miles to go…

snippets from the zellner family

Maria January 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 12:39 am

Wednesday, the world lost a lovely woman.  Maria Ferrell- a spunky, Puerto Rican powerhouse who practically raised the teenagers at my high school.  She is my best friend’s mom.  I have known her for almost 30 years. Her accent easily fills my head and her actions dominate my memories.  She was hospitality personified.  Her quick wit could handle the toughest teen and her energy could surpass us as well.

She is so lovely in this photo with her two little blessings- My friend’s children.

I am heading to see my sweet friend Sunday night and have the privilege of being at the memorial for her mom.  I will be eager to celebrate the life of such an amazing lady.


sedona January 20, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 12:29 am

Since our plane wasn’t leaving until midnight on Tuesday night, Eric and I rented a car and spent all day Tuesday in Sedona, Arizona.  It is a beautiful place.  We were in awe! Eric and I were able to eat at a delicious Mexican restaurant (filled with Auburn fans 🙂 ) and hike Cathedral Rock.

The restaurant was in a shopping area called Tlaquepaque.  Beautiful architecture and fun shops!

After our late lunch, we headed to Cathedral Rock.  I was a little intimidated on the way up.

We felt like “the old days” when we used to work at a ranch in Northern California. We hiked up to the middle of the two smaller peaks.  All along the way, we passed hikers who wished us well and congratulated us on a good game (to which eric always commented that he had a lot to do with the win). The views were amazing on the way up, but the top was worth the effort. You could see all the way around the city.  It was one of my favorite things we’ve been able to do.

What a sweet blessing that we were able to make our trip have two once-in-a-lifetime experiences: the championship and Sedona.  We are still in awe 🙂


Auburn Tigers and Arizona January 17, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:02 pm

Eric and I were blessed to go to Arizona for the BCS Championship Game.  We stayed with a sweet friend, Brandon, from our days at Auburn and from working at the JH Ranch.   Much of the fun from the trip was catching up with Brandon, his brother, and a host of house guests that  stayed there too. 

After changing our flights so that we would miss the snow that hit Huntsville, we left from Nashville on separate planes and hoped we would both arrive in time to see the game. Since I left first, I took the tickets:) If eric didn’t make it, we were going to sell his and pay for our kids’ college 🙂

All went so well and we both made it!

  Getting ready for the big day with my favorite drink 🙂

 Holding our golden tickets!

  Running into friends!

 We were sitting near friends and the Auburn band. 


It felt like we were students in the Student Section again.  My roommate,Beth,  from my days of living in Birmingham met us there and we spent two whole days together.

 Yes, those are tears of joy in my eyes- because I love my Tigers like that!

My mom and my in-laws kept our children-which ended up being more than they bargained for, I am sure. Nothing like cancelled school to make babysitting last longer. My aunt Donna shuttled me to the airport before sunrise and braved icy roads and snow to pick us up when we returned.  Unbelievable support from our sweet family.  And to top it all off they were genuinely excited for us.  It just  made it all the sweeter.


Choosing to SEE January 1, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 11:49 pm

I just finished Mary Beth Chapman’s book Choosing to See.  It follows her personal journey from youth when she desired a stable, planned, predictable life through the many events that cause her to have to let go of that desire and to trust her Sovereign Lord for all things.  She thought she would marry an accoutant- she ended up marrying Steven Curtis Chapman and living a musician’s lifestyle.  After marrying, she thought they would wait to have children and they ended up having her first child very early in their marriage.  She settles in to a new first home and experiences a fire that destroys all the stable things she has.  She learns to stand by a musician as he makes his big break and works with record companies- many ups and downs. 

God was using these moments to prepare her for what would be the most significant tragedy she would experience. Her own sweet son accidentally hitting her youngest daughter who was running up to see him as he drove in their driveway.  Unbelievable anguish.  Heart-stopping, life-altering pain. 

Her book walks through the year and a half that follows that day- the cries of her heart, the brokeness that touched every part of their lives, the sweet reminders of her little one, the community of believers that came alongside to care for and pray for them, the ways that God moved in her heart to keep her believing He is good and He can handle her pain and questions and tears and anger and sadness.  Her writing is very transparent and her words bring tears, laughter, and comfort at the same time.

I look from afar at this sweet family and hate what they are all having to endure.  The pain of  living on this side of heaven, where we experience death and suffering in ways that seem unbearable.  And yet this book reminds us that spring is coming ( Chapman’s latest song) and that in the midst of pain, there can be joy- like two of her children getting married, one graduating from high school, the opening of a home in China named for their little one they lost that ministers to orphans who need medical attention and God’s love.  The mingling of joy and sorrow- on this side of heaven.

But when He returns there will be no more pain, no more sorrow for the former things will pass away and He will wipe away every tear from our eyes.   Until that time, we have to fix our eyes on Jesus- and Mary Beth shows us all how to do that with openness and grace.


New toys- time to jump in

Filed under: Uncategorized — zellner @ 2:15 pm

We are blessed with the sweetest family on both sides.  Each day of our holiday was spent with some of our favorite people. My sister-in-law and brother-in-law hosted us before Christmas. Eric’s parents came from Christmas Eve to the 26th.  They got snowed in so we got to keep them longer! We stayed with my mom for 2 nights after that and got to see my sister and niece. We ate dinner with my dad and Marian and my grandmother.  Each visit was so good and filled with fun and PRESENTS! My goodness the wonderful presents we were given.

We definitely had an AUBURN theme going this year and we all LOVED it!

  My sister gave Cord an entire Auburn football uniform-pants, helmet, and 2 jerseys (one Cam Newton and one Bo Jackson).  Too fun.  He wore it all day the day he opened it and all the next one too.

My mom gave the girls canopies.  We hung them yesterday.


Emma said,” It feels enchanted. What’s enchanted mean?” 🙂

Dot dot and Cdub gave the kiddos a really cool puppet show.  It can be folded up and stored so easily.  It makes a fun playhouse and lemonade stand too!


My dad gave Emma a blizzard maker.  We broke it out yesterday morning and made treats for the kids. It was easy to do (except for the 10 minutes of turning they had to do.  They thought that was tough!)


There are so many more wonderful things- this is all I had time to do yesterday.  We took Christmas decorations down and stopped to play with somethig new every once in a while.  Thank you sweet family!!