Wait, what weight? Oh, that weight. Just you wait and see!

Sometimes, I felt too tired to even make it in the house without a nap and would nap in the car for before going inside. After dinner, I would shower and go straight to bed. I was super happy with my life, but my body felt miserable.

Better Together

Faith’s Thoughts:

Terry and I married in March of 2017.  On that day, I felt beautiful and regal. I wasn’t self-conscience of my weight or my looks. My clothes were tight and uncomfortable during my honeymoon, but the food was good.  So, I just loosened a button and ordered dessert. I remember telling my sister Hope how much weight I had gained in a short period of time, she said jokingly, “Oh that’s just ‘happy weight’.”  I was happy, but the weight wasn’t making me happy. The weight was making me tired. I have always been a fan of a naps, but naps were becoming a necessity to get through a work day. I would eat my lunch at my desk in between customers so that I could take a full hour nap in the car during my lunch break. I would wake up tired after 8 hours of sleep. I would come home from work and take a nap before dinner. Sometimes, I felt too tired to even make it in the house without a nap and would nap in the car for before going inside. After dinner, I would shower and go straight to bed. I was super happy with my life, but my body felt miserable.

I knew that I needed to make some lifestyle changes, but I also knew it would be difficult for me to change my behavior.  I felt so sluggish that the thought of exercise overwhelmed me. My strategy would be to lose 30 pounds with healthy eating, then start exercising after I lost those initial pounds. I had lost weight previously through the Atkins Diet and I wanted to go back to that because I knew I could lose a significant amount of weight with or without exercise. Terry was opposed to Atkins and suggested a more balanced approach to eating. I had tried Weight Watchers multiple times in the past and I wasn’t successful because I wasn’t accurately tracking my food and I wasn’t fully committed to changing my eating habits. So, when I decided that I would join Weight Watchers this time, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I felt so out of control with my eating that I feared that I would fail again. That strategy didn’t work very long because Terry does the cooking at home. It just made more sense to tell him.

Terry has always been supportive and loving concerning my weight. He has never given me a reason to feel self-conscious about my size. When I told Terry my plans to lose weight, he was just as supportive as I had expected. He immediately started searching Weight Watchers recipes so that dinner would be points friendly. Terry even downloaded the WW app to his cell phone so that he could see how many points I had left after lunch. The support didn’t stop with eating. Terry would be my walking partner many nights. Because of his support for me, Terry also lost weight, albeit at a slower pace.

One of my biggest struggles was eating out. In my childhood, eating out was only for celebrations. Celebrations usually mean over-indulgence. Terry and I were eating out multiple times a week. I couldn’t afford to over-indulge every time we ate out. When I shared with Terry that eating out was a problem for me, we cut back (which helped both our pockets and our waist lines). When we did eat out, Terry would let me choose the restaurant, which I would chose by checking the WW app first. At first, I thought his support would be intimidating, but it became motiving. Even though he was not an official Weight Watcher, he’d let me discuss with him the things I learned in my meetings and when I had a weekly weigh in, he’d ask how I did. If I told him I lost, he’d respond “I’m so proud of you”. If I had gained, he’d say, “It’s just water weight”. After a few weeks of not losing, I’d be frustrated and say, “don’t say it’s just water weight.” To that he would respond, “It’s because you are gaining muscle.” LOL.

To date, I’ve lost 60 pounds on WW with another 40 to go. The weight isn’t coming off as fast as I would prefer, but I’m focusing more on health. I’m measuring my success by my energy level, self-discipline, and activity. I figure that no matter what happens on the scale, if I eat for fuel, refuse to over-eat and move my body, then results will follow that winning formula. For the first year and a half, I went to weekly meetings which have been a tremendous help. I leaned so much from other members and the weekly topics. I learned about some of my unhealthily eating triggers and how to combat them. I learned how to maximize my water intake and how to find ways to incorporate activity into a busy schedule. I recently switched to a fully online plan instead of weekly meetings which made me a little nervous. I asked Terry if he would join online too so that I could have a “meeting” at home. Weight Watchers has a saying that we’re better together which certainly is the case for us. I’m glad to have a partner at home on this journey. Many ladies talk about not having the support at home and I couldn’t imagine how hard that would be to have your partner discourage and belittle you instead of encouraging you and blaming the weight gain on the water 😊. We are certainly better together.

-Faith

The Weighing Game

Terry’s Thoughts (T2):

When I was a kid, I was not what you would consider “thin” by any stretch of the imagination.  Every summer, the Sears catalog would arrive in June and my mother would allow me to choose a few items out of the “husky” section while she chose the rest of my clothes.  We would go to the store in Augusta and place the order.  In 4-6 weeks, we would get a card in the mail stating that my order had arrived at the store and we could come pick it up.  As we would walk to the order by mail section of the store, I would look at all the clothes that were there in the store and try to see if they added a “husky” section so I could be like the rest of the kids.  For years, this was not the case and it would be years (high school) before I could go into a store (thank you JB White for Men) and purchase clothes off the rack.

When I got to college, I started working out with my friends and started to get more muscular and bigger.  I was lifting weights continuously and was getting more and more fit.  Although I didn’t have a washboard stomach, I could look down and see my feet without it getting in the way.  I was fit and in shape.  Yet, over the years as I discontinued working out, the girth that I had gained continued as I started to trade lifting weights to lifting my fork.

One of the advantages of being well versed in cooking and not being dependent upon anyone to prepare my food, I could cook and eat whatever I had the taste for.  The only limits that I had were the time of the year that certain foods were available and what was in my bank account.  This was my Achilles heel: I was my own worse enemy as I could really cook and eat what I wanted.  At my largest, I was 298 lbs. and I was walking several miles every day at work.

One of the things during my courtship with Faith was that everyone in her family would say the same thing, “I hope you like lasagna.”  My response would always be the same, “I do, but I also know how to cook and will be doing most of the cooking.  Do I look like I missed a meal?”  Yet, something bothered me when one day Faith said that she was going on the Adkins diet.  I had done some research about the long-term success of the diet and was not impressed with what I found.  Another thing that I recognized was that what she was used to eating was not balanced and not beneficial to long term healthy living.  I had started losing weight by going back to basics: balanced eating along with portion control.  Yet, I had to convince Faith that my philosophy concerning weight loss was better for her long-term health than Adkins.

Faith had previously had success with Adkins before, but I didn’t feel that it was a sustainable lifestyle for healthy living long term.  So, I began to do the research and began to prepare to make my case to my bride that she shouldn’t do Adkins just to lose weight, rather we would make a lifestyle change together and lose the extra weight.  To my pleasant surprise, she agreed to my plan, but she had a twist: she wanted to do Weight Watchers.  Ugh!  That’s what I grew up watching people I knew go on!  It was my kryptonite and bane of my existence.  Since I had convinced Faith that balanced eating was the best method for us long term, I listened to her make the pitch to me about joining her.  I said I would support her and cook anything that she needed to be successful, but I was NOT going to meetings.

