Funeral Tomorrow

The last few days have been rough and emotionally taxing. The funeral is tomorrow, and I am going as support for my friends since I didn’t know Ashe. We had question and answer Sunday at church, and I asked a question about suicide. My voice cracked. I don’t know why. Maybe it was the full weight of the emotions coming down on me from all around. 

I took the day off from work for this. On Friday, when everything came out, I had a group of people over at my house: Lindsay, Lindsey, Amy, Kristi, and Faye. It was nice to finally meet Faye. I wish it had been on better circumstances, but I had heard so much about her. We have an ex in common.

We played with the dogs and she told me about her dog, Tater, that was technically her ex’s dog, but liked her better. She said she missed him. There was a lot of talk about loss, and I tried to make people laugh when and where I could. 

I wish I had the emotional maturity to go into ministry. I feel like it could be something that I am good at. It is something I feel drawn towards. I’m in youth ministry right now at my church, but I’d love to go further. Right now, I feel myself in a big state of evolutionary change, so I guess that I will just have to wait and see where this path takes me. 

Two Weeks To Go…

With EOC classes and senior exams completed, there’s not much left to do except ride the wave to the end.  Most of my grading at this point is complete, and I’m feeling a lot less stressed out now that my shoulder isn’t being bruised up by my insanely heavy bag.

My EOC grades are back, and these determine whether or not you have a good meeting with the principal or you have a bad one.  This year, I’ll be having a good one.  My passage rate was 92.5% on the state test with 60% making an A or a B, and these numbers are in non-honors classes, which is pretty freaking fantastic.

One of the assistant principals said that I wasn’t allowed to teach something other than biology and genetics because they needed me to stay on with Biology.  They idea had been that they’d find a teacher and I’d teach where they needed me to, but they said, “Why would we hire someone we don’t know to teach a subject where we have a fantastic teacher already?”

It felt pretty awesome.

The wedding planning is going steady.  33 days left until the big day!  We got my big brother’s train ticket this evening.  He’ll be coming into town from Massachusetts on the 17th and staying until the 1st.  It’ll be great to see him since I haven’t seen him in four years, and even then, I barely saw him when I was up there for that year.  He’s not a biological brother, but family doesn’t always mean blood.

My celebrations were and have been… cut short… however.

My friend AE called me Thursday night saying her really good friend who was asking her to come out the lanes to talk because she needed a friend.  Her girlfriend broke up with her, from what I’ve been told, for another person (HK) who is basically the single biggest player I have ever met.

AE met her there, they talked, and eventually she left rather upset.  Not at AE but just in general.  She ended up committing suicide that night.  Her funeral is on Tuesday, so I’m taking the day off to be with AE and others.  It’s in Columbia.

We had a lot of people at the house last night.  We had pizza and beer and laughed at the dogs and remembered the good times and cried… and got angry… and just processed.  We told everyone we loved each other and then they all went home.

I’m trying so hard to imagine what it must feel like to get to a point where you honestly feel like there’s not coming back from it… and it really sucks.  There’s so many what ifs… did people know she felt like this from time to time?  Was there a history of her struggling with depression?  Was alcohol involved in her decision making process?  There’s so many questions that aren’t getting answered… and probably will never be answered since she’s gone now…

If anything, it’s driven people closer together.  It’s made people realize that time with those we care about can be a lot shorter than we expected it to be.  This is the second loss in recent months that happened too soon before its time.  She would have been 27 next month.

As I said, the funeral is on Tuesday.  I’m getting sub plans together tomorrow for my coworkers to print for me and I’m going to start looking for a sub on Monday.  I don’t know what everyone will need, but I’ll be down there.  I can hopefully offer spiritual support in some way, since I know these situations can be pretty rough.

I’ve been reading things like, “Just pray that she’s in a better place.”  Fuck that.  She is in a better place.  And she’s not hurting anymore.  I don’t have to pray that she is.  I know that she is.  Insensitive stuff like that just. Pisses. Me. Off.

Tomorrow is church, and I’m in the classroom all day again.  My morning teacher is out of town and I gave the afternoon teacher the weekend off.  I’m excited about being there, but I may see if one of the office ladies can cover the second class for me so I can be with AE in the service.  I know this weekend isn’t going to be easy for her.

Prayers my way for my friends would be amazing.  Thank you.

Mixed Emotions 

Erin and I have two dogs: Yukon and Bentley. 

