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As hoped, Clemson pulled it out and beat the Citadel (45-17), NC State (27-9) and SC State (54-0). Yes, all of those were easy games and they were expected to win, but hey, three W’s to offset that initial L against Alabama. So, “GO TIGERS!” My blood runneth orange again.

Twenty-one days without a new post. Sorry about that. This little thing called life keeps happening in a great way and tends to keep me away from the computer when at all possible. But I think you’re all deserving of an update:

Newlywed glow — Our friends, Kirby and Meredith, came down for Labor Day weekend after only being married for six weeks. We were impressed that they were even willing to leave their house after such a short time of wedded bliss, but hey, we were thrilled to host them here in Savannah. We had a great day at the beach and exploring downtown Savannah before watching the depressing Clemson vs. Alabama game at Wild Wings that prompted my previous post. So glad that things are looking up, up, up for the Tigers now! Later in the weekend, we went out to Tybee Island for the Labor Day Beach Bash and fireworks show. The fireworks were incredible. It was a blast to be around such a great couple that weekend.

His team name is “Henderson” — David’s on a soccer team here in Savannah started by Travis Henderson…hence the name. I just cheer based on jersey color, “go blue!”, instead of “go Henderson!” I can’t sound like I’m cheering for Travis the whole game. David’s really enjoying being back on the field again and honing his skills. He’s hoping to teach me some basic moves so that I can be on the indoor league in early 2009. We’ll see, folks.

Parental visit — I love my mom, and I love when she’s in town. She came down to Savannah not too long ago to “visit, cook and shop.” Awesome! She cooked two fabulous meals for me and David, and she and I got to go shopping downtown. Too fun! My mom is down nearly 30lbs and is looking fan-stinkin-tastic these days. It’s a blast to go shopping with her and see how great she looks in everything. Go mom! Come visit anytime!

A grandparental visit — My mom left on Friday morning, then I worked all day, then my mom’s parents came to town. They had been in Hilton Head for a conference and thought that a quick jaunt to Savannah would be nice; David and I agreed. They treated us to Papa’s for dinner–delicious–and we got to get all caught up with them. They’re about to embark on a trip to Nova Scotia…by car. I wholeheartedly respect their patience with being in a car that long, but then again, when you have a great travel buddy, cross-country driving can be fun.

Saw the whole thing, dude. First you were all like “whoa,” and we were like “whoa,” and you were like “whoa…” — As spoken by Crush from Finding Nemo. For those of you who haven’t seen the movie (you should rent it tonight), Crush is a sea turtle, and David and I had a couple of pretty cool sea turtle experiences recently. Not only did we get to observe two hatched sea turtle nest excavations, but during one of those, a live sea turtle that had been trapped in the nest for at least five days was uncovered. That night, he was released back to the ocean. How cool to be so close to an endangered species. Aside from that, David and I were both blown away by that little guy’s (or gal…you won’t know until he/she is 35 years old) determination. No matter how many times the waves pushed him back onto the shore, he–after at least five days without nourishment of any kind–kept fighting to get into that water knowing that he had at least a 36-48 hour swim to safety. Unreal. Certainly refreshed my determination in areas of weakness in my life. Only 1 in 4,000 baby sea turtles makes it from the egg to adulthood. Go little guy, go!

Upcoming excitement — This Thursday, September 25, is exciting for at least three reasons. First, it’s Gap’s payday-woo hoo! Second, Cold Stone Creamery in Savannah is having the “World’s Largest Ice Cream Social” from 5-8 with FREE delicious ice cream creations put together by two make-a-wish children. Donations accepted of course. And third, Grey’s Anatomy starts up its 5th season with a two-hour premiere. What could be better?

Mud + obstacles + race + 5,000 competitors = fantastic weekend — David and three guys from his work joined forces to create a team to compete in the US Marine Corps Mud Run at Ft. Jackson last weekend. When I thought of what a “mud run” would look like, I definitely pictured 4.5 miles of dirt and mud, but not in pits chest-deep. I didn’t picture my husband and his team having to climb up dirt/mud mountains and go under logs that laid right on top of previously mentioned mud pits. It took David a couple of days to get all the dirt out of his ears. But you know what? It was a great time! I wanted to be in there with the guys, competing. David and his team really enjoyed their time and are already talking about how they’ll beat their 1:02:54 time next year.

