Margaret (Curtis) McDaniel + Curtis McDaniel = Curtis.Squared

December 7, 2010

Christmas Card

If this is your first time visiting our blog, welcome! The Christmas card that we sent out did its job – rather than writing a letter to update all our friends and family about our year, we thought it would be better to just lead you to our family blog. If you did not receive a Christmas card, please understand that it was very difficult to determine who would receive one. We really had to limit how many we sent out. For those of you who send out Christmas cards every year – I applaud you! I think we will only be doing this every few years because of the cost of photography, printing costs, time and postage stamps! Please feel free to visit our blog whenever you need a McDaniel update as we usually try to post whenever we have any events happen in our family life.

One of our friends, Sarah Kohut, who also serves alongside us in the Youth Ministry Team is a professional photographer (her website: She did an excellent job taking pictures for our Christmas cards this year. Although there were only 3 pictures on the Christmas card, we had many more that she took in front of our house and also in downtown Savannah. If you would like to see some of the other pictures that did not make the cut, please click this link. Although we have placed them on facebook, it is not necessary for you to have an account with them in order to view our pictures.

A few updates that have occurred since our last blog post:
-Curtis and I have now been married for 2.5 years!
-On 12/12, Curtis became an Associate Pastor at Grace Church of the Islands. He previously was an Assistant Pastor.
-We will be going on our very first ski trip (ever) with the youth group in January
-I have been working at my current job now for almost a year and I am loving it!

Curtis & Margaret’s 1st Car Purchase

I love this picture because it shows you how Curtis and I show our emotions. Although we are BOTH very excited in this picture, you will notice that I am a lot more expressive than Curtis is! :)

I think that it’s kinda funny that we purchased a house together before we ever purchased a car together. We officially can say that we almost ran Curtis’ 1996 Nissan Maxima into the ground. It was beginning to be scary for me to drive his car since it needed brakes! We have spent the past several months researching and trying to determine what kind of car we should buy. We sought help from our parents and a few uncles (thanks Uncle David & Uncle Ed!) and we finally took the plunge and bought our first car together on December 4.

We purchased a 2008 Honda Civic. It is almost like a brand-new car because it has less than 11,000 miles on it and it has the factory warranty as well as a lifetime warranty. We were very particular about the color. Curtis refused to have a red car because of insurance purposes. We both weren’t really interested in a black or white option. Although I wasn’t opposed to a blue option, we didn’t want both of our cars to be blue. So, we chose a dark gray option (I think its official Honda name is “Polished Metal Metallic”).

We are very happy with our selection and we hope to get a good 10-15+ years out of it! We plan on trying to get at least another 50,000 miles out of my little Prizm. I think we can do it.

My 26th Birthday

Last week, I celebrated my birthday. Curtis was a very sweet husband and took me to all my favorite places -- Chick-fil-A, Carabba’s and the movies. We saw the movie “Tangled” and it was super-cute! I think that will be one of those movies that I will want to own in the future. I also got to talk to a lot of family that I don’t usually get to talk to on a regular basis so that was extra special! On the weekend, my birthday was celebrated with some of our closest friends in Savannah (see above). We went to Toucan CafĂ©, had ice cream cake and rented a movie. Most of the friends that came are in our new small group. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this in our blog before, but we have a small group that we started for young married couples. We love this group because it is helping us to build a community in Savannah where we can pray for each other and share in each other’s lives.

Overall, great birthday! I felt very loved by family and friends.

Thanksgiving 2010

We traveled to Jacksonville for Thanksgiving this year. It was a real treat because I realized that I haven’t had a Thanksgiving meal where my mom has cooked for 5 years (and she is a wonderful cook)! We had some relatives visiting from both sides of my family – the picture above is of my mom’s side of the family. It includes my grandparents, an uncle and cousin, my parents, my brother and us. I’m really glad that we were able to spend some time with my family during Thanksgiving since we stayed at our place for our first two Thanksgivings (in St. Louis the first year and Savannah the second).
We also got to spend some quality time with Mr. & Mrs. Warren. We hadn’t seen them since last Christmas! Curtis and I are very excited about their future plans to become missionaries in Ukraine. We were so glad that we had an opportunity to be with them on Thanksgiving day.
My cousin, Jane, was one of our visitors (pictured above). She’s the closest thing that I have to a sister and we always have a great time when we’re together. Here we are looking at the advertisements for Black Friday and planning out where we will go shopping!

