Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Plan, A Path, and A Perfect Time

It is with great joy that I write this post to update you all on the latest development in our story, our life, and our ministry. 

So much has happened over the past year, but also, so much hasn't.

I am humbled and overjoyed to now be at a place where a much bigger piece of God's plan has been revealed to us and our very specific path (that seemed chaotic at the time!) makes a lot more sense. Thank you Jesus for the blessing of understanding!

God definitely works in mysterious ways. Ways we will never fully understand as they are so vast and beyond our understanding. I actually am pretty thankful now he feeds it to us a little at a time! Ha!

As previously mentioned in the post 'Promised Land Living', this year has been a "wilderness time" and filled with lots of questions, confusion, and asking God "Why?" about a million different things - jobs, distance from Allie, ministry, relationships, etc. We followed God's call to Florida last February and have always been certain of this decision even though in many ways we didn't understand it. Through some really difficult circumstances we desperately clung to God's promises and the belief that he does "have a plan to prosper and a hope for the future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

While trudging through the year and taking reasonable steps forward (thank you Elizabeth for encouraging me to do that!) God was investing a TON of time preparing us for something we did not expect. At all. And definitely not this soon.

After our much needed time away to pray and rest (pictured in the 'Second Honey/ Sabbatical' post) God  directed our hearts to begin looking for another opportunity. We randomly stopped in Charlotte, NC to have lunch with a worship leader friend of Zach's, Kyle Dillard. After having a really encouraging and uplifting time with Kyle, we began talking about Charlotte. Zach was strangely drawn to the city and even more strange - had applied to a church there over a year ago before we ever moved to Florida. On a whim, Zach followed up with their HR director and low and behold... the job was still available.

15 months later.

We were stunned by this and Zach's immediate connection with staff even over the phone. After a WONDERFUL interview weekend in December, Zach accepted the position as their new Minister of Music and Worship. Words cannot express how full our hearts were after this time serving alongside Forest Hill and how many specific prayer requests God answered through this opportunity.

This ministry position is unique in a lot of ways and so perfectly suited for Zach. It is a blessing to see how God deliberately prepared him for this specific opportunity at this specific time. A year ago, we were not ready to be at FHC and they were not ready for us. Since Forest Hill has three campuses, Zach will be joining a staff of 3 other worship leaders. How cool is that? Zach is beyond excited to work with this team and collaborate with these men. It brings us so much joy to be walking beside others doing the same, devoting their life to leading worship through music. I still am stunned on a daily basis God would trust us with such a huge responsibility and use our life to bring him glory.

In addition to this, God has already provided strong, spiritual mentors, lifelong friendships, a house, means to move, and just... coordinated all the nitty gritty details of this move virtually overnight. It has been so amazing to see how God has been working in all of us over the past year (us, Forest Hill, and Beachside) and preparing us all for this transition even before we ever moved from Atlanta. God is so BIG. Besides just blessing our socks off, God has also taught us SO much in a relatively short amount of time. It's kind of exhausting, but we are so thankful for it and truly humbled by God's love and presence in our life everyday.

Anyways, I know this post is already super long, but I hope it brings you all a plethora of encouragement and faith that God IS working, in all things, even if you can't see it at the time.

Also, this is our formal announcement that we are moving to Charlotte January 4th (uh... SO CRAZY SOON) to join Forest Hill in ministry. Obviously our blog title will change soon so stay tuned for the new Charlotte-themed logo! :)

Please join us in praying for everyone involved in this upcoming transition - the congregation at Beachside, the people of Forest Hill, and us. A lot of times people treat ministry moves like professional job changes, but in many ways it is not. As followers of Christ we will always be united in God's love and that itself is a beautiful blessing of change. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Year In Memorandum

2010 has been a big year for us. Actually that's probably an understatement.

This year we've:

1. Gotten married.

2. Left Atlanta and moved to Florida to begin our first year of marriage and ministry together.

3. I became a stepmom to the coolest girl EVER.

4. Allie turned 10 and she spent over 4 weeks with us in Florida.

5. Zach spent over 200 hours in transit to and from Allie in Alabama.

6. We started a new business.

7. And a new hobby.

8. We visited three new cities (Boston, Nashville, and Charlotte for me, Boston, Savannah, and Asheville for Zach).

9. And two new states (Massachusetts and Maine).

10. We sold a Land Rover.
11. Totaled a Honda Accord.
12. Bought and sold a vintage motorcycle.

13. Were graciously given a truck.
14. Got a new Honda and had one tire blow out, one tire shredded on a curb, backed into a tree, got rear-ended by a moving truck, and got hit by a buzzard and boar. All separate incidents. ALL RIDICULOUS.

