"" From Now Till 'I Do'...: March 2010

Telling it how it is

2 Things the people are saying
Over at Happy Nappy Bride, Dawn wrote this post about married folk being honest regarding the realities of marriage to the single/engaged population.

I agree.

The married generation do have a responsibility to advise those coming up behind them what it's all about, so that there are no delusions, disappointments or misinformed expectations and you enter marriage with your eyes wide open, fully prepared.

Take the whole wedding planning process for example. The magazines tell you it's one of the most exciting and fun times of your life. The majority of new wives who I have spoken to would disagree. I would disagree. Exciting - sometimes. Fun? Try stressful or maybe challenging! There are so many situations and issues which you have to contend with and it can be hard. The world expects you to keep smiling, when in fact you feel like  going under your duvet and having a big cry.

The reality is, courtship is all about growing, maturing, making decisions about who you are as couple and sticking to them. It's about having disagreements but having the maturity to work it out and realise that yes, it is normal. It's about placing your relationship into God's hand and asking Him to guide you and give you wisdom.

Mr E and I really appreciate those couples who are honest with us and don't see life through rose-tinted spectacles, but tell it how it is.

Advice like:
- your wedding is just one day, your marriage will last a lifetime. Build your foundations.
- don't get into debt for your wedding, it's not worth it. Remember what's important.
- your wedding will NOT be the best day of your life {kinda glad about that one!} but enjoy it all the same.
- disagreements are not bad, it's how you handle them that is important. Try not to end the day without resolving your differences, communicate about EVERYTHING.
- marriage is not an easy ride. You will have to work at it, DAILY but the reward is great.
- love is a verb {not a feeling} and you choose to love.

And yes there will be days when you will wake up, look across the bed and not like the person you see.

This does not mean the love is gone...this is just marriage.
"Weddings are not marriages, and I wish they were. Weddings are to marriage as a single bamboo shoot is to a jungle, as a seashell is to the ocean floor: nice enough, not unrepresentative, and almost totally irrelevant. Marriage is all about the long road, about terror and disappointment, about recovery and contentment, about passions of all kinds. Weddings are about a party-- which is why I think marriage should be approached with blinking yellow lights, orange safety cones, and all other signs of great caution, and weddings should be encouraged as things apart." {Altared - by Colleen Curran}


Married folk - tell it how it is...Post your pearls of wisdom in comments.

Happy Monday! Growing Pains

2 Things the people are saying
Growth does not come without pain. {My wisdom tooth is growing, so I can testify this first hand!}

Growth will stretch you. It will frustrate you. It may even upset you but it is necessary to move you from point A to point B.

Look at babies and how quickly they grow. However it is needed in order for them to reach adulthood. God wants us to grow too.

Are you growing, today?

Facts about growth:
- To grow something needs to die. You need to let go and say goodbye to certain things in order to move into the new thing that God has for you.
- It is inconvenient. Growth will force you to make changes, lose some friends, give up some old habits. Pretty much things we won't want to do.
- To grow we must stand the pressure of hard work. Growth and laziness do not go hand in hand.
- It is 'kaizen'continuous improvement, a change for the better.
- Like the green shoots that force their way through the concrete pavements - growth will move everything in its path to achieve its goal.

Don't be afraid to grow...who's knows what you will become.

Here's to a great week!

signature

Weekend Wedding Love – Girlfriends

10 Things the people are saying

Every Saturday I plan to post my favourite wedding photo found online with a little comment about what the picture means to me.

This week we’re looking at Girlfriends.

Bride and her girls

Crossing over from Miss to Mrs, it is a time when friendships change and evolve.

Some friendships deepen, others fall by the wayside and new ones are formed. It’s not a time to be sad, that is just the way life is.

Girlfriends are important and while not all my friends can be bridesmaids, I plan to honour and recognise them all on our special day, as they have been by my side through thick and thin.

What does girlfriends mean to you and any tips on how to handle the changes throughout the wedding planning process?

{Photo - uber talented Tunji Sarumi}

You’ll have to speak to my agent…

8 Things the people are saying

asking permission

Asking for permission.

Some call it old fashioned, some have it as a must-do. What’s your take?