Speaking of athletics — David and I are still training for our respective long-distance races in December, but it’s been anything but easy here in Savannah. Between the heat (which thankfully seems to have broken for at least this week), humidity, lack of running trails/shoulders and hills, aggressive beach traffic and extremely busy schedules on our end, each run is like a little victory. In fact, as soon as I finish this post, I’ll be heading out the door to tackle one of those runs and accomplish a big victory. Should be fun!


Dear Clemson,

All during my time as a student, I cheered for your football team. I was either at the game or watching it on TV, and through thick and thin, I was a diehard fan. I bled orange.

When I moved to Pittsburgh, I was pretty distraught that I wouldn’t be able to make it to any games and would only be able to watch a few on TV due to a limited cable plan, but I faithfully followed Game Tracker online when only ESPN-U was covering the games.

Through our six year relationship, dear Clemson, I’ve suffered a number of heartbreaks. They’ve come in the form of missed field goals (from short distances), fumbled hikes, and huge upsets–even losing at home in triple overtime. You sure know how to ruin a tiger’s day.

Yes, you’ve given me some great times…some wonderful victories, and truly, up until this year, those have been enough.

But I’ve moved to Savannah–UGA country–and put my reputation on the line for you. For Saturday’s season opener against Alabama, I wore orange along with 10 other Clemson fans to Wild Wings to watch you, ranked 9th, triumph against a team ranked 24th. I had so much excitement and so much faith.

Then you managed to let Alabama stomp all over you, and ultimately, me. Losing 34-10 in an upset on ESPN’s gametime show is no way to kick off a season.

You broke my heart, Clemson.

I want our relationship to work out, but unless you win against the Citadel, NC State, and SC State, I’m not sure that it will.

I want to have faith in your abilities. Help me believe!


A dejected, but hopeful fan

So it’s been 20 days since my last post. In the past few weeks, David and I have kept plenty busy:

1. 1, 2, 3, 4…1, 2, 3, 4…C L E M S O N T I G E RRRR S! – with football season right around the corner, the alumni group in our area is starting to have some functions, and we’re planning to go to as many as possible. Clemson fans around Savannah are few and far between–I’d say the ratio is about 15:1 in Georgia/Georgia Tech fans to Clemson fans. Too much black and red and black and gold. Yuck! We’re planning to represent in our purple and orange soon enough.

2. Hotel Mertens – just shy of nine months away from getting married, Jo and Craig came down after visiting family in Hilton Head. It was great to play host, and we look forward to doing it again. If you’re going to be in the Savannah area, just give me or David a call; we’d love to set you up with free lodging!

3. Faitha little over a month ago, I started a Beth Moore Bible study called Believing God with a group of gals on the islands. It’s been pretty incredible so far, and through the study, I’ve decided to start attending BSF in September. “BSF” stands for “Bible Study Fellowship.” It’s an international, non-denominational Bible study that meets weekly from September to May of each year. In the course of seven years, you make it all the way through the Bible, analyzing scripture line-by-line. It’s not for everyone, I’ve been told, but it sounds like it’ll work really well for me. Can’t wait!

4. Run, Mertens! Run! – David and I are about three weeks into our half marathon/marathon (respectively) training, and it’s going so-so right now. It’s still so hot in Savannah that we either have to run on the treadmills at the gym or run at 4:00am before there’s even a glint of sunlight (and yes, we now have a headlamp so that I don’t fall down…again). The heat is showing signs of breaking, though, as this whole week our highs are in the mid to upper 80s with the heat index in the 90s. In previous weeks, that index has been in triple digits. So glad that fall is on its way!

5. I only burn what in a day!? – In the past six years since I started working out with rowing and ultimately running, I’ve never really gotten a handle on what I should be eating to fuel the amount of activity I do on a daily basis. I opted to go to a nutritionist, but before my appointment, I had to get my resting metabolic rate (RMR) taken. Essentially, the RMR is the amount of calories you burn when you are completely at rest. I was in a reclined comfy chair for 15 minutes while the test was going on–definitely relaxed and at rest. Based on my height, weight and age, the doctor administrating the test estimated that I burn around 1400 calories at rest. Wrong! I only burn around 850. I couldn’t get to the nutritionist fast enough after that to figure out how many calories I could eat in a day and not gain weight over time–around 1300-1400. So much for that “based on a 2,000 calorie-a-day diet” note on every packaged product’s nutrition label. It’s been an interesting adjustment so far, but it’s going well. Getting my RMR checked really opened my eyes to what I’m up against. If you have struggled with weight gain or knowing what you should be eating, definitely pursue a nutritionist and get your RMR tested.

