Category Archives: church

gcpc happenings

RESURRECTION

where we sit in the back, eat pizza, role their eyes at me and all the photos, go to the arcade, get a lecture on shot glasses, and make andy feel uncomfortable.

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MISSION TRIP 2015 – OKLAHOMA

this year I went on the mission trip.  I don’t know why but I went.  we went to oklahoma and spent a day in texas.  we missed our first flight.  we got a quick flight to Houston where I thought we were going to be stuck until we died.  they split our group and sent me and 4 kids to new orleans (to connect to dallas) and as we were getting off the plane we heard the last call for that flight.  we made it and got to dallas.  I asked the lady at the counter where andy and the rest of the kids were and she said what do you mean they are in Houston.  I told her no.  because andy told me they were on a plane about to take off (I just didn’t know where to and when they would get to dallas with us).  she looked and said what is your name…I told her…and she said oh it looks like you are still in Houston too!  so apparently there was a black hole in Houston (I believe it) but she finally found that andy and one youth was on a plane to Tulsa (I knew he was with the rest).  we were reunited and the rest of the trip was very go with the flow.

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while my group was stuck in dallas we were sure we would never see our friends again.  we knew we would be stuck forever.  we made plans to get jobs while we waited when we ran out of money.  we planned our meals.  we found with outlets a corner and hunkered down.

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waiting to load the rental van.  it was so hot.

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we did yard work and some minor building repairs at a church (associated with the Choctaw tribe).  there were some down times, so we did a lot of random photos (trying to do best impressions of band cover photos, awkward family photo, or just weird photos)

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we saw some wild life a toad that went to sleep.  and a snake.  not a rattle snake but let’s be honest any snake is pretty much a cobra.

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in some of the down time I got to walk around the church campus and down the road to get pictures.

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we explored the town a little bit.

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the people there were wonderful to be around and fed us amazing food.  at the end of our time there they gave us handmade gifts.  on the last day while two of the youth were helping finish up a project the rest of them played volley ball.  you could tell how happy that made the church members.  they talked a lot about the hope that our youth gave them.DSCN7256 DSCN7264 DSCN7292

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putting up with group photo shoot

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our cabins were nice.

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on our free day we went to a lake (that was still flooded from a few weeks before).  we went to the casino for lunch.  we were told that there was a lot to do at the casino for kids (but that part wasn’t open yet).  we went to a durant.  there wasn’t much to do there.  but we made the most of it.

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we went to texas to the childrens home.  we helped with some yard work.  pulling weeds and trimming trees and bushes.  it was miserably hot and humid.  but we were able to work slow and take a lot of breaks.

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we celebrated with a night on the town in denton, tx.  it was a wonderful little town.  we had a blast.  we shopped.  had dinner.  had ice cream.  listened to music.  and at 9:19 it was still 94 degrees outside.

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we made it to the airport early just to be sure we didn’t miss another flight…only to have that flight delayed.  it didn’t matter.  we made it and I survived.

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MONTREAT

this year we had a bigger group so we had two houses.  we had a blast.  it was a very fun dynamic group of kids.  one of the houses (our main house) was close enough to events to where kids came and went.  we had a great porch that over looked people walking to and from different places and so our kids would yell “hey” as people walked by.  we became known as the “hey porch house.”  I will say I was very proud of my kids.  one of our youth got stung so I asked if anyone had any tobacco products to put on the sting (no punishment or questions asked – and everyone said no)!  we had tent city next to our porch.  at the girls house we had a cut out of a coyote and it kept moving around the house.  it was pretty funny.

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HIGH SCHOOL LAWN PARTY

kick off the school year right!

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MIDDLE SCHOOL LOCK-IN AND BON FIRE

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COLOR WARS NIGHT

we made our own color chalk and did games with the chalk….it didn’t work out as well.  next time we will just buy the stuff.  it smelled funny, was the consistency of weird jello, and the kids spread it on the ground and rolled in it to try to get it to stick.

