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Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Most Beautiful Wedding

ND Friend did it.  She and Tiny Dancer had the most beautiful wedding that could ever be a month ago in Chicago.

I've tried several times to sit down and write this blog.  But words just don't do it justice.  Even the pictures--and there are some stunningly beautiful ones--don't do it justice.  Seeing their two sweet families celebrate with them.  Hearing their cousins sing Ave Maria from the balcony.  Watching these two smiling non-stop for hours (seriously....their faces must have been sore the next day). There was something there, in that Cathedral, that you could just feel.  Love.  Faith.  Joy.  Happiness.  It was palpable.  As it should have been for two of the absolute best people I know.

So instead of making an inadequate attempt at describing it, I am going to let the photos do the talking.  And I am going to hope that one day you are able to experience something like this. Because it really was just remarkable.

Congratulations to the happy couple!




Me meeting Fr. Robert Barron



Photo by Jolene Broad Photography

Photo by Jolene Broad Photography

 
 
Oh, one more thing.  You have to see the Matron of Honor speech by sweet Super Mom.  It was the best I've ever heard.  Click here (to read the words she spoke) and here to see the video that followed.  Both are at the bottom of the respective blog links.  Oh, and pretend to be surprised when you hear that same amazing song played during communion at our wedding in October.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Advice for the Single Ladies (Part 8): The Finale

“But no matter what love throws at you, you have to believe in it. You have to believe in love stories and prince charmings and happily ever after. I think love is fearless." ~Taylor Swift

Here we are, eight posts later with our final piece of advice. I actually kind of hate for this series to end--I have been loving all of your comments about our little pieces of advice.  Thank you all for your kind words!


GO TO COSTA RICA.

Tiffany Says:

I really do feel like that trip to Costa Rica was life changing for both Blonde Oklahoma Girl and myself.  I think that we were both maybe feeling a bit stuck, a bit unsettled as she described it earlier.  And there was something about being there that helped us be brave enough to make a change, to have confidence that we could do bigger things, and to force us to follow our dreams, which did eventually lead to our future husbands.

Obviously, it's not about Costa Rica.  It's about doing something that you thought impossible.  Something scary and hard and unpredictable.  It's about finding something--be that white water rafting or running a marathon or telling someone how you feel--that scares the crap out of you and do it.  Put yourself out there....at work, in relationships, in life.  Fate favors the fearless.  Just go.

But for real though, think about Costa Rica.  There is something in the water there...

See?  Fear.  Does a body good.

Blonde Oklahoma Girl Says:

It's in the waters....sit in a hot spring pool, frolic in the most gorgeous waterfall with the iciest, coldest water that you will ever experience, strap on that helmet and brave the class four white water rapids, zipline in the jungle, tarzan swing over the jungle, screa at the top of your lungs while doing said tarzan swing, spend a day on the beach discussing life with one of your best friends, followed by a very, very bad sunburn, parasail by yourself over the ocean....  Book a trip to Costa Rica for no other reason but..."Why not?"

The Family Unit - Costa Rica - 2012

Friday, August 15, 2014

Advice to the Single Ladies (Part 7): It Will Happen When....

"Don't confuse the wait for an answer from God with no answer from God.  Wait patiently on Him--He answers you when He knows the time is right." ~Elmer Laydon
  


Tiffany Says:  "It will happen when you realize that it might not and are okay with that possibility."

I swear to you, if one more freaking person had told me, "It will happen when you aren't looking!" I would have punched them in the face.  No, seriously, I would get violently angry upon hearing that.  How, exactly, should I not look?  Lock myself in my house, never see people of the opposite sex, and trust that God will drop someone in my lap?  That advice is stupid. 

I think that every single girl questions whether she will get married, whether there is someone out there for her, or if she will be the one spending every holiday alone and always sitting at the kids table at weddings. 

