safety violation.

I couldn't get through my morning without running an Office quote by Dwight through my head. During the pilot episode, Jim has strategically placed pencils (points up) in the crack between his desk and Dwight's.

Dwight: You can't do that.
Jim: Why not?
Uh... safety violation. I could fall and pierce...an organ.

Besides going to chapel (which was great) and a party (hard not to choke on food when Scott and Tim are cracking jokes about the background music), I spent my morning working on name tags for Writers Conference coming up next week. There were 72 tags that needed to be cut apart and inserted into these little plastic holders. Then the strings had to be attached. And because I was thinking ahead about when these name tags would be distributed, I also grouped them by age group and then alphabetized them by last name.

I needed a strategy to keep organized. Something to hang them on so the strings wouldn't get all tangled. A coat rack would be nice. Maybe some hooks on the walls.

But I do not have those.
So I improvise.

Jeff walked by and had to look closely. He thought it was an illusion. You know, like the pencils are just floating there. A balancing act. Magic. Miracle. Something. No, I just have really clear tape. I mean really clear. Better than Scotch tape. I can't believe how clear this tape is. It's almost invisible! And I taped each pencil to the table.
In the end, I tucked each string into the holder behind the name and lined them up in a box. I feel like we're really going all out for these writers. Whatever happened to "Hello My Name Is..." stickers? ;)



Sorry for not updating. Here's what I've been up to the last three days.

What did I do on Saturday? Oh yeah, it was raining. I spent my day inside drinking chai tea and listening to Mat Kearney. I did a little editing. In the evening I was feeling creative so I made several cards and decorated the envelopes. I also decoupaged my journal with pictures of Nashville. (See picture.)
My mom spent her morning taking pictures of everything in my room in Kansas and e-mailing them to me so I could tell her what I wanted her to bring me in November and what I wanted to leave there. Thanks, Mom!

Sunday was beautiful. I went out to my car and... "Whoa! What is that huge bright light in the sky?" It was, indeed, the sun. Our Sunday School class met outside on the patio which was really great. The question of the day was "What's your favorite type of music?" I confessed that I drop some rhymes with Shai Linne and Lecrae when I drive to work in the morning. (Christian hip-hop/rap)
Late afternoon... I went over to Andrea's and we walked around her neighborhood and then we hung out for a few hours. It was fun. :)

Busy day yesterday. Every day for the next two weeks will be busy.
After work I went to HR and got my flu shot. The shot itself didn't hurt but pretty soon afterward my arm hurt a lot! But at least the pain isn't as bad as dealing with the flu.
A lady from the American Red Cross called me and asked if I would donate. She said they are in need of my blood type (O+). I said sure, and I have an appointment today after work. Hopefully my iron is high enough. She said, "For coming in, we'll give you a keychain with your blood type on it. How does that sound?" I said, "That sounds fabulous."

Another very busy day at work. I think this flu shot is making me feel a little icky. Not terribly, but I'm definitely fighting the urge to sleep all the time. I successfully donated another pint of blood. I always get so nervous about the finger prick even though I know it doesn't really hurt. And this is my 10th time (I think...maybe 11th) donating, and I cannot watch the needle go in. I was looking away in anticipating and the nurse said, "Are you OK?" "Yeah, fine. I just can't watch it." I was unusually slow today at pumping the blood out. It felt like it took forever and at one point it slowed down and she repositioned the needle. Finally right when I was finishing, I started feeling sick and faint and so they dropped me flat and put my feet up. This probably happens 50% of the time I give blood. I recovered quickly though.

Only like 8% of the population who is eligible to donate blood ever does. Don't be a wimp. It's not that bad. Go donate. You can save up to 3 lives each time you give. You always feel good about helping people afterward and the best part is the free drinks and snacks. On no other occasion do I eat Nutter Butters except when I give blood. At the Red Cross downtown, they had a popcorn machine. Fantastic.

I'm less than one month from closing on my house. I found out yesterday that the termite report came back, and I am buying a termite-free house. That's always good news. I can't wait to move in. October 27 will not come soon enough. My friend Kristin called me today. We'll spend months playing phone tag and it's rare we ever get to talk. But we did and it was great.

