Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hulaballoo

Yes, yes, yes I know, I've been remiss in posting. (I've gotten yelled at for the too long wait for pics.  My bad.)

But, I am a married woman now,

And our second reception has come and gone too (which was fabulous, and took place last night),

So expect lots and Lots and LOTS and lots of pictures!

love,
Charis

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Luminous

The wedding went off without a hitch.

It was lovely.

I'll post pics and play-by-plays later. There was a little rain, but just enough to make it lucky :) (no one got unnecessarily wet except for the hem of my dress, which is now a deep ochre color. I don't mind.)

Today we're headed up to PA, to prepare for the second reception this Saturday! Party time.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Today has Arrived

I can't believe it's finally here.

Today is my wedding day (and yes, I've already broken my vow of silence once. It's hard not to when a bridesmaid calls you for directions...)

Last night the rehearsal was beautiful, the sky softly clouded and, as we went to dinner afterwards on the patio of a nearby restaurant, the sky darkened into that deep, glowing blue that is my favorite, with a pure white half crescent moon overhead. I walked back and forth from table to table, kneeling next to seats and chatting, giving hugs, holding hands, we even had a couple of serenades by the restaurant's live entertainment, and last but not least, feeling little Nicholas move in Bebe's HUGE belly. That was the highlight. How it fascinates me! But first things first, and I tartly informed the ladies standing around that no one was to expect a belly like that from ME in six months from now!

After going to bed in the wee hours, I woke up at dawn today, heart thumping, mind racing. For the next two hours I laid in bed curled on my side, marinating in the joy of this day. I've written my vows and my fingers itch to post them here. Perhaps tomorrow. There are other fun things for you to see too, but they'll have to wait a few days, can't spoil my blog reading guests' "dinner". :)

I keep having butterflies race down my spine and cluster in my tummy, and I relax into them and feel those tickling waves of energy course through my entire body. I can't wait to walk down that aisle, to look into those infinitely deep brown eyes, to say my words, to hear his, to bind our hands together for a moment and bind our souls together for all time.

I am a blessed girl. And I give thanks for everything. (yes, even the meltdowns).


Last night my mother knocked on my door as I worked on vows, saying that she was lying in bed and couldn't go to sleep until she'd wished me a good night on this last evening of my single womanhood. Then my sister came in and we all three sat on the bed, talking. Mom told me that she's never seen two people more perfectly matched than me and Terry. Michal mused about her eventual marrying or not marrying someone, and said that she would if she found someone who did the opposite of constrain her, but rather set her free and made her calm - the type of person I'd found.

Warmth surrounded me. My family's not exactly tender usually, so those moments will always be with me.

I told them that it was a funny feeling, going to sleep, knowing you'll wake up a different person. And I have. I am different. But it's not so much a switch as it is a layering - after today I'll be more complex, more joyful, more aware, more awake. I'll be more myself.

And I give thanks, I give thanks, I give thanks.

I hope all of you on out there have a wonderful day too. Blessings to all of you. I'm overflowing with joy, and I'm sending it through the e-waves!

Happy wedding day Saturday!

And a quote:
I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naive or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman. 
~Anais Nin

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday before the wedding

(that place is awesome, by the way. DEF visit it if ever in Richmond...)
Yesterday Melissa came over and helped me put seating cards together all day. It took much longer than I was expecting, and if she hadn't been there, it would have taken double or triple that amount of time to finish. We sat on the floor of my mom's living room and I slid a paper cutter back and forth, arranged lavender bundles, and sorted names and tables, and Melissa tied knot after knot into the ribbons that held everything together. We chatted and gossiped and talked about all sorts of things, and after she left Terry and I had dinner, watched Lost and I had a mandatory mini bridal meltdown.

I think those are bound to happen once in a while, and this was my second one.It was about the ins and outs of tiny tedious things that ordinarily wouldn't be something to worry one's little head about, but having a wedding at home comes with certain perks, and certain drawbacks. For example, all the money you save is a perk. On the other hand, having to do every little thing yourself (yes, including weeding the flower beds, which makes me cry - duh, I'm a weirdo - and such), is a drawback.

That said, the seating cards came out beautifully. Then last night I had a call that 5 or so people aren't coming anymore. So I'll have to redo a bunch of them. Fabulous. (note to all of you wedding goers out there - if I've learned anything during this experience, it is the importance of the friggin RSVP! Do it! Save someone an aneurism!)

