surprise elements

To kick off the new year, my husband and I went adventuring! We learned that trips don’t always go as planned, but that gives them a nice kick of fun surprises. It was such a fun “getaway” — I loved every minute of it!

We went the long way to Blowing Rock in order to visit Asheville and to find out that the Blue Ridge Parkway was closed that particular day–making our trip longer and lovelier.

Upon arriving to Blowing Rock, I found out that sometimes things look even better in person than they do online and that family owned inns are neat!

I never even knew Blowing Rock, NC existed. I hope to return one day. It was so quaint and warm, despite the below freezing temps!ImageI love Bison Burgers…I wish I had taken a picture of the meal I ate at Blowing Rock Ale House. One of those burgers you dream about for days.


Loads of snow plus my Honda Accord equalled not making it up to Beech Mountain. No prob bob, we ski Sugar Mountain! Thanks for being fifteen minutes apart from each other.

Surprise! I forgot how terrible I am at skiing! But never fear, my hubs rocked and cheered me on the whole time. I love this dude.Image



Hello, 2014!

I am greeting you with open arms!

2013 was pretty incredible. It’s the year I cried when I moved out of the yellow, corner room of The Cheetah. It’s the year I will always count back to when I’m old and gray and trying to remember how long I’ve been married. It’s the year I turned 24. It’s the year I began to live with a boy. 

Here are some pictures of our marriage adventures thus far. From our honeymoon, to out first meal cooked, to our first camping trip, to our Christmas cookie baking and decorating, to our first Christmas, to freezing our butts off in Nashville.




loooong over-due!

In all the excitement of this season of life, I TOTALLY forgot I even had a blog.

I’m beyond pumped to finally announce on this little blog of mine that…

Ryan and I are getting married!

It’s happening. and SOON!! (He asked me to marry him in February so it’s about time I blog about it!) I’m giddy and ready to marry my best friend. I love our story. I love that it was perfectly and gracefully written by our God. Here are some pictures that our friend Conner Harville took the night Ryan asked me to marry him! Image Image ImageImage

As you might be able to tell, Ryan asked me to marry him along the Tennessee River!

I’ll give the abridged version of how it all went down…

Ryan had concocted a plan to surprise me, but if you really knew me (or barely knew me) you would know that I am pretty curious/nosey so this required major creativity on his part! Step 1: Ryan told me that he was going to be at Windy Gap helping out a friend of his with music that weekend, so I thought he was out of town. Step 2: He got my friends in on the plan. My friend Cassie was in town for an “interview” (yeah, the interview I was praying for, yet wasn’t real HA)…so my high school friends were going to dinner at Calhouns on the River because Becca was craving their Asian salad, or so I thought. We sat down at a table in a corner so that I was facing the window. I was indecisively scanning the menu when I felt a tight squeeze on my shoulders. I looked up from the menu, saw big grins on my friends’ faces, and turned around to find Ryan standing there!  I think I said, “You’re not at Windy Gap!” He then asked me to walk with him outside the restaurant, so we started walking alongside the river. I was, of course, giggling and asking a million-bagillion questions and he was laughing at me for spazzing uncontrollably. We sat down on this swinging bench and he gave me a book that he had made of our story from the very beginning up until that point. We looked through it together with smiles and tears over the sweet way that God drew us both to Himself and in the process linked us together as best friends and soon to be husband and wife!

That’s the short version, so I keep from writing a novel!

Then, Ryan and I were able to celebrate with our families and our friends! It was such a joy-filled night that I will always treasure!










rachel + reuben

“I LOVE LOVE.” –Jessica Marie Hoaglin, The Great

If you can’t tell based on the happy yellow leaves, I’ll have you know I snapped these pictures during the peak of autumn. Rachel and Reuben are so full of life. I was super pumped that they let me take some engagement pictures for them! I enjoyed every minute of it. Giddy for them that they get to tie that knot on June 1st.

(insert “eeeeeek!”)

Miss Camp-Bell

I confess I fell into the blog-less abyss for a while…

Lots to tell.

I am no longer a Brown Bag employee.
I am in the middle of semester #2 of grad school.
I am now a Knox County substitute teacher.
Those are the big things. I’d love to elaborate on the small happenings of life, but I’ll save those for another day.

For now, I’ll fill the space with lessons I’ve learned as a substitute teacher…

There’s a new sheriff in town.
For one day.
It could be good.
It could be bad.
It could be weird.
It could be a little bit of all three.
First graders are sweet little angels.
“My mom won’t let me read Diary of a Wimpy Kid; she says it’s inappropriate.”
Third graders are professional tattle-talers.
“He called me an oaf yesterday and then told the teacher that I called him a black oaf!”
Fifth grade boys are funny creatures.
“Miss Campbell, can I touch your hair?”

