Friday, July 31, 2009


Meet Ralph ... 

My aunt gave me Ralph when I was a sophomore in college.  She lived twenty minutes from my school and was renovating her house.  With the furniture she was getting, there would be no room for Ralph, an amazingly comfortable chair that she had gotten twenty years earlier when she was living in San Francisco. (FYI my mom named him Ralph because it was from Ralph Lauren) A friend of mine's father & brother were in town with a truck so we decided to make the short trip to retrieve him.  Ralph provided a wonderful place to read, nap and even sleep when I was too tired to climb up to my loft.

I moved Ralph to Atlanta and just recently got this red slipcover.  For the past couple of weeks, I've thought I've heard a rip when I was sitting in him, but the slipcover looked okay, so I assumed it was my imagination.  Today when I heard a rip the thought crossed my mind to look under the cover - maybe Ralph himself was ripping?

So I looked ... 


I had been wondering why I had been vacuuming up so many feathers lately.

I'm not longer wondering.

Now - I'm all for fixing things, but I don't think this is repairable.  I think at the ripe old age of 25 years, it may be time to say goodbye to Ralph.

What are your thoughts?  Can this be salvaged?

Show Us Your Life - Bridal Party & Flowers/Ceremony

Today is another edition of Kelly's Korner Show Us Your Life.  Today's topic is bridal party and flowers/ceremony.

So ...

Welcome to my wedding day!!

We got married on June 13, 2009 (only about a month and a half ago!!)

We were married at the First Congregational Church of Kent in Kent, CT - a VERY small (less than 3,000 people) town in northwestern Connecticut.  My mom has been the pastor of this church for the past 15 years and it was really special to be able to share this special day not only with my friends and family, but with a group of people who watched me grow up.

People were shocked when I told them that my mom was NOT performing the wedding ceremony, but this wasn't ever a possibility for me.  She needed to be the mother of the bride.  A good friend of mine actually performed the ceremony - he was ordained the summer before I went to seminary and I admire him as a person and as a minister.

The church is classic New England - a wooden church with a big white steeple, no air conditioning and BOY was it HOT under all that tulle!!

For those of you Gilmore Girls fan, Kent is very much like Stars Hollow - a friend of mine from Georgia came in for the weekend and she said she felt like she was living in an episode of Gilmore Girls!!

Here are the bridesmaids beautiful flowers.  The girls were in red and I didn't want red on red, but wasn't sure what my other options were.  My florist suggested orange with some yellow and I'm SO glad I trusted her.  They were beautiful!!

We had two arrangements to match the bridesmaids flowers at the church.  That was it for decorations - I didn't want to take away from the simple beauty that is an old congregational church.

I walked down the isle to the Taize song, El Senyor (In The Lord).  Bruce proposed to me at an altar filled with candles after a Taize service at our church and that was the song that was playing.  To hear it as I walked down the isle brought me back to the night he proposed.

Our ceremony was really well-crafted.  A friend of mine sang "How Great Thou Art" and "Someone Like You," another friend read from John 15 (I am the vine, you are the branches) and Max preached a sermon about how we were not only celebrating the covenant Bruce and I were making, but also the family and friends that we are connected to through the Body of Christ.  The sermon was right before the vows and I never imagined I would be so touched by a sermon just before saying my wedding vows.  It was JUST what I wanted.

So ... my bridal party.

Two weeks before the wedding we got word that Bruce's brother, the best man, was being stationed at a Coast Guard base two days before the wedding and wouldn't be able to be there.  It's so hard to be so proud of someone for what they're doing and yet so disappointed at the same time.  About a week later, Bruce's cousin (another groomsmen) found out that his wife needed surgery.  He really wanted to be there, but Bruce assured him that being with his wife and one-year-old son was more important.  

At that point we had six bridesmaids and four groomsmen so we asked Bruce's sister (one of my bridesmaids) if she would be the "best woman" and she stood next to Bruce for the ceremony.  In a way, we were making the best out of a bad situation, but I also thought it was special that Steph could do that for Bruce - they've always had a special relationship.

