Saturday, June 30, 2012

Wedding Week - Day 6: The Honeymoon


Welcome!  I am taking a break from all of my "normal" blogging to spend a whole SIX DAYS talking about the best day of my life...my wedding day!  Here is the schedule:

Day 1: How We Met
Day 2: The Proposal 
Day 3: Engagement Photos
Day 4: Wedding Planning
Day 5: The BIG DAY
Day 6: Our Honeymooon
I hope that you stick around and that you enjoy learning a bit more about me in this mini-series!


Day 6 - Our Honeymoon

Our Story – “Pinching Ourselves”
Driving off from the wedding was an out of body experience. We stopped at our apartment to pick up a few things and then headed out to a tiny little cabin on a lake about an hour and a half drive away.



I think I could feel my pulse most of the way...I was so excited. I was MARRIED! I couldn't believe that what I had been planning for and dreaming about my whole life had come true...and in a far more beautiful way than I could have ever imagined.


A year later, I love my husband more than I did then...more than I thought possible. We spent two nights at this gorgeous little cabin...


and then headed north into Canada!



We went to Whistler, Canada and spent four days walking Whistler Village, eating ice cream and drinking tea, playing cribbage and enjoying our time together!










I hope you all have enjoyed reading this as much as I have enjoyed it. My life is by no means perfect, but that is part of why I consider myself so blessed. God has taught (and is teaching) me to be more like Him with every struggle. What I have presented in this series has been (mostly) the beautiful result of many struggles and trials. So whatever you are going through, I pray that your heart might be encouraged to know that you will be able to look back and see the beauty God was planning.


Be blessed. <3


Be blessed.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Wedding Week - Day 5: The BIG DAY

Welcome!  I am taking a break from all of my "normal" blogging to spend a whole SIX DAYS talking about the best day of my life...my wedding day!  Here is the schedule:

Day 1: How We Met
Day 2: The Proposal 
Day 3: Engagement Photos
Day 4: Wedding Planning
Day 5: The BIG DAY
Day 6: Our Honeymooon
I hope that you stick around and that you enjoy learning a bit more about me in this mini-series!


Day 5 - The BIG DAY

Our Story: "Til Death Do Us Part"

Waking up was surreal; before I had time to think I had butterflies in my stomach. It was my last morning as a "Brooks", my last morning waking up in my parents house, my last morning as a single woman...my last morning without my beloved Travis!

My clothes were laid out, so it didn't take long to get dressed and head to the church. Pretty soon my sisters and mother would follow bringing food and coffee.

I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of getting ready. Who wouldn't? I got pampered and spoiled by women I genuinely love and respect. And I got to watch my sisters goof around as normal. =)

My hair was perfect! I was stunned when I finally looked in the mirror. They did a great job. The church looked amazing...the flowers still looked fresh and stunning. I remember the cool feel of Travis' ring in my hand while I waited to go see him.
Then, the moment I had been waiting for...

I walked down the isle of an empty church and placed my hand on his shoulder. He turned around and smiled...there was a nervousness in the air. I slipped his ring on his finger, the photographers left, and it was time...
for my first kiss.

Then came a beautiful whirlwind of photos! I was so happy...I don't think I've ever smiled so much or so easily in my life. Once again, our non-professional photos are the most beautiful I have ever seen.





And then the moment came...

The moment where I walked down the isle and pledged my life to the man that I had grown to love and trust above any other.


We wrote our vows together and we meant them with our whole hearts...

Groom
I, Travis Sinks, take you, Alesha Brooks, to be my wedded wife. I joyfully receive you into my life that together we may be one. As is Christ to His church, so I will be to you a loving and faithful husband.  By God’s grace I will perform my headship over you even as Christ does over me, knowing that His Lordship is the greatest calling for my life.  I promise that I will lead our lives into a life of faith and hope in Christ Jesus, ever honoring God's guidance by His Spirit through the Word. So throughout life, no matter what may lie ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as a loving and faithful husband. And as my most important, and thoughtful gift to you, I choose to love Jesus more than I love you.

