#MyBigFatZimWedding: The Bridal Shower

Now that I have been married almost 5 months (!!), it’s about dang time I fill y’all in on all the happenings of wedding season 2016. Over the next 10 weeks we’ll be celebrating Friday Brideday and I’m SO excited because I’ve been planning these posts for months. Today’s first segment in My Big Fat Zim Wedding is the bridal shower recap. All in all, I had a total of 4 bridal showers. I was amazed, astounded, and overwhelmed with love from our dear friends and family who came together to support our new life together with pots and pans and gift cards. Oh the gift cards. You can keep those things forever (so long as they don’t expire!) and you’ll be set for whenever you get the urge to go to Target and buy some decor and your husband questions your judgment/budget and you say “But we have gift cards!”

We had four wedding showers – each a month apart right before the wedding. Because I wanted to wait until Pai moved in to truly unpack/move everything in, my dining room was overrun with stuff for weeks. And it still is. We just cleaned our office out from the actual wedding day and Christmas last week. While we removed all the wedding shower gifts from the dining room, it’s still overrun with wedding decor. I don’t think we’ll ever officially move into our house until we move out into another house. Can any other brides relate?!

Bridal Shower Recap

August

My Aunt Cassie threw a Pampered Chef shower for me at my mom’s house. It was a small get together where our good friend and Pampered Chef lady did a cooking show to display some of the new products at Pampered Chef. I had “circled some items” in the catalog that I could use/ were of interest to me. My favorite item was our bakeware. . .which I sadly cracked five months later when I turned the wrong burner on the stove. It was sitting on top. It was a crazy night and I texted our Pampered Chef lady several cry emojis.

bridal shower cards

September

Pai and I were blessed by our church family with a fun Jack & Jill shower. It was Pai’s first time really stepping into wedding world, and by the end of the afternoon he was overwhelmed and his face hurt from all the smiling. I said, “If you’re tired of smiling now, just wait until December!” Our church family shower was full of delicious treats and fun games. They played the “bride” game where you can’t say the word “bride.” I stink at any and all of those games, so I automatically resolved that I would never win. Instead one of the girls from our college ministry gathered around 7 or 8 rings. It was insane.

party games for bridal shower

October

Pai’s mom threw a wedding shower Zimbabwean style. It was really neat to see how the Zim women party it up when they’re getting ready to get married. She called on all her friends from church and women from the African community to come and shower us with love and toasters. But before we could get to the presents, there was a program to follow.

We each picked out a card when we came in that had a question about marriage. Everyone filled out a question whether it was “How can you express love to your husband if it is physical affection?” or “How do you prepare a budget?” <– A budget queen extraordinaire accidentally picked up this card. She had budgeted and saved so much that she had retired by her mid-40’s. #LivingTheDream. We went around the room, and each of the ladies shared their wisdom. I eventually got to keep all the index cards to file away for a rainy day.

For a typical Zimbabwean wedding shower, the focus is more on imparting wisdom and worshipping. Before we ate a late lunch and opened presents, a few ladies led in a few worship songs and then one of the pastors shared a sermon on marriage.

bridal shower sign

November

The ladies at my home church threw our final shower just a few weeks before the wedding. I went home for the weekend and found myself loved on by all the ladies who watched me start off as an awkward 10 year old. My sisters came up with some fun shower games including “Guess the Age” where there were several photos of me from baby until the not-so-cute bad hair middle school years. S/O to my childhood bestie for getting almost all of the ages right.

We played several more games (including mad libs which my bestie and I tried to make a liiiiittle dirty at our nice church shower) and ate delicious cake and more chips and salsa than my belly could bear. Evidently the Mexican restaurant I worked at a couple summers ago donated chips and salsa to my shower and gave us way more than we could handle. We ate jars of salsa and several bags of chips at our house for weeks afterwards until blisters formed on our tongues. It was so comforting to step back into my hometown to be showered upon by giggly, Southern Baptist women and be loved on by so many people in my home church.

wedding dress cupcake

Wedding showers were something I was looking forward to most in the wedding season – not because of all the gifts/attention, but because it served as a great reminder that there were so many people supporting our marriage, loving on us, and surrounding us with prayer and pots and pans.

bridal shower

bridal shower

*all photos courtesy of AK Wills Photography
**all photos are also from the same wedding shower because I couldn’t find any of my photos from all the other showers. Woops.

Celebrating Color

 

We need to see color. We need to celebrate color.

