Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tough Stuff

Although there are many wonderful things happening in our lives right now, I think I have been avoiding a blog post because of the "not so wonderful" things that are just a part of living life! I will start with the wonderful things first :)

Colby finished up his first semester really strong, and got an A in the class that he has already received the final grade in... we are waiting to hear from the rest! This means 3 more semesters and a summer long research project abroad before he graduates with his MAIS, and probably about 7 more semesters until he finishes up with his MDIV. This is exciting and we cannot believe how fast the first semester has gone! I previously mentioned that we would be helping start a ministry for twentysomethings in our church, but the plans have changed and we have been asked to help transition the children's ministry into a "volunteer run" ministry starting in January! This is a little scary because neither of us has ever done children's ministry, but our interim pastor felt it would be a great (and yes, challenging!) fit for us with our interest in orphanage ministry in the future. Also, we think Colby may have gotten a little job on the side so that we can have a little extra money to save to come home or other special purchases! He'll be working with a man that has a business that assembles furniture (mostly Ikea stuff) in peoples' homes for them. The best part about it is the super flexible hours and most jobs he'll be able to ride with the guy which helps a TON since we only have one car! We are so thankful for all of these wonderful things and look forward to what next semester holds.

On to the tough stuff... As many of you may know, I have been battling with Rheumatoid Arthritis for about 10 years. For those who don't know, this is a disease where my body has gotten confused and attacks its own joints, causing pain and fatigue. I am very thankful that the majority of the last 10 years I have had great control and a slow progressing form of this disease! The medication that I normally take to treat RA is extremely expensive and, as a result, I have not been taking it for several months since right now we have essentially "emergency only" health insurance. Since starting my job, my energy level has been getting lower and lower and most days I am off are spent resting. It is frustrating to have a busy and productive mind and a body that just cannot keep up. I am really sharing all of this, not for pity or anything else, but a humble request to lift us up in prayer. It has also been really hard for Colby to cope... he has never seen me struggle this much with RA and is at a loss for what to say or do to help and I can tell it makes him feel helpless and sad. We are moving forward, trusting that the Joy of the Lord is our strength and are still enjoying life and making new friends... this is just a bump in the road and we are asking for your help to hold us up!

The hospital I work for offers GREAT benefits, but there is a 90 day waiting period from the first day of work! I am excited that my coverage starts January 1 and I'll be able to find a doctor that can get me started back on my medicine. We are so thankful that we live in a place and have been given the resources to receive treatment... I so often think of those who are suffering that have no hope of relief! We love you all and we are thankful to have friends who can be entrusted with the personal details and struggles in our journey.

Also, we cannot WAIT to get home! We'll be arriving in ATL on Christmas Eve... of course, we'll be spending Christmas and the Day after with family. We will be at church in Watkinsville on Sunday and I'll be working an 8 hour shift back at Gwinnett on the 29th. We would love to see anyone who has the time... just e-mail me and we'll try to work out a time :)

So thankful for your prayers,

Sunday, November 15, 2009

So much to be thankful for....

It is official... we are coming home for Christmas! Of course this is a big deal, but it is an even bigger deal being a nurse at a new place and getting the entire week of Christmas off without even asking (another reminder that the Spirit is interceding for our needs so that they are met before we even ask!)!!! We arrive on Christmas Eve in the afternoon and head back to Cali on the 30th as I have to return to work on New Year's Eve. We will be touring through Snellville, Dahlonega and Watkinsville - mostly visiting with family, but if you would like to see us, let us know when you'll be stopping by!

I went through a couple weeks of really bad homesickness and feeling a bit like a failure at work... I walked past a group of nursing students in their white scrubs and briefly wished I could just join them and hide from the new (and daunting) responsibilities of this new job, or be back at Gwinnett in my royal blues where everyone knew me and I actually knew what I was doing! Then I quickly realized that being a student totally sucks and that this job is an awesome opportunity - I reminded myself that I was not given a spirit of fear, and turned myself around. Doing much better with my first intubation under my belt and only one more week of my orientation... I am gaining confidence and more certain than ever that God has been directing our steps out here.

As far as ministry goes, we have been asked to start a new ministry/small group at church focusing on the 20-30's crowd. This is a huge age group in SF... there are many students, grad students, and young professionals. We are thinking and praying hard about what direction to take with this group, but we are hoping to help this group articulate the absolute truth found in Jesus while navigating through a relativistic world. We are hoping to get this group kicked off by mid-January... we'll keep you posted. Also, we are working on some other projects that will help us accomplish our goals in Africa in the future. Really working through what we feel our mission statement for ministry will look like and some really exciting happenings that we'll have to share in the coming months.... (in the realm of missions, not grandchildren to any who would read into this the wrong way - MOM!)

