Follow by Email

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

40 Things I Learned When I Was Engaged...

“Expect nothing. Live frugally on surprise.” ~Alice Walker

I've got some updates on some of the amazing opportunities I was thrilled to be a part of...

Here's me and my brother Matt singing a concert of Disney songs at the Columbia Presybterian Hospital, where 10 years ago I was in a coma.

Resilience rises again...and AGAIN!
Here are some beautiful photographs from the Arts Immersion Salon exploring resilience and the power of the human spirit at Beechwood Arts.
There are some fun highlights of the Arts Immersion Salon I was part of this month on the Beechwood Arts Immersion Site.

You can watch a recap of the best of the salon 

Oh, and you know my dilemma I wrote about finding the perfect father-daughter dance song for my wedding this weekend?  My ode to my father and hero was published in Miss Millennial and The Mighty.  Today, Bon Bon Break published my essay, and you even get to see what I ended up deciding on!  Read Bon Bon Break HERE.

and now...
(deepest apologies to my fiance, but it's what happens when you marry a writer!)

You can read my full article here on the True Agape Blog - all about "building endurance for marriages and families."

With my wedding about two weeks away, I find myself looking back on a three-year whirlwind.  Who knew that a little online tinkering could lead to finding the love of my life?   I had never had a boyfriend, dated or even gone to a bar.  Setting up an online dating profile was more of a creative writing exercise for me than a mission.
Yet there was a pull in me to connect, a yearning to feel, to reawaken that “happy carefree” part of me I had as a kid, and ignite a wiser, mature woman in me – a part of me I knew I had to acquire eventually.
These two years of engagement have been like living another lifetime.  And the exciting part is that the day I say I Do will open the door to many more lifetimes and experiences!
Brandon and I don’t have the most conventional love story.  He was the first man I met online, he proposed four months later, and after two amazing years of being fiancé and fiancée, we will walk down the aisle in two weeks!  I’ve never felt love like this before for anything or anyone and feel so blessed that I’ve met my soulmate with such luck.
Being engaged is its own lifetime education.  And by the time I become a “wife” on June 27th, 2015, I’ll have earned quite the degree!  Every day is a new realization, either about myself, my husband-to-be, or about the nature of love, communication, and taking part in a relationship.  Here are just some highlights.
Some of these things she learned during her two year engagement made me giggle! Others I was shaking my head for a yes!