Is it still a requirement these days for men to ask for permission to marry their future wife, from the bride’s father?

Women, would you want your fiancé to ask for your hand in marriage, before proposing?

{Picture from Cartoon Stock}

Integrity

6 Things the people are saying

Integrity designed by Chichi Okpalugo

I came across this verse in my quiet time today.

How amazing is this promise!

Image {David Niblack}

Affirmations of Oneness

1 Things the people are saying

Following on from Monday’s post, here are some positive ways to affirm oneness. Some are more relevant to married couples specifically, however like I said yesterday, oneness is a journey.

1)   Commit yourself to never mention or even entertain the thought of divorce or separation of any kind as a possible way out.

2)   Spend time together. Have a ‘date’ once a week.

3)   Completely forgive the other for their sins. Don’t harbour bitterness. “Love covers a multitude of sins.”

4)   Express affection and desire for each other beyond the bedroom.

5)   Talk together about issues, children and other needs.

6)   Think through and discuss how you two complement each other.

7)   Refuse to argue together. Acknowledge differences but then solve problems.

8)   Pray together regularly. (More than at meal time!)

9)   Study God’s Word together.

10) Develop a family vision. (How does God want you as a family {and couple} to minister in this world?)

Which ones are you doing already? Any more to add?

{Foundations of Freedom}

Happy Monday! Oneness

8 Things the people are saying

two_shall_become_one_pendant

 

'The true goal of marriage is not happiness but oneness. Jesus taught, 'So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.' Happiness is a by-product. However, seeking oneness is costly. It involves sacrifice of the ego, so human pride is crushed until it has no life of its own anymore’.

The above quote is by Dr Glenn Knecht from Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda and was something I came across this weekend in my daily reading.

God’s blueprint for marriage is two becoming one, so by defaultas we assert this unity in different practical ways, our marriage gets stronger and stronger’.

Yay or nay?

Genesis 2:24-25 talks about it very clearly:

That's why a man will leave his own father and mother. He marries a woman, and the two of them become like one person.

Although the man and his wife were both naked, they were not ashamed.

The nakedness talked about above, while a physical state, also refers to a mental state. They were both naked with each other and were not concerned about it. They had no secrets, they shared everything. All was out in the open and ‘and they were not ashamed’. What an awesome benchmark of oneness!

In the early part of our courtship Mr E gave me the password to his Yahoo email account. His words ‘we are together now, I have nothing to hide’. I was taken aback! I couldn’t believe that he would want to make himself so vulnerable to me. I turned around and offered my Facebook account! Pathetic I know, but baby steps right! I wasn’t ready to give my email info, not because I had anything to hide, but because I wasn’t ready for that level of oneness and didn’t deem it necessary at the time.

How wrong was my thinking! Two don’t become one the moment you reach the altar. The road to oneness starts long before you say ‘I Do’. It is these practical steps which reaffirm the choice to become one and strengthen your relationship.

Very often one thinks that there needs to be a back up plan, a get out clause {not out of the relationship, but out of the situation}, in case it doesn’t work out, so will not fully embrace it e.g. giving my Facebook info rather than my Gmail. I’m was holding back, ‘just in case’ and that is not how it should be.

Oneness is about jumping in head first, being willing to take the risk, willing to lose everything. It will challenge who you are, force and encourage you to let go of self and look at ‘we’, rather than ‘me’.

It is not easy but the rewards are great and ‘because one doesn’t become two, then it is secure and lasts for a lifetime. Out from this security of love and commitment, love, joy and peace easily grow’.

What practical steps have you taken in your relationship to achieve oneness, was it easy and what lessons did you learn?

p.s. Mr E now has access to my Gmail, Yahoo, Facebook, amongst other things – you get the picture!

Picture Credit {New Jerusalem Jewellery}

Quotes Credit {Foundations for Freedom}

Happy Monday! I love my momma!

11 Things the people are saying

Me and mum

So yesterday was Mother’s day here in the UK and I spent Sunday with my mum {and some of my siblings}!

I made Sunday lunch and it was nice to catch up and have a bit of girly chat, as we don’t always see each other as often as we’d like.

