Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Excuse me for not updating yall for weeks! Our first Christmas together was oh so good to us. Most of my pre-Christmas celebrations were done with my nine-year-old best buddy, Shep. I'm very disappointed that in all of our festivities I forgot to bring my camera, so I have no pictures to show for it. No pictures to show of our gingerbread house, our ice cream cone Christmas trees, our cookie decorating, or our nativity shelter made out of sticks and bark (I was particularly proud of myself for that creative project). We laughed a ton and I had a lot of fun seeing him enjoy the simplest things.
Jeremiah and I in our severe impatience, started Christmas a little early. We had planned to have "our" Christmas the Saturday before the actual day, as we were leaving for Pennsylvania on Sunday. Wouldn't you know on second Sunday before Christmas we ended up opening our gifts for each other. Pathetic. It's still debatable whose idea this was, and although we'd love to say we "agree to disagree," we kind of just disagree. Ahh memories. We did end up having our Christmas the following Saturday with stockings in the morning, a day of watching Christmas movies, and a dinner of Christmas fettucine. It was delicious and a tradition we want to continue.
The next morning we loaded up our things for the next eight days and traveled up north. We stayed at my parents' house through Christmas, and visited the Link side for the weekend. Santa was very good to us, and we had literally a car full of stuff to bring home. We felt so loved and cared for over the holiday, and are so thankful for our families' generosity! It was so so great to be with our families. There is absolutely nothing like it.
Yesterday we made the trek home, stopping in DC for Campus Crusade's Radiate (think huge conference) so we could see a bunch of people I was on staff with last year and some of our Penn State friends. Oh, it was so good to see those people! Jeremiah and I miss everyone so much, and were glad we were able to touch base with them.
In even bigger news, yesterday was our ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY! Wow, can you believe it?? Jeremiah and I had fun reminiscing about what we were doing "at this time a year ago." It's been so cool to think back to everything we've experienced together. What a fantastic husband I have. Looking back has reminded me of how lucky I am to have him and of how good to me he is. The Lord has given us a good first year together and we can't wait for the next!

Monday, December 8, 2008

O Christmas Tree

It was a weekend filled with Christmas celebration! On Friday, Jeremiah and I were able to go to his Christmas party for Robious Middle School (after planning on not being able to go) and had a great time. It was fun to meet Jeremiah's co-workers that I hear so much about.
On Saturday, Jeremiah and I picked out our first Christmas tree and decorated the apartment. I posted some pictures of the days events--and unfortunately, I lack a lot of skill taking pictures of lit Christmas trees. And what a shame that is, considering I was very proud of my lighting job. My dad would be proud! As you can see, Shaniqua looked ultra ghetto with twine strung all throughout to hold our monstrous tree on the top of her. I even had to climb in through the driver's side to get back home. It's true what they say--trees always look bigger when you get them home. Luckily we have very high ceilings, or we could've had a real problem on our hands. We absolutely love it, and had a great time listening to carols and getting in the Christmas spirit for the first time together!
Then yesterday evening, we had Jeremiah's side of the family who live in Richmond over for a little shindig. I made way too much food, but was excited to use many of the serving dishes I had got for our wedding. We had a $5 white elephant exchange, which was a lot of fun!

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Jeremiah and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Like I mentioned in a previous post, we headed up north to the Link side of the family in Montrose, PA. We got there late Wednesday night and left this morning. Unfortunately, it took us over 9 hours to get home today because of so much traffic! Other than that, we had a blast. My side of the family came for Thanksgiving Day. It was so great to be with all of our family--laughing together, catching up, and eating delicious food. We're so thankful that this has become a new tradition for both our families. We spent the next couple days relaxing, watching Christmas movies, and eating way too much. Jeremiah's sister, Caroline, turns 17 this Thursday so we also had a little celebration for her at the Olive Garden last night. As you can see from the pictures, we also went to help the family pick out a Christmas tree. Pennsylvania was quite a change from Virginia, with temperatures over twenty degrees colder. I was loving it, and am bummed it's still in the 50s here in Midlothian.
We're now looking forward to picking out our own tree and decorating this coming weekend. We're so excited to get ready for Christmas together here in Virginia, but also can't wait to make a trip back to Pennsylvania in three weeks!

Phillies Party

In honor of the Phillies winning the World Series, Jeremiah decided to have a Phillies party in each of his classes the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. He only had a half day, and knew better than to try and teach new material. Below are the two cookie cakes I baked; however, I did not decorate both. Can you guess which one I did and which one Jeremiah did?

Monday, November 24, 2008


Wanted to give everyone a quick update about church. Yesterday we tried a new church, Hope, and had a really enjoyable experience. We liked the service a lot, and we were lucky enough to come on a day that they had a lunch for newcomers after the service. At first we were hesitant, unsure of the level of awkwardness, but decided to give it a whirl. We're so glad we did because it was very informative and welcoming, and we actually met a few couples our age. We will continue to pray for where God might have us worship, and are excited about learning more about Hope.

