Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Thomas!

I’ve been told that when I accept the fact that Thomas is gone I’ll be able to move on. Truth is, we never ever move on. I may appear happier or someday the years will have passed since I’ll have see him last but that doesn't mean he won't be far from my mind. People who mourn I don’t think ever “move on”. Our love for them, the memories we’ve had and the lessons we learn from our heartache keep them close to our hearts – forever.

Today marks Thomas Bjerke’s 23rd birthday. A day, I think, we could all agree is a bittersweet day for many of his relatives, friends and the community. A beautiful life that was taken from us far too soon and yet we all feel exceedingly thankful to have shared 22 fantastic years with him.

For many, I know this year has been focused a lot on Thomas’ death and the negative aspect of losing someone you love so much. The numerous whys and if’s we’ve all run through our minds countless times throughout the day. There are many of us struggling with getting through each day without Thomas and trying to understand God’s plan.

Throughout the last 10 months I feel as though I’ve learned more about life than I have the 22 years of my existence. Losing Thomas was a rude awakening and I have often wondered how I had been so ignorant my entire life. I, like many others, usually measured success in the luxury of material man-made items. In my past I’ve treated others with the disrespect they didn’t deserve and I wasn’t always understanding or sympathetic to those who needed it most. 

I’ve learned that perhaps the meaning of a successful life doesn’t mean the dollar amount in your bank account and maybe it means having had taken every opportunity that has knocked on your door. Maybe a successful life on Earth is knowing you touched someone in some way that changed their outlook on their life and they began treating others, and especially themselves, with love and respect. Maybe a successful life means sharing God with one person and them eventually accepting Him into their hearts. There are numerous ways to measure monumental success without it related to fortune or fame.

I will be the first to admit I can be a bit harsh when people upset me or say rude things about my friends and family. I’m still learning to try to brush it off and remember what’s important in this life. That knowing the truth about my friends - my family - me and experiencing their abundant love matters more than what others will say or perceive about them or myself. I've learned someone may call me mean and nasty names but that doesn’t make me those things. I’ve learned only I'm in control of my happiness and how I handle difficult situations. Positivity is a way of life that has to be learned through trial and error.

I have finally decided on a major and am on the straight, but probably still rocky, road to graduate from the tiny little Catholic college here in town. I’ve set a goal for myself for pushing myself physically and I’ve started reading my bible again. I’ve learned to love my fiancé, friends and family more passionately, openly and carefully. I have decided I need to fulfill my long time dream of writing a book – sooner over later. I owe all these lessons to Thomas. I really do…

So today, instead of mourning his inability to be here physically, I feel we need to celebrate his life and the years he was with us on Earth. I would say that all the lessons he’s taught us while alive and after he’s passed shows that he’ll continue to grow older spiritually. He lives inside of each one of us making this our day to celebrate someone’s life we’ve loved so dearly.

Happy 23rd Birthday Thomas!! I’m not sure God, Jesus nor the angels drink Busch Light or Rumplemintz but I do and I hope you’re enjoying yourself anyways ;) 

Until we meet again & with all my love,

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

best fishes on your birthday! love you!

To the love of my life on your birthday,

Where to even begin? I guess I could start by saying, “Happy Birthday Sugar Dumpling Apple Custard Gravy Sparkle Tootsie Roll Sugar Buns!” I can’t believe how much has changed since you turned 23 - a new house, our engagement, Thomas’ passing, my grandpa’s passing, new job, etc. It’s been such a rollercoaster of a year.

I don’t know if I ever told you this but do you remember that study hall we had together like my sophomore or junior year? I clearly remember being bored out of my mind and that’s when I was big into the game, “20 questions” and I was thinking to myself, “Do you think I’ve already met the person I’m going to marry?” I looked around the room. “Ugh…Clark. I definitely haven’t met my match.”

And now look at us. If you would have told me that years ago I would have told you to shut the hell up. It makes my heart smile and I’m so glad because you’re the greatest person on the planet! I’ve never ever loved anything more. No words could express my gratitude and love I have for you.

