belief beyond words

I heard a sermon this past weekend that really struck a chord with me. It settled something I had felt unrest about for all of my life. How can belief be enough? We are saved by faith, not works. We know that faith without works is moot, but so is the reverse. But still something felt unsettled about salvation by belief alone.

How can it be so that we can coast through life without doing anything God asks of us and still be saved because we "believe"? It's so easy to say "I believe!" You think about it and say it out loud and there it is, right?

The revolutionary proclamation that changed my whole perception? Mike Glenn said "If you don't live it, you don't believe it." It sounds so simple (and is!), yet so hard for me to come to realize on my own.

Suddenly the word "belief" took on more meaning. Paul's statement that his life was no longer his own once he accepted Christ suddenly clicked for me. So my decisions aren't really mine to make? I don't get to screw up because it "just affects me"? Believing suddenly started to mean more than just words, more than something you say or check the "yes" box on a piece of paper. More than an empty phrase that's too easy to spit out without thinking about. Of course I believe! I live in the Bible belt. I grew up in church. I got baptized. I take communion.

I started to think how my choices might be different if I truly believed.

If I believe that God is sovereign, that I have an important part to play in His enormous plan for His mighty kingdom, would I do the same things day in and day out? If I believe that He is the way to break the bondage of sin, the one way to freedom and total healing, would I make the same choices?

It's so easy to take the easy way out all the time. What do I want? What would satisfy myself in this moment?  Selfishness is easy to succumb to.

Part of believing in God is believing that you now have a new set of responsibilities. You have to step up. You can't coast anymore. You have to be an active member of the kingdom. And you WANT to be one. It means actively choosing Him over instant gratification or selfish whims.

It sounds kind of like imprisonment. And it is, in a way. But in the same way, it is the most freeing thing you can do. Enslaved to Christ, free from the world. Freedom from addiction. Freedom from evil. Freedom from sin. Enslaved to goodness and light. 

If I believe that Christ truly breaks the shackles of our sin, why do I keep choosing sin? That's not living in truth, and that's definitely not genuine belief. That's thinking, Oh, that's a nice thought - no longer doing this thing that I hate, that brings me so much grief and sorrow. But I'll never really stop doing that, it's just human nature. That's putting faith in human nature. That's putting faith in the worldly perspective that our culture leads us to think is truth. The choices I make, the way I live my life is a portrait of what I truly believe.

I'm not saying that in order to genuinely believe you have to live a perfect life. Obviously that won't happen. But trying to live in a half-assed way, being "good" when it's Sunday or when you're in a certain crowd, and then choosing the completely opposite for your Monday - Saturday lifestyle -- that's not going to cut it. God sees right through that. That's like saying you believe in the tooth fairy but putting your own dollar under your pillow. "Taking care of yourself" because you don't really believe you'll be granted that fairy's dollar.

Christ alone offers complete freedom. Freedom from sin, freedom from self, freedom from evil. The story has been told and it has a happy ending. We don't have to worry about winning the final war. There won't even be a battle. (Read that again. Seriously, read it.) Christ will come again and that will be it! No more pain, no suffering, no war, nothing but goodness and light for the rest of eternity. He alone is the path to everlasting life. He alone is the path to peace. Understanding that and BELIEVING it -- that is cause for celebration unlike any other. It is humbling and awe-inspiring and beyond all human comprehension. There is a way to a life without disease, without afflictions, without pain, without hurt, without selfishness and greed. THERE IS A WAY! It is not a hoax. Not a joke. Not a "nice thought." Not a coping mechanism. There is a legitimate way, a way out, and a way in. Out of misery, into pure light. No suffering. No broken hearts. Total healing.

All praise be unto Him. All praise. May every hand be raised to You, and every heart changed.

Heavenly Father, ignite my soul with your truth and your light. Let my belief surpass all words, and let me live as I believe. Direct my feet, direct my words, change my life for your goodness, day in and day out. Amen.

life updates | july 2014

July has certainly been an exciting month, hasn't it? Hannah & Brad's gorgeous Cannery One wedding, boating with friends, Drew's CPA exam, styled shoot planning, networking events aplenty, marathon planning sessions with out-of-town clients, many a new client consultation... Good month. Full month. Not many pool days have happened these past weeks -- too many phone calls, emails, and meetings to take a backseat here recently.

The second half of summer 2014 has kicked off with a bang that I'm sure will continue far into fall. Can you believe that by the end of this month, PSLs will be rapidly approaching, fall wedding season will rear its head, and before we know it the holidays will be upon us?!

super sneak peek!

super sneak peek!

Here are a few things I'm particularly excited about!

- A styled shoot with Ian Riley that happened last Friday! Can't wait to disclose all the juicy details behind our inspiration and the unbelievably beautiful execution!

- Sunday Supper Club. A sorority sister friend of mine and I are spearheading a campaign to bring back the gentle art of domestic entertaining! We're hosting a once-monthly dinner party club here in Nashville. Interested in joining our group? Shoot me an email for more details & how to get involved!