I didn’t grow up thinking white people were better than any other race, but I never grew up around anyone who wasn’t white. When I was in middle school, I discovered the Fresh Prince of Bel air and crushed hard on Will Smith. In high school I befriended the two black guys in my high school. One of whom reminded me of Will Smith. I knew they were black, but I didn’t think anything else of it. I’m sure the words, “I don’t see color” fell out of my mouth a few times.

It wasn’t until I was in college and started dating my now-husband that I realized how many things I had done in ignorance could be perceived as racist. When my husband, Pai, and I started dating, I had that safe place to ask the ignorant questions. I learned about systematic racism, I learned about the white savior complex. I learned that saying “I don’t see color” whitewashes the incredible experience and story each person of color carries.

 

I could feel the eyes. A couple of times I noticed (mostly from the older generation) people staring at us as we walked, hand in hand. And in my lack of graciousness, would look them dead in the eye as I held on tighter to my handsome chocolate man. Once, when we went home to see my family, I noticed someone staring at us as we were stopped next to each other at the stoplight. I turned to Pai and said, “Kiss me” and then made sure I kissed him passionately. He thought I was being sweet. I was being rebellious against the ill-conceived notions that races shouldn’t mix. . .

Read more

Today I’m guest posting at Sage the Blog, by Cassie. She is a lifestyle blogger, grad student, and mama-to-be. 

The Most Important Marriage Lesson

#1 Marriage Lesson

I recently walked in on my husband using steel wool on our new wedding plates.

“Honey!” I said in a hushed yell. I kindly asked him not to use steel wool on our wedding plates. They were expensive, and it could scratch! Unless you’ve been using it when I’m not looking. . . I trailed off as I handed him a dishrag. It didn’t quite do the job as well, he said. It just needs a little elbow grease.

I walked back into the living room to text my Mom about what I just walked in on: my husband sweetly offered to do the dishes because he knows how much I love cooking, and how much I dread the clean up afterwards.

I wasn’t going to text my Mom to brag, I was going to text her to commiserate over our husbands using unorthodox dish washing methods.

But then I paused.

While Pai and I were dating, I read an article calling wives to rise above the stereotypes.. The article outlined the ways that media can influence our marriage. Often on TV, the Dad or the Husband is made out to be the dumb one. I aligned with the article. Yes! Let’s empower our husbands though our words!

And here I was, getting ready to belittle my husband (albeit in a light-hearted way) because he was doing something I thought was wrong or dumb.

What if he treated me like an idiot because I did something wrong while we were kicking the soccer ball around? Even though I played one whole year of soccer, I know I’m not the most talented and the one who’s up to speed here. If he made fun of me, or complained about me to his dad or one of his buddies, I would be crushed.

But my husband honors me. Even in the way we argue – which, yes, we do argue. Not as often as we did when we first started dating, thank goodness, but we do have a disagreement here and there. When we argue, he still speaks to me in a way that honors me and makes me feel safe.

Someone recently asked me what is the biggest thing I’ve learned in marriage so far.

“Don’t be passive aggressive. Be aggressive-aggressive.” I joked.

I can’t believe that we’ve already been married for 4 and 1/2 months and younger couples ask, “What have you learned so far?”

While I have learned a lot (and will continue to learn more!) most importantly I’ve learned the sacredness of respect and honor.

I always want my husband to be lifted up both through my words and my attitude in referring to him. I told my friend, “Your friends and family see your boyfriend/fiance/husband through your eyes. So how do you want to portray him?”

While I will brag all day long about how wonderful Pai is, we both are flawed. But I don’t need my mom to know about his flaws. He doesn’t need his co-workers to hear about how I was too lazy to throw in the laundry and now he doesn’t have his khaki pants to wear for the week.

What his co-workers, my mom, and our friends need to know is how our relationship is thriving. I believe in authenticity in relationships, but I believe in honoring at all times. Yes, a true relationship has its ups and downs. But a healthy relationship consists of two people honoring each other, even in the little things.

Why I Gave Up Social Media

Why You Should Cleanse Yourself from Social Media

It’s not until someone says, “Oh, did you see this on Facebook?” and I reply, “No, I gave up social media for Lent” that they say, “Ohhh that makes sense. I was wondering why you’ve been quiet.”

I’m the type of blogger who is hit with the elusive muse, pounds out a couple of blog posts for a consistent month, and then I just get tired. I get tired by a lot of different things – maybe because I have too many irons in the fire, or the harder truth – maybe because I’m just lazy.

