Tomorrow I wake up and celebrate my upcoming marriage with a bridesmaid brunch with friends and family who have loved me for years and loved me well -- the good parts and the not so good parts! What a blessing to have a few good friends and even more of a blessing to have several godly women who have been my second family for the past several years. Single years can be lonely for many, but for the past several years, I have had friends to celebrate happy moments and mourn sad ones with.
Likewise, I will spend the day with my parents, family and sisters. My family is the type of family you want to be a member of. I don't say that arrogantly. We aren't some "exclusive big name" family...but we are the type of family who has your back. Do not hurt one of our siblings because then you face the whole crew. My sisters are my maid and matron of honor and have been there for me for years. My sister Marley never quit thinking I would get married and would refer to one day at your wedding, when you have kids, etc. I very vividly remember calling my sister soon after my broken engagement and crying and she didn't say anything, she just cried too. Ansley is my "first daughter" -- always encouraging and believing in her older sisters and acting as our younger sidekick. She's been interning in Jackson this semester and was at almost all my wedding appointments, helping me make good decisions (because she has more fun taste than I do, I'm afraid!) My brother is a sweetheart, always getting defensive of his sisters and always trying to be silly and make us laugh.
My parents raised me to know the Lord and know what a marriage should look like. Its possible I could have gotten married earlier if I was willing to settle for something less than what they have. They are far from perfect, but they love and forgive and show grace to each other and their children. They raised us in a home where the gospel was a daily aspect of our lives. They pushed me to be my best and not just grow up and get married. We could be anything we strived to be - if that was a mom, great, if that was a lawyer, great! They prayed for me to meet Dave and believed he existed even when I didn't and they helped me (and all their children at some point) through the worst time in my life. Like Ansley, my mom has amazing taste and helped make my wedding great! My dad worked hard to provide me with a lovely day!
And finally, I get to marry Dave, the one for whom my soul longs. I waited 27 years to find him (which isn't quite true as I was quite unaware of boys for half of those years!) He is so good to me, so hardworking, so loving, so loyal, and absolutely adorable. Additionally, the way God worked it out was that He has a lot of the qualities I don't and vice versa and I truly think we are shaping eachother into better people, although painful at times. Like Keller refers to in his Meaning of Marriage book, I am excited to see the man God is making Dave into! I look forward to spending years getting to know Dave and getting to know him again as we grow and change.
The thing is -- only one blessing is new to me. I think thats why weddings are special. I think thats why others are involved. Dave and I could do this by ourselves, and at times, I thought we should just elope, but I am so blessed to have so many people who have made my life rich. I love Dave and he makes me life great, but my life was full of goodness even before him! If I could do one part of singleness over, it would be that I would aim to realize my blessings more. I think I realized them more and more the older I got! And when I realized my blessings, I was happier, more joyful and more grateful. Probably a good lesson to take into marriage as well.
So thats why today is special....yes, I see God's faithfulness and provision in bringing Dave along and in preparing us for a lifetime together. But, its also a reminder of God's faithfulness all along the way, even in childhood, to surround me with Godly wonderful people who love encourage and challenge me.
As scary as it may seem, what would you do if you never get married? How would you live your life? What would you do if you don't get married until you are 35, 40, 45, etc???
It won't be the life you pictured, but what can you do to make it the best version.
I used to imagine being that weird single aunt spending holidays alone or with my sister and her family and feeling like a tag along...then I just decided that if I am single, I will spend some holidays with my siblings, some I will host at my house for family and friends and some would be spent travelling. If it would be too painful to spend every holiday as another family's guest, then why not create my own holidays?
If I didn't have my own kids to spoil, I was going to spoil the heck out of my nieces and nephews... complete with a fun senior trip (SORRY Jack, Aunt KK can't likely afford that now ha) And there was a good chance that I would still have a child because at a certain age, I planned to adopt one of the many orphans in the world that need a home.
If I never got married, I didn't want to become that old retired lady by herself, I wanted to go work in missions and use my freedom to contribute to God's kingdom.
