Gallery

Weekend Trip to Chattanooga, TN

Last month Adam and I took a weekend trip to Chattanooga, TN. It was the perfect little getaway as Chattanooga is such a fun city to explore! We stayed in downtown Chattanooga, and spent Saturday exploring the Tennessee Riverwalk by bike.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_10b31UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_10b50

I love the way Chattanooga is built around the river. The views are beautiful! We biked across the walk bridge, spent time in Coolidge Park, and explored local shops and restaurants.  We quickly decided we are coming back to try a Greek restaurant called OPA that was closed during our visit.

View of Coolidge Park from the bridge:UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_10b40IMG_0261fYx87k1hRTe4Y61jc8FZDw_thumb_10b20

On Sunday we drove up to Foster Falls before heading back to Atlanta, and it was well worth the extra drive. Apparently this is the spot for rock climbers.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_10b79DSC_0669UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_10b87

You are a great little city, Chattanooga.

Advertisements

Stewart Detention Center

Like I mentioned in our January/February update, Adam and I joined friends and drove south towards Lumpkin, Georgia where we visited undocumented immigrants who have been detained at a private prison called the Stewart Center. Our first stop was El Refugio, a hospitality home that provides food and a night’s stay for families who make the long drive to visit a loved one. This is a much needed resource as there are no hotels in the area. We did a brief training, and El Refugio partnered me with the individual I was to visit with.

It was an emotional wearing day (in the good hard way) as I saw how hard this is for families. Once I arrived at Stewart Center and completed the paperwork I waited two hours for my visit. The only item I was allowed to bring into the prison was my identification – no book to read, phone, toys for kids, or food.

My visit with Gabriel (name has been changed) was limited to an hour. We sat across from each other, a glass wall dividing us. As I looked to my right I saw a phone. As seconds lingered by I realized this is how we were to communicate. As I grabbed the phone, Gabriel put his hand up to the glass. This gesture, some may call it instinct or a reaction made me emotional. As human beings, touch is a way we interact and feel connected, loved, and cared for. It pained me to know detainees and families are denied this basic human right.

After our visit I was unsure how to process what I experienced as I was hyper aware of my privilege. As a citizen I don’t live in constant fear of being arrested for living in America. I won’t know what it is like to have my family torn apart unexpectedly in the middle of the night  (read about this here), or while walking to work (happened in the Atlanta area). I can hug Adam and interact with him freely without a guard telling me my time is up.

It can be easy for me to feel guilty about my privilege. This was my first reaction while waiting for the prison gate to open so I could leave. Knowing guilt does not come from the Lord, I rejected this thought, and instead chose to give thanks for the freedom I have in this country. I can appreciate my freedom while writing letters to detainees and supporting organizations that advocate for undocumented families. It is not one or the other – it can be both.

Currently I’m figuring out how to best connect with immigration work that is happening in Atlanta. If you know of any organizations that would be great to partner with, let me know. In the meantime, I choose to trust that small acts like writing a letter and extending hospitality can make a difference.

“Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” – Matthew 25: 34-36

Gallery

The Gifts of January/February

For some reason I thought 2017 would go by slower than 2016, what foolish thinking as it is March already! (how did this happen??) I enjoy blogging, as sporadic as it can be. It’s a creative space to share photos and updates. Here are some happenings from our 2017 so far.

JANUARY

THE ZOO

For Christmas, Adam’s parents gave us membership passes to the Zoo and Botanical Gardens (great gift, thank you!). On a sunny and warm winter day we explored the zoo. Highlights included watching the monkeys, red panda, and the elephants, of course. We didn’t get a chance to see the panda cubs, but hey that’s what a membership is for, right?

DSC_0502

WOMEN’S MARCH

We joined 60,000 marchers in Atlanta, and it was an empowering experience for me. Many were marching for certain policies and rights, while others marched against. For me this march was a space to say how much I value a diverse country and to stress the importance of policies that are inclusive and ensure safety to our diverse communities, including the refugee, immigrant, Muslim, brown and black brothers, LGBTQ community, and to my fellow sisters.

IMG_0111

FEBRUARY

DETENTION CENTER VISIT

Adam and I joined friends and drove south towards Lumpkin, Georgia to visit undocumented immigrants who have been detained at a private prison called the Stewart Center. Our first stop was at El Refugio, a hospitality home that provides food and a night’s stay for families who have driven to visit a loved one. We did a brief training and El Refugio partnered me with the individual I was to visit with. I wrote a reflection here, if you are interested in reading more. 

FAMILY VISIT (BOTANICAL GARDENS)

My dad and Eydie stayed with us for a few days during February. It was a low-key time together as my father recovered from their traveling adventures. We enjoyed a day trip to the Botanical Gardens here in Atlanta.