Bride
I, Alesha Brooks, take you, Travis Sinks, to be my wedded husband. I joyfully receive you into my life that together we may be one. As you have pledged to me your life and love, so I too happily give you my life, and in confidence submit myself to your headship as to the Lord. As is the church in her relationship to Christ, so I will be to you.  I will live first unto our God and then unto you, loving you, respecting you, caring for and comforting you, encouraging and ever seeking to please you.  Therefore, throughout life, no matter what may be ahead of us, I pledge to you my life as a loving and faithful wife.  And as my most important, and thoughtful gift to you, I choose to love Jesus more than I love you.

Our wedding day was a beautiful celebration of all God had done in our lives to that point, and the beginning of something new together. I was and am so blessed!

Be blessed! <3

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wedding Week - Day 4: Wedding Planning

Welcome!  I am taking a break from all of my "normal" blogging to spend a whole SIX DAYS talking about the best day of my life...my wedding day!  Here is the schedule:

Day 1: How We Met
Day 2: The Proposal 
Day 3: Engagement Photos
Day 4: Wedding Planning
Day 5: The BIG DAY
Day 6: Our Honeymooon
I hope that you stick around and that you enjoy learning a bit more about me in this mini-series!


Day 4 - Wedding Planning

(This was originally written as a guest post for Life...Unscripted.  I edited it a bit for use here)

Our Story: Preparing to Say "I Do"

I had always wanted a wedding with sunflowers, but since we got married in May, that was kinda out of the question. So I needed a new "theme" to design my wedding around. My favorite color is pink, so that was a must, and my middle sister LOVES (I mean LOVES) orange. I thought it would be cool to let her wear orange.  So we ended up with pink, orange, and yellow, with Izzies Soda as our theme.

I argued with my mom and sisters for MONTHS about what flowers we should have.

(I wanted roses, but they said daisies).  I am SO glad we went with the gerber daisies.  Aren't they beautiful?  And they really do go better with the Izzies.... 



Planning is crazy (can I get an amen?). Praise the Lord that my mother is a MASTER planner.
LOOK at these spreadsheets!

What made our wedding special and unique was that we made it special and unique.


No duh, right?  Well let me explain.

1. We saved ourselves for each other.
- Our first kiss was on our wedding day!  We had a private moment after the "first look" to share our first kiss without 400 pairs of eyes looking on. (Yes, we had that many people at our wedding!)

2. We personalized the reception.
- There were pictures of us on every table.  The lunch and dessert bar (we didn't provide cake for guests) were labeled with tags telling the name of the food and which ones were our favorites.

3. We made most things ourselves.
We had a friend make the bridesmaid dresses. They were amazing!  And they fit so well.  We were very thankful to her!


I had an "invitation making party" with close girl friends and my youth group girls.


We made the decorations. Our families drank the Izzies so we could use the empty bottles.


We decorated the sanctuary and reception hall ourselves (with some creative inspiritation with another lady from our church). That was so fun! I got to have the sanctuary look just how I wanted, and it provided some quality time with family.


A family friend (15 years old) made the cheesecake that Travis and I cut and ate and her mom arranged our flowers.
One of my best friends did my makeup.
A couple of sweet ladies from our church did our hair.
We picked the food (salads) from family recipes that we loved and had several family friends make them for us.

4. I got my first ever manicure and pedicure the day before the wedding with my mom.


5. We had music played by dear friends and picked non-traditional stuff that we liked.




Our wonderful friends (now in Florida) played this song as my sisters walked down the isle - the processional.




A friend played and instrumental version of this song while I walked down the isle.


Another sweet friend played an upbeat instrumental for the recessional and other various instrumentals while we greeted/dismissed the guests. And one other extraordinarily talented friend played prelude music before wedding began. (We are blessed with talented friends!)

6. The entire bridal party (with the exception of the ring bearer and flower girl) wore Chuck Taylor Converse. (I love converse!)
Sadly, we spent HOURS agonizing over this decision. Would it cost too much? We had taken EVERY cost precaution we could, and so this one splurge should not have sent us into such frustration...but it did. In the end, I am so glad we decided this. They were our gifts to the bridal party and they all LOVE them. The final effect we PERFECT. Just what I wanted. 
And guess what?  My feet didn't hurt at the end of the day!!!
(How many brides can say that?)

