Monday, December 5, 2011

Snow Day!

Hello to our friends and family out in the world!

We have had an interesting week of weather. We were supposed to get ice and snow all weekend. We were all prepared. I went to the grocery store and got ingredients for chicken and dumplings, we have left over chili, and the makings for potato soup. All things warm and comforting!!! But, as most people here have said, the weather forecasters here almost never get it right. While I tend to agree this is a problem across the country, the high plains here have exceptional weather. It is so erratic you wonder how they could even venture a guess.

Lo and behold, we woke up this morning to the beginnings of a winter wonderland! <And a very warm cat at my feet. He stayed there all night - which is not common. A testament to the chill in the house! As you can imagine, I was in heaven!!!> It will continue to snow all day today and through most the night (if that forecast is correct!). Temperatures will stay between 20 and 25 degrees the next to days with lows in the single digits. <BRRRRRR!> So whoever said it would be hot all the time in Texas clearly had not lived in the high plains! Add these temperature to the norm of blowing winds and you have the makings for some wicked wind chills!

Another interesting tidbit about the weather here is that it could hypothetically end up being in the upper/lower 60's-70s next week. Yes, indeed the weather is never boring.

Here are some pictures from the front and back doors.

Stephen walked over to the office this morning through those trees into the back of the church. I plan on remaining comfy-cozy inside all day. It gives me a good excuse to focus on finishing putting my sewing room together and finally organizing the closet and the rest of my clothes. 

In other news, yesterday church was wonderful. I sang a beautiful anthem with the choir. First service was absolutely PACKED! It was so good to see so many people there!

We were also given the most incredible gift by a woman here. Two hand stitched Christmas stockings. The picture does not give justice to the intricacy of the cross-stitch, but trust us, it is beautiful! I greatly appreciate it in particular because spacing in cross-stitch like that always ends up hap-hazard when I do it. Not to mention I've never done something so huge OR even completed it. <Some may call me a cheater, but I am much more patient with my machine!>

Things are well here! We hope you are!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

Yes, it's Christmas time in the Texas Friedrich house.

Well sort of...

Ok, we know it's not even Advent...and we did have a discussion about whether or not we could even put it up yet. But, as I pointed out it is a CHRISTMAS tree, not an Advent tree, so we might as well.

Of course, Stephen played devil's advocate to tell me not to put it up until December 25th, at which point it will come down a little over a week later.

As you can see...I won. :-)

But not without Stephen pitching Jesus, because, he must.

Don't ask who he's looking it. It's an ad.

Going to pick out the tree ended up being a bigger deal than either of us anticipated. We have never had a real tree...well we had a small one in Roanoke given by a friend that was about 3 feet tall (maybe), but that doesn't count...

So when it came time to pick a tree, the question was, pre-lit or strand lighting.

<Enter - 26 years of Christmas histories we never really talked about before --- (new premarital counseling unit?)>

I (Betsy) am used to BIG FAT colored blinking lights. Stephen recalls festive non-blinking less round lights.

I (Betsy) wanted to get a regular tree with BIG FAT colored blinking lights. Stephen reminded me what a pain it is to put up lights every year. I recall Mom and Dad fighting over light strands every year as more of a fond memory than a painful one <hehe, sorry mom and dad>.

And so, when we approach the pre-lit trees at Lowes, much to my chagrin, the tiny bulbs were dissapointing. And they didn't blink.

Then we went to Walmart, the source of all evil devices of Christmas cheer. And guess what I found? Bigger, fatter rounded, blinking, cascading, alternating, ascending lights on a pre-lit tree, that are still LED's! OH yes, it was a winner. But not without a little bit of a fight.;-) Stephen thought it was a bit over-the-top. I dare-say, ugly. TO which I reminded Stephen that he hates the consumerism of Christmas and therefore, I should win because he shouldn't care anyway But it was a compromise, he get's pre-lit, I get big and fat. <Light's, I mean.>

So while you can't tell the tree in all it's glory from the picture. It is a fantastical piece of Christmas glitz!