15. We had our first house together on the Halifax River (inter-coastal waterway).

16. Zach surfed for the first time.

17. And I jet-skied and rode in a helicopter for the first time.

18. We saw a sea turtle nest and space shuttle launch.

19. I was unemployed for 9 months (and still counting...ugh).

20. We lived without cable (thank you Netflix and Hulu).

21. I designed a wedding dress (well, that was 99% Corinne!), a light fixture, and two pieces of furniture.

22. Zach did a truck load of graphic design work.

23. We started songwriting together and wrote two songs ('Are You Here' and 'He Will').

24. I gave Zach a turquoise piano.

25. And Zach traded a guitar to give me a great new camera.

26. We've had more dinners and hang time with my parents than in the last five years combined. (Thank you mom and dad for your constant support and help.)

27. We learned more about ourselves, our passions, and our strengths and weaknesses than I thought possible.

28. We've also learned more about humility, pain, God's will, and true love than I thought possible.

It's been a fun year, a painful year, a year of first's, and a year of heavy refinement. With 2011 right around the corner and new opportunities on the horizon, we could not be more excited about where we are going and grateful for where we've been.

To all our friends and family, thank you for your constant encouragement, support, and love as we continue on this crazy journey called our life. It means so much to us to have you walking with us through the good times and bad. Love you!

Stay tuned for more shenanigans and more unexpected twists and turns to come in 2011! :)

Friday, December 24, 2010

Under the tree

So I had to post about this today because it seriously made me cry last night.

As previously stated on the blog, I love to wrap beautiful gifts. It's fun and tactile and creative and just... so enjoyable to give something lovely you spent a lot of time on to someone else. Until last night it did not occur to me that someone (Zach) was paying very close attention to this and my attraction to beautifully wrapped presents.

Before our 4 course feast was to begin, Zach was acting very suspicious and secretive in the living room, not allowing me to come in or be near the tree. I figured he was preparing gifts, but I had no idea he had taken such time and put such thoughtfulness into wrapping MY gift!

Zach has NEVER wrapped a present before in his life (seriously not a one. He's a "gift bag" type of fellow) so this sort of extreme wrapping took him hours, shopping for the unique 'vintagey' materials and doing the labor. He even picked a fabric flower I could later use as a hair piece since he knows I love accessories.

When Zach revealed the gifts I was completely stunned. I could not believe he had gone to such lengths to make my gift so much more beautiful than paper or what was inside the box. His love for me, attention to things I like and say, and determination to make something special I would adore touched my heart in such a profound way and is the best gift of all.

As I began to think about our incredibly precious and personal love for each other I immediately recognized it embarrassingly pales in comparison to how much Christ loves us. That thought it so overwhelming to me especially during this time of year. Jesus loves us infinitely more than anything we can think or dream of! That is so magnificently humbling when you really think about it.

Thank you Zach for your amazing love and how you show me a tiny piece of Christ's love everyday. Words cannot express my gratitude for you, our love, and our life together. You are my lobster! :)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Christmas Eve Eve Feast

This Christmas is unusually hectic for Zach and I. Because of our ministry commitments and travel schedule, we don't have a ton of quality "holiday together time" Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Because of this we decided to make Christmas Eve Eve (December 23rd) a special night for us to celebrate the season in style.

I love to cook, but have not done much "serious cooking" lately due to traveling, busyness, and $. Tonight though is going to be an exception. I am really looking forward to our gourmet feast and special candlelit time together.

What's on the menu you ask? For the first time in my life I will actually serve a four-course meal (five courses is just ridiculous for 2 people. Ha!)

1st course: asparagus soup with herbed goat cheese

2nd course: crunchy sweet brussels sprout salad

3rd course: stracotto with porchini mushrooms and french onion potatoes

4th course : truffle tarts with raspberries

If you are interested in the recipes, most of them are from the Food Network since I watch this channel while working out at the gym. Ha! If you don't want to hunt them down, email me and I'll send you a PDF.