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CORN MAZE

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I think that catches me up from church activities.  I know there were a lot of things I didn’t have my camera for, but this is a taste of the past year thus far!

gcpc 2014 recap

it seems only fitting that on a sunday i do a recap of the youth group from 2014.

a look back at our youth group.  a lot of the middle school events aren’t captured because I am mostly with the high school youth.  it is always fun to look back and see how the youth have changed physically, but also to remember the events and see how they have changed on the inside as well.

we went to resurrection in january.  it was cold.

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youth sunday happened.  cleo our 2014 senior gave the message.

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lawn part to kick off the school year

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church picnic at locust springs.  there were two donkeys that wondered in to say hello.

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we had a high school lock in on Halloween night…it snowed.  the next morning i woke up at 5 and took a picture.  luckily it didn’t stick around long.

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we went to montreat in july.  i love montreat (it is a thin place – we have been told).  i am sure the kids hate my camera…but i enjoy it and so they put up with it.  i know that in a lot of the pictures they kids aren’t smiling…apparently it is a game that we play.  they act like they are miserable and i allow it (they do have to smile for a few photos).  they really are having fun – i promise.  bob retired.  we miss bob!

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took a group of kids to charlotte to carowinds.  andy got sick (didn’t puke – but pretty sure he wanted to).  i road boo blaster and shot some monsters.  it was a short but fun trip.

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high school progressive dinner.  i enjoy taking group photos, but just start taking the pictures and keep taking them and see how long they will put up with it.  sometimes i act like i am taking pictures but am really doing a video.  they are always such good sports.

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middle school bon fire at the farm.  it was huge.  it was a hot fire.

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we went and helped at gifts for kids (and played a little too).

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just a taste of 2014.

our 2014 seniors

since we work with youth we have a lot of kids (spanning all of the churches we have attended).  we get to spend time with them in their best and sometimes worst moments/years/days.  we get to be there for the hard questions about faith and life.  we get to see them laugh at themselves and at each other during stupid youth group games.  we might send them home at the end of the day (or week), but they are our kids.  we are proud of them when they accomplish something they feel is great/huge and we are proud of them when something small happens and they don’t even know that they should feel proud.  we try to be there for them when they need us and a lot of times they are there for us when we didn’t even know that we needed them.

one of the things that stresses me out the most about working with youth is what if i am wasting their time?  what if what i am telling them isn’t deep enough to make them claim their faith as their own?  what if our discussions are only on the surface and what the youth needs is to go more in-depth?  what if on the weeks we have serious conversation, the youth really needed to play stupid games to get their mind out of a dark place?  what if what we are trying to do and say never sinks in?

it is at graduation time that i look at our kids growing up and see that they are moving on.  they have not only graduated from school, but from youth as well.  i can only hope that they have gotten something from our time together because the time i had with them (held captive on sunday/wednesday evenings) is gone.  there may be a short conversation in person or through social media, there might be a phone conversation, but the dynamic has changed forever.

as we watch them go across the stage at graduation or talk with them afterwards i look for glimpses that they got something from our time together.  that even if they got nothing else from youth that they at least understand that we are proud of them, that we will always be here at a moments notice and that we love them so very much as if they were our own.

a little late – but congrats class of 2014.

cleo was our senior class for gcpc

(with her brother (wyatt) and bff (emma) at church for graduation cleo sunday)

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i love going to graduation here.  it is a little more fun and laid back.  they actually talk about God (at our graduation that was a no-no).  they get to go crazy at the end throwing their caps and having silly sting (at ours they threatened to hold us through summer school).  it is great to watch the kids having fun and celebrating their graduation.

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we were also lucky enough to be able to attend morgan’s graduation (a former youth that moved to VA right up from where we live now).  luckily we didn’t have anything else going on that day of her graduation so we were able to attend.  while she was walking across the stage she did a selfie with the administrative staff on the stage – it was funny.  not only did we get to see morgan we got to see travis (another former youth who happens to date morgan).

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unfortunately jackson (another former youth) graduated on a thursday that we already had stuff going on.  so we missed him walking across the stage and the big graduation party, but we made a point to stop in and see him and celebrate a little late with him.