I was telling Colby after I got off work yesterday that while washing my hands I had a strange moment of realization.... I all of a sudden realized that by the time Colby finishes here, we will both be 28. I do not think that is old by ANY means, but for some strange reason, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Colby asked why and I said, "I just feel like I would have done more in my life by now!" Colby said, "Ellen, we have already had more opportunity than most our age: we have both completed bachelor degrees, worked as professionals for a couple years and you are in the second job of your career that is a better opportunity than the first, I am working on two Masters degrees, we moved all the way across the country, and we've traveled the world... that is a lot!" To that I replied, "Well... when you put it that way...." I was reminded of all the seemingly insignificant details that God has perfectly orchestrated to get us where we are today... we are so unworthy and unqualified, yet He chose to take us as we were and is in the process of making us more like Him. The best part it is... He is directing this journey and He is not finished with us yet!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I cannot believe I have let this much time go by before updating! I promised myself when we moved out here I'd be very good about updating! I guess life just got the best of me... Since you've last heard from us, I have started my job and I feel like I am beginning to sort of settle in although I have not had the opportunity to intubate or place umbilical lines yet! One thing that is kinda funny to get used to is all the stereotypical Berkeley "au naturale" births! There were some natural births in Gwinnett, but some of the people out here are a little over the top! It makes life interesting and it is always fun to see how different people live life so differently... wow, that was confusing.

Also, after finishing up my second week of work, we had our first visitor arrive! Colby's sister, Elizabeth, came on Wednesday and stayed until Saturday. We squeezed every possible tourist-ish outing in the city and Marin that we possibly could before returning her to the airport on Saturday where we said our good-byes and watched her go through security, took a deep breath, a long swig of our caffeinated drinks and said hello to one of my dearest friends, Michelle, walking through the Arrivals gate! She was able to stay for a whole week, so we were able to take our time with the site seeing! We had a great time with them both (and I am pretty sure I could now qualify to be an official Alcatraz tour guide!) and their visit came at a great time for me when I was really beginning to feel the sting of homesickness. It was strange to have them here, it almost made me feel like I wasn't so far away after all. Now we are looking toward the holidays and trying to make plans... none made yet. Holiday life is hard for a full time nurse...

Although it is tempting to get homesick, we are starting to feel more at home here and have definitely heard the voice of the Lord calling us to serve at First Baptist San Francisco while here. Without getting into all of the historical details, we have been lead here at a very critical time. This summer, the church lost their pastor to health complications and over the several years of his illness, the church's health has been declining too. This is a church that was founded the same year as the gold rush... 160 years ago! Now, they have just had to let go everyone but an (awesome!) new interim pastor and a secretary. We feel that this is the answer we have been looking for Colby to step in. We have waited about a job for Colby because the Lord has blessed us so much with my job, that we thought Colby's time would be better invested in his school work, but we have also prayed for a ministry opportunity for us to both have a chance for "hands on" learning... well, here is our chance! We are not sure how this will all play out, but we've told the pastor that we (mainly Colby) are willing to help and basically see this as Colby's part time "job" although, of course, it will be voluntary work. We are waiting to hear back from him (hopefully this week, or next) about where we could be of the most use.

We are missing home more than ever, but at the same time, feel more confident than ever that God has called us to love and serve this City for a season in our life. Continue to pray for us, that we would receive wisdom and strength from the Lord while keeping a humble spirit!

We love you all... I am posting a few pics of our "tour guide" adventures!


Friday, September 25, 2009


So, it has been a long while since I've written. I think blogging is one of those things that is easy to put off, but then you realize that you have so much to tell... well, you never really know who you are telling, you just know that whoever it is, you want them to catch up on stuff going on. Or maybe it is just a way that I use to feel closer to home/people/something familiar. Anyhow, we've been just going along with life these last couple of weeks. Colby is really getting into the semester and that means a lot of "reading nights" which is a good thing because I have finally overcome my non-reading funk left over from nursing school and read with him! I am amazed to hear what he is reading and learning, and I must say that it is fun to see him gaining so much knowledge (he has always been the smart kid to play the "fun guy" role, but he seems much more serious now!). We've continued to enjoy our time together. Last week, we rode the ferry from the next town over right up to the Giants stadium... it is right on the water! We enjoyed the game (even Colby although it was not the Braves) and realized that hot days do not mean warm nights in San Francisco... we were bundled up with hoodies and winter hats - at a baseball game!

The next big event: we celebrated our 2nd anniversary on Tuesday the 22nd! Although I had to go to Oakland for a pre-employment physical and set up my "personnel file" with HR, Colby had a lovely evening planned when I finally got home! We had a beautiful sunset dinner at a restaurant right down the street that is literally on the water. They are famous for their sunset views... behind the water is beautiful Mount Tamalpais which the sun sets behind. We enjoyed our yummy italian dinner while reminiscing over the last two years and how much has happened and wondering what we will be looking back on in 10, 20, 30, etc years! We feel so incredibly blessed and sometimes I feel like God has swept us away on an adventure and as long as our hearts are surrendered to His will, there is only more adventure, surprise, blessings (and challenges!) ahead! We have also planned a beach horse back ride sometime in October... a life long dream of mine - to celebrate these two years!

