Monday, July 29, 2013

Hampton, GA

About a week and a half ago, we left Nashville after only being home a few days, and headed to Hampton, GA.  Being close to Atlanta, it's not a long drive, but there will always be traffic in that place.  BUT, we made it through the ATL without any major jams and for that, we said hallelujah.

We did a show with Berea Christian Church and they had it at the pastor's house because their backyard is amazing and offers a fabulous place for a par-tay.  David and Janet (the pastor and his wife) have an awesome guest house that they always let us stay in whenever we're in town for a show (and always offer if we're passing through).  So we got to the house, set up, and rested in the nice digs.

Our banner we used as a back drop ended up ripping due to wind and Trent had to go fix it.  With duct tape.  You can take the boy out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the boy.  Or something like that.

He also, very cleverly, added some string.  It was like a sail.  Anyway, this was our set-up for the evening. 

Atlanta, in the summer, is not enjoyable.  (They don't call it Hot-lanta for nothing.)  But luckily, a rainstorm was a brewin' and that offered clouds and cooler temps.  We (us and the crowd) were so thankful!  PLUS the rain waited until later to fall.  The people of Berea are precious and always have kind and encouraging words for us.  We greatly appreciate it.

David and Janet were totally cool with us staying a few more days before we had to go to Florida.  The first morning we were there, we woke up to find a basket by our door.  It was filled with breakfast food, water, and snacks.  That was a sweet treat to see (and eat)!

After we got some work done, we got our tan on in their pool.  That orange thing?  Janet MADE IT.  Out of outdoor fabric and a bean bag chair insert.  It's the size of a king bed and we're convinced she needs to sell them.    

They also have lots of animals.  Four goats, a miniature horse, a donkey, 3 dogs and lots of chickens.  This is just a few of them.  We love going out to their residence and playing with them.  (And Trent really wants a donkey one day.)

They also have some cutie patootie kittens.  This is who we called Gary, even though they named him Jack, ha!  Related: how have we become cat people?  

We had to go into town and there was a big antique store I wanted to check out.  Mostly just to look, of course, but you never know what you'll find.  I LOVE this buggy.  It was $400.  Yowza.  

I did find this $5 sign.  You know, just in case we forget where our bathroom is in our 1 bed/1 bath apartment.

We had to practice a new worship song that we were going to be playing at our next stop.  You can see a bit of the guest house.  Isn't it great?

We so enjoyed our time in Hampton.  David and Janet go above and beyond in hosting.  They are gracious and giving and can cook, too!!  They've become dear friends and we are so thankful for our time with them.  It's always filled with great fellowship and we are blessed to know them.  

We got home last night after being in Florida for a week.  I made coffee this morning, only I forgot the coffee.  FAIL.  Can you say baby brain?

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A CRAZY story

Back in April, I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a women's get together.  I knew no one.  It was with (in)RL, which encourages women to find and build relationships in their community, in real life.  So, I went.  I took a fruit plate (because those require assembly not cooking). 

The Nashville event was at a coffee shop, hosted by Jessica Turner and Angie Smith...both are adorbs.

After some small talk, we got to our seats and began the video portion of the night.  Then we sat in a circle and shared a bit about ourselves, which makes me nervous and gives me a condition I call "diarrhea of the mouth."  

At the time I was about 5 weeks pregnant and I spewed out that news to all the strangers!  I just had to tell someone.  And they were all so sweet about it!  I felt safe that they wouldn't get on Facebook and tell our know, since they didn't know our families (or me for that matter) from Adam.

Before we all left, we wrote down our contact info (email, twitter, instagram) and went on our merry way.  I started following several of the women I met, two of which were pregnant.  It's been fun to build a relationship and get to "know" them on instagram.  Both women have had their babies and oh my word the cuteness.

Marianne, who I actually sat by that evening,  had her baby boy last week.  I saw his precious picture in my instagram feed and immediately scrolled down to leave a comment.  Then something caught my eye.  A fellow commenter wrote, "He looks just like a Wenzel!"

My inner monologue went something like this:

Wait, what?!?  That's my maiden name!  That's not a common name.  What is all this craziness?  What is going on?

