Monthly Archives: May 2015

Bridal Bliss

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Bridal Bliss

Nigerian-wedding-bride-throwing-bouquet-rhpotoarts

Today I will witness the nuptials of a lifelong friend and her beau.  I’m happy for her and it is my earnest prayer that they will have a successful and beautiful marriage full of God’s choice blessings.  As I consider the festivities on today’s agenda I remember standing with my friend at her first wedding as her Matron of Honor.  Then I remembered the other countless weddings in which I was the Maid of Honor, Matron of Honor or Bridesmaid.  I thought of the numerous weddings I attended as a guest and the number of bouquets I caught hoping the myth would in fact become reality for me.  Well I can bare witness to the fact that lie ranks right up there with Santa Claus.  In fact, not only did I have my own personal collection of bridal bouquets that I caught, but at one wedding I attended in particular, not only did I catch the bouquet but my date….the gentleman I had probably been dating at that point for eight or nine years…caught the garter.  Now, if the foolishness of old wives tales were true, then he and I would have been married.  Especially since he was the man I was dating during 95% of the weddings in question.

scratches head

But I digress; this blog is not about him. As I was writing this morning I thought, where did the throwing of the bouquet originate from? Has anyone who ever participated in the tradition thought to research the background? I know I had not, until today (thank God for the Internet and Google).

“In medieval Europe, a bride typically did not expect to wear her wedding dress again, and the dress was considered good luck for other women, a type of fertility charm. After the wedding, single women chased the bride and ripped pieces off her dress, leaving her in tatters.  Over the years, wedding dresses became more expensive and it became traditional for women to keep them, either as a memento or to pass on to a daughter for her wedding day. To prevent guests from ripping the wedding dress, brides began throwing other objects as a distraction, one of which was the garter (an elastic band, usually decorated, worn around the thigh just above the knee used to hold up stockings). Later the bouquet became the most traditionally thrown object.  The wedding bouquet is particularly suited to this use, as followers symbolize fertility, and as perishable items, they are not something the bride would wish to keep.  The bouquet is also a safer item to toss than the garter, as unruly and impatient wedding guests were sometimes known to try to take the garter from the bride while she was still wearing it.”

Very interesting and funny story.  I envisioned the bride being chased by a crowd of women who wanted to rip her dress off of her and it made me chuckle.  And while in some cases the ‘lucky’ woman who caught the bouquet was next in line to get married I would be willing to bet that number is very small.  But aside from the number of bouquets I have caught, what about the closet full of dresses I had collected over the years?  Remember the movie 27 Dresses?  It was a comedy about a woman who after serving as a bridesmaid 27 times, wrestles with the idea of standing by her sister’s side as her sibling marries the man she’s secretly in love with. That was me (minus watching someone marry the man I was secretly in love with….that is a different blog).  But my wedding dress game was so tight I could have auctioned them off and lived comfortably for a year.  I had every style, length and color. Yet the one dress I wanted to have I did not.

I remember thinking during every wedding I attended, when will it be my turn?  When will I finally get the proposal? When will I get to plan an engagement party? When will I get to do an engagement photo shoot?  When will I get to plan the wedding of my dreams (I had an entire scrapbook that highlighted every single detail of how I wanted my wedding)? When will I mail save the date cards with pictures of my fiancé and me from our younger days? When I will get to mail wedding invitations? When will I choose my Maid of Honor, Matron of Honor and Bridesmaids?  When will I go dress shopping, cake shopping, venue shopping?  When exactly will I have my moment to be center stage, happy and blissful as friends and family celebrate my nuptials?  When?!?  That was the million dollar question and at every wedding I could not help but ask. I had become so consumed with the fact that it was not happening for me that I vowed to never again be part of a wedding unless it was mine.

Now, you are probably thinking I was jealous and envious and you would be correct.  But, I was also genuinely happy for the newlyweds.  I never threw shade or acted different.  I genuinely prayed for them and wished them well.  But inside it was eating me up and yes sometimes I became angry.  But angry at whom exactly?  I cannot say I was angry at God because I did not know him at the time.  I dare not say I was angry at myself because let’s face it, it wasn’t my fault men were afraid of marriage and commitment.  So it was safe to say I was mad at men…ok, one man.

