Thanksgiving this year was quite a treat! Chris and I originally planned to spend Thanksgiving at his parent's house this year. However, since we had to be there for their surprise 45th anniversary party last weekend, we didn't/couldn't make the drive back again for Thanksgiving. So when we were given an invitation to join our family friends Jim and Judy Liby at a ski resort in Virginia, we jumped on board! The Liby's own a timeshare at the resort, and had 2 units available for the entire week. Instead of taking a unit of their own and having us share with Judy's sister and her husband, they gave US our own unit!

We arrived on Wednesday night to find that they had gone in before we got there and left us a surprise!!

Not only that, but we got roses and chocolate candy on our pillows, as well. It was the honeymoon package we were too poor to afford on our cruise! :)

The following 4 days were filled with complete nothingness. Which was uh-mazing! Sleep until whenever, eat whenever, curl up on the sofa and watch movies whenever! The weather was beautiful, the scenery was beautiful, and it was all so peaceful and relaxing. We did get out every now and then to enjoy the Shenandoah and Blue Ridge Mountains...

And the night before Black Friday, Chris and I decided to join Judy in her shopping goals for the night. It was my first time out, and I quite enjoyed myself! Probably because I didn't have the stress of trying to find and get a particular item on time! I was completely shocked at the large amount of people at Kohl's. The picture below does it no justice! There was an "official" line on the left that went back as far as I could see. Then there was a huge crowd to the right, and a big crowd where in the parking lot where we were. I was shocked that they were counting the number of people going into their store for fire code safety!

Last day in Virginia, I found my dream house! If anyone wants to loan me the money for the deposit, hit me up!

Oh how I love new adventures!

Our congregation sent a team of 4 to Zimbabwe 2 years ago to assist with a local school, hospital, and congregation. Next year, they are going again....but decided to expand the team. Chris and I have discussed wanting to do mission work together....we just never thought the opportunity would come so soon! Luckily, we didn't have much competition. They were looking for 8 additional team members, and only 8 people applied! So two weeks ago, we had our first training session together. I'm ecstactic to be a part of this group!

We'll be going to Zimbabwe either in July or the September/October time frame for approximately 10 days. I'll more than likely be working in the school, and Chris will be doing some handyman work. We have the task of raising $6,000 as a couple to fulfill the work over there....and I know we can do it with the help and prayers of friends and family!

This post isn't meant as a form of fund-raising, but if you have the desire to support our trip financially...leave a note, and I'll get you the information necessary. :)
faith4jesus247 is passing me by, all because I haven't had time to blog about the rest of my honeymoon. Let me sum up the rest of the week for you. We ate a lot....laid on the beach...bought some souvenirs...attended comedy shows at sunburned....did what honeymooners do best....and caught our flight back to NC. There. Now you know it all. :)

What I have WANTED to post about is how wonderful my new husband is! I asked him to bring me breakfast in bed one Saturday morning, and he went all out! I expected pancakes and milk....but I never expected this!

1 fried egg, 2 bananas drizzled in honey (1 rolled in chocolate shavings, the other in almonds), 4 pieces of french toast with strawberry jam and powdered sugar, and a plateful of bacon. Unreal!!

It was uh-mazing. And no...I couldn't eat it all!
Day 1 wasn't the best start to our honeymoon. We bought tickets for a 6am flight to Miami on Monday morning - from Raleigh. Keep in mind we got married in Tennessee. So after our wedding dinner, we headed back to the cabin to change clothes and pack up the car. Before we got on the road, I had to stop at Wal-mart and get a swimsuit for the honeymoon. Then we had to drop off the wedding dress with my parents. So we got on the road about 11pm. And it's a 6 hour drive. Perfect! We'll get there at 5am - noooooooo problem-o!

Except. Except we have to park way out yonder to save money. And catch a shuttle bus who can't take the emergency brake off, yet continues to drive with it on. Which causes the bus starts smoking. And when we get dropped off and check in, our baggage is 8lbs. over. Which means we have to put 8lbs. in our carry-on luggage. And when we finally get it taken care of, it's 1 minute too late. We're 1 minute past the check-in time. Which means the guy behind the ticket counter won't let us finish the process. Or says he can't rather. And There's another flight, but it'll cost us. Another $100.

