Aunt Again

As you are reading this post I have landed safely in Geneva and hopefully I am joyously celebrating by baggage claim with my in-laws. Brother, sister, mother, and father in-law to be exact. Until I have a chance to get to a computer and share the love i'm going to spread a different kind of love right now.

An anouncement:

My older sister, Cynthia Karabeth Ewing, Is going to be having a baby.
Isn't she beautiful!?
I'm so excited for my next little niece to be here December 1st. I'm guessing she is going to have curly red hair and be drop-dead-gorgeous. What do you think?

You see, this baby is extra special because, not only is it MY sister having the baby, but also, I get a front-row-seat for all the action. No, I'm not going to be delivering the baby, but once again Josh and I find ourselves housing a pregnant woman about to give birth and we get to be among the first ones at the hospital when she goes into labor. This whole process is really scary for my sister right now, but since i've had a front row seat for one of these before I'm confident she is going to do great.

My older sister is one of the toughest people I've ever met. She has been living with us since June of this year, and I don't think i've heard her complain once about any symptom of pregnancy (except for maybe not fitting into her normal clothes). All while starting residency and working upwards of 80 hours a week. So amazing! She has even had delirious thoughts of making Thanksgiving dinner for my family at 40 weeks pregnant. HA!

I've been so thankful for this time with my sister the last few months. We realized before she moved in that we hadn't lived in the same city for 8 years! (she left for college when I was 17) I was nervous about living with her at first because we used to fight like Kats (ha) and dogs. Since moving in I've come to  learn so much about her and see what an awesome person she has become. Not only is she stunningly beautiful, but she is super smart (in residency to become a family practice doc), an amazing cook (proof is in my ever expanding waist line that needs to get in check), and really fun to be around!

I will miss her while we are in France. (it all comes full circle to France. Are you surprised?)

I'm going to try and post while over seas, but i'm not sure how much access I will have to a computer. We will see!

Au revoir!


T-minus 19 Hours and Counting

We had grandiose plans to pack all of our stuff on Sunday night and make sure we had everything we needed a few days in advance so we could shop and repack if necessary. In true Michael form, Josh and I have completely procrastinated and don't have a single item packed and it's currently 6 pm the night before we leave.

With that said, we are completely prepared in other areas.
  • Mentally: I am now officially off of work for the next 2 weeks and can devote 100% of my thoughts towards France and all things wine/cheese/baguette etc. Josh and I have also been practicing some simple French phrases like "Je ne parle pas français" (I don't speak French.) "Je suis américain" (I am american.) and "Pouvez-vous parler anglais?" (Can you speak english?) You know...only the necessities.
  • Physically: The last two days we have woken before the sun at 5:45 and 6 am to mentally prepare for the time change and maximize all sleep time on the plane tomorrow night. We plan to get up at 5:00 am tomorrow so hopefully by 6:00 pm our time we will be sleepy enough to snooze the entire 8.5 hr flight over seas and be on everyone elses 7:30 am schedule by the time we land.
  • Emotionally: So excited our heads are about to explode. I think that's all the prep you need there.
  • Spiritually: I honestly don't have anything to put in this section except that we are fully aware that it was a financial miracle for us to be able to make this trip. I am so thankful for God's provision to allow for Josh and his brother (and me and jo and ayla and josiah) to be able to hang out one more time before N&J leave for Cameroon. Praise God from whom ALL blessings flow. Even in the form of seemingly fancy, excessive vacations overseas. Isn't it just like God to bless extravagantly?
We will all be reunited soon.

It's very poetic/prophetic that the quote just to the left of Jo Jo is about the character Jo from Little Women.


Random Musings

A Girls-Only Party
Ever since I felt like my friend life was less than desirable, I realized I actually have TONS of friends, I just need to be intentional about making time to be with them to develop the friendship further! Thus came my girls-only-wine night. The whole concept behind wine night is to get to know other ladies in a non-structured, hang out, semi-fancy setting. no husbands. no boyfriends. no kids. Being open and honest with one another. Sharing our hearts and lives together over a couple bottles of wine. There are always snacks invloved. Sometimes i'm not sure if i'm more excited about the snacks or the wine. Both are awesome. So far it's been lovely. :)

Feast your eyes on our food spread.