This is me and my bridesmaids and my dad before we all hopped on the fire truck and road to the church.

My adorable flower girl is my cousin, who is eight years old (I had to use this picture because it was too adorable to pass up).  My aunt adopted her from Vietnam when she was four months old and she had brought so much joy to our family.  When they went to the orphanage to pick her up, my two aunts and my mom (my mom and other aunt had gone to Vietnam for three weeks for the adoption) all wore red because it is the Vietnamese color symbolizing good luck and happiness.  That's why I chose red for my bridesmaids!!

My sister is standing behind my flower girl, she was my maid of honor.  I'm being honest when I say that the wedding wouldn't have gone off without her - she was AMAZING and took care of details and was just amazing.

And now for one of my favorites ... 

Bruce has some of the most AWESOME friends who he asked to be groomsmen.  We were down two groomsmen but they did everything they could for me and my family the weekend of the wedding to try to make things go as smoothly as possible.  The hung tulle, they mowed lawns, they made small talk and they helped with music at the reception.  I'm so glad to be able to have them in my life now!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Smile big, love hard, rejoice always, find grace and live in peace,

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cat Grass

I can't keep flowers or plants in our apartment.  Lilly mistakes them as something grown for her own edible pleasure.  Too bad it not only ruins the flowers or plants but it also makes her sick.

Last year Bruce discovered Cat Grass - it's a grass that is actually good for cats.  It has natural nutrients, helps with digestion and eating it is supposed to satisfy the cat's cravings for grass so they stay away from other plants and flowers.

We picked some up the other day and have been growing it for the last week.  We brought Lilly out on the porch this afternoon to see what she thought ... 

She loved it!!

Yumm - this is WAY better than that dry crunchy stuff you always give me.

She then proceeded to abandon the grass and headed straight for the ferns Bruce has been growing.

Sigh ... 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Ahh, I sous-stand

Does anyone remember the Friends episode where Phoebe comes to visit Monica at work and develops a crush on Monica's sous chef?  Phoebe asks him if he's Monica's boss and he explains that actually Monica is his boss, "sous" is the french word for "under."  Phoebe replies by saying, "Ahh, I sous-stand."

Well I think - after last week's kitchen debacle(s) - I'm starting to sous-stand some things in the kitchen.

For starters - I make a phenomenal sous chef.  Bruce called me yesterday from work and told me what he was thinking for dinner, that he was going to work a little bit late and asked if I could get some things ready?

I could try?

Well, as it turns out, I defrost a mean chicken and scrub and peel a mighty potato (if I do say so myself).

When Bruce got home, he took over the cooking of the chicken while I took care of the potatoes.  The vegetables steamed themselves and voila!!  Dinner for two with no tears.

I'm starting to sous-stand that when you're new to this whole "cooking on a regular basis thing" you should abide by the three S's.  Start small, be simple and take things slow

So, to be continued ... 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekend Wrapup

Ohhhh Monday. Why are you always here?!

So Saturday night the "stuff" finally got to me. I know, I know. You're all probably rolling your eyes and saying, "I've heard this before, she'll scrub the apartment clean, file away the pile of papers on her desk and feel better."

But this time it was different - the apartment wasn't messy, just cluttered. We officially have too much stuff.

I went to Target on Saturday night to get some storage bins. While there, I came across a stack of "under bed" storage containers that I used to use in college. I decided to buy one and see if I could get rid of some of the clutter in my dresser and armoir and hide it under our bed. When I got home I realized I would need to do some major clean out under the bed first (apparently the dryer hasn't been eating my socks, the bed has - along with ice packs, water bottles, hair clips, books, etc. etc. etc.). Of all things, I found the journal I kept for Bruce when he was in Africa and I was cruising the Eastern Mediterranean with my parents. Obviously, I was THRILLED that my parents had given me this fabulous opportunity, but a recurring theme in my journal posts was the shear amount of waste that I saw. I remember vividly being Monte Carlo, France and standing outside the Grand Casino, horrified that people from our group were gawking and taking pictures of the cars parked just outside - cars that were worth more than any house I'll ever be able to afford.

