Married Monday: The Perry Wedding

Earlier this month, we got the privilege of being guests at Dillon and Brianna’s wedding! Since her older sister is one of my best friends, Brianna has felt like a little sister to me for the last few years. I was honored to help with lots of wedding tasks too, like making the bouquets and helping with the decorating for the ceremony! I’ve helped with several weddings since I moved to Durant, and every single time, I’ve thought, MAN, this would be a fun job. Figuring out all the little details involved comes naturally, apparently! I genuinely enjoy the organizational process behind pulling off an awesome wedding or party; there’s few things I love more than seeing all the planning and decision-making come together. Who knows – maybe someday I’ll go pro…!

Bri and Dillon’s wedding day was covered with God’s fingerprints. I love that He is so personal and intentional with us, and even though their day had absolutely nothing to do with me, God gave me sweet little glimpses of Himself in a way that only He could pull off. The best, most God-infused moment for me (besides the ceremony itself) happened just hours before the wedding.

One of my jobs that morning was laying out the aisle runner. With the help of a few groomsmen, I unrolled it, positioned it in the middle of the aisle, and pulled every inch of it tight and flat. But when I stood back to admire my handiwork, my heart sank.

The aisle wasn’t centered with the cross on the stage.

My head swam with panic.

“You have GOT to be kidding me,” I thought. I couldn’t just leave it like that; the aisle would obviously be crooked in every picture and the whole setting would look weird. How could the wedding party have set up all of the chairs the night before and not noticed this??

I debated my options for a few minutes, trying to decide what to do. If I moved just the runner, it wouldn’t be evenly positioned between the chairs. But if I moved the chairs, they wouldn’t be completely even with the stage. And I would have to move all of the wooden signs and flowers jars lining the aisle, which were already perfect. And moving that stupid runner was going to be a HUGE pain in the neck regardless, because it had already taken me forever to try to get it as straight as possible. I spent at least 30 seconds legitimately wishing I could clone myself.

For the briefest moment, I thought, “Maybe we could move the cross…?”

Something in my brain shifted, and I paused.

Right where I stood at the end of the aisle, I sat down, hugged my knees, and looked at the cross, letting out a quiet breath that came out more like a laugh. For a moment, I was struck with a tender image of God sitting next to me on the floor, cross-legged and leaning back on His palms, looking at the cross with me.

How often do we try to move the cross to fit everything else, rather than adjust everything else to fall in line with the cross?

I leaned back against the wall, lost in thought. God is so, so good to me. The fact that He would use a moment like that – at someone else’s wedding, no less! – to convict me and remind me that He is woven into every detail of our lives is proof of His kind, encouraging, sanctifying nature.

Long story short, I got up off the floor and moved the aisle runner, the wooden signs, the flowers, and every…single…chair. But it was worth it. :)

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My silly forever wedding date. We had so much fun at the reception!

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Seriously, how cute are they. ♥

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And how gorgeously simple is this cake?? Props to Jessica Cox!

One of my favorite parts of the weekend was getting to hang out with two of my dear friends/favorite mamas! They are both having boys this fall, and I’m over the moon about it!

I’ve always loved weddings. As a kid, I was really only pumped about seeing what the bride looked like and eating a giant piece of cake. And although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still love those things, there’s a few other things I appreciate more now. I especially love getting to help bring a bride’s dreams to life, whether I’m part of the wedding party or just helping as a friend.

I also never really cared much about the vows when I was little, but now that’s what I listen to more carefully than anything else during the ceremony. Couples promise to cherish each other for better OR for worse, for richer OR for poorer, and in sickness AND health, but most of them probably aren’t considering worse, poorer, or sickness as a reality. I’m filled with emotion at every wedding, remembering the vows Daniel and I said to each other and how little I understood what I was really saying. “They have no clue what they are promising,” I think to myself, smiling knowingly and yet joyfully at each couple’s giddiness and praying that God would cover their first year with buckets full of grace when the newlywed high wears off.

The longer I’m married, the more I love the fact that God picked marriage to be His holy representation of His relationship with His people. He cherishes His children in whatever condition they come to him. He is the perfect embodiment of our wedding vows: we are sick and in need of healing, but He is strong enough to raise the dead. We are poor and have nothing of value to offer, but He is rich in love and grace, and endlessly generous. We are worse than we are willing to admit, but He is better than we could ever dream. He made vows to us that He will never, ever break. Aren’t we lucky to be His bride?