Finally, a picture I snapped while waiting to get on the interstate: LifeWay in the background and birds on the power lines. These were big -- like pigeons. The other day we saw dozens and dozens of birds on the lines, but I didn't have my camera. Birds are weird.



friday feature.

Celebrating my 100th blog post with my first-ever front page article.

The Coffey County Republican is my hometown newspaper. It serves all of Coffey County and has a readership of approximately 11,000.

The feature focuses on Jason Waller, a Burlington High School graduate who recently released his first EP.

The jump to page 5. To read the article in its entirety, click here.


Carnton Plantation.

Today I went and saw the Carnton Plantation. There was a Civil War fight in this area and in five hours 9,500 people were killed. The house was used as a hospital for confederate soldiers and there is a cemetery nearby.

The plantation/hospital



We are converting to Google Apps at work, and the general consensus on this move is positive. I know I'm excited about it. I've had a personal GMail account for several years, but have never really used calendar or any other applications. So, to make the transition easier, everyone is required to attend Google Apps training.

Today I went to a session of Google Apps training. Amy Thompson led the training.
She is hilarious.
Hil. ar. i. ous.

She also taught me how to use the phone system during new employee orientation. No one ever calls my phone, which is sad because the phone does have a lot of really neat features.

In 90 minutes, we learned more than we really want to know about the features of GMail and Google calendars. It will make communicating more simple and organization will be a walk in the park. Mostly I'm pretty pumped that I will know be able to watch little Chinese fox go about his day as I edit.

I walked away with a sweet sticker set of shortcuts to apply to my keyboard.


cloudy with a chance of rain.

dTake a close look at September 14 — September 29. That's 16 days.
I can't remember what the sun looks like.


point A to point B.

Ah, weekend. This past week has been crazy-busy so it's been nice to slow down for a couple of days. Friday after work I stopped by my house (I'll call it my house even though I haven't closed on it yet) because the home inspector was there. I met Tiffany there and he explained some of the things he found and then yesterday e-mailed me a 50-page report. Some of the major safety issues included the fact that none of the outlets were grounded. But there was nothing too terrible; the house is not falling apart or anything. :) We'll decide what the seller needs to fix and what things I, as a competent homeowner, could get to later.

Yesterday was pretty low-key. In the morning I watched Away We Go, a movie starring John Krasinski (Jim, from "The Office"). I took our recycling to the drop-off site. I wrote a letter, made two birthday cards, and filled out some paperwork for mail-order prescriptions and got all of those things in the mailbox. Finished up writing interview questions and sent them to Jason Waller. I'm writing an article for my hometown newspaper. I'm really excited about it.

Last night I babysat for the first time in... 5 or 6 years, I think. I watched Reed, who is 2 1/2 years old. He's a sweetie! Loves racing cars (we definitely spent about 30 minutes just pushing cars back and forth to each other and making them wreck, haha). Very short attention span when it comes to Play-Doh. I showed Reed how to press and roll the Play-Doh to make a snake. Reed likes Teddy Grahams and playing with blocks. The DUPLO blocks had a propeller-type attachment in them which Reed just loved to spin and tell me it was a windmill. I said, "Reed, have you ever seen a windmill?" He said, "Yes, on the ceiling." (Fan)

Then we got to playing this game where Reed would jump up and down and then throw himself on the couch and say, "I need to rest." I closed my eyes and said, "Goodnight, Reed. See you in the morning." Then he'd lay there a few seconds and get up and yell and I'd open my eyes and say, "Reed! You're awake!" And he thought it was the funniest thing and kept doing it over and over.

Pretty good day. Have I mentioned that I love Nashville? Every day this year I've been keeping track of at least three things for which I thank God. It's cool to look back and see how He brought me here:

