For the third post in the Guy Behind The Blog Series link-up hosted by the beautiful soon-to-be-newlywed Betsy of Heavens to Betsy, the topic is love.
So very fitting.
This month Mr. Charming gives us insight to love in the past, present and our future.
#GBTB: August Edition
1 // Share a funny wedding story with us - it could be from your own or one you attendended.
It would have to be my sisters wedding. My brother in law Randy was at the alter, and he said "I Do" before the pastor was done asking him the question. The pastor then had to stop and ask if he could continue, and asked that he agree and say "I Do" once he knew everything he was agreeing to. [laughs]
2 // On the topic of love, who was your childhood crush?
I would have to say a little girl named Malia in Kindergarten or first grade. She pinned me down as kissed me on the playground.
Mandi's Note: I totally did this to a boy, Eric, when I was in kindergarten. Mr. Charming just seems to like women who know what they want ;) [laughs]
3 // What is your top love language? What is your significant other's love language?
We've glanced at the book briefly, but we serve each other in all ways. We didn't have to pick just one path of how we show our love.
4 // How did you meet your significant other?
We were very good friend a long time ago, over 15 years ago, we lost touch, and 9 years ago we reconnected. We'd both been through career changes, school and former relationships and knew that what we wanted in life was each other.
5 // How did you propose?
I had a lot of fun planning it and I knew it would be something very memorable for the both of us due to the things we love to do together. You can read the full story here.
Read More Like This:
1 // What is your all-time favorite food?
Hot wings. And I enjoy a really good meatloaf or pot roast.
2 // Who is the cook between you and your significant other?
I would say we split the responsibility of cooking. We both really enjoy cooking great meals for one another. She has taught me a lot about clean eating and how to alter recipes with good ingredients to make them more healthy.
3 // What is the weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
My dad used to make me mayonnaise and banana sandwhiches. My sister and my mom were disgusted at the fact I ate them.
4 // Are there any foods that you absolutely detest?
Coconut. I am a texture person. I don’t like sauerkraut for the same reason. I don’t like grittiness.
5 // What is your favorite local, little-known, or hole in the wall place to eat?
My wife and I love the Veggie Grill in Long Beach, CA. It has a wide array of foods she can eat and it has a good atmosphere.
1 // What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on?
My wife and I just took an eight day vacation down the California Coastline. We got a little inventive with each day and decided to plan something different. We saw eight cities, where part of the time we camped, part of the trip we stayed in a beach house – we also hit Disneyland and various coastal Farmer’s Markets to cook up some great meals seaside. All in all, I enjoyed that vacation the most because it gave us a wide array of experiences all in one week.
2 // If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go?
Probably England or Paris, France. Some place in Europe, I think it would be an amazing experience because of the cultural differences.
3 // Are there any summer traditions that you have or would like to start? (think things like big picnics, summer activities, bonfires, or day trips!)
Being from Arizona, I’d like to start spending every summer in San Diego. [laughs] I’d like to finish landscaping our backyard so that we have a place to gather and have BBQ’s.
4 // The 4th of July is coming up! What is a must-have picnic or BBQ food for you?
I like a really sweet watermelon!
5 // Think about your ideal vacation… are you in a cozy cabin, camping in a tent, or hanging in a hotel?
Camping in a tent! To the partial dismay of Mandi, my wife. She is more of a hotel-spa-day kind of girl.
Coming soon - the July edition, where Mr. Charming talks all about his love of being a foodie!
Even as a writer, this is one of those stories I just don't know to capture with words. It's a beautiful story of God's that He's written over the last 15 years of our lives. And it's probably why I haven't tried to write it on the blog, or anywhere.
Mr. Charming and I first met years and years ago. I was almost 16, and he was 18, and we met on AOL. My friends and I use to hang out in good ol' Phoenix chat, before the days of Tinder, Facebook and all the other social media sites, we'd chat using our fun colorful fonts and talking to kids from school and dance. One evening my girlfriends and I started chatting with some people who hung out at an arcade and pool hall where we'd been and we decided to all go play some pool. As you can guess, Mr. Charming was one of the boys at the pool hall. Still a pool shark, he had mad skills and was crazy cute, and became an insta-crush.
