Nothing Stays Hidden Forever

veggies

I would be lying if I didn’t say I thought that being married would make my life go uphill a little.

And in so many ways it has.

So many ways!!!

Having another person to loyally live life with besides myself is indeed a wonderful thing. I will forever have someone to trade ideas with, cook meals with, and adventure with. My husband is my biggest ally in all things and constantly reminds me how much he loves me. He challenges me in the best of ways and is continually learning new things he can do to cheer me up.

Marriage is filled with opportunity to refine myself, to become more of the embodiment of Christ, to love selflessly, offer more grace, and confess with eager humility.

I love it. I absolutely love it.

One thing getting married didn’t do, however, was wipe my personal history clean. I was still me.

All and any existing problems regarding health, my spiritual walk, and worries didn’t just automatically disappear when we said “I do”. In fact, some of these prior issues seemed only to accelerate.

As soon as we got back from our honeymoon and we began to live “real life”, it was obvious these struggles needed to be addressed. When my husband saw firsthand how my health problems quickly grew to affect my overall quality of life- how the headaches, nausea, and stomach pain increased to a daily ailment- it was affirmed that steps needed to be taken.

The test results from urgent care came back annoyingly negative. Um, no, nothing is not wrong with me. The worsening symptoms I’ve been experiencing aren’t normal. But they sent me home saying I was fine.

A friend of ours referred me to a doctor who took a serious interest in helping me. After listening to me describe my current health frustrations and medical history, the doctor proceeded to test me for organ inflammation and mineral deficiencies. These tests all screamed positive results. Positive meaning she found the explanation as to why my body was less than behaving, and that there is a way for my body to heal itself and function properly again.

This was hopeful news indeed! Handing me a packet of information, the doctor explained that first my gut needed a help with repairing itself. Along with healing my gut, I need to balance mineral levels, which would then cause less stress on my organs and decrease their inflammation, enabling my body to better process and distribute the nutrients it’s been lacking.

At first I was a bit shocked at the root cause of this illness. I consider myself a consciously healthy eater; anyone who knows me would say the same. I love my veggies- I mean, I’m all about the spinach! However, in this case it’s more than just my current habits that matter, for it was actually the domino effect my entire medical history contained which sent me downhill.  Diet, medications, antibiotics, and living environments had stained my health for the worse. Although they were in the past, the test results quickly brought them out of hiding.

The doctor sent me home with the assurance that she found the key issue and that I will get better. There is a solution.

Two days later I went in again to measure progress. There wasn’t any. I was still experiencing the same frustrating headaches and nausea. Oh, you’ll probably begin to notice a change in at least 3 weeks. So, 3 more weeks of feeling like this?!?

Even though I don’t see any visible evidence of healing, I just need to trust that my body is indeed responding to the treatment.

So, what’s the plan?

Diet-wise, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I now follow the 1/4th rule. I fill 1/4th of my plate with protein, 1/4th with raw vegetables, 1/4th with cooked vegetables, and 1/4th with gf whole grain carbs. Organic everything. And, I get to eat more butter. Butter on my eggs, on my toast, on my spinach. Who knew that butter was good for you? All my life I stayed away from it, but what I wrongly stayed away from was a healthy fat that would offer my body the good type of fat it needs. (We bought a huge chunk of the Amish home-made kind from Pilgrims, my new favorite grocery store.)

Along with every meal, I chew and swallow 10 different whole food supplements. Since I’m at such a low percent across the mineral spectrum, these supplements act to make up for lost time and build my minerals back up again.

Oh my goodness…. The first time I chewed these things I about threw in the towel. Talk about gag reflex!!! Imagine all the foods you wouldn’t dare eat raw ground up into little tablets that you then have to chew and gulp down. Once I got used to taking them, however, their stomach-wrenching flavors didn’t quite set me off as bad, and I was soon able to waste no time in nonchalantly chewing all 10 of them up before eating my food.

Already being gluten free and a fairly healthy eater, the new diet guidelines weren’t too difficult for me to adapt to, well, that is all except for not being allowed to have any caffeine.

Oh man.

That was a punch to the stomach.