Maybe it was the hot sun. Maybe it was the fact that I had been living in a stateroom the size of a small walk-in closet with three other grown adults for two weeks. Or maybe it was the fact that Bruce had been living in a house with no electricity or running water for two months, spending his days at an orphanage with children who had to be taken from their homes because of abuse and neglect.

It could have been a combination of all three.

But it just didn't seem right.  We do a program at my mom's church called "Tortillas for Teupasenti."  For $1 a day, you can feed a child at the Children's Rescue Mission for an entire year.

How many children could have been fed with one $250,000 car?

We live with so much excess. Bruce and I really don't have any money - in fact, I started taking out student loans last semester to ease some of our financial stress. But we still live in excess. I really don't know how that happens.

So back to my apartment. I've decided that every day until classes start back up again I'm going to get rid of two things that I don't need. They don't need to be huge things (the bed and couch are staying!!) but they need to be something!! Some of the things - like yesterday's just about gone bottles of perfume that I haven't worn in four years - can be thrown away. But I'm going to try to donate some of the stuff as well. One of today's items is my bike. It's a clunky mountain bike that I've ridden twice since being in Atlanta. It doesn't really work for the type of riding Bruce does that I may eventually want to get into. But it may work for someone in transitional housing (a stage between living in homelessness and getting an apartment) who needs to be able to get around to run some errands. Bruce brought my bike to MUST Ministries this morning. They fix bikes that come into their warehouse and redistribute them to those in need. I'm not sure what else I'll get rid of today - I'll keep you posted.

There is something so freeing about cleaning out and finding ways to recycle things. As happy as I will be to get home and not see my bike hanging on the balcony, I'm more happy to think that someone may ride it every day.

I took a walk yesterday and came home to find this.

Bruce on the porch reading; Lilly had come out to bask in the sun and jumped up with him.

That's what's really important anyway.

I hope everyone's week is off to a fabulous start.

Smile big, love hard, rejoice always, find grace and live in peace.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

He Gets an "A"


Bruce wanted me to feel better about the whole cooking debacle so he brought me flowers and chocolate!!

I'm SO lucky!!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekends!!

Smile * Love * Rejoice

Friday, July 24, 2009

Show Us Your Life - Wedding Dresses

Kelly's Korner's "Show Us Where You Live Friday" has branched off into "Show Us Your Life" and today's edition is Wedding Dresses!! I thought I would join in on the fun since I'm not even two months into my marriage and have been showing little tidbits of the wedding anyway.

So here goes ...

I got my dress at David's Bridal.  My mom and sister and I went in shortly after I got engaged "just to look" and before we knew we just got swept away in the process and bought the dress, shoes, undergarments, tiara and two veils.  My father was both amused and horrified when we got home.  There were times throughout the planning process that I wished I had taken more time to shop around, saved some money, picked either the veil OR the tiara, etc.  But in the end, I LOVED every piece of what I wore that day and wouldn't have traded it for anything!!

(and I found ways to cut costs in other places - my father was grateful!!)

About a week before I went looking for dresses, I attended a friend's wedding and was introduced to the "pull-up" look.  I fell in LOVE with it and knew I had to have a dress with that style on the bottom.

The bodice of the dress had a really slimming frame as well as beautiful beading that ended up matching the tiara PERFECTLY (fate, right?)

There was a beautiful simplicity about the dress, so my hairdresser matched it with an elegant Audrey Hepburn, swept back look.

To contrast that look, I used dark make-up - smoky eyes and deep red lipstick and nails.

... the red matched the Fire Truck!!

This is how my girls and I got to the church.  My mom is a pastor in a really small town in Connecticut.  The local fire department is really active and many of our church members are firefighters.  The department was gracious enough to let one of the members drive me and my girls to the church on the truck!!  It was awesome - my veil flew out the window and as we approached the church the siren went off!!  Talk about a grand entrance.

