Miles heard there are puffins in Newfoundland. Puffins sound fun, so he wants to go.
I'm off for 10 days in Newfoundland. Details after the fact.
I'm not sure if I will have Internet access, but if I do, I will try to find time to blog here.



I sketched up a little plan of my house this afternoon. I did measure things so my squares are roughly scaled to 1 foot, but I did a lot of rounding with my inches so it's not exact. Obviously I have furniture, but this is what's permanent. It'd be cool if I could make a 3D design of my house on the computer and put things on the virtual walls and rearrange furniture and change paint colors so I can see what looks good before I dive into any major projects. I got my first issue of Real Simple on Monday and I'm determined to domesticate myself and get this whole cooking, cleaning, decorating, gardening, yard working thing down to a science.

My zucchini production is starting to drop dramatically. I took what I had to work today. My first year garden did all right considering I didn't do much planning and the baby plants endured the flood. If I had the time and resources, I think my backyard could be sweet. I have 30 feet of nothing along the backside of my house that I'd like to mulch and put a couple of bushes and/or flower beds and/or raised vegetable beds.

Yesterday when I returned to my office after filling my Nalgene, I discovered a large bag of Reese's peanut butter cups camping out on my desk. A nice surprise, though not extremely surprising since I've been tweeting and posting pictures about how much I was enjoying eating the Reese's from Jeff's office the last couple of weeks. (So really, they should have gone to him.) No one would admit to leaving them for me, though I have my suspicions. I had a difficult time concentrating at work today. I got done what I needed to but my thoughts are elsewhere. Also today I scheduled a time to meet with Britt Nicole for an interview. That's right, in person. I'm impressed she has the time and I am very much looking forward to it. Trying to get my questions done by Friday; the interview is August 10.

Today I entered some of my fiction to a literary magazine. I got the link from a college classmate. It was free to submit, and there's no prize but being published if they like your stuff. In October I'm going to a fiction writers conference here in Nashville. I'd still like to write a book someday, maybe within the next three years or so.



Was my weekend really only 3.5 days long? It feels like I've been vacationing for at least 7. Here's a very abbreviated highlight of what happened.

We stayed with Jenn and Evan. Their apartment is sweet.
Saturday we drove to Lawrence for brunch and to see Nate's sisters.

me and Nate
our favorite people :)
Sunday night, Jenn, Evan, Nate, and I went to the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City to watch the sunset and walk around Crown Center. We headed over to Skies to finish up the evening with a great view of the city. It was beautiful, the entire evening.

I took the day off from work on Monday and back in Nashville, Nate and I went to Radnor Lake State Park. We saw this little guy right next to the trail. The park is beautiful; I can't believe I've lived here a year and didn't even know about this place. Definitely worth checking out.

Radnor Lake. The lake is pretty stagnant so it looked kind of gross. The view is incredible though and I'm looking forward to coming back in the other seasons. Early October will be breathtaking.

After trekking all around downtown for lunch and other things in 98 degrees, we went home to cool down and then went to PM for sushi. I had never had sushi before, but I tried it. After I ate, Nate told me the bright orange topping was fish eggs, but I didn't believe him. I thought/hoped/wished that they were sprinkles. :) Turns out I was wrong. Sick.

A storm moved in and the tornado sirens were going off as Anne, Sam, Nate, and I sat on the front porch of Bongo Java to play a game of Scrabble. Sam won. Then Anne taught us how to play speed Scrabble; it was fun. But it's late and I'm not even going to fold my laundry; just to bed. What a treasure of a weekend.



This morning I was sitting at my desk editing a leader guide when all of a sudden, I started hiccuping. Painful hiccups! A quick Google search and I found a cure! It worked immediately:
  1. Breathe in to fill your air with lungs. Without letting air out, swallow.
  2. Still without letting air out, breathe in again to fill your lungs. (You can get some more air in there.)
  3. Then, swallow again. Repeat this process; you should be able to keep getting air in; it's the swallowing that gets tougher to do.
The site said to try this for about 30 seconds, even if your face starts turning red. I lasted about 15 seconds, and my hiccups were gone! Amazing. So tuck that little trick away for when you'll need it.

Dentist today. No cavities. :) I stopped by Sunset Elementary for a bit to help Andrea in her first grade classroom. Tonight I'm doing laundry and packing. Tomorrow we fly.

Away we go,


beauty in plan b.

I missed my exit this morning. 209A to Broadway. I-65 N meets up with I-40 W and curls around the south of downtown, but I-65 N spits you out in the far left lane and westbound traffic speeds by mercilessly when I slow and turn on my right blinker. I've got a quarter-mile to move over two lanes and most mornings I'm successful. I've had one close call with a truck moving left (without a blinker) but at 6:15 a.m., most drivers are still having good enough days to let me in.

Traffic was unusually heavy this morning, or I hit a pack of vehicles at just the wrong time. I was taking a curve and looking behind and beside myself for a space of grace and finding none. Plan B. The next exit is 209B to Church Street and I sped up toward it, turned right, and coasted over the bridge to be greeted by the sun ascending between two of downtown Nashville's tall office buildings. It was quite beautiful, really.