November 29, 2010

My Dad's Special Birthday Gift

My dad turned the ripe age of 60 on November 6th. As I thought about this milestone in my father's life, I got a great idea from one of my dear friends, Kaylen. I was hoping to create a booklet with sweet messages from family and friends about what my dad meant to 60 different people. Two months before his birthday, I sent out emails, facebook messages and even a letter to try to reach as many people as I could. Praise the Lord - I ended up with 77 messages for my dad! I feel like I learned so much about my dad through this gift and it was so neat to be able to see how many lives my dad has touched through his godly example.

I entitled the booklet "What Does My Dad Mean To You?" and I presented it to him when I went home for Thanksgiving. Both my dad and I were tearing up as he read some of the messages. Curtis was sweet enough to take a picture of this moment (see above). Even though it was a few weeks late, I think my dad really loved my gift!

I am so thankful for all the 76 others that participated in this gift and kept it a secret for almost 3 months! If you were one of these people, please feel free to talk to my dad about it now. I think this will be a gift that he will cherish for the rest of his life.

November 13, 2010

Deaths in the Family - Grandma & Cleo

Grandma on her 90th birthday (2009)

I know it has been a little while since we've posted. Bear with us, we've been dealing with some losses in the family. On October 2, Curtis' grandmother passed away. We traveled to Hopewell, Virginia to attend her funeral. Although it was sad, it was a precious time to spend with his family - some of whom I had never met. Curtis' father showed us where he grew up (as he would say "his stomping grounds"). I've attached her obituary below, she was an amazing woman of God:

Velma R. McDaniel, 90, former resident of Enon and Hopewell, passed away in the early morning hours on Saturday, October 2, 2010 in Butler, PA after an extended period of declining health.

She was born October 26, 1919 in Malvern Hill, VA, the daughter of Harry Rathien and Bertha Cornelia Foster Rathien. She was preceded in death by her devoted husband of 30 years, Henry Curtis McDaniel, Sr. who died November 20, 1981 and twin sons Mark and Scott who died shortly after childbirth in 1960.

Velma graduated from Hopewell High School in 1936, then went on to Business/Secretarial School under the sponsorship of Dr. Joseph Osborne before working for 17 years at Allimac Stamping Company in Petersburg. Following her first family respite, she worked for fifteen months in 1957-1958 for Continental Can Company in Hopewell, then returned after a second family respite to CCC and served for 22 years as a production secretary until her retirement in October, 1983.

“Babs,” as she was affectionately called, was a member of Woodlawn Presbyterian Church in Hopewell from the late 1920s until the late 1940s. Following a 1949 Jimmy Mercer Evangelistic Crusade, she united with the congregation of West End Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Hopewell in 1950. For more than fifty years, she served her Lord and the West End Congregation in numerous ways: as a teacher in the Primary and Junior Sunday School Departments, President of the Women in the Church (WIC) in 1959, a WIC Circle Bible teacher, administrative and correspondence secretary for the World Missions Committee, Director of the Church Christmas Play and as a faithful member of the church’s prayer chain, hospitality committee, Christian Day School Commission and mercy committee to the sick, bereaved, elderly and shut-in. She is humbly remembered as a devoted wife, loving mother, grandmother and sister, tender caregiver, faithful Bible teacher to children and to women, persistent prayer warrior, sacrificial giver, and a passionate advocate and staunch supporter of the church’s missions and Sunday School ministries.

She is survived by a daughter, Ellen M. Garrett and her husband Frank in Glen Allen, VA; a son, the Rev. Dr. H. Curtis McDaniel and his wife Karen in Butler, PA; six grandchildren, the Rev. H. Curtis McDaniel III and his wife Margaret in Savannah, GA; Megan E. McDaniel and Heather P. McDaniel in Butler, PA; Lieutenant B. Camm Garrett, United States Army, Laura Garrett and McEnery Garrett of Glen Allen, VA; a sister, Doris R. Hubbard in Fairfax, VA, and a brother, John Rathien in Chester, VA along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 from 4:00-8:00pm at the Hopewell Chapel of J.T. Morriss & Son Funeral Home. A worship and memorial service will be held on Thursday, October 7, 2010 at 11:00am at West End Presbyterian Church in Hopewell with Velma’s son, the Rev. Dr. H. Curtis McDaniel presiding and her grandson, the Rev. H. Curtis McDaniel III assisting. A graveside service and interment will follow at the Bermuda Memorial Park and Cemetery in Enon.

Serving Pallbearers are Curtis McDaniel III, McEnery Garrett, John Partin, Col. William Butler, Johnny Partin, Ken Tomko, Rolf McDaniel and John Hartman. Honorary Pallbearers are Camm Garrett, Frank Garrett, Charles Sadler, Paul McCullough, Jim Copal, Gene Wilkes and the ordained ruling elders and elders emeriti at West End Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to the missions ministry of West End Presbyterian Church, 1600 Atlantic Street, Hopewell, VA 23860-3761.

