Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Kelleys in Chi-town

Last weekend, we, along with Matt's parents and grandmother, flew up to Chicago to celebrate the marriage of Matt's cousin Christopher, and Viktoria, his beautiful bride. They got married in a private ceremony in Florence, Italy, on October 3 (11 days before our wedding!), then went on to Poland for a reception with Viktoria's father's family (she is Ukrainian, but her father lives in Poland now). So, finally, on January 20, they had a reception in the states--she got a lot of use out of her gorgeous wedding gown!

Matt and I went up on Friday, for the sole purpose of seeing "Wicked" on stage. We'd listened to the soundtrack for months, and I'd read the book, but none of that could replace seeing it live!

Dressed for the theatre!

Me and my best friend from 2nd-4th grade, Gina Renzaglia. She moved to North Carolina in 1990 (one of the most traumatic events of my childhood) and now is in Chicago for grad school. We got together for lunch, and she showed Matt and I the sights, including "The Bean," a giant mirrored bean in Millenium Park--seen behind us.

Saturday night was the reception, held on the 70th floor of a building near Navy Pier, from which we could see the whole city, all lit up. It was a fairly intimate (around 30 guests) dinner party, featuring a fabulous filet mignon! Afterwards, the younger crowd (including the bride and groom) went out to a champagne bar, where we enjoyed bottle after bottle and some great seasoned oysters. Matt and I got to bed around 3am, though we hear the party kept going at a dance club til 5am!

Matt at the reception, with cousin Brian and his wife Roxanne in the background.

The happy couple!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Matt's First Book Byline

While Matt has written reviews and other articles for youth ministry magazines for several years, he was recruited to write for several new curricula that Abingdon Press is developing for youth. Coming out in 2007 will be "The Amazing Bible Race," a program challenging youth groups to read the entire Bible in two years (Matt wrote the commentary and study guide for Job, and Romans-Revelations), and "Claim the Life," a six-year spiritual formation resource for youth. Check them all out at

Those promise to be really outstanding resources, and will be used for many years to come. While another of Matt's writing projects will only be used during the Summer of 2007, it is still super-exciting to see his name on the cover of the book as the sole author of "Crosswind," the youth resource for Cokesbury's 2007 Vacation Bible School curriculum. Yay for Matt!

Friday, January 12, 2007

The New Year II

While I meant to discuss the actual new year in that last post, I actually didn't get far past New Year's Eve, and failed to mention that 2007 promises to be a big and exciting year for us (maybe not quite as exciting as 2006, but still pretty darn cool).

First, academically... Matt will graduate with his M.Div on May 11. He has focused his studies on homiletics, liturgics, and theology, and by all accounts has prepared a bright future for himself in the church, academia, and the literary world. It's hard to believe that we met the day our Vandy careers began, and that we were engaged by the time of my graduation and now we're married by the time of Matt's graduation. Crazy how times change and how the simple decision of choosing one school over another can change your life forever! Come June, we will experience life with two full-time salaries for the first time, and life without Vanderbilt Divinity School, bless its heart. (and I mean that in the southern sense; the way people can say, "That child is a little monster, bless his heart," or "that school is the devil's playground, God love it.")

This year is bringing academic changes for me as well. After being so gung-ho to do a Ph.D. in religion, I have come to my senses (at least temporarily) and decided to study graphic design instead, which will enhance my marketing career and perhaps give me a leg up in editing, which I still have an interest in pursuing. I'm taking evening classes, part time, at the International Academy of Design and Technology (which feels far away, since it's off Briley Pkwy, but actually is less than 10 miles from our house in Green Hills). I've had one session each of my two classes for this quarter--Design Fundamentals and Typography I. I really enjoyed them both, and found them very relaxing, unlike my doctoral religion classes would have been. In answering a few questions for admission to IADT, I was asked whether I consider myself a more academic or creative person. It was a difficult question, partially because it is not an either/or (especially for me), though I understand they ask it because most IADT students are young people who don't really enjoy school or intellectual pursuits. I eventually ended up answering that I consider myself a gifted academic, but I am happier when I am being creative. Though I have been battling my own pride--going from a master's degree at a top-tier university to an associate's program at a career college--I think this is going to be a really good thing for me.

2007 also brings career changes for Matt and I... After a year and a half in my theoretically-cool but usually very boring position in market research, the special project funds out of which my salary comes are expiring, and I will be moving into a different position in the company. I don't know what yet, but they have expressed commitment to keeping me on, so we're working to find a good fit (probably in marketing, maybe in editing). I am really excited about this prospect, and hope to move to a unit with windows!