On Sunday, Yukon started having some diarrhea, so we put him on a chicken and rice diet. On Tuesday, he started vomiting (5 times within 30 minutes), so we rushed him to the vet. 

I ended up staying home with him. We got two different medications, and if he starts vomiting again we have to take him back for an X-ray. They gave him 700ml of fluids, which were gone within an hour. He lost three pounds in a month with no diet change. 

He’s doing better, I think. The meds seem to have stopped him up pretty well. Yukon is my first dog. He is the reason I like dogs as much as I do. I spent a lot of time training him up so that he’s the model for good behavior. 

I hate him being sick. 

Then, tonight, Bentley started in with the same symptoms. 

Erin and I love our dogs. This illness hasn’t made the last few days fun. Not to mention, we’re almost out of rice.

Prayers requested for speedy recoveries!! 

In other news, though, Carnival Cruise called and offered us an upgrade for a hugely discounted price. Guess whose two week honeymoon now includes a large balcony room on their cruise??? That’s right! It’s us!!!!

Now we can call room service and sit out on our balcony and eat and drink and enjoy our time together even more. Best. Summer. Ever. Happening. Soon!!!!! 

Marriage. Honeymoon. Love. Family. 

Dear Future Extended Family,

When we were planning our wedding a few months ago and making up the guest list, I asked Erin if she wanted to invite you.  She said, “They probably won’t come.”

But I said, “It’d still be polite.”  So she agreed but with reservations.

Today, we got your response.  It was exactly what we expected.  You checked “Declines with Regrets” and marked a zero for number attending, but it was a pretty obvious lie.

You didn’t decline with regrets.  You declined with all the self-righteous smugness you could muster.  What didn’t you just scratch off the “with regrets” part and leave it at that?

There was no reason… none… for you to “explain away” your decline with the letter you also inserted into the envelope.  We know why you weren’t coming.  We invited you because it was the right thing to do not because we thought you’d actually show up.  We weren’t surprised by your decline, we weren’t really surprised with your reasoning.  We were surprised with the fact that you felt it necessary to tell us why you weren’t coming.

You sent us this little gem:

Dear Erin,

I love you and I care about you. I’ve tried to show it by helping you and giving you support over the years. So it grieves me now to tell you that I am not able to give my support to this Union.

This doesn’t change the fact that I love and care about you. I hope that my honesty does not cause you to sever our relationship – there are many things about you that i enjoy and respect. (I also liked Kel.)

Please understand that if you ever want to speak further with me about this, heart to heart and respectfully, I would welcome that.

Sincerely yours, ***************

While I agree that this note could have been worse, I’m still disappointed.

I’m disappointed because someone who professes to love another but can’t bring themselves to fully support them in an endeavor that is neither hurting them, their family, or anyone else obviously doesn’t love them as they so profess.

My relationship as a gay woman does not hurt me or hurt Erin.  It doesn’t hurt you, it doesn’t hurt your family, or your marriage.  It doesn’t hurt her mother or my mother.  Erin isn’t on drugs.  She’s not suffering from some woman-addiction.  She’s not doing anything dangerous.  She’s not do anything that isn’t worthy of your love and support.

If she were hurting herself or others, then sure, I could see the use of the words of “can’t support” as being a legitimate option, to some extent.  Even then, I don’t think that “can’t support” and “love” go together.

I’m disappointed because you can’t support this “union” because of… let’s not beat around the bush, okay…. because of God.

And this is where things get really hazy for me: God’s love is unconditional.  God loves all of His children.  He created them, and even though they do immature things sometimes, He never stops loving them.  The word “sin” means to “miss the mark.”  How is sin defined in the Bible, really?  What is or isn’t a sin?

We can point to Leviticus for all the sins, but then I can point to the Hebrews where Jesus is said to be appointing a new covenant because the old one is obsolete.

Jesus himself never once spoke about same sex relationships because homosexuality wasn’t even a big deal back then.  Paul doesn’t particularly like same-sex relations, but he never mentions committed same-sex relationships.  Every time same-sex relations are mentioned in the new testament (which, by the way, is only three times), Paul is talking about lustful relationships, usually between married men and women who are having affairs with young boys or slaves, as was the practice of the time.

If we look to what is actually a sin in the Bible, Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  So what now?  I’m a sinner and so are you.  Why must you cast stones on others sins when you aren’t even able to act in a Christ-like way towards other sinners?  We are all saved through the grace of God alone, in your words.