7. We had a recieving line where we quickly greet, hugged, and occasionally introduced to each other each of the 400 guests.
Our wedding coordinator did her best to talk us out of this, but in the end, we weren't willing to budge on it. Although we did agree to make it go as quickly as possible. It didn't take more than 30 minutes and we personally said hello to everyone who attended our wedding. That took a ton of stress off and we could just relax at the reception.

Believe it or not, these simple, sweet little personalizations (and more you'll see in the days to come) made our wedding SO special!


We wanted the day to show us, who we were, and what we were like; it did.


The whole thing showed our personalities and love for God without it feeling put on. The day was designed for US, NOT for our guests and so we were comfortable and relaxed.
It was special because we worked hard to make it that way and I am so glad that we did.

Advice for Planning:
Think about your guests, but not too hard.  This day is for YOU.  Make it comfortable for you and your fiance.


Spend time growing your relationship with your fiance. Have the HARD discussions. Talk about EVERYTHING. Get premarital counseling. Your relationship is the entire reason for this wedding and will be the sustain part of your marriage. WORK ON IT! =)


{to be continued...tomorrow!}
Be blessed <3

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wedding Week - Day 3: Engagement Photos

Welcome!  I am taking a break from all of my "normal" blogging to spend a whole SIX DAYS talking about the best day of my life...my wedding day!  Here is the schedule:
Day 1: How We Met
Day 2: The Proposal 
Day 3: Engagement Photos
Day 4: Wedding Planning
Day 5: The BIG DAY
Day 6: Our Honeymooon
I hope that you stick around and that you enjoy learning a bit more about me in this mini-series!


Day 3 - Engagement Photos


One MAJOR priority...engagement photos. A dear friend offered right away. So we headed back to that same lovely park on a Monday evening...
They are not professional, but in my eyes, they are beautiful.



They so uniquely express our fun joyful personalities, our deep love for each other, and our excitement for our marriage.
The two weeks flew by...and then he headed back to school. We settled back into school, ready for more waiting...

{to be continued...tomorrow}

Be blessed.
<3

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wedding Week - Day 2: The Proposal


Welcome!  I am taking a break from all of my "normal" blogging to spend a whole SIX DAYS talking about the best day of my life...my wedding day!  Here is the schedule:
Day 1: How We Met
Day 2: The Proposal 
Day 3: Engagement Photos
Day 4: Wedding Planning
Day 5: The BIG DAY
Day 6: Our Honeymooon
I hope that you stick around and that you enjoy learning a bit more about me in this mini-series!


Day 2 - The Proposal and Engagement Photos

(This was originally written for our wedding website.  I edited it a bit for use here)


Our Story – “Beginning of Forever…”
         “The brown of your dress doesn’t go with his blue shirt!” my mother told me for probably the fourth or fifth time.  Defeated, I went upstairs to change…blue and blue, not brown and blue…  Oh well…I wanted to match for pictures.

         It was 9:10 am on August 17th as we pulled out of the driveway of my house.  A whole day with Travis!  First taking pictures with friends, and then a picnic lunch and hours to talk!  What could be better?  If only I had known...

         We pulled into the parking lot of Marathon Park.  He grabbed his guitar and we headed toward an empty picnic table.  I sat on top of it, excitedly anticipating the new song he had written.  I was carefully analytical as I listened to one of the most beautiful guitar intros ever… but as he started singing, I grew confused.  What was this song about?  Did he really write it for me?


The words were just barely beginning to sink in as he played the last note and turned to open the guitar case.


He reached into the guitar case’s pocket and pulled out a little box…


I’m sure my heart stopped beating.  This wasn’t…it couldn’t be…it was…

         He opened the box and turned it towards me.  Then gently grabbed my hands and knelt on the grass in front of me.  I honestly can’t remember everything he said.  But the last words, I will never forget…


"Will you marry me, Alesha?"

         I didn’t think I could force words out of my mouth.  Somehow I managed to whisper, “……Yes.”



...I think I had to say it twice. The first time it was so quiet he couldn't hear me.

All I could do at that moment was to reach over hold him...I hugged him tight, and when he tried to pull back, I held him closer. When I could finally talk again, I let go and he slid that shiny ring onto my left hand...it was the most wonderful feeling.

That one little ring meant that I was going to be his...forever.

He had an engagement party with my family and his planned for that night.

