I Got Married!

In lieu of writing and posting anything since October, I have been busy planning a wedding. I’ll save my elope-you-fools-don’t-fall-into-the-wedding-trap rant blog for another time, since I’m writing to celebrate and share some pics.

Quick recap of the day: best day of my life! I spent most of it trying not to cry, which is probably why I am not smiling in 80% of the candid pictures of me during the ceremony. I knew if I lost it, I’d never get it back, so I had to keep myself together. It feels like a total dream looking back at these pictures. I got to finally marry the best life-partner and husband a girl could ask for, have all of my family and friends in one place, and then dance and party and have a heck of a good time. I have never felt so loved and humbled. I’m so thankful for all the people that came and shared the day with us that I can’t thank them all, plus it’s not like I won an Oscar so I’m going to keep this short, but S/O to Cree who put literally everything back together after it poured sheets and buckets of rain 30 minutes before go-time. And Emily. And Griffin. And Matt. And everyone else. I JUST LOVE EVERYBODY, YOU GUYS!

We were praying about when to get married for months, and then in October, we knew God wanted us to get married this summer. It was crystal clear. But we were terrified: it was way sooner than we had ever thought — we were planning a wedding 2 months before we got engaged in December. Everything was rushed. Looking back, I couldn’t be more glad that we got married when we did. People say that when you make plans, God laughs. It’s true, but here’s something even more true: His timing was so perfect.

My beautiful and wonderful friend Abby Caldwell captured these amazing pictures that will thankfully last longer than my recollection of the day. There are lots, so if you want the whole bunch, the link is here and the password is whippleworld. (Photobooth pictures are also online and HILARIOUS and the password is paige.) Below are just a few of my faves. I hope you find yourself in these and look back on the day as happily as I do. XOXO!

“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame.”
Song of Solomon 8:6

 

As if that wasn’t enough, we also had our crazy-talented friend Coty Nix on hand to capture some of the day, which included Abby singing during the ceremony (did I mention that she’s wonder woman?) Some of his pics are below, and they are amazeballs. I’m so thankful for him! Coty, you rock.

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Rageaholics, Vulgar Language, and the 2016 Election

My drive to work takes anywhere between 55 minutes and an hour and a half.

Today on my way home, I was changing lanes, so I checked my mirror and there was a Mustang about 4 car lengths behind me in the other lane. As I turned on my blinker, I heard the motor rev up and by the time I was halfway into the lane, he was right on my you-know-what. I thought “man, what a jerk.” He laid on the horn, flipped me off, and started screaming and yelling. Then I thought, “honey, you need to calm down because you look like a fool.”

But hey, I get it. The drive gets tedious and DC drivers totally suck. I lose my patience more than I should on the roads — however, I have flipped off maybe 2 people in my entire life, and usually don’t get pissed when I’m the one that was driving like maniac. But whatever!

Probably 2 or 3 minutes later, I turned left at the light, with the Mustang still behind me. Once through the light, he got into the leftmost lane and stopped next to my car. (I was stopped at a second light, because, route 29.) He rolled his window down and screamed at me something like: learn how to drive, “you stupid f***ing c***!” and shook his fist at me. I honest to god thought he was going to get out of the car. He then sped off, cutting off another car and nearly slamming into the one in front of him.

Once it sunk in what had just happened, I thought I should get the license plate number and call the cops, because, hello psycho, but I only got 3 of the numbers. (If you know any chubby rageaholics with crazy strawberry blonde hair and a Mustang who drive on 16th street to Colesville Rd. at 5:30 in the afternoon, let me know.)

I was in shock that someone could get so angry over something that 1. was their fault and 2. was such a non-issue. I didn’t almost hit him. Maybe he almost hit me, IDK, but again, his fault. Siri texted Rick and told him what happened, so he called and made sure I was okay. And asked whose ass he needed to kick, but I recounted the too-slow-to-get-the-license incident to a disappointed sigh. Once I hung up the phone, I knew I was about to cry.

As I was sitting in my car crying, I couldn’t figure out why I was moved to tears. It wasn’t because some delusional stranger called me a bad name. It wasn’t even because I thought that delusional stranger may get out of his car and physically assault me. It was because I had this pit in my stomach and a voice in my head saying “that’s not fair.”