But of course, 26 years of Christmas histories did not just die with big flashy lights. Stephen says his family arranges the tree theologically with the holiest representing ornaments on top. I think this sounds contrived in a Stephen Friedrich-made-that-up kind of way, but Nancy, Jim, feel free to correct me. :-)

So I think we tried to compromise putting pretty delicate next to holy, so that the cat would not be tempted to go after pretty and holy. <Which, currently, he has demonstrated that he cares less about the fantastical piece of Christmas glitz in our living room corner - WIN WIN!!>

Then comes, the star. Now, for the longest time, my family had the tackiest star from a drug store. It had plastic fringe with lights in the middle. LOVED it. Shortly after, Mom decided we needed an angel, but the plastic fringed star lives on in my heart.

Stephen grew up with a cardboard cut out aluminum foil star. Given my obsession with tacky Christmas trees (only because non of our ornaments matched growing up because they all had stories and were mostly homemade), I really wanted to go get a tacky star. But the aluminum foil star lives just as strongly in Stephens heart. And so, as you can see from the picture at the top, there sits a beautiful silver foil star. Which, I might dare-say, is the classiest part of this tree. We need some more Friedrich classy-ness on our tree.

Either way we have a shining example of memory making sitting in our living room. Our first big tree, in our first house, in our first Christmas together as real adults. <Not to be confused by the past two years of working my rear off while Stephen was in school- that was child's play *HA*.>

So, I hope you all enjoy your Christmas, but before that, I hope you eat lots of food tomorrow on Thanksgiving. :-)

Love and Peace!!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, today, my (Betsy) family is making the trek to good 'ol Ruffon and Forest City for Thanksgiving. It has always been a tradition that we get to listen to Christmas music on the way, so in honor of them, I've been playing Christmas music all morning!

But things in Texas are a little different come Thanksgiving. Richard, who happens to be the son-in-law of Karen and Wally (whom some of you have met), came to finish installing our new screen/storm door. And so on November 23rd in Amarillo, Texas I am enjoying pulling the window of the door down to expose our nice roll-down screen. I'm listening to the breeze and thoroughly enjoying my 70 degree, sunny blue sky day! And while the 71 degree high tomorrow is seriously causing an issue with my traditional Thanksgiving fall ensemble for tomorrow, I am doing a-ok adapting to such beautiful weather.

I will say though, that while Richard was installing the door there came a foul stench in the wind that smelled nothing short of manure. <HEY, that's not nice - you shouldn't think that way - it was NOT Richard!> No, it was the wind coming up from a town called "Hereford"  which is actually akin to it's was cattle feeding day in near-by 60 mile away Hereford. And yes, the smell wafts this way from 60 miles away when the wind is blowing just right. <And although I am incredibly notorious for being a tad too far on the gullible side, it's really the truth. We smelled the same foul smell upon our arrival at the Drury when we first drove into town...and again when the Rodeo was here. So to answer your increasing disbelief, it really wasn't Richard.>

Tomorrow, we will have two Thanksgiving feasts <because after-all my 26 year long tradition of TWO thanksgiving meals (Willis Family Reunion/Ward Family Thanksgiving) in one day would leave me feeling really sad all the way here in Texas>. We start first at 1:00pm with Dorothy Bivens and her family, and then head to Karen and Wally's house (sans Karen and Wally who are in Kansas) to join Richard (the son-in-law) and Ingrid (the daughter) with two other BSLC families. And because of course, my 26 year long tradition of Thanksgiving is NEVER without my mom's dressing, I made two batches this morning. Successfully <felt the need to qualify>.

Before all our Thanksgiving festivities begin, Stephen and I are headed to Big Lots to buy our first Christmas tree! And though my 26 year long tradition of a REAL tree has never been broken <until last year when my parents betrayed me> we are indeed buying a fake one for several reasons.

1. Texas is still in extreme fire danger. I feel the need not only for the church and the sake of the parsonage but as well as for the many houses around us NOT to contribute to fire hazards by putting Christmas lights on what would no-doubt be a very dry tree.
2. The cat has discovered he likes drinking water everywhere but his bowl, and gosh if that tree stand wouldn't be enticing.
3. The cat has never had the privilege of a Christmas tree, therefore his parents aren't sure how many times he will try to climb up it. (Fallen "real" tree = lots of needles to fall, precious ornaments to be crushed, and lights to be smashed, as opposed to normal crushing of ornaments and smashed lights)

<Yikes, why did I say I wanted to do this?>


So while we are going to miss our families terribly this year, we are thankful for so many reasons!

