters, and the soft sound of water brushing up against the rocks, it was just perfect. In the moment of our first look, I became a bride, ready to marry her groom. For those next few minutes Clint and I stood together exchanging sweet words and having the chance to enjoy our wedding day, just the two of us.

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 Also, to be terribly honest, knowing myself, part of why I wanted to have a first look was because of all the things I knew I’d want to say to Clint once I walked down the aisle to him: How do I look? Do you like my dress? Are you nervous? Excited? You look so nice! I can’t believe it’s our wedding day! Except you can’t exactly get down the aisle and start-up a conversation with your groom, you kind of have a ceremony to get on with. I knew if we didn’t do a first look I’d feel like rushing the ceremony so that Clint and I could speak candidly with one another. Because we did do a first look, and because we were able to get all of those things out-of-the-way, I was able to enjoy our ceremony like I never thought I’d be able to. I feel like for so many people a ceremony is just a technicality, you know, the actual act of getting married and all. For me, I soaked up every last second of our ceremony. It was almost like Clint and I had this special little bond of our special moment just prior, that made us each smile just a little sweet at one another as we exchanged vows.03_Portraits_0326

Now obviously every couple and every wedding is different, so a first look may be completely right for one couple, and couple wrong for another. For us, it was right. And it completely set the tone for the rest of the day between the two of us. It allowed us to get excited, together. 03_Portraits_0330

These pictures are so incredibly special to me. When I look at them I can so vividly remember the way my heart sped up as Clint looked me up and down, taking in the lace trim of my gown, the sparkle of my earrings, the softness of my flowing veil. The first look was one of the most emotional moments of the day the photographs snatched up that emotion and put it in a place for us to hold onto forever.
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I love this man so very much.
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And I just LOVED our first look.03_Portraits_0342

Wish List Wednesday: Online Shopping.

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I’ve mentioned before that I really do not enjoy window shopping. However, me and online shopping, we get along really well. We’re pretty good friends, the internet and I. Yesterday I decided I needed to do some therapeutic online shopping. For years now I have added thousands of items to online shopping carts just to let them sit there forever. You see, I never actually buy any of it, but popping it in the virtual cart almost feels just as good as if I was hanging the new item in my closet. One of the reasons I “shop” online is to find things I like, duh. But then I look at what I like online and figure out what of those things I already kind of have. Like that first pink top. After adding it to my american eagle cart I went to get dressed today and I just wanted that pink top! So I looked through my own closet and pulled out my pink and white striped pocket tee from the Gap that has been hiding/ it has a small hole in the back which requires a jacket be worn so I tend to write it off. I slid that tee off the hanger and made my own little variation of the outfit I wanted. Zero spent.. and it’s kind of like a new shirt again since I haven’t worn it for so long. (I love when I haven’t worn something for so long that when I do put it on again the mister asks if its new.. It’s like I went shopping in my own closet.)

So up there, is just a bit of what is currently sitting in my online shopping carts. Everything is from either J.Crew, American Eagle/Aerie, or Ann Taylor Loft. FYI- if I had ordered everything yesterday I’d be out $1236. We’ll be sticking to the “leave it in the cart” method for a while longer. Also, just a little tidbit. There are several companies where if you’ve bought something from them before, and therefore they have your e-mail address, and you put items in an online shopping cart and then “x” out of the screen, they’ll send you an e-mail saying something to the extent of “hey you left some items in your cart, come back and get them with 15% off!”. It works, and I’ve done it more times than is probably ethical.

Happy online shopping!

Fashion Friday.

For this week’s fashion friday I thought I’d share a little bit about how my personal style has come about.

I tend to wear a lot of layers. I find it makes me feel more comfortable and less, “hey, look at my skinny arms.” I do believe it was those treacherous middle school years of non-stop “you must be anorexic” jabs that led me to a life of cardigans in the summer. As I’ve gotten older and naturally settled in and filled out more I feel a little bit less of a responsibility to keep my “gross arms” and “stick legs” hidden and more open to different styles. In a strange way, layers have kind of become a little security blanket for me. I hardly ever leave home without a jacket or sweater, and if I do it always seems to be when I wish I had it most. With each passing year I feel a little bit less awkward about my complete lack of curves, but when those chilly days come rolling around I’m always ready to bring out the layers and a smile.

FFA

FFD

FFBFFC

These two were too good-looking to leave out. :]

FFE

Please and thank you.

These are, according to our world, the magic words. They just might get the salt passed at the table, they just might make someone feel good about holding that door a beat longer to let you in behind them, they just might be the words every parent conditions into their child wondering endlessly if they’ll ever actually be said back to them without being prompted. I’ve been saying the magic words my entire life (with an exception to a particularly sassy phase in my mid-teens) and despite my usage of the words I must admit, I have never seen any resemblance of a magical outcome. Because really, the waitress is going to bring you your drink whether you say please and she’ll refill it even if you don’t say thank you.

