Monday, April 29, 2013

A "Love Story" Bridal Shower

I always ask a few questions in preparation for a shower: I want to know colors, themes, registration, etc. Knowing those things helps me plan a shower that fits them and their tastes! When I asked the Bride-To-Be these questions she showed me her nails, painted a dark purple, proudly displaying her color choice. When I spied on her wedding Pinterest board, I found that her choices were elegant. When I saw her and her fiance together and heard their love story unfold, I knew they were truly in love. That was the beginning of planning a theme for her shower. I look into all kinds of angles - names, stories, interests, colors, etc. to think of a theme and this one has been my favorite so far. It all came together so well.

Elegance, true love, new last name beginning with an E....

"Daniel E. & TorE's Love StorE"

I scoured Pinterest and the Internet for ideas surrounding a love story themed bridal shower. There isn't much out there, but what I did find inspired me to create a shower that the Bride would truly enjoy and savor. Her response to it all was exactly what I had hoped - one of excitement and the moment she walked in she said, "Aw! This is all so cute!" Yay!
Since I'm an English/Language Arts teacher I gathered every love story I had on my shelf (which ended up being a significant amount).
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • The Wedding by Nicolas Sparks
  • Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  • A Marriage After God's Own Heart by David Clarke
  • The Vow by Kim and Krickitt Carpenter
  • Poetry books (Because what isn't romantic about poetry?)
  • Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
  • Two From Galilee by Marjorie Holmes
  • Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
  • The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks
  • Just Jane by William Lavender
  • The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells.
I would say the books themselves were a raving success to use as center pieces because they were a conversation starter. I heard, "Oh! I love this book!" or "This story is an amazing one!" over and over again. For the "vases" I simply used cans, covered them in purple and gray scrapbook paper and filled them with flowers.

I saw the frame idea on Pinterest, found an old map, cut out the state where they met and put a sticker heart on the location. She loved it.
I found cardboard boxes that doubled as storage containers at Hobby Lobby. I painted them, and made them look like books with their love story...

Scattered on each table were heart and flower cut outs from pages from an old book.

Using the same book, I created a "Love Story" banner and hung it on the fireplace mantel.

I used many pages from this book. :) My next project was creating a card basket. I cut out a curly-q E from one of the pages, and also from cardboard and covered it with dark purple yarn. And pasted two hearts (also from a book page) onto the E.

JUST after completion...
In use... :)
One of my favorite tasks was setting up her "love story" book complete with recipe's and date ideas from her guests, an interview from the groom, and a portion of their love story.

Guest Book table. One frame has a picture of their wedding invite and the other has the quote, "Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite."

Front Inside Cover of Guestbook: on the left hand side is their "love story" and on the right hand side is a quote from one of the greatest love stories of all time, Song of Solomon 8:6-7 "Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is as strong as death, jealousy as fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the Lord. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised." Just from this verse we learn that love is possessive - he is mine, she is his, we learn that love is powerful because it is from the Lord, we learn that love is steadfast, precious, priceless, and permanent.

I wrote out their love story, mostly in the groom's own words, and put it in story form:
Once upon a time not so long ago a little girl with long curly black hair chased a little boy through the playground. She caught him, tackled him, and kissed him. This little girls mother did call this little boys mother wondering if he had told this little tale. Little did they know this little kiss was the beginning of a fantastic love story.
As time passed they grew to be friends and before he knew it this boy knew he was in love. He realized this love on a trip. And on this trip he did everything he could to avoid her. Just so she didn't see the Christmas gift he bought for her.
This little kiss and the realization of this love at Christmas time hold special significance in the next part of this very special love story. On Christmas day, this boy, now a young man arranged a special way to give his love a special gift. With his brothers in tow, and cameras ready, they made their way back to the playground where this little girl, now a beautiful young woman, chased, tackled, and kissed this young man whom she now loved. When they stopped to "play" she didn't know why at the time... "Just for fun" he said. And as they strolled down memory lane of kindergarten days past he reached behind his back and pulled out a gift. She was disappointed thinking, "What?! Not a ring?" Little did she know the significance behind the empty picture frame. He told her it was empty because he wanted this moment to be captured and put in the frame (remember the brothers with the cameras). He then got down on one knee and asked her to marry him.
And this is only the beginning of Daniel and Tori's love story...
The page on the left says, "This is the start of your sweet little love story the part where your page meets mine. No matter where your tale takes you, tomorrow our story will always read, Love." The guest book is a picture album and the guests were instructed to...
1. Sign your recipe card and place it in a picture slot. (On the invites the guests were asked to bring their favorite recipe.) 2. Give Tori and Daniel a date idea.
The Reason? A Love Story should continue long after the "I Do's" so give Daniel and Tori something to add to the memories they will make together: dinner and dates!

