Yesterday I installed my programmable thermostat. Because the new one was not the same shape as the old one (wide v. tall), I found out that the wall in the hallway used to be bright blue. I went out to my shed (chicken coop) and found some paint. Unfortunately it didn't match the wall; it was closer to the yellow in my bedroom (though not exact because I tried touching up a spot in there and it turned out a bit green). But, it's a temporary fix until I can get out there and pop open some paint cans and find the right shade. I like knowing the exact temperature of my house now, and I have it programmed to cool down when I'm at work and asleep.

Another quiet day at the office. I got some work done on Bible Express. The stories weren't ready until after 2 p.m, but I went in and saved all the files as .docx so the style templates would work and did added the verses to the keyword lists and verified them, so when the stories were ready, I was dropping the text and tagging it in 25 seconds per devo. I didn't finish because it was time to go.

During my lunch break, I called an auto glass place downtown. I almost got my rock chip sealed yesterday, but I got busy with things around the house. The two places I called yesterday quoted me at $45 and $50. I hate spending that much money on such a small chip. This place downtown said I could bring my car in right after work and it was only $25! They were really nice and got me out of there in about 20 minutes. It's Jack Morris Auto Glass ... so if you ever need some work done, I highly recommend them.

While I was waiting, I read an article in the paper about this guy who, every day this year, would sit down and roll two 8-sided dice. Then he would write a very short story using a corresponding word count (11-88 words). He was inspired by Hemingway's famous short, short 6-word story:

For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.

Check out the blog: Flash Fiction 365. It's fun. I was in a writing group in college (the inkWELL) that met on Saturday mornings and this sounds like something we would have had a good time with.


"happy birthday, jesus. sorry your party's so lame."

Well, I'm back in Nashville. Christmas with the family was good. Wish I could see my friends more than 40 minutes every 4-6 months, but I suppose that's the consequence of moving 660 miles away. The drive today wasn't bad; I avoided I-70 across Missouri because of snow in KC and heavy traffic. I took the route across southern Missouri. In southeast Kansas, I was switching highways every 15 minutes and most of the roads were two lane; traffic got really crazy just before the Tennessee/Kentucky border. I don't understand why people think it is OK to drive on the shoulder 1.5 miles to an exit just because traffic is backed up. I abandoned 24E at Briley Parkway and hit downtown to see backed up traffic for the Titans game.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter may have noticed my updates from the road. When I got home and checked my page, I realized how concerned Jeff and Bill are about my safety:

haha. I appreciate it :)

Grandma got me a jar opener that you just put on a jar and touch a button and it opens the jar for you. When I pulled it out of the box, my grandma said, "That's because you're living alone." To which I replied, "Grandma, how am I supposed to meet guys if I can do everything for myself?" ;)

Here are a couple of pics: 1) The kids (Geoff, me, Erica, and JR--Erica's husband). 2) My dad's side of the family: 4 sets of families and the grandparents.

 Before going over to my dad's to see family, Erica, Geoff, and I were making bets on the chances someone was going to get a Snuggie. (My dad's side is just that predictable.) Not only did someone get a Snuggie -- everyone got one.

My brother modeling his Snuggie like in the commercials.

On Christmas Day, Erica, Geoff, JR, and I went out to John Redmond (the dam) and went sledding. The snow was pretty thick so we had to push ourselves down the hill to pack down a path. Then we got to going so fast that the sled often hit the road at the bottom and kept going. Here's a video of me sledding. When I hit the road, my back hit the edge of the sled and I'm definitely sporting some bruises on my spine from this run.

Taking my floating holiday tomorrow. I'll probably spend the day unpacking my stuff, getting the chip in my windshield sealed, and setting up dentist and eye doctor appts. Oh, and I love that there is no snow here. The blizzard is Kansas complete with power outages and high winds was pretty crazy.


back in kansas.

Yesterday I made the drive back to Kansas. The drive wasn't too bad ... until I hit St. Louis. I just want to say that whoever decided it was a good idea to run the interstate parallel to the river and then weave it straight through downtown STL was not very wise. Traffic was crazy and then it started raining. It rained all the way to Kansas City. Then it rained most of the way to Burlington. But at least it was rain and not ice/snow.