Apparently the 1 cup of coffee I have every morning only serves to greater deplete my body of minerals it doesn’t have enough of. This ironically means that instead of boosting my energy it  takes it, exhausting me faster than normal.

In conclusion, here’s a scary fact: I’ve been functioning at less than half of my normal energy level. Whoah. I can’t wait to be myself again!

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Best Day Ever: Part Two

My heart leaped. It was time.

Holding back tears of joy, I linked arms with my dad and watched as my best friends proceeded me down the aisle. I couldn’t help but let out a laugh as both my grandmothers started to enter the chapel. I had appointed them as my flower-girls. Why not? It was so special for me to give them this role in my wedding, and they performed better than any flower girl every would, lightly tossing petals, preparing the way for their beloved granddaughter.

The music changed. It was my turn. I looked up at my dad. Do we go? Ok. We’re going! I love you!

We took our first steps through the draped entrance; the sight almost took my breath away! The chapel was stunning. Candles lit everywhere. Friendly faces encouraging me with every step I took. Wow. Wow. Wow.

Then I looked down the aisle to my groom. There he was!!!! He’s waiting for me!!!!

I don’t think I ever stopped smiling.

For the next hour, it was so evidently obvious to me how much God loves weddings, for it was the most I had ever experienced God’s bold, affirming presence. The love he poured over us was overwhelmingly pure and ever so strong as we sang praises, declaring all glory to the One who wrote this day into existence! What a worship service!

My Grandpa Kenny lead the first scripture reading with a loud clear voice. Jesse’s dad and grandmother read the last two. We couldn’t have picked better readers to stand behind the wooden podium.

Everything I had ever dreamed about as a little girl -and more!- was coming true. My father, the first man I ever loved, acted as the marrying pastor, giving me over to the most wonderful man I will ever meet, whom I will love for the rest of my life.

The message was short but powerful. With some well-thought out, wise words, my dad spoke our lives into a full circle, marking this day as God’s story of faithfulness working in and through us.

Vows of commitment were said (during which I nearly broke down!), and we turned to light the unity candle. The words of Bethel’s song “One Thirst” had been chosen for this intimate act before God, and his glory stirred in our hearts as we moved forward to becoming one in purpose– mind, body, and spirit…

You say to us, “Seek My Face”

Our hearts reply, “Your face we seek”, we seek

Come teach us Lord, reveal Your ways

Anoint us for the greater things, greater things 
We have gathered with one thirst and hunger

Here to drink of Glory and wonder

Here to cry out, “Come and fill this place”

Our single wish, our sole desire
To gaze upon, Your beauty God
We will not rest, nor will we cease
Till with our eyes, Your face we see, we see
We wait for you to come and show

Your glory here today

We wait for You
Hallelujah, come, hallelujah, come.

 

And God indeed filled this place. His spirit continued to hover as our bridal party surrounded us.  Hands extended fro the pews, the maid of honor and best man spoke heartfelt prayers of blessing and protection over our marriage.

As the music faded out and we linked hands, Jesse and I lovingly exchanged winks, we were more than ready for what was to come next. The kiss.

And wow, was it a kiss!!! As soon as he received permission, my groom swept me backwards into his strong arms and planted the purest display of affection and promise for the whole world to see. Our wedding guests roared with approval, with just one mere cautionary word from my dad who joked, “Easy there big guy- she’s got a broken leg!”

Once announced as Mr and Mrs, we danced through the rows of our family and friends as they tossed petals high in the air. At the end of the aisle, we celebrating with a longer, sweeter kiss before exiting the chapel. Bridesmaids and groomsmen leapt our way, swarming us with hoots and hollers and hugs. Tears of joy fell from my eyes as my best friends embraced me in congrats. This was by far the happiest moment of my life… We did it!!!

Jesse and I escaped into the getaway car and we were rushed to the reception. Aside from the miracle of instantly gaining a husband, I suddenly realized my foot hadn’t bothered me at all during the ceremony. It was a prayer answered, another most welcome miracle for this most amazing day. My golden slippers stayed in my feet until the reception, when I made the switch into my aircast boot and dansko clog. Regardless of the footwear, I still felt like the most stylish bride without a worry in the world!