So, I combined my philosophy with the knowledge that she gained from her meetings and we added exercise to the whole thing.  Thus, the Bryant weight war had begun.  In the beginning, it was crazy purchasing things that would help make this war successful for both of us.  Even though I was not “officially” on the program, I was by proxy due to the fact that I had to cook everything that would be compliant with her plan and still learn the lessons to make sure that she could eat what I prepared and not have any setbacks.  Over the next few weeks, I began to notice that there was a little less of me and a little less than Faith than it was before.  A few weeks later, my health insurance company introduced a “diabetes prevention program” (read: weight loss program) that supported the ideas of portion control, exercise and many of the things that I learned through Faith in her groups.  So, another program and front opened up to help us with our goal to be better and healthier people.  Yet, there was something else that would help motivate me to keep losing weight along with my bride: my grandson, Keylan.

Those who have younger children know that they can be a bundle of energy and require a bundle of energy to keep up with.  As we continued to lose weight, we recognized that our energy level was increasing daily and weekly and I noticed that I wasn’t getting worn out when playing with him.  I had always been told that a child can change how a person looks a life and Keylan helped me refocus myself on ensuring that Faith and I would be there for him in later in life as well.

As Faith continued to move forward with her path, I slowed down and didn’t stay structured as I was in the beginning.  Yet, I didn’t become a barrier to Faith and continued to support her.  She continued to lose and lose.  Even when it didn’t show on the scale, it was showing in the clothes that we both wore.  Eventually, I would “get back on the horse” and recover the desire to get to my desired goal.

So, a few weeks ago, Faith asked me to join her as she was going to stop going to the meetings but wanted a partner that would help her remain accountable.  So, with the meetings no longer in play and having supported my queen on her journey, I joined her officially to get to my ultimate goal: get back to my weight in 1990 (don’t ask, you’ll find out when I get there.)  This was the year that I was (in my opinion) at the peak of my physical conditioning and weight.  Thus the “weighing games” have begun and in a few short months, we are both going to have a very intriguing reveal.

In closing, the one thing that we both recognized during our journey is not to base our success on what others may think or feel, rather how we feel about ourselves.  We also recognized that our desire to be more fit has improved our total quality of life and has given us the confidence to do things that we may not have done before.  This includes our blog.  So, we continue to look at ourselves and say, “what can I do to make myself a better person so that I can help more people.”  Losing weight is just one step in the process of fulfilling our calling and we hope others will see that being healthier is just part of a bigger process in fulfilling your calling in life.

-T

The Tune Up

Just like a high-performance sports car, due to the high tolerances in the machining of the engine and its internal parts, it requires more frequent review and “tuning up.”  I learned that as both a husband and a partner in a strong marriage, no matter how good things are going, it can always be better.

A Weekend to Remember

Faith’s Thoughts:

Terry and I registered for an event with the LOVED marriage group at our church. LOVED stands for Living Our Vows Every Day. We planned to both go, but Terry had a work commitment at the last minute which meant that he couldn’t come with me. I almost didn’t go to the LOVED event because I didn’t want to attend a marriage night without my husband. I’m glad I went because that night we won tickets to a Weekend to Remember® event. The LOVED marriage group has long promoted the Weekend to Remember®, so I was familiar with the name. I was excited to win the tickets and very grateful that Terry also wanted to go. It’s important to me that Terry is open to learning and growing as a husband and man.

We originally scheduled our weekend to remember as an anniversary get away in Ponte Vedra, FL. We couldn’t attend during our original date, so we had to reschedule. We ended up attending the event located in Orlando, FL at the Rosen hotel. The hotel and the conference room were great. There are so many couples there at many stages in their marriage and relationship. We learned later that some couples were on the verge of divorce and that weekend would either make or break their marriage. There were engaged couples and couples who were married for 40+ years who attended every year. There was even a couple who were married for just a few hours and decided to spend their honeymoon at the Weekend to Remember®.

The schedule was packed with couples’ sessions, sessions for husbands and wives separately and homework. The homework gave us discussion prompts and we were assigned to write out a game plan for pressing issues. There was an assigned date night. Terry and I went to BB King’s House of Blues which was right across the street from the hotel.

Terry had been married for over 20 years, but not to me. I had been married before and my parents were married throughout my childhood, however I had not seen a healthy marriage up close. When I did see a glimpse of what I thought might have been a healthy marriage, I was cynical about it. That’s why it was important to me that Terry was open to learning how to be married to me. My experience as a single mom most of my life made me very independent and a bit distrusting. Those are not qualities of a submissive woman and honestly, I was okay with that. The “For Women Only” session at the Weekend to Remember® was exactly what I needed. There we learned (or relearned) some things that husbands really need from wives. At the top of the list is: R-E-S-P-E-C-T (in my Aretha Franklin voice). I thought I respected Terry as a husband, but I learned in that session that some of the ways I communicated with him were demoralizing. It certainly wasn’t overt, Terry didn’t even complain about it; but I was convicted during that session to make a commitment to change. What I’m referring to is sarcasm (my second language).  I had to repent for disrespecting Terry with my tone. Even though Terry didn’t complain about my sarcasm, I know it’s disrespectful in nature. I learned in that session that unconditional respect is for men what unconditional love is for women. It’s safety and comfort. It gives you something to look forward to and it makes the place where it’s being given your favorite place to be. I want our home to be Terry’s favorite place to be and I want to be the person Terry wants to be around.

The Weekend to Remember® was exactly what the name says it is. A wonderful, memorable weekend growing closer to your spouse and recommitting to oneness. I hope that Terry and I can attend every year.

-Faith

The Tune-up

Terry’s Thoughts (T2):

As someone who has a hidden love of mechanical devices, the one thing that I have learned over the years is that eventually, anything that runs will need eventually need a tune up.  The same thing can be said about a marriage; from time to time, it needs a tune up.  One of the first things that our marriage counselors (Kim and John Freeman) recommended was to participate in a Weekend to Remember® event shortly after our marriage or within the first 15-18 months of our marriage.  They insisted that the event would not only help strengthen our relationship, but it would also help us to see where we were and what we needed to work on moving forward.

I did some initial research into the program and was noticeably impressed on what I had read regarding the curriculum.  Yet, there was a part of me that was saying “I don’t need to do this.  I already know what type of husband I am and what type of wife Faith is.  We got this.”  I think everyone goes through a period of confidence (or over-confidence depending on your point of view) after getting married.  I was very confident that we had what it took to have a lasting marriage and we were still in the honeymoon phase.  All was good…or so I thought.

