Words of Wisdom for the New Bride-to-Be

My little sister [finally] got engaged last weekend, and I couldn’t be happier for her and her beau! Although I am not a hopeless romantic at heart, I do believe in the power of love, commitment, and the sanctity of marriage. In my opinion, the engagement period is a perfect opportunity to really prepare your hearts for marriage.

Now that two of my little sisters are engaged, It’s only polite for me to offer up some big sister advice (that I know each of my sisters yearn for daily) about this sweet time before marriage.

Take it All In, But Don’t Take It for Granted

I felt like such a celebrity when I got engaged. Everyone and their mama wanted to gawk at my new shiny diamond. If I had a quarter for every time someone said, “Ooh! He did SO good!”, I would have had a very extravagant honeymoon.

At the end of the day, your engagement ring is really insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Although your diamond is tough and pretty, it is not going to be the reason your marriage is able to weather every scary storm and shimmer during every success.

Your engagement is a prequel to your marriage. It may be fun, but it will be equally as challenging. Celebrate the love God has blessed you with, and don’t take it for granted.

Have the Wedding of Your Dreams, But Be Frugal 

I loved being engaged to my future husband, but it was one of the most exciting and most stressful times in our lives. For me, our engagement felt a lot like a 9-month-long Christmas season.

All of the hustle and bustle of planning and shopping, the saving of every penny, the spending of every penny, and the anticipation of the “big day” are all worth the end result of a beautiful wedding day, right?

For Isaac, I think it was a 9-month-long headache. He seriously begged me to just go to the justice-of-the-peace instead of having a big wedding. In hindsight, that wouldn’t have been a terrible idea because we would have been just as married, less stressed, less broke, and more comfortable, i’m sure.

It’s so important to remember that your wedding should be a ceremony reflecting you and your husband’s lifelong commitment to each other and God; everything else is simply extra.

There are so many times during our wedding planning that I made decisions based on what others wanted or what would better accommodate our guests instead of focusing on how the core of our relationship would shift once we said “I do.”

No one told me that when the celebration is over and there are nothing but mounds of trash, food, and birdseed leftover, you will have trouble even remembering exactly who came that day.

So, don’t spend your time and money focusing on having “The Perfect Wedding” because your dream of marriage will quickly turn from a fairy-tale to a nightmare if your hearts aren’t synchronized and right with the One who brought you two together in the first place.

Ask for Help 

You think that you can manage all of the planning and prepping all by your big-girl-self, but go ahead and admit that you WILL need help, and you cannot be afraid to ask for it.

Along with all of the words of congratulations and happy wishes, there were so many people who said, “Let me know how I can help” during our engagement.

As I started to get overwhelmed with the craziness of wedding planning, it dawned on me that maybe these people were not offering just to be nice, but maybe they genuinely wanted to help out. So, I started writing down their names when they offered. Then, as I made plans, I called them and asked them to help by bringing finger foods, directing traffic, serving at the reception, and many other seemingly insignificant tasks that added up to be significant.

We would not have been able to have such an amazing day without the help of our friends and family, and we are forever grateful for their kindness and generosity!

Utilize your resources. It will take a lot of stress off you.

Honor the Memory of Those Attending Your Wedding From Heaven

This will be the hardest part of your engagement and wedding day. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to plan a wedding and celebrate such an exciting time without the grief of losing a loved one potentially overpowering the joy of such a special occasion.

One of my favorite memories of my wedding day was having my grandmother walk me down the aisle. As unconventional as that may seem, it was super special for the both of us. Nanny dedicated her life to raising my sisters and me, and it was only fitting for her to offer my hand to the man who chose to make a life with me (which she specifically warned him would be a daunting and expensive task, but completely worth it– apparently, I exhibit high-maintenance behavior or something).


It saddens me greatly that my sisters will not have this special memory to look back on (I did try to get them both to get married sooner–procrastinators). Instead, they will always remember the grief of our grandmother’s absence.

The grief of losing Nanny is a heart-crushing, gut-wrenching longing that may not be filled until we see her again. Although Nanny cannot be included in your wedding plans physically, there is no doubt that she will be smiling big and eating cake from the greatest seat in the House.

Never Forget The Reasons Why You Wanted to Get Engaged 

I have been in a committed relationship with my husband for over eleven years now, and we have been married for over seven years. I really wish I could pen the fantastical and say that “marriage is bliss,” but my realist tendencies will not allow me fabricate the truth.

There will be EXTREMELY hard times in your marriage; it’s inevitable. I cannot tell you how many times I have been tempted to just throw in the towel because walking away seems like the easier option.

When stresses like finances, health problems, and exhaustion get in the way, don’t forget what made you fall in love with your spouse in the first place, and what made them “the one.” Remember that your spouse is the one that you chose to commit yourself to, to have a family with, and to grow old with. The responsibility is major, but the reward of a lifetime together is everything.

People do not get married with the intention of getting divorced months or years down the road, but statistics show that over 50% of marriages end in divorce. Although that data is frightening, it does not mean that the two of you have to be another statistic.