I stopped in Kansas City to visit Lindsey. It was really great to see her. She drove me by the house she is considering buying and for dinner we made bierocks with her roommate. I decided to head back to Burlington last night instead of waiting until this morning. Probably a good decision because the rain is now turning to ice and there is a 90% chance of snow by 2 pm.

Erica and JR drove in from Columbia, MO. They brought their golden retriever (kind of still a) puppy, Daisy. Marley wasn't too excited that Daisy is around, but Daisy spends most of the time outside. She's really good at sitting when you tell her to.

Marley is as cute as ever. I picked him up wearing my black coat though and will have to remember to use a lint roller before I go out -- there is white hair all over it! Marley loves to drink out of the sink.

This morning I met up with Jenn. We were going to go to the coffee shop in town (yup, there's only one) but it was closed, so we went to the bakery (aka the donut shop). It was really good to catch up with her, too. She's getting married in June, which is probably the next time I'll be back in Kansas (for the wedding).

It has started sleeting/snowing. We're expected to get 1-3 inches today, then 4-6 more inches of snow tonight! Hopefully things will clear up by Sunday/Monday so I can make the drive back to Nashville safely. It's a good day to stay inside.

Played Cranium with Erica, JR, and Geoff, boys vs. girls. Erica and I won! Scored a sweet trivia card when they asked which famous artist was never famous during his lifetime. I happened to know that Van Gogh never sold a painting during his lifetime! (Thank you Bible Express X-facts!!)


wilderness and butterbeans.

First time at Kairos tonight. It was great; reminded me a lot of the Navigators at K-State, except a few hundred more people and I only knew one of them. When Paige Armstrong came to LifeWay last week to do a devotional, I interviewed her for Bible Express. I like this girl. She has such a beautiful heart. We got to talking about churches and Bible studies, and she invited me to Kairos at Brentwood Baptist. I met up with Paige there tonight.

Mike (the pastor/speaker) talked on Luke 1:80 and about John the Baptist and this waiting. He mentioned how we live in such a "microwave" world where we want everything to happen now. 30 seconds is too long. And here we are, stuck in this in-between: between when Jesus came and when Jesus said He's coming back. But we don't know when He's coming back.

Before Jesus was born, there were all these prophets saying that Jesus was coming. People knew this. The prophets were saying that he would come from Bethlehem. It was no secret. Yet when Jesus finally came, there wasn't a room for Him! You'd think these people would have set up a permanent room to have it ready whenever He finally came. They knew, but they didn't really believe. We're like that. We know Jesus is coming; it's no secret! But we aren't preparing. We aren't getting rid of the sin and filth in our hearts to make room for Him.

Mike also talked about John's time in the wilderness. He went out there and grew spiritually and you really don't hear about him at all until he appeared publicly when Jesus started his public ministry. Every person in the Bible experiences their time in the wilderness--their time when God wants to teach them something and he takes them out where nothing is straight and structured. Everything they've expected is gone. The people they thought would always be there for them: gone. Jesus was in the wilderness 40 days. John was in the wilderness. The Israelites were out there. Zechariah experienced wilderness in the form of losing his hearing and speech until John was born because he was too stubborn to listen to Gabriel.

Sometimes God brings us to the wilderness. He wants to teach us something. He wants to work in us in ways we can't even begin to imagine. And here we are (microwave world) acting like a kindergarten student with our milk cartons of dirt and butterbeans. The teacher promises something will grow from that bean, and one day we look at it and we see nothing. So we dig that sucker up and look at it. And it doesn't look like it's doing anything. Sheesh. So we bury it again in the dirt. The next day, we pull it up again. No wonder that bean won't grow! You have to allow it to sit in the soil long enough for things to start happening. Maybe God has you in a dark, uncomfortable place. Maybe it's moist like the dirt. Be patient, friend. He's working.


2009 in review.

2009 was probably the biggest year of change so far. Here's a quick look at the past 12 months.

January -- Finally moved out of the dorms! Lived at the ATM. Started the semester with a heavy reading load for my Dickens class. Only had classes on Tuesdays & Thursdays. Awesome.

February -- Turned 21. Played intramural basketball with girls from Fredonia. Enjoyed fun times at the ATM. Got invited to interview at LifeWay for an internship.

