Monday, September 30, 2013

T'was the Monday Before...



The wedding! Its officially wedding week for the Future Mrs. Rasmussen! This is a really special day, because I said YES to traveling for work today. I am a Recruiter and my presence has been requested at a college up in Northern Idaho.

I have been awake since 4:30 AM and already had some terrible airport coffee. Luckily, I am in the Seattle airport now and obviously, there's a Starbucks, and obviously, the line is 6 miles long. So, after I update you all on my fun-filled weekend and travel woes, I will be making my way to the longest.line.ever and will leave much happier and more pleasant than I am now!

My weekend was basically working on our flooring...well, thats a lie because I mostly watched the men work on the floors and ran wedding errands. Our flooring is 99%. My hardworking, most amazing fiancé ever stayed up til midnight finishing them with our other amazing, hardworking friend and he even swept and mopped them up. There needs to be some minor detail work done-touching up the baseboards and cutting a special transition piece, but they're most finished. HOORAY.

Here is a in progress picture. Hopefully when I get home tomorrow afternoon you will get a pretty picture with an actual camera of the finished project. No promises though, ITS WEDDING WEEK! Ronnie's parents arrive today, my bridesmaids arrive Wednesday, and the rest of our friends and family come in Thursday!!!

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I am also filling up my Sponsor spots for October! I am giving the option for all my Sponsors to do a guest post while I am on my honeymoon, and will keep your button up an extra week in November since I will be on my honeymoon. If you're interested, check out my sponsor page and shoot me an e-mail to get the ball rolling!



Friday, September 27, 2013

This Is Marriage: Part 3

Happy Friday, y'all.
My friend Steph is going to share some amazing wisdom with you all about marriage and the importance of pursuing Christ with every breath we take. If I need biblical advice on anything, especially relationship/marriage related, Steph is the first person I go to. She and her husband recently moved from Idaho all the way to North Carolina 3 days after their second daughter was born to be a part of Elevation Church. Even though they're across the country, they are still some of our closest and dearest friends!
 
I hope you enjoy Steph and take her words to heart today!
 


When I was younger I remember reading a quote that said "marriage is finding the one person you want to annoy the rest of your life". And while that is funny, and very true at times, marriage is so much more than just getting on each others nerves. It is a union created by God, and for God, for his glory and pleasure. Much like our marriage to Christ serving a purpose for Gods eternal kingdom, our earthly marriages are meant to serve a purpose in His kingdom as well. Marriage just means that God wants the two of you to do it together. And because marriage serves such a significant and high calling, the enemy wants to get in the way of that.

After being with Jordan for 8 years, and married to him 4 of those (and now parents together), there are so many things that I could talk about. Every day of marriage is a journey and with each passing year, we learn, grow and mature...together.

I want to briefly share about something that I have had to confront and deal with on almost a daily basis in my marriage, and because of sin and the fall of man, it is something so many married women struggle with as well. As time goes on and this world becomes more broken and in desperate need of Jesus, we are often damaged or wounded before we get married. A high percentage of men and women these days experience some form of heartbreak and/or disappointment before they say "I do". Past hurts are real and although some of us attempt to bury them, they try and steal aspects of our future and emotional health, and often times are successful. Thankfully there is freedom in Jesus Christ, with all things considered. A lot of us have walked through our parents divorce from an affair, dated a trash boyfriend who used us for our bodies, faced physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse etc etc. We all have our own story. These things break us, and teach us to put our walls up. When we face trials that are detrimental to our well-being, we naturally create defense mechanisms in order to protect ourselves from future hurt. We want to be sure that people can't and won't hurt us again, even though Christ says we will suffer here on earth. When we enter marriage, we are giving our lives over to another person that has the ability to ruin our lives, to put it bluntly. But LOVE is when we willingly give them that opportunity, but trust and believe that they won't. These walls we tend to put up are hurting us, rather than protecting us, and they create negative behaviors and habits in us. They increasingly trap us to only trust ourselves, and we become convinced that we are the only ones that know how to look out for ourselves. Giving in to this behavior in marriage, creates a lack of intimacy, sexually and emotionally. The reason it keeps us from the deepest intimacy, is because we are not willingly giving all of ourselves over to our husbands. We are keeping from him the parts we want to "protect". As time goes on, we do not even notice that we are walled in, we become so accustomed to it and it habitually becomes the way we manage our relationships. The enemy would love to keep us from this realization, and as long as he can keep us from seeing and acknowledging our unhealthy patterns, the more he is able to get us stuck in keeping our husbands (and also God) at a distance.

