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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Important Love Stuff (47)


Best Non-Registry Gifts Ever.

The Candyman and I registered for gifts. Yes, we did. There was no way in hell we'd get away with not doing it.

And I will be perfectly honest here: I wanted to register. I know, I know. I should be all groovy and cool and hip and politically correct and say something along the lines of, "All we need is love. Don't buy us anything, we have all we need" or perhaps "Gift registries are so materialistic. I don't want that clouding our commitment of love" or maybe even " We politely request your presence, but no presents."

I call that bullshit.

I wanted to register. I wanted a new Cuisinart Blender to replace the one my parents handed down to me when I moved out of the house like in 1991. It was a lovely harvest gold color and things would start to smell funny if you blended too long. Yeah, it was time for new. I wanted a spring form pan - and I don't know why. I wanted some "good" china. I did, I wanted stuff.

And I'll be really honest again, part of me felt just a little vengeful. I mean, come ON! I got married at 38 years old. Do you even know how many weddings, bridal showers and baby showers I had to attend in my life by that time? Can you imagine the thousands of dollars I had to spend on gifts and travel? Remember that one episode of Sex and the City when someone steals Carrie's shoes at a party and it becomes this whole "thing" with the hostess and replacing her shoes and how much money Carrie had spent over the years on gifts and showers and such? By the time I'd met The Candyman, I totally felt like that. I was so over shelling out gobs and gobs of money on other people and their wedded bliss.

When it came to registering, I kinda felt like it was FINALLY my turn. Is that wrong? If it is, I really don't care. It felt good to get presents. And conversely to yesterdays post, I like getting presents. Yes, I adore giving them, but getting them when it's not your birthday or Christmas is totally bad-ass.

But I also think it was something that The Candyman and I needed to do together. That blender isn't mine. It's OURS. The dishes we got are OURS. The folding gifts we got went into our joint account. So when I hear and read about all these alternative options to giving gifts, I'm never quite sure if it's the thing a couple should do. Now, I'm not saying that alternative registries are bad. I mean, we included a charity on ours because we felt strongly about it. You might too and that's OK. But think about the gifts for a second longer. Think about what starting your married life with some new appliances, extra dough in your joint account and some plush towels from Bed, Bath and Beyond might mean. Even when you already live together, these gifts make a difference. It's weird, but they do. It's all a part of that thing that happens after your wedding day. Being married feels different. It does. So why not embrace that and start fresh in other areas of your life too?

Having said all that, we got three really super-fantastic gifts that were not on our registry.

1. The Candyman's aunt gave us the folding kind of present, but she also gave us a gift bag filled with old photos of The Candyman and his brothers as kids: school pictures, Olan Mills-esque types of photos and candids. Since The Candyman's family consists of 5 boys and their dad, family portraits were not high on their list of to-do's. I love having these photos incorporated into our home. It makes me feel like WE are representing.

2. An olive tree. Yes, that's right. Someone gave us an olive tree. Well, they adopted one for us. It's a company called Nudo. Here's what their website says about the program:

Once you've chosen and adopted a tree, the first thing you'll receive is an adoption certificate, to make you official, and your tree information booklet. Then over the course of the year you'll receive two more packages, one in the spring and one in the autumn, containing all the produce from your tree.

We say your tree but we actually collect your tree’s harvest with about 50 of its neighbours – to give us enough olives to press in one go. Think of it as being about the society rather than the individual.

Like other types of farming olive growing is becoming more and more mechanised. This is leading to soil erosion and blander, mass produced oil. We make olive oil with special care, and it’s a team effort. Your involvement will help to support small scale, artisan farming.

Honestly, it's the gift that keeps giving. We have gotten a shit-ton of olive oil from this gift and it's the most incredible oil I've ever tasted. I served it plain with chunks of a hearty grain bread at our little dinner party a few weeks ago and they guys loved it. Not only does it support small scale farming (which is all all groovy and cool and hip and politically correct, right?) it tastes freakin' fantastic. I highly recommend this gift to anyone. Want to try it on your own? They have all sorts of stuff you can buy right here.

3. The last non-registry gift we got was from my friend Abby (a regular reader and commenter on this blog) who I didn't even invite to the wedding. What's great about Abby is that she knew our budget, guest list restrictions and such and was A-OK with the reality of our situation. She sent us a little recipe card book that she had filled with her favorite recipes. It's filled with things like Baked Cheese Olives, Parmesan Tilapia (notated with *restaurant-like presentation*) and Chicken Pot Pie. My favorite recipe though is the last:

Forever Wedding Cake

Serves: All that 2 need.