Our grand entrance was one to go down in the books. As is his style, I was again swooped up into my new husbands arms and he twirled me around in the spotlight. Then, before I knew it, we were dancing our first dance!

Leading up to our wedding, I had my doubts that my foot would be healed enough to dance, but here we were, gliding around like nothing was wrong at all! Ironically, the verse started with the lyrics “when your legs don’t work like they used to before…” It was a fitting song for our first dance to launch our marriage with, and we had picked it long before my ankle injury:) God has a sense of humor for sure.

The rest of the night went by way too fast. I wanted this night to last forever! Kicked off with a parader of blessing by my Grandpa Harry, the dinner and cake-cutting quickly led to the toasts. My sister and I had only dreamed of when this day would come, giving the maid of honor toasts at each other’s weddings… So I sat listening, holding back tears and laughter as my sister endeared us with an incredible toast- full of meaning and her loving, creative wit. Her complimentary words honored our relationship as sisters, and I was even more touched as she stamped her sisterly acceptance of my man and our marriage. Of all the people in the world, my big sister’s opinion has always mattered the most.

To mix things up, we played a blood-pumping game where a song was played and every table had to run to the center of the dance floor to pose for a picture with the bride and groom, before the song ended… It was a great way to mass-greet our wedding guests as well as have photos to remember who came:)  In retrospect, it’s crazy to think of all the people who were at our wedding, yet I barely got to talk with even half of them!

Rascal Flatt’s “My Wish” started to play, signaling time for the Father-Daughter dance. Whenever I have attended a wedding, this was when my eyes would swell the most. Thus said, the very minute my dad took my into his arms, the waterworks began– right on cue! Being pulled into my fathers embrace never ceases to usher a sense of peace, safety, and knowledge that I am unconditionally loved. Here is the man I have leaned on as he has led my family all my life. This dance graced me with a moment to treasure everything my dad has meant to me, our relationship ordained by God, and everything we’ve experienced together up until now, my long-anticipated wedding day. With a special squeeze of strength and encouragement from my dad as we ended the dance, I received a refreshing breath of confidence as well as excitement for the new family Jesse and I start together.

Quickly wiping away the lingering tears, my smile plastered itself even bolder as I watched all our friends and family rush the dance floor to show off their moves, expressing their shared delight of our matrimony through every single bone in their bodies!

At 10:40pm, Jesse brought me my getaway bag- it was time. I shut myself into the coat room with my sister as she helped me change out of my Cinderella gown and into my departing costume. I started to freak- out just a little, but she gave me her big-sis, ever-assuring smile and told me to go have fun. The adrenaline pushed in and I peaked out the door to find hundreds of small lights beckoning our grand exit.

Grabbing my new husband’s hand, we waltzed triumphantly through a tunnel of sparklers, extending handed and hugs and words of thanks. At the car (which on a side note had been hilariously crammed with balloons and goodies), I turned around and shouted what every ounce of my being had been screaming to say: “BEST DAY EVER!!!!”

For it truly had been and will forever be, the best day of my entire life.

Best Day Ever: Part One

It was finally here. My wedding day!

Did I sleep last night? No. Not really. After a late night of last minute packing, my head hit the pillow with thoughts of what the next day would bring. My sister lay next to me; we squeezed hands and treasured our last sleepover as single sisters. Then, before I knew it, morning was here!!!!

November 2nd, 2014!

I jumped out of bed and got ready for the biggest day of my life. The house was full of all my favorite people, ready to support and celebrate with me. We put on our “day-of” attire, v-neck wedding shirts with fall plaids, and drove to kick-off the day with a delicious OPH breakfast. What a feast it was! We all crammed around the tables -the entire bridal party, visiting family and friends- stylin with our tshirts and smiles:) When we’d all had our fill, I hugged my groom goodbye, and we hurried off to begin the bridal beautification process!

I rode over in the van with my mom and grandma. Yes, we had to turn around to retrieve mom’s forgotten clipboard, and then my dad had to bring the forgotten veil, but in the end, it all worked out fine. To add to the drama of the day, my purity ring I’d worn since I was 18 had ironically fallen off the night before. It must have slipped off due to the cold! Although no longer needed, that too was thankfully found.