This post is part of “Married Monday,” a series I started in order to expose myths and lies we’ve been told about married life, celebrate moments of joy and growth, chew on hard truths and sprinkle them with grace, and remind others (and myself!) that marriage doesn’t work without Christ in it. I have lots of ideas, but I’d love your input too! What topics would you like to see covered?

#instasummerswap

Earlier this summer, I got to participate in a big gift swap, and it was the sweetest experience! Instagrammer @_whiteafterlaborday has organized several of these swaps in the past and after reading about how great they were, I couldn’t wait to be part of this one. She coordinated the whole swap and only asked for $3 per participant to make up for the time she spent pairing us together. She asked us a few questions to find out about our likes/dislikes/favorites and sent each partner the other partner’s information. The limit for gifts was about $25. I got paired with Lauren Mayet (@lollymya), and I had THE BEST time picking out fun little things to send her. And she knocked it out of the park with my package!

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This is what it’s like trying to take a flat-lay photo when you have a dog, haha! #realtalk

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I love getting mail, and opening that package knowing that someone picked out all of those things just for me was awesome. I’m definitely participating in the next swap! If you want to see pictures of other girls’ boxes, check out #instasummerswap, and if you want to join me for the next one, follow @_whiteafterlaborday and keep an eye on her posts for a new one later this year!

Have you ever participated in a swap like this before? What was your experience?

Unboxed: May and June Birchbox

So guess what? I finally did it! I’ve been playing around with the idea for months, but I finally cancelled my Birchbox subscription. I quit for two reasons: (1) I just have way too many samples that I haven’t even had a chance to try yet, and (2) I’ve been getting a lot of hair product samples lately, and I don’t use them because MONAT is so much better that it’s not worth screwing up my scalp and my hair with lower quality stuff.

I figured some of you still might want to see my last couple of boxes, though, so here you go!

— MAY BOX —

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Sample #1: GOLDFADEN MD™ Doctor’s Scrub
I’ll be honest – this is one of the samples I haven’t gotten a chance to try yet. But it smells awesome and I really do like products like this. I just recently decided to try the Rodan + Fields microdermabrasion paste, thanks to my girl Charity Keller, but I’ll give this a whirl sometime soon!

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Sample #2: Davroe Ends Repair
Yet another hair product sample that I won’t be using. :(I was impressed with the size of the sample though; most samples aren’t this big!

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Sample #3: Another Oud by Juliette Has a Gun
Nope. Nope, nope, nope. Too musky for me.

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Sample #4: ModelCo Lip Lacquer Trio
THIS. This gloss is awesome. I wish I had gotten all three colors, but I think this one would be my favorite anyway. It’s a perfectly light shade of rose with a tiny bit of shimmer, and it’s moisturizing without feeling sticky! I have their lipstick trio and LOVE the pink and the red, so I had a feeling I would like the gloss too.

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Sample #5: COOLA® Classic Face Sport SPF 50 White Tea
I have liked COOLA products in the past, but I didn’t really find anything necessarily special about this one. It did smell like white tea, which I liked! But I didn’t feel like it really moisturized much. I used it right after washing my face, and my skin felt tight and weirdly dry after about 10 minutes. If I had used it strictly as a sunscreen, I probably would have liked it a little more.

— JUNE BOX —

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Sample #1: Real Chemistry Luminous 3-Minute Peel – Body
I love love love exfoliating stuff, so this one was a win for me. I used a smaller version of this product before that was specifically for my face and liked it in the past, so I figured I’d like this one too! The grapefruit scent is so yummy, and it really seemed to help slough off some of the bumpiness on my arms.

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Sample #2: Dr. Jart+ Every Sun Day SPF 30 UV Sun Fluid
The jury is still out on this. There’s been days that I used it that I love it, and days that I’m not so sure. If anybody wants to know what I think about it when I finish the sample, let me know in the comments!

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Sample #3: ARDENCY INN MODSTER Smooth Ride Supercharged Eyeliner
This was a new brand for me! I had never heard of it before, and I love that about Birchbox – how easy it was to learn about new brands without paying hundreds of dollars. I’ve been partial to my Eyeko liquid eyeliner, but every so often, I deviate and use an eyeliner pencil. This one draws on very smoothly, but it didn’t seem to be very long-lasting. I liked how creamy it was though; some eyeliner pencils make me feel like I’m scratching my eyelids off, and this one didn’t!

