Tag Archives: weddings

Another Nun Deserts the Abbey

It’s a rare thing in life to be blessed with a true, life giving friendship. I’ve been extremely blessed by several and one of those is with you. I guess that’s why I have a twinge in my heart this week as I’m miles away on the week that you’re about to say, “I do” to the love of your life.

I wish I could be there to see you walk down the isle in a room decorated with burlap and lace. I wish I could help you set up tables, iron dresses, and arrange flowers, but, since it’s not always possible to be where you want to be, please know that my thoughts are with you both as you begin this journey together.

You were one of the first people I met when I moved onto the 10th floor of Houghton Hall. One of my first memories with you is getting kicked out of Lincoln Park for rollerblading on the premises. I should have known right then that being friends with you would be adventurous. There was that time you convinced me to chop my hair off, Redbox movie nights, senior retreat, basketball games, two road trips to Georgia, getting our ears pierced on a whim, combined birthdays (my favorite being our trip to San Francisco). I’ll always remember the random Cubs game we went to, Junior/Senoir banquets, graduation, Chicago reunions, the time you stopped to see me on your way to Texas, phone calls, breakfast together on the morning of my big day, and having you standing there with me just eight months ago when I said, “I do.”

Now it’s your turn pretty lady, and (in regard to our college floor The Ten North Nuns) you’ve become the latest deserter of the abbey. I cherish all the memories, but what I probably appreciate the most are all the “little” things like the time I had intended to make brownies for the newspaper staff but in the midst of a crazy week ran out of time. I hurried back from my internship with just enough time to make it to the all night newspaper paste up to find that you had made the brownie for me. Now that’s a true friend. I won’t forget all those early mornings when we were roommates and you had to be at work super early, but you’d get ready so quietly that I barely even noticed. I won’t forget that time I had meant to apply for what I thought would be a dream job, but in the midst of the busyness of everything didn’t apply before the job was given to someone else. You told me to have a good cry and then move on. I needed to hear that.

Thanks for steaming the wrinkles out of my wedding dress and making sure I got some sleep the night before. I needed that too. I wish I could be there to do the same thing for you, but since I’m not able to be there, here are some pearls of wisdom about marriage that I’ve actually found to be useful not just nice sayings to put on the wall. As I was entering an intercultural marriage, I made a point to collect advice from intercultural couples, but I find their answers to be universally helpful so here goes:

Don’t always expect the other person to change, be willing to change yourself- Easy to say, but hard to do. Really though, this piece of advice really stuck with me. It’s so easy to assume that things should be done the way your family does it, or the way you’ve been doing it as a single person, but those single days are over. You’re a new family, so be willing to let go of cultural preferences and family traditions in order to build a new unique life together.

If you want to start a habit, such as reading devotions together or a regular date night, do it early on- Start forming those daily habits early even during the honeymoon because that’s a time when people give you some slack to take the time you need. Life gets crazy, and it’s easy to let things slide if you don’t start early. So, use those early days intentionally.

People (especially those church ladies) can be opinionated and often critical when it comes to issues like when to have kids. Decide what works best for you as a couple and then stand by your decision– Don’t let people imposing their views on you (it will happen and happen often) upset you. With many issues it’s not so much a case of right or wrong, but what works for both of you. At the end of the day you are the ones who have to live with the decisions you make, so focus on what works for you as a couple not on what will please people.

Don’t sweat the small stuff- It’s called small stuff for a reason. Are toothpaste tubes and toilet paper rolls really worth even arguing over? Just let it go. There are bigger things in life to focus on, and if you find that you just can’t stand the whole toothpaste tube squeezed or rolled get your own tube. Find solutions to things not things to nag about. 1st Corinthians 13 says, “love bears all things.” Part of marriage involves getting over yourself and bearing the imperfections of another person. Remember, your spouse is bearing your imperfections too. A little understanding and patience can go along way and help keep everyone sane.

Find the positive side of a negative- Most negatives have a positive it just takes some time and thought to find it. For example, there are times when my husband runs late. I like to be on time and not waste time, so it is easy to see this as a negative trait and be frustrated. But, usually the reason he is running late is because he has stopped to help someone or to talk to someone who needed a kind word. This people oriented heart is one of the traits that I admire most in him. When I stop and realize the reason for the lateness it’s much easier to let go of my feelings of annoyance and appreciate his people oriented instead of time oriented ways.

Communicate- Just about everyone I talked to said this first. No one is a mind reader, so talk about what is on your mind. Marriage involves a lot of adjustments, highs, lows, and everything in between. Talk it out, but also talk during a time when you’re not tired or stressed. Sometimes it’s OK to sleep on it so that the issue can actually be discussed without emotions getting the upper hand.

