Celebrating before tying the Knot

Thursday, March 26, 2020


Our USA June Ceremony if permitted to have 

I'd like to think I'm big on celebration. I love to celebrate peoples accomplishments, love, birthdays, and so on. And I always love(d) throwing parties for major events and as you know, planning other people's parties, and hosting people in my home. I love filling peoples stomachs, hearts, and asking questions and hearing peoples reflections.

But this year, celebrating has looked different for me, specifically around my upcoming marriage to Aaron. For timing and financial reasons, the traditional festivities of an engagement party, bachelorette party, bridal shower, and Wedding dress shopping weren't a reality for me, my Mom, and my 14 home team members in 6 timezones and all over the globe.

This has been the least traditional process that I know of in my circle, and unless you live in Mexico, can speak Spanish without people knowing you are American, and can withdraw money from the bank there - no one could really help except Aaron's fam. Which for my family and friends who have mostly a type A personality, this was challenging - Because they are helpers, doers, and get things done type of humans, and so their ability to really help me was pretty limited.

But if there is anything I've grown more into - it's my values. I've lived in them, wrestled with them, and tried my best to live them out through this Pre-wedding process and also in preparation for an upcoming transition. And here is what that journey has looked like...

I tried to honor our traditions. With each friend group I have certain traditions, whether it's our annual 3rd of July reunion with my best friend from College, High School, or Pageants where we go to the rodeo, the cowboy bar, and eat at the Stadium for those steak tips!

I kept breakfast at the Belle Inn with my 2 cousins before we departed from South Dakota. Met up with some childhood friends at my high school friend's parents house to catch up - We used to do Christmas exchanges there for 10+ years! And even if one of my friend's kids liked Aaron more than me, little C, I won't hold that against you when you know better ;)

I was also mindful in trying to spend alone time with my home team. I understand that when you hangout with someone you don't always want to be with their partner too. That is the same for Aaron, I try and make sure to just let him have family, brother, and friend time without me. I think it's healthy - and so by honoring traditions, I also tried to honor my individual connections with my friends. 

More than usual, I also made more travel or hosting plans. I invited more people to visit Pre-Covid19, and I also booked more plane tickets to see others. Because as much as it is a celebration of a new life chapter, I've definitely been pre-grieving for the loss of my singleness, the ability to just go, roam, and be - So in that, this year, I've celebrated by doing trips my friends and I have always talked about, well, minus Italy as it doesn't really seem like the place to go right now #COVID19. Because the most time I'll ever have is right now in my pre-children chapter.

Our engagement photos were done by former RA's / students turned friends and we used that time to also hang out and catch up. Aaron and I didn't want to get caught up in just planning a wedding, but we also wanted to be able to be productive and use that time wisely as quality time.

And I never thought I'd be so grateful for technology, but I have been utilizing group chat for big moments! For example, I ended up buying my Wedding dress from someone - Something I also never expected. I didn't get my picturesque store, "She said yes to the dress", but I did get a moment to share with my loved ones and Wedding party that I had found my dress and it's so similar to the one I'd been pinning on my Pinterest board! I also got to share the veil my Mom wore at her own wedding that I will also wear to walk down that Cathedral aisle.

Technology has made it easy for my friends to add Aaron to Pokemon go, or to get a peak into our day to day lives via Stories on Instagram. Either way, been so grateful that even if we can't share a meal, a drink, and a good conversation, we've been able to connect my favorite humans to my person in alternative ways.

And with COVID19, our June USA Ceremony may be cancelled. And I really empathize with couples who have to post pone their Wedding. But yesterday, I decided to get out our Papel de Picado Banderitas (The colorful flags in the photo) and hang them in the living room with Aaron. I may not get to hang these outside in June, but I decided to bring the party indoors for the time being! I'm looking for any moment that may be hindered, lost or post-poned, and bring it to the present.

This year, this journey of being a bride far away from her parents and home team, is nothing like I expected. I may not have gotten the engagement party at my parent's house, the bridal shower in Spearfish Park (Near my hometown), the backyard wedding on my parent's land overlooking the rolling green hills, or the wild bachelorette party that I had pictured in my mind as a young 20 something...

