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THANK YOU. No, really, thank you. Earlier this year I posted a little blog about five things I wanted more of in my life (beyond more naps - because let’s be honest, I really want more naps.) It was merely a wish list that I was throwing out there for you to either accept or dismiss. I shared my dreams for the off-season and the adventures that I hoped would come my way. Three of those five included: shooting more video, capturing an elopement, and shooting in the mountains. Well, guess what? I am off to shoot photos and video of an elopement in the mountains near Seattle. What’s even more amazing is the people I am shooting for and with… this couple, oh this couple. They have the sweetest of stories, a focus on love, and a sense of adventure. They want to discover, adventure, enjoy the world together and they want that all to begin atop a mountain with only the two of them and someone who can legally marry them… Yes, we get to be official witnesses to this marriage.
When I say the word we, I am referring to myself and my dear friend Tami, who I met in Seattle a little over a year ago. We both participated in a CreativeLIVE course together and there our friendship began! When she caught wind that I was returning to our city, she was all in and wanted to join the adventure. We will be flying out and spending five days among the city that not only brought us together as friends, but captured our heart through our two visits to the rainy city last year. Even better than that, we will be staying with a couple who I absolutely adore and just met in Costa Rica when Drew and I were there a month ago. They happily opened their home to us and have been nothing short of amazing in our planning process…. Talk about worlds colliding?
Well, Universe. Thank you. Thank you for not throwing my dreams back in my face, for allowing me to dream out loud and for somehow getting everything to fall into place just as it should. Also, thank you for Dan from GoDaddy who helped me fix my broken blog. I lost sleep last night thinking that a years worth of posts and life were gone, Dan, I would kiss you if I was next to you. (Sorry Drew!) It’s off to Seattle for the third time in a year, I am forever giddy at this opportunity. Life is so good. Grabbing the umbrella and packing my St. Vinny’s suitcase, here we come!
Oh hey, it’s Friday – stick around and waste some time…. seriously.
“I don’t really want more time; I just want enough time. Time to breathe deep and time to see real and time to laugh long, time to give You glory and rest deep and sing joy and just enough time in a day not to feel hounded, pressed, driven, or wild to get it all done-yesterday.
“…the secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt He is.”
Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy. The whole of the life — even the hard — is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesimals, I miss the whole. These are new language lessons, and I live them out. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is this: to give thanks in this one small thing. The moments will add up.”
- Excerpts from Ann Voskamp: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
There’s plenty more to read about, so don’t leave just yet:
It’s been a year since I last wrote you a letter from hundreds of miles away… Last year it was Seattle, this year it is California. There you are, at home, probably cleaning with vigor and snuggling our dogs. So much has changed in the last year and yet so much has remained constant. We’ve always been crazy connected, text messages throughout the day is our thing. Whether it’s a sting of “I love ya” messages or a grocery list of things to pick up before coming home, we can’t go an hour without one another. It’s when I am away from you where I really stop and think about how truly amazing you are and how incredibly lucky I am. (I probably will have to tell you to read this, because you could care less about my blog and I kind of dig that.) I mean, I kind of in denial that someone actually wanted to marry me and wake up next to me every morning, because we all know how good I look in the morning…
You have never told me to stop dreaming, you never stifle my ideas (no matter how crazy) and you only yell at me when I ask to take your photo sometimes. You didn’t turn your back when I told you I wanted to leave corporate America and become a photographer and you stood by me as my dreams evolved into something entirely different than we ever expected. You are a constant support, when I feel like I just might break into a million pieces… you are right there to pick them up and put me back together again. You somehow accept my daily messes made in a creative frenzy and have let me decorate the home with things that you will never fully understand. (I promise it looks okay, ok?) You greet the dogs with kisses every day – even if you do kiss them before you get to me and you spend your evenings watching whatever shows I want to watch while pretending you hate them – even though I know you secretly love them.
Thank you for allowing me to travel so much, for encouraging adventures, for not rolling your eyes when I am booked for our summer, for trying to understand what the heck I am thinking when I tell you I am flying to another state with strangers next week. Thank you for being my biggest fan and the man who wakes up next to me and does life by my side. Truth be told, there’s no one I’d rather do this whole life with. You are pretty much the best thing ever and I hope I tell you that daily. Five years later and we still have our own secret language, still kiss each other goodnight, and still fall more in love with each other every day. I promise I’ll try to be cleaner when I get back, I promise we will take a weekend trip to California so you can teach me about wine, I promise that I will never, ever take your love for granted. I am so lucky and I know it, hundreds of miles can’t stop that.
Give my pups a kiss for me, I’ll be home soon!
Enough of the mush, here’s some more to read… okay, some of this is mushy too:
I have never been shy, seriously, ever. My mom always recounts stories of me being a tiny little blonde girl on ice-skates, (with double blades and unicorns to be exact) who would approach the high school girls with one heck of a pick up line. “Hi my name is Jenna, J-E-N-N-A, want to be my friend?” And then we would ice-skate for hours and they would buy me gummy worms. It worked like a charm, who didn’t love the cute five year old with a wicked double axel? (Kidding, I pretty much pushed a chair around the rink.)
This past year I have sounded crazy about a million times as I tell my friends about my travels, flights, and the fact that I usually show up in a new place without having a plan or knowing a soul. (I sometimes surprise myself actually…) From flying to Dallas to shoot an Olympic gymnast who I met on Twitter and then staying the weekend with people I met on Instagram, to going to Seattle twice and sharing a hotel room with three other girls who I had never met, I have been adventuresome to say the least. The truth is, if you believe it will all work out, it usually does. (Save the lecture, mom, I am always smart and safe about things!) When you get out of your comfort zone, you are most likely to grow. I remember when my mom would leave us at bible camp every summer and part of us would panic and the other part would celebrate. It’s scary and new and you wonder what people are thinking but usually they feel the same way you do.
