Phew!

I can breathe again!!!

It’s been such a busy whirlwind since December – all good things, but it is wonderful to finally feel settled in our sweet city of Charleston.

To catch you up:

Matt finished up SOS training in Alabama with flying colors (no pun intended) and met up with me in Seattle for Christmas! The season was as warm and bright as we had hoped back in Seattle and we were able to spend time with lots of friends and all of our Seattle family. I fell more and more in love with my nephew Brooks Joseph and already miss his squeals and butter-soft skin… Things that stand out for me about our time there were going downtown to meet Dad during his lunch hour at a Starbucks in a skyscraper, a candlelit Christmas Eve service at Bethany Community Church after a Christmas Eve party at the Eernissees’, yummy family meals, and a mandatory trip to Pike Place Market with the whole crew in search of brandy bing cherries and Market donuts – DUH! (I just realized after re-reading this that all of my favorite memories have something to do with food… YIPES) 

Overall Christmas with our Seattle family and friends was precious and we are grateful for the time we had with everyone!

After a flight back to Atlanta and a 6 hour drive to our final coastal destination we spent one night in our new, empty, echoing, Charleston house on an air mattress. The next day we had a whirlwind of movers who were – to the dismay of our new neighbors- blocking our alleyway with a huge moving van.  It being New Years Eve for these fellas, they seemed a bit rushed with our precious cargo, but who could blame them! They ended up piling everything in corners for us to sort through and thankfully took every last box and piece of cardboard we could scramble up so that we didn’t have a mountain of recycling! New Years evening we spent at a friend’s house and we watched small children light off fireworks in their cul-de-sac. ARE WE IN THE SOUTH OR WHAT?!?! No one was injured in the celebrations.

We had one week to sort through items, take MORE stuff to Goodwill, figure out storage in this old 1850’s home (did they own any CLOTHES back then – where are the closets people?!), and to get to know neighbors before I headed off to Italy for two weeks.

Thankfully by the sweat of our brows and my determination to have things settled by the time I flew out, we had everything in place before my European adventure!

My trip to Italy was fantastic – I went with my good friend Kim Popek, who is studying in Dublin Ireland. We agreed to spend a few days in Ireland and then the rest of our time exploring Italy. We went to Venice, Florence, Siena, and Rome. We saw beautiful architecture, STUNNING churches, ate delicious pasta, drank inexpensive wine, marveled at the amount of pastries and goodies available on every corner, and spent hours in museums full of paintings, tapestries, mosaics, statues, and frescos. Venice was beautiful, but did feel like an abandoned city except for the hundreds of tourists who visit everyday. It was amazing to think about Venice’s glory days in its prime – a rich city of the arts, romance, and entertainment. Florence had a much different feel than Venice, first of all because people actually live and work there. It was also much more cohesive than Venice with a distinct color palate (muted golds, creams, yellows, greens and browns). It flaunted works like Michelangelo’s statue of David which was incredible to see in person and gigantic! During our time in Florence we took a day trip out to see the countryside with a tour company. We were really glad we did because we explored medieval castles, saw miles of olive trees and vineyards, quaint hill-top villas and did a wine tasting in Chianti. We stopped in Siena which was my favorite city of the entire Italy trip because of it’s history, layout, quaint shops and huge farmer’s market. After our time in Florence we headed to our last stop in Italy – Rome. Kim and I took a tour of the Colosseum, Roman Forum,  and Palatine Hill. It was incredible to be in a place where so much had happened in the world, and where biblical characters had walked. I had such a hankering to see the movie Gladiator again after our trip to Rome.

A few things we noticed about Italians during our travels – they drink coffee from tiny cups standing up at the counter. They never take left-overs from a meal. Shop-keepers make you put your wet umbrella in a little container in the front of the store – always. Waiters NEED you to have wine with your meal and if you don’t order it they get huffy or just bring you a glass for free because “wine gives you a good life”. Italians let you order your item and give it to you and then only later do they ask for your money- makes for a really awkward period where you’re trying to give them money and they just flat-out ignore you.

Kim and I made great travel buddies, we had similar interests, budgets (cheap!) and energy levels. We did so much walking everyday and would know when the other needed food or rest or shopping because that’s exactly how the other felt too! We both came away with some goodies in the form of boots, or leather, or treats, or artwork or coffee.

Our travels in Dublin and the Irish countryside were amazing and I was thrilled to get to see the Cliffs of Moher and other very very old sights in Ireland. We went to a few restaurants in Dublin and a fun bar with live Irish music – classic and so layed back… Aaaaahhhh.