Walking down the isle - Bruce hadn't seen my dress before so when the doors to the church opened he just smiled and smiled.  I was SO happy to see him!!

One of my favorites - is hanging above my fireplace right now :)

I LOVE my top gun sunglasses and had to have them on for at least one picture!!  This picture kind of makes me feel like Angelina Jolie in Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

I kept my veil on all night - Bruce asked me why and I told him because I would only get the chance to do this once!!

Once we bustled the train it just flowed with me and I felt like an absolute princess!!  A night I will never forget!!

Thanks for stopping by!!

Sarah :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I'm Hopeless

I tried to make dinner for Bruce tonight.  We were having our weekly "date night" and because he planned last weeks night out I thought I would plan a menu and treat my husband to a yummy meal.


Here was what was on the menu:
Appetizers - Tostitos with a Spicy Cheese Dip
Dinner - Ham & Scalloped Potatoes, cooked all day in the crock pot
Dessert - Layered Devil's Food & Yellow Cake (the same flavors as our wedding cake)

I was even going to be cute and make little menus for the occasion.

Here's what happened:
- I overestimated the size of my small crock pot and had to move the spicy cheese dip into a pot on the stove where it subsequently burned to the bottom.
- I left the big crock pot (with the ham) on high for too long; everything dried out and burned to the sides of the crock pot.
- I didn't let one of the layers of the cake cool enough and when I went to move it, it fell into a bunch of pieces.

That's right, in one fail swoop I managed to ruin not one, not two, but THREE COURSES of a meal I tried to cook.

It's almost comical.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Barefoot in the Kitchen

Joking, of course, my mom's response when I told her that I was changing my last name to Weaver after the wedding (and dropping Keck all together, not hyphenating or adding a middle name) was, "What kind of feminist did I raise?!"

Well, no worries, mom.  Becoming Mrs. Weaver has apparently not turned me into a barefoot-in-the-kitchen housewife.

Here's how I know:

Neal and I were talking about our cooking abilities this afternoon.  I explained to him that (even though I hated to admit it) Bruce is a much better cook than I am.  He's more creative, cooks to taste rather than to recipes and genuinely enjoys the process.  I - on the other hand - need recipes and I need them to be simple.  I tend to obsess over meat and whether it's cooked all the way through (subsequently often overcooking it) and the first time I tried to make breakfast for Bruce and me (first weekend alone in Atlanta) I burned the bacon, filled the apartment with smoke and stood in the middle of the kitchen and cried.

True story.

I digress.

So Neal and I were joking about the fact that we need recipes because what if there is an off chance two spices absolutely CANNOT be mixed and we happen to mix them?  I don't remember much of high school chemistry (I spent most of it practicing my saxophone in the music hallway, honestly), but I remember that you weren't supposed to just mix chemicals.  Is the same with spices?  How do I know that I won't mix the right amount of spice A with spice B, top it with some oil and vinegar and POOF!! I have carbon monoxide?

These are the things that go through my head.

So anyway, you would think after this particular conversation I would throw in the dishtowel and order pizza.  But - recipe in hand - I ventured to the grocery store after work.

And this is what happened in one short trip to Publix ... 

- I had to ask an employee on the refrigerated dairy isle where the blocks of Velveeta were only to be informed they were "down on isle 10, Velveeta doesn't need to be refrigerated until after it's opened." (who knew?!)

- I walked up and down the canned vegetable isle thinking that because there were canned tomatoes I would find taco shells and seasoning (I did not).

- I circled the store three times before I found potatoes (they're in produce near the onions, if you're curious).

- Once I found said potatoes I had to call my father (yep, I'm a big girl - I'm married and live 1,000 miles away but I still call my parent's house from the grocery store) and ask him what russet potatoes were.  I think it's safe to say my father was trying hard not to laugh as I lowered my voice and muffled the question into the phone as to keep from drawing attention to the people around me with my embarrassing lack of potato knowledge.

And Bruce wondered why I had a weird look on my face when I walked in the door with the groceries.

So barefoot-in-the-kitchen housewife is out.