It may or may not be our fault in regards to some of the adversity that we have faced prior to marriage. Whether self-inflicted due to our bad decisions or otherwise, we have to take the responsibility upon ourselves to heal from these hurts, for the sake of our marriage and overall emotional, mental and spiritual health. When we give our lives over to Jesus, we are saying "God, we trust YOU with our lives, and we will not try to control our circumstances in order to protect ourselves. You have the control". To call ourselves Christians, but spend time trying to keep ourselves locked away from getting hurt, is just foolish, because the bible promises we will face pain. We either trust in a loving, faithful Savior that protects us and heals us, or we don't. When we continuously look to ourselves for protection, we are idolizing ourselves. It is not possible to fully put our trust in the Lord, but still function as self protectors. The God who lives inside of us, is greater than our past and calls us to rise up, and become new in Him.

We cannot fully live out Gods purpose for our marriage, unless we allow Him to renew us and set us free from the bondage of the past. It was never Gods desire for us to face abuse and pain, but that is why Jesus came; to heal, redeem and deliver. Our relationship with Jesus, and with our husbands, are so much more fulfilling when we let our walls down and love freely, with no baggage lingering in our hearts, constraining our ability to love and be loved.

We are most beautiful to our husbands when we are whole, and when we trust him and are confident in him, and in Christ. Men naturally are fighters and heroic, let them know that they won you, and that they won ALL of you. In marriage, the husband is the head, but he cannot lead to his fullest when we don't trust him. Our husbands become the protectors of us, on behalf of God. Before we get married, let's let Jesus be our first love, and lets let his healing, love and grace wash over our past so that we can fully embrace the beauty of a heart surrendered and a marriage unhindered. When we do that, we can accomplish ALL that he has called us to in our marriages.

 
(The song above has been a huge encouragement in my own personal healing process. Lots of tears shed while listening to it)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

9 Days and Counting

Hi hello! So happy its THURSDAY!



This week has been a long one for me, and Ronnie too. Every day is filled with work, and for me that has meant traveling to career fairs and meetings, and for Ronnie, that means working long hours at the church and Starbucks as well. We've also had late nights of working in our home.

Our floor re-do is in full swing now, the laminate wood flooring has been put down in the entry way and they've started the living room. The goal is to finish by Friday, so my hope is to have the house guest ready by next week.

Speaking of next week...ummmmm...I AM GETTING MARRIED NEXT WEEK. Like...what? When did that happen? Someone mentioned to me how "calm" and "peaceful" I seem for how close to my wedding I am. Its funny, because last week, I wasn't any of those words. I was anxious and emotional and just a hot mess. But I feel such a sense of peace, and I can just see and feel how God is using this time to shape my heart.

I've been praying for peace that surpasses all understanding. I've been praying for protection over mine and Ronnie's relationship over the next week especially as we tackle projects, get our home ready for guests, I travel for work, etc. I've been praying for our marriage, for each person that is coming to our wedding that I know doesn't know Christ, I pray that our wedding is a time they can hear the message of Christ and realize how much they are LOVED.

Can you believe I am getting married next week? GOD IS SO GOOD!


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

In Case You're Wondering...

What I am up to...

A couple weeks ago, my lovely, sweet friend dog Jak got tired of being in his crate
So he broke out of it, and proceeded to wreak some havoc on our floor.



After contemplating our options, we decided to replace our entire floor downstairs.
I've always hated that linoleum, and the carpet in our living room needed replaced
so being the craziest bride-to-be EVER, I talked Ronnie and our friend from church into redoing our floors.

Approximately one week before family arrives for the wedding!
We're putting down laminate wood flooring, which is going to be beautiful when done,
but the work that is required is not easy or quick!
And because we didn't have enough on our plate, Ronnie decided to put in a rock in ground firepit
to enjoy with our family and friends when they're in town next week.

So our lovely home is currently in a state of renovation and as stressed out as it makes me,
especially when I don't have the perfectly cleaned and organized home as I'd prefer,
my mind has been once again blown by the way God uses things that sometimes seem "unimportant" to Him to show us how He loves us.