My favorite "recipe" for Honeymoon Salad = Lettuce Alone. (Hahahahaha!)

In the back of the book I left pages to write down what each guest gave the bride and on the top of each page I wrote down the answers to some of the grooms interview questions.
The final page (back cover) was also a favorite of mine. Listed are characters and famous couples who had enduring, long lasting, or well known love stories, including the bride and groom and also their parents. (Like, Adam and Eve, Antony and Cleopatra, Mickey and Minnie, Superman and Lois Lane, Joseph and Mary, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, Robin Hood and Maid Marion, &etc.) The quote at the end is, "Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite."

Lastly, there are instructions for the bride and groom: With each date you take don't forget to fill this book with your memories: 1. Take a picture. 2. And Record: where did you go? What did you do? Favorite memory. 3. Fill it and then some...
The Maid of Honor writing in her book, the guests and their gifts.
It's embarrassing that as I scrutinize these pictures, I've found countless typo's! Ugh. Sorry, Tori.

Despite these mistakes, I was able to fix her apron when I smeared paint across the top. With recipe's come messes, plus apron's are super cute, so thankfully I was able to repair my error.

As Tori made her own mess opening her gifts, we kept the bridal shower tradition to  keep the ribbons, bows, and tissue paper to create a bouquet for her to walk down the isle with the night of her rehearsal. It turned out super cute. She also only broke 2 ribbons, which, if you keep to "tradition" or myth or legend or whatever, haha, she's having 2 children! The (soon?) to be Grandmother was pleased. ;)

Jessica and Jill creating...
And having fun doing it!

With the bride and the ompleted bouquet.
The game was a blast, full of belly laughs, and downright ridiculousness. They were split up into 3 groups of 8, each group was creating 8 different love stories. The first page was a sentence that began a love story, the pack of paper was then passed to the person on their left and she had to draw a picture of that sentence. After the picture was drawn the pack of paper was again passed and the next person wrote a sentence about the picture, this was continued until you ended up with your original pack of paper. It ends up being like the telephone game where the end of the story ends up being completely different than how it originally started. Some of the pictures were great! And trying to write a sentence about a hilarious picture was the challenge. By the end the guests were laughing hysterically as the story unfolded.
Writing and drawing...

One of the hilarious pictures, where she struggled to write a sentence!

What to write? What to write? :)
The bride showing off her story...
More reading, more laughs...
Lastly, Lanelle gave a wonderful devotional about the beauty of a woman as Tori prepares for her big day.

We ended the shower with food and gift opening. Unintentionally, the shower went way longer than I ever intended, but hopefully everyone had a fun afternoon.
The bride showing off one of her gifts.

Elise was in charge of the food and this was one of my favorite pieces: a vege bouquet! How cute is that? For some reason I didn't get a picture of the food table and how it was beautifully put together with chocolate kisses, mixed nuts, chocolate creme puffs, 3 different kinds of fudge, oh my goodness, it was a small piece of heaven. She also created a ginger ale, grape juice, frozen fruit concoction that was super yummy. The dark purple drink in a mason jar with gray straws, worked at marvelously. Elise did a fantastic job - she's hired!
Everyone pulled their hats together to create a beautiful shower that the bride thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you to Elise who had the idea of throwing Tori a shower in the first place and spoiling us with fantastic food. She worked through the entire shower to make sure everyone had a full plate and their glass was never empty. She was running around like crazy. Lanelle prepared a beautiful message that helped me understand a woman's true beauty is not her outward adornment, but by the things she says and does. And most importantly, the bride seemed to enjoy it all and walked away with a ton of goodies, which was the goal in the first place!

Gifts Galore!
Thank you Lord for a church body who selflessly gives and a group of women who go out of their way to bless someone else!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

One of "THOSE" Days

Everyone has days that we refer to as "one of those days" (insert heavy sigh here). After telling someone, "I'm having one of those days," they nod their head in solemn understanding. So I'm glad, reader, that as I type, "I'm having one of those days," that I know you can relate.

Let me tell you about my day...

Brielle won't stop crying. She cried when she woke up. She cried when I took her out of her crib. She cried when I changed her diaper. She cried when I suctioned her boogers and snot (okay I totally get that one). She cried when I fed her, in between swallows. She cried when I gave her a toy. She cried when I took it back. She cried when I put her down for her nap.