How about wearing-spike-heels-while-holding-a-pink-cocktail?  I think I can pull that one off.

Maybe there's still hope.  We've only been married for 39 days, after all ... 

Monday, July 20, 2009

Betty's Diner

We had a really special service in church yesterday. Kim was inspired by the Carrie Newcomer song, Betty's Diner. The message of the song is that the community that often forms in local diners is one similar to one that forms in a church family. Here is the chorus:

Here we are all in one place
The wants and wounds of the human race
Despair and hope sit face to face
When you come in from the cold

Let her fill your cup with something kind
Eggs and toast like bread and wine
She's heard it all so she don't mind

The service was really beautiful. Kim gathered together a worship team for this service and they set up the sanctuary to look like a diner - tables and chairs instead of rows, bulletins that looked like menus and a pot-luck breakfast buffet that rivaled those put together on the Disney Cruise Line.

The concept of the service was centered around the concept of the song verses - outlining individual testimonies of the "diners" - who they are and where they are on life's journey. When it gets around to the chorus, Betty invites in and serves each of the diners - no matter who they are or where they are on life's journey. Does this sound familiar? I wonder if Carrie Newcomer has ever heard of the UCC. The worship team had recruited some ready and willing volunteers to "be the verses," to give their testimonies of what brought them to "Pilgrimage's Diner," of where they are on life's journey. In between each testimony, the congregation sang together the chorus of Betty's Diner.

I had never really thought about the connection between a church community and a diner community. And yet - it makes so much sense!! At one point during the 10:00 "seating" I started collecting plates as people were done with them. Someone thanked me and I replied with a smile, saying "once a waitress always a waitress!!" I LOVED waitressing. I worked at a place that sounds very similar to Betty's Diner. It was a local favorite in a small town, catering both to locals and visitors, to the wealthy and to the financially struggling, to the smiling and the scowling, to the elated and the somber. Some days I turned the sign and locked the doors feeling drained, like I wouldn't be able to get up and face the crowd the next day. Some days I was energized. But no matter what - someone had taught me something that day.

It's funny - I've heard ministers say the same thing about serving churches.

The thing I like about diners is that EVERYONE has a story. When I was waitressing, it was easy to hear those stories. People opened up to me about their marriages and divorces, vacations and educations, new houses and cars, a documentary they got hooked on the night before and (some of my favorite stories) their experiences on the Appalacian Trail (Kent, CT is a popular stop-off town for the trail and a lot of hikers came in the restaurant). What's a shame is that - because people would sit at their own tables and talk to people they came with - diners never got to hear each other's stories. I'm ashamed to admit that ever since I hung up my apron I haven't heard quite as many stories when I walk into a diner.

The joy I have to share today is that at Pilgrimage diners always get to hear each other's stories. Between joys and concerns, the growing popularity of social networking sites like facebook and an easy e-mail program that can quickly send messages church wide, we all have the opportunity to hear each other's stories. You quickly realize that - even as a (using myself as an example) straight, white, married young adult who's struggling through graduate school - you have a lot in common with people who - on the surface - seem drastically different from who you are. We all struggle. We all rejoice. We can all come together to praise God.

I wonder how I can find the same community in the strangers I meet at Waffle House.

I hate watching the news. I really do. Why do differences turn into hatred, intolerance and violence?

They don't have to. We are all God's children. Despite our differences, we can all share a meal together. That's the beauty of Jesus' message and the beauty of how this song translates it into everyday life. The trick now is to translate it into every day life. It's easy to share communion with a group of people who belong to the same church. It's not as easy to do this with people we meet in our day to day lives - people who disagree with us, people who are marginally different from us, people who just infuriate us.

The beauty of Jesus' message is that we are all God's children. Despite our differences, we can all share a meal together.

The trick now is to translate it into every day life.

Here's the song. I encourage you to listen to it and to think of ways to can meet people wherever they are on life's journey.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Take me out to the ball game ... X2

So I failed to mention in yesterday's post that when Bruce was at the Braves game on Friday night he jumped up to yell and scream during a home run and subsequently dropped his phone.  Off the bleachers.  Onto a beam.  A beam that was more than an arm's length below where Bruce was sitting.  A beam that - looking at it from the other way - was at LEAST 20 feet in the air.


