When Weddings Go Wrong

I will admit to being one of those girls that grew up daydreaming about my future wedding. My planned color scheme and floral arrangements changed over the years, but dreaming about my “special day” was always exciting. Stereotypically girly, I know.

But getting married isn’t just a wedding, it’s a marriage. This seems counterintuitive. Of course a couple gets “married” to start a “marriage.” But think about that for a second. What is a marriage? It’s making two separate lives one. It’s making a commitment to another person for the rest of one’s life.

Hold up, Skippy! That’s heavy stuff.

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But, in all seriousness, during the thrill of a relationship and the prospect of getting married, we don’t always think of a wedding as the beginning of a marriage. We think of it as a party that is supposedly “the best day of our lives.” Which, yes. Weddings are important and memorable. They kick off what, God willing, should be a lifetime of sacrificial love and willing commitment. But weddings have become so commercialized in culture that the true purpose of getting married is clouded over by floral arrangements, registries and whatever sort of centerpiece you can make out of a Mason jar.

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And, don’t get me wrong, all that stuff is good. But I encourage every girl who’s pushing for their man to pop the question to stop and think about this for a minute. Do you really want a marriage, or do you really want a wedding?

I’ve been dating my (awesome) boyfriend, Cameron, for over three years, and we started talking marriage pretty early on. But it took me a long time, and a lot of weddings, to realize that what I wanted was a wedding. I found that after talking about marriage for 2.5 years, I had put my future wedding on a pedestal. It had become my idol. And because of this skewed view, I was ready to rush into something I wasn’t yet mature enough to handle.

Then I backpedaled. I no longer wanted a wedding, I wanted to elope and make a statement about how meaningless weddings had become. The hipster in me thought weddings were too mainstream, and that true love should be more than the Pinterest-y, commercialized events society has made them.

But then I realized that was no better than idolizing my wedding. Either way, I was giving the day itself more weight than it deserves. Because I should be focusing on the marriage. You know, the part of the deal that will last a whole lot longer and be a whole lot more meaningful and challenging.

I also came to the realization that focusing less on idols requires more focus on God.

“He must become greater; I must become less.” – John 3:30

By making God a greater priority in our lives, the relationship between Cameron and I has thrived in a way it never did (and never could have) when a future wedding was our goal.

Now, I don’t mean our relationship was completely superficial before this epiphany. I also want to clarify that our relationship wasn’t magically transformed into perfect sunshine, unicorns and 24/7 rainbows.

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I just want to underscore the fact that we’ve grown in maturity by working through some of these things in Christ and as a couple.

And I would encourage any couple who is talking seriously about marriage to do the same. Take a step back, seek the advice of married couples, pore over scripture (together and individually) and pray. Ask God to help you search your heart for signs of idolatry. Ask Him to take the place of the idols in your life.

Don’t get me wrong, I still fantasize about my future wedding. Because, admittedly, it’s fun. But my main focus is no longer a countdown to when we could feasibly get hitched. It’s about growing in my relationship with Christ first, and letting that spill over into my relationship with Cameron as a result.

And the coolest part is that we get to do that together. We both have the same goal. Which is really exciting – more exciting than a wedding will be. Because growing together in Christ will always be central to our relationship and – one day – our marriage.

And eventually we will get married. But it will be in God’s timing. Which is not rushed or premature, because it’s perfect.

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This Thing Called “Adulthood”

There have been some crazy changes in my life lately. So many changes, that I haven’t been able to wrap my mind around it.

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Since last Thurs I…

  • Turned 21 — suddenly I can buy a drink at a restaurant, and I feel pretty cool about it.

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  • Officially graduated college — My last class ended Friday, and I have written my last term paper EVER.
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  • Packed up all my belongings — And let me tell you, I own a ton of crap.

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  • Moved back home with my parents — Which is probably good because, you know, actually eating is nice.

Tumblr_ll062aF3151qfy2kdo1_r1_500(bonus weirdness: my parents are selling the house I grew up in…)

  • And started a grown up advertising job at Carmichael Lynch — Ok… it’s an internship. But I commute on the train, have my own desk AND extension (ooooh ahhhh), and I bill clients for my hours.

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It’s been a crazy ride. I mean, a week ago I was still a college kid going to class and living off Ramen. And now that chapter of my life is finished… I’m basically starting my whole life over.

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But it’s alright because I’m loving every minute of it. I’m in my favorite city, surrounded by people I love, doing my dream job!