And finally my own personal pet peeve…

The first year doesn’t have to be the hardest– Maybe it is for some people. I’m sure it can be quite a challenge/adjustment especially for those who marry young, but the idea of, “just survive the first year and then things get better after that,” really bothers me. Enjoy each year don’t be waiting for some inevitable dark cloud to roll in over your honeymoon happiness. Sure, life will change as the months pass, but they are still good times. The first year can be full of such happy memories and adventure as you start building a future together. Don’t loose that by adopting a survival mentality. Take each new day, week, and year as it comes. Most of all enjoy life with your best friend. Wishing you the very best my friend. Enjoy your day and know that I am thinking about you and celebrating with you from miles away.

Too many memories to count.

Too many memories to count.

Leave a comment

Filed under Contemplations

Those Simple Breaths

Thanks to Treena and Josh Ditto of Angelic Images for the lovely engagement photo

Thanks to Treena and Josh Ditto of Angelic Images for the lovely engagement photo

It’s been months since I’ve blogged. A first for SimplyContemplating, I know, but thanks everyone for hanging in with me while I road out the joyously painful road of wedding planning, Pintrest projects, and those inevitable last minute panics.

It was worth every second though. Thanks to so many helping hands (special thanks to mom, my incredible bridesmaids and attendants, out of town family and friends, dad, siblings, church family the list goes on) the wedding came together almost magically, and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more. Really, having so many close friends and family there was an incredible gift and my husband and I both felt so blessed.

It’s a bit hard entering the blogging world again after taking a lengthy break. I want to come back with some kind of profound truth or fresh insight to make up for the silence, but all I have are little things, memories, moments, the thoughts of a content traveler picking out a new road.

It has been a couple months of celebration and new beginnings—a new last name, packing and unpacking, road trips, plane tickets, paperwork, and lots of time waiting. But, in the midst of all the big things I have to say some of the little moments have been my favorite. Eating cashews and drinking coke as my husband and I took yet another road trip. Getting lost and learning how to communicate under the stress of traffic and frustration (that’s still a work in progress for me). Watching just about every episode of Monk together and the sadness of reaching the end. Washing dishes, washing the car, and playing cards with my grandparents—all little breaths of life. Pieces of us coming together to make the mundane special. Learning to stop and enjoy the little things because all those little things make life what it is.

I’ve missed blogging. Having people to connect with over the joy of words and a shared life is something that will always be a part of me. Thanks as always for reading and for sharing your moments as well. What have been some of your favorite little moments this year? Don’t forget to stop during the day and simply take a breath. Freeze the scene around you, and soak for a second or two in that moment.


Filed under Contemplations, Travel

Freckled Lilies



I read a story. I don’t remember where or when. I was quite young at the time. Just a short story about a little girl, but it stuck with me. The little girl had a face full of freckles and envied those with more clear complexions, so she went in search of a cure. I don’t remember all of the methods she tried. I believe lemon juice was on the list, but nothing worked especially her final attempt of a homemade mud mask that left her face bright red and rather sore. The girl’s grandpa tried to comfort her telling her that God made different types of beauty just like He made different types of flowers all uniquely special. Unconvinced, the young girl responded with a mumbled, “flowers don’t have freckles.” The next day she woke up to a beautiful bouquet of freckled lilies lying next to her pillow.

I’ve always liked my freckles, but the story still suck with me. In my mind lilies became a symbol of the beauty of variety and learning to see beauty where others might not. Tiger lilies are my favorite. Some would say they are a weed because they spring up along roadsides with wild ambition. But, I’ve always loved them and thought in the back of my mind that when I got married it would be fun to carry a bouquet of lilies.

I got engaged just over a month ago, and with a winter wedding in mind, I had given up the idea of having lilies in the wedding. I mean lilies aren’t exactly taking over the fields in December. The day my fiancé and I got engaged we stopped at a friend’s house. After hearing of our engagement my friend’s mom offered to let me use the flowers from her other daughter’s wedding which had just taken place. I knew my friend’s sister had had more of a rainbow of colors in her wedding. I was leaning toward more of a green rustic/winter theme, so I wasn’t sure if using her flowers would work well. But, we had a little time before we were scheduled to head down the road so my friend, and I swung by her mom’s house to take a look at the flowers. The first thing I saw when I walked in the door was a stunning bride’s bouquet. A beautiful arrangement of different colored speckled lilies mixed with other wild flowers. It was absolutely perfect.

I must admit, I’ve been a little nervous about planning a wedding while spending several months right before the wedding in Kenya. My sister recently got married, and it was a fresh reminder of just how much planning has to go into even a simple wedding. That bouquet of lilies gave me hope. I felt like it was  God’s way of smiling down on me and saying. I know you—I know you better then you know yourself, and I’ve already got everything taken care of.

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” –Luke 12:27


Filed under Contemplations