Getting Married is Not an Accomplishment…but Marriage IS!

Marriage Accomplishment

Allow me to be more specific: a good marriage, that is.

I’ve seen this article titled “Getting Married is Not an Accomplishment” floating around Facebook and getting shared by various people for a few weeks or so now, and while it made some great points, it’s the reaction and comments of the readers that really got me thinking. 

The entire premise of this article is the getting married part.  The excitement and ritual leading up to the big day.  People are then taking this to mean that marriage is not an accomplishment. I say that getting married and marriage are two very different things, and I do agree that getting married is not an accomplishment. However…

I also believe that a marriage; a good, strong, loving marriage, is a huge accomplishment.

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Happy 2014!!

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Hello friends-

 

This is just a quick note to wish you all a very Happy New Year!  I’ve been MIA for a few weeks, but I have a good reason: Erik and I get married in 3 days.  3 DAYS!!  We’re currently getting covered in snow in Illinois spending time with my family and getting final things done before the big day.  We have our marriage license ready to go and the to do list is almost complete.  This is such an exciting time.  Unfortunately, all of the running around, celebrating, planning and spending time with family (we were in Florida last week to be with Erik’s family) means that Diva and the Divine had to take a backseat.  Once we’re back from our little one day mini-moon things will start to run smoothly again.

One thing that will be happening is a whole series on New Year’s Resolutions.  I love the new year, as it’s always a chance to start over, set goals and get re-motivated to accomplish things.  I plan on talking about my goals and resolutions as well as some of the books and tools I plan on using to accomplish them.  I have high hopes for 2014.  I’ll be starting the year as a newlywed with a whole new chapter of my life unfolding and ready to be written, and I can’t wait to share my journey with all of you.

 

Until then, I hope all of you had a very happy and blessed holiday season full of love and joy.  Get ready to be excited about all that 2014 has to offer each one of us.

 

Love, the soon to be Mrs. E!  🙂

My Wedding Planning Visit Home: Part 1

On July 31, 2013 Erik and I packed up the Green Hornet (aka my car, a 2012 lime green Ford Fiesta. The name is thanks to my dad…I have yet to come up with a better one) and hit the road to head back to Illinois for a long weekend.  Once we returned from this trip I would be officially losing Erik to the world of MBA (his orientation started that coming Monday) so this was the last real chance I had to get him truly involved in the wedding planning process.  The result of this fact was a road trip back home (home for me anyway) for 3 days of appointments, decisions and family time.

Thankfully Erik’s mom, dad, and sister, Kristin (also one of my bridesmaids), were going to be in Oshgosh, WI for an annual trip they take to an airplane festival type event.  This meant that Kristin and his mom were going to be able to drive to Illinois and come spend the weekend doing wedding planning with us, which was such a blessing, as I want them to be as involved with the process as they can be.

Erik and I are getting good at enduring long car rides together.  We spend a lot of the time talking about things, and yes, sometimes we hit metaphorical pot holes (to go right along with the real ones) and end up arguing for a bit, but the nice thing about that is we are both stuck in a car, so we tend to discover a problem, discuss it intensely, and come up with a solution all within the car ride.  If you and your significant other think your relationship could use some work, go on a 800 mile road trip.  It helps.  Maybe it’s because our entire relationship up until the move has been long distance (save maybe a month total of time spent in the same state thanks to various visits) so communicating is something we do well, but every time we hit a disagreement or problem, talking it out works, and even if there isn’t an instant solution, we figure out what conscious efforts each of us need to make to fix it.  Signs I know i’m with the right man 🙂

Anyway, after a 14 hour ride we arrived at my parent’s house around 9:30pm.  Romano’s pizza was there waiting for us (this was also the weekend of “make sure Brianna gets to eat (and Erik’s family gets to experience) all of the Chicago-area food that isn’t anywhere else”).  Romano’s is a place my family has been eating at my entire life, so it was nice to have that to refuel us after a long drive.  The best part about walking into my house was seeing my dogs.  That is the thing I miss the most about being home; I don’t have any furry friends to offer the unconditional love, cuddling, and allergy problems (okay, that one isn’t a loss) that I have been used to my entire life.   After a little bit of visiting with my family, we headed over to my grandfather’s house where we were staying.  He and Marilyn (his girlfriend)) live there now (for a time he lived at her place and I stayed there, until the epic flood that happened early spring), and were awesome enough to let us stay in the apartment upstairs while we were in town so I could avoid the allergy doom that would have come with sleeping at my parents house.  After visiting with Pops and Marilyn for a bit, we went to bed, having no problems passing out with a day full of driving and knowing the wedding planning chaos that was ahead.

