Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Great Christmas Surprise!

You know the song, "I'll be home for Christmas"? Pretty song, but it's never had much meaning to me. This year, however, it's never meant more.

It all started a few weeks ago…

(Ok, so I have to be honest: I tried so hard to make a poem based on "T'was the Night Before Christmas", to relay this great, Christmas surprise. But alas, I don't think poetry is one of my gifts. Ok, I don't think, I know. So I'll just stick to non-rhyming words.)

I kind of always miss my family. The feelings of distance and missing out on things never really goes away; it either wains or gets stronger depending on holidays, events, etc.

So, a few weeks before Christmas, the feelings of missing home were in full swing. But I let myself cry them out a little bit and then try to move on, like always. But my ever so sweet husband was extremely intuitive and made the most wonderful suggestion.

"What if you go home for a few days over the holidays?"

The idea was nice but totally not plausible, I thought.

"Let's just look at ticket prices."

So, we did. At first, they were shocking. I mean, an arm and a leg and 10-years of servitude shocking. But we tried a travel agent to see if she could find anything better, and lo and behold, she did! God bless her. I was still on the fence about it for various reasons, but next thing I knew, hubby had booked the ticket! This whole thing - the discussion of getting ticket and then actually booking one - happened in a matter of two days. Since no one knew that any of this happened, we thought, "What if we can keep it a surprise from my family and I just rock up on Christmas Day?!"

And that is what I have done!

It's the evening of Christmas Day and I am at home in Florida with my family! :) We actually ended up telling my dad but kept it a secret from my mom, my brother, and some family friends from SA who are actually here as well. To say they were beyond surprised is an understatement. This is definitely the happiest and most exciting Christmas I think I've ever had. Although I would totally have given my other arm, leg, and another 10 years of servitude for hubby to be here also, I am inexpressibly grateful for this gift of extra time with my family. I am so aware that I am far beyond blessed to have such a sacrificial, generous, and thoughtful husband! (Thank you, lovie!! :) And, I think it is another step of gumption for me. My husband is full of it, but once again, it rubbed off on me and I flew through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day all the way home! It things like this that make life memorable and invigorating.

I hope your Christmas Day has been filled with family, hope, and joy; wherever you are in the world. :)

Merry Christmas,

PS - I have to add another point for gumption! I flew with Virgin Atlantic and when I boarded the plane on Christmas Eve, everyone was given the option to sing a Christmas song in front of everyone and possibly win a free upgrade to first class. So I mustered as much courage as I could fine, sang my best version of Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas is You" and enjoyed 10 hours on a full size twin bed with a duvet in first class! Merry Christmas. :)

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays! Wherever you find yourself this holiday season, here's to your days being filled with hope, joy, and contentment and a new year filled with excitement and growth! 

Lots of love from South Africa,
G&E and Rolo

Monday, December 16, 2013

True Tales of Gumption - Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, Madiba of South Africa

Yesterday, the late president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, was laid to rest. I thought it only fitting to feature him as this week's true tale of gumption.

There is so much that I could try to say; so much that has already been said, about this incredible man who is one of the truest examples of gumption in history. Living in South Africa for three years makes his passing far more meaningful and emotional for me, than it probably ever would have been otherwise. He is an inspiring man who I still need to learn so much more about and from.

Rather than try to write something profound, I want to share a few things that, to me, display Mandela's triumphant gumption and that inspire me to live a courageous life. The below clip is from 1999. The artist is Johnny Clegg, who I have seen in concert a couple of times - which is a true South African experience. I love this video. I feel like I know Mandela a little more after watching it - his spirit, his joy, his contentment. I hope you enjoy it and feel that too.

Almost a week ago, on Tuesday, 10 December, the entire country of South Africa held a memorial service for Madiba. (Madiba means "father"; Mandela is the father of South Africa.) There was one main location, FNB Stadium in Soweto, which I am sure you either watched or saw clips or pictures from. Almost 100 dignitaries came from all over the world to honor Madiba. But many other stadiums around the country, from Johannesburg to Cape Town to Durban, participated as well by watching the memorial being held in Soweto and having there own tributes with song, dance, and words of remembrance.

On that day, my husband and I went to the Nelson Mandela Square which is just a few minutes from where we live. We had planned to watch the memorial there but the rain was relentless that day, so we watched some from home. The weather was extremely unusual for this time of year, but as the rain only got heavier and heavier as the day went on, it seemed quite appropriate as the whole nation mourned.