The moment we finally decided to go was after we won free admission to an event.  We had talked about it off and on over the past year.  We were originally scheduled to go in April of that year, but due to a last-minute change in the arrangements that we had made for Momma Liz, we had to reschedule for the event in June.  It worked out that the delay occurred in the same month that my mother passed, and we had plenty of challenges that we needed to face in the following months.  These challenges placed strains on our relationship that we did not expect to have to face for years to come.

When it came time to get ready for the event in June of that year, I was ready to get away from it all with my bride and to see what we needed to work on to improve our relationship/marriage.   The event was scheduled for Father’s Day weekend and was located in Orlando.  I felt that our marriage needed the additional attention that the event billed itself to be able to provide.  One of the things that I thought about the reason for going into the event was that we needed a tune up.   Not because we had been married for a long time and began to lose sight of each other, rather because we had been through an extremely stressful period in our lives and wanted to make sure that our “love engine” was still in perfect working order.

Just like a high-performance sports car, due to the high tolerances in the machining of the engine and its internal parts, it requires more frequent review and “tuning up.”  I learned that as both a husband and a partner in a strong marriage, no matter how good things are going, it can always be better.  Boy, was I ever correct in my evaluation of our situation!

We headed to our hotel room, checked in and prepared to go to the event.  The event was located at a conference center in a hotel on International Drive (I-Drive) and was the perfect location to be able to walk or a short drive to anything that we could imagine we could need (or want) to go.  Upon entering the conference center, we recognized that there were couples of various levels marriage.  From newlyweds (there was a couple that had gotten marriage a few hours before the event began) to couples that had been married 40+ years and had been coming to the event for a very long period of time.  There were couples whose marriages were in a state of despair/disrepair and this was their last chance to restore their relationship, to marriages that had been humming along since the beginning.  I knew that we were about to go back to school on how to have a great marriage.

As we went through the various sessions and exercises, I realized that although we had a good marriage, there were things that we could work on to go from good to better to excellent.  I was very surprised that over the course of the entire weekend, that we would learn things not only about each other, but ourselves.  We not only learned that there was so much more to being a great spouse but recognized that our faith in God was paramount to ensuring that our marriage would continue to be the best that He wanted it to be.  By the time Father’s Day arrived that Sunday, we became true believers in the benefits of the conference and made it our mission to help other couples experience the same joy and excitement that we experienced.  So much so, that we created our own group to help couples save on the cost of the conference.

In the end, I realized that no matter how much I had learned and experienced in my first marriage, I would need to refine my skills, faith and belief in God to help continue to elevate our marriage to the place that He wants it to be.  To this day, I continue to tell people how it impacted our marriage and relationship in such a positive manner.  For those who are interested in experiencing the Weekend to Remember®, please go to https://www.familylife.com/weekend-to-remember/ and search for the event closest to you.  If you use the registration code: 2ndTimeAround, you can save $100 on the registration fee.  Believe me, it is worth the time and money to help take your marriage to the next level.  I promise, you will not be disappointed and you will find your marriage taken to a new level.  If you take your vehicle to get a tune up regularly to keep it running smoothly, don’t you think your marriage is worth going to a Weekend to Remember® to keep it running smoothly as well?

-T

The Wedding of Team M-Squared

I didn’t want to get up there and be incoherent, but that’s exactly what happened.  I started the prayer with “Thank You! Thank you, God, for this day, for this opportunity to come before you….”  I tried to say other things, but my eyes welled up with tears, my voice began to shake and my heart took over.

M-Squared Wedding

Faith’s Thoughts:

Last year was eventful. I started a new job, Terry and I celebrated 1 year of marriage, I returned to school full time, Terry unexpectedly lost his mother and my first-born son got married. Those are just some the events that happened from January-July.  I had a hard time remembering what year it was because everything was happening so fast.  I kind of lost track of time. I remember some of the moments of 2018, but the year seems like a blur.  With all the events from 2018 that occurred, one of the happiest moments was Davion’s wedding!  In the past, I prayed for that day. I had prayed for Davion’s wife and from the day that I knew I was carrying life, I prayed for Davion. I won’t go into detail in this post about how wonderful of a son Davion is.

He was a sophomore in college when I began to fervently pray about Davion’s love life and the woman who would be his wife.  My single moms small group at church had just finished studying “Fervent”, a book on prayer by Priscilla Shirer.  Whenever I asked Davion why he wasn’t dating, he said that girls didn’t like him because he was “too nice.” So, this mama started fervently praying for Davion’s love life.  One of my mentors taught me years ago to pray that my son would find a woman who would be “bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh” which is a reference to Genesis 2:23-24. I also prayed for a woman who would honor Davion and appreciate who he is.

The church’s single moms small group decided to host a prayer breakfast as culmination on our study about prayer strategies.  We planned it for the weekend of Mother’s Day 2016 and invited other single moms to attend.  It was a beautiful event.  We had a professional photographer donate family photos to the moms, prepared a delicious brunch for the moms and had wonderful gifts for everyone.  It was beautiful!  I told my kids the only thing I wanted for Mother’s Day that year was for them to help me with the event.  Davion came down from Jacksonville that weekend to help with childcare.  He first laid eyes on the woman would eventually be his wife as she was dropping her son off for childcare so that she could attend the single mom’s prayer breakfast.  She was a beautiful young woman and a great mom with a (very) charming little boy, Keylan.  Davion and Keylan bonded in the nursery during the prayer breakfast while I prayed for a wife for Davion and Keylan’s mom prayed for a husband.  He learned her name as she was picking Keylan up from childcare: Faith. Her name was Faith! Davion was smitten and intrigued.

It was very enlightening to watch Davion fall in love with Faith.  Honestly, watching Davion pursue Faith taught me a great deal about relationships.  Through observing him, I learned that when a man wants a woman, she doesn’t have to wonder about his interest. I watched Davion plan out dates and work out babysitting arrangements.  I babysat Keylan for their first date.  I was very happy that he and Faith were dating: 1) because I had prayed for a woman just like Faith; 2) Faith lived in Daytona and went to the same church as me and 3) Davion came home more often and went to church 😊. I continued to watch him grow in love for her and Keylan.  I met Faith’s mother, Iana at Faith’s graduation from cosmetology school. We exchanged numbers that night without our kids knowing and began to pray weekly for Davion and Faith’s relationship. Seven months later, Davion proposed to Faith.

Terry was very supportive throughout everything.  The couple decided on a dessert reception. I volunteered Terry and I to provide a candy bar for the reception (I’m still learning to not offer us to do things without talking to Terry first).  I started obsessing about the candy. Terry helped me to figure out my vision and ordered the items.  He was there to help set up the church and there to help tear it all down. He even ironed handkerchiefs for Iana and I in anticipation of our tears.