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we couldn’t be any more proud of our kids and of all of their accomplishments.  we are so glad that we get to be a part of their lives and to celebrate these milestones with them.

Dec. 2013

if November was long and exhausting December was just as crazy.

that tree that we brought home from charlotte got put up (not really in a timely manner but it got put up and decorated (finally).  each year at Christmas we have a real tree.  i grew up in a home with a fake tree (we always traveled at Christmas so it didn’t make sense to have a real one) and andy grew up in a family that had a real tree.  we compromised and now we have a real tree (the compromise is that andy will water the devil out of the tree because i am so scared it will catch on fire – too much rescue 911 as a child).  back to my point…each year when andy brings the real tree in the house Otis gets so excited his entire butt wags.  this year he seemed overly excited so we sat him down and explained that the tree wasn’t his and he wrinkled his forehead and dropped his ears and looked at me like i ruined his life.

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dec 5th would have been leslie’s 30 birthday.  i can’t believe it.  i miss her so much.  on top of being a little sad anyways it was a day from hell at work.  there were cancelled clinics, emergency case to go to surgery, bumped surgeries because of the emergencies, rude people and nothing went right.  tension was high among all and at the end of the day we all just looked at each other and shook our heads.  it was a train wreck of the day and i was glad to get home and be off that train for a night.  i will say with as bad of a day as it was my coworkers are rock stars and make even the worst day manageable.

the next day i was freaking out because i couldn’t find my camera cord.  i looked everywhere and called all of the places i had been to make sure it didn’t magically jump out of my camera bag.  this panic went on for a few weeks.  (no worries i found it after a few weeks – in my bag that i never unpacked from thanksgiving – that will teach me to not unpack).

dec 7th dr. scott (nat) took the girls to Asheville for our Christmas gift.  we did some shopping and went to grove park inn for dinner.  it was so much fun to hang out with all of the ladies outside of work.  we shopped until we almost dropped and thankfully we ran out of time because we ran out of room in the van.  on the way home we ran into some thick fog and thought we were going to die…but we didn’t.  we laughed and laughed.  i love these ladies!

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i bought a lawn ornament (ok yes i did but i love it and i have no shame).  it is a tobacco stick with two old records melted and painted to look like a flower.  i will post pictures this spring when andy lets me put it in the yard.  he wasn’t all that excited about it.

we put out Christmas decorations.  each year a little more gets added to our yard and i LOVE it.  this year we added a little snowman and some deer to the doghouse and the word noel.  it looked so great.  the wind was really bad so we had some issues with our big snowman and the deer but it all worked out.  one night when i was doing laundry i heard the wind blowing really hard and looked out the window and saw that a deer fell over and the snowman had his head blown back and arms out so it looked like he was praying for the deer.  it was really funny (or maybe you had to be there).

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i will share other Christmas decoration photos of the inside of the house soon (in another post).

Otis had a seizure on thee 21st.  he seems to be doing ok with it and had no lingering effects.  just slows him down for a little bit.  i had this long to do list and in the middle of being productive he had the seizure.

other big news in dec is that we updated our phones.  we both now have iPhones.  i no longer have a flip phone.  it has been a little weird.  i still don’t really use it other than to call, text, and take some pictures.  i don’t really use the internet or anything that will use up data.  just don’t feel right about that for some reason.

we went to a surprise graduation party for david (nat’s husband).

we had Christmas here.  Otis got boots and hated them.  once we get his nails trimmed we will post a video of him wearing them.  he played with Bryson.  they ran in the house and chased each other.  they howled and screamed together.  it was really funny.  my grandmother got a headlight and it was so funny to watch her and my great-aunt open gifts.  Otis also had a blast playing and wouldn’t share with dad even when he got in the floor to play with him.  we were also very thankful that Andrew got back to the states.  he was deployed overseas and it was great to see him and to know that he is “home.”

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we went to charlotte for Christmas.  we had fun with the family.  andy, erik, and Katie got hornets gear and had fun reminiscing with that!  we got the girls a bug this year (ellen is too young to use it but it should last until she is older so that they will get a lot of years out of it.  cj isn’t so good at driving (at least she wasn’t when she got it) hopefully she will get better before she turns 16!