Have you read Mandela's book, Long Walk to Freedom? Or seen the new film, "Mandela", based on A Long Walk to Freedom? I have to confess: I have never finished Long Walk to Freedom. I feel a bit embarrassed now that I haven't, but more motivated to, after learning so much more about this incredible man in the past couple weeks. Husband and I went and saw the film yesterday - go see it. It is moving, inspiring, and challenging. I always knew Mandela advocated a peaceful and equal end to apartheid, but I had no idea how much that went against what so many people - especially black South Africans - wanted. Madiba is truly one of the greatest examples of gumption in my life.

And one last bit of wisdom from Madiba that sums up what I hope you often find, gumption and a full life, by coming back here to read:


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

On our first anniversary

One year ago, on the seventh of December, that guy and I said, “I do”. We got all dressed up, signed some papers, took lots of pictures, danced, ate cake, and started a new life – our life. It was magical, it was a little scary, it was so exciting, and so fun. I actually say all the time that I wish we could do it all over again! Even after all the planning and preparation, it really was one of the most fun days ever. 

This past weekend, we went away to celebrate one year of being married. I still can't decide if it feels like we've been married for a year or if it feels like we just got married a few weeks ago. Either way, we have had a full and rich year, and I have never felt more content with my/our life and filled with hope and anticipation for the future. My husband is the best. I seriously don't know how I got so lucky. He has his flaws, like everyone (including myself), but he has been the leader this year in our little family of being selfless and forgiving. He truly sees and clings to what is good. He makes everything so fun! He loves God passionately and then loves me - so much. I love him so much more than I did a year ago and can't even imagine how our life will be filled with more love and joy, as it will over the next 10, 20, 50 years. 

After one year, I think I can say that I'm starting to find my feet in marriage. This first year married has been so happy, exciting, filled with so many firsts...really, a great, big adventure. We've done so many things in our first year: lots of movie nights (we really love movies), road trips, hikes, never-ending UNO games, intense air-hockey battles, afternoon walks holding hands, cross-continent flights, two [of our own] wedding receptions, concerts, musicals, picnics, random nights away (thanks to winning two radio contests!), dinners at home, dinners out, dinner with friends, walks with our son (Rolo - the basset hound...I really need to feature him more here), impromptu dance parties at home, hide-and-seek with Rolo in our little home, watching thunderstorms, snuggling on the couch while watching The Middle, Saturday morning strolls through local markets, holiday parties in our home, home made pizza nights, etc., etc., and etc. We also have had our share of bumps, miscommunications, and disagreements (often the latter two result in the first one). We have had to learn to calmly and fairly resolve conflict. We have had to learn to truly forgive and let go. When I think of themes to describe our year, I think of: deep love, grace, forgiveness, fun (having fun, as well as, making things light), holding onto the good, and learning. 

Marriage is not for the faint of heart. It is wonderful and amazing and magical, but it is also challenging and pushes you to grow in your character. I made a discovery in this first year about my thinking/beliefs (and I have a feeling I'm not the only one), that I think is the reason why marriage can seem startling. We are fed a lie our entire lives about what marriage should be: a fairytale, a super fun sleepover with your best friend every single day, full of red roses and romance, long walks on the beach holding hands, and dying together, old, in each others' arms. We are told that if the two of you are really meant for each other, everything will align and you will agree on everything and like the same things and travel the world together in complete and utter bliss. He will know what you are thinking and what you want without you saying anything. I think I also even fell into a bit of a romanticized version of conflict. You know in the movies...let's take The Notebook (which I love!), for example...the scene where Noah and Allie finally meet each other again, all grown up and with lots of life experience behind them? The tension has been building between the two of them and Noah takes Allie out on a romantic canoe ride. As they arrive back at the dock and the rain is pouring down on them, Allie finally yells out, "Why didn't you write me?!" She waited to hear from him for many years after their breakup (but her mom had been secretly kidnapping and hiding every letter) and was now angry that she was engaged to someone else as she realizes she still has feelings for Noah. (Don't worry, nothing even remotely similar to this has happened to us. ;) They yell at each other, chase each other down the dock in the pouring rain, and then passionately kiss and all is well again. I think this all occurs within approximately five minutes. 


