Sunday, April 29, 2007

another weekend full of fun!

We had another fun-filled busy weekend.

Friday night, Matt & I went with one of our co-teachers at Catawba, her husband and three kids (and another couple & their kids) to the drive-in movie in Belmont. This was my first drive-in experience and it was fabulous! We saw Meet the Robinsons and it was quite cute. They will be playing Shrek 3 there this summer and I can't wait to go see it!

Saturday morning, Matt, Paul, Kelly, & I got up fairly early to go to the Herald's yard sale. It was SO worth it! We found lots of good stuff including three disc golf discs for only $7, a cell phone case for $7, a SC Native license plate for $1, some sponge paints for 25 cents, and a candy machine for $35. Let me tell you about this cool candy machine that we got. We saw it and Matt was like "I want it" so I told him to go ahead and get it. It still had old runts in it but also had money in it. The lady had lost the key and never bothered to get another one/get someone to open it. We instantly thought the candy machine would be a fun purchase and Matt could put it in his classroom. So, we bought the candy machine. Once we got home we figured out that there is no way to get another key for that lock, so we called a locksmith. We took it over to this locksmiths house (he works out of his van) and he drilled the lock off for $5. At this point we have invested $40 in this machine. Matt & I then head home to count the money. Matt was driving and I was holding the machine in my lap. Well, the top of the machine kept falling off (because the lock was drilled) and then the bottom kept coming off because it was all unscrewed. Needless to say, we had old, nasty runts flying out off the top of the machine and quarters flying out of the bottom. I was trying my best to hold it all in but I didn't do so well. I wish I had a picture of that! Anyway, we get home and count the money and there was $43 in the machine! So, we made a profit of $3 and got an awesome candy machine! Woot woot!

Later that afternoon Kelly's friend from high school, Julie and her baby Jade came to visit. We had a blast loving on her!

That night, we all went to see Merry Pranksters put on their play "Guess Who's Not Coming to Dinner". We had a blast and laughed a lot!

Needless to say, we had an eventful weekend.

Here are some pictures that pretty much sum it all up.

I got into grad school!

Matt's candy machine

Loving on baby Jade

What cuties!

Merry Pranksters (that's our friend Tim as the king)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

good news!

Got the letter today...I got accepted to grad school (Southern University of New Orleans)! Another step towards moving to New Orleans! Masters in Social Work here I come!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hump Day Update

Day two of running is done. It feels SO good to run and I just feel so much more energetic the rest of the day. I am so lucky that I don't have to go to work until 9:30 am. I had been sleeping in and just getting up in time to get ready for work. Now I am waking up at 6:30-7 am and running and spending time getting other things done before I have to get ready for work. As much as I love sleeping, this is a major accomplishment for me. It makes me feel like I get so much more accomplished during the day. Let's hope I keep it up!

Matt & I have some good news...we finally got health insurance. We've been without for a while because Catawba doesn't offer it. Matt's mom has a coworker whose husband sells insurance, so she gave him our phone number to contact us. We met with him last night and worked out a short term insurance deal that will be affordable to us yet cover the things we need it to. The awesome thing is that this man is a Christian and was so interested in hearing about Matt & my plans to move to New Orleans and our passion for the people there. He even prayed for us--for our future goals and dreams. It was an amazing experience because he truly cared about us and was not just trying to sell us some product. So, our insurance will start by the end of the week. Praise God!

We are progressing in our plans to move. We are setting up job interviews for the first week of June, when we'll head back to New Orleans. I am excited about that trip because my parents are going to come with us! We are about 90% sure that we'll be moving the first week in July. I can't believe that it's all coming together!

God is good and He knows what is best for His people.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Let's get this started!