Of course, don't think about your Plan B long, don't dwell on it, but when you get scared that life may be Plan B, imagine the best Plan B possible. Lifelong singleness does not have to be cats and frozen dinners and lonely holidays. If you recreate the alternative in your head, then the alternative is a little less scary. :)
When you get married at 22, you go from being a member of a family to being a member of a family. When you get married at 29, you have 7 years of not being a member of a family unit -- true you are still a part of a family, but you likely aren't living with them, spending weeknights with your parents, celebrating every promotion or mourning bad days with your family. you may even live a long ways from them.
There are a lot of pluses to having some years where your "at home" family unit is just you -- you learn to take care of yourself, learn to value family more, gain some independence, etc. But, you also have a lot of days where the good and bad go unnoticed, where you aren't poured into and cared for and you aren't doing that to anyone else. There aren't family meals and discussions of days. There's no one to make heart shaped pancakes or pizza with on valentines day or to watch Christmas movies with all month in December. You still have a family to go home to for major holidays, but every other special or hard day is lived alone...and sometimes thats great (less pressure) and sometimes it stinks!
So, create a family of friends. I know I've discussed this before (but this is my summary week on singleness so listen again!!!) -- but when you are single, you're friends and roomies are your family. You fight with them, learn to compromise with them (all good marriage training), cry with them, celebrate holidays with them, cook dinners and discuss your day with them, celebrate promotions, mourn breakups, bring soup when they are sick, etc. You're friends- particularly your single friends- are your family away from home.
The best thing I did in my 20s was make good friends....such good friends, in fact, that I tear up when I think about moving. We truly did live life together which is how community ought to be. I think that is a plus to singleness. We get it, we understand Christian fellowship and its importance in a believer's life, we know that community is so important! Being married can only fill some of my need for fellowship, Dave can't meet every single fellowship need I have or vice versa. I still need good friends and a church family! I sometimes see married friends slip into "husband and children" world which I understand, but it makes me sad--- sad because no one likes to be dumped and sad because they are missing out on great community!
So, while you're single -- make friends. Make lots of single friends- guys and gals because you need community who is in the same stage of life and free for last minute dinners, wine nights, etc. You need guy friends who can help you change tires and move and they need girl friends who will bring the food to the parties! (clearly thats stereotypical but its how my friendships worked!)
Work hard to stay in touch with married friends. You need them and they need you. And do your best to encourage an mixing of both worlds...no need to have a singles club and a married club, just a young Christian club. Make friends with older people and younger people.
You have the time and the real need for friendship at this stage of life...so enjoy those friendships to the fullest. They really are some of the deepest friendships you will have!
"Count your many blessings, name them one by one. Count your many blessings, see what God has done."
I can remember singing this as a kid, and its true. Gratefulness and worship may be a chore at first, words we say because we are commanded to do so, but soon the heart will follow. With any disappointment in life, you have to mourn, but then you also have to get up, dust yourself off and keep on living. The best way to live in a way that glorifies the Lord (and selfishly, in a way that is happiest to us) is to focus on the blessings...
....which is why despite accusations by some that singless can be selfish by enjoying their free time, I think it is important to take advantage of that free time with travel, hobbies, friendships, etc. Recognize the blessing of freedom and enjoy it. (And I guarantee that for most single Christians, this extra freedom is not tempting us to stay single longer, its just a reality of our current state...I can go get a drink with a friend at 8 pm because I don't have kids to bathe!)
Practice remembering what's good. I wasn't always good at that. The older I got, I improved at counting my blessings. With whatever you long for -- job, husband, kids, healing, etc, its easy to only see what's missing, but for all of us, single or married -- we have so many blessings! Besides the obvious blessings of God's undeserved forgiveness, salvation and grace, we all live in America and are blessed with freedoms and opportunities and most of us have family and friends and jobs and communities.
Plus, cultivating a heart of gratefulness is something to learn at any stage. The first two weeks Dave was gone, we were grumpy with eachother and NOT grateful. I felt I was doing all the work here, getting us ready to wed and marry and he felt he was doing all the work in DC- setting up bank accounts and finding a place and paying bills. Our lack of gratefulness hurt our relationship, but the past 2 weeks have been happy and full of missing eachother and cheesy anticipation of seeing eachother again...all that changed was our attitudes. We tried to be more grateful and more gracious.
