a VERY Merry Christmas!

There you have it, the Christmas holidays have come and gone. Time honestly just keeps on flying!

My Christmas holiday actually started on Friday, December 23rd. What a great way to start the holidays too. Last Friday, we had our food tasting!


What can I say, we were blown away by all the food! LOL! We knew it was going to be a lot of food, but we didn't quite comprehend that a lot, means A LOT! He he ... needless to say, we were stuffed to the max afterwards. =)

So, that started out the weekend of non-stop eating!

It was a very special Christmas for both Mark and I because it was our first Christmas together as an engaged couple. This time last year, my family and I were spending Christmas at the Philippines. By next Christmas, we will be husband and wife! >_<

The day after the food tasting, the family had a very nice Christmas eve dinner, followed by midnight mass afterwards. This was then followed by the traditional gift opening on Christmas morning! Yay! I love Christmas morning! Ha! Ha!

After that, Mark and I attended a Christmas lunch with his family at his house. This was then followed by another Christmas dinner with my family at my uncle's house! It literally was non-stop eating for 3 days straight!

That's why instead of going shopping on Boxing Day, I ended up bumming around at home, watching movies and eating treats all day! LOL! It was a very nice break from the go-go-go schedule of the last 3 days.

Hope you all had a very nice Christmas yourself! Next up, New Years!! Ahhh ... 2012!!

-Lene

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He's Not Perfect, Neither Am I

"There will always be struggles along the way, but there is no one else I would rather struggle with than you."

Every relationship has their ups and downs and last weekend was a down time for Marky and I. I can't even remember the last time we fought before this, it's been that long. Let's just say that everything was a misunderstanding and emotions got into the way.

But I am happy to say that we have worked everything out by God's grace.

Here's a little something from Bob Marley that's worth keeping in mind.


Happy Wednesday!!

-Lene

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Website Unveiled!

Alright, after months and months of obsessing about this, it's also FINALLY done!! Whooo hooo!!! Well, until I add more info as they become available of course! He, he ....

We are thrilled to share with you our wedding website!


We have also included some pictures from our recent Fall Engagement Shoot! Check out the photos under "The Photographs".

Hope you guys like it! =)

-Lene

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SAVE the DATE

EEEEeeee!!! It's finally done!! We are halfway done in giving all of them out. I couldn't be happier at how they turned out. I owe a HUGE thank you to my sisters, Kristine and Catherine for helping us take the pics and helping keep the letters straight. LOL! To Joy Joy who helped edit the pictures. Oh! BIG thanks to Catherine for helping cut the magnets! Even though her fingers were starting to mold into the shape of the scissor handle, she still kept going until it was done! Such a trooper! =)

This was my first attempt of a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) project and I'm so happy at how it turned out. It was a lot more work than I thought, but it was worth it.

When I first started the project, I was ecstatic! I thought the idea so much fun to do! The hard part came as I was trying to edit the pictures and add the Photobooth borders. I think that was the most frustrating part of it all. Who would have thought that it would be that hard to line them all up?! LOL! It almost came to a point that I was sick of looking at them! Ha! ha!!

But looking at them now, I'm glad I did them. =)


-Lene

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Engaged: 1 Year In

One year?! Man, I don't even know where to begin figuring out where the last 365 days have gone! This past weekend has truly been a milestone for Mark and I, most especially for me.

First of, we celebrated our 1 year engagement anniversary yesterday (November 27)  while celebrating Mark's mom's birthday. With the way things are going, October 12, 2012 will be here in no time! =)

Secondly, our hall called for us to book an appointment for our food tasting! We found out that we are able to bring other people to the tasting as well - a pleasant surprise! Apparently this is the time when Mark and I should be pigging out because on the day of our wedding, we most likely will not be able to eat. LOL! They will be serving us all of our courses from start to finish! Eeeeee!! So excited!! Got to remember to wear jogging pants for some extra room. He he ...

Lastly, what really made this weekend so wonderful for me was what had happened at the Youth Servants Retreat. To make a long story short, by God's grace, I was able to finally put behind things from my past and finally be at peace. You can never truly appreciate the grace of forgiveness until you have forgiven and have been forgiven.

I can't thank God enough for all that He has blessed Mark and I this past year. He has answered each and every one of our prayers. Especially when we think it's not possible, God always finds a way to make it possible. He truly is LOVE.

Here's a song that really stuck to me this weekend. This truly is the first day of the rest of my life. =)

Have a great week!

"And Love will hold us together
Make us a shelter to weather the storm."


-Lene

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We can officially get married now!

YAAAAY!!! Ha! Ha! We have completed our Pre-Marriage Preparation Course! =) The last six weeks was fun overall. We learned tons of things that will be very helpful to our relationship now and after we get married.

It was hard at times because the class was in Mississauga (about an hour away from where I live) and four out of the six classes were pouring rain! It was literally like driving into clouds the whole time - zero visibility. That part wasn't fun at all.

The funny thing is, there were actually two dates that this course was available for us to take. One was this Fall and the other was in the Spring of next year. I figured if we attended the Spring course, it will for sure be raining. So we chose the Fall instead. Boy was I wrong! It just proves that you can't always control everything.

So now we can check another thing off our list! =)

With two other couples from the class.

-Lene

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Is it really OUR day?



The more and more I am getting into all this planning, I am coming to an unfortunate conclusion ... as much as we would like to think that the wedding is OUR day, it really isn't.

It's more like a huge party that you and your FH are hosting. =(

You really have to compromise or "give-up" a bunch of the things you like in order to keep relationships in good shape.

*sigh* Who would have thought getting married was this complicated?

After talking to some very wise ladies who are going through the same issues as me, this is what I have learned:

"Learn to pick your battles. Don't sweat the small stuff."

(I think I may have said this to myself before? Or someone said this to me before?)

"But it all works out in the end and you will realize the stuff you are stressing about now won't matter to you the day of."

"I think we get so caught up in the "wedding" of it all (think Kim Kardashian) that we forget that it is all about what brought us to this point."

It is our day. I just have to keep my eyes on the goal, to be with each other forever. Here is a great line that I learned as well that could come in handy later on ... "I'll take your suggestions into consideration."

=)


-Lene
 

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Wake up call!

This is the first thing that I saw on my online checklist last night:



Eeeekkk!!! I have been telling myself for months now that I'm going to be serious about loosing weight and up until now, it was all talk and no action! LOL!

So this morning, I dragged myself out of bed and kept picturing the above reminder. The wedding is in less than 11 months, I have to get started!

That's it. Just wanted to blog about it to make it official. I now have a starting point, so I have to take this seriously. =)

-Lene

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Eek! "Bridezilla" Moment

Today, I finally had the opportunity to go shopping with the girls to try on some bridesmaids dresses. A few months ago, I already went with 3 of them, but this time, we were complete (99% anyways, we were missing one girl).

The day started out great. I was pretty excited because at least most of them will be there. Then we can finally try on the dresses all at once and see how the whole group looks like. Being me, I did a bit of research online already for some of the styles that I thought the girls might like. So I came prepared. =)

When we got there, we were assigned a consultant to help us out. I told her that I already checked out the dresses online and have a list of the ones that we were interested in trying out. The main goal for this visit was really to just try on the dresses and see what works best for everyone. I didn't plan on purchasing anything yet, unless of course the girls were sure that it's what they really want. The wedding after all isn't for another 11 months.

Initially, our consultant was very helpful. She found all the dresses that we were wanting to try on and gave us a lot of suggestions. Near the end though, everything just went downhill.


My 1st Bridezilla Moment 

After we have settled on a style that we liked, I spoke to the girls about what they want to do. The Maids of Honour were happy with their dresses, so they were alright buying it already. But the rest of the girls were still wanting to loose weight and wanted to place the order next year instead when it's a little closer to the wedding. To me, this made sense. It doesn't make sense to buy a huge dress now only to have them altered later on. Then more money is wasted.

So I explained to our consultant that we may not be placing the order yet because some of the girls are still wanting to loose weight, etc. I explained to her my reasoning above about trying to save on the alterations. But then she kept on insisting to buy it now and just to get a bigger size. She's like, "You can always have it taken in." Obviously she didn't understand anything I explained to her. So I had to repeat it a few times. When I thought she finally understood me, she surprises me with this comment, "Well, if that's the case, then what's the point of coming in and trying them on?" (or something along those lines, I couldn't think straight after she said it). She pretty much told me that we wasted her time.

Alright, you guessed it! I blew up! In my mind, I was like, "WTF?" My mouth literally had verbal diarrhea. I exclaimed to her that the reason we came in was so that we can try on the dresses and see if it looks good or not. My wedding after all isn't until next October, so we do have some time. I re-explained to her the reason again why some of the girls didn't want to get it yet and how it really makes more sense that way. I asked her, "Isn't that right?" She then replies to me with, "Well, you're the customer..." OMG!! In my head I was like, "EXACTLY!! That's my point!! So what the heck!"

By this point, I didn't realize that I was fuming (all red and everything) and was screaming at her. My sister tells me to calm down. I didn't realize that some of the people were starting to look at us.

My two Maids of Honour were alright buying their dresses already, so the consultant went ahead and started getting their measurement. I was still fuming with anger! How dare she?! It's her freakin' job to help the customer. When we do place the orders for the other dresses, I was going to let them know that it was her who helped us so that she gets the commission. It just wasn't right for her to pretty much tell you in your face that we wasted her time. Which we didn't because we did find the dresses that we liked. But to say those things to get the customer to buy right then there was not right.

I work in retail and I know how customer service should be! In the end, my two MsoH ended up buying their dresses (I really didn't want them to yet because I was so mad), but they were really happy with the dress and did want to buy it already.

I just couldn't believe it! Arrggghh!!! I'm still fuming with anger as I sit her typing about it. Arrgghhh!! *deep breath* Let's just say that there's no way I will allow for us to have her as a consultant again. She just lost a pretty good commision!

*sigh* So yeah. It was fun, until that incident ruined it for me. I probably shouldn't have screamed at her, but I didn't realized I was doing it until it was happening. I just couldn't believe it. To tell a customer that?!

There is one positive outcome from all of it, the MsoH have their dresses already. =)

-Lene

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Treasures in Trials


"One day, every problem in your life will be solved.

 Every sickness will be healed.

 Every tear will be dried up.

 Never give up.

 Discover your treasure in your trials."

By Bo Sanchez, Read More

Some comforting words to hold on to. Here I am holding on to hope ...


-Lene

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The Source

Happy Wednesday! =) What a great Wednesday it is. The sun is out and it's supposed to climb up to 17 degrees today! A great improvement from the single digits we've been having just last week.

Just thought I would add this here. Finances or money in general is always something that everyone worries about and as much as we don't want to admit it's importance, it is. Especially in mine and Mark's situation. For those of you who have gotten married already, you all know how hard it is in the pocket to get married. It's reality and there's not much we can do about it. That's why I found this message from Rick Warren so inspiring.

God Can Provide Through Any Faucet
by Rick Warren

“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8:18 (NIV)

The Bible teaches that God is the source of our finances. He is the one who provides for our needs.

What does this mean? It means that, instead of looking to my employer for financial security, I look to God. It means that, instead of looking at my savings account employer for financial security, I look to God. It means that I don’t look to anyone or anything other than God to provide for my needs.

Let me illustrate it this way: When I turn on the water, I know the water doesn’t actually come from the faucet. The water comes through the faucet. The water is actually from a reservoir, and the way I happen to receive it is through the faucet.

In the same way, the income that God wants to give you may come through a job or through something or someone else.

But the source is always God.

We don’t need to worry about which faucet God uses to supply our needs. In a sense he says, “If I turn off one faucet, I can just as easily turn on another. If you lose one job, I can give you another. I am your source, not your job. I am your source, not your bank account.”

Worry reveals the places where you are not trusting God. Ask God to help you understand what causes you to not trust him, and ask him to teach you to start trusting him. Look for how he does that. In addition, when you start to worry, talk to God about your concerns.


Hope this helped brightened your day in some way.