But, that was it for me. No more stress. I'm done with it. From now on, I'll be serene city. On Saturday I'm taking a vow of silence until soon before the wedding. I'll probably still blog though (loophole!), so there's that to look forward to.

Today T and I drove up to Short Pump to run a couple of errands and see a new baby of a good friend of mine. The weather is perfect - a cornflower blue sky and Mario Bros. clouds. May it be this nice in T-minus-51 hours. That'd be great, mommy nature, thanks.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tuesday Before the Wedding


our cupcake tree, as yet unadorned...I'll be tackling that as soon as I hit the publish button here
As I told my mentor yesterday, who I write to daily, my titles this week may be a little boring. I'm in full wedding mode and just saying Monday, Tuesday, etc Before the Wedding is enough for me. And I think it will be enough when I go back and read later. But, that said, sorry for the boring titles.

So, at the end of the week is our wedding. I went to my buddy Bebe's wedding in October and served as a bridesmaid. She'll also do the same at my wedding, although by now she may be a little bit wobbly - after all, she is 5 months pregnant and HUGE (yay!). It's a good thing that I'm encouraging flat shoes!

Oh, on that - a note to everyone attending the wedding: it's been rainy. Wear flats. I'll be wearing flats and I'm the bride. Take a lesson, y'all. No one likes a sinking heel. Especially not the girl wearing it.

On another note, we're currently working on the streaming for the video (like, literally, right now, we're testing it as I type.)

the link, if anyone wants to tune in Saturday at 6:00 (eastern time): http://www.ustream.tv/channel/charis-and-terry-s-wedding

Granted, this will not be an in depth, camera angle changing, professional broadcast. More like we'll sit a laptop somewhere where it can see the action and hit the "broadcast" button. But you'll be able to hear our awesome vows that I'm currently stressing about (yikes, big deal much?)

When I was at Bebe's wedding, I asked her, "How does it feel?" Throughout my life, there have been certain days that have stood out - both as things to look forward to (which sometimes have and sometimes have not lived up to the hype), and unexpected best days ever that took me by surprise. But across the board, your wedding day is always one of the awesome ones, the ones that you anticipate and that DO end up being the best days ever.

Those great days come by surprise so often that sitting here now, knowing that the so-far best day of my life is just a few more days away is thrilling. I  know it will be amazing. And maybe outshined only by the days when my children are born, years from now. But even still, I think it will be in a different category. This is a wedding.

And my name will even be different afterwards. I'll be forever changed, as a result of that intimate and personal ceremony. I don't know how I'll feel. But I know how I feel now - excited. Enraptured. Deeply in love. And shivery, it's cold in here...

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Countdown

This time next week, I'll be a married woman.
(weird.)
This morning I woke up, my mind running in circles. There's lots to do. Seating charts, centerpieces, signs directing folks to the wedding (my mother lives in a slightly confusing neighborhood), gifts for the folks in hotels, and on and on and on for eons. 


There's a lot to think about, and I'm as guilty of the next person of getting caught up in the ridiculous things that don't really matter as the days tick by and now I live my last Sunday as an unmarried woman, and tomorrow it'll be my last Monday, and so on. 


I have so much to look forward to. I'm marrying the best guy ever, and I am guilty of also being a bit smug about that from time to time. In my defense, I never take him for granted, so that's an upswing of smugness. But mostly I just feel lucky and wish the same for every other girl out there. 


May we all find our matches, and grow and glow in their presence, and hold a space for them to be their best selves in ours. 


Happy Sunday!


(6 days! Prayers for blue skies would be appreciated - rain is a possibility!)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy 300!

Today is my 300th blog post.


Whoa, that's a lot of typing about random things.


I realized as I perused other blogs, which is the only surefire way that I can make myself drink an adequate amount of water because if both of my hands are typing and clicking, no one ever touches that jar of water sitting right next to me and this means that I get dehydrated, as I am now, which is also responsible for the overnight appearance of three new zits, one on the left cheek, two on the right, which is unacceptable considering next weeks wedding. So reading and guzzling it is. Anyway, I realized that it has been months and months since I posted any pictures with me actually IN them. So here's one I took directly afterward.
Mysterious, yes, I know. Actually it's just bad lighting.


I'm on my mom's living room couch in a sweatshirt with a beautiful white sky behind me. I don't mind it being overcast when it makes the light so ambient and nice. 