I think I learned qualities like gratefulness while single...and I am sure I will struggle to be grateful many more times in life, but I hope that my lessons learned these past few years will encourage me to aim for gratefulness even when I don't feel that way.
Travel....or pick up a new hobby....or start a graduate program....
The reality is a good majority of people get married. However, the reality is also a higher age for marriage. (seriously the number of my friends who are engaged/seriously dating/recently married has increased TONS as we hit late 20s....)
So, what to do in the meantime? ANYTHING. Literally anything.
It's easy as a single to do one of two things...(1) overcommit. Everyone claims you have "free" time and should help with this party, church event, volunteer opportunity, etc or (2) not get involved, stay home, "WAIT" for a spouse and family.
Pick an option in the middle...save some time to do what you want to do. It's not selfish (despite many articles written about how singles these days are always selfish and enjoying their "ME" life) Choosing to pursue travel, hobbies, and even missions while single is wise with your time. Being married has advantages that should be enjoyed. BUT Being single does too. One of the single "pluses" is having a little more freedom!
While single, I sold my ring to pay for backpacking trip to europe, got a law degree, went on a second European trip to eastern europe, lived in DC 2 summers in Massachusetts 1 summer, went to Africa, ran a half marathon, etc.
So, what country do you want to visit? What hobby do you want to start? Go ahead a do it!!
(THIS PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN AS A DUAL BLOG TOPIC WITH HOPE BECAUSE IT GOES ALONG WITH THAT POST.)
Seriously, I strongly dislike comments like "When you quit looking, He'll find you" or even worse, "When you are satisfied in Jesus, he will give you a mate." and these comments come from married folks.
On top of being biblically UNTRUE, it also implies that the speaker did "quit looking" and focused only on Jesus and reached some spiritual level deemed good enough to be blessed with a spouse...so therefore, be like them.
Now, what people mean to say is this: Don't stress, don't panic, don't obsess. Be yourself and don't worry if every date you go on is the one. Thats all true. And if there is any inkling of truth to the whole "I quit looking and found him" theory, its this: when you aren't as worried, you are more fun and more attractive.
But, goodness, ladies, keep on looking. If you want to get into med school, you may sometimes need to take a night off, but you don't get into med school when you quit trying. You can't get in without studying, taking the MCAT, interviewing! Same with dating....you may need to take time off from looking at times...a weekend in, a couple months after a breakup. You certainly don't need to always stress and worry, but never quit looking.
And by don't quit looking, I don't mean limit your search to guys who you think meet some checklist in your head. I mean, be open. Did a guy from church ask you out, but he is not your type? Give hime a chance. Were you invited to a party with people you don't know well? Good, dress up cute and go mingle.
Don't always be thinking -- is this a guy I can marry, but always be thinking - is this a guy I can go on a date with. Figuring out if its the right guy doesn't happen immediately, deciding he's a sweet enough guy to go to dinner with is pretty easy.
I gave some guys a chance I probably shouldn't have, but being open minded kept me dating and meeting new people. I think my willingness to meet new people and actively look helped me meet Dave....although along the way, I certainly took breaks from the dating scene several times!
Keep on looking. And, know that looking doesn't mean you don't trust God or that you aren't content in God (NOTE: You probably aren't content enough in God, none of us are!) It just means that you hope to meet a great guy to settle down with. So, live life, keep looking and be open to try new things - online dating, blind dates, giving guys a chance you never thought you would, etc!
I think when other believers emphasize a life of contentment to singles, they often devalue hope....afterall, if you are hoping for more, you most not be grateful for what you have or content with the life you are living.
Quite frankly, thats not true. Even Adam lived in a perfect world and was content, but God said it wasn't good for him to be alone. You can live a full life and still strive for other goals and other hopes. Otherwise, no one would apply to med school or have a baby, because they would just think the life they were living was so full that they didn't need to add anything or anyone else.
Additionally, there is this percentage of people that are "nervous" to encourage hope because they don't want to feel too dissapointed if it doesn't work out their way-- it's almost as if we need to discourage hope because encouraging hope and then those hopes not coming to fruition doesn't exactly portray God well, does it? It's easier to NOT GET YOUR HOPES UP then to deal with the possible NO at the end of the tunnel.