My girlfriends beat me to my grandma’s house (where we were all getting ready), so I was greeted by them with Caribou coffee in one hand and my first mimosa in the other. Let the fun begin!

I sat on a cushioned foot stool in the beautifully lit, tall-windowed bathroom. It was fit for a queen, or in my case, a bride! We wasted no time. The laptop with our wedding morning playlist was put into the empty bathtub. Curlers got plugged into every outlet. The hairspray came out, and the bobby pins went in!

Nothing could have prepared me for the joy I felt every second of every minute of every hour throughout the entire day! Truly, spending the morning getting ready with my closest girlfriends, sister, mother, and both my grandmothers was one of the sweetest memories I will cherish forever.

The photographer came just as the final touches of makeup were being finished (click here to see all our favorite wedding photos!) She gathered us into the master bedroom and we posed for pictures, at ease, happily laughing. Then, as I started to step into the dress of my dreams, it hit me that I wasn’t just putting it on for a fitting, but I was putting it on to actually wear for REAL. I giggled with glee, hardly believing it was really happening!

My mom felt it too. Once I was snug in my dress, we looked at each other and exchanged knowing mom-to-daughter smiles: this was going to be an absolutely amazing, most wonderfully magical day.

Now, for the wedding shoes. Even with a broken ankle, I was determined to wear my wedding shoes on my wedding day. I had searched high and low until I had found the perfect pair of gold, pointy flats. Gently removing my foot from my aircast, I instead wrapped my ankle with an ace bandage and an old basketball brace. Feeling secure, I guided my foot into the long-awaited gold slipper and held my breath as I buckled the strap — whew! It fit! My sister and I laughed at how it wasn’t at all what I had imagined to be hiding underneath my gown, but it worked!!!

Arm-in-arm with my mom, she walked me down the first aisle of the day, through my grandparents’ corridor into the study where my dad was patiently waiting for his first look of the bride. With his grinning approval, I did a little spin. Looking more beautiful than ever, my dad sent his daughter off to meet her groom.

Although the drive was only 15 minutes, I felt like it took forever to get there. The whole way I kept saying outloud- “What do I do when I see him? What am I supposed to do?! I’m way too excited!!” And I really had to go to the bathroom!

My nerves only heightened as I stood stationed on the backyard patio, waiting for a glimpse of  my husband-to-be. I couldn’t breathe. Finally, the door opened and a handsome man emerged. He looked so dashing in his tux! I can’t believe I get to marry this man!!!! Not knowing if we were allowed to kiss before the “I Do’s”, we embraced and looked the other over. Wow. There were really no words to justly describe the emotions rolling in that moment. We laughed. I teared up a little. The joy could not be contained.

Jesse and I exchanged gifts. He knows how much I like big coffee mugs, so he had designed one for me with our picture on it and wrote some sweet words. I knew he had needed a new “adventure” watch, so he unwrapped a durable G-Shock he could finally replace his old one with. Jesse prayed a blessing over our day, and we hopped into the golf cart to drive us to our photo shoot bridge.

Pictures were a blast. And when the photographer told us to kiss, we didn’t hesitate.

Our bridal party joined us outside. Can I just say how fun these people are? I cannot imagine a better group of friends to celebrate our day with. Everyone had the best attitudes, and even though there were spouts of chilly winds that gave us all goose-bumps, not one person complained. Instead, they filled the air with laughter and congrats.

We drove to the church for family pictures. Everyone gathered as the sun was lowering on the horizon, which made for the most beautiful backdrop of rolling prairie. Jesse and I snuck away for sunset pictures, and he swept me off my feet for captured memories of a lifetime.

The day was already the best day, and this was just the beginning! We still had the ceremony, the reception, and the send-off!!!

Parting ways for the last time, Jesse and I rejoined our perspective groups before the procession. Sitting in a circle, we both had a private time of prayer with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. I specifically remember one of my friends praying for my ankle, that I would be able to gracefully walk down the aisle and that I would be free of all pain for the next hour. We said amen and the wedding coordinator motioned for us to line-up…