New Job!

You read correctly, I have a new job! Awhile ago I had put in an application to Henrico County Public Schools for an instructional assistant position, but was not called in for an interview. Bummer. But I guess God's timing is everything because last week, out of the blue, the principal of Three Chopt Elementary School called me to let me know he needed an I.A. for a 1st grade classroom, and human resources had passed my name on to him. The next day I had an interview, and two days later (Friday) I received a call offering me the full-time position! I wasn't sure what to expect, since other candidates were interviewing and the only thing I knew went really well is the shared love for Penn State between the principal and me. I am so so excited about this opportunity, and it really is an answered prayer! My first day is Monday, December 8.
The unfortunate part of all this was that it came at a pretty inconvenient time in the world of Goddard. I had just taken on more hours and been placed in the baby room. All weekend I was anxious about giving my two weeks notice this morning. But here I am, alive and well to tell the story. The assistant director was very nice and understanding, which is a huge relief.
Luckily, I will still be able to watch Shep and Shane everyday after school. The school is actually only 5 minutes away from their house and I will get off just in time to make it to their house to greet Shep. Perfect!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fun in Fairfax!

Jeremiah and I had an incredible time visiting Greg and Elise this weekend! It was so so great to get away for a day and a half and spend time with good friends. It took us two hours, straight up 95, to travel to their place. We spent most of our time laughing hysterically, eating amazing home-cooked food, and playing Rook. 
Although we got poured on at one point, we enjoyed the tour they gave us of George Mason. It was interesting to hear the ins and outs of the ministry they do for Crusade on a campus other than Penn State. Something I found particularly interesting was the attention given to the Muslim culture on campus, being that a significant percentage of students practice such religion. In their student union center (think the HUB at Penn State) they had an open, quiet meditation area with mats facing Mecca for the five prayer times throughout the day. It was eye-opening to see the differences between Penn State and Mason, and to hear the different issues students are dealing with at Mason. We're so thankful Greg and Elise are willing to serve as ministers of the gospel there!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Can you believe it's the middle of November already?? Jeremiah and I couldn't be more excited for the holidays to be here. We are anxiously anticipating our first big holiday as husband and wife--Thanksgiving in Montrose, PA. Yep, as crazy as it sounds, we will be making the eight hour car ride up north on the biggest travel day of the year. Jeremiah teaches a half day that Wednesday so we will leave right after that, crossing our fingers that we'll avoid major traffic. My parents and brother and sister will be coming up for Thanksgiving day to feast with Jeremiah's side of the family. How amazing to be able to have everyone together! We did this last year and it worked perfectly. Debbie Link did the cooking, Debbie Koehler did the baking. Delicious!

As of next week, I will be taking on a few more hours at Goddard--in the baby room. I'm so thankful that God quickly answered my prayers for more hours, so that Jeremiah and I will have more money to contribute to his loan payments that start up at the end of the month and the rest of the debt we are trying to put a dent into. Tuesday and Thursday I'll work from 7-2 strictly in the baby room, and still hang out with the two year olds on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. The other three teachers in the baby room are great, which will be helpful in a room that I know just about nothing about. It's a little nerve-racking, but hopefully I'll get the hang of it quickly. I'm trying to remain positive, thinking that this will be good for when I become a mother someday.

Only two more weekends before the kickoff to Christmas! And as if that weren't enough to look forward to, we're going to see our friends, Greg and Elise Boros, this weekend in DC. They just moved there to work at George Mason for Campus Crusade for Christ. We absolutely love spending time with them!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Our first Halloween has come and gone, and what a Halloween it was. 
Unfortunately, Jeremiah was still in Baltimore for his professional development conference, so I held down the fort on my own. Let's just say there wasn't much to hold down. After carving a pumpkin the night before that would hopefully signal trick-or-treaters, I sat around for hours on Halloween night without a trace of children in costume. Bummer. Needless to say, being home alone with a jar full of M&M minis was dangerous.
Halloween afternoon with the boys did bring some fun, though. Shep came home from school so excited for the night and immediately put on his costume. As you can see, he was a nerd. Doesn't he look hilarious?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

