Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday Wrap Up!

The holiday season seemed to go by in a blur this year! We were so busy! We began December with a weekend trip to Memphis to see Nonnie: it has been way too long since we were there! It was so wonderful spending time with family and catching up with everyone there.
That weekend Alan had planned to run in the St. Jude Marathon but it was cancelled (1st time in 12 years!) due to an ice storm that came through when we were there. So... Alan received a pass to run in the Country Music Marathon (which is also sponsored by St. Jude) next spring. 
My family actually celebrated Christmas a little bit early this year (the day after Thanksgiving) when my brother Colin was here. It was so special to have everyone together which can be quite the challenge with so many of us! 
Christmas Day we went to my parents' house in the morning and Alan's parents' house in the afternoon. No matter how old you get, there is something special about Christmas.
Christmas was particularly special this year because of a little announcement we made: we are going to be parents! Alan and I are expecting! We are overjoyed and feel so incredibly blessed. A new adventure is about to begin and we can't wait!
video

Saturday, November 30, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 30

Day 30: I am thankful to live in a place where I can enjoy all four seasons. As each season comes, I look forward to it, and when it goes I am ready for the next. I love that about Knoxville. With this month of thanks coming to a close, I look forward to the Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Friday, November 29, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 29

Day 29: With today being Black Friday, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I am thankful for shopping. I know that sounds pretty lame but I love finding that perfect piece for my wardrobe (or Alan's because let's face it, I do most of his shopping too) and I love shopping for others. Whether it be a present for an occasion or just a little happie for no reason at all, I get pretty excited when I find the perfect thing, especially when it's on sale!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 28

Day 28: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Today I am thankful to have family in town where we can see everyone in one day! It was so much fun to spend lunch with Alan's family and then dinner with mine. I love both of our families so much and am so thankful for each one of them!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 27

Day 27: As we prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, I am thankful for food. It is so strange to me to envision the Pilgrims and not only their first Thanksgiving but the awful winter before. I have no idea what it's like to be truly hungry. It is such a basic need that I will probably never fully understand, and what a blessing that is. When I think about food, and praying before each meal, I do it so habitually without oftentimes taking the time to really think about the prayer. While I am thankful, I need to be better at checking my heart and giving God the praise for His blessing.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 26

Day 26: I am thankful for Home. Over the years, I have learned that "home" does not equal "house". As a child, some of my fondest memories are of when my brothers and sisters were all jam-packed into our first house. The majority of my childhood memories are from the house that my parents built which became our new home. Alan and I have moved 3 times in our marriage and even now are not quite "settled" but I have learned that doesn't mean we don't have a home. I am thankful for God's provision and content with where He has placed us. Home is really where the heart is.

Monday, November 25, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 25

Day 25: I am thankful for music. There was definitely a time in my life where I thought going to the symphony was boring but I did eventually how out of that phase. Admittedly, I am the only one of my sisters who didn't learn how to play the piano and it is now one of my biggest regrets, maybe I'll learn one day I keep telling myself. Music is truly so beautiful and powerful and I am so thankful for the many opportunities to enjoy it.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 24

Day 24: I am thankful for church. Alan and I both grew up in wonderful churches where we learned so much about the Lord and Christian community. I am thankful to be part of a church now where the Gospel message is preached, where we can serve our community and the world, and where we are developing sweet relationships that will last for years to come. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 23

Day 23: I am thankful for the St Louis Cardinals. I wasn't really a baseball fan until Alan and I got married but we have had so much fun watching games together. When we were dating, Alan taught me how to keep score to keep me occupied and then I started really being interested in the game. Since then, I have really enjoyed keeping up with the players (Yadier Molina is my fave) and learning more about the game. When living in St. Louis we loved going to the games, and we still try to go back to visit when we can. Go Cards!

