turkey day.

We celebrated Thanksgiving in Nashville again this year with our friends Tonya and Charlie. They hosted their family, us, and Chris and Annette. The food was so delicious! We had so much fun hanging out with everyone. We don't usually travel back to Kansas for Thanksgiving since it's a big trip and we make it at Christmas, but this is a great alternative. We love our Nashville friends.

 Tonya and the bird

Tonya soaked the turkey in brine before they cooked it and it was so good.

Charlie serves the brussel sprouts

We had a full table: two types of turkey, brussel sprouts, green bean casserole, macaroni and cheese, dressing, sweet potato casserole, 7-layer salad, cranberry sauce ... I'm probably forgetting something. For dessert: pumpkin pie, lemon meringue pie, pecan pie, and apple caramel cheesecake. We were stuffed, to say the least.

Nate is back to work today and I am going to try to finish painting the kitchen. We're saying goodbye to our former peachy tan and hello to hazy sage. It's a great improvement. The wall space below the cabinets and above the sink is black tulip (dark purple).



Last Friday was date night. We got out of the house while cashing in a Living Social deal for a house cleaning. The people (all five or six of them) showed up and finished in 45 minutes. They weren't as thorough as the first ladies who cleaned our house (a gift from my real estate agent) but it was good enough, better than I probably could have done on my own. Nate and I went to Panda Express and rented some movies and stopped at Home Depot for another string of Christmas lights to finish decorating the living room.

Miles and Otis still like to chase each other and fight, but this picture is becoming more common in the Jones household. I told Nate when we first got Otis that finding them snuggled up, sleeping next to each other would be my dream for them. It has happened. They give each other baths. It's pretty stinkin' cute.

Yesterday I got a new (additional) title at work. My normal duties haven't changed, I just get more responsibilities which is a great opportunity for me. Nate and I celebrated last night with dinner at Applebee's. On our way there, we saw this rainbow.

We will be home for Christmas in less than a month! I'm so excited. Tomorrow we are going to celebrate Thanksgiving with some of our friends from church. It is supposed to be 68 degrees in Nashville so hopefully we can get some afternoon football in. Nate actually has the day off from work! He will probably spend most of the day studying and finishing up work for his classes, but it will be nice to have him home.

I'm at Starbucks right now getting some things done for work. After this I'm planning on stopping by Home Depot to pick up a gallon of Hazy Sage so I can finish painting the kitchen this weekend. I think I am about painted out; I'm not looking forward to this so much but I've already painted half of a wall so I really need to finish. I can't decide if I love it yet, but I think once it is finished it will look good.

Ciao for now,


when it rains in the city.

it rains in the city.
big, fat drops splatter on rooftops
parking lots
well up with water and umbrellas
stretch against the sky
drive slow and don't you dare
get wet
pitter. patter. showers
shudder from those heavy clouds.
when it rains in the city
thunder quakes like muffled coughs,
hacks from the smoker standing
in his solemn alley shroud.
when it rains in the city
wipe my eyes and watch
slow, quiet fog
heave and sleep
as it rains in the city.


good news.

If you're a Christian, here's the good news: who you really are has nothing to do with you—how much you can accomplish, who you can become, your behavior (good or bad) your strengths, your weaknesses, your sordid past, your family background, your education, your looks, and so on. Your identity is firmly anchored in Christ's accomplishment, not yours; his strength, not yours; his performance, not yours; his victory, not yours;. Your identity is steadfastly established in his substitution, not your sin. … The gospel doesn't just free you from what other people think about you; it frees you from what you think about yourself. You're free!

Tullian Tchividjian, Jesus + Nothing = Everything (pp. 130-131)




This weekend Nate and I headed to Madison, Alabama. Nate's friend Ryan (from Wichita) was in Madison to preach at the church of Nate and Ryan's former youth leader, Brian. We drove down Friday night. It was a quick trip--only 100ish miles.

We spent the evening with Brian, his wife Morgan, and their kids Nathan (Nate's namesake) and Libby. We ate dinner at Famous Joe's Pizzeria. It was delicious! We even saw Famous Joe himself.

We came back and talked, and I promptly fell asleep about the time the kids went to bed (um, 8:30 ... note the picture). The guys had a good time catching up though.

For breakfast Morgan made delicious cinnamon bread and we relaxed some more. Ryan built a tower out of cups. My body was a little too relaxed and I fell asleep again until lunchtime. (I promise I didn't spend this entire weekend sleeping!)

Brian grilled sandwiches for lunch, then the guys went to buy stones to build the Mayfields a fire pit like the one we made in our backyard. We put together the fire pit and then started a game of backyard football.

Nate, Morgan, and I were on a team, versus Brian, Ryan, and little Nate. It was a long game and we took a halftime break and played some more. I think Brian, Ryan, and little Nate won. All I know for sure is that today I am sore!

Saturday night we put the fire pit to good use! S'mores after and incredible steak dinner. (The Mayfields are the best.)

Ryan preached at Brian's church, The Brook, this morning. The church has been doing a series through the book Ryan recently wrote called A Misplaced Joy. He talked about the Passover from the historical Old Testament perspective and then from the New Testament Christo-centric perspective. Ryan is planting a church in downtown Wichita, Kansas, called The Seed. The Mayfields said it's exciting to see how much Nate and Ryan have grown since they were in the youth group years ago.