1. We are in Amarillo.
2. There is actually a call attached to our stay - Stephen has a job, we have a house, and the world is restoring to it's less chaotic nature...sort of...
3. I am a big girl and can make my own dressing. (Although it will never be good as yours MOM!)
4. Stephen and I are together for the holiday. <Aw, shucks ;)>
5. My back is on the mend, Stephens finger tip has less of a hole and more of a divot, and the cat has stopped throwing up everywhere <at least, I think what I'm finding is old...TMI>
6. People are taking care of us and inviting us to eat with them.
7. Thus, I escaped having to prepare a turkey. <Although one day, I will use the le cruset pot Mari Brooks got us as a wedding gift, and I will be thankful...particular if my back feels good enough to lift that beast of a pot with a turkey in it.>
8. God, the creator of the universe <put that in for you hun ;) >, provides so much for us that we cannot even begin to list it or be as thankful as we should be.

We send much love and many thanks to our family and friends out there! You all have been so supportive the past few months and we are truly grateful!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Wow, what a whirlwind!

Ok, I apologize for not updating more on our arrival. My phone just fussed at me for not backing it up in two weeks (which means I haven't plugged it in to upload photos either), so I realized it really had been a while since I let you guys know we are ok.

I have to admit, our first two or so weeks here have all sort of run together. We went over the the church early Monday the 7th and got the keys to the parsonage. This is how we were greeted when we drove around the front of our <SQUEEALL> new house.

I can't describe what it felt like to see the word "home" on our front porch. It was something akin to having the breath knocked out of you and having a deep inhale and exhale at the same time. I can't tell you how tired we were getting of hearing people say "So, where is home for you?". The answer never really felt like it satisfied the question. I had to hold back any smart remarks because it really was not their fault it was such a sore subject. But, here we are. Our home is Amarillo, TX.

As you can see it was rather chilly and a little damp, but the house needed some life breathed into it as well, so we opened all the windows...they were really stiff (remember that).

We were well taken care of with a welcome basket of goodies from the transition committee. The sewing group arrived with dinner Monday and the choir brought dinner Wednesday.  We were so thankful not to have to cook and it was all very yummy.

We arrived that Monday and our stuff came the following Wednesday with only minor damages. But, the one thing that really mattered other than ourselves (and of course Mr. Cat) arrived in one piece and mostly in tune.

My own house, with my own piano. The cabinet my grandfather made for it sits in pristine condition on the wall to the left. I still look at it and smile on a regular basis, so you can imagine how giddy I get when I play it.

So, I guess that's it! We're all happy and settled and doing well. :-)

Wait, what's that? heard we went to urgent care.

Ah yes, remember those sticky windows? They kind of bothered my back a little after my yoga injury a year early. (I like saying my yoga injury because it makes me sound like it was something really tough - not that I have no abs and can't properly support my back...we all can dream a little...)

Well I bent at a weird angle putting books in my grandfather's lovely cabinet made by my grandfather and felt like I had a knife that went in my back and up the angle. I'll spare you any other gory details, but I called Stephen we went to urgent care and I was told to rest, given massive amounts of aleve and some muscle relaxers. I'm still battling the injury and let's just say packing hasn't gone as smoothly or as quickly as I wanted it to go.

Wait, what's that? heard we went to urgent care again?

Ah yes, but it was Stephens turn this time. He managed to slice off the tip of his finger opening a bag of cake mix. 11-11-11 did not prove to be so lucky for us, but it was Jim's (Stephen's dad) birthday and he was flying in so a cake had to be made. So in my slurred muscle-relaxer speech, I did what I could to call Karen (from BSLC) to ask if anyone close to the church could pick Stephen up and take him to the urgent care. Low and behold there was a property committee meeting at the church. (Benefit #11 (no pun intended) of living on church property) So, in comes the property committee bursting through our back door with gauze and band aids to assess the damage and take their young pastor off to the urgent care, not even judging that his wife sounded like she'd been hitting the bottle a little too much.

