Thursday, March 29, 2007

Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts

eSuitor and I took an eight week preparation-for-marriage course at his church called Love for a Lifetime. One of the recommended reading books that came with our tuition was one called Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts. I just finished reading it, and despite the slightly depressing title and one paragraph that rubbed me the wrong way, I would have to give the book two big thumbs up.
This book is written by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, a husband-wife team with a background in marriage and family therapy. For the most part, it is helpful information for improving relationships and making your marriage great. It is hard to give a synopsis of a book like this, so I thought I'd leave you with my favorite concept shared in the book along with some quotes.

The concept: think of love as a triangle.

"The biological side of the triangle is passion, the spine-tingling sensation that moves us toward romance.... The emotional side of love's triangle is intimacy. Love without
intimacy is only a hormonal illusion. One cannot desire another person over the long haul without really knowing that person.... The cognitive and willful side of the love triangle is commitment. Commitment looks toward a future that cannot be seen and promises to be there--until death."

"Passion, intimacy and commitment are the hot, warm, and cold ingredients in love's recipe. And these ingredients vary, because the levels of intimacy, passion, and commitment change from time to time and from person to person. You can visualize the fluidity of love by considering how the love triangle changes in size and shape as the three components of love increase and decrease. The triangle's area represents the amount of love. Large amounts of intimacy, passion, and commitment yield a large triangle. The larger the triangle, the more love."

The book goes on to explain what emerges in a relationship when the triangle becomes disporportionate in the length of its sides. The overall idea, though, is that to keep love balanced, all three sides of the triangle deserve equal attention.I hope I can show eSuitor a balanced and generous kind of love during our lifetime together. He sure deserves lots of it!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dear Me...

I got the idea for this post from J who first saw it at Miscellanous Mum. The idea is that you write a letter from your present self to yourself in the past. I like J's letter so much, I thought, I'd give it a try, too.

Dear 1985 Me,

You are just 10 years old. The awkward phase is just around the corner, so I think you could use a little encouragement.

Already, the "in crowd" is forming. There is a group of girls who stand around on the playground and talk about who-knows-what during recess. Already, they are giving up their precious childhood right to play. I know it hurt your feelings when you approached their exclusive circle and they told you, in so many words, to go away. It makes me teary for you still. I assure you, however, that you aren't missing out on a thing in that silly circle. Monkey bars, swing sets, and see-saws are infinitely more fun, and you won't be a kid forever. So run free, little me! Those girls weren't your friends then, and I'm no longer in touch with a single one of them! When you walk into your ten year high school reunion seventeen years from now, you will feel fabulous because you learned to embrace yourself, and the playing field will feel incredibly even (or even slanted slightly in your favor) with respect to the "in crowd".

Now, about dreams. You and I both know that already you are a passionate person. When the auditions for Old McDonald's Follies happen next week, follow that instinct to audition for the lead. You will play Mrs. McDonald. It will awaken something in you that won't die for the rest of your life. It's called a dream. God placed it in your heart long before you will ever find out it is there. Some won't understand it. Some will admire you for it. Some will not accecpt you for it. And others will encourage you. Whatever you do, don't expect the rest of the world to offer you affirmation in this area. Just believe in yourself and go for it. One day, in 2006, a gorgeous man will fall in love with you, and embrace the artist inside of you. In fact, he'll want you just the way you are. You have no idea now how much that will mean to you, but trust me, it means a lot, and his love will be a healing balm to your sweet soul. You will love him with all your heart, and 2074 Me has a feeling that you will have a wonderful life together.

Speaking of love, this may be a bit of a topsy turvy road for you. In fact, you will learn a lesson or two from the school of hard knocks. Just learn what you have to learn, and keep your eyes on the Lord. He will guide you through some tough times, and even rescue you when you need it most. My best piece of advice about relationships would be to trust your instincts. If someone seems like bad news, he is. Period. Don't even question yourself for a second.

