…and I’m back! Or, actually, I’ve been back since Sunday. Thrilled to be back, by the way.

For those of you unaware, the route between PA and SC involves a whole lot of West Virginia. A whole lot. It’s like driving from the very north to the very south of Georgia (those southerners in my audience)–never ending. I used to have a blanket-dislike for the state based merely in Interstate 79 and 77…until I met people from WV. Thank you, Sarah and Nathan for changing my views!

On the way down with rain most of the time, dense fog through a 5-mile 9% grade incline, my poor 4-cylinder trying to maintain 70mph on some intense hills and curves and the frazzled cell-phone reception, WV was an issue–despite my more positive attitude toward it.

On the way back, however, the weather was perfect–freezing, but perfect for driving. Jamming out to the tunes of John Legend, Dave Matthews (and regretting not grabbing my Leela James CD before hitting the road), I got to witness some of the most gorgeous fall color displays I’d ever seen. WV was beautiful, welcoming and dry. Hallelujah for that! Although my CR-V struggled a bit on the hills, it was hard to notice with all of the gloriousness around me.

I played car-tag with a little Hyundai with “JUST MARRIED!” scrawled all over. Each time I passed them or they passed me, I felt like I should do something…like send out a thumbs-up while pointing to my ring or something. Cheesy thoughts for sure, but hey, they were entering the same boat that I’ll be stepping off in February–the USS Newlyweds. I think you lose that title after a year of marriage, right?

Who wrote that blasted rule book anyhow? Probably the same person who decided that the traditional gift for a first anniversary is paper. “Hey honey, this is for you. College-ruled, just like you like it!” The only paper David will be getting is a card.

And I digress.

My trip to SC did go very well. I added about 30 customers to my MK business, interviewed a potential team member, caught up with friends I hadn’t seen in far too long, and spent time with my dear family. I love my parents and brother so much that it physically hurts at times to think about how far away they are. God definitely knew what he was doing in placing David and me here in PA, though. I needed to learn to establish my own identity away from my family. It’s been a tough, but character-building experience.

Speaking of character, David and I just joined a small group through our church for other young newlyweds, and we’re doing a study on character. Last night was our first time to meet, and we both really enjoyed our time. The first chapter of the book we’re reading was only five pages long, but we had fantastic discussion and really got to know our group a little better. Great couples!

Also on that same note, David and I have been trying to memorize one short scripture verse a night before going to bed. It’s been pretty fun so far (only five verses in, FYI), and although it seems daunting, my eyes were opened during my drive back from SC. I put in a DC Talk CD. Remember them? “What will people think if they label me a Jesus Freak? What will people do if they find out it’s true? I don’t really care if they label me a Jesus Freak. There ain’t no disguising the truth!”

Even if you’ve never heard of them, they were pretty popular in Christian circles while I was in middle school. (Ok, so what’s your point, SA?) I hadn’t listened to their CD since eighth or ninth grade, yet I still knew all of the lyrics. How can I claim to not be able to memorize bits of scripture when I can spell out all of the lyrics to all of the songs by a band I listened to in middle school? So, David and I have memorized five passages and are looking forward to adding many, many more.

So, life is good. No, it’s great. God is constantly showing me and David how he’s watching out for us, and it’s so encouraging!

Exodus 14:14 “The Lord, your God, will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

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