Last night a thunderstorm came through and Terry and I, after arriving home through walls of water, stood on the front porch and watched lightning zigzag across the sky. We counted for the thunder, to judge the distance that the flashes were from us (what's that rule again? I have no clue. A second for a mile? For a few miles? I just know that the shorter the closer, the longer the farther. Whatever.)


A chilly wind hit me and I snuggled into his arm. He wrapped both arms around my short-sleeved-bared, goosebumpy ones, kissed my cheek and whispered to me that he wanted us to always be those people that others can tell just by looking are deeply in love. 
I'll take it.
Today, after some Kundalini Yoga whenever my gorgeous fiance comes sleepy eyed down the stairs, we get to tweak the wedding ceremony (it's going to be fabulous. Definitely. And yes, I did figure out a way to stream it online!), we get to go down to Colonial Heights, and he'll hole up in a coffee shop somewhere to write while I have a girl's afternoon with Melissa, an old friend from my hometown.
yay! Can't wait to see you!
Being home is strange. I keep changing and home keeps staying the same, which changes me and it all at the same time, when the two are combined. As I type it is silent besides some birds calling outside - living blocks away from a state park is a blessing, to be sure (except when the coyotes come close, no thanks, and yes, they do live in Virginia). Three nights ago my brother and T stood outside in the backyard, talking, and turned to see two big does calmly walking through our yard. They all gazed at each other, and the deer kept nonchalantly walking.
Love it.


And, as a plus, we haven't felt the house ghost in a while. I think digging up the backyard to look for her body the last time we were in town may have set her to rest, even though we didn't find anything.


Yes, I am serious. It's a long story. But the long and short of it were #1) I felt bad that a person was stuck here, and yes she was, unless T grew long hair and changed clothes really fast and it was him I saw standing at the head of the stairs last autumn and my family has just heard false noises and breathing and walking and stuff over the years, and #2) I didn't want to get married ten feet from a murdered woman's buried corpse. Call me crazy, I can't think it would be good luck.


But anyway, that's done with. Whoa.


Happy Thursday! It's set to be a great one!



Tuesday, May 11, 2010

This and That

We made the six hour drive from Hazleton to Richmond Sunday morning - left at about 10:00 and arrived at around 4:30. It was no biggie, especially because lush green temperate forests lined the roads the entire way. How I love this landscape! I can't wait to see how amazing Portland's natural land is. 


We took Mom out to an Ethiopian restaurant for Mother's Day, which she tolerated ("It was just different" = what the heck, why couldn't I just pick the restaurant?) Sure, it was a selfish gift, but Ethiopian food was certainly just MORE delicious the second time I had it, and the same may be true for her (thanks for being a good sport Mom!)


So far, the week has been spent working in the yard and catching up with family. There was an unsuccessful shopping trip today that I won't say much on, but why is it that there's an infinite number of gorgeous things when you don't need them, but when you want to pick up something specific, it's nowhere to be found? Frustrating.


But no matter. I will have shoes for the wedding, one way or the other. 


Today I laid some brick under the arbor that will be where we stand during the ceremony. It was chilly and Mom had just headed back inside to get ready to meet a friend for lunch. Terry was across the yard loading up more bricks in the wheelbarrow to bring over to me, and I was on the ground, using a small stick to level earth beneath each placement of ancient bricks that are not the same width NOR length, or shape really, and I was doing that mental grumbling that you do in such situations.
Then I remembered.
My hands were covered in earth - earth that was naturally made rich and full of life by the trees above along with the other animals that I could hear twittering and chittering and calling and singing around me. I was creating a stable, firm foundation for my love and I to stand on as we make our promises to each other. In less than two weeks from now, we'll each take a winding path to meet in a way that we've preordained, to see each other and to swear to bond together and be each other's partner for life. 


This was not a chore. This was a blessing. 


Then we came in and made salads and watched Lost (holy sheista we're finally done with Season 5 after beginning with Season 1 a couple weeks ago - I'm dying to find out what happens! How do they just KEEP getting better and better? Genius!)


-and here I am, documenting the day. After I shut my laptop we'll talk about the ceremony and may do some stuff around the house, and I'll meditate via Haanel's Master Key System (which will get a blog post of it's own, sooner or later, good stuff there), and my little bro will eventually come home with a veggie pizza for us.


I'll be eating a salad beforehand to offset the non-rawness. Cause really, he's a driver for an amazing pizzeria around here and how can I say no to THAT. 