6. Pedaling like crazy but going nowhere – this time around in marathon training, I’m taking a slightly different approach by cross training more frequently–specifically biking. Problem is, I don’t own a bike. I’ve been using the YMCA’s “spinning” bikes one or two times per week, and it’s been pretty awesome. The spinning room is dark except for black lights on the ceiling, so if I wear all black, I’m pretty much invisible–besides my teeth if I smile and my shoes. I’m hoping that training on a spinning bike with pretty heavy resistance will prepare me for riding on a real bike later on down the road.

7. Clouds and wind are evil – Well, only when the presence of both makes you decide to not wear sunscreen while walking on the beach. Saturday was an overcast day–the first day of no rain since the beginning of Fay–so David and I opted to go out to Tybee Island beach and walk for a bit. We packed a picnic lunch, but opted to walk on the beach for a few minutes first. Well, a few minutes turned into an hour or two. It was in the mid-80s out with extremely strong winds (considering there wasn’t a storm nearby) of around 30mph, so it felt fantastic, and neither of us realized how badly we were getting burned…until about four hours later. We’re recovering and will never underestimate the sun again. Whew!

8. Working hard for the money – I love the Gap. I think that deserves some repetition action: I really love the Gap. My job there as brand logistics expert is fun, a little challenging, rewarding and exciting. Plus! I get a fantastic discount on the clothes, get to work in the middle of downtown Savannah (gorgeous), and get to be a part of a wonderful leadership team. And I get paid to do it. So awesome! I’m still working for Clemson too and have the most flexible boss around. It’s so nice to be able to work right out of the home office. So both jobs have been keeping me busy. David’s working pretty long days right now, but starting in the middle of October, he shifts to 21 days of 12-hour shifts each day with no weekend breaks. Just three straight weeks of work. I still can’t picture what that will be like…intense I’m sure.

9. Livin’ on a prayer – so much is going on in our lives, our family’s lives and the lives of our friends that we’re constantly praying. Some are getting married, some are moving, some are expecting a first child really soon, some are changing jobs, some are struggling in various areas, some are triumphing in areas and on it goes. We love our friends and family dearly and wish we could see them all more often. Know that we keep you in our thoughts and our prayers, truly.

So yes, that’s kind of what’s been going on around here in the past 20 days. We’re looking forward to the holiday weekend as we’ve both got Monday off of work. I doubt we’ll go to the beach, but I’m pretty sure we’ll be exploring Savannah. What a great place to live!

…continued from Tuesday…

A trifle can be…gasp…healthy? I hope that all of you have been able to enjoy a trifle dessert sometime in your life. The delicious decadence that is chocolate on top of chocolate on top of cool whip on top of fresh fruit, then repeated. Oh l’amour! So, how the heck can you eat it without it being sinful? Well, perhaps I’m a bit late to this bandwagon, but I’m learning the art of ingredient substitution. The cake mix calls for a cup of oil? I’m using a cup of sugar-free applesauce. And I need an egg? I’ll use two egg whites instead. The trifle needs something crisp in the center like oreos? How about fresh strawberries and blueberries? Oh and for that whipped topping, sugar-free, fat-free Cool Whip. And voila! A dessert that could have had 100s of calories and lots of fat grams–not to mention cholesterol (from the eggs) turns into a sweet, virtually innocent treat. And yes, the rules of substitution apply no matter what you’re making (i.e. I used applesauce instead of oil in our waffle mix this morning).

It’s official. We’re no longer joined to PA or SC Legally, anyway. We love all of our friends and family in both places and wish we could visit more often! That said, we’re now official resident of Georgia–Georgia peaches, if you will; although South Carolina is the real peach state, but whatever. We’ve finally gotten the tags, titles, insurance, utilities–heck, even our voter’s registration. We’re set and hope that we don’t have to move again any time soon!