The permanence is setting in and it is both exciting and unsettling. Exciting because I think we are actually feeling somewhat "at home" here, but it is unsettling knowing that means life is going on in Georgia - without us. This seems to bother me more than Colby, but maybe that is just because he's been busy with school. I was looking at my new badge from work sitting next to my old one in the car and it just seems so real... we are out here, we are staying, this is our home now - it is sad. More time equals more distance and that is kinda sucky. It is a harsh reality of "growing up"... heading into a new, wonderful, exciting chapter in life, but at the same time, leaving a different kind of wonderful behind. The thought of an indefinite time here with no idea when we might come home (although we are hoping for sometime during the holidays... but not sure what holidays I'll have to work) is scary, but I am so relieved that we have a great dose of home coming very soon! Colby's sister, Elizabeth is going to be our very first visitor! She flies in on October 6th, then when we take her back to the airport on October 10th, we'll be picking up Michelle, one of my best friends from college! I think this will be so good for us (or maybe just me?) to be able to make some link between this life and our Georgia life... someone to see "our town" and our home. It is funny the pride you can take in such simple things as "And this is where we go to the grocery store, and this is our favorite restaurant, etc." I cannot wait :)

Lastly, I start my job on Monday, I repeat MONDAY! I initially thought I would start October 12 after Nursing orientation, but my manager called me today to see if I could start earlier. From a financial standpoint, this is awesome... but I must admit, I am a little anxious! I think it has been long enough though... I am bored of just being at home doing uuber "wifely things" (aka cooking, baking, cleaning, etc) and nothing else :) It has been a nice break, but I am ready to be back to work. I will have to update after this coming week to let you know how it goes!

We love you and (obviously) miss you!


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Marin Life

So, I feel like we (especially me because I am the worrier in this duo) have breathed a sigh of relief since I got the job offer and can let our hair down even more than we had! I am hoping to start work either the last week of September or first week of really just depends on how quickly they can process my background check. I have really been trying to get everything around the house super settled before I get started at work and this included a little project. There was a really "unloved" wicker chair kind of shoved in the corner of our apartment mother taught me well and I know a spray paint resuscitation when I see one! After checking with the "Lane Ambassador" (a fancy title for the "go to" person in our complex), a few cans of spray paint, cute cushions, a tiny table and plant turned this eye sore into a welcoming site outside our front door! I think it needs another coat of paint, but will do for now. I have included a picture :) We have also been enjoying ourselves around town. We went to Crissy Field in San Francisco where they have a beautiful beach! (This is the photo with the seagull) It was a nice warm day, so i took off my sandals to walk in the waves: BIG surprise, it was FREEZING! We have quickly learned these beaches are only for swimming if you are wearing a wet suit! Another adventure was lunch in nearby Tiburon. A quaint little town in Marin county right on the water with a ferry and yacht marina. You can see Angel Island and the whole city!

One of the biggest loses that we have felt so far in SF is our church at home in Watkinsville! We have been on the search since we got here and have decided that the church we left is irreplaceable and are trying to refocus our view to find the right fit for this season of life! Today we returned to First Baptist San Francisco...which I might add is quite different than most Southern "First Baptists"! It is a really old building right in downtown, located next to the Castro district which is a stark contrast to the field that FBC Watkinsville is located in! It is the biggest melting pot of old, young, single, married, black, white, asian, hispanic, wealthy professionals, and even homeless; and although it is out of our little bubble of a comfort zone, it is a beautiful reminder that the Body of Christ is just as diverse as the cells of our own bodies. Where else can a Medical resident at UCSF and a special needs homeless man join together in unity and claim that they share the most central part of life: a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

Today, after church we went to the Long Beach district, which is San Francisco's version of Little Italy. We ate at a cute little bistro table on the sidewalk at a restaurant called Calzones! I feel kind of like I am living someone else's life when lunch after church is a romantic get away with tourists driving by in buses taking photos and some of the best people watching you've ever seen! Our waiter was a round, jolly Italian man in a vest and tie and he smiled the funniest smile and he brought our calzones and pizza to us...I really felt like I was in a movie! I have seen the grace of God and the truth in His word when He says that if earthly fathers give good gifts to their much more will our Heavenly Father give perfect gifts to us! I am humbled and blessed by this special season in our life and as the days and weeks pass, I am so aware that all of these little moments are some that we will treasure until we grow old. Homesickness is creeping in at times when we least expect it, but usually does not stay for long: we just cannot believe that we have been away from Georgia for seven weeks!

We would LOVE to hear from anyone who actually reads this thing and hear what is going on in your lives back in Georgia (or San Fran, or wherever you may be!)...a quick e-mail or FB message would make both of our days!