People try to help by saying things like, "There's someone for everyone."  I never found that helpful.  Mostly because I know great people who never got married, never found love.  Oh, and the Bible actually says that some people are called to be single, so there's some pretty good authority against this theory. Clearly, then, there is not someone for everyone.  Ergo, that advice is stupid too.

What I can tell you, at least for me, is that it happened once I had come to the realization that it might not.  And, I came to the conclusion that I was okay with the fact I might not get married.  I realized that even if I was not someone called to marry, my life would be okay.  Not only okay, my life would be great.  I would be the super fun aunt who would flitter in and out with fun gifts and way too much sugar.  I would travel the world.  I might buy myself those Jimmy Choo's instead of starting up a college fund for future children.  I distinctly remember the day that I understood whatever God's calling was for me, I would accept it, embrace it, and enjoy it.

And low and behold, a couple months later, The Boy from Texas asked me on our first date.  And then in June, well, you know the story.



Blonde Oklahoma Girl Says:  "It will happen when you least expect it."

I know, I know, I know. What single girl wants to hear those words? “Oh, honey…don’t worry, it will happen when you least expect it!” Yes, I heard that a many times and each time I heard that I wanted to straight punch the person in the face.
However….it really does happen when you least expect it. I know, I know…you now want to punch me in the face? I get it. I really do.
When you are single, and looking by the way…because let’s face it…when are you really not looking….it’s hard to hear that. So…here’s the thing. When you are happy and focused on you, and are making you a better person…then you have room in your life and you ready to meet someone, because now you are ready to share your life with someone….and that usually happens when you least expect it. Why? Because you are busy being you…and the best you for that matter.
So, when you are in a new town and it’s Thanksgiving weekend and you have nothing to do, you go to a calf-roping. Why a calf-roping? Who knows…probably because there isn’t anything else to do in your new town. You then run into a friend you knew from college and it’s totally random because you haven’t seen her since college graduation, like six years ago. You go have dinner, you meet the next night. Except this time, a boy shows up. You talk to that boy, tell him you should be friends…because you know no one in this new town. Boy calls you that night, boy calls you the next morning…asks you on a date. You go on said date…and every day since then you have been with that boy. Boy asks you to marry him in a horse drawn carriage, the “Will you Marry Me, Lyndse T” is in Christmas lights. You say I do on August 30, 2014. And live Happily Ever After.
Moral of the story…go to a Calf-Roping. :)  Just kidding…but it could happen at Wal-Mart.  Or on a random football weekend, where you meet a guy and then a few months later go on a date with a guy and then plan on getting married October 25, 2014!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Advice for the Single Ladies (Part 6): Someone Else Finding a Husband Doesn't Somehow Lessen Your Chances

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”   ~Epicurus


SOMEONE ELSE FINDING A HUSBAND DOESN'T SOMEHOW LESSEN YOUR CHANCES


Tiffany Says:

I'm not gonna lie here, it is hard to see people getting what you want while you are not.  That's just the fact of it.  There were times where I thought I might poke my eye out if I had to go to another wedding and celebrate love and marriage and then leave completely alone.  There were times when I didn't even want to go to church because I couldn't stand to sit behind some happy couple with his arm around her shoulders.  I'm not saying it's easy. 

But here's the deal, there is no sort of marriage or happiness quota.  The fact that another girl gets a ring and walks down the aisle does not somehow lessen your chances at happiness with the person who is right for you.  (I'm sure that you Sheldon's in the group are thinking about how there would be some statistical reason that mathematically that is not correct, but just hush and sing Soft Kitty in the corner).

I know that for me (and for several of my single friends), this was a struggle.  It is easy to be bitter and negative and jealous.  But I really do think that it is so important to fight against that.  To find it inside of yourself to be happy for the other person and content enough with where you are to show that happiness. 