Cooking time: A lifetime.

Preheat over to: HOT!


3 lbs flour of love

1 lb buttered youth

3/4 lb good looks

3/4 lb sweet temper

1/2 lb self-forgetfulness

5 c powdered wits

3 T dry humour

1-1/2 t sweet arguments

2 c rippling laughter

dash of common sense

Directions: Put the flour of love, good looks and sweet temper into a well cared for home. Beat the buttered youth until smooth. Mix together self-forgetfulness, powdered wits and dry humour into sweet arguments. Combine the above and gently fold in rippling laughter and common sense. Work together until all is well blended. Bake forever.

I don't know why, but every time I read "Bake forever" it gets me all choked up. It does. I'll be innocently looking for Abby's recipe for Apple Goody or Hamburger Cookies and I'll read the Forever Wedding Cake Recipe and here come the water-works. It makes no sense at all. But I think that these are the best kinds of gifts. Gifts that are a part of your every day life that remind you of your commitment to each other. These thoughtful gifts are the ones that stand out to me, but the other gifts remind me too. Even the blender.

So what was your best off-the-registry-gift? Or, if you're just starting to register, how are you approaching it? Do tell.

P.S. Think I'm going to make those Baked Cheese Olives. I'll let you know how they turn out.....


I Married The Grinch.

The tree is up. There are presents beneath it. My DIY swag (thank you, Dancy for the proper descriptor!) hangs on the front door with little 99 cent snowflakes from Target hanging in the windows. Frosty, Santa and an Angel are out on the front porch too, waiting to greet our friends and family. I've made little yarn ornaments just like the ones Veronica made over at My Hands Made It and they are SO CUTE. Our Christmas cards are out. I'm getting almost daily emails from my mother regarding what she can do and/or bring when they come for Christmas. "I can make that Mexican casserole and freeze it and bring it!" Next week, the baking begins. More peanut butter bacon cookies (of course) and a myriad of other goodies for the family to indulge in. I'm readying the new house to within an inch of it's life and I'm just all twitterpated about it. Throw in  the fact that I'm also DIYing my friend's Save The Date/Holiday cards (more on that to come when they are finito!) and you can color me one busy lady.

And you know what The Candyman is doing? Sulking.

He hates Christmas. He hates the holidays. I don't blame him. The Candyman was only 11 years old when his mom died of cancer. The last time he saw her alive was on Christmas Day. It chokes me up every time I think about it, not just because the event in and of itself was tragic, but because it's a yearly reminder for him, regardless of the date she passed away on (which was 7 days later on New Year's Eve). From a selfish standpoint, it also makes me so sad that my husband can't ever be completely 100% joyous on Christmas. I love Christmas. LOVE IT. I just love the decorations everywhere and Christmas music and baking goodies and giving gifts and wrapping gifts! I love it all. And my husband doesn't.

Gift giving has always been something I take great care and thought with. I think about the person, what they have going on in their lives, what they like, their passions and hobbies. I like giving gifts. Most times I go overboard. I'll give gifts to co-workers (mostly food stuffs I've made) and they squirm because they did not reciprocate. I've learned to drop gifts off in offices when people aren't in them so they don't have to squirm. I don't expect anything in return because it's CHRISTMAS. Christmas is about giving and giving makes me really happy. I mean,  I totally get Oprah and her ability to give a ton of stuff to people around the world. If I had that much money, I'd build some schools and give people cars and such too. When it comes to giving gifts, she's a woman after my own heart.

So last week The Candyman was sitting on the bathroom counter while I took a bath and we were talking about gifts for family. He heaved a huge, annoyed sigh and said, "I hate Christmas." This had happened a few days earlier at Costco too. I had picked up a mag light set and asked if his brother would like it. Again, more annoyed sighs and non-answers so I put the cool mag lights back on the shelf and wandered over to the meatball samples they were handing out as my own private consolation. How did I end up with a man who hates Christmas? It baffles me every year. Well, we struck a deal in the bathroom. No more "I hate Christmas" statements until the 26th in exchange for...well, that's none of your business. :)

And since then, he's been really good about the negative Christmas comments. I went back to Costco and bought those mag lights. I called him from Costco and asked what size hoodie I should buy for his other brother. Between clearly stifled sighs, he told me which size would be best. Last night I asked him if he wanted to go to Belmont, NC, to see the Christmas lights. I'd been once before when my parents lived in Charlotte and it was amazing. Seriously, it's like this whole tiny little town goes ape-shit with the lights and it really is beautiful. I heard once that the town pays the electric bills for the month of December so everyone can go nuts with the lights. Not sure how true that is, but it's really a pretty sight to see. So I asked him if he wanted to go and there was a moment or two of silence and a tight-jawed response of "Sure, honey. I'd love to go."