DSC_0551IMG_0215IMG_0189

DATE DAY/NIGHT

Adam and I took a half day off work on a Friday (yay extended weekend!) and headed to Midtown to walk the belt line (a path that connects neighborhoods with several restaurants along the way), followed by Hidden Figures and dinner at a new restaurant. It was refreshing to enjoy time together in a new way. It’s easy for us to do our “usual date” of dinner in the evening. If you have creative date ideas to do in Atlanta or otherwise, please feel free to share. 🙂

Gallery

Christmas in Idaho – Part 2

The second part of our stay was in Nampa with my mom and brother, Spencer. On Christmas morning my brother Aaron surprised us with a visit from Washington! Christmas evening my grandparents and aunt and uncle joined us for dessert. It was a wonderful day spent with family I hadn’t seen in a couple of years.

dsc_0243dsc_0296

While visiting Adam and I snuck away for a date to watch La La Land (so good!) and dinner. We went bowling with the family (my mom got a strike in the picture below) and played raquetball in the gym.

dsc_0361

On our last evening together we lasted about 10 minutes looking at Christmas lights before forgoing our plan to warm up in a local restaurant.

dsc_0389dsc_0415dsc_0425dsc_0433

Not pictured: lots of laughter, movies, brisk walks in the snow, getting cars unstuck in said snow, the game Tension, visit with a best friend, and a favorite aunt and uncle.

Gallery

Christmas in Idaho – Part 1

We enjoyed a  lot of snow while in Idaho for Christmas this past year. Our first few days were spent up in McCall, Idaho with my Dad and Eydie. Adam bought me a DSLR camera for Christmas (been on my wishlist for years!), and McCall was the perfect backdrop to practice my photo taking skills.

During our first full day we walked through McCall, which led us to the lake where Adam and Spencer had a snowball fight.

dsc_0042dsc_0078dsc_0070dsc_0073

Some old friends were in McCall the same time we were. I hadn’t seen them since 2006! We met up with them at the local ice rink, which is where this picture was taken. It’s a favorite of my brother, Spencer and me:

fullsizerender

We enjoyed opening Christmas gifts and took some family photos as well.

dsc_0130dsc_0151dsc_0153

Our bus home got delayed, so we had time to drive around the lake. It was cloudy, but the view was still beautiful!

dsc_0205dsc_0226

Not pictured: playing Quelf, watching movies, eating at the Pancake House (a tradition we do during every visit), delicious meals, reading, walks with Sophie (the dog).  We had a great stay.

Give Thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving! Adam and I are currently in Greenwood, Indiana to celebrate Thanksgiving with his mom’s side of the family. Then on Friday we will drive to Ohio to spend a couple of days with his parents.

On the drive (and this morning) we read through notes of thanks from our thankful jar – a new tradition we plan to do each year. I thought I’d share some on the blog:

img_3214

Grateful for small things:

  • I’m thankful for walks in the neighborhood with Adam
  • I am thankful for our cat, Avery, for the playful personality and her quirks – she keeps us entertained
  • Meals shared together
  • For slow Saturday mornings.
  • I’m thankful for cool fall days, and a front porch where I can sit, watch the sunset, and give God praise for his beauty.

Thankful for each other (Adam and I)

  • I’m thankful that Adam cleans the cat litter and kills scary spiders on the outside of our door
  • I am thankful for how patient and supportive Katherine has been through 6 triathlons, hours of training, and of me talking about races.
  • I give thanks for Adam and how he is constant when I am stressed/in a poor mood
  • I am thankful for the way Katherine has picked up a double load of housework and cooking these past two weeks as I have studied for the PE exam.

Thankful for our church and community

  • I’m thankful for Renovation. The challenging sermons and the community/friends we are finding
  • I am thankful for a wife, friends, and church who are also not ok with the decisions our country is making and desire instead to extend God’s love and caring against the darkness
  • I’m thankful for food and fellowship with our discipleship group

May we continue to have hearts of gratitude no matter what season it is.

 

 

 

Gallery

The Gifts of September

It’s hard to believe it’s the second week of October already, but we gladly welcome the cooler weather! Here are a few happenings from our September:

I went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens during the Chihuly exhibit, and it was beautiful! I have friends with season passes and got in for free, which was great. The park closed early so we weren’t able to walk through the entire garden, but they gave me a free pass, so no complaints!

img_31951

img_31961

Into the Heights – Weekend Date! Adam and I enjoy going to plays together. It has become a favorite date of ours. Fiddler on the Roof and My Fair Lady have been two favorites of mine, and Into the Heights was added to the list! The play, which had a talented and diverse cast was about gentrification, interracial dating, love, loss, and grief. I was crying at the end, in the best kind of way.

We’re married, it’s messy, and that’s okay! A couple from our church has the gift of hospitality. They welcomed us to their home to talk about marriage with other couples over homemade mac and cheese, brownies, and wine. We shared our struggles, love stories, and communication styles. We listened, nodded heads in agreement, and laughed. A sacred space was created out of a desire to be real and it was beautiful. We hope it is something we can continue.

We celebrated Adam’s birthday! Adam is content with allowing his birthday to fly under the radar, while I love to make a big deal out of it (how can you not celebrate when you’re married to such a great guy?!). Adam had to work late on his birthday, so we found ourselves at a restaurant at 9pm, but that didn’t matter. As long as he felt celebrated and loved, and I’m pretty sure he did. 🙂

img_3266

September was also a busy month as Adam trained for his half-ironman, which he completed last weekend! More on that to come…..

Oh, and a few recipes I’ve tried – all were delicious and healthy, too!

Plantain Tacos (omg!!!)  

Squash Bowls

Honey Apple Galette: