Tuesday, December 31, 2013

{the best of} 2013

These are some of my favorite things and favorite moments from 2013.  Thank you to everyone who loved, prayed for, and supported Frank and I this year in all the different ways you have.  We hope your 2013 was as fruitful as ours!

Favorite Life Moments of 2013
  1. Our Wedding Day!
  2. Our honeymoon
  3. Cutting my hair the first time
  4. Summer together
  5. Frank's birthday
  6. Family time
  7. Frank's first 5K
  8. Hearing my calling
  9. Winter Formal
  10. Our first Thanksgiving
  11. Seeing the second Hobbit
  12. Our first Christmas

Favorite Blog Moments of 2013
  1. 100 Blogposts
  2. Our Wedding
  3. My Husband

Favorite songs listened to from 2013 (no particular order)
  1. The Curse by Agnes Obel
  2. You Know Me by Air Traffic Controller
  3. House of War by Tristen
  4. The Man Who Lives Forever and Ends of the Earth by Lord Huron
  5. Fury oh Fury by Nico Vega
  6. If I Had a Heart by Fever Ray
  7. Down to the River by Brown Bird
  8. Royals and Team by Lorde
  9. Heartbeats by the Knife
  10. Fire by Noah Gunderson
  11. Gracefully Facedown by The Devil Makes Three
  12. Blunt the Knives by The Hobbit Dwarf Cast
  13. Sweet Tennessee by Judah and the Lion
  14. Major by The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
  15. G# by Kitten
  16. How You Like Me Now by the Heavy
  17. Pompeii by Bastille
  18. Lost in the Echo by Linkin Park
  19. Hearbeat by Kopecky Family Band
  20. Black and White and Blue by Ladyhawke
  21. YOLO by The Lonely Island
  22. All Saints Day by the Silent Comedy
  23. Is Your Love Big Enough by Lianne La Havas
  24. Change by Churchill
  25. Gangsta by Tune-yards
  26. Comeback Kid by Sleigh Bells
  27. Thrift Shop by Mackelmore

Favorite Television Shows Discovered in 2013

Favorite Blogs Found in 2013

Favorite Websites from 2013

I'm looking most forward to 2014 because...
  1. Celebrating the second year I'm married to Frank.
  2. Going to Johnson City for the first time
  3. Getting my back completely fixed
  4. Frank graduates!
  5. Emily graduates!
  6. To see this movie.
  7. To see this TV series.
  8. And this TV series.
  9. Seth Myers hosting the Late Show
  10. Getting to see what God has in store for us!!

2013 was jam-packed with lots of good times and memories.  Come on, 2014!  We are pumped and ready for you!  Happy New Year, life lovers!

{Bucket List} 2014

This is my bucket list for 2014:

1.  Study the Book of Amos
2.  Reach my goal GPA by May!
3.  Watch Frank graduate
4.  Take a Dance class
5.  Find two Zumba partners
6.  Start Tai Chi
7.  Get urban bikes
8.  Take a road trip to anywhere!
9.  Start my final year of Undergrad!
10.  Learn conversational Swedish
11.  Watch my sister graduate high school!
12.  Help my sister move in to college
13.  Get a fishing pole
14.  Go fishing
15.  Throw the fish back in the water
16.  Start an inspiration board for 2014
17.  Take a picture every day of Frank and me
18.  Pet a bunny
19.  Read a big book from cover to cover
20.  Go to Johnson City
21.  Stay up late to see an entire meteor shower
22.  Read and apply the manual made for my camera
23.  Own a Duck Commander duck call (yes, just because)
24.  Take a pottery class
25.  Punch a shark.  Just kidding.
26.  Learn conversational Cajun French-Creole
27.  Focus on photography a bit more
28.  Replace the flash bulb in my camera and look at tripods!

What's on your bucket list, life lovers?

(Oh yeah: 29.  Kiss this guy a hundred million times!!!)

{Word of 2013: Brave}


    1.     ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage.
            synonyms: courageous, valiant, valorous, intrepid, heroic, lionhearted, bold, fearless, gallant, 
            daring, plucky, audacious
            antonyms: cowardly
    1.     endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behavior) without showing fear.