This day is celebratory for me too ya know! What if you had never been born? I’d still be wandering around wondering if soul mates existed, pondering if I was just compatible with several people and then would just settle for my best match. You have proven that ol’ theory of mine wrong. Soul mates do exist and I’m so happy our souls are mates. J

I love that with time our love ripens. How most relationships the giddiness is in the beginning and then slowly fades out. That our love and our obsession with one another just progressively grows daily. That’s the one thing I most look forward to is the matured love we’ll have years from now. Hopefully my heart doesn’t burst J

I know today will be kind of hard thinking that just a year ago we were all sitting around at your mom’s kitchen table drinkin’ beer and reminiscing about old times together. Sometimes it feels just like yesterday doesn’t it? Just know Thomas loved you so much and he’s with us in spirit observing from above. He’d want you to enjoy your day. Let’s toast to him – he’d want us to be in high spirits.

Thank you for everything – the unconditional love and for always laughing when I dance around the living room in my pj’s. Thank you for always making sure my needs and wants are taken care of and considering me in every major decision. Thank you for always listening and letting me know you think I’m the most beautiful girl just by the way you look at me. Most importantly, thank you for being you…I love you so much. You’ve made my entire life worth living. Happy Birthday Baby.

With All my Love,


Sunday, December 11, 2011

How I asked my bridesmaids.

(Those "flowers" are actually weeds Matt and I picked out of the ditches this summer on our bike rides. Who says a weed can't be pretty? Memories were made!)

I was surfin’ the net one day just doing my rounds trying to catch up on my most favorite wedding blogs. Green Wedding Shoes – check. Ruffled – check. Style Me Pretty – check. Wedding Chicks - ch…”OH. MY. GOSH!!” I thought to myself as I came across a post about Bethany’s DIY wedding bridesmaid boxes (see how she asked her bridesmaids here). I immediately was in awe of the whimsical feel and uniqueness of the bridesmaid boxes the Rinse. Repeat. founder had so fabulously dreamt up!

I followed the link to view her blog and was immediately blog-struck (tee-hee). This girl has a fairytale romance, stunning beauty, a kind heart and creative talent! I e-mailed her to introduce myself like any normal person would do (ha!) and decided I had to attempt boxes similar to hers.
I agreed with Bethany that sending a text saying, "Will U B My B-maid????" wasn’t exactly the personal touch I wanted to approach with asking my girls! I knew who I wanted to ask and that I wanted to make the boxes but tackling this task was going to be a bit difficult.
See, even though I grew up sanding wood in my parents’ wood shop and spent every Saturday of my childhood at a craft show with my mother selling grandma wreath’s and what-not for Kim’s Kountry Krafts. I’m not exactly what you would call artistically inclined. With the KKK we stuck with the 3 main craft décor colors of the 90s: hunter green, navy and maroon. So you can see where anything out of my comfort zone would frighten me right? ; )
Anyways, I decided to give it my best anyways and off to town I went. I had six boxes to do and according to Bethany’s instructions each box took about 2 hours each. From that, I decided to go with a smaller box to save myself some strife. The boxes I chose were only $1.99 at Hobby Lobby – steal!
I then had to decide color, design and font for the box. Most of my girls aren’t “pinks” like I am. I chose a cream color so they could use it as a keepsake and used my blush pink on the inside to give it the Brandi touch. I love anything with a mason jar (totally am drinking from one now). They are so versatile and can do just about anything superpower related…just kidding but pretty damn close! I decided I would do a mason jar background and use letters to arrange over it to spell their names
Now for the inside goodies!

I liked how Bethany included a gift card in her box to let the girls find a dress that fit their style and their bodies. My Mother and I had already found the dresses I wanted for the girls (she was even so graciously kind to purchase the girls’ shoes and dresses for them J) though so I knew gift cards weren't an option.
I thought and thought – wondered and pondered - trying to think of woodsy-ish things that wouldn’t let me stoop as low as stuffing a slaughtered squirrel or coon-tailed hats in their boxes. I finally decided on Twilight Woods body washes from Bath and Body Works because not only does it incorporate a woodsy name and label it is also my – and a couple of my girls’ – favorite scent! I purchased these during a big sale at Bath and Body for about $1.25 each.