Davion and Faith became husband and wife on July 14, 2018. The ceremony was beautiful. I remember sitting in the rehearsal thinking, “I don’t think I’m going to make it through the ceremony without crying.”  A part of Davion’s vows were to Keylan as he promised to be his dad and honor his vows to Faith.  Davion and Faith asked me, Iana, and their premarital counselor Dina to pray over them during apart of their ceremony.  I rehearsed some things that I wanted to pray over them.  Some of the things that Iana and I had prayed over them weekly as we continued to pray after the kids were engaged, I wanted to repeat in my prayer over them in public.  I didn’t want to get up there and be incoherent, but that’s exactly what happened.  I started the prayer with “Thank You! Thank you, God, for this day, for this opportunity to come before you….”  I tried to say other things, but my eyes welled up with tears, my voice began to shake and my heart took over.  All I could say was “Thank You.  Thank you, God for allowing me to see this day.  To see my prayers over my son being manifested in his life.  Thank you for choosing me to be his mom and strengthening me to raise him.  Thank You, God for the people You placed in my life to help me raise him.  Thank you for this wonderful woman Davion was marrying and this precious little boy he loved.” All I could say was thank you.  July 14, 2018, my first born became a husband and a father. Terry and I became grandparents and “in-loves”. After that I kinda lost track of time.

Faith

 

The Big Day – Team M2

Terry’s Thoughts (T2):

The period after my mother passed was a mixture of thanksgiving, fatigue and sadness as I had to take care of my mother’s affair.  Yet, there was something that was coming that forced me to change my mindset and my attitude: the wedding of Davion and Faith.  One of the best things about being in a blended family (at least for me) is the fact that some things that people have to wait decades to experience happens in a matter of weeks or months for me.  In less than 3 months, I was going to have a daughter-in-law and a grandson.

Davion and Faith had been dating prior to me marrying Faith.  They both played an integral part in our wedding ceremony and they caught the garter and bouquet (yes, it was a setup, I admit it).  These two seemed destined to be together, yet it was a surprise that a few months after Faith and I got married that they announced that they were getting married in 2018. In my time around these two, I recognized that they not only loved each other and appreciated each other’s company, but knew that despite the differences in their backgrounds, they were going to allow God to be the head of their lives.

As the months to the wedding came closer and closer to occurring, I had to focus on one person: my wife, Faith.  Davion is her first born and her first son.  As the first born and first son of my parents, I understand the expectations from some people, but especially my mother.  The great thing about Faith and FM2 (this is the nickname that I have for Davion’s bride to differentiate the two when they are in the same room) is that they had and have a great relationship.  Yet, this was her first-born and there was something that Faith needed to do to ensure that this marriage would last: Pray.  Faith is and always has been a prayer warrior and she enlisted FM2 mom, Iana, as an ally early on in their children’s relationship.  These two would send up “timber” weekly concerning their children and their relationship.  From the time that they got serious in their dating, through the announcement of their engagement to the impending wedding, these two prayer warriors set faith in motion to ensure that their children would start and continue down the correct path.

As the wedding date got closer and closer, Faith became more and more “Momma Bear” and I needed to make sure that “Momma Bear” didn’t rip anyone’s head off if they tried to upset the wedding.  Although there were no major problems that could not be taken care of, I made it my mission to make sure that both momma bears did not rip anyone’s head off their body for making any move that threatened the success of the union.  I knew that I would need to run interference for Davion, FM2 and both moms, so I took half the week off from work so that I could be available.  Looking back, I laugh at the things that were said between the two when things would try to come up and my response would always be the same “what do I need to do to make it better.”

The day of the wedding, I was running around playing chauffeur, gopher, designer, roadie, point-man and whatever I needed to be to keep people from being incinerated by laser beam eyes due to people not doing what was asked of them.  For me, it was a labor of love that these two were putting their trust and faith in God that they have heard from Him on who would be the person that they would share the rest of their lives with.  Having spent half of my life in marital bliss, I understood the importance of knowing that the person that God placed in your life would be there for you for better or worse can have on your heart, mind and spirit.  I wanted to do what I could do in the natural what the two mothers have done in the spirit realm through their prayer: help get these two complete their journey to becoming one.

During the ceremony, they had several things that were unlike anything that I had ever seen before.  They requested that certain people (especially the two mothers) pray for them, their marriage and have certain people come and lay hands on them during the prayer.  As always, the protector in me came out and I placed myself strategically near Davion and laid hands on him and prayed within myself that he would have the strength to be the husband and father that God has called him to be. While I was praying this on the inside, Faith was praying for them like she had never prayed before.  The love for her first born and his bride and the success of marriage came out in a prayer unlike I have ever heard before.  Of all the timber that had been sent up before the wedding could not match the amount of timber that was sent up a that moment.  If a foundation for their successful marriage was laid that day, that prayer was a significant portion of it.

When the vows had been exchanged and the pronouncement of their union made, I was HAPPY!  Happy for the new couple, happy for the mothers, happy for the families and happy that no one had to be taken out because they acted stupid (you know there’s always one).  My thoughts turned to the events that I just witnessed and experienced and memories of my own wedding a little over 15 months earlier.  I was happy that I was able to play a part in ensuring that the couple had a great start to the rest of their lives together and could be a witness of their union before God and man.  Most of all, I was happy because I went from being Mr. Terry to G-Pop to my newly minted grandson!

-T

 

The Wedding Planner, Part 3: The Wedding Day

Before Davion and I began our walk, I looked at him and said, “I’m really getting married, huh?” When I made eye contact with Terry, I smiled. I thought about all the planning we had put into the wedding and there we were: me behind a veil and him in a tux with a pastor there only a few minutes away from saying “I do.”

The Wedding Day

Faith’s Thoughts:

I always wanted my wedding day to be full of family, food, and dancing. I didn’t want to be stressed over every detail. My wedding day was everything that I always wanted!  The night before my best friend -Alisha, my daughter and I had a girls’ movie night in a hotel room we had rented for the weekend. We did facials and watched chick flicks. I woke up and needed to pinch myself, I was getting married today! From the first thought of the day until we left the reception, it was like I was walking on air. Alisha was my wedding coordinator/maid of honor and she had done such a great job of attending to the details. There was a little bit of a hiccup as I had gotten my hair done the day before and as careful as I tried to sleep Friday night, my hair needed a little touching up Saturday. My hairstylist was gracious enough to let me come back Saturday morning so she could fix what my sound sleeping had messed up. She got me in and out and I got to the museum timely. I wanted my sister Hope to do my makeup, but there was an issue which caused her not to be able to make if to Florida. So, she contacted another makeup artist who came and did an outstanding job on my makeup. After makeup, I put on my dress and I felt so regal! My seamstress Comfort did an AMAZING job on my dress. It was her idea to add the veil and I was so glad she thought of it because the veil made me feel bridal. Once I was dressed, Alisha had a surprise for me. My mom and my sisters presented me with something old, new, borrowed, and blue. Davion presented me with a memento which he kept from his childhood which made him think of me. It was all so beautiful and I was trying not to cry and mess up my newly “beat face”.

