Sunday, September 30, 2007

Girl's Week in Reno!

So tomorrow I head out bright and early for my annual October trip to Reno. These are a few pics to show the fun we are all anticipating... Melissa arrived from Virginia yesterday, and I can't wait to join the group. Stacey gave birth to her baby boy Peter just a few weeks ago, and I cannot WAIT to see him!

What would have been Ricky's 3rd Birthday will be this Tuesday, and I can't think of ANYWHERE that I would rather be to celebrate. I'm a little on the emotional side thanks to this pregnancy to begin with... so I'm fully expecting this reunion of old friends, the beauty of Tahoe, and the arrival in the place that Ricky is most real to me, to completely do me in. I'm sure I'll be crying 80% of the time... but I am looking forward to every minute of it.

Eric will be staying behind to focus on school (lucky guy), but I'm pretty sure he's looking forward to his bachelor week. I really havn't been cooking a whole lot for him lately so he's not going to be missing much. He's apparently got plans for a "Man-cation" with a buddy or two... I'm choosing to not ask what all that entails. :)

Be back in a week with new stories and pictures!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Where are the Men?!

Allow me a moment to vent. (No, I'm not looking for a new one or anything.)

I've actually been writing this post in my mind for a couple months now and have never gotten around to it... until now. The majority of my 20's were spent being stumped by the question stated in the title of this post. Year after year I watched my friends falling in love, and being married off. I was, as the saying goes, "always the bridesmaid, never the bride". You could bet I was standing up in those weddings thinking, "there goes another one... one of the last good ones out there". The odds were definitely not in my favor. Sure, there were plenty of "good" single guys out there. But finding one with strong Christian beliefs and goals in life that were parallelled mine... seemed next to impossible.

And that brings me to the reason for this post. I am, and forever will be tremendously grateful that God led me to Eric, and fulfilled my deep desire to be married. But there was a significant sense of guilt that accompanied such an amazing blessing. I left "The Club". It is a club that most of us single 20-somethings never wanted to be a part of in the first place... but nevertheless, we were bonded through camaraderie. There was comfort in numbers... and at the same time unspoken fear of the moment the next one of us would "betray" the group... and join the a new club. The one where everyone was married.

I remember vividly the pain and loneliness that is felt by single Christian women who truly want little else in life but to be loved by another human being... and be asked for their hand in marriage. I couldn't understand why it was so difficult to find the men who were ready to dedicate their lives to family, and who had a genuine love for Christ. The reality is, non-Christians have us significantly out-numbered. But still... I KNOW they are out there SOMEWHERE!! I was floored to find a guy like Eric... a Christian, accomplished, good-looking, AND somehow - still single/not even divorced!! It gave me hope... but of course that's easy for me to say... now.

Although I have "betrayed" the club... I am blessed to say that those friendships have remained strong. There are a handful of girlfriends of mine... who are praying and searching every day. They are amazing and beautiful women of God who want so badly to give their heart to a man... and they are trying so hard to be patient and trust. I seriously wonder what is wrong with the men out there who aren't jumping at the opportunity to get to know them.

Not that I'm trying to play match-maker... (although I wouldn't hesitate if eligible bachelors showed up at my door)... but I just had to "think out loud" a little bit (as my mom says I like to do). I just wondered if maybe someone out there might have some idea as to where these guys are. I believe that God is faithful to give us all the desires of our hearts, but I also know from experience He rarely accomplishes that in OUR timing. Try having that patience when your approaching 30 and your biological clock is ticking! :) I personally attest to the fact that the wait is worth it... but that waiting process can sure be miserable.

The one thing that I have been so inspired and proud of... is that no matter how desperate and lonely they have felt... they have refused to settle. When opportunities for "second best" have presented themselves... my friends have chosen to remain strong in themselves... and wait. I couldn't be more honored to know women like these.

This is my friend Carrie... my greatest inspiration for this post. She has been an incredible blessing in my life for so many reasons, and she has been genuinely happy for me when I know it must have been difficult. Few things would make me happier than to see her find the man that we have prayed for for so long. I feel the same about my sister, Melissa, my new friend Becky, and all the other girls I'm forgetting to mention right now. Seriously. Where are the MEN?!

Feel free to let me know if anyone out there knows of any really wonderful eligible men! I'm on a mission. Although I'm still confident in God's perfect timing. (We'd just all be really happy if that timing could maybe be like next week or something???... Pretty Please!)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

New Bloggers

Wow! Now I know how to get the comments coming in!! Guess I should have gotten pregnant a long time ago!!

I recently learned that a couple old high school friends of mine have joined the blogging world! I'm SO excited to be able to follow their lives now!

You can check out Marcy and Christi's sites by clicking right there on their names... or the links on the right!

Now all you other wanna-bes out there... (Deanna)... join the club! Everybody's doing it!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ricky's Big News...

