Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Time to Celebrate

First of all, I would like to say that you are not crazy and I did redecorate my blog for Christmas. I know, it isn't even Thanksgiving yet. But I figured that I might as well do it now so that when it truly is Christmas time, I will be prepared. Besides, I only get to have it this way for like a month, so I am going to enjoy it while I can. 

Now, let's move on. Today marks 5 years of dating for Alex and I. This year it also happens to be the last time we will celebrate our dating relationship. And the best part about that is that we get to start celebrating our marriage after this year.

One of the things I have been thinking about the most in the past couple days is the beginning of my relationship with Alex. For those of you who know the whole story, you know that God had his hand on our relationship before we even had any feelings for each other. Our friendship formed through youth group, leading the worship team together and going on mission trips together. And I love that when we started dating, we got to continue those things as a couple. Our relationship was built on a foundation of ministry and that is something that we are both so excited to continue as a married couple. 

Alex and I have learned that when it comes to ministry, we are so much better as a team than we are when we each do things on our own. God brought us together and taught us to serve together before we were in a relationship so, when we started dating, He had already prepared us to serve as a couple with out us realizing it. And I am so looking forward to seeing how God will use us as a married couple. 

I have learned so much about love these past 5 years. And many of you have heard this passage of scripture from 1 Corinthians 13, but I am going to quote it here anyway.

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I am still learning about love. And I know I will be for the rest of my life. But I can say confidently that my relationship with Alex has taught me some of the best things about love and some of the hardest parts of love. I think my favorite part of this passage is "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance." I have learned how true this is; how powerful love can really be. And I try every day to not take it for granted.

Today, Alex and I are going to take time to celebrate the past 5 years together and enjoy looking forward to the rest of our lives together. I cannot express how thankful I am for Alex. When I was a teenager, thinking about who I wanted to be with, I never thought that I would end up with someone as wonderful as him.

I guess all that is really left to say is that I love you, Alex. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012



This is a word that in the coming month will be used a lot. For many of us, Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for the life that we have and the blessings that are around us. For some of us, Thanksgiving is about eating an amazing amount of food, taking a nap, then eating another amazing amount of food (and of course eating leftovers for a week following). 

I would like to take a moment right now to be thankful for the blessings in my life. Let's be honest, around the holidays we tend to get caught up in the "busyness" of everything. What with visiting family, friends, shopping for those great deals on Christmas presents, and the chaos of cooking enough food for an army...it is easy to forget why we are even doing all these things. 

So, here is a list of just a few of the things in my life that I am truly thankful for. Things that I really don't want to take for granted. Things that I should wake up every morning and thank God that He has seen fit to bless me. 

- My family. Not perfect, but I love them and I wouldn't trade them for anything.
- Alex. He is honestly more than I could have asked for in a future husband.
- Friends. Never did I imagine having a group of friends that feels more like family than anything.
- My bible(s). I never want to take for granted that I am free to read my bible wherever I choose.  
- My camera. God has blessed me with a way to earn income, that I truly enjoy.
- Music. Whether listening to it or participating, music is therapeutic to me. 
- My car. Get's me where I need to go, keeps me warm in the winter, cool in the summer.
- My computer. Keeping in touch with family out of state, helping teenage girls that I would never otherwise meet, the chance to market my business, and so much more.
- My bed. Sounds silly, but I have a bad back and my memory foam mattress topper is amazing. Also, I really enjoy sleeping.
- Coffee. There is something so comforting about a hot cup of coffee on a rainy fall morning.

This is just the beginning of a list that can go on forever. Trust me, once you start, it is hard to stop. You realize all the little things in your life that you are thankful to have. Obviously some things are really unimportant things that you can live without and be just fine, but that doesn't mean we can't be thankful for them anyway. 

I encourage you to sit down sometime when you have free time (before the craziness of the holidays begins) and make a list. Write down the things you are thankful for and a short blurb about why. Then here comes the crazy part, hang this list up somewhere in your house where you will see it every day. For me that will probably be by my desk where my computer is. But hang it up so you will see it and be reminded every day of the blessings in your life. Feel free to leave room on the bottom to add more. 

