"" From Now Till 'I Do'...: December 2009

Failure to prepare is preparing to fail

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gallery_enlarged-Khloe-Kardashian-Lamar-Odom-Wedding-OK-Magazine-1007090 Last week E! showed the wedding of Khloe Kardashian {‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ fame} and Lamar Odom {LA Lakers} who decided to get married after a month of meeting each other, and planned the wedding in just 9 days.

Now obviously no one can comment on somebody else’s personal situation but I know I wouldn't feel comfortable getting married to someone after a month, no matter how ‘in love’ I felt.

It got me thinking about marriage preparation and what people do to get themselves ready for marriage and how you know when you’re ready. Your wedding is only one day and is the start of the rest of your life. Your marriage will last a life time, so needs to be built on a solid foundation.

Over the past year, we have spent time in pre-marital classes, read loads of books, read lots of articles in magazines and online, been sat down by members of the older generation who want to give advice {and trust me they have been real pearls of wisdom}, watched TV programmes. Lots. And like a sponge I’m soaking it all in, as I believe you can’t have enough good advice. To be honest the books are great, but in a sense it’s just theory, I get so much more value from the people who are living and breathing it daily. Especially those couples who have been married for many many years.

I personally have really valued every moment because sometimes you need those opportunities to sit there with your significant other and discuss issues that you might not want to talk about. As my dad would say, it’s better to talk about them on this side of the marriage, as once you’re married there’s no going back.

In turn as you walk through the journey of courtship, your level of ‘readiness’ should increase. I know mine has. When we set the wedding for September 09, I felt in myself great I have a year to ‘get ready’ – my excuse at the time was ‘off course you can’t plan a wedding in less than a year’, clearly you definitely can. Now that they year has been and gone, I feel like I’m in overtime, you know like in a football match. The game has ended and I’m playing extra time.

Nearlyweds, how are you preparing for your marriage? Newlyweds and married folks what piece of advice have you found most valuable?

Photo from OK Magazine

Proposal memories

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A year ago today Mr E asked me to his wife.  It’s amazing how quickly the past 12 months have gone.

Our relationship has gone from strength to strength, as we have grown as a couple, learning more about each other and learning more about our relationship. Heck! I’ve learnt more about myself!

I recently found my journal from earlier in the year, where I wrote down the advice that different people have given to us over the past 12 months. Here are some of my favourites:

You are best friends:
- share everything together
- make decisions together
- pray together
- have no secrets
- spend time together
- get interested in each other's hobbies
- get to know each other's personalities, vision and desires

Marriage is for life, divorce is not an option


Communication is key


Understanding and sacrifices will sometimes need to be made


God is at the centre and we fight our battles on our knees


2009 has seen some curve balls thrown at us but we have stood strong through it all and I believe that 2010 will be our year.

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all our friends and family who have supported us in 2009.

We love you lots!

Here’s to the future!
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Our Barrack and Michelle Obama election victory inspired posing!

Happy Christmas!

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Tomorrow we celebrate Christmas, the day our Saviour was born. 2000 years ago, Jesus came to earth in order that we can be free and have eternal life.

I hope that you will be spending the day with those that you love. Cherish them, tell them that you love them and enjoy fellowship as we remember what Christmas is all about.

If you happen to be alone this Christmas and your current situation is not how you wish it to be, know that God loves you and you are very special to him.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good. Romans 8:28 TM

Hop over to Boundless who have a great article, which I hope you find encouraging.

To everyone - enjoy tomorrow and for a bit of fun, I have attached a picture of moi, enjoying my very first Christmas!

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Happy Holidays - see you next week!

Love is a verb

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“Love means that I have to do something, and it means it’s going to cost me something”
– Joyce Meyer

Image - Love Revolution

I was watching Joyce Meyer this morning and she was talking about 'Real Love' and I was really challenged by her teaching. Many a times I say ‘I love’, but my actions don’t always mirror the words.