Friday, November 22, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 22

Day 22: I am thankful for health. Sure we all have things going on with ourselves and those that we love, but when I think about the lifestyle we lead compared to so many other places in the world, I am quickly humbled that some of the things I complain about are so trivial. We are truly privileged to enjoy the health and well-being that our country provides (as far as the new cost structure of healthcare, I will not go into that here…)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 21

Day 21: I am thankful for books. I have always loved to read but oftentimes convince myself I have too much going on to sit quietly for 30 minutes and dive into my newest book, but each time I do, I am quickly enamoured in the story and frequently go past my allotted time. I am thankful for the genius and creativity God has given to people to write. Last year I joined a Book Club which has been such a sweet and fun time with friends (and most of the time we finish the book!)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 20

Day 20: I am thankful for Knoxville. The city where I was born and grew up and the city that holds so many wonderful memories for me. I am so thankful that Alan and I are able to build a life here now. While we loved living in St. Louis for a year, there is truly no place like home, and as Alan would remind me, nothing compares to Tennessee football too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 19

Day 19: I am eternally thankful to have a LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ. I am thankful for my parents who introduced me to Jesus at a young age and I am thankful for those in my life who showed me that having a relationship with Him is so much more than going to church and knowing the Bible stories. I can definitely look back on my life and see God working and directing my steps. I am so thankful for the Hope that Christ has given me and I think the longer I go through life and the more of this world I see, it makes me ever the more grateful for that Hope. 

"But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; 
upon Him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with His wounds we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5

Monday, November 18, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 18

Day 18: I am thankful for my in-laws. I believe I truly hit the jackpot when I married into Alan's family. They are wonderful! Of course we have our differences (traditions, celebrations, etc.) but Alan's family is one who loves the Lord and seeks to serve Him and others. I couldn't have hand-picked a better family to marry into and I'm so thankful for each of them, their love and acceptance of me, and their desire to support Alan and I are we grow in our marriage. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 17

Day 17: I am thankful for time to rejuvenate. Alan and I spent today at The Spa at the Grove Park Inn and it was truly one of the most relaxing days I think we've ever had. I am very thankful for the chance to rest during a time when life seems to be moving so quickly. It was an incredible day of rest which we both needed and were so appreciative for.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 16

Day 16: I am thankful for road-trips with sweet friends. This weekend Alan and I went to Asheville with these guys to celebrate our friend, Amanda's 30th birthday. The best part is that it was a surprise! We had such a great time hanging out with friends, going to Biltmore, spending time at our cabin, and wandering around Asheville. It was truly a weekend to remember! 

Friday, November 15, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 15

Day 15: I am thankful for Sunrises. We have certainly seen a lot of beautiful ones lately in East Tennessee (this is a view from our porch) and each unique one takes my breath away and forces me to pause for a moment and simply praise. 

"The heavens declare the glory of God, 
and the sky above proclaims His handiwork."
Psalm 19:1

Thursday, November 14, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 14

Day 14: I am thankful for the privilege to travel. Alan and I have been given the opportunity to travel quite a bit together and it has been such a joy to share these adventures with him. We have definitely made memories to last a lifetime and I am so grateful for these special moments. Of course, we have a bucket list of places we would still like to go, but we have both seen enough of the world to be truly amazed by the work of our Creator.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 13

Day 13: I am thankful for my sweet parents. I think the older I get the more I love them and the more I realize just how much they have done for me. They have both shown God's love to me, helped me understand my need for a Savior, and have been strong pillars of faith throughout life's challenges. They were willing to show me "tough love" at times in order to build my character and mature my heart. They have supported my dreams and surrounded me with good people. They have encouraged me to work hard and understand the importance of rest too. I'm sure there are sacrifices they made on  my behalf that I will never even know about. I am so thankful God has put them in my life!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 12

Day 12: I am thankful for UT Football. I'm probably more appreciative since marrying a huge fan, but nevertheless, it has provided countless hours of enjoyment with friends and family. There is nothing like spending some quality time tailgating with those you love and then cheering on the Vols with 100,000 other fans. Truly, it is one of the reasons that Alan and I decided to move back to Knoxville, you think I'm kidding when I say that, but I am not. We are blessed to spend our fall weekends  enjoying life in Neyland Stadium. Go Vols!

