Early in the Summer I wrote about how busy wouldn't rule my summer. I lied. I don't know what I was thinking. But the busiest, most consuming part of my summer brought me into a world of love and wonder. I'm still kind of flying high from it. In July, we flew as a family to the Bay Area of California for five days celebrating my brother, Jeremy, and his bride, Grace, in the joyous occasion of their marriage. It was five days of love, family, learning, and just pure magic. We hiked above the Bay, sailed the San Francisco Harbor, brunched, learned, and fellowshipped with my new sister's Chinese American family. The whole event was a beautiful joining of two cultures brought together in love. It was the trip of a lifetime. Full of adventure, joy, and so very much love. At the end, they were married, and I was refreshed. Exhausted, but refreshed. Exhausted from traveling across the country with a one year old and two year old. Exhausted from schedules and fittings and all the exciting hullaballoo a wedding weekend brings. Exhausted from locking the kids in the rental car after the Rehearsal - that's when we were especially thankful for the 65 degree temps - oh and shout out to the Oakland Fire Department, you guys are the bomb.com. Then there's the jet lag, the overtired melting down flower girl, and the one year old who WILL NOT sleep in a pack n play and slept across my neck like a ferret every single night we were there. Exhausted.
But more than exhausted, I came home so so refreshed. Refreshed in the partnership of my own marriage. Jordan and I rocked our cross country travel with our kiddos. We (and by we, I pretty much mean I) thought of everything. Snacks, toys, these amazing rolling contraptions to strap the carseats in and wheel the kids through the airports. And we pulled it off beautifully. Together. The girls were happy little travelers and we will gloat about it. We nailed it. Go us. It feels good to partner up and get something done. We feel like we won the Super Bowl. But better.
I also came home refreshed in love. Love for my husband. Love for my family. Love for all people. Of course I feel gushy after every wedding I attend. It harkens me back to Jordan and my 101 degree wedding day in South Georgia 6 years ago. The love and emotions, the anticipation and hope for the future. Today I can see how far we've come since that day. How we've grown in love, learned to love better, and built a life so different but so much more than what we could have imagined then.
Then there's my family. Seeing my big brother declare his love for his bride and enter in to the lovely adventure of marriage made me swell with gratitude and love and praise. Seeing my parents beam with love and pride as he and his wife said their vows. Witnessing the whole slew of us come together on the other side of the country to be there for people whom we all love so much. Helping each other, holding each other's babies, sharing clothes, running errands for each other, carrying each other's kids up mountains (literally), making it all work because we love each other - it was a beautiful vision of family and unconditional love.
And then by surprise, my brother's wedding gave me so much hope and love for our world and the people in it. The day of the wedding we gathered at Grace's parents' home for a Chinese wedding tradition - door games, followed by a tea ceremony. During the door games, the groom and his groomsmen have to earn the right to go inside the house for the groom see his bride. Jeremy had to sing, dance, speak Chinese, and pay up to earn his way to Grace. Then when he got to see his bride, they knelt and served tea to their elders, receiving advice and blessings for their marriage. The tea ceremony was sacred and beautiful. It was a time to honor those who raised them to be the people they are. To listen and to acknowledge the wisdom and love of those who will continue to guide them in person and in spirit forever. It was the most beautiful display of love and respect I have ever seen. And as I stood perched on the staircase in the living room, sandwiched between my two year old and Grace's newlywed brother and sister-in-law, hearing English and Chinese, witnessing Jeremy and Grace receive love and blessings in different languages, surrounded by people from all over the world, I just kind of had a moment. There are no differences here. Just God's people. Coming together in love. When love is what binds us, we can do anything. During the tea ceremony, I laughed and cried and smiled and prayed. What a beautiful display of what we can be when we stop seeing differences and operate from a place of love. We can be amazing.
I'm still spellbound by our trip - memorized by love and family and people. I hope the feeling never goes away. And I hope you can pause and praise today for the love and family and people who make up your life and our world. Let's live in awe of each other every day. It's just better that way.
If you want to see a slide show of wedding day, click here.
*Photos by CuStock Photography of Jeremy and Grace on their beautiful wedding day
Can we just call it like it is? Chasing your dreams is so hard. It sounds amazing in a blog with pretty pictures. We left our hustle and bustle lifestyle in Charlotte to escape city life and corporate culture. We wanted slow, simple, family focused. We wanted the beach and to make our own way. We felt called, purpose filled - like we were led to St. Simons for a reason we couldn't yet understand. We had stars in our eyes and dreams in our hearts. We cut our income in half, and we kept dreaming. We forged new endeavors. Jordan landed a job he loves working with small business owners - helping others achieve their dreams. He launched F3 St. Simons and it took off with force. Then he got back into piano after years away from playing, becoming the pianist at our church. On my side of things, I stepped back into the dance world for the first time in years as a teacher for Christina's Dance World. Then Selah St. Simons was laid on my heart and is becoming something so very special. We had another beautiful baby, Mae, who blesses us every day. We live minutes from the beach, know tons of people, have recruited family here. And it's altogether perfect.
Except for the fact that it is so so hard we often want to give up. F3 was week after week of Jordan and maybe one or two other guys getting together for a year. A solid year of showing up every week at 5:30am for something he believed in. A year of planning workouts, inviting everyone, and pounding forward when no one showed up. When it finally gained traction and soared to multiple workouts a week and as many as 20 guys posting to workouts, Jordan was a little wiped out, burned out, ready for a break. He's taking a step back now to let the new blood invigorate the group and the group reinvigorate him. Same goes for his new job and his piano. It's about going hard all the time. Stretching his talents to new levels, being vulnerable, convincing himself and others that he's good enough. And his heart pounds for it.
Then there's me. So nervous to step back into dance after 3 years of not setting foot in a studio. Calling cold someone I'd never met and asking for a job. Wanting to be good enough - for the studio, for her, for myself. And now, 2 years later, my experience with CDW has given me the confidence to launch my own on-site dance program for preschools on our island - stretching me, forcing me to face fears and to pound out a path that's best for me and my family. And then there's Selah St. Simons. My dream. And the most raw and vulnerable part of my life. Bringing women together in deep and meaningful connection. The kinds of connections that build us up and bring us together with people we never knew could be our best friends. Losing the small talk and the gossip and getting to the heart. Stirring one another up to love and good works. I'm so passionate about it, but so stumped. I believe little by little hearts are connecting and Selah is working. But man, it's hard to keep writing, keep inviting, keep dreaming when it's slow to grow and hard to define. Some ideas soar, but many fail. It's brought me into a beautiful and close knit heart circle that I know God designed. But it also makes some people uncomfortable and isolates me from people whose affirmation I really want. It's forcing me to let go and let God. It's me showing up over and over and trying and trying because I know that God is at work, even though it's not on my timeline or according to my plan. It's doubting, but persevering. And it's exhausting. But it's heart centered work. And my hearts pounds for it.
We often miss the comfort of our old lifestyle. And sometimes we just plain want it back. But oh how sweet it is when our dreams come true, even just a little, even just for a moment. Every breakthrough, every word of encouragement, every heart connected pushes us forward another day. But we believe that this journey in St. Simons is not for nothing. That no matter what the future holds, our time here has a purpose. Maybe the purpose is simply to humble us. And to teach us that try as we might, we can't control the world, but we can control ourselves in the world. Or maybe the purpose has yet to be revealed. Maybe we won't understand the purpose until we go home to Glory. I don't know. We are still feeling pretty clueless two years into our relocation. We are just choosing to live heart centered, and to keep showing up for what pounds in our hearts.