In John 15:12, Jesus tells us that we should should ‘love one another’ just as He loved us.  Now we all know what love is, 1 Corinthians 13 describes it very well and it is one of the most popular bible verses at weddings. However love without action, is theory.

‘Love thy neighbour’ is another well known verse but neighbour doesn’t just limit you to those people who live next door to you, it can basically mean anyone who crosses your path during the course of the day.

Ask yourself: what need can I meet today, how can I show love? It could be a word of encouragement, a cup of coffee with a old friend or surprising your significant other with an unexpected act of kindness! A simple action can make all the difference.

“When we see a need, we are going to meet it. We don’t need a twelve-hour prayer meeting; we are going to meet people’s needs, unless God tells us otherwise” – Joyce Meyer

To feel love you need to give love, so selfishness has no place here! Reach out to others, even to those people who you think don’t deserve it. More often than not, the people who treat us the worst are the ones who need the most love, understanding and kindness from us.

Today, I commit to showing love through action everyday and I challenge you to do the same. Let’s all make an effort to show love to those around us {strangers included}, not just today but everyday.

To get you started there are some great ideas here.

What practical ways will you be showing love this Christmas time?

Getting the mind ready for 2010

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I found this on Think Splendid and thought it was perfect for this time of year.

Liene writes, ‘the purpose is for all of us to declutter our minds from all the toxic thoughts and beliefs that tend to fill it and start the new year with a fresh slate’.

As we enter 2010 next week, I thought it would be great to share.

  1. Unforgiveness or holding a grudge is like drinking a bottle of poison and waiting for the other person to die.
  2. For planners: no one has the cure for AIDS in their timelines, so stop stressing over "secrets". YOU are your trade secret.
  3. "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." - Eleanor Roosevelt
  4. Unsubscribe from any blogs that consistently make you upset or uncomfortable. No rule that says you have to read them.
  5. Go through your own twitter or blog history and count how many are complaints. Set a goal to cut that number at least in half for this year.
  6. A gratitude journal does wonders, I can't stress this enough. Happytapper.com is a great iPhone app.
  7. Don't believe all the hype or read your own headlines. Wedding industry "fame" should always be taken with a grain of salt.
  8. You can't fully control life, even with positive thinking. Other people’s poor choices will still affect you. Respond; don't react.
  9. "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." - Ann Landers.
  10. There is no shortage of talent in the wedding industry. Choose to work with vendors you like and who won't drag everyone down.
  11. The world is a bakery producing fresh opportunities every day, not a fixed pie where you need to fight for the last crumb.
  12. If your ideas aren't being copied, they probably aren't that good. Protect them legally, but prepare to let some things go.
  13. Go on record as the first to have the idea and/or style. You can't be a trendsetter if you don't allow your idea to become a trend.
  14. If you work from home, make it a point to have lunch at least once a week with a friend or colleague. It will do wonders for your outlook.
  15. Perfect doesn't exist, so let go of the extra stress. Sometimes you just have to launch an idea and refine it as you go along.
  16. Some people who have wronged you will never apologize. Let it go. You can't be their conscience/Jiminy Cricket/Holy Spirit.
  17. Let's face it: we all have issues; some that we don't even know exist. Everyone should see a counsellor. Pride kills.
  18. True humility doesn't hide its gifts. Keep your ego in check, but don't pretend to not be good at something you're good at.
  19. "There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you." – Marianne Williamson
  20. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. You can't please everybody and you certainly don't have to listen to everybody.
    What piece of mental detox advice would you add to this list?
For more great advice like this on business and life, visit www.thinksplendid.com

Blog Love

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It’s almost been a year since I started blogging and in that time I have discovered some fantastic blogs out there. Some have been wedding related, others to do with finance, some to do with married life and others just general ones.

The internet is an amazing place and every now and then I stumble across a blog that I think – wow this is great and I immediately subscribe! I love reading about other peoples lives, triumphs and challenges and you really feel like you know the writer just by following their posts.

As a reader of From Now Till I do, I thank you for being part of my community during 2009.  I love writing and hope that you enjoy the content that I write about. My commitment to you will always be to remain relevant, open and honest in my posts and your feedback and comments are ever welcome.