Monday, November 11, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 11

Day 11: Today I am thankful to live in a free country, and more importantly, I am thankful for those who have served and are serving for that freedom. It is such an incredible blessing and I will probably never fully understand just how truly fortunate we are to live in nation that was founded upon biblical principles and freedom. There is so much I take for granted each and every day, so many liberties I don't even think about. I am thankful that as a nation, we recognize and honor those who allow us the privilege to enjoy those liberties. Of course, I must give a shout out to my brother, Colin, who is currently serving in the United States Marine Corps. General MacArthur said it best when he stated, "I have just returned from visiting the Marines at the front, and there is not a finer fighting organization in the world."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 10

Day 10: I am thankful for my siblings- Patrick, Maggie, Colin, Christa, and Annie, I love you all so much! This weekend I was especially reminded of what a gift they are when I was surprised at Neyland Stadium by Colin! He has been in Japan for the past year serving in the USMC and I wasn't expecting to see him for another couple of weeks, such a treat! We have definitely had our share of disagreements over the years but God has truly blessed me with each and every one of them. I am so thankful for family and grateful that we have become friends over the years in addition to siblings, yes- so very thankful for them! 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 9

Day 9: I am thankful for the beach, specifically South Carolina beaches. I literally spent every summer of my childhood going to the beach for our family reunion aka the DCB. It was a great week of fun in the sun and time with extended family that we didn't see often enough. Alan and I have also taken a couple trips to the beach and always appreciate how relaxed everything is and how rejuvinated we feel coming home. The beach is definitely one of my happy places and I can't wait to the "DCB Reunion" next summer! It has been way too long!

Friday, November 8, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 8

Day 8: I am thankful for Date Nights with my hubby! Today was a very busy day at work to say the least and when I got home we decided to go out and have a relaxing evening which was exactly what I needed. We went to one of our favorite Italian places, Carrabba's. It was wonderful and I am so thankful to unwind after a long day with my best friend!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 7

Day 7: Like I said before, it's the little things and another little thing I am thankful for is candles- specifically my new favorite: Rewind Candles. I love how a good candle makes your home smell lovely and is so relaxing. Even if my house is a reck, I can light a candle and its smell makes my home smell beautiful. If you think I'm crazy, I apologize. Seriously though, if you've never heard of Rewind Candles check them out! They smell amazing and have a great business philosophy too!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 6

Day 6: I am thankful for my job at U.S. Cellular. I have been with them for over 11 years so obviously I like working there. U.S. Cellular has been a company that has taken such great care of me: tuition reimbursement, re-locating us to St. Louis for Alan's school, re-locating us back… yes, I am blessed to work for them. U.S. Cellular is also an organization whose values align very closely with my own and I am thankful to work for a company that does business the right way and treats its associates and customers alike with appreciation and respect. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 5

Day 5: I am thankful for friends. God has placed some pretty amazing people in my life and I cannot imagine walking through life without them. I am thankful for the early morning breakfast dates just to catch up and the late nights out on the town to unwind after a long day. I am thankful for laughing together until we cried and crying together because we're also sharing life's difficulties. I am thankful for friends that have become as close as sisters and sisters who I can be friends with. I am thankful for friends who are willing to speak truth and encouragement even when it's tough. I have been so blessed by friends, my hope is that I can in turn be a blessing to someone else.

Monday, November 4, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 4

Day 4: Oftentimes it's the little things in life that I'm thankful for and this is one of them :) Trader Joe's Sea Salt and Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds… yum! (you can thank me later!) A friend of mine introduced these delicious treats to me and several of them are just the thing if I'm craving something sweet. Pick them up the next time you're shopping at Trader Joe's! 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 3

Day 3: I am thankful for nature. Alan and I had the best time today hiking Abram's Falls which is a 5 mile hike in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. We were able to drive through Cades Cove which is beautiful this time of year and we had perfect weather for a quick hike. Every time we go up there I am just in awe of God's glory through creation. What a mighty God we serve!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 2

Day 2: I am thankful for the Junior League of Knoxville which is a wonderful organization where I can volunteer my time and skills and truly see how as a chapter we help make Knoxville a better place by serving the community. I am thankful to be on a great committee this year: Leadership Knoxville where I have had an amazing time meeting new people, helping out with the sessions, and learning about leadership myself.
Last week I spent some time helping with the set-up of one of our annual fundraisers: Tinsel & Treasure which is a holiday shopping event at the Knoxville Convention Center. And then today, I went shopping with family which was so fun and a great way to kick off the season! 

