To Alex and Stacia

With the chaos of the school year’s end and the busyness of our summer months, I regrettably realized I never blogged about my best friend’s wedding. I’ve talked about Stacia on here before, ok maybe one, two, three times… not including all my shout outs to the beloved Bunny Club here and here. These days I consider the rare occasions we all get to spend together to be somewhat of a sacred time. I, or any of us for that matter, know full well not to take the time for granted. So between getting to spend 48 hours with these friends and my family + having the incredible privilege of standing as Stacia’s maid of honor, I look back on the weekend with the most grateful of hearts. Below is the speech I gave at the reception.
IMG_0407Nineteen years ago, I walked into my 5th grade classroom to find our desks in new arrangements. While most of the desks were in groups, mine was only next to one. The one who would be my partner and study buddy for at least the next few weeks. Being curious, I slyly lifted the top of the desk to grab a sneak peek at the name of this mysterious student. As soon as my eyes had time to adjust to what I was seeing, I dropped the lid in complete horror. The desk was chocked full of crumpled papers and disheveled school supplies. How could the teacher do this to me? There was just no way this messy person and I were ever going to get along.

Then all of a sudden my friend Stacia walked up and sat in the desk beaming with enthusiasm that we were sitting together. And as my excitement grew that I was actually sitting by the girl who had so graciously befriended me, the lonely new student, at the beginning of the year, I also think my confusion sky-rocketed. I know I probably sat glancing from desk to Stacia, desk to Stacia, desk to Stacia thinking, “I don’t even know who you are anymore!”

Well, 19 years later, I can say for sure that I know who Stacia is.

In fact Stacia is just a little bit messy.

She’s the one who will wear a pair of Rainbow flip-flops for literally 8 years– maybe longer.

And if you know her at all, you know she’s the definition of frugal. Her roommates may or may not have told me she collected condiments from restaurants so she never had to buy them. Or when she reused those plastic cups from QT instead of doing with them what you’re supposed to do with them—throw them away!

She’s the girl who grew out her leg hair for 3 months in high school, so it’s safe to say she’s the girl who has always been herself and not cared too much about what other people think.

I think we can all agree she’s the most laid-back human to have ever existed. Ever.

But Stacia is also the smartest person I know. Always has been.

She is the person who will sit and laugh for hours at the silliest joke, and will always laugh til she cries (which doesn’t take much).

Stacia is the person who will always put other people before herself. And will go out of her way to help someone (or some animal) in need.

She’s the person who works harder than most, who gives more than she has, and who cares for everyone with the purest of intentions.

Stacia is the person who, don’t tell my husband, makes me laugh harder than anyone in the world.

Stacia is the best friend I could have asked for.

For so many of us in the room, Stacia is the person who has loved us really, really well. And Alex, as long as you can put up with just a little bit of her messiness, she is going to love you really, really well. I’m so excited for your future together, and I couldn’t feel more privileged to share this day with y’all.

So as we all raise our glass we simply say, we love you.

To Alex and Stacia…
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Good things

It’s obviously been a while since I just published this post two times accidentally before it was even close to being finished…

Today marks exactly 2 months since my last post. And this being my first free weekend in 2 months, I took a 3.5 hour nap this afternoon. So, tonight seems to be lending me some free time. The past 8 weeks have been a little out of control- in a totally acceptable kind of way. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I don’t think I’ve ever been this busy. But with this type of busyness also comes lots and lots of friends–new and old. Between weddings, showers, births, retreats, birthdays and passed exams, we’ve been on the go quite a bit. And even though we’ve been battling those hurdles called exhaustion, we’re still sprinting full speed ahead from celebration to celebration, because people are just worth it to us. We are so grateful for all of these friends and feel so honored to be a part of their lives! We are just as grateful that we’ve been able to be present at so many of their important occasions!

I said in January that my words seem to have left me, and it’s holding true still. I’ve honestly barely had time to form any thoughts. Much less flesh them out. But there have just been so many good things in the last few months that I want to remember. So while writing isn’t my thing right now, these pictures easily speak for themselves.

Lynn and James’ Fiesta Shower20140413-224052.jpgMeeting baby Nolan for the first time and Amanda’s 30th birthday.20140413-221918.jpgGetting to spend the day with Danielle before she welcomed baby Evie. Just for clarification … I’m dressed for an 80’s partaaay. 20140413-222010.jpgFishin’ with Jared. 20140413-222147.jpgLynn and James’ wedding!20140413-222334.jpgThrilled to be her Maid of Honor.20140413-222503.jpgStacia’s bridal shower in Phoenix. 20140413-222604.jpgstaciabridalshower20140413-223654.jpgA really great group of seniors at FBC Athens’ Dnow. 20140413-223809.jpgOk, I’m pushing publish. On purpose this time.