It’s been so cool to be part the atmosphere at Carmichael Lynch. Everyone genuinely enjoys the work they are doing, and it’s completely contagious. I think it has something to do with feeling like part of something big. I know I feel that way, and I just finished my first week.

I mean, have you seen this ad? My co-workers made this happen!

(Also. If you haven’t seen the new Jack Link’s commercials yet, you should. I think they’re hilarious: http://carmichaellynch.com/)

Seriously, though. I’m so thankful to be learning from an agency full of such fun and talented people. I am so excited for what the rest of the summer holds… Even though I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do when this is over…

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My Journey in an Aeroplane Over the Sea

Two seemingly unrelated, yet very important things happened to me this summer:

  1. I rediscovered Neutral Milk Hotel’s song In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and subsequently fell in love with their album of the same name.
  2.  I was struck with an indescribable sense of wanderlust. I’ve always dreamed of traveling, but this was something different — an ache to see the world.

It was June, and my friend Alaina had recently found out she had been accepted into a study-abroad program in England for fall semester. I was excited for her but couldn’t help but feel just a tiny bit  jealous (ok, more like REALLY jealous)…

She must have noticed, because she invited me to meet up with her and our friends Iza and Silja in Copenhagen after fall semester ended. They were planning on staying with Silja’s family in Denmark while site-seeing in the area. This was an opportunity I would have been insane to pass up.

So I worked three jobs all summer long to save up for the trip. And let me tell you, I worked my butt off. But I was working toward a goal. All throughout my sometimes 14-hour shifts, the thought of Europe kept me going. That, and the lyrics to In the Aeroplane Over the Sea.

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The album is about Anne Frank. Her life, her diary, her death. Its lyrics are deep and its music haunting. The more I attempt to pick it apart, the more I love its complexity. I won’t bore you by going into great detail  (believe me, I could write pages about it), but I’ll just leave a few of my favorite lines from the album here for you:

“I know they buried her body with others/her sister and mother and 500 families/ and will she remember me 50 years later/ I wished I could save her in some sort of time machine.” — Oh Comely

“The only girl I’ve ever loved/ Was born with roses in her eyes/ But then they buried her alive/ One evening, 1945/ With just her sister at her side/ And only weeks before the guns/ All came and rained on everyone” — Holland 1945

So it was this album and the promise of Europe that kept my spirits up as I worked through the summer and the most difficult semester I’ve had. Looking back, the work I put in made the trip itself that much sweeter. I felt like I had truly earned that plane ticket and the experiences I was having.

And what amazing experiences! Everything about the trip was wonderful. I got to reconnect with friends and visit places I had only seen on the “Travel” boards of Pinterest. We took a canal tour of Copenhagen, visited a 2,000-year-old castle in Malmo, had drinks at an Ice Bar in Amsterdam, and stuffed our faces at a Christmas market in Hamburg. I spent most of the trip marveling at the architecture and trying to snap as many pictures as possible before the group left me behind.

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Nyhavn (New Harbor), Copenhagen where our boat tour began

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Malmohaus, an old war castle we visited in Sweden

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Photo op with a polar bear before heading into a bar made completely out of ice.

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The Christmas market in Hamburg’s town square

We jam-packed all 10 days with traveling and site-seeing. It was a crazy rush. But there were a few moments where I needed to stop, take a deep breath, and let the history of each city wash over me. This happened most often in Amsterdam.

One of the first things Alaina and I did in Amsterdam was visit the Anne Frank house. I walked the rooms where Anne and her family hid for two years. I read the powerful thoughts she recorded in her diary. I saw the pain in her father’s eyes as he shared their story to a camera. It was deep and haunting. And as I stood looking up at the house from the street, a line from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea played over and over in my head.

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“There are lights in the clouds/ Anne’s ghost all around/ Hear her voice as its rolling and ringing through me/ Soft and sweet” 

It was then that my focus shifted away from my own experiences. There have been so many who walked those cobblestone streets before me. I was struck with the reality of World War II. Living in America,we are so far removed from the war’s aftermath that it’s almost just a story to us. All summer the lyrics of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea had been simply words. But seeing the rooms where the Franks hid and feeling the silence they lived in made the war supremely real to me. The sorrow of those lyrics became a real weight. Nazi hatred was made tangible.

