Heavy Heart

I stood again today at Sawnee Memorial Garden, 50 feet away from Rick’s grave, and recognized the life of Brooks Allen Tucker.  

My friend, Ashly, was due to give birth to Brooks next week.  In fact, just last week we were standing together in the break room at work and I was feeling him move around, kicking and squirming.  A week later Ashly wasn’t feeling him move and went to the doctor only to find out that we wouldn’t meet Brooks until Heaven.  Needless to say, she is heartbroken, as are all of us that so looked forward to watching him grow.

As we stood in that area of the cemetery, the one reserved for all of the babies, I felt as if I was standing on Holy ground.  I know that cemetery well.  I have spent much time at Rick’s grave asking God questions, but there was something different about this area.  That ground contains the babies that only Jesus gets to hold.  The ones that we so long for and morn for, but who have only tasted true life, the life that we were created to live.

Brooks never got to feel his mother’s arms around him, but he is safe in the arms of Jesus.  He never got to see the sun, or the mountains, or the ocean, but he is with the one who created it all.  Ashly never got to see her baby live on this earth, but because of the hope that we have in Christ and his promises, she will see him in Heaven.  We all will.

Andy, our pastor, said that normally we gather to celebrate a life, but in this unique case, we were there to recognize one.  He said that in some ways there would always be an empty seat at the Tucker table, but that the seat would be filled with a certain kind of grace.  A grace that none of us would seek, but a unique grace that will carry them through.

Please pray for Ashly and her husband Denny during this excruciating time.  I cannot imagine their pain.  There are so many questions, but there will be no answers.  My heart is heavy these days, but I know that we have the hope of Christ as an anchor and that is our firm foundation.  I don’t think I really understood the truth and real hope in that until three years ago, but now I know that it is what we must lean hard into.

I’ve walked the valley of death’s shadow
So deep and dark that I could barely breathe
I’ve had to let go of more than I could bear
And questioned everything that I believe
But still even here 
in this great darkness
A comfort and hope come breaking through
As I can say in life or death
God we belong to you.

– Steven Curtis Chapman (additional verse to “Yours”)

So Stylish!

I got this email today from my sister, Jen.

So, we were at Old Navy today getting Ella and Cooper the hook up on some jeans, and a couple of shirts for Fall. Ella sees the manaquin all decked out in like jeans, a long sleeve t-shirt, with this cool looking jacket, and a messenger type sack. She says “Oh, this looks like Aunt Kelly!” 

I have always been known for my incredible style! ; )

Atlanta List Update

10 Things I Want To Do In Atlanta In 2008

1. Have a picnic at Piedmont Park
2. Hike Stone Mountain- DONE! (With Ashley on 05.31.08)
3. Eat at Taqueria Del Sol (according to Food Network they have the 3rd best taco in America…pretty impressive)- DONE! (With my Dad…I forget the date)
4. Ride the elevator to the top of the Westin downtown
5. See a movie at the Fox- DONE! (with Jen and Ella on 07.13.08. We saw Enchanted!)
6. Eat at One Midtown Kitchen (I hear it’s the place to go!)- DONE! (Chris and Leah’s Rehearsal Dinner on 09.12.08)
7. Go see a movie at the Starlight Six Drive In
8. Go to Oakland Cemetery and find Margaret Mitchell’s grave and then go across the street to Six Feet Under and toast her memory (thanks Creative Loafing!)
9. Go to Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
10. Eat at the big chicken

New Job!

For those of you that haven’t heard, I have a new job!

A few weeks ago the Service Programming Division (SPD) approached me about a new position they have.  You see, we are starting a Spanish service at our church in October and they need an SPD Director for it.  I was so honored that they even considered me for the position!  I took a few days to pray about it and once I decided to go for it, I started the interview process.  I had 8 interviews in less than a week!

A week after the last interview I was offered the position and I accepted it.  I am so excited about this new journey!  It is definitely uncharted territory for us as a church and for me personally, so that is a little scary, but also very exciting!

So what does the SPD Director do?  Well, as one of only two staff members for the Spanish services (the other being Julio who is basically the campus pastor), a LOT!  I will be over everything that happens in the actual service.  That ranges from video, to announcements, to sound, music, host team, etc.  I am so excited about it!  I will remain in my current position for awhile, until they have my replacement.  I definitely don’t want the things that I am doing now to suffer, so I am happy to do that and looking forward to training my replacement.  I am eager to start the new job though.  There will be plenty of time for that!

If you get a chance and are in the area, come check out the Spanish service starting on October 19 in the KidStuf Theater at 12:45!

