Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wedding dreams

I haven't written in a while - so I thought I would pen a few thoughts.

I used to have back-to-school dreams, beginning around August 1st every year. Dreams that I was late for the first day of classes. That I was unprepared. That I missed my first class. And this never actually happened. I liked school. When I was awake I very much looked forward to the first day of school. And maybe I was always so prepared because I didn't want my dreams to come true.

Two nights ago I started having wedding dreams. Two in a row now. In the first one, I woke up and it was October 1 already. I didn't remember anything that happened over the past 6 months...but it was my wedding day. I hadn't packed for my honeymoon. I had no idea if any of the wedding plans were taken care of - because I couldn't remember doing any of it. Panic and confusion set in.
In last night's dream, we had gotten married and we were sitting around the living room with our families. My uncle was there. And they were giving us presents...and I realized that it was about to be my wedding night. And that scared me. In reality, I'm nervous and very excited...not scared. And, in my dream, I was very very sad that I wasn't going to live with my parents anymore. In reality, I am a little sad, but more excited that I get to build a home and a life with my husband, my best friend.

Wedding dreams and wedding nightmares - it seems to be the things that girls are made of. I feel like we have a great deal of planning done. But new things pop up all the time. I need to have a bridal portrait - which means I need flowers, a hairstyle, things for my hair, a photographer...We need to send out save-the-date cards, which means we need to get our engagement pictures taken, edited, organized, we need a finalized guest list and addresses, we need to find a save-the-date company, etc. Rehearsal dinner? What are the guys going to wear? What are the girls going to wear? When are we going to have time to plan all this? Where are we going to live? How about bills? Changing my name? Insurance? And these details keep popping up left and right. Planning a wedding takes a lot of work. I'm far more excited about the marriage.

Admist the planning and the details there are many things that make me excited and make it worth it. In six months, I get to be Derrick's wife. I finally have that man I always prayed about. And, along the way, we get to find a home together. We get to celebrate with family and friends. We get free stuff. We get to decorate that home. I get to spend a weekend at the beach with my very favorite girls. We get to be caught up in the anticipation with those closest to us. Then we get to have a party in celebration. I get to wear a beautiful dress and have a first dance with my husband. We get to go on a road trip. We get to go on an amazing vacation together for a week. We get to finally sleep together - and not have to say good-bye. We get to have a home together. I get to cook supper in my own kitchen. And we get to begin our life as Mr. and Mrs. Green.

...that is how I can have the patience and positivity to pick out flowers and plan wedding details...and, at the end of the day, that is why the flowers and details don't seem so important.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Who surrounded me when we were only girls...

I was sitting here looking forward to the celebration of my friend Ashley's wedding tomorrow and thinking about all we've been through...and how amazed I am at the beautiful woman Ashley has become.  Reading my best pal Whitney's blog, which focuses on being married, I began thinking about how awesome it is that we can all come together for events like this.

I am surrounded by a beautiful group of women who inspire and encourage me. But the true blessing is that these are the same women who surrounded me when we were only girls. Girls dreaming about being 16. Girls dreaming about first kisses, first dates, and wondering who we would end up with. Girls unsure about college and the real-world. And now we are blessed to be living those days we always dreamed about - and, not only did we dream together, but now we get to see those dreams become reality together.

Ashley and I met in 2nd grade. We were both new at WCA, and we had every elementary class together. While we were always friends, we became closer in 9th grade yearbook and traveled to the beach together before 11th grade as co-editors, where we saw The Notebook, ate dippin' dots, watched Zoolander and a Behind the Scenes of Poltergeist special, and went on the set of Dawson's Creek. Ashley has a wonderful way of being friends with everyone...and truly being their friend. Truly caring and making time for everyone. I am so happy that she has found Jordan;she deserves that happiness. She's going to be a beautiful bride and a wonderful wife.

Whitney and I became best friends in 4th grade on the swing set, and we have been best friends every since. 8th grade was a favorite time for us, full of crazy memories, and 9th grade held a lot of challenges. I could write a book about our I'll leave it with this: There are those people who not only know all of your memories but were there for all of your memories - that is Whitney. We even went to college together and, some fourteenish years later she is still my very best pal. I loved seeing Whitney fall in love with Aaron - and am inspired by the love they have for each other. I was blessed to be her maid of honor, and even more blessed to have her as my matron of honor.

