Posted by: jennyo | March 24, 2010

A Post About a Wedding

Today while drinking a cup of Intelligentsia coffee, Chicago’s own, my mind wandered into musings about our wedding and how much I LOVED it! Since I have shared some reflections here on the spiritual journey of my new marriage, and because I didn’t want to indulge in shameless self-publicism about my aesthetic choices immediately after the fact, I’ve not shared many details about it. But today I’m in the mood to shamelessly share. I think back to the hard work and the things that worked out just how I wanted them to in the midst of a lot of loose ends and stress. That thought leads me straight to all the family and friends who also did so much work and were committed to a festive, stress free celebration of our marriage… So on to some details that I loved!

– Finding Intelligentsia coffee IN Santa Barbara AT Crushcakes, the cupcake place we planned to have provide dessert anyway. They even had these coffee cups in keeping with our yellow, gray and bright colors themed palette.

– Doing flowers myself (aka with bridesmaids) in the garage of friends’ house. We ordered white and yellow ranunculus, white, orange and red gerber daises and hypericum berries from online wholesale distributors. I was warned that the ranunculus would be finicky, and indeed they were- hardly any of the yellow ones were usable by the time we did the arrangements. Some white ones opened and I tried to make the best of them, but we still called upon some last minute back up grocery store roses. We even used the flowers that broke in the arranging process as part of the cake topper along with monogrammed letters from Michaels that I painted myself. So cheap and simple! My best guess is that we saved close to 70% on flowers.

– For the favors, a candy buffet. Ordered lots of candy online in bulk and used many pieces from my mom’s china cabinet for display. We found these awesome plastic display stands at a department store in Bakersfield that was liquidating all their stuff in the weeks before the wedding- I believe they came out to 20 cents a pieces or something. People seemed to love the candy buffet- everyone got to scoop their own variety into small organza bags to take home. Joel and I almost forgot to get some for ourselves! I’ll always remember driving to LA the night of the wedding, enjoying sour peaches in the first happy hours of marriage 🙂– We didn’t do seating assignments, as we wanted a more mingle friendly environment, so I typed out and formatted quotes about love from many of our favorite authors to serves as ‘table names’. Backed with color coordinating paper from Michaels (are you noticing a theme?… I made about 50 trips to the Michaels in Bakersfield!), propped against glass containers filled with lemons and oranges, we had great centerpieces!

– My good friend Katie Pensak made us AWESOME professionally designed covers for DIY programs to match our invitations, also watercolored and designed by her. I had them printed and folded at Staples and we spent an evening tying ribbon for the binding. Katie also transformed an engagement photo of us into a coloring sheet for the kids. I refused to believe that DIY print materials would have to look cheap, but to give credit where credit is due, I had some amazingly talented help!

– I made my hair pieces myself with a flower headband from Forever 21 ($3.50) that had a ivory flower with sequins on it, just like my dress. I spent $20 on my veil at Davids Bridal by getting the most basic one. Then I bought a variety of beads and feathers and some glue and went to work. This might be the one detail I am most proud of! I was dying for a custom hairpiece and got very close to spending $150 to have one made.

– A delicious rehearsal dinner outside on the patio at La Playa Azul set the stage with delicious Mexican food in a very ‘Santa Barbara’ atmosphere. It was awesome!

– A gorgeous day for an outside wedding in a gorgeous place that I love so much. There are so many more small things that made the day just what I imagined. Joel and I are still so overwhelmed, 8 months later, when thinking about how family and friends made the day SO special. We are blessed.

Posted by: jennyo | March 11, 2010

Thoughts on Contentment and Comparisons

I ran across this post today and it spurred a lot of thought for me.  It’s long- it’s worth it- but if you only have time, look over points #1-8.

Something I’ve been on a huge platform about lately is how much we compare ourselves to other people.  Through many changes in my life and self- reflection, I have realized how many times I am not actually living the moment I’m in but analyzing the circumstances, my mental state, and what other people would be thinking about the moment I’m in.  This presumes a level of serious arrogance about my judgments about what other people are thinking, for one thing, but it also requires me, as the blogger points out, to assume complete transparency about the circumstances and character of others.

Last week I read and reread Romans 14 and 15.  From verses 1-8:

1Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. 2One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 4Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

5One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. 7For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. 8If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

I find this challenging with regard to assuming the best of others.  I find it comforting with regard to the freedom to be myself in Christ.  When it comes to areas that I worry about- my marriage, my career, my friendships and am I doing any of this right?- it is to my own master that I stand or fall- and the Lord is able to make me stand.  He has taught me particular things, given me particular circumstances and perspectives on things, and it’s ok to have my own unique place in the world.  It really makes me wish I could reclaim years and years of not celebrating that!

I would say that, for me, this has been WAY different from an exercise in self-esteem or self- validation.  Strangely enough, it has become an exercise in contentment, rejoicing, prayerfulness and trust in Emmanuel, the God who is WITH ME.