So, I left a congratulatory comment and then said my maiden name was Wenzel.  Turns out...SO IS HERS!!  I doubt we're related but isn't that insane?  On a random night where I knew no one, I ended up sitting by a woman who shares my maiden name.

Oh, and by the way, the woman to my right?  Shares my birthday.

It's just all too much.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

A night in Starkville, MS

Some friends of ours in Starkville, MS are involved with a ministry called (Re)claimed Project.  They are doing awesome things in Botswana, as well as locally, and they planned a fundraiser to...well...raise funds!  Duh.  They were able to bring in Korie Robertson from Duck Dynasty for the guest speaker!  And we were able to play a few songs.  A musical snack, if you will.

We got to town and after changing and freshening up very quickly, we had to immediately get to the church for sound check in two different locations.  Here's Jason explaining the schedule of events.  

Everyone did a fabulous job decorating both spaces.  Very cute and very appropriate considering the speaker's occupation.  And I always say, "you can't go wrong with burlap and mason jars."  Kidding.  I don't always say that, but I do now.  Because it's true.

The second location was in the sanctuary and I loved the pallets they put on stage.

And when you are setting up and playing in two spots, with not a lot of time, this is how you carry stuff.  

We first heard Korie in a Q & A during the Sponsor's Dinner.  

After that, we rushed to the sanctuary to set up again before all the people showed up.  We did so flawlessly, I might add.  We played 3 songs before Korie  spoke.  Then, Trent introduced a video and the lights were dimmed.  As I was walking off stage, there she was sitting right there.  We shared a smile and a wave and that was it.  But I'll take it.

Hearing her share her and Willie's story was sweet.  I had no idea they met when she was a 3rd grader and he was a 4th grader!  Anyway, she shared their adoption journey and also talked about the show and other fun family facts.  She seems to be down to earth in person just like on the show, which is always refreshing.

I wish we could've met her, but it was not in the cards this time.  She was kept in other rooms before she spoke then whisked off right after.  And that's completely understandable!  There would've been a mob for sure.

I decided to tweet her after and SHE TWEETED ME BACK!  I favorited that sucker.  Here's my proof =)

So, who knows?  Maybe she'll become a huge Trent Monk (and wife) fan and then tell the family and then they'll just HAVE to have us on the show and then Ellen will see and then she'll shower us with musical equipment and baby stuff and money and let us come on her show!

A girl can dream, can't she?

Friday, July 12, 2013

: : Let Freedom Ring : :

After leaving Tucson, the next stop for us was Amarillo for the 4th of July.  We decided to break up the drive (that seems to be our thing now) and stop in Melrose, NM to visit and spend the night with Mama Pat and Papa Tuck.

We saw some awesome storms on the way.  A definite blessing for New Mexico.  

We got to Melrose and enjoyed our time with Pat and Tuck.  Getting caught up and spending quality time with them is good for the soul.  I've pretty much claimed them as my grandparents.  (And we happen to eat very well there, too!)

Also, their 61st anniversary was on the 5th.  Check out these pictures of them. They were hipsters before hipster was hipster.  

We headed to Amarillo, unpacked the car and just chilled out.  
(And of course I needed the appropriate nail colors for the impending festivities.)

Travis got to the house on the 4th early to start the smoking of the meats.  And sweet Amy was out there the whole time.  Bless her.  Dealing with smoke and flies galore.

Me trying to conceal my tummy and Trent saying we have too many "serious pictures."  (I wasn't sure when I'd blog about the 4th, so I hid just in case I posted these pics before the news of Baby Monk was out there.)

The oh so clever arm conceal.  Ha!

One of the party attendees brought a Corn Hole set.  Do you know what this game is?  It's like washers and a bean bag toss and horseshoes all rolled into one.  It's great.  And you know what?  You're looking at the undefeated team right here.  I kind of want to make us some t-shirts with our new title.

The parentals discussing very important things....

I just love this picture.  It looks staged but it totally wasn't.

We went to Lue Anne's and Larry's and they have new kittens!  So much cuteness.  We named this guy Gary. 

The two litters are from two teenage sister cats and the kittens nurse on whichever one is in there.  I named them the Sister Wives.