February 16, 2009: Being offered an interview for an internship at LifeWay
March 19, 2009: LifeWay interview
March 24, 2009: Very good news. I'm moving to Nashville
May 25, 2009: Getting some housing leads in Nashville
May 27, 2009: Making it to Nashville safely
May 29, 2009: Moving into a townhouse in Madison, TN
June 1, 2009: Awesome LifeWay orientation
June 11, 2009: Meeting the heads of the publishing division (making connections)
June 17, 2009: Getting good news about my future
June 21, 2009: First time at First Baptist Nashville--everyone was so nice!
July 7, 2009: Getting an encouraging e-mail telling me I'm doing a good job at work
July 8, 2009: Meeting Dr. Rainer and Ed Stetzer
July 11, 2009: finding a place to live possibly Sept - Nov.
July 12, 2009: Getting baptized at First Baptist Nashville
July 20, 2009: Finding out that job interviews are next week
July 24, 2009: the awesome opportunity to work with Andrea all summer
July 27, 2009: the job interview going pretty well
July 29, 2009: getting an contract position for at least two weeks
August 7, 2009: getting a job offer... and taking it!
August 14, 2009: meeting with a banker about a home loan
August 18, 2009: getting my TN license plate
August 24, 2009: house shopping with my real estate agent
August 31, 2009: moving in with Kate and Rachel
September 2, 2009: Tiffany showing me a great house
September 3, 2009: Making an offer on a house!
September 11, 2009: Accepting a counter-offer on the house


LIVE: CMP's "The Office"

The Office video. In case just reading the script didn't do it for you. Here it is:

CMP Video from Andy Dukes on Vimeo.



"this is an environment of welcoming."

The cast of LifeWay's version of "The Office"
(from left to right: Kathy, as Phyllis; Jeff, as Michael; Jeremy, as Jim; Todd, as Toby; Jessica, as Pam; Bill, as Kevin; Alyssa, as Angela; and William, as Dwight -- holding his stapler in jello.)

A scene in which Dwight explains our new bathroom rules.
"Using the bathroom is a privilege. If you cannot behave like adults, there will be no bathrooms!"
(click photo to enlarge)

Yet another reason why I love my job. A small group of the Childhood Ministry Publishing family presented seven office scenarios during the monthly department meeting. (See yesterday's post for the script.) The entire performance was caught on video. Unfortunately the video is more than 1GB right now, so it is currently being shrunk down to a more manageable size. When it is accessible to me and/or posted on YouTube, I'll get a link up here.

The season 6 premiere of NBC's "The Office" is tonight at 9/8c.


i've always been your biggest flan.

dStep 1. Gather your supplies. For this you will need: 1 stapler, 2 pieces of dental floss, Jello mix, tape, and a plastic container large enough for the stapler. The amount of Jello you need depends on the size of your stapler+container. For me, one big box (makes 4 c.) was sufficient.

Step 2. Suspend the stapler. This step is essential to give the stapler a "floating" look. Otherwise your stapler is just going to sink. Use the floss to suspend the stapler. Try to work it so no part of the stapler is actually touching the container. When the jello sets, you'll be able to pull the floss out.

Step 3. Make the jello. Follow the directions on the package. It's not difficult. I really would have preferred using lemon jello (yellow = more transparent) but my choice at the store was little box of lemon for 99 cents or big box (twice the size) of orange for 99 cents. I'm pinching pennies.

Step 4. Refrigerate. Pour the hot jello into the container, filling it halfway. Fill it the rest of the way up with cold water. Refrigerate (preferably overnight). Before pouring the jello in, I went ahead and sprayed the container with cooking spray. I didn't want to take any chances with the jello being too sticky. This is the first time I've done this, so we'll see tomorrow if I can get it out of the container.

So the whole reason I'm doing this is for our Office skits tomorrow at work. We have a department meeting once a month. Yeah, maybe the skits could be tweaked so everyone watching would walk away with some useful information, but really it's just for laughs. Tomorrow is the season 6 premiere of the Office. Click here to read the script.

Another surprise coming tomorrow. Check back tomorrow night to find out what it is.


shop around.

So yesterday I wrote about the great team of people working for me on this
home/loan/insurance thing. I called State Farm yesterday to get a quote on homeowner's insurance to compare prices. When they called me back today, I pulled out my notebook to jot the numbers next to Liberty Mutual's numbers, but I was surprised by the conversation:

"Hi Alyssa, I was just calling because we have down here to get a quote to you about life insurance."

Life? No, homeowner's. Seriously, since I got my auto and renter's policies with State Farm, these people have called me at least six or seven times to ask me if I wanted life insurance.

"I have life insurance through my employer."

"Right, but it is often a good idea to get additional life insurance. Sometimes life insurance from an employer is not enough or not always reliable. You know, inflation and what not..."

"Okay, look. I do not have a family. And my parents can afford to bury me if something happens to me."

"Yes, but do you plan on getting married and having kids someday?"