Bethany and I are third cousins, playing Mother May I and Simon Says at family reunions when we were little. It wasn't until middle school, right after she had came to Wake, that we became friends. We may have began hanging out because we were related...but she is now one of my dearest friends. We have been through a lot together and made so many memories in middle and high school and recently...I have loved seeing her become the woman that she is today. She knows where I come from. She gets it. And I can always count on Bethany to be there for me. She was the first to get married, and I am proud of the wife she is.

Jessi. Jessi and I were always friends-ish...but I didn't want to get to close to someone who serenaded me with "Renee's Got a Banjo!" and kept me up until 5 in the morning because she thought her dad was a burglar.  Senior year we took current events together and played with each other's hair. And, one spring break day senior year, I get a call from Jessi, asking me if I wanted to go prom dress shopping with her..we fell in love that day. She has been through many college experiences with me and has been a constant friend through many growing pains. We both act mature, but share a "wow, is this really happening?" mentality and a love for cute underwear. She and Evan met and fell in love quickly - but I am amazed at how real and supportive and fun their love is.

Jessica and I have always shared a creative kindred spirit. We became friends quickly when she came in 10th grade, and I'm very glad we did. She shares a quaint love of Wilmington's charm...we saw Chad Michael Murray together and spent the night bursting into giggles. I love going on adventures with Jessica. No matter what happens or how long we go without seeing each other - Jessica and I share a connection and can pick right up where we left off. I can think of so many great memories involving Jessica, memories that always make me smile.

Carrie and I were friends since middle school (or before), when we shared whispered home ec conversations about boys and odd-looking girls. Carrie has such a zest for life, and I am amazed at how well she knows me. After being friends with someone so long little things remind you of them constantly...boy meets world, gilmore girls, musicals, literature, CYT, and numerous other things I can't tell you (or I'd have to kill you). Carrie has an amazing heart, a brilliant, hardworking brain, a contagious confidence... and she's had an appreciation for orange far before I did.

Cari is such a sweet kindred spirit with a caring heart. When I think of Cari, I think of how nurturing she is - and she is a loyal friend. I still remember meeting her in the hallway in 7th grade...and she was the one who always put up with, even encouraging, my many crushes throughout the years. Ahhh...we experienced yearbook together and had the pleasure of making fun of many choral concerts. She is another kindred spirit, in the way that Jessica is, and, like Carrie, so many things remind me of Cari...certain songs, many televisions shows, and many random moments. I'm excited to see the amazing things that Cari is going to do.

Sarah and I had many classes together in elementary and middle school, but I remember growing closer to Sarah on a football field bleacher - when we, along with Carrie and Whitney, created a certain still makes me smile. Sarah is adorable and talented, and we've also been through a lot together - but I love seeing the great things that she is doing in her life now.

I am so glad to have these ladies in my life...and I'm excited to have them celebrate my dream come true with me in the fall!

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy"

Monday, March 14, 2011

Passion and Priorities

It is my job to tell people about Campbell, and I love it. I meet with new people all of the time - and I share with them my passion about Campbell. Our great programs, our even better professors. The great atmosphere here - that feels like home. I truly believe that Campbell is a great place to be, and I love that I can make a living sharing that with people.
I am constantly thinking of ways I can get people more excited about coming to Campbell. What can I do today to share Campbell with someone? What can I do today to make another student excited about coming? How can I share my passion with them?

I am convicted. Shouldn't I be just as passionate and even more so to tell people about Christ? Shouldn't I make it my mission to tell them about His sacrifice for us? About the amazing joy that He offers to those who build a relationship with Him? Shouldn't I desire to share my passion for Who He is. No matter what is going on in my life - I have a constant peace and joy in knowing that God has a plan for me and He is in control - and I want other people to experience that.
I should constantly be thinking of ways I can make people more excited about Jesus Christ and God's plan for their lives. What can I do today to share Christ with someone? What can I do to make another person excited about getting to know our Lord and being a part of His Kingdom? Shouldn't I be more passionate about that.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39

Friday, March 11, 2011

December 8

December 8th, 2008 is undoubtably the day that Derrick and I would say everything changed.