-Lene

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Halloween h2O

It was our first Halloween Party as an engaged couple last Saturday at our friend Brenda and Josue's new home. We wanted something simple, easy to do and as cheap as possible for our costume. Ha! Ha! Being me, what did I do? I Goggled "DIY Couples Costume Ideas". Ha! Ha! Sure enough, we got a bunch of ideas.

Here is a list of some of the ones we considered doing:

Peace and Quiet
  • One person dresses like a hippie (jeans, flowered shirt, peace signs, beads, headband, etc.). The other person dresses up like a mime (striped shirt, black pants, suspenders, white face makeup, etc.).  

Hugs and Kisses
  • Use tape or a marker to make an X on one person's chest, and an O on the other.  

Yin and Yang
  • One person wears all white with a black dot on their chest, and the other person wears all black with a white dot.  

Athlete and Coach
  • The athlete can wear any kind of sports uniform. The coach wears a t-shirt, shorts and a whistle around the neck (and yells a lot!).  
Pencil and Eraser
  • Shorter person dresses up in all pink. Use a black marker to copy the logo from an eraser onto your chest. Taller person dresses in yellow with a pink hat. Use a black marker to write "#2" and a pencil logo on your chest.    

and the Winner?!

An Office Affair
  • Both wear normal office attire but with mis-buttoned and wrinkled clothes. His tie should be over his shoulder and he should have lipstick on his collar, neck and face. She can wear one earring and a string of broken pearls and have mussed hair and smeared lipstick. Add a few a few stitches in her skirt so that it appears to have been pulled down in a hurry.
Or

Boss and Secretary
  • He wears a dress shirt and tie with slacks, and has messed-up hair, loosened tie, one side of the shirt untucked, and zipper unzipped. She wears a business skirt, blouse, and hair and clothes messed up like his. She has smeared make-up, and he has lipstick kiss marks on his face and shirt collar.   
Ha! Ha! Check out our costumes below!!


Happy Halloween!!

-Lene

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Fa-Rost?


First thing that I saw this morning when I came out of my house ... frost! I thought it was supposed to be fall?

Crazy, I know! This just means one thing, winter is just around the corner. One of the reasons why I am so happy that we finally had our fall engagement shoot (eSession #2) finished.

We had re-scheduled it for yesterday. However, yesterday morning, it was almost cancelled again. Our photographer Andrew emailed me asking if I wanted to re-schedule it for the Spring next year instead since the weather was so unpredictable. The weather network was calling for a cloudy day yesterday, not the preferred weather, but I thought, I'll take it! I told Andrew that it's OK, we would like to go ahead with it. Good thing we did! By the time we arrived for our shoot, the sun had peaked out from behind the clouds! Yay!! God is truly great!

Reasons why we went ahead with it?

     •  I really wanted a Fall shoot since we are getting married in the Fall next year
     •  Mark's off all week for reading week this week, so it was perfect
     •  I had my nails done TWICE! Ha! Ha! I had to get them in the picture.

So anyways, the shoot turned out GREAT! We are extremely happy with how it went. Even with runny noses and numb fingers afterwards, we're happy we went ahead with it. Also, Andrew was great! He guided us throughout the whole thing, which helped us tremendously. Especially getting comfortable with PDA while someone's taking a picture of you.

My main comment for the night, "I have never kissed Mark this much in one day!" Ha! Ha! Can't wait to share teaser pics from this shoot!

Oh, and our pictures finally came from our Summer shoot! =) 

Happy Friday!

-Lene  

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A Sneak Peak!

Alright, I can't help it! I have been dying to share my engagement pictures from our first eSession with people. Ha! Ha!

So far, it's just our family who has seen them. We are planning on using them for the wedding (Website, Save the Dates, etc.), so I can't "reveal" too many of them. Ha! Ha! But it's hard to keep my excitement in! Here's a few of my favourites. =)



Credits: Moussa Faddoul | fotoreflection.com
-Lene

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Appreciating You

I have always been on of those people who always try to look at the brighter side of things. Everyday, I try to remember to give thanks for everything that I have.

One of the things that I haven't really put much thought in lately is how grateful I am to have found Mark. Yes, I know, cliché. I'm sure you're thinking "Of course you are! That's why you're marrying him." Ha! Ha!


Source
But I really do want to emphasize why I am grateful for him.

He never gives up!
To Mark, not being together is not an option. From the very beginning, we both agreed that we don't believe in "cool offs" because that leads to breaking up. Whatever struggles we go through, he's always trying to get us to "be in the same boat".

He respects me
in every way. He loves my individuality and how I stand up for what I believe in.  Even when he doesn't agree with him, he respects my opinions just as I respect his. He respects and admires my "old school" Filipino values and traditions.

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eSession #2

OK, here we go! Our second Engagement Photoshoot is tomorrow! Well, it's scheduled for tomorrow, but Mother Nature does not seem to be co-operating! As my future sister in-law Yasmin would say "Caman"!! Ha! Ha! Ha!

destination | Waterloo, ON

We are hoping to capture some of the beautiful fall colours. Hopefully by some miracle, a peak of sunshine would come out. Even if we get a glimpse of the sun for half an hour or so, it will be more than enough.

I am looking at some people's engagement photos in the rain and it's nice too. A little different from the usual. I guess if worse comes to worse, we can make it just as much fun! =) Good thing I bought that new umbrella!

Funny, because the first thing I did this morning was check the weather. I've kind of been obsessing about it since last week. As I was getting ready this morning, something in my room caught my eye.


My little figurine! =) You think Someone's trying to tell me something? He, he ... so I am listening to the message. Our photographers will let us know tomorrow if it's a go or not. Either way, I'm happy with anything. I've done the best that I can in planning, now it's up to Him.

P.S. I even got my nails done! =) Doesn't happen very often, so I took a picture of it. Ha! Ha! It's actually pretty nice to pamper yourself sometimes.

-Lene
 

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Marriage 101


Phew! We made it though our first Marriage Preparation class!

How was it? FUN! It was actually a lot of fun! Ha! Ha!