I so wish I had photos from back then, but as we only had pagers and no digital cameras, there was no documentation of our early days hanging out, but I can remember it like it was yesterday. We both were dating other people at the time, so we never got together, but we did flirt and it was talked about from time to time. We hung out for months, making lots of memories we could later reflect back on. Late nights getting Italian food. Spending hours playing pool, and cruising down Mill Ave. the local college town street where it was "cool" to show off your car, (there wasn't much else to do here). I started music right around the time we were hanging out, so he knew about my website and I had sung to him a couple of times. Due to our other relationships, teen life and me starting to perform and move into my career more, we fell out of touch.
For nine years.
In those years, we grew up, we had relationships, and school, and careers. Little did I know, our story didn't leave off in a pool hall in Arizona.
In 2006 I was offered a contract to tour the Caribbean as a headlining singer for six months. It was a huge blessing because I had come out of a bad relationship, lost my apartment and just wanted to escape. Touring some of the most beautiful parts of the world, was wonderful, although lonely and I couldn't believe my eyes when, 5 months into my contract, from an internet cafe in Aruba, I would check my email and get a message from him.
He had found me by my website, (so if there's any reason to have a website with your name on it, this would be my biggest argument for it.) haha, Just touching base we talked back and forth a bit and decided to have dinner when my contract ended and I came back to Arizona to visit my mom (at eighteen I moved to California to work in entertainment and had been living there since.)
When we met up for dinner, it was like nothing had changed. I was more comfortable with him than with anyone I'd ever been with. By our third date, I knew I was in trouble. He was everything all my friends told me I was crazy to wait for. And I was supposed to leave for another 6 month tour just two weeks after our first date.
While I was excited to see new countries, and experience new things with my music, I was heartbroken. I was reunited with a man who I was falling for and a part of me didn't want to leave. But I did. And we decided to keep in touch and planned to meet in Manhattan six months later and see where we were at.
But cue me being oversees, in South America and listening to Michael Buble's "Home" on repeat, living on chocolate and crying in my hotel rooms. Yeah, I know, sad. But I realized i was no longer where I wanted to be.
He was where I wanted to be. He had started to become "Home". It turns out a month into my contract, my new manager for the second tour was a not-s0-great person and the working conditions overseas were making me dislike music and what I was doing, so I left the tour, paid almost a months salary on a flight home from where I was and surprised him, at his door, 5 months early. Lucky for me he was pleasantly surprised, because, let's be honest, a move like that could have gone either way, and he's been my Mr. Charming ever since.
What our story has taught me, and what I wanted it to teach the cynics who laughed at me for waiting for my person, is that, love is real. God can bring you together with the one who will support you, love you, laugh with you. And that living out my wild & crazy dreams and taking my adventures around the world, are much better with my best friend by my side.
To read our engagement story, click here.
Photos are one of my loves in life. I guess it's perfect I married a photographer. I love that they capture a moment. Freeze it in time. Allowing you to revisit it whenever you want to. Swimming in the memories, reliving the joy. Our engagement shoot was one of my favorite photo shoots I've ever done. Our talented wedding photography, Charli Groen, captured us so perfectly. Here are a few of my favorites from the day.
Hope you enjoyed. To read our engagement story, click here.
lady boss - 1 wife - 0
This idea of "doing it all" can be damn hard sometimes. Am I right ladies? My whole life I dreamed that one day I would be the ideal wife. The Proverbs 31 wife we all strive to be. Cooking all the meals, taking care of the house and the future littles. Sweeping & singing, cooking & cleaning and all the while caring for my husband and going above and beyond like I did when we first started dating.
But that's not the only dream I had. I also dreamed of living my dreams. The one's God designed just for me. Touring the world with my music. Running a successful business. Writing anything and everything I could get my little creative hands on. And making designated time for Mr. Charming and I to entertain and spend time with the people we care most about outside of just the two of us.
But somedays, ok, most days, doing both is just. Really hard. I like to think I'm pretty good with time management. On good days I start the day in prayer and focused, taking quiet time with God to set my intentions for the day. Then, I make my lists and my schedule. But then there are the days when the motivation lacks, the jobs take longer to complete, new meetings are scheduled, or the puppy rolls in mud requiring a 20 minute bath before dinner, and the schedule gets 1, 2 or even four hours behind.
I say this because today I've taken on a large freelance client, three social media clients, and had a two-hour lunch meeting and when I got home around 3:30, I realized the dinner we are supposed to eat at 7pm was never put in the crock pot. In fact, it's still in the freezer. Meaning that the dinner menus I so proudly made on Sunday with each meal meticulously planned will be off by a day and tonight we will probably end up eating leftovers. Or a salad. Or gluten-free cereal. Which is why today's score flashed like this in mind, the way a sports scoreboard lights up when team A makes its first point against Team B.