Luckily the woman who the supervisor for the ushers on the level where Bruce was sitting was WONDERFUL.  She let Bruce use her phone so he could call me and made all the calls to the appropriate people to get someone to come in and get the phone down.

Unfortunately, Bruce had taken the MARTA shuttle to the game and needed to leave to catch it back before they could get the phone down.  Which meant, that, on Saturday afternoon ... 


Yep, Bruce and I went back to Turner Field to retrieve his phone and take in game two versus the Mets.

Personally, I think he planned this whole thing so he would have a reason to take me to an afternoon game on a beautiful July Saturday.

What do you all think?  Coincidence or not?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A (Hopefully) Productive Weekend

Not much new to report here.  I was inspired by the folks over at Young House Love and have been tackling some neglected spaces in my apartment this weekend.  

Let's face it - between the wedding, honeymoon, last minute trip to Lancaster and week with my parents - basically EVERYTHING in my apartment has been neglected as of late!!  So last night while Bruce was at the Braves game with some friends (in which the Braves took victory over the Mets, 11-0, AHEM!!) I turned on On Demand to get caught up on Tori & Dean and tackled the mess that had become of our apartment.  We slept in this morning and have been slowly getting started on some of things I left last night - hanging pictures, shelves, sconces, etc. we got as wedding presents.  It's FINALLY starting to feel less cluttered - Mom and Dad, I wish you could see it now!!!!!

I had a brief conversation with one of our groomsmen, Gib, yesterday via e-mail about Army chaplains.  If you'll recall from previous posts, Gib is a senior at West Point.  There is a severe shortage of chaplains right now and I would be lying if I said the thought of serving in a different kind of ministry had never entered my mind.  But I have SO many questions.  Anyway, I hopped on amazon and ordered the following books:

by, Kristin Henderson

by, Roger Benimoff

I'm hoping these books give me some sort of window into the lives of chaplains who minister to those serving the military and their families.  I've always seen myself in the church - perhaps I'll find a way to integrate ministering to the local church and to military families?  I'm looking forward to learning about any and all opportunities.

Have a great weekend, all!!  Wish me luck on my cleaning!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yes Sir That's My Baby

One of my dad's former students posted this picture of me on facebook yesterday in an album titled, "High School Memories."

How funny is it?! At night when my dad had rehearsal and my mom had meetings at the church my dad would just bring us to rehearsals and his stage managers / misc. people who weren't rehearsing at the time would take care of us.

Think back to this post as well as this one. I guess this picture just explains a little bit more why my dad's musicals mean so much to me.

Thanks, Jon, for the trip down memory lane!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Life's an Adventure

Photo from Wildwater, LTD.

Bruce and I went rafting with a group from our church on Saturday. It was SO much fun but two days later I am still VERRRRYYYY sore!!!!! I didn't realize that rafting for two hours would be a total body workout. I thought for sure you just sat in the boat and paddled. Oh no. You sit on the EDGE of the boat (let me say that again - EDGE of the boat), lock your feet in under the middle part of the raft and use your leg muscles and abs to keep yourself in.

For two hours.

Through class three and four rapids.

Next time I need to lift, run and do bench presses in preparation.

The soreness is TOTALLY worth it though. Our guide was wonderful. He knew we were "cautious thrillseekers" - meaning we wanted to have fun but didn't really want to test the "white water postion" (the position you put your body in if you fall into the water - if you don't do this you could get sucked into a rapid and die - lovely to get briefed on right before you hop in for the first time) so we had lots of reasons to yell and scream but we all stayed in the raft.

My parents came into town on Saturday night so Bruce and I have been busy having all sort of fun with them!! They drove more of our wedding presents down so my mom and I have been sorting through stuff (mostly the dishes - we now have 12 places settings of fiestaware - pictures to come soon!!), finding room for everything in the kitchen (easier said than done) and trying to figure out what can be stored in Connecticut for the next year plus (also easier said than done - someone remind me why I think I'll need three Danielle Steele novels that I've already read in my apartment for the next year?).