- Yet another trip to the deep Southeast. Drew & I are celebrating our birthdays in our two favorite cities this week - so excited to be finally dining at Hyman's Seafood and catching some final glimpses at summer 2014 near the Atlantic. August is the last "slow" month before fall wedding chaos and Drew's constant stream of exams, so we're taking advantage!

- 2015 wedding bookings! I've been meeting with several fabulous brides to discuss their spring & summer 2015 weddings. If you're looking for a planner for your upcoming nuptials, holler at me! Dates are booking fast!

- Welcoming a certain someone to our KDE team! We've chosen our fall 2014 intern for the season and can't wait to introduce her to our readers!!

There are still plenty of things I've wanted to do but haven't had the chance yet. Perhaps we'll finally have that open house at the office we've been meaning to host?!

Can't wait to see what lies in store for August 2014! I have a lovely milestone birthday coming up in just a couple days, Drew & I will celebrate 7 years of being college sweethearts, and we might just have a Labor Day weekend wedding pop up last-minute:)

Vision:  August will be serious but still lighthearted. Seeing our favorite city, loving on our sweet family, preparing for an incredible wedding season to come. I envision quick-stepping while still being methodical about everything. Some planning for the future but not TOO much forward-thinking. Yoga to center my mind, maybe a barre workout or two sandwiched in. Healthy eating, salads and soups. Less sugar. Less wine. More water. An ice cream sandwich birthday cake. With sprinkles. (Pink sprinkles!) Collaborating a bit more with my favorite industry city.

happy anniversary!!!

To the man who surpasses my dreams, whom I adore so so very much, happy second anniversary! The past two years have flown by. I can only begin to imagine what adventures lie before us in year three... here's to many more happy years of hosting parties, snuggling cats, being on the beach or near a body of water as much as humanly possible, cooking and eating insanely delicious Mexican food, being on each other's team all the time, taking too many vacations, and enjoying all the little things just as much as the big. You're my favorite and my only and I couldn't do life without you.

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Love you,

Mrs. Andrew Dellinger

real wedding:: classic gilded elegance

Erin and Alfred had the loveliest classic Southern wedding at Second Presbyterian Church and Houston Station in Nashville, Tennessee. With monograms galore (be still my heart!) and traditions honored throughout the day, the Stewart wedding was resplendent with love and gorgeousness.

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Erin honored her late best friend, Emily, with several nods to her being with them in spirit.

Erin honored her late best friend, Emily, with several nods to her being with them in spirit.

monogrammed handkerchief pinnned
Got to love sorority traditions! Erin fastened her Kappa Delta sisters' pins to her bouquet. 

Got to love sorority traditions! Erin fastened her Kappa Delta sisters' pins to her bouquet. 

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Aren't they the most adorable couple you've ever seen?!

Aren't they the most adorable couple you've ever seen?!

Pure Hollywood.

Pure Hollywood.

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I absolutely ADORED the couple's alternative to the guest book. They had an illustrator paint a gorgeous depiction of their wedding chapel, which was matted and framed for guests to sign, to be hung in the couple's home after the wedding.

I absolutely ADORED the couple's alternative to the guest book. They had an illustrator paint a gorgeous depiction of their wedding chapel, which was matted and framed for guests to sign, to be hung in the couple's home after the wedding.

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Loved all the monogrammed details Erin interspersed throughout the day!

Loved all the monogrammed details Erin interspersed throughout the day!

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Beautiful couple, beautiful day.

Beautiful couple, beautiful day.

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We brought in Clayton's donuts, a Lebanon delicacy, to hand out as late-night favors for the guests!

We brought in Clayton's donuts, a Lebanon delicacy, to hand out as late-night favors for the guests!

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The getaway car, a convertible vintage Thunderbird, was absolutely spectacular. Adored.

The getaway car, a convertible vintage Thunderbird, was absolutely spectacular. Adored.

Photography | Paul Wharton
Planning | Kelly Dellinger Events
Church | Second Presbyterian
Reception Space | Houston Station
Catering | Wildberry Catering
Rentals | Party Providers
Cake | Southern Magnolia
Makeup | Bobbi Brown Stylist
Hair | Trim Salon
DJ | Matt Mercer
Photo Booth | Flashtastic Photo Booth
Lighting | Southern Sky
Florals | Flowers by Mike
Honeymoon Travel Planning | 2 Travel Anywhere
Transportation | Grand Avenue

 

real wedding:: bright & colorful plantation wedding

Oh, Stephen and Jenn. I occasionally cry at the weddings I work, but this one was a particular tearjerker/emotionally-attached wedding:  the wedding of my brother-in-law and his high school sweetheart.

Despite the tears (in fact - the reason behind them), it was absolutely the happiest day. We were all beaming from morning until midnight that night. So much love came together to make everything absolutely perfect for the sweet couple and their Carnton Plantation wedding Memorial Day weekend.

Jessica McIntosh did a PHENOMENAL job photographing the intricacies of the day. We are all blown away by the portraits of these two -- aren't they just to die for? Jessica risked limb and life by creeping down in fields of flowers and greenery to get these shots -- and that was before we found the snake hanging out in the garden before the ceremony!