Enjoy your holiday cooking and family feasts! I know we will :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Art of Wrapping

One of my favorite aspects of the holiday season is gift wrapping. I know that sounds ridiculous to a lot of people, but I find it so inspiring and just... another way to let those creative juices flow.  In past years, I have literally shopped for Christmas wrapping like I would a gift. Actually, the process was much worse than gift shopping. Ha! I would go from store to store (Target, Swoozie's, Container Store, etc) eyeballing all their papers and beautiful gift accessories before deciding on what my wrapping scheme/ concept would be for the year. All the gifts would then be wrapping differently, but in coordinating papers and colors.

So pretty!

My hunt for paper usually ended at Container Store's "Gift Wrapping Wonderland." LOVE THAT STORE. AH.

This year, since the budget does not allow for such frivolous activities :), I have taken to admiring a lot of different wrapping styles and ideas. I love vintage "Anthropologie-ish" detailed ideas using lots of fabric and textures as well as creative recycled ideas using maps, newspaper, buttons, etc. Check out some beautiful gifts below!

There's something just so lovely about opening a beautiful gift. The gift could be a pack of string cheese and if it was wrapped like this I'd think it was the best gift in the world! Ha! Presentation is everything :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Goodbye Good Bike

So today we actually did what we've been talking about doing for weeks.
With heavy hearts we sold the awesome 1968 Honda CB 350 motorcycle that has been, well, like a good ol' friend to us these past few months.

When we moved to Florida we knew our transportation needs would be much lighter than they were in Atlanta. In an effort to save some bucks Zach sold his old Land Rover and replaced it with this much more efficient and compact mode of transportation. This old bike looked brand-spanking-new since the previous owner had fully restored it. It was definitely a find and we truly enjoyed it's beauty and vintagey "Benjamin Button-ish" character.

Sadly, our needs are different now and so off goes the awesome bike to hopefully another owner who will love it and care for it as much as we did.

We will miss you old bike!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Grateful for a Gift

I love getting gourmet food in the mail.
It doesn't happen often, but it is such a huge treat when someone sends us a goodie! My dear friend Sara Pilger recently sent us a LOVELY box of Wolferman's english muffins and specialty spreads and it has totally made my WEEK.

If you are still doing some holiday shopping I totally recommend this as a gift idea. It's awesome! They have a bunch of other types of pastries and breads, but we highly recommend the maple almond english muffins. They are our favorite!

Thank you Sara for your continued outpouring of generosity and friendship. We are so grateful to have you in our life! 

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chocolately Goodness

I love chocolate. Hot or cold, solid or liquid, dark or semi-sweet. If having yourself hooked up to a chocolate iv was an option, I'd probably be first in line. :)

At this time of year I find myself completely and totally in love with this stuff...

Mmmm. Hot chocolate.
There's nothing like it. Nothing makes me feel more cozy than sitting in the living room,  sipping on hot cocoa, and enjoying the lights on the Christmas tree. NOTHING.

AH. Wish I could do this year-round!

In case you were wondering, my favorite kind is Land O Lakes chocolate raspberry and chocolate supreme. You can sometimes find individual packets at Publix or occasionally Walmart. I HIGHLY recommend giving it a go sometime soon because it's fantastic and will make you feel all Christmasy inside. :)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Family Portrait

We were totally overdue for a family photo of all three of us, so we tried to snap a few while Allie was here over the Thanksgiving holiday.

It's a wee bit challenging to take photos of all three of us. Ha! At some point in the future we are gonna have to get some other rockstar photographer like Beka Hood to take some legit pics, but for now these will do. :)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree

In our family, the Christmas tree is a symbol of the Christmas spirit - joy, warmth, family, and of course remembering and celebrating Christ's birth. My dad has a special love of the Christmas season. He loves Christmas so much that each year he drives from Florida to North Carolina to get Fraser Fur Christmas trees for our family and about 15 other family and friends.
Yes I am completely serious.
He loves to do this and spread Christmas cheer through his unique tree service. :) Since Zach and I were dad's last tree delivery he helped us get ours put up and in place.

As expected we had a great time decorating the tree as a family, listening/singing Christmas music and enjoying the warm glow of candles and Christmas lights.

dad delivering our perfect tree!
dad and Zach putting it in place
Zach putting up the lights
Allie in the ornaments

through the branches
Our first ornament. Thanks Aunt Susan!
the finished tree!
Us in an ornament!
We love Christmas! :) Hooray for such a lovely time of year!

From our family to yours, here's our little Christmas video to wish you all a Happy Christmas!