Friday, August 28, 2009

New School Year

Hello! I am so sorry I have let the whole month of August get by me without a single blog entry! We have been very busy, as everyone has been with school starting back up and all the other things that start up in August like soccer and piano and church activities. So, let me just start with the beginning of August and go on from there.

Matt and I celebrated our second anniversary at "The Swag" in Waynesville, NC. We had received a gift certificate from several families from the church Matt grew up at in Johnson City, TN a few months after the boys were born. We saved it for a later time when our grief wasn't so close and we could more enjoy ourselves. Let me just say, it would not have been possible for us to go there with out the gift certificate, and it was an amazing weekend. If you ever have the chance to go, you really should. It is an Inn on top of a mountain. They have amazing food---and I mean amazing. The best and most nutritious food I have ever been offered anywhere. They even have their own vegetable garden. Everything was so fresh and delicious and eloquently prepared and served. All of the guests, about 26 in total, are served together in the main building. They had an amazing Sunday Brunch, I really can not even describe it. It was beyond anything I have ever had before. The chef described everything in full before we ate, and the hosts (The Matthews, who own it) told us a brief story about where we were and then blessed the food (Dan is an Episcopal Bishop or Reverend, I am not sure what his title is). There were I think 10 desserts for Sunday Brunch. They have miles and miles of hiking trails and the property is adjacent to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Saturday we got up and had a relaxing morning in our cabin, then went to breakfast and enjoyed it out on the porch of the main building. We then went on a 6 mile hike and saw a beautiful water fall and had a wonderful time. We got back to find our lunch ready in a backpack for us and we took it to Gooseberry to eat it while enjoying the beautiful view. We relaxed there in a hammock for a while before heading back to our cabin. We soaked on the back porch in the soaking tub and then we each had a massage right there in the cabin. We relaxed some more and then got cleaned up for dinner. We had a wonderful time at dinner and a wonderful meal. We went back to our cabin and relaxed there before turning in for the night. Did I mention we relaxed? It was so relaxing. Unbelievably relaxing. We were almost in a vegetative state by the time we left. It was better than a week vacation at the beach, really! It was a wonderful end to what has been a busy summer.

When we got back, both Billie and I started back to school. Billie is a big 3rd grader now! She loves her new teacher and her best friend is in her class again this year, so she was very happy. I did take pictures of the first day of school, and I will get them up for you. I must admit I haven't loaded them on my computer yet.

I am back in school, too, and feeling a little overwhelmed, as I always do at the beginning of the semester. I have a hard schedule with both Microbiology and Biochemistry, but I know I can get through it.

Billie's activities have started back up, so we are ever busy with piano lessons, soccer practice and homework. It is always a little overwhelming at first, but after a few weeks we get into a groove and it is much easier than it appeared it would be in the beginning. I like being busy and having things to do, but I do look forward to the weekends!

This weekend we are doing something very special and we are all three excited about it. We are going to Matt's home church in Johnson City, TN to help paint the children's area. There is an interesting story behind how all of this began, and it involves Joshua and Caleb so I am going to share it with you. Matt did some design work for the church, and in lieu of payment he asked that they put any of the money they would normally have spent for the work into a fund, in memory of Joshua and Caleb but no one else had to know that except us, to benefit the youth/children of the church. To help the ministry of the youth/children, whether it be the building, bibles, Sunday school lessons, activities, etc., just as long as it went to the children's ministry. So they set up a fund and named it "The Promised Land Fund" and this weekend they are having their first project from those funds, which is painting the area that is used for the children for Sunday School and other activities. We are so excited to be a part of this project. The fund will be ongoing, with church members able to designate that money be put into it from their tithes and offering. I am so proud of Matt for this idea, and for wanting to do something to give back. He could have easily said he wanted to get paid for his hard work, or could have just said "I did the work to help the church and I don't want the money," but he went beyond that and actually helped the church to build their Children's Ministry. Children are the churches future, and this will fund will give back to the church through the children they minister for many years. I could not be more proud of him. The logo he did turned out really nice, too! So once again, Joshua and Caleb are serving the Lord, or inspiring their Daddy to give back with his talents and gifts. They really have changed us and how we think, and I am constantly thanking God for the gift of them and what they have brought to our lives and our family.

Also this weekend Evan is meeting us in Johnson City to visit, so we are all very excited about seeing him. He has agreed to help us paint, too! We will get some playing on the lake in, too, though. We haven't seen him since Easter and we are all anxious for a reunion.

I need to get back to homework so that is all I can write for now. Will try to update again about how the painting project goes this weekend, and post some pictures from The Swag and the first day of school!