July 4th sans fireworks So what is Independence Day without shooting fireworks? It’s whatever you want it to be. We went to a cookout at Russ and Sarah’s place for a cookout and met some awesome couples for the first time and got to hang out with folks we’d met before. It was a whole lot of fun, and the food was delicious. A side note: the night before, David and I were watching a movie at the apartment and heard fireworks. We walked out onto our breezeway and got to watch the last 15 minutes of the Savannah Sand Gnats (baseball team) stadium’s firework show. It was spectacular! So much so that we didn’t feel the need to buy and light any ourselves–plus it’s illegal or something.

Endangered species Last Saturday, we went beach combing with Joe and Amy. What’s beach combing? you might ask. Well, it’s when you walk the full beach front of Tybee Island beach at 5:15am looking for crawls–or disturbed sand caused by a momma sea turtle coming out of the water to lay her eggs. Sea turtles are endangered and fiercely protected here in Savannah. There are sea-turtle-crossing signs along the road on your way to Tybee, and caution tape and stakes around their nests. Well, we didn’t get to see any crawls that morning, but as the sun rose, we came upon a non-endangered species of bird, but the bird himself was in trouble. The brown pelican (very large bird) had a broken leg from what we could tell, so Amy (biologist) took off to get a box. Once she got back, she covered the bird in a jacket to keep his wings down and put him in the box. David got to carry him and loved every minute. Once upon a time (and still today, really), David wanted to be a marine biologist.

Hearts all over the world tonight Yes, from the Chris Brown song, “With You.” While yes, there are hearts all over the world tonight, there are two that stand out. My parents. They’re in Brussels, Belgium right now and headed to the Netherlands and France before coming back to America. I hope David and I can travel like them when we’re empty nesters (assuming kids come at some point, of course). Twill be fun!

Time management crisis Help. There, I said it. I need help. David and I want to work out 4-5 days per week, including an hour or two of running for two or three of those days. But when? Between David working nearly 60 hours a week at this point, me working for Clemson and for Gap, church, errands, friends, enjoying Savannah, oh and sleeping and eating, etc, we haven’t found the best time. Today, we ran at 4:00am. Not ideal. Please pray that we’d be able to get a grip on our time management, please!

And on that note, it’s time for something that trumps working out–date night!

So, I’ve been busy. David’s been busy. So life goes, right? At least we’re busy with things we love, and for that, we’re truly thankful.

To get you up to speed, I’m doing a couple of posts about what we’ve been up to in the past month. It’s been a whirlwind!

Ooo! Horses! On June 14, David and I redeemed a “free, private carriage ride” coupon that my parents gave us. With Ladybug (our Amish horse) pulling, Diana, a student at SCAD, steering, and our “Just Married” sign fixed squarely on the back of the white carriage, we were off. Yes, it said “Just Married.” It was fun to ham it up for the tourists! We got a great tour of the historic district of downtown Savannah filled with funny quips and trivia facts from Diana. Afterward, on the recommendation of a former professor of mine, we ate at Vinnie Van Go Go’s New York-style pizzeria. It was fantastic, by the way, but they only take cash. Plan ahead!

I know them well. My parents came to town during the third week of June for a speedy visit. They’re just as busy (if not more so) than David and I, so we take any time we can with them. My mom drove down on a Tuesday night, and my dad flew in on Wednesday. We went to a church softball game, ate dinner at the Crab Shack, walked out to Tybee Island beach, enjoyed the boardwalk in our backyard, went shopping (which led to something I’ll talk about later), and got all caught up on the happenings of everyone. It was a wonderful, wonderful few days.

Believing in God vs. Believing God. I just started a Beth Moore Bible study with some gals from FBCI called “Believing God,” and it’s all about trusting that what God says is truly what He means and that he comes through on his promises. It looks to be an interesting study, for sure. I’ll keep you posted.

Sample 25 food items? We’re there! David and I went to our first ever Tastefully Simple couples party at Travis and Kristy’s house. What is Tastefully Simple? Essentially it’s a home-based business where the consultants sell these little seasoning packets that you add to one or two other things to make delicious dips, marinades, breads, cakes, etc. At a TS party, you get to sample a bunch of the items that you can buy, and it was delicious. Too bad most all of the seasoning packets had to be mixed with one of the following: sour cream, cream cheese or mayonnaise (depending on the type of dip/spread, etc you were making. No wonder everything tasted so lovely! After the TS part of the party, the 15 of us had a cookout (oh my stomach!) and played Guesstures until we got super tired and left. Fun times.