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yellow bridal bouquet

Jenn's bridal bouquet was absolutely gorgeous -- Cheryl's Flowers composed a beautiful arrangement of ivory hydrangea, calla lilies, roses, and peonies with a few pops of yellow.

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Can anything really beat the natural beauty of this stately Southern plantation home? So lovely, especially at the "golden hour."

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first look
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I seriously die over all these portraits. That garden is just to die for!

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The Southern-style spread for dinner was out-of-this-world insanely good. Bacon & Caviar for the win!

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Once the party got started, OH how we wobbled...

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Planner | Kelly Dellinger Events
Photographer | Jessica McIntosh Photography
Venue | Carnton Plantation
Caterer | Bacon & Caviar
Hair & Makeup | Brenna Mader
Personal Flowers | Cheryl's Flowers
Lighting | Bright Event Productions
Audio | Stager Audio
Rentals | Music City Tents & Events
Cake | The Bekahry Bake Shoppe
 
Honeymoon Planning | 2 Travel Anywhere - Excellence Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

revivalist

Two of my favorite people (seriously some of the most visionary and unbelievably stylish individuals) just launched a Kickstarter campaign for their insanely lovely fashion brand, REVIVALIST. I love the message behind the brand, the faith that has influenced the conception of it, the gorgeous vintage-inspired actual clothing line, and especially the ladies who have made it all come together!

You should absolutely check out their promo video and consider supporting them to hit their goal! So excited for these two and happy to be a backer for REVIVALIST!!

standing still

Why is it that sometimes the hardest thing to do is to not do anything?

I think I must have an addiction to adrenaline or something. I definitely am a bit on the thrill-seeking side (while still playing it reasonably safe -- I hate to swing too high on the playground, for example). I always like to be thinking ahead of the game. What can I do next? What is my next big "thing"? What should I be focusing on, working towards? They say if you don't know what you're working towards you won't go anywhere. Or worse - you'll go somewhere you don't want to end up.

Somehow, though, God's message to me -- subtly and not-so-subtly -- has been to stand still for a hot second. To not be worrying about the next big styled shoot. To not be worrying about 2015. To not be planning our future family or our future house or our future move.

It's hard for a planner to stop planning.

I love to jump from one big thing to the next. START A BUSINESS! BECOME A YOGA TEACHER! GET AN OFFICE! PLAN A TON OF WEDDINGS! MOVE TO A NEW CITY! (I still want that one...)

But perhaps that isn't God's plan for me right this second. Right this minute. Right this week, this day. This Tuesday morning. Maybe He does want me to move along the same timeline I want to impose upon my own life... but maybe He doesn't.

We talk in yoga about how attachment breeds suffering. Attach yourself to an expectation and you can be pretty sure there's a good likelihood that you'll be disappointed by the reality in comparison with said expectation. Part of the problem with my so-very-forward-focused-thinking is that I get very attached to my expectation of how everything will turn out. My timeline. My method for getting there. Add that mentality to a marriage of TWO, not ONE, people, and you get a very selfish and unhealthily-attached attitude where everyone suffers. It's a lot like how impatient I was with getting engaged and married. I wanted Drew to propose to me August 21st, 2011. I came up with a whole list of reasons in my head why that date was the perfect date, how he should pop the question, and how we should plan the wedding henceforth. When he didn't propose August 21st, I got disappointed. And then every day following that, I pretty much convinced myself that THAT was the day it should happen. I essentially planned a million ways for Drew to propose to me rather than just letting him do it himself, which was ultimately what I REALLY wanted. It caused a lot of strife that whole season because I would fight and resist his plans, since I had this stupid idea that mine were better. Then when he finally proposed (on November 10th) I was unbelievably shocked and happy and couldn't have asked for anything better. Silly me.

History repeats itself in big and small ways. Now, as you get older and more experienced, you (I) should LEARN from your (my) shortcomings rather than suffer in the same way time and time again. Hold on loosely to things of this world. Find the right balance between surrender and effort. Let go of things that do not serve us in this exact moment we are living in. All we have is what is right in front of us.

So I shall be still for this season. Patiently (key word!) waiting for God's next nudge in the right direction, His right direction. Patiently trusting in His timing, that He will not steer me the wrong way or allow me to "miss out" on His plans for me.

In the meantime? I'll be planning something special for our anniversary which is coming up in less than two weeks:) I foresee scrumptious cake and a viewing of our wedding film in our immediate future...

one of our engagement photos by the fab Brett Price

one of our engagement photos by the fab Brett Price

[PS: I sent my rings off to be rhodium-dipped in time for our 2-year anni mark and my ring finger feels absolutely naked and insecure now. I'm happy that I have a significant tan line on my ring finger, at least. I wanted one of those so badly before we got engaged. I'd wear fake wedding bands to the beach to pretend, so that I could have something semi-permanent on that finger. It never really worked since the bands weren't very big and I didn't wear them every day of my life like I have with my legitimate wedding rings. Sometimes you just can't beat the real thing. Maybe all the times. :) ]