Our church family has gone completely out of their way to offer to help us in anyway they can.
Last night our friends Colby and Molly came over and ripped up the carpet, pulled tacks and nails, and the guys put down the subfloor.

Today, while I was working, Ronnie's friends Patrick and Tyler came over to help him finish the fire-pit, and pull weeds.

Thursday night, our friends Jay and Kelsi are coming over while Ronnie and Colby do the floor. Jay is going to cook us dinner, and Kelsi is going to help me organize the guest bedrooms so they're ready for company.

There are no words for the gratefulness in my heart at this time. Grateful for our church family, for the selfless people who sacrifice so much to help. Grateful for my hardworking fiancé, who is working 40 hours at one job and another 25 at the church, who then comes home and works hard around the house. (that he doesn't even live in yet!!) Grateful for a God who always goes before us, who never leaves us alone, who takes the darkest moments and brings beauty from them. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

This Is Marriage: Part 2

Hey friends---I'd like to introduce you to my friend Karrissa...

Who am I kidding? If you read my blog at ALL you probably have seen her face or heard her name almost as much as mine. She's one of my besties I met at work, and also my MOH. I absolutely LOVE her, and Ronnie and I also love her husband Krieg! So obviously, I wanted her to weigh in on this 4 week series about marriage. I think you will LOVE what she has to say!

 

Hi, friends! Brittany asked me to share some marriage advice with you, and now that I’ve been married for over a year I’ve pretty much got it all down! (I kid..) I guess to start I should give you a little background. I met my husband Krieg in Spanish class in 2009, my Sophomore year of college. Technically, we went to the same high school and had seen each other in passing, but we didn’t actually know each other. We were partnered together for the final Spanish project and it’s pretty much history from there! We got engaged in 2011 and were married August 3, 2012.
To me, marriage wasn’t a HUGE adjustment. I actually find living with a guy a lot easier and cleaner than living with girls! I didn’t wake up a few weeks into my marriage and think HOLY COW my life is completley different! Krieg and I hadn’t lived together before our marriage but we had spent a lot of time together and we had a good rhythm. However, with a shared space, a shared bank account, and a new marriage on your plate a lot of things do have to change to make it work.
Here are a few things that helped us find a healthy balance and strengthened our marriage:
 
Defining our ‘Roles’. Krieg and I both work full time. Because of this, it was never expected that I ‘manage the household’. We split a lot of things up, I typically do all the laundry and clean bathrooms, while Krieg does a lot of dishes and vacuuming. I manage the money and Krieg manages the lawn. I also don’t cook meals ever 7 nights a week and Krieg gets home from work before I do, so he is usually the one that makes us dinner. It works for us. We found a good balance that we have both agreed on and I find comfort and satisfaction in my marriage when I come home and it’s not expected that I serve a balanced meal and then clean up the dishes while my husband watches football.
Setting Goals for the Future.We created a list of things we want completed before we bring children into the world. Some of those goals include paying off our student loan debt, traveling, and having XX amount of money in savings. Planning for our future has helped us stay on the same page. When we budget, we know how important it is to up or student loan payment, it’s no longer a discussion. Making goals for the future has helped us ease confusion and stay on the page.
Having Alone Time. I love my husband, of course, but that doesn’t mean I want to be with him 24/7! I LOVE to spend time by myself. Whether it’s time spent watching trashy tv, going on a jog, or reading a book I feel recharged when I can just unwind alone. Krieg and I are comfortable enough in our relationship that if I need a few hours to lay in my bed in my pink fluffy robe and watch Real Housewives of OC while eating chips and salsa, he gives me my space. Krieg is also activley invovled in the lacrosse community and spends a lot of time doing his own thing outside of the house. It’s important to have time alone, so you always cherish your time together.
Finding Good Couple Friends.I think couple friends are so important! While it’s great to have your own friends, it’s awesome to have people to go do things with. Brittany and Ronnie have been great couple friends, we even had dinner together this week! Finding other couples with shared interests and beliefs makes for a fun date night where you can both enjoy the company of other people together!
Going to Church Together.Everytime Krieg and I go to church together I feel our marriage strengthen. We attend church where we were married and I find myself reliving that day when I sit in the pews and look up at the stain glass windows. Having a strong, shared belief system is SO important, and it’s nice that we can reaffirm that together each Sunday.
 