But I did get to keep my friendship traditions. I got to cheers with my Pendleton whiskey at the rodeo, eat chicken fried steak with my cousins at our favorite breakfast spot. I got to celebrate birthday after birthday with friends who met Aaron for the first time. I spent my year sending snail mail, doing video catch up's, hosting, and racking up my Skymiles and my Jeep mileage to see those I loved...Instead of shots at the bar, we had shots at a 3 year old's birthday party, and maybe I didn't get all these gifts to use for later, but I did get the gift of presence, something I value so deeply.

I love that my journey is mine to live, and my pre-wedding celebration is no exception.

31 Laps Around the Sun

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

2020's first post, on my 31st Birthday.

As much as I love when people call me passionate or fearless, or someone that will use their voice - Letting you in on a secret, I actually haven't felt like any of those this year. It's been harder to find my voice in this new season of life. For me, my voice usually comes out in writing. Writing has always been my art, because God knows I am not an artist in the sense of drawing, music, crafting, etc. It's just been recently where I've put thoughts to ink and paper again. And writing my first post on my birthday, I wanted to share my love for this lap around the sun.

This year, like every year, I really owned more of my own narrative (Because do we ever really own all of it?). For its painful parts and the parts that make me happy to be me.

I adore that I grew up in a 174 person town in rural South Dakota on a family farm. I love that my work ethic stems from my family and home state - We finish what we start, and our hard work is our resume. This really set up the rest of my narrative to be strong and gutsy. I wasn't raised by weak people...and in many ways, it's what caused the careers, friends, love, and God that I pursue.

In this lap around the sun, just like most laps, I've embraced the label of breaking stereotypes. I enjoy when people tell me, "I am full of surprises", or that "They never would have guessed I did pageants or know how to shoot a gun or that I like fishing".

I consider it a compliment, when someone can't figure me out. People can't put me in a box, and I live for it. Because I hope people realize pre-labeling people doesn't leave room for humanity or for connection.

I love that I've picked up and moved several times. People wonder why I have 12 bridesmaids and no maid of honor, but it's the price you pay for living in so many places and creating a life with people in those places. If I call you my friend or my home team, it's because I consider you chosen family. I just can't rank my friends because who I am and who I was with certain people at certain times isn't more or less important than the other.

I have learned to enjoy that I do not follow the norm just because someone told me it was normal. Last week, I fixed a couch for a resident, I recruited judges for a pageant company on my lunch break while editing a resume for a graduate student, and then I was working on contingency planning for COVID19 for my department, while also planning a Wedding in another country, coordinating our USA ceremony, and in this week I also was going to Rite of Election as I become Catholic, and when I got home talked to a client in my side hustle about their athletic scholarship and their injury. Nothing about my life has ever been normal. And I love that. I am really happy that I am me.

I am still learning how much power comes from owning your own story...And not living for the expectations of others - Because it's really, really difficult to not do the second, like I said, I am still learning.

Recently, I've had to put up strict boundaries with people. It's my least favorite thing to do. I'm either great or awful at it, and I think a boundary that naturally most people create is one with your parents.

I did the typical 20's thing. My parents considered it my rebellion. But now, my parents are my best advice givers and listeners, and still give me tough love....Because Midwest parents are going to let you know when you are being a fool.

Each birthday, I look forward to the birthday card they send me. Each one makes me cry and laugh because they pick out the perfect card that has half sarcasm and half heart felt. But this year's card was just heart felt and came at the right time.

Both of my parents have always encouraged me to choose my life - Even if they don't agree with all of my decisions (Because believe me, they don't, ask my Momma!). But they also know I will not be happy choosing the life they have in their heads for me. I remember my Mom told me a few years ago when I was living on my own in Monterey Bay, CA and she said, "I just accepted that you may never move back home...that where you go is just where you want to be". And she didn't say it in sadness, but more of an acceptance of who I am is who she is proud to have raised.