I love my mum – love her loads. She has made so many sacrifices for me, been there through thick and thin, offered advice and guidance at the right time and genuinely been my best friend. We haven’t always seen eye to eye on certain things, but our relationship has evolved over the years into one of mutual love and respect.

Her love for me is selfless and unconditional and I am so grateful for that.

There are so many things I would love to do for her if I had the opportunity {or money} and I definitely don’t tell her enough how much I appreciate her and what she means to me.

So Mum…I love you. I love you dearly and thank you for making me the woman I am today. Thank you for always believing in me and always encouraging me to reach higher heights.

Thank you for holding my hand as I make this huge transition from woman to wife, for welcoming Mr E into our family and treating him as if he were your own son. Thank you.

I look forward to being a mum myself one day and know that if I can be half the mother to my children, you are to me, they will be totally blessed!

Your advice, prayers and love will forever be appreciated.

Happy Mother’s Day!

p.s. To all my friends who have become mothers in the last year, I hope you had a wonderful first mother’s day too.

xoxo

What one thing are you thankful to your mother for?

Fragile Egos {Part Two}

9 Things the people are saying
Do you believe in your man? No I mean really believe in him?

The video from Wednesday was very eye opening from me and gave me insight into how powerful we woman can be in building up our men or breaking them down.

I wrongly assumed that all a man needed was love, but I have learnt that a man needs craves respect a whole lot more. To know that his dreams are not going to shot down at the first instance. To know that the woman who stands beside him, will always be stood beside him and will always believe in him. It is a great comfort to a man, so much so that if you can do this for him, he will be willing to sacrifice anything for you. 

When you meet a guy, what do you see? 

Do you look at who he is today or look at what he will become?

Do you make judgements on what you see in the present or what the future will hold.

Do you believe in him when he's still a student trying to further himself, so that one day he can the best in his field or write him off because you're 'not on the same page'.

Do you stick with him when he appears to have no money, but he is being prudent so that he can lay the right financial foundation for your family or do you walk away because you want the 'nice' life now.

When he shares his vision and tells you his dreams, do you support and encourage or do you tut and say to yourself it will never happen.

Zechariah 4:10 tell us...
'Do not despise the days of small beginnings'.
Boundless have a great article called 'Faith for the Man He'll Become'. Have a read. It will encourage you.

So how can we practically support the men in our lives?
- Allow him to lead. 
- Affirm him in front of others
- Remind him {tell him} how much you believe in him, admire him and love him
- When he makes a mistake, don't tell him 'I told you so'. In the majority of instances, men know when they have made a mistake and don't need constant reminders about it, but want to forget it and move on, knowing that you have forgiven him
- Put him first in your life {after God}, in the decisions you make and the things that you do. 

Any more? Would love to hear from some guys on this one too!

Fragile Egos {Part One}

4 Things the people are saying

I love watching Mark Gungor of Stinking Thinking and Laugh your Way to a Better Marriage fame. He has a very practical and realistic approach to building a successful marriage which Mr E and I enjoy.

Here is a video about how as woman we need to ensure that for our men, we remain their biggest fans.

We’ll talk tomorrow about how we make it practical – so get your suggestions at the ready.

Any advice for single girls?

6 Things the people are saying

This question was sent to me via Formspring and I thought it would be good to share the answer.

In addition to all the things I mentioned on my '7 things to do while you're waiting'' post, here are a couple of extra things I would say:

(1) Live your life - enjoy your single years and don't go looking. It's a cliché, but he WILL find you, in his own good time.

(2) Develop your 'wifey' skills e.g. If you want to develop your culinary skills, now is the time - where mistakes don't really matter as much!. Spend time leading a Sunday School class at church or babysitting if you want to develop your maternal skills etc

(3) Guard your heart - ensure that a man defines your relationship with him, before you commit your heart to him {future post on this coming up}. As women we can so often assume things that are not there. Seek advice/guidance from your parents, Pastor or more experience person if you're not sure.

(4) Fill your mind with the truth: I read {and continue to read} many great books. Ones that helped me include:
* Secrets of an Irresistible Woman - Michelle McKinney Hammond
* In search of the Proverbs 31 Man - Michelle McKinney Hammond
* Get Married: What Women Can Do to Help It Happen - Candice Watters


Of course the Bible is the book of truth on all matters of life.