 

So, there you have it! Being married is amazing, and I’m lucky to have a husband who is my best friend, my equal partner, and my soulmate. If you are married, I hope you feel the same way about your spouse! If you aren’t married, I hope you keep similar thoughts in mind while dating. Thanks for reading! And come visit me at Karissa & Company!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Checking Things Off The List!

This week, I've been feeling such a sense of peace and calmness, unlike many of the weeks prior. We have all the big stuff done for our wedding: venue, dress, shoes, food, etc. I started the week a little overwhelmed by what was still left on the list though. All those little things that as you get down to the last few days before a wedding, you add to it as much as you cross things off. But I made the decision this week that I would just check off as many things as I could in a day, and rest easy knowing we'd still get married October 5th, whether or not I bought those little tea-light candles for the guest tables.

Yesterday after work, Ronnie met me at Starbucks and we got coffee (Pumpkin Spice Latte for me!) and set out to check a few things off our list.

We accomplished:
1. Getting our marriage license!
2. Picking up my ring. I had to have it resized anyway, so we just had it soldered together with my wedding band. I feel kind of like a fraud wearing my wedding band with two weeks before I'm officially married, but I just couldn't bear to wear that other fake ring one more day. I just love mine too much!

3. Eating too many carbs at Olive Garden (Not on my list, but how do you say no to breadsticks with alfredo dipping sauce? You don't)
4. We ordered Ronnie's wedding ring online (Amazon, because we're classy)
5. And then me, Ronnie, our cat and dog parked ourselves in my favorite room of the house, the Bonus Room and I worked on a wedding craft for a couple of hours while Ronnie searched online for groomsmen gifts. It was serious bliss, right until the point I was frustrated when the twine kept slipping off the wine bottle! HA!


Always so helpful...
My craft in progress.

 
So theres that! Also, please stop by my friend Annie's blog! I am very honoroed to be sharing a little bit about what has been going on in my heart as I prepare for marriage on her blog!

Finally, are you following me on Instagram? If not, that's where I post the most exciting things about my life regularly. Like that fact that my cat has fake nails.






Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wedding Vows

We're 17 days away from our wedding and time is definitely starting to fly by!!

Last night we met with the pastor that is marrying us along with his wife. They have been doing our marriage counseling and he is going to perform our ceremony. Its really special to us to have the pastor we serve under in Youth Ministry marry us because we have relationships with both him and his wife. I love that he knows us both and has been a part of our relationship from day one.

Last night we talked about wedding vows. Ronnie and I are each writing our own vows and are not sharing them until the wedding day. Its important to me that our entire day is very personal, and very much US. I want our ceremony and reception to scream "Brittany and Ronnie!" That is one reason I am very excited to write our own vows. Our pastor talked about the importance of these vows. How they are not just words we say to each other on our wedding day and then forget them, but they are promises we are making to each other for life. Promises that we should revisit frequently, and never forget the love and lofty promises we made on the happiest day of our life.

I have been trying to get a head start on writing mine, and think I finally have a draft written. These are the most important part of our wedding to me. These words carry so much weight, so much hope and promise for our future. When I tell Ronnie I promise to submit to him as the leader of our home and family and then turn around and try to get my way by controlling a situation, I will be able to look back and reflect on the promise I made to him and be challenged to fulfill this promise. When I tell Ronnie I trust him, will follow him and always respect him, I want those words to weigh heavy in my heart and mind and follow through for the rest of my life.

Speaking of our vows, and the importance of them, I really want to display them someway in our home. I have been scouring Pinterest for how I might want to do so. I especially love this design and think I might look into something like this after the wedding, maybe for the master bedroom!




Tuesday, September 17, 2013

When Peace Elludes You


This morning I opened my devotional while I was trying to motivate myself to start the day, and once again sat there not only convicted, but also in awe of our Heavenly Father who knows exactly what I struggle with, what I am afraid of, and what I need to hear. Even when I turn away from Him, and don't sit at His feet like he so longs for me to, when I don't talk to him about what is going on in my heart, he still knows, he still cares, and he still is the one who can give me the power to overcome.

Yesterday I was trapped in the too-familiar cycle of excessive planning, an attempt to control, to make sure everything on October 5th goes smoothly. I was stressed, I was anxious, and frustrated by my mile-long to-do list.