Now, before you think I'm a total cynic and Debbie-downer, I promise: I'm not. Marriage, to the right person (or if you work hard at), is all of those wonderful things and far more, often times. In all honesty, I have had more moments in this one year of my life than any other, where I wondered how it was possible to feel so happy and loved and in love, and that it could keep growing. But growing individually and as a couple can be challenging. Conflict is not romantic. It's not pretty, it's not fun, it hurts. Making changes in yourself (especially for someone else) is hard and often involves fighting every selfish fiber in your body that is pulling you the other direction. And when some of these things started to happen after the day we said, "I do", I panicked. I wondered what was wrong with me, or us. This is why you need great friends in your life, even after finding "the one".

There was not and is not anything wrong with us. We are completely normal. We did make the right decision - every day that we don't have a conflict (which is actually like 90% of the time) affirms this for me. I am so grateful for family and friends who reminded us (ok, well, more me) and almost taught me for the first time, that: every couple has conflict. It's getting better and faster at resolving it that makes your relationship better. As I have learned to understand that and embrace it, it has made every day (including the few days that irk me a bit more than others), far more wonderful. We are doing great. We have grown so much this first year, individually and as the Fultons; I am so eager to see what we will be, 50 years down the road. 

So, as we embark on the second year of our marriage, I suppose the lesson I've learned, that I hope can encourage you (whatever stage of relationship you are in - including not being in one) is that: you are normal. There is no recipe for success or a "happy" life; you make that for yourself. Conflict and challenges are normal. As the late Nelson Mandela said, "After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb." (More on Mandela to come.) Welcome the hills, embrace them, and learn from them. Life is far brighter when you do. 


One year getaway. :)


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas cheer!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend! Despite the fact that South Africa does not celebrate Thanksgiving, I was able to participate in turkey-laden festivities for three, blessed reasons:

1)      My husband appreciates and goes along with all my holiday activities (I’m a lucky girl),
2)      I have friends here – both American and South African – who wanted to create a full-fledged Thanksgiving meal,
3)      And I work at an American institution, so I got the whole Thanksgiving weekend off! Hooray!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the Christmas season has officially begun! I have always been one of those “no-Christmas-music-before-Thanksgiving” people…although the longer I live abroad, the earlier and earlier that rule bends. But especially with living in a country that is in summer during Christmas, I try to work extra hard to make the season feel festive.

Christmas music (as previously mentioned) is a must. 

Especially George Winston and Frank Sinatra (among many others).

And embarrassingly, the Chipmunks are also a must. As a kid, my mom and I would bake and dance around the house to this album (can I even call it that?), so it's just kind of stuck with me. 

Snickerdoodles. And they must have red and green sprinkles. Must. (Sorry the picture isn't great...I made these for Thanksgiving and only took a picture on my phone to send to my mom. Please ignore the plastic wrap.)

Christmas movies. Where do I even begin?

I’m trying to do more crafty things this holiday season, a) because it’s cute and b) it saves money. I’ve already started putting this garland together (above) and it’s so fun!

Also necessary: Snuggling with family on the couch, reflecting on the year passing, praying for the year to come. 

What makes it feel like the holiday season for you? And if the holiday season is not a particularly festive time for you, or you are far away from family, how do you cope? I'd really love to hear.

Hoping you are filled with lots of joy and love,


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Some Pre-Thanksgiving Gratitude

Thanksgiving is in two days. (I never know if you’re technically supposed to count the day you’re in, but I don’t like doing that.) I don’t know if that came quickly or not. I guess it did when I think about the fact that this time last year, I was wrapping up last minute details for our wedding on the 7th of December.

Last year, Thanksgiving came and went because we were so busy with our wedding. The year before that, some friends and I did celebrate; but every year (in South Africa), it’s hard to make Thanksgiving Day feel like Thanksgiving, and this year has felt the hardest. It’s hot here (we’re in summer), there’s very little holiday decorations, leaves are not changing colors, and pumpkin is very far from abundant here. But mostly, I’ve been missing my family, friends, and various aspects of the States more than normal, I think, so it feels better to not think about those things sometimes.

But then last night, as I was cutting red, yellow, and orange, paper leaves for a Thanksgiving celebration tomorrow night with friends, I suddenly really missed Thanksgiving. I missed celebrating it in cool weather; I missed decorating the house; I missed being festive. And then this morning, as I realized that I missed being grateful. Yes, there is a lot that I miss right now and it is totally a fact that I won’t be with certain people on Thursday or have a cold, cozy day full of pumpkin galore, but I have so much to be grateful for! And gratitude is truly mind changing.