As you can see, Curtis was heavily involved in the funeral service. He not only assisted in the funeral, but he was also a pallbearer.

In my family, we also had a family pet loss. Cleo had been in the family since 1998 and she passed away last week after having a cardiac arrest as she was in the animal hospital. She had been missing from my parents' house for about a week and she dragged herself in pain out of the woods in my parents' backyard. My parents took her to the hospital and she was beginning to get better. We thought she was going to make it through and become an inside cat. Instead, we got the bad news after church last Sunday. Thankfully, she didn't pass away on my dad's 60th birthday last Saturday.

Cleo was a sweet cat and it will be weird not to have her around as we celebrate Thanksgiving this year.

September 6, 2010

Mini-Vacation to ATL

This summer was a very busy one for us. As much as we love Savannah, we felt that we needed to have a small getaway to relax and re-connect before the school year started up. We chose to go to Atlanta from August 27-30!
My favorite place that we went was to the World of Coca-Cola. If anyone has been around me long enough, they know that I am a huge Coke fan. Even though I don't usually like museums, this one was very entertaining and enjoyable for me. We had a great time trying the different types of sodas from other countries. Our favorites? A carbonated lemonade (Asia), apple-kiwi soda (Asia) and blue-raspberry Fanta (North America).
We also went to a Braves vs. Marlins baseball game. It was fun to go to it, but we are definitely more of Cardinals fans...especially once we heard that the Braves' fight song was the same as the Seminoles'. Boo!

We also went to Perimeter Church, a large PCA church in the area. It was very different from what we were used to, but we enjoyed it. We FINALLY got to eat at Qdoba again! We have been trying to use up our free burritos for a long time, but there aren't many Qdoba's in the south. Only 17 free burritos remaining. We also ate at other favorites like The Cheesecake Factory and The Original Pancake House.

August 12, 2010

Jenna & Dan's Reception

Last month, Curtis and I traveled to Gainesville, Florida to celebrate the marriage of Jenna & Dan McMicken. Curtis gave a few words of encouragement as they were announced for the first time as husband and wife.
Here I am with 2 of my close buds from college -- the bride, Jenna & my old roommate, Catherine. We had a great time celebrating with them!

July 9, 2010

Curtis Performs His 1st Wedding Ceremony

I am so excited to share this post with all of you. On June 19, Curtis was the officiant in Heather & Allen's wedding. We have grown to love this couple, and it was providential that we met in the first place! I met Heather on my last day of work at KPMG. She was an internal auditor at a company in Savannah and I was an external auditor for her company. She found out that I lived in Savannah (even though my company was based out of Jacksonville) and she asked me if I would be interested in exercising with her. As it turns out, she lived only blocks away from our home. I praise the Lord that He brought this precious friend into my life! She and I have become good friends through our walks. Curtis and I were honored when Heather and her new husband, Allen, asked Curtis to be the officiant on their special day. Although Curtis and I don't have much experience with marriage, we enjoyed getting to know this couple through our pre-marital counseling sessions (and we look forward to spending time with them outside of a counseling session).

Heather & Allen got married in Jekyll Island, Georgia. As the ceremony went on, it looked as if it was about to start pouring down rain. All of the wedding guests (and wedding party) were praying that the rain would wait until after the ceremony. The ceremony ended, the guests and wedding party made it to the reception, and the rain came pouring down! What an answer to prayer! Curtis did a great job proclaiming the gospel through his mini-sermon. I am so proud of him and how God used him!

I'm certainly not trying to infringe on the photographer's rights by posting the above picture. The photographer, Brooke Roberts (, did an excellent job taking pictures. If you look in the top right picture, you can see Curtis after he pronounced them husband and wife! :)

June 23, 2010

Celebrating Our 2 Year Wedding Anniversary

Curtis and I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. Even though it is not that far away from Savannah, it was both of our first times visiting this beautiful town. One of our favorite memories from the trip was taking an eco-tour that included watching dolphins as they swam and played together, hanging out on a deserted island for an hour, and ending with a sunset (pictured above).
We also enjoyed visiting Fort Sumter (pictured behind Margaret's right shoulder) and walking around the Waterfront Park. Our hotel was only block away from this beautiful view!
We loved strolling around the area and checking out Rainbow Row, the Battery, and the Aiken-Rhett House. We spent lots of time walking around and eating. We're hoping that the walking took care of all the eating!
We ate at some great well-known restaurants including the following: High Cotton, Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B.), The Buccaneer, South End Brewery, Poe's Tavern, Joseph's, and Bocci's. Poe's Tavern was probably one of our favorite places to eat, we really liked the atmosphere. Curtis really like Joseph's because he had sweet potato pancakes for breakfast! South End Brewery was another favorite because it reminded us of one of our favorite places that we liked to dine at back in St. Louis called Granite City.
Curtis and I had a great time. The time flew by while we were there, but it always makes us excited about planning our next anniversary together!
To see a more extensive album of our Charleston trip: click this link.