I'm sure it started out almost like any other day - but not void of anticipation. It was the last day of the semester. One exam left, and then the Christmas party at Tara's house to celebrate Christmas break. My exam was that morning, the party that evening, and Derrick and I had - as friends - made plans to spend the afternoon hanging out, playing games, and walking around campus.

I remember what I wore that day. Dark blue dress jeans. High heel boots. And my green turtleneck. I probably thought a little too much about what to wear that day.

After the exam, Derrick and I headed upstairs to the Comm office - where we spent an afternoon playing a Friends boardgame, watching Monk, talking about music, and filling the air with laughter. It was a brisk, jack-frost-nipping-at-your-nose kind of day, and we set out to stroll around an almost-abandoned campus. I still remember that feeling...the air of possibilities. A nervous, excited comfort. He took me into the convocation center - I had never been before. We walked to the natatorium, as I told him that I liked red noses. We saw a classmate in a tree as we crossed the street, and Derrick tried to teach me about football in front of the old law building. It was turning out to be a perfect kind of day - and maybe, at that moment, I felt that things were changing.

Derrick followed me to Tara's house, where we were flirtatiously discussing who was more awesome as we walked up to her doorstep. The night proceeded with boardgames and food...before we all retired upstairs to talk. This was where Mark and Natalie were born.

Tara and I were discussing what was romantic...and Derrick informed us that it was different for every girl. We decided to make up characters and let Derrick write their love story, write their romance. Natalie was our main character. She was a brunette who was a waitress at a country club. Enter Mark. He was the rich, country-club type...but, inevitably, they were to fall in love.

As we poured out the details of the story,  I was curled up in an oversized chair. I remember feeling happy/sleepy and blissful. Derrick leaned up against the chair that I was in - and it seemed as though all was right with the world.

The night finally came to an end, and Derrick and I left at the same time. As we stood in the twilight darkness on a silent street, I think everything changed. I gave Derrick a gift that I had picked up for him- a copy of The Notebook (which he had never seen) and his favorite chocolates. I don't think that I intended it to come across the way it did when I bought the gift, but on the night of December 8th, I was ready to let my gift send whatever messages it might...

Then I drove home. But the night wasn't over - and it won't ever be over. It was the night that led to forever.

Over the course of the next few days, Derrick shared his feelings, his thoughts, his intentions through Mark and Natalie. During those days following the 8th, we never talked about us. Our relationship. But he poured his heart into Mark and Natalie and, in doing so, he stole my heart completely.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I already loved him...

I wrote this a while back and saved it...for such a times as this:

There is a man who I have loved as long as I can remember. It wasn’t in a Prince Charming sort of way, and it was hardly in the way that all girls will say they loved, I loved him. It was a painful love, primarily due to my lack of patience. I missed him; I missed the memories I hadn’t yet experienced. I missed him when I looked over at the empty pillow next to me. I missed him when I cooked supper or washed the dishes. I missed him at Christmas’ and when I felt all alone in the middle of a crowded room. I already loved him.
I don’t think I’m like the majority girls, though I was blessed with friends who at least understood. Most people didn’t. In middle school, I began writing to my future husband, and I now have a worn grey journal filled with short, but meaningful words just for him.
I prayed for him – really prayed for him. And I would lie in bed at night and think about him; I wondered if he slept in pajama pants or boxers? Was he asleep or on the computer? Where did he go to school? Did I ever drive past him or glance at him at the grocery store? What was he thinking about? Did he have a girlfriend? …and mostly, did he ever think of me? Could he ever possibly love me as much as I already loved him? Sometimes I would pray that God would hug him for me or let him feel that I loved him. I already loved him.
I remember one time when this love was obvious, although most people would say ridiculous. It was senior year, and all of my friends were having a Valentine’s Day party (chaperoned by parents; PG). Everyone else was dancing, but I wouldn’t…because I only wanted to dance with someone who only wanted to dance with me. It was the last dance and a few of my friends and I hid away, and we prayed for our future husbands. Crazy, right? I already loved him.
In thinking about him and loving him, I never imagined a fairy tale. I never imagined it would be perfect or that he would be. I realized that love is a verb and marriage is commitment. And I began trying to be the best I could be for him. 1 Corinthians 7, Ephesians 5, 1 Corinthians 13, and Proverbs 31 are probably some of my most read bible passages, most studied words. A wife is to submit, respect. A husband is to love. A wife is to cheer her husband on. Never humiliate him; but wait until the two of you are alone if you disagree with something he did. Stand back and let him be strong, but whisper words of advice and encouragement in his ear. Be a conservative lady in public, realizing that you represent him – but love with unbridled passion behind closed doors. I want to be her, because I already him.
Married women who are reading this may be thinking that I don’t know because I’ve never been married. This is true. I’m not going to be a perfect wife. Sometimes I’ll be selfish, weak, stubborn, unloving. Sometimes I’ll get frustrated and say things I shouldn’t.  Sometimes I may even forget to love him. And I hardly know what I’m getting myself into. But I can’t help it, I already love him.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

You're allowed to now...we're engaged♥

Despite my past jobs in the wedding industry and my romantic, organized personality, I am not a wedding planner by nature. And I have not spent years and hours planning the details of my wedding (yet). I get bored looking at bridal magazines - and hardly find them helpful. I quickly give up on The Knot. And I do not believe in spending a fortune for one day.

With all of that being said, I still have an idea of what I want. After being in numerous weddings, interning at a wedding venue, and working at a gown boutique - you get an idea. Plus, I'm a sentimental person - and I know what little details will fit Derrick and I. So, over the past two years, I probably have mentioned wedding details more than several times.

Before Sunday, I tried my hardest NOT to talk about weddings. I needed to be patient, and Derrick was not interested. I, sometimes, found a way to slip it in casually. "What do you think of those flowers?" or "If we were to end up together, who would be your groomsmen?" Sometimes he would answer graciously and move on. Sometimes I would get that drop-the-chin, raise-the-eyebrows, stern look, accompanied with "Woman." I would sheepishly give up my endeaver to slowly plan our wedding.

I always said that I would wait a week after being engaged to start planning. We would celebrate for a week...that was the plan. And to this moment I still haven't opened up my wedding notebook (that was semi-organized waiting for this moment in my closet). BUT on Monday night, on our way somewhere, Derrick and I casually, and without meaning to, began the wedding planning process. It's beautiful when you can have fun planning an event with your best friend.

I still haven't shared details with my parents (so don't ask to hear the details yourself), and Derrick and I haven't firmly decided things... I think that we should have this big wedding planning moment. In comfy clothes, with sparkling grape juice - and our attention fully on the reality of the situation - we should sit down and plan. Then discuss the details with my beautiful parents - including them in the planning and the celebration.

Today I told Derrick that I hadn't opened up my wedding notebook yet but I had it with me today...and, in an upbeat tone, he said "Good, you should open it."... Then he asked if tomorrow night would be our grape juice and comfy clothes night, the night to talk and discuss... Every moment I mention the wedding, I still feel a little sheepish. Like he's going to give me that look and change the subject. I shared this with him and he smiled and said, "You're allowed to talk about it now...we're engaged".

I love, more than he understands, how Derrick is embracing this. And I love that I can now share my dreams of the future (not just the wedding, but our home, our marriage...) - knowing that that future is becoming a reality.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Will you marry me?


I had look forward to this past weekend for a while (and, really, I've been looking forward to it my whole life). I love all of the moments and memories I get to share with Derrick, with my family. God has blessed me so much with those closest to me.

After work on Friday, Daddy, Mom, Derrick, and I loaded in the car and headed down to our beach house - stopping for Bojangles on the way. Which is a rare, delicious treat.  I think Derrick and I slept part of the way - but we were awake long enough to see the skyline of Wilmington lit up across the river...beautiful.