So, I wanted to share just a few things that, at the moment, I am particularly grateful for. Wherever you are this week or on Thursday, I hope you see lots that you have to be thankful for and that it transforms your day.


In no particular order…

- Technology. Lately, I am so aware that my life abroad...and specifically, my relationships...would be completely different (and difficult) without technology. Skype, Facetime, email, Facebook, Instagram, blogging, etc...it all comes from technology. I am so thankful for ability to get a hold of my family or friends (relatively) any time I want. AND for the ability to create holiday festivity through printable cut-outs found on Pinterest and to listen as much Christmas music as my heart can handle.

- My family. Sometimes the distance makes missing them feel like more than I can bare, but every text message, every Facetime session, every email makes that distance a little bit smaller.

- My husband. I'm so thankful that he makes me feel so loved. And that he just listens and hugs me when I cry and miss home. And that he happily and eagerly participates in my festive activities. And that he eats my baked goods. And that he has worked so hard and has now finished his law degree!! (He's been done for a week now but we're still revelling in the joy of the end.)

- Music. I'm thankful that I can pretty much listen to it anywhere at any time and that it lifts my soul. And I'm thankful that I have working ears to hear it with.

- I'm thankful for my in-laws who have completely pulled me into their family for (more than) the past year and who have planned a wonderful, Christmas holiday for all of us!

- I'm thankful that I get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice this year! With a dinner tomorrow night and Thursday night.

- And I'm very grateful that I since I now work an American institution, I get Thursday and Friday off! :)

Happy Early Thanksgiving, everyone! :)

Friday, November 22, 2013

True Tales of Gumption - the first installment!

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

I am so excited to introduce a new feature to the blog!

This quote encompasses so much of why I started this blog. I’m sure many of you have heard this quote from Marianne Williamson before. It is possibly my most favorite, inspirational quote (aside from anything in the bible). I think that often is our biggest fear: ourselves and the great things we can/could do. It takes courage and confidence to see your talents, skills, gifts…and to admit what you really enjoy in life…and pursue it. And not just pursue it but give it everything you’ve got. Although I’ve learned lots in this regard over the past few years, I’m still trying to figure these out myself. Sometimes I think the hard work required to get the job/life you want is half of what is so intimating. Hard work and fear of not being good enough – big life traps. But that is why I love the new feature: True Tales of Gumption.

True Tales of Gumption will be a feature that highlights someone who has showtrue gumption in their life. Our news is so filled with the negative and with stories of people who are everything that is the opposite of courageous, bold, or inspiring. So, each feature will introduce a real-life story of someone who has shown some of those qualities in their life.

Today's story comes from my side of the world. With all the negative attention Africa receives, I believe it so important to highlight the good and amazing things going on in the continent of Africa. This story is especially inspiring because it is one of the many examples of someone who doesn’t have much, butdoesn’t make excuses or play the victim. (How easily I can do that, when I do have so much!): It is the story of Kelvin Doe from Sierra Leone. I hope you are moved and inspired by his passion, talent, compassion, and vision!


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wild South Africa

I live in South Africa; at the bottom of the continent of Africa, 7,357 kilometres from Antarctica (or 4,571 miles).

It is an incredible country. There is so much ethereal beauty and an immensely deep history. South Africa has mountains, beaches, vineyards, bush...great white sharksblack mamba snakes, and rhinos. There are so many different foods and pieces of art that come out of here, and natural resources and human talent. South Africa has so much to offer and will always provide you with an incredibly rich experience.

I am not from here. I'm American. But after living in South Africa for just about three years now, I have grown to deeply love this country, the people and the nature. I don't know if you've seen this in the news lately, but it's just heart-wrenching. I'm not sure when I became such an animal lover...it was probably somewhere between getting my first dog and seeing wild ellies (elephants :) for the first time...but I have.

So, I just wanted to share some pictures from my most recent trip to Kruger National Park.(And here are just a few more photos from another trip to the park.) I hope they inspire you and that you enjoy and appreciate the beauty and nature that this country offers, as much as I do.



Monday, November 18, 2013

So much greatness is ahead!

Two months.

Two months is not a long time, really. But two months is a fairly long time not to blog and actually, a lot can happen (and has happened) in two months.

Thanks so much to everyone who has asked “where” I’ve been or told me they missed reading posts here. It encourages me and inspires me so much more than you know.