Do you know what grace means?  It’s the the free and unmerited favor of God.  Google it.  Just because someone is saved doesn’t mean that they don’t continue to sin, which includes you, and it doesn’t mean that God is going to turn away from them.

Your letter assumes quite a bit.  For one, it assumes that I don’t have a relationship with God since you feel that our union isn’t something you can support, obviously for religious reasons since you love Erin and apparently like me alright.  What else is there, really?  How dare you act so presumptuously.

While I feel sexually attracted to Erin and I would go as far as to call that a lustful feeling, I’m willing to bet that you feel the same way towards your husband.  If not, I feel sorry for your marriage, as it is apparently devoid of all raw emotion.  My relationship with Erin goes beyond just lust into a loving and committed relationship where we not only support each other but we raise each other up when our own families, who are supposed to support us no matter what, fall short of that calling and responsibility.

Our marriage is blessed by God.  And you know how I know that? Because it’s based in love and commitment, which is what God is.  God is love.  And if God is all-loving, there is no room for anything else.  Anything less than 100% unconditional love falls short of the glory of God.

Jesus hung out with prostitutes.  He hung out with the sick and the dying.  He turned no one away.  The only ones he rebuked where the religious leaders who said that he was doing wrong.  Eventually, those in charge got so fed up with his message of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE that they killed him, and he begged for God to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing.

By rejecting our “union,” our marriage, you are rejecting an unconditional love.

Ephesians 4 says, “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.  But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift (4-7).”

There is one body and one Spirit.  One God.  Who is in all.  God is in me just as in you, so when you rebuke another’s unconditional loving relationship, you are rebuking a part of God’s love.

Ephesians 4: 13-16 continues, “until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.  Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

To mature manhood.  That we may no longer be children. Speaking the truth in love. We are to grow up … into him… into Christ… so that [the body] builds itself up in love.

We are to act like Christ.  We are to love others unconditionally, as he did.  Jesus didn’t say anything about homosexuality or same-sex marriage, so why are you?

Dear future extended family,

I love you and care about.  I’ve tried to show it by being friendly at family gatherings where we’ve spent more than a few minutes together in the same room.  So it grieves me now to tell you that I am not able to support you in religious affiliations.

This doesn’t change the fact that I love and care about you.  I hope that my honesty does not cause you to sever our relationship – there are many things about that I enjoy and respect.  (I also liked your family.)

Please understand that if you ever want to speak further with me about this, heart-to-heart and respectfully, I would welcome that.

Sincerely yours,

Kel

Making of Handfasting Cords

So this time, when Erin and I took the supplies out of the bag, we actually opened them and got everything we could done without the ankhs that I ordered through Amazon.

IMG_9027We started the day out by going to the Greek festival.  We stuffed our faces and toured the church.  I was reading the pamphlet they gave out and one part really struck me, “The Theotokos (the Mother of God) with the Christ Child teaches us a fundamental truth of Orthodoxy-that is, that Christ is to dwell in each of us.  Saint Ambrose expressed it well: “Every believing soul conceives and gives birth to the Word of God; Christ, by means of our faith, is the fruit of us all, thus we are all mothers of Christ.”  Thus, the same Christ that condescended to dwell in the Virgin Mary comes to be born in us, that we too may say, as did Saint Paul, “it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God (Gal 2:20).”

I showed it to Erin and said, “It’s a Unity Principle.”

It made me really want a statue of the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus.  I still don’t call myself a Christian, and I IMG_9026never will I don’t think, but I’m still connected to that past and still connected to that faith, and drawn to it from what I’m learning at Unity, which teaches us that the Christ presence, the spirit of God, is within all life and that we are to connect with it how we can and share that light and presence with the world.

The understanding that the spirit of creation, of the Gods, is within all life was just a real eye opener to me in how I treat other people and how I react to situations in my life, and I’m starting to see that idea translated everywhere I go and in everything I read.

After that adventure and with full bellies, we drove up to the pagan store in Hendersonville.  I got a meditation CD and Erin got some candles and stones for her work with chakras that she’s going to start soon.  We came back and decided to start working on our cords after I booked Discovery Cove for July.  Honeymoons =/= Cheap!!!

IMG_9029 IMG_9028We started out by cutting one of each of our ribbon colors into six foot long stretches.  We tied a knot in one end about three to four inches in and then attached them to carabiners to hook them to the table for some pull.  We braided them all the way down and then tied a knot in the other end.