Balboa Island

NOTE:  So I set up a timer for this to be published a month ago and apparently that didn’t work.  So here you go!  Better late than never!

And now for my very favorite part of the trip and new favorite spot in California….Balboa Island!

As we were driving through Newport Beach we saw signs for Balboa Island and decided to go check it out.  We didn’t have a schedule that day, so it fit right in.  We ended up staying there for several hours exploring and taking it all in.  It was so much fun!  I can’t wait to visit there again soon.

We thought it would be super cool to take the ferry over to the island, but when we got to the ferry we found out that we were actually already on the island.  Apparently we had driven over a bridge at some point that we didn’t notice when we were following the signs for Balboa Island.  So if you ever go there, go can drive or take the ferry.

Here’s what we would have seen if we had actually taken the ferry.

Balboa Island is 1.75 miles in diameter and is full of the cutest little houses!

Here is my favorite house on the island.  The white one.

Here is Marissa’s favorite house.  Is anyone else disturbed that it’s so bright that it is reflecting off of the house next to it?

There is a main street that runs through the island with the cutest little stores!

Like this one, for example, where we bought our matching sweatshirts.  OK, not so cute, but definitely unique.

There was also this amazing candle store that had the most gorgeous candles.  They were so beautiful that I asked if I could take pictures.  I was so happy they let me!  The candles burn for hours and smell so good.  Not to mention they are the most beautiful colors.  I was totally mesmerized.  If you would like to order any, check them out online!

This is where we at our delicious lunch.  We could smell this place as we were shopping and we got a taste for Italian food.  We walked in and told them we needed a table for two and they sat us at this one sided table looking out over the main street.  It was so fun!

We at this as an appetizer…

…and this as the main course!

We topped it off by going to get the famous Balboa Bars.  

Me with my Balboa Bar.

Newport Beach and Laguna Beach

Day 2 of the last minute California trip consisted of a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.  We had a fun day chilling on the beach and exploring some cool areas of California that we had never seen before.  

In Laguna Beach we sat on this HUGE rock overlooking the ocean for a couple of hours until the sun started to set.  It was so fun to talk, laugh, be serious, be ridiculous, and sometimes just be silent.

Pics from that part of the trip:

Surfers at Newport Beach

Marissa enjoying the fact that when you lay down at Newport Beach, it’s totally silent.  Very cool!

Me watching the surfers

Laguna Beach…pardon the smog!

I loved this cave!

And these rocks!

Marissa taking in the sunset

Hanging out on the rock…in our matching sweatshirts.

I love rocks!

Last Minute Trip

This past weekend I took a last minute trip to LA to see my friend Marissa.  When I walked into the office on Thursday I got an email from her and could tell that she was going through a hard time.  As I was writing her back I wrote the words “I wish I was there to give you a hug.”  As I was typing those words I heard myself say “why don’t you go give her one then?”  So I did and we had a blast!  What is the point of being friends if we can’t be there for each other in our times of need if the situation allows?

Our goal this weekend was to provide her with distraction.  We decided to do that by being adventurous and doing a bunch of things that neither of us had ever done.  It was so much fun!

We started by looking for the best possible view we could find of the Hollywood sign.  We found an incredible one and some of the people that live by it even asked us how we managed to find it.  The answer to that is that we got lost.  HA!  We also took a trip to Mann’s Chinese Theater, which we had both already done, but how can you go to Hollywood and not do that?  After that we went out to Calabasas to look for the Kardashians.  We found their stores, but didn’t see them.  Sad.

After our Kardashian stalk session we drove through Topanga Canyon to the Pacific Palisades in Malibu.  We checked out a few boutiques there and headed back to Marissa’s for awhile.  We topped the day off with dinner on the patio of a great Mexican Restaurant and then a movie at the house.

Other details of our adventure coming in later posts, but here are some pictures of that great day:

The BEST view of the sign!

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Trying to take our picture with the sign by putting the camera on top of a bush.  The sign didn’t make it in, but this is actually one of my favorite pics from the trip!

There we go!  We got a little help from some ladies who were power walking by!

Way to go Billy, get you a star in Hollywood!

One of the Kardashian stores

Topanga Canyon

What we saw on the way home, at 3:30 on a Friday.  Suddenly optimistic Marissa was totally convinced that it would clear up.  It didn’t.  We were in the car for more than 2 hours.

Please Pray

This morning I found out that my friend and co-worker, Mindy, while on an Alaskan cruise with her husband suffered a brain aneurism.  We have been praying for her all day but she just went to be with Jesus.  Please be in prayer for her husband and daughter.

Please also be in prayer for our staff.  This is the 2nd staff member that we have lost this year.