Love you and miss you more and more,

PS: for some reason, this thing is not letting me add the photos...I'll try to add them later :)

Friday, September 4, 2009


BIG NEWS: I went for my third and final interview today and a couple hours later the manager called me back to offer the 72 hr/pay period position!!!!!!!!!! I was in shock! I told Colby I don't think I have been that relieved/excited/shocked since I passed the NCLEX (the nursing license exam). I really had to just be in awe of the Lord and His sovereignty. This was a job that I almost didn't apply for because I felt so under qualified for, but Colby convinced me that it could not hurt to just apply. I can honestly say that I have been given favor with this hospital, just like Esther! Now, that I actually got the job... it kinda freaks me out! The thought of intubating a 23 weeker and placing/suturing umbilical lines and maybe even inserting and securing chest tubes seems quite intimidating! (Apologies to the non-medical readers for the nursing jargon) BUT, with all that aside, you all may rejoice with us because I am quite confident a LARGE part of me receiving this position was due to all the prayer from sooo many family members and friends - we have been overwhelmed by all of your encouragements and prayers! I am so thankful for situations like these where I cannot take the credit because it continues to teach me that God is so much bigger than we are! He goes before us and behind us and beside us...he knew that I would need this job before I even dreamt of moving to California. The great thing about this job is that since it is full time, Colby really won't have to get a job: he can have all the time in the world for reading, paper writing and learning who the Lord is calling him to me as a minister! Although he is considering substitute teaching for high schoolers just for fun.

As Colby has been studying "people groups" for his MAIS, he was telling me last night that we fall into the "Sojourners" category. This category is for people who are in a certain place, but only for a short amount of time; in other words, they are not there permanently. As I was praying last night, I was thinking that as Believers and followers of Jesus Christ we should all be living our lives as "Sojourners". I know, I know...this has the possibility of sounding a bit philosophically cheesy, but think about it. For example, although I am living in California right now, I still consider Georgia my home. It is where my family is, it is where friends are, it is where familiarity is, it is where I am most loved. Although I am making the best of my time in California and loving, loving, loving it...I am looking forward to going back home! Is that not what we are called to be here? Diligent in our work , loving and serving people, but always, always with our thoughts and affections in the direction of Heaven, our home? I feel if I can humble myself enough to consistently accept this, I will be a much more joyous person knowing that this is not my home...I am just passing through! So when the homesickness for Georgia starts to creep in (which I know it will...and already does a little at times) I can rest knowing that I will not truly be home until I am home with the Father.

Thank you all again from the bottom of our hearts for all the prayer... we really need it!
Love you all,


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

First day of school and job interviews!!!

So, I just know all of our faithful readers have been holding their breath, and obsessively checking Facebook/e-mail waiting for the latest update! Sorry to keep you waiting :) To be honest, I've been a little scared to talk about all the job opportunities/updates...afraid that I would psych myself up and then be let down. But I am feeling confident now...just returned home from Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley for my second interview for this position. I have my third and final "group interview" on Friday at 10...the manager said I should know for sure by Friday afternoon or Tuesday at the latest about this position! So excited. I feel confident trusting in the fact that the Lord knows what Colby and I need, he has known exactly what we would need before we even decided to move out here! We are asking and trusting that I will be given the 72 hour/pay period position rather than just one of the "on call" positions...please join us in these prayers! This position is definitely not what I thought I'd be doing, mostly hanging out (and by hanging out, I mean working) in Labor and Delivery attending all deliveries and going on a few transports. Kinda scary too, I'd have to learn how to intubate, put in lines, etc! (For the non-nurse readers that basically equals scary stuff that nurses in Georgia are not licensed to do!) I see this as a great learning opportunity, but if I get this job I will really miss the continual care of babies and their families...I do love those little chronic kids! We'll see where we end up!

In other news...Colby has been fully thrown into Grad School! Last week was the first week of class. He has two classes at Golden Gate (going towards his Masters of Divinity, or MDiv) and he also has two classes for Union University (going towards his Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies, or MAIS). That is a mouthful...and a heavy academic load as well! He has already read 2-3 text books, had a paper due and had his first of 4 "intensive weekends" for the MAIS program. This weekend seemed pretty cool though. They met Thursday evening to discuss the project for the weekend and their reading assignments. Friday, they split into teams of 3-4 and went into downtown San Francisco where each group was assigned a specific district to begin doing "ethnography" research. They had specific tasks to accomplish, but a lot of the goal was to observe different cultures. As luck may have it, Colby's group was assigned to the Castro District. He ended up appreciating this learning experience because it is a place he would never have visited on his own....considering that this is the Gay district in San Fran. He had some interesting stories to tell me when he got home! The culture here is so different, God is using it to challenge and stretch us to love those who we may be a little uncomfortable around...this was great practice!

We love you all and wish all of you could experience the presence of God in our lives out here! Even in the midst of uncertainty, we can rest knowing that our God is one who never changes...He is always faithful!


