Hate breeds hate.

I attended my first gay wedding this weekend. It was so beautiful. Both of the brides were glowing and overflowing with excitement and love for each other. I am honored to have been a part of such a monumental day.
On that note, I’d like to remind you guys that love breeds love and just as quickly hate breeds hate. Not everyone is okay with homosexuality yet, but just because they aren’t now doesn’t mean they can’t be in the future. I am personally struggling with my point of view, knowing love is beautiful in any form as well as knowing what my Christian beliefs are.
I think it’s important to know that we will not change anyone’s mind about homosexuality by being hateful and rude. Putting someone down because they have different beliefs is the same no matter what way you spin it. Bashing the other side for not being accepting will only foster their negative feelings. Criticizing someone’s choice of a life-partner will only make them more determined to love that person. I’m not by any means saying to change your belief system, but I am saying that cutting someone out of the family or assuming the parents are worthless because they are struggling is not what Jesus would do. The only way to make a difference is through love - the love of Christ. How you choose to show that is your choice.
I choose to show that by standing in the crowd of a lesbian wedding. Why? Because Jesus would have. He came to love, be love, show love, and that’s what drew so many people to Him. I’m by no means the best Christian, but I do know I was made in His image and He gave me a heart full of love to give. I choose to love these beautiful brides and be a support system they don’t have at the moment. I choose to love the family that didn’t show up in hopes they will soon learn how to do so towards the newlyweds in the future. I choose to bridge the gap and love people for who they are, not what they do. I choose to love knowing that I am loved despite all my flaws. We are all God’s children and we are all made in His image. He loves us all, no matter what.
We’re all sinners.
We all fall short.
But through Christ’s love, we are all made whole and worthy.

(And, in the long run, a sin is a sin. So, if you consider homosexuality a sin, it’s just as nasty in God’s eyes as the lie you told yesterday… which makes that theory kind of silly, don’t you think?)

Texas Independence Day!

In honor of Texas Independence Day, I (with the help of my fiancé) created a list of 178 reasons why I love Texas. Enjoy!

178 reasons why I love Texas: (in no particular order)