But you know what? That's ok. Because I have God's grace & my husbands loving grace that he extends to me everyday. It humbles one to know that perfection isn't the goal. I have to say that one more time because I was able to finally let that go a few years ago...
Perfection isn't the goal.
The goal is balance. And on some days the scale may tip further one way, but I can rest in the fact that no matter which way it tips, I know I am doing it for the good of my family. Whether its serving up a stew from the crockpot, or booking a job that helps pay for the stew. Whether I am sorting the laundry, or writing this blog, I am doing so with God first and foremost in my heart, and my husband and our family in a very close second.
And, that, that evens the score every time.
The balance is found in forgiving yourself. Knowing that while there are some days that we feel like superwoman, closing the deal, returning the calls, making the meals, picking up the house and having time for a hot bath and a date night, there are other days when our biggest accomplishment may be taking a nap. Finding five minutes for prayer. Or simply just giving your husband a hug and telling him you appreciate his support on your journey. Just continue to get up, dress up and show up, always leaning on God's understanding before your own.
So, if you're familiar with the concept of being a Proverbs 31 woman/wife/mother, or have read my other posts in this series, you know I've set goals for being the best version of me that I can be, for God and for my husband and future children. I did a spotlight on faith a while back, and today, I want to talk a little about marriage.
Marriage – A Virtuous Woman respects her husband. She does him good all the days of her life. She is trustworthy and a helpmeet. (Proverbs 31: 11- 12, Proverbs 31: 23, Proverbs 31: 28, 1 Peter 3, Ephesians 5, Genesis2: 18)
I know this may sound odd, but from the time I was young I knew I wanted to be a great wife. Every little girl dreams about being a bride, and having a wedding, and of course, I did too (I mean I am the girliest of the girlie girls) but I also knew I wanted to be a great wife. Not simply a wife, but one that would love her husband with all that she is. And that's how I love Mr. Charming. I love him with all that I am, and this Proverbs 31 piece makes my heart glow. I love love. I love seeing couples who truly respect one another. A lot of people in our lives comment on our relationship, and it's humbling.
So much of society today loves drama. People love to hear people talk down about others, friends, family members, and spouses and I just think that is so toxic to marriages. One thing I always do is talk about Mr. Charming in positive, love-affirming ways. Though he makes it easy, I think that even in times of struggle, couples should continue to talk up the positives of the person they vowed to love no matter what.
I have put together a list of things that Mr. Charming and I do that speaks to being in a Christian, God-filled, Proverbs 31 marriage.
1. We are each others priority. God is always #1, and Mr. Charming is always before anything else, and I his. Before work, before friends, before hobbies, he is at the top of the list. This doesn't mean we don't work hard, have social lives, time alone with friends, or hobbies of our own, it just means that our marriage comes first and we wouldn't let those things come in the way, or threaten, our marriage.
2. We are best friends. Mr. Charming and I are so alike, it's been an easy match from the beginning. I'm not saying opposites can't attract one another, and that people who are different can't be as close, but for us, it's our similar life goals, hobbies and loves in life that make the adventure that much better.
3. Genuinely care about the other person, in all circumstances. Mr. Charming and I have been together 8 years and I still want to know how his day was. It's not just empty words. When he comes home from work, I've missed him, and I stop what I'm doing to greet him romantically, whether it be a kiss, or a hug, or dinner, and I ask him how his day was. He's my favorite person to tell all my stories to, big or small, and I always want to be that person for him.
4. Communication. This one is crucial. Mr. Charming and I make it a must that we talk about anything we are going through. I will be completely honest and say this one is a tough one for me. I grew up hating confrontation, (I still don't really care for it, haha) I've suffered from anxiety growing up (although God is helping me through this!) and I've struggled with fear of rejection, so broaching hard topics, or asking for things that may not go my way, has been hard. Mr. Charming is wonderfully patient, and knows sometimes it takes me a while to speak, though I try my hardest. The important part is we eventually ALWAYS talk through things big and small. This keeps things from festering and becoming big problems or causing an unnecessary fight, when it could have been something so simple.
5. Be honest, always. Mr. Charming knows me better than I think I even know myself sometimes. Which makes #4 a little easier, haha, but he is still not a mind reader. I think a lot of spouses expect the other to be a mind-reader in certain situations, which again can lead to messy, unnecessary arguments. And even though there isn't much he doesn't know about me, if there is ever a question or topic that comes up, I will always tell him the truth. This also covers the part of the verse that speaks on trustworthiness. My heart and eyes are focused on my husband, always. I took my vows very seriously that day and will strive everyday to hold myself accountable for those.