*Sigh* So maybe not the Christmas lights. No need to push him further than is really necessary, right?

But what I decided after our bathroom negotiations was that I will proceed as usual with my love of Christmas. I will give gifts to his brothers and his dad even though they don't "do" Christmas. I will send his family Christmas cards. I will. 

I know my husband hates it. My hope is that slowly, year after year, I will create a Christmas for him that is filled with joy instead of memories of sorrow.  Of course, I don't want him to forget his mom. I just want his memories to be happy ones and not sad ones. I can't do that for The Candyman. I can't change how he feels on Christmas, as much as I want to. But what I can do is create the atmosphere of Christmas every year. I can fill the house with yummy smells and treats and warmth and love and family and all the little things that make him (and me) happy. I won't stop loving Christmas just because The Candyman is a more like The Grinch than a law-abiding citizen of Whoville.

I know that when my parents get here, my little 5'2" mom will give my 6'6" husband a big ol' hug and his heart will melt a little. I saw it happen last Christmas. I swear I heard the *plink* of an icicle drop from his heart. Maybe this year another one will fall. Maybe when we're old and gray he'll soften towards Christmas. Maybe not. But in the spirit of giving at Christmas, I will continue to give him my love of the holiday. Whether he likes it or not. :)



Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

This last week there has been a strange influx of really creepy, sorta negative vibes in my world that have me thinking WAY too much. The Candyman and I watched a couple of shows and films this week that were all about couples cheating on each other, divorces and just bad-relationship joo-joo. And I realize now that I don't want to watch those kinds of movies.

I mean, I've ALWAYS had issues with movies about the fidelity-challenged. I remember feeling way uncool in the 90's because I refused to watch that indie-ish flick Henry and June.  I mean, I can't even read Anis Nin books because of her infidelity with Henry Miller and his wife June. I'm certainly not going to watch a whole movie about it. Sheesh. 

And I was never so mad at Bill Clinton than when he cheated on his wife. John Edwards? What a mutherfucker. And now she's dead. Although Sarah over at My San Francisco Budget Wedding wrote a fabulous post about that whole deal here.

And a good friend of mine is struggling in her marriage. Infidelity on both sides.Absolutely none  of it is good. At all. And I went to this product house party thing this week where there were a bunch of girls, all 5+ years younger than me. Two were divorced. And still bitter. And still talking about it. Bitterly. And I don't know these ladies, so I'm screaming in my head, "I'M A NEWLYWED! I'M A NEWLYWED! SHUT THE FUCK UP! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR BITTER BULLSHIT!" Instead, I smiled politely and headed back towards the brie and crackers. And poured myself another drink.

One of my greatest fears in past relationships was infidelity. There always seemed to be some "ex" all up in my business, when all I was trying to do was get to know the guy I was dating. Whenver an "ex" reared an ugly head, I'd slowly start backing towards the exit sign, bolting as soon as I could get myself free of the situation. I like TWO people in a relationship, not three.

And then there's the "other woman" syndrome. Happily, I NEVER played that role. Although I DID secretly date someone in high school because we belonged to different and opposing cliques (it was all so very Pretty in Pink, only without the financial boundaries. It was the Jocks [him] and the Punks [me]. Oh, how the tongues were wagging at school when we finally outed ourselves at the mall on a Saturday night!). But even that was unnerving. I was the one that wanted to take it out into the open because I couldn't handle the secrecy and lying anymore.

And it's weird about the whole lying thing. I mean, I have no cause to lie to The Candyman about anything. I don't want to. I had to lie my pants off when I was planning his birthday kidnapping to Atlanta. That sucked. The other day, The Candyman told me something he'd been keeping as a "secret" since my birthday. It was so not a big deal, but he danced around the kitchen after he told me and was all, "Oooh, oooh! Finally! I don't have to keep that secret anymore! It's all out there!" He was actually giddy about it.

That made me feel really good, that such a little thing was to him, a big thing.

So even though all these people and movies have got me all twitchy, it really is a good eye-opener and a great excuse for a relationship check-in.