(5) Don't beat yourself up if you make mistakes, we all do. Just pick yourself up, ask God for forgiveness and start again.

(6) Develop your own walk with God and pray lots - I can't stress how important this is. I grew up in a Christian home, but it wasn't until I got to university that I developed my own personal relationship with God and I love it. A great book that helped me on prayer is: Too Busy Not to Pray: Slowing Down to Be With God by Bill Hybels

(7) Finally, Surround yourself with great girlfriends; married and single.

'As iron sharpens iron, so one {wo}man sharpens another' Proverbs 27:17.

I have some fantastic girlfriends who have been there throughout the whole singleness journey and continue to support now as I get ready to be wife.

It's great and also important to have someone you can be honest with, accountable to and share the highs and the lows of life. In addition someone who will pray for and with you.

Loving the questions - Keep them coming!

Happy Monday! Connecting.

0 Things the people are saying

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Thanks for all the lovely feedback on my first Real Wedding on From Now Till I Do, I know Mel is chuffed to bits by all your comment love.

I love weddings especially those of people I get to know and its always great to see all the hard work come together. I want to feature more of them, so if you got married in the last 12 months and want to feature your wedding on this site, along with any advice you want to share, please drop me a line at:

fromnowtillido {at} yahoo {dot} com

Congratulations to my fellow blog sista, Ebonee Monique on Becoming His Mrs, who got married last Friday. Ebonee is a diy queen and some of her projects are down on my list of must-haves. I'm looking forward to seeing how everything came together on her big day.

This weekend Mr E and I spent time reconnecting. We both felt that we wanted to spend some time away from the TV, internet and life's issues and just reconnect with each other. We went out to a local tourist attraction and just walked around in the cool spring breeze and talked. We reflected on our relationship, how far we have come and how much we are looking forward to the next stage. It's those moments when you're together, away from the hustle and bustle, that you can really think. Let me tell you - its good to reconnect!

FYI - I am loving the fact that Spring is on her way, I wake up every day and the sun is shining gloriously!

Speaking of connecting...
From Now Till I do is now on Twitter, please feel free to follow me @fromnowtillido to get updates and resources on life, love and marriage.

I'm also taking questions at formspring -  if you have anything burning you just have to know, please ask away.

Finally, to ensure that you never miss a post you can stay up to date by either 'following' me {see right}, subscribing in reader or subscribing by email.

Have a great week people!

Real Weddings: Mel and Eugene

16 Things the people are saying

A little weekend treat for you all!

Mel and Eugene got married in a beautiful Winter Wonderland wedding on Jan 2 this year. They decided about half way through their 18 months of wedding planning, that they would simply ‘keep it real’. There was not a chair cover, butterfly or birdcage in sight, yet their day was as fun and fresh as they are, filled with laughter, music, family and friends, delicious food, fine wine and topped with festive cheer …what more could you ask for?

 melvina618

Over to Mel…

Looking back, our wedding was somewhat of an extravaganza and truly the perfect way to start 2010! We had 230 very important guests (no fillers!), a sand ceremony using Ghanaian and Sierra Leonean sand, a steel band to welcome guests to Sindlesham Court, pink uplighters, fairy lights, candles EVERYWHERE, hand-made touches, a dancing entrance, a HILARIOUS best man’s speech, a stunning (surprise) dance performance by our groomsman (!), beautiful bridesmaids, one tossing of my garter to the boys (*blush*), one exploding balloon, one tower of Krispy Kremes and this was before the traditional African ‘Gombe’ drums, which accompanied our change of outfit in the evening! Phew… it was somewhat of an extravaganza...

In it's most simple terms though, it was a *celebration* of our *love*...and we truly are in love and it feels fabulous!

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Now, I'm no expert only having planned one wedding from start to finish...but I did learn A LOT along the way and it’s only fair to share! Here are my top tips.

The Big Things

Marriage is a celebration of love

Remember that the wedding is a celebration your commitment to one another and of your surrendering your relationship to God. It's no more and no less...you can make the 'event' as simple or as elaborate as your taste and pocket desires. But just remember the point of the day.