As of this morning, I am hardcore getting back into my weight loss/fitness regimen. I was doing so great until Thanksgiving/Christmas and then I just slacked off. I have decided that I want to take up running. I went running this morning and it felt great! My plan is to run 3 times a week as well as go to the gym 3 times a week. And I am starting back on Weight Watchers. I really need to discipline this as a lifestyle and not just "if i lose weight i can eat what i want" kind of thing. Matt & I have two months until we move and I would like to lose at least 10 pounds by then. I want you guys to keep on me about it--I need accountability and support.

I had a wonderful weekend. Friday night I hosted a Pure Romance party ( which was SO fun! Many of my old friends/roommates came and it was great to see everyone. Saturday morning I left for Clemson for Amy (my sister in law)'s baby shower. I met up with Matt's mom and both of his grandmothers there. We had a great time at the shower and spending some time with Amy. I cannot wait until June 15th when baby Will arrives! After the shower we headed up to Black Mountain, where all the guys from the family were hanging out. We spent the night at Mimi & Papa's and then went to church with them on Sunday at Montreat. All together, it was a great weekend of fun and fellowship with family and friends.

As I sit here, Peaches (our cat) is attacking Charlie (the rabbit) through his cage. Poor Charlie is running around his cage faster than I've ever seen! And Peaches just keeps at him. Our animals are so active and fun!

I also want to say Happy Birthday to my dear brother, Stephen! He's 25 today (wow, we're getting old).

Monday, April 16, 2007


I know that all of you know about the tragedy at Virginia Tech by now. I just felt burdened to post. My heart truly hurts for all those effected by this. As I sit here writing this (and watching the news), my eyes are filled with tears. Oh how our country needs the Savior and God that I know and love.

"But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Turn to me and have mercy on me; grant your strength to your servant and save the son of your maidservant. Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O LORD, have helped me and comforted me" (Psalm 86:15-17).

Friday, April 13, 2007

We're home!

Home, sweet, Rock Hill...for the next couple months atleast...soon it will be Home, sweet, New Orleans! We made the drive in 12 hours. It is only supposed to be 11 hours, but we hit that crazy Friday afternoon Atlanta traffic. It took us almost 2 hours to get through Atlanta. Oh well, we're home and that's all that matters.

Tomorrow Kelly & I are throwing our good friend Jen a baby shower (she's due May 25th). And then my parents will be stopping thru Rock Hill on their way home from Columbia.

It's going to be a busy weekend.

Matt & I are definitely still on the "New Orleans buzz"...googling everything about New Orleans and reading up on all that we can. I'll leave you with this quote Matt just found. It's quite moving to me--I embraces the compassion and urgency I hvae for the city of New Orleans. New Orleans is truly something that I live for.

"Everytime I close my eyes blowing that trumpet of mine--I look right into the heart of good old New Orleans--it has given me something to live for." ~Louis Armstrong

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Last Day in New Orleans

Matt & I enjoyed our last day in New Orleans, but we are sad to leave. It is very bittersweet as we are excited to go home to our cats, friends, and jobs, but we cannot wait to be back in New Orleans.

We slept in this morning and then went to lunch with Kay, Karina and the other staff/missionaries from the Friendship House. We went to an Italian restaurant and I got pasta jambalaya. It was delicious. After lunch Matt & I said goodbye to Kay and Karina (one of the hardest parts of leaving) and headed back out to Cypress Creek Apartments (one of the apartments in The Creeks that we saw on Monday). After seeing all we saw this week, we came back to this one...we would love to live there. So, we took a look at the apartments again and got applications. It feels good to have found a beautiful, safe place to live that is pretty affordable.

Then we went back to the hotel and took a nap (the joys of being on vacation!). We got up and headed back down to the French Quarter and got cafe au lait and beignets at Cafe du Monde. We then walked on the riverfront some more hoping to take the ferry across just to see the city at night but the ferry wasn't running. We went in a few more shops and then headed back to our hotel.

