Saturday, November 29, 2008

So much to be thankful for's 5:45am...David just left for work at Starbucks a half hour ago, and John, Melis, and Linz are sleeping in our living room. I couldn't get back to sleep after David left, so I figured it would be a perfect time to blog! I was lying awake thinking about all that's happened in the past few days, and all of the things we have to look forward to. I have SO much to be thankful for!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and this has been an unbelievable weekend of friends reuniting. John, Melissa, Josh, and Caryn all arrived Wed. night to share Thanksgiving with us and the Hamiltons. I loved heating up our tiny kitchen Thanksgiving morning and cooking some delicious dishes with my sis, Melis. Then we brought everything over to Nick and Katie's, where the finishing touches were being made on the turkey and other delicious treats. At 2:30, all nine of us sat around a long table beautifully decorated by Katie, and laughed and talked and raved about the turkey, stuffing, orange cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn casserole, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, whole wheat rolls, and southern sweeties sweet potatoes. Everything was homemade by different people and it was quite the feast!

Then, in a way that only close old friends could do...we switched the conversation to a more serious tone as we all took turns sharing what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving. I love that it is so easy to be with these friends...and just talk and laugh the hardest I've laughed in a long time, but it is just as easy to share with them on a heart level and hear about their lives, and what the Lord has been showing or teaching them. One of my favorite things someone shared is that the Lord is our ultimate hope.

So after the decadent meal (and of course a second round), the guys did the dishes/clean-up, and I was able to talk to my mom and dad, and sister, Mickey. It was my first Thanksgiving not in Colorado, and I miss my family a lot, but I am thankful that they were all together! Then, we all worked off some of the meal by playing at the park...frollicking in the leaves, playing with Charlie, and throwing the frisbee. Then, my dear friend Lindsey arrived in time for desserts, wassail, and games. The guys had some intense convos. in the dining room, while the girls sat in the living room and talked until late in the night.

Yesterday, we made waffles with strawberries, and eggs with veggies for breakfast. Then, we let the Christmas music fill our home, as our three guests helped us decorate for Christmas! It looks so festive! The only thing left is buying and decorating our tree, which will probably happen today. After a quesadilla lunch, we met the rest of the crew, along with Katie and Ryan McCulley at our favorite park in Knoxville. The guys played disc golf, while us girls looked at Katie's wedding scrapbook and took a little walk. I'll have to post the group pic as soon as I can. We were all astounded to have a reunion of eleven great friends, that all went to CSU, right here in Knoxville, TN!

After the McCulleys headed out for Nashville, the rest of us enjoyed delicious Italian food and wine at our new favorite restaurant...a tiny, family-owned Italian place called Savelli's. And finally, the night commenced with a bit of caroling, Christmas music, and talking over cookies and hot drinks at our decorated home!

It has been an AMAZING past few days, and I am so thankful that God has given us great friends like these from encourage us, support us, and always have such a great time with!

I am also thankful for:
*David - He is such an amazing husband! Not only does he work so skillfully at two jobs to provide for me, but he has also been such a supporter, leader in making hard decisions, constant encourager, and best friend.
*Nick and Katie - They are such great friends, and we have been so blessed by their hearts to serve us and love us. They are so fun to hang out with. We also are thankful for all of the rest of the Navs staff here in Knoxville.
*My bible study - I have loved leading five freshman girls through John this semester. It is the highlight of my week to be with them. They are all so fun and sweet, and they are hungry for the Word, and learning how to love Jesus in all of their different life situations.
*Christmas in Colorado!! - I can not even wait to come back to Colorado for Christmas, and get some much-needed time with the Hillmans, the Tetens, other friends, visiting our old church, etc! I miss everyone there so much...and I am counting down the days til I'm in snowy CO again.

But above all else...
"...I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..." (Phil. 3:8)
He is the Provider of all of these good things, but more importantly, He died on a cross, so that I could have life with Him forever! Now that is something to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tennessee so far...

Hooray! We are actually, finally starting up our blog! David has done all of the nitty gritty of setting it up and loading a slideshow of pictures. If you haven't already seen some of our Tennessee pics, you can click on the slideshow on the left side to view them. And we'll definitely add more soon.

Tennessee has been a huge change for us, but overall pretty great. Right now, fall is in full swing in Knoxville, and the colors are unbelievable! It has taken me too long to finally sit down and write this...but here is a little update on our past few months:

First of all, we have loved being Associate Staff for the University of Tennessee Navigators. It is always the highlight of our weeks whenever we get to lead our bible studies, meet with a guy or girl, or help Nick and Katie Hamilton and Steve Magoon (the full-time Navs staffers) in planning events or ministry details. We have been so embraced by all of the Navs staff here in Knoxville, which has been super encouraging. And we love hanging out with the Hamiltons! They are a huge source of support to us, they serve and love on us constantly, and they are so fun to spend time with, exploring TN. We have also loved watching their excitement and anticipation grow as the time for their baby nears...December 26!

David is working at Starbucks and showing Tennessee his unbelievable black apron skills. He is recognized daily by everyone the expert on coffee, and an incredibly hard worker who sets the bar high for everyone else. I am definitely proud of my coffee master husband. He also just started a second job working with John Reese (another awesome Navs guy here who also does Associate Staff). He is installing cabinetry into brand new upscale high-rise condos in downtown Knoxville. He gets to wear a hard hat everyday and use all kinds of dangerous tools. Both make me a bit nervous, but he is loving this new manly job.

I have been working at a daycare in west Knoxville for about a month and a half now, as the lead teacher of a toddlers class. It is for sure really tiring and somewhat stressful to be with eleven two-year-olds all day...but I'm trying to focus on the things I enjoy about it...such as getting lots of hugs everyday from the cute little kiddos.

Obviously a lot else has happened...our one year anniversary celebration in the Smoky Mountains, a lot of parks and frisbee golf, travelling to North Carolina, and then to Gainesville, David picking up the hobby of fly-fishing, finding a church we really like, a wonderful visit from Mom Teten, etc, etc....but this post is already pretty darn long. So thanks for reading the update on our lives in Tennessee so far...

It is wonderful to know that we have the love and support of our amazing family and friends...even if you are many states away! We love and are so thankful for you!