For me, I was able to combat this with gratefulness.  When I would feel whiny and left out and like everyone was taking all the happy from the universe, I made myself be grateful for what I have been given.  A life.  Health.  A great family.  Awesome friends.  Amazing opportunities.  It's hard to feel jealous when you are too busy feeling grateful.

Benefit of your friends getting married:  tons of bridesmaid dresses in a closet.


Lyndse Says:


Tiffany hit the nail on the head with this one….I don’t have much to add.

I will admit at being jealous when other friends would get a ring on their finger before me…hell, I was still over here just looking for someone to want to put a ring on my finger. Yes, I was jealous but an even bigger YES, was pure happiness for that person. They found their lobster (because every episode in Friends can relate to everything in life) and everyone deserves to find their Lobster.  Like Tiff says, you can’t let the fact you are alone at events where your singleness is put in your dang face…get you down. Shake off the singleness and relish in the fact that you are a healthy, stable working adult, who has great friends and family and is loving life.



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Just Too Much Sadness

**Tomorrow we will continue with the Advice for the Single Ladies series, but today, my heart is too heavy.**

"Where is God in all this?  Oh, he's up there.  Somewhere...shouting down that He loves us. Wondering why we can't hear him."  ~What Dreams May Come

Sometimes it feels as though there is just too much sadness in the world. Christians being beheaded in Iraq. Planes being shot out of the sky in Ukraine. Children slaughtered on a daily basis in Gaza. And now, closer to home, a beautiful teenage girl--one who reminded me so much of myself 13 years ago--has taken her own life.

Each of these senseless tragedies have made me acutely aware that we live in a fallen world.  A horrible, depressing, fallen world.  One in which answers may never come.

I do not know why. I wish the world were different. I wish people loved one another better and understood God's love for them and for others more.  I wish we lived in a place of peace and harmony and understanding.  But we do not.

Yet, we still have hope. Because this world is not the end of the story. God has promised us that. We are journeying toward paradise, where this pain and hatred do not exist.  Until then, we are left to make the fallen world a little better by our being here.

So maybe all we can do is hope faithfully and love fiercely and pray that God will use us for his glory.



Please pray for all of those suffering. And especially for the soul of sweet Clare and for all of those who loved her. May she and all the departed rest in peace.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Advice to the Single Ladies (Part 5): Don't Make Out With Random People

"If it's not making you better, it isn't love.  True love makes you more of who you are, not less."  ~Mandy Hale


DON'T MAKE OUT WITH RANDOM PEOPLE
Blonde Oklahoma Girl Says:

Don't make out with random people.  I know being a single girl, you can go out and meet a cute boy and make out.  And we are talking just kissing here people!  Just because you can...doesn't mean you should.  That is all.

It's better to kiss the right person than a random person.


Tiffany Says: 

I didn't really have a tendency to make out with random people (just un-random ones), so I'm going to take a bit of a different spin on this one.  I'm a bit of a prude, obviously, but hang with me.  At some point during my teenage years, someone gave me the following advice that always stuck with me.  Sadly, I don't remember who said it or when, so if it was you, let me know and I'll give you credit for your genius!

It's hard to ever go back to just holding hands.

Physical relationships always move forward, it's next to impossible to bring them backwards.  I think this is an important to point to remember, especially when you are first getting started in a relationship.  It's easy to jump in too fast and then not be in a place where you can put the car in reverse.  Draw boundaries that you are comfortable with and stick to them as long as you need to.  And don't feel as though you have to apologize for that. 

All I know is that I'm glad to have heard that when I was younger, and glad now that I listened!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Advice for the Single Ladies (Part 4): Don't Wait to Live Your Life

"If you know you have to wait anyway, why not make a decision to enjoy your life while you’re waiting? Why not be happy while God is in the process of changing things? After all, there’s nothing we can really do to make it happen any faster. We might as well relax and enjoy our lives, knowing that at the appointed time God is going to bring his plan to pass.” ~Joel Osteen


DON'T WAIT TO LIVE YOUR LIFE

When we started making our list of points, this was easily the one that we both felt the most strongly about.  Prepare for soapboxes.