What I said a second ago about keeping your eyes on the Lord...that might sound a little strange right now. This summer though, you will go to a new summer camp, and the most life-changing thing will happen! You will become a Christian and begin a new life with Jesus. He will forgive you for all of your sins: past, present, and future. And all that guilt you've been feeling will be taken care of. You will be set free, and Jesus will be your best friend for life. Your mom already knows Him, and the rest of your family will know Him, too. Life will be full of ups and downs, but Jesus will never ever leave you.

Little me, be gentle with yourself. Be you. Enjoy each step of this wondeful journey! May God bless you!

Sending you a big hug,

2007 Me

Friday, March 23, 2007

The Price

If you find yourself in Los Angeles this weekend, and you're looking for something fun to do, why not come see me on the big screen?! The short film I shot last month for the 168 Film Project will be screened this weekend at the 168 Film Festival. My film, The Price, will be shown Saturday morning as part of "Screening #1" from 9am - 10:10am at The Alex Theater in Glendale. Ticket info can be found here.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Sweet Thirteen

Thirteen Things that are Sweet to Me

1. No Sugar Added Fudgesicles. Mmmmmmmmmmm.
2. Doing that hand clapping thing with my friends as a little girl to a cadenced song. You remember..."Bo-bo-skee-wotten-totten."
3. Soft kisses.
4. Confidences shared and confidences kept.
5. Self respect.
6. Praying together.
7. Lullabies. Especially made up ones.
8. Freshly fallen snow.
9. Innocent questions.
10. Cotton candy
11. Little ones' hands and feet.
12. Hearing the words "I love you."
13. Having someone to say them to.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Sorrowful, Yet Full of Joy

Yesterday, eSuitor and I were planning to start taking intermediate swing dance lessons. (We took the beginning classes together in the fall). As we drove to class last night, I began to get teary-eyed. When we arrived and parked the car, eSuitor asked me what was the matter, and the flood gates opened. He wrapped his arms around me as I began to process what I was feeling. It came down to a general sense of overload. The realization that I only have three and a half months to accomplish a whole lot before our wedding has officially hit me. My mom and I certainly took care of the major tasks while I was in Texas, but I still have quite a few details that add up to a lot that I need to take care of now that I'm back. On top of that, I am feeling my own pressure to use my new-found unemployed status to be proactive about pursuing acting opportunities. And what I realize every now and again is that I am just plain sad about my Dad's health.

I got to visit with him while I was in Texas. Every time I see him is another gift from God. It is one more time to hug him and tell him that I love him. (I love you, Dad!) It was sobering, to say the least, when he told me that I need to prepare myself for the possibility that he may be feeling too bad to make it to my wedding in June. Of course, he wants to be there, but he doesn't know how he'll be doing at that time, and wants me to be prepared. I totally understand, and I am glad he was open with me about how he's doing.

As I verbalized all this to eSuitor last night, I just sobbed, which in a way was pretty cleansing. I have needed to grieve for my Dad's health situation for a while, but I have felt more shock or denial than sadness. Last night, though, the sadness came rushing to the surface.

Yesterday afternoon, my Dad called, and he sounded good. We talked about the wedding and whether he should wear a tuxedo or a suit. He said, "I am the father of the bride! I should wear a tux!". I loved that! So you can see that it is not all sadness. There is a mixture of emotions. Good days and bad days. A bizarre tension of living in the joy of my approaching marriage and the sorrow of my Dad having cancer. I continue to be amazed by his valiant fight. His inner fortitude is nothing short of inspiring.

This morning, I read from a devotional book called Streams in the Desert by L.B. Cowman (which I recommend to anyone going through a rough time). The scripture verse that it referenced was 2 Corinthians 6:10 "Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing." Or as The Message translates it, "immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy". I think that verse is an apt description of how the Christian life can be. It is not that we are to ignore the deep sorrow that is part of life. It is embracing that sorrow is indeed part of the journey. We can feel it deeply. Yet no matter how hard life gets, there is always a deep joy that fills us because of God's presence in our lives.