Other miscellaneous observations:

  • Kids these days know how to Gangnam Style like its their job.
  • If I write my name on the board for kids who are hooked-on-phonics to read, they will pronounce it as a compound word: Miss Campbell = Miss Camp-Bell

Oddly enough, for some reason, (most) of these kids actually listen to me. They don’t know me. I don’t know them. I walk in, ask them to complete tasks, to sit in their seats, to listen…and (for the most part) they actually do. I’m interested to find the threshold where kids stop listening to substitutes—because we all know it happens.

*sidenote* If I were a contestant on the Bachelor, my occupation would say “substitute teacher” and that’s just funny stuff. Hey Lindsey, it’s an honorable profession. You go girl.


Another little tale from work…

Danny and his wife are deaf. They’ve eaten at Brown Bag a couple of times since I started working. Sometimes he types his order out on his i-Phone, but today he was writing it out for me. His wife signed to him what she wanted, but, in true female fashion, she changed her mind. Danny had a one-track mind about writing out their orders, set on what she had already told him and oblivious to the “tap-tap-tap” on his shoulder from his wife trying to explain that she’s indecisive.

She then mouths, “He never listens to me.” Then, with a sigh and a smile, she mouths, “Men”.

Oh the irony…

I cracked up. “Is this okay that I’m laughing????”

Then she cracks up. Phew.

My man Danny, still oblivious.


What I love about Danny and his wife is that they always look like they are enjoying their lunch together. They aren’t staring at their phones, they aren’t reading a book, they are just together. They are just being. Something I’m learning a little bit about these days.


When you’re in graduate school you have a lot of homework.

When you’re in graduate school for Elementary Education, sometimes it’s fun homework.

My teacher for Methods in Teaching Reading gave us an assignment at the beginning of the semester to find or make a bookshelf that we will be able to use in our classroom one day. Naturally, I asked my handy-man-of-a-dad if he would help me! We went to Lowe’s on Black Friday (the only place I went shopping) to buy wood for my bookshelf. Then we started the project!

DSC_5533 (2)After measuring, marking, drilling, and screw driving we actually built a book shelf! It was one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving this year. I will lock this memory away. I’m so thankful for my Dad!

PS: He just had a birthday yesterday where he turned the year he thought he was turning last year…bonus year! Thankful for the joy and laughter he brings to our family!

DSC_5535 (2)


Today I learned that if you ask someone their story while you are sweeping the floor and closing up a restaurant, they will tell you.

This guy named Joe comes into Brown Bag every day–he “sponsored” a table so he and his family get four lunches a day to use on themselves, co-workers, or friends. I see Joe come in with his wife at least once a week; they are super lover-dovey and they laugh alot together. They both have really distinct accents but I had never asked them where they were from since I had started working in August. (I guess I didn’t want to be rude??) I finally decided that was super silly and I wanted to know about Joe. So I asked him.

I found out that he and his wife are from Long Island, NY and moved to Knoxville on a whim when they were on the brink of divorce and pregnant with their first son almost 20 years ago. They just needed a change and weren’t sure where their lives were heading. Once they moved, an older woman who lived in their apartment complex took them in, started loving them, started talking to them about love, and then started talking to them about Jesus. He and his wife decided to give their lives to the Lord and follow him. Now I see their marriage as a picture of the love of Christ. Now I see their son reading God’s word with  his friends at lunch. Now their lives are completely different. God’s redemptive work never ceases to amaze me.

And he used an old woman in their apartment complex. I wonder if she was worried about coming off as “rude” when she reached out to Joe and his wife. Probably not. I want to be more like that.

panoramic close-up

[[ warning: thinking via typing may occur ]]

Here are some thoughts I’m having…

I can vividly see what he is doing in the people around me, but it is a hard thing to see the work he is doing in me since I’m me everyday. Ya know those friends you catch up with once every couple of weeks, or maybe even once a month? You really start to see the work of Christ in them and can point it out to them when they can’t see it.

I love that God is big picture, panoramic shot and also artsy portrait with the edges of my face cut off because he’s so close.

He knows me now. He knows me before. He knows me later.

He sees who I am. He sees who I am becoming. He sees who I will become.

I love that.

That is all.



This past weekend, Knoxville took 600+ people to Sharp Top Cove in Jasper Georgia. More than the camp had ever housed during weekend shenanigans! No one really anticipated school sign-ups blowing up like they did which resulted in cramming camp to … Continue reading