Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Heart of Haiti" Mother's Day Post: Picking Out My Wedding Dress with My Mother

This Mother's Day, I'm working with Clever Girls in support of Macy's Heart of Haiti campaign to shine a light on the "trade, not aid" program, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans struggling to rebuild their lives and support their families after the 2010 earthquake.

I picked out and purchased my wedding dress before I even had an engagement ring on my finger.  That may sound a bit presumptuous, but it did not seem that way at the time.
Unbeknownst to me then, Eric, the man in my life (who is now my husband!), was planning to propose to me just a few weeks later.  All I knew was that we were in love, our relationship was moving fast, we had already decided we were a perfect fit for each other, and that we'd be married before the year was out. 

We had met around Thanksgiving of 2007, began dating in January of 2008, became engaged on May 16th (Eric's 30th birthday), and were wed on September 28th that same year.  It was quite the whirlwind romance, and it continues to this day, a little over 3.5 years later. 

That day, in early May 2008, I stood in David's Bridal with my mother and best friend, Beth.  I had my eye on a certain strapless gown, with practically no train and a simple beaded bodice.  Here I am, walking down the aisle with my dad, in my lovely dress. 

My mother had her heart set on a different dress for me, one more "fairytale princess"-esque, with a long lacy train and lace detail all over.  I was not too keen on being covered in lace, but I tried it on anyway to see.  Although Mom was in love with that dress, I still wasn't feeling it.  The other dress that was more demure and simpler was more my cup of tea.

I went against my mother's preconceived notions even further when I opted out of wearing a veil of any kind.  A veil just didn't seem to suit me or the dress.  So there I was, shucking tradition once again!  (On a side note, I found my wedding shoes once when my mom and I were out at Payless Shoes, for $7.00.  That's right:  seven dollars.  They are these perfect little white satin ballet flats.  I still have them and wear them occasionally in the summer!)  Hooray for finding great deals when planning a wedding on a tight budget!

Of course, once I had found my perfect dress, we posed for the mandatory mother-daughter pictures, mom teary-eyed and carrying a tissue throughout the store.

After finding my perfect dress, the real adventure began:  finding my mother's "M.O.B" dress!  I tend to see something I like, decide it's perfect, and I don't typically change my mind afterwards.  I make the decision and stick to my guns.  My mom, however, changes her mind as often as the Pacific Northwest weather changes from dreary, to rainy, to sunny, and back again, and sometimes it's a mixture of all three, as if it can't decide what it wants to be for that day.  My mom's decision-making habits are sort of like that.  She flip-flops and changes her mind frequently.  And that is certainly not a bad thing; it's just a way that we're different.  She needs to see all the options before making a decision, and I typically do not.

Because of this, I think my mom may have tried on more dresses than I did!  And who could blame her?  She wanted to look perfect for my Big Day.  And honestly, I was so darn happy with my dress, she could've worn almost anything and I would've thought it was fabulous!   

 My mother & father gladly took the reins of wedding planning and lovingly planned a magical evening full of splendor and practicality.  My parents had the brilliant idea to seat the wedding guests at round tables for the ceremony, and just let them continue sitting there for the reception, which meant there were no awkward tables to move around before the reception began, and no long pauses in between wedding festivities.  My parents helped it be a seamless evening full of love, beauty, and fun.  As always, my dad ensured my wedding day was logistically seamless and smooth, and as is her habit, my mother ensured that the night was draped in beauty. 

Happy Mother's Day, Mom, and thank you for helping my special day be truly lovely and beautiful.

**Thank you to Macy's Heart of Haiti for sponsoring my participation in this “Share Your Heart" promotion. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.  

What is Macy’s Heart of Haiti? Heart of Haiti is a “Trade, Not Aid” initiative launched by artist and social entrepreneur, Willa Shalit, The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Macy’s. Already, Heart of Haiti has led to employment of 750 artists in Haiti, providing financial benefits for an estimated 8,500 people in the country.
Each item is a one-of-a-kind design and handmade by a Haitian master artisan from raw materials such as recycled oil drums, wrought iron, papier-mâché and stone. The collection features more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, ceramics, jewelry and paintings and is made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums and local gommier wood.  
Heart of Haiti products are available online at Macy’s.com.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday!