The class started at 7:30pm, but Mark and I had an appointment to have our picture taken to be added to the church's Parishioner Directory at 7:06pm. Even with the torrential downpour we had to brave, we made it exactly at 7:06pm.

The photo session was actually pretty funny. At first, we didn't know how we should list our names because we aren't married yet. In the end, we decided to go with our first names and Mark's last name. I'm excited to see my name beside his and his last name. =)

As the photographer was telling us how to pose, where to look, etc. he instructed Mark to "lean in more towards your wife". Ahhhh!!! Can you say butterflies?! Ha! Ha! I couldn't stop grinning!

We were about 5 minutes late for our class because we had to choose which pose we liked the best. We were the second last couple to make it and we ended up having to sit at the very front of the class. Right in front of the "teachers". Ha! Ha! There were about 11 other couples in the class - pretty big class!

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The Countdown Begins!



Ahhh!! The countdown officially starts today!! What a memorable day this is for us.

Today we start our Marriage Preparation course. A 2hrs per week for 6 weeks required course for us to be married at a Catholic church.

Feelings? Pretty excited! =) LOL!

Accomplished so far:
  1. Church
  2. Hall/Caterer
  3. Photographer
  4. Videographer
  5. Dress
  6. DJ
I guess we're doing pretty good! =) Next project in the works: Save the Dates and Wedding Website. Eeeee!! So excited! Ha! Ha!

-Lene

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Things I’ve learned about being engaged (313 days in)


  1. 313 Days flew by in a blink of an eye!
  2. The Computer becomes your best friend! Google specifically! If you have a question, Google it! 99% of the time, someone else in the world has asked the same question.
  3. Bridal Shows are fun to go to get free stuff (LOL!), but unless you're willing to fork out a lot of money, you most likely won't find your vendors there. A lot of them are way overpriced! Attend maybe 1 or 2, but other than that, don't waste your money on the entrance fee.
  4. Prioritizing your "To-Do" List is a must! Decide on what you absolutely can't live without and everything else, be open to compromise. It's helps a lot when making decisions to help you stay within your budget.
  5. Patience: you learn exactly what the word means! Oftentimes you'll feel like you just want things to hurry up, but at the same time, you know it can't. It get's frustrating sometimes. If you are working with a strict budget, keep shopping around until you find what you are looking for, trust me, it's out there! 

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"Relax" He says



Last Friday, I finally got around to cleaning my room after let's just say a very long time. Ha! Ha! What motivated me to clean it? My mom was coming home from the Philippines! =) She's been on my case for a while about cleaning my room, so I knew I had to do it before she got back from her trip.

As I was going through the pile of papers, envelopes, old chocolates (LOL!), etc. on my desk, I realized how my "bill" pile was starting to stack up. Going through them, I got all nervous again. I have always dreamed of having the perfect wedding, but as we actually plan our wedding, it is becoming more and more a reality as to what "perfect" means. Weddings cost money and that's reality. There really is no way around it.

Anyways, there I was freaking out a little (as always it seems) as I continued cleaning, then I came across something that literally stopped me in my tracks.

I found a book that one of my friends had lent me and on the back it had such a beautiful message that really hit home!


After seeing this, I literally just cried. =)

Oftentimes we get so caught up with all that is happening in our lives that we forget who's overseeing it all.

Afterwards, all I could do was let out a big sigh of relief. He's got this!

-Lene

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Dust off those dancing shoes!



It's official!! Our DJ is booked!! =)

We have decided to go with Impact Entertainment. They are the second DJ we interviewed. Remember the DJ we spoke with for 2 hours? Yup, it's them!

We had a meeting with the in-house DJ for our hall about 2 weeks ago, and they seemed really good as well. The only downfall with them like the initial DJ we interviewed is that you don't meet your actual DJ until about a month before your wedding. We weren't a big fan of this idea. I mean, how do you know if you like your DJ or not without meeting them?

I don't know, maybe it's just the "control freak" in me kicking into gear. LOL! Also, one of the reasons we went with them is because of their very high rating. What better way to know what they're like than from another bride right?

Here are some of their reviews:

"Impact Entertainment provided an amazing service as being both our MC and DJ for our wedding. The music selection was fantastic! All our guests and even including the venue employees were very impressed with the professionalism and choice of music and lighting. Impact Entertainment at all times made the process of getting to know what style of music we enjoyed very easy. I highly recommend Impact Entertainment!" - AnnaObi, WeddingWire

"Paul Hutchison, our DJ from Impact Entertainment, was AWESOME. He responded to email in a timely way, he listened to what we wanted and kept the party going all night - literally after he played his last song, people were chanting "one more song, one more song!". He read the crowd well and made we were happy by playing our favourite songs. The website "request list builder" was extremely helpful in planning. I would definitely recommend Paul/Impact." - NattyG, WeddingWire

We have also been lucky enough to actually get Paul! =) So there's one more thing off our list! Hopefully they are as great as they seem. Out of all the meetings we had though, they're the one that we had the best "feeling" of. So we kind of just went with that! Hopefully we aren't wrong! *fingers crossed*

Let's get this party started!!! Whoo hooo!!!

-Lene

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1.one



Ahhhh!!! 1 year and 1 month!!! I kind of started hyperventilating last night when I was talking to one of my maids of honour (Joy Joy) about the wedding.

Wow, this year has flown by so quickly! It's a "BER"! There is only 101 days until Christmas!! Ahhh!! I honestly feel like summer came and went without me knowing. I know 1 year and 1 month seems really far, but that's what I said to myself November 27 last year when Mark and I got engaged. Here are my exact words, "We have almost two years to wait - that's long!"

Keeping Busy
What have I been busy with lately? Our Wedding Website! =) It's still in it's preliminary stages right now, but it's coming along. We are hoping to "unveil" the website closer to the end of the year when our Save The Dates have been sent out. Eeeeee!!! So excited!! Stay tuned!!! =)

Really all this computer work is very counterproductive for my eye recovery! Ha! Ha! Being the computer geek that I am, once I get started on a project that I'm really into, I just can't stop! It's like I'm hooked! Especially when I can't figure something out, but I know it's possible. Actually, last night I didn't end up going to bed until 2am! Yikes! You probably guessed it, I'm pooped this morning! But like what my co-worker said, "That's your fault!" Ha! Ha! Oh, I love how guys just tells it how it is. 

