Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mr. & Mrs.

Matthew and Heather have finally tied the knot! They are now, officially, Mr. & Mrs. Mehaffey. Happy day!!

(I greatly apologize for the long delay in this most important post. My camera went to Cancun with them for their honeymoon, and you all know that I can't post on my blog without pictures. So it just had to wait. Even now, I don't have all of my pictures, since they had to delete some to make room for their Mexican pictures. Once I get those back in my possession, we'll have a post about the rest of the weekend including the rehearsal dinner. Until then, enjoy this much overdue wedding post.)

Matthew and Heather got married on September 19, 2009, at The Factory at Franklin. Everything was perfect. Heather was a stunning bride, and Matthew was completely smitten by her radiance. The ceremony was short and sweet. Gerald, a like-father to Heather, performed the wedding and included personal, sentimental stories and details of both the bride and the groom. They exchanged rings, vows, and declared "I do," in front of their Lord, family, and friends. As Matthew kissed his bride, neither of them could have ever been happier.

Elaine had the honor of being escorted into the ceremony by her Son of the Day, and escorted back out by her other two boys. She was a very proud momma, indeed.

Colors of black, ivory, and sage green decorated the venue. The wedding and reception were beautiful, simple, and elegant. The make-your-own-favors at the candy bar were a huge favorite of many of the guests, as well.

To make their special day even more unique, they included a couple very personal touches. They honored various couples whose marriages and Christian examples have impacted their lives by displaying each of their wedding photos. Furthermore, Heather paid respect to her late Mamaw by showcasing wedding gowns that she sewed by hand for her daughters. The sentiments were a very poignant way of paying tribute to many influential people in their lives.

As the reception began, they cut the cake. Matthew was very polite as he fed his new bride. Heather, however, got a little feisty and wiped some icing on his nose. A glimpse of things to come, maybe? :) Shortly after, they tossed the bouquet and garter. To everybody's amazement, Jeremy and Madison both caught each of the tokens signifying the next marriage. Hmm, very interesting...

The reception was not only filled with love, great Southern food, and a mashed potato bar, but also lots of fun and dancing. The bride and groom's first dance was completely romantic (interrupted only slightly by the Mehaffey family's duck calls). They also had father-daughter dances and the lucrative dollar dance, followed by some good, old-fashioned party tunes. The dance floor was hoppin', and everybody had a great time!

To add another super-fun element to the party, they had a "photo booth" set up with their incredible photographers for their guests to dress up and take silly pictures in or use to leave messages to the newlyweds. Here's one of the entire wedding party, and another one of us welcoming Heather to the family. (You can see all of the great photo booth shots by visiting their website* and searching for Matthew and Heather within their clients. Also, you can see a sneak peak of the wedding pictures on their blog. Leave them a comment to let them know what you think, and then check back later for more.)

*Photos by Nashville Wedding Photographers, Chris & Adrienne Scott

After a perfect day of love, romance, sentiment, dedications, fun, partying, and dancing, the happy couple drove off to begin their new lives together. First thing on the agenda: Honeymoon in Cancun!

We couldn't be any happier for the bride and groom. From one Mr. and Mrs. Mehaffey to another Mr. and Mrs. Mehaffey,


Monday, September 28, 2009

Straight From the Source

Fall is officially here! Know how I know? (Besides the indicator on my calendar last Tuesday.) Because Starbucks told me so! And you just can't argue with a source that holds such authority...

Brad and I aren't huge Starbucks crazies, and I very rarely eat or drink anything that is remotely associated with a coffee flavor, but even I can't pass up this seasonal beverage. Every autumn, we celebrate the changing seasons with a ceremonial cup of their delicious Pumpkin Spice Latte. Mmmm...

Fall is my very favorite time of year (weather-wise, Christmas is my favorite holiday time). I adore the changing colors, the falling leaves, the sweatshirts, the decorations, and of course, the tastes! I can't wait for more pumpkin spice lattes, hot chocolate, caramel apples, and pumpkin pies!

