Tuesday, October 15, 2013

30 Days to the Altar


Wow.  I can't believe our big day is only a month away!  We've been engaged for six months as of last Sunday and it feels like it's only been half that time.  They say "time flies when you're having fun" and we certainly have been having fun!  I can't believe our "engagement" will soon be over; it's kinda sad.  We'll just have to make the MOST of these next 30 days to enjoy this engagement bliss before we say "I do" and dive into married life.

That's part of the reason I gave myself a deadline to have all of the major (and most, if not all, of the minor) tasks completed by the time we were 30 days out from Wedding Day.  Needless to say, I've been a tad stressed over the past week or so...and if you've been keeping up with my blog throughout all of this, you are well aware of that.  Add to that Matthew leaving for Cursillo midway through last week, and now I'm getting ready to head up the mountain myself in a couple of days.  Of course the week I head up there is the same week we hit 30 days before our wedding!  LOL

Most of the time, I work very well under pressure.  So I've actually been able to get a lot done since my last post (some of which has been with the groom's help even!) and I've had a lot of fun doing it!  Despite "Sparky's" best efforts to derail me!!

This week we have a couple of paperwork items that still need to be sent to the wedding coordinator at the church, and there are a few other time-sensitive tasks that need to be checked off before I can check out for the next four days.  Oh yeah, and then there's this thing called work in which I happen to have an important deadline to meet before the end of the week.  No pressure.  Oh, and did I mention I'm in a contest with my Beachbody team this month?  (Sometimes when I get involved, I REALLY get involved...ya think?!)  So I need points for this contest and YOU can help me! :)  If you want to help, please let me know!  I could use all the help I can get right now hee hee [shameless plug]

Dance, Baby, Dance

I thought it would be a fun idea for Matthew and me to take a couple of dance lessons before our wedding in preparation for our "first dance."  Mostly because I have two left feet and don't want to be embarrassed or step on his feet too much (or worse, step on my dress and have a major wardrobe malfunction!).  Matthew was skeptical about it but he went along with it...Little did we know how much fun it would be for us!  We had another lesson tonight and had a blast again!  Our instructor is the best; a really fun guy who "gets" sarcasm, which makes Matthew very happy.

More Music, Sweet Music

While Matthew was up on the mountain with God and lots of men last Friday, I scheduled a site visit at the church to check out the Parish Center with the caterer.  The only problem is the caterer didn't show up (Sparky).  Apparently he'd called me the day before to reschedule but I never got his message.  Nonetheless it was a productive visit for me, and after I met with Gerry (the parish hall guy), I met with the organist to discuss the organ processionals.  We met to review the music I selected for the wedding party and bridal processionals for the ceremony.  When she played one piece (the one I *thought* I wanted), it just moved me straight to tears!  It took me by surprise for sure.  As a comparison, she played a couple of other popular tunes, and...nothing.  I asked her to play the first one again...more teary-eyed silliness.  We agreed we should probably go with that first one!  I think sitting up in the choir loft overlooking the church sanctuary helped it kinda come alive for me.

Love & Laughter, Satin & Lace, and Red Velvet too!

Saturday was a busy day and FUN FUN FUN day!  It was the day of my bridal shower!  I woke up quite early that morning - partly because of excitement and partly because of the busy day ahead.  I started the morning with LOTS of time before having to leave the house and somehow managed to get a late start out the door.  Go figure.

My first activity of the day was to drop off Sophie at her boyfriend Bruno's house so they could play together all day.  From PB, I ran to North Park for my makeup trial.  I was excited and nervous about this one, and I ended up loving the makeup artist and what she did!  Bonus:  the feedback I got from everyone that day was extremely positive, reassuring me.  From North Park, I made a quick stop up in the UTC area for a wax appointment that was not exactly well-planned - because of my makeup being first, all she could do was pluck my eyebrows instead of wax them (oops!).  From there, it was off to PB again to Betty's house for my shower.