We don't really believe God can come through, that He can answer a longtime prayer or heal the sick or goodness, even bring about marriages or babies for those who are waiting.
The thing is God doesn't need us to "make it easy for him" or "let Him off the hook" - if His answer is no, it will be No, but that's because for whatever reason, that answer brings glory to Him and good to you. It is not because God can't answer prayers.
Also, a failure to hope is a self fulfilling prophecy. A failure to hope prevents fixing the things we need to fix about ourselves. As long as I was hopeful that I would meet someone, I willingly gave guys a chance, said yes to dates I might not normally say yes to, went to parties, presented myself well, tried to stay in shape, etc. Hoping encourages us to be our best, to fix our flaws, to constantly reevaluate areas of weakness, to give people a chance and to generally put out good friendly vibes into the world. This attracts people, maybe not Mr. Right, but it does cause people to want to be around you!
Lastly, why hope? because scripture is full of references to hoping in the Lord!! We are told to do so! My all time favorite verse is Romans 12:12: Be Joyful in Hope, Patient in Affliction, Faithful in Prayer.
There you have it, Hope in the Lord brings Joy, and in a Christian life that requires patience due to affliction, we need all the Joy we can get :)
So, hope in the Lord. Hope that He provides. Hope that He heals brokeness. Hope that He changes circumstances. Hope that He provides comfort!! Hope that He sustains and encourages and reminds you that He is our primary need, not relationships. Hope because He says to do so. He knew life would be broken and painful and dissapointing at times and right there in scripture's command to be patient in affliction and faithful in prayer, we are told to joyfully HOPE!
(SIDENOTE: Just like yesterday, this really isn't specifically about singleness, just about something I learned during singleness. Being Joyful in HOPE is really something to strive for all the time, single or married!)
I meant to start this "series" yesterday (I say series cautiously as its just a personal blog, not a magazine, etc)...but I was sick, as in didn't sit up until 5 pm. My adorable yet germy nephew gave me the stomach bug...which is exactly what I needed amidst all my crazyness at the moment. Plus, I hate doing nothing...looking back at the end of the day and thinking, I accomplished nothing -- I saw nothing, did nothing, etc. Heck I didn't even turn the TV on until 3 pm! But, I suppose I needed rest and that was good because I got a lot of it! Anyways, I am a little weak and tired but practically back to normal and working today!
(Also, small side note: I truly think one of the happiest moments in life is when you've recovered "enough" from the stomach bug to get to drink sprite....seriously, the finest champagne you could ever drink can't possibly taste as delicious as that sprite does at that moment!!)
So on with my series on my final thoughts on singlness....
I stumbled across this article from 3 years ago, and I couldn't agree more.
Life is fabulous for me at the moment (albeit full of stress!!) I am marrying the most amazing man, heading to the west coast for a week long vacation and starting our new life together in a city I love. That being said, things haven't always gone perfectly, nor will they always go perfectly. I would have selected that things go a bit differently, possibly without the pain and embaressment of a broken engagement, but this is the way things went....and I truly had to grieve lost dreams before I embraced new ones. I love the life I am living now, although it wasn't the one I selected.
Some excerpts from the article...
"And I had a choice. Choice No. 1: I could dwell on the deep sense of loss I felt at the death of those dreams, question God's goodness and become bitter. Choice No. 2: I could grieve the things I would not be and ask my loving Father to show me new dreams — the things “no eye has seen” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
But first I had to let go of my expectations for my life. I had to give up control of my circumstances (control I didn't truly have in the first place). I had to accept with joy the things I would never be.
Life doesn't always go well for those who follow God. In fact, sometimes it's the opposite. For reasons only heaven knows, our lives can seem void of goodness.
At some point during my single years, I decided it was futile, and even sinful, to cling to the things I would not be. I could only seek to know better the things I would be: a loving daughter, a loyal friend, an encouraging sister, a devoted follower of Jesus.
Many dreams I couldn't even imagine — they resided in my heart as very basic hope — thingsunknown to me that I trusted God could do. Instead of wasting my energy on grieving what I would never be, I sought to transfer that energy into being someone for Him.
The truth is, I cannot dream God-sized dreams. I also cannot bear God-sized tragedies. Whether I am realizing dreams or dealing with the loss of them, I need the One who created me and loves me."