A nice weekend getaway. We are back in Nashville watching some NFL football and happy that our cats  survived the weekend alone. Odie was pretty cute and snuggly. You can watch a video of him here.



It's 5 p.m. The bed is made, the laundry is in the dryer, the dishes are done, our off-to-Alabama bags are partially packed for tomorrow's departure, Nate is at work, Otis is curled up on my lap, and I am basking in the glow of our new not-so-much-Christmas-but-all-year-round lights that we put up last night in the living room.

Our friends, the Orrs, have lights hanging in their living room and we also have a poorly-lit living room, so we copied their idea. Who doesn't love the magical feeling of sitting beneath Christmas lights? I seriously feel more creative just sitting under them. More relaxed. Childlike excitement about the possibilities life holds.

Last night as we were putting the lights up, Nate said, "I like our house." I said, "Me too." I do. I worried for awhile that since I bought the house before I met Nate, he might not like it. Maybe if I had spent more time house hunting, I could have found a better one. But this is our house and we like it. It's not perfect. It's small and cozy and the kitchen is half painted. There are dust bunnies under the couches and cat hair ... everywhere. (Thanks to a Living Social deal I have a house cleaner coming next week!) But we like our house because it's ours. We live here, so it's home. Christmas lights in the living room might not be common or popular, but who cares? It's home. And they're awesome!

Life is good. Nate and I have been experiencing chills-up-the-spine moments where we realize, I get to spend the rest of my life with you. That's a long time and it's awesome. Do you know how many times in the past my best friend has moved away or lost interest it me or got too busy to stay in touch? Now I have a best friend who isn't going anywhere. Marriage is sweet.

Happy Thursday,



I took a half day of vacation today, which was nice considering it was cloudy and rainy. I made a quick trip to the bank, the grocery store, and then came home and started working on my book. Then I took a nap. :) Now I'll make dinner and wait for Nate to get home. A nice relaxing afternoon.

Otis survived the vet yesterday and is already back to his normal self. He probably didn't need it, but I gave him his pain meds today anyway. All those times watching my mom straddle the cat, force its mouth open, and squirt medicine toward the back of its throat really paid off. ;)

I ordered my college transcripts sent to SBTS. The application process is coming along and hopefully I'll be accepted soon so I can register for a spring class or two. Nate is going to take 15 hours, which is three hours more than he is taking now. I don't know how he'll do it.

Tonight for dinner is cheesy potato soup. I loved making it last winter; I would usually double the recipe and freeze the rest but our freezer is packed full (I bought green beans and tater tots at Sam's Club in ... uh, mass quantity) so I'll just make a single batch.



Well, I just scheduled neutering and vaccinations for Otis. He has won over our hearts and we are keeping him. Welcoming to the family, Otis Jones.


fall favorites.

Today in the slow cooker I made easy slow cooker ham. It's a recipe similar to one Nate said his friend's mom made one time. I had never cooked ham in a slow cooker nor in apple cider, but it was surprisingly good. We ate an early dinner because Nate has ITG tonight. After "dinner," we had caramel popcorn that we made last night. I didn't think we could make it because we didn't have Karo syrup, but we had a bag of caramels that had a recipe on it. Here it is, a fall favorite:

Caramel Popcorn
1 bag Kraft caramels (unwrapped)
3 T. butter
2 T. water
12 c. popped popcorn

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Melt caramels in a saucepan with butter and water. Put popcorn in a large bowl. Pour melted caramel over popped popcorn and stir to coat.

Spread popcorn over a greased baking pan. Bake 20 minutes, stirring after 10. Let cool. Enjoy!



Poor Odie is acting like he's sick, but he sure is photogenic when he's under the weather. (I've kind of renamed him because Odie is more fun to say than Otis.)


It's November! Another month closer to getting to travel to Kansas and Colorado for Christmas. Nate had class last night, so I fell into bed around 4:30 p.m. and got up to eat around 9 p.m. when Nate got home. Then I went back to bed. Yeah, I'm running on 12.5 hours of sleep. I've been unusually tired lately even when I get extra sleep so we're going to see if some caffeine will help. Diet Coke anyone? Needless to say, I'm too cheap to buy candy to give to trick-or-treaters so the lights were off at our house last night.

Nashville has been hitting low 30s in the mornings, so when Nate and I carpooled to work this morning, Nate had to scrape frost off the windows but I had a blanket ready straight from the dryer to keep us toasty until the car heated up. Is there anything more comforting than a blanket straight from the dryer?

On the calendar for November:
- finish painting the kitchen
- house cleaning (yay LivingSocial!)
- Nate and I are babysitting twice
- Thanksgiving in Nashville
- use the treadmill

Regions Bank has decided to nix their debit card fees (yeah!) so I can finally start using my card again when I shop at Aldi and Kroger. I planned out the next two weeks of meals so I can be a more effective grocery shopper. Tonight it's pork chops, tomorrow: slow cooker ham, Thursday: tomato and pesto chicken, Friday: chicken noodle soup. I read a post from a blogger who plans out slow cooker recipes, chops up all the ingredients, and freezes them together in freezer bags. So then the day before, you just have to thaw the bag and dump everything into your slow cooker. I'm going to have to have a chop session soon and cut up all my onions and celery and carrots so I can make soups and stews all winter. Yum!

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