As wonderful as traveling was, I was anxious by the end to get back to my new house and to Matt in Charleston. My trip home was a bit delayed however, as I woke up the morning of the flight and fainted after my morning shower (that’s never happened to me before)- hitting my head on the bathroom floor and requiring a trip to the ER and three stitches that stung a “wee bit” as my MD said as he sewed me up! It caused me to miss my flight home but I was able to hang back in Dublin for another day, relax, and watch Waking Ned Devine (highly recommend it) with Kim while eating all kinds of yummy novelty treats.

Being back in Charleston and finally feeling able to settle in is so amazing! I love being here with Matt and establishing how our new marriage flows – discovering quirks about one another: Matt drinks liquids with dinner, I do not. Matt is usually the last person to leave any event because he’s chatting. I can cook, Matt cannot. 🙂 We’ve gotten to know some amazing people already through our church and are involved in a small group. We go out to lunch every sunday with a mixed bunch of people after church and we’ve had people over for dinner and vice versa. Matt and I will start helping with kids ministry once a month, and I’m going to start getting involved with some of the women’s ministry at College of Charleston – at least in meeting with a few girls who attend there. It’s so nice being so close to everything and to the students downtown. I hope our home becomes a second home to many of them. We’re gonna have to have some parties to kick it off right though! There are already rumors of a Gatsby party happening at our place – I can’t wait!

We feel incredibly blessed and while not every moment or day is peachy-keen, we know God is here at work in Charleston and has us right where He wants us. He has taken care of every one of our needs, and continues to be faithful. We know the prayers of those who know and love us are precious and we are so thankful for your support, love, conversation and interest in our travels and adventures so far. There is so much more ahead of us, but we trust that God knows, and give it all to Him. He continues to work in our hearts individually and as a couple and I’m discovering that in marriage I need Jesus more than ever and that’s a really wonderful place to be…

With love I leave you with many many pictures!

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Ross and Emily surprised me at the Seattle airport!

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Brooks just celebrating the season with some food.

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Gingerbread ship at the Sheraton Hotel in Downtown Seattle. This whole thing is edible!!

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Getting in some precious Brooks time.

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Visiting Dad (Opa) at work.

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Enjoying the classic Eernissee Christmas finery!

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Crazy Auntie Mosey in Anthropologie trying on hats. Brooks isn’t so sure about this one.

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Ross, Carson and Matt playing with Perplexous balls… Mesmerized! (I bought one of these for Matt and kind of regret it because of how much it zones him out!)

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Our things in boxes on New Years Eve.

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Happy New Year!!! We have things….. Let the sorting begin!

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Upstairs bathroom – shared between guests and Matt and me

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Some of our hallway artwork hung up before I left

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“Matt’s plane mantle” in the guest room!

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Our room!

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Guest room

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Cool sculpture in Dublin

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Castle at Cliffs of Moher

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Grave at an old church

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I loved those thatch roof houses

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Cliffs of Moher!

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The Vatican

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Kim and I at a really old Celtic Grave

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Castle in Ireland

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Crazy animal sculptures in the Vatican museum.

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Intricate ceilings

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Kim with a massive painting in a hallway of maps

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Pizza! Thanks Rick Steves!

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Constantine Arch in Rome

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Snip-it of the Colosseum, because there’s no way I could get the whole thing on camera! Too “Colossus”.

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Tuscan countryside

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Winery in Chianti

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Blurry but it was dark down there!

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Chianti Barrel

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Ceiling at the Basilica in Siena

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Olive trees

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Supermarket dinner. Didn’t really know what we were buying sometimes!

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Just outside of Florence overlooking the city

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Cannoli – Yuuuuuummmmmm

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Veggie dinner to clear out all of the pasta.

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Venetian house on the water

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Big fancy building in Venice

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Bridges and gondolas everywhere in Venice

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Sweet and treats called to us from every corner

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Beautiful Venice even in the winter.

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St. Marks Basilica is covered in gold mosaic….

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top to bottom gold.

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Cute streets and signs everywhere

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Comfy gondolas

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Water passageways in Venice

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The Alps!

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That is Kim and my baggage for the whole trip right there! We packed light!

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When I went and hit my head. Trip to the ER.

Back home safe and sound with my wonderful husband and friend! Ahhhhhh.

Back home safe and sound with my wonderful husband and friend! Ahhhhhh.