That was my family's experience three and a half years ago when my step-dad died of cancer. Deep grief accompanied by the comfort and joy of the Lord. And that is my experience now as my own Dad fights this awful disease.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Well, What d'ya Know?

Apparently, commitment, planning, and sticking to a diet really do work! During my two weeks at home, my mom and I did phase one of The South Beach Diet. I am pleased to say that during that time, I lost some weight!

I'd like to thank my mother, without whom I never would have stuck to this! It takes lots of prep work, and she certainly did most of it. She did so much menu planning and was my cheerleader the whole way!

I'd also like to give a shout-out to No Sugar Added Fudgesicles and Sugar Free Jello. You two totally rock! You kept my sweet tooth from having to check into an insane asylum.

Now that I'm back in LA, I plan to continue to do South Beach Diet (Phase 2). 4 pounds down, 11 pounds to go for Operation String Bikini. By the way, I bought a string bikini for my honeymoon! I have serious incentive, now!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

With Rain and Veil and Puppy Dog Tails

Yesterday was SO MUCH FUN!

We hired a fantastic photographer for our wedding, and a bridal sitting is included in the package. So yesterday, I got to practice my bridal look! It was so much fun. In the morning, I went to the Prescriptives counter in the mall and had my makeup done by Jamie, who made me look fabulous (if I do say so myself)! I think I could do an entire post on Prescriptives...I would mostly talk about their "Virtually Fresh" foundation that gives you a subtle, fresh-faced glow (SPF 15). After that, I came home and did my own hair in an up 'do.

All day long, the skies were very overcast, and the weather forecast was threatening strong showers with thunder. We prayed that God would stave off the rain until after the photo shoot.

We drove over to a strip mall with an exterior designed to look like Venice with cool gardens, architecture and a gigantic Italian looking fountain. It may seem a little kitchy, but the photos they showed me of other bridal sittings shot there were gorgeous! I got into my dress there, and put on the veil. I wasn't sure that I even wanted a veil, but can I just say that I love the veil! It made me feel so bridey. :)

The photographer showed me the pics through his view-finder, and I think they'll be cool. I'll have the proofs in a week, but I don't think I'll be posting any pics of my wedding dress until after the wedding, what with eSuitor being a loyal reader and all. ;)

The photographer had just shot his last photo when I felt the first drop of rain. God totally answered our prayers! We hurried inside for me to change out of my dress. When we came back outside it was sprinkling and one hour later, it was pouring, and it's been raining off and on ever since. By the time we got home last night, there was a full-on thunder and lighting storm, which was delightful, since we don't get that kind of storm in Southern California.

My mom is watching my sister's dog while she is out of town this week, and Mom has a dog too. They are enjoying a lot of indoor time because of the rain. My sister's black lab is literally curled up on top of one of my feet as I type this post. It's cozy around here. :) Ahh....home.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Flower Girl

Here's my adorable flower girl modeling her dress. She was so cute twirling around in it, watching it flare out as she spun around. The gold color of her skirt coordinates with the gold sash in my bridesmaids' dresses. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Thirteen Things I Need to Accomplish While I'm Home

1. Find seamstress to do wedding dress alterations.

2. Pick out bridesmaids' dresses.*

3. Meet with the minister to discuss our wedding ceremony.

4. Pick out flowers.

5. And table linens for the reception.

6. And wedding cake and groom's cake.

7. Figure out place for a rehearsal dinner.*

8. Have fun running around like crazy ladies with my mom and sister!*

9. Take flower girl to pick out her dress.

10. Meet with leader of the band playing at our reception to discuss music.

11. Weigh myself each morning so that I feel like the South Beach Diet is worth it. (So far, so good).

12. Have my bridal portraits done.

13. Remember that when it's all said and done, I will be married to eSuitor. **

* Denotes that task is already accomplished.