This part took a little longer than we IMG_9034expected it to because the cords kept flipping upside down on us, which meant we had to stop braiding, back up, and try again.  Finally, we got that part finished.  Erin and I kept thinking about how pretty they were going to look and the cats kept playing with them, so they have lots and lots of positive and loving energy in them.  We tied a second knot on the other end to leave ribbon lose like on the other end.  Then we went back and double knotted both sides because the ribbons are silk and we didn’t want them to fall apart.

Mine are the blue a purple, and Erin’s are the green and orange.

Next, we started working on the tassels.  We wanted to take back any supplies we didn’t need, so we cut open only half the of the beads just in case we were able to return any unused IMG_9043IMG_9042IMG_9049supplies.  We lined up the patterns that we wanted, picked out the charms that we wanted to add in the middle and on the end, then cut the wire and started to bead.  We used bowls to keep up with everything so it wouldn’t roll all over the place.

The next part was a little tricky.  We used wire because it was sturdy, but sturdy things can sometimes be more difficult to work with.  We started by taking the charm we wanted on the end, running the wire through it so that about an inch was through the hole, then we twisted the end up the rest of the wire tightly to secure the charm in place.IMG_9035

On the other end, we started to put the beads through and then push them over the twisted spot to really put a good hold in on the bottom charm.  If you decided to do this, make sure that your wire is small enough that twisting it will still be able to get through the hole in your beads.  The end result was really nice and the wire didn’t show very much.  We used a nice gold colored wire though so that even if it did show, it would still look nice and pretty.

The next part was just as difficult: figuring out how to attach the tassels to the cords.

We ended up pushing the end of the wires through the knots at the end of the cords and then wrapping the loose wire around the end of the cords to help secure it.  To tie it in, we pushed it back through the knot in the cords and then down through the first two or three beads.  Finally, we wrapped it around the wire between the bead a couple of times before cutting off any extra.

I can’t promise that no fingers were hurt in the making of these cords.  In fact, it sorta hurts to type this right now.  Silly index finger!

IMG_9044IMG_9045 IMG_9031 After that, it was wash, rinse, repeat for the next four tassels.  We watched chopped and laughed and talked while we worked.  I’ve read about people praying as they do them, but we put positive energy into them in our own way.  It’s whatever works for you.  It was a lot of fun.  I really can’t wait for our last charm to get here.

We created (or really, will create) six completed tassels.  We got the first five done today, and hopefully we’ll finish the last one next week when it gets here.

IMG_9047IMG_9048We plan on keeping them tied and then placing them into a shaddow box to hang up somewhere in our house to remind us of the bond we share.  41 days from now, I’ll be able to call Erin my wife.  And I’m so unbelievably happy and excited about it.  You can definitely plan a wedding in six months, just plan to work really hard for six months to get everything done!

Speaking of getting things done, I don’t think I mentioned this in my last post, but Erin and I went and applied for our marriage license on Friday.  I get to go pick it up on Monday and then we will put it in a safe place until June 26th!

Anyway, the almost end product that we have is beautiful.  Here’s a small gallery of what we completed today:

The Making of a Handfasting, Part Two

We have 53 “official” replies with approximately 80-100 “yes” responses total, so far.  Every day we are getting more and more response cards in the mail.

We still need to finish up the DJ survey, the photographer survey, and tell the caterer what our final thoughts are on the food.  We have to guests who aren’t going to be eating because they medically can’t eat anything (Eosinophillic Esophagitus.  It’s a bad one.).

I went around to about four different places after I wrote my last blog and none of them hand an ankhs.  The only other place I could check would be the Unity Festival that is on May 30th, but the bridal shower is that day, and I’m worried that we won’t have time to do both.  I ordered them online.  They’ve shipped and are supposed to be here on the 26th, but I imagine they’ll  be here mid-to-late next week.  That’s the final piece to the puzzle.

I took all the rest of the supplies that we got, laid them out, took a bunch IMG_8993of pictures and then put them all back in the bag.  We will hopefully be working on them more this weekend.

IMG_8990My side is has the purple and blue ribbon with the cream that ties the two of ours  together.  I have two types of beads for each color and some charms that we’ll hang in the tassels and on the end.