Apart again
This weekend Josh is in Miami speaking at a TESOL conference and spreading the word about his super awesome website he and his sister started together. ESLbasics.com <--- do yourself a favor and go there. I'm pretty proud of them. I think their site is fabulous. So for now, Josh and I are apart again. It's very bizarre how much we've been away from each other lately. I really really don't like it. Especially because when I'm at home, even Willow isn't a comfort because she has grown to love my sister more than me and constantly scratches on doors to be in the same room with her. Which means a big fat giant empty California King bed at night. Boo.

With that Said...
we will be spending 11 straight days together starting next Wednesday when we leave for France! I can hardly stand my excitement. Here is our France itinerary for those of you who can resist the green goblin of jealousy.

September 29
  • 1:20 pm - depart Nashville
  • 4:20 pm - land in Washinton DC
  • 5:48 pm - Depart DC
September 30
  • 7:55 am - Land in Geneva
  • 8:00 am - reunite with Nate, Jo and Ayla
  • 8:05 am - do an awkward happy dance by baggage claim making all the Europeans feel uncomfortable by our loudness and tallness.
  • 8:10 am - grab bags and head to this place of heaven aka Gimmelwald, Switzerland.

October 1

  • Hike this...

  • Drop Doug and Sarah off at the air port (oh yeah, they will be there, too) and head to Nate and Jo's place of residence, Chambery, France
October 2
  • Stay in Chambery to learn french and integrate entirely into their culture in one day by drinking wine, visiting the market, wearing a barret, riding a bike, eating baguettes, etc., etc.
October 3
  • Visit the burgundy wine region for an over night trip to paradise
October 4
  • Hang in Burgundy. Bask in the gloriousness of being in France with 3 of my favorite people
  • Head back to Chambery for a day
October 5
  • Hang in Chambery. 
  • Get our work visas and prepare for our move to france.
October 6
  • Day trip to wine region #2 near Lyon.
  • Consider pretending like we've never heard of the United States
October 7
  • Celebrate Jo Jo's birthday in Style in Chambery!
October 8
  • josh and I head out on our over night adventure to Annecy, just the two of us.
  • Eat at least one $200 meal while in Annecy. Extravagant - yes. Wasteful - no.
  • Check out the alps. wear sweaters and scarves everywhere because THIS is the forecast
October 9
  • Head back to Chambery. Pretend like it isn't our last day there. 
  • Drink and eat away the evening.
October 10
  • Drive to Geneva.
  • 12:00 pm: Leave for DC
  • 12:05 pm: commence crying and massive sunday night blues (the feeling you get on sunday evening when you realize you have to go to work the next day, and would rather do anything else)
  • 3:30 pm: Land in DC 9 hrs later. Should be 9 pm in our heads.
  • 4:40 pm: Depart DC
  • 5:49 pm: Land in Nashville. 
  • 6:00 pm: Fall asleep at the wheel driving home because it's 12:00 am France time and we refuse to believe we are back in the states.


Would you Save an Ice Cream Cone?

Have you evergiven food to a random stranger? And I''m not talking about going to the food pantry and giving food (which is all good) but, I mean,  you purchase a burger, piece of pizza, etc. and then gave it away to someone you don't know?

Last week while traveling I did this twice. the first time I realized i had some water in my bag that i couldn't take through security so I walked up to the first person I saw, bottle in hand and asked if they wanted this unopened bottle of water.
"No Thanks."was the reply.
Next person, not to far from the first just politely  shook their head. The 3rd, with out looking up from what he was doing, just said "no". I think they all might have thought I was crazy and my clever ruse of a middle class white chick was all just to cover up that I had actually planted a bomb in the unopened bottle of water. Finally, an elderly woman who seemed overly surprised at my offering, with a big grin decided to take the water.

The 2nd time I gave food away was later that day. After grabbing lunch on my layover in Denver I thought a little TCBY would be a nice way to round off my work trip. As I was checking out the worker came to me and said "I have this extra Strawberry cone I accidently pulled. Do you want it?" and my reply was "Uhh...does a bear poop in the woods?" Just kidding...I actually politely replied "Yes, please." I figured my colleague who was waiting at the gate might find her self hankering for a little low-fat goodness, too.

