Brent frequently reads The Consumerist. One day he came across a website called the Something Store. You pay $10 and you get something in the mail. You have no clue what it will be, but it is guaranteed to be something of worth to someone. And, they promise it won't be anything inappropriate. You can view past "somethings" to get an idea of what you will receive (gift cards, electric razors, jewelry, video games, etc.) Just a completely random something. We paid $10 and while we were on our trip, our something came in the mail. We received an Eggling. It is a ceramic egg with soil and a certain seed inside that will grow when you water it. We got lavender, which I thought was very appropriate for our anniversary since our guests threw lavender as we were leaving the reception. I can see how this website can be addicting for those, like me, who like surprises. I think we will have to do it again to see if Brent gets something he likes. We also thought about doing this for Christmas gifts. Ordering x amount of somethings and not opening them when they arrive. Just wrap them and stick a family member's name on it. That way, Christmas will be a surprise for everyone!
Thanks to some more wise advice from my grandmother...I am going to blog about our trip. Granny Rosie suggested I write about mine and Brent's travels together. She wishes she had done the same for her and Pop Pop. Pictures only tell so much...
Day 1: Saturday May 24th We met some of our friends from our sunday school class in Lynchburg, TN to eat at Miss Mary Bobo's. Southern food at it's best. Then, Brent and I headed over to Ellijay, GA. Our handy dandy GPS (we call her Maggie, short for Magellan) was spot on with directions until we were 2 miles from the cabin. Maggie said go this way, the directions from the owner said go another and neither of them made sense. We were on dirt roads, climbing a steep mountain, in the Camry. So much for washing the car. After turning around multiple times and passing boys on a 4-wheeler that looked at us like we were trespassing, we finally made it to the cabin. Wow at the view! Pictures will be posted soon. Our cabin is named Cedarwood South and it is stunning. We immediately opened all the windows and doors to hear the calming rush of the stream at the bottom of the mountain. After getting settled in, we went back down the dirt mountain road and back in to town to find some dinner and grocery shop. We ate at River Street Grille and got groceries at Ingles, a place I have never shopped for groceries. Their name brand is Laura Lynn...I wonder if "Laura" and "Ingles" have anything to do with Laura Ingalls Wilder???
Day 2: Sunday, May 25th
I woke up at 8. The sun peeping through the windows gave the cedar wood (which covers the cabin head to toe) an orange glow. I opened the sliding glass door so I could hear the stream and went back to sleep. We got up at 10 and, after a quick breakfast of muffins, we went to hike Amicalola Falls. We stopped by the Visitor's Center to get an idea of the hiking trails. The Appalachian Trail starts here and we sure didn't want take that path! We took a hike to the middle of the falls where there is a bridge that crosses over the falls. It is a picture perfect spot. The hike was "moderate to strenuous." Definitely on the strenuous side of moderate. We hiked up steep hills and 344 stairs (that's 1024 steps less than we could have walked if we wanted to go to the top of the falls), took a few pictures, caught our breath, took a water break, and hiked back down. Then we got smart. We got in the car and drove to the top of the falls. Amicalola Falls is the highest waterfall east of the Mississippi. Came back to the cabin, spaghetti for dinner.
Day 3: Monday, May 26th Our 1st Anniversary!
We had a lazy day. Got up around 10 again. Had cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Drove to town for some shopping at smelly, dusty antique stores and ate lunch at Poole's BBQ. We grilled Nathan's Hot Dogs for dinner and watched our wedding videos. We forgot the top of the wedding cake, so I guess we'll eat it later.
Day 4: Tuesday, May 27th
Got up early and drove to Blue Ridge. Boarded the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway to McCaysville, GA/Copperhill, TN. Other than the breezy open air train ride, the only cool thing about this trip was standing in 2 states at one time. We ate at a NASTY wanna-be Johnny Rocket's where the hamburgers were worse than McDonald's and an employee ate lunch with her children next to us with their stinky dog. The shops were boring and had nothing worth buying. However, when we got back to Blue Ridge, we were able to do some shopping. There are more shops there and it has that cute small town feel. We were able to purchase a few souvenirs even though it was pouring down rain the whole time. We asked the locals where to eat and they directed us to The Cabin Grill. After we were seated, our waitress, Cathy, introduced herself to us and said she "would be seeing about y'all today." Never heard that before. The food was good. Brent got a steak. I was craving some seafood or some kind of fish so I ordered the pecan crusted trout. That is the first and last time I will ever eat trout. It was very tasty, but I didn't realize that trout came with the skin still on it and that is the most disgusting thing to peel off fish scales and see the iridescent gray flaky stuff sitting on my plate while I eat the meat. Ugh. I think I'll stick to salt water fish. We came back to the cabin, stuffed, and sat on the porch while drinking coffee. A perfect end to a not so perfect day.