Needless to say, it was explained we had been there earlier that day with my back and given my current state on muscle relaxers I could not drive, much less stay awake in a waiting room.

Saturday, when Stephen's parents (Jim and Nancy) and grandparents (Roland and Mitzi) arrived in town for the installation, we looked like quite to duo. Me passing out on the couch while their son/grandson took them to the Palo Duro Canyons with a monstrosity of gauze and medical tape over his injured finger.

Sunday came with great anticipation. I managed to grin and bare my pain enough to get through the day. By then the news of my back had made its way around most of the congregation, so lots of people sweetly expressed concern. Stephen even got a shout out from one of the kids in his children's sermon when they asked what happened to his finger. He replied, "I was playing with a knife. Always let mom and dad use the knife. I'd be better off it I had <pointing to his parents.>"

Unfortunately, I do not have many pictures from the installation, but if you hop on over to Jim and Nancy's blog Friedrich Family in America, you'll be able to see.

Wait, what's that? heard the cat went to the doctor too?

Ah, yes, it was Palmer's turn to be rushed to the doctor after a bout of continuous throw up...on our new area rug. Which we promptly took him off of so he could run away puke somewhere else in the house that would be easier to clean like the ONLY room in our house with carpet. He had been throwing up some during the week, but hey, these are big changes, and he wouldn't be my cat if he didn't share my aptitude for anxiety. Except when he does not stop. One shot and an anti-biotic later, this feline is feelin' (tee hee) better.

So, I guess it goes without saying that the whirlwinds of Amarillo  prove to keep things rather interesting.

My back is taking it's time getting would probably get better faster if I would stop trying to function so quickly. Stephen got to dig deeper into ministry and I "get" to look at the progress of how his finger is healing every time he re-bandages it. Never a dull moment, my friends, never a dull moment. Home is a very sweet thing. 


Monday, November 7, 2011

Welcome to Amarillo - for good!

Well folks, we made it! Yesterday's drive was the longer half, but again, really wasn't near as bad as we had anticipated. We were so excited when we got here. I was giddy, for sure. In fact, I'm sitting here at 7:00 am in the morning showered and ready to go because I couldn't sleep any longer. Today reminds me of Christmas mornings when you were little and it was killing you to sleep any longer. Except SO much better. I am down in the lobby eating breakfast. I even left Prince Charming in bed!

We left Little Rock and stopped at the Oklahoma welcome center to grab a map and stretch. It was really nice and they even offered free coffee!

We stopped for lunch shortly there after then made our way to Oklahoma City, our last stop before Amarillo. There we gave the cat some more medicine and he finally calmed down. I let him out and he went back and forth between sleeping in my lap, and getting back in the cage to sleep (of course!).


Although I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed it when he was in my lap and snuggling.

At last we made it to Amarillo, but not without enjoying our ride into Texas. It was absolutely beautiful. First, we encountered a Windmill Farm - something I had never seen again. (Stephen had seen one in Austria - OF COURSE!)

But that wasn't the only beauty we saw when heading into Texas, we arrived 60 miles outside Amarillo in time for a beautiful sunset. Stephen described it as one of those "thin" places where God's glory is clearly present. My pictures did not do it justice. I can't explain how breath-taking it is to see a sunset in 360 degrees. You can see exactly where the colors blend and fade all the way around you. We look forward to more of those.

People often say the mountains are "God's Country" but after experiencing last nights sunset and huge sky, it's clear God didn't forget to spread the beauty to this part of the world!

Today we are heading to church around 9am to meet Cheryl (BSLC's secretary) and get the keys to the parsonage. We'll check it out a little bit and then hang out it church for a while. Around lunch we're going to call Doug our truck driver and see where he is to anticipate his arrival. His target is tomorrow or Wednesday.

After that Stephen is going to work on installation stuff with Cheryl so she can get the bulletin done. I'm going to go shopping and get cleaning supplies, groceries and an air mattress.

Oh and as if our arrival in Amarillo couldn't be good enough, it's raining this morning. :-) Yes, I think they'll love us here - and so are we!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Journey to Amarillo, Day 1

Welcome to Little Rock!