We're pretty much packed up and ready to make the long drive home tomorrow. Pray for our safety and that we will stay awake and alert as we drive. Thank you all for your prayers and support in the beginning of this journey that awaits us. It means a lot to us that we have you all to support us. We are truly blessed to have wonderful friends and family!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Road to New Orleans: Day 5

Matt & I just got back from our interview in Metaire. It went really well, but is not quite what we want. It is a great opportunity--we would be working in the Boys Home and they currently only have 3 boys living there. It is a pretty good salary considering it includes living expenses (we would be live in). The thing is, Matt & I would not have the same days off. It would be a 5 days on/2 days off schedule and we would each have to work one weekend day. So, it's a start and definitely something to fall back on if we need to. We're going to keep searching though. We also look at a couple apartments in Metaire. I really liked the area, but not the apartments we looked at. The first ones were not in a gated community and don't allow pets. The second ones were relatively cheaper but the square footage is much less. I keep going back to the apartments we looked at on Monday in The Creeks. I really liked them and think it could be a good place for us. We've just got to make sure we have jobs that pay enough so we could live there. We're making lots of progress and checking out many different avenues for jobs and places to live. Keep praying that God will give us direction in this journey.

One thing we have noticed in New Orleans is that they have an abundance of Winn Dixies! We thought the whole chain had closed, but apparently not, as we have seen tons of them driving around. We were excited about that, because we like Winn Dixie and they are cheap! We have also found out that non of the Wal-Marts around here are 24 hours. Most of them close at 10 or 12 pm. You would think it would be opposite in a city this size, but it is because of a lack of workers.

We are learning lots and lots about the city and loving it more and more. I cannot explain it, but I truly have a peace here and feel like it is already my home. God truly works in mysterious ways!

We're not sure what we'll be doing this afternoon/tonight. It is finally sunny outside, so we will probably drive around checking out some different areas and might head to Audobon Park for a while. Tomorrow we will be going to lunch with Karina and Kay (my other friend who is the director of the Baptist Friendship House). We have pretty much gotten everything done that we wanted to while we are here, so now it's "play time". :)

*Oh, I just remembered something interested that we saw yesterday. Every time we come to New Orleans we see people walking around the French Quarter with their pets...and these are not your everyday cat and dog here. Last time we saw a lady walking around with a goat. Yesterday we saw a man walking around with his miniture pony. It was so funny! He was just walking down Bourbon Street talking to people and went into a bar. Haha. Quite eccentric people that live here!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Road to New Orleans: Day 4

I am quite tired and a little tipsy from that Hurricane I just had at Pat O'Briens, but I want to update for you all.

Matt & I went out to Slidell this morning and looked at two apartments there. The second one we looked at are *really* nice and a little cheaper than the ones we saw yesterday, but it was like a 45 minute drive and that was when the traffic was good. We will just have to see where our job is and stuff.

Then we went to see my friend, Karina at the Friendship House. We hung out there for quite a while and just had fun talking with everyone there.

We then headed down to the French Quarter and ate dinner at Margaritaville. We both got a Cheeseburger in Paradise. They were yummy. Then we walked around some more--down Bourbon Street and then we went to Pat O's for a Hurricane. This was the first time Matt & I had not shared one hurricane and they are huge--so we are both feeling pretty tipsy now. They are yummy though. Definitely a classic thing to do when you're in New Orleans.

We then navigated our way back to our hotel after missing a turn, but we are learning the city quite well. Now it's time to get in our pj's and head to bed. We have our meeting tomorrow morning at 9 am in Metarie, so we will leave the hotel about 8 am.

I'm too tired to post pictures now, I'll post them tomorrow.

Monday, April 09, 2007

The Road to New Orleans: Day 3

Matt & I had a quite busy morning/early afternoon looking for apartments. We first went to this apartment community called The Creeks. This community includes five different apartment complexes within it's gated community. As soon as we saw it, we were impressed. We went to four out of the five complexes and looked at their apartments and got their rates. They are all very nice--lots of space, huge closets, some have garden tubs (now *that* would be nice!) and the landscaping is absolutely beautiful with creeks and fountains in each complex. If we are able to afford it, we would love to live here. It seems very safe and has a strong sense of community.