I was absolutely overwhelmed by all the love!  Ya know, bridal showers are funny...and I never thought about it until I finally experienced one on the "Bridal" side of the shower.  Birthday parties are one thing. They're fun, your friends and maybe some family all come together to celebrate the day you were born...and usually you have more than one of these during your lifetime.  In fact, if you're lucky enough, you had these kinds of "all about me" parties when you were little - in some way, shape or form.  But it's a different kind of "all about me" gathering than a bridal shower.  This (you hope) is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of event. It's almost a rite of passage.  People aren't gathered to celebrate an event that occurs in your life every year; they're gathered to celebrate a VERY significant event in your life that will only occur once. Ever.  And to celebrate the love of you and your fiance that will soon be solemnized through marriage (and in our case, a Sacrament of the church).  So admittedly, it had a bit of an "odd" feel to it - in a GOOD way, of course.  I'm having trouble articulating this feeling; perhaps those of you who've had your own bridal showers can somewhat understand this feeling that I'm struggling to put into words?

Anyway, I think everyone present had a grand time, and I got a little taste of what the wedding will be like - at the end of the party, I felt like I hadn't had a chance to really talk to anyone!  In fact, so much fun was being had that my MOH (who many of you now know!) decided to forgo the games that typically accompany a bridal shower because we were all busy having fun already, and she felt the games would only interfere with the fun (or something like that).  I remember at one point, after having only eaten half of my lunch, my plate was taken away and replaced with an adorable cake for me to cut.  (And strangely, I felt like I should be blowing out candles before cutting it! LOL)  It was a yummy red velvet cake (my favorite) shaped into a double heart with "Laticia & Matthew" on one heart and our wedding date on the other heart.  It was from a bakery close to my house.

After cake, we gathered in Betty's family room for the opening of presents.  Okay, so this was kinda weird at first.  I mean, when was the last time YOU sat there and opened all of your presents in front of everyone while they just sat there and watched?  Not Christmas. Nope. And probably not since you either had your first baby, had your own bridal shower, OR were a LITTLE KID, right?  Yeah, weird.  Again - in a GOOD way.  It was actually super fun!  I'm sure it was a lot more fun for me than it was for everyone watching, unless I happened to be opening the gift they brought.  The theme of the party was "linens and lingerie."  Well, most people forgot about the linens part and stuck with the lingerie - not that I mind!  I LOVED everything!!  And I can't wait until the honeymoon!  Those of you who contributed all of that satin and lace can rest assured that Matthew is going to be One. Very. Happy. Husband!! So thank you! :)

To Top It Off...

The last exciting thing I want to share from this past week is our custom cake topper!  The designer has been working on it these past few days and has been sending me progress pics along the way.  I don't want to spoil the fun entirely, but I just HAVE to show you this one pic she sent me.  I absolutely cannot WAIT to see the full piece in person!

Does this look like anyone you might know? ;)

My Last 30 Days...

So tomorrow (or today if you are reading this on Wednesday) I am starting a very special challenge I'm calling "30 Days to the Altar" with my friends.  I've invited everyone to join me in my final days as a single woman for a fun challenge that will make us all stronger by Wedding Day.  We'll be doing various exercises everyday for the next 30 days, increasing in number as the days progress.  I'm really excited about this and a lot of my friends have agreed to join me, which is probably the most exciting part for me!  It's not too late if you would like to join in on the fun.  Just find me on Facebook or send me an email and I can send you our schedule so you can follow along with us.

Lastly, if you've received an invitation and have not yet sent in your response card, PLEASE DO SO ASAP!  Thanks :)

Until next time, I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from the man responsible for giving us the Happiest Place on Earth...quoted in what I think is the greatest Disney movie ever:

"Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  - Walt Disney

Monday, October 7, 2013

40 Days....

In the Bible, 40 is pretty significant, particularly 40 days.  (So significant in fact, there is a website devoted to it! See for yourself here.)  For example, after Noah built the ark and loaded up all the animals two-by-two, it rained for 40 days; likewise, Moses spent 40 days up on the mountain with God; Goliath came for 40 days before he was slain by David; Jesus fasted for 40 days in the wilderness and walked the earth for 40 days after his crucifixion.  Pretty significant, wouldn't you say?