After prayerfully asking God to help me let go of my Type-A tendencies, my fear of forgetting something, of things not going smoothly, I felt a sense of peace that has been absent the past few days. That doesn't mean that everything is done, and that I am 100% ready for the wedding, but I know there is only so much I can do in a day. That the errands and the appointments and meetings aren't meant to cause me so much stress, they are things I get to do in order to prepare for the happiest day of our lives. Little by little, things will get done. We will get married. And then the real fun begins. :)

Friday, September 13, 2013

True Life: This Is Marriage





Happy Friday!

With only weeks left to go before the wedding, I have asked some of my friends to share their hearts on marriage with you. They each are from different stages of life, from being married for three weeks to three years with two babies. 

Each one of their stories and wisdom has touched my heart, and helped me as I prepare my heart for my own marriage in a few weeks.

This week,meet Stacey. She is the new-est wed friend, and one one of my bridesmaids. I've seen her grow so much in the past year, and can't wait to see how God uses this new season to grow and refine her even more. 

Everyone say, Hi Stacey!

3 weeks ago, I got up on a perfect sunny day that was August 17th, drank a mimosa, hung out with my best friends while hired professionals made me a beauty queen for the day, and then I put on a long white dress. I walked down the aisle toward my dream man, took his hands, looked into his gorgeous blue eyes and promised him forever. After dancing and laughing and eating with all the people who love us the most, he whisked me away to a week-long dream vacation in Cancun, Mexico. We laughed, we loved, we lived – we were basically one giant happily ever after.
Then we got home and went grocery shopping together, couldn’t agree on what kind of cheese to buy, slept in separate rooms a couple nights  because of the snoring (I won’t tell you who snores, but it’s not me), tried to make plans for finances…. and I almost called for an annulment. I felt like a failure that first week after the honeymoon was over – what kind of wife am I? I get annoyed for no reason, I struggle with working 8:30-5 and having dinner on the table for my husband, I can’t find time to clean, cook, and work all in the same day, I don’t encourage Jakob because I’m so exhausted and discouraged. 
Then one day, after two weeks of marriage and one week of feeling like the biggest failure in the world, I woke up and found a note:
“I love you so much. You are the most important thing in my life, and I wanna get better at showing that to you. I wanna not fight so much, and treat you better, and forgive more freely. Please forgive me. I’ve been praying for you all morning long. I love you, beautiful.”
That day, something shifted. In me, and maybe in him, too.
At night, he started holding me while he prayed for us, then reading out loud from his bible before I fell asleep. Every night he ends the day like that, and every morning he asks me if I’ve spent time with God.
We fell right back into being the happiest people in the world.
These three weeks have given me a short but sure lesson on marriage. It’s not about me looking pretty, having the house perfect, and rubbing my husband’s feet while he watches football.
It’s about forgiving freely and quickly, keeping each other as the most important thing, praying for each other, and fighting furiously for the love we felt on August 17th. Three weeks isn’t too early to start advancing in the battle that is marriage – because when God brings two people together, the enemy would love nothing more than to tear them apart.
Marriage is the most refining, most beautiful, most sacred union on this earth – I am lucky enough to share that union with a man who loves God and His church more than he loves anything else. Sure, I use Pinterest recipes and decorate our home, and rub his back and sit with him while he watches football – but the thing that binds us together, makes us strong, and keeps us happy is nothing more than those moments we share at the end of the night, surrendering ourselves to God by each other’s sides.
We admit that it’s hard, we struggle with figuring out how to live together better, how to love each other stronger – but admitting it leaves room for growth, and growth produces change, and change is what we need. 
I love marriage.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Meet Ollie

Happy Thursday Friends! Its almost Friday, and thats real exciting.

This week I have been babysitting two girls I have been taking care of for 12 years. They are old enough they don't need a "babysitter" now, but their parents were out of town so I stayed with them until this morning, helped with homework and fed them a few meals :)

I am excited to go back home to my home tonight though, I've missed it, and I've also missed my little furbaby. Thats right, did you know we got a kitten? I don't know how Ronnie talked me into it, but we are cat owners. And I don't even really like cats, but I do like Ollie.

Meet Oliver, aka Ollie. He is wild and crazy and rarely stops moving. But when he does, he's adorable.


 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Alone.

Happy Tuesday, friends!!

Last week I talked about my desire to really dig deep into the word, to soak up wisdom from married couples, to get to know my fiancé more, to draw near to the Lord in these last few weeks of our engagement.