As far as matching charms go, we have the three, the infinity trinity knot, the ankhs once we get them, and our initials.  My mom gave us a K and an E for a gift at one point, and we weren’t sure what to do with them up until now. They’ll go on our cords, and it’ll be fantastic.  We also have pentacles, but they’re actually hair bows from Hot Topic, so we’re going to have to basically cut the pentacle off the bow and attach a loop for our cords, but when you’re pagan, you have to do what you have to do.

My cords have a couple of crosses that are significant of my past and my recent “coming to Jesus” moment. I also have a small ankh and an eye of Ra that will go on there as well.  And a paw print, for my insane love of animals.

Erin’s cords will be green and orange, tied together with the cream.  She has someIMG_8991 native american charms, a puzzle piece for autism, a Star of David for her attachment to Judaism through  her past, and some other nature charms (a feather, owl, etc).

It cost a little over $100 for all the supplies, so we’re going to only open up the beads as we need them so we can take back anything extra that  we have.

My mom bought wedding favors: a votive holder with “Love” and our names and the wedding date on them.  We ordered the candles for them yesterday, so  they should be here next week. She also got a ton of bubbles. We spent the evening yesterday putting stickers on them while drinking wine from our new glasses and Erin fixed the jam she made without the addition of pectin (that didn’t set because the recipe we used sucked) in our new sauce pan.

IMG_8959 IMG_8954Last weekend, we went strawberry picking with one of Erin’s friends from work.  It was a lot of fun.  The field had a ton of berries and they were all huge.  Some were even weirdly shaped.  We have one that we called the Apollo berry because he has extra toes and it sorta looked like his paw print.  I’d never been strawberry picking before, and I wasn’t sure about going this time because I didn’t know if I wanted to intrude on Erin’s time with her friends, which we value, but she really wanted me to come, so I did.  And I’m glad we did because….

IMG_8960We ended up picking a whole heck of a lot of strawberries.  We didn’t want them to go bad because the experience wasn’t exactly the cheapest thing we’d ever done, so we ate half of the bucket, froze the other half, and I looked up a crock pot jam recipe that didn’t use artificial pectin because we IMG_8961figured that it would be easier and less chemical-y.

Unfortunately, it didn’t set.

So then Erin did a bunch of research to see how she could make it set, and fixed the jam (pun intended) that we found ourselves in.  So while it was on the stove boiling, we drank a glass of wine, put the new wine stopper in the bottle (which was why we decided to have the wine to begin with), and put stickers on things.

IMG_9012 We’re still not done with the stickers.  It’s a lot like invitations… Do some as you go so you aren’t up late the night before trying to finish in a panic.  It’s getting there.  Erin go three boxes of the votives done and I got two boxes of bubbles done before we were both done with the whole thing for the time being.

Eventually, Erin deemed the jam complete and set it aside to cool.  It was at that point that the only logical thing to have for dinner was breakfast, so I cooked eggs and pulled some biscuits that I’d made and frozen and heated  them up.  We had vegetarian breakfast for dinner over white wine.  It was lovely.IMG_9015

 

As for the rest of the stuff, we’re in the process of finalizing the rest of the honeymoon.  It started out with a day trip to Miami the day before we boarded for our 8-day cruise, and it has turned into a full blown two week event.  We’re leaving two days before to go explore Fort Launderdale and Miami, we got a room through AirBNB, which I highly recommend doing for all vacations.  That website is amazing and so much cheaper than hotels.IMG_9016

We’re getting on the boat and then going on our cruise for 8 days, then driving to Orlando and spending a day at Disocovery Cove, swimming with dolphins, before coming home and having a day to “recover” before Erin and I get back to the grind.  We’ll probably do a lot of name changing stuff on that Monday as long as our license has come in.  I’m so freaking excited, it’s unreal.  Somewhere along the way, our honeymoon went from an 8 day adventure to a two week adventure, and I’m not complaining.

I had my first dress fitting on Thursday.  They have to shorten up the hem and adjust the top so that I don’t fall out of it and it needs five freaking bustles in the back to hold up the train, but it’s absolutely amazing.  I was worried I wasn’t going to like it anymore, but after I put it back on, I didn’t want to take it off.  It’s a lot of dress.

Erin, do NOT click on these links… I mean it… don’t do it!  It’s pictures of my dress for the masses, and if you click on it, you’ll ruin the surprise and then you’ll be sad and I’ll be sad… so don’t do it!  P.S. – I LOVE YOU!!! (here and here)

We still have two remaining invitations to give out, plus the ones we’re sending to random celebrities, like President Obama, Ellen, and Mickey Mouse.  Today, as soon as I get off here, we’re going to start working on our cords while watching a movie.  I’ll take lots of pictures and talk about the process and what we did in case anyone is interested in it for their own use.  Blog soon!

