On the Fifth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me: Canines, Carbs, and The Real Meaning of Christmas

It was a beautiful day in Middle Tennessee today, and was  a perfect day to enjoy two outdoor Christmas events.

Our day started out with Miracle on Music Row — a Christmas dog parade in support of canine adoption. The parade was led by a marching band and Santa, and we were among at least 100 dog owners marching their pooches down Music Row. Buddy and Holly weren’t quite sure what to think at first, but they soon fell in line with their canine counterparts and enjoyed the hundreds of sights and smells of Edgehill and Music Row. It was a beautiful day for a walk, and a fun activity for the dogs as well! After the parade there was a ginormous line for pictures with Santa, and live music, but we had our eye on something else . . .

And at most good and free Nashville events there is usually a food truck, and indeed Riff’s was there! We got to try a couple of new-to-us items: the Choi burger (a burger with Korean spices, BBQ sauce, cilantro slaw, salsa verde, and a fried egg with a side of sweet potato fries) and Jerk Chicken Mac-n-Cheese, which combined two of my Riff’s favorites. We got it to go and brought it home, and LOVED every bite. Riff’s consistently gets better and better.

After sleeping off the Riff’s mac-n-cheese carb coma, we went to the 50th annual neighborhood nativity in our subdivision. This was the first year that we were actually able to make it, and we hope to never miss another year. According to other attendees, the event started with some children who put on a nativity play for their parents. The next year, they invited their friends. And then more neighbors came. And 50 years later, it is still a simple but stunning production. We huddle together outdoors. Scripture is read. We sing Christmas carols that accompany the story — even ones that actually include Jesus in them. And then as a neighborhood, we prayed together. Then everyone is invited into their beautiful farmhouse for refreshments and fellowship. There were donkey rides for the kids. Live animals to pet, and to play characters in the production.  There was an abundance of Christmas cheer. Over 100 people came. It was gloriously politically incorrect. We loved every minute, and love our neighborhood even more.

The fifth day of Christmas is definitely one to remember!

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On the Fourth Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me: Nazarenes A-Noshing, Hockey Players Hitting, Donuts A-Dunking, and Sheep A-Baa-ing

We were quite ambitious in our festivities this evening . . . .

Our evening began with our university Christmas party, which is always a great time. There is plenty of delicious food (even better if you haven’t eaten all day!), fun table conversation, our Christmas bonus, and activities. One of the outdoor activities was a couple of sheep for the children to pet. Or maybe the adults too.

From there, we headed to the Mt. Juliet High School hockey game, because what says Christmas more than a hockey game? Wait. Mt. Juliet has a hockey team? That’s what we said! How did we NEVER know this!? It was a pretty good game, including a fight, which we couldn’t quite see. But seven players were ejected from the game so apparently this means that the fight was quite awesome. I’m not sure their mothers would agree.

Afterwards, we joined our hockey-watching friends Mike, Jill, and Erin for donuts, coffee, and conversation at Krispy Kreme.

What a fun evening to mark the end of the semester!

On the Third Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me: Dinner with 60 of Our Closest Friends

Today’s Christmas event was our annual Christmas dinner with the staff, board, and ministry leaders at our church. Always a time with great food, good conversation, and especially amazing desserts. We all know each other, we all love each other, we all love our church, and we all love Christmas.

One of the things that I believe sets our church apart is how much our staff family loves being together and I think that spills over into our Christmas celebration with the rest of the church leadership. Our tradition is to gather and eat some fantastic food, sing several of our favorite Christmas carols, and then enjoy a holiday story. I love that it’s not a long party, but it is meaningful time spent together. I love that the Pastor doesn’t spend 30 minutes saying something that he can say in 10 minutes. He respects our time and how busy this season can be. That being said, we know that we can always look forward to a great and meaningful time together.

So thank you to our church staff and leadership team for making the third day of our Christmas celebration a wonderful evening with friends and loved ones. You have meant so much to us, especially this year, and we look forward to many Christmas celebrations to come!