We then drove to Gretna and looked at a couple apartment complexes there. The first one had an extremely tiny master bedroom and only allows one pet, so that is out. We went to another complex which seemed okay, but nothing out of the ordinary. It's still a possibility.

By then it was 3 pm and we stopped by Wal-Mart to buy some food and stuff and then we headed back to our hotel. We were exhausted from our apartment hunting and crashed. We planned to nap for an hour and then get up but by the time I got up we had slept for 2 1/2 hours! I woke Matt up and now here I am in the lobby updating. Matt wants to stay in tonight because Prison Break is on tv. We'll save some money and eat PB & J for dinner and head out to the city tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning we'll head to Slidell to look at some apartments there and then we're going to stop by the Friendship House and see my sweet sweet friend Karina. Karina is a friend of mine that has known me since I was in 7th grade and she was going to school at CIU. She was my Sunday School teacher and turned into my mentor and best friend. We have kept in contact since then and she is a missionary at the Baptist Friendship House and has been living in New Orleans for about 7 years. Karina is the one who gave me the opportunity to come to NO for the first time and she shares my passion for the city and its people. I cannot wait to see her. She is one of those friends who you only get to see every couple years but every time we are together it's like nothing has changed.

I'm posting my pictures on my facebook's the links. Sorry I can't hyperlink them right now so you will have to cut & paste.

Day 1:

Day 2 & 3:

N'Awlins funny

I'm sitting here in the lobby cafe area drinking my coffee and checking my e-mail. A man just walked up and got some coffee and is talking to himself. I have no idea what he is saying, he's just mumbling. Then he walks over to me and proceeds to push some buttons on my macbook. He said "you have to push this to turn the sound on". I said "hi" to him and then he walked away and started playing with a suitcase nearby as well as some tv wires on the wall. He is now sitting at a table nearby and continuing to talk to himself. This is why I love N'awlins...I want to know his story...who he is and why he's here. The people of N'awlins are truly diverse and I love learning about them.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Road to New Orleans: Day 2

Here I am, sitting on our bed in our hotel in New Orleans. But let me recap what has happened since my last post.

After the incident at our hotel yesterday (see my last post), it got worse. Matt & I awoke at 5 am with a man unlocking the door to our hotel room and opening the door. Fortunately, we had the bolt on so he could only open the door a few inches. He said, "Hello?" and we both said "Hello" back. At that point he closed the door and we hear him say to his friend "They put us in a room that already has people in it!" Kinda scary. But we went back to sleep. When Matt went in to check out today, he found out that we were put in the wrong room and that really was those other guys room. And our room was supposed to have a fridge and the internet (we just got it sporadically in the room we were in). Oh well, life goes on. I was so glad to get out of that motel hotel though!

After checking out of our hotel, we headed back into the city of Atlanta to go to church. We ended up at this church called "Midtown Gathering". This church is a simulcast of Buckhead Church (a branch of North Point Church) and was held in a really nice movie theater. Basically the service from Buckhead Church is put on the movie screen. They call it a "cinematic spiritual experience". I really enjoyed it. They had two movie theaters full of people and everyone was very involved in singing, clapping, brought their Bibles, etc. I was very impressed. After church we stopped at a coffee shop across the street and I got a Mocha Latte. Yum.

We then began our long journey from Atlanta to New Orleans. We made quite a few stops along the way so it took us about 8 hours to get here (instead of the 6 hours it should have taken). We stopped in Auburn, Alabama and went to an Old Navy and took some pictures with a couple tiger statues. We made lots of gas station stops because we didn't plan well. We should have gone to the bathroom and gotten gas at the same time, but no, we didn't. The drive was quite pretty once we got down to MississipIpi...lots of wetlands and marshes.