"I'm 21! I have no plans on getting married or having kids right now. You guys have called me six or seven times about this. I do not want additional life insurance!"

"Six or seven times? Really?"

"Yes, at least. But I did call yesterday about homeowner's insurance quotes. And I haven't heard back."

"Okay, let me transfer you to Dante."

(Dante:) "Alyssa? What are you saying I didn't do?"

"I'm saying you didn't call me back. I called yesterday asking for a homeowner's insurance quote and you said you'd call me back today."

"Okay. Well here are the numbers. For a year, it will be $618."

"$618? Is that for only the homeowner's?"


It took all I had not to laugh and tell them they were losing my business as soon as I got my house. Not only was the representative from Liberty Mutual VERY nice, he gave me a better price. State Farm says "$618." You know what Liberty Mutual quoted me for for a year of homeowner's insurance?


The Office season premiere is coming up on Thursday! Here's a spoof:


too good.

Whew. Monday. Nothing like spending several hours on a Winter 2010-11 leader pack. And then realizing that three of the pack items (Bible Books Posters) really need to be one item placed at the beginning. So here I have all these files named:


And so forth. 35 pack items plus the contents page. Three files per item (a- contents, b- instructions, c- title). So 108 files waiting to be imported into InDesign pages. Well this is a problem when you realize you need to delete pack items #13 (a, b, and c) and #26 (a, b, and c) and change pack item #4 to include both 13 and 26 and then rename it to be pack item #2.
Lots of time spent renaming every file and then opening them to make sure I got it right.

I really do love my job. I work with amazing people who love the Lord. I love what I do. I love being able to use the talents God has given me every day. When I'm cruising down the interstate at 6:05am to the sunrise and singing [yes, I sing in my car. Loudly. All the time.] to Addison Road or Jason Waller I can't help but think, "Lord, how in the world did I end up here? This is fantastic. You are too good to me."

A representative from Liberty Mutual called me today to get me a homeowner's insurance quote. He called back about 10 minutes after he got the address from me with the quote. I called State Farm (I'm currently with them for auto and renter's) and they said it would take until tomorrow to get back to me. He said my homeowner's insurance for the year is really low which is great news.

I'm pretty diligent about shopping around to get the best deal, but I'll tell you what, if you're nice to me, that has a huge impact. If you're willing to take the time to say, "You're buying your first home? Congratulations! I'll walk you through this step by step so you know exactly what it all means. We'll get you taken care of," then even if your auto insurance is $9 more a year than State Farm, you've got my business. The banker I'm working with was the same way. He met with me and explained everything in simple terms. My real estate agent even told me that he was telling her how nice I was. :) Don't even get me started on my real estate agent. So great. I'm glad I have a great team of people taking care of these things for me. I'm sure it can be a real disaster for some people.

THREE days until the season premiere of the Office.


no blood. minimal tears.

Today was my first experience subbing for 5th grade Sunday School. I've never taught Sunday School before. In fact, before today I had zero experience teaching at all. The cool part was that the 5th grade class uses BTX, the curriculum I edit at work. I prepared over this last week, and had sat in on the class last Sunday to get a feel for what it was like.

5th graders are much younger than I imagined. And the boys are so different from the girls... who are all taller than them! And the boys are much rowdier. Fortunately there were two other teachers there who helped quiet them down.

But today went really well! I would even be OK with teaching again sometime.
Not every week, but as needed. :)

There was no blood and only one girl cried. Ha!
I had a review game where the preteens were sitting in a circle and there was a ball in the center. I asked a review question, and if someone knew the answer he was supposed to grab the ball to answer and earn a point. Well you can imagine how this turned out. Before I even finished asking a question, there was a dog pile of 3-4 of them on the floor: three boys and the bravest/most enthusiastic girl. Some of the boys didn't even know the answer or the question and just dove in their for the fun of it. Well lo and behold on about the fourth question, one of the boys throws himself onto this ball and in the process of doing so smashes the hand of the "brave" girl. She said, "Ouch, my hand," and I thought that'd be it but oh, no. Then the tears come. Fortunately one of the other teachers checked it out (nothing broken, of course) and we continued carefully with the game.

