Thursday, April 30, 2009

Looking back 1 year......

One year ago (this Saturday) Sam and I, along with our families, were preparing for our wedding. People were arriving from Minnesota, Florida, Tennessee, Kansas, Pennsylvania, California, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, West Virginia, South Carolina and various towns/cities throughout Kentucky. We assisted Sandy with the rehearsal dinner preparation before hurrying off to prep ourselves for the rehearsal later that evening. The rehearsal and dinner were a sweet time of fellowship with so many people that we love and deeply appreciate. Saturday morning we awoke to gray skies, thunder, and lots of rain which eventually gave way to blue skies, sunshine, and pleasant temperatures. There are so many moments from our wedding day that I cherish. The phone call I received from one of my best friends Hannah, who is a missionary in Africa. Allison and sis holding my dress and walking me down to meet Sam for pictures. The "girls" peaking over the balcony to watch as Sam and I saw each other for the first time. The tears that flowed down my papaw Jim's cheek when he saw me for the first time. Pressing my ear to the window just to hear the sweet voices of my sister and brother-in-law. My daddy walking me down the aisle. A number of faces that lined the aisle smiling from ear to ear as I walked down the aisle. Carrying the Bible my mother carried when she married my father. Listening to all of our guests sing "How Great Thou Art." The words Josh spoke to Sam and I before we ate the Lord's supper. The kiss! Sam jumping off the stage and lifting me off as we walked down the aisle to "I'm a Believer." So many joy filled hugs I received during the receiving line and reception. The cake smash (I had been waiting to do that for a long time). Dancing our first dance as Mr. & Mrs. Cullum, while my sis and Chris sang Valentine. The toasts my sister and Kyle gave. The blessing Kyle sang over us. Dancing to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" with Tiara's, Boa's, Wand's, Glasses, Jewelry, etc. Dancing with my roomies. The Candy Bar. Just to mention a few!!!!!!!!
We flew the following morning to Dunns River, Jamaica for a week long honeymoon. It was so relaxing, after all of the planning, to be alone with Sam. We had an absolute blast and often in our minds escape there while singing "every thing's gonna be alright, every thing's gonna be alright now" (insert Jamaican accent).

After returning from the honeymoon Sam was thrown back into the working world and I leisurely returned. We participated and celebrated with Josh and Brittany, as they wed 2 weeks after us. We worked hard to make the house our home, as I had feared 609 Republic Court may never feel like ours. Little did I know I would fall in love with that house and feel safer there than anywhere. Our house felt more and more like home, as we hosted many of our friends for casual dinners, weekend breakfasts, game nights, movie nights, cook outs, and parties. We mostly shared casual dinners, breakfast, and game nights with Ben and Brittany, but occasionally Josh, Brittany, Mike, Katie, mom, dad, Amanda, Jeremy, sis, and/or Chris would be in town. Sam's 4th of July cookout became our 4th of July cookout, we had our first Chocolate Buffet (inspired on our honeymoon), and our going away party (thrown by Ben and Brittany) was at our house. Anytime we had friends over, casual fun conversation was had by all and we usually ended the evening thanking God for our friends.
In June, we went to Kings Island with Sam's company. In July, we ran the Bluegrass 10,000 and had our cookout. In August, we went to Chicago to celebrate my birthday (Sam's great gift).
In September, we returned to Bible Study Fellowship to study the life of Moses. We went to Prestonsburg for the Leslie family reunion. In October, we celebrated Sam's birthday. We welcomed my sister's baby boy Braxton. We carved Pumpkin's. We had our world flipped upside down as Sam was laid off on 10/28/09.

In November, Sam worked on house projects. Sam job hunted. I cried. We cheered on the Rays in the World Series. We were blessed to be a part of Jesus Prom, again. We celebrated Thanksgiving in Florida with Sam's family. We ran the 5K Turkey Trot.

In December, we decided the job in Florida was the best decision. Sam continued to work on house projects. I continued to cry. We roasted a lot of marshmallows. Sam had his first snow cream experience. We hung out with Ben and Brittany, a lot, enjoying food, games, and wonderful conversation. We put up our first Christmas tree. We completed the 5K Reindeer Run. We celebrated Christmas in Prestonsburg with my family.
In January, we celebrated New Year's with the Collier's. We spend time in Nashville with my family. We put our house on the market. We had a huge ice/snow storm which was a blessing for me. We built our first snow man. Sam finished house projects (with the help of Sandy). I cried more.
In February, Sam moved to Florida and started his new job. I went to Cincinnati for a college roommate weekend. I stayed in Kentucky. We fought. We made up. We cried. We struggled. We prayed. We loved. We hurt. We rejoiced. We survived. In March, we sold our house. We went to the SEC tournament. I packed up our house. Sam's dad and uncle moved all of our belongings to Florida. I moved to Florida. I cried less. In April, we learned to sleep in the same bed again. We became closer friends. We painted pottery. We house hunted. We really liked a church. We hung out. We ran. We biked. We ate. We stressed. We went to the beach (we'll keep going to the beach). We lived with Sam's parents (oh wait, we still do). We went to Minneapolis to celebrate the marriage of our dear friend Nate. We missed our friends. We hoped and still hope they will come visit. We celebrated. I job hunted. I went to my first Rays baseball game.

Here we are in May!!!!! Celebrating and thanking God for all of His provision. He has loved us and seen us through extremely challenging times. It is amazing how you think you can't love your spouse more than you do on your wedding day, but you do. It is amazing how physical intimacy truly does close the gap when you feel like there are miles between you. It is amazing that what was written in the Bible proves itself true through experience. Marriage is a mystery. Because of it I do have a better understanding of Christ's love for the church, as a result of Sam's love for me. It's amazing how being married to Sam has forced me to forgive when I didn't want to, but forgiveness has been the best decision. It is amazing how vulnerability is a choice, but with Sam it is a choice I want to make because I feel safe. It is amazing how marriage makes you a better person if you will let it.

Our first year of marriage has brought a number of challenges and changes. It has also brought a number of joy's and new experiences. I can now celebrate the joy's and the struggles, as I know God strengthened our marriage and our love for one another, as a result of them.

***I'll blog again to tell you about our weekend celebration


Jennifire Baskin Robinhood Skoogie (for old times' sake!) said...

I love you guys so much and will rejoice with you on Saturday! Thank you for your beautiful friendship (that has spanned the years!) and for allowing me to be a part of your life!! Miss you :)

katy said...

That was such a sweet and honest post. Thank you for sharing your last year with us!

Are you all going to be in Lex next weekend? If so, we would love to come and see you all at least for a bit! Let us know!

Mama Smors said...

Happy 1st anniversary!!! Thanks for sharing about your year... that is a lot to go through in one year and you did it! YAY!!! :) Hope you have a good celebration weekend!

Stephanie said...

Ok, now I'M crying! That was beautiful. Thank you so very much for sharing. You have a gift for telling a story, and I so appreciate it. Happy anniversary!

Sam said...

Great 1st year (little tough at times), Great ann'y weekend.

Love you matchy spice!

Sandy said...

wonderful, wonderful post.