Friday, March 4, 2016

We Lost Another One...

"We lost another one."  I HATE this sentence.  I HATE that it makes me so helpless.  

"We lost another one."  I read in a text message from my dear Marine husband.  I've heard it too many times in the almost 8 years of married life we've lived beyond active duty. I'm lucky, I never heard that phrase during our active duty life.  I'm extremely lucky.

"We lost another one."  It makes me curse - out loud.  I am Pollyanna, the ever hopeful and positive girl, but not in moments like this.  Moments like this chip away at my heart.

"We lost another one." This time, it wasn't suicide...but all of the other times it was.  This time, it was a horrible accident cause by a drunk driver.  This time.  

"We lost another one." Suicide.  It's so complicated.  It is so much more than suicide.  

"We lost another one."  PTSD.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a label thrown at veterans and active duty.  It scares civilians.  It scares military spouses for different reasons. Insane, violent crimes are explained away because the one committing the crimes has PTSD, which scares civilians.  Watch out for the crazy vet with PTSD.  The military spouse worries because PTSD means anger, lack of restful sleep, and irritability.  

"We lost another one."  Why?  How can we help?  How can I help?

"We lost another one."  Who?  What feels like an eternity passes before receiving an answer.  So far, no one from our inner most circle has been lost.  The demon gets closer.  It is only a matter of time before it reaches someone in my circle of acquaintances.  Right now, I'm lucky.  Luck runs out sooner or later... 

"We lost another one."  I pray.  I pray for the family of the one lost.  I pray for the ones in my circle of acquaintances who worry me.  I pray for the ones who worry me because I can sense the danger.  I pray every single time they come to mind.  Every. Single. Time. Lord, keep them safe.  Battle the demons with them. 

"We lost another one."  What can I do? How do I stop this from happening to another one?  I read.  I read about becoming a Marine (the psychology behind it), I read about combat, I read about adapting to life after active duty.  I read about PTSD and suicide.  

"We lost another one." I dream of owning a place with room for all of "my boys" to visit.  I dream of a reunion with all of them together at the same time.  Shenanigans and laughter would ensue.  The fire department might need to be on standby.  I'd video the whole thing.  Vets spending time with other vets, it helps.  Talking with each other, it helps.

"We lost another one."  How long before I hear this again?  I hope I never do.  Statistically, I most surely will.  #22Aday  #22toomany

"We saved another one."  This isn't something I'll most likely hear.  There are no statistics, no hash tags.  It doesn't make it any less powerful if it happens.  There is a fairly new non-profit organization I have been following on social media called Irreverent Warriors.  In a year, they've done wonders in the lives of vets.  In the video posted below, one of the co-founders if shown speaking to a group of active duty Marines about suicide and suicide prevention.  Take the time to watch this video.  It is the BEST explanation of this disease I have ever heard or read.  Click on the words "Suicide Prevention" to view the video

*Warning:  Warriors, all warriors not just the one pictured in the video, are rated at least PG-13.  Warriors drop F bombs and other curse words and talk about stuff you don't want your kids to hear.  Wait until the kids are in bed or wear your headphones to watch this video.


*Spoiler Alert* Watch the video before reading the rest.  Seriously, watch the video.  I know it takes times, it is worth it.  I promise.  Just, watch the video.

Danny O'Malley presents some interesting facts about the #22Aday statistic.  I had no idea it was 22 vets a day from only 21 states who reported statistics.  Yikes.  How many more are we losing a day?  Of those 22, 15 of them are 50 years or older?  Whoa.  To survive the demons for so long, to live a long life, and then to end it. Alone.  Danny says he isn't an expert, he's merely speculating when he discusses this hypothetical 50+ year old veteran committing suicide, the circumstances certainly make sense. 