‘Bama

It’s been almost two months here in Montgomery Alabama and I’m not surprised at all about how quickly the time has passed by! Matt and I have gotten to go on many weekend adventures – visiting Chris Black in Mississippi, exploring historic New Orleans, relaxing in an ocean-view Pent House suite in Florida for Thanksgiving, seeing A Christmas Carol at the Shakespeare Theatre in town and I’ve even made a trip to Charleston to look for our future home.

In my abundance of spare time I’ve deepened my cooking abilities, learning to cook most items on the stove top in leu of an oven, and refusing to resort to needing the microwave. I’ve become friends with other wives who are from all over whom I meet for morning work-outs at the gym, going out to coffee, attending base events and fairs together. By being here at SOS, I’ve learned what resources are available for wives and families on every Air Force base, how the Officer’s Wives Club is organized, and laws and regulations specific to being on a military base – i.e. – no California stops at stop signs, if you hear revelry or taps played overhead, stop your car or whatever you are doing and put your hand over your heart until it’s over out of respect, if you are caught speeding or using your cell phone your license will be taken away, along with a hefty fine but it will not negatively affect your husband… PTL. I’ve also spent my time in our room catching up on Downton Abbey and working on Christmas gifts/cards etc.

Matt and I have had less time together as we both originally thought. His SOS demands have been higher and as he is wanting to do his best, many of his nights are spent studying. We do have mornings together where we make coffee, eat breakfast, and read and pray. It’s my favorite part of the day. We’ve been reading a marriage book “Love and Respect” by Eggerichs and a favorite devotional of mine called “Experiencing God’s Presence” by Tiegreen. We also have started taking time for a date night once a week and will continue the tradition in the future. It’s helpful knowing that an evening every week is set aside for us to get away and get some QT.

Last weekend I went to Charleston in search of a home to come back to after Christmas in Seattle. The first place I saw I fell in love with. I’d been watching housing for rent online for the past three months and so knew what was out there, where we wanted to live and how much we could afford. I was pleasantly taken by a charming two-bedroom flat in downtown Charleston, two blocks from White Point park, three blocks from The Battery (the waterfront) and smack-dab in the middle of countless historical, lantern lit, porch and garden surrounded homes dating back to the early 1700s. Our neighbors have rafters scarred from a wayward cannon ball blast and a mansion around the corner is selling for a mere $18 million. Our place is tucked back behind large homes, in a courtyard with three similar buildings. It has hardwood floors, four fireplaces (non-working), 10-13 foot ceilings, two off-street parking places, and two porches all to ourselves! I’m incredibly excited to get settled and to start welcoming visitors. Exploring from our home will be so convenient, as many things are available to us on foot. Restaurants, bars, coffee shops, churches, and parks are everywhere – and since Charleston was voted top U.S. city to visit, I’m anticipating many guests in the three to four years we live there.

In less than a week I fly out to Seattle to spend Christmas with friends and family there and I am delighted. Matt follows close behind next Saturday after SOS graduation. It will be the first Christmas married to Matt with my family together, including Tim, Ashley and Brooks. It will be a crowded yet warm and very cherished Christmas at home for years to come I’m sure. I can’t wait to be back in my beloved hometown to make treats, explore downtown, vote in gingerbread competitions, see holiday performances, play games, relax and catch up with friends and family. Christmas in Seattle this year will be a snapshot of loveliness for me. It will feel as though all is right with the world… Matt misses Seattle so much and tells me often which warms my heart. I love that he loves the place and counts it as home in many ways. More adventures to come!

Cheers!

xoxo Mo

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High Tea spent with other Officer’s Wives

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Matt and Chris Black exploring in Columbus Mississippi – doing what all good southern boys do – shop for guns.

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Toasting ourselves by the fire on Chris’s back porch. Banana chocolate s’mores in the embers. YUM!

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Paige Jones and I visiting in Atlanta, GA

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We met with Tyler and Cari as well as Chris and Paige in Atlanta

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Had the most unusual place in New Orleans – very old and full of character. This was our gate.

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It was in the middle of the French Quarter of New Orleans. We had our own courtyard and balcony.

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Bourbon Street

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Old homes and lots of history all around us in New Orleans.

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A book shop with volumes to the ceiling

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Famous cemetery

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My first and perhaps only poor little quail in Florida

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Paige looking out our pent house suite window to the gulf below. Swoon!

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Brother Joe was able to meet us for Thanksgiving!!! So fun. 🙂

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Enjoying a relaxing evening.

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Lively competition on the beach

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The Alabama side of the beach – who knew it could all be so beautiful?