Day 5: Wednesday, May 28th
We will be going home today. No one is coming to the cabin immediately after us, so we can leave whenever we want. We'll take our time leaving town then head over to Mentone to see my grandparents. Pop just had back surgery and Mom wanted us to come by if it wasn't out of the way. Maybe we'll get to eat at Winward Farms, which we highly recommend if you are ever in the Mentone area. We'll be glad to get home. I miss Sanibel a lot :)
Posted by Brittany at 11:20 PM
The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9.
If you had asked either one of us about 3 years ago what we would be doing after we graduated from Auburn, we would have said: get married, move back to Birmingham, Brittany will teach at Shades Mountain and Brent will work at Wells Fargo. Well...we got one of those right. We are married. The Lord had better plans. Our lives began to not go as planned during Brent's senior year at Auburn. He went to a job fair and talked to a company named Ferguson. He passed that interview and they asked him to come to Jacksonville, FL for a second interview. Before he went to Jacksonville, Brent knew that it wasn't likely that he would work in Birmingham. We discussed places that he might move--Mobile, Pensacola, Atlanta, Nashville, etc. I remember going to see him at work at Sear's and he threw out the possibility of Fort Myers, FL. I had never heard of the place and thought he was a little crazy to move 12 hours away from me. But, I supported him 100%. When he got back from Jacksonville, he called me just as I walked out of class. He told me he got the job...if he moved to Fort Myers. I was immediately ecstatic for him and Allison and I took him out to dinner to celebrate. In June of 2006, Brent moved to Fort Myers. In the span of 11 months, I visited him 4 times. After he proposed to me on Christmas Eve of 2006, I started to think about how in the world I would find a teaching position 12 hours away. The school system down there had a job fair on April 26 (I remember the date because it was a month away from the wedding). One of the pastor's at my church in Birmingham had a sister that just happened to be a principal in Lee County, FL at Mirror Lakes Elementary. I went to the job fair that was supposed to last from 10:00-4:00. I introduced myself to the principal, she interviewed me, and by 10:15 I was walking out the door, signed contract in my hand. I was going to be a 4th grade teacher. On May 26th, Brent and I got married. It was the most memorable day of my life. I had so much fun and would go back to it in a heart beat. Had I known that I was moving back to Alabama just 3 1/2 weeks after the wedding, I wouldn't have cried so much as we were leaving the reception! 8 days after the honeymoon, Brent called to say that he was being transferred to Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach. We sure didn't want to move again and I didn't want to job hunt again, but we didn't have a choice. However, we didn't want to move to West Palm Beach either. Thankfully, a position opened up for Brent in Huntsville. With the help of my brother Ben, we moved home 3 1/2 weeks later. The hunt started again--the hunt for a job, house, and church. God blessed us with all 3. I got a job teaching 5th grade, we found the perfect house for us, and a church where we could worship, grow and serve. We had a scare back in February that would have moved us again. Brent's boss recommended him for a job with Ferguson's corporate office. If given the job, we would have to move to Newport News, VA or Theale, Britain. It would have made a great story, but thankfully he didn't get the job.
As I reflect on this first year of marriage I wonder how we survived all the changes that occurred. And, I shouldn't be surprised. Our God is faithful. And that is exactly what we have experienced this year...God's faithfulness. Knowing what has happened in the past and experiencing His faithfulness makes me fearless of the future. I have no clue what the future holds, and with our track record, it will probably be a little crazy and unpredictable. But, I will always remember this year and how we made it, not because of anything we did or can do, but because of God's love and faithfulness. And, I kinda give some credit to my wise grandmother that always reminded me that life is too short to argue and be mad. Brent and I argue much less than we did before we were married. God designed us to perfectly work together. We get each other and we laugh ALL the time. Laughter is the best medicine. Our days are numbered and I must love Brent sacrificially and unconditionally all the time. I'm only given one chance to live this life and I am learning to make the most of it.
