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)