Before I knew it, it was time to start the wedding. Initially I did not want to walk down the stairs at the museum. I was scared I would trip and fall, but I changed my mind. I told Davion, “Your main job in giving me away is to make sure I don’t fall down those steps.” He did good. I had chosen the song “Suddenly” by Billy Ocean as the song I’d walk to because it seemed to describe my feelings perfectly. I truly did think ‘love was just a fairytale’ and after getting to know Terry, life and love have a new meaning to me. Before Davion and I began our walk, I looked at him and said, “I’m really getting married, huh?” When I made eye contact with Terry, I smiled. I thought about all the planning we had put into the wedding and there we were: me behind a veil and him in a tux with a pastor there only a few minutes away from saying “I do.”

The ceremony was beautiful. It went so fast! Nick sang “For You” by Kenny Latimore. I was so proud of him. Princess was as beautiful as ever and Davion was such a great source of strength for me. Terry and I took communion together which I didn’t expect to be as emotional as it was for me. We played “Now behold the Lamb” by Kirk Franklin and the Family.  I’ve always loved that song!  Hearing it as Terry and I took communion at our wedding caused the tears to flow. One line in the lyrics says, “Why you love me so, I’ll never know.”  That’s what broke me.  The love I have always felt from God, the love and support I felt from my children and the love that Terry had displayed made me feel like I was so unworthy of it all, but very thankful just the same.

Terry and I wrote our own vows.  I had hoped to remember mine, but I was too nervous to trust my memory, so I read them.  I put together some of the things I had learned in pre-marital counseling and other things our pastor had been preaching on concerning marriage. Terry’s vows to me were beautiful.  He was so calm delivering his vows.  He was ready to deliver those vows to me the day he proposed.  He included in his vows his “vow” to convert all my family to Steelers Nation and after the season the Dolphins had, my dad might be the first to convert.  After the vows, we said, “I do” and kissed.  It was probably the first time my kids had seen me kiss anyone. As the ceremony closed and Terry and I were presented as Mr. and Mrs. Bryant, the song playing was “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.

The whole thing was so much fun!  I’d do it every year if it wasn’t so expensive.  The ceremony and the reception were so beautiful!   A few times, I wanted to cancel the wedding because I thought no one would want to come. I didn’t want to offend anyone or hurt anyone by having a wedding ceremony.  I am extremely thankful for everyone who came, who wanted to come, who prayed for us and continue to pray for us. Our day was so special and so memorable because I got to spend it with loved ones.

-Faith

The Wedding Planner, Part 3: The Wedding Day

Terry’s Thoughts (T2):

The day had finally arrived.  All the planning, “spirited discussions” and everything else that would lead up to the moment where Faith and I would be husband and wife were about to come to fruition.  I had booked a room for her and her bridal party 2 days before the wedding and was secure in the knowledge that if no one showed up, we could still get married as there only needed to be 3 signatures: the officiant, Faith’s and mine.  Everyone and everything else was secondary.  I even went as to have back up officiants on duty in the event something occurred at the last minute.  This wedding was going to take place – no matter what!

As I made my final preparations to leave for the museum, I was checking things off in my head one line at a time.  Once I got the natural things checked off, I went back through my spiritual list of things to check off.  One thing that I always told people is that it’s never too late to back out of a marriage BEFORE you say, ‘I Do’, but once you say it, it’s time to go through it until the end of your days.  That can be easier said than done for some people.  I checked myself one last time before making this lifetime commitment.  I knew this was the woman that God had for me.  I knew I wanted to be with this woman for the rest of my life.  I knew I found my “good thing” as stated in Proverbs 18:22. What I wanted to make sure was that I fully examined myself and was certain that I was not doing anything that would be detrimental to Faith if we were to become husband and wife.

What I found when I checked myself was that not only was I 1000% certain that God had led me to the right one, but we completed each other in areas that we did not know or realize that we needed completing in.  For so long we both had trials and tests that challenged our faith in God from time to time.  These tests helped us become the people that we are today.  We never knew why we went through some of the things that we went through (some were self-inflicted), but in the end, we were being fashioned by the Master Potter to be displayed for all to see.  Our wedding day would be the display case for His marvelous work in our lives.

Once we got to the museum and were preparing for the wedding, I made final checks within myself and with the day of wedding coordinators. No matter what, this wedding was going to go off on time and on schedule.  Once the music started, it was game time.  All joking was put aside and time for me to take my bride and make her my wife and partner for life.  I had already told her father that he wasn’t getting her back (and I still tell him that to this day), but today was the day that all my words would line up with my actions and I would pledge my love and devotion to Faith in front of God, family and friends.

Once the ceremony started and everything started working like a Swiss-made watch, I could see the pressure lift off from Faith’s face as she realized that this wasn’t a dream and she wouldn’t wake up back in her apartment alone.  Her face radiated all the love, passion and trust that she demonstrated all during our courtship and now it was coming to fruition that we were actually going through with what we planned.  As the Rude Boys said, “It’s written all over your face, you don’t have to say a word.”

When it was all over, we were now Mr. and Mrs. A. Terry Bryant.  After pictures and the reception, I looked forward to one thing: getting out of that rented tuxedo and getting some sleep.  Unbeknownst to Faith, I spent the last several days praying late at night about our new blended family and our future together.  I was tired from all the planning, phone calls, emails, moving and everything that needed to take place to make the transition from one household to another as stress free as possible for Faith.  The one thing that we had established was a relationship based on prayer.  We prayed together, and I wanted to ensure that the foundation to our marriage would continue to have prayer as a major component.

I can truly say looking back on that day that I would only change one thing: less cake.  I am thankful that God has blessed me with a beautiful wife, helpmate, friend, queen and prayer partner.  This first year has been great, but I look forward to the next 40+ years with this wonderful woman that I love and call my wife, Mrs. Faith Y. Bryant.

-Terry

The Wedding Planner, Part 2: The Transition

This was love. This was help, provision and protection.  This was something I never had. This was what it was to have a great husband.  I was ready.

The Move

Faith’s Thoughts:

No one hates moving more than me. In one of my moves, I gave away all my furniture rather than deal with the chore of moving it. Getting married to Terry meant moving in together-which meant MOVING. Thankfully, all the kids had moved out. Nicholas still had a bedroom in the apartment, but he was away at school and it was unoccupied. Terry had a house full of things and a storage unit full of more things. I had an apartment full of things. We were good on things. Moving in together mean downsizing. The process took about a month and a half. While we were planning our wedding, we were also working on the chore of merging households.