The Making of a Handfasting

Wedding planning is in full swing.  We have a consultation with the DJ coming up sometime in the next few weeks and we’re working on getting the last bit of our songs and such figured out.  The bridal shower is on the 30th, the rehearsal dinner invites go out this week, and response cards are slowly coming in.  We usually get one or two a day, and so far, they’ve been almost all yes.  Those that aren’t have been people we knew weren’t coming because they’re my dad’s coworkers and they have some conference to go to or something that causes them to be out of town.

We’ve gotten some gifts from people who aren’t coming, and we’ve got to start writing our thank you letters.  We’re going to have to reorganize our house by the end of it, and we’re already looking at storage containers to put classes and dishes we will no longer need but want to keep for our kids for when they go off to college or get their first place (that way, they have sets of stuff already and new things don’t have to be bought.  It was seriously the most awesome thing my parents did for me, and I can’t wait to do that for my kids.)

On Saturday, we ended up at Michael’s and we bought all the stuff for our handfasting cords, including beads and ribbons and charms.  The only things we’re missing are two Ankhs.  We checked the mall, and they didn’t have what we were looking for.  I asked around, and I found a place that might have them, so I’m going to go check them out today when I leave work (currently, I’m sitting in my room after school about to pack up and head out).  If that’s a fail, we’re going to wait until the Spiritual Unity event on May 30th, and if we don’t have time to get there (since that’s the day of our shower), then I’ll order them online and expedite the shipping costs.

Handfasting cords are used in Pagan wedding ceremonies to symbolize the tying together of two people into one.  It’s a representation of the Gods joining their souls together and once the cords are tied, they’re not supposed to be untied unless there’s some sort of a hand parting or divorce.  Erin and I have elected to create two separate sets of cords and then they will both be tied around us at the wedding in June.

After the ceremony, we’ll slip our hands out of the cords, place them on the table at our reception, and then we’ll have them placed in a shadow box to be hung up in our house somewhere as a reminder that we’re a team and joined together in front of the Gods, family, and friends.

We both picked out three different colors of ribbon: mine are blue, purple, and cream, and Erin’s are green, orange, and cream.  We have beads and charms to match.  The cords will be braided and the charms and beads will make the tassels on the ends.  I’m going to start posting pictures with details on the process as soon as I get home, which is after I check out this place I was advised on.

Manifesting Destiny

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The Biltmore Estate, which is the largest house in the United States (I like to think of it as the equivalent of a European castle) are showing the costumes from Downton Abbey, which Erin, my mom, and I are all very obsessed with.  My mom really wanted to go, so a couple of weeks ago, I said, “So why don’t you go?”

She replied, “Well, when can you go?”

We hadn’t planned on going, but who’s going to give up an offer to go visit11152711_882140987249_8422129185826481735_n Biltmore?  No one, I know.  So we set the date for Saturday (aka, yesterday), got up early, went to my parents’ house for breakfast, and then headed out.  We got there just after 9:30 and bought tickets for 1:15pm, which was the earliest available time that they had.  We drove into the area, parked, and decided to walk the gardens, which were beautiful.  We walked all over the property, down to the lake, saw the waterfall, went through the various different gardens, then came back up, had lunch, and went to tour the house.

11174779_882139869489_8108087597077988805_nIt was really neat, honestly.  They had the costumes set up in different rooms where you’d expect to see that character, and then they had a blurb about the costume, who wore it, when they wore it, what was going on at the time, etc.  They also had a lot of history posters set up around the building too, so it was pretty cool to read all about the time period.  At one point or another, I forgot I was at Biltmore because it felt like I was actually in Downton.

Afterwards, we went down to one of the villages, did a winery tour, did a wine tasting, got some ice cream, and then headed home.  We were exhausted by the end of it and then we ended up staying over for dinner, so we got home and basically went to bed.

I mention all of this because I noticed something rather interesting to me.  Erin and I went to Biltmore with her mother two years ago just after we’d started dating.  I was about 235 pounds at the time, and then I decided to make a commitment to try to get that excess weight off of my 11182195_882135722799_9160390595860932323_nbody.  When I posted all these pictures, it caused some sort of filter trigger with old pictures and it popped up this old picture of Erin and I standing in front of Biltmore.