1. We’re big. Basically the biggest because no one remembers Alaska.
2. Tex-mex.
3. Football
4. Rodeo season
5. Floatin the river
6. Whataburger
7. The hill country
8. We’re the only state that’s been a country too.
9 & 10. 6 flags over Texas, both the actual flags and the theme parks.
11. Austin is the live music capital of the world
12. We have the most recognized state shape
13. HEB
14. Blue bell ice cream
15. Shiner
16. I’ll even credit Lone Star for the broke college kids out there.
17. Texas State University
18. The University of Texas
20. H-town… For giving us Beyoncé.
21. Big Tex
22. The Texas state fair
23. We can fry anything!
24. Matthew McConaughey
25. Tommy Lee Jones
26. Texas country music
27. George Strait
28. LBJ
29. NASA - Houston, we have a problem
30. & 31. George Bush. (Both of em)
34. The river walk
35. The Alamo
36. Come and take it
37. Schlitterbahn
38. Wurst fest
39. & 40. The Texas Rangers! (Baseball and Walker)
41. Dublin dr pepper
42. No state income tax
43. Luckenbach
44. Willie Nelson started here
45. Shaq
46. The Astrodome - the 8th wonder of the world
47. Czech stop
48. Small towns AND big cities
49. BBQ!!!!!
50. SXSW
51. ACL
52. Bluebonnets
53. Fajitas
54. We say y’all
55. The gristmill
56. Gruene Hall
57. ZZ Top
58. & 59. Selena (THE Selena and Gomez)
60. South Congress
61. Very mild winter (usually)
62. Long, hot summers!
63. Schlotzskys
64. Big hair
65. Other big colleges include A&M, Tech, Baylor… etc etc
66. Dallas
67. San Antonio
68. El Paso… It’s closer to California than Houston, but we still love it.
69. Breakfast tacos (Juan in a Million and Lolita’s!)
70. Southern hospitality
71. Sam Houston
72. Nolan Ryan
73. Astros - Biggio, Bagwell, and Berkman
74. Rockets - Olijawon, Charles Barkley, Clyde Drexler
75. Texans (because we love JJ.)
76. Paul Wall
77. Eli Young Band
78. Our flag
79. Usher
80. The Undertaker
81. Jim Parsons
82. Nelly
83. Stone cold Steve Austin
84. Every type of terrain - city, country, desert, valley, hill country… Everything!
85. Jim Bowie
86. Washington on the Brazos
87. Tornado alley… It’s unfortunate, but if you’re gonna get tornados, might as well get the most, right?
88. Queso
89. Austin is home to the largest bat colony in Texas
90. Our largest county is the same size as Connecticut (see number 1)
91. The ship channel
92. Davy Crockett - “y’all can go to hell and I’m goin to Texas”
93. Mockingbirds
94. “The stars at night are big and bright…”
95. The first word spoken on the moon was Houston.
96. San Jacinto monument
97. Houston Medical Center
98. Worst natural disaster to happen to the US happened in Galveston in 1900. Again, not great, but still at the top.
99. Dell computers started in Austin
100. The Heisman trophy is named after Rice university’s first full time coach.
101. We are The Lone Star State
102. Buc-ees
103. We’re real good at cooking red meat
104. Actually, we could probably find you really good food for any kind of food you want in Texas
105. The Dallas cowboys - Americas team
106. The Dallas cowboys cheerleaders
107. The Rio Grande river
108. The Guadelupe River
109. Kemah
110. Galveston
111. Dennis Quaid
112. Michael Strahan
113. Earl Campbell
114. Rudy’s
115. Pappasitos
116. Trudy’s
117. Sandy Cheeks
118. My favorite episode of spongebob is about Texas
119. Texas wines
120. Fredericksburg
121. Miranda Lambert
122. When conversations include “bless her heart…”
123. God blessed Texas
124. We’re basically required to own boots.
125. We have the right to leave the US but we are nice enough (and smart enough) to stay
126. Our accent
127. The trail ride through the city to kick off the rodeo
128. The weather is as spontaneous (or irritating) as me
129. My husband was born here
130. Technically, our flag is the only flag that can fly as high as the US flag (see number 8)
131. We have the largest Capitol building
132. Our Texas constitution states we have the right to divide ourself into 4 states
133. We have the 11th largest economy in the world
134. The first rodeo was in…you guessed it, TEXAS!
135. We invented the hamburger
136. Julio’s salsa!
137. Largest wool producer in US
138. People are flocking to live here… We have several of the fastest growing cities currently
139. Another negative, but we’re the best at it.. We produce the most greenhouse gases in the US
140. We have the second largest population, but I don’t like California (#1) so I’m claiming that California doesn’t exist and that makes us número uno.
141. Kirko Bangz. But only because he went to my high school
142. Ronnie Dunn
143. Carol Burnett
144. George Jones
145. Mike Jones (who’s probably related to George)
146. Patrick Swayze… RIP
147. We beat up Santa Anna
148. The Gulf of Mexico. It ain’t pretty, but it gets work done!
149. Seeing people take pictures on the side of the highway in bluebonnet patches
150. Kolaches
151. South Padre Island
152. Barton Springs
153. And if we are talkin about springs, Aquarena Springs
154. The Dallas Mavericks
155. The Chupacabra
156. We killed Bigfoot here recently…
157. Farrah Fawcett
158. Apparently, we also invented frozen margaritas!
159. Big Bend National Park
160. Garner State Park
161. Enchanted Rock
162. The Spurs
163. Eva Longoria
164. Steve Martin and his banjo.
165. The largest renaissance festival in the US
166. Houston rap (WANNA BE A BALLA)
167. We wave at our neighbors when we drive by
168. We say “Don’t mess with Texas” and we can back it up
169. World championship BBQ cook off
170. People not from Texas have the idea that we are supposed to ride horses everywhere
171. The San Jacinto monument is larger than the Washington Monument… We subtly like to show we are better than Washington.
172. Hot wingz! (Personally, bonfire wings and their boudin balls)
173. We built the first hotel completely over water, The Flagship… which was unfortunately wrecked during Ike.
174. Southern belles
175. Because of our cool shape, we have awesome Texas shaped everything from cookie cutters or waffle irons to cutting boards… You name it, we got it. It’s even the shape of some really cool tattoos (especially ones on people’s ribs.)
176. Texas Hold Em
177. All my best friends were born here! And love Texas as much as I do.
178. I was born here!!!