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andy also decided to do no shave november and i didn’t notice until the middle of dec that he still didn’t shave – so he looked pretty shaggy.

a little cousin was born in december:  logan ross made his appearance and him and his mama are healthy and his daddy is proud.

church was crazy.  we had a ton of events that seemed to be unending.  we had the progressive dinners for the youth as well as a ton of special services.

as much as i enjoyed seeing family and friends this wasn’t the best December.  it just went by too quickly and i felt like i wasn’t able to enjoy it like years past.  we didn’t get any Christmas cards out this year and i hate that.  i felt like we rushed and scrambled to “do” Christmas and all we accomplished was barely surviving it.

to celebrate enduring the end of a crazy year, 2013, we went to the cabin for new years eve to relax.  we did nothing but relax.  we went shopping one day for a little bit but the other time we spent playing a new great game – crack the code on the dvd player.  it was bought at an auction and has a parental lock on the dvd player and we couldn’t watch any of our new movies.  we still have a great time.  Otis woke me up one morning and i got to see the sunrise.

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happy end of 2013 and beginning of 2014

nov. 2013

 November was a long month in many ways.

my mom and dad both have birthdays in November.  dad the 5th and mom the 18th.

mom and dad awards

(my mom was awarded nurse of the year!  ok maybe not but she should be!  she was awarded for being at the hospital for so long)

i cried my first time (maybe second time) at work (i mean really cried) because i was so angry at a mean person who wouldn’t stop yelling at me it just frustrated me to tears.  it was also a time i was reminded at how awesome it is to work with wonderful people.

one morning we got a call that my aunt ann passed away.  November 19th.  (i am going to get on a soap box for a few minutes…sorry in advance – listen to your doctors and communicate with your family).  ann was my only “real” aunt.  my mom was an only child and my dad only had the one sister.  sure i had several great aunts but she was my only real aunt.  i have so many memories of her – good and not great.  i can remember when we stayed in tn for part of the summer that sometimes we got lucky and would go to her house to eat dinner and spend the night (if my grandparents had meetings).  we would make personal pizzas from scratch and would set up our tables (ironing board with a sheet over it) and would watch movies with her.  it was something that we didn’t get to do often, but will and i enjoyed it when we got to.  i remember baking with her growing up.  i remember helping at the green house when i was little (planting and helping deliver).  i remember many conversations with her and her support.

there are some iffy memories in there too that aren’t as positive…i remember the time that i offered to help her at the green house after we moved and she snickered and laughed at me because it “wasn’t my thing” and the unending comments about city people and country people.  but in a time of mourning and death i think it is customary to try to push those out of ones mind.  looking back those things don’t change the fact that she was my aunt and i loved her and i will miss her.

the other day we were standing in the green house and it was very surreal (as death is to me) knowing that she isn’t coming back.  i looked around and part of me was mad that she didn’t take care of herself better and that she wouldn’t listen to what the doctors told her and she was so guarded with her personal life that nothing we could say would change her mind about that.  that was who she was and at her funeral that was the message that we got.  even in her stubbornness she was who she was.  in those moments of anger it made me think of her funeral and at her funeral we laughed.  we told Jamie to keep it light and real and he did.  it was the most beautiful memorial service and the perfect send off.  in the good and not great, and the anger and laughter, and expectations met and not met there was love and at the end of the day that is what i choose to cling to.

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my aunt was an organ donor at the time she passed away and i was the one that talked to the screening people at the donation organization.  i am an organ donor because i like the idea and thoughts behind it.  i will be honest i never really knew what that meant.  i never really thought about what that means for the people that are left behind.  while i understand completely the need for the questions i was asked, somewhere in the middle of the million and a half questions i thought i have no idea on some of these answers.  on my soap box i would like to tell everyone and anyone who will listen – talk to your family…make sure they know your history and wishes as detailed as possible.  after i got off the phone (an hour conversation) i was exhausted.

will came for the memorial service (actually the service was delayed 10 minutes waiting on him since his plane was delayed.  we took him to the farm and it was so funny.  the ganged up on him and tried to take the treats.  i will post pics of the farm in another post.  but here are a few with the family.