Truth is, I have some very real fears about marriage, about loss, about pain, and have been struggling to fight against the lies the enemy wants me to believe. Sometimes I hear him try to whisper that love doesn't last, that people always leave, that marriage just doesn't work in today's society. But as I press into the Lord, he calms my heart and feeds me with His truth instead of fear. 

The next few weeks, I want to share with you some wisdom from a few of my friends who are married. Three of them are "real life" friends who I love and value and respect with my whole hearts. But one of them is a new friend, a friend I can thank blogging for. Her posts are encouraging, her heart for Jesus shines through her posts, and I know that if I ever was struggling or needed advice for my marriage, she would be a quick e-mail away. And for that, I am thankful.

But today, first, I want to take a look at something else. I want you to hear from another friend of mine via the blogging world, who has a lot to say on the subject of singleness. I have to be honest-being "alone" was a very real struggle for me. It was a fear that was rooted deep in my heart and I think what Annie has to say is important and real and beautiful. Even though I am engaged, about to be married, I want you to know that being single and unmarried was a fear, an insecurity of mine that I struggled to overcome. I want you to know, single gals, that I am not going to forget you once I am a married woman. I am not going to forget the hurt, the loneliness, and oh the way the Lord uses that to work in our hearts and prune us into the women he desires for us to become.

-------------------------------
Alone.

That was the theme for this past Tuesday's for Fat Mum Slim's photo a day meme on Instagram (search #fmsphotoaday).

I was by myself in the house, waking up with the morning, reading 1 Corinthians. I took a sip of my coffee and and read on.


Alone is how the world views single people.

Alone is a disease we often think we have. We are alone, which to us means bereft, lacking, unwanted.

Alone is itself unwanted. No one wants to be alone.


I'm tired of the definition of "single" being "alone." You with me? I'm there. I'm done.

I think the problem with looking at singleness the way we, especially as Christians, so often do, is we don't look at it critically. We don't weigh what it means to be single without including the stigma we assign it. And that's wrong, because to continue including that stigma in our evaluation of what it means to be single, we write Jesus and His sovereign plan straight out of the picture.

To be discontent in singleness is to tell the Lord we have no respect for what He's working in our lives. It is downright disobedience and ungratefulness. We forget: He is the LORD, the I Am. He is above everything we see as binding, and He sees just how it serves to grow us, for our good, but more crucially, for His glory.

I won't say, at least not today, that singleness is a gift, that it's a beautiful season, and all the other cliches we use to convince others that we're content when really our souls rot in yearning to be on the other side of a wedding. Because sometimes, it sucks.

But it doesn't have to.

It can be, instead, the marvelous unfolding of a soul lain open for the glory of a mighty kingdom. It can be, instead, the patient sacrifice of a soul lain down for the use of a King. It can be, instead, the precise catalyst of a soul lain flat by desperation to see His face.

It can be what changes everything, if we are willing to let it be nothing. If we are willing to let it go.

But it isn't easy. Chasing Jesus never is.

And that, the chasing, is exactly where it starts. We hear that so often, chase Jesus. And I'm not a whole lot sure what exactly it's supposed to mean, because it's a little difficult to chase an invisible being whose flesh and blood has been resurrected and raised to heaven. But I think it starts with a whole lot of dialogue. Or even just your own monologue.

When singleness is an overwhelming tidal wave that threatens to hold my lungs captive to uselessness, I tell Him. When singleness is the joy that rings church bells in praise and thankfulness, I tell Him. When I'm pondering it, confused, curious, anguished, I tell Him. He knows what it is to feel forsaken. And yet He turns our perspective to His because He is the only One who knows what it is to be forsaken.

Chasing Jesus isn't just keeping in communication with Him, but acting on that communication as well. Being single means He has gifted us with time, and one of His great joys, I think, is to see us gift that back to Him. Because we have time that those in relationships don't have, we're able to spend a great deal of it serving the body. I think singles are more critical in this aspect than others, not because they're inherently better, but because they have the time required to serve the body well. And people who are deeply committed to serving the family bound to us by communion are a crucial aspect of the church, whether they are married or not.

When He speaks service into me, I want to respond by pouring it gladly out. I don't want to be held in false bondage by cultural chains. He set us free from those at Calvary. Why are we still wearing them?

We forget single is not our identity. We forget alone is not our identity.

We forget Christ is.