I don't ever remember feeling so happy and so exhausted at the same time ever...even on our wedding day!

The next day, we launched into planning. We both started up school in 3 weeks and needed to have a good start on everything...

{to be continued...tomorrow}

Be blessed.
<3

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wedding Week - Day 1: How We Met

Welcome!  I am taking a break from all of my "normal" blogging to spend a whole SIX DAYS talking about the best day of my life...my wedding day!  Here is the schedule:

Day 1: How We Met
Day 2: The Proposal 
Day 3: Engagement Photos
Day 4: Wedding Planning
Day 5: The BIG DAY
Day 6: Our Honeymooon
I hope that you stick around and that you enjoy learning a bit more about me in this mini-series!


Day 1 - How We Met

(This was originally written for our wedding website.  I edited it a bit for use here)

Our Story – “He loves me, he loves me not…”
It was the summer of 2006, and I distinctly remember walking into the main meeting area at our Youth Group Summer Retreat.  There I saw a curly head bent over a guitar case.  “Hmmm.  He plays guitar and he’s cute!” I thought….

         One year later, I was still very interested, but very much in denial.  Besides, what was the point in being interested in someone who would never like you…but we kept on being friends.

Daily emails, parking next to each other at school, study time in the music rooms, and early morning bible studies (that kept shrinking until it was just us two) filled the next several months.  By the end of the first month of running start at the local Community College, I couldn’t keep myself in denial…


...I had a VERY big crush on this boy named Travis Sinks.


Since I couldn’t deny it, I decided to fight it.  Many days I left school almost in tears.  “Lord, please take away my feelings for him!  I don’t think You want me in a relationship right now.  I don’t want to be in a relationship.  Help me to just focus on You and simply be friends with Travis,” I cried out.  Months passed, and my feelings only grew stronger.  Consequently, my prayers grew more desperate.


After several months of desperate struggle, I was quiet for long enough to hear what God had to say.

He told me that He was not going to take away my feelings for Travis.

I had no idea how long they would last, but I did know that I would have feelings for him at least through high school…possibly longer.

Now I had to face the feelings, but still hide them from the people around me.  Through the difficult weeks and months that followed, God spoke again.

This time He reminded me that although earthly love may be difficult, heartbreaking, and unpredictable, His love is steady, unchanging, and everlasting…

Monday April 7th was a morning unlike most mornings.  I woke up in the wee hours with the stomach flu.  I called Travis at 6 am to say that I wouldn’t be at school.  He was brief and awkward on the phone…I was confused and hurt.  Later that day I got an email saying, “I want to talk to you tomorrow…”

I forced myself into complete denial.

Tuesday morning I was up surprisingly early for someone recovering from the flu.  We walked into school together; he didn’t mention the email.  The air was tense…. “Would he ever mention it?” I wondered.  I got up from our group of friends to leave for weight training.  He stood up too and followed me!
...!!!

“Could we get together somewhere alone and talk?” He asked.

I told him my parents probably wouldn’t approve.  He was slightly agitated; I was impatient.

Three hours later, I walked out of biology class to see that handsome, curly-headed young man waiting…I was surprised and nervous.  He was so quiet…I didn’t know what to talk about.  I’m sure I brought up the weather more than once.

Finally, after a long pause, he started, “You probably know that I’ve liked you for a long time…”

I was so surprised!  I honestly can’t remember what he said next.  I just remember saying, “You probably know that I’ve liked you for a really long time too.”   He didn’t…I couldn’t believe it!  I was so happy, yet I still had to break the news, “I don’t think that my parents want me in a relationship right now, and I don’t think that it’s God’s plan either.”

My heart nearly broke when I saw the look on his face and heard the pain in his words, “I’ve heard that before…”

At that moment I would have done anything to make it better.  I reassured him that he could always talk to my dad.  He relaxed and left me with, “Well, it’s something to be praying about.”  I was a million feet off the ground as I waved goodbye…he liked me…ME!



Thus began long walks, looong phone calls, and getting to know each other's families. Those days were beautiful.  Learning to understand another person on a whole new level is thrilling. The more I got to know this young man, the more I learned about my walk with God, my relationships with friends and family, and my own pride.