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it snowed.

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church harvest auction with guests jed and lisa.

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thanksgiving happened. it was later this year and to be honest it was bad.  it made me lose a week before Christmas and that was so bad.  we went to charlotte for thanksgiving and it was great to see family and friends.  andy was glad to see tall buildings.  we got to see cj and ellen which is always fun and an adventure.  i had another allergic reaction to thanksgiving dinner but i was prepared and had medicine on hand to stop the itching.  i think i have it narrowed down to what dish i am allergic too, but still researching that.  who knows?!  cj wanted to take pictures with my camera.  i only had a mild heart attack when she almost dropped it so from now on if she has my camera the strap has to stay around her neck (she is ok with this).  she took mostly blurry photos and picks of people’s knees but with a little help she can center people and take a good photo.

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we also went black Friday shopping.  it was great to be so close to stores…

we also got our tree from the church and brought it back to tn with us.  it was really funny watching all of the cars go back towards charlotte with trees from the mountains and we left charlotte and took our tree to the mountains.  it was very scary for me.  i had a slight freak out when we left charlotte and could envision our tree rolling off the top and taking out all the cars around us.  so i kept an eye on it.

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we made it home with no trouble.

the only other thing i can think of is that andy trashed ace of base (i love ace of base and am still slightly upset over that) but, that pretty much wraps up an exhausting November.

oct. 2013

in an attempt to catch things up to start the new year out right i am going to sum up month by month (i think).

oct 15th 2013:  Otis turned 10.  we had a birthday cake (which translate to wet food) and he got a new toy that he loved.

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we did a lot with the church:

Greeneville homecoming game, regular youth group, youth at one of the families homes, went to the pumpkin patch (and froze).

went to the charlotte races.

andy made our first chili for the cooler weather.  i told him what to get at the store but told him to use common sense and don’t make a ton.  i got home and he made like 10 pounds of chili.  we ate it for weeks.  i am over chili for a while.

several people celebrated oct. birthdays and unfortunately we couldn’t celebrate in person with all of them…but we love them all.

well i guess that pretty much wraps up Oct.  (I will be honest – i am sure that things happened that i am forgetting about…but i think i did good for remembering that much).

wellingtons and rock stars…

i don’t know if i posted anything about the video contest at church so to catch you up if i didn’t…there was a video contest at the church.  (the groups had to create a video based on their interpretation of a scripture).  the grand prize was star treatment for the night.  the group that won had 5 people in it so the night went something like this.

we met at the church and took the church bus to johnson city.  (we looked into a limo and that was WAY too expensive so church bus it was – and they always beg to go in the bus).  we got on the bus and told them their two choices for dinner and the chose wellingtons.  as we started our trip to jc i gave them all a beverage (like on a plane but without the rolly cart and the peanuts/pretzels and the pink cocktail napkins smelled like old people).  we had left over drinks from another event so they had limited options and small cups – so just like a plane.  instead of a salty snack all we had to offer them were skittles.  holden made our reservation while we were driving down the road – did you know they had an ap for that?  we got to the restaurant and parked down the street because the bus was too big (and like stars that have to walk everywhere – or something).  they weren’t ready for us so we sat in the lounge area and had some waters and sodas.  we got seated at the table and ordered.  i had the filet and it was wonderful.  seriously the best steak i have had since we have moved.  i think it compares to the ones at firebirds.  (side note: we had firebirds when we were in charlotte last weekend and i almost cried because it was so good and i missed it).  when the check was paid we looked out (because the lights flashed and realized that it was storming like crazy).  andy ran to get the bus.  we treated the kids to starbucks and then headed home.  (we were nervous that the dog was going to need a bath since it was raining and storming…but he was good – and the power even flashed).

it was a wonderful night celebrating their victory and finding a great fancy place to go eat and celebrate birthdays.

bitterness party of 1

ok wow look at me 2 post in one day…but this isn’t a good post this is a post that i need to vent and why not write (since this might be a new thing for me).

