I would say my favorite Christmas ever, was the one my family spent out in Montana on my cousin Tina's diary farm with her family. The snow was several feet thick, the ice accumulated on the inside of the windows, we drank fresh milk from the dairy, had her delicious home-cookin, rode the snowmobiles in the fields, and warmed ourselves by the hot pellet stove - so many fond memories. Then years later when I was a teenager and just learning to drive, my friend Vanessa and I headed out to Montana for a couple weeks during the summer. I would say that's when my love for country music really kicked in. She started me listening to Billy Ray Cyrus & Trisha Yearwood and took me to my first country music concert with Joe Diffe and Collin Raye.
Well now that I'm all grown up and have a husband and house of my own, I was able to return the favor and offer up our home to have cousin Tina and her daughter Amanda and her boyfriend Jonathan as guests and come stay with us for a few days. It was kinda surreal actually, because a lot of time has come & gone and now we can sit down as adults, women and wives and relate on the same level. There was so many things I was able to learn about her that I just never knew when I was a kid. It was just the coolest thing to be sitting with her talking more like friends, rather than adult to teenager. I absolutely loved it and we laughed a ton. God's brought her through some tough places and just listening to her stories has built my own faith. I still very much look up to her and admire the woman God's shaped her to be. And now with her kids grown and out of the house, she's gone back to school to finish her college degree! She just amazes me and I'm so proud of her! (these pictures of Tina were taken when Jason & I were driving out to Tennessee and had stopped in Montana to stay with them for a couple days.)
We showed her around Nashville a bit and of course took them down to the honkey tonks on Broadway. But the main reason for their visit to Nashville was because Amanda has been accepted to the University of Mississippi Law School and she wanted to take a tour, plus she was able to audit a class at Vanderbilt Law School here in Nashville. There are a few different law schools in California, Texas and then in Mississippi that have all accepted her and she's trying to weigh her options for deciding which to go to. Amanda is just stunning and an absolute sweetheart and selfishly I hope that her path to law school leads here so that we'll have family in town and be able to hang out. Plus, it will also give Tina & Phil a reason to come visit!
It was literally a whirlwind of a trip and even though they were here only for the weekend, Tina was able to stay a couple more days with us which was really a blessing. And I loved that I was able to spend my valentine's with her, since Jason had to work that night. After talking for 3 hours that night, we finally headed to Mortons for dinner and sat at the bar eating lots of yummy food and drinks. It was so much fun!
I like a dummy didn't take my camera out once, but I know Amanda was able to get a picture or two, so I'm hoping I can get a copy of hers to post up eventually. But for now, here's a picture of Amanda & Jonathan that Tina had sent me, back from Amanda's soriority spring formal at Pepperdine last year. Aren't they an adorable couple?We'll miss you Tina, Amanda & Jonathan! Thanks for staying with us!