About Time To Update

It's been a couple weeks since our last update, so I figured it's about time for another. Life has been pretty uneventful, which isn't such a bad thing in light of our frequently trying circumstances.
Fall weather has finally hit Virginia, with temps averaging out in the 60s. We are loving every minute of it! Last weekend we went to Carytown to ring in the holiday season (yes, we are already considering it the holiday season). Carytown is a part of downtown Richmond (we think) that is a cross between downtown State College and Peddler's Village--shops similar to Peddler's Village set up like downtown State College. Our two favorite stores are the Christmas shop and the chocolate/candy store. Jeremiah came home with a bag full of exotic-flavored Jelly Bellys and I with a Kahlua truffle. Amazing! We have been happily anticipating our first Christmas together, and have already viewed a couple Christmas movies in our down time. 'Tis the season!
Later in the week I made Shep's day when I brought him and Shane each a pumpkin to carve. They had never carved pumpkins using the special tools and patterns, and were so excited about it. It was fun for me to help them and see them enjoy something that has been a huge tradition for my family.
For those who don't know, Jeremiah got me into a book club with a bunch of women he works with. I had never met any of them, but was glad to finally get the chance this past week at our first get-together. It was a lot of fun to hang out with people! Jeremiah and I are struggling to meet people and build relationships, so I am thankful for this opportunity. We meet again in the beginning of December to discuss our new book, One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell (think Sex and the City and Lipstick Jungle). I didn't fair too well with the first book, which was 560+ pages, so I'm really trying to get a head start on this one since it is 430+ pages. We shall see.
This week Jeremiah will be away at a professional development conference from Wednesday through Saturday in Maryland. We're excited for this opportunity, because he was one of few people asked to go by the principal. A couple of his co-workers also asked him to play in a dodgeball tournament yesterday. J-Beezy, as printed on the back of his jersey, had a lot of fun.
Other than that, we have just been basking in the victories of Penn State and the Phillies and loving every minute of it! Oh, and I'm in the process of completing my first domestic project--painting my old toy box. Right now, I can see the old design right through the primer and first coat of paint. Lovely. I'm crossing my fingers for the second (and maybe third) coat to provide some better coverage.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Great Weekend

This weekend Jeremiah and I traveled back to the lovely state of Pennsylvania. Jeremiah was a groomsman in our friends' (Ben Thompson and Ashleigh Pfrommer) wedding. We headed up Friday morning for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner later that night in Lancaster. Of course the drive took longer than it should have, being that we were on 95 practically the whole trip. The wedding was beautiful and it couldn't have been a more perfect fall day. The sun was shining, the trees were colorful, and the temperature was just right. It was SO great to see our good friends! We were so thankful for the time we were able to spend with them catching up and laughing ourselves to tears. We also got to see Cameron, which was wonderful! Here's a couple pictures from the wedding: Jeremiah and me (how lovely of him to smile), and Cameron and Andrea.
After the wedding on Saturday night we headed to my parents' house in Sellersville to slip in a quick visit and pick up some delicious apple dumplings I'd been craving for quite some time. Although we got there close to midnight and had to leave the next afternoon, we had such a nice time seeing my parents. It was good to feel at home, even for just a short time. We miss seeing friends and family so much, and had a great time!!

We're back to work today, and what a day back it has been already. I was sent home a half hour early because I was pooped on. Revolting.

And on that note, have a great day! We miss you!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sunny Day

Just thought I'd share the lovely view out our living room door onto the back balcony. We are loving the beautiful fall weather in Virginia!


After two months of sitting in separate chairs and propping up the pillows from the bed against the living room wall, we are happy to say WE FINALLY HAVE A SOFA! The search is over, and we are more than pleased with our dark brown, corner sofa from IKEA. Our living room is now completely decked out in IKEA, as is most of our apartment. We traveled almost two hours to the only store in Virginia planning on bringing home a regular sofa; however, there was a credit event offering no interest no payments for a year, so we were able to get our ideal sofa. Four hours after it's delivery, Jeremiah and I were lounging and loving it. Why four hours? Unfortunately, everything from IKEA must be assembled. The pictures aren't the best, but you get the idea.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It Is Good To Hear Truth

After a trying two months in Virginia, I am reminded of how necessary and significant it is to choose to believe truth over lies. God is good and has been speaking to my every heart need this week. 
This year Penn State Cru will be focusing on the attributes of God during the weekly meetings' talks in an effort to encourage students to have an accurate picture of who God is. We all need to hear this. I have started listening to the talks online, and the past two weeks I have felt like God had the speakers write their talks just for me. Please have a listen! Go to pennstatecru.org. Click on media, then talks, and then choose any you'd like. Oh how I miss Penn State Cru!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bleach Water

I just finished my eighth day at the Goddard School, phew! I forgot how exhausting working with fifteen 2 year olds can be! I typically work from about 6:50 to 10 in the morning, although some days I stay up to an hour and a half later. I start my morning by making bleach water for all of the classrooms. As I funnel the water into squirt bottles and pour the water from a gallon jug into a little bin, I inevitably ruin many of the clothes I wear. Today, my new pair of New York & Company khakis fell victim; yesterday, one of my favorite Gap shirts. Thankfully I was smart enough to get a cute, yet very inexpensive pair of shoes from Walmart, because they are now splattered with bleach stains. Afterwards, I'm in Toddling Turtles' room watching the early birds and then head over to my home away from home--Sunny Sailboats. Ms. Sarah has done a great job of helping me get acquainted, and the children are warming up to me quickly. It is fun, but very tiring, and I applaud all those who do it full-time. It takes a special kind of people for sure.
Added benefit: I'm building up my immune system AND my biceps!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Shep and Shane

Here's a picture of the two very handsome boys I babysit everyday. Shep is on the left, Shane is on the right.

