Monday, August 21, 2017

All Things New

Wow. I can't believe I haven't posted on this blog since last December. So much has happened over the past 8 months. It's been surprising, exhausting, inspiring, scary, you name it, we've felt it. There's honestly no way for me to do a completely thorough update of all that's transpired, but in my attempt to get back into blogging, here's a somewhat brief synopsis. :)

1. Where are we and why
In June of this year, we moved to Nashville. I honestly still can't believe it. There are two cities in this country that have felt like home to us - Charlotte, NC (where we lived from 2011 - 2013) and Nashville, TN. We always hoped to end up in one of them long-term, but we thought it was a long way off. Insert Zach's song "Grow Old" getting randomly cut by Florida Georgia Line in August of 2016. (The record just went platinum FYI. Insert shocked emoji face here...). This thrust Zach's songwriting from the cool, back burner to the immediate forefront of our lives. As he began pursuing more opportunities and publishing options, he started traveling to Nashville frequently. Even though it was hard having him gone, we were 100% committed to Allie graduating from Mount Pisgah (her school in GA) because she was invested there and it was such a great school. (Oh my gosh, if you live near Johns Creek, GA and are looking for a wonderful private school, MPCS is THE place. This school was such a massive gift to us. We will always be grateful and humbled by the opportunity to have Allie attend and treasure the wonderful friends she made there.) Anyway... back to the storyline...In our minds, we were not willing to move prior to her graduation. But God... (doesn't every good story have a "but God" moment?) had VERY different plans for us. He created the absolute perfect storm to push us away from our own plans and towards his. Even though in a lot of ways it did not make sense to us, we just stepped out in faith, believing his way was better than our own and trusting that he had it all figured out.

2. Our new neighborhood
When we began looking for a place to live we knew we wanted to be in the city. We had a very spread out suburban life in Atlanta and I just... hated being in the car so much. It was brutal, especially towards the end when Zach was gone a lot and the interstate had collapsed. East Nashville was the logical choice because it would be close to Zach's work and Allie's school, however living here is expensive and the houses are pretty tiny.
Most the homes are small cottages - like I'm talking under 1200 sq ft with small kitchens, few bedrooms, and street parking in lieu of garages. Since living in East is also very popular, homes are in high demand and hard to find. The area is going through a massive revitalization so developers are buying up old homes as fast as possible and splitting the lots to build "tall skinnies" - basically two houses side-by-side. These are everywhere and is where we ended up. (We're the one on the right!)
By the grace of God, we found a home that met our needs (3 bedrooms, 2000 sq ft, decent kitchen, and a garage for Zach's CrossFit equipment) which seemed totally impossible. It's a brand new house with some lovely details like reclaimed wood stairs and built-in shelving,

a beautiful kitchen with an amazing pantry,

and an awesome view of Ms. Ruth's beautiful yard and cozy home. She's our 83 yr old neighbor who has lived in East Nashville her whole life. :)

Her house by day...
 ...her house by night.
Once I get more rooms done, I'll post more photos. It's been a fairly slow-go getting things how I want them. It's teaching me patience and the benefit of delayed gratification. :)

We are LOVING living here though- the convenience of everything and how easy it is to get around. I am so spoiled. Now, driving 15 min to Trader Joe's is like... such a huge ask and something I strategically plan for. LOL

Here are some of my favorite things in the new neighborhood:

- The plant shops

Flwr Shop 


Amelia's Flower Truck

- The food
Mas Taco
(Taco pic photo cred: The Nashville Guide)
Lunch dates at Cafe Roze
Shelby Park Farmer's Market

All the sweet treats including Paleo donuts at Five Daughters Bakery,

Jeni's (brambleberry sorbet),
Koko's coconut ice-cream bike,
and Frisson soft-serve ice-cream truck.
- The greenways and bike paths we can access from our house (ps. Zach got me this adorable bike so we could ride together. :))

3. What we do
Since March, Zach has been working at Cornerstone Nashville. It's a church unlike any other we have ever been at and it has been amazing to see reason after reason why God brought Zach to this ministry. He is also pursuing songwriting and working with various publishers.  He has two other songs on hold with different artists and we are just trusting God will continue to open the right doors in the music industry.