Have a wonderful day, and try to take some time to be thankful. It will make a huge difference in how you see the world. I know it did for me. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


This week Alex and I had our engagement photos taken. It was nerve wracking, exciting, and fun. Our photographer was amazing at making us laugh and feel comfortable. And I think that we got some really wonderful photos that I will cherish for a lifetime.

When I looked through the pictures with Alex it was really interesting to see us from an outside perspective. You know, we are a couple, we have our own unique quirks about us, and normally we don't get to see what other people see. These pictures have helped me remember some of the things that I really appreciate about Alex. It reminded me of the things that make us unique as a couple; things that I really cherish and enjoy.

So, here is a list of some of those things:
~ We are silly.
~ We love to laugh...at ourselves and each other.
~ Alex makes me feel safe, comfortable, and confident.
~ We enjoy music and playing music together.
~ We are dreamers. We aren't afraid to have dreams and chase them with each other.
~ We are each other's first love. 

I really could go on and on with this list, but I don't think anyone would keep reading. But I am feeling so blessed right now to have this amazing man in my life. I feel blessed to be a part of a relationship that is immensely more beautiful than I could have ever dreamed up. 

And now I want to encourage anyone who reads this to look at your relationships. It doesn't have to be a spouse or significant other. It could be a friend, or someone in your family. But look at your relationships and really take time to enjoy the special things about your relationship. Be grateful for those things and take the time to tell that person how much they mean to you. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Love...Real Love

Hey everyone, I know it's been awhile, but I haven't felt really inspired to write until this very moment. And let me tell you, it's sure to be a long one. So, brace yourselves, and keep in mind that today I will be writing about something that I am intensely passionate about.

I am struggling to find a way to jump into this post, but I guess the only way is to just start. Ladies, you deserve to be treated with respect, with love, with honor...like a princess. It doesn't matter how old you are, where you came from...it doesn't matter what you have done in your past or how many bad relationships you have had. You deserve to be treated right. And please, please don't ever settle for less. 

I don't know what has happened in our culture these days. I see women, of all ages, being treated like dirt and it infuriates me. I see men walking all over these women and using them for their own pleasure and happiness, completely disregarding common decency and respect. 
I do want to throw in a small disclaimer, I know that women can be abusive and treat men poorly, I am not denying that or putting all the blame on the guys here. But I am pointing out what is more common in the world around me, and that is women who have come to believe that they don't deserve to be treated with respect.

So, let me talk to the men here for a second. And this is for any guy who reads this blog, whether you are in a relationship or not. Stop. Take a second to look at how you treat the women in your life, romantic relationship or otherwise. Do you treat her like an object, like a tool to be used to make you happy? Do you expect her to fulfill your every want and need? How do you talk to her in public? How about in private? Are you encouraging or do you tear her down in order to make yourself feel better? Do you support her dreams and goals or do you expect her to give up on those things to be with you? Do you love her? Think about this one carefully. 

Do you love her? I am not talking about infatuation. I am not talking about physical desire or pleasure. I am talking about the kind, patient, humble, gentle, forgiving, self sacrificing love that every person on this earth deserves to have. I grew up being taught that it doesn't matter what you have done, it doesn't matter how rough your past is, you still deserve to be loved. 

Alright, now I want to talk to the ladies. Don't think that you are exempt. You need to be treating the men in your life with respect, honor, and love. There is no excuse for you either. Keep that in mind. But right now, I want to ask you...are you in a relationship that you know something isn't right? Do you feel deep down in your heart that something is wrong? Do you feel respected? Do you feel like you can be yourself and be accepted by this guy? Is he kind, patient, gentle, forgiving, and self sacrificing? How does he treat you in front of his friends? Do you feel like he is proud and humbled to be with you? Is he kind to you in private, when no one is around? Take a look at your relationship and really be honest with yourself about what is going on. 