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Friends on the Florida beach!

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Our view from the top!

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Bocce ball on the beach. I was voted most improved. Chris and his brother Robert were hard hitters however.

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Euchre on the deck!

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Our new place in Charleston! It will be cleaned up and painted by the time we move in. Top and bottom floors are ours!! Can’t wait to decorate next Christmas…

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Hardwood floors and fireplace.

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Dining room

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Kitchen

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There are parks everywhere in our neighborhood.

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And cute little carriage houses converted into homes.

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Huge houses around every corner.

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Our neighbors… YIPES!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Get your fix of morning pumpkin in flapjack form. The South just got a little more scrumptious.

Pumpkin Pancake

Ingredients:
1 Cup of Whole Wheat Flour
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
2 Cups of Milk
1 Egg
2/3 Cup of Pumpkin
1/2 Tbsp Vanilla
1/2 Tbs Orange Extract (optional)
1 Orange Peel Zest

Heat a skillet on medium heat and lightly coat with cooking spray or butter.

Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, stir wet ingredients until egg and pumpkin are well combined. Fold in wet and dry together. If it seems too thick, add more milk. Pour batches onto skillet hot. Flip when edges are no longer shiny and form little bubbles. Serve with butter and real deal maple syrup. Enjoy!

Freeze extra for lazy days.

Southern Observations

Whelp, after a month in beautiful Charleston we’ve moved to our new temporary home: Montgomery Alabama!

Matt and I will be here for two months while he trains in Squadron Officer School (SOS) a required school for all officers in the Air Force. The base here is called Maxwell AFB and its main purpose is to equip officers in leadership (charm school). The good part about it being a school base is that it’s set up to make transplants and their spouses feel very welcome. We are staying in a slightly larger hotel room than we had in Charleston. This one is right here on base (or “campus” as I call it) which makes things very convenient. There’s a gym right across the street, pool down the road, a grocery, library, theatre, chapel etc. Pretty much anything you’d need could be found on campus. 🙂

Last night I attended a meeting for all spouses as a chance to connect with people and hear where everyone is from. There are couples who have journeyed from all over the globe to be here. Some are coming from Korea, Japan, Germany, Canada… I imagine that I’ll be getting to know some of these women well over the next month and a half.

Yesterday I ventured off campus and went to a Walmart (it’s amazing how one can scorn in one city and in another less familiar city really find comfort in something as predictable as a Walmart). I bought a little plug-in air freshener with a reindeer on it and some accompanying winter/Holiday/Pine/Spices scents so that I can feel a little like the Holidays are around the bend.

A few observations in my time abroad:

1: Seattle and the PNW in general are so white. Everywhere I’ve traveled in the last month has had a much larger number of African Americans. Yesterday for example (and it could have been the area I was shopping in, I dunno) I was one of the only white people in the whole Walmart! It’s really refreshing actually and I quite like feeling like a minority for a change -it’ll do me some good. While I’m here in Montgomery I’ve got to check out some of the historical sites like the Rosa Parks Museum and the Civil Rights Memorial.

2: Some of the healthy brands of foods I thought I was saying goodbye to forever in the PNW are actually everywhere. My healthy cereals, protein bars, organic milk, fancy yogurt, even some great breads (although Dave’s Killer Bread is nowhere to be found) are all here, safe and sound, in the  grocery isle.

3: Matt and I have become experts in all things mattress. We’ve counted up the number of mattresses/beds we’ve slept on in the three months and the number comes to a whopping 18. With all of our road tripping, weddings, hopping between Tacoma and Seattle, honeymooning and housesitting we’ve been to a lot of places together in a short amount of time. Our first month of marriage we were getting such horrible sleep on terrible mattresses so we’ll buy a new one once we are finally settled in Charleston. We think our favorite mattresses so far have been the Tempurpedic in Caitlin’s room in Colorado and the plush Pillow-Top at Chris Black’s bayou home in Mississippi.

4: It’s amazing how I feel like I belong in every place that we drive though or stay. A few months ago I would have assumed that I’d feel out of place in each of these unknown cities and that I’d feel like a bashful, apologetic, foreigner. Honestly I feel this camaraderie as a fellow US Citizen with everyone I pass on the street or in a store. State lines have become blurred and I’m embracing the status of American all the more sweetly.

5: Another thing I’ve observed over the last month in travelling is that beauty is everywhere! No matter what state I’m in, there is something beautiful and unique about it. God did not spare his brush of beauty on any part of this earth – his goodness and creativity do not stop at my boundaries. He is good to all of humanity and reveals himself in all that he has made – Praise the Lord.