So while my trip was one of pleasure and accomplishment, it was also one of enlightenment. I not only have a greater understanding of other cultures, but also of what shapes them. This world is vast and ancient. And the best way to understand it is through travel. Traveling expands our experiences beyond our egocentric tendencies. It removes us from comfort and allows us to share in others’ lives. There is so much to see and learn, and I can’t wait for the next journey that presents itself.

… Sorry, I get a little philosophical when I travel. Hopefully this will lighten the mood.

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Me and uncle Hans Christian Andersen in Copenhagen

I Can’t Do It

The past week and a half? A nightmare of ever-compounding stress. To put it mildly.

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Ok. I’m being a little overdramatic… but honestly, these past weeks were some of the most stressful that I’ve ever had.

This is my senior year, so of course I don’t expect it to be a cakewalk. But you know that scene in Star Wars where the walls are starting to close in and they’re all freaking out in that nasty water?

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Yeah. That was me. Except substitute the walls for the longest to do list on the planet and the nasty water for my unshowered grossness. Because we all know that in college you get to pick two of the following: homework, sleep, or hygiene. If you get enough of all three, you’re not doing it right. (And if you don’t get this Star Wars reference, let’s just pretend like it didn’t happen…)

Despite the stress and frantic running around I did this week, I am so thankful that it happened. This experience taught me an invaluable lesson: I could never do this by myself.

I tend to think I don’t need help from anyone. I am someone who thrives on praise. I  take pride in my accomplishments and independence. I want others to notice ME. But this week took a whopping humble pie and smashed it right in my arrogant face.

I realized how stupid I was being. Accepting help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of maturity.

And I can’t count the number of people that offered me their support in one way or another.

  • My boyfriend and his roommate took time out of their busy schedules to do voiceovers for my radio ad.
  • My friend Michael dropped what he was doing late at night to help me figure out some technical issues I was having.
  • My roommates didn’t badger me about the fact that I forgot I was in the middle of doing laundry a good 4 or 5 times (sorry sorry sorry!)
  • My parents let me cry it out to them on speaker phone (no shame).
  • My friend Becky even gave up her computer for 4 straight hours so I could finish my TV commercial on time (If that’s not love, I don’t know what is).
  • Not to mention the many people who were there for me to vent to. I probably would have exploded if I hadn’t had some way to relieve my stress.

Tonight when I finally crossed the last task off my to do list, I wasn’t thinking: “Hey. Good job, Emily. Have a nice pat on the back.” I was thinking: “Thank God for all the people who helped me get to this point in one piece.”

So this blog post is a thank you to those who have been and will continue to be there for me when I need them. But more than anything, it’s a reminder (to myself and whoever else) that we don’t have to do it alone. In fact, I don’t believe we are supposed to. Humans are built for community, and we should be supportive of each other. I often get so caught up in what I’m doing that I lose sight of that.

Basically what I’m saying is that if you’re having a week where the walls are closing in and your deodorant isn’t cutting it anymore, call me up. I’ll put a clothespin on my nose and be there to lend you an ear or a shoulder or whatever you need.

I feel a song coming on….

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(Is this or is this not one of the most awkward album covers on the planet. Who’s that bro creepin’ in the background?)

Anyway… I hope you have a nice, stress-free week. But if not, you know where to find me.

Bacon. One Girl’s Obsession.

My boyfriend once told me he liked bacon. So, naturally, I had throw him a bacon-themed surprise party for his 21st birthday.

Everything had to be bacon-related. The food, the decorations, the music, the dress code, the conversation, the entertainment… I’m not going to lie, I had a bit of a Ty Pennington moment…

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(just substitute horses with bacon).

Ok, so it may have started off that way, but I reigned it in and the party turned out to be really nice. Mostly due to the fact that there was bacon on bacon on bacon.

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There were roughly 80 pieces all together. In the words of Homer Simpson: “Mmmmm… bacon.”

And don’t you even fret, we put all that bacon to good use. There were BLTs, bacon-wrapped weenies, bacon pancakes, bacon pasta, and just straight up bacon. I even made a bacon cake (that was actually just red velvet and vanilla marble cake with bacon on top).

The decor was extremely sophisticated… Red and white “bacon” streamers and construction paper bacon chains. They were quite the hit.