There were some improvement projects (read repairs) that needed to be done before I moved out. Both Terry and I are readers who have an attachment to physical books, so we had to merge libraries. Then, there was the “small” chore of consolidating closets. We moved in increments. After work, I would come home, load up things to take to Terry’s house and we would find a place for it. Sometimes, Terry would stop by my apartment to take things to his house. I gave away most of my furniture weeks before we got married. Terry and Davion did the heavy lifting and I had to pack.

The emptier the apartment became, the lonelier it seemed. I remember at one point coming home to an almost empty apartment thinking, “If this dude backs out of this after I’ve given away all my furniture, I’m going to hurt him.” That was one of those “irrational fears” which were running rampant during that time. I had developed a strategy to deal with them. I began to rationalize them intelligently. Terry was investing just as much time in this move as I was. He spent Saturday’s painting walls and fixing cabinets in my apartment and helping me deliver the furniture that I donated. He was just as heavily invested in this as I was. I realized I didn’t have to hurt him.

Moving meant changing my address and having my mail forwarded.  Every step was more than a check off my to-do list.  It was a realization that I was about to get married.  It wasn’t just my address which was changing, my life was changing. It wasn’t just my mail being forwarded, I was moving forward. I had peace, but I was scared. I was scared, yet I was moving forward.

Terry demonstrated many great qualities to me during our moving process. He showed me how he was a hard worker. While I was having my bridal shower, he was being a handy man and fixing things at the apartment. He didn’t complain once, although he did make a few comments about the number of clothes that I was bringing to invade his closet space.  He showed me that he could handle stress. We were merging households, planning a wedding, dealing with drama and he was in the process of being promoted at work. He had all that going on, but he still made me a priority. He was sending me flowers and being attentive to my needs. This was love. This was help, provision and protection.  This was something I never had. This was what it was to have a great husband.  I was ready.

-Faith

The Wedding Planner, Part 2: The Transition

Terry’s Thoughts (T2):

As we were planning the wedding there was one thing that we also had to plan for: transitioning from 2 separate households to one house.  She was moving from her apartment to what would soon become our home in Palm Coast.  For months, I had been urging her to slowly review what did and did not need to come (as everyone should do when moving) and let me start bringing non-essential items from her apartment to the house.  This was easier said than done.  Having helped many people move (and having moved several times myself) the one thing that I recognized is that when moving, one must declutter before moving to prevent the unnecessary going up and down 2 flights of stairs.  Stairs are NOT a mover’s best friend, especially one who is in their mid-40’s.

So, over the month of February and the first part of March, we talked about what things needed to make the trip and those that needed to either be donated or sent to the great big dumpster in the yard.  Now, this didn’t mean that I had nothing to do on my end.  I had to prepare to make room for Faith in my closet (who has not had to share her closet for years)!  This is a woman whose walk-in closet was larger enough for a person to have a twin bed and still be able to get in and out of.  Oy vey!  One of the first things that I recognized was that everything that she had in the closet was NOT going to make it, so the winnowing process would begin for both of us.

I never had a lot of closet space in the first place, but this was a whole new experience.  The reason for so much clothing in the closet was because Faith didn’t have a dresser in her bedroom and hung just about everything up or had a hanging organizer for the things that couldn’t be hung.  (It pays to be watchful and recognize what can be condensed and what could be relocated to another area.)  As we went through the closet, I noticed she had her books and other material in her closet, which made it easy and convenient for her to get to when needed.  I had several book cases that had space, so my library was about to change to our library and approximately double in size and variety.  The more that we looked over the closet, the more confidence that I had that I wouldn’t have to purchase several chifforobes (if you don’t know what a chifforobe is, look it up) to place all MY clothes in and give up the closet.

As we got closer and closer to the time when she had to be completely moved out, the anxiety level started to increase for the two of us.  For me, it was making sure that everything was moved out in time before the end of the month as we would be on our honeymoon and did not want to pay for any additional days that she wasn’t in the apartment.  For Faith, it was the realization that she was actually going to get married in a few short days and that her life would change forever.  It was a time of great excitement and tension as I looked forward to having Faith and the rest of the family become part of my clan.

As a planner, I plan how things should go and have an idea of how they should be accomplished.  The one thing that I could not plan is how Faith would react to leaving the place that she called home for several years to move over 30 miles further north to a place that she only frequented from time to time that we would call home.  I was not the one who was taking a “leap of faith”, rather it was Faith who was taking the leap.  She was trusting God that she was making the correct decision and trusting me that I would not betray the trust that I had earned.  She was jumping in with both feet into a new world and I had to make sure that she did not regret the decision that she was making.

Once we got everything moved, except what she needed for the final week and for our honeymoon, there was a sense of “ok, it’s almost time.”  We were less than a week away from becoming husband and wife and it felt like the calm before the storm.  Most people have heard stories of wedding plans going haywire at the last minute, but that was not going to be the case for me and my bride.  All the major components had been completed and the move had been completed.  I would not allow Faith to get stressed out about small foxes; it’s my job to deal with them and make sure they would not have an impact on our “happily ever after.”  The only thing left to do was to get everyone together and get this marriage started…we just had to wait a few…more…days.

-Terry

The Wedding Planner, Part 1: Culture

‘Where has this place been hiding and why didn’t anyone tell me about this place before?’ I asked myself. Each location had more and more to offer. Some too much, while others not enough. I knew what I wanted in my head and in my heart but didn’t know if they could offer it. Were we in for a HUGE surprise.

The Wedding Planner, Part 1: Culture

Terry’s Thoughts (T2):

When we started planning the wedding, my thought was to allow Faith to have control on what she wanted for a wedding and for me to come along and say “Yup, works for me.”  Well, that’s not how it worked out.  Faith is a ‘big picture’ person and knows what it should look like in the end, whereas I am both ‘big picture’ and ‘small details’ type of person.  I know what it should look like in the end, but I also recognize that if all the steps are not done, the big picture will be very, very fuzzy and out of focus.

When we started, Faith had multiple ideas on where she wanted to have the ceremony.  She comes from a large family and wanted to have the majority of them attend, but there is this thing called a budget that prevented us from renting out Daytona International Speedway or the Amway Center in Orlando to hold everyone.  This caused her to have to face the fact that everyone she wanted to invite would not be able to be invited.  My family is not as large and scattered, but there were people that I wanted to invite as well, thus cutting into the number of family and friends that she wanted to invite.  As this was her first wedding (and last), I recognized that she didn’t really understand that everyone wasn’t going to be able to be invited and everyone was not going to attend.  This was going to be hard emotionally on her and I knew I needed to be there to make sure she didn’t get discouraged.