I don't want anyone to think that I am biased against men right now. I know that there are plenty of women who have treated their man poorly, I have seen it and watched it rip relationships apart. But in the world around me, there are a lot of young people in relationships. And let's be honest, many teenage or college age guys these days have not been taught how to treat a lady (I am not giving them an excuse). I see so many of these young women I know in relationships that are full of emotional or verbal abuse and they are treated like an object to be used at someone else's convenience. 

To me, the worst part about all of this is that most of these women don't even know that they deserve better. They honestly believe in their hearts that they don't deserve to be treated well. It breaks my heart. 

Ladies, if you hear one thing in this moment, I want it to be this. You are worth it. You are worth being treated like a princess. You deserve a man who will pursue you and be respectful. You deserve a man who will love you for all your beautiful characteristics, and embrace all your faults, because he knows that they make you who you are. You deserve a man that will help you become a better person, through love and guidance. You are worth it. 

Let me say it one more time.
You are worth it. 

To close this post, I just want to offer to any ladies who are feeling discouraged, or are in a bad relationship, or just need someone to talk to...please email me. I am more than happy to talk with you and be whatever support I can be.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Be You-nique

As many of you who read my blog know, there are a lot of people getting engaged and married right now. We have all been to several weddings this summer and are already gearing up for all the weddings next summer.
It is a little different for me this year though, considering that one of the weddings I am going to next year is my brother's and one of them is my own wedding. It kind of puts it all in a new perspective. But I will say a few things about all these weddings going on. 

First, I have learned to appreciate how different every couple is. When you go to a wedding, you really get a glimpse of who the bride and groom are. You will see their family traditions, and usually their religious beliefs will come through along with that. Then there is the interesting aspect of the bride and groom's individual tastes somehow combining into one. Many will assume that everything down to the color of ribbon on the flowers was the bride's decision, but I am here to tell you that I have met plenty of grooms who had strong opinions on simple things like ribbons (my own fiance being one of them). 

Generally these days, you also get to see what kind of environment the couple is truly themselves in. I think it is normal for a couple to plan their wedding so that they are comfortable and able to truly be themselves. For instance, some couples get married in a church. For some, that is because of their beliefs. For others, it may be simply that they feel more comfortable in a place they grew up in or are familiar with. And then you have couples who get married in the woods, or by a lake. Maybe they are more comfortable outside, enjoying the beautiful surroundings that they have known their whole lives. And then there are people like me...

I want to get married outside for pretty much one, well maybe two reasons. Reason number one, I am a photographer. Indoor lighting is not my favorite, and nature makes for more beautiful photos if you ask me. Reason number two, I feel more free and comfortable being outside. I want to feel the sun on my back and a gentle breeze while I am standing with my husband-to-be, waiting to say "I do".

Another thing I have learned this summer is that I want my wedding to be unique. I want it to really reflect who I am, who Alex is, and who we are together. I want to express all the little quirks about our personalities and demonstrate just how much we really love and care for each other. More than anything, I want to have a day where we get to celebrate our relationship with all of our friends and family, all the people who have been a part of our relationship since before it even began.

That being said, brace yourselves. This wedding might be unlike any you have been to. Yes, we will have a pretty traditional ceremony. But after that, who knows what will happen? 

At this point I can confidently say that I am ecstatic to plan our wedding. And more than that, I am thrilled to be starting this chapter of my life with the most amazing man. A man that I am amazed saw fit to choose me and ask me to spend the rest of my life with him.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Freeing my Mind

So, as some of you know, I am a photographer. This summer I tried my hand at wedding photography. I definitely had a blast, but I also learned a couple things.

First, I learned that I don't want to be a wedding photographer. It has nothing to do with the couples I photographed, or how stressful it was, or any of that. It simply has to do with the fact that I would rather do photo shoots of children, families, or even engaged couples. Weddings are incredible events that are life changing and everyone loves to see photos from them, but for me, I would rather attend than photograph them. So, doing the weddings I did this summer taught me more about myself and my passion for photography, not too shabby. 