Speaking of beautiful news…. I just bought tickets for Seattle for Christmas and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ll be there the 16th-30th of December. I’m anxious to experience some winter weather right before Christmas, to do some Christmas baking, shopping and helping set up the Christmas tree and outside lights. It’s funny what you miss when you move. I miss the leaves and the fog, and the cold. Also our breathtaking mountains.

Here are some pics from our last few days in Charleston

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LOVE YA!

Chaaaaaalllllst’n

After two weeks of being in the South in this lovely town it’s time for an update!

Matt and I have been living in an extended stay hotel in North Charleston since we’ve been here, but in the meantime we’ve been out and about in this charming city and falling in love. There are so many nooks and crannies in this place and I’m afraid that after three+ years here there will still be areas we won’t even get to explore. There are beautiful old buildings, beaches, restaurants, marshes, plantations and waterways galore. Matt and I took a walking tour with a gentleman who is 5th generation Charleston resident who knows the ins and outs of the many historical points of interest downtown. I’d highly recommend a walking tour of downtown – but go with one of us (we’re cheaper, and will stop for potty breaks)!

So far we are beginning to look for housing, and the first week we had a realtor show us some houses to possibly buy and keep as rental houses after we move. We found however, that the places in our budget were “fixer-uppers” or were way out in the middle of nowhere and while that’s something I could potentially see myself doing someday, it’s not exactly how we want to spend our time here in the South – painting, refurbishing and remodeling. So renting is the direction we have decided to head. We can’t really look for rentals until end of December since Matt and I are planning to go to SOS training in Montgomery, Alabama so we will have to put that off for a bit which is really hard because I’m so anxious to get settled and open our wedding presents (again)!

Matt and I went to a church last Sunday that was recommended to us called Sanctuary which has been here in Charleston for approximately 9 years, but is still looking for permanent meeting space. It’s an Acts 29 church (like Soma in Tacoma and Mars Hill) but it’s very small – one service of about 50 people. There are families and young people, as well as a few older couples. Our first Sunday Matt and I were invited out to lunch with a few couples and then to try our hand at fishing on Pitt Street Pier. Since then, we’ve both hung out individually with people we’ve met from Sanctuary. Though we’re interested in checking out other churches in the area (just to make sure this is where God is calling us) we are already drawn to the people and community of Sanctuary. They meet in a middle-school in downtown Charleston but their goal is to get people involved in community groups close to wherever they live in the greater Charleston area. We know that if we stuck to this church we’d be surrounded by people and so it’s definitely an encouraging feeling already!

Here’s what we’ve been up to: Matt and I have lounged on the beaches (sunburns become tans yeah?), we’ve both gotten our salt and freshwater fishing licenses, I have my own fishing pole (I caught three blue crabs the other day), we’ve gone skim boarding, I’ve seen a manatee, we’ve gone out for dinner at a couple of amazing restaurants, seen a huge old oak tree in West Ashley, walked along the Battery, seen Fort Moultrie, found a few local coffee shops in search of our new must-have coffee beans and have been bitten by the infamous “no-see-ums”.

There have been a few days which have been hard since being here and most of that has to do with being away from you all. I’ve at times felt very far from everything I know and love and the future seems so daunting and unclear. Thankfully I’ve had Matt to confide in and comfort me, but otherwise I know that God has me and knows my heart. He is closer than I know and it’s a huge encouragement knowing that He knows my future. He asks me to trust and let go of anxiety. Being away from family is hard, but remembering that the Lord has plans and will take care of us all brings such calm and joy.

Otherwise things are going well – I’m learning how to cook everything on two burners in our little hotel kitchenette (no oven) and a George Foreman grill and Matt and I are waking up together and making our own routine. It’s been wonderful seeing so much of one another – something we’ve never really had up until this point and we’re both appreciating the friendship and companionship that marriage brings!

The weather has been amazing; I’ve not experienced any humidity since I’ve been here which brings me a huge sigh of relief! I hear that it’s been a mild summer and fall so far and I’m hoping that just continues for the next few years (wishful thinking, I know). I’m surprised by the diversity of the city and by all of the tourists especially downtown. Charleston was just voted the Top city to visit its third year in a row, so I’m imagining more and more tourists will flood the downtown area in the years to come.

To most of you these will be repeat pics from Instagram, but they tend to be the best I have!