Busy busy busy!! I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to their week.

With love & blessings,
Sarah :)
Oh and for anyone who is curious, we were on the Ococee River in Ducktown, Tennessee. We went with the Wildwater Ltd. Rafting Company. They were AWESOME and spent a lot of time briefing us before we got in the water to ensure everyone's safety!!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Things That Make Me Smile: Groomsmen

Well, moods like mine in the last post can't last long when I was able to enjoy a traffic-free ride to the grocery store and home on my scooter, with temperatures in the 80s and a slight break in the humidity.

As I pulled in my apartment complex, I had a brilliant blog idea - "Things That Make Me Smile."  Not necessarily a remedy, just little reminders every now and then that even when life is making me sigh, there are SO many things that make me smile.

So here it is - the first installment of Things That Make Me Smile.

Today's installment ... GROOMSMEN!!

My groomsmen (okay, okay, I know TECHNICALLY they're Bruce's groomsmen, but what's his is mine, right?) were AMAZING.  Absolutely positively incredible.  They came to Connecticut for a fun-filled weekend of fishing and hiking.  They probably never thought that they would end up on 12-foot ladders hanging lights and tulle for the reception as well-intentioned church ladies told them "a little to the left, no that doesn't look good," mowing my parents lawn, driving an hour each way TWICE to pick up the tuxes (once to pick up the tuxes and twice to pick up the one that was originally shipped to Reading, PA) and showing up an hour early at the church because "that's what Sarah told us to do."

Not to mention ... they're all really cool guys.

All these reasons are reason enough to make me smile.  But then this picture ... 

... makes me smile even more.

Thanks guys!!  I'm so glad Bruce has awesome friends like you that have now come into my life!!

What about the rest of you all?  What are the things that make YOU smile?  I guarantee a post about them will make your day better!!

I Just Wish I Could Be Doing More.

Ever have one of those weeks?

We've definitely been having one here.

It's hard for Bruce and me to come back after a weekend with the gang from Leadership Now. We spent the weekend surrounded by people who we know are going to do fabulous things with their lives and for the lives of others and it reminded us of all the dreams and schemes that - once upon a time - we had for ourselves as well.

And then we got back to Atlanta. Where we were not only greeted by a waft of humidity coming off of the plane, but also where hours need to be worked so money can be made so bills can be paid. Making a difference in the world? More like protecting ourselves.

It's extremely frustrating for two people who have such strong desires to make a difference in the world to punch the clock at jobs they're not passionate about.

We love Atlanta. We have amazing friends here. We're grateful for our jobs, particularly during a recession when we know that there are people praying for work.

But we just think that there is MORE we can be doing.

Yes - I'm studying theology at a phenomenal academic institution. The education that I'm getting now will help me down the line. Yes - punching a clock and doing administrative work will help me apply the theology in the church.

I just wish I could be doing more.

I know this is not enthusiastic or positive. And that bothers me because I do always try to look on the bright side of things. But this is where I'm at right now. So I'm going to finish up at work and head home. And in the meantime, I promise I will post something more uplifting later on today. If anything to make me feel better.

With love,
Sarah :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Celebrating America in the heart of Amish Country

Bruce and I had a wonderful last minute (surprise) visit to Lancaster, PA this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Next Autos.

Most of you know that Bruce and I met through a leadership program at Lancaster Theological Seminary called Leadership Now. Courtney Harvey, the co-director of the program, is getting ready to fly off (quite literally) to attend a one year program at the London School of Economics. This will put an end to her six/seven (I've lost count) years of herding aspiring and enthusiastic youth into confident and brilliant leaders. Her co-director Jacquie (by the way - these are all really good friends of ours, but for story clarification purposes, I'm using official titles) asked Bruce and me at our wedding if we would like to fly up for a surprise party she was throwing Courtney at the end of their week long Leadership Academy.