Love? Check.

Passion? Check.

Listening? Check.

Actively listening? Um...Check.

Quality time? Check.

What's going on with the hubs? Where's his head at? How's he feeling? Is he happy? Does he know I love him? Are we practicing good relationship habits or am I slackin' off because I'm a) cranky about Time Warner Cable sucking so hard or b) my right boob being painfully larger than my left on this ovulation cycle or c) realizing that I am really rusty behind the sewing machine right now?

So when The Candyman snaps at me or I pull out my "tone" we generally recognize it as a sign to check in with each other. You have to because no one wants a one-way ticket to Divorce Town. Right?

So The Candyman and I  have our triggers that tell us it's time to for a Relationship Check-Up. Do you? Do tell.


Say Good-Bye to Dawn



Not as in the morning time, but as in our therapist.

Yes, that's right. The Candyman and I still go to pre-marital counseling. And we're quickly approaching our one year anniversay! It just sounds weird to say we're in marital counseling. Maybe newlywed counseling is better. Do they have an official name for that in psycho-therapy-land? They should.

The Candyman and I have been in counseling for about 2 years now. We both swear it's the best thing we ever did for ourselves. We started going before we were even engaged, when we began talking about getting married.  And I kinda made The Candyman go. I mean, he was game, but not like in a, "Hell yeah, honey! Let's get on that!" kind of way but more like, "OK, I'll go. But you have to let me get a cheese burger afterwards."

And that, ladies, is what we call compromise in our little household.  I bargain with cheese burgers. And enormous smoothies from the drive-thru Smoothie King.

But our escapades into therapy weren't easy. Or fun. We went to the wrong therapist our first time out of the gate. She pretty much sucked ass. She had a home office and it smelled like cat piss. And she was a bitch. She really was. She met with us both and then requested to see me alone the next week. So I went alone and she basically told me not to marry The Candyman "anytime soon." And I was all, "Bitch that's my MAN you're talking shit about right there."

OK, I totally didn't say that. I totally SHOULD have said that. I mean, no therapist should ever tell someone what to do like that. Therapy is all about the recipient of therapy making their own, educated decisions.  And this bitch said this to me after talking to us for exactly 60 minutes - once. BITCH. It still pisses me off.

But what was great about the bitch was that we were able to dump her sorry ass and find Dawn. Dawn is the shiznizzle of therapists. She gave us the opportunity and the tools to look at ourselves individually and as a couple and evaluate how we communicated with each other.

Our initial problem was that we didn't know how to fight. Or talk about money. In terms of fighting, let's just put it this way:

  • I come from an upper-middle class, white, Southern, Episcopalian family. We don't fight. Well, at least not out loud. We talk about each other behind backs. We stew. We hold grudges. We never raise our voices, especially not in public. God forbid. Appearances at all costs. 
  • The Candyman comes from the trailer park, has 4 brothers and a mom who passed away much too young. They fight. Out loud. You know, whenever and wherever. And then everything goes back to normal.

Basically, we were at opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to fighting. He was too over the top and I was too passive aggressive. My way of fighting pushed his buttons something awful and his way of fighting knocked me over my own precipitous edge. At first, we'd rehash the fights in therapy, assigning blame and trying to determine who was right and who was wrong. For me, that was the key. Was I right? If so, then there's nothing further talk about now is there? Of course not. Your fault, not mine. You fix it. Move on.

Well, as most thinking people already know, that really isn't the way to resolve issues now is it? No, it's not. At some point, The Candyman and I decided that enough was enough. We sat down with Dawn and told her that we were not going to use therapy to fight our fights over again. What we really wanted to do was to stop fighting. Period. Or more realistically,  fight in a way that wasn't destructive to us as individuals or as a couple. All couples fight, or will eventually. Some are better at it than others. We just happen to suck at it.

Now some of you might be wondering, "Well, if you were fighting so much uh, why did you want to get married?" Great question. Valid question. I think we both knew, deep down, that what we had here was a failure to communicate (10 extra points if you can name that movie quote and Sally, you can't play because I know you know it). We knew we just had to figure some stuff out. And we did. Our therapist gave us the tools once we asked for them - which is a key point to therapy - figuring your shit out for yourself. She coached us through our communication with one another and we learned.  We know which buttons to avoid. We include humor in the process too. There was a time where one of us would trip up and we would start to argue and one of us would shout, "I'M TELLING DAWN!" Generally, that would be enough for us to snap out of whatever bad behaviour we were in the middle of. It's taken time. And practice - lots and lots of practice. And we're getting good at it! A year ago we absolutely 100% could NOT talk about finances without have a complete and total relationship breakdown. We recently sat down together and talked about my impending unemployment doom and how we plan to manage ourselves through that financially.  It was just like we were talking about what Netflix movie we wanted to stream next. It was almost eerie how well it went. Afterwards, The Candyman was all, "Wow. We just talked about finances. That was easy!"

