Mp3 battery died 300 miles back. cant find a good radio station :(
Singing in the car. 202 miles to go-- a straight shot across Missouri.
To the jerks cruising by in the left lanes that are ending: id like to punch you in the face! sigh...
Averaging 2.4mph. 3 lanes to 1 at MO River. is this a test in patience? cuz its killin my gas mileage
I do not like St Louis! and I think my new air freshener is making me nauseated :P
Is there a mass exodus from Florida I dont know about? ive seen so many Florida plates this morning!
Cruising through Illinois. Todd Agnew's 'Grace Like Rain' just came on the radio. lovin it :)
Currently approaching Paducah, Ky. 123 miles down, 432 to go.


fill to line.

Today was the last day of my internship at LifeWay. I had to turn in my ID badge and key at the end of the day, and I felt really sad about it. Today was also LifeWay's VBS Preview day, where kids got to get a first-hand glimpse at the 2010 VBS Theme, Saddle Ridge Ranch.

Photo by Kent Harville

Our preteen team had a booth. Kids were challenged to use a straw to blow a paper ball across a U.S. map to a designated state. Depending on how many tries it took, they won everything from a Bible Express magazine to posters of Christian artists to CDs of Leeland, Michael W. Smith, John Waller, Third Day, Casting Crowns, Brandon Heath, and more.

After work, I went and got a drug test. It seemed almost everyone was there for a drug test. Imagnine six to eight people spread out all over the waiting room... everyone chugging a bottle of water. ;)



For My Nashville Friends

For my Nashville friends who have never seen Kansas, which I have described as "very flat and no trees."

This is the Konza Prairie, located near Manhattan (college town: Kansas State University; also known as "The Little Apple.")
Photo from Flickr
Photographer earlycj5

Kansas prairie, in the Flint Hills region. There you have it.
Photo from Flickr
Photographer retraq

And some Biking Across Kansas (BAK) photos since I talk about it a lot.
(click for a larger image)
1: Me, my dad, and my stepmom riding along. (2007)
2: A heavy fog one morning kept us off the road for an hour, orders of the highway patrol. (2007)
3: Riding out in Western Kansas (2005)



wake up.

Yesterday was just weird. I think I redefined "Lazy Saturday" by being extra lazy. Well, I did go to the grocery store, make chocolate chip cookies, clean the kitchen, do some reading, and finish up a project for a friend, but a good portion of the day was spent in bed. I napped, changed into PJs around 8pm, then fell asleep, woke up at 10pm, fell asleep, the woke up again.

I sat up and looked at the clock: 5:00. It is raining, and I feel strangely panicked. 5:00 -- AM or PM? And I suddenly remember that after my trip to the grocery store, I left my car window rolled down just a bit so the inside of my car wouldn't get too hot. I remember thinking when I did it, "It's not going to rain."

Well guess what?! It is pouring. I change into shorts, grab my keys, slip on flip-flops and throw a towel over my head because my umbrella is in my car. And out the door I go to roll up my window.

Crisis averted. The inside of my door was a little wet, but I dried it off. Back to bed for a couple more hours of sleep. Woke up again at 8:00 and realized I needed to leave for church by 8:40 at the latest. Didn't get into the shower until 8:12 had my hair dry and everything by 8:32 (20 minutes! Not bad!) and got going.

On the agenda for this week:

Today-- interview prep. My friend Clarissa is driving through this evening on her way to Nebraska from Jacksonville, so I'm planning on meeting up with her.

Monday-- last full day of work and job interview.

Tuesday-- packing and cleaning.

Wednesday-- back to work for VBS Preview. More packing.

Thursday-- load up the car. 11:30am appointment to give blood at LifeWay for Red Cross blood drive.

Friday-- drive back to Kansas! Stopping in KC to spend the night with some friends.




Yesterday (Thursday, July 23):

Lunch at Baja Burrito. Went out to lunch at Baja Burrito. It's a local place, but it's pretty much just like your Q'doba or Chipotle--still pretty good.

Coffee and Desserts at Marché. I met up with Rob (friend from Manhattan) and a couple of his friends yesterday after work. He was in the area for a bit before catching a flight. It was nice to catch up and to see a familiar face.

Today (Friday, July 24):

Listening Party with Phil Stacey
Today we went to a Phil Stacey listening party over lunch. Phil Stacey is an American Idol finalist and recorded a self-titled country album last year. He talked about his new album,
Into the Light (coming out in August) and sang a couple of songs for us. We all got advanced copies of Phil's new album. Sweet.

