My Wedding Day

It may not surprise you to learn that I was a bit of a control freak about my wedding. I’d been planning it since I was 3, after all. It may also not surprise you to learn that not everything went the way I planned for it to on my wedding day. #pandemic, am I right?

In every wedding, there are things that don’t go quite according to plan. When that happens, you adjust, you move on, and you hope the bride isn’t traumatized. At my wedding, there were definitely those things. For instance, I had planned for us to take pics with special “Bride” and “Groom” masks, but we accidentally left the masks in the car and took pics with them on our honeymoon instead. Things like that. No big deal.

PC: Jovanna Penney – I’m pretty sure we never got a smiling pic where everyone was looking at the camera. And three of my attendants attended on a tablet.

But there were two big things that didn’t go as planned, things that kind of rocked my world when I realized what God was doing.

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HACKED! Again. And a Happily Ever Beginning

Dear Charity Eldred,

Today I watched you get married. I saw your first look with your earthly groom. I helped you set up for the wedding and got ready this morning with you. Who knew what a journey Jesus would take us on when He gave us each other for 7 and a half years. Now We have others we have been given to and I couldn’t be happier for you! Yes, I even cried, multiple times, including writing this.

I love you. Dearly and deeply and truly. So tell Brian he better catch up and exceed me, that he must love you more than I do (but still less than Jesus). I couldn’t imagine when we moved in together al that we’d go through. Grieving about family strife together. Praying for salvation of loved ones and rejoicing with tears when prayers are answered. You took my family to be your own and I loved how amazingly funny and witty your family was (is). We fought like sisters and loved like sisters-in-Christ. We filled a place in each others lives that I don’t think our husbands can be to us, so you will forever be my sister-friend-roomie.

You have been the best example of self-less love that I have ever seen. I am so happy you get to share that with your life-partner now. Loving him as his wife will be a different kind of love than loving him as girlfriend or fiance. Loving him in marriage will show you a better picture of how Christ loves us as His bride and I can’t wait to talk with you about how your love for Jesus will grow because of this better understanding.

Honestly, I had a whole sappy letter planned out for you in this hack, but I can’t stop sniffling and I don’t want runny mascara, so… No clue where this will go now! Ha!

I love you because you are unashamedly you. You have no shame and you encourage others to see themselves in the same way-with no shame.

I love you because you are a robot who never doubts the love of our Saviour yet never judge others who have doubts.

I love you because you are always wanting snuggles and hugs and watching binge-worthy shows together.

I love you because you love so freely, and it taught me to love deeper.

I love you because you love my family.

I love you because Jesus made you so wonderfully and fearfully, and you never pretend to be perfect in-spite of it. 😉

The amount of things I would want to say to you on your wedding day is vast, but that’s because of how much we have shared together in almost a quarter of our lives. Charity, remember to be kind and quick to listen. Remember to turn off the lights you aren’t using to save on electricity. Remember to taste food as you cook it so you can adjust the seasoning. Remember that I am always willing to go dress shopping with you. And remember how you will always and forever be my roomie.

I love you.

Happy Beginning of Marriage!

My Fiancé and My Upcoming Wedding

Reader, I’m marrying him.

The man I talked about in my last post—well, he proposed in March, and we’re getting married in September.

I held off posting, mostly because I’ve been doing stream-of-consciousness posts on my Facebook page about wedding planning. But also partly because none of my jumble of thoughts have come neatly around to the Gospel. Or they’re so tangled up in the Gospel that I can’t sort them out? Yeah, we’ll go with that one. In any case, I just thought I’d type and see what comes out.

Being engaged has been lovely. Everyone says engagement is sooooo hard. Okay, it’s hard. But it’s not soooooo hard. It’s hard to be not living with my man yet. It’s hard to do wedding planning while also moving him into our new condo and figuring out which walls to paint and furniture to buy. It’s hard to be figuring out step-motherhood when your future bonus son is with his dad unpredictably (actually, no, that part has been pretty fine so far; it’ll probably be harder later). It’s hard to plan a wedding in the middle of a pandemic. It’s hard to find time for premarital counseling and date nights and downtime.

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My Boyfriend and My Retainer

(Pic of me as a 15-year-old with braces)

I have a story to tell you all, with some Gospel lessons mixed in; but before I dive into a story that involves my boyfriend, let me just update you on some life news.

I have a boyfriend! His name is Brian. We met on Bumble (an online dating app). He lives locally, loves Jesus, respects me, and is pretty great at communicating. We have been official since August of 2019, and I thought maybe you all would like to know that.

I had my first kiss! Brian gave me my first kiss, out by the pool one day. That’s a story in itself, but suffice it to say that I had to do a ton of processing about the fact that I’ve lost my “never been kissed” identity. (It’s pretty great, not gonna lie.)

My roommate got married! My roommate whom I blogged so much about, and who even wrote a surprise guest post one time, met and married the love of her life. After 7 years together, we’ve been living in separate houses about 35 minutes apart from each other since December, and let me tell you – it’s weird.

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Guest Blogger: Chelsea

Hey guys, I’ve been kind of crazy lately with a ton of life events (I promise to catch you all up soon, I promise!). In the meantime, my Internet friend Chelsea wrote a post in one of our mutual Facebook groups, and I asked her to turn it into a blog post.

What you need to know about Chelsea: She is dating the love of her life, Quinn, and she blogs over at Check it out and give her some encouragement over there!

On with Chelsea’s story…

I’m writing this at 1:45 am because that’s what time I finally made it to my house after my flight got delayed today. I will probably regret this tomorrow even though I’m posting it well after I’ve written it.