The temperature has finally begun to drop around here (70's all week long!), and it's definitely starting to be sweater weather in the evenings. Not to mention, the sound of football is constantly emanating from our TV, and Starbucks is serving their pumpkin spice lattes. These are all tell-tale signs that the best season of the year if finally upon us. Bring on the leaves. Bring on the pumpkins. Bring on the smells. Bring on the corn mazes and the haunted houses. Bring on the scarecrows and the mums. Fall is finally here, and I am so ready to commence all of our annual autumn activities!

Tell me what you do every fall that you're looking most forward to. Maybe it's a tradition that we can't pass up!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Grilled Pizza

There is little food that Brad and I enjoy more than pizza. Any pizza, really: delivery, cardboard-frozen, frozen that doesn't taste like frozen, eat-in, buffet, Totino's party pizza, deep-dish, thin-crust, hand-tossed, plain, the works, etc, etc.

A long time ago, my older brother, TJ, told us about how he and his family like to grill pizza. Well, it's no secret that Brad loves to dominate his Weber, so it wasn't long until he mastered the grilled pizza recipe.

Recently, there was no better way to celebrate Labor Day than joining friends and gathering around a grill and a pizza pie! Brad and I crashed Charles and Emily's house along with Chris, our friend from church, and their next door neighbor.

So, let me tell you how it's done. (You know it has to be so easy, or we wouldn't do it so often.) Buy some of that pre-made pizza crust. (Like I said, easy.) Use a basting brush and cover the topping-side with olive oil. Cook it top-down on the grill for a few minutes until it's toasty. If you're using a gas grill, it doesn't really matter how you do that. If you're using a charcoal grill, you don't want the crust directly over the flames. Oh, and be careful how many hickory chips you add to the fire. They're a great idea, but one time, we used so much that our pizzas tasted like straight-up wood smoke.

Next, turn it over, spread olive oil over the bottom and then set it on something that can get greasy so that you can put the toppings on the already-toasted side. Of course, you'll need some pizza sauce, but let me tell you, a little goes a long way. One can easily spreads over two crusts with plenty left over.

Then, add your first layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by any toppings you desire. Get creative! We always have pepperoni, like to add diced tomatoes, do pineapples when I get my way, and have even done a "supreme" with peppers and onions before. You can also add a few Italian seasonings to the top for some good taste and pretty pizza. When you're done with the toppings, cover it a second time with cheese to keep it all in. Brad is very strict about not "center loading" the pizza, so be sure to get the toppings and cheese all the way out to the crust!

When you're pleased with the creation, just stick it on the grill, close the lid, and wait. The cheese will melt perfectly. Be careful not to make the toppings so thick that the crust burns before your toppings are warm, though. Periodically, open the lid, check the meltiness and the bottom of the crust to see how golden it's getting. When it all feels warm enough to be good to eat, take it off, slice it up, and enjoy!

See? I told you it was so easy. And it's fun, too. We don't have any kids, but I'm sure they would love piling those pepperonis high! For an appetizer, you can do like we did and have some great garlic cheese bread. We did not make this on the grill, as well, but it can be done. However, we did add the cheese ourselves, so we still felt pretty culinary about it.

What's your favorite pizza? What's your favorite recipe for the grill? Is it easy enough for even me to handle??

Chocolate Milk

My friend, Cristin, and her BFF, Bekah, have started a new business! It's called Chocolate Milk Boutique, and it's this adorable little boutique for children. They design and create custom clothing, accessories, and decor! Seriously, you need to check them out.

I have a little bit of interest invested in the recent "launching" of their website, because I created it for them! (And Erin helped by designing the awesome background.) So, you'll probably recognize a similar layout and style to Beyond Blessed when you visit their site. Anyway, I couldn't be more happy for Cristin and Bekah, and I know that their new business will be a huge success!

It's only in the beginning stages, now, so go check them out, and then check them out again and and again to keep up with all of their great new ideas and creations! Don't forget to leave comments and provide feedback, so they can keep designing products that people will love! Happy browsing!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A Sad Farewell

Aaron and Erin have left Nashville, and they've left us...

