Monday, March 31, 2008

What I've Been Up To Lately

I don't have time for much of a real post right now, but thought I'd throw some pictures up for the time being. We've been busy!

We went bowling with our good friends Megan & Alan Weatherford (& Abby!):

Then Dan surprised me (AGAIN!) and took me to Memphis for our Anniversary! We went to the zoo, stayed in a snazzy hotel (Hyatt Place), and saw our good friends Travis & Jenny Fugler.

Then this weekend we finally got to go to the Grand Ole Opry! My boss's husband is actually a background singer for the Opry (cool job, huh?) and was kind enough to share his back stage passes with us, so we got to meet all sorts of cool people!

Me & Phil Stacey (from American Idol)

Me & Melinda Doolittle (also from American Idol)
Vince Gill (he held the door open for me - quite the gentleman)

Me & the legendary Little Jimmy Dickens...this seriously made my night!

And one more to end on...

Friday, March 28, 2008

All I can say right now is....

Thank GOD it's Friday & the work week is over! 3 weeks out from GMA Music Week...which means I'm about 4 weeks away from the end of this madness. Oh the wonderful world of event planning :-)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Amazing Grace

I had a wonderful weekend which I look forward to sharing with you all, but tonight I'd rather share for a moment a few thoughts. I just finished watching the movie Amazing Grace, which I'd encourage all of you to watch if you've not yet seen it. It's really quite inspiring. I must admit that before watching the film I was really quite naive as to who exactly William Wilberforce was. He was certainly a man of great conviction and perseverance, a man who understood that God's perfect justice will ultimately prevail even while he faced the horrific injustices of the slave trade.

As I was watching this movie, I was reminded of the injustices that still exist in our present world. It is tempting to study history like this and condemn the "evil" people that stood by and let slavery continue, or worse yet, fought against abolition. But I am aware that there is currently more slavery in our world today than has ever exist at any other point in history - I'm pretty sure that includes the 1700 & 1800s. And because I am aware of that, I am responsible at some level to do something. I'm not sure what exactly that something this, but I'm sure God will reveal it to me in His perfect timing. I was quite convicted when I read this quote by Wilberforce: You may choose to look the other way but you can never again say you did not know.

I think about what we celebrated yesterday during Easter, and the Amazing Grace that we sing about which gives sight to the blind. Christ LIVES! And His heart for justice & mercy is just the same today as it was when William Wilberforce gave his life to a cause he was convinced God cared about. I pray that the Lord may guide each of us by the passion of his Holy Spirit to do his work.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Surprise Anniversary!

It's hard for me to believe, but Tuesday marked 2 years since our wedding day! The time has gone so quickly and in many ways it seems like just yesterday that we said "I do" and celebrated with our dear family and friends gathered around us. But in some ways, it's almost hard to remember not being married, and it's especially hard to imagine what my life was like before Dan -- I mean, was there really a time when I didn't know him? Oh yes, there was a time like that in fact, and it was less than 5 years ago! Life is weird like that sometimes.

But anyway, like I said, Tuesday was our anniversary and we planned to go out to dinner that night to celebrate. Instead, when I got home from a long day at work on Monday, Dan greeted me at the door and said, "I have a surprise for you!" He then led me into the other room with my eyes closed and produced a lovely red pocket book I had been wanting! I was so excited and completely floored that he had managed to purchase that for me without my knowledge (he tries really hard, but I usually know what my gifts are before I actually get them!). Then, he went on to say that, "if it wasn't a leap year, TODAY would be our anniversary! So let's go out tonight instead!" Whether or not this was planned or he was just a little too hungry to wait on my cooking I wasn't sure, but I was all for it! So I quickly spruced myself up and we headed out to Macaroni Grill, where we also celebrated our 1st Anniversary.

(This was the fancy dessert we got in honor of the occassion - berry tiramsu!)

(They have fun paper on the table and bring crayons to color, so we tried writing upside down like the waiter - we weren't as good as him!)

(Enjoying my pomegranate italian cream soda!)

(Please ignore the messy house! It was my anniversary - I didn't need to clean.)

(Dan -- what are you doing?)

This is the only picture from our actual anniversary on Tuesday - Dan thought we needed one first thing in the morning :-)

All in all, it was a really wonderful anniversary. There was no frozen wedding cake this year, and it wasn't a new thing, but it was wonderful none the less. I found it ironic that the traditional gift for 2 year anniversaries is cotton - something that I associate very closely with comfort (maybe it's the Hanes commercials, I'm not sure....). But as we reflected, we talked about how very comfortable our 2nd year of marriage has been. Sure, there wasn't quite as much excitement as the 1st year, but there is a lot to be said for being comfortable with your spouse and I am very thankful for that. So here's to many more years of wonderful, exciting, and comfortable anniversaries! I love you Dan.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

She's Coming! She's Coming!