P.S. Colby and I took a "test drive" to Berkeley so I would be confident to drive there on my own for my interview and we had to crack up at God's sense of humor to find that the hospital is located on Colby Street :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

An Emotional Roller Coaster and a Walk in the Clouds!

Hello all!  This week has been a crazy one!  As I continued my job search, we were determined to enjoy this last week before Colby starts class (in a budget friendly way, of course!).  Our list of activities included driving/exploring our new community and getting lost a couple times!, Muir Woods (where we bought a season pass, so all visitors with us get in free...hint, hint!), lunch in Downtown SF at Pier 39 and a look at the resident Sea Lions there, and last but not least, today we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, then drove around for scenic views and through Sausalito.  This is the next town is right on the water and absolutely gorgeous!  This part of the week was incredibly fun.  Colby and I realized this week that thanks to long distance dating and night shift after we were married, this is the most time we have ever spent together (this includes dating!)!  It has been a really special time for us to grow as friends and partners...although I think it is safe to say we've gotten on each others nerves a little bit! (but just a little)

It is so good to say that God is always faithful to us and although this week has been an emotional roller coaster on the job front, it has been proof that He did not bring us out here without a purpose and plan.  I think we were both fighting off fear about the fact that neither one of us had jobs, but trying to stay strong in the Lord.  On Tuesday night, I started feeling a little nervous that I was under-qualified for jobs I applied for blah, blah, blah.  The Lord immediately brought Esther to mind.  Esther to the rescue!  My favorite book of the Bible :)  The Lord gave Esther favor with everyone in whom she came in contact with so that she was in the right place at the right time to do His will for her life.  I went to sleep in peace, knowing He'd do the same for me.  By the end of the next day, I had...not one but FOUR prospective job opportunities in front of me!!!!!  A couple of them were not really ideal, but now I am looking at two very seriously.  One is a NICU travel assignment that is really far away and temporary, but I can start now and it pays well.  The other is a permanent NICU transport position at a hospital about 30 minutes from our house....this is what I am really looking for!!!  (NICU transport would be riding in an ambulance to pick up sick babies and bring them back to a hospital that could take better care of them...very simply put.)  We'll see how things go for this job:  I have an interview on Thursday morning!

Back to fun stuff!!!!  Today, we picked the perfect day to walk over the Golden Gate Bridge!  It was really warm (and by really warm, I mean high 70's) where we live in Mill Valley, so we jumped in the car in our shorts for the 5 minute drive to the Bridge parking area.  I quickly realized I was glad I still brought my jacket....the wind from the ocean was sooo strong and COLD!  It was beautiful though, and there was a light wispy cloud just over the lower part of the Bridge and water....we were literally walking through the clouds!  And you could see the clouds just billowing over the mountain tops, it was amazing.  We could hear big boats going under the bridge honking, but in the middle of the bridge we couldn't see a thing!  Not even the tall red was so neat. 

After walking there and back, we drove to a lookout on the Marin County side of the bridge.  It was awesome - you could see the whole city!  We could not believe that we live just 5-10 minutes away!!!!  We continued our drive down the mountain and then right along the water until we arrived back home.  It was a great day, we cannot wait to see what else awaits us out here.....

Love and miss you all,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

201 Mahon Hall :)

So this is the official, far away tour of our new home!  You walk in the front door into the dining area.  To the left is the dining table, to the right is the kitchen and straight ahead is the living room.  Our kitchen is super tiny, but somehow Colby managed to squeeze everything in the cabinets!  It kind of reminds me of the size of this really big walk in closet we had in my house growing up in Snellville.  The living room is a good size with two windows with an awesome view of an inlet of the San Francisco Bay.  There are seaplanes taking off from here everyday.  We think they are just resident's private planes...but they could be some type of tour - we are not really sure, but it is cool!  In the background, you can see Mount Tamalpais.  Some days a cloud will hang right over the water - this is a sign to wear pants and grab your jacket because it's gonna be cool and breezy all day long!  Moving through the living room and into our bedroom, the office area is immediately to the left.  Colby's desk and file cabinet with printer fit perfectly here!  Obviously, our bed and dresser are in the bedroom and surprisingly we have a place that will be perfect for an armchair.  This is what Colby would like to be his "thinking chair" because according to his boss from NextStar this is essential for every leader to have :)  Next, you'll make your way into the bathroom.  It is pretty small, but has everything that we need!  Hope you enjoy the photos....let me know what  you think!

love and miss you all,

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Home Sweet Home....we're getting there!