I’m always on the look out for new reading, so if you have a blog that you would like to share, please feel free to leave the details in the comments section.

Would you put oil on your face?

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Ordinarily I would have said no, but then I heard about Bobbi Brown Extra Face Oil.

I suffer from dry skin, which gets worse in the winter and was advised to try oil over normal lotion, as it is more moisturising for the skin. I was a little skeptical at first, as traditionally I try not to go for an oily look but I thought, what the hey, I'll give it a go. So as a pay day treat I purchased me some face oil. 

{From Bobbi Brown site} This emollient facial oil provides a concentrated boost of intensive moisture to comfort very dry skin. The lightweight formula absorbs easily, immediately moisturising, softening, and conditioning skin with an oil blend of Sesame, Sweet Almond, Olive and Jojoba. Vitamin E protects skin from environmental damage. With continued use, helps keep skin soft and supple. Scented with a soothing blend of natural essential oils, including Neroli, Patchouli, Lavender and Sandalwood. Dermatologist-tested.



I've only used it for two days and so far so good, definitely feeling less dryness on my skin. Will continue to use over the holidays and let you know how I get on.

18 Tips for a Frugal (not cheap) wedding

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The recession has hit everyone so finding ways to save money is always welcome.

Check out this post by Trent on the The Simple Dollar on 18 tips for a frugal wedding.

Some of the ones that I will be doing include:
4. Ask for wedding help instead of wedding gifts {this has been offered to us already, by some very generous friends and family}
5. Go minimal on flowers {not a huge flower fan}
7. Make your own invitations {I will be designing and dad will be printing}

And of course 16, 17, 18. You'll be amazed at the skills, talents and ideas some of the people around you have. Don't be afraid to ask for assistance and planning is key to make sure you don't forget anything. I find carrying a notebook around in my handbag, allows me to jot down ideas and to-do lists at a moments notice.

For those of you who are already married or are nearlyweds, any other money saving wedding advice?

Hairdressing woes

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So the great hairdresser search continues. At the moment I still haven’t found myself a hairdresser that I’m totally happy with. I tried a new place out about a month ago and whilst I was happy with the overall look and service on the day, I wasn’t too impressed with their pricing structure.

They’re one of those places where every step of the process is charged separately. For example, I rang up to book a treatment and in their price booklet it says treatment £14.40. At the end of the phone call I say ask the girl to confirm what the total price will be and she comes back with £34.40. I’m confused!

Me: Doesn’t your price book say a treatment is £14.40?

Salon: Yes, but it’s an extra £20 to blow dry the hair.

Me: Err what? You have have to pay extra for a blow dry, it’s not included?

Salon: No

Me: Interesting, the price is almost as much as getting my hair relaxed. I think I’ll leave it.

You have to pay extra to be able to leave the salon with dry hair!

I don’t get it. Surely if that’s the true price, why not quote £34 rather than break everything down, when they know full well most women aren’t going to leave a salon with wet hair! I’d rather places be upfront and charge one price which includes everything.

Anyone else had similar experiences?

Christmas is coming!

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Yowza! Not long until until the New Year and even less time until Christmas. Where has this year gone!

2009 has definitely been a year of change, a year of personal growth, a year of new experiences. Things which looking back, I am extremely grateful for, as you don't realise your own strength or patience until it’s tested.

Can’t wait to be off work for a fortnight and spend time with my family. I’m also looking forward to lots of really good food {thanks mum!} and catching up with my girls.

Christmas is by far my favourite holiday, as not only do we remember our Saviour being born, but it's a time for us reconnect with people and I hope to be able to do some of that this holiday season.

What do you love most about the holidays?

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‘Little’ drummer boy – taken in NYC 2007

In my kitchen: Banana Cake

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How you can go from this:
over-ripe-banana
to this:
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Let’s just say this was the most amazing cake I have ever made. Didn’t realise bananas in cake could be so yummy!