Danny O'Malley and the Irreverent Warriors organization can say "We saved another one."  The silkies hikes are helping.  The connections to other vets are saving lives.  We will never know how many.  Honestly, it doesn't matter.  As long as "we lost another one" becomes a phrase I hear less and less, I'll be overjoyed.  We saved another one.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

More Than Mittens

It's been so long since I've written here...this particular thought just has to be shared.  Many of you know I manage a Pandora store.  It has been the most fun I've had at work and it has literally sucked the life out of me at times.  I guess anything worth doing will do that to you.  Anyhow, I learned over the summer that Pandora would be releasing a charm and I proceeded to count down the days until it could be mine.  The whole idea behind a Pandora charm bracelet is to commemorate the special moments in your life.  Until now, I thought I was doing just that-and making it look pretty too.  I have a love letter, it symbolizes the many, many, many letters my sweet husband and I have exchanged over the years-mostly the Marine Corps years of course.  It symbolizes the hardships of being apart for long periods of time and the joy of sweet reunions.  I enjoy wearing it on my bracelet.  I have a turtle, because it was my husband's nickname in high school and my temporary engagement ring was a turtle ring.  I love having it on my bracelet too.  This new charm is different.  It symbolizes so much more.  What could mean more than Love? 

Mittens!  I adore mittens.  I may or may not have a pair attached by a string that fit my grown up hands.  Mittens aren't just something to keep your hands warm.  They're memories of family, fun, and love.

Mittens mean winters spent bundled up enjoying the snow...

 (with cousins or siblings)
or just bundled up...

I always felt so fancy wearing this frivolous fancy fur coat.No need for mittens with the warm pockets.

Mittens mean times spent with family.  Nana's house was always a great place to gather. 

Mittens mean Nana and Nana's house.  When there was enough snow for sledding we would gather our layers of snow gear (Southern friends this means: snow pants, snow boots, heavy jackets, heavy socks, at least two pairs of gloves because the outer layer would get wet, and spare socks for when we came inside) and head to Nana's house.  Her house had prime sled riding hills.  There is an art to climbing on the sled at the top of the hill so it doesn't start sliding down before you are ready.  If you didn't, you might end up half in the sled and half out flying down the hill.  Laughter always ensued.  Mittens mean laughter.  

After we were too cold and tired to continue, we would head inside and take off the many layers of snow gear.  We would hang it up over heating vents to dry and Nana would make hot chocolate.  Nestle Quik hot chocolate to be exact.  Nestle Quik hot chocolate in cute Nestle Bunny mugs with Nestle Bunny spoons.  Mittens mean hot chocolate.

(I had to Google search and find these images.  People are selling these for a ridiculous amount of money.  I guess some memories have no price.)

Mittens mean cousins.  Lots of cousins.  I couldn't find a picture of us all bundled up enjoying the snow so this picture will have to do.  It makes me laugh how tightly Rebecca is holding my hand.  Cousins make excellent snow playing, sled riding friends.

Sisters make excellent sled riding, snow playing friends too.  They also make great ice skating friends too.  You might want mittens to ice skate too.  (If you're up North anyhow.)

Mittens mean Christmas.  These mittens are my favorite.  I remember seeing a pair on our tree every year growing up.  I also remember a pair on my grandma's tree as well.  Several years ago on a visit to her house, I told her they were one of my favorite ornaments.  My grandma unbeknownst to me, sent them home with my boyfriend at the time.  When we got back home, he gave them to me and said my grandma sent them.  I adore putting them on my tree every year and smile each time.  They remind me of how my grandma spoiled me, even as a grown up.  Mittens mean time spent with grandma.  Mittens mean decorating Easter eggs too.  My grandma and I had a yearly tradition of decorating Easter eggs.  A tradition I would continue if I didn't live so terribly far away.   

So this charm isn't just a pair of mittens that adorn my bracelet.  These mittens are memories.  Memories of Christmas, memories of family, memories of snow, memories of laughter, and memories of love.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Trip to the Beach

I thought I would ring in 2013 without visiting the beach with my sweetie.  The new job has made my schedule very busy.  Busy is good, but it leaves very little time for my thoughts to form into coherent sentences for blogging-let alone vacation time.  However, the new job is actually the thing that brought me to the beach this year.  We have a store in Sarasota, they needed a little help in between store off to Sarasota I went. 