This is where the money for my hair comes to good use. A female manager is standing at the next computer. She looks at my hair and asks if we are on our honeymoon. When we tell her yes....we're trying to be....she says she'll take care of us. She gets us on all new flights, waives the fees, and calls someone to make sure we get to sit together. Thank you!

We get through security, grab a bite to eat for breakfast, and are off! As we are getting off our first leg of the flight in Atlanta, one of the stewards tells me my hair is beautiful and asks if we're headed to a wedding. When we tell him we just got married, he says "You should have said something! Hold on a second!". So we move out of everyone else's way, and I joke with him. "Do we get a free glass of champagne for having just gotten married?". The steward comes back with a full bottle of champagne for us to take with us. No way! Thank you, hair!

The second leg of the flight goes smoothly, and I sleep the whole way. Arriving in Miami, we looked for the cheapest way to get to port. We had heard the taxis were pretty expensive, and the Cruiseline shuttles were even MORE expensive. We couldn't find any information about Miami's free mass transit, so we gave up and headed outside to a taxi. On our way out the door, we got stopped by a man, asking if we were needing a ride to the port. I was hesitant to answer him, afraid we were about to get talked into something we were not at all interested in. But Chris answered him, and he told us that he could take us there for $10/each. There's no way. That's too cheap. What's the catch? No catch! We joined a couple other families on a small shuttle bus, and headed to port. The driver was a great tour guide, making us laugh the whole way there.

As we went to board the ship, we got stopped after our bag was x-rayed. They pull out the bottle of champagne. "You can't take this on the ship with you." Welp - there's goes one of our wedding gifts! They did let us check the bottle in, and told us we could pick it up on disembarkation day. No big deal - thought it was kind of funny that the one free thing we got ended up being taken away from us. Oh well!

We were pretty much starving when we got on the ship, and our room wasn't ready, so we headed for the only open lunch buffet. That was a mistake. Since there was really no one else to go, that's where EVERYONE was that had boarded the ship. It was insanely crowded and I couldn't imagine how a cruise could be at all relaxing when you have to push and shove to get your meals. Exhaustion and frustration set in, and 5 minutes after getting our lunch and sitting down, I was ready to get out and see if our room was ready. Thankfully, it was!

We changed clothes and settled down on our balcony. So nice! We were reading over our cruise booklet and food information when our next-door neighbors, Matt and Liz, leaned over their balcony railing and introduced themselves to us. They also had just gotten married over the weekend and were on their honeymoon. We talked for a while and decided to invite them to dinner with us. The four of us chose one of the sit-down restaurants to eat at (no pushing or shoving!), and ordered up! I'm pretty sure that night, Chris ordered 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, and 1 dessert. Although, in his favor, the portions WERE a lot smaller than we're accustomed to! But it was all really good!

(I've written 3 different sentences now on how the night ended with an early bedtime due to exhaustion from the day. But knowing I'll receive sarcastic remarks no matter what I write, I'm choosing not to include any closing to the day at all)
The week leading up to the wedding was busy, hectic, a bit stressful, and definitely lacked sleep. Attempting to make my own wedding program fans and cake/cupcake towers turned out to be a loooong process. Although worth it in the end! Josh, Wendy, and Charity really helped me pull it all together two nights before.

The morning of the wedding was nice and peaceful. I slept in, got served breakfast by my aunt, and worked more on my vows. I had vows already written, but they didn't feel right, and I kept playing around with the wording up until 30 minutes before the ceremony. My brother stopped by the florist and picked up the flowers for me...which were BEAUTIFUL....and my sister was on the way to meet me at the salon for my 1:00pm hair appointment. My awesome family and friends took care of ALL the decorating, music and video set-up, picture-taking, and last minute runs to an antique shop! Any time I would ask how things were going, I would get a bright smile and hear "Everything's going great!". (Which I found out later was a lie - but I appreciated the optimism and reduced stress-level of having to worry about it all) :D

Then I head to my hair appointment. Having had a wedding hair and make-up trial 6 weeks earlier, I was really excited to get this done. I had full confidence in my stylist to make me look like the bride I wanted to be!

