Sunday, August 31, 2008

Home Sweet Home

The moving truck finally arrived on Friday morning! Yeah! We spent all day unpacking and trying to get settled. It is so easy to forget how much stuff you really have until you are trying to fit it all in a studio apartment. We have done all we can for now. The outside storage and laundry room isn't finished yet, so we are at a stand-still until we can get the rest of the boxes into the storage room. I did take a break from the shuffle on Friday to go to an interview at a great school in Claremont. Last week Patrick and I hit up fifteen schools with my resume and I will hit another fifteen on Tuesday. Because of the budget situation as well as the credentialing process in California, it is impossible for me to get a job in the public school system this semester, so we have been hitting all the private schools within a 30 minute drive in all directions. It would be ridiculous to worry about it, considering God's faithfulness in all of the details that brought us to this place. We are so eager to get settled so we can check out L.A. and all of the amazing places out here. We will be sure to post pictures of our new place as soon as we get it all together. Love you guys!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Arrival

I know I am lame because it is taking me forever to get the rest of our road trip up, but we have been going non-stop since we got to California. The morning we left Vegas we were able to spend a few hours with our friend Doug before we hit the road. He is in the air force and was there for a few weeks when we passed through. It was great getting to hang out one last time. He took us around to some casinos we weren't able to see the night before.....crazy beautiful. Again, it is unbelievable how much money goes into these things. From there, we left for Pasadena, which may be the coolest city ever. I LOVED Pasadena! Old Town is such a quaint place with the best shopping and food you could hope for. We ate some great Mexican and spent the next day walking around Old Town and hanging out. The first thing I noticed was how absolutely incredible the weather is in California. It is cool in the evenings and early mornings and completely comfortable during the day. I loved the fact that we didn't have any sand gnats attacking us either. We spent the day looking at places to live, but Pasadena is a tad outrageous.....even for California.

Until yesterday, we have spent most all our time here looking for places to live. We were prepared for it to be more expensive, be we didn't realize how expensive things really are out here. It was more than a full-time job. We would leave first thing in the morning and look all day until just before dinner. After dinner, we would get online and look for places to check out the next day. We would come home discouraged most every night. We both spent ample time praying that God would make the decision an easy one. We prayed for wisdom and clarity...and it came. Without making this story any longer than it already is, we found a great studio on CCV's classifieds page online. The front house is owned and occupied by a young couple in the church and they have a brand new studio behind the house. Although it is small (and we haven't figured out if we will be able to fit all of our furniture in it), it is extremely affordable and our rent includes all of our utilities, cable, internet and the rest. It was a God-send. Yeah! We will be moving in on Friday....can't wait.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Road Trip Day 7

Day 7
So, I know this post is pretty late.....sorry. We have been crazy busy trying to find a place to live in Cali. I am, however, going to finish the road trip series to put closure on the whole thing. On day 7 we left Flagstaff, Arizona to head to Vegas with a stop at the Grand Canyon. We were a little nervous that we may not be able to get in because of the dam flooding, but it worked out that it was open. When we got to the gates of the Grand Canyon we both acknowledged that we couldn't believe we were actually here. We had seen pictures in movies and always knew what it was, but we were about to see it with our own eyes! We were so excited and we weren't let down in the least. It was AMAZING! If you have never seen it in person, you must. Patrick and I couldn't believe how off our depth perception was. It is near impossible to fully grasp how absolutely humongous it is. For as far as the eye can see there is nothing but canyon and rock. I must say that if you do ever get the chance to go, take bug spray. We were attacked by these minutely tiny bugs that we could only see against Patrick's white shirt. I can't say much more about the Grand Canyon but "WOW!" You just have to see it for yourself.

After we had a quick bite for lunch, we started the drive to Vegas. Neither of us have been to Vegas, but we had heard crazy stories. Vegas was insane. We ate dinner on the strip and walked around for a couple of hours. There is so much money in Vegas. The buildings and entertainment are huge and very "in your face." There is actually a roller coaster that goes through part of the strip. I can't explain it. It has the same effect on adults as Disney World has on children. Second to money, sexual content saturates the city. There are newspaper holders on street corners full of magazines displaying women for hire. Every few feet there are people trying to give you a card advertising a woman for hire. There are driving billboards full of provocative images. It is terribly sad. Even the coffee shops involve sexual content. We passed by a coffee shop that was named Sexpresso, as opposed to Expresso, where women would serve coffee in lingerie. That is ridiculous. We walked through the casinos and watched people squander hundreds and thousands of dollars away. You can't imagine how luxurious and high-class some of these casinos are. We walked through the famous Bellagio, Venetian and many other casino/hotels. We did gt the chance to watch the dancing fountain at the Bellagio. It was awesome and even romantic! If you ever go to Vegas, you have to see it. Besides, it was cool getting to stand where the gang from Ocean's 11 (or 12?) stood after they robbed Benedict.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Road Trip Day 6

We started the morning in Albuquerque intending to go on the Sandia Peak Tram, which I have been looking forward to for weeks. The day was beautiful, with the exception of a massive cloud over the peak. What are the chances? There was zero visibility. We settled for the botanical gardens, which were beautiful! It was so interesting to see the different kinds of plants and flowers here in this climate. We saw a ton of cacti, dried peppers and even a real roadrunner. By the way, a real roadrunner isn't as big as the cartoons would have you believe. After lunch we headed to Flagstaff, Arizona for the night. Flagstaff turned out to be a great town. It reminds me a lot of Asheville, North Carolina. The downtown is quaint and small town, but full of great shops and places to eat. We ate a great place called Mountain was delicious!

