walk with me strong

Monday, September 01, 2008

Read This Book!

My coworker recommended this book, and once I started reading, I couldn't put it down. It is such an interesting story about Greg Mortenson, a man who is changing the world... The book is called Three Cups of Tea, co-authored by David Oliver Relin. I think everyone should read it.


www.ikat.org (Central Asia Institute)

Pictures of the house are coming soon... I promise!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

honeymoon pics!

EJ and I spent our honeymoon in the mountains of Colorado, where we embarked on a new adventure every day. We climbed, hiked, and climbed some more, and we were exhausted by the end of our trip! Our cabin was on the top of a mountain, up 9,000 feet, where the air was clean and crisp, and COLD! We slept in, relaxed by the fire, and enjoyed the peaceful quiet. It was a perfect honeymoon. Here are some photos!

The Rocky Mountains are more gorgeous that we had imagined!

This is a bridge that is suspended 1500 feet over a gorge, with a beautiful river below. We walked this bridge, as winds blew 50mph, causing the bridge to sway side to side, and I thought we were going to die! Never again will I cross this bridge...
One day, we went on a hike, climbing to 11,000 feet, where we finally couldn't go any further because we could no longer see the trail beneath all the snow!

For your viewing pleasure, this is a video of EJ tumbling down the dune.

more honeymoon pics!

Here's our cabin:

We visited the Garden of the Gods. It was pretty amazing.

We traveled up Pike's Peak, but we couldn't go all
the way to the top, because it was closed due to snow.

Here we are, the newlyweds!!

EJ climbed everything that he could find!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We are Married!

Our wedding day was perfect, and it exceeded our expectations in every way! We want to thank all of our guests for joining us in celebration, and a special thanks to those who traveled so far to be here. The weekend flew by, and I'd love to relive our wedding day over and over! Here are a few snapshots that Ed's mom was able to capture that day...

A dashingly handsome group of men, don't you think?
Such a special group of women - my gorgeous bridesmaids!

Mr. and Mrs. Smail, exiting the church, just married!

Our first dance as husband and wife.

Dancing with my dad - doesn't he look handsome!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Greetings from Charleston!

Because it has been so long since I've updated my blog, I'm pretty sure that my parents are the only readers left!! So, here's to you, Mom and Dad!

Life is good here and every day we thank God for our many blessings. Ed and I are both enjoying our jobs. Ed is learning and accepting new responsibilities with his promotion, and I am learning an entirely different field of nursing in the recovery room. I like my job, and I am really enjoying the learning process, however stressful it may be! It is a good challenge for me, and I feel lucky to have been offered this opportunity.

As we count down the days to our wedding (less than two months to go!!), we are finishing the final plans and excitedly opening the RSVP's as they arrive in the mail. We rush to the mailbox every day in hopes of seeing those little envelopes! Ed and I are so excited to be married, and the fun is really beginning as our friends and family have graciously planned wedding showers and bachelor/bachelorette parties for us. Last week we met with the photographer for our engagement photo session. That was fun! It was a bit weird to act romantic in front of a perfect stranger holding a camera, but we're hoping the photos will be beautiful!

The wonderful news of this day: Ed's house has finally sold!! After months of difficulty, we finally came to the conclusion that we would have to have a new well drilled on the property in order for any buyer to be approved for financing. Along came a buyer, and we have closed on the house just two weeks after drilling the well. What a relief it is to know that we will no longer be paying a mortgage plus rent every month! AND... this means that we can finally start looking for a home here in Charleston!

As if we don't have enough on our plates, Ed has to have another surgery this month. After his ACL repair last July, the incision has never totally healed. After visiting a new surgeon here in Charleston, it was determined that he has a retained suture beneath the skin, which must be removed and will require a trip to the operating room. After 8 months of waiting for this incision to close, Ed is certainly ready to get this taken care of, but he's not too pleased about having to go back to surgery. Of course, he has his own private nurse, so he is confident that he will be in good hands. Especially with my new recovery room training - ha! It will be a difficult job trying to keep Ed from going to the gym the day after surgery, but I've made enough threats that I think he'll take it easy for at least a few days afterward!

Life is busy. Life is good! Life will someday slow down, right? I think only a month ago I was complaining that I was bored!! But I certainly can't complain about a thing, as we have had a wonderful experience here in Charleston for the past two months. As we continue to make a life for ourselves here, we continue to be thankful for all that we are given.

Thanks, Mom and Dad, for faithfully reading!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Life in a New Place

Since my last post, a few things have changed...

Ed and I had a wonderful Christmas at home with my family in Indiana. We had time to visit with family and friends, as well as get some much needed rest. Prior to leaving for Christmas, I worked my last week at Duke, where it was harder to say goodbye than I had initially thought it would be. I had found a home at Duke over the past couple of years, and I didn't want to say goodbye to the many coworkers that I had grown close to...