April 20, 2010

More Visits!

Our weekends seem to fly by because of the wonderful fellowship that Curtis and I have with our out-of-town visitors.
On March 27, we had a couple, Sean & Jess that we knew from college stop in to our home. Jess was surprising Sean with a visit to Charleston and we got to be a part of the surprise!
Sean was one of the groomsmen in our wedding (and Curtis was one in theirs also). It was refreshing to spend some time with our RUF friends!
The next weekend, Rebecca (a good friend that I've known since junior high) came up to visit! We had a wonderful time walking around downtown Savannah and trying out new restaurants. It was fun to look at old pictures and talk about all the memories we have from our senior year of high school!
This past weekend, my younger brother, Ben, came to visit us! He was on a vacation from his job and wanted to spend some time with us. Ben was able to get to know lots of people at our church, we celebrated Curtis' birthday together, and we played some Rock Band (of course). It was a really special time to reconnect with my brother. According to Twitter, Ben said his vacation was going "awesome," so I'll take that as he had a good time! :)
Back to Curtis' birthday - we had a great time celebrating his life together yesterday. We went to Carabba's and ate SO much that we didn't eat breakfast today! I am so thankful for my wonderful husband, he always points me to Christ in the way that he loves me. So, I'm glad we had some time together so I could show him how much I love him! :)

March 14, 2010

Family & Friend Visits

On January 2, 2010, one of my cousins, Judy Leinecker, got married! This was my second cousin to get married -- the first was in a prior post (in October 2009).
We welcome David Strobolakos into our family!

Curtis and I took the trek to Reidsville, North Carolina on New Years Day to celebrate with them.

On February 5-7, my parents came and visited us in Savannah. We traveled downtown and learned more about the history of Savannah. We ate at some fabulous restaurants and enjoyed the time with my parents. We had such a great time that we forgot to take pictures!

On February 20, we also had one of my good friends, Jenna Handley, and her fiance, Dan McMicken, come visit us in Savannah. We enjoyed our time getting to know Dan and hanging out with them as a couple. We are excited to attend their wedding on July 24th in Gainesville.

March 13, 2010

Ministering at Grace for the Past 7 Months

We've been living in Savannah now for about 7 months, and we thought it might be nice for those of you that are following us/our ministry to know some of the events and activities that Curtis and I have been doing at Grace Church of the Islands.

If anyone knows me, they know that I am a huge fan of playing board games (and the Wii, but that's for another event) so I set up a Girls Game Night shortly after arriving back in August.
One of our favorite games was Mad Gab -- here's a shot of four of the youth girls and one of the youth leaders, April. It was a nice way for me to get acquainted with several of the youth girls.

We also had a day where the youth painted the High School room at the church. The picture below is the section of the wall that the girls created.
I thought the girls were very creative in thinking of this verse for our section of the wall. You can see me & Sarah (another youth leader) displaying our wall for you.

The boys were in charge of another section of the wall...
Timmy M created this beautifully detailed ship on the boys side. We had a lot of fun making the youth room look better!

Curtis then organized a Wii (video game) Rock Band Night at our little apartment in September. We had all the youth divided up into "bands" and had a show-down to see who had the best skills at Rock Band.
In this picture, you can see several of the youth watching as Timmy B (the winner) got a 100% on the Expert level. You can tell it wasn't his first time! :)

We were invited to our first birthday party for one of the girls, Sarah, who turned 16. She had a scavenger hunt to celebrate.
In this picture, you can see Curtis' team taking a picture for the scavenger hunt on the playground. Almost every person in this picture has been involved in our youth group.

Another event planned in October was a Movie Night -- the movie shown was August Rush.
In this picture, you can see lots of the youth huddled around for the main event. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to attend this event because I was still working in Jacksonville.

In November, we had a mini-retreat at Tybee Island. We spent the day at the Fresh Air Home and Curtis led the group in a discussion about how to make our youth group better.
In this picture, Nicole (one of the youth leaders) and I are hanging out with some of the youth.

In December, we had a Christmas Progressive Dinner. We traveled to 3 different church members' houses for appetizers, an entree, and lots of yummy desserts. At our final destination, we also enjoyed a White Elephant gift exchange.
Here I am with several of the youth girls and one of the youth leaders, Danielle. We had a wonderful time!