We forget He defeated death and slavery on a mountain in an empire enslaved to itself, and we cry out like the Israelites wandering in the desert for relief, when the relief has come and His name is Jesus. And the veil torn in the temple is the veil torn from in front of me; I turn timid eyes up, and I see His face so much more clearly.


---


Annie Wiltse is a twenty-two-year-old who studied English Language and Literature and usually refuses to capitalize. She believes strongly in Jesus, dessert, and Michigan football. She tweets, reads, and travels. She also spends copious hours on the internet exploring the intersection of the ethereal with the mundane on her blog, What She Saw.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Mimosas and Brunch Bridal Shower!

This weekend, my beautiful Matron of Honor Karissa threw me a beautiful bridal shower. I've been looking forward to my shower since we got engaged, and Karissa really outdid herself with this Pinterest shower.

My favorite part was the mimosa bar, and the yummy food, and the adorable pink, burlap, and lace decor, or maybe the 20+ girls that came out to celebrate with me...well, I loved it all.

Here are some pictures from the shower, but you should hop over to Karissa's Blog to see more detail shots of the adorable decorations and her flawless style! She did a wonderful job. I am SO blessed by all the wonderful friends in my life, and was almost in tears after I left because I was so filled with joy after being surrounded by and loved on by so many amazing women.


Two of my beautiful bridesmaids just sippin their mimosas 


My fabulous Matron of Honor, Karissa



My beautiful mother <3 


Alicia was my best friend in high school, and my roommate in college


My sweet friend Rachel


Thankful for this group of lovely women!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

This Season





Yesterday marked 30 days before our wedding. 30 days before I say “I Do” in front of God, our family, and our friends to marrying the man I know without a doubt God hand selected for me. This week I have spent a lot of time finalizing plans with my vendors, and working on the schedule for the days leading up to and the day of the wedding.
Leaving a coffee shop downtown after a meeting with an event coordinator, I felt so anxious about everything falling into place. I wallowed in my nerves, my stress, letting them all feed off one another as my anxiety rose. I’ve realized a couple of things though.
I’ve spent more of this time stressed out over our wedding than I have preparing my heart for marriage. I’ve let myself get worked up and frustrated over things that honestly will not matter on our wedding day. I’ve made myself so anxious over plans going the way I want that I carry that anxiety into the rest of my life: my relationship with Ronnie, my job, my friendships.
The rest of this sweet season is going to be different. My time is going to be spent praying for our marriage, getting to know my sweet fiancé even more, studying God’s word for insight on marriage, and seeking wisdom from other married couples we know and love. I plan to focus my time and thoughts on being intentional about drawing nearer to my fiancé, and nearer to God. I am SO blessed to have found my partner in life, my best friend, and I can't wait to marry him on October 5, 2013.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Meet the Maids: Sarah


Happy Thursday! This week has really gotten away from me and I am NOT sad about it! Currently I am sitting at my favorite coffee shop, about to meet with the Event Coordinator at our church to talk wedding details. This weekend I am looking forward to my bridal shower, hosted by my sweet and fabulous Matron of Honor, Karissa. 

Today though I want to introduce you to my final bridesmaid, Sarah! Sarah recently married her hubby Matt and I traveled to Iowa to be a part of her special day and had such a wonderful time. I can't express how happy I am to have her stand up beside me on my special day, and am so looking forward to spending some more time with her. Her friendship is so important to me and when I think of a true, loyal friend I can't help but think about Sarah.




How did you meet the bride? I met the bride in 4th grade at Frontier Elementary School. I had moved to Idaho from Tennessee and was “the new girl” with a funny southern accent. Brittany wasn’t the least bit shy and did not hesitate to tell me the boys liked me because I was blonde and pretty. We hit it off right away! It wasn’t long after that we spent every weekend together and every day of our summers together!