Update on my eyes
So far so good. The redness on the white part of my left eye is slowly going away. I think my night vision is getting better - it's really hard to tell. My day vision is perfect, it's just my night vision that I'm a little worried about. But I'm told that it's normal. I knew that because I have larger pupil size, this is likely to happen. I can see, but light sources tend to have "halos" around them. It's supposed to get better in about a month. Apparently it takes at least 3 months before your vision is perfect. Mainly because your eyes are physically healing.

Can I feel/tell a lot of difference? In my case, I don't think so. I was so used to wearing glasses that I never really felt like they were there. But it's nice to be able to shower and see which one is the shampoo and which one is the conditioner! Ha! Ha! Also, it's nice not having to be really close to the mirror when putting make-up on. It's nice to be able to wear really fashionable sunglasses instead of my "matrix clip-ons"! Ha! Ha! OK, so I guess I can tell a lot of difference.

-Lene

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Bitter Sweet Goodbye




"Thank you for letting me see the world through you for the last 15 years ... "

It's funny, because I actually have very mixed emotions right now. As exciting as it is to be free from glasses, it's actually also quite hard to say goodbye to something that has been a part of who I am for 15 years.

The Beginning ...
I started wearing glasses in grade 7. I actually didn't need glasses, but at the time, I thought it would be cool to have them! So I told my mom that I couldn't see in class, especially when the teacher would use overheads. I also started reading under the blanket in the dark with a flashlight when my mom would tell me to go to bed already. Ultimately, this pretty much ruined my eyes. My mom had no choice but to get me glasses. So as you can see, I have no one else to blame other than myself why I started wearing glasses.

Then in High School, they weren't so cool anymore! I hated them! I remember the days when my best friend Joy and I would go to the mall (we both wore glasses), and when we would see a cute guy, we would both take off our glasses quickly just before we walked by him. After we've passed him, we would then ask each other if he looked at us or if he was really as cute as we thought he was. Then we would both answer with, "I don't know, I couldn't see him!" Ha! Ha!

By the end of High School, I discovered contacts and wearing glasses wasn't so bad anymore. I only wore contacts on special occasions though. I mainly wore my glasses for the majority of the time.

Overall, glasses didn't really bother me as much, it just became a part of my face. In fact, I am trying to get used to looking at my face without glasses. My face just seems so empty without them.

Don't get me wrong, I have no regrets about my decision of getting Lasik done, it's just that I will need some time to get used to my "new face".


Life without glasses

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Point of View




Tomorrow's the big day!!! I'm finally going to do something that I have always wanted to do, Laser Eye Surgery. 

Currently feeling ...
  • Petrified
  • Nervous
  • Anxious
  • Excited
  • "Hyperventilating"
  • "Freaking Out!!"
As nervous as I am, I am also very excited to see the outcome. From what I have heard from people who's had Lasik done on their eyes, it's apparently a life changing experience!

My one friend tells me, "You'll see the world in a whole new way."

When I first told Mark about wanting to do this, his first comment was, "What if you don't think I'm handsome anymore?" Ha! Ha! He has been very supportive about me going through with this procedure. He said, as long as it makes me happy, then go for it. But he never had any complaint about me wearing glasses.

I've had my glasses since I was in grade 7 and I am pretty much blind without it. So this will surely be something very different for me.

I asked my one friend what was the best thing about getting Lasik. He answers with, "Seeing the alarm clock when you wake up!" LOL!

What made me go ahead with the procedure?
  1. I know that once I'm married and have children, I will never want to spend this much on myself again.
  2. My eye prescription has finally pretty much stabilized.
  3. To be able to see while swimming.
  4. In case I end up crying at my wedding, my eye make-up won't bother my eyes! LOL!
  5. To be free from glasses!!!
So, here I go ... please keep me in your prayers ...

=)

-Lene

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eSession #1



According to this weekly email wedding report I receive, we officially have 1 year, 1 month, 2 weeks and 1 day until our wedding!! Ahhhh!!!

Ha! Ha! I know, it's far, but today I can't help but be really excited, anxious and nervous! Why? Our first Engagement Photo shoot is today!!

destination | Burlington, ON

We wanted a place that offered flexibility for our pictures. We knew that Burlington has both the small town feel and it's right by the waters - perfect combination!

So far, it seems as if Mother Nature is on our side. They are calling for 27°C (feels like 30) this afternoon!

Last week has been insanely busy for me, so I didn't end up looking for something to wear until last night - bad idea. Let's just say I was stressing out just a tad bit. But in the end, I finally found something that would work.

top 3 feelings for today
  • Nervous
  • Anxious
  • Excited
  • Ahhh!!!
Phew! OK, just needed to get that out! =) ...

I hope our pictures turns out good. Now, I just have to prepare my face to smile for 2 hours! Got to stop smiling now! Ha! Ha!

-Lene

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Forever 21



I wish! =) Today has simply been such a blessing in so many ways ...

This year, I wanted more of a "low-key" birthday. My life lately has been all about being on the "GO-GO-GO", that all I wanted to do this year was sleep! Something that I can't seem to get enough of. Ha! Ha!

why 21? 
What's so important about 21? 21 just seems to be my "magic age". Not sure if you have ever felt like you were stuck at a certain age - to me, it's 21! =) Plus, it's my birth date!

Even though I age every year, one of things that I feel really blessed about is the fact that I can still relate to those younger than me no matter how old I get. I know that I owe all of this through my service with the Youth Inspired! of the Light of Jesus Community Canda (LOJC). In fact, I owe a lot of my growth to this Community.

August 21
My birthday celebrations actually started early! =) On Friday evening, I had an amazing birthday celebration with three of my most closest family. My Ate Len (my Caring Group Head & the older sister (Ate) I never had), my beautiful God-daughter Julia (Ate Len's princess) and my soon-to-be sister in-law Jomay!