Love you all so much. Please enjoy the clean crisp air and color change for me. 🙂

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Angel Oak Tree

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Folly Beach

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Under the Folly Beach Pier

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Random driveway in a West Ashley neighborhood

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Palm trees everywhere. This one happens to be in front of Poe’s on Sullivan’s Island

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Crab on the beach

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Sullivan’s Island Beachfront

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Home on the Battery downtown…. Amazing houses abound here

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One of the many waterways and marshlands

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House on historic Rainbow Row downtown

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So many nooks and crannies amongst million dollar houses smooshed together

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Little carriage house that would probably sell for over a million

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Americana everywhere

We made it!

From Colorado Springs Matt and I headed East (duh) through eastern Colorado and Kansas. This was a drive I was dreading. Thirteen hours of straight, flat, brown landscape. We left Colorado early in the morning and basically saw nothing of interest until the middle of Kansas when huge signs every 5 miles caught my eye saying “5 legged live cow, 6 legged live cow, prairie dog town.” in bold red letters that looked like they’d been painted on 20 years ago. I texted (oops) Matt “5 legged cow!!!!!!” and a few seconds later he called asking “Would you like us to stop?” my answer was”yesh please…” We took the exit to Prairie Town and pulled up to a dilapidated building with pop music creepily blaring from an old school loud speaker… “Eeeeeeh, let’s just check it out” I told Matt. We walked into the building which was full of trinkets and toys, animals mounted on the walls and immediately as we entered the phone at the front desk rang. A balding man wearing a rattlesnake t-shirt answered the phone “…why yes, we are open until 5pm. Our rattle snake babies just hatched and we have over 400 animals on site. 5 legged cow? Yes we do! And again, we’re open to 5pm” Click. He hung up. “Hi-O folks, how can I help you?” He directed his attention to us as we eyed the sign saying it was $9 to get in the doors. Matt and I wondered if the phone call was triggered by our entry and if the phone “conversation” was all a marketing ploy as we considered whether to stay and give this phony our money or to turn around and skip our 5 legged cow adventure/instagram opportunity all together. Turning to Matt I said “We really can go, I don’t need this.” Matt replied “Are you sure? We’re here!! Might be good for your Insta pictures…” And in we went. Pretty much the place was an open plot of dry land which was on top of a prairie dog settlement where they’d set up cages for other animals and birds on the property. Indeed we DID find the 5 legged cow and persuaded it to stand up and come over to us with some stray hay we found laying around. It was a pitiful creature and I had to keep myself from being entirely grossed out by it’s sorry excuse for a 5th leg dangling from its back…. Ugh. We explored the rest of the farm, got our Instagram pictures and were on our way, feeling a bit shameful to have been lured into this tourist trap. However looking back it was not a total loss and pretty much the only memorable thing about that entire Thursday drive except for the wonderful conversations I had with friend and family along the rest of the way. I was able to talk with Amy Eernissee, Paige Jones, Eileen Ballard, Daddy, Ashley, and Allison Martschinske. Warmed my heart and made me forget all about our poor barnyard buddies miles and miles behind us.

That night we got into St. Louis and found Eden Eernissee tucked away into a glowing, old, Webster Grove home with her two lovely college roommates. She was a sight for sore eyes and greeted us with a hearty hug, comfortable couch and hot cup of tea. We stayed up with her late as we talked about our journey and she filled us in on life. She graciously gave up her comfy bed to us for the night. The next morning Eden took us to a place called First Watch (sounds like an insurance company huh?) for breakfast and we enjoyed her company as always! What a treat and so hard to say goodbye!

That day we hit the road again and traveled to Memphis to visit with Matt’s aunt Judy at her home near St. Jude where Matt’s uncle Mike works. After a tour of their beautiful place we had lunch and looked at pictures of the Meagher family. Matt’s cousin Laura came home from school and we chatted with her and took a quick pic in front of the fireplace before heading out! What a wonderful family and so welcoming! We can’t wait to see more of them during our time in the South.

We headed straight south for Columbus MS and Mr. Chris Black. He met us at the gate of his backcountry home and lead us to his palace on the Tombigbee waterway. Chris lives on an extension of the Tombigbee and basically has it made in a little two bedroom two bath vacation home. That night we went out and had catfish for the first time – YUM – and stopped in on  a new neighborhood bar that had just popped up around the corner from Chris’s place. The next day we met up with Matt’s mentor Tom and his wife at a local Columbus eatery and talked about life, Jesus, career and family. It was an encouraging time and filled with wise advice from a couple who has been through it all! That afternoon we went fishing on SUP boards, were eaten alive by mosquitos and to our dismay caught no fish even with bright lively minnows on the end of our hooks. Tom met up with us later and brought their jet ski which Matt and I took out and almost dumped twice! I was not ready to get into that gator and snake infested water no-siree! Chris made an amazing steak dinner for us that night and we stayed up late talking theology over a bottle of wine, feeling smarter and wiser than in reality.