Even though I only have pictures of the fun events, Curtis taught the high school students (in Sunday School) about the gospel in a unique way -- Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation. Each Wednesday night, Curtis taught the high school boys about Becoming a Man through different scripture verses. Meanwhile, the high school girls were going through a book study over Lies Young Women Believe And The Truth That Sets Them Free. During this time, Curtis organized a group of adult volunteers that were willing to invest in the lives of these young people -- The Youth Ministry Team (YMT).

In January, the YMT decided to change the format for Wednesday nights to include both middle school and high school students. This was done to create a culture of intergenerational ministry - where the adults minister to the high schoolers; the high schoolers minister to the middle schoolers; and the middle schoolers minister to those younger than them.

On Wednesday nights, Curtis teaches the youth group about their identity (Who Am I?) -- in their purpose, future, relationships, etc.

On Sunday mornings, Curtis explains to the high school students what it means to be a Christian as he teaches through the book of I John.

One of the most popular events that we had was the Pirate Video Scavenger Hunt in January. The students dressed up as pirates and walked around downtown Savannah creating videos of the tasks to complete. After the allotted time was up, all the groups met at the Pirates House for lunch and the viewing of the videos.
Unfortunately, I had to work so I became one of the tasks on the hunt! This picture was taken from a clip with Curtis' team of pirates. You can see that we have very different attire for our lines of work!

Since then, we have had another board game night and we are about to have a lock-in and a dodgeball tournament.

We are excited to see how God will use us in the lives of these young people as we continue to serve for God's glory, even if we never get to see the outcome. We'll make sure to post more as the months and years continue at Grace.

If you are interested in hearing some of Curtis' sermons that he has preached over the past year, I have attached a new link to our webpage (or you can get it right here).

January 23, 2010

Margaret's New Job

The same day that we left Jacksonville for Christmas, I was requested to go to a job interview with a short-term loans company, TitleMax. The interview went well and I was hired as a temp accountant at their headquarters. Within a week, they quickly offered me a long-term position as a Project Accountant with opportunities to advance and a much better work life balance than my former career. I enthusiastically accepted the position, happy that this job does not include travel. I am really enjoying what I am doing and I am looking forward to seeing how God uses me here.

Curtis and I were praying about how God would provide for our needs and He graciously provided more than we could imagine. We give God all the glory for my new career at TitleMax!

We celebrated last night by eating at a local Savannah restaurant called Moon River and finishing it off with dessert at Dairy Queen.

Christmas 2009

Our 2nd Christmas together was a wonderful time of fellowship with friends and family.
Curtis' best friend, Ryan, came to visit us in Savannah right before Christmas. Curtis and I hadn't seen him since February when he visited us in St. Louis. We all had a great time together sharing in how God has been working in us.
We took Ryan to Tybee Island to show him the beach. It was a little chilly in December, but it was nice to spend some quality time with Ryan.
Curtis and I attended the Christmas Eve service at Grace Church of the Islands before we drove to Jacksonville to visit with my family for Christmas. Here's a picture of Curtis with 3 of the high school students (Kathryn, Michael, Sarah).
We had a lovely time with almost all of my mom's side of the family for Christmas. Everyone loved to gather around my niece, Charlotte. She is so adorable and she is getting to be so big! In this picture: my cousin, Jennifer; my aunt, Ginger; my cousin, Jason; my mom; and Charlotte.
We brought our Wii with us and rocked out to Rock Band I & II with our family. Here is a shot of my cousins playing along with an audience. They didn't want to leave because they were having so much fun!

Curtis bought me the Wii Fit for Christmas, so we spent time with my family playing all sort of fun games that helped us to get in shape and work on our posture. I think that playing the Wii Fit with my mom, dad, brother (Ben), and Curtis was my favorite thing about Christmas this year.
The day after Christmas, Curtis and I finally got around to eating the top layer of our wedding cake. This was the first time since we had been married (1 year 6 months later) where we had the opportunity to eat our wedding cake because Curtis and I hadn't been in Jacksonville since our wedding. The cake even had a few of our wedding napkins in with it!
We thought it was only right to go ahead and cut the cake together, just like we did back in 2008.
Sadly, we had some sort of sickness come upon almost all of the Curtis [my maiden name] family 2 days after Christmas. Here Curtis is pictured laying in bed as he was sick. My cat, Regis, is laying beside him trying to help him feel better. I miss Regis!

Overall, Christmas was lots of just ended somewhat abruptly as everyone ended up getting sick.