Thursday

Thursday started easy, with being able to sleep in a bit.  Erik decided he and I should go out for breakfast, so we asked Grandpa and Marilyn to come along, and they did.  I’ve always loved watching Erik and my grandfather getting along as well as they have the few times they’ve seen each other.  We took the opportunity to sit and talk about life in North Carolina, church hunting, etc, because that was the only chance we’d have to really sit and talk to them without the rest of the family around.   Fueled my hearty grained pancakes, fruit, Egg Beaters and turkey bacon, we were ready to embark on our wedding planning mission of the day: the florist.

A friend of mine from college, Mike, is in the wedding business in the area and has been amazing with offering me recommendations for where to go for various wedding things (for which I owe him majorly), and the florist was one of the places he hooked us up with.  We went in and talked flowers with Annie, who ended up being very knowledgeable, helpful and straight forward.  Did you know that there are carnations that grow naturally in several magnificent shades of purple??  Yeah, me either.  Well now a few of those will be with me on my wedding day.  We spent about two hours with her discussing arrangements, ideas for the church, and even her nephew, who has Muscular Dystrophy as well.  I love when that sort of thing serves as an instant bonding agent between myself and people I’ve just met.  It’s sort of like finding another Alpha Chi Omega; you might have just met, but you’re now bonded in a way you weren’t before.

After spending time at the flower shop we went to church to meet with Pam, a woman from my church who has known me pretty much my entire life (as far as I can remember it’s my whole life) and is doing all of our invitations and other paper needs. We walked into a bit a of a welcome party with the group of people that happened to be in the building at that time, which was wonderful.  I feel so at home there, and have missed my church greatly since being away.  After some socializing we got down to business and spent some time discussing our invites, arguing over the RSVP cards (there were 6 people in attendance, all of which voiced opinions..it got intense at times), but finished with a good idea of what direction to go.  Ever since Pam and i have been shooting emails and PDF files back and forth, trying to find what’s just right. Today (8/24) is when I finally sent the “perfect! let’s do this!” email.

The only other thing on the agenda for Thursday was dinner with my Aunt Norene.  We went to Lonestar Steakhouse (just the 3 of us) and had good food and good conversation.  She also showed us our engagement present.  She was awesome enough to get us our crystal toasting flutes for the big day.  They’re beautiful.

After dinner we got a call that Pam was at my parent’s house with revisions in hand already, so we hiked it back over there for a bit before heading back to grandpa’s for the evening.  One busy day down and two more to go.

 

Say tuned for part 2, complete with photos.  When Erik’s mom shows up you know there will be plenty of photos.  🙂

Doing Nothing

When we think about doing nothing two scenarios come to mind:

1. I’m going to spend Friday night doing nothing, meaning you’ll still do things like be lazy watching TV, maybe have a deliciously guilt filled dessert and basically just enjoy yourself rather than get work done.

2. You consciously do nothing about a situation and just let it be.

Today I want to talk a bout about our second choice.  As you may or may not know, I am a huge Jillian Michaels fan.  She’s one tough trainer with a good heart, and while she is all about the body, losing weight, being healthy and getting fit, she talks a lot about the psychology behind everything.  Every Monday she has a podcast, and the first segment is usually just her talking about whatever has been on her mind and they tend to be my favorite segments of the podcast.  A month or so ago I went to launch the new podcast and saw it was entitled “doing nothing.”  I figured she would be talking about how even she takes a lazy day or tips on being productive while feeling like you’re doing nothing, but no.  It was something much different and much more inspirational.

So with that said, I ask you this question:

 

What happens when you do nothing?

 

Now, you’re probably thinking “Come on Brianna, nothing happens when you do nothing!”  Right?  Wrong!!

