Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Goodbye 20s, and Hello 30s!

Old Hollywood-style portraits and Insta-booth by F27 Photography. I re-wore one of my best thrifted finds- a Jay Godfrey sample piece I found back in NYC

I am now officially 30. I still can't believe my 20s are over, but I am really looking forward to my 30s! Some loved ones and I decided to throw a 20s-style birthday bash to celebrate and I just realized the unintentional symbolism behind it- once the night was over, I waved goodbye to my 20s, forever. I know, it sounds super cheesy but there is truth behind it, right? Anyway, the party was crazy-last-minute shenanigans, but in the end I think most of us had a blast. My BFF flew down from NorCal for a good 22 hours to join the fun, what a trooper she is; I really am blessed by her friendship. We picked her up that morning and had brunch, caught up by reading our old high school notebook letters while getting ready, and probably dilly-dallied a bit longer than we should've, because the clock started ticking away quickly and before I knew it, I needed to start prepping food. Around this time, my sister and a few other buddies came by to help. I am the worst procrastinator, and I thought I was actually on top of things this time. For some reason, cooking tasks seem less complicated and quicker in my mind to perform than in reality. I do this more often than not. By the time dinner rolled around, half of the party jumped in to have a share in the madness. Being the hostess, it was a bit embarrassing to not have my game on, but I was amazed to see how eager everyone was to help. It pretty much became a collaborative project. I promised myself that the next time I throw a party, catering would be involved...

Seeing some of the old and newer faces in our home that night reminded me of the friendships the Lord has blessed me with during different stages of my life. Leading up to that day, I was going through a whirlwind of emotions, a pre-mid-life crisis situation I suppose, re-evaluating current and past relationships. I am naturally an optimist, but when pessimism hits, it tends to take over and leaves me stricken with sadness and grief, especially when it comes to my friendships with people. If friendships were investments, I am a gambler, or perhaps too trusting. I tend to throw my love, time and energy into people far too easily. Maybe I'm too vulnerable, but I truly enjoy giving to those that are near and dear to my heart. On the flip side, because I feel as though I've invested much, when things take a turn, I can become deeply hurt or grow to be resentful even. This is something God has been revealing to me, particularly this year. 

As we grow older, our time becomes more and more valuable. With each intimate relationship - a significant other, spouse, child, aging parents etc., there are more people in our lives that naturally demand most of our time and attention. Throw a full-time job in and time is not on our side. A result of that is less time for other friendships, at least compared to when we were growing up in high school and college. For that reason, I'm realizing that I need to not throw my care around. Life really is too short for me to constantly dwell on the past. My focus needs to be on the people God has currently placed in my life, and to not dwell on the drifted or lost friendships. Otherwise, I have little love and energy for the ones right in front of my nose. I cannot change people and everyone goes through various stages in life. Sometimes space is good for a friendship, and if it can withstand that time apart, the friendship may have been deeper than one may realize. If not, at least time was able to reveal that.

In a perfect world, we would have many close, intimate relationships in our lives. However, we all know that is not typically possible. Most of us are lucky to even have a handful of people we can truly call "friends." And they aren't the ones that are only there for the good times, but even more available during the bad times. With that said, I can only hope that I can grow to become as good of a friend as some of my amazing friends have been for me.

Cheers to a new decade of love, laughter, lessons and LIFE!

*Invitations for the party were sent through Paperless Post - love their amazing designs, and easy to use template. Save a tree, and try them out!
Accessories from loved ones : )

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrate Love

For those who may be wondering, I ended up taking a never-been-worn dress my younger sister handed down to me, and had a tailor convert it into an A-line dress. I was quite happy with the results! It was collecting dust in my closet for years, and now I finally had a purpose to wear it.
This past weekend was perhaps one of the biggest celebrations of the year. It was the day we all witnessed my cousin getting married to the love of his life. I consider him one of my closest guy cousins, growing up together as children, even though we lived on opposite ends of California. In college he took good care of me: Driving me around town, feeding me and fending off the boys (with the exception of his best friend, whom I ended up marrying). He has been waiting for this moment pretty much his entire life. So when it came time for his Bride to walk down the aisle, I could not help but feel overly emotional. While some anticipate seeing the Bride, one of my favorite moments in a wedding is seeing the Groom's expression while his Bride makes their appearance down the aisle. The look and expression on their face says it all in words that cannot be expressed. 

Weddings, as it is for most people, has me feeling all lovey-dovey. One of the reasons being that it reminds me of the day my Hubby and I exchanged our vows and devotion to one another. As beautiful and romantic as weddings appear, no one but married people understand the challenges that come with a marriage after the glitz and glamour has faded days or even years after the wedding day. Those promising words spoken at the altar are not merely empty words, but words that will cost you all that is within you to hold onto those promises.

 Now, none of us are born with a supernatural ability to love, but we have a Creator who can, and gives freely to those who seek it. I cannot recount the number of times I have asked for more patience or love, only to realize that I was the one that needed to change. If there is a word I would use to describe marriage, it would be humility. The opposite would be pride, an ugly word that could send a marriage to its grave. Without humility and selflessness, "love" is not love.

The world will tell us it's all about us, what we can attain from a marriage, what contributes to our own happiness. I've learned that it is anything but that. Not to sound like a Debbie Downer, but the happily ever after ending ceases to exist on its own. Fairytales end once you close the book or the credits roll in. True, marriage can add a whole new dimension of joy in one's life, but not without a cost. In order to find it, we must learn to die to ourselves, for that is what love is. And the greatest example of love is written in the oldest book of all time. 

After six years of marriage, I am still a work in progress and sometimes I fall flat on my face. But I am eternally thankful to have a Husband who is full of grace and loves me enough to accept me as a whole package, flaws and all.