** My mom and I like to tell ourselves this when things start getting a little stressful. It is a gentle reminder that while the wedding details are fun and important, the wedding isn't nearly as important as the marriage that will begin that day.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bridesmaid Dress: Check!

Today, my mom, my sister and I were on a mission to decide on the bridesmaid dresses for the wedding. I wanted to find a black dress with a golden-toned sash. We went to David's Bridal and found what I had in mind. My sister (who is my matron of honor) tried it on and looked fabulous in it. Here it is!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Bienvenidos a Miami

My mom and I may not be flying to Florida, but we are hanging out at South Beach. For my two weeks at home, we are doing Phase One of The South Beach Diet. Have any of you done it? It is the strict two-week kick-off to the diet, which later becomes less strict. Phase One of the diet consists mostly of a whole lot of protein and a whole lot of veggies. When we were checking out of the grocery store, Mom commented that it looked like we were preparing to feed an entire family of rabbits for a week. I said that it looked like a colon cleanse waiting to happen. (So, my mom's a little more suave than I am. What can I say?) eSuitor said that just hearing about the diet made him cranky. Allow me to say that the no sugar added fudgesicle I get each day is what keeps me and my dear sweet tooth from throwing tantrums.

We finished Day One of the diet today, and I've got to say, it wasn't bad at all! The recipes are delicious! We had grilled salmon seasoned with fresh rosemary for dinner tonight, with steamed asparagus and a salad. Very nutritious and satisfying!

The purpose of Phase One of the diet is to help get your body's insulin levels into a healthy range and to help your body stop craving unhealthy sugars. Like I said above, I love sweets, so if I can break free from my sugar cravings (or at least lower their intensity), that would be a great thing! The South Beach Diet also claims to target belly fat first. I thought that would be a definite step in the right direction for Operation: String Bikini!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Humbled by his love...

I am back in Texas for a couple of weeks to help my mom with wedding planning. Last night, when I flew in, she picked me up from the airport, and we went straight to my sister and bro-in-law's house for a party they were having. It was so much fun! Lots of laughter and talking with friends and good times! It was the perfect way to kick off my time at home.

Just when I didn't think life could get any better, mom and I drove back to her house and I was greeted by these beauties with a note from eSuitor saying, "Thank you for a wonderful year." I covered my face for a moment because I was just overwhelmed by his thoughtfulness. It is humbling, in the best way, when you are the apple of someone's eye. What an awesome honor!

Our first date was a year ago today. I had no idea when I went out for dinner with him that night that I would be meeting my future husband. Thank You, Lord, for bringing us together! (Proof that God works through technology!) :o)

And thank you, eSuitor, for a wonderful year! You have brightened up my world in the most joyous way! You are more than I ever dreamed of (and you know, I'm a dreamer!). You really are my soulmate, and I love you soooo!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Chapter: Next

For the past year and a half, I have been blessed to have a "day job", working in the lending industry as a "compliance specialist". It was definitely a mixed bag. On the one hand, I was able to support myself and learn a new skill set through my job. On the other hand, I never quite fit there. I felt quite like a square peg in a round hole. A puzzle piece that you can squeeze into place, but it's not the right fit. I have been a right-brained creative type working in a left-brained analytical role. Nothing about the word "compliance" even remotely fits with who I am. So it is with a grateful and relieved heart that I bid farewell to my job. Yesterday was my last day! It was planned, and I gave my notice a month ago. I just didn't want to write about it until it was a done deal.
Today begins a new chapter of my life. During this chapter, I will be able to pursue my acting career to the degree that I have been longing for. I will also be flying home for a couple of weeks to help my mom plan my wedding! I also hope that my blog posts will be a little more inspired. I'd like to use part of my time to hone my writing skills and craft something. I'm not sure what that something is. Some ideas I've had would be to write a one-woman show, some monologues, songs for a musical, or a short story. I hope to share some of those ideas with you here.

My hope is that the flame of my creativity will be fanned into a raging fire in this new season. I want to put my creativity to work. To make a living using the gifts God has given me.

Photo found here.