I haven't seen these ladies in a very long time; this was certainly a long overdue dinner! The night started out great!! We had dinner out on the patio, then continued our "catching up" session until 12am! Yes, we love to talk! Ha! Ha! The night was completed with a very yummy red velvet cupcake-cake that Julia and Ate Len chose for me. Thank you!!!


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DJ - option 2



Second DJ meeting - done!


It didn't start out as smoothly as I would have liked it to, but in the end it turned out great.

We were supposed to meet our contact at a Tim Horton's in Mississauga. The DJ company's office is in Toronto, but our contact was kind enough to meet us in Mississauga. First good sign!

When we got to Timmies, we didn't see our contact - bad sign. So Mark and I got our drinks and sat down to wait. We knew that he was coming from Toronto, so we decided to wait for a bit. After almost about half an hour, he was still a "no show". By this point, I was starting to panic and thought to myself, "Why does this always happen to us?"

I then decided to call our contact. He answers on the first ring, "Arlene?!". I told him that I just wanted to let him know that we have arrived in case he was running late. His response surprised me, "Oh you're here? So am I!" With that, I looked around the whole store puzzled. Aside from the two girls at the other side of the restaurant and us, the place was empty.

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be #1


Have I ever mentioned how much I hate prioritizing? Arrgghh!!!

Marky and I are meeting up with our second potential DJ tonight. I'm a little frustrated because DJs are so expensive! Don't get me wrong, there are cheaper DJs out there, but at the same time, they may not be as good or as professional.

The DJ we're meeting up tonight has gotten a lot of very positive reviews, so we're hopeful. They are a little more expensive than the other ones we're comparing with, but not by much.

Take this statistic for example,  

"Typically, only 5% of your total budget will be spent on entertainment. However, over twice the number of guests will remember your entertainment choice more than anything else!" 
 — Modern Bride Magazine

I couldn't agree more! That's why I'm so scared about having to make this decision.What if we choose the wrong one; they suck and then whole reception sucks?!?!

The thing is, when I look at everything else on my "To Do" list, they are ALL important!

Bllaaaahhh!!! 
 

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un-Veil?


Totally random ... but this morning, I started thinking about my veil. When I was trying on wedding dresses, of course I had to try on veils with them! And yes ... I will be wearing a veil. I love the overall look of it with my wedding dress. Makes it look really romantic in my opinion.

What my dilemma right now is whether I should have the veil over my face or not?

The last three weddings I've been to, none of the brides have worn their veils over their faces. Most if not all of them had them just behind their head. One didn't even wear a veil at all.

I remember that the reason one of my friends who got married three years ago didn't want to wear a veil was because wearing a veil reminded her fiancé of the scary movie, "The Others". Ha ha ha!!

"Are you mad? I am your daughter!"

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Change Your Words - Change Your World


"I know that Friday, October 12, 2012 will be everything we had hoped for and more. It will certainly be the dream wedding I have dreamt of all my life!"

"We're going to find the best DJ there is and have an amazing party!"

"Change Your Words - Change Your World"

Here is something I learned from the LOJC Youth Inspired! this past weekend. You are what you say! If you believe that you are blessed, you will be blessed. Instead of saying "I have so many problems", why not say, "I have so many "projects" or "possibilities". Or, instead of "I am so stressed", why not say, "I have so many opportunities."

Of course words have to be accompanied by actions. Do what you are saying ... make it happen!

Here's a video that was shared with us and I thought was simply beautiful.

"I am going to have an AMAZING Monday today!" =)

Happy Monday!!



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Planning Tip #1 - Church


So here I am, about 8 months into my wedding planning. I have to say that I have done pretty well so far. Since last Monday I have 1 year, 2 months, 1 week and 6 days to go before my wedding. Ha ha! I know it seems far, but that's what I was thinking 8 months ago, and look - it's here!! >_<

 Here are the items that I've been able to check off my list so far:
  • Church
  • Reception
  • Photographer
  • Videographer
  • Dress
With that said, I thought I would share a few of the tips and resources that I have found useful thus far. I'll start of with the first thing that you should be crossing off your list ...


the Church!
Why is it the first item that needs to be taken cared of? Well, everything will depend on this decision. Your wedding date will determine everything else about your wedding. Therefore, you need to make sure that it's available. If you don't have a specific church that you have your heart set on, make sure to "shop around" and start visiting other churches. Most churches will have specific requirements for you to get married there. For some of the requirements, check out this post: "To the Altar We Go."

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july17 - it's here!!

I forgot to write about this!! (How could I?!?!)

My dress is HHEEEERRRREEE!!! I picked it up today (07/17/11) with my two maids of honor and one of my bridesmaids (aka. Kristine, Joy and Catherine). Ha ha!!



I decided against trying it on - for now. The actual alterations won't be done until next summer (unnecessary "extras" still needs to come off!). Ha ha! But it's here!! One less thing to worry about!!

For some reason, it all still seems unreal... Ahhhh!!!

OK, I'll freak out a year from now!

=)

Now ... how about those perfect shoes ... =D

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Out of the blue!

If you find someone who makes a point to tell you how much they love you everyday - keep him!

Mark has always been a very thoughtful guy. He always makes sure that he texts me everyday (during the day) just to say "hi", tell me he misses me, that sort of thing. On top of that, we usually talk when I'm on my way home and later on at night before we go to bed. I guess all of these means of communications are what has kept our long distance relationship to last this long. To some it may be too much, but to us, it's what has worked!

His usual daily texts usually arrives by around noon, unless he's busy. Today, he surprised me with an email instead!  


"Hello poop,

Please don't work too hard okay and make sure you stretch. i was in a hurry this morning and i forgot my phone. I love you and i miss you. See you soon and talk to you later.

Love your fiance,"


and with that, he just made my day ...

Don't take anything for granted ...
It's hard because I know I'm really guilty of this. Sometimes when good/happy things happen all the time to you, you fail to appreciate them. They become the "usual" stuff. The worst thing you can do is only learn to appreciate the value of someone or something once it is not there anymore - don't wait for that day!

Be grateful - you are blessed - you are LOVED!