When we first started going, we met with Dawn every other week. After several months of that, we moved to every 3 weeks. For the last 8 months, we've been going once a month. Basically, we go and touch base with her. It's kind of like getting your car washed, or an oil change. If you take care of it, it will last. We consider therapy our relationship maintenance.

So now that we are for sure moving - yup! to Charlotte, North Carolina -we are having to say good-bye to Dawn. We really just want to pack her up and bring her with us. I mean, what are we going to do without Dawn?The funny thing is that when we go see Dawn, we just talk like we're old friends. I put my feet up on the couch and snuggle with The Candyman. We laugh about NASCAR and old Will and Grace episodes. We talk about work and being pissed off. We talk about our most recent challenges and how we worked through them. It's not like we're learning anything new these days, just making sure we're still practicing and getting confirmation that we're doing the right things for a fab relationship and lasting marriage.

It might be OK that we're leaving Dawn, as much as we'll miss her. Maybe we're taking that first step out of the therapy nest to spread our relationship wings. Might be time to take this baby out and really open her up, right? I think we'll have to, at least for a while. I have faith that we will succeed. And if we fall down, I know we both love each other and respect each other enough to take a step back, re-evaluate and perhaps start practicing again.

If you're interested, check out The Candyman's take on therapy. He wrote this about 4 months before we got married!

Thank you for everything, Dawn. You fucking rock.



Playing By Heart

Eleven years ago I went to the movies with my friend, Jamie. Before the movie, we stopped at Webster's Wine Bar and had some pre-dinner snacks and wine and then went to see Playing By Heart.  I really liked the movie. The first line was, "Talking about love is like dancing about architecture." It kinda grabbed me. I liked how all the different story lines came together in the end. The thing is though, I haven't seen that movie since that night and haven't been able to bring myself to watch it again.

Why? That night, as pleasant as it was with Jamie, was the night her brother Joe died. After I dropped Jamie off at home, she found out that her brother was in a plane crash. Not having her own wheels (and family being several hours away), she immediately called my house and left me a message. When I got home, I passed the blinking light and went straight to bed. Since then, I have never NOT listened to my messages as soon as I get home. But oh, I have a hard time thinking about that next morning. Listening to that message - my friend was a combination of confused, distraught, scared. I immediately called her house and her roommate answered. Jamie was not home. There was no indication of where she was. I was frantic. I tried calling all sorts of numbers to find out where my friend was and what the hell was going on. I eventually found her and the bad news was confirmed.

I never knew Joe, but I knew plenty about him. Jamie talked a lot about her older brother when we were roommates in college. She talked about his girlfriend Theresa and how much "in love" they were and how they'd probably get married. I brushed off this kind of talk believing it was nonsense. I was personally so far away from the idea of getting married that I thought people who planned it in college were off their freakin' rockers.

But Jamie was right. Theresa and Joe did get married. And had babies. And then Joe was tragically killed way before his time. How do you plan for that in a marriage? You just can't. I cannot imagine the devastation. I don't want to. I t makes me tear up just thinking about it.

I went to Joe's memorial service to support my friend Jamie. I had never been to a service for a young person before. The people I knew who had died were all old - grandparents who had lived long, fruitful lives. This kind of thing was foreign to me. I didn't know what to do or what to say. I followed Jamie's roommate's lead. I shook hands and hugged people and said I was sorry. The church the memorial service was held in was HUGE. The receiving line stretched outside and around the church. Inside was packed - literally there was standing room only. Several people spoke. There were two that stood out for me. First, one of Jamie's sisters read an excerpt from Joe's journal.  I was shocked at this. I thought to myself, "NO! Don't do that! It's too private! That's not the right thing to do!" I didn't want to listen. I didn't want to hear the private words of someone who no longer had the choice to share them. But you know what? I was wrong.

It was tough to listen to Joe's words through all the sobbing going on, my own as well as those around me. Never had I heard more profound words from someone so young. His writing was almost prophetic. The man wrote like he just knew that his life would not be a long one. He wrote about making the most of his life - about how to love his family and how to love God to the best of his abilities.