Good Friday is the Friday before Easter Sunday, when the Lord Jesus Christ died on the rugged Cross of Calvary, to ransom the world back to God Almighty by redeeming us from our sins and making us righteous & acceptable to God. This day is remembered solemnly, with a thankful heart, and is a great time to reflect upon how you've been living your life and to renew your relationship with the Lord if needed. Thank you so very much, Lord Jesus, for taking my sin upon Your blameless, holy self, and for forgiving my many sins and setting me right with You, for all eterntiy. I am so thankful that I have the privilege of believing in You and loving You with every ounce of my being, and I am so excited to be spending Eternity with You! A lot of people only think of "Eternity" as being after you die; the Afterlife. But what perhaps you should realize is that Eternity includes your life here on earth, because you are a spiritual being, with a soul. And if you're a follower of Jesus Christ, your "Eternity" certainly begins the moment you accept Christ as your Savior and start a fellowship with Him. After you begin your walk with Jesus, He gives your life a supernatural meaning and purpose, not to mention an important job to do while here on Earth. Your "job" is to illuminate His love and all the great and wonderful things He has done for you, to point others towards Him in love, and to thoroughly enjoy Him and the life He gave you! I hope all of you enjoy your Good Friday, and reflect upon His immense love for you.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

"Free Them" 5K Run for World Concern!

On May 12th, I will be running my first 5K (or race of ANY kind) since 2007.  This race is to support a GREAT cause:  World Concern Ministries, who help battle poverty and exploitation in areas like Haiti & Africa!  You can click here to go to my fundraising page and donate whatever you feel inclined to donate towards this worthy cause of saving people from the ravages of poverty. 

World Concern helps rescue people from poverty on numerous levels, including bettering their lives by providing wells for clean drinking water, educating children and oppressed women, teaching women marketable skills like sewing or jewelry making to sell for money, and even giving out small business loans to help local people start their own businesses and help pull themselves out of the sticky mire of poverty.   I really admire how World Concern acknowledges that there are many battle fronts to pursue in fighting the war on poverty, and how a many-faceted approach is probably the best for creating lasting change. 

Currently I am training for this race, but I recently returned to running after quite the hiatus, so I can only run for a few minutes before taking a walk break.  My goal is to be able to run the entire 5K without stopping to walk or rest, so we shall see! 

This race conveniently coincides with my new aggressive plan to lose weight and get back into shape.  But I don't believe in coincidences, so I feel that this is meant to be, and that I am going to 'kill two birds with one stone':  get into shape again, and raise money for a worthy cause by training for (and then finishing) a 5K race.

Will you please think and pray about whether or not you should donate to my cause, or if you're inspired, please go find a service organization you feel strongly about, and get involved with them somehow and help change the world (or at least your small corner of it!)  

And, if you're the praying kind, please pray for me and my fitness journey, that I will (finally!) be able to start losing weight, now that it's been a little over a year since I've been off of the Depo-Provera birth control shot, since that's what caused me to gain about 55 pounds in the last two years.  I have desperately tried losing weight before, and was completely devastated that after 5 months of hardcore exercise and eating healthy.  During those five months of working out for 1.5 hours five days a week, I did not gain any more weight, but I did not lose a single pound, because the Depo was still coursing vigorously through my system, and it was doing its job of tricking my body into thinking it was pregnant, thus storing all the fat it could, and hanging onto it with a vise-like grip. 

So, this is a great opportunity for me in a couple of ways, because I am excited to raise money for a cause I believe is producing real, positive change in the world, while also encouraging me to get in shape with a specific goal in mind.  Won't you join me and the revolution against poverty and pain?  Donate to my page, or find your favorite charity and get to work!  God bless you in your efforts!