I love how she didn't say "don't dwell and just be content". She acknowledges that she had to grieve. I think if you don't stop to grieve and accept reality, you will grow bitter....you may be all smiles and claims of contentment at first, but the reality of life's unfairness will eventually hit you. But she also focused on gaining new dreams, ones she had not even planned on.
A lot of times, waiting is tough because what you are waiting on isn't "bad" or sinful. It's one thing for God to say no to something sinful or selfishly wanted, but the desire to be a wife and mother isn't bad at all! In fact, its good, so why all the waiting, feeling as if you wanted something you shouldn't have? I don't have the answers, but what I do know is that our small stories play into a much bigger story and the parts we play may be good -- wife, mother, hardworking attorney, sunday school teacher, etc- and the parts also may be filled with dissapointment, but each part is about bringing Glory to our Savior, so even the failed dreams and heartaches and waiting can be used to do that!
I am no fool. I know that marriage does not mean the end of grieving lost dreams. I have no idea what the future holds for Dave and me, but I know that our small little plans won't likely happen as we had hoped or planned. There will be other dissapointments, and if singleness has taugt me anything, its taught me that old dreams can be redeemed and new dreams can be created. I hate that I learned that lesson at 22, but then again, I am glad that I learned that lesson at 22.
So, single women, grieve, don't be afraid to do it. Don't let friends, family or the church scare you out of it. Grieve so that you can move on and accept new dreams, new challenges, new goals. Grieve so that you can run to your Father and be comforted. Grieve because its unattractive to become that tough hard female that has no feelings or emotions. Grieve because its a broken world and you are currently experiancing some of that brokeness. But know the difference between grieving and dwelling. Grieve, but don't spend every moment doing so. Grieve while aiming at moving on. Grieve and yearn for your Savior and new dreams.
So, grieve and cry and struggle...and hope. Hope that blessings will come your way and hope in a Savior that will sustain you. (but that's another topic!)
Absence from Dave
When it comes to love, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. It makes Dave and me grumpy! Being apart has made the last month of engagement probably the roughest because it put a lot of responsibilities on each of our shoulders -- to do things alone that should be done together. Picking out a place, final details on wedding, packing up, setting up shop in a new city, etc. Add to that a lot of stress and the fact that we are both sinners--- and you have a recipe for some grumpy conversations.
I have a newfound respect for military families. Not only for being away for months at a time, but also for the fact that they have such patience and understanding about it. I think you learn that even if you are irritated over something, you shouldn't waste what precious time you have to talk with fighting!! (I had a friend who was a military wife who would dress up for late night skype chats with her husband because she wanted to make them special!)
Even so, we both agree we can't wait to get married, even though our first few month of marriage are already filled with stress...moving our stuff up, finding a job, etc...I just prefer to live life's stressful moments with Dave :) So maybe, despite our grumpiness, I am growing fonder. It's a blessing to know how much better my life is with Dave in it....I am sure I can take him for granted!
Absence from Friends and Family
The reality of leaving family and friends is hitting me. Next Sunday, I have to decide whether or not to go to my home church or my church in Jackson because it will be my last sunday most likely! At the wedding, I have to say goodbye to my baby sister until Christmas (maybe this fall, I hope!) (who am I kidding, I will probably swing by and hug her one last time as we leave town Saturday for honeymoon!!) See Ansley leaves to work at a summer camp the week after my wedding. When I get back, she will be gone. When I fly home to move us to DC, she will still be gone. She and I are very close so the thought of saying goodbye for possibly 6 months is so sad! I also will spend the week after our honeymoon saying final goodbye to friends. Luckily my family lives in Jackson so when I come home for holidays, I will also see friends. Even so, leaving the amazing group of friends of I have is hard.
The truth is, being away from those you love is hard :( Which is probably why, despite my adventurous side, I could not manage to leave Jackson until Dave gave me reason to do so. So much good here! The good news is that being away from Dave makes it a bit easier to do....because he is already in DC, I feel like I am going to someone I love instead of just leaving people I love. So his absence does have some good qualities, I guess :)
Also I am really glad that its sad to leave Jackson. I loved Auburn but was ready to leave---broken engagement, stuck in same town as EX, friends graduated...so after a few summer weeks spent finishing my thesis, I wanted out. I love Oxford, but I was ready to leave. Very few GOOD friends and most of those had already left...It wasn't so sad to leave....but leaving Jackson is sad. What a blessing! How great to have a place I love so much that its actually difficult to leave. How special to have godly fun encouraging friends that I hate to say goodbye to!