Allie is now attending Goodpasture Christian School.
Again, we are so grateful for the opportunity to have her in christian private school. So far, the transition has gone better than expected and she is doing really well. I have already seen so much growth in her from last year and am just so proud of the young woman she is becoming. This year she is doing a few advanced classes (including a dual enrollment English class through Lipscomb University for college credit and AP US History) as well as gaining some experience in some new areas of study such as digital audio recording and graphic design. Besides school, she's involved at church, finding volunteer opportunities that peak her interest, and we are starting to plan college visits. I know right?! COLLEGE. We are talking college. I can't believe it. I get this panicked, terrified feeling in the pit of my stomach thinking about how we only have two years left.  I daily have to remind myself that God is in control - I am not - and he has gone before her, making a way. We just have to be faithful each day to take one step forward and eventually we will discover what he has for her.

As for me, I am working as the Creative Director for a new marketing company. The majority of our clients are in either the healthcare or IT industry. Although there are really challenging days, I am so grateful God provided this opportunity. It is stretching me in a lot of ways and causing me to rely on Him to provide for my every need. Not only do I have the blessing of consistent, creative work, but I work from home and make my own hours. I've never had a job like this before so it's taken time for me to adjust, but I am really enjoying the freedom and flexible schedule.

4. Things I am Loving
Besides all of that, here are some things I am loving right now.

One of my favorite places in town is the Opryland Hotel. It has the most amazing garden atriums. Pictures do not do this place justice.

Zach and I came here on a date night and I am planning to bring Allie back here soon to explore and help me find a little corner of paradise to call "my office". haha I totally wanna come work from here like Bob Goff works from Tom Sawyer Island at Disneyland.

Essential Oils
For years I have dabbled in using essential oils, but I finally decided to bite the bullet and actually get diffusers and use oils more universally. I love them and am happy to bring another layer of health and wellness to our routine.

Charlie Daniels
I finally took the plunge and got a fiddle leaf fig tree.
We named him Charlie Daniels (for obvious reasons) and he's become a member of the family. I am trying so so hard to keep him alive so pray he makes it! haha

Allie's bedroom
Speaking of plants... since we gave up having a backyard at the new house, I told Allie we could make her bedroom a plant oasis. She has her work cut out for her caring for all the plants in here!
Once her room is 100% done I will post more pics. There are a few finishing touches to do before it's complete so stay tuned. :)

Books I am trying to read

Confession: I'm not an avid reader. It's hard for me to find time to read, but I'm trying to start a new habit of doing so more regularly. These are the three books I am chipping away at currently, but I cannot wait for this book to come out in the fall! I loved her first book and am just so inspired by her story and limitless faith in Jesus.

I took the plunge and jumped back into leading a DGroup. I did not realize how much I had missed it the past few years. If you are looking to grow deeper in your faith and biblical literacy, there's no better way than joining a DGroup. My friend TLC started this ministry 8 years ago and it has been a blessing to so many. If you are interested in joining, see if there is a DGroup near you on the website or start one in your area! Our current study is on battling unbelief and is based around John Piper's sermon series. Even if you aren't in DGroup it is totally worth listening to on your own.

Besides really digging some of Zach's new tunes (sorry you can't hear those), I am totally loving Brian and Jen Johnson's album After All These Years. It's so peaceful and I love to have this playing on repeat at the house.

5. Things I'm looking forward to

Establishing a new routine
Now that Allie home from all her summer travels and back in school, we can finally establish our new routine. Hallelujah! I think we are all craving normalcy and just... having a regular routine and life balance.

One thing I just did not have time for in my prior life was exercise. I am really looking forward to making this a part of my life again now that I have a flexible schedule and am working less.

Arizona trip
Zach leads worship a few times a year out at Central Christian Church in Phoenix, Arizona. This September will be the first time I've been able to tag along and I'm so excited. Since we didn't have the chance to vacay this summer due to the move, I am so pumped to have a little getaway to a new place this fall.

Speaking of fall, I am so ready to experience this season in Nashville! I can't wait to sit out on the porch with a hot drink and just enjoy the cool, crispness of the season.

What's Next
Honestly, I am just excited and curious to see what God has planned for us in this season of life. Since the past 8 years have been a pretty wild ride, I can't wait to see what the future holds! I hope to do a better job going forward of keeping you all up to date on what's happening and how God is moving. Thanks for following along and joining us on the journey!