Broke-Ass Author: Julie

9/13

For as long as I can remember, there have been people in my life using 12 step programs to improve themselves and their circumstances. Some were battling addictions, and others loved those that were battling addiction. Whatever their individual case might be, these programs helped bring clarity and some kind of peace to otherwise chaotic life situations. Through those people and their experiences, I’ve become well acquainted with two things that I think have helped me (or could’ve helped me had I acknowledged them more often) get through my wedding planning, and something that I think it’s important to remember about marriage (and really all of life too). One is the phrase “One Day at a Time” and the other is the Serenity Prayer.

serenity prayer decorThe Serenity Prayer for those who aren’t familiar with it. I’ve had this plaque since the day I was a little girl after a scary incident with burned garlic bread!
Now a quick disclaimer: I’m by no means trying to to trivialize addiction or the struggle that goes along with it. It’s something I’ve been well acquainted with my entire life without ever having an addiction myself. I’ve watched people, both the addicted party and their loved ones, suffer from it. I’ve seen families torn apart because of addiction. I’m by no means trying to compare the experience of living with your own addiction or that of someone you love to the wedding planning process. I do however think the tools you are given to fight addiction through a 12 step program can be useful in putting other parts of your life together and that’s my point here. I by no means mean to take anything away from the seriousness of the struggle with addictions of all kinds and I’m truly sorry if anyone takes that away from what I have to say or feels slighted at it at all.
So back to my original point: One day at a time. Do you know how hard it is to actually live your life like that, especially when you have a large life event looming over head? I do because despite the fact that it’s an idea that has been rammed into my head since I was a little kid, I still didn’t put it to use in my life leading up to my wedding. When Matt and I were actually going through the planning process, there would be days when a panic would strike me and suddenly I’d find myself texting back and forth with Matt for hours doing out the math to make sure we were on track to have the money we needed saved in time for the wedding.
And guess what? We were … before we wasted tons of time freaking out. We had done out the math originally and set our savings plan into motion. We knew what we had for resources at our disposal. We knew where we were at. We threw what extra we could towards our wedding savings when we could. We had the whole thing under control, but unfortunately what we didn’t have was trust in ourselves and our plan. We didn’t trust that we’d be okay if life threw us a curveball. It threw us plenty in the last few months of our engagement, from having our credit card account compromised with tons of money taken out to Matt facing sudden unemployment to car issues that needed resolving … all in the same one-week span. Instead of trusting where we were at when we were there, we were always worrying about what was coming down the pike at us. None of the worrying helped us save anymore money or put us in a better position for the wedding or life after it. It just took away from our ability to enjoy the planning process and our engagement because we were always worried about what was coming next instead of dealing with whatever task we had at hand.
On the occasions when bad things did happen that could’ve/would’ve/should’ve set us back in our plans, we were up to the task and took care of business, despite all our fear and anxiety. Nothing was as bad as we could imagine it to be. We knew what we were doing, despite our doubts about our own abilities. I think it was in these moments that we were forced to stay in the moment to deal with our challenges facing us because they were right there in front of us. There was no other option but to live in that day and deal with what was currently on our plate. We didn’t have time to think about what was coming up next and that was okay because we had things under control even if we didn’t believe in ourselves enough to know that then.
As for the serenity prayer, I think it’s important to remember that things will come along that you can have absolutely no control over. You can make a lot of decisions about your wedding, but you can’t fix or control everything.  Sometimes, you need to make decisions that aren’t easy like firing a vendor, or telling someone who thinks they’re invited to your wedding that they’re not, or having a tough conversation with a bridal party member. It’s not always easy to tell what you can control (like what your bridesmaids wear to your wedding) and what falls outside of your control (like what your guests wear to your wedding) and sometimes just taking the time to say a prayer (even if you don’t believe in a higher power listening to that prayer) can give you a moment to breathe and find clarity that you might be missing otherwise about all these different things.
I think this way of thinking about things is even more important when it comes to marriage. I’ve been freaking out since the day I found out I was pregnant about what it would mean for our marriage and what has that worrying gotten me? It hasn’t made me any more prepared for our life as a trio instead of a duet and when I allowed it, it took away my ability to enjoy the fun parts of pregnancy because I was so preoccupied with what might happen when instead of what was going on now. In the meantime, we’ve had other major life shifts that we’ve been hit with. Some were positive things, while others were just about as negative as they could get. These happenings couldn’t have been foreseen or expected on either account. There was nothing we could do to prevent the bad things from happening or  and we also couldn’t make the good things happen sooner. All we could do is rise to the occasion and be one another’s strength when faced with challenges and triumphs.
Every day that leads up to your wedding is a single day. Put a plan together with your fiance and trust in it. Your wedding is a single day. Enjoy it and don’t worry about what comes next. Your wedding day goes by fast enough as it is and you’re really not going to remember it if you’re too focused on what could be coming at you from here. Every day of your life after your wedding is one day. One day may be full of happiness and joy and the next might be full of despair. No matter how well you’ve planned things out, bad things can and will happen. Worrying away your good times won’t save you from the bad. If anything, it’ll deplete your strength to deal with the bad when you actually find yourself faced with it. Start out each day fresh and just take things as they come instead of losing yourself in what could be. One day at a time and you’ll come out the other side, no matter what life throws at you, in your engagement, your marriage and your life.Julie and Matt
No matter how bad the bad times might be, I know having this guy by my side will always make it easier and make the good times even sweeter.
  • 8/30

    Affiliate Disclaimer NewToday, while doing some retail therapy on Amazon, I found myself looking back over my wedding registry. Occasionally, I’ll toy with the idea of grabbing an item or two we had wanted off of it that we didn’t receive at our wedding or at our shower. I think the only time I’ve actually bought anything from it since we got married was last Christmas, but I still think about it from time to time, especially when looking for gifts for Matt. Today I came across a set of “Mr. And Mrs.” Disney coffee mugs. It made me stop for a second and really think, is this something that we would even still want today?