We had a fabulous time with the family.  The 4th was fantastic.  Filled with delicious food, good friends and family, and pretty fireworks that surrounded us.  Nothing says America quite like BBQ and I right?

What'd you do on the Fourth of July?

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The End: Arizona

Our final stop for our tour was in Arizona.  We found a great deal for a hotel on the way and we jumped on it.  Turned out being a golf resort and we so wish we had our clubs...and some spare time.  Here's the view from our room.

The first destination was in the Mesa area.  Central Christian Church (which has 5 campuses) brought Trent in to lead worship and for special music.  They have a Saturday PM service and 3 Sunday services, so it was a long weekend.  But a great one!

I hung out in the choir room during worship and therefore was only able to get a picture of the screen.  Trent led with a full band.  It was fun to see and hear him with all the extra music!  

At a certain point in the service I would join him to do "Rise" and I was very nervous each time.  I had to carry my cajon, shaker and tambourine while another guy carried all my microphones all while the pastor is talking about communion.  I was scared I'd drop something. All was well, though, and every service I made no unnecessary noise.

We left Mesa and went to the Phoenix area to stay with a family (The Whitens), whom we had never met.  Some people think it's crazy that we can do that - stay with strangers - but it's just what we do and we have made some fabulous friends doing so.  Anyway, this family has a guest house that they let us stay in for 6 nights!!!  They offer the guest house to bands and it was neat to read all the guest book entries.

And this was in the kitchen and I thought it was adorable.

They told us about this place.  Chinese, Mexican and Jamaican.  I still have dreams about it.   

It's been on Triple-D!  If you'd like, watch the episode here.

I look at this and it makes my mouth water.  I wish they could ship.  Or they should just open one in Nashville...which I told them to do on my comment card, so here's hoping!

While in town, we had two shows.  The first was at their church.  The Whitens do amazing home shows and we can't wait to do one in their awesome backyard.  Due to the almost record breaking heat, they thought air conditioning was better than outside.  We agreed.

The other show was at the Elevate Music Festival in Peoria, AZ.  Tons of bands there.  We played the outdoor stage in the afternoon.  It was very hot.  And I wore black jeans.  I wanted to say, "I'm not a hipster!  It's just that if I don't wear dark colored pants, you'll see my sweat that often looks like a peed my pants!"

Anyway, it was a quick set and then we headed back to the guest house to get rested and packed up for our departure.

Did I mention they had fruit trees?  We got an apple and an orange and they were yummy.

They also have a precious golden named Moxy and we fell quickly in love.

We left Phoenix and headed to Tucson to be with Northminster Presbyterian Church.  In true Monk fashion, we found a local Vietnamese restaurant and OH MY WORD.  This bowl of goodness was life changing.  I wish they could ship, too.  

We shared special music during the contemporary and traditional services on Sunday AM.  The traditional service was, as you can imagine, filled with older people who like their traditional music with a lot of pipe organ.  They were all precious and loved the song, but, during "Heavy Load" (Trent's more hymnal-ish original) there was an old man with his hands on his ears.  Ha!  Trent saw it, I didn't.  I so wish I had.

After church, we went to the hotel and enjoyed some pool time then we went back up there to sound check for the show.  And this is our "last show of the tour" photo.

If you follow me on instagram, you saw this.  Oh I want it so bad.  It's about as modern as I'll ever get, but I can just picture it in my home someday.  A girl can dream...

Before the love offering, the pastor did an impromptu Q & A.  It was cute!  It gave people a chance to know a bit more about us.  Trent did great; he's quick on his feet and adorably witty.

Trent and Timothy (the worship leader's hubby).

And the 4 of us.  Julia was our contact and an absolute pleasure to deal with.  (I wish that was always the case.)

Whew!  That was a long time on the road.  We appreciate every place that brought us in and every sight we saw.  The tour was a learning experience in several ways, that's for sure.  Mostly, it was fun to have a tour/vacay before Baby Monk comes.
YAY!!!  I can now talk about the baby on here!

(My mom calls it Pickles, due to my craving for all things pickled.)

Again, thanks for traveling with us!