Cars: A Necessary Evil

Our car saga continues. Many of you know Jeremiah's Taurus is on the brink of defeat but, with just enough repairs to get by, Shaniqua, is pulling through for us this month. 
As for my Volkswagen--our "reliable" car--it has seen better days. For those of you left uninformed, my dear ol' Golf had $500+ of repairs a couple weeks ago after shaking and flashing engine lights had it towed away. Since then, the symptoms have come back to haunt us not once, but twice. This morning I took it in for another look and have just found out that it needs a new coil pack or something--a part that costs $500+. The endearing man at the Volkswagen dealership said he'd cut me a deal and sell me the part for just a few dollars shy of $400. How lovely.
It seems all too fitting that I read a devotion last night about remembering that we only see bits and pieces, but God knows the bigger (and better) picture. Proverbs 3:5-12. Week after week as Jeremiah and I wonder how we're going to make ends meet and then get hit with unexpected bills like this, we are forced to choose to believe that God does indeed know what He's doing, that He does indeed care for us, and that His promises for provision are true. It's a huge test of our faith, and as much as I'd like to run, scream, or freak out, I know that this testing is producing a maturity and completeness in us that is far more significant than our present financial circumstances. It's a hard choice to make--to trust the Lord and not rely on what I can do (which clearly isn't too much).
So keep praying for us and for God's care and provision. We are so appreciative to know we have friends and family who not only love us, but who are lifting us up in prayer!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Work, Work, Work

The main reason we moved to Midlothian was because Jeremiah was offered a position with Chesterfield County Public Schools. We were so thankful that even before Jeremiah graduated he was given an open contract, and that he is able to work in such a great school. He has just finished his second week as an 8th grade algebra teacher at Robious Middle School. He teaches three classes in a double-block format, which means he sees three different classes each day for 90 minutes for the entire year. That's a lot of algebra for those students! Mr. Link couldn't be happier to have his own trailer, particularly so he can regulate the temperature. I've been there once, and let's just say next time I go back I'll be sure to bring layers. His classroom looks great, something he is very proud of since he did it all himself and didn't have much to work with. The students have warmed up to him and I look forward to hearing about the unique personalities each night at dinner. It's been a great experience so far!
After about a month and a half of feeling purposeless, I think I have finally figured out what I'll be doing. As some of you know, I was accepted to substitute in the district but have been looking for other work due to the inconsistency, early wake-up (5am!), and amount of travel. Since the school year started I have been providing after school childcare to a really fun family. Every day I drive about a half hour to watch 9 year old Shep and 12 year old Shane (4th and 7th graders) for a few hours. I'm there not necessarily to babysit, but to be there in case of emergency and to chauffeur them to their countless sports practices almost everyday. I'm glad for the opportunity, and am having a lot of fun playing game after game with Shep each day.
Less than a week ago I was also hired at the Goddard School close to our apartment. I will be working Monday through Friday from 7-10/10:30, with the potential to work longer when they need the extra help. I'm looking forward to a consistent work schedule, especially doing work I am comfortable with. It seems like it will work out great, and I'm glad to have a break in the day to go about my wifely duties, exercise, or run errands. The only thing I need now is a closet full of khakis.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Hey y'all! Can you believe we've been away for a month and a half?? We still can't believe how fast it's gone by. We're officially Virginia residents--we've got the licenses and plates to prove it. In our short time here we have already encountered and been through what seems like endless adventures--both exciting and trying--and we know there will be much more in store for us.
Keeping in touch consistently with everyone we love can be a bit overwhelming, so I (Brianna) had a brilliant idea this morning to start this blog. We want all of you to know how much we love you, and to let you know how we're doing and what we're up to here in Midlothian. Feel free to visit this site whenever the spirit moves you, and hopefully you'll find a fairly recent update on our lives. 
We miss everyone so so much and look forward to each opportunity we have to visit you and talk with you. Jeremiah is away this weekend for Ben Thompson's bachelor weekend, so between my conjuring up fall decor ideas and watching the Food Network, I hope to bring you up to speed on our time in Virginia.

Love y'all. Enjoy!
To our family and friends: hello from Virginia!