Friday, January 24, 2014

One of those girls.

As mentioned in my last post I'm one of those girls with a ring on her finger now, but now I'm another kind of girl too, the kind that brags about the man that loves her.

As a single girl I would get so annoyed when I'd read posts or stati about how wonderful my friend's and family's husbands/boyfriends are and I always wondered how it would feel to have someone that you wanted to have forever. I had never had that before, someone that I could actually imagine wanting to be with FOREVER!

The other day I was thinking about this man I'm going to marry, I was thinking about how supportive he is of me. He is already starting to make sacrifices for me, for our lives together, for my happiness. He has already taken this role of husband, caretaker, breadwinner... happymaker? (That's got to be a thing, he's doin it) I'm realizing how hard it is for me to rely on someone financially and things. I'm not working right now and it's terrifying, I feel like I'm not pulling my weight. He hasn't had to jump in for anything yet, but he is willing to, for us. It's hard for me to be ok with that, I feel like I'm being a burden, I'm a financial burden and my pride is taking a big hit, but not only is he willing to help me when needed, it's like he's morphed into this "head of the house" role where he is taking care of his family and I just feel, so completely lucky that I get him. He does what he can to make this frustrating time for me, easier.

When I talk about him, or think about how I'd describe him, I honestly feel like I'm bragging. I have a man who... I never thought someone would love me the way he does, and I know it's just the beginning. I love the idea that no matter what happens from here on out, I have a partner, my life is no longer my own. No matter where my life goes from here, I'll have someone going with me. The feeling that gives me is literally something I've never known before. It's so peaceful, so comforting and so SO exciting.

They tell you, as a single adult, that when it happens it will be worth all the wait, it will heal what damage has been done.
I was a skeptic, big time, I was a cynic in regards to love. I'm so grateful that even though I didn't believe it would find me, it found me anyway.
I have a feeling this is just the beginning of my bragging posts about this man of mine. As annoying as I know that will be to others, I'm so happy and relieved to be "one of those girls."

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Story

I'm not the kind of girl that has been planning her wedding since she was a little girl. I am, however, the kind of girl that has wondered my whole life what "my story" will be. The story that I'll tell for the rest of my life. The story of how I met my husband, and how we got engaged. I LOVE my story, and here it is.

About a year ago (almost exactly) I was on a single's cruise. It was the last day of the cruise and I remember walking along the beach with my good friend Jon and telling him, "You know, it's weird, everyone is talking about how they are ready to go home, but I'm not... I feel like I need to leave Utah." This was something I had NEVER considered ever in my life. I always wanted to stay in Utah. I continued and said, "I feel like I should move to Arizona, and more specifically Mesa."
We talked about it for a while, it was pretty drastic and he made the expected remarks, "Are you sure you're not just really frustrated with Utah? Are you sure you need to make that big of a change?" but something inside me kept pushing me.
I got home on a Monday and on Tuesday I got together with my parents and told them how I was feeling. By then, the feeling had gotten even stronger. My mom asked similar questions as Jon, "What about your work, what about your music, what about your family? Do you really think moving will make that big of a difference?" To that I just said, "When have you ever ever heard me say anything about wanting to leave Utah? That alone should tell you, this is not just me coming up with an idea. I really strongly feel like I'm being guided there." To that my dad said, "You need to go! One thing I have always told you kids is that if you get a prompting from Heavenly Father, you follow it!"
I told them I was still praying about it and that I was going to go to the temple, but a big part of my decision would be based on if I could even get a job or a place to live.
Within one week I had both, and the decision was made.
I knew it was going to be really difficult. I didn't know a soul in Mesa, and it takes me a good long while to get to know people. I was leaving a job I loved, a music group I had been with for 4.5 years and loved, my whole family and everyone I knew. I was literally leaving everything I knew and loved behind, but I just knew I had to.
I moved to Meza, AZ March 4th. My dad drove down with me and helped me get settled in. The next day, my birthday, I took him to the airport at about noon, and then I was alone.
The first 5 months I was here were so hard. I missed my family, I missed my friends, I missed having people that knew me. I hated my job, I did not like the ward I was in. I felt so completely alone.
I'd think about moving home, but I just knew I still needed to be here. People in my life kept telling me, "maybe you'll meet 'the one' there" but I would not let myself think that way. I knew I moved here for a reason and I knew it had to be pretty big, but I couldn't let myself believe that was it.
In August I moved into a new apartment and ward, and I remember telling my roommate, "I feel like the first 5 months I was here was just to prepare me for the rest of the time. Get my footing, meet friends, but I feel like now things are going to start coming together."
On September 30, 2013 I went to a stake talent show. While I was there I looked over in the audience and saw a guy. I thought he was really cute and he was looking back at me. We made eye contact for a good 3 seconds (which is crazy long if you think about it) it was intentional, but being the introvert I am, I knew I wasn't going to talk to him (part of why I even dared stare that long). I left that night thinking I'd probably never see him again.
That Friday, October 4, my friend Ashley invited me and a few others to go see Austenland. I was sitting down next to her and these two guys walked in, he sat next to me, but I didn't realize it was him. He started talking to Ashley (who was on the other side of me) and she was asking him about all these girls he's been dating. I just kept my mouth shut. The movie started and here and there he would make little comments to me and we'd chuckle throughout.
As we were walking out he asked me what stake I was in. I told him I was in the Tempe stake, and he goes, "Did you sing in the talent show?" Right then I realized who he was and was IMMEDIATELY so embarrassed. "Does he remember making eye contact? Does he remember that I like STARED AT HIM?" I just laughed and said, "Um... yeah... I did." Then we talked for a while.
I had a feeling he wanted to get my number but I didn't want him to in front of everyone. I knew if he really wanted it he could get if from Ashley so I abruptly said, "K Bye!" and walked away.
The next day he got my number, the day after that he invited me over for a game night. Two days after that was our first date, two days after that our second. Since then we have seen each other nearly every day.
The road to realizing I was in love with him was an interesting one. I say realizing because looking back I think it happened really early on for me, but this is the first time I've ever really been in love so I didn't realize it. I can say that pretty early on I would picture us together as husband and wife, and not once did I ever have any reservations about that. I remember talking to my dad one day early in the relationship and he asked me if there were any red flags, and I said, "Honestly... no!" and that was literally the first time I ever felt that way about a guy I was dating. We did Thanksgiving with his family and I introduced them to a game that made one of the little kids cry (my bad) and I jokingly said, "Oh man, this is a story that is going to be told forever" To which Matt's 14 year old nephew looked at me and said, "Forever huh?" and I just winked at him, but in my head I thought, "Yeah... probably" but still at that point I was debating in my head if what I was feeling was love.
I had been so jaded in relationships, so burned that I had been trained to question everything.
However, there was one huge difference with Matt than with any other guy. I knew he was in. I knew he loved me. For the first time in my life I had 100% confidence in how the guy felt about me, and honestly I can tell you, if I didn't have that security, I would have ruined it. I would have over-analyzed us both out of that relationship.
Before I continue I just want to give a shout out to the people who had to hear me vent, time and time again! Namely, Xan Baker, Michelle Ross, Michelle Lundberg, Lauren Tuft and of course my sister Jennie. What wonderful friends and family I have to just listen to me being crazy and not make me feel like a complete psycho.
December 8th, it was our two month mark (since our first date) and I was talking to my bishop. He asked me point blank if I loved him. I panicked and said, "Gosh, I don't know... it's only been two months. I've never loved anyone before." He said, "Sure you have, you love your family right?" I said, "Of course I do, and yeah, as a human I do love him, but I don't think that's what you're asking me." He said again, "Do you love him?" I said, "I don't know! It's so early, I need more time..." He basically said, "I think you do know."
That night I was so frustrated, I called both my sister and my cousin Michelle and just vented like crazy. They both told me, I didn't have to know yet, Jennie didn't know she loved her husband for like 6 months. They both assured me I could take more time.
That week I spent talking to friends and getting advice. I realized my idea of what it meant to love someone was coming out of the chick flicks... The best advice I got from people was this, "Saying I love you is like bearing your testimony, the more you do it the more it grows." One friend said, she didn't realize how much she loved her boyfriend UNTIL she said it to him.
Then I realized again, the idea of marrying him and being his wife, felt so natural to me, exciting to me. I realized that I was more afraid of saying "I love you" than I was of being his forever, that's when I realized I did love him!
That weekend we went to California to celebrate his graduating from college. It was the most perfect weekend. Riding bikes, walking on the beach, we were totally in love, just hadn't said it yet.
We were going to Utah a week later for Christmas and I figured we'd probably say it then.
Tuesday, December 17th, he dropped me off at my house. I went upstairs and was watching an episode of Grey's Anatomy (don't judge) and there was a line said, "When you love someone, you say it loud and let them hear you say it." and I thought, "WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?" All of the sudden I wanted to tell him right away, I didn't want to wait any longer, the idea of waiting until Christmas was silly to me if we loved each other already. I contemplated driving to his house to tell him, but figured I'd wait until the next day.
The next day we saw Anchorman 2, not exactly the movie you want to precede saying I love you for the first time. That Friday, December 21st, we were driving back from our friend's house and I knew it was the night. We were sitting in his car and I was just trying to get up the courage. Matt is someone who regularly asks me what I'm thinking, because typically if I'm not talking, something is usually wrong. (I'm a talker) I just kept thinking, "I wish he'd ask me right now, I won't have the courage to say it otherwise" Like clockwork he said, "What are you thinking about?" I froze, I just looked at him. He turned the music down, faced me and said, "What's going on?" I said, quietly, "Um... I think I might love you a little bit." I looked up at him and he smiled and said, "A little bit?" I smiled and nodded and he said, "It's ok, I love you too!" I was choked up at hearing him say it, and from that moment on, we couldn't say it enough.
The next week he came home with me for Christmas and met everyone in my life that I could squeeze in in that time. Poor guy was a champ, but that couldn't have been fun for him. They all loved him.
We started talking about getting married almost as soon as we said "I love you". When we got home from Utah plans were in motion. For a minute we talked about getting married in March, but that stressed me out big time so we pushed it back to May. I had sent him some ideas for rings and gave him my dad's number, just in case ;)
Then it was just a waiting game. We went to the Gilbert Temple Open House a week ago today. Matt works for Okland Construction (who built the temple) so he was invited to go to an early walk through, before it was opened to the public. We went with his parents and I walked through thinking, "This is our temple, this is where we'll get married" I made sure to check out the sealing rooms and the bride's room.
Every day I wondered if "this would be the day Matt's going to propose" I had a feeling it would be during the weekend which made it the LONGEST WEEK EVER! But every day I had to look extra cute, just in case. I gave him two requirements for the proposal: First, it had to be photographed; Second, it had to be before I turned 30 in March.
Matt has a friend that is a photographer and she is trying to break into the wedding market. She was having a deal that she would shoot engagement pictures for free in the month of January, and Matt suggested we book her for Saturday the 18th. I said, "NO! We can't get engagement pictures when we're not engaged!" Then I thought, "Gasp... what if he does it then?" So I said, "Um.. yeah... ok we can do that."
All week long I was just waiting for the weekend to come. He was doing a pretty good job of making me feel like it wasn't going to happen, frustrating me to all get out. Friday night I went to his house (extra cute) and couldn't help but notice that he looked really nice, "Maybe this is the night!" There was a moment in the night when I realized it for sure wasn't going to happen, and I was kinda sad.
The next day I called my parents, by now I was thinking it really wasn't going to happen. I told my mom and dad (and my journal) "I keep having to tell myself not to be SO PISSED if he doesn't do it this weekend."(Little did I know, Matt called my dad the night before, my parents were totally in the know, but didn't let on) The idea of waiting another week, or however long was killing me, and he knew it (and loved it) We got together for the photoshoot and I was in a mood. We'd pose and the photographer would make a comment and I'd say, "yeah... too bad we're not engaged..." She'd say, "Oh look how you just naturally put your hand up." To which I'd respond, "If only there was a ring..." At one point I said to Matt, "You just need to freaking ask me!" I was not sly.
About half way through the photo shoot, she was taking a picture with me in the foreground and Matt in the background, both of us facing her so I couldn't see him behind me. She snapped a couple of shots and then said, "Matt I don't like what you're doing back there, change your stance up." I could see his shadow on the ground next to me and I saw it kneel down. Ultimate blonde moment here, it didn't even occur to me what he was doing I just thought, "Oh that's a good idea, good pose, Babe." Then the photographer said, "K Julia turn around" So I turned around and he was there holding the ring. For a split second I thought it was just a pose, and then it hit me and I just gasped and clapped my hands over my mouth and just stood there... for a while. I waited for him to say something not realizing I was still standing about 10 feet away from him. Finally he said, "Come here..." So I walked over, and very simply he said, "Julia, Will you marry me?" I said, "Yes" got down on my knees and hugged and kissed him while the photographer circled us taking pictures. I had completely stopped thinking he would do it then so it caught me by complete surprise. After a minute or two I just shouted, "THANK YOU FOR ASKING ME!!!" and we continued with the photoshoot.
I love our story. I love my ring. I love Matt so much and cannot wait to be his wife.
One year ago, almost exactly, I felt like I needed to move to Arizona, it was more powerful than any feeling I'd ever had, knowing it must be something big. Today, I am engaged. I truly thought this day would never come, and it's still hard for me to wrap my head around it. I'm one of those girls... I'm one of those girls that has a ring on her finger. I'm one of those girls that has a man that is unconditionally in love with her.
I am so grateful to know without doubt that Heavenly Father brought us together. So grateful that I was prompted to move here and SO happy I followed that prompting. I'm getting married. I have my story.

One of our first pictures as a couple

Halloween Party

Thanksgiving Bag Game (the game that made his nephew cry [he face-planted trying to pick it up])

Hiking in Sedona, Thanksgiving weekend

Driving to California to celebrate his graduation

Huntington Beach

Christmas Lights at the Mesa Temple.

Gingerbread house making party (we took third)

In Utah for Christmas... really cold.


My Love. My Heart.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 A Year In Review

Every year I like to look back and reflect on all that happened. This year was a doozy.
January- Went on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean with my cousin Michelle (and about 250 other LDS singles)

February- Made the decision to move to Arizona. Never in my life had I ever even considered leaving Utah, and within about a week I had the idea to move to AZ, found a place to live, a job and a move out date.
Saying goodbye to my niece Giada

Kelly and I moved the same weekend. I made these for us.

Jaycie and I did a farewell concert the weekend before I moved.

One last shot of my beautiful Utah mountains. I hate the cold but man it's pretty.

March- Drove down to Arizona with my poppa. Turned 29 all my by lonesome. Tucson for my cousin's wedding (caught my 13th bouquet). Vegas with friends. LA for Easter with friends.

April- Lost my beautiful Aunt Tami to breast cancer, but got to spend a good weekend with family celebrating her life.

May-Went to Oklahoma to help with the tornado relief. Such a humbling experience to be there and feel a part of that community for such a small time. An experience I'll never forget.

June-Went home for Father's Day and to celebrate Mom's 60th. No photographic evidence.

July- Sang the National Anthem for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Went to Lake Powell for the 4th.Went to New Hampshire, Boston and Maine. Completed my second Spudman Triathlon, beating my time by 20 minutes.

August- Moved to a new apartment.
September- Completed my third half marathon, beat my PR by 10 minutes. Joined a rowing team.

October- Went home to see my nephew Jace get baptized. Met a dude that I like a whole lot. Competed in my first rowing race, and took a trapeze class. LOVED IT.

Conference weekend will take a lot out of you.

November- National Anthem for the National walk for Autism. Color me Rad 5k with my friend Sayward. Music video shoot with my rowing crew... Can be seen here. First Thanksgiving away from my family, but with a new one that... I like a whole lot ;). Went to Sedona for my first time and hiked around with a certain someone.

December- Matt's graduation celebration in Huntington Beach, stayed with the glorious Kelly Miller. Christmas with my family. Last day working for my company that I've been with since April 09.

I thought it was a really hard year for me, what with moving and everything, but looking back I realize, man it has been a great year. Ups and downs that rival a roller coaster, but in the end, a great year.