We'll be raw again soon. Now we're just mostly that.


I'll be trying to post more as the wedding draws near, to remember later.


Happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Burn

The day after our arrival in PA, T and I built his parents a fire pit out of some extra paving stones left over from building their patio years ago.
It took us under an hour, was pretty easy (T told me that this was a benefit for him of marrying a descendant of stone masons and while they never officially taught me anything, I'd have to agree - I did kind of have an intuitive feel for it). 


The next day when, along with his mother, we passed a pit for sale at a local store for 80 bucks, we gave ourselves a verbal pat on the back.


And since then, on every clear night we've been doing the pyro thing, s'mores included (and in case you're wondering, yes, it's extremely difficult to keep up the raw food deal up here. We do what we can, but when food is such an integral part of culture, saying no to what you're being offered just isn't right. So I for one will be going on a cleanse the minute I get down to Richmond this weekend! There's a wedding dress to fit into and a face to clear up and all...)


He graffitied the top layer with a couple of hearts and initials, which was nice. 
We talked about how, although it could be easily moved or disassembled at any time, it probably wouldn't be, so we are likely to visit in five or six years, with children, and remember to them how we built this together weeks before we married. That was cool.


He shushed me just after sunset and we listened to crickets, a sound usually completely muffled by house walls. I asked him with a smirk if he knew why they were doing that, about to make some seedy red light joke because of the nature of those mating calls, when he nodded and seriously replied, 
"they're singing their love songs to each other."
Ummm is it just me, or was that totally a swoon moment? (he's probably going to be mad at me for posting that for the entire eworld to see, but I don't care. It was that good.)


And it kind of made me feel like an ass for my intended bad joke, but I didn't mind. Besides, considering the songs that way rather than as red lights flashing above little cricket heads is a much better way to view things, if you ask me...


Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chapel Chatter: Inside the Invitations

I figured that now would be as good a time as any to show the invitations, that is, once they're all made, and out and in and over with... but no matter. Here they are. 
We (I) decided to do them ourselves because there was a specific vision to how they would be. So I ordered heavy cardstock in greens and blues, designed an invitation insert on GIMP and had it printed over at overnightprints.com in the form of a postcard with rounded corners. 


Next I got a stamp that I loved (and had used in the card design) and some embossing ink (which makes stamped images rise up off the paper once you emboss them with a heat tool), stamped green glittery trees on little squares of light green, folded dark green around the cards that I glued in place (actually T did that part), and tied those bad boys up with a ribbon (I did that part - he's not so great with the bow-tying, but that's okay. That particular thing can be a wife's job in every situation where it would arise, I think). 


These are the 2nd reception invitations, the wedding ones were mostly the same, but in blues and with a different insert (one that felt a tad more formal). 


And that was that! I think they ended up with the right combination of formality and fun - not too dressy, not too casual, the same way that I hope the events will be.


I can't believe there are only a couple of weeks left. What an amazing time.


Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Drive

We decided last Tuesday that it was time to head up north. The trip would be a week earlier than we'd planned, but it was still the best time. We packed up our things in boxes and luggage that afternoon and set raw bread and cauliflower “popcorn” to dehydrate overnight.

The next morning we awoke, packed the car with our boxes and luggage and baskets and loose books (as I'm a champion of nook-and-cranny packing, what would have been at least 2 or 3 boxes of books ended up not boxed at all, crammed here and there in empty spaces instead, and creating a less packed car on the way up north than we started with three months ago when we headed down to Texas, even with all the little things we'd accumulated for the wedding). 

We made some chocolate pudding smoothies, leaving full ice cubes in and wrapping them, sticking them under the passenger seat to keep cold until we were ready to drink them on the drive. We filled up a couple of jars with water and packed our bread, popcorn, fruit, veggies (and almond butter for dipping), putting all these things within an arm's reach. A couple of bottles of Kombucha sitting behind our seats by the backseat air conditioner and the ipods fully charged, we began our drive at 11:30am on Wednesday. 

Not bad for deciding we were hitting the road less than 24 hours previously, I figured. The drive ahead totalled twenty six hours according to Google maps and we didn't quite know what our plan was. We assumed that we may be stopping at a hotel to rest, but I pushed for not deciding yet just where to stop. We should keep going as long as we were awake enough, because if we planned now to stop we may make the trip longer than it had to be – how did we know how sleepy we'd get, and when?