I've never been to Sarasota before.  It is a sweet little city.  Very easy to navigate, very easy.  However, there seem to be a lot of Yankees in this town.  I mean true Yankees-New York, Massachusetts type Yankees.  I'd be classified as a mid-westerner here...  I realized I've been in the South for a long time now.

I've had time to buy a new dress, buy new shoes, and relax a little.  (All at bargain prices of course!)  Peace and quiet.  Time all alone, until Saturday that is.  I arrived very late Tuesday night, went to the store on Thursday to work, grabbed dinner and came back to the hotel to enjoy the quiet.  Friday, same thing.  Saturday off to work, to the airport to get the husband, and then time to enjoy being on a sort of vacation with my sweetie.  I may work so much that it makes me so tired I could cry, but it is pretty cool that my boss flew my husband to FL so we could spend the holiday weekend together.  We went to St. Armand's to walk the circle and enjoy some of the cool little tourist boutiques.  Then we grabbed some dinner.  Sunday I didn't have to go to the store at all. We slept in.  It was soooo wonderful.  We ate a late breakfast/lunch.  We grabbed some snacks at the store....until FINALLY it was beach time.  Awesome!  It was a holiday weekend, so we paid $10 to park in a lot instead of parking for free in the public parking lot and the beach was full.  I freakin' love the beach.  I don't care how busy it is.  We stayed for about two hours before we decided it was time to go shower and grab dinner.  We dined at a cool little place called Walt's Seafood Market.  The waiter gave me an awesome recommendation, since seafood isn't this Ohioan's favorite food group.  I ate red snapper, blackened (read cajun spicy) and it was delicious!  Totally worth the money.  If you end up in Sarasota, make sure you eat there.  If you're there on a Sunday, sit outside at the Tikki bar and perhaps Jeremy will be your waiter.

Today, it was back to work at the store.  After work the husband and I headed to the outlet mall not far from the store.  I found super cute comfy shoes at a fabulous sale price. (Can you say Kenneth Cole Reaction for $30?)  I'm talking 8 hour retail shift shoes here.  Unheard of, I know.  After leaving the outlets we decided to head to the beach for one last walk.  It was pretty dark since the moon was hiding behind the clouds this evening.  We had a flashlight thanks to my always prepared Eagle scout Marine.  (No joke, he was an Eagle scout too.)  I could live at the beach...except for hurricane season I guess.  I don't have a great track record with the beach and hurricanes. 

Later this week the husband and I will celebrate 7 years of marriage.  It seems like yesterday we were starting our journey together.  I hope it always feels like it was yesterday.  (Yes, there are some days I get frustrated with him.  Like yesteray when he was throwing popcorn on the sand to attract the seagulls and people around us were staring.  I was giving him the death look.  He was laughing like a little boy, because that is what Marines do.  They do silly things that little boys do and their wives roll their eyes.)  That same Marine is sound asleep on the bed next to me lightly snoring now.  He looks so harmelss when he sleeps...until you accidentally scare him awake.  Whoops.  (I didn't really scare him awake just now, but I know you better be wary if you do.)  So in case I don't blog later in the week-I have a feeling when I get back home I won't have time anyhow, I Love my Marine and wouldn't change a minute of our story together.  I look forward to the next year together and hopefully many more after that. 

Seven years later this northern teacher (turned retail goddess) is still in Love with her sweet, southern Marine :)  Love always has a capital letter after falling in Love with you Bivins.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Feeling Patriotic

My little guilty pleasure, once very two weeks, is to go and get a manicure  and pedicure.  Sometimes I let myself feel guilty over spending the money, but I typically justify it by the fact that I work hard.  It is one of the few things I do just for me.  If I wasn't paying someone to do it for me, it would be one more thing on my list of things to do. 

