Thursday, September 26, 2013

An Ode to How My Car Died

The Before and After Shot

There once was a car named Betty. 
She was a red little Chevy.
I drove her to school everyday. 
And finally, the brakes gave way. 
The bright red "brake" light was on for weeks. 
I ignored it for awhile, as I am cheap. 
When I finally slid through an intersection
I knew it was time to take some action. 
So I drove her to the local shop. 
Gave them my keys, and said "Good luck."
The next day I got a call
saying I shouldn't be driving her at all. 
Yes, the break pads were bad.
But that wasn't the worst problem she had. 
Her brake lines were rusted out. 
Her shocks were unattached, wiggling about. 
The rust was so bad, they would barely lift her. 
The more he talked, the more I felt sicker. 
When the list of ailments was finally done, 
he said "I think this might be the one."
He meant it was time to pull out a sheet
and cover the old girl, put her out of her misery. 

So I went to drive her to trade her in. 
But I couldn't just leave on a whim. 
The mechanic made me sign a waiver
before I could even take her. 
He actually said "You really shouldn't drive it.
If I could impound her, I would've done it."
So I carefully drove the ol' girl to Chevy. 
And handed over the keys from Betty.
I said my good byes, and yes, it was sad. 
But now a reliable vehicle is to be had. 
That's right folks, I'm upgrading twenty years. 
No more lacking brakes, no more fears.
I was driving her every day
praying I make it to where I lay. 

Now I have a big girl car.
It can take me near and far. 
No more shaking, leaking and rust. 
Finally, a vehicle I can trust. 
You served me well, oh Betty of '93. 
But you've been replaced, by an Equinox of Chevy. 
Welcome to the family, oh silver SUV. 
I'll call you Duchess, cute and classy. 

Front view of Duchess 

We're a little geeked if you can't tell...

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

R.I.P Betty, My First car

Oh Betty,

My beautiful, two door, red Chevy Beretta.

You served me well over these past five years.

Yes, you broke down. A lot. Yes, you were a hot box with no air conditioning. Yes, it was hard to jam to music without a CD player. Yes, the stalling, strange noises, and leaking was inconvenient (to say the least...).

But you were the star of many adventures.

You helped friends and I caravan all over West Michigan for late night adventures.
You were filled with many toys and surprises that led to many fun times.
How about the shaving cream fight in the parking lot of my high school?
How about the foam sword you housed to protect me (assuming it was dark so no one knew I was wielding a foam sword instead of a real one)?
How about the silly string fights?
How about the many trips to the other side of the state to visit the man during out long distance days?
How about the times I cried in you riding back from those same trips?
How about the times I cried just because I was an emotional teenager?

Thank you, Betty, for getting me from here to there, and much more.

You were my first car and will always hold a special place in my heart.

R.I.P Betty. Sorry I had to pull the plug. You will be missed.

Love and Blessings,


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Trusting God When You Think Your Husband Is Severely Mangled When He Doesn't Reply to a Text

Yesterday started out like any other day. I had a long day of classes. Usually I see the man for a half hour or so before I head out to my late night class after he gets home from work. He had told me that it was going to be a shut down day (basically, things are going to go wrong and he will most likely be home late), so I probably wouldn't see him until I got home from my class.

That's fine, I thought, even though I have class until 9, I'll just check my phone for the text when you get out of work. 

*Side note: the man usually gets out around 4. I figured I'd get a text at 5:30 or so at least letting me know he'd be later.

As I sat in class and the minutes ticked by, my phone didn't light up. I patiently (okay, somewhat impatiently) waited and waited. The time went from six to seven and I didn't get a text.

Now logically, I could have assumed that if he was running late it's because the line isn't running well at all, so he is occupied and very busy. He is probably problem-solving and intensely working. Which would mean he probably wouldn't get much of a chance to reply to his spazzy wife.

But of course, logical thinking is not my specialty. So I started panicking. I was convinced some machine fell on top of him and mangled him, or that he forgot to text me before he left and was in some ditch on the side of the road.

I wish I could say I was kidding or exaggerating. But I'm not. My brain is obnoxious.

So after four frantic texts, even ones such as "PLEASE JUST REPLY ONE LETTER REALLY QUICK SO I CAN KNOW YOU'RE OK! I LOVE YOU!!!!!" I did get a response at 7:30ish, saying that he was fine but really busy and sorry for not texting. And that he loved me with all his heart.

