Friday, July 25, 2014

Sweet Berries B&B (Maryville, TN)

From Sweet Berries's website
Last weekend, Kameron & I stayed at a lovely B&B in Maryville, TN. We had just finished up a week-long missionary orientation with TEAM missions agency and needed a vacation to clear our minds & sort through all of the new information about fundraising, working with our church, and realizing our vision. We also wanted a few days to postpone jumping into the business of work, life, and the beginnings of writing support letters (watch out! they are coming for you!).

Instead of searching for the cheapest hotel room for the weekend (our usual game plan), I decided to surprise Kameron by reserving the "Out of Africa" room at Sweet Berries B&B. As we plan to be missionaries in Zimbabwe Africa, I thought it would be appropriately thematic. I was referred to the B&B by none other than, Google! They were the first result when I searched "Maryville, TN bed & breakfast. And we were sure pleased!

Sweet Berries is run by a lovely Christian couple named Darrel & Louise. They were the perfect hosts after the spiritually challenging week we had at missionary orientation. They are both nurses (like me!) and really had a heart for serving & hosting. It was quite obvious that their spiritual gifts are both hospitality. (I felt bad asking for an extra towel because they hated the idea that my needs were not being met). Darrel is a very supportive husband that is able to read Louise's mind & help out wherever is needed. He leads prayer before breakfast and always ends with a phrase that goes something like "Thank you Lord for this wonderful life, and for my lovely wife." (this picture of them is taken from their website & is a little out of date. D&L no longer have those hairstyles).
There is covered parking. (Perfect if you come on motorcycle which many guests do).
 We walked into building and were welcomed by this lovely sign. (notice K's name is spelt right!)
 Our "Out of Africa" room was very cozy!
The bed was like a cloud. I could have slept for days!
There was a safari theme with all of my favorite animals (look at those giraffes!)
 I liked this statue of the tribal people.

Each room has a closet, a dresser, a private bathroom with a bath tub & shower, bath robes, toiletries, and a mini fridge.
 The food was to die for!
Each night Darrel & Louise set out desert.
The first night was carrot cake with the best frosting. Wow!
The second night was peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream (not pictured). Since they knew we were not coming back to the B&B until later that night, they kept the ice cream in a mini-fridge freezer that was located in our room. Wasn't that thoughtful?
 This is the view from the breakfast table. Birds of all color would perform dances in the air for us as they feasted on their own breakfast.
Breakfast is served around a common table. I loved how as a community of strangers, we could come together at the breakfast table and share in the heavenly three-course breakfast Louise prepared for us.
Yep. You read that right. THREE-COURSE BREAKFAST!
 Chocolate chocolate-chip muffin
 Fruit plate, featuring grilled pineapple
 Blackberry & cream cheese stuffed french toast
Those were served on the first morning we were there. & you better believe as much as we wanted to finish every bite. We could not! Good thing Darrel brought everyone out to-go boxes. There was a couple staying there that weekend as well, who are regulars. They had been there some 14 nights in the past 3 months. Before the meal started, they warned us to "pace ourselves." Yeah, even the regulars were not able to finish all three courses. 
The following was served on the second morning:
 A lemon muffin/cake. (moist, tart goodness) with blue berries.

Fruit cocktail with a mint sauce. 


Did I mention that the berries, veggies & herbs are from Louise's garden?

& if some how you were still hungry between all the breakfast & dessert, there was snacks & popcorn available in the common area that you could munch on while watching one of their many DVDs on the big screen TV. There were also sodas & bottles of water, as well as hot tea & coffee whenever you wanted. 

Unfortunately, it rained ALL WEEKEND, otherwise we would have make much use of their outdoor sitting areas. Porches. Decks. Hammocks. Garden benches. Swings. Something you should know about us: Southern porches are our favorite things. They also have outdoor games like lawn darts & corn hole. Kayaks are available to rent (something we wanted to do, but decided not to get soaked in the rain). 