Sunday morning Matt and I left early to make our final trek through the south (Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina) to Charleston! We stopped in Atlanta to meet up with Mr. Tyler Watters and his new lovely girlfriend Carrie over lunch. It was so much fun seeing Tyler and getting to know Carrie. They are awesome and it’s always like old times catching up with Tyler. It reminds me that we have friends all over the US! I was struck by how many African Americans were around us and it was the first time in awhile I’ve been aware of my skin color. I’m realizing how caucasian the NW really is and it’s exciting to be exposed to more variety of people! #shelteredlittlewhitegirl

We rolled onto Charleston Air Force base around 9:30 that evening and went to the on-base hotel hoping to get a room to stay in for the next month. Unfortunately they didn’t have any room (confession that I was in a foul mood at this point and was not very helpful) so Matt found us an extended stay hotel just north of the base for our October in Charleston and we unloaded our 800+ lbs of precious cargo from our vehicles (praise the Lord they made it!) and fell into bed thankful to have made it and exhausted from the drive.

The next morning Matt went to work to check in and I drove into Downtown Charleston to explore my new city! There is so much charm here and awesome places to eat and stay- I can’t wait to share it with family and friends.

More to come!!

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So far so good!

All is well on the home front as Matt and I move steadily eastward! We had a great time visiting the Redwoods of the Californian Coast and stopped in on the Big Tree in Redwood National Park which happened to be where Steven Spielberg filmed a scene from Jurassic Park. That particular tree is over 1,500 years old and is 304 feet tall and has a 21 foot diameter. Matt and I hiked around the forest for about an hour and thought about what was going on in the world at the time these trees were just beginning. Matt mentioned the fall of Rome…. Crazy OLD!

The next morning we visited Matt’s Grandparents in Santa Rosa CA where they explained to us how they had met in Germany and their progression in the Air Force. Matt’s Uncle Alex came along shortly. They showed us around their backyard which is full of fruit trees – peaches, fig, apple, persimmon, lemon, limes, and grapes. After lunch we said goodbye to the GrandWaltons and Alex took Matt and I into San Francisco to see the Golden Gate Bridge, and the beach. He treated us to dinner on the beach and we were off to Alameda to meet up with Ross’s friend Chad who he knows from growing up in Santa Barbara. Chad welcomed us warmly into his home (which has been plucked out of an Anthropologie catalog thanks to his wife Kait). He took great care of us considering we were complete strangers to him the day before.

The next morning Matt and I left the house to find a farmer’s market that had set up shop early that morning right in their street. We ate at a corner cafe and grabbed some California grapes and snap peas for the road. The day was full of driving as we made our way from Alameda. Lake Tahoe was a short drive out of our way, so we experienced it’s beauty first hand. It was extremely windy and there were many wind surfers out but we couldn’t stay long. On our way through Nevada that evening Matt pulled off the highway and I met him alongside and with a glint in his eye he said that there were a few abandoned old planes he spotted along the road 10 minutes back – “Would you mind if we take a look?”. Of course not ! So we headed back to find a C-119 and F-111 parked in a field. Matt found his way into the cockpit of the cargo plane. I walked around the outside (not wanting to get my clothes all greasy – see, southern lady already) and scarred a barn owl out of the back of one of the wings. It must have had a nest in there. That night we got into Salt Lake City late and found a hotel.

Today we headed out early from Salt Lake and made our way through Utah (which is incredibly beautiful, especially in the morning), Wyoming, and Colorado. Matt and I jutted in and out of Denver traffic and made it safe and sound here in Colorado Springs to visit Momma Dubs (Kathy Walton) and the pups and horses who live with her.

Coast to Coast in Eight Days

Matt and I leave for the East Coast tomorrow morning!!

We take off from Seattle around 5am (Point “A” on the map below) and head straight south for California!

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Our first stop is actually in Oregon – Portland to be exact, to eat at Mother’s Bistro, a bustling breakfast joint with really fun atmosphere and amazing food. I went there awhile ago with my friend Paige, but we literally had 15 minutes to scarf down our food before we had to leave so I’m excited to spend a little more time there.