Aaron has started grad school at Georgia Tech, and they've moved to Atlanta. I considered putting together a collage of all of the pictures of us together to remember the many fun times we've shared, but I quickly dropped the idea for two reasons: 1. There are way too many. And 2. There's no way I can do that without crying. So, instead, I just put the group shot we took of ourselves the last time they came over for pizza and Guitar Hero.

They technically moved back in the beginning of August, in time for Aaron to start school. They packed up their apartment and said good-bye to everyone. A lot of friends from church through together a going away party for them, before the big move. Lots of yummy goodies were eaten, and a few tears were shed..

However, I handled it surprisingly well. But only because Erin wasn't really moving, yet. She stayed in Nashville, working at FDH until she secured a job down in Atlanta. So, sure she was gone every weekend visiting her husband and puppy, but I still got to see her every day during the week at work. It wasn't that big of an adjustment for me.

That was, until yesterday. "Thankfully," she was able to get a job at a (larger) accounting firm down in Georgia, and this Wednesday was her for-real last day in Nashville. A huge group from work joined her at Logan's Roadhouse for lunch to send her off in high fashion. I actually handled it worse than I thought I would. I mean, I've had months of warning, and I know it's only a few hours away, and we'll have plenty of opportunities to visit them and do fun things in the city, but it just won't be the same. I have no idea what the Fall and Christmas seasons will be like without them... (Like, every single blog post from October through December '08 featured them.)

Luckily, I've been able to spend some quality time with Erin lately, since she was staying with an aunt in town, and Brad's been working most evenings. That made the final days better, but it still didn't stop me from sobbing when I hugged her neck for the last time before leaving work.

We're definitely going to miss having them around. But, I'm sure they'll still pop up in future blog posts, here and there, when we visit the Coke Museum and IKEA in Atlanta during our visits.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Back to School

Brad has decided that the suit-and-tie, sit-behind-a-desk-all-day-long kind of job is not for him. He says that he is "so over" selling people debt at the bank. Actually, he's over selling anybody anything. After three different job attempts, it has become glaringly evident that sales (and working on that terrible commission) is not his cup of tea.

He wants to be active. He wants to be involved. He wants to interact with people. He wants to make a difference. He wants to do something that actually matters.

So, without further adieu, I am very pleased to announce that my incredible husband is going back to school to get his Bachelor's Degree in Nursing!

He's currently attending Nashville State Community College to get some prerequisites out of the way. Since he got a business degree at Freed-Hardeman, he needs to catch up on many of his sciences (Anatomy and Physiology - Yuck!). Right now, he taking a couple of evening courses and an online class. The plan is for him to complete one more semester of prereq's before he officially enrolls into nursing school.

Ultimately, he'd like to become a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthesiologist (CRNA) and would ideally work at Vanderbilt Hospital here in Nashville, and rake in the big bucks. ;) The BSN and RN status are intended to be his foot in the door of the medical community.

Speaking of those big bucks, this career move will hopefully better enable me to stay at home once we start our family. That perk was one of the main selling points for me to give the green light on the job switch.

He has already resigned from his position as Financial Adviser at First Tennessee Bank. But anybody who knows Brad, knows that he will not just sit around with any spare time on his hands. On top of his nearly full-time student schedule (11 hours), he is working a couple part-time jobs. He has moved up to an assistant manager position in addition to his delivery position at Domino's. (Which is especially nice, because even though the hours and shifts got heavier, he got an hourly raise regardless of whether or not he's delivering, so it's in addition to his regular tips. Holla!) He has also become a certified Life Guard at the local YMCA. He's definitely working hard to work his way through school and achieve his goal.

I honestly could not be more proud of my husband. He will make the best nurse in the whole entire world. I trust him with all of my heart, and know that his decisions are made with the greatest consideration of the future of our family. I definitely want a happy husband; with or without the big bucks.

I can't believe how much God has blessed me with such an incredible man.

I love you, honey, and respect you so, so very much!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Blogoversary!

This past Saturday marked my first Blogoversary. I can't believe that Beyond Blessed is already one year old!