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To set the bacon ambiance, I even created a Spotify playlist of bacon related songs including:

  • Jim Gaffigan’s Bacon routine
  • Piggies by the Beatles
  • Bacon Is Good For Me by Ringwalla
  • Bacon and Eggs by Beatnik Turtle
  • The Bacon Song by Meekakitty, Jason Munday & Alex
  • Bacon by Weebl Stuff
  • Rub Some Bacon On It by Rhett & Link

All in all, it was a great party. Everyone seemed to enjoy pigging out (*groan). And, being the wonderful (slightly crazy) girlfriend that I am, I presented my boyfriend with this as a gift:

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That’s right. A bacon board game. It’s basically CandyLand, but with meat.  But hey, you know what they say:

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The only bad part of the game was landing on “Vegan Alley” and having to go back to start. But I ended up winning both times we played, so I guess I’m a regular bacon champ.

Speaking of bacon champs… Can we just take a moment of silence to honor whoever made this portrait of Kevin Bacon out of bacon?

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For the record, Googling “bacon” produces some weird results. People go insane for their bacon. Can’t say I can relate 😉

Awkward Encounters with Emily

Here’s the story of an awkward runner
Who was strutting her stuff around the gym
She was on her second mile and really working
And then she face planted

Here’s the story of a handsome athlete
Who was doing cardio on the same track
He watched the runner eat it and went to help her
She got embarrassed and ran

Til the one day when the dude went to Wells Fargo
Where that awkward, clumsy runner held a job
There was silence and suppressed laughter
She had to call her boss

True story.

“Summer’s passed. It’s too late to cut the grass.”

So, fall is officially here. And for a girl who grew up in Minneapolis, that means breaking out the Replacements albums. Music is very seasonal for me. It paints a picture in my head that I relate to specific times of year.

Fall means turning up my collar against the cold wind while Paul Westerberg’s words hang in the air. The depression in his voice gives me goosebumps, and I have to pull my jacket a bit tighter.

Ok. So this is sounding sort of emo. But, there is something so real and raw about the Replacements that has always been completely fascinating to me. I can’t pinpoint what it is exactly.

A lot of it has to do with Paul’s lyricism. Paul can say in two minutes what others would take pages to say. I’m not exaggerating. Look up the lyrics to “Nobody” or “Skyway.” You get a guy’s whole life story before you know what hit you. It’s brilliant.

The Replacements also experimented in tons of different genres. They started off as a crazy punk band, so they definitely had a “screw-the-establishment” phase. But as they matured, they turned their amps down and tried more alternative and jazz-centered styles. “Achin’ to Be” even has a little country twang (which I usually hate, but Paul rocks it).

They’re just really relatable. They were just a group of losers that were so ok with themselves that it passed as cool. They laid it all out there and didn’t care at all what the world had to say. When I think of the Replacements, I think of a band of misfits that formed a sort of dysfunctional family. And after listening to them for a while, you sort of get adopted in. Dysfunction and all.

So when someone asks me who my favorite band is, I can’t not say the Replacements. And if you made it this far in my blog/like alternative music you should definitely check them out. I have a playlist of my all time favorites on Spotify. Look me up and check it out! And send me your favorite fall playlists. I’d love to know what you listen to this time of year!

In the meantime here are some favorites:
Can’t Hardly Wait
Skyway
Nightclub Jitters

 

This scary thing called… adulthood

So this whole senior year thing. It’s exciting. But to shoot straight, I’m a little more than terrified. This is my last year as an advertising major at Winona State before I have to get my life together and become an… *gulp* adult. Pretty freaky. I have to get a real job and a real apartment and make real contacts with real professionals… andohmygoshIdon’tthinkIcandothis! Excuse me for a minute while I paper-bag it in this corner.

I tease. Although there’s a bit of hyperventilating going down, there’s also a big part of me that’s excited. I’m a little kid in a candy store. There are so many different flavors out there, and being forced to choose just one is overwhelming! I mean, there’s chocolate AND cookies n creme AND eleven million flavors of taffy! Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-charlie-and-the-chocolate-factory-31958516-2100-1402

My stomach and I just want to make sure we’re making the best possible choice!

So now that I’ve successfully made you drool (it’s Niagara falls up in here), I’m just gonna get straight to the point….. (I’m gonna be incredibly cliche here, but stay with me).

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(Don’t groan, it goes with the candy theme). Although painfully cliche, Mr. Gump’s words ring true. As much as you hope your carefully laid plans and bachelor’s degree are going to make your dreams come true, you really just have to uncross your fingers, quit holding your breath, and jump.

So there you have it, folks. That’s what I’m doing here. Taking life as it comes and writing about the things I encounter on the way. So… let’s just go with it.

Oh! By the way. Nice beard you have there, Forrest. Mama would be proud.

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