March -- Spring breaked in Nashville. Made the 1300+ mile round-trip solo. Stayed two nights in a hotel. Had my first legit interview (45 minutes and very laid back). Three days later found out LifeWay chose me for the internship.

April -- participated in "They Only Come Out at Night." First time reading my writing in front of a large audience. Won third place in the prose category for my satirical piece. Helped put together the book: the collection of writing from our inkWELL Saturday a.m. writing group.
Felt like a fat kid walking to campus. Heart issues and hospital. EKGs, ECGs, and treadmills. Tachycardia.

May -- Graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in literature. Moved out of the ATM. Adopted a kitten (Marley) for Mom. Home for a week. Packed up my car. Housing plans fall through. Drove to Tennessee with no place to stay. Spent three days hunting for a room and found one on Craigslist.

June -- moved in with Jessica and Abe. Internship started. Became the unofficial social planner for the summer interns: kayaking, baseball games, days downtown.

July -- quick trip back to Kansas by plane to see family and friends. Back to Nashville. I find out a position is opening at LifeWay. I start meeting with as many people as possible so they know me. Got baptized at First Baptist Nashville.Wrap up internship at the end of the month. Interview for production editor position.

August -- quick trip back to Kansas (by car). Working on contract and am offered the job. Gladly accept. Become a TN resident. Still living with Abe and Jessica. My real estate agent finds me through Twitter and we begin talking. I start talking to a banker about a home loan.

September -- move into the Cedarmont house with Kate and Rachel. Get my picture with Dr. Rainer at new employee orientation. House hunting is well underway. I am picking up on the ins and outs of being a production editor. Wrote the Office skit for CMP department mtg. Meeting awesome people like John Waller, Steven Curtis Chapman, Brandon Heath, Leeland, John Cooper (Skillet), Phil Stacey, Mark Hall (Casting Crowns), Mission Six, The Rubyz, Paige Armstrong.

October -- found a house and going through the process of buying it. Trying to save money like crazy. Signed the deal at the end of the month and became a first-time homeowner.

November -- Moved out of the Cedarmont house and into my house. Mom and Mark visit. Erica visits. For Thanksgiving, I eat dinner with the Lands and then drive down to Biloxi, MS to visit Clarissa. We caught up on life and enjoyed 68 degrees at the beach.

December -- Up to my neck in book projects at work. Loving it. Experiencing a quiet Christmas week at the office. Bill brought me a Christmas tree so my neighbors won't think I hate Christmas. Heading home for Christmas (by car). Back in Nashville on Dec. 28 to ring in the new year.

I certainly feel like I've grown up 2-3 years in the last several months, at least as far as responsibilities goes! Here are a few more pictures from 2009:

Me in front of my house

Simba and Nala: My summer cats.

Me on the Shelby Street Bridge. I'm going to take a picture here every summer as long as I'm in Nashville.

Went to the Cornell v. Alabama game in Tuscaloosa. Cornell won!

Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!


top 6 of 2009

Nashville has unfortunately seemed to have sucked the creativity out of me. My times of sitting down and writing have been few and far between. Maybe it's all the changes and busyness; I'm feeling optimistic about 2010. So for now, I bring you my top 6 favorite things I've written in the past year (in chronological order).

1. A(n) Unwritten Guide to Social Conduct Concerning Emotions (An Excerpt of Draft #2)

2. Funeral For Yesterday

3. green means go. | pt. 2

4. green means go. | pt. 5

5. waiting in black and white. [pt. 1]

6. waiting in black and white [pt. 2]



Made huge leaps of progress on the project at work today. After reformatting and rough editing 317 activities for kids, I am glad to take a breath. I've got this activity-writing down now though, I think. I almost took a job with a textbook company (they timing wasn't right; they needed me before I graduated) and I'm glad I didn't. The monotonous writing style would not be fantastic and the perks of graduating is getting as far away from textbooks as possible. Also glad I didn't get the internship with Hallmark. I hear they are doing horribly as a company. Guess greeting cards aren't at the top of people's grocery lists during a recession.

Today at work Teresa asked me if I had gotten my leaky sink fixed. I told her I just started using the other side of the sink instead. I said I hate to pay someone for what looks like it would be such an easy fix. Shoot; I replaced that tub faucet in the Cedarmont house with no fear! I think it just makes me more nervous when it's my own house. It's a lot bigger deal if you botch the job. Teresa told me I should just start dating a plumber. That doesn't sound like such a bad idea ... just kidding!