In the end, the real accomplishment is that you truly love, honor, respect, and support each other. Life is hard, and it can definitely make marriage harder if you let it.

Never forget all of the love, the joy, and the excitement during this time of engagement. You may not see the significance yet, but I promise you will later on in your marriage.

Now, let’s go wedding dress shopping!


The Diagnosis

I have played the moment Dr. Batres, my Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE), said, “you are infertile” a thousand times in my head. I was honestly a little mad and frankly offended that he even had the audacity to speak to me that way. How dare HE?

Dr. Batres broke the news to me after a routine hysterosalpingogram (HSG) in 2015 which showed that both of my fallopian tubes had a bilateral distal blockage (meaning both of my tubes were blocked, so it would be impossible for natural conception to occur). At the time, he did know the cause of the blockage (which can be caused by Endometriosis), but we would later find out in my unique case that the blockage was caused by a birth defect, which is something he had never seen before. Because both of my fallopian tubes were blocked, Dr. Batres informed me that my next step would be to have surgery to either unblock them or have them removed (and move to IVF).

There are no words to describe the devastation I felt after I received what felt like a death sentence. I was at the hospital by myself, and I honestly did not think I could go home to face my husband. I was ashamed. I felt so useless and like such a failure (failure is not something I handle well). Ultimately, I could not face the fact that my body or I would be the cause of breaking the hearts of everyone around me (especially Isaac) if I could not naturally bear a child.


 I wish I could lie and say I handled the news with grace; but, my heart and dreams were shattered that day, and I have never been the same since. I was so sad and angry that I literally cried, screamed, and questioned God the entire two-hour-long drive home from Little Rock. How could He let this happen to ME? Am I not a good and faithful servant? Why do I deserve this? I honestly felt like God was punishing me for something I had done, or not done, or would do. 

It took a couple of weeks for me to get over my little hissy-fit before I became rational and realized that I was not being punished. I began to pray that God would give me the peace and strength I needed to get through this seemingly impossible time, and He did.

The Sunday following my HSG procedure, Bro. Don Phillips preached about Genesis Chapter 22 when Abraham’s faith is tested by God. 

Abraham & Sarah waited and prayed for years and years for a son, and God blessed them with Isaac. And, when God called for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham proceeded to fulfill God’s will even though he did not understand why.

This sermon resonated with me for all of the obvious reasons, but something more significant stuck out to me that day. God sacrificed his one and only Son for all of us, and I know that any amount of pain that I feel will never compare to that. 

I truly believe that God is intentional, and He knows our needs and wishes before we even consider them. I have not made an A+ on this test, but I know now that God has given me all of the tools of faith necessary to endure it.

My life as a parent today is not at all how I pictured it would be when I found out I suffered from infertility, and I thank God for that every day. Many of our friends and family do not believe that we deserve to have to endure the pain of infertility, but I know that the test is necessary because it has led us to Hayley. Without these trials, we would not have been blessed with such an incredible gift! 

Even after undergoing a year of treatment with Clomid and Letrozole (which made me CRAZY!) that preceded two (unsuccessful) rounds of IVF, Isaac & I are still willing to endure the battle of infertility in order to grow our family. Even if every round of IVF fails, and we have $0 in our savings account, I know that it is all a part of God’s plan for our lives. Every success and every failure is shaping us into the people He intends us to be. 




10 Times “Delicate” Proves I Am Just Like Taylor

“Delicate” is one of my favorite songs on Taylor Swift’s ‘Reputation’ album! It’s different, it’s catchy, it’s relatable; and, in true Taylor fashion, the lyrics represent her real life.

One of the reasons that I have been obsessed with the music of Taylor Swift since the beginning of her career, is that she is not afraid to expose her real experiences and raw emotions. Unfortunately, this honesty and boldness has given people the open opportunity to negatively judge her reputation. It continues to surprise me how people lose their minds because she “capitalizes” on her past relationships through expression in her music; although, basically every songwriter produces music (based on the same topic) with the intention to sell it and make a profit. Somehow, this makes Taylor less humane and a little bit crazier than the next Grammy-nominee.

We are all victims of double-standards, but my girl Taylor brilliantly addresses naysayers in each of her albums, especially ‘Reputation.’

When I first heard “Delicate,” my superficial impression was that this song was simply another representation of the treacherous nervous excitement of a new relationship (which is a theme that can be found in many of Taylor’s songs) and how her scandalous “reputation” obviously affects her life. However, it was not until the release of the video that it occurred to me that as ridiculously famous as Ms. Swift is, she really just wants to be accepted in her personal and professional relationships (just like the rest of us).

1. Adulting is Hard 

At the very beginning of the video, Taylor is seen doing an interview on the red carpet. Interviews are a part of her job, but just like the rest of us, I am sure she gets tired of the everyday mundane tasks at hand. Failure to answer a question appropriately can cost us a job, a relationship, or a deal. We must bring our A-game if we want to be on the A-team.