Now, for the first time, from here on out, I'll be revisiting seasons, holidays, and recurring events. I wonder how this year will resemble last year? I wonder how this year will differ from last year? Some things sure have changed, and continue to change. Others seem to be just the same. (Look back at September '08)

Stay tuned for more Mehaffey Moments to be documented in my little online scrapbook. One year full of memories down, many, many more to go.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Beach Bums

Oh my goodness. Brad and I spent the most glorious extended weekend on Ocracoke Island. Aaaahhhhhh. It was wonderful. Look how much fun we had!
Alright. Let me start by describing how great the island ocean was. The sand was smooth and white, the water was nice and warm, and the beaches were completely secluded and empty! Ocracoke isn't a very tourist-trappy kind of island, so it doesn't get overly packed. Also, since school has already started back up, it was even less crowded than usual. Brad and I basically had the luxury of enjoying a private beach! (Which is really great, but also a little sad, because there was never anybody to take our picture! Oh well, we managed...)

We stayed at the Beach House Bed & Breakfast. It was so nice to have a real, home-cooked breakfast each morning. We did eat breakfast with the other couples that were staying there, as well, but it was really fun to get to meet some new people. It was also convenient having the "insider information" about where to go for certain meals, shelling, etc. from the caretakers. Not to mention, it was a very good thing to have a reason to wake up early (well, 8:30 early) each morning. If we didn't have to be down for breakfast, I'm sure we would have slept the day away and missed out on a lot of great island time.

Each morning, right after breakfast, while the tide was still low, we headed to the beach and walked up and down the beautiful shoreline and passed the time looking for shells. We really found a lot of great ones, but many of them were still inhabited. Since we didn't want to uproot any sea life from their homes, nor did we want any crabs or oysters running loose in our room, we politely left them where we found them. But that didn't stop us from taking pictures of their pretty abodes!

Friday, we rented some boogie boards and spent the day riding the waves. We are definitely not professionals, and most certainly looked ridiculous, but we had a great time, regardless.

Each day we were there, the wind and weather picked up and so did the waves (silly tropical storm out there somewhere). Instead of risking getting caught in the undertow (Brad was very nervous of that, actually) we traded the boogie boards in for some beach chairs and an umbrella. We spent the entire day reading on the shore. It was so peaceful and serene.

As the day progressed, the waves climbed closer and closer to our haven. Brad created a defensive sand wall around our chairs to keep the water from reaching us. It worked quite well until one particular wave was so aggressive that it rudely overcame our little structure and then was bound there at our feet in a pile of white sea foam. Eventually, we scooted further up the beach and enjoyed the breeze turning the pages of our books for us until the night fell.

We woke up obscenely early on Sunday morning (before breakfast; even before the sun!) to catch the ferry ride back to the mainland. We were so sad to leave our secluded island and head back to the real world. But it was definitely glorious while it lasted!
Now, just because the story is over, doesn't mean the pictures are. Here are a few more I couldn't resist sharing.

This is our favorite. My incredible husband tapped into his photography skills for this shot. It has happily become the desktop background for our home computer.

You had to walk through these giant dunes to get from the road to the beach.

They were pretty, but they were filled with mosquitoes! We quickly learned to douse ourselves with bug spray before trekking through.

Just look how pretty!

Here's the early morning beach full of shells just waiting for us. Have you ever seen anything more beautiful? God is so good!

Can you tell whose is whose?

There is a lighthouse on the island. We couldn't go up in it, but it was still neat to visit.

There's some sort of history with Pirate Blackbeard on Ocracoke. I think maybe he was executed there. Or stationed there, or something. We didn't really do our research. But that didn't stop us from taking advantage of this great photo op!! Pirate Mehaffey looks mean!!

A lot of people that were visiting on the island said they do it every year. Many people had been there 7, 13, 26 years in a row. Brad and I have decided that we're going to be some of those people. In preparation for our future trips, we've taken a picture with the year in the sand. Years and years down the road, we'll have a nice collection of others just like this one, only with different years drawn.

We really had an incredible time. It was so great to just spend time together, cut off from the outside world. God's glory was evident all weekend long in the beauty of His Creation. We are so very blessed...

Of course, if you're interested, there are even more pictures. Who's surprised?

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