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The Mayonaise Jar

Hope you're not getting sick of these little stories/messages that I'm posting. These things really hit home to me and carry a beautiful message that I know I can use now and later on in life.

We're still in the process of interviewing a few other DJs. I'm finding that this task has got to be the hardest one of all. The overall reception rests on this decision, so we're trying not to make any quick decisions. We have after all over a year. =)

So in the meantime, here's a great Friday message for you. Enjoy! =)

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day not enough is; remember the mayonnaise jar and 2 cups of coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and start to fill it with golf balls.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.
The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was. 


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The best things in life are free ... really?!

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate money! Arrgghhh!! As much as I am a true believer in the saying, "The best things in life are free" ... sometimes I think it's only partially true.

What really matters
It's true that money can only get you so far. At the same time, as much as we don't want to admit it to yourself, without money, a lot of things are hard to come by.

I have always dreamed about the wedding of my dreams. But now, I have come to realize that it's not the wedding that's important, but what we are celebrating. Even with that mindset, I still can't get away from the fact that money will still be involved.

"Looking forward to our cardboard house ..."
Some days, I reminisce about my conversations with Mark about living in a cardboard box. =) ... we would talk about not having enough money to have a house and we decided to live in a cardboard box. Then I would ask him ... "what happens when it rains?". He then answers me with ... "I'll put a garbage bag over it." LOL!!

It is so easy to get caught up with financial problems, that sometimes we fail to realize how far down the road we've come and how many other financial problems we have overcame.

I know that no matter what, God will provide, He always does.

No matter what the world throws at us we will face it together side-by-side, hand-in-hand.

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"Like an old friend"

For 9 years now, Mark and I have gone through all sorts of things. From tickling fights to laughing fits until our side hurts to angry confrontations to bumming around all day in our pajamas, we've come to a point in our relationship where being with each other isn't just about  being with our girlfriend or boyfriend, but being with your best friend.

When I tell people how long we've been together, a lot of reactions I get are: "Woah!", "Really?!", "That's long!"  

Is it really that long?
The funny thing about being with Mark is that it doesn't feel like it's been a "long" time that we've been together. It's more the feeling that he has always been a part of me. It's really hard to remember the times when he wasn't there. You know that feeling when you get home after being away for so long? That's what it feels like when we're together ... "I'm home ..." 

So here's to 9 years of being my best friend, my better half ... I thank God everyday that He has blessed me with you. Thank you for completing me ...

Looking forward to 9 x 1000000 .... years with you.

"Happy Anniversary My Love ..."

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... will you still miss me?


It has been a pretty busy week for Mark and I. Last week he was busy preparing for his exams this week. As for me, I was busy doing more wedding planning! =)

Last Saturday, I was having an "emotional" day I guess and for some reason, I just felt like we haven't seen each other for so long! We didn't see each other last weekend because of Father's Day and  because of our individual family gatherings. I was kind of giving him a hard time that he doesn't miss me "as much". LOL!

Yes, I know, what's wrong with me right? Then he said something to me that made me really think ... "do you think when we're married, you'd still miss me this much?"

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Disc Jockey Troubles

We were scheduled to meet our very first potential DJ last Saturday. In fact, Mark and I drove all the way to Vaughan to meet him at his office.

Initially, I had told him that we may be a little late because Mark has volunteer work. But it turned out that he was able to skip volunteering that day. We were at his office by 2:45pm. It turned out that he wasn't there. One of his co-workers advised us that he should be coming soon. Thinking that he was expecting us more for 3:30pm, we waited until 3:30pm for him. When he didn't show up, we asked one of his co-workers if he could call him and find out where he's at. It turned out that he was expecting us at another location.

Obviously there was some misunderstanding because he never indicated meeting him anywhere else other than his office. Thinking that he will at least email and apologize for the confusion, I waited until today to see if he would try to contact me. When he didn't, I emailed him expressing my frustrations. He replies back and does apologize, but pretty much states that if we want to go forward with this, he will refer us to one of his co-workers instead. Talk about lack of professionalism. He obviously doesn't want to deal with us anymore! WTF! >_<

Let's just say we didn't end up going with them ... as my co-worker would say, "KMA" (Kiss My A**)!

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Perfect Love

One more month and Marky and I will be celebrating our 9 years! =) Nine wonderful years! Who would have thought we would get this far.

This past weekend, for some reason, I started to get "cold feet". I was worried about what's to come. Questions just kept on popping in my head:
  • "Will I be a good wife?"
  • "What if he gets "sick" of me because we'll see each other everyday?"
  • "Is this really where I want to be?"
  • "This is forever!"
  • "Am I missing out since he's my first boyfriend?"
It was really slow at my part-time job this weekend, so it gave me a lot of time to think. Don't get me wrong, I am still super excited about our wedding. It's what I have always wanted for such a long time.
thinking things through ...
Doing a lot of thinking made me realize something though. No one can surpass Mark for all the sacrifices he's done for our relationship for almost 9 years. Driving back and forth from Mississauga to Guelph isn't easy, especially during winter. But yet, he had never complained or given up. 

As happy and enthusiastic I am, I actually have a really bad temper and Mark has surely seen both. Yet, he still loves me despite of it. Every time I would make a mistake and feel bad about myself, I would ask him ... "do you still love me?" And he would answer me with, "I love you even more."

The last point of this reflection solidified what I was already thinking. =) "Be Grateful". I was worrying for nothing. It's not everyday that you find someone who may not be perfect, but is perfect for you. Someone who would do anything and everything for your sake and the sake of the relationship. Someone who loves you just because.

I am truly blessed to have found a perfect love. Not only in Mark, but in God.

Perfect Love - By Max Lucado

Isn’t it good to know that even when we don’t love with a perfect love, he does? God always nourishes what is right. He always applauds what is right. He has never done wrong, led one person to do wrong, or rejoiced when anyone did wrong. For he is love, and love “does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6, NASB).

God passes the test of 1 Corinthians 13:6. Well, he should; he drafted it.

So where does this leave us? Perhaps with a trio of reminders. When it comes to love:

Be careful.