Afternoon break at The Arcade. It was known in the late 19th century as Overton Alley but the alley between 4th and 5th Avenues North was developed in 1902 by David C. Buntin to become Nashville's first shopping center. It has since seen many times of prosperity and decline.

In the Arcade, we saw Mr. Peanut. It was actually very creepy: a tall, very skinny man in blank Under Armour and a big peanut suit, handing out free peanuts. The Peanut Shop is supposedly one of the oldest stores in the Arcade.



adios interns

Yesterday the Childhood Ministry Publishing department had a going away breakfast for us interns.
Our summers are wrapping up quickly!
My last* day at LifeWay is July 28.

Here are a couple of pictures (click for bigger size/better quality).

Daniel, me, and Jennifer sitting by the window.

Cheesing it up behind the VBS cut out.
 *last day as an intern


down came the rain.

The temperature here lately has been really nice. It was 65 degrees when I left for work this morning. It's currently in the lower 70s and pouring rain. I pulled up my blinds, pushed up the windows, and enjoyed the smell of rain. My window covers the majority of my wall which made it feel like my room was very open to the outside. It's supposed to rain tonight. I'll sleep well. :)


tennessee facts

Today we did what we do well at LifeWay: partied. At 9am there was a little breakfast for the three interns working in Childhood Ministry Publishing. A lot of people who work in CMP came. At 2pm, we had another party for Kay, who is going to be a grandma soon.

At the second party, I heard someone talking about getting a computer during the Tax-Free Weekend. Considering sales tax in Nashville is very close to 10%, this caught my attention. Turns out the State of Tennessee's Annual Sales Tax Holiday is held every year on the first Friday in August and ends the following Sunday night. This year's tax-free holiday weekend begins at 12:01 a.m on Friday, August 7th and ends Sunday, August 9th at 11:59 p.m.

Items that are included in the tax-free holiday are clothing ($100 or less), school supplies ($100 or less) and computers ($1500 or less). Unfortunately I'll likely be in Kansas that weekend. Pretty cool, though. Now if only I can get my computer to last me one more year until they have this tax-free holiday again.

When I was driving home, I passed by some apartments that had the state flag flying outside. But it was upside down. There are actually a lot of places around Nashville who fly the flag upside down, even Union Station! Cheryl, from work, taught me how to tell. And the news did a story on this once; apparently they teach this fact in 4th grade classrooms. The three stars should be aligned so that there are two on top, forming a V-shape -- "V" for Victory!




Tonight I helped Jessica make key lime pie and chess squares. I had never had key lime pie, and I had never heard of chess squares. Apparently they are a Southern thing. Anyway, they were pretty good and pretty simple to make.

Chess Squares
Cook Time: 40 minutes

  • 1 package butter cake mix
  • 1 stick butter, (4 oz), softened
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 box confectioners' sugar, (1 lb)
  • 3 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened

Combine cake mix, butter and egg and pat into 9x13" pan. Mix sugar, eggs and cream cheese, and pour on the crust mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes, or until browned.

Serves 12.



shout out.

Happy Birthday to my Daddio
(who is celebrating the 26th anniversary of his 29th birthday)

Left: Dad and I on my first Bike Across Kansas when I was just 12.
Right: Dad and I on Cabin Fever Challenge ride in Wamego, KS, March 2007.



lights, please.

Yesterday I went and saw My Sister's Keeper at the movie theater. The movie is based on Jodi Picoult's novel of the same name, which I read a couple years ago. I caught the matinee at 4:20. The theater was at the end of the hall on the left. When I opened the door, there was nothing but darkness. I thought my eyes would adjust to whatever previews were playing, but as the door shut behind me, I saw there were no previews playing. It was pitch dark. I couldn't see my own hand in front of my face. The glow of the EXIT sign made focusing even harder and I felt myself starting to panic a little. How many people are in here? Why is it so dark? What if I accidentally sit on someone trying to find a seat?

I heard some kids snicker in the back. One of them shouts, "Hi!" But I know he can't see me, maybe just my silhouette from the exit sign. I blindly fumble and slip into a seat on the aisle. I'm too close to the screen but there's no way I'm moving until I get some more light. The movie should start in a minute anyway. The kids get up and leave and I am the only one in the theater. My chair feels damp and smells like a fat, sweaty man sat in it. In fact, every chair in the theater seems to smell the same. I start thinking they should Febreze this place. I pull out my cell phone and hold it out to see the rest of the row, but I can't see more than two chairs past me. It's 4:30. The movie was supposed to start 10 minutes ago, and the previews haven't even started. The kids come back in and sit in the back and finally the lights raise just a little and I get up to move back a row and toward the center.