Arriving at the gate I mouthed to Jennifer (who was busy on the phone) "Do you want this ice cream?" She shook her head and mouthed "no" at the same time.

Dang. Now what. I walked over to the trash can one ice cream in each hand and and held the perfectly twirled strawberry cone over top the can opening. An internal struggle ensued as I weighed whether or not i wanted to eat 2 cones and look semi gluttonous in the process or if I should move on and just throw one away and risk feeling the wrath of all the starving kids in Africa...

As I stood there, strawberry cone over the can, anxiety written all over my face and, dare I say, a bead of sweat on my brow, a guy a walked by and shouted in a superhero "stop-that-car" voice "Hey! What are you doing to that cone?"

Rather than revealing my mental debate and quasi-unstableness to the crowded terminal, I replied "I think i'm going to trow it away. Do you want it?"

With less than a split second of thought this man just took the ice cream cone and started eating it! No questions asked!

I just find it interesting that a closed bottle of water was turned down several times, yet this guy, who saw the pretty pink innocent cone being threatened with the can of death jumped at the opportunity to save it from plummeting to doom and waste.

Cone rescued. 

Would any of you save an ice cream cone from being thrown away if you didn't know where it came from? Why do you think people were so skeptical about the bottle, yet there was a sense of entitlement when it came to the threatened cone?


My Season

A crisp cool chill in the air. Sweaters. Apple cider. Carving pumpkins. Baking pies. The annual debate about when we can turn on christmas music. Yes, that's right, the season of Fall is upon us. The season where the earth withers and dies, for me, always seems to bring life and rejuvenation. 

It also happens to be my favorite season with many fond memories of sipping coffee/hot chocolate with my mom reading through my stack of picture books on the back porch while watching squirrels rustle about in the piles of leaves about our yard. Digging into the creative part of our brain to come up with a non-scary halloween costume made from things around the house - a gypsy, a cat, a pirate, a baby, a pumpkin, a bunny. The start of football season with the sound of a game playing wafting from the living room 11 am on Saturday till 9 pm on Sunday each weekend. The annual trip to Circle S Pumpkin farm to bound and leap through the barn of hay while we await our turn on the wagon out to the biggest pumpkin patch a kid can imagine. A sweetness of family and friends fills the air in Fall as we prepare our hearts for the season of Christ's coming. This season always seems to be a launching pad for my faith and a time of growth and closeness with God.

This year is no different. I've been feeling challenged to live an authentic and full life. I truly want to live my life with the realization that this is the only life I get and suck every last drop of juicy goodness out of each day. I want to live with the realization that Heaven is where my citizenship is and that what I do here, in this life, echos for eternity.

I've been feeling God call me back into a life undivided for him. I want to live unashamed and boldly proclaim and show God's love to people throughout my daily life at work, at home, in the grocery store, with my sister, with my friends, with my husband. I don't want to live a separate life as "business Kat" and "home Kat" and "church Kat." That type of cycle leads to a slow death of my soul and passions. The lies of insincerity have begun to break my heart and I feel a beckoning to be genuine. 

I need not be ashamed of passionately desiring to encounter God. To experience Him and receive a renewed mind. To cling to and live out the ultimate calling of bringing heaven to earth in a non-apologetic, aggressive, faith-filled, Jesus-centered way. Healing the sick (headache, fever, cold, blindness, cancer) should be normal. Favor and blessing on God's people in business should be normal. Kindness and extravagant giving should be normal. Setting people free of oppression, depression, and sadness should be normal.

Looking forward to what God has in store in my season. 

And because blogs are more fun with photos...here's a picture of me in one of our homemade costumes as a kid.
Hope you all are pressing into God for life this season.