Hello all!  I has been a while since I last posted and A LOT has happened.  The biggest news......WE MADE IT HERE!!!  We left Bakersfield, CA on Monday morning and had one last drive (through all of the beautiful farmland where produce is grown!) before reaching Mill Valley!  We checked in and held our breath as we turned the key to our new 575 sq. ft. apartment.  When we opened the door...we were pleasantly surprised!  Our building is the most recently renovated so that means: new carpet, paint, windows, kitchen cabinets, counters and appliances and new sink and bathtub in the bathroom!  We are also on the second floor, which made moving a bit more difficult, but will be worth it because we have vaulted ceilings, so although it is small, this helps open up the space.  We have an amazing view of the water (not the Bay facing the city, but an inlet of the Bay) with mountains behind it where we can watch the sun set in the evening!  As far as the community, it is wonderful...although we feel a bit out of place.  The same exit as the seminary is home to mazeratti, ferrari, land rover, astin martin and several other car dealerships, and multi-million dollars homes with views of the city and docks on the Bay!  They told Colby in orientation that anything under $45k/year is under the poverty line....a big change from Georgia!!!  But everyone is really friendly and we just consider ourselves super lucky to live in such a nice place for such a great price! :)

Thank the Lord that two neighbors saw us moving in and volunteered to help and we were glad to see that the packed boxes all fit inside....the question now was would we be able to find a place to put all of it away!  So far, so good.  We still have to put together bookshelves, and unpack the stuff that goes on them, but everything else fits wonderfully (tight, but wonderfully!).  In between unpacking, we got to eat dinner with my cousin, Susan, who just happened to be in town for a conference!  She was officially our first visitor!  It was great to have one more dose of "home" :)  I will post some pics as soon as we get this place in order...hopefully soon!

Yesterday and today, Colby has been in orientation all day so he's met a bunch of new people and been overwhelmed (and bored!) know, the norm for any type of orientation!  Last night, though, we had two gatherings that I got to go to as well!  We ate dinner and met all of the people in Colby's Global Studies Cohort.  (This is the program that he will be earning his Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies degree from.)  All of the students in the cohort go through the same classes and do their overseas ethnography research project together, so we'll get to know these folks really well!  Next, we had dessert at a dinner that was hosted for all of the new students who were married.  It was an opportunity for us to meet new people and also for me to learn about all the stuff they have around campus to create a community for the wives.  

We were both excited last night having met new people and seeing a glimpse of the awesome educational opportunities for both of us!  And also a little less stressed after speaking with some of the other wives that are nurses, encouraging me to just stay strong and I would find a job soon!  I know we are still sort of in the "honeymoon" stage, but I can really see that God has specifically placed us here to learn and make relationships that will last a lifetime!  He continues to stretch our faith and urge us to trust in Him alone waiting for the right job to come along for me (and a part time one for Colby too!) but we have continuously been reminded of all the other times He has been faithful to us and know that every good and perfect gift is coming down from the Father of Lights...He never changes!

We love  you all, miss you and wish you could see the awesome city we live in!  (That is an open invitation for any visitors at any time!)


Sunday, August 9, 2009

Grand Canyon, Red Rock and Vegas!

Hello everyone!  I feel like it has been forever since we posted..and we've seen so much since I last wrote!  On Friday morning we left Flagstaff early and headed to the Grand Canyon.  I wish that I could put into words what the Grand Canyon was like, but even the pictures don't do it justice.  When you see creation like this, you quickly realize how small we are in comparison to God's majesty and yet he still created things like this so that His glory may be revealed.  It is humbling to say the least.  How could the God who created the Grand Canyon desire to use me?!  Colby almost gave me a heart attack when we went out on a cliff for a photo op, but he made it back safely!  

After leaving the Grand Canyon, we were Vegas bound!  We drove through the (long and boring!) desert and finally made it to the Hoover Dam.  We didn't even realize that we'd be crossing right over was so cool!  It made us really feel like we were on National Lampoon's Vegas Vacation :).  As we have been looking over our pictures, I told Colby that it is really weird to look at seems like we've been superimposed into someone else's once in a lifetime adventure!  

We entered into Las Vegas with a solo performance of Elvis' Viva Las Vegas by none other then Mr. Colby Brewer!  (It is amazing what sleep deprivation and cabin fever will cause you to do!)  We arrived at the home of Jeremiah and Sara Cain (and sweet baby Judah!), some friends from DoMissions that we've known for years now, but surprisingly this is the first time we've spent time together in the States!  They were awesome hosts for the weekend and took us to Red Rock Canyon, a Vegas buffet, we had a go on the penny slots with our free $10 card and then for a drive down The Strip!

This came at the perfect time for some MUCH needed rest!  On Saturday afternoon we met up with Darren and Amy to discuss goals for DoMissions in the coming year.  This morning we went to Hope church with the Cains, had lunch, then headed to Bakersfield, CA...our last stop before San Fran!!!!!  We had a boring drive through Death Valley...not a big fan of the desert :(  We're finally here resting, ready for an early morning!  You can see all of our trip photos on Facebook!  

Love and miss you all,

Friday, August 7, 2009

Flagstaff here we come!