Wow. Wow. Wow. We really do recommend Sweet Berries B&B. When can we go back? We want to return one October to see the Smoky Mountains in the fall. What could be better than Louise's breakfast with a side of autumn leaves?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tennessee for TEAM Missionary Orientation & a Quick Vacay

Last week, we took a week off of work and hopped an airplane to Tennessee. The first part of the week was  spent in TEAM missionary orientation, and the weekend was set aside as a quick vacation for us before we headed back home.

As we posted earlier, Kam & I have been called by God to a year long stint as missionaries in Zimbabwe Africa. We are going through a missions agency called TEAM (The Evangelical Alliance Mission). TEAM works along side its missionaries and the sending churches of those missionaries to establish churches all over the world. During this weeklong orientation, we (along with about 20 other missionaries) sat in "class" most of the week to learn missionary "nuts & bolts." There were sessions on the core values of TEAM, sharing our story & vision with others, and FUNDRAISING! {be aware: there will be many upcoming posts with the opportunity for ya'll to help with this fundraising process. We will need a team of prayer partners & a team of financial supporters. We are not alone in our call to Zimbabwe. We need YOU! If you are interested in supporting us with a financial gift right now, click here. If you are interested in more information contact us. We want to have conversations with you about the importance of your involvement.

There was of course, some down time during the week. One night we were out walking around and heard some jazz music, so we ventured to find where it was coming from & discovered a swing dance club was having a dance outside on a big patio area (just earlier that day I had mentioned to Kam that the patio would be the perfect spot for a Southern dance!). After watching people, young & old, dance to classy, jazzy music, Kam asked me to dance the last song with him. One of the other members of our orientation group snapped this picture of us.
One of my favorite parts of the week was meeting other missionaries who have just been appointed by TEAM. Although none of them are coming to Zimbabwe with us (many are going to Japan, as well as Peru, Spain, Germany, and other countries that are not safe to mention), we still bonded over a shared vision. I hope we stay in touch with those extraordinary people.

Our brains got so so so stuffed with valuable information, that we needed a little break before coming back home, so we spent the weekend at a B&B. It was our first experience at a B&B, and we were sure impressed! The place we chose is called Sweet Berries B&B in Maryville, TN. Darrell & Louise are the hosts. They are a Christian couple who love to show hospitality to all who enter their beautiful home. Louise makes the BEST and BIGGEST breakfast you ever did eat! & Darrell is a humble & helpful partner who gave us many ideas on how to spend the days sightseeing around the Smokies. {I think I might have to dedicate a whole post to this B&B & the beautiful couple who own it, so I won't share too much.}

My girl friend Jenna & her new husband were in Marville, TN as well on their HONEYMOON. So we met up one evening to catch up. Jenna was a bridesmaid in our wedding. & I had to miss her walking down the aisle because of this orientation trip. But how random was it that she was honeymooning in the same place as where we were?!

There were two chances we got to go hiking in the Smoky Mountains. What a beautiful place! Wow.  We could not stop exclaiming about the scenery & proclaiming the awesomeness of God's creation! Everything was so GREEN!

This is a little black bear eating blackberries along our hiking trail.
We took a drive on the "Tail of the Dragon" - a stretch of US 129 with 318 curves in 11 miles.
A great opportunity to clamp our GoPro to the rear-view mirror & document!

We fell in love with this part of the country -- although we were drowning in the humidity. Perhaps you will found us back in the South one day. You can probably count on it!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Art Journal: Week 7

Wow you guys! I actually made this page a whole week before it was due. (I scheduled this post before we left for Tennessee last weekend.)

The challenge: Rainbow Bright (But Not Tacky!)
The prompt: besties!

My friend Andrew & I were quite the pair during our senior year in high school. Oh boy! So many memories & inside jokes. We have grown apart, but still have special "holidays" we celebrate together, and we write many letters, and have all the fun. He was just in town last weekend -- it was great to catch up!

View the progress of my 52 Weeks of Art Journaling. 

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