Bible story today came from Nehemiah 8:1-12. Nehemiah was a governor in charge of rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem. When the wall was finished, they celebrated and Ezra read the Book of the Law. Memory verse: "Those who hear the word of God and keep it are blessed!" Luke 11:28.


i'm buying a house!

This is it! The seller and I finally agreed on a price. I'm very excited!
Closing date should be late October. I met my agent at a Starbucks last night and signed a couple papers to accept the counteroffer. Then she bought me a celebratory chai latte. :)

The bathroom. I really like it. :)

The kitchen. My stove and refrigerator will go on the opposite wall.
A stackable W/D will be on the left. There is room on the right wall,
maybe for a microwave cart or small table for more counter space.
It's not a lot of counter space, but it's just me. I don't need a lot of counter space.

One bedroom. Love the natural light that comes in through the windows.

The other bedroom. I think yellow is such a cheery color!

The backyard. I'm not used to having a shady backyard.
And yes, that is indeed a chicken coop. While I'm not allowed to have chickens,
I think it will be a nice place to put my bike, lawnmower, garden tools, etc.



america under attack.

Eight years ago today I was sitting in my 8th grade algebra class when our principal's voice came over the intercom system to notify the students of the 9/11 attacks. In the days following, I wrote this poem. I read it over the radio for our local station and it has also been published in a 2002 issue of Creative Kids magazine. I had a volleyball game that night and we listened to President Bush's address over the radio while we were on the bus. I interviewed some of my friends about what they thought; their words are scribbled on a piece of notebook paper in a desk drawer at home. I remember my mom telling me, "This is a day you will never forget. For the rest of your life you will remember exactly where you were when you heard about this."

America Under Attack

Like a scene out of a movie
It all happened extremely fast
Hard to accept the truth
Something belonging in the past.
We've been attacked by terrorists.
The words seemed so untrue
Thousands killed, yet just as bad
It was our planes they flew.
Because they hate America
They started to highjack
Diving from the sky
A suicide attack
Evil; taking lives
Not caring who they hurt
Quickly; without warning
No hint of an alert
Felt across the nation
Anger and sadness filled the land
Allies, neighboring countries
Stop to lend a hand
Children's moms and dads,
Neighbors and close friends
Faced with despicable terror
Their lives came to an end
So much talk of war
Yet no chaos or retreat
Whoever planned this murder:
Justice they will meet
Worry and confusion.
Pray for those who died.
This wasn't supposed to happen;
I just want to know why.
The president said we'd be all right
He said America was strong
"What if," I often wonder,
"The president is wrong?"

-Alyssa Reeves, Sept. 13, 2001
age 13

Click here to listen to the radio recording.
(I remember I had a cold, so I sound a little nasal-y.)


made new EP.

  • Check out Jason Waller's recently released EP, Made New.


beauty will rise.

Today over lunch I went to a listening party for Steven Curtis Chapman. He came to LifeWay to give us a preview of some of the songs on his upcoming album, Beauty Will Rise.

The album is a result of Chapman working through the grief, confusion, and pain following the loss of his 5-year-old daughter Maria in 2008. The songs are a collection of Chapman's deepest thoughts and emotions during a very difficult time. Chapman commented that the lyrics are similar to David's psalms: a mixture of grief and questioning of how God could allow something so awful to happen along with an assurance of hope: that beauty will rise from the ashes, spring will come, and God is worthy of praise and trust.

The album includes 12 songs written over the past 18 months and will be released on November 3. For more about Steven Curtis Chapman, visit his website.


the cream cheese saga.

I was very productive today at work. My favorite part about working on the products is the very beginning. Not that I don't love reading through BTX or Bible Express for a fourth time to make sure we've caught everything, but my favorite part is pulling the text into InDesign pages, styling it, and doing the first read. I think it's because I catch so much the first time. Editing is like a game and you win when you find a mistake. Further down the road, when it's been read and re-read eight times, you don't find mistakes very often. That's good for us editors (it means we're doing a good job) but it can also be frustrating because you just know there is a mistake there somewhere and you're not finding it. So today I started putting together May 2010 Bible Express and building stories for Winter 2010-11 BTX Leader Pack. So, besides freezing and being hungry (which I seem to always be at work), it was a good day.

