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“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”  – Isaiah 9:6

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Welcome!

We wanted to take a moment and wish you all a wonderful holiday season, and we hope it is filled with many blessings, as well as time and memories with those most dear to you.  We hope you will take a moment and say hello to us, too, and leave us a comment, so we can see who’s been by!

And for those of you who are first time visitors, we’re so glad you stopped by!  Please explore our entries and see what we’ve been up to.  And we hope you’ll be back to stay caught up on us.  We do try to update at least once a week… and that usually happens around Tuesdays.

So, we wanted to take this opportunity to share with you a Christmas letter, but give it to you in a non-traditional way.  We can share so much more with you this way, especially pictures.  And we know everyone loves pictures!

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What have the Goinses been up to this year?  Well, we got married on January 12th here in beautiful Nashville, Tennessee.  It was supposed to snow, but instead it was a beautiful day in the 50s or maybe even in the 60s.  We got our winter, though, as we spent the next week honeymooning in the mountains of North Carolina.  And we are still living in that “cozy” one-bedroom apartment on the outskirts of southeast Nashville.

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Jeff started out the year as Director of Marketing and Mobilization for the World Race, one of AIM’s missions programs. In this role, he was in charge of getting the word out about the World Race, recruiting applicants, and training racers in Georgia before they embarked on their 11 months, 11 countries journey.  This summer, though, AIM asked Jeff to step up as Director of Marketing for all of AIM.  It was a head-first dive right into new things and many more projects, but it has been exciting and challenging.  For both of these reasons, and many more, Jeff loves it.  He is now in charge of marketing all of AIM’s different missions programs (not just the World Race), and he is still able to train racers.  Jeff still has the “privilege” of working from home, but he does venture to Georgia, where AIM is located, about once every other month on average.  It is then when he trains the racers and/or has oodles of face time with the staff he works with on a daily basis from afar.  AIM also gave him the opportunity to lead a short term mission trip to Florida this summer, and he hopes to do more in the future.  Oh, and as most of you know, Jeff loves to write.   He is still doing plenty of this and has been published in several on-line magazines as well as the March/April issue of Relevant Magazine!

Ashley marked the completion of her first year at Provident Music Group in May.  She is now sitting on one and one-half years in Accounts Payable and as the Finance Assistant.  In this role, she “pays the bills” that help get the music and movies out to you, and she also helps out the Finance department and the COO however she can, which is where the unpredictability of her job comes into play.  In this specific part of her role, she schedules and sets up meetings and even has to kill a few trees from time to time due to copies.  But she does recycle!  This year has brought opportunities to refine processes so that tasks can be completed more efficiently, and with this has also came opportunities to train and teach others, which she has loved doing.  Sometimes it is still hard for her to believe that she is working in the Christian music business, one of her dreams.

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Life in Nashville has just really been wonderful.  We have found a home in Franklin Fellowship Church and are still serving there on the praise team (Jeff, electric guitar, and Ashley, originally vocals but now bass guitar) and in the Children’s Ministry (Children’s Church and Sunday School two times a quarter).  We have had the privilege of seeing many friends throughout the year, whether in Oklahoma, Minnesota, Georgia, or back home in Illinois.  We have celebrated life, purchases of first homes, and marriages with so many, and we look forward to doing many more of this in 2009!  God has just really blessed us with so much in our lives, and we are just so thankful that we get to live the lives we do and that we get to do it together.

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So thank you all for being a part of our lives.  Thank you to our families for their love; to our friends for their friendship, love, and support; to Provident and AIM for allowing us both to live our dreams, doing what we love as “real jobs,” and giving us great friends in coworkers; and to our church family here in Nashville for their love and their gift of family away from home.

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Blessings, Love, and Warm Wishes from the South!

-Jeff and Ashley

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, and he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.”  – Isaiah 9:6

*Thank you to Joe Gomez for the photography.

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March 2008 - He's got hair like his daddy!

So, third winter in Nashville.  Up until now, it has been a noticeable difference from winter in Illinois.  I can remember my first winter here, walking from my car into work in a dress shirt with no coat.  I can remember giggling and taking note, realizing that this would be impossible and down right silly to do back home.  I remember it wasn’t until late January, maybe February, before it felt like winter just a bit.  Last year, it was March (which would technically by this year) before there was a snowfall worth talking about that allowed us to make a snowman, even if only for a few hours.

But we’re up to what, four snowfalls now?  Ok, a couple flurry days and then one major snowfall.

Let me tell you a bit about last week and the perfect timing this snowfall had.  Jeff was in Georgia for one last visit for the year, to pick up his new computer and have lots and lots of meetings.  Every time Jeff leaves (I think), at some point I’m on the phone to him upset about something that has “fallen apart” here, and I secretly blame it on him for leaving.  But he likes to think my world falls apart anyway when he is not here to hold it together (whatever makes you feel manly, babe).