Next we’ll stop in Redwood National State Park to have lunch and explore for a few hours – something I’ve wanted to do for a long time!

Point “B” is Santa Rosa where we will meet up with Matt’s Grandparents (Dean’s parents). We’ll spend Monday with the two of them and Matt’s Uncle Alex.

Point “C” is San Francisco where we’ll spend the night with a friend of Ross’s (thanks for the hookup!) and catch breakfast Tuesday in San Fran before taking off!

Point “D” is Salt Lake City where we will stay Tuesday night. Utah is beautiful, as far as I’ve seen so far, so I’m looking forward to it.

Point “E” is Colorado Springs where we’ll spend the evening with Kathy Walton (Mom) at her homestead!

Point “F” is St Louis Missouri where we’ll meet up with Eden Eernissee Thursday night and catch breakfast with her the next morning!

Point “G” is Memphis Tennessee where we will have lunch with Matt’s aunt Judy who I am so excited to finally meet.

Point “H” is Columbus Mississippi where we’ll spend an evening with Mr. Chris Black at his new place on the Bayou. We’re planning on a day with him on Saturday where we’ll go fishin’ and enjoy some good eats (I’d imagine).

Point “I” is our final destination: Charleston which we will be caravanning into (Lord willing) Sunday afternoon!

Love ya’ll and we’ll keep you updated! Please pray for safety, sanity, good time with friends along the way and alertness for the drive!!!

A Tip O’ the Hat To The West.

The Northwest has been and always will be my rich soil, my growing ground, the place where I was first loved, raised up, strengthened, and encouraged.  With a move right around the corner my eyes focus on the Southeast.  A whole new world. A region of unknowns.  Unknown places, people, culture, churches and experiences.

My heart is excited to go – to build more of my story, to fill it with more meaning, more friends, more adventure, more depth – but I pause to reflect on this first stage of life that God has been so faithful in providing.  When I think about this chapter I leave behind I am overwhelmed by how God has graced me with an abundance of people. I’ve been influenced by the richest group of God’s best – whether they were in my life for only a moment or from the moment I was born until today.  It started even before I was born, with people who loved my parents well – who taught them about community and what it truly meant to follow Jesus.  My parents’ friendships and community naturally became my community and growing up I was surrounded by fun, life-giving people who opened their homes to me, where I felt free to be myself, grow, laugh, learn, and explore.  God has given me such a gift in the form of a constant wave of good people.  People who came out of the woodwork, who took me under their wing, treated me like a friend even though I was 8 years younger, people who prayed for me, gave me advice, let me lead, believed in me.

God is in his people.  He is in the giggles, the meals, the laughing so much I cry, the nights staying up late with my sister, the hikes with youth group, the heart-to-hearts over coffee.  God is in the new friend rock-climbing, the girl in Geology 101, the toddler who has a crush on me and can’t look me in the eye, the new roommate, the kids I babysit, the boyfriend’s roommate’s girlfriend, the brother I ride the metro bus with everyday to high school, the dad who I went on early morning runs with and the mom who would do anything for me.  I feel like a bird who is finally being booted out of an overturning nest.  I’ve stayed so long and been fed so well – it’s cozy here and hard to leave.

It’s drizzly days like today that make it hard – because these are the days I’ll miss the most.  Days of being inside a warmly lit house, while the rain contributes a constant hum on the roof, and I share a meal, have a cup of coffee, and enjoy family.  I love this region.  I love these cities.  But mostly I love these people.  I’m so incredibly grateful for them.  These are the ones I will depend on the most.  The phone calls, Skype, texts, facebook messages, letters, visits, vacations, holidays – those will be the sweet spots.  I know that there are more new, wonderful friends for Matt and I just around the bend.  Leaving family and friends here and creating something with Matt is a bittersweet.  So sweet to make new friends and embrace the newness of marriage with my best friend.

I find comfort in knowing that God is already working in the places we will go, and the people we will meet – that’s the best news…  Cheers to my West Coast.  Farewell.  Cheerio.  Adieu.

East Coast Southern livin’ here we come! ImageImageImageImageImageIMG_3173IMG_3655970901_10200577058059934_1049524241_nIMG_2355

The Waltons

The Waltons

Matt and I were married August 4th 2013 in Poulsbo WA on a gorgeous blue-skies evening surrounded by the Puget Sound, bald eagles, and our closest family and friends. After a week-long adventure honeymoon in Whistler BC, we moved to … Continue reading