Until love is stirred, let God’s love be enough for you.There are seasons when God allows us to feel the frailty of human love so we’ll appreciate the strength of his love. Didn’t he do this with David? Saul turned on him. Michal, his wife, betrayed him. Jonathan and Samuel were David’s friends, but they couldn’t follow him into the wilderness. Betrayal and circumstances left David alone. Alone with God. And, as David discovered, God was enough. David wrote these words in a desert: “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you … My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods” (Psalm 63:3, 5)

Be prayerful.

What if it’s too late? Specifically, what if you’re married to someone you don’t love—or who doesn’t love you? Many choose to leave. That may be the step you take. But if it is, take at least a thousand others first. And bathe every one of those steps in prayer. Love is a fruit of the Spirit. Ask God to help you love as he loves. “God has given us the Holy Spirit, who fills our hearts with his love” (Romams 5:5, CEV). Ask everyone you know to pray for you. Your friends. Your family. Your church leaders. Get your name on every prayer list available. And, most of all, pray for and, if possible, with your spouse. Ask the same God who raised the dead to resurrect the embers of your love.

Be grateful.

Be grateful for those who love you. Be grateful for those who have encouraged you to do what is right and applauded when you did. Do you have people like that in your world? If so, you are doubly blessed. Be grateful for them. And be grateful for your Father in heaven.

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I love roller coasters!

I know that for the longest time, I have been guilty of this - lack of patience. Being the control freak that I am, I often have a tendency to want things to happen now.

I've struggled with this over and over again. In fact, there are still days that I struggle with it. When Mark and I started going out, we decided to take it day-by-day. We didn't know how long our relationship would last and look where we are now! Then after the 7 years mark passed, I started to get antsy. We talked about the wedding, but I wanted to know when it would happen.

Now, we are finally engaged and I just want our day to come so that we can finally start our life together.

Again, God has found a way for me to learn about patience ...

Waiting patiently in happy ignorance - By Terry A. Modica

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus says: "I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now." Oh please, Jesus, tell me now; send me an email!

We don't like feeling uncertain about the future. We want to know about God's plans about how or even IF our prayers will be answered. We want to know how things will turn out if we say yes to a new job or a ministry or a challenging donation of our time. We want to know how long we must continue trying to evangelize others before they finally wake up and repent, especially when their worldly ways are causing us problems.

In our chats with God, we say: "Okay, if I do what you're asking, what will happen?" or "Will this trial ever end?" or "Ahem, please explain further so I can base my decision on how logical this sounds."

Being ignorant of the details can be scary. We know there's a bigger picture, but all we've got to work with are a few small puzzle pieces. We're not in control. Ohhhmygosh, this means we have to trust God!

What seems to be a frightening silence is really a huge gift. Imagine if God were to sit you down in a nice quiet prayer room and display on the wall a video that shows everything he's going to do in your life: everything he's asking of you, what you'll have to endure to accomplish it, all the hurdles you'll face, how he'll be stretching you beyond what's comfortable and familiar. Do you really want to know all this? Even though the movie would also show the fun of it, the good times, God's helping hand, the wonderful fruits and rewards, etc., wouldn't you break out in a cold sweat panic attack? I know I would.

We should thank God for our ignorance! It's a great relief to trustingly let the Holy Spirit have full control. Jesus says in this Gospel message: "The Spirit of Truth will guide you to all truth." The Holy Spirit will "announce" to us whatever we need to know, not when WE want to know it, but when it truly is the perfect time to know it.

Life's greatest adventures come from trusting God in the midst of ignorance. Have you ever ridden a roller coaster that has surprising twists and turns? It's popular with riders who like the thrill of not knowing where they're going, where's the next dip, the next spin, the next upside-down loop. The life of a Christian is just as thrilling! Don't worry. Even if you don't like roller coasters, it can be a safe adventure. God is your seat belt – he holds you in his lap very securely.

For safety, please don't try to climb out before the ride is over.

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500 Days!!



Ha ha!! I know it's a long way away still, but the "500" makes it seem like a milestone. =)

At times it feels like it's taking "forever" for our day to come, but then when I really think about it, time's flying!

Currently, we are in the process of hiring a DJ. It's actually a lot harder than we thought it would be. It's hard to know if they are good or not without actually being at a wedding that they have played at.

I'll keep you posted!

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Do I know you?

They say that you never truly know a person until you have lived with them. I've heard it countless of times, but never really put much thought into it. Until last night ...

eight n' 1/2 and counting 
Mark and I have been together for almost nine years this July. We talk to each other every night and we text each other during the day. I can't remember a night when we didn't talk for at least about an hour or went to bed without saying goodnight to each other. We see each other on the weekends and if we're lucky, sometimes even during the week if our schedule allows it. We are at a point in our relationship where I can walk around the house without any make-up on, wear crappy "pambahay" (everyday) clothes and not worry about what he'll think of me. Let's just say that we're very comfortable with each other.

One thing that you have to know about Mark is that he's a very clean and organized guy. A trait that he inherited from his mom. If you think about it, there are not that many guys out there who has been blessed with this gift. So I know that I have been blessed to have a man who is like this.

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A JOY-ous Day!

The definition of JOY:

"the emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying."

This is exactly what my bestfriend JOY is! I know that a lot of people calls you their best friend. Why? Because you're such an amazing person!

Joy Joy, you've been with me through it all. From the day we met in grade 6, through high school, through College, and to this day! From my very first crush to now my fiancé, thanks for putting up with all my "boy-craziness"! We've had the craziest times and I am so grateful that God has blessed me with such an amazing friend.

I am so excited to share with you this new chapter of my life. Thank you for always being there and saying yes to be one of my Maids of Honor!!

What I love most about us is that even when we don't talk for weeks at a time, when we do, it's like we just continue exactly where we left off! =)

Joy was the very first person to find out that I got engaged other than my immediate family. What can I say, she's that special!

Hope you have an amazing day ... for you truly deserve it!

Happy Happy Birthday!! Tell me what it's like getting close to thirty! LOL!!

PS. Why am I tearing up writing this? LOL! Oh man, we're BOTH going to be a wreck at my wedding!! Bring on the tissues!! Ha ha ha!!!

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