As I write my last post in the competition, I can’t quite believe it’s drawing to a close so quickly. It seems like just yesterday when, one rainy September afternoon, I found out I was a semi-finalist, and a few weeks later (thanks to your awesomeness), a finalist! My blogging journey has FLOWN by, and I’ve had a blast reading about the other ladies’ journeys, sharing nerdy DIY projects, dance experiments, scouting out winter armour outerwear and dumping eggs all over my head for the Internet’s viewing pleasure. It’s been AWESOME, and I have to thank everyone who’s shown their support with kind words, e-mails, and comments (even hopping over to my personal blog!).
In keeping with the theme of gratitude, I thought as I bid you all farewell, I’d take a moment to reflect on everything for which I’m thankful during our engagement. In wedding planning, there are naturally ups and downs, and it’s easy to panic when things don’t go quite according to plan. So with everything wedding-related, I’m trying to adopt the same attitude I do with life’s curveballs: take a moment to count the blessings, and it’s amazing how hiccups can quickly turn around.
Firstly, of course, I’m thankful for David. Last week was our two-year dating anniversary (or seven, depending on where you start), and this man has taken me from a girl pretty much crippled with anxiety to a place where I feel capable, more confident, and more focused on what’s really important in this world. Since we’ve been together, my eyes have been opened – I’ve learned to look past my self-doubts and focus on being a better person and making a contribution to this world, even if, initially, it was terrifying. He’s believed in me when I couldn’t do it for myself, stood by me through thick and thin, and taught me the true meaning of servanthood, of faith, and of true love. (I haven’t been mushy this whole time; I’m allowed a teensy bit of sap!)
Secondly, I’m thankful for the past. I briefly alluded to a couple of past relationships in an earlier post, but I’ve been through some tough times. It’s easy to become bitter or resentful toward people who’ve abused or mistreated us, but if it weren’t for the pain of those experiences, I never would have been pushed forward to learn, reflect, and grow, and prepare for the one relationship that’s going to be forever.
Thirdly, I’m thankful for family. My Dad is my best friend in the whole world, and he’s been wonderful in getting to know David and really welcoming him into the family, just as David’s family have been to me. During our first year together, David was away a lot for work, and his family often invited me to their house to spend time with them in his absence. I’m so thankful to be marrying into a family that’s been so supportive, so welcoming, and so kind to me, and I’m thrilled to be sharing the wedding day with his sisters by my side!
Fourth, I’m thankful for our situation. I really am. We’re not in a position where we make a lot of money, but that’s really allowed for us to focus on what’s really important. We’re both fortunate to work in positions where we can help people, and so what if we’re not able to spend $20,000 on decorations or go on a honeymoon? The celebration with the people we love and the commitment we’re making to each other are what matters most. Flowers, linens, and cake will come and go, but when you’re in a position where you have a little less, it really is a blessing to be able to focus on the things money can’t buy.
Lastly, I have to thank the Weddingbells staff for picking my little entry in the first place, and extend an even BIGGER thank you to you! I can’t believe that for the last nine months, people across the country (and continent!) have continually taken the time out of their lives to read my stories, offer support and ideas, and help me get this far. If I had a time machine (one day, Emily, one day), I guarantee I would be visiting each and every one of you with a bear hug and a basket of cookies. For now, this will have to suffice!
I wish all the brides-to-be the very best in their wedding plans, on their special days, as well as in their marriages. I hope you’ve enjoyed having me as much as I’ve enjoyed writing for you! All the best… next stop, voting!