As we were driving into New Orleans on I-10, we remembered the devastation of the east side of New Orleans that we had seen last July when we were here. Nine months later, this side of town pretty much looks the same. There are still tons of abandoned buildings-- homes, apartments, hotels, restaurants, etc. There are still apartment buildings that have "Help" written on the roofs. Hurricane Katrina hit over 1 1/2 years ago and some things still remain the same. It is a reminder of what so many people suffered through...losing loved ones and their homes. Please continue to pray for those still rebuilding their lives from is a long journey.

Matt & I checked into our hotel and were pleased to have found it a beautiful hotel with a huge room including a refrigerator, dressing room, couch, etc. This may be the nicest hotel I have ever stayed at (and it wasn't that expensive). After getting all of our stuff in our room, we headed out for dinner. We decided to walk to this barbecue place right down the street from our hotel. The name of this restaraunt is "Igor's Barbecue Mama". Haha. I thought that was a funny name but they sure did have some good food! We ate pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans and fries. Yum.

We have no clue what we're doing tomorrow. We have lots of apartments to look at and we will just plan to visit different areas of town on different days. There are many adventures to come!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Road To New Orleans: Day 1 (Atlanta)

Matt & I got up this morning and Matt headed to Goodyear to get the oil changed in my car while I finished packing. After all of our final stops in Rock Hill (the Post Office, CVS, McDonald's) we ended up leaving about 10 am. We had a nice drive and got to Atlanta somewhere between 2-3 pm. While we were driving, we decided we would try and go to the Georgia Aquarium. We made our way downtown and found parking after a few minutes of driving around. We found out that tickets to the aquarium were sold out until 5 pm and in order to get tickets for 5 pm you had to get there at 4 pm. So, we had some time to kill. We walked around the Olympic Centinnial Park and took and then headed to the CNN center and walked around there. Eventually we made it back to the aquarium and there were still TONS of people there. And then we saw the sign that said tickets for adults were $24.00. That ended our adventure at the aquarium. We decided that was too much money to spend when it was so crowded. We'll go back another time. We then drove around trying to find Underground Atlanta...we were unsuccessful even though we had a map. So we decided to head to our hotel. This begins the next part of our adventure...

We get to our hotel (a Days Inn) and it looks kind of sketchy. We walk in and have to wait for a few minutes because the desk staff was cleaning rooms (apparently they were running late with the cleaning schedule). We get our room and start bringing our stuff up to the room. Matt went back down to the car to get my bag and I stayed in the room. I then stepped out the door to tell Matt that the curtain was broken and we needed to change rooms. As soon as Matt saw me step out of the door he told me "Get back in the room" in quite a stern voice. At that point, I knew something dangerous was going on. Matt then continues to tell me that there is a man with a gun downstairs. Turns out that two of the staff (a male and female) were fighting over their job duties and being worked too hard. The man then starts threatening the girl saying "I'm going to blow your head off with my gun" (I've left out a few choice words). Another man nearby was trying to calm him down and the lady got out her phone and was calling the police. We don't really know what happened after that. We stayed in our room and never saw the police. We're not sure if the man really had a gun or if he was just threatening her. Matt went downstairs later and the girl was gone but the guy was still there working. Guess he calmed down. That was quite scary though. We definitely contemplated going to another hotel. Good thing were only staying here one night!

We were planning on going to church tomorrow for Easter but the churches we were thinking about (Perimeter or North Point) are both 50 minutes away from where we're staying. We're googleing churches in the area now. We'll be heading to New Orleans after church (if we can find one to go to).

Friday, April 06, 2007

Life is good!

I got a new computer today...a Macbook Pro...I love it! And to make things even better, Matt & I are leaving for New Orleans TOMORROW! AND...Matt & I have a meeting on Wednesday with the director and programs supervisor for a children's home in New Orleans about a possible job. :) We'll be updating from the road!