Thursday, December 25, 2008

Seasonal Escapades

We have been going full speed since we have returned from the east coast. It is so exciting living somewhere where there is always something to do. We can't find the time to do it all, but one thing we made sure we went to was The Grove in L.A. (there are a few, so I must specify). The Grove is basically a large outdoor shopping/dining area, but it is beautiful. It includes fountains, lights and concerts. During the Christmas season, fake snow falls every night right after a dance/music performance. We were fortunate enough to go on the night when pretty girls in cute santa dresses were doing high kicks and other dance moves around the Christmas trolly in the street. Just was actually quite tasteful. It was a fun double date with Lindsay and Harrison. Patrick and I spent time sipping our new-found soy vanilla creme with an earl grey tea bag, while exploring toys in the apple store with the Huxfords.

Patrick and I also spent a little date time in Altaloma this week. We had heard all about this neighborhood where everyone goes crazy with decorations. Well.....they were right. So many people come to see it that they have to close streets down and send police to direct traffic. The home-owners actually sell hot chocolate, popcorn, caramel apples, and other snacks from their driveways. We even saw a quartet singing Christmas carols on a stage built in their front yard! It was like nothing I have ever seen. So, in spite of the warmer weather, the near impossibility of snow, and the absence of our family, Christmas continues here in Los Angeles.


FYI: Thank you for all of your prayers and thoughts. After six interviews, I got the job! As of January 6th, I will be working as a Student Accounts Counselor in the Graduate Center at Azusa Pacific University. Now, I have not forgotten or given up on education. I will begin applying for both doctoral programs and jobs as an adjunct professor at surrounding colleges. The plan is to be able to work on these things while I have a full-time job during the day that allows us to have a steady income. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Our First Trip Home

Well, we finally returned to Cali after an almost two week trip to the southeast. Between Jeremy's funeral and my graduation, the trip was full of a mix of emotions....but it was a great trip overall. Patrick and I took the red-eye to Knoxville. I hate the red-eye flights. In order to make sure I slept on the flight, I took a Dramamine, which throws me into a serious realm of unconsciousness. The conflict came when I could not find one possible comfortable position that would allow me to sleep with my eyes clothes. Patrick, on the other hand decided to skip a night's sleep to watch a movie and physically restrain his outbursts of laughter. Oh, the irony.

As soon as we got off the plane, we realized how acclimated we have become to the warmth of California. Apparently Phil Fulmer was tired of the weather too, because we met him in the airport on his way out of Knoxville. Patrick was sure to thank him for his many years of service to the University of Tennessee. We had a great time visiting with family and of course Justin and Katie (we miss you guys!), and even got to enjoy a little snow!

From Knoxville we hit the road for Savannah....home sweet home. Patrick and I both had our lists of places to eat, with Spanky's and Vinnie's at the top. We spent just under a week in the Low Country and didn't slow down at all. We were quickly reminded of how large (and awesome!) our support system is. We tried our best to spend time with everyone, but wish we had had more time. We were able to meet baby Penny Bolen for the first time and got to visit the students at Element on Sunday. It was so great seeing everyone again! We also had a great time visiting with family. My amazing cousins, Lori and Jason, hosted a family gathering that allowed us to spend time with everyone at once. It was great! Thank you guys! It was so great seeing everyone and spending good girl time with mom and sisters. I think we went on a Cutter's run every day we were there! The whole trip was busy, but refreshing and greatly needed.

Amid the visits in Savannah and Knoxville, and in spite of our love for both of those places and the people there, Patrick and I became more and more grateful for the community that we are building here in California. The transition has undoubtedly been difficult (especially for me), but both of us felt renewed and ready to return with eagerness to invest in the lives and community here.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Ode to Jeremy Frye

Written by Patrick Mitchell
Jeremy was one of my best friends, only one of a couple I ever spoke to from back home in Knoxville. He was a godly man who recognized the temporary nature of this life. I could easily look to God on this one and say, "You messed this one up." But I cannot ignore the Sovereignty of God and His ultimate control and purpose. Romans 8.28 says that God works all things to the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Both in his life and now in his passing, Jeremy is working out the will of God, a will that is larger than my eyes are able to see--a paradox. Jeremy loved nature and perhaps it is fitting that his last pleasant experience was on a mountain. Regardless, he is in the presence of a holy God and will spend eternity there. We will see him again and the reunion will be sweet. If you read this, pray for the Frye family. They are a tight knit group and are hurting deeply. Amen.