An older couple comes in and sits just as the previews start and the lights dim again. They're behind me also, so I kind of feel like I have the whole theater to myself, which is nice. I pull out a bag of sour gummi worms and a diet Mountain Dew from my bag. I stopped at a gas station on the way. Growing up, we always snuck our snacks in. Usually I'd go for something like chocolate covered raisins, but I wasn't hungry when I went to the gas station, and chocolate just didn't sound that good. The gummi worms weren't great.

The previews were too loud and pretty lame. My Sister's Keeper was good. The ending was different from the book, but it was still good. It'd be good even if you haven't read the book, but it's sad. If I'd been watching it at home by myself, I might have cried. Pretty good movie.



puffy muffin.

Today our preteen team went out for lunch at the Puffy Muffin.
I figured out why they called it that.
After I was done eating my crunchy chicken casserole, fried green tomatoes, and roll,
I felt like a puffy muffin.



love your neighbors.


Looking for a way to get involved in thlives of kids? My former roomie has been living and working in Philadelphia, PA. Here's what she says:

A wild daisy emerges from the earth, peeks at the sun through much trash and contorts itself around broken glass and concrete. In its becoming, the daisy stands with confidence and is simply what it’s meant to be. Like this small daisy, there are children in my neighborhood doing their best to emerge, to seek goodness and to grow successfully.

My housemates and I are doing what we can to love the children in our neighborhood and build relationships with their parents. In mid-June 2009, we started a Kids Club. We meet on Monday's from 6-8pm. We have singing, a Bible teaching, crafts, games and a snack. There are about 7-14 children on average who attend.

The neighborhood I live in is pretty rough. There are drug dealers everywhere, prostitutes and homeless folks around most corners, and young children with absent parents. I have built relationships with many people over the past year and am looking forward to continuing my life here.

On the 4th of July, we took 40 neighborhood children to the zoo--ranging from the ages of 4-17. It was chaotically fun. The trip was a wonderful opportunity for the kids to leave the block and do something fun and educational. This trip was funded by a young adults group from a church in central Pennsylvania that was visiting Philadelphia for a short-term service trip. However, we exceeded the limit of for the number of children who could be payed for. It was a huge blessing to split the cost of the zoo trip with them! There is no way the three of us can fund everything we want to do with these amazing children.

This being said, I would like to extend the invitation for you to be a part of Kids Club! Currently, we are planning a pizza party for the beginning of September for children who have read 5 books during July and August. Other activities being planned are a trip to a museum, girls' night sleep over, and much more.

If you would like to sponsor a child for any of these events that would be delightful. I would love to personally talk with you about one or more of the children from my block that you may sponsor!

If you want to help out by sponsoring a child or if you have questions, you can reach Jessica by clicking here.


Feeding the Poor.

So, I found this paragraph in an essay posted as a photo in a group. It made me laugh, so I thought I'd share...

from Jimmy Nguyen's "US Capitalism and Influence on Foreign Nations"

God loves America, and that’s why he’s on our money. And money is important to the world, because without money, people would be poor. Many nations are poor because they have no money. America tries to give them money sometimes but I don’t think they know how to use it because they’re still poor. I think they try to eat the money because they’re spoiled by missionaries who give them food instead of teaching them how to get money. I think that’s what they mean by “nickels a day can feed a child.” I thought, “How can food be so cheap over there?” It’s not. They just eat the nickels.




Hey hey hey. It's been busy lately but mostly routine things. On Sunday I got baptized at First Baptist Nashville. There were five of us who got baptized, and this fifth grader's dad took my picture in the white robe they provided, but I'm still waiting on him to e-mail it to me.

The Office marathon with the housemates is still happening. We just finished up episode 15 of season 3. Unfortunately I don't think we'll finish by the time I move out. We might get through the end of season 3 (ten more episodes). The first time I ever watched The Office was two summers ago after my friend Kristin introduced me to it and I spent the summer starting from the beginning and getting caught up.

I started reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I've read it before and I cried during the entire book. No tears yet, but I need to throw some fiction into my lineup. I'm also working on John Piper's Desiring God and 50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die right now.

Still doing the first round of editing on our Fall 2010 BTX product. Sometimes you run across things that are worded funny. Today there was an activity titled "Make place mats for the homeless." Now it goes on to describe giving the place mats to a shelter to be used around Thanksgiving, but if you only read the title you think, "What's a homeless person going to do with a place mat?" One of my friends-of-a-friend suggested another not-so-great Sunday school activity: Hey, why don't you take that coloring book over there to the corner?