On the Second Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me: Fifty Kids A-Crooning

Today’s Christmas celebration took place with 50ish teens from our church’s Next Gen ministries, as we enthusiastically carolled around a subdivision near the church. While not well-versed on lyrics, there was no shortage of enthusiasm or holiday cheer, bolstered by the unusually balmy 65 degree weather — even after sunset!

I was hoping we would burst into “Santa Claus on a Helicopter,” but alas “Jingle Bells” won out every time. I guess not everyone has caught on to the musical stylings of Wing.

Most residents were good sports in listening to our attempts at lyrics and tone, realizing that our hearts were more pure than our talent. 😉

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On The First Day of Christmas, My True Love Gave to Me: A Totally Tubaular Christmas

With Ken and I both having to work late tonight, we decided to kick off our 12 Days of Christmas celebration with the midday festival of all things tuba at:

Tuba Christmas!

Over 100 tuba players ranging in age from 11 to 96 gathered to play Christmas carols as the audience sang along in a manner of good cheer at First Baptist Church in downtown Nashville. The instruments, which represented the entire tuba family, literally made the pews rumble from the volume. So, an unexpected benefit of the event was a pew-massage!  

Tuba Christmas has been a holiday tradition since 1974, and local tubists gather at locations across the country. Chances are, there’s an upcoming Tuba Christmas near you!

We plan to make it a part of our annual tradition!

Happy first day of Christmas!

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Coming Soon: The Jewett Twelve Days of Christmas

So, our children are in an orphanage in Africa and we’re really not sure where we are in the process of going to get them because we are still waiting for our court documents to be translated.  Our usual annual Florida vacation has been cancelled. The rest of our family is far away.

It’s been a little hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year.

Ken came up with the idea to celebrate Christmas a little differently this year by creating our own Twelve Days of Christmas, not with gifts, but with events.

We’re going to choose 12 free Christmas activities or events, one for each day leading up to Christmas, to take part in as our way of celebrating Christmas this year. Nashville has so many great free Christmas activities this year– tours, parties, concerts, plays etc.– we have much to choose from. And we may have to get a little creative, but that’s okay! If you have ideas, we’d love to hear them!

So, starting Tuesday, December 13th, join us for the Jewett Twelve Days of Christmas!

Thankful Thoughts: A ReWedding to Remember

It all began when Ken and I were married back in September of 1996. We were both working for a church that was neither Wesleyan nor Nazarene. The pastor of that church, our boss, insisted that he perform our wedding ceremony, instead of my father (who is ordained in the Wesleyan church) because, “Weddings are a religious ceremonies, not family affairs.” What could I say? I was brokenhearted, but he was my boss. The pastor told me I could only have one song in our wedding. He attempted to control every detail. He spread untrue gossip about Ken and I around the church, and shared information that had been discussed confidentially with whoever he wanted to know. He was rude to me, my friends, and my relatives.

Then, only six weeks after we were married, Ken and I left the church after finding out some unseemly details about the pastor’s life– multiple affairs, embezzlement, fraud, death threats, etc.  When we tried to explain to the church board what we knew of the pastor, but they didn’t want to hear our story or see our evidence. They reluctantly “allowed us to resign,” and gave us 10 days to get out of our parsonage.  “How dare you accuse a man of God of such things,” they scorned. We were homeless, penniless, and Ken lost his permission to work in the United States until we could refile for another immigration visa (which took nearly a year). A month after we left that church, we found out that the pastor had subsequently confessed to immoral and illegal activities— what we knew of and more. We never received an apology or even an acknowledgement from the church, the denomination, or that pastor. And “that pastor” got an extensive paid sabbatical, and a promotion to a larger church in another area of the country.

All that to say, our wedding day ended up not being the fairy tale day that every girl dreams about. It was supposed to be the one happiest days of my life, the one day that was about us, the bride and groom, but it was forever marred by a man who shouldn’t have even been in the picture, except that he invited himself to be there. I never even ordered pictures. I tried not to think about my wedding day. The important thing was that Ken and I were married. There is so much more to a marriage than the wedding day, but a part of me was always a little sad that I couldn’t look back on the day with untainted joy.