Beyond Blessed

Today, some of the most wonderful ladies in my life threw a wedding shower for me. I still feel so overwhelmingly blessed. The entire fellowship hall was redesigned into a beautiful, elegant, Cinderella-esque themed party and it was all for me!!
There was an array of soft blues and silvers and tons of glitter! There were so many little details you would’ve thought these ladies were the founders of Pinterest. As soon as I walked in, I was overcome with tears because of how beautiful it was… and it just kept getting better as the party went on!

I’m laying in bed now, smiling, thinking of some of my favorite parts. Here are some highlights for those who didn’t make it. And for those who did:

—I almost had all of my bridesmaids in the same place! 4 out of 5 were able to make it. It was so wonderful to see my best friends again. I can’t thank Taylor, Jenny, and Kate enough for taking the time to come down here and see me for a few hours. I know they are all busy, but I also know just how much they love me.
Megan helped throw this whole party together. I can’t believe how beautiful the place was. Every inch of that room was covered in love.
These four ladies are so amazing. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a million times over… I am so lucky to have such loving and giving bridesmaids!!!
—My stepdad’s Aunt Lois came. She’s probably in her 70s. She gave me 5 of her old cookbooks since she’s “too old to cook and won’t use them anymore.” (quote from her!) They look like they could have some awesome recipes in them. One of them even has butter in the title so you know it’s got good stuff! Wanna know the best part about these cook books? They are all from 1978-1985! They are older than me!! And, they were so genuinely passed on to me. I smile because of how sweet she was being and I laugh because I can’t believe she has cookbooks that were so old still! I love that she loves me enough to pass down something like that.
—It was so wonderful to see new and old friends there! I don’t have very many new friends in Houston, but the few that I do have showed up! I got to introduce them to my old friends and reassure my old friends that I’m doing ok, that I’m surviving, that I’m not alone anymore.
One of the oldies mentioned something about passing the torch. I don’t think that could ever happen… I could NEVER live without my girls, but, I think it’s great that I can learn to cope without seeing them every day. I see it as a sign that maybe Houston isn’t going to be as bad as I expected. I see it as God has great things planned for me and He’s beginning to unfold them by bringing in new friends!
—I got one of the sweetest notes I’ve ever received. When I say ever, I truly mean EVER. Nothing I’ve ever read has made me feel more special than this card. There is a family that I have grown up with. The parents have watched me grow up and I have watched their children grow up. I’ve babysat these kids and used to teach them in children’s church. Today, the family gave me a card and each of the girls I have watched grow up wrote me a special note inside. Each one of them told me how much they look up to me and are inspired by the way they’ve watched me handle different things in life. They told me how they’ve always watched me… and how they hoped to be just like me when they grew up. I’m crying again just thinking about it.
Never in a million years did I ever expect someone to say that about me. I never thought anyone watched me. I never thought anyone looked up to me; I’m not anyone special to look up to. I don’t do anything inspiring. I just try to make it through each day without falling apart. All this time, these girls were watching me, counting on me to succeed, following my example. I don’t even know how to begin to explain how honored I am to be a role model for them. It’s such a blessing. My heart is exploding with love for these girls.
—One of my favorite parts of the decorations was the coffee bar. I mean, if you know me, you know I can’t survive without my coffee. They had a cute little banner above it that said, “Love Is Brewing.” How precious is that?? The coffee was delicious too! There was every type of coffee, all kinds of sugars and creamers, and super cute Mr. and Mrs. cups. I don’t know how these ladies came up with it all, but I loved it!!

