Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Good-bye 2010 and Hello 2011!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

While our family grew up celebrating Christmas in very different ways, over the years we've created a few new traditions in how we celebrate the day. Our immediate family and an occasional friend come over on Christmas morning for breakfast, stockings and presents. We have kept my family tradition of opening gifts one at a time, youngest to oldest. While this slow pace has driven Kandi crazy over the years she has been great about accepting how important that is for us. We're still working out how to ensure everyone's traditions are incorporated - or if there are new traditions we want to start - but we have a lifetime for that!

Sadly, we found out on Sunday that our wonderful Pastor Barb will be leaving the church for a 6 month position with another church. Frankly, our church is struggling financially and she and her husband Pastor Rich were already sharing what would be less than half of one salary in most churches. This is a great opportunity for her financially, but puts a few questions into the air for us in terms of our ceremony as she may be asked to stay after the 6 month position expires which would mean that she was technically the pastor of another church during our planned ceremony time. Pastor Rich will move from a co-pastor/support role at our church to being the sole pastor, and while he is great we have a special bond with Pastor Barb and really want her to lead our ceremony. We'll have to make sure this can all work as planned when we see them next weekend.

Getting married in our church is so important for Kandi and I. Before Pastor Barb we didn't even know it was an option to have a Holy Union Ceremony at the church so it would be strange to even think about doing it without her. Just when we thought the pastor and the location was the one thing that was finalized and could never change...

We don't get the opportunity to really make any decisions about our big day until I'm employed so I'm not only feeling the pressure, but I'm also SO frustrated to not be able to make some decisions so we can start moving forward in planning. We've been engaged for 2 months and we're "saying" that the ceremony is 10 months away so of course folks keep asking about it, and I love their hopeful curiosity. It just makes it a bit tough harder on me because every conversation is a reminder that I don't have a job yet. When someone asks, "So, have you set a date yet?" with nothing but love and interest in their voice it's tough to answer, "We can't make any decisions until I have a job." Talk about Debbie Downer. We try to talk around it a bit. Mention that we've looked at quite a few places but just haven't made a decision. But when they start asking quite a few questions or talking about how we better nail down something soon I have had to explain that we would love to - but just can't until we know more about my future employment. Unfortunately, many folks that we have ultimately had to explain that we're at a pause point until I secure a job, will continue to ask again next time we see them. Yep, still can't make any decisions because I'm unemployed. Still can't get a job. Thanks for bringing it up. I know they certainly don't mean it that way and it's certainly not their fault. But it brings a bit of sadness to something that we want to just feel so happy and excited about.

January will be here soon. Three places have said that they should have some "movement" by the end of January so my fingers are firmly crossed.

Here's to the end of an amazing 2010 and to a wonderfully blessed new year to come!

Monday, December 6, 2010

New friends, new opportunities!

This weekend we went to a "Bridal Expo" this weekend that was organized by the amazing Bamboo Bakery. We have seen them at 2 other events and Kandi is head over heels for their Red Velvet cake. I loved their Banana - and love the idea as it's not your "standard" cake. As soon as I heard they would have 15 different cake flavors available for testing I knew we had to be there.

Rather than having to pay for entry because they were renting out some hotel space as many other events do, this event was held right in front of the shopping plaza where Bamboo Bakery and several other celebration themed vendors all have their retail homes. When we pulled up to the strip mall we initially thought - "well, it's small but at least there's cake" but boy were we wrong. There were more vendors at this event than any others we've gone to so far. We got there at 3:30pm and didn't leave until almost 7pm - just as the fashion shows were about to start. At that point we'd seen everything and were hungry so we had to go but we did get to see some of the models lining up as we walked to the car.

We found a florist that we really clicked with. The name of the company is Crazy Daisies Flowers and Gifts. Michelle, the owner/designer, and her husband were there and while she was chatting with us he was actively creating some arrangements in the background. I liked some of the ideas she had and they both liked one of the big ideas I had for the big day. Her husband even joked that they would be stealing that for a future event. She was almost finishing my sentences by the time we were done - we just clicked. While we haven't gone down the road of figuring out our budget yet for floral (again, job kinda comes first...), and we didn't ask Michelle much about her pricing, I think it's quite possible that we may have just found our florist. :)

We also met a really nice photographer. His company is SJA Studios. When I started talking to him he was just thinking "normal wedding". After Kandi walked back over from looking at another booth and I introduced her as my partner he got SO excited. He mentioned he had never done a same sex ceremony but he has 2 gay sisters. I think he was pretty excited about the idea. Heck, I think he was MORE excited about the idea of having us/me as a customer once he knew it was a same sex ceremony than he was when we would have just been a "normal" event. We will definitely put him into consideration when deciding our photographer.

One of the little booths/tables was a sign for "Indian and Arabic Henna". I have been absolutely fascinated by the detailed designs done on brides hands and feet in Indian tradition. Not only are the designs just incredible, but I think it's amazing that they often make it a major event in having this done with family and friends around contributing one more party to the pre-wedding festivities. I've heard that more and more western brides are incorporating something like this into their big day but I've been hesitant to do something like that. BUT - that sign said Arabic Henna... I'd never heard of Arabic Henna before and as someone who is half Arabic, I was intrigued. She showed me several designs explaining the differences in the style between Indian and Arabic styles. Briefly, Indian Henna is filled with tons of tiny little details and designs and is usually a golden to medium brown color. Arabic Henna is often a more organic flow with floral designs or inspiration from art incorporated into the design and it is generally a very dark brown to almost black color. So, she asked if I'd like to try it out. I give into my curiosity and, since I was wearing a long sleeve sweater, give her my hand. About 2-3 minutes later, she was done.

(Hours later after removing the dried application)

About a minute into her design I made the comment to Kandi that I was totally safe in getting this now as I wasn't likely to have any phone calls asking me to come in the next day for an interview.

Monday afternoon I got a call to come in for a Tuesday interview.

If I get this job, henna is officially my new lucky charm.

All in all a really good weekend with lots of new information - and the potential for an even better week! Fingers crossed!