However, in 2002, the week of our sixth anniversary, as I was starting to teach a Thursday morning lab section at Indiana Wesleyan, Ken walked in the door of my classroom wearing a tuxedo, with a videographer tow. Ken came to the front of the classroom, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him all over again, as he presented me with a diamond necklace.
I said yes.

I went home for lunch with my mind racing through the details. What would I wear? Ken handed me a box from my mother, who had bought me a re-wedding dress. Flowers had been ordered. Bridesmaids and groomsmen had been arranged. Music was chosen. Wedding cake was ordered. Ken had taken care of every detail. Our current pastor, whom we dearly loved, agreed to perform the ceremony.

That Sunday night, in front of friends and students from Indiana Wesleyan and our college ministry, the Search, Ken and I renewed our vows. We snapped new pictures. We ate cake with new friends. We recommitted ourselves to lives devoted to each other.

Ken gave me the most precious gift imaginable: joyful wedding memories. I had not asked for a re-wedding, but he wanted me to look back on our wedding with delight, because he believes that every bride should have her special day. 

Today, I’m especially thankful for my husband who has the integrity to stand for what is right, even when it meant losing our jobs and our home. I’m thankful for a husband who loves the Lord more than he loves me. And I’m thankful for a husband who reminds me every day that I am his beautiful bride.

The Perfect Day

Inspired by a few of our favorite things, today Ken and I had a perfect day to celebrate of our 15th anniversary and the payment of our referral fees. The past few years, Ken and I have celebrated our anniversary at Old Hickory Steakhouse, or by buying a NHL Center Ice cable package. This year, we celebrated by taking a day off together to do some of our favorite (or favourite) things.

We started the day by sleeping in. No alarm. We even convinced Holly to sleep in until 8:00 a.m. We enjoyed a leisurely cup of coffee before heading out to the post office to mail our referral payment off. (Yeah!)

We had a couple of other stops to make before we headed to Food Truck Fridays at the YWCA on Woodmont Boulevard. We both tried a new food truck: Mere Bulles. I tried the crab cake sliders and mac and cheese bites, while Ken opted for a mac and cheese burger and sweet potato fries. The food was phenomenal!  And I got a slice of pie from Just Like Nannie Fixed It, and Ken got a plum ice from Izzie’s Ice. Picnic tables were set up on the lawn of the YWCA to enjoy the gorgeous weather for the day. With a high of 73 sunny degrees, it was a perfect day to enjoy the outdoors.

We then headed to Centennial Park, where we sat on the steps and people-watched, and sketched to our heart’s content. We were particularly fascinated with a man who was sprinting back and forth in front of the steps. On purpose. Curious.

We then turned packed up the car and headed to the Nashville Public Library’s downtown branch. Ken signed up for a library card, and we enjoyed their beautiful facility. There is a cafe in the library that was featured on the Food Network, and we decided to stop for a late afternoon snack special: a latte and piece of cake for $4 total. I got the pumpkin cheesecake, and Ken got a chocolate raspberry cake. Both were amazing! We then walked through the gallery on the second floor, which featured mixed media portraits of the mug shots of the Freedom Riders, who heroically sought to desegregate transportation in the South.  The paintings often contained newspaper articles about their arrests, JFK’s response, and their struggles to promote equality among all races. The story is amazing. The library also features a beautiful courtyard with a fountain, and large study rooms. We were genuinely amazed at all the features of the downtown library — and they even validate parking!

We picked up some groceries before heading home to watch this week’s episode of Survivor. It was one of the best kickoff episodes of a season, ever. We loved it!

Finally, we finished out the evening by making our version of our favorite meal at Old Hickory Steakhouse. We had grilled steaks (which had been marked down for immediate sale at Kroger this afternoon!), applewood smoked blue cheese mashed potatoes, and mascarpone creamed spinach. I must say that we did a pretty good job mimicking our favorite dishes!

But by far, the best part of today was getting to spend some uninterrupted time with each other. We will definitely always treasure our perfect day!

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