Of course the logical response was to feel relief and thankfulness that you were overreacting....

...but instead I got mad.

Now long story short, we talked it out. He's going to try and text when it's going to be late, but when it's a shut down day, expect him home at nine, and any earlier is early.

What is significant about this story?

I didn't trust God.

As I sat in that classroom waiting for that text, I was getting ridiculously anxious. I sat there making plans for what I would do if I didn't get a text at this time, and what I'd do if class ended and I still hadn't heard. Sure I sent up a few half-hearted prayers, but that was it.

But I need to trust God more. It's been challenging me lately for the following reasons:

1) I am a worry wart. Always have had anxiety issues.
2) The man is all I have down here. I haven't really gotten to establish myself in the short amount of time here. So basically, it scares the crap out of me to even THINK about what would happen if something happened to him.

But God has my back! He truly wants what is best for me. The man isn't all the I have down here: God is always here too. And I need to remember that when I'm freaking out about illogical circumstances. Or else I will be crippled with worry and unable to truly live and be a light for him.

So here's to giving our worries up to God!

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Matt 6:25-27 

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own". Matt 6:34

"Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken." Psalm 55:22 

Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Monday, September 16, 2013

Top Ten Tips for Having a Boss Wedding

I went through the "planning a wedding" process not too long ago, and let me tell you, it sucks.

Okay, that sounds awful. It does not suck always. There are many parts that are a lot of fun, such as dress shopping, cake tasting, and the actual day. But there are a lot of things that are very stressful, such as budget, details, and guest list.

While my wedding was not perfect, it was my dream wedding. I was so blessed to get the day I pictured since I was a little girl. I got to be a princess and marry my prince.
Yes, I rocked a tiara. What other time will I get to without being judged?
I still am unsure of how this was accomplished. I was on a budget, my fiance was living three hours away for the first half of our engagement, and then ten hours away for the last half. Plus I was going to school full time AND planning for my move to be in Pennsylvania with him, which included transferring to a new school. So it was stressful.

But I still accomplished my dream wedding! How did I do this?

Here are my master tips for planning your dream wedding:

I greatly stress this, as your whole planning will depend on how much money you have to devote to this day.

2. Go browsing the big things first. 
The most expensive parts of your wedding (or at least have a great potential to be) are usually venue, food, booze and the dress. So go price check things that you might be interested in. This is the fun browsing, just to see how much things cost.
WARNING: The pricing may shock you. I know I was shocked at how much things cost for even a fairly modest wedding. I had no idea that a photographer for under $1,000 was a steal. Or that invitations cost a few hundred dollars. Which brings me to my next point:

3. Reevaluate and finalize your budget.
After you price things out, you may realize that there is no way that your first budget will work for what you want in a wedding. Or maybe it will. Either way, I know what we thought was going to be A TON of money for a wedding slowly was seeming smaller and smaller the more we priced things out.

This is not to say that you can't have a wedding on a super small budget. But if you can figure out ways to tighten your money spending so you can afford some things that are important to you, this would be the time to figure this out and finalize it.

4. Pick your three top priorities. 
This is very important. Obviously if you have an infinite budget, skip this step. But if you are normal and have a budget to stick to, sit down with your fiance and figure out what the most important things are to you guys in a wedding.

For us, it was good food, fun dancing, and an open bar. So we decided to allocate more of our funds to those things and to go cheap on the rest. So that meant DIY and borrowed decor, DIY programs, cheaper invites and a cake made by a little old lady in her house.
The cake made by the little old lady...still tasted delicious on a budget! Also, we only had two tiers for the head table and had sheet cakes for the rest of the people. A GREAT money saver!
Our cheap favors: DONUTS! We happen to love donuts from Sweetwater's Donut Mill in Kalamzoo, so this wasn't giving up much, but it was definitely a great way to save money on favors!
Another DIY example: bought the candles and stand separately at Hobby Lobby (instead of in a Unity Candle Set), bought ribbon and wrapped it on myself, borrowed the mirror from a friend who was married previously, and had fake flower petals from Amazon. 
*One thing I wish we had done was to count GUEST LIST as a priority. Coming from a large Polish family, guest list was important to us, but it did jack up the cost a lot. If guest list is important to you (being able to invite a lot of people) I suggest counting that as one of your priorities. I didn't, and I wish we had. We made it work, but it might have taken a bit of the stress off.