Don’t go! My cousin, Jennifer (mother of my first cousin once removed for those of you who’ve read this blog for a while), is leaving Georgia and moving back to Virginia Beach. A series of events out of her control led to the move, and I was bummed. David and I decided, though, that before she left, we’d drive up to Athens to see her and meet Marlee. We’re so glad that we did! Marlee is adorable and can stare you down, and Jennifer looked great. It was good to see her mom, Susan, as well. A mini family reunion! On top of that, David and I got to have eight+ hours of in-the-car time to talk about everything under the sun. We treated it like a mini vacation–good move, I think. It was a blast!

When you live near a beach…yes, you go to the beach all the time. But for us, it’s all about walks on the beach–especially after dinner. We’ve had a beach day that I’ll talk about later, but for the most part, we get our fill of sand on our walks and soak up the sun by the sand-free pool at our apartment. Woo!

On the road again. David’s in a couple of our friends’ wedding this summer, and the groomsmen all had a bachelor weekend in North Carolina at the end of June. I hitched a ride (ha!) with David up to Greenville to spend the weekend with my parents and friends while he went the rest of the way to the “Bearly Ours” cabin in NC. Based on the pictures, the guys had a great time hanging out, whitewater rafting, playing cards, etc. I enjoyed seeing some friends and getting to spend time with my mom, dad and brother–not to mention go downtown. I miss downtown Greenville so much sometimes! Downtown Savannah is pretty awesome, though, and is giving Greenville a run for its money.

Would you like to open a Gap card? Remember that shopping trip I mentioned earlier? Well, when my mom and I were in Gap looking at shorts and jeans, the manager (didn’t know that’s who she was at the time) suggested that I work at Gap. I had been small talking about my job with Clemson and how I wanted to have an additional job outside of the home. Anyhow, a few days later, I opted to apply. A few days after that (while in Greenville), I got the call that I had an interview. During the interview, the manager threw me a curve ball by not interviewing me for the position that I applied for. Instead, she was interested in training me for a higher position. No complaints here! So, I started yesterday, and love it. I look forward to seeing where the job takes me!

So I was thinking that David and I could save a lot of money by becoming vegetarians (haven’t done it yet), but then I went grocery shopping this morning. PET-brand milk at Wal-Mart was $5.98 a gallon.


The generic was $3.40, but my gosh, what is happening to food prices, people? Whew.

Anyhow, vegetarians still drink milk, so becoming a vegan may be the best way to go to keep your wallet nicely padded. We’ll see…

Yesterday, we went to eight separate yard sales and spent $32. Sounds like we didn’t get all that we wanted, doesn’t it? Well, in yard-sale land, $32 goes a long, long way:

1. Coffee table–$10–It’s in incredible condition, and David’s going to sand it down and stain it to match the darker wood in our apartment. Too fun!

2. Lord of the Rings trilogy DVDs–$8 for the set–judging from the back of the discs, they’re in immaculate condition. If purchased new? Between $70-$90.

3. Cranium board game–$3–we played this with the Voloch’s, Berry Ann’s, and Jay and Angie in PA and loved it! Now we have something to contribute to game nights here in GA.

4. C.S. Lewis books–$1–picked up two of his books that we’d been wanting to read: Mere Christianity and The Great Divorce.

5. Ocean’s Twelve–$2–also in great condition

6. The Italian Job–$3–like new. Let me add that David’s and my DVD “collection” before yesterday consisted of the Matrix box set, Garden State, Legend of 1900, The Green Mile, and our wedding DVD.

7. Tool bag–$3–brand new with tags. David has to take tools to work starting this week but doesn’t want to lug his big tool box. This canvas tool bag (with reinforced bottom and sides) is perfect!

8. Cookies and a brownie–$2–A local church was having a community-wide yard sale/bake sale/barbecue sale, etc. We indulged a bit to support their cause.

So, we didn’t find any artwork or rugs, but we’re thrilled with what we did find. It was so fun to hunt out deals together!