And it became overwhelmingly obvious that she does not feel well.

Kyle and I have had an on again off again cold consisting of a headache, runny nose, and sore throat. Nothing major, but I'm pretty sure she has it.

Also, her first tooth popped through Monday.

Aaaaaaand Tuesday, she got shots.

So this poor baby is not having a good week. After her nap, she woke up relatively happy (until I suctioned her nose again) and when it was time to eat, she chowed down, and then projectile vomited all over! Sooooooo we took a bath. We were there for an hour and a half because she was a happy, happy baby! Whatever works. Both of us were all sorts of wrinkly afterwards, especially her cute little chubby toes. (hehe) I gave her some Tylenol and put her back to bed. She fell right asleep WITHOUT FUSSING. That's definitely something I can be thankful for.

Which has been my mindset lately (or at least trying to have that mindset lately).

My sisters and I have been doing a thankful journal since February. Around that time we were going through some pretty nasty stuff that put us in a rotten mood. Every time we talked, it was negative. So my sister Mel finally said that she was going to find 5 things a day that she was grateful for and write them down, in hopes of changing the way she perceives the events throughout her day and thus changing her mindset. I hopped on that boat and so did my sister Mandy. Now, we talk every day, holding each other accountable and talking about our thankfuls from the previous day. Not only has it changed my perspective on life in general, but it has made my relationship with my sisters so amazingly close. Most importantly, my relationship with God has grown because this journal helped me worship HIM by thanking HIM for all that HE has blessed me with, because that list is pretty darn near endless. Discussing our thankful journals is one of the highlights of my day.

Still, there are days we joke that "I had to dig really deep yesterday" to find something, anything to be thankful for because we had "one of those days", let me give you an example of one of those days back in March:
  1. Thank you LORD that despite the mood of not wanting to do anything, I sucked it up, accomplished something, and my mood changed a tad.
  2. Thank  you Lord, that after waking up at 5 am with a sore throat and headache, and after sleeping in - my headache went away at least.
  3. Thank you for this grapefruit I'm about to eat. Yum. 
  4. Thank you Lord for a hubby who's excited to do a March Madness basketball tourney bracket with me.
  5. Thank you for my dishwasher, cause I'd go mad without it.
Well, I'm having another one of those days.....

BUT when I sat down to write in my thankful journal I began looking back and saw entries like this:
  • My nephew Gary is so smart. Mel is a wonderful mommy and is such a good teacher. Today I listened to Gary "read" me a book. He recalled so many details, connected it to his own life, and showed me what a switchback was with his own play train tracks (so I understood the story). I'm blown away.
  • Thank you Lord for the opportunity to play basketball. I played one game and my core was extremely sore. One game is one game, but I FELT GOOD ENOUGH TO PLAY!
  • Thank you for the yummy no bake cookies I made today, cause I've had, like, 5.
  • I'm enjoying this age so much. For the most part Brielle is a happy baby, doing something to make us giggle EVERY DAY. Her bababa's and shrieks of excitement bring so much joy to dinner time. Her little belly laughs at bath time bring us to hysterics. It's in these moments I wish time would slow down! Thank you Lord for entrusting us to raise her - help us do it in a way that she grows up knowing and loving you.
  • Lord, I have an amazingly thoughtful hubby who saved the last bit of milk for me to put in my coffee. It was the last jug before grocery shopping the next day. I crawled out of bed, made coffee, and had the perfect amount. It may seem small, but he knows me and loves me enough to do something like that. He's so thoughtful. I am blessed with an amazing husband who helps me understand the love you have for me. I'm beginning to notice "the small things" you do for me everyday. How can one girl be so blessed to be so loved? My heart is overflowing.
    • Side Note: I thanked Kyle when he came home from work for doing that for me and he just smiled and said, "I knew you'd want it for your coffee." It's proof that such a simple statement and a simple act mean so much. We need more men like Kyle.
I made sure to thumb the pages where these entries were written. I don't want to forget them. They helped me realize that I have one heck of an amazing life. So my day turned from "one of those days" into a beautiful, thank you LORD, for the life I'm blessed to live, kind of day.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Prayer Request for a 17 Year Old!

I stumbled across a website, that was giving away a free book titled, "Tortured for Christ" and I instantly jumped on that opportunity. Since then we receive free magazine's in the mail that relate story after story of Christians around the world who are persecuted for their faith. I HIGHLY recommend you go to this website, read the book, and sign up for the magazine. Every month I have someone new to pray for and I truly believe prayer is powerful. The more people I can get on board - the better!