5. Use The Knot!
What is The Knot? It is an amazing wedding planning tool! It has to do lists that really help you keep on track. When should you book a venue, send out invites, and buy a dress? This site will tell you! It also is in checklist form, so you can check off things as you do them, delete things they suggest you do but you don't want to do, and add other things you need to do. It was a huge help to me as I got very overwhelmed thinking about all that I needed to do.

6. Figure out and reserve your venues first. 
These are the things that will affect everything else, so it is very important to do these first. These will also be the items that will be very important to get a date reserved so that you can hire other people according to that date. Knowing the venue will let you know what other services you do need (do they have their own caterer, or do you need to find your own? How many people are seated at a table, so how many centerpieces will I need?)
Our wedding church
*If you are having a summer wedding, this is super important, as a lot of places will be reserved very early.

7. Remember that is it just a day.
While this seems like such a huge thing in your life (and it is in a ton of ways), it is such a day. Things will go wrong. (Hypothetically, your grandmother might show up twenty minutes late, pushing the ceremony back. But if that's the worst of it, your day was pretty darn amazing. Hypothetically :) ) But in the end, it is not a huge deal. Seriously. As long as you end up married to the love of your life, and people have a pretty good time, it will be a success.

8. Ask for help!
Now I can't speak for everybody, but I'd say for most people, your friends and family would love to help and be apart of your big day. Whether it's helping decorate, stuffing envelopes, or just listening to you vent (as long as it's not too much), your loved ones are usually more than happy to help. Ask them for help. You aren't a better person for taking on too much and stressing unnecessarily. :)
I don't know what I would have done without the help of my bridesmaids, AKA the A Team
9. Get someone to capture your grooms reaction!
I didn't ask anyone, but my friend Laura caught this shot for me:
The man when he saw me walk down the still my beating heart!
I am so glad she did! It is my favorite picture from the wedding! Seeing that teary face up close keeps reminding me of how much the man truly loves me. You'll be mad if you don't get this shot! Even if you ask a friend in the audience who is a decent photographer to get that shot, you'll be so glad you did!

Here is the best advice I got from my best friend's mom:
10. Take a moment during the reception to just look around and take everything in. The day will go by so fast, you'll blink and it will be done. All of your work, all of the stress, will be so worth it when you take those few minutes to really take in and enjoy your special day.

All of the planning was worth it for this :)
That is my list of wedding planning tips. It is a lot of work, and a lot of stress, but a lot of fun. It truly will be one of the best days of your life, because you are marrying your best friend.
My best friend and I :)
Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye

Sunday, September 15, 2013

So It's Been Awhile...

Yeah, I kind of fell of the blogging bandwagon for a bit. We had relatives staying with us for a few weeks, and then school started. It was an adjustment, and while I love blogging, I needed to hop off of it for a bit and focus on getting acclimated to this new schedule.

So here is my schedule for this semester:

Wellness: 11-11:50
Social Work Practice I: 1-1:50

Speech (ew, but it's a requirement): 11-12:15 (with online work during the week)
Social Work Research: 6-9 (soooo long! And in downtown Lancaster instead of on campus, so I drive through some interesting parts of town.)

Wellness: 11-11:50
Social Work Practice I: 1-1:50
Social Work and Child Welfare: 3:15-5:50 (Also downtown)

DAY OFF! Which means homework and laundry :)

Wellness: 11-11:50
Social Work Practice I: 1-1:50

So overall it's not a bad schedule, just a few later nights. But I am LOVING my classes and really realizing how much I love Social Work and how passionate I am about the field.

Okay, enough boring stuff, here are a few pictures:

The Pennsylvania Rensaissance Faire we went to this weekend. We bought a sword for $20 at a Pirate Auction!

Here's some foods I've made lately:

Pan-fried Salmon with sauteed zucchini and mushrooms 
The Pioneer Woman's chicken fried steak and mashed potatoes 
The Italian Wonderpot

And of course because I am a crazy dog lady:

Maisy, my fur baby :)
 Love and Blessings,

Annmarie Faye