If you notice, those 40 days were always followed by something very significant.  The Earth was restored and renewed; Moses' face shined; "little" David slayed a giant; Jesus was tempted by Satan; the apostles were sent out to share the Good News and grow the church...

As I reflect on this concept of "40 days," it appears God intended this 40-day time period as a time of reflection, contemplation, and preparation; a "holding pattern" leading into a time of renewal or new beginnings; a kind of transition period or "bridge" before a significant event or conversion experience.

I occasionally half-joke about the four years I spent in Arizona as my "40 days in the desert" because it was a very significant time of conversion and renewal for me.  As I reflect on my life since returning from Arizona, I see how much my time there truly was preparation for my life back here in Cali.  It truly was a major turning point - my life has been significantly different as a result of my experiences in the desert.

So here we are...40 days before our wedding.  Similar to the Bible, a significant event will follow these next 40 days.  Perhaps unlike Noah and Moses, we are fairly certain of the event - God willing and all goes according to plan, Matthew & I will become husband and wife..."and the two shall become one."  Beyond that, I suppose we truly do not know what is in store for Mr & Mrs W other than we will begin a new chapter in our lives.

While these next 40 days will certainly be busy with preparatory tasks such as check writing, tux and gown fittings, parties, etc - it will also be a time for Matthew and me to get closer to God as we reflect on our lives up to this point and think about our future together as husband and wife.  Many people thought we were crazy for agreeing to serve on Cursillo weekends a few weeks before our wedding.  We know who is in control, though, and we said "yes" in full faith.  As it gets closer (Matthew leaves for his Cursillo this Thursday), I can see now that we are both being given a wonderful opportunity to experience one last Cursillo as unmarried children of God.  Another weekend up on the mountain with Christ.  And those of you who have experienced Cursillo KNOW what it's like after one of these weekends!  The fact that we will be experiencing the Sacrament of Marriage just a few short weeks after Cursillo is no accident.  God has been preparing us for this from the very beginning, and I look forward to us both being filled with the Spirit ("on fire" even) as we stand before God and celebrate this once in a lifetime Sacrament together.

And now for a little wedding planning update...
I actually got a lot done last week in spite of all the stress I was feeling at the beginning of the week!  I think I got all the accessories ordered.  (Oh man, stay away from those wedding websites!  Seriously cute stuff all over!)

On Thursday night, we had dinner with Deacon Dennis and Colleen for our last "official" marriage prep meeting to take care of all our "Sacramental" paperwork needed for the ceremony.

Saturday morning I had my hair trial which was a lot of fun!  My MOH Heather came with me, and my cousin Roselyn dropped off some awesome family pictures for me, including one of my grandparents wedding!  After I got my hair all teased, curled, sprayed and played-with, Heather & I went shopping to find my rehearsal dress.  It came down to two dresses, and neither of us could decide between them. So I texted pics to my Mom and a handful of other girlfriends.  ALL of them said the same thing "I like them both."  Gee, thanks ladies. You're a lot of help! LOL  Well, I ended up getting both because they were so great, and with a coupon and the sale going on at Macy's, I basically got a 2-for-1 deal.  One dress will be for the rehearsal and one dress will be for the honeymoon.

Saturday evening, we had friends over for some white wine tasting to help us select our white wine for the reception.  We had some appetizers and Matthew made crepes for dessert (yummy!!!).  It was a lot of fun and we found our winner(s)!

Finally, on Sunday we went to the jeweler and selected our wedding bands.  Our "regular" girl was on vacation, so another lady helped us.  As we started looking for Matthew's ring, she told us most rings take 4-6 weeks to be ready - WHAT?!  (Oops...)  Once the owner saw us (and recognized Matthew), though, he promised us he would get them done in 3-4 weeks. (PHEW!)  I had a lot of fun helping Matthew choose his band, and the one we chose for me reminds me of my Grandma Sarah's wedding right for some reason.

After such a fun weekend, I am now fighting a nasty cold today.  (Boo!) Oh well, better now than later, right?!

And with that, I shall put myself (and hopefully this cold) to bed. Please keep Matthew in your prayers this week as he prepares to head up the mountain for 40--- I mean 4 days :)