With that, we agreed that I should take the lead in the planning of the wedding.  I didn’t want her to look like the “bad guy” for not inviting everyone under the sun, but at the same time, we had agreed we would not go into debt to pay for a wedding that would only last a few hours and have to pay for it over the next 3-5 years.  We had more important goals in mind: a house and being debt free so that we could pursue the goal of writing and speaking full time.  So, we began the process of selecting a site that would be both elegant yet have the potential to have a large quantity of guest.  Our first thought was the church that we attended and using the chapel.  It was large enough to hold the number of guest that we agreed upon inviting, but also close to where we wanted to have the wedding to accommodate everyone who were going to travel to attend the festivities.  One of the things that we kept talking about was the fact that we wanted to keep the cost of decorating down to a minimum.  I am a minimalist and enjoy simple yet elegant things.  As we started “considering the costs” of decorating the space, it became more and more apparent that it was going to cost more that we budgeted to get the look that we were hoping for.  To this end, we began to open our search to other places.

It was during this time when Faith spoke with someone who told her about attending a wedding at a museum.  Hmmm…a museum you say?  Which one?  My mind began to race.  As a self-professed history and science “geek/nerd”, I thought a museum would be the perfect blend of elegance and affordability.  We could look like a million-dollar wedding, but not have to pay a million dollars.  As we got more and more information about the site, we became more and more intrigued about the idea of getting married at the museum.  It had a planetarium and several other potential places to have the ceremony.  So many options, so little time.  So, we decided to call and make an appointment to check it out.  Boy, were we in for a surprise when we arrived.  We met the person that helped arrange events at the museum and she gave us the grand tour of the museum.  ‘Where has this place been hiding and why didn’t anyone tell me about this place before?’ I asked myself.  Each location had more and more to offer.  Some too much, while others not enough.  I knew what I wanted in my head and in my heart but didn’t know if they could offer it.  Were we in for a HUGE surprise.

Just like any salesperson, the best was saved for last.  We were taken to the newest building and it knocked me off my feet when we entered the front door.  The space was grand, yet simply elegant.  As we toured the gallery, my head was spinning with all the things that I knew I wanted to see for our wedding but didn’t know if it was available.  Boy, was it available!  From the gilded frames to the skylights to the beautiful artwork, the museum WAS the decorations.  No need to add anything else (in my opinion.)  As we continue to walk around, I could see certain things in certain places.  This was the place!  I didn’t need to see anymore, I just needed to know how much it was going to cost.  Then reality hit…the cost. (Cue the music…) It was the ENTIRE AMOUNT that we budgeted for the facility and decorations.  Well, there goes the hope of cutting down on the cost.  We took the package back with us and told our host that we would contact her on Monday of our decision.  Time was of the essence.  We needed to make a decision and make it soon.

As we talked on the way to lunch, we were both excited about the prospect of being married in such a beautiful setting.  The setup, staffing and tables were included in the pricing and we had access to the entire gallery building after the wedding!  For someone who appreciates both art and education, this was a win-win-win!  As we debated, I explained that with everything that was included in the price, the only thing we need to bring was the food and the music!  They would even allow us to bring in our own caterer (as long as they were licensed and insured.)  Cha-ching!  We both knew that this was the place that we were going to commit ourselves to one another, but I have a hard and fast rule: no major decisions without prayer and waiting at least 24 hours.  So, we prayed about it and didn’t talk about it until the next day (Sunday.)

When we saw each other at church, I knew what the decision was going to be, and I could see it in her eyes as well.  After service, we both agreed that the museum would be our best option and would save our sanity because so many things would be included in the price that we would have either had to coordinate or pay someone to do.  All I could say was that our peace of mind was worth the money.  Sometimes, paying a few dollars more for extra peace of mind is a worthy investment.  With that, the first major piece of the puzzle was in place and now onto other things such as catering, linens, music and centerpieces.  But that is for another time…

-Terry

P.S. For those who would like more information about the museum and all the wonderful exhibits that they have available, please visit www.moas.org .  I am 100% certain that they would enjoy a visit from you and your family.

 

When Terry Asked Me to Marry Him

Faith’s Thoughts:

When Terry asked me to marry him (after I said yes) my immediate thought was I wanted a wedding ceremony. I wanted a pretty dress.  I wanted my friends and family there to share my joy. I wanted my kids to be a part of my ceremony. I wanted something simple, but I also wanted it to be memorable.  The first few folks that I told that I was engaged were Davion, Nicholas Jr., and Faith De’Yanah (Princess)-my wonderful children. Davion immediately said he wanted to walk me down the aisle and give me away.  I knew I wanted Nicholas to sing and he gladly agreed.  I wanted Princess to be a bridesmaid, but she wanted to be a flower girl, so I had a 16-year-old flower girl. My kids were genuinely so happy for me, which really blessed me. They could tell how happy I was which in turn made them comfortable.

Terry and I had already talked so much about marriage and neither of us wanted a long engagement. I had spent years thinking I’d never heal from divorce, years fearing that no one would love me, more years thinking I’d never be able to trust and years thinking it would be hard to find a man who treated me as well as God treated me. After 17 years of “thinking”, I wasn’t about to spend more time than necessary planning a wedding day. Terry proposed in December, we were married in March.

I wanted a simple (small) wedding with a pretty dress, but there was a large problem with my small wedding plans. My large family, my large church family and my large group of friends and supporters (my village). Trying to figure out who I could invite from my village was torturous. Then Terry had the nerve to want to invite people too. Thankfully, he’s an only child. I don’t think our invite list was ever 50/50. I think we started at about 70/30. Terry knew that was stressing me out; he was so gracious.

Initially, I was very adamant about wanting to get married in a church. I didn’t want it in a large sanctuary though. That felt too detached. We explored some options at churches, but I wasn’t in-love with any.  While trying to find venues for my wedding in Florida, my daughter and I were also planning her sweet 16 in Georgia. Terry and I traveled to Georgia to check out some venues for Princess’s party. While in Georgia, I started up a conversation with a stranger (as I often do). She was visiting Georgia for a friend’s wedding where she was a bridesmaid. I inquired where the wedding was being held so as to check out the venue for my daughter’s party. She told me that the wedding was taking place in a museum. I didn’t know that museums hosted private events. Well, turns out that 16-year-old girls aren’t so interested in having a party in a museum, but I found it quite intriguing for a wedding. When I returned to Florida, I reached out to the Museum of Arts and Science to inquire about their wedding packages. To my surprise, the rates were not as pricy as I had thought. I shared my information with Terry who was immediately fascinated as well. We both love history and art so we planned to go view the museum.

The wedding coordinator at The Museum of Arts and Sciences at Daytona Beach was very professional and thorough. She also had very high ratings and high praise from previous brides. From our first conversation, I knew I was dealing with someone who knew what she was doing and operated in excellence. The museum offered many options for the ceremony. First, we viewed the planetarium. I liked the idea of the planetarium. It was different and would definitely be memorable. The planetarium engineer showed us the lighting variations and the options for the starry night we wanted on display. Terry asked him to show us the night of our first date. Although it was special sitting under those starts with such a loving and thoughtful man, I realized how impractical it would be to get married under the stars. To really appreciate the planetarium, the lights had to be low. I feared tripping and I was worried about our how our photos would show up in such dim light. Next, we viewed a few other galleries in the museum. The galleries were well lit, open and beautiful. I could see myself getting married there, but there was more still to show.