But here I am today preparing to witness my friend begin a new journey and I am in a very different place.  No longer do I wonder when it will happen because I know it will happen.  God has told me it will.  No longer am I feeling anxious or angry about attending another friend’s wedding.  My focus has shifted to how I now cultivate a mindset for marriage while I am single and waiting.  Tis the season for weddings, may God’s blessings shower them til death do they part.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

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Distractions

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Distractions Image  Let’s talk about distractions.  You know those things that pull our focus away from what we should be doing.  I haven’t blogged in a few weeks and you know why? You guessed it…..I have been distracted.  My concentration and focus have been so consumed by these distractions that I have noticed that when I open my eyes in the morning the first thing I do is reach for my cell phone to check Facebook, email, and Groupme. When the first thing I should be doing is thanking God for blessing me to see another day.  I have allowed external interruptions like Facebook and Groupme to bring disorder to my life and I am feeling it; and it’s high time I address the problem.

I have begun to assess my routine in an attempt to discover what exactly it is it that causes me to lose focus.  Each of us has some level of distraction in our lives.  But here of late I have noticed that I will be prepared to do some writing or maybe research travel quotes for clients, and after about 20 minutes or so realize I just wasted valuable time browsing Facebook.  In my wold, as I’m sure in most of your world’s as well, 20 minutes is a lot of time when there are so many other demands placed on us.

Recently at the advice of a friend, I did an “experiement” where I shut off my cell phone, unplugged the house phone and turned the computer and television off to see exactly what I could get accomplished without interruptions before bed time.  Surprisingly, although its unclear why, that was the most productive evening I had in a long time.  I was able to get so much done and I have to be honest, I was quite proud of myself.  But what is exactly the cause of my inability to remain focused and concentrate on the task at hand?  Well, I did some research and came across an interesting article by Paul Dickinson.  Mr. Dickinson believes that concentration is divided into three levels.

  • The first level is acknowledging that I have things to get accomplished.  I know I have to write a blog. I know the client is waiting on their quote. I know the laundry needs to get done; and I have all of the intention in the world to get it done.  But I am vulnerable to distractions and my mind begins to wander and I convince myself that taking even just five minutes to see what is happening on Facebook is harmless.
  • At the second level of concentration I have a better understanding of what I need to do.  I am slightly more focused but well aware of the fact that even though some distractions are at a minimum, there are still a few that could cause me to lose focus.  For example, when the telephone rings and it’s my god sister asking me if I saw what so and so posted on Facebook.  Before I know it, I am on the internet and once again, distracted.
  • When I’ve mastered avoiding the distractions, I am at the final stage, fully immersed in the task at hand.  I am focused and determined and short of a natural disaster, my mind is set on completing my work.  I’m sure most of you reading this will agree that we do our best work when we are concentrating fully on what we are doing.  This is why each of us should strive to reach level three.

Like anything that is good for us, reaching the third and final level will not be easy.  There are bound to be distractions to keep us distracted by the distractions already in place.  In the words of my colleague, “it’s a conspiracy!” But, it’s not at all impossible.  I have made a conscious decision to do a much-needed fast from all social media, especially Facebook.  Short of checking one or two groups for important information that I need, I will be absent.  I am also ensuring that I disconnect myself from the telephone, television and internet before beginning a task.  The Internet is tricky has everything we do is on the internet, but it is necessary.  I am preparing my environment in which I will be working, to be conducive to being productive; i.e., proper lighting, aromatherapy, ensuring I have the proper tools, and soft music that helps me concentrate (or quiet depending on my mood).  Lastly, I ask God to help me stay focused so that I am productive.

Distractions are a part of life and probably will not go away…on their own.  So it is important that we learn to master them so that they won’t master us.  If we make every effort to deal with distractions before starting the task at hand, getting it done will become that much easier.  Now, if you will excuse me, its been 20 minutes since I updated my Facebook status.