I'm reminded of a joke I read. I'll schedule it to post in the morning. So come back. :)



ink spot.

It's been forever since I've sat down just to write creatively. Back in Manhattan, I was in this writing group called inkWELL that met on Saturday mornings just to workshop things we had written. I miss it. I don't think anyone in Nashville knows I like to write. So here's a sample of my favorites:


Day 45 in Nashville

Well, this is my 45th day in Nashville. It feels like I just got here, yet things like kayaking and intern orientation feel like forever ago. Today is a little dark and cloudy. I'm looking for a new place to rent for about 4 months. I don't like renting because I feel like I'm just throwing my money away (well, because I am). I'm so ready to settle and plant a garden, recycle, have people over for dinner, and maybe someday get a kitten (or two).

Going back to Kansas made me realize that I like Nashville. The downtown skyline at night is pretty sweet. It's big, but not overwhelming. There's always something to do for fun. People are generally very friendly.

Upcoming events:
  • Sunday, July 12 - I'm getting baptized at First Baptist Nashville.


evening at the ballpark

Tonight I went to the Nashville Sounds game v. Red Rock Express (Texas) with two other interns (Micah and Jennifer) and two of Jennifer's friends. Baseball = summer. It's been a busy week but it was a nice chance to relax for a few hours tonight.

Before the game, there was a Jars of Clay concert. Very cool.
I have a very low quality video here.

The first 2,000 fans got a free bobble head doll of Ryan Braun. Being new to Nashville, we had no idea who Ryan Braun is. This is how the dialogue between us interns went:

"Ryan Braun? Who's that?"
"He's not even in the line-up!"

So, I did what any inquisitive mind would do: I asked ChaCha. This is what they texted me: Ryan Braun is currently an outfielder for the Milwaukee Brewers. ChaCha!

I'm taking this guy to work to sit in my office. It just feels appropriate after seeing Dr. Rainer's bobbleheads.


"Oh Snap!" 30!

Today at work we celebrated Jeff's 30th birthday, which is on Saturday. We went out to lunch and then to Las Paletas, this gourmet popsicle place on 12th Ave S. (Near the Frothy Monkey!) I got a chocolate chocolate chip popsicle. Basically ice cream on a stick. Very good. (But gourmet, so you'll pay too much for it.) It's a fun place to go every now and then.

Jeff getting a haircut.

The big 3-0.

Jessica came up with some great decorations for Jeff's door.

The crazy people I work with. :)



meet and greet.

This morning the LifeWay interns had a meeting with Thom Rainer. When we got into his office, Ed Stetzer was there, too. Fun fact: Thom Rainer has a bobble head doll of himself! (Right next to his bobble head of Michael Scott--who, if you look at Dr. Rainer in this first picture [standing at right], he looks kind of similar to!) ;) Someone wanted to have LifeWay sell them, but marketing turned it down. Dr. Rainer is also a big fan of Diet Dr. Pepper Cherry. He put on his rainbow clown wig for us and showed us his cool carpet skis and a piece of the picket fence behind which the mysterious "second gunman" hid when Kennedy was assassinated.

When we sat down, Dr. Rainer asked me where my camera was. "You will run back to your office and get your camera when we have a musician here [I got my picture with John Waller] but you don't even bring it to meet with me?" Haha, oops. I really did wish I had taken my camera! Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer tweeted a couple of pictures of our meeting.

I'm smiling at the camera, but I really had no idea Ed Stetzer was taking a picture!
He said he was tweeting the meeting.

The group of interns -- Dr. Rainer got a little bit of his finger in the bottom of the picture. :)



making mosaics.

One of the perks of being an intern is that you get to meet a lot of the people higher up on the totem pole. Today we interns met Selma Wilson and John Kramp, the vice president for church resources. (Tomorrow we're meeting with president and CEO, Dr. Thom Rainer.) We went through the usual: where you're from, where you're working, how you heard about LifeWay lineup. We offered some feedback on LifeWay's "culture" and heard some pretty staggering HR statistics: there are currently 25,000 people applying for positions at LifeWay. Wrap your head around that number.


Sure, being an intern at least gets you a foot in the door. The hiring managers have seen your face and if you're lucky, you've got an employee or two willing to put in a good word for you. I'm not gonna lie; I felt good hearing I was picked out of more than 100 internship applicants. But it's hard not to ignore the fact that the economy is grim. People are saying this year's graduating class (that would be yours truly) is facing the toughest job market. I suppose it could be worse; I could not have a college degree. I could be irresponsible and hate what I'm doing.