right at 5 (our time) andy’s phone rang and it was little rock.  this was one of those phone calls that he had to wait on (he got an e-mail to expect the call) so  all day we have both been praying like crazy and our minds have been going crazy with what happens next.  well, the call came and it wasn’t good news.  i mean i guess in a way it was good news because that means that we can fully decorate for Christmas (we are still deciding if we are going to do a big tree or a little tree) that makes me happy.  it also makes me happy that we won’t be leaving and trying to move over the holiday.  it makes me happy that maybe we can find something a little closer to our families.  it makes me happy that we got to fly together and see part of the states that we haven’t seen together.  and it makes me happy that we were able to go through this together with little bickering and a lot of love and support.  it makes me sad and mad also.  it makes me sad because we have to stay in our current situation which doesn’t make us feel warm and fuzzy.  it makes me sad because we don’t get to buy a new house right away and we don’t get to “move” together (with a moving truck and everything).  it makes me sad because i know that the church was really cool and the people seemed really nice while we were there.  it makes me mad that they said no.  it makes me mad because i know that andy could have done a great job and that he was qualified to do the job.  it makes me mad that we flew all the way there and gave up a weekend (my mom’s birthday weekend) to go there and spend time apart instead of taking an “us” vacation.  it makes me mad because we have to start back at square one.  it makes me mad because i feel like we were led on.  but when i sit back and think about it we did pray that if it wasn’t right that it wouldn’t work.  and we prayed that it would be clear if we were meant to be there and obviously we weren’t.  with the rollarcoaster of emotions that we are both feeling right now we know that we are in this together and that there are possibilities out there and that the right thing will happen.  we know that we love each other very much no matter what happens.  andy is my hero and i am constantly amazed with his strength and love and passion in all that he does in life.  we will close this door and not dwell on it and not let it ruin our holiday season or dictate who we become.  we will let it shape us and we will move on.  in my honest humble opinion little rock is missing out (but we still pray that they find the right fit for them).

blank stare

saturday morning we both rolled out of bed and ambled down the hall for breakfast in the hotel.  i will say i perked up when i got close because i remembered that i could make waffles BUT when we got to the little breakfast area there were about 10 7 year olds and they were surrounding the waffle maker.  bummer.  oh well we ate and packed our things and checked out of the hotel.  we sat in the lobby and waiting on our ride.  pam came and took us to look at houses in the area so that we could see what the market looked like.  i will say i was surprised at how much house you can get and for the money.  we saw several houses, some we didn’t like, some we liked, one we wish we had the money to fix it up, and one we loved.  (in this case i am assuming that andy felt the same way that i did about the houses – normal i won’t speak for “we” unless i know that it is true, but today i didn’t make sure that he totally agreed with me).  after we drove around for a few hours we went to the youth building and had pizza lunch (it was really yummy) and had doug’s first pie that he has ever made and some great brownies made by maggie (a youth on the search committee).  we watched a slide show of the past year that ken put together and had a debriefing meeting.  i will be honest i felt like i had a blank stare on my face from the time i woke up until the time i went to bed that night.  it took me a little longer to process what people were saying around me because i was so tired.  i felt like we left there with a lot of questions answered and more asked and next steps talked about.  we said our goodbyes and monica (member of the search committee) and kyle (her son) took us to the airport.  we checked our bag and went through the searches and walked to the gate.  andy got us a drink and we waited.  we tried to talk a little bit but we were a little mentally overloaded.  we had no problems on the plane ride to atlanta.  when we got to atlanta we weren’t hungry enough to eat dinner so we split a cookie and had some coffee.  we waited at the gate and waited at the gate.  we learned that we were about to board a plane that was from honduras and so they had to do a sweep of the plane for extra security measures.  once they did that (45 minutes later) we got on.  it was the biggest plane we were on this trip.  andy sat on the outside aisle, i sat in the middle, and a soldier sat next to the window (which i was glad since we were on an emergency exit he could get the door open).  i talked to him a little bit.  he was from nappa valley, ca and has lived all over.  he currently resides a few miles from my parents home.  he is getting home from 7 months away (i believe he said he was done and home for good) and is leaving in 2 weeks to see his wife (hasn’t seen her in almost a year) because she is in training etc so they are meeting in vegas while she is on leave.  i over heard the solider sitting behind us telling someone that he is on leave to see his mother that has stage 4 liver cancer and he said he hoped that he would make it to her house before she passed away.  the lady he was telling said that her mom passed away the week before.  at this point i realized that i am listening to too many conversations so i try to sleep.  doesn’t work.  we had an uneventful flight about 30 minutes and landed.  got our bag, caught a shuttle, found the car (unharmed), and drove home.  we got home to an otis free house.  it sort of makes me sad when we walk in and he isn’t wagging his tail.  but we ate (im pretty sure) and we passed out in bed.  the next morning we over slept (who didn’t see that one coming) so we got up a little in a rush and we went to church. 