Matt, who has worked in ministry positions for 8 years now (pretty impressive for a 26-year old) will receive his first full-time appointment in June. This is a both exciting and scary thing in the United Methodist Church, as pastors can be assigned anywhere within the conference, which for us covers most of Middle Tennessee, up to the Kentucky border and down to the Alabama border. Knowing that Matt is cool, young, and progressive, the board would be foolish to put him in a tiny rural parish, but you never know. We get whiffs of exciting possible appointments now and again, but everything is confidential and nothing is official until April or May.

Closely tied to Matt's job is the third exciting change of 2007... We expect to buy a house this summer! --something in the direction of wherever Matt is appointed, but hopefully not too bad a commute for me into downtown Nashville! I already find myself checking out the listings on, though there are still too many variables at this point to really start looking. This is the equivalent of perusing before I was even engaged, though--I love to fuel my own excitement and daydream away!!

Dining room...check. Front porch...check. Fenced-in yard...check.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

The New Year

Matt and I had a fun New Year's Eve, taking in the Titans' last game of the season. I personally am not a big fan of football (except UK football, but even then, I don't really follow the game), but I knew Matt would love his main Christmas gift--the tickets to the Dec. 31 home game against the New England Patriots. I was prepared to enjoy the beer and the people-watching of the event, all while making my dear husband happy--which was the main point of the gift.

I was not prepared for the pouring down rain that soaked us the entire first half. Making matters worse, our seats were right under the lights, so rain caught on the lights and dripped on us in even larger droplets. Finally, the sun came out around halftime! A giant rainbow appeared, and hope that we might win the game and make it to the playoffs emerged! Unfortunately, we couldn't eke out the win, and we left the stadium with our still-not-totally-dry tails between our legs.

For the record, my new year's resolution was not the stereotypical "to lose weight," but rather "to get financially organized. Matt's new year's resolution is to not get annoyed with me while I try to lose weight.

I bought Quicken, at the recommendation of my childhood friend Lindsay Rutledge Patterson (who will become a mommy in about 2 months!) and have been sorting our finances out with reasonable success. Matt is not quite as successful in keeping his resolution thus far.

(Perhaps my resolution should be to not tell lies that make Matt look bad in this blog :0)

Happy New Year's, everyone!

Inaugural Post

Inspired by a few friends with relatively ordinary lives who seem to still have a lot to say, I figured I'd start a blog for Matt and my married adventures. We've been married a few months already (three months on Sunday), but in the great scheme of things, this is still the beginning of our married life, and this blog can be the record of our poor (grad students and recent grad school grads don't make a whole lot) and infamous (we affirm Jesus' gospel to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted) lifestyle.

To catch up on the "undocumented" time of our marriage so far...
we got married on October 14, 2006. It was a gorgeous fall day in Louisville, Kentucky. The ceremony was at St. Paul UMC in the highlands, and the reception was held at my dream location--the Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville. We were surrounded by 10 attendants made up of siblings, cousins, college friends, and high school friends, as well as our loving parents and 200-or so other loved ones. It was the happiest day ever!

A month later, we went on our honeymoon to Italy, visiting Rome, Siena, Venice, and Naples/Pompeii. We are absolutely in love with Roma--"the Eternal City"--but had a fabulous time everywhere we went.

We left for Italy several days before Thanksgiving, and returned several days after, so it was like leaving during autumn and returning to festiveglowinghohohochristmasland. So, once we recombobulated (hey, if Bush can make up words, so can I*) from the trip, we decorated our lovely little duplex for Christmas--with both a small fake tree and a big real one--and navigated the waters of firstmarriedchristmas. Actually, despite the reputation this holiday peril carries, it was quite simple for us, given that Matt's job left us little choice of how and where to spend the high holy days. We stayed in Nashville through Christmas Eve, celebrating with Matt's family that evening and attending Christmas Eve service at Crievewood, where Matt preached his first Christmas Eve service! The next morning, we opened our presents to each other (the biggies--a gorgeous bracelet Matt picked out for me, Titans tickets from me to him, and a cappucino machine we both enjoy), and then after an hour and a half of searching for Matt's money clip, we got on the road to Louisville. Charlotte--our precious kitty and my total pride and joy--delayed our trip a bit longer by *expressing* her displeasure with her cat carrier before we were even out of Davidson County. Three hours later, we pulled into my parents' driveway, at which point Matt put on his pea-coat, reached into the pocket, and found his money clip.

Our poor and infamous lifestyle is full of such ironies. Enjoy the blog.

***On making up words: Matt and I invented a new one last night: Iraqued (adj.)
Pronunciation: I-racked
Definition: to suffer or die for no reason.
For example: "Those guys at Enron who went to jail for shredding papers they had no idea were illegal really got iraqued."


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