Hello SovHope family, and welcome to our first installment of the SovHope Member Spotlight Blog! We are excited about this opportunity and that it helps us create another way to stay connected and build unity as a body, as well as keep Chris and Melissa updated by sharing what has been happening in the different lives of SovHope families and individuals. To start us off, I will be recounting two trips Jordan and I just took back to back. Enjoy!
To many, Thanksgiving brings fond memories of family bonding, turkey, football, and afternoon naps. To some, it may be pushing a small child out of the way while you grab the last flat screen TV at Walmart. Either way, everyone has their own traditions at Thanksgiving and that’s fine, but maybe every once in a while the old bones of tradition start to stiffen up and you just need a change.
That’s how I felt this year, and when Jordan’s good friend Livy asked if we wanted to spend Thanksgiving with her family in Virginia, we decided to go against the grain of our usual festivities and try something different. In preparing for our trip, there were a couple of things that we knew. One was that it was going to be cold, and the other was that it was going to be a long, eleven-hour drive. That’s about it. What we didn’t know was what the family dynamic would be even though we knew they had to be somewhat gracious to allow non-family members into their house to partake in their family traditions. We also didn’t know that the Schwarting’s were just minutes away, which helped just in case things got crazy and we needed someone to crash with. Thankfully, things didn’t get crazy.
We had a great time getting to know the family and one of Livy’s brothers had invited another married couple to stay the weekend as well, so the pressure as the only outsiders was off. We did some black Friday shopping, site seeing in beautiful historic Harper’s Ferry, and even met up with an old high school friend of ours that lived in a neighboring town. Those were certainly some fun things to do, but the best part of our stay was partaking in their family traditions that took place around the dinner table. They went around the table, each person giving one thing they were thankful for, and they were not allowed to say friends or family. This isn’t unusual right? Many families do that same tradition. They did this three times. Around and around and around, and what I found is that because you had to do it more than once, you had to really dig deep. At round two I blew it and said I was thankful for God’s sovereignty, which is a real “drop the mic” moment because who tops that, but now what was going to be my third? They didn’t tap out. Some of the things that these members of the family were saying in front of us were weighty and even tear worthy, which to be honest I could have possibly succumbed to. Jordan and I both walked away from that experience convinced that that’s what we want one day. So if I had to recommend anything from this experience, I would recommend reaching out to have others join your Thanksgiving traditions. You never know the impact you might have on them.
After Jordan and I got back from Virginia, I surprised her with a trip to Nashville for her birthday. Now, I know what you’re thinking. How do you both look so amazing after traveling so much this year? Hard work my friend. Hard work. Anyways, on to Nashville we went, and I think we learned a lot of lessons.
First would be to always keep your coat in the car, just in case. It was very cold and overcast and as I looked at Jordan shivering in her thin sweater, jeans, and bare feet in flats, I couldn’t help but feel…like she had made a terrible mistake not bringing her coat. Thankfully, she had left a jacket for me in the car, so I was doing pretty good. The second thing we learned was that Nashville is not just Nashville. It’s a bunch of different sections that are not all that close that people just call Nashville. You have the west side, the east side, Sobro, Germantown, The Gulch, downtown, and the list goes on. To Uber to all those places is expensive, but so is parking at eighteen different parking garages! Thirdly, is that Nashville, while usually thought of as being a big music scene, is really more of a foodie scene. Jordan is convinced that all people expect you to do when you’re in Nashville is go from one restaurant to another, and I agree with her. Now, maybe that’s not all true. They do have a street called Broadway that has live bands, but they are all in restaurants and you can’t get into any of them anyways because the road is so congested at night that you can’t park! The last and most important thing we learned is that maybe Jordan and I aren’t Nashville people, and I’m using Nashville here as an example. We discovered that while we like the idea of Nashville, we really like low-key cities that have a good vibe, good shops, and good restaurants kind of like the one we are living in now. We did have some good times though. We saw an amazing reconstruction of the Pantheon, bought some records at an awesome record store, crashed some rich guys birthday party on accident and witnessed what two million tons of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer carved ice looked like. Was it a terrible trip? No, not at all, but I did get food poisoning the day we left, so that has to say something.