Posted by: jennyo | January 11, 2010

An Audience of One

I have missed writing- but I have wondered about the new boundaries for blogging since getting married in August. My job (nannying for two babies) is challenging in logistical ways, but it doesn’t provide much fodder for thought during the day- unless “how can I create a rotation for electronic toys so there aren’t always fifteen songs playing at once” counts as a mindful endeavor. Rather, most of what I have reflected upon the past few months has been related to the ethos of marriage, what our marriage is and will be, my identity as an individual who is married, and the identity of my new husband and how I can know and love him. Last night we had a conversation in which he encouraged me to write and shared his perspective on ‘writing as disclosure’… so here I am. Ready to disclose and maybe he’ll be sorry he said that (just kidding).

There has been an undeniable blessing in the transition period of this time. I have undergone a sort of inversion of life in Connecticut… a mostly lonely job and more solitary living conditions (besides the hubby, of course)… with crowds of people EVERYWHERE, always pushing, honking, looking down and plodding on (or wrapping scarves around their faces and plodding on). I miss the stream of meetings with students, retreats and weekly meetings with everyone together, and having much involvement in many lives. Yet I am more deeply involved with one life than I have ever been with anyone. I am more disclosed to ONE person than ever before, more appreciated, more known. AND I get the opportunity to be that involvement, disclosure, appreciation, knowledge in concentrated form for another- a ministry for a lifetime.

I did not embrace this at first, but I am ready to thank God for designing it that way. I have already learned so much more about myself and about Joel and we continue to learn. We create traditions, weekly chores, an understood schedule- we are creating family as best friends. I wish I could tell my engaged self how much deeper it would get- at the time, it was hard to imagine.

I am definitely even more excited about being married to Joel now than I was the day of our wedding. And though I have yet to find a passionate love for Chicago, I am ever so thankful that God placed us here to get rooted together.

Posted by: jennyo | December 2, 2009

It’s been a while!

Where did I go?  Well, I’ve been settling in with Joel, continuing to straighten up our new abode, taking pottery classes, teaching kickboxing, crawling- then walking- then running- around with two one year olds …and learning many new things about myself.  After 4 months of marriage, I have become very thankful that God has provided this time to get my bearings in Chicago.  It’s been an opportunity to make new friends and regroup for my next step, post wedding-planning frenzy.  It has also been a time of adjusting (gleefully so) to a close distance relationship with my husband- who, with his new job, now gets home in time for dinner every night!

I have been thinking and praying about what to do next.  I am very hopeful about having an opportunity to be on staff with RUF at some point in the future, when our plans place us in the right geographical location.  At the same time, I am trying to mobilize wise decision making skills and think about what I would do were that not the case, either temporarily or for a long period of time (like right now, for example).  What could I do that would recruit that same skill set and passion from me that would be more widely marketable?  As a result, I have decided to do some research on Masters in Social Work and Masters in Counseling programs in Chicago.  With Joel’s new job, we are thinking we will be here for at least a couple more years… so I might as well take the opportunity while he is working to go to school, right?  Turns out MSW programs are SUPER flexible and broad… you can basically do anything pertaining to non-profit management or direct client care, depending on how you shape your internship experience.  The internship experience in and of itself is very appealing to me, as it would give me the chance to explore working with different populations (other than college students) and in various types of nonprofits.

Meanwhile, I am thinking about taking a few counseling classes from Westminster Seminary through distance education and enriching my knowledge base and methodology from a Biblical perspective that way.  I will have to be self- motivated in order to accomplish this but I think it may be a better strategy than simply getting the MA in Counseling and being more narrowly qualified simply to working one on one with clients in a mental health setting.  The trick is getting this one on one client care training while being widely trained… Of course the trick is also getting admitted to a program :).

Posted by: jennyo | August 25, 2009

Settling In

I am IN Chicago, BACK from the honeymoon, I am MARRIED to Joel and we have SOFA (ok, one of those things might not be quite as significant as the rest!).

It is WONDERFUL!! I am so very grateful to the friends who encouraged me through engagement with the hope that the state of matrimony would be better- how right they were. Joel is still working long days and weeks but I get to have breakfast with him! And see him EVERY weekend! We are very thankful.

I am praying about my next phase of employment. This afternoon I was hired at a local gym for fitness classes but for the next few weeks this is going to involve simply taking classes there and seeing how they do things. I’ve had quite a few interviews for various things and find myself just waiting to hear about decisions so that I can make my own decisions. If you know me, you know that waiting may be my number one challenge ever (!!). But in the meantime I’ve had plenty to do with setting up our apartment and exploring the neighborhood.

Much of the months before the wedding were spent in a kind of fog for me… I am now coming into the light and I feel hopeful and ready to look forward to our new life together in and for the kingdom of God. I am so thankful to be settling in.


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