When we arrived at the beach house a random collection of funny events happened. My dad flipped out because the television wasn't working correctly; even though we were playing cards together, he still needed the television to work. I decided I liked no television - it made me feel Amish...and then I proceeded to teach Derrick some Amish words and phrases...which ended in very tearful laughter and a slew of random dutch-ish phrases...It was a wonderful night.

Saturday morning I was greeted with Derrick sticking his head in my room and saying good morning. Because it was freezing, he came and joined me under the mom coming to join us and discuss the day ahead. We all had a nice lunch at Chilis and then went to Walmart (something that my dad was very much looking forward to) - where i looked at home decor and Derrick found a cheap way to make a very expensive piece of camera equipment (he is beautifully innovative).

Next, we were on our way to Sunset Beach. I took my shoes off, excited to walk barefoot in the sand. Took some pictures of my wonderful parents - who have been an example of love and marriage to me my whole life. Then Derrick and I took pictures and walked on the beach...the whole time, I was thinking that this would be the perfect time for him to propose. A perfect day. A perfect moment. ...didn't happen.

After that, we went shopping. Derrick found the perfect shoes - shoes we had been looking for for months - at a wonderful price. Despite the annoying salesman pushing us to leave, we got the shoes. Then we ate delicious appetizers at my family's favorite restaurant in Myrtle Beach - and I truly enjoyed time with my family. It's one of my favorite things we do, and I love family traditions. God has blessed Derrick and I both with wonderful families! After supper, we walked around Barefoot Landing and stopped for Krispie Kreme on the way out; and headed home that night.

At one point, Derrick asked me how my day was. I said "It was perfect, it was the perfect day." - Of course, I said it in a frustrated, pouty voice. It was the perfect day, and I was imperfectly impatient.

Saturday night and Sunday were full of card games, Twister, relaxing, television, good food, family time... but I was quickly accepting the fact that this was another lesson in patience. He wouldn't ask during this perfect weekend. He wouldn't ask during February. It would be another new month, praying and wondering, and waiting. (Side note, several times during the day I poked Derrick, not telling him why. They were all pokes to get out my frustration at him not asking during this perfect weekend.)


Sunday night Derrick decided we should go get a milkshake. We used to get milkshakes ALL the time right after we started dating...but we haven't done that in 2 years, so it was a little different. We headed to Cookout and got our chocolate nut (with extra nuts) milkshake.

1 mile from my house, he turns the radio to a song that was one of our songs when we first started liking each other. It reminded him of me :) So then it reminded me of him :) He parked at the house and said he wanted to finish the song...I thought that was really sweet, so I laid my head on his shoulder. It was quiet, with the song playing in the background. I wanted to breathe in the moment.

Next thing I know, Derrick is telling me that his luggage is falling on his head. oookay. So I hear him rustling around in the back. Next thing I know, he pulls out a big plastic diamond ring.

"Will you take this?" He asked...

"Yes." I said, somewhat inquisitively. At that moment, he pulled out the engagement ring.

"Now, will you take this one?"

"YES!" I answered, and then I gave him a kiss. As I pulled away, I whispered "Isn't there something you should ask now?"

"Lillian, will you marry me?" ...oh, how I've longed to hear those words!!!

In the moment he asked it was like the world was spinning. It was a moment I had looked forward to my whole life and had somewhat expected for a few months - but I didn't really expect it at that moment. Did this man really want to marry me? Was this really happening? I needed to remind myself to remember every detail.

After that we stayed in the car and talked about everything. He admitted that he had wanted to ask at the beach - but he hadn't talked to my parents yet. And then he planned to go on a walk Saturday night on the beach and ask then, but my Dad decided to come home early. God had it planned - Sunday afternoon I was restless, so I went to visit my Derrick (not on propose) the perfect opportunity for him to talk to my parents.

Now, I get to marry my best friend!!! After years of praying for and dreaming about, waiting for and preparing for, wondering about and thinking of my future husband - I finally get to marry him! And I finally know that it was Derrick that I was covering in thoughts and prayers all of those years and all of those moments!

Hmm...Mrs. Green :)