Scenario 1: You’re over weight.  You’re not comfortable in your own skin, your self confidence is low, and you’ve packed on enough extra pounds for your doctor to regularly tell you it’s effecting your health.

Scenario 2: The really cute guy you see in the coffee house every day or class every week totally has caught your eye.  You two could very well be perfect for each other…if only he knew your name.

Scenario 3: You diagnosed with cancer.  Luckily you caught it early enough where it is treatable.

Scenario 4: Your significant other is starting to feel less in love with you.  Maybe there’s less passion and lovemaking, maybe there’s more tension and anger.  You know that a few minor changes in your habits could really help.

Scenario 5: Currently you’re employed, but not very happy going to work every day.  You know the type of job you’d like to be doing, but it’s just so much effort to change things at this point.

 

Look at the scenarios.  Again I ask, what will happen if you do nothing?  *lightbulb goes on*

Doing nothing definitely does not mean that things will stay the same, but instead it typically means things will get worse!  If you’re a #1 and do nothing about your weight you will keep living the lifestyle that got you there to begin with.  The results could very well be deadly.  Poor lab results, larger waistlines, and your health declining at a rapid rate.  In #2 and #5 if you do nothing you could very well end up spending the rest of your life regretting the fact you never took a chance.  Living in a world of “what if” is miserable.  Wouldn’t you rather have talked to the guy and been rejected?  Would that kill you?  What would you really have to lose if you did the work to try and get in the career path you actually wanted?  Be careful…you might end up happy.

While #3 is obvious it just further emphasizes the point.  If the cancer is treatable and you decide to not do anything about it, odds are it will kill you.  If you aren’t willing to do anything at home in #4, things won’t stay the same, but over time they will get worse, you both will be miserable and a split will inevitably happen.

 

Do any of these situations sound good to you?  These are all the results  of doing nothing.  Sure, doing nothing is easy; no extra effort on your part, but think about the results that will come from it.  Now that you’ve thought about it…is it worth it? The answer is almost always going to be NO.

Jillian Michaels’ words are wise and while I just touched on her 15 minute segment going on about this, I hope I got the point across.  Doing nothing will never result in things staying the same.  One for the road:

Scenario #6: paying your bills…what happens when you do nothing then..?

On this Saturday morning I hope you set yourself up to do something.  Make a change, take a risk, and be happy.

The Next Chapter Pt 2: North Carolina

Well, after being here just over a month I figured I probably should finish up our moving story.  Sorry it’s been so delayed.

Part 2: The journey to Chapel Hill

After our fabulous evening in Florida, Erik and I were up early (The goal was to leave around 6:30 or so) and getting ready to head out the door.  The house was silent, as his mom was still sleeping and his dad had left to go to work for an all day surgery.  As we’re getting our acts together we keep hearing thunder booming in the distance.  Of COURSE it plans on raining on the day we’re driving 12 or so hours to our new home.  I didn’t think much about it until Erik’s phone rings and it’s his father”

There are tornadoes and a storm heading up from the south.  I suggest you get on the road now and try to beat it.

Fan-freaking-tastic.

So we hurried to get the last of our things together: water bottles full, snack bag full of granola and protein bar type things, one last check to make sure we didn’t leave anything behind, and we hopped in the U-haul and pulled out of the driveway…just in time for the heavier rains to start.  Perfect..

I will say this, I was so glad Erik was driving.  After my whole almost-died-learned-my-car-could-float experience (which happened a week or so before I went to Florida to meet Erik in person 2 years ago) I still am wary of driving in the rain.  I would have been terrified to be driving this downpour in the U-haul.

We got on the highway, and then it was simply time to pass the time.  Right away we cracked open the “Do You Know Your Bride/Groom” books.  Since Erik was driving, I had to fill them out for both of us, so I did a handful of questions in mine, told him my answers and we would discuss, then I’d read him his questions and keep a poker face on so he could answer freely.  Then we’d discuss his answers about me.  Many of the questions were silly little things like “does your bride prefer ice cream in a cone or cup?” but it was a lot of fun being able to sit and discuss these little quirks and preferences that we have.  Thank you Milan for getting us these books.  It was literally six hours into the drive before we finished them.  That’s half the drive! Epic win!