Darren wanted to see a post from Mr. Brewer, so this is Colby writing!  He also wanted me to mention that yesterday when we passed through Amarillo Tx, that we were officially 1/2 way through our journey!  I know you are all excited!  

Today, we got kind of a late start after deciding to sleep a little extra in the comfy bed at Staybridge Suites in Albuquerque.  We ended up setting out for Flagstaff a little after 9 local time.  It was about a 5 hour drive and the entire ride was filled with awesome scenery, complete with mud houses and plateaus.  We kept talking about how it looked like Africa (if you could ignore the new car sitting in the driveway of the houses)!  

I drove and sang along with some MJ while Ellen, switched between napping, singing a few songs of her own and reading me an article about a potential Saved By the Bell Reunion that had  me on the edge of my seat!  People did a photo shoot and an article that had the entire gang (with the exception of Mr. Powers...) and claimed that this was the first time the entire cast had been back together for such an event since the last show was taped in the early 90's!!!  The entire cast is in their mid-late 30's now!  This is CRAZY!

Anyway, we got into Flagstaff around 2:30 local time (5:30 Georgia) and checked into the hotel.  We put all of our stuff down, freshened up, then hit the town.  It is an artsy-fartsy place, kind of a mix between Asheville and Athens...  There  a lot of cool little shops, and out-doorsy places all around.  We ate at this place called Charly's Grill and Pub.  It had a great patio to do some people watching from (Ellen and I love to do this, and there were TONS of crazy looking people for the viewing)!  

After dinner, we walked around for a bit more and stopped on the square for some ice cream and to listen to some classical guitar!

So far this trip has been great!  We have had so much time just to talk and spend precious time with each other!!  We had such crazy work schedules before the move, that we had not had much time to do this recently!  I know that the Lord has ordained this time for us to spend enjoying each other and His awesome creation and we are so thankful for that!

Tomorrow should be a really fun day!  We are heading to the Grand Canyon to spend most of the day, then we have about a 4 hour drive to LAS VEGAS!!  We will put up some pics from that tomorrow.  

Tonight I was going to leave you with some sounds from MJ and the Beach Boys, but apparently the internet connection in this hotel is SLOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!  So the file for the video will not upload.  I guess you will have to wait until tomorrow!  The anticipation is building!  Instead, you will have to settle for a few pix from the day!


Two Brewers

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Albuquerque = Awesome!

Hello all...this is going to be a short post!  I was too tired to write last night and we let ourselves sleep in a little this morning since we do not have as far to drive today.  We left at 6:15 central yesterday morning and drove almost 550 miles to Albuquerque, NM and FINALLY arrived 4:00 mountain time.  The drive was long, but we did really well.  At one point we were talking about how I am still in shock that we are actually doing this...we really are moving to San Francisco!  Colby said he still thinks it is awesome that we got the opportunity to take a cross country road trip and that the part about moving to California won't hit him until we arrive!  It has been a really awesome time between the two of us and (amazingly!) we have not gotten into any disagreements!  (I attribute this to the works family vacay wonders!)  

We arrived, checked into our hotel, got changed and headed out for the evening.  We decided to visit Albuquerque's Old Town district which is the historic district with really cool Mexican and Native American influence on the culture.  We looked in a couple stores and asked the locals the best place to find regional food. They led us to La Hacienda where we ate some traditional New Mexican food with green chilies and homemade guacamole.  Then we walked around the little square window shopping and look some pics of a church founded in 1706!  There was no humidity in the air...but it was about 99 degrees!!!!  We were so tired that we really could not stand the heat for too long, so we headed back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel, we were super excited to find that they had FREE washers and dryers!  Since we will not have a washer and dryer in our new apartment in San Fran, we took full advantage of this and washed every single slightly dirty piece of laudry...included the sheets and towels we used the day we left Georgia!  While our stuff was in the wash, we enjoyed the pool, hot tub, and the little fitness area.  We got back to the room and Colby, being the wonderful husband that he is, folded ALL the laundry since I had fallen asleep!  

This was a great stop we loved the hotel and the atmosphere of this city surrounded by nature was gorgeous!  I took some photos, but don't have the cable to download them right now...I'll try to get them up tonight!

We miss everyone and are praying that God is going to continue to open doors as we continue on this exciting trip!

Headed to the Grand Canyon today...I'm sure I'll have LOTS to say about today's stop!


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Tonight I am writing from Oklahoma City, OK.  It was a long day that got off to a bit of a rough spot...but we shrugged it off and kept going.  Well, I should say it got off to a pretty cool start, then a rough one.  We went down for breakfast at the hotel in Memphis and this guy who had noticed Colby's Watkinsville First Baptist t-shirt from youth camp, asked if he was a youth minister.  Colby said no, but that we were on our way to seminary.  He then told Colby that he and his teenaged sons had written a devotional book for teen boys and that he would like to give us a copy...the book looks pretty cool.  So, I was thinking to myself how awesome the Body of Christ is as we walked out to the truck (who we are affectionately calling "Budgie"...the Budget truck) only to find that some butt face had picked the lock to the cab and stolen our North Face rain jackets :(.  But we considered this a small loss considering that during the day we had both cell phones, both iPods, a Garmin, Colby's new laptop, the keys to the back of the truck and the keys to our car, we thought the jackets were not that bad.  We told the hotel people and the Budget people, but, of course, no one wanted to take responsibility.  And isn't that just how Satan works?  We freaked a little bit, but quickly got over it, got gas and got on the road.