Andrea is back in the office doing some contract work. This makes me really happy.

On Sunday I cooked up a bunch of chicken with pasta and peppers/onions and made up containers for my lunches this week. They're right when they say, "Out of sight, out of mind." I just get too distracted when I'm heading out the door in the mornings and the inside of the refrigerator was definitely out of mind this morning. I forgot my lunch. Sad day.

Nailed down my plans for next week: I'm driving out on Wednesday and staying the night in Kansas City with Lindsey. Lindsey has to work on Christmas Eve (and Christmas!) and I have plans to meet up with Jenn in Burlington so I'll be heading home early the 24th.

Tomorrow I'm interviewing Paige Armstrong. Pretty excited because she's got a great story. I hope I can make the article show it!


cold water and christmas songs

It is cold outside today. You know what else is cold? My water. Last night I went to take a shower and I could not force myself to stand in the shower. The water was freezing. This is strange because it's been okay the last few weeks. The water that comes out of my sinks gets too-hot-to-stick-your-hands-in hot. I suppose it's time to crawl back up in my attic to adjust the hot water heater. It's just that the gauge on the water heater says: HOT -- HOTTER -- HOTTEST. C'mon. Give me a number. I moved it from "hot" to "hotter" the last time I was up there, and I hate to make it hottest because I'm wasting a bunch of energy keeping my water that hot all the time. Sheesh.

Today was the first production of LifeWay's Christmas musical, The Ornament. There are two more showings tomorrow. I went today and the auditorium was packed. There were a lot of guests there which is why I squeezed in and got a seat in the very back row just before the row filled up. I shared the fat seat with some guy who ended up standing in the back so an old lady with a walker who arrived late could sit down. There was a lady in front of me whose head blocked most of the performance. Really I just missed out on people singing; most of the drama happened on the sides of the stage so I could see okay if I leaned real close to the lady in the Christmas sweater to my right.

The musical was very good. The program was long (90 minutes). It was about this family at Christmas who gets together and they are all going through hard times. The grandmother died that year and so her husband is left alone, one of the sons got a divorce, another son is unemployed, and a third son moved to Nashville to make it big in music with no luck. That Nashville son sang a song at the end called "Christmas in Heaven." (If you click that link you can listen to it, but it's not the same as hearing this guy sing it in the musical.) Here are the lyrics:
December hasn't changed. This town looks the same.
They still light that tree in the city square.
There's red, white, and green shining everywhere.
And I wish you were here.
And I wonder: Is the snow falling down on the streets of gold?
Are the mansions all covered in white?
Are you singing with angels "Silent Night"?
I wonder what Christmas in heaven is like.
There's a little manger scene down on 3rd and Main.
I must have walked right by it a thousand times,
but I see it now in a different light.
'Cause I know you are there, and I wonder:
Are you kneeling with shepherds before Him now?
Can you reach out and touch His face?
Are you part of that glorious Holy Night?
I wonder what Christmas in heaven is like.
Is the snow falling down on the streets of gold?
Are the mansions all covered in white?
Are you singing with angels "Silent Night"?
I wonder what Christmas in heaven is like.
The slideshow they played during the song added a lot, too. The lady next to me was tearing up and I was about to lose it. It made me think of my grandma who died in February. I miss her but it also makes me think that Christmas in heaven must be pretty stinkin' awesome because she gets to spend it with Jesus.


snowless ambition.

Yesterday it was 53 degrees in Nashville. Today it's 60 degrees. Ah yes, I love the South. In Burlington today the windchill is 0 degrees. I can hardly believe it's December 14 and I haven't seen any snow yet. There's a 30 percent chance of snow/rain on Dec. 19 and a 40 percent chance on Dec. 23. I've been wanting the snow to stay away, but the closer it gets to December 25, the less it feels like Christmas time.

I took advantage of yesterday's warmnth and went to a park to run. It was nice. I also got some stretch bands (because I needed to pad my Amazon order to get free shipping) so I've been working out with those all weekend. I'm pretty sore today but I don't hate it.