...and, as I said above, I am leaving to go be with someone, so what a blessing to have a happy reason to leave Jackson!
I don't know about y'all, but I am scared of a LOT. I think I am at that age where I have lived long enough to experience enough disappointment and frustrations to keep me cautious, but not long enough to where I think "screw it, what's taking this risk going to hurt??" (Note: while I am not looking forward to aging, I am looking forward to getting old enough where your take on life is "why not" again)
So moving somewhere where I have to make new friends, get involved, find a job can be an overwhelming thought at times. The sad thing is 8 years ago, it would have been an exciting thought.....but something about getting older makes us a bit more practical -- and in relation, a bit more frightful!
I am quite excited too, but I'm now practical enough to be to be somewhat fearful, which is why I was so glad to read THIS ARTICLE and I had to share. The thing is, with all the blessings in life, even alongside the challenges, we could miss the good if we spend too much time in fear!
An excerpt from the blog post....
What do we miss because we’re afraid of being disappointed or inconvenienced? How often do we limit ourselves out of a fear of the messy and unpredictable? The call to discipleship is a call to live—today—the life that’s right in front of us. And if it’s not about mercy or adventure, then maybe it’s about adhering to the faithful voice of God. Huge decisions beg for direction that’s bigger than a pros and cons list. Don’t avoid the radical, but do wait on God’s guidance. Ultimately, despite the risks, all that matters is whether or not this is what God is asking us to do. And if the spirit of God brings confirmation, then by all means, jump out of that plane.
We only have these few years on earth to love a broken world. And it may be that we’re called in radical ways to get over ourselves and hug this place without letting go.
And it’s hard to do that if my fears are the loudest voices my soul hears.
God whispers, “Live. Live. Live.”
Wake up and embrace a dangerous path, because we know who we are and we know the One who gives strength. You don’t have to get over your fears to fly—but you do have to recognize you’re more than what you’re afraid of.
Climb mountains without fearing the altitude. Jump Even if you pee your pants on the way down. Breath despite the pollution.
Live each day pouring out the grace that fills your lungs.
I love this --because the author speaks to my desire for adventure and my fear of taking risks now that my life is settled. She doesn't scold us for being fearful, just encourages us not to let it dictate our lives. We are called to LIVE, not cower in fear...to be careful and discerning, but to jump out of the plane when we feel called. I think its great to not want to take risks for risk's sake, BUT to embrace the life God has called us to and blessed us with means doing risky things....not only in life (moving, new jobs, etc) but in relationships, ministry, spiritually!
WE ARE CALLED TO LIVE...and fear is no way to live :)
Now that we know where we are moving (or in Dave's case already moved) and where we are living, I am so much less stressed. Now that I am no longer apartment huting, I finally have the time to apply various places and I have just decided that with the exception of a few resumes being sent, I am going to job search AFTER I move for many different reasons:
(1) I am marrying my best friend and one of the best guys I know in less than 3 weeks...after waiting most of my 20s for him to show up! I do not want to miss out on the JOY and CELEBRATION of God's faithfulness because I am worrying about sending resumes!
(2) DC wants you to start quickly and I literally can't start until the 3rd week in July at earliest (and I am hoping August) because that's when I move to DC/ARLINGTON. I am coming home after the honeymoon to pack up, say goodbyes, change my name, throw away old stuff, exchange any duplicate gifts, etc etc. If I apply for a job, I can't start in a week when they want me too.
(3) Almost everyone I know says that its easier to find a job when you are up in DC because you are meeting people and already in the city and can literally start TOMORROW if need be.
(4) I will be moving us (I am splitting a moving van with my sister and her husband and son who are also moving up NORTH) So I will be back and forth between MS and DC --I fly up mid July then fly home beginning of August. Dave can't be leaving work again after he left for the honeymoon and wedding, so as much as I don't want to be unemployed until August, I think that someone has to have the freedom to pack us up and move us to DC. At the moment, Dave can provide the income and I can provide all the moving plans and details, so I want to be able to do that for us.