I started out the drive. We switched at about 4:00, when I started to feel a little less perky, and I napped for an hour, sleeping like a log and waking up feeling wide awake and extremely chipper. We listened to playlists T had made over the past couple months, and talked about wedding stuff, the meaning of human existence, and choreography – you know, the usual. 

I took back over around 9, when we stopped for gas. We also picked up a Starbucks frappuccino from the refrigerator case, for a potentially tired time ahead, and stopped for french fries. Not raw, but we had a craving to feed. 

T took a nap, and I drove through the night. I loved it. Since my treks from home in Virginia to college in Florida years ago, I've always been a night driver. There's no sun glare on the windshield, the roads are clear, it's quiet, and the miles just peel by. I put on my ipod and jammed out silently (so as not to awaken my copilot). He caught me once, and I was a little embarrassed, not gonna lie. But if he's gonna marry me, I guess it's okay if he sees my dorky lip syncing. 

As I drove through rolling Oklahoma then into beautiful green lush Missouri, where I could feel the Earth breathing, full of life at the new, soft Spring growth, I thought about how clearly we've been directed lately. I think this happens to everyone – there are always signs to guide you. It's just whether you see and follow them that makes the difference between a smooth and joyful life, and days filled with struggle, resistance, and frustration. And, thankfully, we've been following ours lately. May we ever continue.

I noticed a deer somewhere in the wee hours. She was young, and had obviously been hit at a high speed – probably by a truck, which were the only other vehicles on the road, really. It was dark and I only saw her for a moment, but even a glimpse of her still form, legs sprawled in an unnatural and still position indicative of a quick and painful death turned my stomach. I mourned her for the next little while as I drove, lamenting how many animals needlessly die on the roads. 
 
A while later, maybe an hour or so, I saw another. Again, on the right side of the road, this time so mangled that the only way I knew it was a deer was because of the pure size of the thing. I thought I saw a glimpse of exposed ribcage and grimaced, trying to erase the sight from my mind – obviously unsuccessfully, because here I am writing about it days later.

I thought about signs and started to worry that perhaps I was being shown these graphic images because I was being urged to caution – was I going to share a lane with a large four legger that night? I hoped not. And I thought about how I'd never seen deer like that in that way, although I've been driving on rural roads in deer country, off and on, for as long as I've been driving at all. Perhaps this was a sign. 
 
Now fear hit me. We were in a packed car, in the middle of nowhere. And the camry certainly isn't so big that hitting a huge deer wouldn't majorly hurt it – not to mention the emotional trauma that would result after such a thing! Oh no. I didn't want that to happen. 
 
But, unless you have your brights on, you can't see that well. And my cruise control was set at about 67mph, slow for a 65 if you ask most people, but I didn't want a chance of being pulled, and I don't know where the speed traps are in that part of the country. But 67 was enough to be a big problem if I hit anything.

As the miles and minutes passed, I became more and more stressed. I imagined all of the scary things that could happen as a result of that type of wreck, and I got progressively more jumpy and shaken. 
 
Eventually, I decided that this was enough. I relaxed my mind and began to pray. I prayed to the Heavely Father that this trip would be smooth, pleasant and uneventful. I prayed to the Earthly Mother that she would keep all of her creatures a safe distance away from my passing. Make any deer find a particularly yummy patch of clover so that they'd cross the road 30 seconds after my passing, please. 
 
Was I getting through? Were my prayers being heard? I wondered and pleaded silently as I drove around a left curve beneath thick leafy trees. 

And at that moment, I saw it up ahead. A gigantic, and I mean GIGANTIC, white cross. It was the size of at least a 6 or 7 story building, and built substantially with thick and geometric arms. It was uplit from beneath, giving it a large, impossible to ignore presence in the dark. I stared at it, incredulous. What the heck. And I didn't even see a church around, as you usually do by big roadside crosses. It was just THERE.

I don't normally get signs from the Christian tradition. I was raised that way, then went on my spiritual awakening journey at the end of college. I believe that God has spoken to all the peoples of the world, in ways that they could understand, and that have trickled down to traditions today that are seemingly different from each other (although, if you look beneath at the actual messages, they're all the same). I just happen to often resonate with traditions other than Christian ones. 
 
But not that day. That was a sign about as big and blatant as you get. And, from then on, I relaxed.
And no, there was no deer. T woke up soon and we took turns driving, arriving in Hazletion at just underneath 25 hours total. Not bad.