It gave me pause about my own journal writing after that day. I stopped writing in my journals for a long time. The reason was because I had felt that my journal writing was no longer good enough. It wasn't meaningful. It was petty and childish. A couple of years later, I did decide to write travel journals. I wrote about my first trips to China - what I ate, what I saw, how I felt about the cultural differences. I wrote again after 9/11 - about how alone and confused I felt. But after a while, even those tapered off.

The other speaker to move me to my core was Joe's dad. He had written a letter to his only son and read it aloud to him and to us. At the very end, in his grief,  he shouted at the top of his lungs, "I LOVE YOU, JOE!" Just remembering and writing this brings me to tears, how his words echoed through the church. I had what Oprah calls an "Ah ha!" moment then. I realized that we all show love differently. I realized how foreign this family and their behaviors were to me. How they showed love to each other was not how my family did. But I knew right then that it didn't mean that my family loved me any less or without the same passion. 

Now, the point of this post is not to be sad about Joe or for his family, believe it or not, but I wanted to share this bit of background. Why? Because recently this family did the most incredible thing. A year after Joe passed, his brother-in-law dedicated an adverture course in Joe's name to the Bashor Children's Home.

Bashor Children's Home is a residential treatment facility offering "Help for Today and Hope for Tomorrow" to abused, neglected and troubled young people since its inception in 1923.

The Pekarek Adventure Challenge course was built in memory of Joseph R. Pekarek by the Thomas family of Elkhart. This gift was in memory of a devoted husband, father, brother and son-in-law and was meant to celebrate Pekarek's dedication to young people and his love for outdoor activity. The PAC course has become an important therapeutic recreation tool for all of the programs at Bashor Children's Home and was designed to be shared with churches, youth groups, schools, businesses and civic organizations.

I received an email from my friend Jamie regarding this adventure course:

I wanted to pass along a recent experience I had with my family. Some of you knew my brother, Joe, others of you just know of him. A year after he passed away his brother-in-law, George, donated and dedicated a challenge course in his name. A few weekends ago my entire family went out to do the course together. It was amazing on many different levels, but as Uyen [the photographer] says, it was absolutely inspirational to see my mom (who just turned 68) climb up and cross a 25 foot high wire. That was such a testament to her love for her son, as well as the fact that she still has the shirt (you'll see in the pictures) that she used to wear to his high school football games. The course, and its purpose, is a true reflection of who Joe was, and it was a reminder, in our sometimes crazy world, to love, connect, and find meaning with one another. For that, I am grateful.

The Pekarek Family had this experience photographed by JoyfulHeart Phototgraphy by Uyen, another family friend who was also touched by Joe's life. You can see more pictures and read about their family experience here on Uyen's blog.

You can also find the slide show of their day here.

There are several points I want to make with this post:

  • Cherish the time you have together with the people in your life whom you love. 
  • Cherish your family and your love for one another. Nurture it. Take care of it.
  • Trust in yourself and your partner to make it through all obstacles, whether they be fun or difficult.
  • Know that people can touch your life in the smallest of ways. Know too, that the things you say and do can touch other people in ways that we really can't comprehend. There is a sense of great responsibility in that. 
  • Consider charities as part of your registry. We chose the American Cancer Society. Give others a chance to be recipients of your wedding joy through donations. There is no better feeling in the world, I promise. 

I am so happy and blessed that Jamie, her family and photographer allowed me to share this experience with you. I think that it's an amazing testament to family, friendship, never-ending love and the meaning of life: to live each day with the best intentions and commitment you can. It's a conscious decision and choice to make every day and can be difficult to do. I know that I try and fail all the time. All I know is that I have to try. How grand would it be if I succeeded more than failed? One day, I hope that is the case.

And it's here where I think this comes full circle. Sixteen months ago I started writing this blog. A journaled journey through my wedding planning. I didn't realize it at the time, but I started writing again. Every day. I bet you're thinking "UM DUH, Louise!" But sometimes you gotta smack me upside the head for the light to go on. This is one big, giant journal of sorts. It feels good to have this blog. Some days I think I write well and write something of value. Other days, not so much. Whether it be about gowns or shoes or love or turtles - I write in hope that maybe someday to someone, I can make a difference too.

I realize that "talking about love is like dancing about architecture" but I'm willing to shake my interpretive booty to a little Frank Lloyd Wright, just in case. Aren't you?


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