I walk in, big smile on my face, and see another stylist who says "Hey Amber. Have a seat. I'll be right with you". Huh? Smiling stops. I freeze. Who are YOU? "Is Liz not here today?", I ask...hopeful she's running late or in the bathroom with constipation. "No, she had another wedding party to take care of. But I'll be taking good care of you today. Liz said you were bringing pictures?".

"No, I didn't bring pictures! She told me not to...we just did a hair trial a few weeks ago!". Panic quickly takes over.
Trying to calm me down, she says, "Okay. No worries. You can just tell me what you want. It'll be fine." Last famous words.

Imagining the picture to my right, I tell her "I want big loops in the back. I don't want curls pinned to my head in a big group. I want a lot of volume on top, since I'll be wearing flowers in my hair, and the veil at the back of my neck. In the front, I want the pieces of hair twisted from one side to another, not just swooped across."

She assures me that she knows exactly what I'm talking about, and that she has 15 years experience, and I have nothing to worry about. I'm really nervous sitting in the chair, because she begins in the back, and I can't tell what she's doing. It doesn't feel right, though. She teases pieces of hair at the crown of my head to create volume, which then makes me feel like she has no clue what I want. Charity can see my obvious disappointment and tries to encourage me with talk about the excitement of the wedding. But my responses are short and negative. I'm convinced the stylist believes I had no desire to marry Chris, as my overwhelming stress and frustration of hating my hair led me to tears. I sat in the chair crying, as I saw my wedding hair develop. It's nothing like I wanted. It's not me. I looked at the clock. There's nothing I can do. Having her start all over again will make me late for the wedding, or leave me with no completed updo at all. So I sat there and cried. Charity didn't know what to do. And the stylist thought I was crying out of nervousness for the wedding.

As she worked around to the sides and began on the front, the tears came faster. I look like an old lady! What is she DOING? I have her change the sides and adjust the front, so that if nothing else, the front looks decent. She has me look at the back, but my vision is so blurry with tears, I really can't see the details. (See finished product to the left) Doesn't matter anyway. I have to be back at the cabin with my photographer in 45 minutes, and we still have my make-up to do.

I had asked my original stylist if she could take a minute to pull my sister's hair back and pin it with flowers. She said that would be no problem! So I explain to this new stylist that we just want a real quick pull and pin job. She expresses her gratefulness to my sister in bringing her straightener, as there was not one in the salon. She she straightens Charity's hair and twists two pieces of hair back with flowers. Is it what I imagined? Not quite. Does it work? Yes. Are we running out of time? Definitely!

Moving on to my make-up, I ask if she has the false eyelashes I got last time. Short story - no. But I DID get a pep talk on how beautiful my own eyelashes were, and how I didn't need any fake ones. Lame, a lie, and pure ridiculousness! My wedding make-up turns out pretty. Pretty as in everyday kind of pretty. Not as in "It's your wedding day and are going to have 400 pictures taken of you and you look gorgeous!". It was subtle. Not dramatic at all. Except for the bright pink lipstick she chose for my lips. Eww. I'll save the additional tears for the car. Let's just pay and get out of here!

"Cash or check?", I hear her ask. Neither? Credit?! I paid with credit last time. "Sorry, I can't accept credit today". But my cash and checkbook are at the cabin at the top of the mountain! Ugh!! My aunt Sherry begins digging through her purse.
"How much is it?" I ask...knowing Liz had told me $65 before.
"That'll be $126."
Last straw. I freak out. "What for???!! Liz told me it was $90 for hair/make-up, and I paid a $25 deposit!"

"Well hair and make-up is $96, and I was not told you paid a deposit. Then your sister's updo is $30."

I lost it. Turned my back from her to keep from hitting her, and begin crying again. She jumps up and tells me not to ruin my make-up, and that it's only a $6 difference. Umm no. It's more like a $61 difference. You're charging MY sister $30 for using her OWN straightener, and pinning her hair back like a 12 year old? I don't THINK so! My aunt Sherry runs across the street to an ATM, comes back with the cash, and tells us to get in the car. At this point, I'm supposed to be at the cabin, putting my dress on, getting bridal pictures done. And we have a 20-minute drive up the mountain. Awesome.

I arrive at the cabin with enough time to get Charity in her dress, and me in mine. No bridal portraits, and 10 minutes late to the ceremony.