Upon our return to Raleigh, we packed up the house and moved down to Charleston, South Carolina, a relocation that we've known about for months but has finally taken place. Because we are relocating for his job, Ed's company provided movers, which I would recommend to anyone!! They packed up all of our stuff into a big truck, drove it down to SC, then carried everything up to the third floor of our new apartment building. Thanks to Ed's parents, we had almost everything unpacked that weekend. The transition to an apartment from a house on three acres has not been as difficult as I had imagined, mostly because we enjoy living so close to town! We are less than five minutes from the gym and the grocery store, ten minutes from Ed's office, and two minutes from my new place of employment!

It has taken a lot of time and patience, but I am finally employed! I interviewed at a couple of hospitals the first week we were here, but things move very slowly here in our new southern homeland, so I have only recently found out that I was selected for a great job, hopefully worth the wait. I will be doing something new, working in the recovery room... so as of February 4th, I will be learning and experiencing a new area of nursing! I really wanted this particular job, as it seems to be a nice working environment with a dream schedule, so I was surprised and excited when I found out that I had been chosen!

God is teaching me again about patience, as I will have been unemployed for about six weeks... I have never had so much free time on my hands, and after moving, I have gone from being super busy with no time to spare, to now being bored with more time to spare than I know what to do with! I am trying to enjoy all the downtime, but I will be relieved when I have a job to attend every day!

Ed and I are doing very well here - we have found a great gym and what will hopefully turn out to be a church that we can call home. Ed is enjoying his job, as he takes on more responsibility with new projects. The weather is great, and we're spending time exploring downtown - we ran a 5K last weekend along the battery, which is the historic area of homes overlooking the harbor. We are looking forward to our future here, hopefully what will become our new place to call home.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Gingerbread Holiday House!

We made a gingerbread house. Ed said, "How long before we can eat it? The tree is looking good..." I think we'll take a bite out of it soon!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Santa Claus is coming to town...

Christmas is right around the corner, and EJ and I have been working hard to Christmasify the house... We picked out a most perfect tree (see pictures), set up the nativity, hung stockings, sang Christmas carols...

We did all of our Christmas shopping in one weekend, and thanks to a lovely post office employee, our gifts have all been crammed into one box and they're now on their way to Indiana. In only a couple of weeks, we'll be on our way to Fort Wayne for the much-anticipated Ruprecht Christmas!

We attended EJ's office Christmas party last night, and we ate too much and had lots of fun. Here's a picture of us trying to set the timer for a photo in front of his parents' Christmas tree...

I love Christmas! What a wonderful Christmas this will be... We are so blessed, so happy!

Monday, November 12, 2007

engagement story...

I have never been more surprised in my life than on October 23. Tuesday evening, I walked in the door and Ed had a present for me. He is always doing something sweet, and he likes to surprise me with presents, so I didn't suspect anything out of the ordinary.

I opened the gift - it was a round trinket box with a pair of earrings inside. I take the earrings out of the box, and underneath them is something that looks like a ring. A ring?? What's going on, I wonder? He grabs the ring, gets on his knee, and with tears in each eye, he asks me to marry him. My Eddie, with his hands shaking, holding a ring, and all I say is, "Are you serious?!?!" It doesn't seem real, my heart is pounding and I'm in shock. Then I say, "of course I'll marry you!" and we hug. Oh yeah, there's a ring on my finger, I'd better look at it. Wow, it's sparkly. I like it. Then I ask him how he pulled this whole thing off without me having any idea...

His parents gave him a diamond that his great uncle Al had left to their family when he passed away. What a special gift for which I am so very thankful. Ed took the diamond to a jeweler and told him exactly what he wanted, and the jeweler drew it, carved it from wax, made the mold, and created this perfect ring. Ed had been working on this since June, so when the ring was finally ready, he couldn't wait to give it to me and he proposed that very day. I love this man more than I can describe here in words. He exceeds my every dream. He is my perfect partner, and now he has asked me to be his wife!

Our plans are coming together nicely, and although our lives have instantly become twice as busy, we are enjoying the planning process. Our wedding day will be May 3, 2008, and we can't wait for the day to arrive!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I love Colts

I just have to make a quick post about football. Colts football. I haven't seen a game since opening night, because I live in North Carolina, and for some reason they like to show the Panthers games here. And the Patriots (from now on, to be known as the CHEATERS) have been getting a lot of TV time here - what's up with that? Brady = whining cheater.

Peyton - best quarterback ever. Smart, talented, reliable. Not a cheater.

Joseph Addai - he is awesome. Did you see his leap into the end zone a few weeks ago? High fantasy numbers, except for last week of course with his injury, but he'll be back, trust me, and he'll still be the best.

Dallas Clark - holy crap. He is good. Still has that great smile on his face, even after he takes a big hit. He seems to be able to catch anything!

Bob Sanders - Good to have him back. He's pretty stinkin' good. He plays like Polamalu, don't you think? Cool hair like Polamalu too...

Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne - they've always been so awesome.

This week: bye week. Next week: Monday Night Football!!