Road Trip Day 5

Day 5
We left Dallas Sunday morning to head to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We were warned that the drive through the rest of Texas was horrible.....and indeed it was. I am sure that there are comparable drives, but Texas might be the most boring state to drive through. There is nothing in sight but flat land and oil rigs. Seriously.....I would have never imagined that there is that much vacant land in the U.S.--no need to worry about it getting to crowded here. Things got better when we crossed into New Mexico. We got to see some beautiful plateaus and other landscapes. We have had some pretty funny moments because both Patrick and I only know about this environment from what we have seen in movies and in our textbooks in school. We would see a huge figure and I would ask "Is THAT a plateau?" Patrick would respond, " I guess" and then I would say, "I always thought plateaus were _____." This would follow an entire conversation about our misconceptions about plateaus or whatever it is we are talking about. I can't count how many times I asked, "Are we in the desert now?" It was hard to tell because everything I know of deserts is from TV and all of the deserts on TV include sand, so we still don't know if we have passed through a desert because there hasn't technically been sand involved. We got to Albuquerque Sunday night and ate at the Standard Diner, a local favorite. The food was awesome and the environment was really fun. We can officially no longer order sweet tea at restaurants. I was surprised that we could still get it in Texas, but there is no hope for it in New Mexico.

Road Trip Day 4

Day 4
Our last day in Dallas was a great one. We spent the afternoon playing a competitive match of pool volleyball. We lost, but it was fun. The weather has been abnormally wonderful. It has been cool and completely comfortable outside. I have to say that the highlight of the visit (and quite possibly the entire trip) was getting to go to The Village Church and meet Matt Chandler Saturday night. Matt Chandler was introduced to us by our hosts' son, Doug. We didn't anticipate the impact that that introduction would have on us and our call to ministry, but it has forever changed us. Matt is the head pastor at The Village Church in the Dallas/Fort Worth area (Highland Village to be exact) and if you ever get the chance to listen to him online or wherever....DO IT. God has used him to mold our philosophy of ministry which has become the most passionate yet convicting call both Patrick and I have ever experienced. Getting to attend The Village was alone a satisfying experience, but actually meeting and talking to Matt for even the minute we were given, was unforgettable. I wish we would have had the chance to take a picture with him, but the opportunity did not present itself. The night ended with enjoying a band in downtown Fort Worth.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Road Trip Day 3
We had a great day in Dallas yesterday. We are staying with the family of a friend (Doug), and they have been fabulous hosts. Doug's brother, Drew (who is headed to Cali himself), took us to a great sandwich shop yesterday. We spent a couple of hours there talking and then took a short tour of the town. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the pool. Come to think of it, I was actually the only one relaxing-Patrick and Drew played Nuk'em in the pool for quite awhile. It was a great afternoon. We ended the day having dinner with my volleyball and basketball coach from high school. She and her husband live in the area and I haven't seen them in probably five years. They met Patrick for the first time and we spent hours catching up on each other's lives at a small mexican restaurant. They delivered the news that after 12 years of marriage, they are pregnant with their first child! Congrats again guys! It was so nice being able to see them again. I can't imagine that there are too many coach-player relationships that last ten years-we were a tight-knit group.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Road Trip-Day 1
Well, we said our good-byes and hit the road on Wednesday. It is always difficult to close a chapter of your life and step into the unknown. There were some tears shed and many hugs exchanged, but there was an overall sense of joy and excitement for how God is moving in our lives. Our first stop was Atlanta, Georgia. Our original plan was to take a visit to Turner Field to watch the Braves play the Cubs, but the weather didn't look promising so we went with a Plan B (which we are glad we did since the Braves got killed). Our trip was short, but we met up with Jess (we go WAY back) and Jason for some yummy pizza. It was so great getting to hang out one last time!

Road Trip-Day 2
We left Atlanta on Thursday and twelve hours later we were in Dallas, Texas. The drive actually wasn't that bad until we got into Texas. We did get to see the Talladega race track, which was fun. We drove through Alabama, Mississippi, crossed the Mississippi River into Louisiana, but once we got into Texas there was nothing but flat land for miles. BORING. We finally got to Dallas last night around 9pm. We have included a fun picture of Bailey after giving him some Dramamine.