Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Engaged: A Sister's Perspective

I will start at the very beginning. A very good place to start. (Thank you Sound of Music!)

In the summer of 2011, my sister told me of a random meeting with a handsome firefighter at Firehouse Subs no less. I think I replied something along the lines of, that was was the sub?

A few weeks later I noticed that she was mentioning Lee A LOT. I could not ignore it anymore.
So, then I think I said something like, Yeah, yeah, I don't want to get involved unless it is serious.

But, in my heart I already knew it was serious. In my heart I already was thinking this Lee guy, he was going to change everything. I was a modern day Josephine March (Thank You Little Women).

As the monthly anniversary flowers got delivered, and my parents started talking about Lee more, the Fall came around. And because she is so very wise, my sister and Lee gave me time to adjust. I finally met Lee and Mel for breakfast on a cool November morning. He was kind, charming, funny, and just so real. I liked him. I was up front about explaining why I had needed to wait to meet him in person, but I told him and Mel that I could tell this was different. The oldest sister's seal of approval was given!

More time went by. Visits home, relationship advice and laughter. I got Lee's phone number and even sent him a random text or two. I remember when we rang in the New Year of 2012. One of the more memorable times when the 3 of us just hung out. And it was then, that I knew it. I knew that Lee and Melanie were meant to be. I knew that he was somehow the perfect combination for her. And somehow she was just right for him. And in that moment I was finally able to fully relax. I let out a deep breath I had been holding for months. I guess other older siblings (esp. sisters) understand what I was feeling. I was able to trust that Lee would and could take care of my sister in the way in which she needs and deserves. And considering Mel's kidney past, I had cared for her in ways that many siblings have never had to experience. Anyway, it was a momentous time.

This man, who was growing in God, he could take care of my sister. The things that were most important to Melanie, Lee cared for those things too. It is an amazing feeling, for a slightly overprotective sister, to step back and redefine a new season in her life.

More time went by, the ups and downs of life naturally flowed. My friends saw me change into a sister who truly had gone from skeptical to supportive. I had conversations with Lee and Melanie. Their love was obvious. Their personal growth was obvious. And every single last one of my qualms was laid to rest. Lee had gone over and beyond to show love and care for my family and he had shown genuine faith and love of God. There was not anything else I needed to concern myself with (because for good or bad, I like to concern myself with a lot of things).

And the Friday before the proposal, when Lee told me of his love for Melanie, and how she was his best friend, and how he wanted to build a life with her that would be full of memories that they could share as they grew older and sat in rocking chairs on the porch......well, I had to hold back my tears. And then Sunday. After hints and surprises, Lee proposed to my Mel! It was such a FUN day:) I have literally seen this love story take shape. I have been privileged to see my sister grow into a woman who is now ready and so willing to begin a new life with her future husband. At some moments it's surreal, Could the sister who has been my closest friend, could she REALLY be getting married?! Yup, she is, and I'm so proud of my girl:) Wedding planning, Stewart style, here we come!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Lessons on Growing Up Part 1

1. Embrace change- Change is coming. It is already waiting in the wings. And if you don't handle change well, then you will struggle as a grown-up. This was and in some part, still is, me. But, I am changing for the better. Becoming less surprised when, despite my mind stamping a situation as permanent, it winds up as just a flash in the pan.

2. You determine a lot of how others treat you. As you grow up you get the power to select who gets to be around you. You often decide to stay or leave. So, you can look within and discover your own expectations.....they shape how others will treat you. You are the judge of how much you can put up with. And you also purposefully cultivate the positive relationships that bring joy.

3. Sometimes you will be speechless. And you probably know exactly what I mean;)

4. To grow up, you have to know how you handle pressure. Do you weep, drink, worry, ignore, work too hard, etc? You have to become aware of this in order to handle yourself when difficult times come.

5. Be proactive and less reactionary. This is a personal favorite. I would react to things in a consistent yet unhealthy way. Now, I try to catch some things before they blow up and spiral out of control. I am more aware of me. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Lessons on Growing Up- Intro

We casually ask children all of the time. What do you want to be when you grow up?
And they, full of joy, ramble off a laundry list of ideas and dreams and hopes and wishes. Then we praise them and encourage them to dream big and never give up.

Those same children grow up, but of course life jumps in. It starts to create paths and hills and valleys. And we have to start the journey, hopefully surrounded by our faith and family and friends. When we are young the group seems huge. Everywhere you look, there are supports and help.

And the children grow up. A little bruised and scraped but the journey keeps on going by. The years of life fly by and soon it's time for graduation caps and commencement speeches. And we ask again. Now that you are grown up, what will you be And we look kinda strangely at the brave souls who still dream and hope and wish. We remind them that health insurance and stability are important. We sometimes set limits for them, but allow them to live freely within a beautiful box. But, you see, it is still a box.

And so, the world of work begins. Mix that with growing up. And it is quite the wild ride. In just one year, I have grown up so much. My reactions have changed so drastically, that I can only attribute it to God working on my character.

The lessons on growing up are numerous. I keep mine written here and in my journal. I talk about them with family and friends. And my buddies in their 20's all seem to agree on some things.

I'll be sharing some of them as the spring blooms into summer:)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

April- Birthday & Friends

In the back of my mind I had this idea to combine my love of cooking with my love of friends. So, this year I want to diligently try and host one friend (or more) each month. I want to cook for them and eat with them because these things mean so much to me. And they deepen friendships. I just want to have fun and food with my fabulous friends:)

In April I helped host a birthday brunch to welcome my 28th year. I worked with my aunt to plan a delicious celebration, and it was lovely. It really was! Some of my ATL friends and Melanie helped me celebrate. We ate and chatted and renewed friendships. I was happy and content and full of fond memories and such good food! I find it a joy to share food and meals with my friends and family. Oh what memories we make, and create times worth remembering for years to come!

seafood breakfast quiche (YUM)
sausage & egg casserole
cinnamon/sugar crossiants
cheesecake cupcakes
fruit kabobs (Pinterest idea completed)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Tunes- Keane

I am headed home for quality time with my precious family! I have a blessed opportunity for a job interview next week! And this song is so catchy! Enjoy your Friday!