  1. Relationships aren’t static or set in stone. They’re always evolving, molding, changing as you both change.
  2. There is always something new to learn or find out…and not just about each other.
  3. Sometimes it takes someone else to point out something you thought you understood all of your life.
  4. It’s never too late to say you’re sorry or resolve a conflict.
  5. Nobody ever got anything out of holding a grudge except frown lines.
  6. Creativity comes in all forms, shapes and sizes. Who would know that a computer-genius-RPI-graduate would have so much fun making art with his non-technical-musical-theatre-geek-mixed-media-painting fiancé?
  7. Smart is always sexy.
  8. The tiniest things can be the most meaningful. From the post-it note he leave on my laptop saying goodnight, or the Mike & Ikes I snag for him at a ballgame.
  9. A real man makes you feel beautiful no matter what.
  10. It’s great when your fiancé wants to be involved in planning your wedding…but don’t get upset when he gets a bit over-involved. (I wasn’t prepared for lengthy debates on whether my dress was “white” or “ivory”!)
  11. Opposites do attract, but sometimes people are not as “opposite” as they seem.
  12. You don’t really know someone until you go grocery shopping together.
  13. Nothing unites two 28-year-olds like 90’s pop culture nostalgia.
  14. Fiance is French for “engaged.” Go figure.
  15. Long engagements are the best. These have been the two most amazing years of my life.
  16. The most fulfilling way to view “engagement” is a journey – not just the “time before the wedding.” The engaged period is an incredible opportunity to grow, discover, and learn. Being engaged is an everyday celebration.
  17. There is never a “good” time to talk about difficult things, but the “best” time is
  18. Nothing seems too weird or crazy to the man who knows he’ll be spending the rest of his life with you.
  19. A clean, spruced up, well-kept man does not necessarily call for a clean, spruced up, well-kept living space!
  20. The best “nights out” are staycations – and made better with pajamas, cereal and SNL reruns.
  21. Expect to be pulled out of the moment every now and then, gaze in on this new relationship, and be completely in awe. Is this really me? Have I really found someone who accepts and loves me for exactly who I am?
  22. Shopping for domestic, ordinary things – like a washing machine at Best Buy – will fill you with delight.
  23. “Home” takes on a new meaning.
  24. Whatever the future holds can’t be scary – no matter what, now that you’ve got someone to hold your hand through it all.
  25. Being alone now never feels quite “alone.”
  26. Suddenly, being called “baby” doesn’t make you feel like an infant.
  27. You make conversation with random strangers just to use the word “fiancé.”
  28. You can be quite creative with how you use your left hand – suddenly it becomes the main player of every gesture.
  29. A handwritten note always speaks volumes, no matter how brief.
  30. A day can be awful, but knowing someone is coming home thinking of you makes everything seem insignificant.
  31. Family takes on an entirely new meaning.
  32. Even if you don’t want to, you’ll end up taking his fashion advice…
  33. …But no matter what you’re wearing or how you feel, he’ll make you feel beautiful.
  34. You realize you can suddenly relate to your parents a lot more and need their advice.
  35. Football.  If you don’t understand it, don’t try.  Just let him watch it.
  36. Money, children and religion – they’re topics you are going to talk about. So you might as well start.
  37. You can win any man over with a really good home-cooked meal.
  38. You can win him over just as easily with a bowl of cinnamon toast cereal and some comics from the Sunday newspaper.
  39. By the end of your engagement, expect to know a man completely different, yet entirely the same. The journey is in discovering him.
  40. By the end of your engagement, expect to know yourself completely differently, yet feel more “yourself” than you have all of your life. The journey…is in discovering.
What is something you learned in your engagement?

Before I Go...
I've been doing so much writing lately I don't want to fit it all into one blog post...but here's a little sneak peek!
Thanks to the Indie Chicks, I had a great time writing about a question we all wrestle do you come to love the luck you've got?

Amy writes about two of her favorite things for Over The Red Line Magazine - the Berkshires and her brother Matt Oestreicher

In trauma, victims can fight, flee or freeze.  I talk about my frozen reaction to sexual abuse in From Frozen to Free in Dropped Keys.

I was excited to once again write for Some Talk of You and Me "How Creativity Saved My Life"
And don't forget I'm selling my customizable mixed media inchie pins on Etsy!
“You ask me why I spend my life writing? Do I find entertainment?  Is it worthwhile? Above all, does it pay? If not, then, is there a reason?… I write only because there is a voice within me. That will not be still.” ~Sylvia Plath


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. What, you're getting married this weekend! Good luck on the big day! What a fab list, especially agree with the 90s pop culture - and that's not just for 28-year-olds haha, and yes I remember trying to drop 'fiance' into every conversation! Sabrina xx

  3. I love this collection you hit the nail on the head with these for sure... especially "it's never to late to say I'm sorry". Love that one! Thanks for joining the Link-It To Me Link Party this week, I hope you will party with us again next week!

  4. Beautiful post! Being engaged is quite the adventure!

  5. Good luck on your big day! Honestly, I had a very short engagement period maybe 2 months before we were married. And this November will be 9 years of marriage.

    Although engagement can be important in a couple's lives something changes between marriage and engagement, there is not quick pick up and go. This is it and the only way out is a difficult one. Marriage is tough, but two people have to make it work. It has been some of the hardest and most amazing 9 years of my life and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with this man.

  6. You found the perfect song! I loved it (never heard it before) and it's so cool that it has a tie in to your childhood. You've been busy! And fun to hear a little more about your love story, too :)

  7. Such a 'hot' topic for me...I'm still learning and since our engagement has not been told to the family yet...It almost feels like it hasn't happened. Wish you two all thye best.