Yesterday was mani/pedi day.  I had the wonderful pleasure of sharing the nail salon with a very sweet lady, probably in her 70's, who gave me a glimpse into my future...  She was there to get her nails done.  She told the nail tech that she wanted something red, white, and blue.  With summertime coming she said it was time for something that looked patriotic.  *Sound like anyone you know?*  She ended up choosing red polish, and then on her ring fingers she had them do a blue and white swirl design.  She kept asking if they were going to add lots of sparkles (rhinestones) to her nails, because she "just loves sparkles."  The nail tech added about 8 sparkles to each of her decorated ring fingers.  They were beautifully gaudy and patriotic.  I adored them.  When I am 70 I vow to have patriotic sparkly nails too.  Hopefully by then I just won't care who sees my gaudy patriotic nails.  Right now I'm still to self conscious to sport them.  (It doesn't help that they are against the dress code at work.) 

In other news, Memorial Day just occurred.  It always makes me reminiscent of the days I could gather all my boys together for a day or night to feed them dinner and find mischief.  It also makes my heart ache because it is a day to remember the families left behind from those who paid the ultimate price for freedom.  I'm oddly lucky, all of my boys came home...but I know several of their brothers in arms did not.  I know they each have a different reason that Memorial Day is special to them.  I do my small part in bringing out my patriotism via red, white and blue.  My husband summed up my Memorial Day (and every day) job best in his toast...  He said my job is to love my veteran for all of the wives who can't love theirs.  He's right.  It is one of the things that active duty life teaches you, every moment spent together is special.  It doesn't matter if you're doing laundry, or heaven forbid you have to grocery shop together; each moment together is special because you never know what tomorrow will bring.  I think that mindset is a great philosophy for life.  So many times happiness is about choosing to make the best of it, not letting things get you down, in order to be happy.  Time with loved ones is always a commodity in this world.  I encourage you to do your part, be purposeful in planning to spend time with those you love. 

Memorial Day also makes me homesick for life in D.C.  I'll be forever thankful that I had some time to live in the heart of our country.  The air itself is different there. (Smoggy is what it is, but it makes me feel invigorated-could be a lack of oxygen or something.)  D.C. does Memorial Day and 4th of July up in style.  If I could wear red, white, and blue everyday I would.  I'm that girl.  I think my blood is American flag patterned with a touch of glitter.  I like to remember the pomp and circumstance of the ceremonies and monuments.  The National Mall is a peaceful place full of energy, especially on a warm sunny day.  I wish I had taken more time to grab a blanket, grab a good book, and head to the National Mall to spend the afternoon reading and people watching.  Hindsight is 20/20.  I would have done a lot more, had I been more independent then.  Several metro rides in a month I'd pass by the Arlington Cemetery metro stop.  It always brought about a somber mood in me.  The air itself felt like it was grieving.  I'm incredibly proud of my husband and his service to our country.  His role was an important one.  I wouldn't trade our time in D.C. for all the gold in the world.  What good is gold if you lose some of the best memories of your life?

Today's Message: Enjoy your life.  Spend time with loved ones.  Be mindful of all that others have sacrificed so that you may do those two things.

Today's Secondary Message: Sparkly red, white and blue nails should be fashionable at any age, but if you're in your 70's they ROCK!

Monday, January 2, 2012


We (Dave really) received a present for Christmas that neither of us ordered.  We knew this present would arrive before too long as time passes regardless of whether we recognize it or not.  Time passes a little quicker than we thought and the day arrived.  He received his Honorable Discharge certificate from the USMC.  Many of you saw this picture posted on my facebook, but here it is once again in case you'd like a closer look.