So, I anticipate not working until August. And yes this stinks, but in many ways, its frees me up, so I am quite grateful for the freedom to help us move and settle in!
So Job stress - gone. And I literally don't have much wedding stress. I was stressed the past couple weeks as we got together final BIG details, but now its the homestretch, I trust the people who are planning our wedding and I trust my mom. And if we forget a detail, its small and doesn't matter and we will be married at the end of the day. That's whats important. So when people ask if I am feeling nervous about the wedding, nope, not really. I'm just excited (oh wait, one bit of nervousness- I got a chemical peel and I have been nervous about my skin going back to normal in time ha!)
Also, other housekeeping notes: I am going to be changing my blog. My namesake says it all: a 20something who lives in Jackson. WELL, I won't be in my 20s but for 7-8 more months (gross) and I won't be in Jackson! SO...... it's time to move. Although I will have some new topics to discuss, I still plan on talking about singleness, dating, marriage, etc.
I've mainly avoided cheesiness during this whole wedding ordeal. No one really likes the girl who keeps a public countdown on her facebook wall or always gushes about her wedding, fiance, etc. But the reality has hit me: in 18 days I am marrying my favorite person and in 16 days he comes home (he is quick to correct me that when I say "come home", I am wrong because our home in in DC now....but I think he's wrong, it can't be home until we both live there!) So soon.
and, almost as importantly as the marriage/wedding, we get to go on a trip and relax in 19 days :) For a life that has been as busy as ours has been this past month, a break is highly anticipated ha!
Praise the Lord, we have a home!! Despite the stress of finding one, we really are lucky we found one in 3 weeks! Due to how hard it had been, we were quite worried that come July, we would still be looking.
We wanted a 1br and we wanted to eventually live in the Courthouse/Rosslyn area of Arlington...and that's exactly what we got...although we weren't looking there yet for fear we could not afford it.
However, we are signing on a lease Saturday that is the opposite of what we wanted immediately. We thought we would sublet or at most, sign a 6 month lease --for a tiny studio. This way we could figure out exactly what we could afford (on two salaries) and where we wanted to live. NOT to mention, we could save a but each month in rent.
But, sublets for studio/1br apartments proved hard to come by. And 6 month leases often added cost to each month's rent due to the short term nature of the lease -- so you don't save very much. And, as I've shared before, studios weren't an option at many Virginia apartments.
So when Dave's friend gave us this lady's number and it was a 1br in the area we liked for 100-150 more than our originial short term budget, we decided to jump in to a 12 month lease. I didn't want to get stuck somewhere I didn't like for my than 6 months, but this is where we want to be and we are likely not going to find a good deal like this again for awhile. It was more than we budgeted for the first few months but less than we were planning to spend on our first 12 month lease, so it evened out!
I just think it's funny how apartment hunting changes you views of things. I wanted a sublease to figure things out first and now I am so relieved to have a 12 month lease and know I won't be moving again for awhile! We had ideas about what we thought was best, but God opened and closed the right doors at the right time.
A little about our place: its a 1br with a parking space in a small 3 story apartmemt building with maybe 12 units in it. It lacks the amenities like a pool or garage but is clean, 2 blocks from the metro, in a safe residential area, has laundry on site, and has hardwood floors.
The little street we will live on is great -- sidewalk for running, condos, homes and apartment complexes! BUT its a 2 block walk to the main street full of restaurants, bars, etc. There will soon be a new metro line (the silver line) -- coming late summer/spring that goes all the way out to Tyson's Corner/Mclean, just a few blocks from Dave's office, so soon he can avoid the traffic too and just hop on the metro. (SEE, from Courthouse all the way out to Tyson's Corner!)
So come see us everyone :) we would love visitors!! BUT give us some time to get our furniture moved in (late July/early Aug) Just imagine it with my mid century pieces, a few handmedowns and LOTS of MS prints (with all my pics of oxford, auburn, jackson, cotton, etc, no one will doubt where my heart belongs!)
