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Gratitude Attitude

Well hey there, friends!

It’s been about, oh, eight months since my last blog post (oops), but hopefully you don’t hold any hard feelings (all two of you – hi, Rachel!).

Anyway, I wanted to blog today because I’m in an inexplicably good mood, and I just started thinking about all the reasons that today is great, and I thought, “Well hey! Why not write this stuff down?” So I am!

First off, I’m really excited, because I put down a deposit on our reception venue today!!! “Reception?” you say. “What reception?” Well, my wedding reception, of course, because I’M ENGAGED!

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Not the actual proposal – that was down at the Harbor in old-town Annapolis. This is in my living room.

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My pretty, pretty ring. It’s a sapphire with diamonds on either side and filigree all down the band.

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I kinda love him.

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This actually isn’t really very recent news (we got engaged January 19th), but I’m still pretty darn excited about it. Actually, this past weekend Anthony (my fiance, for any of you who don’t know me in real life) and I went to St. Louis, where he grew up. His family threw us a lovely engagement party, and I got to meet lots of his extended family, his high school friends, and lots of his parents’ close friends. His family is absolutely wonderful. They are so loving and welcoming. His mom has never had a daughter before (Anthony has one brother), and she is so excited for me to join the family! She’s also super excited about the wedding, and talking to her about all the planning made me get excited all over again.

I’ve recently come to the (rather obvious but still fabulous) realization that this is the one time in my life when I don’t have to feel sheepish about buying wedding magazines.

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This is sitting next to me right now.

Did I mention that THIS IS FABULOUS??? Yesterday I bought Martha Stewart Weddings, and today I bought Brides and The Knot, which is – not even kidding – SIX. HUNDRED. PAGES. Daaaaaang. I just want to sit and look at all the pretty sparkly romanticness of it all. I also created an Amazon wedding registry yesterday, which is an equally huge temptation to waste time. I just want to sit there fantasizing about my someday kitchen and adding ridiculous appliances and board games and who knows what else.

Sidenote: sometimes I feel kind of guilty that the fact that a amazing man and I found each other, fell in love, and decided to spend our lives together means that tons of people are going to be spending so much money on us, buying us expensive gifts and travelling long distances and just generally being incredibly kind and generous and loving. But then I think that maybe all the hoopla around weddings is really a way of celebrating and honoring a decision that seems so easy and natural and exciting right now, but will probably lead to times down the road when we’ll need supernatural help to get through: the struggles and the sacrifices and the times when living out a vocation as a spouse and a parent might seem more exhausting than exhilarating.

This morning on the metro into campus, I was reading Camp Patton. In her most recent post, Grace talks about her time in DC before she got married. Even though she’s having a rough month (she has a husband with an incredibly demanding job and three kids under three years old), Grace writes that she doesn’t wish she could go back to the time when her life was all about her.

It sounds hokey, I know, but her post made me think about what my mom likes to call a “Gratitude Attitude.” I feel like sometimes I’m so eager for the future to start – to finish grad school, to marry Anthony, to start a family – that I forget to appreciate my life here and now. I am so incredibly blessed to have this time when I, like Grace, get to be a single woman in DC, where there’s lots to do and tons of great people to do it with. I’m blessed to get to be in grad school studying something I love. And I’m blessed to have this time of preparation for my marriage; even though I can’t wait until September 14th rolls around, I know that this is an incredibly important time, and I want to take advantage of it to its fullest. Someday I’ll be married and have kids and won’t have a moment to myself, and I’ll try my best to be grateful for those times too – I know they’ll help me to grow and to expand my capacity to love in ways that I can’t even imagine now. But for now, I’m trying to just let go, stop wishing that I could fast-forward the next six and a half months, and be thankful for the present moment.

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This is it, guys. This is my VERY FIRST BLOG POST.

Okay, technically that is not quite true, but I am going to go ahead and give myself leave to expunge my old high school Xanga account from my blogging record. Forgive and forget, right?

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for a long time, but due to my laziness/perfectionism that hasn’t happened until now. Being the inquisitive readers that you all are (actually that’s another reason blogging scares me a little – I have no idea who my audience is! And all my classical rhetoricians out there know that you can’t very well compose a masterful piece of writing without knowing your audience and purpose!), I’m sure you’re all wondering what has inspired me to change my ways and actually write this post. But I am also sure that those of you who know me in real life will not be surprised to learn that my answer is going to be sort of long and complicated and over-analyzy. (I’m an English grad student, guys, over-analysis is my bread and butter. Also I am officially authorized to make up words like “analyzy” whenever I feel like it because A. I have an English degree and B. This is MY BLOG, goshdarnit!).

The most immediate cause of this blog post is a tree.

To be more precise, the most immediate cause of this blog post is the fact that last night, a huge and unexpected thunderstorm hit the DC area and knocked down a gigantic, eighty or ninety-foot tall oak tree. The tree used to stand in my neighbor’s back yard, and when it fell it took out a big swath of their house, smashing off a gigantic chunk of the roof as well as the back corner of their house, where their bedroom is. Thank God, they weren’t home at the time, and no one was hurt. The really scary thing is that my housemates and I were all in the top back bedroom at the time, looking out the window at the lightning. If the tree had fallen just a few feet farther over, it literally could have killed us. As it is, the only damage to our house was one broken window (which was smashed in by falling debris from next door) and some gutters that got pulled down.

You’re probably wondering how this relates to the blog. Well, in addition to storms, the DC area is also being hit with a lovely heat wave right now. Since we have no power, that means that we’ve got no AC, leaving our house at a temperature that I estimate is approximately a whole lot of degrees hotter than I would like it to be. Miracle of miracles, we live across the street from a hospital, and they’re prepared for situations like this. So right now, I’m sitting in the hospital cafeteria with my laptop and phone plugged in and lots of bland yet comforting hospital food (think chicken and rice) in my tummy.

The hospital also has free wifi. To pass the time while my phone charged, I decided to check the blog of two of my very dearest friends, Rachel and Teresa. Lo and behold, since the last time I had looked at their website, they had both written new posts! Rachel wrote a brilliant and funny post analyzing Snow White and the Huntsman, and Teresa wrote an equally witty and charming post about personality types, self-improvement, and falling in love.

I have long been obsessed with lots of amazing women in the blogosphere (particularly the Catholic blogosphere – think Conversion Diary, I Have to Sit Down, Betty Beguiles, Barefoot and Pregnant, Camp Patton, and other similarly hilarious/profoundly inspiring people), who are amazing, but also really intimidating. As Rachel pointed out, blogging is scary. But I figure, if they can do it, why can’t I? Which is why, dear reader, I’ve decided to just bite the bullet and get started.

I had hoped that this first post would be a bit more substantial and thought-provoking, but it’s getting late and I should probably get back to my darkened house before the next round of storms hit tonight (hopefully there will be no more tree incidents!), so this will have to do for now.

PS – As I was sitting here trying to get this post to stop doing funky things and publish normally, a little boy and his father walked up and starting perusing the selection in the vending machines behind me. The dad wanted his son to choose a snack, but he just kept walking back and forth and saying “But this is amazing! And that’s amazing! And this is amazing! It’s all amazing!”

He ended up picking the Doritos and orange soda. Amazing!!!