Tiffany Says:

Our society somehow has implanted this idea in our heads that life doesn't really being until you are married.  Sure, you're breathing and hopefully a somewhat functional member of society, but you  must spend all of your time just waiting for Prince Charming to show up with a shiny ring and a perfect kiss so that you can buy a white dress get a Kitchenaid mixer and live happily ever after.  And you just do whatever you have to in order to make it to that magic time when live begins.

That's bullshit.  (Sorry for the language Bible Belt moms!)

Your life is right now.  Right this minute.  And whether or not there is a piece of jewelry on your left hand changes nothing.  You have to live, sister.  Because you won't get this time back.

You are not less because you are single.  You are not incomplete or insignificant or unimportant.  You're just not.  So please, please, don't let yourself buy into that.  You are enough.  Period.

I had a policy for several years.  If there was anything that I thought, "I can't wait to be married so I can do _____" I did it.  Right  then.  It all started with picture Christmas cards.  I love Christmas, I love mail, and it is so fun to get everyone's photo cards in the mail.  I couldn't wait to be married and send one out.  So I didn't.  I started sending out my very own card about 5 years ago.  I know it's just a piece of paper, but for me, it was so much more than that.

My twenties have been absolutely amazing.  And as excited as I am to become Mrs. The Boy from Texas, there are things that I am going to miss about the single chapter.  These are the perfect years for you to travel.  Go to Bible Study.  Run a half marathon.  Sprawl out and sleep on the whole bed.  Read a book.  Take a cooking class.  Go on girls trips.  Find a hobby.  Really focus on your career.  

I'm a firm believer that when you use the single years to really figure out who you are and what is important to you, you'll be all the more ready when the right guy comes along.  Not because you've finally waited long enough, but because you've become the right girl. 

Livin life with no rings on our fingers in Costa Rica - 2012

Blonde Oklahoma Girl Says:

Appreciate your experiences while single. This was probably my favorite part about being single. Yes, I would look at my coupled up friends and just married friends and just had a baby friends and get EXTREMELY jealous that they were getting to do all things I so badly wanted to do and it would make me yearn for the day that I can do all that.  However, I was jet-setting to San Fran, Napa, Costa Rica, ski trips, random weekend girls trips, splurging on ridiculously expensive purses and going out whenever I wanted, doing whatever it is that I wanted, meeting new people, having the time of my life…
I grew as a person, I learned what it is I wanted in a husband, what I wanted to be in a wife...all of these experiences made me into the almost 30 year old married woman I am today. For that, I wouldn’t trade it for anything…well, except for some of those random make outs…there are a few of those I would trade.  But the memories I made…those are priceless.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Advice for the Single Ladies (Part 3): If He's Into You, You Will Know

"If he misses you, he'll call.  If he wants you, he'll say it.  If he cares , he'll show it.  And if not, he can't be worth your time because you're obviously not worth his."  ~Rules of a Lady


IF HE'S INTO YOU, YOU'LL KNOW.

Tiffany Says:

Yea yea yea, this is from the "He's Just Not That Into You" craze.  I know.  But I read the book twice and saw the movie and didn't really get it apparently.

I cannot tell you how many hours of my life I wasted wondering if a guy liked me. I would fret and analyze and try to determine if the fact that he touched my arm or the fact that he called me every day for a week or the fact that he wore a green shirt meant that he secretly possessed an undying love for me and would one day be down on one knee before me in all it glory.  I felt like I had shown up for a basketball game wearing a gymnastic leotard, football helmet, and carrying a golf club--like it was game for which I didn't get the rules.

What I can tell you is that with The Boy from Texas, I never questioned it.  Not one single time.  He made clear to me from the beginning that he was interested in me both in what he said and what he did.  For the first time, it didn't feel like there was some secret play book that I couldn't figure out.