It's still hard sometimes not to have high-stress moments when you can just imagine that
no one will hire you
and you'll be forced to move back home with your parents
and work as a burger flipper at a local greasy pit drive-in until you are 30
and by then forget what you learned in college
and move into a small place of your own
where you live with your two cats
and basic cable.

Okay, maybe I'm getting a little carried away.

We ended our meeting with the VP this morning with prayer and his words of wisdom that we have to remember that it doesn't all come down to our abilities. Every day isn't "oh man, I have to do a really good job and excel or it's all over for me." God works for our good. That's really hard for people to grasp sometimes, especially when you're in the midst of a difficult situation.

LifeWay interns with Selma Wilson and John Kramp.

I was talking with my friend Jenn when I was in Kansas City about trusting God. I'm working on John Piper's Desiring God this summer and Piper was writing about how God's view of things isn't the same as our view of things. God sees the small picture, the close-up view, and He sees the big picture -- everything that leads up to and results from an event. God sees the small picture of suffering, the devastation of sin, pain, grief, sadness -- and He does not delight in these things. But the Lord is weaving everything together for good. Whether it is Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers, a relationship ending, housing falling through, or an early-morning car accident. These are all just little pieces, like a mosaic. There are light pieces and dark pieces, and some look really beautiful by themselves and some look... not-so-beautiful. But when they are all put together, it's this brilliant piece of art.

Maybe you mostly believe that the picture is going to turn out well in the end. You trust God for the big things. But what about the everyday things? Is He not the Lord over everyday matters, too? Not trusting God for the everyday is like watching Him set a single tile in place and saying, "Hey now, are you sure that's where you want it? Don't you think it would look so much better over there? Or maybe if you used a yellow tile instead of a green one. Yeah, I'm pretty sure yellow would be best." Are you kidding? If you've ever taken care of small children, you've probably laughed when they told you they knew better than you did.

Praise God it's not up to me to make something beautiful out of my circumstances. I'm not just hoping that the tiles will randomly fall into just the right places. And I'm not sweating over the gray ones to turn them pink. I cannot create anything good. But it's sure sweet knowing the One who can wants to and will.

Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
-Proverbs 16:3

In his heart a man plans his course, but the L
ORD determines his steps.
-Proverbs 16:9

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
-Proverbs 19:21

A man's steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand his own way?
-Proverbs 20:24

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the L
-Proverbs 21:30



happy birthday.

Yesterday was my grandma's 75th birthday. We celebrated by getting together, eating dinner, and shooting off fireworks.

Casey was so scared of the fireworks. She was shaking like a leaf.

The weather was nice and the smoke from the fireworks and the light wind helped keep the bugs away. For awhile I thought we were going to get rained on, but we didn't.

Karen made cupcakes. My dad made homemade ice cream -- I added chocolate chips, green food coloring, and peppermint extract to mine. Mmm.

Sitting outside with Mary, Ben, and Grace.

Grandma, Arlie, and Grandpa. Arlie's sunglasses had rhinestones on them. Hahaha.

At 10 p.m. Jamie (left) picked me up and we went to Keira's (right) to shoot off fireworks until 11 p.m. Then Keira's mom hooked us up with more homemade ice cream and Kendra's homemade hot fudge.




Yesterday my dad and stepmom picked me up in Kansas City and we drove to Columbia, MO to meet up with JR and Erica. They just bought their first home outside of town, in New Franklin, MO. We helped them load and move stuff from their old apartment. After an evening of moving, we headed into Boonville for dinner.

We ate at Stein House Cafe. Our waiter was 6'11 and from Croatia. He had come to the US after being recruited by Roy Williams to play basketball. When Yugoslavia split, there was problems with his immigration papers and he wasn't allowed to play. He did play soccer for awhile. The restaurant was neat. I got popcorn shrimp, mashed potatoes, and cooked zucchini.

Erica and JR walking back to our car after dinner.

A Sinclair station. Apparently there are Sinclair stations in 21 states, but it seems like I see them a lot in Missouri. You won't find one of these in Tennessee. I always refer to it as "the dinosaur place." Look at the price of that gasoline! You won't find that in Nashville. :(

There was a Butternut bakery across the street from where we parked. It smelled amazing!

An old railroad drawbridge just outside of Boonville.

Erica and JR's new cat, Grey-Grey. He looks just like Simba and Nala who live with me in Madison. He won't touch his cat food. We saw him catch a mouse and eat it this morning.

Erica and JR in front of their rental in Columbia with their 85-year-old landlord. They'll miss how close it was to work, but they won't miss the house!

They now own this house! It's out in the country and beautiful.

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