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Sample #4: Kiehl’s Precision Lifting & Pore-Tightening Concentrate
I didn’t really notice anything special about my skin after using this – but I am one of the lucky girls who doesn’t have large pores. If I did, maybe I would have noticed..? Am I the only person who wants to know why we need 27 different creams for all the different  issues we have with the skin on our face??

Sample #5: Etat Libre d’Orange Dangerous Complicity
I didn’t really like this scent, but the designer in me loved the little triangular compartment it came in – it made me think of Tiffany Newton! :) The scent smelled like fruit, but with spicy, woodsy undertones that made my nose burn a little. It was a little too intense for my taste.

The biggest reason I didn’t quit for so long was because I was afraid I would lose my Aces status and reward points. As an Ace, I got free shipping and priority with customer service, and I earned reward points for reviewing samples and spending money on full-size products. But I found out that if I ever decide to go back, my old account info and points will still be there, so I quit worrying! Thanks to those of you who gave me advice!

Happy Wednesday, people!

 

A Simma 4th of July

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Second only to Christmas, the 4th of July is probably my favorite holiday because of how many good memories I associate with it: grilling out, watching fireworks from blankets and truck beds, making patriotic crafts and singing patriotic songs, playing board games, and more than anything, spending sweet time with family.

I was SOOOO lucky this year, because some of my cousins came to visit all the way from Mississippi!! The last time I saw these kiddos was at my wedding! Look at Betsey and Lanah – they were so teeny! ♥

My weekend started out with a FaceTime session the little brother and helping the little sis move into her first apartment!

I still can’t believe she’s actually old enough to be done with college and about to start her first real grown-up teaching job. *feels*

The rest of the weekend with my little (and big) cousins was completely wonderful! We spent a bunch of time coloring, playing my dad’s player piano, watching movies (Ever After and Singing in the Rain), eating candy constantly, and playing Apples to Apples.

For our 4th of July cookout at the house, I got the chance to make a new recipe I stole from my pal Ashley McCain – jello watermelon – and it was a big hit!

It’s easier to make than you might think, but it looks like you spent an impressive amount of time pulling it off!

The only thing missing from our family celebration was Daniel. :( He needed to study for his upcoming CPA exam, and it was better for him to stay home so he wasn’t distracted. I was happy to get home to him and Fitz at the end of the weekend, and we celebrated together by grabbing fast food and watching the fireworks show in town.

Real life = dogs don’t have the patience to pose for pictures like humans.

I know it’s a month late, but what is your favorite 4th of July tradition?

Quartz Mountain

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What up, friends?? Sorry for my sporadic posting. I’ve been lazy in a lot of ways this summer – meal planning, house cleaning, friendship maintaining, small business-ing – and unfortunately, blogging was one of the things I could put on the back burner without consequences. But I’ve been convicted about my lack of discipline (much like a year ago with my first DietBet!), and I’m going to be much more consistent with this. You can count on it!

In mid-July, I got to travel for work for the first time in months, and it was GLORIOUS. Every year, the Oklahoma Regents host a week-long counselor’s conference at Quartz Mountain Resort in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma, and I was invited to sit on a panel of college representatives for a session on the last day of the conference. Because the resort is 4 hours from Durant, I had originally planned to stay at a hotel in Altus. But through a straight-up blessing from the Lord, I was gifted a one-night stay at the lodge…for free.

I have one thing to say: being a college recruiter has its perks at times!

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The resort was more rustic than luxury, but it was such a relaxing place! I drove in past lots of cabins and campsites, and when I took a walk around the resort and found people pushing off into the lake in kayaks, I wanted SO MUCH to jump in after them. I loved the combination of lake + mountains – very calming. I wish Daniel could have come with me!

I’m so ready for recruitment season to start – only a few more weeks and I’ll be on the road again!

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P.S. Are these not the cutest bath samples you’ve ever seen?? Those shampoo bottles blew me away! If I wasn’t head over heels for MONAT, I would have taken them with me and put them in my guest bathroom. ;)

Hope you guys are having a good week!