Missing the Hubs

I'm really missing my hubs this week while I'm on this trip for work. We haven't been able to talk much because i'm constantly working the booth at the show and in the evenings we both seem to be missing each other on the phone. Here are 15 things I'm missing while we are apart. 
  1. Him making me a killer egg white breakfast
  2. Pillow talk before bed, followed by a sweet good night kiss
  3. His red hair
  4. Getting big hugs from him when he gets home from work
  5. Snuggling on the couch watching a movie
  6. Having the daily "what's for dinner convo" via text around 4:00
  7. His tallness.
  8. Holding hands
  9. Waking him up in the morning with a smooch/nudge to move over on the bed so I can dry my hair.
  10. Randomly riding our bikes together somewhere
  11. His even keel wisdom to keep me level headed and to encourage me
  12. Taking willow on a walk together
  13. The battle with our alarm clocks every morning as we mentally debate whether or not we should get up early to work out - okay...I don't really miss this part. 
  14. His funny little hammer toes. :)
  15. His beard.

Love you baby.

A.W. Tozer Quote

O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love with in me. Say to my soul, "Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away." Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.
            - A.W. Tozer, the Pursuit of God

I came across this quote yesterday and it really moved me. It's moving me away from lukewarmness. It's moving me into a fresh desire for more of His presence. It's moving me to do something different. To love more. To be bold. To serve.

Just thought I would share.


Spin and Win, Anyone?

This week I'm in Grand Island, Nebraska for the Husker Harvest Days farm show. This is very similar to the farm show I attended in Boone, IA a couple weeks ago except this time around I'm staying in a better hotel and instead of a whole crew of people working our booth, it's just me and my friend/co-worker Jennifer repeating in a step-on-up-sounding-carnival voice over and over again  "Just need to get your name and e-mail address and then you can take a spin on the prize wheel."

I think i'm going to hear the click of that wheel in my sleep.

I've noticed I get unhealthily angry when people tell me they don't have an e-mail address...I mean seriously. First of all it's 2010. E-mail has been around since like 1990. You're about 20 years behind the times. I think it's safe to say that e-mail and the internet isn't a passing fad and you can jump on this boat. 2nd of all, it would be easier if you would just write a fake e-mail down than for us to have a conversation about whether or not you can put down your phone number or mailing address instead...in front of a huge crowd of people... who are then going to also want to only put their phone number down as well....

The best (read: most annoying) is when someone tells me they don't have an e-mail address and then I explain to them what we do and who we are and then they magically have an e-mail address. I've never seen so many lying people in all my life.

Awkward moment of the day: Man with one hand spins the prize wheel and wins work gloves...

Awesome moment of the day: This joke a farmer told us: "I sold a horse to a man the other day. The man asked 'how is she?' I said 'She don't look to good, so I'll give you a discount.' The man bought the horse and then brought her back the next day and in an outrage said 'This horse is blind!' I replied 'I told you she didn't look too good.'"
Instant classic.


High School Reunion

This past weekend I went to my High School Reunion. Okay, Okay it wasn't the official High School reunion, but I got together with some of my closest friends from my Worthington Kilbourne days and the best part about it was, they came to Nashville and I didn't have to travel! (if you haven't noticed i've been sort of MIA because of the massive amount of travel with work, weekend getaways and more.)

Susan my funky artist friend who has a heart for spreading God's word and cracks me up traveled from Memphis. Katy, my passionate, funny name-buddy who i'm convinced is going to save the world came from Washington DC and Stephanie, my quirky fun-loving, super loyal and sweet friend came from Columbus for the bride-to-be (steph's) bachelorette party. Friday we dinned at a swanky wood-fired pizza joint called Urban Flatts. We savored sushi and drank wine with the rolling hills of TN in as our backdrop at Arrington Vineyard on Saturday afternoon. Then toped the party off by watching a good ole' buckeye butt kicking (OSU, 36 - Miami, 24) and hit up the honky-tonks on Broadway tourist style. 

 It was such a great time. There's something comfortable and refreshing about being around the friends that we're there during the transition from super-awkward-tie-die-t-shirt-wearing-chubby-pre-teen to slightly-less-awkward-only-semi-fashionable-normal-teen and then on again to college and post-college and beyond. Even though we are all in very different stages in life and have vastly different beliefs, it's always so great being around these girls.We seems to pick up as if we just left the round table in the cafeteria on Monday morning before the Spanish mid-term. I wish I saw them more often. 


More Bike Musings

Just because i'm on a total biking kick right now, thought I would leave you with some thoughts for your Friday.

On a bike you notice things. Things that are there every day. that you drive by all the time, yet never see till you are forced to go no more than 10 MPH because your legs are sore. 