I love that the card they sent was a reminder of their unconditional love for me. Because in a year, where I feel like there are 100000 million opinions about my new life chapter, it was a nice reminder that I am not doing too bad in life. She reminded me that it's okay to be me. To be on my path...and wherever I land, they'll love me.

My 31 laps around the sun has made me even more grateful for the narrative that I've gotten to own more of, and grateful for the 2 people who helped create it...I love you Mom & Dad.









Anew

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Reading my final 2018 post from a year ago (LINK) - made me laugh out loud. I was writing from such a space of quiet, solitude, calmness, no stress. Life was chill, and as I said "I am leaving room for the unexpected". Whatever God had for me, I was going to welcome it. I actually posted it 1 day after my first date with my Fiance.

So that room I created in 2018 was really filled to the brim this year...with things and people that made me experience a part of myself that I didn't know existed or a part of me that I used very little of. What 2019 taught me was to be grateful for when God answers my prayers....Because my prayers more or less looked like this - a lot of the unexpected.

I met Aaron in 2018 technically, but we started 2019 with our 3rd date and solidifying our relationship to bring in a brand new year.

In February, I loved getting to visit my bestie in Alaska for her 30th birthday!

I found rhythm at work. I was also promoted from Manager to Director thanks to my supportive supervisor.

This year I inherited 2 roommates - one future brother in law in January and another in October. I also got to meet my future sister in law too who is helping us coordinate for the Wedding.

My niece also lived with us for 6 weeks this Summer. My brother and his fam came to visit in August - I haven't lived at home for 12 years, and this was the first time he came to visit me, I really loved getting to hang with my brother as an adult.

I so happily got to officiate a friend's wedding - We've been friends for 19 years and met at Church camp.

I met my Fiance's Madrina, Tia, Tio, Primas, Sobrina, and Grandparents.

I went to Toronto, Canada for a conference and was reunited with old friends and I got to explore a new city, by myself - Oh how I value quiet time these days.

Made a 16 hour road trip to South Dakota so my Fiance could meet my family and so I could partake in my hometeam's annual 3rd of July reunion. We got to shoot firework, goto the rodeo, ride the four wheeler, and enjoy the best season in my home state. I can smell the yellow clover when I look at photos!

We got to explore Vancouver, Canada, twice, and my Fiance got to meet my cousin living there. We grew up on the farm together!

We had 41 visitors total since I've lived here - All whom we loved, adored, and made so many memories with. We cooked, we belly laughed, we toured Seattle. We love hosting people, and making people feel at home.

I am half way through my conversion into Catholicism and got to experience the Rite of Welcome in December.

I also started to learn basic Spanish.

2019 was also filled with a lot of the hard stuff - illness, medical concerns, racism (interracial relationship, culture shock (adjusting to difference in cultural norms), learning to let go, dealing with people who feel entitled to my life, adjusting friendships and our normalcy with my new normal...it's been a year full of heartache too. But it's what made the other memories so healing, and so sweet.

Each passing year, I grow more comfortable and confident in where my values are. Who I love, who I respect. What I do and what I don't do. What I am not willing to say yes to if it wrecks my peace, and when to 100% say yes, I'll do that with a joyful heart.

For 2020, I chose to focus on the word Anew. I chose Anew because although my heart is the same; my roles and priorities have had to evolve. In 2020, I will be starting year 3 at DigiPen. I will have been with American Pageants Inc. for 22 years. I am getting married to my person. I will become officially Catholic, I will be further learning Spanish.

My life, in many ways feels different from the inside out, but my values, my hometeam, all the things that keep me grounded and blessed are still the same.

This season - Anew - is about rebirth of my self - Spiritually, physically, emotionally, and relationally. It terries me with how many changes have happened, and on the other hand, the adrenaline has completely fed my lust for adventure. Old me would be job searching and looking for my next city to move to. This me, Washington me, is looking at what can I do right in front of me. What does it look like to love fully the life given to me here, even when so many things were unexpected - Good unexpected and tearfully, unexpected too.

My old roomie and friend - We had a day to do vision boards. 2020 - My inspiration for what's to come!





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