This morning we were sent off from the Friedrich's house around 9 am. Pastor Amy came over with some blueberry muffins (which were/are delicious) and prayed a quick family prayer for each of us (including a quiet day for Palmer, for the sake of both him and his parents!!)

The trip so far has been fairly uneventful. Palmer, not likely the way his tranquilizer makes him feel insisted on making known that he didn't feel good. He whined most of the trip, but was somewhat like a sack of potatoes for the lack of ability to really move all that quickly. Stephen I were able to block him out using our headphones, so the trip didn't seem as bad as it could have been.

Around 5 pm central time we checked in here at the La Quinta and are taking the evening to rest. After setting the cat up with food, water, and a litter box, we were able to go out to eat at Chili's. Stephen is going to an Episcopal church tomorrow morning (if he can manage appropriate use of time devices given the change from EST to CST on TOP of falling back this morning).

Being the sane---ahem--unorthodox - Pastor's wife that I am, I will be staying here with the cat, shoving a pill down his throat (in order that it take effect before we leave) and enjoying some yummy Amy Figg blueberry muffins for breakfast.

Tomorrow is the long haul to Amarillo. It's not been a big surprise that I was not looking forward to this drive. (I think even the folks at BSLC heard me tell them they were stuck with us because I'd only do it once in 10 years). But, when we arrived in Little Rock, I told Stephen that being pessimistic has it's advantages, like being pleasantly surprised by how quick and comfortable to trip seemed to be.

At this point I would like to thank Mindy Smith for providing the tunes, and the creators and directors of the new Twilight Saga coming out in a few weeks for providing ample interviews to watch on YouTube, and the late Steve Jobs, because my iPhone allowed me to make such good use of a long car ride. :-)

Tomorrow we are staying at a local hotel in Amarillo. Not having furniture or a key to the parsonage, we figured it would be best to drive in and crash for a night before the frenzy of our new life begins. In case you were wondering,


Friday, November 4, 2011

See Ya'll!

I love this song by Mindy Smith. I'll go back to it when I miss home. Despite my roots in South Carolina, I have yet to find anything as awe-inspiring and beautiful as East Tennessee. The movers are here loading our stuff, and we head out tomorrow morning on to...browner pastures...! But I'll always be able to come home. For now, I'm looking forward to seeing miles at a time and standing under the biggest sky I've ever seen!

SO LONG East Tennessee! You've been good to me (us)!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Tennessee Wrap-up!

Wow, who would have thought I was going to be SO busy in the month extra we ended up having in Knoxville!

As some of you know, it was our plan to move to Texas by October 1rst after the vote went through positively on September 18th. While we were incredibly enthusiastic about getting on with life and heading to Amarillo, as gut check with all that needed to be done forced us to look a little differently.

First, one of the realities of life in Texas revolves around fires. While Amarillo has escaped the big fires you heard about on TV recently, they're are smaller ones that pop up all over that you never even hear about. One such fire took the home of a family of Beautiful Savior. Lucky for them, the parsonage had been vacated by that point. They have been able to live there while they rebuild their house - which was completely destroyed during the fire. While they have been in the house since April or so, as you can imagine, construction can only happen so fast. When everything about our call started to fall into place, we noticed things weren't falling in as smoothly as we all would have liked. After a number of suggestions of how to treat the family in the parsonage fairly (amongst other things) we all agreed we wouldn't move until November. While initially I (Betsy) was pretty bummed, God has a plan that kept us here where we were most needed.

And so, here are some of the amazing gifts God gave us during our extended stay.

We enjoyed the rain tremendously. Reminding ourselves we wouldn't see much of it in Texas, we find ourselves constantly giving thanks to God for this remembrance of baptism. BUT then, ONE day, were blessed to see, you got it, a DOUBLE RAINBOW!

 While you can't see it well in this photo, trust me, it was pretty awesome. Here is a faith-sharing video from Stephen and myself - a la Andrew Glibbery. It is profound. 