These are my adorable friends turned BFFs in Dallas who I met on twitter and stayed with for a long weekend.
This past year I have caught over 20 flights alone to destinations I had never explored and have met some of my dearest friends on the planet (they accepted me, even if I was painfully awkward.) Today, the journey continues, I am flying alone to California for the first time ever and am spending the weekend at El Capitan Canyon near Santa Barbara with over 300 other photographers from all over the world. We will be glamping (read: glamorous camping, a word autocorrect has yet to learn) learning, teaching, and shooting… not to mention enjoying s’mores around campfires and hiking to the beach.
Every year I try to do some sort of workshop and this year I was struggling to find one that interested me. Since working from home, my attention span is comparable to my Jack Russell’s and thus I needed something that would keep me moving, give me fresh air, and offer world class education. Um, hello camping in California. Some of the greatest photographers in the world will be teaching classes from posing to lighting, editing to marketing, styling to videography… I kind of feel like a kid at Christmas. I don’t know a soul and I will probably awkwardly approach people with my pick up line that worked when I was five, but I’m okay with that… I know it will all work out and it’s times like this when I am thankful that I have never been shy and wine will be available for purchase. Get ready for your feed to flood with California goodness (say a prayer it doesn’t rain all weekend – the forecast isn’t looking too pretty) and if you are too anxious to wait for it all to be blogged, hop onto my Instagram: jennakutcher. Hello there, my name is Jenna: J-E-N-N-A, want to be my friend?
TGIF, stick around and waste some time – I promise it’s worth it:
We get asked all of the time when the whole “kid” thing will happen, truth be told, I have two kids already – three, if you count Drew… actually, I take that back, I am more of a kid than he is. My kids just have four legs, longer snouts, and a lot of white fur (and dip dyed butts!) Truth be told, that desire to be a mom is no where on my heart – in fact, the thought of it terrifies me. At least once a day I think up a reason why I shouldn’t have a child: I can barely clean up after myself, I love taking naps, I can’t discipline to save my life… the list goes on and on. It’s so funny because this whole “American Dream” of growing up, getting a degree, landing a job, marrying your soul mate, buying a home, adopting a dog, and then starting the kid bandwagon is something that makes me laugh… I mean, isn’t the American Dream to follow your dreams?
I get that some people were born to be parents, in fact, a ton of people I know are those people (and my friends.) If I’m being honest, I totally thought I would be one of them. I babysat when I was a kid, was a nanny for a summer, took care of my little sister, and am a notorious baby holder. I am natural with children, love to give them kisses and think they are cute – most of the time. Once Drew and I got married and the reality that we could start a family was actually real, I realized there’s a lot of life I want to live before (and if) we decide we want to start a family of Kutchers. I mean, at least if the time comes my kid will have great food (did you know I eat macaroni at least once a week…. and don’t even get me started about grilled cheese sandwiches.)
The other day I got so mad at little Tuck. He is the cutest little boy, but my goodness, he can be naughty sometimes. I try to set ground rules (as much as that is even possible with 10lb dogs) but I am a total sucker for their tail wags and smiles – yes, our dogs smile… they look like the dogs on the Dentastix commercials. Over the last year we have worked with him on breaking his bad habits that he acquired in his poor little life before he came to us. He had lifted his leg somewhere in the house and I had just had it. I yelled, he shook, ran to his crate where he shut himself in and I couldn’t bring myself to lock the door. He looked so sad and so instead, I sat on the floor as he climbed out of the crate and into my lap and covered me in kisses. I couldn’t help but let the madness melt away as I scrubbed the floor and looked at him hiding under the table… seriously, how could I ever discipline something I love so much. Proof I am not ready for that whole parenting gig (also, did I mention, I love naps?)
The truth is, I want to put it out there that the American Dream might look different for everyone. It’s not right or wrong, it’s not set in stone, and it’s something that only you can decide (with your spouse and family.) Some people may be painfully struggling to start a family while others know that it just isn’t in the cards for them at the moment. I want to travel, to chase this photography thing, to sleep in, to do life as I please for awhile longer. (Don’t even get me started on the fact that I book my life out two years in advance… the logistics of that is mind boggling, at best.) I want to try out being an aunt, thank you to my brother and sister-in-law for making that happen soon – sorry mom, but we aren’t helping with the grandma thing for now… I always knew Joe was the best kid. I want to come and go as I please and take care of myself – oh, and learn how to cook actual meals. (I’m selfish and I know that, that’s one bonus to being self aware.) For my friends who are parents, I bow down to you. I don’t know how you do it but you are all excellent and way beyond the realm of things I can’t even give due credit to. While I sit on the couch with my fur babies in my lap, I know that this is right. My life is where I want it to be and I am not saying never, I’m just saying not now. Hello, I am only 25 years old… maybe when I am 30. Okay? Friends, let’s just be happy my dogs walk on four legs and can’t talk because they would probably reaffirm the fact that I should wait a few more years before even entertaining that whole motherhood thing.
Don’t you dare think about leaving me, there’s so much more for you to read:
I am a hopeless romantic who lives for telling love stories. I am addicted to hot lattes, yoga pants, and macaroni and cheese. I am a wife to my beloved and a devoted puppy mom. I am a wedding blogger, a fashion fanatic, and a woman who seeks adventure. I’m just a Midwest gal who loves the north woods and wants to travel the world.
I am in this to tell stories.
Love stories, about couples just like you.