Oh yeah, so yesterday I'm doing my dishes (hurray for me, right?) and I hear this "drip, drip, drip." And I open the cabinet beneath my sink where I have this enormous green tub full of cleaning supplies (courtesy of my real estate agent) and the tub is collecting water. The two places the PVC pipes connect under my sink are leaking. Great. I am not a happy camper because I just wish it was something I could fix myself. I really do not want to pay someone to do it. It's probably just not screwed together tight enough or something. It's a slow leak, and for now I'm just not using that side of the sink.

This morning I got a copy of Michael Gungor Band's album, Beautiful Things. It comes out in February. I've seen Michael Gungor Band before … years ago—at Acquire the Fire, I think. Anyway, I'm really liking the new album. Listening to it all day while I work. Pretty great.

Thursday I'm interviewing Paige Armstrong. She's got a great story, and though I have a few questions prepared, I need to sit down in the next day or two and decide what direction to take my 450-word article. I want it to be amazing.

Back to Kansas in 9 days. Pretty excited about it (but not the driving 1,300 miles part). Well, that's all. I feel like all my thoughts have been pretty lame lately. I need to start doing exciting things around the city so I have something to write about. Definitely ready for 2010; more on that later. My lunch break is almost over.


flat tire.

Department Christmas party this morning. Drove up to Goodlettsville and had a fun time with everyone having brunch. It was casual, so I got to wear jeans. :) Some people wore pajamas as a joke on one of our managers. I got up early to make my cinnamon coffee cake so it was still hot when I took it to the party. Unfortunately there was so much food there and about three other dishes that looked just like mine, only a small piece of mine was eaten. So I'll be eating coffee cake for the next several days.

Decided to make a grocery trip today since our managers didn't make us go back to work. I needed a few essentials and thought I'd use my $5 off $30 coupon to get some ground beef and chicken breasts (you read that right, I bought meat!). I wanted to get some diet Coke, but Kroger's 2 liters were $1.89. No way am I paying that much. I went to Walmart where they were 99 cents. When I walked out to my car, I noticed my rear left tire was flat. Like really flat. I put the gauge on it and it wouldn't give me a reading.

The brochures on my Liberty Mutual roadside assistance sounded like they would send someone to my assistance if I called, but Midas was right across the street. So I carefully (and slowly) drove 0.2 miles to Midas. They fixed me up for $27 (with tax).

Now I know what you're thinking: "You were at a Walmart!" Yeah, yeah. And according to Walmart's website, they fix tires for $10. But this particular WM did not have a tire center. The closest one was 4.0 miles down Nolensville, a drive I do not think I could have made with a very flat tire. I suppose I could have thrown my spare on and made the trek, but I had need-to-be-refrigerated groceries in my trunk and even though I am capable of putting on a spare (I've done it ... in a skirt, no less) it would have taken some time and I've got room in my budget to move around $17.

The experience still sucked, though. I mean you leave your house expecting to take 15 min. to pick up a couple of things at the store and it turns into an hour and you spend twice as much money as you planned. I'm just glad my tire didn't blow when I was driving 70 mph between Nashville and Goodlettsville this morning. For being bad timing, it was pretty good timing. Well, hooray for a long weekend.


rainy tuesday.

What a day. It has been raining nonstop since this morning. A good day to stay inside, though I'm really just glad it's not snowing. There's not even snow in the 10-day forecast. The Midwest is getting it, though. And New England. Another reason I love the South.

Regions has yet to satisfy me as a customer. Long story short, they charged me for my free checks. Called them at 6 a.m. today and I got my money back, but I've made so many calls to Regions customer service over the past six weeks, it's giving me a headache. Once more and I'm done.

Spent the day with the preteen team. Pretty awesome. Abbey served up some wonderful food ... which is precisely why I am not taking cinnamon rolls to the department brunch on Friday. I'm smart enough to know I cannot (and will not embarrass myself by trying to) compete with Abbey's cooking, so I'm bringing a crumb coffee cake instead (which I admit isn't even homemade; it's a just-add-eggs-and-water mix from a box. I'm not ashamed.)