6. Remember what made you fall in love. This one is a big topic of conversation with my girlfriends regularly. Some think its odd that Mr. Charming and I still act like we're dating sometimes. Some think its cute. Some I think it bothers, but "courting" my husband is something that I believe is vitally important to keeping a marriage fun. We have been together for 8 years, married for 3, and we still make time for date nights, for big vacations, and for nights away. I still cook him special meals. He still brings me flowers randomly. It's these little things that show that we don't take each other for granted. That we will still go out of our way to say "I'm thinking about you" or "I love you." If he or she the most important person in your life, why would you stop acting as such?
7. Be helpful. Last but not least, touching on the verse, "she is a helpmeet." In today's culture women are working just as hard as men. Up until recently I was working two full time jobs, and Mr. Charming works a demanding full time position in the medical field and goes to school. Though, I wholeheartedly adore my role as "wife", (see #1), and love making our house a home for him. Yes, I've had a couple little breakdowns working out how to balance and juggle all of that, but at the end of the day I hope that I have been helpful to him in making his home life happy, relaxing and enjoyable after a long day of work.
Just remember to always keep God at the center, put love first, and stay respectful and honest while being yourself. If you have those key elements at the center, everything else will fall into place! Many blessings for a happy marriage! Feel free to share your marriage tips or date night ideas in the comments!
And check out my other posts in the Proverbs 31 Spotlight Series:
One of the ways that I intentionally work on our marriage is by "dating" my husband. By taking time to set aside "date nights" when we could easily slump down on the couch with dinner and a tv show, we show each other that we are still a major priority to each other. That fun and excitement is still part of who we are. It was when we first got together and its what keeps thing fun and interesting now, 7 years later, and 2 years into our marriage. Now, don't get me wrong, I adore nights when we cuddle up and just talk or watch endless marathon hours of Once Upon A Time or Big Bang Theory... but this was our two year anniversary, so it called for something extra special. I planned a surprise Get Away for Mr. Charming, and when he arrived home, waiting for him was a suitcase, GPS coordinates and a note.
While he happily packing and heading to the resort, I prepared a healthy lunch for us. I whipped up some deviled eggs, a salad, cut up apples and grapes, and almonds... all served with dairy free dark chocolate. It was the perfect little combination for an in-room picnic. The room was gorgeous and it was too hot outside when he arrived for a picnic outside! He also stopped on the way and surprised me with roses. *swoon* I think I'll keep him.
It was a weekend of romance, delicious food, (get the yummy pasta recipe pictured below here) and adventure! I wanted us to try something new together and so I set us up to go horseback riding at a local ranch and it was SO much fun! We also took the opportunity to hike a beautiful trail, swim and hit the gym.
All in all, a beautifully perfect way to celebrate my best friend, my husband.
So, at it's conception I started my little blog here to post recipes. Recipes of food that was safe for me, and others who can't tolerate dairy or gluten, to enjoy. As it started to bloom and I started cleaning up the environment around me, I branched out into incorporating fitness and ways to clean your home without all the harsh, gross chemicals. After getting my certificate in natural beauty my love for organic, all natural ways to do my hair and makeup and skin care inspired me to add that. And so on.
Yet, as I look at my life and all the wonderful little puzzle pieces... one of the things, if not the main thing, that makes me most happy, and healthy to my core, healthy in my heart, my soul, is love. God's love, love I pour out to others, love that others pour onto me and this man right here. My husband's love. My Mr. Charming.
I've opened up about my story. I go through these things in my life for a reason and I adore helping others make healthy choices, so I felt like, if I didn't share our story I wasn't sharing a big piece of me with you all. My best friend and I got married September 17th, 2011 and I adore this man. He supports me in all that do. He cheers me on to go for my dreams, he will go to twenty grocery stores in a day just to see a smile on my face when I finally find that perfect gluten free treat I'd been searching for. He holds my hands on the days that are scary and celebrates with me on the days that are amazingly God-gifted and beautiful. I pray that I can one day give this man all the little babies his heart desires, which is one of the reasons I stay on this journey to figure out my health stuff so that I can be strong and healthy to have a family. I thank you all for reading. For being a part of my little journey. I love being able to share and inspire and in return learn and be inspired from all of you.
I will be sharing more of our journey together here on my love page, as well as other ways we can inspire and love one another!