This week there was one story that blew me away and I felt compelled to share it and ask that you pray for this individual. His name is Hussein and his story literally gave me goosebumps. He is from Iran, where Christianity is illegal. By sharing the gospel, by simply being a Christian, he puts his life on the line. 

He was a drug addict (by the age of 12) and once he became a believer he was released from the addiction. His father, instead of being happy about this release, told him that he would rather be the father of a drug addict than a Christian. He turned him into the police and he was arrested. His father even hoped they would kill him stating, "I hope they decide to hang you, if they do I will be the one who'll put the rope around your neck."

Can you imagine?!

His punishment was severe. They broke all his fingers on his right hand because he's a musician, gave him 40 lashes, and broke his leg. They expelled him from high school and gave him no opportunity to attend college or further his education in any way. In fact, all of his academic history was erased. He quite literally sacrificed his future on this earth for the sake of the gospel.

Despite all of this persecution...


The guard gave him his phone number telling Hussein that he was interested in hearing more about Christ. Hussein contacted I AM, whose TV message originally led him to Christ, asking for prayer and advice: Should he contact this guard? Is it a trap or is this guard truly interested in hearing more about the gospel? It's a tough call. One that I would not want to make.

Pray for him!

That is really the only way I know how to help him. I have no way to relate to this young man. I have absolutely no idea what this would be like. His strength, his perseverance, inspires me. What am I doing to further the gospel? What do I do on a daily basis that leads others to Christ? I do not face persecution, my only fear is offending someone. So why do I hesitate in spreading God's message of hope?

If Hussein, a 17 year old, can fearlessly tell the gospel to the guard torturing him, how much more should I share my faith? I hope this inspires you, just as it did me.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

10 Housewife Facts I Wish I Could Ignore

I'm a terrible housewife. Cleaning, cooking, and organizing a home was never something I saw myself doing. However, it is where I feel the Lord wants me, so it's where I'll stay as long as this is His plan for me. I never, ever thought I'd be saying this but, "I love it!" I love being home with my daughter and being there for every milestone, big and small. I love being able to teach her words, sounds, songs, games &etc. I love baking (and I'm slowly catching on to the tricks of the trade). I love finding creative ways to save us money. I love decorating and making our home, our home. However, there are a few facts of life as a housewife I really, really wish I could ignore.... Whether you stay at home or not, I think everyone might be able to relate to this list:
  1. The road to organization is a messy one. I make piles: toss pile, yard sale pile, storage pile, don't-know-what-to-do-with-it pile....
  2. Sweeping and vacuuming under the furniture is necessary. You should've seen the dust bunny I accrued because I neglected this fact for over a month, or two....
  3. It's easier to put things where they belong right away rather than just tossing it on the kitchen table, the living room couch, the bed, or the floor so when it comes time to actually clean it's much less time consuming. Although I know this, I ignore it Sunday afternoon after church when I throw my nice clothes on the bed once I've slipped into comfy sweats, vowing to put them away "later".
  4. Just because I put clothes in the washer and started it, does not mean I've "done laundry" today. Doing laundry also includes drying, folding and putting them away. (Same rule applies to the dishwasher, thank goodness I don't have to fold dishes!)
  5. The kitchen floor needs attention, daily.
  6. If you don't wash down the inside of your trash can occasionally, the smell can become as rank as the trash itself.
  7. Knickknacks are cute, but the more you display the more you look like you should belong on the "help me, I'm a hoarder!" show and the more you have to dust. If I were to pick a favorite chore, dusting would be it, but that doesn't mean I enjoy it (seriously, who enjoys chores?).
  8. Just because you have a junk drawer, a junk basket, or a junk box doesn't mean you should keep the junk. (Don't judge me for having all three.)
  9. Starting one project always leads to another. When I clean the kitchen, for example, I find an item that belongs in the office, so I run it down the office, put it away and realize that that needs to be organized better, so I begin that project, totally forgetting about the kitchen, so I leave that project to finish the kitchen but get distracted on the way when I find the family room a disaster.
  10. Realizing that the yummy candle you just lit does not eliminate the stinky smell you can't find, so you close all your curtains as you run around the house sniffing everything - dogs, baby's butt, the bottom of the trash can, the inside of the dishwasher, between couch cushions, under the sink, refrigerator shelves... Until you find it and scrub it.
I really do wish I could ignore these facts, but its impossible. Still, you can get a lot done in the 10 minutes before company arrives (or before your hubby gets home just so it looks like you actually accomplished something during the day). THAT'S a universal truth all housewives CAN appreciate!