Our Story – “I like you…I love you.”
         Walking into the cafeteria of SPSCC, I listened to a voicemail from Travis saying, “I’m going to call your dad…I just wanted to make sure you were okay with it before I did.”  It had been 24 hours since I’d learned that he returned my affection and I was still miles off the ground.  Of course it was okay.  And so began 2 years, 4 months, and 9 days of the most wonderful dating relationship imaginable.  Of course, we didn’t call it dating right away…my paranoid self simply had to make each tiny step into a mountain.  His patience and love took us through each mole hill-turned-mountain that we faced.  


Like February 14th, 2009, our first Valentine ’s Day…

I just so happened to come down with the flu (again) the day before.  So he drove out to see me in the morning and deliver a beautiful red rose as I lay pale and feverish on the couch.  He completely surprised me by coming in.  I was so happy; he was so worried about me.  As he left the room to head to worship practice at the church, I could almost feel his sadness and worry.  A moment after he left the room, he reappeared.  “Can I give you a hug before I leave?” he asked.  I couldn’t say no…
         “I don’t want to get you sick…” I weakly tried to refuse. He gently helped me up and wrapped his arms briefly around me.  Then he left.


I think that first hug did more good towards getting me well than any of the medications…











Six months later he left for college.  The day before he left, I finally became brave enough to say those 3 little words...

"I love you."

Once again, it took me a long time to get to that point.  Did I really love him?  What would happen when he left for college?  Would he forget me?  Would some other girl take him away from me?  I was so afraid...


We talked every day and I had to know everything about everyone he met and talked to.  He was patient, open, reassuring. Slowly, I began to learn the meaning of trust.  I loved him and I chose to trust him.
 

“I can’t wait to be with you,” we said.  I began to be sure…


{to be continued...tomorrow}
Be blessed.
<3

Friday, June 22, 2012

All-In-One Shredded Chicken

Hello Friends!

I have another recipe for you!  Woohoo!


Shredded Salsa Chicken
(Otherwise known as...All Purpose Chicken)

Ingredients:
3 or 4 large frozen chicken breasts
salsa
taco seasoning

Instructions:
In the morning, place your frozen chicken breasts in your crockpot.

Cover them with a light layer of salsa (approx. 1 1/2 to 2 cups)
-You can substitute the salsa in this step for canned stewed tomatoes. This makes it a little cheaper-

Put the lid on, turn the crockpot to LOW, and leave it for about 6 hours.

Return in 6-8 hours and use forks to shred the chicken.  It should literally FALL APART!

Stir in a 1/2 cup more salsa and some taco seasoning to taste.

If you want it even spicier, add some tabasco sauce or cayenne pepper!

Turn your crock pot down to WARM until you are ready to serve.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to eat this:

Chicken Tostadas

Chicken Burritos

Chicken Nachos

Other Ideas Include:
Chicken Tacos
Chicken Quesadillas
Shredded Chicken Sandwiches
Chicken Taco Salad

This is one of my all time favorite recipes.  For just two of us, it lasts FOREVER! So easy and delicious.
<3

Be blessed!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On the Road









Photobucket



You may have heard that I'm headed out of the country. Well, of you have heard that, then you are correct! Every other year, the youth group at our church takes the youth on a missions trip. This year we are driving to Mexico (from Washington State). We met at our church at 7:30 this morning an have been on the road pretty much ever since about 8:15 am! Whew! Loooong day...

BUT, no worries! Today I am over here...
http://www.motivatedmommyoftwo.com/2012/06/summer-fun-party-guest-alesha-from.html?m=0
with Shirley from Motivated Mommy of Two for a Summer Fun Party Guest Post!
(If you've been around since I only had like 10 followers, then you may have seen this post...but I added a little summer twist! So go check it out!)

Be blessed!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Alphabe Week 5: EEE



First Word that Pops into My Head:
Eggs - I love eggs...enough said!