    I guess I don’t mean those coffee mugs in particular. I still like the mugs themselves and Mr. and Mrs. is a title we gained on November 15th, 2015 (although that’s not exactly accurate for me just yet because of my last name conundrums!). It is something that (once I change my last name — IF I change my last name) will be what we are called for the rest of our lives. I’m more talking about the all the merchandise that is marketed to engaged couples that say things like “Sweating for the Wedding” or “Bride” and various other catch phrases that refer to the engagement phase of your life. I have nothing really against these products necessarily. They’re really fun and cute, but what do you do with them when you transition from “Bride” to “Wife”?

    I didn’t go much for these kinds of items when I was engaged. According to my broke-ass logic, they were superfluous. They were wedding items that didn’t serve a purpose in the wedding and thus didn’t fit into my budget. I just couldn’t see purchasing them for myself. If there was something I was really interested in (like the mugs), I tossed them on my registry and then didn’t spend too much time worrying about whether I got them or not because it didn’t take away from my day at all not to have them.

    My mom did get me a “Bride” tank top and a beautiful robe a week before my wedding for me to wear when I went down to Florida on my later-moon in January. I love them and I love the sentiment with which my mom gave them to me. I’m grateful that she thought of me and went out of her way to get me something that represented my temporary title. My bridesmaids also got me all sorts of things that said “bachelorette” and “bride-to-be” etc to show off my status for my bachelorette party. 887455_10100544412315330_8102848354804113455_oI promise, I’m not walking around wearing this crown TOO often …

    I still have all my bachelorette swag in a drawer in my bedroom. But for how long do these titles really apply to me?

    12186302_10100544550707990_6079319102195494398_oYup, that button, the sash, the beads and my crown (bracelets not shown in the picture) are all stashed away in a special spot in my drawers!

    Bachelorette is clearly out the window because I’m an old married lady now. My mom always said “you’re the bride until the next bride comes along in the family” and while I definitely still feel like a newlywed (because I am), I’m also prepping for a new, more permanent title of “mom” to go along with my other new title of wife. Is it acceptable to keep wearing this stuff long after you’ve moved on to a different part of your life?

    On the other hand, I DO still have those items … just like I still have the T-shirt from the heart walk we did for my brother last year (and will keep the t-shirt we make for this year’s walk too). I have countless T-shirts from bands that list all their tour dates from that particular year on the back of them and I bought those because they listed the dates and towns on the back. If not for my baby-body, I’d still probably be wearing my “Bride” tank top regularly. I keep these items because they represent a time or event in my life that means something special to me. Looking at them or wearing them makes me nostalgic or sentimental. As much as I hate the idea of spending the money on something that only is represents me for a short time, I can’t say I’m not happy to have them. I’m glad I had people in my life that knew I’d want these kinds of things even though I couldn’t see a use for them myself at the time and who care enough to get them for me.

    These days, I wear maternity shirts that say things like “Prego-Saurus” and think nothing of buying a shirt that says “Due In October.” I justify it by telling myself I NEED maternity clothes vs. regular clothes anyway, so why not have them be fun? I know I’m falling into the same trap I managed to avoid throughout my engagement, but I’m kind of okay with it. I don’t regret the items I own that are emblazoned with “Bride” or “Bachelorette” partially because I didn’t spend the money on them, but also because I now appreciate a little bit better the importance of commemorating special times in your life. I’m glad I didn’t go crazy over the top buying these items, but I’m also glad I have them. The bottom line is if you find yourself getting sucked into purchasing a T-shirt or two, don’t feel too bad. There may come a day when you don’t feel the shirt represents who you are anymore in the same way it did when you bought it, but that doesn’t mean that it or that part of your life will stop meaning something special to you. Sometimes it’s nice to have a physical reminder of it, and as long as you don’t go overboard and buy everything that you find that says bride on it, your budget won’t be too much worse for the wear.

  • 8/16

    Over the course of my engagement, I had a lot of different ideas on who I wanted to be in my wedding but I held off until I had my date and venue at least to ask anyone. Being engaged for four years meant people came in and out of importance in my life and I knew that was the way things went sometimes. I'm…

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    7/19

    There are places in my life that I feel so connected to by memories and experiences that they almost take on a life of their own. My parents' house (where Matt and I currently call home as we save to buy a house of our own) is like that. The campground where we got engaged, where I'm writing this from currently on a surprise trip…

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    7/5

    So if there is one thing I don’t really have when it comes to my wedding it’s regrets. I’m really proud of the day Matt and I pulled together for ourselves and our families. I might wish I spent a little bit less on this or that, but ultimately I feel confident and proud of the choices that we made that got us to that…

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    6/21

    Wall decals available from Etsy seller AdnilCreations It's been seven months since I got married. I think it's time (or maybe time again) I take a moment to step away from the discussion of my perfect and beautiful wedding day and instead talk about what really brings us together today: Mawwiage (or Marriage if you aren't playing a medieval priest during the '80s). Obviously seven months…

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    6/7

    Aside from determining the guest list, registering was one of the most uncomfortable and awkward parts of the wedding process for Matt and I. When I was younger, I would write up page-long Christmas lists and distribute them to family members. I did this in part for the obvious reason, which was the fact that I was hoping to find the items off the list…

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    5/24

    One thing you may or may not know about me from my writing is that I do my very best to have a positive attitude in all parts of my life. It's something I adopted at a time in my life when I was particularly miserable in a former job and it surprisingly has been making my life happier ever since. This is far from…

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