Glen + Deb

Well, I survived a weekend with my parents as we all ventured to Temple for a wedding. This time they inconsiderately threw me on the couch of their hotel room for two nights. The same couch I was sleeping on when my mom literally plopped on top of my half-awake body and sang ‘Good morning to you.’ She even taught me two more versus. This was, oh you know, after I had spent the whole night listening to her rain app that helps her sleep. You’re thinking gentle sprinkles and soothing lulls, right? Wrong. I’m talking thunderstorms and offbeat rhythms. Then there was dad who kept calling himself the star of the wedding since he was officiating. And who then did his own rendition of the cupid shuffle at the wedding. All by himself. Outside.

But they are my parents, and as I get older I’m realizing these types of things are what I love most about them. We don’t get to see each other all too often, but when we do there is sure to be laughter and quirky memories made. This time it was our family workout in a room without airflow while my dad used the exercise bike and took pictures of his legs. Or my mom whose utmost frustration in life is drying her hair in Texas humidity.

It’s always nice to have a weekend where I get to feel like a kid-dult…a kid in the form of an adult. I didn’t have to worry about paying for food or making decisions. I was just along for the ride. In the backseat like old times. Thanks for the shopping trip and the gas money! Come back soon. Or fly me to Tucson. I’m in either way! Even if I do get reminded to stop at the clearly visible upcoming stop sign…mom and dadmoms and pops mom and dad 2jumpingApparently this is what my dad (who officiated the ceremony) thinks about marriage.

The Ramirez Family

We probably just experienced the most emotion-filled weekend of our lives. We drove to Waco Thursday night to start the celebration for Casey and Brittany’s wedding. Five minutes after arriving, we received a shocking call that our good friend had become very ill. Our friend Seth flew in from Canada to perform the welcoming part of the ceremony since Brittany’s dad was officiating but needed to walk her down the aisle. On Friday night at 10:30, Seth received a phone call that a student in his college ministry had suddenly died. He flew back to Canada the next morning. Casey and Brittany asked me to fill in for Seth, leaving me incredibly honored and beyond terrified. But all went well and I did great. The wedding was wonderful, and we rejoiced with the new Ramirez family as Walker stood beside him as best man. Plus there was a giant vat of banana pudding! Sunday morning we drove to Lufkin to drop off precious Opal and then made our way to Houston to be with our good friend. At 8 last night we pulled back into our driveway- physically and emotionally spent. Exhausted in every sense of the word.

We don’t feel old enough to have weekends like this. We rotated between laughter and tears and sometimes both at once. Simply said, it was a hard, hard weekend. But looking at these pictures I see just how good it was, too. We have the best support system known to man. Our friends bring such joy to our lives, and we are so thankful for this short little seminary reunion. We couldn’t be happier for Casey and Brittany, and when y’all get back from Mexico, I hope you see just how privileged we felt to be a part of your special day. Here’s to more reunions!

Here’s a few of our random, posed and slightly blurry pics from the weekend! reunitedjaredbesties3bestiesbesties1welcomemcwilliamsflowerschrisbestmanbristersboyzcake

Jared + Gabby

Congratulations to our good friends Jared and Gabby…the future Slacks! Jared proposed atop a beautiful city park this weekend, and she said yes! He even bribed her with a new iPad mini!

We were so happy to be able to attend their engagement party in Waco- complete with white lights, nutella cheesecake, hot cocoa, s’mores and burlap- but most importantly a loving group of friends who can’t help but celebrate these new fiancés20121118-202104.jpg…and apparently, I’m into hats these days…

Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to us! One year ago today we said our vows in front of family and friends in Waco. We have felt love and encouragement from that community every day since we ventured into this marriage thing, and we couldn’t be more thankful.

September 17, 2011 drew to a close with a blessed rainfall that ended a record-breaking drought in Central Texas. Not only did we get incredible pictures in the rain, but the farmers received some answered prayers for their desperate land. We kinda see this as a beautiful way to have started our story–dancing with our loved ones while witnessing a visible sign of God’s presence.

Through this year of countless laughs and a couple of tears, we have realized it can be so easy to long for someone else’s story. To desire a different path– one that might seem more adventurous, more carefree, more romantic–but at the end of the day we have each other and a chance to write our very own unique story, and it can’t get better than that!

Here’s to 365 days of baby bulldogs, Harry Potter, fort-making, youth events, ‘Nilla Wafer parties, traveling, super beds, giant birthday cakes, disastrous meals and polaroids!

photography by captivating photography