I absolutely could not believe what I saw.

I looked like a completely different person wearing the exact same jacket.  10423736_882141840539_2796370257838470227_nAt this point, I’m just four pounds shy of having lost 30 pounds in the past two years (it would have been more had I stuck to what I was doing instead of falling off the bandwagon).

We had a guest speaker at church today.  He was talking about prosperity and the law of attraction.  He had a really awesome analogy:

“Pretend for a moment that you work for a business.  Your job is to manage the employees, work with investors, create action plans, follow through with them, and make sure the profits don’t fail.  Your job is to basically run the company; however, you have a boss.  Wouldn’t you want to consult your boss before making any big decisions about the business?”

He was saying that is how the Gods work in our lives: we can manifest and act and reap the benefits of those actions, but we should always consult those wiser than us before making any final decisions.  I’m really starting to like the idea of the Law of Attraction, and I’ve decided that I’m going to put it into action by making a vision board for my room.  If I can lose almost 30 pounds (and counting), then I feel like I can make other things happen as well.

I’ve been reading a lot about stuff online about people who have done a lot with the Law of Attraction and how it has worked for them.  If anything this will help keep my mind on the positive instead of the negative, which is definitely a bonus.

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I’m Beyond Ready…

… For the end of the school year. 

I spent the last two days finishing up the invitations to the wedding.  I can now happily report that they are ready to be mailed out TOMORROW!! We wrote 81 invitations, but all but maybe two or three are for at least two people. I think our head count is at 160 right now if everyone shows up, and we’re catering a buffet dinner with an open bar, so that’s pushing the limit of what is affordable. 

This process (and those of you here that read my other blog know the whole back story) has made me realize that I’m a lot like my mom. When we were going through everything and talking about the arch we’re having made for the ceremony, the designer kept talking about twigs and branches on it….

And I was like “nope.”  I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what my issue was with it until recently: it was too country. And I am NOT a country gal, just like my mom (even though she was raised on a farm, she’s sooooo not country).

So the invitations are going out tomorrow. Erin is taking them to the post office to have them weighed a second time just to be sure and then they’re off!! They’re so pretty. We gave some out by hand already and everyone kept bragging about how nice they were. And we’ve started getting response cards back already (everyone’s a yes so far!).

Shit is getting real, y’all. Everything is coming together. Everything is paid for. I have no idea what our budget looks like, but I know we have to be around the $22,000 mark, for real. Or we probably will be by the end of it since my mom upped the dinner package to the next level at the tasting. 

My cousin got the bridal shower invitation list, so we have that to look forward to at the end of May. I think it’s a “stock the kitchen” party, so that’ll be fun. And my Aunt (other side) got the bridal party luncheon list, and she wrote me back today saying my other cousins had been visiting that week and were helping her plan it. We still need to figure out the rehearsal dinner because half our people are from out of town, and I feel like that’s a lot of people to invite. 

My mom’s all about formality, so all the out of towners get invites to it. 

In other news, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw where my local news station posted an article about the woman who used a turkey baster and a known donor to get pregnant and the donor sued and got partial custody because “medical instruments” (aka, a doctor and a proper facility) wasn’t used. 

She said that they had a verbal agreement about how things would be and then they fought over the baby’s name…

I’m sorry, but that woman and anyone else who uses a known donor in the privacy of their own home without prior legal paperwork done up by a lawyer is an idiot and asking for trouble. She didn’t think he’d be involved? They verbally agreed?

Whatever. I don’t care how much my “known donor” (which we thought about having one, we’re talking to a guy who is an awesome friend of ours, then decided against it to protect him and us) says he’s okay with not being involved, if that’s what he says, I would pay the lawyer whatever I needed to just to be on the safe side. Why would ANYONE EVER put their family at risk like that??

In home stuff starts blurring lines without a lawyer. So and so could come back and claim different things went down and then it’s my word against his, and his DNA is half my kid, so it looks pretty damning to me. So foolish. So stupid. 

“Maybe she couldn’t afford the lawyer.” Then maybe she shouldn’t have had kids with that guy. If you can’t legally protect your family and you decide to have your family anyway, you deserve every fucked up thing that happens to you. 

We use a bank because they take care of legalities for us. And we use a doctor for added protection (and for fertility reasons) since they’re the only ones a court would consider in the whole “medical tools” bit or whatever. 

I’m sorry, but protect your family. No excuses. That story just got me fired up. 

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