From the beginning The Boy from Texas told me how he felt.  This rough and tough country guy would tell me how much he missed me and how he wanted to see me.  Later on he frequently told me he loved me and wanted to marry me.  And, importantly, he did the same thing even around other people.  He would say sweet things about me to our friends, hold my hand while we were hanging out with them, etc.  There were no secrets, no games, and no lies with this one.

What they say does matter, but (especially if you are from the south and are dealing with a sweet-talking Texan), you need to pay attention to what they do as well.  If you've read our first date story, you know that he sort of invited himself to come with me and my parents to a Friends of the NRA banquet, not because he thought that was an ideal first date, but because he wanted to see me.  A couple of weeks later, he showed up to help at my family's lamb sale, even though I told him it would be too stressful and he should probably stay away. 

So if you are sitting around analyzing every word he says or every hand gesture he makes trying to convince yourself it's a sign, move on.  There's something better down the road.  Once you find it, you'll never doubt it.

Willingness to take photos with his arm around you = good sign.

Blonde Oklahoma Girl Says:

I agree with Tiff, if he's into you...you will know.  I don't know how many late night analyzing sessions or freaked out phone calls of, "He did this, what do you think that means?" that Tiff and I had throughout the years.  We would spend HOURS upon HOURS analyzing. 

When it came to Connor, I was confident he was into me the entire time.  I never questioned anything.  It was such an odd feeling to have...in a good way.  A feeling that I had never felt before.  One in which I knew I didn't need to analyze or worry about anything like that. 

About a month into dating him, I found out about something Connor did when he first met me that made my heart so incredibly happy.  When we first met, he called me that night to make sure I had made it home okay.  We talked for a few hours during that conversation and he told me had had spent Thanksgiving with another girl and that he was going to go see her the next day.  I thought to myself, "Ok, so I guess he just wants to be friends because he is telling me about this other girl."  I give him a hard time about this now, and he says he doesn't remember saying anything about her.  Haha!  Anyway, I found out a month later that instead of seeing the other girl the next day, Connor called her and told her he did not feel right continuing to see her, he did not want to lead her on in any way, and that he had found someone that he believed to be the true deal.

How sweet is that?  I mean, not for the other girl, but for the fact that he didn't lead her or me on.  He knew what he wanted and didn't play games with her heart or mine.  Let me tell you, I have been the girl on the other end of that conversation....except I never received a phone call....I was just dropped. 

Actions like that are how you know you've found a good one. :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Advice for the Single Ladies (Part 2): Be Open Minded

"The greatest relationships are the ones you never expected to be in.  The ones that swept you off your feet and challenged every view you ever had." ~Unknown


BE OPEN MINDED.


Blonde Oklahoma Girl Says:
I say this not only being open minded in looking for a mate/future husband, but also being open minded to just anything that comes your way. As far as dating went for me, I was always looking for someone who I thought I wanted…and generally, it was the physical aspects I was looking for. Tall/dark//handsome kinda thing, what I thought I wanted all those years of dating and what I actually learned I needed in a partner were TWO totally DIFFERENT things.
Connor is everything I never thought I needed, and is more than anything I ever wanted.
Example. I’m a girl, so therefore I can be a little dramatic and over-react to things…and I always said I should be with someone who can calm me down in those situations…and Connor does that.
I grew up in a rodeo family, I didn’t rodeo, but my dad and brother do…so, I was anti-rodeo cowboy, mainly just because I wasn’t interested in going to ropings and rodeos all the dang time…I get bored. Lo and behold…I am marrying a cowboy…and I met him at, you guessed it…a calf-roping.
See what I mean about being open-minded? Let go of expectations that you have given your future husband…let go of those nit picky criteria that he has to meet. Connor makes me laugh, he is so incredibly sweet to me, at the end of the day…he is who I want to spend my time with…whether it’s watching him rope or just watching tv. Connor makes me the happiest I've ever been. He's sweet, handsome, kind, loving, funny...in the words of Connor..."I was born to be his baby and he was made to be my man!" Actually those are Bruce Springsteen's words...but they sound sweeter from Connor. 