Sarah getting her miles in 2011
What is your favorite memory with her? I am not sure where to even start with all of the memories we have shared! Should I go with summers at Roaring Springs Water Park, slumber parties all weekend long, calling boys on the phone and getting in trouble at school, playing Barbie’s in secret, cold winter weekends at the mall spending every dime we had, telling boys we were older than we really were, Brittany visiting me in Nashville and Puerto Rico, running 100 miles a month in 2011 even though we were 1500 miles apart, or Brittany coming to Iowa to be a personal attendant in my wedding? I would have to say I loved when we recorded the message on our answering machine the summer of 8th grade. Brittany was visiting my family and I in Nashville for a week when her mom was in Hawaii. There was a 5 hour time difference and we did not have cell phones those days! Brittany, my sister Katie, and I were so busy doing fun things every day that we kept missing the phone calls her mom (Paula) made to check on her! At the time “Austin” sung by my favorite Blake Shelton had just become popular on the radio. In the song the guy records on his answering machine what he is doing and where he is at and at the end of the recording it says, “And PS if this is Austin I still love you.” We decided to copy the song and record our on message on the answering machine for her. The three of us changed the words of the chorus around of the activities we were doing and said “And PS if this is PAULA we still love you” This song is still one of my favorites and I think of my bestie Brittany every time I hear it! I played it at my wedding for her and my sister Katie! We all remember every word forever!

What are you most looking forward to while planning and being in her wedding? First off, I am excited to actually get to Idaho! I am sad I can’t be around earlier to help with other things! But she knows I am always a phone call away. After all- I just got married a month ago and the planning is still fresh in my head. I am most looking forward to meeting Ronnie. He sounds like a great guy and I know how picky she can be and how she requires perfection. From everything I have heard-he sounds like her soul mate.



  Have you witnessed any “bridezilla” moments from the Bride yet? Brittany is on a strict time schedule! I planned my wedding in a year and 4 months and she is doing everything I did in just 4 months! I know it is going to get stressful. When she first got engaged she was coming to my wedding in Iowa a few days later. Every spare second she had off from helping at my wedding, she was working on hers! She had some stressful moments and decisions and I am sure she has a lot more ahead of her in the next few months! BUT a funny bridezilla moment I read on Facebook, was when she interrupted her brother’s family dinner to have little Nora try on the flower girl dress!

Brittany Cooper June 23 near Boise, ID
Had a mini-panic attack when I received Nora's flower girl dress in the mail today. To my eye, it looked like a baby sized dress, not a 4 year old girls dress. In true Bridezilla fashion, I drove straight to my brothers house and interrupted dinner to have Nora try it on, and it fit like a gem. Oops Drama queen? Not me! PS: My flower girl is real adorable in her dress. — with Vivian Allman.



Tell her readers one piece of marriage or relationship advice: When I got married my grandma kept telling me to “Put Matt first” and “Matt put Sarah first.” When you first enter a relationship you are very much independent and have your own interests. When you get together though, you must consider each other feelings and interests. It is so easy to be selfish and keep doing the things you have always done. You might want you both to hang out with YOUR friends or YOUR family or do the things that interest you. Your spouse comes before ANYTHING or ANYONE else. They come before friends, family, kids, your hobbies and interests. Don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of the most important relationship you have.
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There you  have it! I just love this girl to the moon and back and can't wait to see her in a few short weeks. Honestly, I have been blessed by some AMAZING girlfriends. Some here in Idaho, and some all across the United States that are just as important and dear to me. It wasn't easy only picking four bridesmaids, but these girls are girls I couldn't imagine saying I Do without them by my side. 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Burlap Wreath Tutorial


My favorite kinds of DIY projects are easy ones. This Burlap Wreath was easy for me, which means that if I could successfully complete it, so can you!

What you will need:

A metal wreath ring 
About 10-12 yards of burlap
Any embellishments you want (silk flowers, initials, etc)
Spray paint if you wish to paint the initial like I did
Floral Wire
Hot Glue Gun

I purchased all of my supplies at Hobby Lobby, and used coupons/discounts. Like my friend Karissa says, Hobby Lobby is a store you should never shop at without a coupon.

The steps are easy, and quick!


1. Use floral wire to tie the burlap to a spot on the wreath. It doesn't matter where, just thread the wire in the burlap and twist-tie it to the metal wring.
2. Starting from the inner most ring, form a loop, then go to the middle ring, form another loop, then finally, the outer ring, form another loop. You are basically just weaving the burlap in and out of the rings, all the way around.
3. I recommend to keep pushing the loops together to create a full look.
4. Once you are done, going all the way around the wire rim, you can secure your last piece using the floral wire.
5. Add your embellishments using hot glue.

If you are using an initial and painting it, I spray painted mine and let it dry overnight, then secured it using hot glue. Easy peasy. (Side note: I actually sprayed half of our outdoor table red as well, so probably put some more newspaper down than I did first)

If you're not up for the craft project, let me make one for you! Check out my new Etsy Shop, BrittsBurlapandBows.