This was our view. Behind the trees is the beautiful Lake Norris.
 The week before BSLC voted to call Stephen, we spent some time at the Brook's (family friend) lake house. We enjoyed as much of those mountains as we possibly could. It was a BEAUTIFUL week. With a slight chill in the air, Stephen rode his bike on the trainer on the porch (mine, not the wind tunnel some of you remember from Seminary). I enjoyed the breeze and spent HOURS upon HOURS sleeping, reading, and doing crosswords in the hammock. We made a pot full of chili and ate it all week. It was always accompanied by a fire in the fire place with roasted marsh mellows. It proved to be the most relaxing week ever!

Stephen straddling Virginia and Kentucky.

While there, we took a day to visit Cumberland Gap. Right now, you're looking at Virginia and Kentucky. Yes, it was even more beautiful in person.

October arrived swiftly, and we were EVEN more thankful that we were able to spend more time around here.

Among one of our extra pleasures was attending a UT football game. Before you laugh, it was the only game they have won yet...against Buffalo. Ok, ok, you can laugh! But we enjoyed the walk from St. John's (Free parking! Thanks ya'll!) Here is the famous World's Fair Ball from 1984. A Knoxville icon.

Below is a beautiful skyscape picture from Stephen, taken on our walk on the way to Neyland Stadium.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Amarillo, The Second Visit

Welcome to the landscape of our new homeland!

It's official. Stephen got the Letter of Call this week from Bishop Kanouse. Unfortunately, it was misspelled...Friederich. There is a pastor with a name of a similar spelling. The apologized profusely. However, we are several weeks behind in blog positing, so it will work out fine. Official pictures will come with the correction. :-)

So on our second visit to Amarillo, Stephen was invited to come and lead worship and preach. The readings were centered around forgiveness. Oh, and it was September 11th. He did a great job preaching about the need for forgiveness and reconciliation with each other, as well as our call to do so as Christians. If you want it more eloquently put (or expanded), ask him for a copy of his sermon. I'm sure he'd gladly share (and welcome you for conversation).

But that was not the only thing we did that weekend. Up until then, the only people we had met face to face were the call committee, of last posts fame. While Stephen had spoken to the council via phone, he was not allowed to contact anyone else until he was given primary candidate status and we were invited to come out. Thus numerous greetings from strangers ensued all weekend! It was SO good not to be "invisible" like we were last time. We could greet, shake hands and say hello to anyone we pleased!

Friday evening we had to ourselves. They graciously rented us a car, so we spent the evening finding a Mexican restaurant and getting ourselves lost. Now, over the course of the weekend, we learned a new thing about hunting for a good Mexican restaurant. Our experience in North and South Carolina taught us to look for the shadiest, most run down, hole in the wall kind of place, that might have a sketchy health grade that is craftily placed in, but mostly out of sight. However, our experience in Amarillo was different. The first place we went to had good reviews on Google. It was great! But, its exterior aside, it was beautiful inside. And the people who ran it, were Hispanic,  but clearly at least 2nd generation (if not 3rd) as no one had a hint of any accent. (Note, considering Mexico and Texas history, we also learned that most Latinos have been Texans for a LONG time.) Later in the weekend, we went to a more run down fast food re-created Mexican restaurant, and we learned the first one was definitely the place to go.

Saturday morning we went to the church for a sound check and to visit the parsonage. There we met Gene, the sound guy, Johnny the 8:30 assisting ministry, Jerry, council president and husband of the organist/choir director, and his wife, Marsha.

The nave is plays well with the few sources of natural light. This is the stain glassed window in the back. There are similar windows on the left side (facing the pulpit) and sky lights above the sanctuary to let light in towards the table. Simple, very tasteful, and well done.

The parsonage is a beautiful ranch style home. And yes, those are trees! We were equally surprised by how green they appear. The house is located on the corner of the church property. It backs up next to the playground of the nursery. It has 3 bedrooms, 2 and a half baths. We have offered already for several people to come out! But, you might want to check whether or not you still need to bring an air mattress before you come! :-)

I'm picturing a sitting hammock in the shade of the big tree here in the backyard....ahhh. The building behind the house is a two car garage. Really, can it get any better than your own garage???
 Why of course it can! How about patio for grilling and entertaining?

