Monday, September 30, 2013

Don't lose focus!

As I was scrolling through my Facebook wall this evening, I came across an article about engagement. In a nutshell, the article was about how the proposal and the wedding itself are becoming more important than the actual marriage in today's society. I completely agree.

Yes, I do think it's awesome when engagements get captured on video. Yes, I do think it's awesome to show off your ring. (It's exciting!) Yes, I do think it's fun to plan a wedding and enjoy your special day. However, I do not believe it's okay to become completely consumed by one day out of your entire life, although it's such an easy thing to do! I was able to go to a bridal show yesterday near my hometown. I had been looking forward to this event for a month, but when I arrived, I found myself disappointed. I passed by beautiful displays that were a little too elaborate for my taste, but they were beautiful nonetheless. However, I did pass by a few brides that just seemed to be completely consumed by their big day. Don't get me wrong, it's a very important and exciting day, but there's so much meaning behind it. 

I hope I don't come off as a complete fun-sucker, because that's not what I'm trying to do. Just trying to shift perspective.

Weddings are great. They are a sacred, beautiful union between you and your mate. This day is full of celebration with those closest to you because the bride and groom were made for each other. I do, however, feel as though that's not quite what this day is about anymore. TV shows, magazines and Internet sites advertise all of these different elaborate wedding ideas (elaborate is completely fine, by the way), but they only focus on the wedding. Rightfully so, their business is wedding supplies. But I feel as though we have lost sight of what a wedding is truly about. 

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'  and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." -Matthew 19:4-6

When Browning got down on one knee and proposed to me, the first thing on my mind was, "Wow, I can't believe this man wants to spend the rest of his life with me!" 

Then the planning started... 
At first it was fun, new, and exciting. Then the planning became stressful, overwhelming, and no fun at all. I wasn't even looking forward to my wedding. I just wanted it done and over with. Talk about a sad way to feel --- this is supposed to be the most exciting time of my life! One day, after I was ready to call off the wedding and go to the courthouse, I challenged myself to just put away the plans for a while to refocus. I began thinking about Browning and how much he means to me. I thought about my confidence in him and how I knew he would take on the world for me. I thought about his devotion, love, and genuine spirit. I had a huge perspective shift. 

April 5, 2014 will be a very exciting day. I will wear a pretty white dress, carry beautiful flowers, stand beside six of my best friends, and say my vows to Browning in front of 150 family members and friends. We will have a great reception filled with laughter, dancing, and food. This is all extremely exciting and I'm looking forward to it!

However, the single greatest thing I'm looking forward to is calling Browning my husband. I have come to the point where I know I don't need a pretty dress, beautiful flowers, or to stand up in front of 150 people and say my vows to Browning. I don't need a great reception filled with laughter, dancing, and food. All I need is to be with him for the rest of my life. He is my best friend and the love of my life. I'm grateful that God blessed us with the resources to be able to have a beautiful wedding day, but I'm even more grateful that God has chosen me to be his wife. This is how I know he is the one for me. 

I pray for all of those who are going through the season of engagement in their lives. I pray that you will get back to what truly matters. (Why you fell in love in the first place!) I pray for those who may be in that stage soon. That you wouldn't get ahead of yourself and just enjoy this time getting to know your boyfriend/girlfriend. I pray for those who don't see anyone coming any time soon. I pray that you will be confident in who you are in Christ, trusting Him to bring you the right person at the perfect time. I pray that when you do enter that stage in your life, that you will remember what truly matters. This isn't about a daylong event in your life. This is about a covenant made before God and a lifetime spent with your best friend.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

New Opportunities

There is no greater feeling than God showing you favor! Over the last month I have been blessed to start an incredible new position at the YMCA that I'm extremely passionate about! I am now able to work with medical referral clients and be there fitness specialist as they embark on improving their lifestyles. I am by their side throughout a 12 week program, training them and cheering them on! I know that it is going to be extremely rewarding!

I also wanted to make a very exciting announcement! Christy Cotterman with Wholly Healing, LLC contacted me a few months ago telling me about an amazing opportunity she had for me. After speaking to her and getting to know her heart to see people live heathy lives, I have agreed to be a regular contributor on Wholly Healing's blog site. I am honored that she approached me and can only say that God's timing is perfect! My new job gives me a steady schedule where I am able to devote more time to my personal blog as well as the Wholly Healing Blog. I do hope that you will join me as I blog every Wednesday at There are also three other amazing blog contributors that post on different days of the week.

I just wanted to update that exciting news. I am hoping to blog more often now that life is a little more structured. I am going to make a goal to post on this blog once every two weeks- we'll see how it goes!

In the meantime, please know that I am praying for each of you as you continue to seek the Lord's face and make small changes to better your health- it's never too late to start making healthier decisions!

--Sarah :)

Friday, September 6, 2013

I'm Engaged!

Yes, you did read the title of this post correctly. I can tell you that the title of this post is the last thing I thought I would be blogging about next...but sometimes surprises happen. Yes, that's right... I'M ENGAGED!!!

Like legit engaged...

See! There's your proof!