Why I Gave Up an Online Presence 

I gave up social media for Lent for 3 reasons:

1 ) I didn’t think I could. I was so addicted to Scrolling Syndrome that I didn’t actually believe I could make it through an entire work day without checking Facebook. I didn’t think I could sit through a Netflix binge without seeing what was up with Instagram

2 ) I needed to cleanse myself of opinions. I found myself bogged down with everyone’s thoughts and opinions. Anxiety started to take control of my heart and I started worrying about things 100% beyond my control. I questioned people. I questioned myself. I found myself increasingly disappointed with others and myself.

3 ) I couldn’t keep up. I started to see my Instagram following grow. I was hashtagging, curating a “theme” on my feed, and spending way too much time thinking of pictures, how to edit them, and how to caption them. When I first had Instagram, I would scroll for 10 minutes before I went to bed and called it a day. Now I found myself obsessively checking my notifications, planning posts, and forgetting to enjoy the moment without thinking, “How can I add this to my feed?.”

What I Expected

I expected to spend more time in my Bible, in quiet time, and journaling.

I expected my house to get cleaner.

I expected to feel lighter.

I expected to be more productive at work.

I expected to finally get our office organized and finally start on my creative writing portfolio.

I expected to read more.

What Actually Happened

I have been sleeping better because I wasn’t on my phone as much before I go to sleep, and if I was, I was reading my Bible app.

I didn’t spend as much quality quiet time as I thought I would because there were still many other distractions i.e. sleeping in, Netflix, Snapchat, books, Pinterest. . .the list could go on.

My house did not get much cleaner. I’m just not a good housekeeper.

Some days at work I wondered how I was going to fill my time because my to-do list seemed so short. But I found every day there was always something to do even when I didn’t think there was. It’s like the mountains of laundry that are never finished.

I did read more. I read a LOT. And I was able to enjoy it without feeling like I needed to check my phone.

Surprising Finds

I was surprised to find that I didn’t miss Instagram or Twitter one iota throughout my Lenten fast. In fact, I was relieved that I didn’t have the tug to scroll. I did miss Facebook almost every day, though. I felt out of the loop in the lives of people and in the world and I missed the important NY Times and NPR articles about food and anthropology and sociology. Never mind that I could have visited these sites on my own accord. . .

I thought all my anxiety would subside without the Internet world, but anxiety is sometimes inescapable. While it was better, I still experienced bouts of anxiety. It’s up to me to choose what I dwell on. It is up to me to pray through/meditate through those moments when I felt anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

I spent a lot of time introspecting on my online presence and the purpose behind it. I almost didn’t come back. But through the encouragement of my husband, I knew I needed to continue to write.

It’s been a day since I’ve added social media back into my life, and I already hate it. I got on Facebook several times yesterday just for a few minutes each. Did I need to? No. I was just bored.

So moving forward. . .

I know that I don’t need to be on social media when I’m bored. I can find other things to do.

I know that I need to find time to myself throughout the day where I’m not with my phone. The silence is so refreshing.

I know that I need to continue writing, both on the blog, and in my personal time. I am so thankful to have a place where I can share my thoughts. I forget how much I love the quiet of a morning with my cup of coffee, the sun pouring in, and the clackity-clack of my fingers dancing across the keyboard. Thank you for continuing on this journey with me.

 

Publishing for Yourself

publish for yourself

After I went political on Facebook, I dove deep into a Gilmore Girls binge. I hid under the covers of provocative books [provactive here meaning books that take your breath away with the cruelty of man, causing your brain to process multiple emotions at once – anger, shock, sadness, relief – and filter through thoughts such as “This happens in real life.”] and surrounded myself with happy throw pillows.

Most of my thoughts lately have been released into safer spheres like my journal and my husband, friends who agree, friends with different perspectives and a Jesus who listens, even on those days where praying is sometimes an afterthought.

Introspection:searching for God in you

Bravery is confronting yourself before you put yourself out there. It’s a year of new adventures and I’ve lazily been avoiding the art of introspection. I’m learning that introspection is not about me. Introspection is about finding who God made me to be.

You can’t be authentic online when you’re not authentically you

The important things my heart needs to say are trapped between lists and DIY projects. In my creative writing class in college, my professor critiqued my submissions saying, “Make this sound less bloggy.” I’ve been bloggy for almost 5 years and that puts my writing style in a box.

The search continues

Every so often you have to go back and find your voice. The last time I tried to post 5 days ago my words just trailed off and I found myself too deep in thought and too frustrated with the writer’s block.

I write about it often – the curse of the blinker and the white screen. I’ve found that blogging comes easier when I write it down on paper first.

A lot of bloggers talk about writing for your audience. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. And I agree half heartedly.

I would say first:

Know yourself.
Know your worth.

And it’s ok to publish for yourself. The people who want to see more of you will show up.