It’s the same feeling I got when Casey Anthony wasn’t found guilty of killing her kid. It’s the same feeling I got when Greg Hardy beat the daylights out of his girlfriend and threatened to kill her, but only got suspended for four games. Of football. It’s the same feeling I got when Brock Turner raped a woman behind a dumpster but was told that he shouldn’t have to pay “such a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life”– and that “steep price” was only 3 months in prison.

 
And while I was inwardly embarrassed to be crying over something so stupid, I realized that my tears were over something so much bigger than this jerk-face. I realized that my tears were over someone with so much anger and hatred acting in such a despicable way and not facing any consequences for it. But yet that that is the society in which we live. People can treat other people like dirt and not pay any consequences for it.

That’s the reason why there’s some bad cops out there, that’s the reason why people are killing innocent cops, and that’s the reason why there are shootings out the wazoo and bad news all over the place. So what’s my point? That we live in a broken world where bad guys get away with doing bad things and there’s nothing we can do about it? Kindof. Actually, yes, but there’s more.

It’s also this. I wouldn’t give that guy in the Mustang any kind of power. I wouldn’t let him adopt a child, I wouldn’t let him become a cop, and I surely wouldn’t let him become President of the United States.

WOAH, YA’LL. THAT GOT REAL INTENSE REAL FAST. Hear me out.

 
I am not saying that Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton was the guy in the Mustang. Although, you never know, they may get access to some really amazing prosthetic face makeup. What I am saying is this. Let’s beware of people in power who have done some pretty messed up things and not faced any repercussions. Let’s think about the way they treat and talk about people: male, female, black, white, gay, straight, Asian, Muslim, Christian, whatever.

And let’s think twice before voting for someone– whoever that person may be to you– because they are the “lesser of two evils.” By definition, that means you’re still voting for someone evil. And think deeply before you do that. One day, will you be proud to tell your kids that you voted for Trump? Will you be proud to tell your kids that you voted for Clinton?

It’s not an easy spot to be in. I’ve been struggling with this election and my moral compass for months. I’m a registered Independent, because I think both parties are just full of fools and I couldn’t bring myself to align with either of them, but I’ll show you my cards here. I was all aboard the Bernie Sanders train.

ANOTHER INTENSE BLOW. You just have to stick with me.

 
Why was I on the train of a totally crazy 95 year old dude with some insane ideas of how to run a country? The answer is pretty simple, and here it is. I felt like he treated every human being with respect. His ideas on policy to help the poor were totally wacko, but at least he genuinely gives a crap about the poor! Again, this is my opinion. (If you don’t want it, re-read the name of this webpage and ask yourself why you’re on it if you don’t want to hear my opinion.)

I totally disagreed with almost all of Bernie’s policies and ideas, but I could buy into him on a human level. I could see good intentions behind the same ideas that I found major problems bernie-sanderswith. I truly felt like Bernie was proposing what he thought was best for every person in this country, whether they were privileged or not, rich or not, educated or not, Catholic/Christian or not, and white or not. That would have bought my vote.

Real talk? I don’t see those good intentions with either of the final two candidates. (If you’d like to further debate my feelings on Bernie, I could talk about it all day, so feel free to comment or email me.) I’m not here to tell you what to do– after all, I’m just a stupid f***ing c***, so who would listen to me anyway?

I read an article on Vox about Christians voting for Trump. It was fabulous and I would encourage everyone to read it, but here’s a snippet if you are worn out from reading this to think about clicking another link.

“While many conservative evangelicals have resigned themselves to Donald Trump as the only choice in this election, a discerning evaluation of his candidacy reveals that we should not support him regardless of how bad a Clinton presidency might be… evangelical Christians would be better served by abstaining from that vote and shifting their energy toward electing people to Congress and local and state governments who have the opportunity to restrain whichever candidate is elected as needed. Our success here will be limited but still far more effective and virtuous than folding to Trump’s coercion and losing our political voice.”

Think about what your values are. REALLY think about it. Don’t vote for someone because you think they’re the lesser of two evils. Maybe if that means not voting, then don’t vote. Your voice matters, but it only matters if you’re using it to vote on something you truly believe in. If you search your soul and, of course, the internet, and find that one of those two candidates is something that you truly believe in, then vote for them.