I took 24-E home from work today. There are three routes to get to and from work: 65-S, 24-E, and Nolensville Rd. Nolensville is a straight shot, but there are stop lights and you can only go like 45 mph. But each takes about the same time. Shortly after I get home, Kate gets home. This girl is about to graduate from nursing school and she just worked all night and then went to a class. She's been awake 30+ hours. Kate tells me how 2/3 of her class wants to work in pediatrics and they all want to work at Vandy (which is only going to hire like five people) and how her professors just talked about how horrible the job market is and basically everyone walked out of their suicidal and thinking they just wasted $100,000 on med. school.

Then it gets worse: Kate stopped by Wal-Mart to get chicken and fat-free cream cheese (the cream cheese is to make cheesecake). 4 items. Quiz! How many grocery bags should it take to bag 4 items? Did you say, "Just one"? Right! Any reasonable person could assume that three blocks of cream cheese and a chicken would easily fit into one Wal-Mart bag. So Kate grabs her bag and comes home.

Well, this checker apparently thought maybe she'd need two. You know, because some people are very particular about their cream cheese packages touching their chicken packages. So Kate gets home with only her chicken and (I don't blame her) just wants to go to bed! So she goes to bed.

I look at her receipt and that cream cheese was like $2 a package. Now due to recent events including (but not limited to) my being cut off from my parents' monetary endowments upon my completion of higher education as well as my pursuit of the purchase of a rent-free living establishment, I'm tight with money. I take bean and rice burritos for lunch even though they aren't that great just because they only cost 49 cents to make. Anyway, so I'm thinking, "You can't just let $6 go. It's not even your fault you left your bag."

I picked up my phone and dialed the number on the receipt. I said, "Hi, I just bought four items, and I guess they were put into two sacks because I just brought home one and must have left the other. I'm missing three blocks of cream cheese." So they call someone else in the store and find out that yes indeed, three blocks of cream cheese have been found. They apologize and say I can come back and get some fresh blocks since the purchased ones have been unrefrigerated for an hour and a half.

We live really close to Wal-Mart. There is a big hill behind our house and I bet Wal-Mart is just on the other side. I drive there and almost head straight to customer service but I know they'll say, "Go get some replacements" and then I'll have to stand in line again, so I go get the cream cheese first. There are only five packages left of the fat-free kind, and I take three. Then I stand in line. I'm in line probably six minutes, but it feels like a long time. The people standing behind me are standing way too close. I feel a little uncomfortable. The cream cheese is probably getting warm in my hands. I'm looking at the box because I have nothing else to do and notice that it says: Best If Used By: 13 JUL 09. ! Seriously? That's almost two months ago.

When I get to the counter I tell them what's up and they say, "Yeah, we remember you calling." So I tell them "This is what I want, but these are the only packages left and the expiration says July 13... could I just get a refund?" They say sure and are very friendly and ask if I'm doing OK today and then give me the refund in cash. They have me sign a receipt so I forge Kate's name. Then I drive home with the cash and leave it on the counter for Kate with a note: "Wal-Mart was very apologetic."


free sunshine & sandwiches.

Today my roommates and I went to Percy Warner park and hiked the trails. We went at noon, so it was pretty warm (mid-80s). The trails in the shade were a little cooler; we walked uphill for awhile and I was definitely feeling like a fat kid with my lame too-fast heart rate but I sucked it up until we decided to turn around and head back. Going down hill was much easier. The trails were great. You definitely won't find ones like these in Kansas. We'll have to go back in the fall when it's cooler and the leaves are turning.

There was a little disbelief around the office at the fact I had never eaten at Chick-Fil-A. I would just like to clarify that there are only 5 Chick-Fil-A stores in the entire state of Kansas (which is much larger than the state of Tennessee), and there are 55 stores in Tennessee! Based on the area:store ratio, I'm not surprised. Now that I think about it, in Jacksonville last summer the Navs leaders brought up Chick-Fil-A for lunch when we were doing beach evangelism, but I still hadn't technically eaten at one. Today was the Labor Day Giveaway at Chick-Fil-A so after hiking the trails, we drove to one in Brentwood. But the line was out the door so we decided to try Hickory Hollow mall. There was basically no one there... great decision on our part. I got my free sandwich and water and then paid for a small waffle fries. The sandwich is normally $2.79 so it was a pretty great deal. I'm pretty happy with my Chick-Fil-A experience. I've heard good things about the waffle fries, but I must say I do prefer Arby's curly fries.