Friday, September 07, 2007


Ed took me to the zoo! We saw lots of animals along the 6-mile walk (a long walk on a very hot day). My favorites were the cute monkeys. Ed's favorites were the chimpanzees. Monkeys are so fun, like miniature little people. Ed can talk to the animals, as he demonstrated by making very loud monkey hollers in the monkey house. I am continually impressed by his many talents. I wish the zoo would have had a hippo, but other than that, it was a wonderful day!

Friday, August 31, 2007

time with my homegirls (and boy!)

I recently spent some time at home in Indy with my girls... Anne, Jenny, Cristina, Suzanne, Leela, and Megan. It was so fun to see everyone again! I stayed with Anne and we spent the whole time just doing girl stuff (shopping, mostly), and I was immersed in "SYTYCD" drama ("So You Think You Can Dance") as the season finale unfolded. These girls voted for two hours straight! Oh, and Cristina - your kids are SO CUTE!! I also spent the day with Mom, as she took a Friday off to drive down and spend time with me.
Thanks, girls, for the best girl week I've had in a long time! And the good news - I'll be able to come home for Christmas this year! See you in December...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Look Out Bambi!

Ed and I spent the day at Bass Pro Shops, gearing up for the fall hunting season. I'm looking forward to some delicious venison sausage this year. Can you see us under all this camo?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

I have returned to BlogLand

I've been busy, that's my excuse for neglecting the blog for the past month or so... It's been a great month, that's for sure! Here's what I did:

June 14-21: Boston! I spent 8 awesome days on a mission trip with our church high school youth. We started with a few days in Maine, where we worked and played at a youth camp. We cleaned up the grounds to prepare the camp for the summer. It was hard landscaping work, and we had a great time. Then, we packed up and headed to Boston for five days with Youthworks, where we participated in different urban ministry programs in the town of Lynn. My work group spent a couple days in a soup kitchen followed by a couple days at a day center for Alzheimers' patients. It was fun to experience new things and to watch the high schoolers' eyes opened to new people and ideas. We worked, played, prayed, sang, laughed, and learned. Days were long and exhausting, sleeping quarters cramped, but nonetheless a valuable experience for all of us.

June 29-July 1: Pennsylvania! For his cousin's wedding, I traveled with Ed and his parents to the mountains of PA, where we stayed in his family's cabin. I met his wonderfully sweet Grandmother and loved her instantly. Ed and I were brave and we camped outside in our super awesome tent, temperatures low in the 40's at night. He wore shorts and a t-shirt, while I wore long underwear, sweatpants, sweatshirt, and two pairs of socks. If I buried my head into my sleeping bag, I wasn't too cold! The wedding was fun too, where we got to show off our moves on the dance floor!

July 6-10: Beach! My family spent their summer vacation at North Myrtle Beach, so Ed and I joined them for a few days... My parents and Adam came down, along with my aunts and uncles and cousins, making it quite the family reunion! Ed's parents also came down for a couple of days, so everyone got to spend time together. It was great! We spent time in the water, playing in the waves, where my boogie-boarding champion boyfriend displayed his talents for us all. Morning runs on the sand, balcony with a view of the ocean, time with Mom and Dad - so good! I love vacation...

July 11: Ed finally had his ACL repaired, after injuring his knee months ago. He is the best patient ever! After a long two-hour surgery, he has been doing all the rehab exercises and hasn't whined once. In my experience, men in pain are some of the worst patients, but not Ed! He is tough, disciplined, determined, and of course handsome. I'm so proud of you, EJ!

I'm so thankful for this past month - a lot of time spent with family, friends, and seeing new places. I am so blessed.

Friday, June 08, 2007


I got a huge shock last month when my best friend Anne came down for a surprise visit! She and Ed had cooked up this surprise in secret, and I had absolutely no idea! Ed had me believing that his cousin Joe was coming down to surprise his family, so here I thought I was being sneaky and keeping a secret from them. We went to meet "Joe" at the airport that morning, and we're standing there watching people come down the escalator, and because I'm staring intently waiting for Joe to arrive, I didn't even see Anne until she was standing right in front of me and Ed said, "Who's that?". "It's Anne!!" I couldn't believe it, I was so shocked that it took me more than a few minutes to comprehend that she was here and that Joe was actually not coming! Anne and I had lots of fun girl time (oh how I miss you, Anne!), including a nice little trip to the shopping mall where we barely made it in the door before we had each purchased a new pair of shoes. She also had some time to get to know Ed and his family, and as the pictures show, we had lots of fun! Thank you so much, Anne, for the greatest surprise! I love you!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"Where Freedom Lives"

Ed and I spent last weekend in Washington, DC. We had a great time! We saw the memorials, toured the Capitol, and visited quite a few museums. We really loved the American Indian Museum and the Holocaust Memorial Museum. We also enjoyed the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. We had a chance to see the new World War II Memorial, which was beautiful, and of course we stood in front of the White House and waited for George to come out to greet us. He never came, but we did catch a glimpse of his lawn boy, and did you know that there is a man with a gun that stands on the roof? I got a picture of him too. We were in town at the same time as the Queen's visit, but we never ran into her on the subway. We had a great weekend, and here are some pictures!