I was scared at the beginning of this year.  I had a lot of things on my mind.  Friends? Family? School? Classes? Car? Car payments? Rent? The next five years?  I began the spring and fall semesters freshly dumped on by stress and anxiety.  As I pushed along, I remembered the Lord being near me, even when I complained to Him about how suckey I thought life was.  He listened.  I told Him about how alone I felt.  He listened.  I told Him about how bad my back was hurting.  He listened.  I told Him about the classes I didn’t want to take anymore.  He listened.  Nothing really changed until I started asking Him for help after I was done complaining.  That’s when the courage set in.  Half way through this past semester, with all of these complaints on my mind, God heard me ask Him for help amidst my complaining.  He helped me.  God gave me courage to face the rest of the semester in every way.  The one word I have received from God this year is: Brave.  Brave because of God.  With God’s bravery to me, I have also been able to recognize bravery in others.  There were signs of bravery everywhere theis year.

Bravery to begin the last year of high school without old companions, but with new companions, and a good direction.

Bravery to finish strong, his first race!

Bravery in facing physical pain to have physical gain.

Bravery to lead, even when it seems like there is little chance of winning.

Bravery in pushing against the flesh, even when pain is so strong.

Bravery in finishing the hardest semester of Undergrad.

Bravery in facing an intimidating struggle, even when it feels like we've lost a part of the self, we know it's been restored to something even better.

Bravery to go somewhere far away because we know that's what is best for us to grow.

Bravery to fix what is broken, even if it takes a chiropractor, and ice pack, encouraging friends, and constant pain at the beginning; we know that things need to get worse before they can get better.

I don't have any pictures of me at the chiropractor, so this, I thought, would be a good fill-in for the moment ;)
Bravery to love and be married, even though so many asked why we don't just wait.  We knew it was the time, the right time, for us, and so far God has shown us just how providential His timing has been this year.

Brave ones.  That’s the word I kept hearing, and that’s the kind of person I kept seeing: brave.  This year has been a daunting year in more ways than I have mentioned.  Lots of pain, sorrow, triumph, and struggle to be faced and everyone faced bravely.  God is ever present in us, and He gives us our encouragement.  God gave us this word :: brave :: because He is brave for us.  Now let’s use this bravery from last year to face the next one!  What will the word of next year be?
Stay brave, world changers!

{Our First Christmas!}

The Brazell's first Christmas.
We opened presents in our fuzzy jammies.
We drank hot chocolate with Bourbon-flavored marshmallows.
We watched a ton of Downton Abbey.
We called family.
We went for a walk.
We relaxed, loved, and had fun :)

We carried on the tradition from my family of having fruit for Christmas stocking fillers.
We each opened one present at a time.
We thoughts about waiting for the evening to open presents (a tradition we want to start with our kids, someday!) but we were a little too eager to see what we got for the other ;)

Christmas time was here, full of joy and cheer.  Now it's over, or at least the day, but it will be back again next year!  We both know that Christmas is to be celebrated all year long, though ;)

We hope you had a Merry Christmas, and we hope you have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

{Brazell Interviews} The Story of Christmas

In light of Christmas being tomorrow, Frank and I wanted to share with you the true meaning and reason for Christmas.  Many people don't know, or fully understand, it's origin simply because of the culture we live in.  Christmas is not just about getting presents, or having Christmas parties.  The meaning of and reason for Christmas is actually very simple, very beautiful, and its law is love.  Please feel free to follow along with the Scripture links provided below.  Also, if you have any questions for us, we'd love to read them in the comment section below - we will answer as soon as we can!
Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

{Hysteria || Muse}

Today's song of the day

This was the first song I ever heard by Muse.  It was the summer between 6th and 7th grade when I was channel surfing the radio and came across a rock station playing out of Myrtle Beach.  I listened to it all the time.  When I heard a song I liked, I wrote it down, waited for it to come on again, and then recorded it on tape off the radio! Remember those days? Anyone?  Well this is a song I was pumped about having a 'copy' of on my tape player.  I listened to it most of the way back from the chiropractor tonight.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

{Farewell} Not Goodbye

To my dear friend, Annélise:
Thank you for all the talks we had in the past two years - especially the ones recently.  Thank you for our walks and the fun plans we played around with for the future.  Thank you for understanding that someday Frank and I will have 19 children - all named Annélise - and we will be living in the same one bedroom apartment.  Thank you for being such a great friend.  I am proud of you and how brave you have been through all you have faced, and you are the bomb dot com for who you are.  Although you are done with school, although you are moving on, although we will not exist on the same campus anymore, I still love you and I will miss those times when people ask if we are sisters (from another mister), but I will always consider you to be just that ;) Now who's going to laugh when I act thug and country?
This is farewell, for now, not goodbye - never goodbye :)

Friday, December 13, 2013

{Brazell Interviews} The Hobbit: the Desolation of Smaug

I... am... wow...
So we saw the 12:01 premiere last night and a bunch of other CIU students were there too (shout out, homies!)  I asked on Facebook what everyone's thought on it was, and I'm getting some good responses.  Well here is what Frank and I were thinking about the awesomeness portrayed in that theatre last night - I didn't want it to end!!!  I'm starting to get lost in that world again.. uh oh...
There are no specific spoiler alerts :)

Here are pictures showing our excitement before seeing the movie, and our reactions after seeing the movie:

So as you can see, I was pumped and ready to go, Frank was happy to go.  I was thrilled beyond measure afterwards, and Frank was a sleepy poo (who also really enjoyed the movie).