Also...be open minded to changes.  Before our trip to Costa Rica, I was feeling unsettled.  Not necessarily unhappy, just unsettled.  I had no idea where my life was going, what I was doing.  I Loved my job, I loved where I lived, I loved life...I just knew there was something more for me.  So, after Costa Rica, I applied for a position in a company that I had been volunteering for and gave it all to God.  The position that I applied for was actually in the same town where I lived. 

I didn't get it.

But I wasn't even upset about it, because I knew God had a bigger plan for me.  The next week, I accepted the same job, but in Southern Oklahoma.  I packed up my clothes in a suitcase and moved in with my grandparents who lived there.....where three months later....I met Connor.  I'm not saying you have to pick up and move...but be OPEN to the possibilities that God has for you.

BOKG never thought she'd end up with a horse in her engagement photo....
Tiffany Says:
I am going to agree with this but include a caveat.  It's the lawyer in me. 

But I am probably not the best person to preach on this one because, ironically enough, The Boy from Texas fits into just about everything I ever thought I wanted....he's country, he's athletic, he is smart, he grew up on a ranch, he can bench press my weight, he can ride a horse, he's tall, we've not played one-on-one but I'm confident he can beat me, he played football, he knows how to fix things....he sort of is the picture I had in my head all along.  He just took longer to find me than I thought he would!
But, having seen several of my friends end up with people who they did not see coming, I think this is an important piece of advice.
You absolutely should be open minded about things that are not important.  Listen, I preached to Blonde Oklahoma Girl for YEARS to forget finding tall, dark and handsome and to find someone sweet and funny who loved her.  That, I am all about.  Throw away the picture in your head of what you think he has to look like or what job he has to have or what kind of vehicle he has to drive or any of that.  It just doesn't matter. 
But, here comes the caveat, don't compromise your standards.  I used to hate being told I was too picky.  It's NOT being picky to hold out to find the right person.  It is NOT being picky to demand someone who will treat you right.  It is NOT being picky to insist on finding someone who has a job and has no criminal record.  There is a difference between being picky and being intelligent!

My friend McCain gave me good advice on this front one time.  He said, "If the problem with the guy is something that can be fixed with scissors, then you are being picky.  If not, then it's a real issue." 

Don't like his hair?  Scissors can fix that, so you're being took picky.  Don't like the fact that he doesn't love Jesus and his mama?  There are no scissors big enough in the world for that one honey, run the other way.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Advice for the Single Ladies (Part 1): The Intro

"Keep your heels, head, and standards high!" ~Lola Stark

Blonde Oklahoma Girl and I were single for a LONG time.  L-O-N-G.  We were the perpetual third wheel.  We have closets full of bridesmaid dresses.  Took crap from people who thought it was somehow okay to ask if we were ever going to find someone.  Wondered the same thing ourselves most of the time.  Put up with guys who didn't deserve us.  So we know what it's like to be a single twenty-something.  We spent our time in the trenches taking grenades.


Always the bridesmaids.  We even have the shirts to prove it.

And part of that is listening to advice from people who really do mean well, but have no clue what they are talking about.  You know....."Stop looking at you will find it."  "Quit being so picky."  "These days online dating is the only way to meet someone."  "Your eggs are dying."  Yep.  That was said.

And although we are thrilled that our single days are numbered (she is getting married at the end of August and I am getting married at the end of October), we feel for the single ladies out there.  So, in light of that, we've decided to do a little blog series offering our real life, in the field, been-there-done-that advice for single twenty-somethings in a multi-part blog series over the next couple of weeks.  First piece of advice will be revealed on Monday. 

And we're pretty clever, so stay tuned!