The second thing I learned is that it is impossible to plan your wedding while you have to spend hours editing photos from other people's weddings. And these aren't just random strangers either. These are friends. People who I know well and share similar interests and tastes with. So, basically I have spent the first month or so of my engagement surrounded by weddings. My brain is on overload to say the least. I decided about three weeks ago that I can't realistically make any decisions about my wedding (mostly decor and that type of thing) until I am done editing these photos and have given myself a break. I need to refresh my mind. 

Well, tonight I finished all my editing and I can now take a break and give my mind a chance to start fresh. There are some things I already know about my wedding. Alex and I are not very traditional. We don't want to do many of the things that people traditionally do at weddings. We have nothing against the traditions; they simply don't mean anything to us. For instance, we are not having cake at our wedding. I know what you are thinking...no cake?! Well, neither of us are really cake people, so we decided to have cookies instead. 

Another set of traditions we won't be doing are the dances at the reception. Alex and I don't really like to dance all that much and we also don't like being the center of attention. And for us, the time we have at the reception, we really want to spend it with our friends and family. But like, actually talking to them and taking the time to see who actually came to our wedding. We feel like all the extra stuff really just gets in the way of celebrating with the people we love. Sure, dancing will be an option, but not a requirement. 

I don't want anyone to think I am criticizing the way they did things at their wedding. I am a firm believer that every couple is different and will express themselves in different ways.
Tonight I am thinking about Alex and I and how we have an amazing chance to get to know each other even more. We are planning an event that should really demonstrate who we are as individuals and who we are as a couple. We get to dive even further into each other's characters, our likes and dislikes, our funny quirks. I am so excited to learn even more about this amazing man that I have the great honor of marrying. Should be quite an adventure. :)

~ sarah

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

So...we can't just elope?

Needless to say, Alex and I have started the process of this crazy thing called wedding planning. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not giving up, or turning into a crazy person...at least not yet. But let's be honest, nobody is ever prepared for how exhausting and complicated planning a wedding can really be. 

We think, oh, my wedding will be different. It will be stress free and we will make it work. But we know we will have the occasional disagreement and that things won't always go as planned. What I didn't expect was that Alex and I are both extremely picky. 

Naturally, our first task is to pick a venue and set a date. Well, we easily figured out the date we want to get married. We just can't set it in stone because it turns out there aren't many venues that can suit our very picky taste. I knew I would be picky because I am a photographer. It was easy to know that I would be looking at every venue with a photographer's eye. 

It was surprising to me that Alex has such strong opinions on the matter. For instance, he doesn't want a barn to have anything to do with our wedding. I don't disagree, while we both grew up in Enumclaw, neither of us grew up in the country. But let's be honest, about 70% of venues around here have a barn somewhere on the property. So, we are expanding our search elsewhere. 

We took a trip to Seattle yesterday to scope out some parks and gardens that are available to rent. We didn't really like any of them except one garden. It was gorgeous! The neighborhood was quiet and really nice...unfortunately, the garden was smaller than we anticipated and could probably only fit about 70 people realistically. So, we scratched that off the list. The day ended with five venues being crossed off and left us back at square one...and slightly discouraged.

But...I did learn something yesterday. I learned that Alex and I deal with frustration pretty well together. And I learned that there is almost nothing better after a long day than curling up on the couch together, watching funny TV shows and eating hummus. 

Really though, I learned to not take the simple things for granted. I learned that when you love someone, you don't have to have anything fancy or have everything figured out. All you need is to just be with each other and remember to laugh together every day.

~ sarah

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Dream Come True

I am engaged. I am a fiance. I will soon be a wife. And I am still waiting for it all to feel real. I am still in a dream state, but the ring on my finger is a gentle reminder that I am in fact engaged. I cannot even begin to express how I feel right now. This is the realization of a dream I have always had to only ever be with one man. I didn't want to date a bunch of guys to eventually find the one I was to marry. I wanted to have a relationship with one man that would last a lifetime. And now I am engaged and one step closer to marrying the man of my dreams. 