Tips for you future yard-salers out there:

*Start early–there are yard-saleling pros with big, big trucks out to take it all! I mean, there were a couple of instances where we got first picks on things because we were “there when the doors opened,” like DVDs (believe me, the ones we found were diamonds in the children’s-video-rough), and there was also a time where we wouldn’t have found something had we been there two minutes later (i.e. the tool bag was nearly snagged by someone else who actually approached us later and asked if we planned to keep it)
*…but not too early–if a sign says “no early birds” don’t get there an hour before it’s supposed to start. We arrived about 10 minutes before each sale that we could, and the folks seemed OK with that.
*Plan to visit a lot of sales–the items we bought came from two yard sales of the eight we visited. Sometimes, people really are just cleaning out their junk room and trying to sell what they found. Not too exciting. One house’s ads proclaimed “Moving sale! HUGE!” so of course, we went. They were selling a car, raggedy stuffed animals, NASCAR collectible model cars, a stained couch (for $200!) and beer posters. Wonderful.
*Have a route planned, but be flexible–We hunted on and to see what sales were advertised. We picked the ones closest to us and listed them in order of when they opened. While waiting for a particular sale to start, we’d just cruise through neighborhoods and follow other signs to yard sales not advertised.
*Have fun–even if you go to a few sales and find nothing, have fun imagining how on earth you could use some of the random things you see–or like David and I did, talk about how you might handle a yard sale of your own one day based on what you like/dislike about the sales you’ve visited. Then keep on shopping, because you’re bound to find a treasure amidst all the trash.

Remember him? I’m such a fan of old-school cartoons. You know, the kind that were drawn by hand?

Anyhow, I went on a walk this morning with Sarah through her neighborhood, and we had some close encounters of the bird kind. There were two separate instances where a falcon/hawk/some kind of large bird with pretty significantly sized talons was being chased away by tiny little mockingbirds. They were likely protecting their babies.

It’s amusing, though, to see such a massive bird get bullied away by two or three little birds who incessantly peck at them. Neither time did the larger bird do anything to fend off the mockingbirds. It just flew away eventually with a trail of angry mamas behind it.

Later on our walk, we encountered a baby mockingbird…on the ground. One of his legs was pretty twisted, so he was hopping around on just one. We weren’t sure if the parents had rejected him or if he fell out and hurt is leg. His parents were freaking out in a nearby tree over a couple of blue jays that had been swooping near the baby. Trying to be good Samaritans, we picked up the bird and took him back to Sarah’s house to assess his situation.

The power went out last night (apparently a woodpecker got into the transformer…oh my), and while mine was on, Sarah’s was not. The poor guy seemed to be in shock or playing dead or something. He wouldn’t budge after we put him in a box (with cushioning, of course). We couldn’t do any research to figure out what we should feed him or anything (power out), so I headed back to my place to sort it out. Turns out, we should have just left him. He was likely fledging (learning to fly) based on the amount of feathers he had and based on the fact that his parents were still protecting him (hadn’t rejected him).

As I type, Sarah’s putting him back out into the wild. I so hope that he doesn’t come face-to-face with any of the many neighborhood cats or blue jays. Eep!

For today (and on Saturday), it’s a real word. Don’t bother looking it up.

David and I have a much larger living space here in Savannah than we did in Pittsburgh. It’s been a lot of fun to think of ways to spruce the place up, but we end of falling into the “expensive taste” category without even meaning to.

We think we’ve found a solution, though. There are a ton of yard sales in the area each Saturday, and I checked out Craig’s List to see what was on tap for this weekend. A lot, apparently. I’m planning to call a couple of the folks ahead of time to see what sorts of furniture they have available. Should be fun!

Ideally, we’d love to find some random artwork for the walls, a coffee table, another chair for the den, drapes and any other fun knick knacks (read: candles, dvd’s, kitchen gadgets).

This will be a new adventure for both of us as we’ve never woken up early on a Saturday morning with the intention of shopping in garages, but hey, we’re always up for a new challenge.

Any yard-saleing tips for us, you Saturday-AM-shopping-vets?

Check back on Saturday/Sunday to see how it went.

I had an interview today with BFG Communications. The drive wasn’t too bad, and the office reminded me a lot of EP–only it was even more creatively designed and decorated!

I met with the creative director and three awesome copy writers; together they make up the copy team. They were all incredibly intelligent and friendly. I really look forward to hearing what they think of me! I’ll be sure to update if/when something develops.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

Back to the job boards for now…