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It's your day

At the end of the day, this day belongs to you and your Husband to be. It should reflect you as a COUPLE...not just you and not just him. It'd be great to walk into a wedding reception and just 'know' that it was yours and yours together, right?

melvina783

It's not ONLY your day

Whilst it is 'your' day, remember that other people have invested a lot in you, your partner and in your relationship. Your Mum might have dreamt about this day since you were born, that's five years more than you then! The marriage is essentially the coming together of two families...or depending on your viewpoint, the bride leaving her family to join her husband's family. With that in mind, consider the feelings of others. Choose your battles wisely. Fine, accommodating your great Aunt Joy's sister's half-cousin might cost you an extra meal, chair cover and glass of champagne BUT not inviting her could end up costing you a lot more later...

Of course, I appreciate if every guest brought an extra guest, that would double your guest list and possibly leave you as bankrupt newly-weds! But like I said, use wisdom and choose your battles.

melvina536

The Marriage is most important - yes really!

Of course the wedding is an important day. Logistically, it's probably the biggest event you've had to organise. However, after the wedding day, there comes a next day and a next day. Spare some thought for the days/months/years/DECADES after the wedding. It is supposed to be for life after all! Think about your marriage and all the great things that will come from it, think about what kind of wife/husband you want to be...what is going to change...? The wedding is the start of your special days together.

the marriage

Check, check and check again!

I really cannot stress the important of CHECKING that you're legally allowed to get married where you want to. This applies not just to those marrying non-UK/EU partners, but to everyone. Check your parish, check with the home office, check with your relevant high commission, check with a solicitor, check with with your Reverend,  darn check with your GP! Just check check check and then check again, because the laws might have changed since you last checked.

Apparently, it's our responsibility to know and abide with every law! Sigh! You can tell I have had personal issues with this, just follow this one piece of advice...check, check and check again!
See: Advice Guide and The Home Office 

The Little (but still important) Things 

Don't rush decisions

You have plenty of time to plan your wedding...unless you're doing it in 6 weeks…in which case - crack on.

Take time to think about what YOU really want, and not what the latest bridal magazine says you should have this season. Take time to choose your dress, accessories, reception venue...you can always be flexible around these things, especially if it means you make the right choice.  At the beginning, sit down with your other half and decide what is IMPORTANT to you both and is non negotiable. That will help you later when coming to decide on details.

Flowers

Be time-conscious of some decisions

As a contradiction to that last tip, if you find a good photographer, florist, videographer or caterer, just book them. They offer a highly individual service and it's unlikely that another person/company will do the job in exactly the same way. If they're booked on your day, or time, that's it. The good ones go quickly and the next best alternative might leave you disappointed. The situation is different for mass produced items, where there is always an equally good alternative. 

Cutting the cake 

Make time to talk to your guests

They made a huge effort to come, possibly bought a new outfit, paid for a train/even plane ride, booked a hotel, maybe even took a day off work...some really nice ones might have gone all the way into town to buy a gift from your gift list! {Yes people actually do that!} The least you can do is say 'hi, thanks for coming'. As we had a buffet, we walked round to our guests' tables to chat with them whilst they were waiting for their table to be called up.

Confetti

Draw inspiration from the season

We had a winter wedding and adorned the reception with candles, gold twigs and fairy lights. Think fresh florals for spring, pine cones for autumn; fruit for summer or anything that epitomises the season for you.

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Don't pay for it if you don't have to

Our church was filled with flowers. We only paid £10 - and that was for the pew ends. The reason - at Christmas time, the church ordered LOADS of flowers. We just used those. Fine they didn't match the colour scheme, BUT they were festive and free! Besides, everyone should have been too busy looking at my dress!

pew ends

The lesson, don't be afraid to ask, to ask for a discount or negotiate. Vendors do not usually expect you to agree to their first price.

melvina85

Choose things that suit you

If an empire waist doesn't usually suit you, it probably wont suit you on the wedding day either! Choose a dress/cut that flatters your figure and draws attention to your favourite features. Equally, if you would never be seen dead in pearls...why wear them on your special day. For me, a tiara was just not working. None of them suited me. Over the past year, I've become known for wearing a flower in my hair...so for me 'flowers in hair' was an obvious choice. I picked mine up from New Look for £3 each! Bargain!