When we arrived at my in laws house after Christmas Eve service my mother in law let me know that there were two pieces of mail for Dave.  I looked at them, momentarily puzzled, and then I knew.  I knew it was the official end to his time with the USMC.  I smiled, but it was a bittersweet moment.  I waited until after we ate dinner before showing it to Dave.  He opened it with a grin, but I know we both felt the tug of sadness too.  It signifies the end of some of the greatest years of our life.  We both have memories, stories, and friendships that will last us a lifetime.  Thankfully, we're part of the USMC family forever now.  I'm terribly proud of his service.  I'm thankful I was blessed with so many great friends during his service, but especially during his deployment.  The BLT 3/8 wives I met were amongst the best and I will forever cherish them.  I don't think I realized how special they were at the time, I just knew I loved them.  Life beyond the Marine Corps is good too, but I miss being an active part of the USMC family.  Now we get to figure out how to support our fellow family members beyond the realm of active and inactive duty. 

Some of my favorite USMC memories:
1. Bootcamp Graduation.  I had no idea at the time I would be married to a Marine just a year later.  I marvel at the fact I was able to see my future husband graduate boot camp even though I didn't know his name at the time.  I met him after graduation when he was headed back to his family, and just barely remember the meeting.  Two months later I would be spending hours on the phone with him.

2. Iwo Sunset Parade & Friday Night Parades.  I only saw the sunset parade once, but my darling husband (fiance then) was part of the firing party.  A Marine doing what he loves to do is a fine thing to see.  The Friday Night Parades were so much fun as well.  You simply must see one.  Seriously.  

3.Marine Barracks Washington.  Thanks to this wonderful duty station.  I had so much fun living in DC for 9 months.  Days spent walking along the National Mall with my husband.  Public transportation so I didn't have to drive, thank you DC metro & Fairfax Connector buses.  Close proximity to pretty much anything.  Safeway grocery stores, you are a goddess among grocers.  Pentagon City Bath & Bodyworks ladies circa 2006, you made me feel welcome and gave me girlfriends when I was constantly surrounded by boys.

4.Camp Lejeune, NC aka Marine Corps Land.  You gave me close proximity to the beach.  Introduced me to Duplin County Wine, the wine of the gods.  You showed me just how awesome the USMC family really is-from the Battalion Commander's wife on down the ranks I was welcomed with open arms.  You introduced me to the hardships of deployment, while sparing me the worry of combat deployments.  I had one year of teaching that was hellish and one year of teaching that was truly a blessing through some very long days.  Did I mention close proximity to the beach?

5. Life beyond active duty USMC.  It has shown me the pure joy of encountering a fellow member of the USMC family.  It has shown me my deepest desire is to do all I can to support those still in the active duty realm, as well as those beyond it.  I just have to figure out exactly what that looks like...
Thank you so much for the memories USMC!  You'll always hold a special place in my heart.

A Beautiful Day at the Range

We have been experiencing some wonderfully mild winter weather here in Alabama so far.  I'm not bragging, I'm just saying it has been nice-even if it seems odd to have a Christmas tree up in 60 degree weather.  Saturday was a gorgeous day, making it perfect range weather.  I'm very blessed in the fact that I am included in the "boys club" at my house.  What probably began from necessity has grown into something I enjoy a lot.  My husband and his friends have always accepted my presence during their boy time.  It began in DC when I was far from my friends and family in Ohio and by the time we reached NC I wouldn't trade hanging out with the boys for anything.  They make me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt, they make my heart swell with pride, and they torment me relentlessly at times-but always show me respect as well.  I feel honored to be part of their group.  I accept the privilege and recognize it as such.