This is a great way to use over ripe bananas which you don’t want to eat, but don’t want to waste.

Ingredients
4oz butter or margarine
6oz sugar (granulated, caster, or mix in some demerara, whatever you have to hand)
8oz self raising flour
2 eggs
2 large or 3 medium, very ripe bananas

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to gas mark 4; 180C
  2. Grease a 2lb loaf tin*
  3. Mash the bananas with a sturdy fork.
  4. Cream the butter and sugar together and mix in the eggs
  5. Mix together the two yellow sludges you now have.
  6. Mix in the flour.
  7. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes then lower the temperature to gas mark 2; 150C and cook for a further 30 minutes.
  8. Try to let it cool (turned out on a rack) before you devour it.
* I split my cake mixture between a loaf tin and an ordinary cake tin, as I thought it would be too much for the loaf tin. I needn’t have worried as all it would have done, was create a bigger cake. Next time I will put all in one tin.
Recipe kindly borrowed from here.

Friends Forever

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Yesterday was the birthday of my very good friend SB.

I remember the first day we met, at our church summer picnic, I was scared of her! She has this presence about her and you definitely knew when she was in a room! Over the years as I have got to know her, I have learnt that her bark is much worse than her bite and she truly is a fabulous woman, selflessly caring for those around her.

She has supported me through ups and downs, provided me with laughs, corrected me when I'm wrong and even accompanied me on a nail course back in the day, when we were thinking about becoming nail technicians lol! She has also fed me on many occasions and I'm still waiting for her to teach me how to make rice and peas {Jamaican style}!

SB I adore you and thank you for your friendship. I wish the world for you and pray that God will move you higher and it will be a year of great abundance and blessings.

Happy Birthday SB! x






The Marriage Course

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MarriageCourse-70H
For those of you who have heard about Alpha, you may not know that the church behind it, Holy Trinity Brompton, have another course specifically tailored at couples called 'The Marriage Course'.

Written by Nicky and Sila Lee, who are also authors of 'The Marriage Book' {which I have read and will review in another post}, the 7 week course is suitable for all age groups, from those preparing for marriage {moi}, those going through a bit of a rocky time and also those who want to enrich their current experience of married life.

The format of each event usually goes like this:

Dinner: Each evening starts at 7pm with a catered dinner meal. Over dinner there’s an opportunity to spend time together as a couple or with other couples if you desire (if you are coming with friends). The mood for the evening is "A Dinner Date" (dress is casual, however!).

Talk: You will then view a talk on a specific topic given by Nicky and Sila Lee on video. Topics include:
  • Building Strong Foundations
  • The Art of Communication
  • Resolving Conflict
  • The Power of Forgiveness
  • Parents and In-Laws
All chosen because they are foundational to a healthy marriage.

Discussion: During the talk there are exercises for you to do together as a couple. Every effort is made to make sure your conversations aren’t being overheard and music is played in the background. During the longest exercise you are served coffee or tea and cake. The exercises come from a workbook each person will receive on the first night.

Homework: At the end of each session you will be given some homework to do together before the next session. It isn’t looked at by anyone else and is just for your own benefit to help you continue your discussion at home.  The evening ends around 9:15pm.

Each event is set up, so that couples can have an intimate environment {candle lit dinner for two}, giving them the opportunity to talk about their relationship in private. Nicky and Sila’s approach is very down to earth with lots of practical ideas drawn from their own 25 year marriage.

For the past few weeks they have been showing The Marriage Course on UCB and have now started showing it on GOD Channel. Mr E and I have been watching it,  doing our own mini marriage course and the great thing about Sky+ is that you can record it and watch at your convenience. Also being able to rewind and pause where needs be, affords you the time to discuss certain issues and how they relate to the relationship.

We can both confidently say that we have taken away a lot from the course so far and would encourage others to take part, even if it is just watching the programme on TV. For those of you who want to join in on the marriage course fun, check it out the GOD channel {Sky viewers 580}, Wednesdays at 9pm or in the flesh at a place near you!
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