Since the last time I wrote, probably the two biggest and most immediate happenings over on our little side of the world are:
- I got a new job!! (This has been a TREMENDOUS blessing) and
- Hubby is almost (like TOMORROW-almost) done with final exams and done with university!

I cannot begin to explain how excited I am that G is almost finished! It has been a long few weeks (in terms of finals) for both of us…obviously, he’s doing all the hard work (and an absolutely brilliant job, I must add) but I’ve kind of felt like I’m missing my husband. He’s not totally himself when he’s this busy and ever so slightly stressed. And neither am I. So, it will be so wonderful to have both of us “back to normal”. :)

Also, on the first of October, I started a new job. This has been a gift from God. For various reasons, I very much needed to get out of my other job. Naturally, though, I couldn’t resign until I had another job lined up. After searching and praying, and God just being incredibly kind to me, I have started something that I am enjoying so much! It is pretty out of my norm and skill set, but it might just end up being my future career (if blogging doesn’t work out). ;)

I’ve been learning a lot over the past two months. A lot of life lessons, a lot of marriage lessons, and a lot about myself. It’s been challenging but amazing. I hope to share some of these lessons and discoveries in the days to come. But one of the most exciting realizations I’ve had is about how much I love blogging. Not just love, but it’s one of the few things I can see myself doing everyday, for almost ever, and it’s one of the things in life that “gets me going”. Not going in an irritated or angry way, but going as in pushing me to keep growing, trying, and push passed the tiredness that can build up in life. I think everyone needs that. So, I started taking an e-course on blogging that is awesome! It’s been helping me define the purpose and future of my blog so much more and I seriously can’t wait to unveil the betterments over the course of the near future!

Thank you so much for sticking with me! Whoever you are – whether you read every post I write or just one every now and then; whether you comment or just observe silently – I am so grateful for you. You are making my dream job a developing reality. I hope you keep coming back, for many years to come. So much greatness is ahead!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mama Congo and real life

Today, I want to share a post from a blog that I follow...that I think you should follow too.

Mama Congo is written by two American women who live in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with their husbands and kids. I love hearing about people's lives in other countries – it’s fascinating! But to pick up your family and move to a country like the Congo - astounding. Have a look around their blog and at this website if you'd like, to see more of what life is like there.

The post I want to highlight is: The Picture That Did Me In. What Sarah describes here is an extremely common but shocking reality of how much of the world operates: with so little/access to so little, while the rest of us have so much/so much access. When I’m reminded of this disparity, I’m reminded that I actually have so much I can give (even when I think I don’t).
At  traffic lights here in SA, there are always a number of people begging or selling whatever odds and ends they can in order to makes some money. My heart breaks every time. I always watch them (and often try not to make eye contact, to be honest) and think: What if I had to do that? What if I had to try and sell pens or cell phone car chargers or cheap car decals to make a living? What if I just had to beg? How humbling that would be to me. Their’s is a whole other world that I really can’t even comprehend. (And these people probably have even a bit more than those who we don’t see.) And as I pass some of these people and drive into the grocery store, I have my choice of cereals, fruits, ice-creams, chips, breads, sodas, toothpaste, shampoo…even toilet paper. I can very quickly and easily feel guilty.

I wanted to highlight the post from Mama Congo because a) I thought it was great and I love their blog. But, b) to share a small part of my daily life here in SA. It can be hard to live with the realization that there is such a disparity between people…and I often feel like I’m furthering it when I keep purchasing multiple cereals or ice-creams…but it is a reality, but one that, I think, people are only better for when it’s realized. Because we have so much, we really can do so much. (OPTIONAL: I often hear people say that they don’t give money to those on the street because they don’t want the money to be used to buy drugs, cigarettes, etc. Well, when I first moved here, I learned from someone to try and keep food in my car/with me (bananas, bread, apples) that I can give out. It’s a small gesture, but it’s being active about the reality rather than moping about it.)

Let Mama Congo know if you like their blog – bloggers love to hear from you. :)

Love from the quickly summer-ing southern hemisphere,


(Oh, and at first I thought I should include more pictures in this post, but when I thought about what that meant…taking pictures of people from inside my car…that just didn’t sit well with me. It’s better to see some things for yourself.)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The discussion of Syria

On the day that we remember such a life changing and heart breaking day in history, I find it interesting that the US is once again in a debate over whether to involve itself in Middle Eastern affairs; namely, the case of Syria. Of course, the circumstances are completely different. No one attacked us. No Americans died. But many people did die. An act of terrorism occurred somewhere else, to others.