You notice wild life. A flock of birds fluttering away as you speed past. a fat hedge hog wobbling into the brush when he notices you approach. even a little monarch butterfly in the middle of the path that you swerve to avoid squishing. You also notice things like:

There is not 1 but 2 Primitive Baptist Churches within .25 miles of each other on Liberty Road. I've never even heard of a Primitive Baptist church before and now i'm biking past 2 of them!

This guys mailbox...
Matches his driveway
What's the deal with these? Is he going to start walking around in wooden shoes or is he the captain of a ship? I'm confused.
There are A LOT of gravel patches in scary places that I try to avoid.
This place is sketchy...but I kinda want to go there. 
This house looks pretty and quaint. Welcoming and warm.

Then you zoom in your camera lens and realize...oh wait

Yup. a "Beware of Dog" sign in the 2nd story window. A lot of good that's going to do.
A storm drain that like to state the obvious.

a fountain that's growing flowers

Makes me want to be more coherent while i'm driving. There's something wrong with that sentence.

In Heaven There is No Beer

My fingers have been itching to write for days now.

With all this travel i've been super stimulated and inspired by many things to write and now I sit here not knowing where to start. Not knowing if i want to take the time to suck on every last succulent detail of my trip to Cincinnati or if I want to take the time to tell you about trip to the boonies for a farm show. (Is that worth documenting for generations of my children and grandchildren be forced to relive?)

For the sake of time and sanity I leave you with a short story:

The weather was that "perfect-don't-even-notice-it-because-its-neither-hot-nor-cold-and-there's-absolutely-nothing-you-can-complain-about" type of weather. They flyer said "in between Ross and Hamilton" and "across from the dragway." In case you aren't aware, it's never a great sign when something is happening between two never-heard-of-before small towns and is across from a place where you can see things like a school bus doing a pop-a-wheelie while sparks fly. Our expectations were low.

They weren't changed much as an old man with skinny, pale legs wearing lederhosen directed us to our parking spot in a grass field at the foot of a seemingly large hill/mountain.

A line was forming at the foot of the hill to take a golf cart ride to the top where we were sure our low expectations would be confirmed by a handful of people. Some crappy beer, and the Michaels, as usual, sticking out like a sore thumb. We stood in line and waited. Waited some more. And waited some more as the two shuttle carts putted up and down the hill shuttling 3 people at a time. About 1/2 way through we realized we were the only people under the age of 70 waiting in line for the golf cart, but that there was indeed a line and perhaps we weren't going to be the only people at this event.

The boys- Josh, Doug, and Michael- decided to walk and took off up the looming mountain while the girls decided we had already waited too long and needed to stick it out. We were next in line, so surely we would beat them up the ".25 miles straight up hill" climb.

We were wrong. An old man who started up the hill at the same time as our cart passed us...As we crested the hill, D snapped pictures of our slower-than-molasses cart. The buzz of a crowd filled our ears and we realized that the Oktoberfest between Ross and Hamilton means business.

Hopping off our chariot at the entrance, we realized everyone there was obviously small-town german. And everyone there was obviously our kindred spirits.  We spent the rest of the evening "shuffle boarding" a huge glass beer stein to win prizes. $1 for three tries. On the rare occasion that you hit the target a little old lady with chicken lips and a hunched back would inspect to see if the stein was in fact all the way in the target. If you were one of the favored few she would lift a huge cow bell and the crowd would cheer with excitement as the lucky winner was handed their prize - a t-shirt, liter glass, or bottle opener. I still think I was robbed.

Of course, playing that game, we worked up our appetite and rather than waiting in the long line for sausage and sauerkraut we went with warm salty pretzels, chocolate covered bavarian cream puffs and of course a limburger cheese and onion sandwich on rye bread. (worst thing i've ever tasted, BTW). All washed down with frosty warsteiners in giant beer mugs, laughter, and the tunes of tubas, acordians and trumpets blasting another rambunctious verse of "In Heaven there is No Beer". I beg to differ. This is heaven...and there's beer all around me.

Low expectations turned into a first rate party and memories to last a lifetime.

p.s. Pictures to accompany this post will come later...