Pretty fun morning. I'm going to try to finish reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe this afternoon. Back to work tomorrow!



This morning I sat in on the 5th grade Sunday School class at my church. Next week I am going to be subbing for one of the teachers. There are three teachers, and they actually use BTX, the preteen curriculum I edit at work! So that's pretty cool. It's also cool because I get to see how well the product works and what about it could be changed to make it better.

Next week I'm teaching the "Experience the Bible" portion, which is the longest part (20-25 min). I'm a little nervous because I have very little experience working with kids/teaching. I think it'll be easier now that I've experienced a week and know what it's like (and 5th graders seem a lot younger than I imagined them... and the boys are so different from the girls!). It'll be stretching, but good.

In the afternoon I met up with Andrea (who mentored me as an intern) and we went to a park on Concord Rd. and walked and caught up on life. Then she drove me past the Governor's Club (lots of really nice, really big houses). Then just down the road was Dolly Parton's house. She drove me by and said, "Here, now you'll have something to blog about.' Hanging out with her was a lot of fun.

Dolly Parton's House (she has a lot of land and it was
difficult to even see her house from the road)

Kate brought me home a half-gallon of milk because she used a bunch of mine to make alfredo sauce when she thought it was Rachel's milk. (It's actually good that she used it because it was about to expire!) Kate decided to make some disgusting Japanese noodles called shirataki noodles. They were white and smelled like fish. Rachel and I were almost gagging so Rachel opened the front door -- and there was a kitten outside! We tried to catch him but he kept running away. I want one. :)



Let's just say after a little instance a few weeks ago, I am not happy dealing with mechanics. The reputation mechanics have for taking advantage of young, single women who know nothing about cars must have some truth to it, otherwise it wouldn't be part of their reputation.

As a female, I am missing the gene that says, "Cars are cool!" But I may have to just resist my urge to throw up or fall asleep and learn about them so no mechanic will pull a fast one on me. Now don't worry, this isn't going to end in a big sob story like what happened on August 12. I walked away today only paying $24.57.

Like most things I buy, I shop around for an oil change. I've usually stuck with Midas but now that I'm in a big city and have lots of choices, I decided to call a few places up this morning and see what their prices are. For $40, Jiffy Lube will change your oil and vacuum your floors and wash the windows. My floors are in great need of being vacuumed, but not for $40. Midas didn't answer the phone 15 minutes prior to opening, so they're out. And Jeff told me Firestone had a $10 coupon. I called Firestone. You get an oil change for $29.99 (minus the $10). So I print the coupon and drive over.

On the phone they told me it takes 10 minutes to change the oil. But when I get there they must be busy because they say 45-60 min. I wait. I brought my book, but it's hard to read when Veggie Tales is playing loudly on the TV. First he says he recommends the high mileage oil change because I have like 136,000 miles on my car. It's $10 more. I think. Hmm... I've always gotten normal oil changes before. Maybe he's trying to mess with me. He says it's better for my car. "Well, this time let's just do the normal and maybe next time I'll get the high mileage. (Right.)"

Finally the guy comes out and says they are almost done and goes over the list of things they checked. He said my tie rod is loose (not a safety issue yet) and my parking lights (apparently 3 corner lights) are out (not a big deal unless a cop wants to be a jerk). He gives me some paper work that lists all of their "Recommended Services" I had denied:
  • Steering and Suspension
    Tie Rod, Inner (Parts 74.99/Labor 123.00)
  • Lamps, Bulbs, Flashers and Switches
    Mini Lamps, small bulbs (Qty. 3/Parts 11.98/Labor 12.99)
  • Standard Balance & Rotation (All 4)
    Wheel balance parts (Qty. 4/Parts 2.99/Labor 7.00)
  • High Mileage Oil Change
    High Mileage Seal, Oil Filter (Parts 28.99/Labor 13.50)
    Lifetime Alignment Service (Labor 149.99)
    System Cleaner (Parts 39.99/Labor 50.00)
  • Ignition Parts
    Fuel Filter, platinum plugs, ignition wire set (Parts 100.97/Labor 254.20)
  • PCV Valve (Parts 9.99/Labor 9.00)
Total Parts: 298.33
Total Labor: 726.64
Shop Supplies: 25.00
Tax (9.25%): 97.11
Total: 1,147.08

Ha! Are you kidding me? My car isn't even worth that much. Fortunately my tires are still in good condition so I don't need to replace those yet. The crazy part to me is that 63% of the bill is labor. The paperwork says labor is $82.00/hr. Sheesh! Is that normal?
I need to find a local mechanic who doesn't have to pay up to a corporation. Any of you Nashville people know of anyone?


end of week.