So in a few days time, we are going to do another video where we talk about all that we liked and didn't like from the movie.  Beware, that one will have spoiler alerts.
Also, check out this interactive map powered by Google Chrome in honor of the Hobbit!

What are your thoughts on The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug?
Leave the comments below!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

{Winter Formal 2013: Wanderlust}

This year's CIU Winter Formal theme was "Wanderlust".  It was beautiful.  There were multiple food stations offering basic foods from different places in the world.  Some of these places included Brazil, Paris, Hong Kong, and others.  We rode to Formal with our friend Jonah and our new friend Makayla (Jonah's girlfriend), and along with them, we sat at a table with our friends Megan, Alan, Courtney and Jeremy.  We danced to music from the swing era all the way to the Disco era; there was no raunchy business like you'd see anywhere else, and there was nothing but fun and respect for everyone there.  Everyone looked so good!

After eating, we danced...

I left my camera at home for this one - I wanted to be the one having fun, not the one missing out because I'm stuck behind a camera this time ;)  Thanks to our friend Jonah, we have these few snapshots of the time we had on Friday.  It was so much fun :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

{Brazell Interviews} Christmas!

So Frank pulled one out of the hat tonight!  It was a sweet and thoughtful surprise for him to have an arbitrary interview with me for my blog!  In this video, we discuss the things we love most about Christmas, what we are looking forward to, and I ask you a question to answer ;)  I hope you enjoy this little snippet of our lives and where we're at right now.  Love, Frank and Jessica!

Leave some love below!

{I didn't think to check myself before speaking about my favorite Christmas Carol: yes, Israel had a relationship with God before Jesus, the redemptive channel was through the Temple.  I was simply referring to a relationship with God that did not require burnt sacrifices through one mode of redemption.  Jesus brought the beginning of the Church, which means we can have communion with God anywhere at anytime, just as you would with a relationship - just want to make that clear ;) }

{Black Sheep || Metric}

Today's Song of the Day
I first heard this song in the first month of my freshman year of college after being asked by this boy with a beard to see a movie with some friends (or, people I didn't know).  That movie was Scott Pilgrim vs. the World; that boy is now my hubby. :)  In a way, we could say this is "one of our songs".  I woke up from a dream yesterday where a girl I go to school with was actually the lead singer of the real band, Metric.  

This is the 'music video' from the movie, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, but you can listen to the real version of the song here.

{Dear December Movies}

Dear Saving Mr. Banks: I admire your curious tale of how Mary Poppins changed your world and our world.  I await eagerly to see you and the wonderfully placed Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.  All children have a person in their lives that is like a superhero to save them and their family; I look forward to hearing about yours.
Dear Anchorman 2: It has been 8 long years since you last graced the News Network with your quirky, crude charm.  Hubby and I are greatly looking forward to you as our afternoon delight in a few weeks, and you better be classy!
Dear Hobbit: Oh. My. Gosh.  I get a tingled sensation all through my healing nerves when I see you talking to Smaug.  We already bought the midnight tickets; we have a date with you and your short, fierce, traveling companions this Thursday night ;)  Can't wait!
Dear Inside Llewyn Davis: I am captivated by the picture you portray and the music you share for folk lovers; I love the way you sound already.  I want to know more about you.  Please stay sweet for me when I see you at the end of the month.

Sincerely yours,

Saturday, December 7, 2013

{Thanksgiving With the Fam} Greve Edition

We only had a great time last Friday with my family celebrating Thanksgiving!

We all had a great time!
Emily and I took pictures, Frank and Nathan threw the football, mom was a cripple (Tiny Tim!) and we had some good conversations, catching up on what's going on.  Our meal was BIG with mom's homemade sweet potatoes, Emily's homemade quinoa stuffed green peppers, Nathan's homemade green bean casserole, my homemade mashed potatoes, my homemade cranberry sauce, steamed asparagus, steamed broccoli, and apple cider-ginger ale for drink!  Everything was soooo goood... I'm pretty sure we all went back for seconds and maybe even thirds... We ended the night by watching R.I.P.D.  It was a good relaxing day and I'm glad we were able to spend such a great Thanksgiving together :)