The final stop on the tour was the newest addition to the museum: The Cici & Hyatt Brown Museum of Art. When I walked in, my heart was filled! I had found my venue. The building was stunning! Natural light poured into the gallery from every angle. It felt open, it felt simple and it was certainly memorable. The second half of the building was a 2-story gallery with an open stair case which made a lovely wedding backdrop. That was my venue!  I was in love! I could tell Terry liked it too, but we had some things to discuss before we could sign the contract. We would have to revise our guest list.  At that point, we were about 80/20 with 80% of the guest being mine. So, deciding on the museum meant making more tortuous cuts to my portion of the guest list.

– Faith

No Valentine’s Day? Yep, No Valentine’s Day

Anyone can get flowers, cards or candy for a few days when everyone is expecting it. But, if you get the flowers, cards, candy or make a meal that she loves without asking, it means exponentially more because it comes from the heart rather than from the world.

Valentine’s Day

Faith’s Thoughts:

Terry has been extremely romantic from the beginning of our relationship. I explained in a previous post that I had never been loved on in that way. I didn’t think I liked it. Before being a recipient, I thought flowers were a waste a money since they die. After a few bouquets, however, I loved them! I loved to have a bouquet at my desk at work which reminded me every time I saw them I was loved. When people would comment about them, it made me think of Terry who went out of his way to make me feel special. Once it got close to Valentine’s day, Terry explained to me that he doesn’t “celebrate” Valentines because he expresses his love every day. I wasn’t too disappointed though because I hadn’t celebrated that holiday since I was a kid in elementary school passing out valentines to my classmates. I didn’t hate it though like many single people. Valentine’s Day didn’t remind me more than any other day that I was single. Every morning that I woke up, got the kids up and ready for school (by myself), came home to cook dinner, help with homework, and do all the other tasks which were required of me. I was reminded of my singleness. Surely at the beginning of the month when it was up to me to pay all the bills, I was rudely reminded that I was (very) single. Sadly, I didn’t have an expectation of romance in a relationship. I hoped for partnership and the lack of partnership was the greatest reminder of my singleness, not the lack of romance. So, having Terry demonstrate partnership and romance was more than I could ever ask or think.

Terry isn’t a pessimistic person, but regarding Valentine’s Day, I’d describe his attitude as cynical. Terry explained that he didn’t participate in Valentine’s Day because he doesn’t need a date on a calendar to show love since he shows it all year. He also doesn’t appreciate how things are so overpriced for Valentine’s Day and restaurants are crowded. Some people would say “Would you rather celebrate love one day of the year or every other day?” I think that’s a copout. I don’t understand why the choice has a be so drastic. Some men (especially my husband) LOVE the game of football. He’s a fan from the NFL draft to training camp, preseason football, regular season games, the playoffs, and then there’s the Super Bowl. We don’t have to choose between the regular season and the Super Bowl. We watch them both and during the Super Bowl, we celebrate! We go all out like we haven’t been watching for months. Personally, I think those who are romantic should be looking forward to Valentine’s Day all year. Not because it’s the only day to celebrate, but because they get to really go all out.

I’m new to romance and relationships. I like it more than I thought I would. I look forward to Terry’s sweet gestures, so I don’t want any day to be off limits. Ultimately though, my “love tank” is full. He keeps it full, but I’m not opposed to having the tank topped off. If I must choose between being showered with love 1 day or 364 days, certainly, I’d choose 364 days. But, just as there shouldn’t be a day to dictate when we celebrate love, there shouldn’t be a day when we withhold it either. I don’t need a card, not even flowers, Lord knows I have no desire to wait in line a fancy restraint, but I think Valentine’s Day could be made special without giving into the commercialization of it all.

– Faith

No Valentine’s Day? Yep, No Valentine’s Day

Terry’s Thoughts (T2):

I remember the first time that I told Faith that I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. The look on her face was a combination of shock, disbelief and wonder. She said “Okay…”, but the tone in her voice was like “What do you mean ‘You don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day?’” All the things that I had done for her in the months leading up to Valentine’s Day had her overwhelmed with tokens of love and lots and lots of flowers. Of all the days to give flowers, why not give them on Valentine’s Day? The explanation was simple and yet profound: why wait until two or three days (four if you are married) a year to show someone how much you love them?

One of the things that I learned early on in life was that time is short and fleeting and no one knows when it is time to meet the Master. The event that made me take this stand was the death of my father. He was scheduled to come home from the hospital on a Sunday and had a massive heart attack on the Friday before his discharge date. I was so looking forward to spending time with him again as unlike now where children have more liberty to visit their parents in the hospital, at that time, it was very restrictive in both times of day and the amount of time that could be spent. There were so many things that I wanted to say to him and ask him about when he got home, and I never got the opportunity to say them. I never got the opportunity to tell him that I missed him and loved him. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he was gone. I vowed I would never have that feeling of not letting someone I loved to know how much I loved them and would not wait until a few days of the year to express it.

To this end, I explained to Faith that I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. I celebrate my love for her each and every day. Why wait when I can show her that I care for her, I adore her and I love her for who she is? Anyone can get flowers, cards or candy for a few days when everyone is expecting it. But, if you get the flowers, cards, candy or make a meal that she loves without asking, it means exponentially more because it comes from the heart rather than from the world. To have the love of your life look with amazement and adoration (as well as her co-workers) when something shows up when she least expects it is priceless. I enjoy letting people know that I love my wife, but I love even more when I do something that shows the world that she is my queen and she shows it in her smile.

One of the things that I enjoy is her smile. I don’t smile a lot, but Faith smiles enough for the two of us. I don’t ever want that smile to go away, so I do what I need to do to make sure that it remains on her face. From little things such as picking up a new lunch bag so that she can stay on track with her program to making sure there is gas in the tank when she runs it down, these are just some things that I do to make sure that she keeps a smile on her face. As the Rude Boys sang “It’s written all over your face, you don’t have to say a word” I want that smile to always say “Terry loves me.” Thus, this is the reason I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Every day is Valentine’s Day for the one that I love.

– Terry

Post script: So, many have asked “Did you do anything special for Valentine’s Day this year?” Well, the answer is yes and no. Let me explain: the plan (as always) is to do what I am going to do before the day arrives. Well, thanks to delays in delivery, what I ordered didn’t arrive until Valentine’s Day. So, in essence I didn’t and I did do something special for Valentine’s Day. But for me, every day is a day to celebrate my love for my queen.

-Terry