Saturday, September 28, 2013

Ring of Fire

Buenos días!

I'm sitting here, drinking coffee and watching the Today Show before we leave for Arkansas.  

(By the way, my dad thinks we're liberal because we watch the Today Show.  He's a Fox News fan.)

Anyway, they just had a segment about a new trend.  A trend in the world of engagements.  More and more couples are splitting the cost when it comes to the engagement ring purchase.  I immediately thought, "Well, why not? To each his own."

They interviewed some random people to see what they thought.  One woman actually said, "If he asked me to help pay for the ring, I would say no."  And after a poll, 54% did not agree with splitting the cost, 46% did.  

(Or was it 56% and 44%. get the idea.)

Now obviously, it's not traditional.  But, with more and more couples waiting until they're older to marry and sharing other expenses already, I don't see the big deal.  Whatever makes sense for you.  That's my motto.

It got me thinking about our engagement and wedding.  

We did not have a lot of money.  I was a teacher and Trent was in culinary school, waiting tables at Cheddar's in Waco, where people didn't know how to tip.  

We had just decided (with lots of prayer) that I'd resign and Trent would start doing music again.  I knew we'd get married, I just didn't know when.

On a beautiful November day in 2009, Trent and I went to a pretty spot on Lake Waco to watch the sunset.  I didn't think anything of it (because he's a romantic guy anyway).  We talked and laughed and then he started talking about our future together.  Then he asked me to marry him.  It was perfect.

But here's the thing.  There was no ring.  He explained how he didn't have a lot of money and how he was sorry there was no ring.  He told me of how he went and looked and quickly learned that what he could afford, was no good.  

I told him I didn't need a ring.  And that was the truth.  But I felt bad for him because that's what men are "supposed" to do.  He felt a little ashamed.  Bless his heart!

The whole thing made me feel bad for men.  There's so much pressure on them to get the biggest, best ring.  To go into debt just to propose to their lady.  I don't get it.

I went to school the next day, on cloud nine, and shared my news.  The inevitable "let me see the ring" was uttered every time. Most people were understanding when I explained how we were saving our money and that we'd just exchange rings on our wedding day.  But one person laughed in my face when I said there was no ring.

It hurt my feelings a little, but it made me cringe for Trent.  

Anyway, my point.

There was no engagement ring.  We bought our invitations from Walmart and had them printed at a local printer.  The wedding was in my sister's backyard.  The food was from Costco.  My bouquet was from HEB.  And our rings?  Also from Walmart.  And we love them.

And we wouldn't have done it any other way.  It was perfect.  And we are still in love and still happy, happy, happy.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

:: Missouri and Kentucky ::

After about 5 days home, we headed back to Missouri for an awesome event with Peterson Outdoors Ministries.  More about that in a sec.

Because I have to tell you about the best soup ever.  It was chicken pot pie soup and was from a Flying J truck stop and I ate it before 10:00.  It was delicious and it didn't give me explosive diarrhea like I thought it might.  (You know, because it's from a truck stop.)  I crave that soup.  It's life changing.    

*Back to the event*

We met Misty and Tron in Arkansas at the Christian Waterfowl Association Festival.  They started a ministry that provides outdoor recreation to wounded warriors, veterans, and people with terminal illnesses.  When they sponsor hunts, spouses and children are invited and encouraged to come along as well.  

They are currently trying to raise 2.3 million in order to purchase the Lodge of Hope in Pierce City, MO.  They have 40 days to do it and the deadline is Oct. 12th.  And y'all?  This place is lovely.  

This is just the auditorium.  The grounds and 400 acres are beautiful and we are praying they receive full funding.

Hearing the testimonies from some of the soldiers of how Peterson Outdoors Ministries helped them was amazing.  PLEASE consider giving a donation.  Go to the Lodge of Hope website for more information. 

 And crazy side note, turns out they know who my brother-in-law is!  
(Nate Self. Google him.)

Us and the Petersons.  Such sweet people!

We spent the night in Springfield and left for Paducah, KY the next day.

We did an outdoor concert with a family we've known for a few years.  We hadn't been back to Paducah since 2011, so it was great to see everyone!  They fed us BBQ and even sent us home with some.  (Awesome.)  And the weather was absolutely perfect.  I even got a little chilly!

During sound check.  

A view from their deck before the crowd came.  Love the backyard.  I bet their Easter egg hunts are epic.

We drove back to Nashville right after the show, since it's only 2 hours or so.  

(That rhymed.)

This week we've been working, Trent's been writing, I found a dresser for Oliver storage (stay tuned), and we go to the doctor today.  

Then we leave Saturday.