Saturday I was able to enjoy an afternoon at the range with two of my favorite Marines.  (Ok, so I really don't think I've spent time with a Marine I wouldn't consider a favorite of mine.)  My darling husband and Jordan let me use of some of their range time.  I was looking forward to range day all week.  Seriously.   It might have something to do with the fact that for Christmas my husband gave me something he knew I would love, a CZ, and a pink pistol bag to cart it to and from the range.  Be still my heart, that man knows how to spoil a girl.  (Who is this girl, right?)  His friend Matt, who was missed at range day, gave me the second best present-M frame Oakley glasses!  I think we should have recorded my reaction to opening those on Christmas Day.  I was extremely excited.  Why? Because when you have to wear ear protection for hours at the range along with ballistic eye protection you can get a headache when the ear pieces of the glasses are thick and smashed against your head.  I borrowed Dave's M frames the last time we went to the range and they made my range experience so much better.  Then to top off the range day anticipation my husband gave me a .22 rifle for my birthday.  Wooooohoooo!!  Like most things in my life I learned the art of shooting backwards from the typical shooter.  Most shooters learn to shoot .22 rifles or pistols first and then move on to shooter higher calibers.  I learned how to shoot 9mm first and just recently learned how to shoot a .22 rifle.  I enjoyed it so much that Dave decided he would continue the spoiling streak and buy me one for my birthday.  Here is a pic of me and my newest love...

Out of a box of 525 rounds I shot probably 250 of them.  It was a nice workout for my weak muscled arms.  The only reason I put the rifle down was because we ran out of ammo about the time my arms were feeling wobbly.  Doesn't this look like fun?

I also had a conversation shortly after Christmas with Dave as we were wandering the aisles of the Piggly Wiggly one evening.  (I live in Alabama, ok?  I've grown to enjoy shooting and I shop at the Piggly Wiggly when necessary.)  He asked me if I had named my CZ yet, because it wasn't mine until I named it.  I love the CZ and quickly said "Pearl."  He just laughed and said, "really?"  I said "sure, why not?  I mean I could think up something else..."  He said "No, you should go with the first thing that comes to mind.  I just think of an old southern lady with a big hat on and an umbrella, the kind used to shade you from the sun not for rain.  The kind of old southern lady that will beat you with her umbrella."  I said "perfect."  (Doesn't she sound intimidating?)  He then asked if I had named my conceal & carry weapon.  I said "how about Minnie?"  Dave said "why didn't you just leave the tags on them, Minnie Pearl?"  I just giglged.  I like Minnie and Pearl.  Minnie is pink by the way so I think it suites her.  Fast forward a few days to receiving the .22 rifle for my early birthday present.  Dave asks me what I'm going to name the .22.  Mom says I should name it Buck Owens and stay with the Hee Haw theme.  I decided to name it Roger.  It sounds great.  So I am the proud owner of Minne, Pearl, and Roger.  Together, we had a wonderful day at the range.

I can hardly wait to get back to the range and shoot some more.  Unfortunately, we're experiencing some colder temps this know 30's and 40's, which is a little more seasonably appropriate.  Not terribly cold, but it doesn't make for as much fun on the range.  So instead I'll find other things to do.  Not sure exactly what...maybe take down the tree, organize my room/closet, or maybe just waste the day reading a good book.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I remember...

Perfectly Imperfect is another title I thought about for this particular entry, but really it is about what I remember.  What is it that matters the most, that I hold on tightly to in my mind? 

There has been a lot of wedding talk around here recently and it made me reflect a lot about my own wedding proposal, our wedding, and our life we've built together.  (I have a friend who may be having a wedding very soon and her friends and I are trying to help her plan so we can pull it together at a moments notice.  When you fall in love with a Marine you can say goodbye to being able to plan anything...)  I'm about to take a trip down memory lane so if you're not interested then you may go back to your regularly scheduled programming.

The Proposal: Which one would you like to hear about?  Technically there is more than one.  Bivins first proposed during Airport Rendezvous Weekend in February 2005.  He asked me to marry him Sunday morning.  I said yes.  Then he called my mom and sisters to ask their permission.  I went home and he mailed me a turtle ring to wear.  The second time he asked me was in July 2005.  I had flown to DC to meet his parents and he had purchased a diamond solitaire ring.  We were in his room at the barracks and I was sitting at his desk.  He knelt down beside me with the box and simply said "marry me?"  I remember them both vividly.  They weren't elaborate.  It was simply a man asking the woman he loves to marry him.  I'm so glad he did!