People I Know:
Ed - My uncle and grandpa
Elsie - One of the girls in my small group <3
Emily...I know a lot of Emily's

Color:
Emerald
Ecru
Eggplant 

Favorites:
Earl Grey Tea
Early mornings
English (like the class...writing)
EARRINGS! BIG earrings! <3

Dictionary Word I didn't Know:
eburnean - of or like ivory; ivory colored


Food:
English Muffins
Eclairs
Edamame (I have never tried it, but I want to...but I'm also hearing that soy isn't good for you...?)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Blog Angels: 1/2 Way Thoughts

I just realized how funny that sounds..."1/2 way thoughts".  Like my thoughts are only 1/2 developed. And maybe they are, because we are only 1/2 way through the
BLOG ANGEL'S MONTH!




At the beginning or June I joined this project hosted by:


Craftbiotic
     &
The Dreamy Meadow


I submitted a form, they assigned me a blog, and now it is my personal challenge to bring a little more sunshine into that blogger's life without them knowing that I am their blog angel!
(I have a blog angel as well...is it you? =P)


We are 1/2 way through the month, so it is time for me to reflect on this project 1/2 way through...


Sigh...


I was SO excited at first!!!!  Whoever I got was going to feel SO loved! I wanted to comment on every post, promote them on twitter, and just hang around to have fun!


But that blog has only posted once this month...I commented on two posts so far.
There is no twitter account or email linked up to the blog.
Sigh...


But you know what? I've been carrying that enthusiasm over into those that button swap with me! Or to random bloggers I follow! I'm trying to comment more, to encourage more, to promote when I see a blog worthy of promoting.


IT IS FUN!


And...I'm meeting wonderful people! I love it.


Don't get me wrong! I still forget alot...or am too tired, lazy, busy, etc to comment all the time when I should or be as enthusiastic as I could be...but I'm learning. So bear with me and start spreading some encouragement yourself.


I believe we underestimate the power of words all to often. By the grace of God, I will learn to use my words wisely and to build others up.


I am still trying to be a blog angel to my "assigned" blogger when I can...and then take that attitude with me into the rest of the blogging world!


Be blessed <3


P.S. DON'T FORGET TO ENTER MY FIRST EVER GIVEAWAY!


Want to see more posts from other blog angels???

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Instagram + A Coffee Date

If we were having a coffee date today...

I would tell you that growing up is weird.  We have so many weddings and graduation parties to go to! I feel old...but I still feel young...

I think society has created this impression that high school is the idea age of youthfulness, fun and beauty...so we get past high school and we still feel like we're there because we still feel young and beautiful and full of life...
IDK...maybe its just me.

I would tell you to check out this awesome life sized jenga that I instagramed this week (at a grad party - where else?) 

And I'd tell you about the fun scavenger hunt we did at that same grad party...well after it! We would have won except that the first team back gets 5 points...we got back second, but still on time. Sad day. =(
Also, we would have won if we had gone downtown. it was a blast...look at the loot!
I would also tell you that I have been experimenting with embellishing flip flops using yarn and my crochet hook. Weird, huh? I LOVE IT! Creating new crochet patterns and designs rejuvenates me.
I would have never imagined that I would say that...that I am CREATING DESIGNS and PATTERNS! Doesn't that feel so weird and important? It's really not. LOL! But I love it all hte same.























I would also tell you that I am super excited to be doing this giveaway on my blog. And that I'm a teeny bit disappointed that we only have 3 people who've entered so far, but that's okay because there are still 3 days left to enter. I really hope that whoever wins likes their flip flops! I am still working on making myself a pair though! LOL!


I would tell you fun it was to see my sister this week. We had some good conversations and got to know her boyfriend a little more. I'm going to miss her as she is officially living in Seattle this summer. 

Then I would get more serious and tell you what a huge blessing following along with #SheReadsTruth community has been. I would tell you that I want to be more involved with it and am trying to figure out how...and if I have time. I would tell you that God has been teaching me about the importance of His Word. And has been revealing some strongholds that Satan has been in my life.
I would tell you that last night at the Young Adults Group at our church the sermon was about strongholds. "A stronghold is a lie the enemy tells you that you believe." I'm praying that God will help me to break free from the strongholds of fear and insecurity in my life.





And then I would as about YOU. How are YOU doing? Tell me about YOUR life. And most of all, I would ask how I can pray for you...
So email me or comment below. Tell me about YOU. Tell me how I can PRAY.
<3
Be blessed.

P.S. Don't for get to enter the GIVEAWAY!

I'm linking up here for my instagrams...
life rearranged


And here for my coffee date. <3