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Last week was a crazy busy week at work.  On top of doing my regular work load for the week, we had two (three actually, but one got moved due to the snowfall) major events at work.  One was our Christmas party on Tuesday, which was fun and very entertaining (I even got my picture taken with a cow), but that was several hours of my day that I would normally spend on normal work stuff.  The other was our time spent on Wednesday working with Feed My Starving Children, where Provident, Word, EMI CMG (the three that bring you WOW hits) and Belmont University came together to bag food to feed starving children in Thailand.  It was amazing, and we surpassed our goal for the day of packing over 400,00 meals! 

So, I was exhausted.  Lots of running around, lots of cramming.  And on top of that, my allergies weren’t cooperating either (what’s new?).  I came home on Wednesday, tired and not feeling the greatest, and there was a note from our apartment place telling us our patio is out of code.  Say what?  Apparently, they didn’t like our motorcyle cover on top of our bikes, protecting them from rust.  The note called it trash, literally.  So, this was my breaking point, once again frustrated with this place.  I started crying, and Jeff asked “Are you crying?”  I pathetically answered yes, and then he asked why.  “I’m just tired, don’t feel good, and I need to go to bed!” I said.

Yes, pathetic, but I was exhausted and sick.  But my knight in shining armor rescued me and called the office.  Once they knew it was bikes, they were totally fine with it.  My question is, why didn’t they ask or just lift up the tarp just a bit? In fact, if you look at it carefully enough, it even looks like two bikes.  Anyway…

So by Wednesday night I was ready to move, once again tired of all the drama.  Then Thursday morning I got stuck in traffic for two and one-half hours trying to go fifteen miles to work.  Once I got over the frustration and realized I could do nothing, I thought it was amusing considering how the night before I was wanting to move, and now even more so, especially closer to work.

I got to work at 10:15 and worked until 6:15, only to get stuck in traffic because of the dumping of snow in Nashville.  Yep, this is the snowfall I’ve been eluding to.  But, it’s a good thing snow makes me feel good on the inside, otherwise my last nerve would have been long gone.  And on top of that, I was so tired to the point of amused, that it was just a great night enjoying the beautiful snow.

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Morning after snowfall.

 

Usually, when Jeff is away on work, he misses out on me attempting to clean the house and maybe one funny story.  This time it seems like he missed out on months worth of “entertainment.”  Oh lucky him.

 

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So, it’s now cold.  It’s winter here, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere (except for Friday, when it’s supposed to be 60 – – this is why I’m sick all the time!).  But that’s ok.  It makes it feel even more like Christmas!

And speaking of, Jeff and I wrapped presents this weekend and enjoyed downtown Franklin’s Dickens of a Christmas festival, where we road in a horse-drawn carriage.  And we cannot forget the surprise birthday party we attended on Saturday for our wedding photographer friend, Zach.  Jody (the wife) threw a great party and pulled out all the stops for her hubby’s big 3-0.  And we were so glad to share a part in that and celebrate with them.  What great friends.  Happy birthday to Zach, again, and we hope you enjoy all those iced cappuccinos with whipped cream, cinnamon and neon bendy straws!

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Jody and Zach Gray

I’m spending another week away from Ashley while attending some meetings for work in Gainesville, GA. I have to do this on occasion just to keep up with all my colleagues and make sure we’re all on the same page. It usually means five or so days away from bride, a pattern that we’ve gotten used to over the past two or so years that I’ve been with AIM and lived in Nashville.

To be honest, I look forward to these times apart. So does Ashley. Inevitably, a trip comes up in the midst of a season where we’re beginning to get annoyed with each other. I mean, we spend most of our evenings, weekends, and free time with each other, trying to do stuff together to “build a good marital foundation” – so, every once in awhile, a break is nice.

Time apart makes us miss one another, and that’s the thing about it – no matter how much I love Ashley, I eventually get used to her and take her for granted. As that begins to happen, I realize that it’s time for some time apart, so we can fall back in love. My work schedule just happens to play marvelously into this. God always teaches us something about ourselves or our relationship while I’m gone, so it’s great “counseling” for us. I recommend leaving to all couples (only joking).

But here’s the lesson that I always learn and re-learn: my home is no longer a place. You see, when I was growing up, I couldn’t wait to leave home, to change residence, to become independent, and make my college dorm my new home. I did this regularly – changing from one home to the next. After college, when I traveled with a music ministry for a year all over the U.S., my home was a different place every night.

So, when I got married, I was expecting just another transition – a new home. The first time I came back to my wife after spending some significant time apart, I told her, “You’re my home.” And I meant it.

In marriage – at least, in our marriage – “home” is a person. And what’s amazing about that is wherever you go, whatever you do, however you do it – if you’re doing it together – you’re home. And that’s a beautiful thing – to always feel at home.

Right now, I’m missing mine, but in several hours, I’ll be home again.