There are also two choices for a living room, off the front and one off the back (that used to be the one car garage). This frees one of the bedrooms up to - wait for it - be used for a SEWING ROOM!!!! Needless to say I (Betsy) am very happy with our accommodations. If you are looking for a less materialistic post about the visit, Stephen has his own handle to edit the blog, so he can tell you about that. Betsy however is thrilled with such wonderful living conditions. A house (and a really nice one at that) means settling. It means putting roots down, it means, I'm not moving again ANY TIME SOON. After 8 years (for Betsy) of moving practically every two years mostly in 10 and 8 month stints (with Stephen), you can imagine how excited we are for a house. (As are our dads, I'm sure. Especially because it's being done professionally this time.) Ok, Ok, I'm blathering there was alot more involved in the weekend. This was just one of the most...many exciting things.

As is this. The wall of bookshelves and cabinets in Pastor Stephen's office.

Pastor Stephen will also have a desk, complete we a new/refurbished computer. Kitchen tables will now be used only mostly for eating. 

Herr Pastor-Elect. 

Among some of the other exciting parts of Saturday was an afternoon young-adult cookout at the Coggins' house. Anthony was on the call committee, and his wife Becca sort way of spousal connections ...cheated and learned who we were last time. They were generous to throw a get together at there house for us to meet some younger people/families of the church. Although there are no pictures, it really was a fabulous time of chatting and relaxing. It actually wasn't so hot out that day, we got to sit on the patio - for a while.

Later, we went back to the hotel freshened ourselves, changed and went back to church for a pizza dinner to meet the call committee, council, and transition team. We had a great time. Blair, who is also famous from last posts Cadillac ranch pictures, pulled me aside and commented how nice Stephen's shirt was and asked me if I starched it. Much to Stephen's demise, I told him it did look nice, and thanks, but I didn't...that was the first time he had worn it. Blair, who is our age, looked at me and with both snickered - only a little. (At this time, I would like to thank Craig Friedrich (Rolls-Royce, International Employee Extraordinaire) for dressing his brother in style by taking him to get new, more professional cloths.) The dinner was a success and it helped us to meet so many people in smaller situations than what was the biggest potluck ever the following day.

The next morning, we drove to the church while the sun was coming up just over the horizon. It was absolutely beautiful! There's something about the sky out there that you just cannot explain. It is so big and vast. When the sun comes up, it seems to appear out of nowhere. The picture from inside the rental car really doesn't do it justice.

This is a view from the altar. Imagine your self as Stephen, except, imagine the pews filled to the max, almost standing room only. People came out in record numbers to hear the new candidate. We felt welcomed and everyone told us how excited they were with the buzz around us. Several members of the council and call committee said they hadn't seen so much energy come from the congregation in a long time. People were asking us when we were moving! We told them to give us a positive vote the next week and we'd let them know! It was like they just embraced us without even thinking about the fact it might not happen unless they voted. Needless to say, I think everyone left that afternoon feeling good.

Sunday afternoon, we were so exhausted, but appropriately, it was certainly an exciting morning. I think we crashed, but I can't really speak for Stephen...I zoned out, and it's possible a nap was involved.

Monday morning it was time to say goodbye. Although, I'm not sure either of us wanted to leave. A good feeling considering we had pretty much agreed it was a good idea to move 18 hours from all our friends and family. I'm not sure that has completely hit either of us, but we are ready to get settled. So, we left, waving goodbye to the Big Texan on our way to the airport.

Yeah, you thought were were kidding by the cowboy greeting last post, didn't you?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Amarillo - The First Visit

Back at the end of April, Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church (BSLC) contacted Stephen to interview him as a candidate for the position of "Pastor" to the congregation. Each congregation fills out a profile to send the candidate as the candidate does the same for the church. When comparing BSLC's theology and goals next to Stephen's, both of us took a breath and thought "Whoa! This would be awesome!". After making it through the first rounds of phone and skype interviews, both of us were invited to come visit the great state of Texas July 8-10th. We were really excited and of course a little nervous but eager to see where God would lead. And in the end, hey, we'd never been to that part of the world, so, why not? Unfortunately, we didn't want to get tooooo excited, so, we forgot our camera. But we'd like to share with you a few pictures the call committee took for us.