Lately I’ve found myself thinking about thankfulness a lot. I like to think I’m an appreciative person. I know the blessings that fill my life, and as best I can, I give thanks for them. I have always had such a pet-peeve about people who are ungrateful. And honestly, I used to compare myself to them, validating that I’m far more grateful for the things I have than they are. They, are the brat who hardly acknowledges the $200 pair of jeans that just came perfectly wrapped under the christmas tree. I’ll admit, I was a judger. Recently though I’ve come to realize that often people aren’t just “spoiled” or “ungrateful”, rather, they are unaware, and I’m one among them. It’s always been so easy for me to look at someone who clearly has so much and think, they have no idea how good they have it… and their not even thankful for it! And now I think, how many people have been looking at me and saying the same thing?! And worst of all, I think of how God must look into my heart and see the things I’m thankful for and think… is this it?

The other day Clint and I were in the car when we passed a bus shelter. It was a chilly, wind-filled day. The kind that stings just a touch with each deep breath. Your hands feel tight, as if you couldn’t straighten them out or ball them into a fist. You back gets tense as the chills rise up your spine. When I saw the people standing under the sorry excuse for a shelter I was brought back to all those times in college where I stood shivering, shaking, and covered in snow from the top of the pom-pom on my hat to the toes of my insulated boots. I can so vividly remember the cold mornings and even colder nights standing at a bus stop just wanting to scream, cry, and fold in on myself as the winds tumbled into me, and doubting if the bus with the scrolling yellow words POP 105 would ever come to rescue me. As the growing warmth of my seat warmer brought me back to my current reality I thought of how thankful I was to be in the car at that very moment. As we drove on, I found myself thanking God for this car, at that very moment. I was thankful for that warm mode of transportation that took me only to my destination and I could literally feel the thankfulness pouring out of my heart straight up to God. I voiced to Clint my thankfulness for his car, and it felt so nice, to knowingly, vocally, acknowledge something that we’ve been blessed with. Generally speaking I’m thankful we both have cars, it would be a much different lifestyle if we only had one, or even none. But I realized on that particularly cold day, God doesn’t want us to just acknowledge our gifts in a general way, He wants us to acknowledge them every single day, in every single way. I now have prayed, spoken, and written my thankfulness for that one single moment and as my life finds more ways for me to show that thankfulness I shall do just that, be thankful.

You see, I’ve realized, as aforementioned, that most people aren’t truly ungrateful, they are unaware, am unaware. As much as I like to tell myself I know my blessings, I’m so unknowing of all the things God has specifically blessed me with. I doubt I’ll ever truly know how much I have to be thankful for, many of us won’t. But I now know how much I want to be made aware. I want to be aware of all the things I have to be thankful for, from the people to the things themselves.  If I came face to face with Christ today I would thank him for everything I have, from the loving relationship with my husband, to the fan that gently keeps me cool as I sleep each night, and every last thing in between. While I likely will not being coming face to face with Him today, He thankfully is in my heart, which is even closer, even more intimate, and even more important.

So how do I go about actually becoming more thankful, more aware? Well, this was kind of step one. Today I read,

“Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name,
make known his deeds among the peoples!”
-1 Chronicles 16:8

Part of being thankful to the Lord is sharing that thanks with others. Each day I want to sit down with my journal and write something I am thankful for, I’ll force myself to be aware of my blessings. And every so often I’ll share them with you all. In doing this I hope it does two things. One, I hope it pushes me to realize my blessings on a more day-to-day level. Two, I hope it allows others to open their eyes to their surroundings and blessings and create an atmosphere of thankfulness. Today, the Lord also directed me towards this verse,

“Give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
-1 Thessalonians 5:18

Life is made of valleys and peaks, and most of us, myself included, live in a state of in-between. It is all too easy to thank God for the promotion when it finally comes. It is too simple to thank God for what you do have while you slowly lose what you’ve always had. The time it’s hardest to say thank you is when you’re just living life, day by day, moment by moment. Not many of us want to say, “Thanks God for this horribly long commute each morning on the way to work.” But I contend that if you thank God for that hour-long drive of time alone He just might use it to your advantage. We’ve all been there before, the moment someone thanks you, truly, genuinely and without any convoluted intentions, and you find yourself wanting to do more, and give more to that person. We were made this way, in a reflection of God. He is faithful, and He is able to give us everything.

Another way I hope to create a more thank-filled lifestyle is to vocalize my thanks more often. When God blesses me with great conversation at dinner with my sweet husband, I want to thank Him for it, and I want to say it. I won’t lie, this is going to be hard for me. While it may be surprising to hear from someone who writes a blog (and has more than once written about my faith) it’s hard for me to vocalize my faith to other people. I didn’t grow up that way and it’s not something that’s been easy for me to develop. There are certain people I feel comfortable discussing my faith with and others where the thought is already making me cringe. But, nobody ever got good as something without trying. While not everyone in my life may share the same beliefs as me I am held in the arms of a God who will equip me with strength and bravery. I’m sure it will offer up a few awkward moments, but Jesus died a sinners death on a cross wrapped in nothing but God’s love, if He could do that for me, then I can risk adding a few more awkward moments to my life for His glory. After all, if I find myself becoming the person who people think of as the “God-thanker” I think I’ll be just fine.

The thing about things is this, we often forget we’re not entitled to them. Everything we have is a gift from God, and we’ve all been caught up in stealing his credit. For me, it’s about time I started doing more than just saying those magic words, it’s time for me to start living them.