We crossed the Mississippi River almost as soon as we set out and I thought that was pretty cool....I'll try to post pics of this.  Then we drove about half the day ALL the way through Arkansas and then through Oklahoma until we arrived in OK City.  The roads in these two states are REALLY bumpy.  So, if you get a card or something from me that looks squiggly, I probably wrote it during this time!  We arrived to another nice hotel, threw our stuff down and went seeking our nightly adventure.

Tonight we ended up at a restaurant called Coach's.  Turns out it is a restaurant that overlooks the Oklahoma City Red Hawks stadium...who even knew they had a baseball team?  Anyhow, there was a game going on so it was a really cool atmosphere.  We were so tired all we could manage was a drive by of the OK City bombing memorial (which sounds a little creepy considering...but you know what I mean), but it looked pretty cool.  We've got a really long day ahead of us tomorrow...we are heading to Albuquerque, New Mexico.  

Also, if you happen to be joining us as prayer partners, keep my job situation in mind.  I have now had 3 travel positions that were not awarded to me, but have one possibly pending assignment.  I told a friend on the phone today that I was almost expecting this test of faith with my job to produce perseverance in Colby and me after the last minute fund raising we had with our trip to Africa in March.  I felt like the mission trip was preparing us for something larger....well - here it is :)  Surprisingly enough, I am not freaking out and of course Colby isn't...his faith and trust is so much greater than me the control freak!  We feel so confident that the Lord has the perfect job waiting, it is just keeping a trusting and peaceful heart until it is revealed to us that can be a bit difficult at times.  

Well, I am going to try and post a couple pics from today, then I am hittin' the hay!  Sweet dreams. (Figured out the picture thing and these are of us crossing the Mississippi!)

Grace and peace from the Father,

1 down...6 to go

Although I had the best intentions of getting this written soon as I laid my head on the pillow last night, I was out cold - so I got up early to give the latest update!

Wow, we are already (what seems like) a long way from home in many ways.  We said all of our good byes to family and church friends on was so hard for us to see our parents and siblings drive away and for the first time in either one of our lives, not know when the next time we would see them was going to be.  I think that God was merciful to us in the fact that we still had packing and cleaning to do so we could not dwell on these difficult good byes.  Bright and early Monday morning we loaded up our mattress, suitcases of clothes for the week, and lastly our car.  Standing in the driveway looking back towards our empty house and forward to the 16' moving truck (that was not even full!!) with all of our earthly possessions pulling our one little car....kinda scary!  But as we were driving I told Colby that I thought it was sort of freeing knowing that we can still fit all our "stuff" in a small moving truck.

So, we headed out...Colby was really freaked out about driving the truck (again that contained everything we own!) but after a few minutes he got used to it and did awesome!  He still has not gotten the courage to face me  driving it!  Although today I am going to try it out (eeek!).  Bumping through all of the bridges and crappy roads in Alabama and Mississippi, we had a really great time laughing and acting crazy to the songs on the radio and (thanks to the Garmin!) avoided any arguments or disagreements!  Looking over from the passenger seat, I was amazed at how far God has brought us in the last four years.  Four years ago this week, Colby and I had just returned from our first trip to Africa and went to Olive Garden on our first "real date" (other than dish washing at camp in Swaziland!).  Now here we are driving across the country together to continue seeking the Lord: His ways are truly higher than our own!

We finally arrived in at our hotel in was super nice (thanks to the help that Darren gave us in finding and reserving it!).  We threw our stuff down and set out to find a good place to get some of Memphis' famous bbq and ribs.  We ended up at the Germantown Comissary...a local whole in the wall place that was jam packed....and delicious!  We are trying to take advantage of places that serve sweet tea while they still of course we had a glass, and topped it off with some homemade banana pudding (or bp as Colby likes to call it)!  Came home, went for a swim in the pool...and by this point we were pretty much dead!  

Colby is packing up the last of our stuff so that we can get an early start to Oklahoma City is a longer drive than Memphis was, so I've gotta get going.  Today, I hope to download the pics we've taken so far and write another update.  Love you all and can feel the prayers keeping us brave and strong!

Grace and peace from the Father,
Ellen (and Colby)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Starting out

We are in the final countdown before the big move to San Fran...just wanted to start up this blog so that we can keep everyone that we know and love up to speed on what God is doing in our lives as we journey to seminary...."and beyond"!