Well, I couldn’t just have a box with just body wash included – they would have thought it was a polite gesture asking them to shower right? I liked that Bethany’s boxes contained paint swatches and pictures and I decided to get creative and put together an inspiration board of our woodland fairytale wedding ideas to include too. I wanted my girls to feel they were somewhat in the loop as to what I had in mind. *This is the paper wrapped in the blush pink lace.*

I love love loved how Bethany typed her whole shpeel and so I used that as a template. I thought the “most likely to” was just the darndest thing and had fun deciding what my girls would be most-likely to be on our big day.  I agreed with Bethany about bridal showers and bachelorette parties and just had to let them know that them standing beside me when I marry the man I love would mean more to me than any cake pan and/or penis tiara ever could.


  (See below what I had to say to my girls closer below)

big day:

who: Matthew & Brandi
what: A wedding. A union. A celebration.
when: September 22, 2012 - sunset.
where: Our beautiful home in good ol’ GC.
why: Our souls have found their mates and we’re in love duh!

soul sisters:

I always thought the phrase personal attendant sounded so not personable. To me, it was a bossy phrase. Matt is only having 2 groomsmen so I was torn on how to include my best friends! This is where I came up with ‘soul sisters’. You will be treated equally as a bridesmaid in every detail of the wedding. I will most likely have you walk 2x2 down the aisle to start us off during the ceremony. You’ll have a matching dress, bouquet, etc. I couldn’t stand the thought of you not in our wedding party. You mean too much.

So are you wondering who your fellow ‘soul sisters’ are? (granted they all say YES)
             Drum roll please. . .

Magz: I’m so blessed you took me under your wing in 1st grade. Who knew we’d still be the best of friends? Most likely to: grab an apron if the caterers are a no-show.
©        I love her ability to never stop giving and to always do it with a smile.

Bethany: The most understanding individual in the entire world. Always up for an adventure and would drive 3 hours just to make the tears stop and the smiles arrive. Most likely to: gush over my doll-face and drink their body weight in morgan diets.
©        I love her feisty, golden spirit and her laugh.

Jennifer: She. Knows. All. Embarrassing. Moments. A person I look up to for all she’s been through. A person who can make me laugh from the time I wake up until the time I fall asleep. Most likely to: use her handkerchief like it’s going outta style and keep me looking glam all day long.
©        I love her for her wild dreamer spirit and for her beauty.

Bre: If I was to have a twin, she’d be it. We’ve been through crazy things the past 5 years but it’s made “us”! Most likely to: dance her face off and squeal with me in excitement all through the day.
©        I love her for her selflessness and our ability to understand each other like its nobodies bus-nass!


I couldn’t have asked for fate to send me a more loving blended family. A long time ago (as toddlers) we were all strangers. How amazeballs that destiny brought strangers into our life and turned them into family? I am so happy I am able to call you my sisters and most importantly, my friends. I love you so much!

Britt: The big sis who takes care of all her little siblings. The most loyal person on the planet! Most likely to: call me out on my bridezillaness but, ironically, most likely to give the sweetest speech.
©       I love her for our late night chats and her capability to generously always think of others before herself.

Cass: The most introverted of us all. My fellow lover of all sorts of crazy things! (Barbies, Disney, etc..) Most likely to: pout about not wearing fairy wings.
©       I love her for her hippie spirit and her gift of laughing at all my horrid jokes.

your duty:

Traditionally, the role of the brides’ wedding party would be lots of work throwing bachelorette parties/showers. That’s not what I want. Your presence is all that I need and want. truly.

Your only jobs as my bridesmaids/soul sisters:
©       hold some gorgeous flowers.
©       wipe away my happy tears.
©       dance the night away.
©       realize how much I appreciate you just being there and most of all: how much I love each one of you sooo much.

I included pictures and paint swatches so you can get an idea as to what we’re up to for décor for our “Woodland Fairytale” – “Neature” wedding.

A lot has changed since I first made these boxes. I declared Soul Sisters an official wedding party person so I could still have my girls even if they didn’t have a boy to walk with but now that we’ve included my male siblings they may just be bridesmaids – we’ll see! And our date has completely changed. We are now getting married September 14, 2013! We still are having a “woodland fairytale” themed wedding. Side note: I don’t think the theme seriously could be any more fitting. My life seems to be consumed solely by woodland creatures and Matt these days.
I hope you enjoyed checking out this post! They definitely didn’t turn out as whimsical and lovely as Miss Bethany’s but my girls really appreciated the thought and were tickled I went out of my way to ask them this way. And if I can do it…..anyone can do it!