So I'm sure you are all wondering how I tricked this amazing man into liking me. So I will share a little bit of our story :) 

I met Browning in December of 2011. We met after joining a CrossFit group at ECU and began working out together. We were both seeing other people at the time, but had a great time working out with the group. We continued to work out together up until I graduated in May of 2012 and I moved 4 hours away back to my hometown. He stayed at ECU to finish graduate school. For the most part, we lost touch. 

In October I went back to ECU to visit my roommates, who were in their senior year of nursing school. I texted the CrossFit group to see if they wanted to get together for lunch and a workout, but no one was available. I would say a little less than a month goes by and Browning randomly texts me while I'm  at my brother's state championship cross country meet. He apologized for not being able to get together when I was at ECU but wanted to make it up to me next time I was in town. I told him not to worry about it and we could definitely get the group (I played hard to get from the beginning...oops) together to hang out next time I was in town for a visit. 

He texted me the next day. and the day after...and the day after. Needless to say, I could tell that he was interested in getting to know me better. I was not interested in getting involved in any sort of relationship. I made that fact EXTREMELY clear thinking he would leave me alone and we could just be the gym buddies we had always been. He apparently interpreted my "no, I'm not interested," as, "Bring it on, Sanderson. You're gonna have to chase me and win me over." 

He continued to chase after me for 5 whole months. He would drive 4 hours once a month just to hang out with me...only for me to turn him down again and again...and (you guessed it) again.

The pursuit started in December of 2012. I didn't agree to be his girlfriend until April 28, 2013. I know what you're thinking...this guy sounds incredible, what the heck took you so long? I'll tell you...

I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was 19 years old. The first boyfriend I had was no good for me. The second guy I dated was a really sweet guy, but my personality was too dominant for him. The third guy was also a great guy, but we were chasing after two different things in life.

Then I met Browning. I couldn't control him. He had a mind of his own. He was stronger than me. He scared me to death. Not because I thought he could harm me, but because I knew he was the kind of man I needed. So in my sorry attempt to run away from this man who I couldn't control, I started running and coming up with any excuse I could find not to go on a date with him. Then after 4 months I realized he had been doing what I've always prayed for. He chased me. He pursued me and he had no intentions of stopping.

I have prayed for my future husband every day since I was 12 years old. I prayed that he would be a Godly man who loved the Lord with all of his heart. I prayed that he would be a leader and show others what it looks like to be a real man of integrity. I prayed that he would work hard and take pride in his work. I prayed that he would be spontaneous, creative and relaxed. I prayed that he would be the man that I needed. I also prayed that he would be my friend. 

I could not have asked for a better friend than Browning. He has seen me at my worst and at my very best. We met in a see a lot of people at their worst there. He was always encouraging me and challenging me. Most importantly, he helped me loosen up after stressful days. He was a natural leader who carried himself with integrity. Looking back, I realized he was everything I prayed for. 

So August 31, 2013 comes around. We are driving to spend a few days with his parents on Topsail of my favorite places, if not my favorite place in the entire world. We arrive and spent about a half hour with his folks and then Browning jumps up and announces that we were going on a bike ride. We rode around for a while and then began walking on the beach. We stopped up at Serenity's Point at the very tip of Topsail Island. He stopped walking and stood still, then very slowly he got down on one knee. At this point I have lost it. I knew exactly what was happening. He said some really sweet things that I don't remember...but I do remember him saying, "I love you. Sarah, will you marry me?" He insists that I said, "yes," but all I remember is nodding yes uncontrollably.

After getting my act together and posing for a nice picture taken from some random man on the beach (see below for picture), we headed back to the beach house.

His parents and sister were there waiting for us and they are so excited! Let me tell you, I could not have asked for a better family to marry into. They love the Lord, value family and have so much fun! I love being around them! 

So what does one do right when they get engaged? They call their mommy! I called my mom and told her the wonderful news. Then I called my dad... let me tell ya... there is something about your dad's voice right after you get engaged that makes you cry. Why? I don't know. I could barely get the words out. I love that man so much. For him to give me away to another man...he must think very highly of him. He told me that he was out with my mom and they would call me later. 

Little did I know that just 2 short hours later, I would walk into the kitchen for dinner and my mom and dad would be standing there. Browning had arranged all of this when he asked my dad for my hand. I lost it...again. Talk about an emotionally taxing day! But it has been the best day of my life so far. All I can say is that God is faithful. I don't deserve any of this!

I can't even begin to tell you how much it meant to have our families there with us. Our families are so important to us. I feel so blessed to not only have parents who have been together for 25 years, but to marry into a family where the parents are also still together. It's rare, but God is faithful and it can happen! It's how it should be. I know Browning and I are going to thrive in our marriage because of the Godly example that was set by our parents. 

So now I've started working on wedding plans...and fast. Six months is going to fly by! But I am so excited about spending the rest of my life with Browning. I know that we will grow in love, go on many adventures, work through the hard times and never forget to have a little fun. He is definitely my better half and I love him dearly!

I will post some pictures below, but if you wish to see more, please click on the video below to see a slideshow that was put together by my dad and Browning's sister :)