OH, and a little about our new 'HOOD: COURTHOUSE
A few days ago, when it seemed every place would fall through or not work out, I said to Dave: "I am ready for this move to be exciting again!" Moving far away from family and friends is still stressful, but as the details work out, it gets exciting again. Sure, I don't have a job yet and money is tight, but the Lord has been so good to us and will continue to faithfully walk us through every life situation we face, including a move and marriage within a few weeks. I can't wait to see the life we have ahead of us in Courthouse!
(4) A saturday morning at eastern market (this used to include brunch at Bread and Chocolate before it closed !!)
(5) a run on the National Mall
(6) Sunday Morning Brunches!
(7) attending Grace DC on Sunday nights and Dave and I actually joining a community group since he won't be working til 10 at night anymore! (atleast not regularly)
(8) Tangy Sweet
(9) knowing that I am a 4 hr bus ride from NYC and girls weekends with a dear friend there
(10) Learning to cook on a tight budget...strangely I am very excited about this. I love challenges. Dave and I want to be able to enjoy a meal out on the weekends so the best way to do this is to eat cheaply during the week. It won't be gourmet, but I am so excited about learning to cook fairly healthy cheaper dishes so we can use the leftover money for a sunday brunch :)
Let me explain DC housing for you (from my 2-3 weeks experiance)
Its competitive, it goes quickly. It's competitive for everyone, but especially for those looking for smaller places- studios, 1BR's -- as those go quickly. You have lots of people - single and married- looking for those places. Its a lot easier to find a larger home or even a BR in an apt for other people.
It's even harder to be married. (All these years I wanted to be married, but as far as searching for housing, I SO WISH I WAS SINGLE! ha!) Many many many listings say single occupancy only. In fact, Virginia Housing law limits studios to single occupency so a studio in NoVa is a no go. Even in DC, some places only want one person...I guess there is always the risk of drama with two people. You don't want to hear someone's marital/relationship fights in the basement apt you are renting out.
It requires you act quickly...which Dave and I aren't great at. I like to think things through. Even when we started acting quickly, we weren't acting quickly enough. As in, Dave applied immediately after he got off the phone with an apt complex who said they had one open apartment so we should apply immediately. SO, maybe 15 minutes to finish application? and the dang thing was already gone. CRAZY.
It's pricy. Y'all probably already knew that, but yeah...it is. We will be paying 4 times what my Jackson rent was and 2 times what we would have spent on a apt together in Jackson. His mom showed me a picture of his sister's lovely new rental home in West Georgia and we joked about how that house will cost less than the 400 sq feet we hope to rent somewhere. Chasing your dreams to DC cost money, folks.
And my main complaint with housing is that its income restricted -- in a way that really hurts us! We have one salary that is just above the rent controlled apartments' maximum but beneath many apartments' minimum rent. The reason we want a short term lease is because we can move to a nicer place once we have two incomes. I guess DC has a problem with people bailing on rent - because I have never had an apartment restrict my renting due to too much or too little income....which we are that "in between" amount which disqualifies us for everything....
So essentially Dave and I are everything you shouldn't be in the DC housing market -- MARRIED, middle- income earning, small space seeking slow thinkers (slow if you could a day to think about it) Additionally, we were seeking long distance, and Dave has moved, so hopefully thats one point in our favor. It seems that those who can show up and sign a lease quickly have the edge.
For my praying readers, please add us to your prayers. We would love a place to lay our heads. Mainly, I am worried for Dave. He is in a hotel at the moment but I would love for him to have a place. I know we will find something, but it would be great if it happened quickly...so sweet Dave doesn't have to househunt every night and I can quit wasting half my day on the internet - and we can worry more about prepping for marriage than finding a home.
I have no doubt the Lord will provide for us, although I don't always like waiting on His timing :) Each detail for moving is working out, this one will too!
I look a little rundown at the moment --- and I would love to enjoy my last month with family and friends, so praying this answer comes soon! It doesn't have to be our perfect home, just a place to stay for 6 months until we get situated and can find something better.
PLUS, no matter where we move, I will be living there with a new roomie, so it will be great!
FIRST DAY... BTW, Dave started work today. He is working on a residence for the ambassador from some foreign country. I'm impressed. So talented!