Posted by Brittany at 10:08 AM
Let me give you a little background information...I still own the car that I got when I turned 16. It is a '97 white Camry and currently has over 206,000 miles on it. I don't really drive it anymore because my sweet husband lets me drive his Pathfinder. But I still call it "my car" because I love it. The sad thing is...this car was also Brent's first car when he turned 16 (only for like 4 months). HAHAHA. Brent's dad owned it and when I turned 16, my dad bought it from his dad. My car has also been totaled and rebuilt twice (neither of the wrecks happened with me or my father-in-law). And, to my dismay the only major things wrong with it is that it jumps out of gear and runs into mailboxes and the alarm has a mind of it's own. There have been many times that Brent and I have been sitting in the car at a gas station or something and the alarm decides to go off, the doors lock, and there is nothing we can do about it. No...the panic button does not work in situations like this. It is the most embarrassing thing in the world. If the alarm goes off in the driveway, I just ignore it like I'm not home or something. The car was pretty fancy 11 years ago...top of the line for it's class. The locks on the door are supposed to automatically lock when you shut the door. That has never worked for me. Instead, it randomly makes the noise like the doors are locking, but nothing is actually happening. Needless to say, my car has a lot of character. It really has it's own personality. Nothing mechanical has ever been wrong with it...other than expected stuff that would happen to any car, young or old. The Camry is very stubborn and I have this feeling that it is going to last for like 10 more years just to spite me. I guess it will be a while before I get a new car. It makes no sense to buy a new car and the insurance that comes with it when the Camry works just fine. I say all of that to tell you this...
My car has always had a few places where paint has chipped. Over the last year or so, it's gotten a lot worse. There are places that you can see the red primer and there are places that have rusted. The only part of the car that still has a waxy shine is the back left panel that was replaced 2 summers ago after an idiot backed into my parked car. And, the only hubcap that looks nice is the one I got for Christmas this year that doesn't match the other 3. Until yesterday, there were still spots of car chalk from the honeymoon! It's hasn't been washed since we drove off Captiva Island last May. So, Brent and I thought the Camry was past due for a washing. We are going out of town for our anniversary and thought it would be the perfect time to wash it. So, we took it to the Goo Goo Car Wash on 72. And, I do believe that if you have a newer car with a better paint job, your car will look outstanding. But...you know that you have a old paint job when you pay 9 DOLLARS for a car wash and afterwards the guy that runs the place asks if you want to wash the car again because it didn't get all the dirt off the first time! Brent just said, "Nope, that's just how it looks." The bumper and spoiler are really bad. Those are the places where you could see the primer. Now, after going through this powerful car wash, you can see a lot more primer and you can even see under the primer! This car has been way more than faithful to me and I plan on buying a new Camry when this one decides to die. And, if it ever dies, my brother and I are going to paint ball it to death.
Posted by Brittany at 4:38 PM
Ok, I'm sure everyone has seen the Honda Fit. After some thought, I finally found two reasons why Honda calls their car a Fit. I hope I don't offend anyone by this post.
Reason 1: Anyone who owns a Fit probably throws a fit everytime they get in due to the lack of space.
Reason 2: Anyone who owns a Fit must be very fit in order to get in the tiny car.
I understand this car is a perfect, reasonably priced, gas saver for some people, but it is just not fit for me.
Posted by Brittany at 8:48 PM
I had an agenda today...deposit a check at Wachovia, get stamps, buy new tennis shoes at DSW (because the new ones disappeared, literally, and the Sanibel buried the old ones in the backyard), buy new Kavu purse at Mountain High Outfitters, and finally to Sam's to get breakfast for Sunday school tomorrow. So, off I went about noon today to run my errands. I made it to Wachovia and deposited the check. I also made it to Sam's to buy breakfast. But, in between the bank and Sam's I decided to shop for some clothes. The check I had just deposited was for my birthday so I figured I should take myself shopping. I went to TJMaxx and Belk and found nothing for myself. But, I did buy Brent 2 pairs of shorts at Belk. Then, I made my way to Sam's to get breakfast for Sunday school. First of all, Sam's on a Saturday is probably the dumbest mistake anyone could ever make. Second of all, I blame Sam's for what happened the rest of the afternoon. After I got food, I walked by the video game section just to check if they had Mario Kart in stock. They didn't. So, I went on a mission to find one. Brent was gone all day to a sound conference in Nashville and I thought it would be a nice surprise for him to come home to Mario Kart. He is a wonderful husband and deserves a surprise. The ENTIRE city of Huntsville does not have Mario Kart in stock. I checked Sam's, Target, Wal Mart, Sears, and 3 Game Stops. Oh, and I asked the sales associate at KB Toys and she said "We don't have Mario Kart, but we do have M&M racing. Is that the same thing?" And after all that hunting, I came home at 4 with no shoes, no purse, no game, no stamps, no clothes for me, and no surprise for Brent.