 
That’s about the end of my epiphany, so big shout out to Mustang guy, I hope I never see you again and I also hope you never procreate.

 

Let’s Hear it for the Boy

I’m proud of my booooyfriend!

So I have big news to share. (I am still not engaged. Good grief, people.) It’s something that I’ve been struggling with how to talk about, so I’ve put it off until the very last minute. It’s also not my news to share, so that’s an added pressure.

Anyway, here it is…drum roll please…

200 (3).gifRick got a job! And not just any job. Rick got a job at the DoD. So look out, he’s going to start listening to your phone conversations. (Just kidding! Actually, I don’t know. Even if he could, but he wouldn’t be able to tell me about it so I’ll never know.) It is an incredible opportunity and I am so proud of him. He applied to this job well over a year ago, in May of last year, and it has finally become reality.

It’s funny how we both ended up in careers where we can’t talk about a lot of what we do. Granted, one of us can’t share Teen Mom spoilers and one of us can’t share United States security spoilers, but hey, we all have different priorities.

 
I can’t talk about most of the details of his job, equally because I don’t know them and if I did, would not be allowed to share them, but I can share a few things.

This position comes with a five year commitment (*brain exploding*) so we will be hanging out in DC for at least a half a decade! It’s a training program, so as I understand it, he’ll be taking courses at the DoD and going back to get his masters over the next 2-3 years and then will be upgraded/promoted/qualified to be a project manager. And he thought he was done school when he graduated in December. Ha!

But the craziest thing of all is that he can’t take his phone to work with him. Eek! When we go to California to visit my cousin and her kids, (who have since moved to Thailand, long story) they want to wake Rick up every morning so they can watch him play Boom Beach for 20 minutes. He has endless apps on his phone. He uses 10 GB of data every month (thank heavens we don’t share a phone plan.) He follows the Orioles and other various sports teams closer than the presidential election. And he can’t take his phone to work with him. *insert laughing/crying emoji here*

It’s going to be super weird not being able to contact him for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, especially since he’s been working part-time since December and has been available whenever I want to buy concert tickets last minute or need him to pick something up from the grocery store on the way home or have to vent about work. But I am looking forward to having real, substantial conversations when we both get home and maybe missing each other a little during the day.

Today is his first day, (told you I waited until the last minute) so he’s at orientation and I have no way of knowing how it’s going. We still don’t know where he’s going to be actually working– it’s all on a very need-to-know basis. After orientation, he’ll get instructions on where to go every day, what time to get there, and what to wear. He’ll have his picture taken today for his security badge (so fancy) so we cut his hair last night and he looked dapper in a suit this morning. He’s so cute.

I’m so proud of him for all the hard work he put in to get this job. One of his references played a voicemail of Rick belting out Taylor Swift’s “22” for the guy doing the background check on him. In other words, it’s a literal miracle that he got this job. *insert another laughing/crying emoji here* He’s waited patiently without hearing anything for months, and he prayed that God would make it clear where he was supposed to be. So I guess he is supposed to be in DC for the next five years.

I’m sorry, but do ya’ll know how long five years is? It is long enough for a child to be born, potty trained, learn how to read, and become a little mini-human. It is longer than high school and it is longer than college (for most people at least). That is a long time. Hi, I can’t even commit to new clothes. I keep the tags on for as long as I can, try them on 6 times, and then decide I’m going to keep them 3 months after purchase. And now my boyfriend/eventual-soon-to-be fiance/husband has locked himself/us into a five year commitment. Barf. I’ll be fine after a ginger ale and some saltines.

 
I totally plan on staying in DC for five years because I am obsessed with my job and my parents’ new puppy, but the fact that now- in theory- I have to gives me anxiety. Anyway, that’s another discussion for another therapy session.

As for Rick’s job, it’s amazing, and I’m beyond happy for him. I’m also happy for myself because this means that in the foreseeable future we can buy a house and it won’t take me an hour and a half to drive to work anymore. Bless the DoD.

For the Love

For the love of my sanity, I’m writing this blog post.