Did you watch President Obama’s speech last night? I didn’t watch it – it aired at 4 A.M. over here – but I did read the transcript. If you didn’t watch, you can read the transcript HERE. I think it is a very impressive speech. He seemed to fully address the public’s concerns and pulled in strongly persuasive historical context for the path he is proposing.  If I didn’t have my own inner turmoil about the situation, this speech might have convinced me to support his stance.

But as a Christian, what do you do in a case like this? How do you decide what the right decision is?

I completely believe that the use of chemical weapons is atrocious and an act like what was seen in Syria should not receive a blind eye. But does that justify deadly, retaliatory action?

President Obama’s speech had some good lines in it.

“…it’s also a danger to our security. Let me explain why. If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them. Over time, our troops would again face the prospect of chemical warfare on the battlefield, and it could be easier for terrorist organizations to obtain these weapons and to use them to attack civilians.”

Do you believe this? Do you feel unsafe as an American in the US, or are you fearful? I personally have never feared for my safety while living in the US.

“America is not the world’s policeman. Terrible things happen across the globe, and it is beyond our means to right every wrong, but when the  modest effort and risk we can stop children from being gassed to death and thereby make our own children safer over the long run, I believe we should act. That’s what makes America different. That’s what makes us exceptional. With humility, but with resolve, let us never lose sight of that essential truth.”

This sounds really great. Very patriotic. Do you believe America isn’t “the world’s policeman”? Because I have a feeling more Americans than not probably think we are the world’s policeman. Do you think much about America’s role in the rest of the world (whether you’re American or another nationality)?

And lastly…

“The burdens of leadership are often heavy, but the world’s a better place because we have borne them.”

This statement, I believe, is true of life in general. I am challenged to be a better leader in my own life, in small ways and big ways. And on a day we remember the deaths and sacrifice of so many, how to you make a decision based on others deaths, and a decision that will almost certainly result in further loss of life?

What are your thoughts? On the situation or on President Obama’s speech. Please keep the comments calm, respectful, and tame. :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Regardless of what your political views are, I feel like you have to love the fact that the White House can make a pop culture reference (and a pretty good one at that).

I mean, who doesn't love some Mean Girls?

White and living in Africa,

Monday, August 12, 2013

A different kind of trash the dress

 A few weeks ago, we were flying back to South Africa after visiting my family in the US. We had a 10 hour layover in wonderful London and had long ago decided to spend our time exploring the city (versus sitting in Heathrow and drinking as much Starbucks as possible). 

But then one day while we were still in the US, my mom had this spectacular idea that while hubby and I were galavanting around the city, we should wear our wedding attire. Yes, my wedding dress and his suit. 

And that's what we did! 

Nuts! I know.

I still kind of can't believe we did it. When we first got on the tube (we changed into our wedding garb at the airport and then rode the tube into the city), I felt so insecure and spent a good 20 minutes telling myself this was a terrible idea. EVERYONE stared at us. It definitely was awkward for a little while. But slowly, people started asking us if we had just gotten married and wanting to take pictures for us and sharing in our excitement (or supposed excitement? Don't worry, we told people the truth that we hadn't really just gotten married). We even got a free lunch! 

But I also made a decision that I wasn't going to spoil the day because of my insecurities. I am so lucky to be married to a man who encourages me to have some gumption and "get out of my comfort zone" but doesn't push me if I really don't want to do something. And because he is so patient and kind with me, I couldn't let myself be the spoil-sport. So I just held his hand a little tighter and reminded myself that God gave us such a unique opportunity - one for the books, really. 
The whole experience was actually so fun! I'm so glad we did it! We have these fantastic pictures from it and I have now gotten to wear my wedding dress THREE times. I am so blessed. But really, I'm so glad I did it because it reminded me of some of the many reasons I married my husband. Besides just  being downright in love with him, he makes life so much more fun and adventurous. We have the best time together and can't stop talking. And when we can stop talking, the silence is just as wonderful. And the romance isn't just for special occasions, my husband makes life romantic!

These pictures remind me to love every moment of our life and to be bold, adventurous. I would be missing out on so much otherwise. 


PS - I put quite a few pictures here (although there's still more!). Hope you don't mind looking at lots. :)