This is getting a little bit long, so I think I’ll keep it at a Top 5 Highlights List.

I still cannot believe just how blessed I was today. I truly didn’t deserve any of it. This whole day only solidifies my desire to marry Stephen. There’s no way today would have been as perfect as it was if God didn’t have His hand on this marriage. I only hope the actual wedding day goes as smoothly and beautifully as today did.

Thank you to everyone who had any part in today. I love you all.

Fed up.

I can’t stand it anymore. I’m so tired of people hating on those of us that are getting married at a young age.
Life is all about figuring out who you are.
Maybe some of you want to do that alone, but I do not. There is no doubt in my mind that I want to grow old with Stephen and experience every new thing with him. Go ahead, tell me it’s a cop out. Tell me I’m just afraid of being alone.. because I won’t deny that I’m not. I’m terrified of being left alone, but when Stephen wraps his arms around me I don’t feel that fear anymore. I’m conquering my fear with love.
Maybe some of you feel as if you haven’t lived yet and I’ll agree that I haven’t done much either, but I can tell you this: I am alive when I am with Stephen. He brings out a joy that I never had before him. He brings me the same happiness traveling or adventure brings you. He is my adventure.
Maybe some of you feel as if saying “I do” means “I’m done living,” but I don’t. To me, sharing vows with Stephen is the start of something new and exciting. Yeah, I know it’s going to be hard. Yeah, I know we’re going to struggle to pay for things and maybe I won’t be able to get my hair done as often as I’d like, but I’ll tell you what I do know. Once I say “I do,” I’ll be living with my best friend. I’ll always have someone to come home to and share my day with. I’ll have a travel partner, someone to hold my bags when we can afford to shop, a personal foot masseuse, a pair of open arms for whatever reason I need them, and one of the best cheerleaders to encourage me in every walk of life.
I am by no means quitting life. I’m just refusing to make memories by myself.

You want to defy your generational stereotype of getting married by not doing so, good for you.
I want to defy my stereotype by getting and STAYING married, by getting married and having fun with my husband, by creating new family stories to be told at the same time every Christmas get-together for years to come.

I’m getting married, but I’m not about to just start popping out children and forgetting what my dreams are. That’s not marriage, that’s the 50’s. Right now, I plan on taking my sexy husband everywhere whenever we can afford it. I plan on being that hot couple that makes other people jealous on vacation for a while. He deserves to be shown off. He deserves to be my center of attention. He deserves all of my love and affection, day in and day out. That’s what my marriage is. Growing with each other, loving each other, showering each other with affection. And, when I’m done being selfish, I’ll think about expanding my family.

I keep seeing lists of things I should’ve done before I got engaged or before I get married… I read over them all and of all the ones I’ve done, I’ve done with Stephen by my side! So explain to me why I shouldn’t continue doing new things with him?

Maybe you think if he loves me so unconditionally, there shouldn’t be any rush to get married. He’ll be there when I’m 30. Yeah, he will be. And by the time we’re 30, we will have 7 years of marriage under our belts! That’s 7 years added to our legacy. We are in a rush - a rush to get a jump start on being married for 60, 70, maybe even 80 years! That’s an the adventure of a lifetime. That’s the kind of adventure people will be talking about even after you’re gone.
If your 20s are supposed to be full of adventure, why keep yourself from an unpredictable one that never ends??

103 more days and our adventure of Mr. and Mrs. Henry begins!
You might not be ready, you might still be trapped by fear, you might want to tackle life alone, but I do not. People are built differently. Remember that next time you want to attack a young engaged couple.