In case you were wondering, yes, it was raining the entire time thus far.

We’ve also been doing an engaged couple’s devotional (we started before we actually got engaged.  I really should have seen that whole ring thing coming..) so we talked through an entry of that as well.  It was a long, generally uneventful car ride.  I was really impressed with, despite the fact we’d talk on and off all day, every day, we kept the conversation going for almost the entire ride.  We also listened to a podcast (part of one at least) and listened and sung our way through “The Producers.”  We did make one stop at a rest stop once we crossed the state line, so I do in fact have photos of my first time stepping foot in North Carolina.

We arrived at our apartment complex around 9:00pm (if I recall correctly. This is the downfall to me waiting a month to write this..).   After stashing our U-haul at the apartment, my mom came to take us to their hotel.  After a day of snacking on fiber enchanced granola bars and things of the like, we were pretty desperate for some real food.  Turns out that by 10:30pm on a Thursday Chapel Hill is pretty shut down.  My mom ended up taking us to a pizza place called Brixx.  This will end up being a place we visit several more times between our first visit and today.  Good pizza, and great prices (BOGO!) after certain hours.  2 whole pizzas and a beer or two cost a whole $15 that night.  Not bad for our first dinner in our new home town.  After dinner it wasn’t long before we busted out the pull-out sofa bed in my parent’s hotel room and crashed for the night.  The next day would be my first day moving into an apartment of my very own 🙂

My (Our) New Place

Let me start by explaining that headline.  Long story short, Erik got us this apartment before he proposed with the intention of this place being OUR apartment after we got married.  In the meantime, it is “my” place with the understanding that he’s basically there all the time except sleeping hours when he goes to the bedroom he’s renting in a another building of our complex. That being said, it really is our place, even now.

After a fabulous breakfast at the hotel (I’m a sucker for good breakfast food), Erik and I headed over to the apartment to get our keys.  While we were trying to be right on time and arrive at 9:00am, we got there only to read a sign that said the office didn’t open until 10… just our luck.  We at least discovered that our U-haul and his BMW on the trailer behind it had in fact survived the night.  Finally we could get into the office, only to have a bunch of random little paperwork things go wrong.  I met the slightly more stressed side of Erik (we’ve met before, but rarely in person) and while I played the slightly calmer one, we eventually got our hands on the keys to our place.

Walking in to my first “big girl” apartment was awesome.  I had dreamed about an apartment of my own for years and finally, thanks to my wonderful fiancé, without whom I would be nowhere close to this reality, I had it.  As unpacking happened at one point he looked at me, grabbed my face and said “Seeing this smile on your face makes it all worth it.”  Being reminded of how much I’m loved warms my heart 🙂

We hired movers to help us get everything out of the truck because it would take 5 times as long to do the work ourselves.  Not to mention the best way to obtain my belongings was to empty the U-haul, bring the U-haul and the movers to where my stuff was, have the movers unload my stuff from one truck to another, and then bring the U-haul back.  It actually wasn’t a complicated as it sounds.

Oh…did I mention this entire day was also taking place in the rain.  That stupid tropical storm followed us all the way to North Carolina.

Fast forward:  All of the boxes are in the apartment, Erik’s parents finally arrived, managing to fly (his dad owns and flies his own little plane) safely in the horrid weather and off we go to spend a few days unpacking the chaos before Erik’s first summer course happens on Monday.

Over the next few days, with the awesome help of both sets of parents we managed to turn the chaos of boxes stacked high into an unpacked apartment that definitely felt like a home.  Thanks to our parents for all of their help and hard work with that.  Since moving in, Erik and I have really felt at home in this place.  Even if he does leave at night, he tends to be back not long after I wake up in the morning.  It has been an amazing month and a half of actually seeing Erik every day in person.  No webcam, no constant need to text…it’s glorious.  No, we haven’t killed each other yet, Yes, we are still in love and engaged.  🙂

I think a Part 3 will be in order just to mention some of the things we’ve been up to, including some of the places we visited that first weekend with our parents.  Erik’s parents lived down here as well for a bit so his dad took us to see some of the local sites.  Part 3 coming soon.

Stay tuned…