A chance to be reunited with our wonderful Leadership Now family to celebrate a major milestone in the life of someone we love and admire? And to do so in the middle of corn fields, cow manure and horse & buggies?

She didn't need to ask us twice!!

It was a phenomenal weekend. We flew out Friday early evening, getting into Harrisburg International around 8:15. Kari picked us up at the airport (she and Cameron had driven up from North Carolina that morning/afternoon) and we drove to the seminary where the party had already begun. Not only were Courtney, Jacquie and all of the new students from the week there, but there were also previous students & staff that I knew from when I worked events in college and it was so great to see everyone!! I got a lot of "oh my gosh, you're married!!" from people but I think everyone quickly realized that not much has changed for us in the three weeks since we've tied the knot. We're still Bruce & Sarah - we watch Friends a lot, insist on doing things ourselves and dream about how we're going to fix the world.

We had a mini - Fourth of July celebration at Kari's parents house - Cameron and Bruce grilled, Kari and I went in the hot tub, the boys shot off fireworks and I blessed everyone with an off-key rendition of "I'm Proud to Be an American." It wasn't anything special, but - in its own way - it was quite perfect.

It's strange ... lately people have been asking me where I would like to end up in a year when it's time for me to walk across the stage at Emory, be handed my diploma and seek a call. Up until this weekend, my first choice has always been with the Connecticut Conference. How can it not be? They've supported me spiritually and financially in my seminary endeavors. They (well, the Litchfield North Association) gave me the opportunity to represent them as a delegate at two General Synods. And I was born and raised in Connecticut. I lived, breathed and loved small town Connecticut life. I showed up to the church on a Fire Truck at my wedding for crying out loud!!

And yet ... when you drive through this ...

Photo courtesy of Planet Ware.

... and get to visit the still-running Strasburg Railroad, the oldest railroad in the country (is that right, Dan?) ...

Photo courtesy of Strasburg Railroad.

... it's hard to want to live anywhere else.

There is something so still and simple about Central Pennsylvania. Don't get me wrong - I love Connecticut and the surrounding areas. I love Southeastern Pennsylvania - where I spent four years of college and was also considering looking for churches.

But the beauty of my surroundings got to me this weekend. And it gave me a lot to think about.

Happy Fourth y'all!! Neal, Gib, Jason - I'm so proud of what you're doing for our country. I feel safer knowing our nation's military has people like you serving it.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Where did the month of June go? It feels like just yesterday it was June 1st and I was thinking how I couldn't believe the wedding was in less than a month ... and now the month has come and gone!!

There's not a lot going on with us right now. My computer has had a backlight problem since March and I had finally reached a point where I could be without it for a week so the Apple Store could send it out. I dropped it off on Sunday and according to the online report it got to California today and the repair is complete!! Must have been an easy fix. Luckily it was covered under Apple Care. Hopefully it'll be back in Georgia sometime this weekend!!

Speaking of the Apple Store - Bruce and I are pricing out desktop macs right now. The Dell that I bought out of college (that Bruce sort of inherited six months later when it was crashing too fast and I replaced it with my MacBook) is really in bad shape. Bruce rarely uses it at this point - he uses his iTouch for everything or borrows my MacBook - and now I see why. It's really not usable. We definitely want to get another apple - we've loved mine - but the question is - what should we get? Macs have come down in price but it's still a big investment. We're thinking desktop so that we can have more memory while still have the mobility of one laptop. Is there something else we should consider?

My parents are supposed to come into town next week so I'm trying to visualize (and organize) what I want them to bring back to Connecticut and store for us in their basement until we have a house and things aren't so cluttered. When we moved to Atlanta originally I thought it made a statemen of adulthood if I brought EVERYTHING with me. Maybe it's the wedding ring, but I'm starting to realize that I can be an adult without having every single book I own taking up space in an 800 square foot apartment. I would much rather have less clutter ... agreed?

That's all for now ... It's so much harder to do this on an iTouch!!

With love,
Sarah :)
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