We played Dirty Santa where you draw numbers for presents and can steal other people's presents ... I happily walked away with The Holiday DVD which is definitely a wintertime chick-flik. And I very much enjoyed getting under my covers this evening and watching it. I also made it over to the Red Cross; last week I went to donate blood and my iron was too low. (It's supposed to be 12.5 minimum. I had 11.5; this time I had 13.3!) I worked hard this past week to get my iron levels up, which meant eating iron-rich foods like meat and oatmeal and green veggies, and laying off the tea, eggs, and caffeine (which block your body's ability to absorb iron!) So I gave a pint and surprisingly it didn't really hurt much at all and I didn't even feel like I was going to pass out when they pulled out the needle, which usually happens.

I've been in a mood this week and I absolutely do not want to do my dishes! So much so that I sometimes find myself standing back, staring at the sink and wanting to shout, "Aauurrggh! Clean yourself!" (An emotion I feel more young women should make themselves aware of as it serves as an accurate indicator of one's not being ready to care for a small needy creature; namely, a baby.)

I baked cookies last night and things have been piling up in the sink. I suppose I need to get in there tonight and do some cooking so I have something to take for lunches the rest of the week. Also just remembered that tomorrow is trash day. I didn't set my trash out last week and probably won't this week. My recycling bin fills up much faster -- I wish it came weekly instead of once a month! I'll probably just start sticking my trash out there on the 4th Wednesday when they do recycling. Gives the trash guy one less can to dump, I suppose.

Pretty good day. Hard to believe in just about two weeks I'll be driving back to Kansas. Excited to be going home. Can't wait to see Jenn and hopefully Lindsey; and I bet little Marley is getting all grown up -- it'll be tough not to want to hurry back to Nashville to adopt a little kitten of my own. :)


silver bells.

I love weekends. This is my first weekend in my house that I haven't had family in town or that I haven't been out of state. So it was nice to wake up and have no concrete plans for the day. I woke up early and made some cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate. I also did two loads of laundry. At 8 a.m., I took my car to get an oil change. I had a coupon for a $19 oil change at Midas, which after tax saved me about $7. Midas got me out of there by 8:30. I hit up Walmart to pick up some tissue paper and a couple of Christmas presents. My Christmas shopping is done, except for my brother who doesn't know what he wants.

Saturdays are my day for sweeping my floors. It's amazing how much dust and crumbs and hair accumulate in the course of a week. I can usually gauge when it's time to sweep by how quickly the bottoms of my socks turn black. ;)

When I was at Walmart, I picked up another bookcase. I was tired of having piles of books on the floor because my first bookcase is full. I assembled it and loaded it with books. It's full; I just got four more books in the mail today (my $10 John Piper package -- what a deal). I'll have to get another bookcase someday ... or start selling the books I don't want anymore.

This afternoon Bill and Reed came over. Bill brought me a 6 ft. pre-lit Christmas tree and ornaments. Reed is in the potty training process and used my bathroom. He also liked scooting on his knees all over my hardwood floors. I put the tree up! Reed picked out the silver jingle bells and Bill got the red bows to go on them. Normally I don't think I would have the patience to put bows on bells, but I did and they look nice.

My first Christmas in my new home (even though I'll be in Kansas at Christmas). I want to put lights on the outside of my house, but I have no outlets out there! Something I'll have to get done in the future. But now that I have a tree, I'm glad my neighbors won't think I hate Christmas.



My lack of updates indicates one of two things:
1) I'm too busy to update.
2) There is absolutely nothing going on that I want to write about.

This time, it's #2. Pretty normal, low-key week. Go to work, get home, go to bed. Repeat.
Tonight I've been browsing the Internet for adoptable kittens in the Nashville area. I'm still waiting until after Christmas (I'll be back in town Dec. 28) to adopt. But it's fun to look.

Nigel. Wins the cute in a "I'm-only-four-months but I'm already a gentlemankitten" kind of way award. And I love this name. Still not sure what I'll name my kitten but the list now includes: Cricket, Moose, or Nigel.

Nemo. Wins the award for saddest adoption story (well, funniest because the abused kittens have the saddest stories): Hi my name is Nemo. I was born on 8/22/09. My mom was a domestic shorthair and my dad left before I could get a good look at him.

Untitled. This kitten is unnamed. It's a female; I'm planning on adopting a male. She sure is cute though.

Midnight. Another cute girl. Extremely cute.

Dana. Love the all-black face. Dana has a brother who is really cute, but he's already been adopted.
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