This is going to be a quick post, but I just had to let people know how EXCITED I am that my sister will be moving to Louisville, KY this summer! Her fiance Brent (Dan's only brother) has decided to take an internship there, so once they wed on June 7, they will be headed South (after the honeymoon of course)! That's only a little over 2 hours from here! If you can't tell from all of the exclamation points, I'm rather excited by this news :-) I know it's not next door, but compared to the distance between Nashville & NW Iowa, I feel like they might as well be moving in with us. There's just something about a sister that really is unlike anything else, and I am thrilled that mine is going to be close for awhile!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Where the Sun Always Shines

We had an absolutely delightful time out in California this weekend! We were able to fly out Thursday afternoon and spend the evening with Grandma Fedorka, Uncle Mitch & Aunt Jeanne, as well as Aunt Dolly & Uncle Joe. Friday morning Uncle Mitch took us and Grandma up the mountain to Big Bear where Dan grew up. It was so cool to get to see some of the places I've always heard Dan talk about! Now I understand why he wanted to be a forest ranger in Montana :-) It was my first time in the mountains of California, and I must admit, they were a lot more "mountainous" that I realized!

That afternoon Grandma was set on buying Dan a new suit, so we headed into Redlands and found one. I'm not sure who was more excited - Dan to wear his spiffy new suit, or Grandma to see her grandson looking so handsome! I even got a few new things out of the shopping trip, too. Then we headed back to Yucaipa and out to dinner with the whole gang and even a cousin or two where they treated us to a yummy steak dinner. Then Grandma tried to feed us some of her pie when we got home - we felt like two spoiled kids by the end of that day!

Karee (Mom) & Katee drove down late Friday night so they could drive us up to San Luis Obispo (SLO) on Saturday. We enjoyed our drive back, stopping at an In-&-Out and a couple of beautiful beaches along the way. That night we roamed around SLO a bit, went and had some fabulous Mexican food, and then enjoyed the pier down at Morro Bay. Sunday we got to spend nearly the whole day at the beach, and I couldn't have been happier! Karee & I went out to Avila that morning and just visited while we soaked up some wonderful sun, then later the whole gang headed out to Dan's favorite beach, Montana de Oro. It was such a blessing to just spend time together, and as short as it was, we were really able to pack a lot in to these few days. After dome delicious tri-tip & Dennis's fabulous salsa, we packed our bags and headed back to Nashville on the last red-eye out of SLO (and I now understand the meaning of the term "red-eye" a whole lot better!), and by 10 am we were both at work. What a whirl-wind! But a wonderful & refreshing whirl-wind to say the least.

Rather than labeling all of these, I thought I'd just throw up a smattering of pictures for you all. Unfortunately, all of the pics we took with Grandma were on Uncle Mitch's camera, but there are plenty others. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

In Cali!

Dan & I have made a quick trip out to Cali for the weekend and are enjoying it immensely! We flew into Ontario Thursday evening, were up in the mountains yesterday, and tonight we're at the beach in SLO. I'll give a full report when we get back - we've got to make the most of our time while we're here. We've got a full day to enjoy tomorrow, and will be headed back to Nashville tomorrow night (arriving back Monday morning - ugh). I'll "talk" to you all then :-)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Only in Nashville

We just got back from a benefit concert at our church for the victims of the tornadoes that went through middle Tennessee a few weeks ago. It was sort of a "writers in the round" type feel with Bebo Norman, Christy Nockels (formerly of Watermark), Brandon Heath, & Jason Ingram, and it was wonderful. They did a few songs we knew and lots of new stuff that was just incredible. Music has always been something that moves me, but I am just blown away when I get the opportunity to meet and hear the writers of such powerful songs. It was especially cool tonight to watch these artists use their God-given talents in such a generous way. It was a free concert with a love offering that will go directly to tornado relief efforts, but they also went one step further and had a sign-up sheet for anyone who wants to join them in a couple weeks to go work in some of these areas. Our names are on the list, so we're excited to see how God will use this!

At the end of the night there was a special "surprise" appearance by none other than Michael W. Smith - affectionately known as "Smitty" around here (this is where my title comes from, because really that sort of thing only happens here in Nashville - I love it!). And I've got to admit, there really is no one like him. The other artists left the stage, and after the offering plates were passed Smitty walks onto the stage, sits down as his piano and before long the whole room has errupted in worship. We sang several songs, including one of my favorites "How Great is Our God" - one that we had at our wedding. And while we were singing this song I was simply struck by the overwhelming faithfulness of our God. Dan & I sang that together at the wedding alter nearly two years ago, surrounded by our friends and family, and rather unsure of what the future held. And there tonight we sang it again, surrounded by new friends, in a new church we have grown to love, and at a completely different place in our lives. God knew on March 18, 2006 that he wanted Dan & I to be here in Nashville in March of 2008, leading a community group, working through PA school, planning events for GMA, and continuing to take steps towards a life of ministry as He directs us. And tonight as we sang that same song, I held that same hand and praised the very same God, knowing that He will be just as faithful to us the next two years, and the next two years after that, and forever as He has been to us in these first two years of our marriage.

Oh, and Bebo was there tonight, and we had a Bebo song at our wedding too. So that was kinda cool.