While my complete disappointment in my wedding day look kept me in tears for 3 hours before the ceremony, walking down the aisle to Chris made all my nervousness and frustrations go away. We had an absolute perfect weathered day with a gorgeous view, and our closest family members there to celebrate with us. It was going to be okay.

The ceremony was wonderful, we got an hour's worth of pictures after the ceremony, and headed to the restaurant for dinner. Although they didn't have our space ready when we got there, we did get bumped up to the private banquet room, which made up for it. The service was great, food was awesome, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

Now let's hope the professional wedding pictures look good!

Today is the day where I put all work aside and catch-up on my neglected journal of life. Since my life IS so fun and interesting....

When I think back to the weeks before the wedding, I couldn't have imagined a more unexpected line of events. I had worked so hard to prepare a simple, yet cute and fun family wedding. My awesome fiance had other plans.

Exactly 2 weeks before the wedding...after evening services on Sunday, I asked Chris to sit down with me and talk about the processional and order of events for the wedding, so that we would be on the same page. The first surprise of the week came immediately.

Me: So I was thinking that you and Josh should walk in together at the beginning of the song.

Chris: What about Ben?

Me: What about him?

Chris: Well he'll be standing up there with me, too!

Me: Uh, no he won't. What are you talking about?

Chris: He's my best man!!

Me: He's your WHAT??? (Keep in mind....there was, to my bridal party at all!)

Chris: He's the best man...he's got to stand next to me!

Me: Chris! I don't have a maid of honor...when did you decide to have a best man??

The conversation went downhill from there. I'm pretty sure we didn't get past discussing the entrance to the wedding that night, as my mind was then FRANTIC on getting a maid of honor with 2 weeks to spare.


(Talking to sister on phone)

Me: Soooo...guess what??!! I got my first wedding surprise!

Chair: Oh yeah? What's that?

Me: Umm....well...chris has a best man. That I didn't know about. That has already ordered a tux. That I have to now include in the program. And find a song for. And find a maid of honor to complement. How 'bout it? :D (conversation slightly exaggerated by the decreased level of stress and heightened sense of humor over time)

Chair: Umm...sure!

Me: Not to throw this at you last minute, or make you feel like I wouldn't have wanted you in the first place....but now we have 2 weeks to find and get you a formal red dress. Pick whatever you want....don't care about the style, length, whatever! Just a deep red to complement our fall colors.

Chair: Is that the color of his vest?

Me: Yes. He told me he got a red vest and tie.

Chair: problem! I'll see what I can do!


Me: Hey hon...good news! Charity is going to be the matron of honor. I told her to get any red dress she could we should be good.

Chris: Red? Why red?

Me: (tensing up) Umm....beCAUSE....THAT'S the color you told me your VEST was? Isn't it?????

Chris: I only said that because you told me you didn't want to know what my tux looked like.

Me: ARE YOU KIDDING ME????!! What color IS your vest?

Chris: Burnt orange.

Me: Burnt orange?? Burnt orange!!?? How is she going to find a formal burnt orange dress in two weeks??

Chris: I don't know! But you told me you didn't want me to tell you what I got!

Me: That was BEFORE I knew we were having a wedding party at all!


Me: Oh Chhhhhhhaaaairityyyyyy! Guess what? ANOTHER surprise!!! :D


I head to the tux shop on Saturday to pay off the remaining balance on the tux. When I arrive there, I see this BEAUTIFUL, rich burnt orange that looks amazing. *happy sigh* Okay, he didn't do so bad. I get up to the counter, and wait for his order to be pulled up.

Me: When I came in, I saw a gorgeous burnt-orange vest on a mannequin. Is that what he got?

Salesperson: Let me check for you. (Pause) Umm...the vest by the door is actually called "cinnamon". Your fiance got "hot orange".

Me: He did WHAT????

Salesperson: (noticing my slight surprise) Did you want to change it, ma'am?

Me: (heavily contemplating the idea) *not a happy sigh* No....I told him he could pick whatever he wanted. If he wants "hot orange", we'll go with HOT orange...


Me: Hey Charity! How do you feel about hot orange....?

**Note: Charity was awesome about the whole thing, and although "hot orange" would not have been my choice, it did end up working out okay. But I do write this before seeing the professional wedding pictures. Comments are subject to change.