we have been doing a lot of reflecting on this past weekend and have been  going crazy with making our pro and con list.  regardless of what happens with this job and a potential move we got to see a really cool city and meet some truly wonderful people.  so while we wait on final answers we pray and we remember our whirlwind weekend in little rock.

face to face

so i left you guys in the airport trying to find baggage claim…

it was one of the longest walks of my life…we got off the plane and started walking to where the people picking us up would be.  we knew they would have a sign but this was the first face to face meeting and first impressions mean a great deal (no matter how many times you try to deny it).  we expected to see a sign with our names on it next to the baggage claim but we were surprised to see 4 people standing as close to the terminal they could get without having to go through the security gates.  as we approached we say a sign welcoming us and 4 people: cathy, eric, ian, and lindsey.  i honesty thought i would have a few more feet to compose myself and prepare myself for our first face to face impression.  we shook hands and andy grabbed our bag off the conveyor belt and we walked to the parking lot.  eric and lindsey went to their car and we got in the car with cathy and ian.  before they took us to the hotel we drove around little rock and saw things at night since everything was beautifully lite.  we drove by the clinton library, heifer international’s head quarters, the capital building, the river (and saw the pedestrian bridges), and the church.  we drove by the church but an event was just letting out so we didn’t pull into the parking lot.  it was such a beautiful city and i was really surprised by it.  i don’t know if it was because i was expecting something much bigger or if i was expecting to see crazy monsters behind trees.  but it was beautiful.  they drove us to the hotel and we unloaded our stuff and checked in.  when we got to our room and went in there was a beautiful basket made by the search committee.  there were shirts, bracelets, cards, candy, fruit, rice (local), bbq sauce, and a lot of other things with a sweet letter.  it really made us smile after the long plane rides to get there.  we talked about the next day a little bit and were asleep before we finished our thoughts. 

friday morning we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel.  it was really good.  we met eric and cathy in the lobby and started a long day of never stopping.  *side note: to get everything done in 1 and a half days we had to go go go, we knew and expected that and i thought that i was trained and prepared for that, but we were both wore out when we got home* we drove out to the beautiful camp ferncliff and had a brisk tour.  we flew around in the solar golf cart and saw the camp.  it was completely evident that they care about the campers with the attention to detail that they have put into the camp.  after that we drove around a little more and saw more of little rock and went to lunch at bosco’s.  we met doug and debbie there.  we had a great lunch and time to talk with more people on the search committee.  after lunch we had to rush to the church so andy could meet with the staff and i had a meeting with howard for potential job leads.  (he is the dean of social work program so we also talked about that).  after my meeting and half of andy’s meetings we had a tour of the church (it was beautiful).  after the tour cathy took me back to the hotel and andy had more meetings.  he came back to the hotel in time to change clothes rest for a minute and then we went to dinner at debbie’s house.  (have you noticed that food plays a lot into our days?)  it was wonderful!  andy went with a few of the youth to get yogurt and i stayed at debbie’s house and talked to the rest of the adults.  we had a good time and laughed a lot.  it really amazed me how comfortable i was (sometimes it takes me a while to warm up to new places and people).  andy got back and we sat around and talked and laughed a lot.  we went back to the hotel and crashed….