My lovely Bible study group decided to read For the Love, a new book by Jen Hatmaker, an undiscovered genius and comedienne extraordinaire. I loved the book so incredibly much that I finished it in 3 days. But when she referenced Friday Night Lights on the very first page, I knew we were fellow Dillon Panthers and would get along just fine.

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The Guys’ Guide to Tinder.

I am very happily in a relationship, but I love Tinder.

I certainly don’t love Tinder for its intended purpose, but rather for its entertainment value. Rick has one too, and we’ll swap phones, match each other up with some weirdos and laugh about it until 2 in the morning. It did backfire when I jokingly swiped yes to a classmate (I thought it would be ironic, but, no…) and he not-so-jokingly swiped yes to me. I don’t even think he knew we had class together. Aaaawk-ward!

I never thought too much about the whole process until I was a bored-to-death insomniac swiping through Tinder in the wee hours of the morning. That’s when it hit me that some of these guys aren’t trying to be funny- they’re actually trying to impress girls. And that’s also when I started screen-shotting. A lot. Of guys. That’s why we’re here: I’m giving you boys a rundown of what does and does not impress the ladies. Of course, it’s just my opinion, so some girls might love that you’re taking a shirtless bathroom selfie in a towel. (Keep scrolling down for that eye candy. Ugh.)
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Sex, Love, and Marriage

Some light topics to discuss at your next dinner party, eh?

Or never. Never at all. We tend to shy away from topics like these (in general small-talk conversations, at least) because they’re personal. Sex, love, and marriage are all major, life changing subjects: they reflect the most intimate parts of your life. So it makes perfect sense that we hesitate to share our thoughts on the matter, much less our own personal experiences. I did exactly that. Until I signed up for Honors Seminar 370: Becoming Sexually Healthy.

There were great reviews about the professor on ratemyprofessor.com, students said it was a good class, and I needed those three honors credits. So, indeed, I signed up for a sex class at Towson University. Right now, you’re probably doing what I did before class started– reducing it to that tiny box of “physical sex.” The class has been so much more than just that (thank goodness…it can be preeetty uncomfortable talking about some of the topics we discussed– I won’t even go there.)

We’ve talked about sex, love, and marriage, along with parenting, body image, gender roles, and more. It’s been enlightening, to put it in a broad term. Luckily, I’ve had a wonderful counterpart for more than 4 years now, so the lessons I’m learning about relationships and, most importantly, marriage, are not falling on deaf ears.

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Ray Rice Hit His Wife. The Entire World Has Seen It. Let’s Talk About It.

Why is it that when TMZ releases a video of Beyoncé’s family in a “private moment,” it’s a travesty, but when they release a video of Ray Rice’s wife in the exact same scenario, it’s okay?

It’s not, and that is wrong. When the video of Solange and Jay-Z fighting in an elevator was leaked, it was a major breach of privacy. It was invasion. It was a big deal. But yet, when the video of Ray Rice and his wife, Janay, fighting in an elevator was leaked, no one has even brought up the incredible invasion of privacy.

Let’s just get one thing straight: Ray Rice was wrong. What he did was despicable, horrendous, and unacceptable. He should be, and is being, punished. Thousands of people- mostly young boys- look up to him. And his punishment and apology should set the example that domestic violence is simply not acceptable.

I’m a Ravens fan, I want them to win. But more than that, I’m a fan of respectable human beings that honor one another. I care more about raising a generation of men that know how to treat women than about a Superbowl ring or a winning record for a sports team.

(Also: isn’t it amazing what alcohol can bring about? Make wise decisions, people, and you won’t make mistakes that you’ll regret forever.) It breaks my heart that his wife has to deal with this humiliation publicly. I can only imagine how she feels that the incident happened, much less that it happened for the world to see. And now, even more of their private life is being aired on a national platform- and here’s why that bothers me.

Solange, Beyoncé, and Jay-Z are all three public figures. They have all chosen to live life in the spotlight. If they didn’t live life in the spotlight, they wouldn’t have jobs. If they wanted to sue for libel or defamation in a court of law, they would have a much harder time suing than a “normal citizen.” Why? Because they’re defined as public figures, so they’re subjected to more media slander than a private citizen. No, this obviously doesn’t make it okay to release a video of them that isn’t, in fact, in public. It’s still wrong, morally. No one needs to see what goes on behind closed doors.