Whew!  Time flies by.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A Week in Missouri

After our glorious vacation in Destin, it was time to hit the road again.  This time, we went to Missouri which we hadn't been to in over a year!

The first stop was Rolla at Missouri S&T University's Wesley Foundation.  It was our first time going to Rolla and we are already planning to go back.

I liked how their shirts had our initials on them.  How sweet ;-)

This show had a very special moment that we'll always remember.  It was the first time I had to leave stage to go tinkle.  We knew it would eventually happen and we've joked how we'd handle it.  

It went down like this: After a song, I leaned over and whispered to Trent, "what song is next?"  "I don't know,"  he replied.  "Cause I gotta go,"  I told him.  And then he very cutely explained what was about to happen and that sweet crowd actually clapped.  Ha!  Good times.

The show was great and so was Jimmy John's.

Next stop was Blue Springs, MO.  We love going to St. Peter UMC.  They always take care of us and enjoy the show.

Here's some precious girls after we played.  (And a blurry photo bomber.)  The one on the left got Trent's signature on her arm.  

We stayed with Anne and Gary (not pictured because he goes to work like crazy early.)  What a precious couple!  It was great getting to know them better and great eating the breakfast Anne made for us.  It had my favorite food groups:  bacon, cheese and crescent rolls.

Onto Desloge, MO...

We went to FBC Desloge for the first time last November and they were eager to have us back.  Yay!  (This is the church that has an apartment on site, which is awesome.)  We got to the room and had this waiting for us:

A gift for Oliver and the best snack basket for a pregnant lady EVER.  We got a little teary eyed because HELLO THOUGHTFUL!!

We of course had a fabulous time and are incredibly appreciative for the people there!  And I also realized my maternity jeans had gotten a little tighter since the last time I wore them.  Funny how that happens.
 (Thanks for the pic, Kara.)

After three consecutive shows, it was nice to have a day off in Monett, MO with the Bergers.  Amy and Kristy surprised us with more Ollie things!  (Amy's mom is quite the seamstress.)  I am just amazed at the sweetness of people we have had the pleasure to meet doing what we do.  

We played for the fundraiser for The Den, which is a youth center in Monett.  This year, it was at the Berger's barn on their property.
(Thanks for the pics, Amy!)  

It's an amazing barn.

Us with Amy and the Bergers.  They are seriously like family.  Love them.

We left that night and drove the hour to Springfield so we could lead worship Sunday AM at Life Fellowship Church.  We also had a concert Sunday night, and this is the only pic I have.  Sound check.  

It had been almost 2 years since our last time with Life Fellowship and it was nice to get to see everyone again!  

It was a blur of a run, but a fruitful one.  We're already planning to go back next year.

With a new record!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Destin, Our Destin

In January, Trent's parents (Tim and Ginny) said they wanted to take us to Destin the first week in September.  We were thrilled to say YES and plan our schedule around the trip.  It ended up being a kind of babymoon for us.  And we were even more excited because with our many stops in Florida, we hadn't been to Destin since 2009.

Look at us.  So young, so young!

We left Nashville on Sunday and drove to Montgomery, AL for the night.  Our first stop, though, was the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, TN.  Trent and I went with my parents a couple years ago and were pumped to take Tim and Ginny.  It really is an awesome tour and incredibly interesting.  Even if you don't like whiskey, you'll enjoy it.  

We got to Destin, ate lunch and were able to get checked in early!  Hallelujah.  Our cart was loaded down.  And look!  Our box fan made the trip, too.  

Coming through the door of our condo took our breath away.  Nothing but ocean.    

This.  Is what I woke up to each morning.  

We enjoyed watching the sunset the first night there.  

Ahhhhh.  Paradise.  First day on the beach!

I had to document Oliver!



Now listen.  Normally, Trent and I sit out in the hot sun and cool off with periodic dips in the water.  We still cooled off with dips in the water, but the umbrellas? Oh, that's the way to go.  We have been converted.  Shade is what's up.  (I think this is where I realize we've gotten old.  Or smarter.  One of the two.)

Beach day #2.


The condo had some boogie (sp?) boards and they were so much fun!  Trent got on that thing so many times he ended up with boogie board rash.  Like a real surfer and everything!  

I did not do it as much.  But I did watch.

We had dinner at one of our favorite places, The Boat House.  Good food, live music, and views of the Destin Harbor.  

Our last day there, we rented a pontoon boat and had a blast.

Trent's turn to drive!

And before we knew it, it was time to leave.  I'm going to miss having my coffee on this balcony every morning.  Next time we go, we'll have a little boy to play with!  And we can't wait.

Thank you GiGi and Tim!