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Source: Business Insider UK 

      2. I’m Over “Forcing Laughter and Faking Smiles” 

The old Taylor would be content with the enchantment of meeting new people; but, since she can’t come to the phone right now, I can relate to her tired and lonely face. It’s hard to “save face” all of the time.

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Source: www.popsugar.com

     3. I Just Want to Be Noticed… 

As flawed humans, all we want is to be accepted by our peers. In my experience, true acceptance can be very difficult (if not impossible) because I wear so many hats. It’s very difficult to try to fit in at work while also trying to maintain acceptance from family and friends, church members, and community members. My relationship with my husband is different from my daughter, and my relationships with my sisters are different than my friends; regardless of the relationship, we all just want to be able to be ourselves and be loved for who we are.

Image result for taylor swift delicate music video picturesSource: InStyle

     4. …But, Then Again, I Don’t 

Sometimes, I am afraid that if people really knew my thoughts and dreams, I would be a loner for sure. It took me a long time (and a lot of growing up) to accept that my quirks, my flaws, and my strengths all make me– well, me. At the end of the day, the opinion of others really is just that–an opinion; so, we might as well own our big reputation because, hey- we earned it.

Image result for taylor swift delicate
Source: Popsugar     

  5. I’m Sick of Trying to Capture the Perfect Picture of My Life

I am a huge fan of social media, but even I am guilty of retaking pictures fifty times in an effort to hide all of my blemishes and promote a picturesque lifestyle. I don’t know why we have an obsession with obtaining a proverbial gold star from our friends on social media; I believe that we have a responsibility to bring back honesty and integrity, which are characteristics that social media may be stripping away from us. I have no trouble admitting that I am a humiliatingly flawed character; however, am I willing to leave photographic evidence of that?

Image result for taylor swift delicate music video pictures bigmachine records
Source: Soundigest

  6. First Impressions Aren’t Everything

I tend to worry constantly about what people think of me; especially, when I’m meeting folks for the first time. A thousand questions pop in my head: Am I smiling enough? Am I smiling too much? Am I going to say something offensive? Like typical ‘kystieisms,’ I do tend to take things a little too far. What I think is humorous is usually awkward, so I imagine that the product of my habit of over-thinking and trying to look cool is likely this face.

Image result for taylor swift delicate
Source: Insider

7. We’re Not Playing Dress-Up Anymore 

I used to play dress-up with my sisters and friends when I was a kid. Most 9 year-old-girls dream of dressing up to meet their Prince Charming; but, as I gazed at myself in the mirror while lip-syncing my entire Spice Girls and Britney Spears collections, I couldn’t help but dream of the days when I would actually put on a pretty dress, high heels, and red lipstick to take on the world. Although a very influential person in my life once told me, “The only things a girl needs to be successful in life is a big brain and even bigger high heels”, I have come to realize that there is a lot more to success than that. I am a realist, so I was not very disappointed to discover that there is a minimum amount of romanticism in adulthood; however, there is still a child-like side of me that wishes I could still be little. I miss the days when I played dress-up for fun, not because I have to.


Image result for taylor swift delicate music video pictures
Source: Your Next Shoes

8. We Found Wonderland, but You & I Got Lost in It

Direction is difficult sometimes– both literally and figuratively. There are so many times in life we feel like we’re gracefully navigating our way through the beautiful unpredictable weather and terrain only to find ourselves taking a wrong turn and falling down a rabbit hole. You would think this relentless feeling of fear of failure would drive us toward abandoning our pride and allowing people to help us get home safely, but that wouldn’t make for a very good narrative, would it? Unfortunately, we cannot request to be removed from the narrative every time we make a mistake (although there are many, many times I wish life were that simple). That’s why we must take responsibility of our actions, ask for help, and be willing to assist others who are too stubborn to stop and ask for directions.

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Source: Just Jared

9. We All Forget the Rhyme and Reason Sometimes

I wish someone would have told me that the phrase “fake it ’till you make it” may  be the secret of life. There are so many times in my day-to-day life that I am faced with a situation that challenges me more than ever before, and I am clueless as to how to properly handle the situation. Challenges and conflict with work, family, friends, children, siblings, and even traffic sometimes make me question why we put ourselves through such turbulence on a day-to-day basis. Because I am a “fixer”, I somehow task myself with the responsibility of fixing everyone and everything. I apologize way more than I should; oftentimes, when I am not at fault–at all. For me, the success of resolution makes every challenge worth it in the end.

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Source: Daily Mail


10. But, We Keep on Dancing, Dancing

So, what is the point of the beautiful pandemonium of life? The short answer is life is a continuous test where we do not have access to study material; nor are we privy to the answers. The ups, the downs, the surprises, the expectations, the good, the bad, and the ugly all add up to be the beautiful chaos that we can’t help but fall more in love with every day. People are people, pain is real, and the never-ending reasons why we all choose to hurt each other and bring each other down instead of being kind and encouraging to one another will never cease to amaze me. As cliché as it may seem, the only logical thing to do is to keep on dancing like we know all of the words and all of the moves- like we dream impossible dreams–like we’re made of starlight. 

Image result for taylor swift delicate music video pictures
Source: Newsoneplace.com

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