Still in the negotiation phase. Offer. Counter-offer. I need to find a fax machine tomorrow to get the counter offer back to my realtor. I think there's a FedEx Office not too far from here. This is another picture of the house: the "dining room" aka the other end of the living room that's right next to the kitchen.

Our managers let us leave an hour early (at 2 p.m.) today since it's the Friday before a holiday (yay, Labor Day). I got home and didn't know what to do with myself and before I knew it I was in a cleaning mode and did some sweeping (house with three girls = hair everywhere) and dusting and light bathroom cleaning. When I got done it was only 4:30. This whole I'm-done-with-school thing gives me a lot of free time. I've been reading A LOT. I'm currently working on C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew (first Narnia book). I'll probably finish it tomorrow.

Coming up:
Saturday: fax papers to Tiffany, get my oil changed, get a library card
Wednesday: Steven Curtis Chapman comes to LifeWay! There's a listening party over lunch. He has a new album coming out in November so we're going to hear some of the new songs.


minimalist is in.

I made the biggest decision of my life so far!

I made an offer today and put down earnest money. It feels pretty good. I'm excited.
Now for a sneak preview.
This is the living room. Love the floors.

I'm going into this without furniture... minimalist is in, right?
I'll post more photos later.

So, my awesome realtor went and talked to the neighbors and got the scoop. All the people on the street are friendly and look out for each other. There is a shed in the back (more on that later). We found out that there was an old man who lived here a long time who used to have chickens! Lots of them. But I'm not allowed to have chickens; it's some zoning issue.

Current closing date: October 27, 2009. Mark your calendar.
And now we wait.



dI am currently trying to make the biggest decision of my life so far.

(Click the picture for a bigger picture.)



he's pretty much my BFF.

OK. Before reading this, make sure you have the back story. Read these posts to get caught up:
1. Chapel with John Waller
2. Meet and Greet

So today was new employee orientation. Even though presentations and paperwork aren't always the most exciting things in the world, the HR department does a really good job getting us the information we need and treating us to things like snacks and free lunch in the cafe, a LifeWay Legacy book written by Dr. Draper, and just a generally very friendly welcome to the family.

So I'm pretty excited about free lunch. I only eat in the cafe when I'm not paying for it which so far has only included times like this and the time I grabbed a snack after my manager gave me a $2 voucher after my horrible, awful, no good, very bad day. So I go for the Hawaiian chicken quesadilla and a drink. (It has been too long since I've had chicken.) I'm standing there filling my cup up with diet Pepsi. I try not to drink soda too much, but diet root beer is a favorite. Since most places don't have diet root beer, I get diet Pepsi or diet Coke and simply add a squirt or two or root beer. Same taste without the calories. Today the root beer doesn't seem to be working. Diet Pepsi it is.
My cup is almost full and all of a sudden I turn and who is standing next to me but Dr. Rainer.

That's right. The president and CEO of LifeWay. The head honcho. Author of more than 20 books and avid Tweeter. He says, "Got your camera?"

"Ah! No! I don't.. but we're coming to your office! Tomorrow!"
"Yeah, the new employees. They said we got to come to your office and maybe if you were there we could meet you."
"You're full time now?"
"I'm going to be in California tomorrow. Did you bring your camera when I spoke at chapel?"
"Yeah I had it but I didn't come get a picture. Darn! Well next time! I'll have my camera."

He leaves. And I go sit down to eat. Before long someone comes to our table and said Dr. Rainer has invited our group to meet with him today. Of course, I run up to my office to get my camera. We show up in his office around 2pm and all the new employees get to introduce themselves. He gives me a hard time for thinking he's not important enough to get my picture with. (His words, not mine!)

I'd say we're back on good terms now that we got a picture together. Dr. Rainer has a bobble head of [himself and one of] Michael Scott in his office. So, we both work here and we both like The Office. So, you know. He's pretty much my BFF.
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