This tip also applies to bridesmaids...try to make them look and feel as good as they usually do, or better! They are your closest allies after all!

melvina467

Think outside of the box

Just because it's in a bridal shop/magazine/fair doesn't mean it's the best. You can find the perfect items in the most unexpected places. See reference to New Look hair flower! I also picked up my bridal shoes from Debenhams. A friend of mine, got a £1500 Pronovias dress for a mere £500. You don't have to buy your dress from a bridal shop! The woman had obviously only worn it once - for a number of hours...after a dry clean...it was perfect again!

Lesson: If you can't afford it...don't even go there!

If you do choose to go there, be prepared for heartbreak and possibly embarrassment when you realise that you really can't afford that oh-so-stunning £4500 Vera Wang dress OR prepare to pay off the credit card after the wedding! Remember none of your guests will know that you tried on! They will just see you and think you look fabulous! Of course choose the dress you love, but if you know you can't afford it...just don't even go there!

melvina95

Enjoy wedding planning!!!

You'll miss it when the wedding is done! Try making/doing things together that are fun. Not just going to bridal fairs, but perhaps collecting jam jars to place hand-picked flowers in, making your own centrepieces or stationary, or even practising to bake and decorate your own wedding cake! You'll feel a huge sense of achievement on the day and you'll be amazed at what you can do together. We made our own bridal bracelet, necklace, centrepieces, stationary, table plan, and other decorative pieces! We're so pleased we put in the extra hours!

melvina720   Order of Service Wedding necklace and earrings

card box rose table

Personalise your day

We incorporated a sand ceremony into our service. My late Father brought sand from Lumley Beach, Sierra Leone and our best man brought sand from Labadi Beach in Ghana. We poured sand into the Unity Bottle, representing that our love, as the grains of sand are individual, yet indivisible.

melvina374

Steel band surprise…steel band

Krispy Kreme Tower…

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Traditional matching Ghanaian attire…

melvina1103

Finally, don’t forget to take some kiss-ass pictures of just the two of you!

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Mel and Eugene B&w    20147_694252480913_61207116_42927964_4661143_n

melvina1065

oustide look

What was your highlight of the day?

Seeing the genuine joy and excitement of all our family and friends. Also seeing 18 months worth of planning roll so seamlessly into one magical day was incredibly satisfying!

What is the one thing you would change if you could do it all over again?

Everything was so wonderful, I wouldn't change anything. Every tiny mishap, added to our memory of the day. In hindsight though, I would have had a 'back-up' pair of GHDs, so that I wouldn't have been an hour late when the first pair packed up! This would've given me more time for 'profile' and 'beauty' shots with our photographers. You just can't plan for everything eh!'

Thank you Mel and Eugene for sharing you special day with us. Wishing you many happy and blessed years together.

*******************************************************

The A Team

Church: St Peter's Church, Earley, Reading UK

Reception Venue: Sindlesham Court

Photographer: Rouge Amour

Caterer: Delicate Delights

Cake: Margaret Burridge of Celeb Cakes

Dress: Alfred Angelo 2020

Make Up: Dvora Divine

Traditional Attire: Fabrics courtesy of Vogue Fabrics  and tailoring by Mei 

If you would like to feature your wedding on From Now Till I do please drop me a line

7 things to do ‘While you are waiting’

7 Things the people are saying

A few years ago I went to relationship seminar hosted by Michelle McKinney Hammond. She gave some fantastic advice to those of us waiting for the Mr or Ms Right and it really helped me at the time. I found one of my old notebooks and thought it would be good to share.

1. Be what you want to attract.

What type of person do you want in your life? You want a warm, funny, educated person. Ask yourself: Am I that person? Sometimes the qualities we seek in our future partner are things that we also need to work on ourselves. Often I think of God saying, when you hand him over your great big list of wants, ‘okay so you want all this for you, what have you got to offer?’