Friday, November 1, 2013

30 Days of Thanks: Day 1

I've never done one of these daily blogs but I thought: what the heck, it's a good motivator to stay consistent with my blogging and I can't think of a better topic: giving thanks. I've found that it is sometimes hard to give thanks, in fact, it can be a lot easier to complain at times. However, I usually find myself confessing this attitude to the Lord and praying for a heart full of gratitude instead. I just finished reading the book The Hiding Place and wow! That's a testament of giving thanks in all circumstances if I've ever seen one (I would also highly recommend the book!) So here goes!
Day 1: I am thankful for my husband, Alan. He is my very best friend. He knows me inside and out. At times, I am humbled by his love because he knows me so well. He knows when my heart is ugly and sees me at my worst (usually when I'm tired and/or hungry or both!) He is the spiritual leader of our household and someone who challenges me in my own walk with Christ. He loves my family (I love his family!) He has a great sense of adventure and lives life to the fullest. Yes, I am so thankful for him.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

#Halloween #Gatsby

Once again, Alan and I had a fabulous time at J+J's annual Halloween Party! We decided to do something fun and simple this year: Great Gatsby! …and it turned out really well if I do say so myself! As always, it was wonderful spending time with sweet friends from college that we don't see nearly enough. I am so thankful that we've all stayed pretty close through the years and thankful for their friendships. We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with E+P which is always a treat!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cades Cove

As Alan has been training for his marathon he has tried to run a lot of different places to keep it interesting so today we drove up to Cades Cove for him to run "the loop" which is a beautiful and scenic 11 mile trip. Katie and I drove and met up with Alan at different places to encourage and provide water. It was a gorgeous day!
We saw some horses at the very beginning on the loop :)
There are several small quaint country churches up there.
God's beauty everywhere!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

TN Valley Fair

Alan won tickets to the TN Valley Fair so we went on Sunday night with the rest of his family. The fair is one of those things that you can easily talk yourself out of going to but once you're there you have a great time. It definitely has some of the best food (funnel cakes and fried oreos need I say more?) and people watching in East Tennessee.

The carousel almost looks enchanting from a distance... almost.
All in all it was a fantastic night!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Cheers to 30 Years!

Last Thursday Alan turned the Big 3-0! I wanted to do something special to celebrate so we had a party this past weekend. I am so thankful for his life!
I loved that so many people came to celebrate with us! Nonnie we missed you!!!
Cheers to 30 Years!
One of Alan's goals was that when he turned 30 he would run his first full marathon... 26.2 miles. He is currently training to run in the St. Jude Marathon in Memphis this December. In lieu of gifts we asked people to donate to his Hero Campaign to help him reach his fundraising goal. You can learn more about that here and if you want to donate we'll send you a koozie or two!



Knowing Alan you understand that we not only had to have the UT game on but the Alabama/Texas A&M game too, ha! It was a fun day for football (but not the Vols, sadly).
Go Vols!

my sweet parents
my siblings except for Colin which we left a space for :)


BBQ, mac n cheese, baked beans, potato salad, and a green salad... yum!
It was an AMAZING fall day and we had awesome weather!



group picture!
Natty Em's made Alan's birthday cake for me and Natalie did an incredible job! I was so pleased and everyone loved it!


You're never too old to blow out a few candles... make a wish!

beautiful sunset
Towards the end we built a fire and it was the perfect night for it!
Happy Birthday, babe! I love you!