The Wedding:  It was the on again off again wedding...not the actual wedding part, but the when and the where part.  We wanted to be married before he left DC because we knew he would go to a deploy-able unit once he left the barracks.  (Deploy-able means a unit set to deploy, not to be confused with deplorable.  That word doesn't exist in the Marine Corps.)  We also were trying to figure out a cost effective wedding plan with people from two different states-Alabama and Ohio.  I don't know if you've looked at a map recently, but they aren't exactly side by side.  Can you say nightmare?  Ok, maybe not a nightmare for everyone but I wasn't excited at the prospect of planning something.  Throw in the ever changing Marine Corps schedule and I had an ulcer before we even began talking.  So we began hatching the Augtember plan.  I can't tell you how it began...something about getting married on the beach when we came to Alabama to visit during his post parade season leave.  The logistics of that kinda made me freak out so we altered the plan to get married in the lobby of his godfather's law office.  There were other details to sort out, but here is what I remember...

I remember shopping with my mother for the perfect outfit to wear on my wedding day.

I remember shopping with my mother and picking out the satiny ribbon, lace, and red white and blue button she used to make a garter. 

I remember hopping on the plane to fly to Dulles and meet up with my Marine so we could fly together to Alabama and get married. (Ok, technically we flew into Atlanta and Mr. B picked us up and drove us to AL.)

I remember telling Mr. B in the car that the wedding was back on for this weekend.

I remember telling Bonnie that the wedding was back on for this weekend when we met her at Sal's for dinner.  (This was when Sal's was in Odenville.)

I remember going to church the Sunday before our wedding and meeting everyone at CPC.  I received sooooo many hugs from people that I know cherish as friends and family.

I remember getting ready to meet with Burt on Sunday afternoon for a brief premarital counseling session and praying he would agree to marry us on Tuesday.  (If he hadn't agreed we wouldn't have married then.  To me, it would have meant it wasn't God's time for us to marry.)

I remember Bonnie asking me if I was sure I wanted a simple wedding.  She wanted to make sure I wouldn't regret not having a white dress, family, etc.  I told her I wanted a simple wedding.  (I thanked her this past Friday for planning such a beautiful small affair.  I told her I'm so glad we did it that way.  No regrets!)

I remember Lori Booth decorating the carrot cake Bonnie made for our wedding.  She did such a wonderful job.  I couldn't have picked a prettier cake if I had tried.

I remember getting up bright and early Tuesday morning and riding to the courthouse in Pell City to get our marriage license. (Mr B. and Bonnie made a frantic run to Sam's and I have no idea where else to grab stuff for a mini reception.)

I remember going to the flower shop to order a small bouquet.  I ended up with three pink roses and a calla lily with the stems wrapped in ribbon. 

I remember reading the letter my mother e-mailed me for my wedding day. 

I remember taking a nap on my wedding day.  We were so tired from a busy weekend of visiting in Alabama and we were up early to get our license. 

I remember Mr. B and Dave leaving to take half of the stuff to Curtis' office and swinging by to get the flowers.

I remember gathering my things to do get ready at the office and riding in to Birmingham with Bonnie. 

I remember a trucker and Bonnie exchanging friendly honks that translated into Semper Fidelis.  The truck and Bonnie's car were both sporting Marine Corps stickers.

I remember curling my hair and applying my own make-up.

I remember carefully getting dressed and asking Wendy Russell if I should wear the heart necklace Bivins gave me.  She said if he gave it to me I should definitely wear it.  She also tied the lovely bow at the back of my top.

I remember walking down a hallway holding JT Gosnell's arm and at the very end of that hallway and across the lobby was the man of my dreams-dreams I didn't even know I had at the time.

I remember marrying Bivins around 6:30pm on a Tuesday evening.

I remember it being one of the best days of my life...