Weekend Top 5 - Atlanta

So we had a pretty busy and exciting weekend. To be completely honest, our adventures on Friday and Saturday left me really tired and lethargic on Sunday. I basically laid on the couch watching TV and reading until about 4:00. On the flip side of that though, I feel surprisingly rested for a Monday.

Here's the weekend top 5:

#5: Figuring out a new aspect to this blog.
Beginning next week (hopefully) {mr}blogbacktome (aka Jason) will be adding one post a week to my blog. His posts will consist of music, movies, tech tips, and all things media or technology related. He knows SO MUCH about that kind of stuff. We constantly have friends asking us about music, movies, and technology related things, so I thought I'd give him a little platform to share information about what he knows best. I think you'll all really enjoy it. I'm going to archive his posts on the page that is currently "under construction" called Morales Media. The idea is to have an archive built up so that if you're looking for new music, movies, or books, you can just go to that page and have plenty to choose from. I'm considering giving him another section about tech related stuff, but we'll just have to see how much he's able to talk about that sort of thing due to the restrictions he has with his job. I'm also trying to figure out the name for his blog posts because I want them to all have the same name and then just have the specific subject as a subtitle.

I'm thinking either Morales Media Mondays or Media from the Mister.  

What do you think (blogbacktome at the end)?
He makes my heart smile.
#4: Going to Ikea and Pottery Barn.
So, I wasn't aware that Mr. Jason Frank Morales had never been to Pottery Barn before. Well, that changed a lot on Saturday. We went to the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta and just happened to mosey into their HUGE Pottery Barn. After about 5 minutes of Jason walking around saying, "That's SO COOL!!" I asked him if he'd ever been in a Pottery Barn before. His response: "What's that?" Oh man, oh man. So we spent close to an hour in Pottery Barn just getting ideas for our future house and then gasping at the prices. On our way out of town, we decided to swing by Ikea just to ease our minds after seeing such ridiculous prices at Pottery Barn. Our style is definitely more Pottery Barn because they use warmer colors and it's almost a little bit more rustic, but Ikea's prices are definitely more in our price range. I walked away from Saturday very interested and excited to see what it's like once we actually buy a house.
Just trying out Pottery Barn.

The Mecca of furniture and household items.
#3: Grocery shopping at Trader Joe's. 
I've been reading blogs for a couple of years now. Almost all of the health, food, and fitness bloggers I follow love shopping at Trader Joe's. We tried to go to one in NYC while we were there, but it was so crowded and the line was literally wrapped around the store. It was also raining when we went to that one, so we didn't want to carry around paper bags for the rest of the day while walking around NYC in the rain. I knew there was a Trader Joe's in Atlanta, but I didn't know where. I also didn't really think about looking into it because I figured that Jason would not want to spend time in a glorified grocery store while on our little road trip adventure. But, as we were driving to Lenox Square Mall, I saw it. I was complaining about sitting at every red light, and then my eye caught the sign and I started freaking out. Being the kind and selfless man he is, Jason said, "Do you want to go?" and my untruthful response was, "No, we don't have to do that." Again, Jason being amazing, said, "Let's go," and he turned into the parking lot. About 3 grocery bags and $75 later, we have enough nonperishable items to last a few months.
When I saw this, I started freaking out on the inside.

Best coffee I've had in a while. Only $6.99 for this. They basically were giving it away.

Happy Jessica.
#2: Reading the book of Ruth.
As I've said before, I'm doing Guthrie's plan to read through the bible in a year chronologically. Saturday I was supposed to read all of Ruth, but we were so busy that I just never found time to. So yesterday, while I was being ridiculously lazy, I read Ruth. After I read it, I decided to go back and listen to each part of the four-part series on Ruth that David Platt preached in 2009, which was before I went to church at Brook Hills. For this series he asked our incredibly talented friend Mandi to write a song about each book/sermon part for Ruth. I've listened to these songs since Jason and I started dating (he played "Love Story" for me on our second date under the pretense that it's a great song a friend of his wrote - he's very smooth), but I hadn't listened to them in the context of the sermons or scripture they were written about. Yesterday, I read Ruth and then listened to the first sermon. After I finished the sermon, Jason suggested I listen to the song So Long, Familiar that goes along with the sermon. Even though I'd heard the song multiple times, it was really just a blessing to hear in context. I plan on doing the same thing for each sermon part and finish up on Wednesday. 

#1: Reconnecting with Atlanta friends.
I told you all on Friday that we were going to the Braves game (which was awesome) with my college roommate and her husband. We literally had the best time with them just catching up and sharing stories about newlywed life. It was encouraging, refreshing, and everything I knew it'd be and more. But we also had an unexpected visit with some other friends. Let me go back in time a bit...
--------------
When Jason was in 8th grade, he became a believer. He wanted to be involved in youth group and he wanted to get plugged in at the church all of his Christian friends went to, but because his mom worked, so he didn't ever have a ride to church on Sundays or Wednesdays. When 9th grade rolled around, a man named Darren was his Sunday School teacher. Jason told Darren that he wanted to keep coming to church, but he literally couldn't because he didn't have a ride. So Darren found an easy solution to that problem - he and his wife Sarah started picking Jason up for church. Darren was also the person who ran sound (I'm probably saying that wrong) and was the tech guru at their church. Because of that, he had to be to church early, which meant Jason did too. Since Jason was there early, Darren used that time to teach him all about running sound (still probably saying that wrong...Jason: you can make fun of me later). So one thing led to another, and Jason found a place and a purpose among a large youth group in a large church. Jason's friends and experiences from his youth group impact his life today on almost a daily basis. Jason's youth pastor, you may have heard of him - Mark Hall - and their youth band, you may have heard of them as well - Casting Crowns - went on to be a award winning and popular Christian band and Darren was their head production person (sorry, I don't know the official title). Jason was able to tour with them multiple times after he graduated from Samford doing sound stuff, and then eventually breaking into the merchandise realm which has taught him an unfathomable amount and led to where he is in his career today.
--------------
So, all of that to say, Darren and Sarah are VERY special to us and we got to have dinner with them and their three hilarious kids on Saturday night. We are eternally grateful for their lives that have been devoted to ministry for many years, and we're blessed by their friendship as well.
At the Braves game - this is what we call "Chillaxin'"

Ashley and I after the game...and after the rain.

My first experience at the Varsity.

Leaving to come back to Birmingham.
Let me also just take a moment to encourage any of you who are involved in student ministry. I know that the school year has or is coming to a close and you may or may not be off for the summer in your student ministry duties. But either way, be encouraged that what you do matters. The hours you pour into your students, the time you spend praying for them, the events you plan to invest in them, the tasks that you do that are completely out of your way - that ALL matter. Not only are you following after God's calling for your life, but you are impacting students just by being there for them. They may be snotty and stuck up sometimes, but your ministry and your life DOES have an eternal effect on them. So please, be encouraged by the story of Darren and Sarah. They're still doing student ministry today, even with three kids of their own. Jason will turn 27 this summer, and he reaps the benefit of their ministry daily, even 13 years later.

So that all being said, how was your weekend?!?

 photo blogsignature_zps350ab85e.gif