Many of my friends and family have been asking about the proposal, so I thought that I could just tell the story here...it is certainly worth telling. I don't know how to shorten the story, so I will warn you this will be a long post.

The whole thing started with Alex telling me that he wanted to take me to dinner. He said that because of the weather on my recent birthday, he wasn't able to do what he had originally planned and wanted to make up for it now. So, naturally I agreed and looked forward to a date night.

So, the evening started with driving up to our dear friend's house up on Lake Walker (A huge thank you is in order for Rich, Lynette, and of course, Anthony Stair.). As we approached the house Anthony came outside, all dressed up of course, and took the car and parked it for us. We then walked down to the lake to be greeted by another very dear friend, Joe, who was also dressed for the occasion. I looked out on the dock and saw a table with two place settings, candles, and flowers. There were rose petals all over the dock along with more candles. The setting was just beautiful. So, we sat down to a beautiful meal, prepared by Anthony, and enjoyed conversation and just being together (With nice music being played in the background by Joe).

Near the end of the meal, I heard the sound of a paddle boat coming up from behind us and saw that Joe was bringing the boat around for us. We then went on a beautiful boat ride around the lake. I think it is important for Joe and Anthony to know that during the paddle boat ride, we talked a lot about how blessed we are to have such wonderful, caring friends. When we neared the dock again, I was delighted to see that the dock was lit up with more lights and candles, it was really beautiful. When we were back on shore we then made the walk back to the car and were on our way. In my mind I was thinking, wow, this was an incredible date, and I was feeling very blessed to have such an amazing, thoughtful man and to have such generous friends.

Little did I know, the night was far from over. Alex has asked me during the paddle boat ride if I wanted to go for a walk when we got back to town. Since it was such a nice night, I agreed. We stopped at the store to buy something to drink and then Alex drove us to the Grocery Outlet parking lot and said that it would be nice if we took a walk on the Enumclaw-Buckley Trail. A side note: this trail has significance in our relationship, before we were dating we had a conversation here when Alex told me that I was worth pursuing and he was not going to give up on us being together. 

So, we began our walk down the trail, all the while reminiscing about our relationship and all the milestones and fun moments. We talked about how God has blessed us with a season to rest and focus on being a couple and learn even more about each other. When we crossed the road to the second half of the trail, there was a tent of sorts with sheer fabric hanging down from the sides and you could see that there were candles inside. I was still very oblivious at this point and didn't even think that this beautiful setting would have anything to do with me. But we walked around to the entrance and I was taken aback by what was inside. There were candles lit and there were pictures of Alex and I hanging all around inside the tent. I will tell you, that was the moment that my heart skipped a beat and I knew that this was not just a date.

Alex then spoke about how this had nothing to do with my birthday and that it was about me and him. I have to be honest, I don't remember what he said after that, everything happened so fast. But I do remember him getting down on one knee, pulling out a ring, and asking me to marry him. At this point I was crying and could barely speak the word yes, but it was enough for him to know to put the ring on my finger. We then hugged each other for what seemed like forever in that moment. And then I heard the gentle sound of music...

Alex took my hand and we went around the trees to find Anthony and Joe playing a song and celebrating the moment with us. I have to tell you that I am so grateful and feel so blessed to have those two there to share in that moment. So, after the song we then made the walk back to the car. Everything was so surreal. I had never been happier or felt more loved than right at that moment.

We went back to Alex's house and he led me to the side of the house and to a ladder. We climbed up to the roof to be greeted by two chairs, ice cream sundaes (from his parents), and a bottle of champagne (from his brother). We sat and enjoyed the moment together knowing that this was the beginning of the rest of our lives together.

I am blessed. Alex is the most amazing man and I cannot describe how it feels to know that he chose me.

<3 sarah