2. What do I deserve?

You deserve God’s best. When I was born He said ‘I was a good thing’. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I am a priceless jewel who should treasured and look after.

If it looks like a skunk, walks like a skunk and smells like a skunk – it is a skunk.  To often we settle for 10% when our 100% is out there waiting for us.

Do not accept: bad behaviour in any shape or form. If he is behaving badly now, what makes you think he will change when you get together?

3. Get busy about life. Meet others who have things in common.

Live life to the fullest. Look at your gifts {usually what people celebrate that you think is nothing} and use them. A little thing can turn into a big thing, if you let God develop it. Know the value of your gift.

Develop your talents and don’t spend time ‘waiting’ around doing nothing, your single years are when you’re most free. You can do what you want, go where you want. Stay busy being purposeful.

‘Occupy until I come’. Luke 19:13.

4. Get into community with people.

God created us to love. Pour yourself out to people/children who need it whether it be your local church, your neighbours or any other group/charity where you can give back. Build a community and get involved.

5. Build platonic relationships with the opposite sex.

Men are great to have as friends. They have a completely different perspective on life and can often offer practical ways to solve problems. Building platonic relationships helps you learn how to relate to them in a healthy way and understand the male psyche. Men are also great to have around when you have some heavy lifting to do!

6. Get your house in order.

This includes:

-  your finances: pay off as much debt as you can. No debt? Build up your savings?

- your health: you want to lose those extra 10lbs – go for it, you don’t need a man before you do it.

- career: go for that job, take that extra class; develop yourself.

It’s about having a vision of where you want to go, who you are and where you want to be.  Establish the quality of your life now – it sets the standard for when he arrives.

7. Pray and wait joyfully

Enjoy where you are right now. Pray for your mate. Stop asking for him – pray for him. Have an air of expectancy and stay open to the possibilities of change. 

Never take the day for granted; have an attitude of gratitude’. I’ve mentioned this before but having a daily journal where you record the things you are thank you can really helpful you stay focus on being thankful rather than ‘woe is me’. Jessica over at From Marriage to Motherhood has written about the exact same thing. Live in the present and stay thankful.

What other tips can you think of for ‘while you are waiting’?

Another year older. Another year wiser.

17 Things the people are saying

Today is my birthday – yay!

I’m now closer to 30 than I am to 20 and actually don’t mind it at all.

I’ve always loved birthdays, they have always been a special day for me. A day to celebrate life, give thanks and eat cake to your heart’s content.

My parents would always tell me that when I was younger I would collect all the dates for my birthday for the next 10 years and ask them what presents they had they got me! I remember my parents throwing me birthday parties and inviting all my friends from school and church to celebrate.

Birthdays…you’ve gotta love them.

Lord, I thank you for giving me another year. I thank you that I am healthy, have a roof over my head, food to eat and clothes to wear.

Lord I thank you for my family, my church and for blessing me with a great man in my life.

I pray that this next year will be my best year yet!

Chichi bday

Photo: Moi circa 1990. Loving the Snoopy socks!

Happy Monday! Parental Control

6 Things the people are saying

control 

Honour your father and mother! For this is the first commandment with a promise’. Ephesians 6:2

At what point does the line become blurred? Obviously we should always respect our parents, but should we let them dictate everything we do?

Planning our wedding for instance, my dad said to me, right at the beginning of the whole process :

‘You have three options:

Option A – run of to Gretna Green, get married and then come back and tell us

Option B – Organise your wedding yourself, let us know the date, send us an invitation and we will turn up.

Option C – We all work together to plan and organise the wedding, following all our traditions.’

I chose option C, which subtly read ‘I will run the show unilaterally’.

However I did not pick up on this at the time.

Right about now, I know it’s harsh, but I wish I had taken option B as Option C isn’t really working out right now and it’s incredibly frustrating.

I know that parental input is important – the day is all about family and is a big deal for them too BUT surely the couple should be allowed to ‘design the plan’, have the lion’s share of say about the when and the where, especially when they are making most of the financial contribution. {Sigh}

Those of you who have planned your weddings or are planning it, how much parental control did/do your parents have? Anyone else belong to the same club?

Photo by Faramarz Hashemi

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