Posted by Brittany at 8:11 PM
My principal finally interviewed me on Tuesday! I think it went really well and she said I might know something by the last day of school...but I don't think I will know that soon since that is 4 days away. Brent and I have a busy weekend ahead of us. We are both going to the Ham tonight to eat at California Pizza Kitchen. My cousin Leslie is graduating from law school on Sunday so we are going to celebrate tonight. Then, we are turning right around and driving back home because Brent has to be at the church at 6am in the morning. He has been running sound for the youth on Wednesday nights but really has no clue what he is doing, so the church is sending him to a sound conference on Saturday. It's somewhere near Nashville and lasts from 9-6! We won't be seeing much of each other on Saturday. I think I'm going to take myself shopping for my birthday :)
Posted by Brittany at 2:39 PM
I have really been lazy lately and haven't blogged about anything. And, to be honest I can't think of anything to blog about. The only thing I can blog about would be considered complaining and the Word says not to complain or groan. Actually, it's not so much complaining as it is frustration. I HATE searching for a job. As many of you know, I have only been a "temporary teacher" this year. Before Christmas, I replaced a teacher on medical leave at one school. After Christmas, I went to another school to replace a teacher on maternity leave. And, despite all my efforts to show interest in teaching (or just plain being employed) in the Fall, I have nothing. Now, if you aren't a teacher, you are probably thinking that it's only May and I have until August to find something. WRONG. Well, technically you are right. But, a teacher's job doesn't end in May and start again in August. A teacher's job is never done. That isn't some sweet inspirational quote, it's the truth. I am already thinking about next year--what I want to do differently, my goals, how my classroom will be set up, my class expectations, etc. It would be so nice to know what I am going to be doing in the Fall so that I can go ahead and be getting my classroom ready and my mind prepared. However, if I am not hired until mid Summer or late Summer (like this year) I will hardly have time to prepare for anything. I will miss AMSTI training (which is 2 weeks long), ARI training, and grade level planning. And, who knows if I will even be teaching. The way this school year has gone, it wouldn't hurt my feelings one bit if it worked out that way. This has been the weirdest, most stressful, frustrating, exhausting, you name it, school year. I have disliked it more than I have liked it, and I've never loved it. I feel like I have seen the problems that most teachers see after they have been teaching for a few years, not one year. I have been treated like I don't matter, like I'm just a warm body in the classroom and I have been greatly under appreciated for the things I have put up with as a "sub". It's pretty much been ridiculous. That's the perfect word. And, even though I have reminded myself a million times that this is where God wants me, I still have to wonder if it really is when I can't think of a morning that I was excited about the day ahead or an afternoon where I came home satisfied about my job. It frustrates me to the point that I want to cry, even just writing about it. And, there have been many days that I have come home upset because I hated it so much and just got tired of putting up with it. But, it's not about me. It's not about my feelings, my satisfaction, my wants. It's about Him. If I am trying to find satisfaction in my job, I will never find it. My satisfaction comes from Him alone. And that has been the most difficult lesson to learn...to die to self EVERY day and just let Him live through me. Because no matter where I am and who I am with, I am going to have horrible days and have things happen that frustrate me to no end. And, in order to survive those days, I have to allow Christ to live through me and deal with it. And, just when I think I've got it, I lose it and go back to this attitude of hating my job. It's been such a struggle in my mind--I know that it's not about me but is there ever a point where God has mercy on me and gives me a job I like? Will there ever be a job that I like, or is this how all jobs are? Or is that just a selfish thought, to think I deserve something better? Maybe I'm just being ungrateful. I am blessed to even have a job, it is God who has given me the ability to work and have an income. I need to be thankful for it. And, that is another hard lesson to learn.
Hate is a strong word, which is why I chose it for the following sentence. I hate working on Saturday's. Obviously I am posting this from work, and as you can see from the timestamp, it's Saturday around 9am. I've been here since 7:30. Oh boy.