I let exhaustion, stress and worry choke and stifle me to the point of dizziness last week. It was like I had tunnel vision and all I could see was the overwhelming to-do list for wedding plans [invitations and last minute changes to the guest list!], the fearful what-ifs and the comparison games I like to play in my head. It was hard to see much outside of it and to be quite honest, looking back at last week, most of it is a blur – which saddens and kind of scares me. How could I let my petty human fears and worries stress me to the point that I spent most of a work week not seeing the beautiful life around me?

It all hit me early Friday evening as I drove to my fiancé and his family’s home for Torah study. It had snowed earlier in the day, heavy, wet snow, and the trees were gloriously coated. It looked like a scene from Narnia. So gorgeous, so pristine. While I wanted nothing of it, the tunnel vision had faded enough that I could see past the wedding plans and the longing for spring to the beauty of it. It was as though I’d been stuck in a groundhog day sort of dream and had finally woken up enough to see that the view was only part of it and colored by the worries in my head.

It was beautiful.

And so it was for the rest of the weekend. All my worries about wedding plans were left in the blur from earlier in the week and it was marvelous just to rejoice and be happy…because it was a wedding weekend, just not mine. 🙂 My younger brother and his Caitlin said their vows and were married and it was beautiful and perfect and I still am so happy, my cheeks hurt from smiling. I wish and hope the very best happily ever after together as they live the rest of their lives serving God together.

It’s the serving God part that I think I forgot last week. It’s so extraordinarily easy for me to develop tunnel vision that blocks out God that’s not funny and just plain ordinary. Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts arrived in the mail mid-week and while I didn’t really get to read much of it until Sabbath, I think it was part of the catalyst to break up the fog of tunnel vision in my head. As I read about how she’s always struggled with worrying and doubting God’s grace, I knew that this book was what I needed right then and there. Finding the joys – the gifts – during and in spite of stress (whether work or family/relationship or wedding-related), that’s loving and trusting God and His grace, His gifts. And that’s an area I need and want to work more on.

So it’s Monday and even though last week was a blur, I’m counting the blessings that were there then and throughout the weekend. Surprisingly, in spite of the blurry vision in retrospect, there are a lot to count today.

194. welcoming home a brother who came back for one of the happiest things ever: his own wedding
195. laughing and loving-living life as we learned dance moves from him and his Caitlin
196. my man who is such a rock to me when I’m blue
197. turkey dinner on a winter’s day, home-made everything
198. stacks of invitations, all stuffed, stamped and addressed and a guest list that has check marks next to every name
199. listening to my brother practice a song as a gift for his future wife
200. coffee on a sleepy Friday morning
201. intriguing riddles from a co-worker and discovering the answers to them
202. jokes [about my new hat and yodeling] that slide right off my back instead of hurting
203. snow-covered trees glistening along twilit country roads
204. feeling home as I fall into my man’s arms for a hug hello
205. Torah study to make me think
206. curling up on the couch with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law to be and chatting in early morning sun
207. looking at stains for the kitchen table my love is making for our home
208. singing along with music while driving
209. chocolate mocha cake that tastes like heaven
210. a little brother who loves to dance
211. a glass of wine with pasta
212. red high heels and a little black dress
213. the look on the groom’s face at the sight of his bride
214. two becoming one family by promising to love and cherish each other
215. getting to sit at the ‘cool’ table for dinner
216. getting down on the dance floor with family and friends
217. a huge group-hug-dance that made me want to cry: all of my family and Caitlin’s family linking arms and swaying on the dance floor ❤ it began with Andrew, Caitlin, her sisters and mom and it just grew, grew, grew
218. dancing soft and slow with my love and dreaming of our first dance when we’re married
219. singing Wedding Carols on the way back to the hotel after the reception: ‘deck the halls with lots of white linen, fa-la-la-la-la-la!’
220. and a million precious memories of the first family wedding ❤

holy experience

(photos are by my sister and are from the rehearsal dinner…four couples – three generations – practicing dancing <3)