But why do we, as a society, only care about privacy breach when it affects someone that we call a “Queen?” (Which she’s not. She’s human, and really no more impressive than anyone else.)

Janay is not a public figure. Is Ray Rice? Yepp. Is his wife? No. She isn’t doing anything to put herself in the spotlight. If it weren’t for this incident, no one would know her name. So then why was this video released, if no one cares about her? Right now, everyone cares about Ray Rice. Because they want to shame him. The public is angry with Ray Rice, understandably, but they want revenge. They want him to feel the hurt that he caused his wife. Again, understandably. But once he’s apologizes, been punished, and apologized again, how long can we hold onto anger?

Should we forget that this happened and sweep it under the rug? Obviously, no. But should we take a different approach: an approach that teaches boys, men, women, girls, how to treat others? Not only fighting against violence, both domestic and overall, but also teaching a way of life that isn’t vengeful or full of hate?

As a Christian, I believe that Christ forgives me regardless of my sins. Sins are not ranked on a scale: they’re all equal. But I am forgiven regardless of what I do. And the Bible is clear about how to handle others when they, also, sin.

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15

The release of this video is shaming Ray. How couldn’t it? He is more humiliated than he was before. A round of applause for you, TMZ. But Janay suffers from this more than Ray does. She is shamed and humiliated and embarrassed more than he is. While he’s re-living the guilt, she’s re-living the pain, the embarrassment, the public humiliation, and the criticism. Their daughter will more than likely see that video one day. Can you imagine how crushing that is for a mother?

As a person, but especially as a Mass Communications/Journalism major, I’m incredibly saddened by the release of this video. It doesn’t reveal anything that the public needed to know. It doesn’t give deeper understanding into an issue. It was released to hurt people. And it did. It hurt Ray, it hurt Janay, it hurt their daughter, and I’d venture to say it hurt everyone that cares about either of them.

Please don’t watch this video. Please don’t encourage vengeful behavior. Please don’t stoop so low. Think about your daughter, sister, friend, wife. Would you want her dirty laundry to be seen by million of people? If the answer is no, don’t watch someone else’s dirty laundry.

Babies on the Brain.

I’ve spent the past four days (in a row) with eight children.

One 6 year old, two 5 year olds, two 3 year olds, one 2 year old, and two 8 month olds. They are my wonderful, beautiful family and I love them so much. It’s a funny thing about kids, they give people different reactions. Some people freak out and don’t want to get anywhere near them, some people only talk in baby voices (something that I often plead guilty to), and some people are just apathetic to the chaos that is children. I, personally, love them. I could, and have, play all day long and that’s still not enough time with them.

But having the kids here (5 live in Cali and the other 3 live in ATL) for such a short time has made me actually seriously evaluate my life. No, for all of you panicking, I am not announcing that I’m pregnant or something totally crazy. Having them here with all the joy, innocence, honesty and laughter that they bring with them, has really reminded me of one of the most overused clichés in the universe: life is short.

Life isn’t about how clean your house is, how skinny you look, how good you are at sports, or how much money you make. Let’s be honest, no one is going to look at a picture of themselves 70 years from now and think “oh man, I wish I was on a diet back then. I should have eaten salad morning, noon, and night. I would feel so much more fulfilled right now if I had been 10 pounds lighter.”

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‘Cause I Depend On Me!

If that title got Destiny’s Child stuck in your head, awesome: that was the point.

If it didn’t, you should be embarrassed, because that is one of my favorite songs to rock out to. It’s also the theme of this post: Independent Women. As a woman who has a loyal, loving, stead-fast boyfriend living 0.81 miles down the road, (door-to-door, I Googled it) and a roommate who has been my best friend for more than 10 years, I get used to doing everything with a companion: grocery shopping, watching TV, making dinner, running errands, even studying.

Except going to the gym. Emily, said roommate and best friend, will not go to the gym with me. Period. Ever. And Rick….goes when I really ask but isn’t exactly Mark Wahlburg. (That man’s home gym is bigger than Towson’s.) I usually end up sweating alone, so it’s fitting that the gym is where this all began. Continue reading