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My Forever Person

I’ve been having a rough time lately, I’m just gonna be real with you. I’ve been trying to get a business off the ground (and having to work 3 other part time jobs to support myself while I do that). I’m a deacon at my church; but now that I have actual responsibilities, I have no motivation to do them. A few months ago, I asked God to show me my sin and the ugliness of it; so now I’m having to confront some deeply-seated character flaws, and all of the soul-searching and repenting that comes along with that kind of sanctification.

On top of all of that, my roommate (who has been “my person” for almost 7 years) has fallen in love with the man of her dreams, and she’s spending more time and energy and emotions on that relationship than on ours – and even on my best days, when I’m most supportive and least jealous and happiest for their relationship, it still sucks. A lot. In ways I have yet to put into words. (And even though part of me knows that it’s okay to acknowledge the suckiness, I feel guilty for saying that publicly because it feels selfish to be anything but happy for her.)

Theeeeennnn, on top of all THAT, I picked online dating back up for a couple of weeks recently, and if that doesn’t cause you to question everything you knew about life and people and your self-worth, nothing will. (It’s not actually that dramatic, but you know me and my drama queen-ness – and my online dating stories, haha.)

Anyway, all that to say, I’ve been feeling a little…um, unraveled lately. There’s a lot to unpack there, and probably about 5 different ways I could take this post, but I want to talk about one thing that really kind of made me stop and think lately, and be thankful for Jesus.

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Our Identity in Christ: Who are We, and What are We Doing Here?

About 6 months ago, I spoke at my church and at another church, on the topic of “Our Identity in Christ.” Since it was advent season, I chose to narrow the focus to Jesus’ making his home with us (so we could make our home with him). Here are my “sermon notes” from that talk.

Good evening, Merry Christmas, everybody!

[explain Identity Theft and what it is, say I used it as inspiration tonight, and all the quotes I use are going to be from it.]

The title of my talk is “Who Are We, and What Are We Doing Here?” Who are we? And what are we doing here? I have 4 points – well, I have 2 questions for you to ponder, and 2 statements for you to digest – that I am going to point out as we go along.

Kat has been telling me all year about the Kaleo ladies’ meetings, and how you’ve been meeting to Gospel each other through singleness, motherhood, and marriage. Just hearing about the topics and discussions has been encouraging to me, and I don’t even go here! Actually, those three things lead nicely into our topic tonight, but I want to open it up even further. What are some other titles that define us or our relationships with other people? We have single, married, and mother, but what else is there? [open up the floor for answers – mother, sister, daughter, employee, etc.]

Now you don’t have to answer this question out loud, but think about it in your head: how often do you fail at being that thing that you just called out? Or how often to do you fail at being good at it?

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Book Review: 7 Myths about Singleness

7 Myths about Singleness

Spoiler alert: this book is great, and I think everyone should read it.

Before I was halfway through the first chapter, I was blown away; before I was done with the book, I was already recommending it to people. Also, it’s short and cute—like me!—so I was able to finish it in a day and a half without even trying. Okay, maybe with a little trying.

Sam Allberry is known in the Christian community for his work on friendship in singleness, and perhaps more broadly known for being someone who struggles with same-sex attraction (SSA) but chooses to live celibately because, Bible. I was interested to see how much of those two things would come into play in this book. The first one did—and so beautifully—and the second one didn’t at all.

The book is laid out with an introduction, 7 chapters (each corresponding to a myth about singleness), a conclusion, and an appendix. The meat of the book, unsurprisingly, is in the 7 chapters, which are titled:

  1. Singleness is Too Hard
  2. Singleness Requires a Special Calling
  3. Singleness Means No Intimacy
  4. Singleness Means No Family
  5. Singleness Hinders Ministry
  6. Singleness Wastes Your Sexuality
  7. Singleness is Easy

Perhaps one of the most charming, most utterly REAL things about this book is the juxtaposition and coexistence of the first and last truths. I felt like those two chapters alone validated all of my feelings about singleness and gave me words for things I didn’t know I needed words for.

I’m not going to go through and spoil each chapter, but I will touch on a few things that stuck out to me because of where I am in life right now. Read More

Online Dating: Part 2

I’ve been trying out dating on a free online dating site recently, and I thought I’d share some of my advice (Part 1) and experiences (Part 2).

These stories are offered without comment. The names have been withheld to protect the…ummm…innocent? This post is just for fun; my single friends who have tried online dating can probably attest that these things do happen.

MAN 1:

My profile: I love Jesus, volunteer at church, and am looking for a man who loves Jesus.

Man person: hi [insert opening line here]

Man person’s profile: Religion – nonreligious

Me: Hi, I’m looking for someone who loves Jesus and attends church regularly. Would you say that describes you?

Man person: yes, that’s totally me!

Me: great! Where do you go to church?

Man person: I’m looking for a church right now.

Me: Where do you live? I’ll recommend one. <proceeds to recommend local Reformed church in San Diego>

I’ve had this conversation AT LEAST A DOZEN TIMES. Read More

Online Dating: Part 1

It’s been a hot minute since I posted, and I didn’t really know if I ever would again. But I’ve been trying out dating on a free online dating site recently, and I thought I’d share some of my advice (Part 1) and experiences (Part 2).

The Blithe Bachelorette’s guide to online dating

1. Make sure you are the only human in your photos. If you are with another person of the same sex, we don’t know which one is you; if you are with a person of the opposite sex we don’t know if you are a player. If you are with a child or infant, we don’t know if he/she is yours. Pets and aliens are okay in pics.

2. No shirtless (or nearly shirtless) selfies. We don’t want you for your body. Yet. Wait until the wedding night for that.

3. Selfies should be taken from an angle showcasing your face, Read More