As Greg, our call committee chair took us from the airport to our hotel, our first site of civilization was this.

Except he was on top of a sign about ohhh....a million times high, to greet us. He is the "Big Texan" of the Big Texan restaurant where you can eat a 72 oz steak for free, if you eat it, and all the trimmings. In an hour. Upon recalling to story to my brother John, he has said he would come visit me and try if we got the job. Well, John, here's your official invitation. (Cat, please bring your camera, and John's wallet; he's buying of he can't finish!)

After I snickered a little prematurely, Greg quickly added that no one who lives in Amarillo, actually eats at the Big Texan.

Friday night, the 8th, after Greg dropped us off at the hotel, we had a nice dinner with most of the call committee - minus Deb, whom we were able to meet on our second trip, but was on vacation this time. It was a great time to chat and get to know each other in a little more of an informal setting.

Saturday, was when all the fun began! We were shown around the church, the parsonage, and what seemed to be all of Amarillo. On of the women on the call committee Karen, as well as Greg, took us to an abandoned mall-turned art gallery. It was such a neat way to use "wasted" space. Each artist was able to rent a store front for studio space and to show their work. Karen paints with different mediums...and not being an artist, I can't remember which ones. She also dabbles in pottery. Greg had a few pictures featured in a photography gallery. We were very impressed. Every Friday or so the mall hosts a Gallery Hop. It sounded like a lot of fun.

After that we went to participate in a little art of our own! We went to the Cadillac Ranch.  Now, this isn't a car dealership, because, let's be honest, those are everywhere in the US. No this is where a local Amarillo man funded an art project to be shared by the community. It consists of a series of old Cadillac's planted engine face down in a pasture. People are welcome to come and spray paint them as they wish. Karen documented. 

 In true Friedrich fashion, we decided to paint one of the wheels with the ELCA logo.
 Blair, a member of the call committee stood by prepared to help supply Stephen with the appropriate colors.

 We then sprayed, NTNL ELCA. (Which stands for North Texas, North Louisiana Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America)

 This is Blair by the ELCA logo. What do you think?

 After a brief respite at our hotel, we then set out to the Palo Duro Canyons, in Palo Duro, TX, just south of Amarillo. It's the second largest canyon in the US, next to the Grand Canyon. This is a picture from the internet.
They weren't quite this green or picturesque when we saw them. Amarillo and North Texas are in it's biggest drought since the Dust Bowl, with just over 3 inches of rain this year, to date. However, they are still a sight to behold. What is also especially cool in the summer is the steak dinner we were treated to inside the canyon followed by the musical "Texas". This is after dinner, right before the show.

I feel the need to add that above our head our misters. They blew a cool mist above you during the dry 108 F temperatures down in the canyon.

The musical is put on by local people in the community, particularly music and theatre majors from West Texas A&M University which is located in Canyon, TX,  also just south of Amarillo. Set in the canyon with a canyon wall as the backdrop, it was very cool! It is only open in the summer so pick your time to visit us before Casa De Texas Friedrich's books up!

Sunday, we were not "allowed" to attend worship at BSLC because our names had not been released to the congregation. Until Stephen reached primary candidate status, the people in the picture above were the only people we were allowed to contact. Somewhere along the end of July/beginning of August, we were given primary candidate status after Stephen was unanimously recommended to council. It was sad not to be able to interact with everyone the first time, but lucky for you, if you wait another day or two, we'll let you know what happened the next time we visited, two months later, September 9-12th! 

Keeping up with the Friedrichs (Texas Style)

Hello Friends and Family! I apologize if you are getting a BAZILLION e-mails from me as I update this thing and learn how to use it! If you got an e-mail from me from this site, it's because I have input your e-mail address so you can hear all about us! (Now you should all be family, but if you want to be removed, it's ok, we understand....we'll just pray for you that much harder ;-) On second thought, we pray for you all equally, so...just unsubscribe and we'll pray as usual. Soon I will post pictures of our first visit to Amarillo, followed by our second.

We'll continue to post any other updates about life! See you soon!