So Ricky had a little news that we finally thought we'd share. It might explain some of my absence lately. Been a little tired... a little sick... (OK... "little" is a BIG understatement)... But Eric and I are very excited to share that we're planning on a little arrival around May 1st of next year!! Yeah... ERIC's plan was to wait to start trying until the END of this year... As you can see in the following pictures... I won that argument. :)

Here's a few shots of our little alien baby!! (Isn't it cute?!!)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Wedding Photographer Scam

So here's my post venting frustration, disappointment, and confusion. I've always known that I was perhaps a little too trusting of people. But there are times when you truly could not possibly know the person that sits behind the mask. Case in point: our wedding photographer.

Orlando Copeland returned my inquiry regarding a wedding photographer back in February of '06. I was completely blown away when I learned, that after viewing Ricky's website, he and his wife wanted to give us their platinum package for the price of the one over a $1000 cheaper. In addition, they wanted to do our engagement pictures - completely free of charge. When I remarked that he did not even know me, he simply replied that they really wanted to bless us on our wedding day... since they had been blessed by my story.

I loved the work that I saw on his website... so I very quickly knew that I had found our guy. We received our engagement pictures and were thrilled with the job he did. Fast forward to our wedding day. He and another photographer were in my home taking pictures of me getting ready when he overheard that I would be singing as a surprise to Eric during the ceremony. Without my knowing, Orlando had made a call... offered a guy and extra $100 bucks... and got a videographer to show up to tape the entire thing.

We were blown away - and thrilled to say the least.

And then it all changed. Sept. 16th we were supposed to have all of our pictures and there was nothing. I started calling a few days later... and finally did hear back from him that he had been ill. He stated they were "working on them"... and would be done in the week. Right.

By the end of November... my album was finally viewable online. However we had absolutely nothing in our possession. I left voice messages and emails... and at times it would be two weeks before I got a response. He was always "ill"... and always "working on it". By February it was almost impossible to get a hold of him and his voice mail box was permanently full. My "compassion" finally wore off and I finally demanded either my money or my pictures back. (Despite our discount... I had payed him $4000!!!). Within a week I got a message stating that our pictures on CD were in the mail along with the promised IPods also with pics downloaded on them... and the video.) We were beyond relieved to get SOMETHING. But I was still waiting for the beautiful album - the entire reason I had wanted to go with him in the first place!

That all happened Feb. 16th of this year... and that was the last time I heard from him. We have celebrated our one year anniversary already and I am out $4000 with really very little to show for it. Recently... after much Internet research... I stumbled across the other couples that I was sure existed out there. The ones who had been "screwed over" (for lack of a better term), in the same way that we were. There are so far 12 of us. We are all waiting on our albums. Many of them have less then we do. 2 of the couples have yet to even have their wedding! They were told that all the money had to be paid upfront (months before), which was not at all what we had to do... we only had to pay it all 2 weeks before the wedding. They have paid him thousands and have not heard from him since. They obviously don't believe he will even show up at their weddings and have had to find another.

Last night one of the couples did and interview with Fox News Chicago. You can view it here. (That link doesn't exactly work so just type "wedding photographer" in the search bar and the first result will be the correct link.) They were really disappointed by how much was edited... but maybe at least it will stop others from falling into the same trap. One of the couples did their own investigating and found that their $3000 check was cashed at a bank over 20 miles from the home that they run their business from on a Friday night. That bank happens to be just 2 miles from a casino. Now we're wondering if this so-called "illness" could be a gambling addiction.

Now that I've found all these couples... we're hoping that somehow strength in numbers may somehow help us find some resolution. I really just want my wedding album. It means a great deal to me... and honestly I don't want the money back. Obviously chances are... he doesn't have the money anymore anyway. So if anyone has any ideas as to how we might go about this we're open. We have all contacted the BBB. He has 14 complaints against him there and he has ignored every single contact the BBB has tried to make with him. We're all now speaking to the Attorney Generals office... maybe that will help, I don't know. It's really frustrating to feel like a contract means absolutely nothing. The idea of a lawsuit is possible... but we really don't want to invest any more money then we already have...

It's really just sad to realize that someone you first thought was such a wonderful, giving person... could do something like this. I feel kind of violated, to be honest. Especially when he used Ricky's story to reel me in. I really don't think we would have seen it coming no matter what. The guys reputation was flawless right up until our wedding. Literally. All these couple except for one were married after us. Plenty of them went to Orlando because they were referred to him by others who had been very happy with his services.

So there you have it. Whatever you do... if you're in the market for a wedding photographer... even thought their pictures are beautiful... do NOT use Copeland Wedding Photography! We're mad. But we're not giving up!

Don't MESS with people's wedding pictures!!!

**On a better note... the Colts are maintaining a PERFECT record this season! 1-0! It doesn't get any better than that!! (except maybe 2-0)...**