Life is full of Plan Bs. Most of the time they are birthed at the failure of Plan A. I don't create Plan Bs; I expect Plan A to always work. But when it fails, I get frustrated and find myself in the middle of Plan B. In my pride I think I know best. A slight hiccup in my routine seems to throw the entire day off, if I let it. I am a planner and God humbles me in that things don't always go according to plan. But how beautiful it is when I discover something even better behind door number 2.

When I first moved to Nashville, I thought it was a mistake. My Plan A housing arrangement fell through and I was temporarily homeless. After a couple of days of searching, I moved in with a couple who hosted me for three months and were really great. I was slow at making friends, compelled to get off an airplane, and willing to step outside of my comfort zone. And my change of plans became beautiful. I missed my exit this morning. 209A to Broadway. But Church Street held a treasure of a sunrise. There is beauty in Plan B.

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



Today I ruined a batch of zucchini crisp. I wasn't paying close enough attention to the directions because I cooked as Jennifer was moving out her stuff, and I added too much crust mixture at the wrong time and it thickened like gel potpourri -- cubed zucchini suspended in a sugar-and-cinnamon mold. It wasn't good enough to eat (believe me, I tried) so I threw it out. I keep thinking I'll be leaving for NL too soon to buy groceries, but in reality I'm not leaving for 12 days. I need to go to the store.

my fridge :(

The contents of my fridge: sugar free lemonade, water, milk, orange juice, tomato, wheat tortilla, butter, zucchini. The door holds an array of condiments and a couple of yogurts.

I spent the evening re-dispersing my belongings back into my bedroom. I also rearranged and cleaned. I feel like I am constantly cleaning! :) I don't mind cleaning too much though. My mom always kept our house clean when I was growing up; sometimes I thought it was ridiculous ... Do I really need to clean my room? It's not like someone is going to come over and look at it! But I'm glad this discipline has been instilled in me.

My 2-yr. contract ran up on my phone so I was eligible for a free upgrade. I've been rocking an LG Scoop for the last two years and I've been happy with it (except for the poor camera quality and the sometimes slow response of my qwerty keyboard). But I upgraded to a Samsung Reality. All I use my phone for now is texting and occasionally a phone call, so this phone is probably a little more than I need.

These next few weeks are looking to be pretty intense. At work I'm trying to get ahead since I'll be out of the office six days in a row while in NL. I've got to find time to vote before I leave, to renew my vehicle tags, write interview questions for JJ Heller and Britt Nicole, and pack for NL. Thursday afternoon I have to go to the dentist. Friday we leave for Kansas City. :)

Good night,



Centennial Park, Nashville, TN
I was already glazed in sweat by the time I turned the key in the ignition and pushed the fan to full-blast, warm idle air exhaling across the radio and passenger seat. The snap of the seat belt branded my thigh in its brief kiss of metal on skin and I jumped. Driving was my escape from the nap interrupted by the to-do list I have yet to get on paper, the lethargy that comes with dehydration in the Tennessee summer, and my white and blue sheep-covered comforter sprinkled--no, pasted--with black cat hair from the pet who woke me at 5:45 on a Sunday morning as he emptied the contents of my medicine cabinet into my bathroom sink. Even the shirt I just pulled from my closet and threw on has cat hair all over it. How does this happen?

I-440 loops south around the city, stretching west before turning into West End Ave. I slowed to let past the man camping in my blind spot and moved to the center lane at the split. My radio was spouting Dave Barnes' latest, "God Gave Me You." I shut it off. No offense, Mr. Barnes, but I don't like your song. I haven't been into love songs since I embarrassed myself e-mailing Shania Twain lyrics to a boy in my 4th grade class. Never again. I turned left into Centennial Park and stopped east of the Parthenon where the trees outline an open field. I sat beneath those trees.

On my back they blended with the sky, as though there were no expanse between them. Just tree then sky. The branches layered over one another, casting shadows and sparking a common green into a thousand different hues. Beautiful. Creation is subject to futility; I wonder how this was supposed to look. I took a dozen photos but none came close to capturing the breeze moving across my face and up through the limbs. I stared straight up and talked to God.



Today for lunch we went to McAlister's Deli to celebrate Jeff's birthday, which was last Sunday. There is a McAlister's in Manhattan, Kansas, and I've been before. We took two cars; I drove mine. It was fun.

After work I was taking Jennifer to get her car from the shop and some guy pulled up next to me and pointed to indicate I had a flat tire. So I pulled off right there at our exit and looked at it; sure enough my passenger rear tire was looking no bueno. Jennifer said she had noticed it was low at lunch. If I had known, I should have taken care of it then.

My sister and bro-in-law got me a car emergency kit for Christmas which has an air compressor in it and I pulled it out and aired up my tire. The leak was slow, so it held a little air and I made it to Midas. (I considered putting on the spare but it was 95 degrees and I was in a skirt; maybe that wasn't smart of me but the tire was holding air still.) Midas told me the leak wasn't one they could fix for some reason but they sent me across the street to the Shell station and the boys there said they could plug it for $9. Sweet deal. I was still home by 4 p.m.

After a quick stop at home, I headed to Belmont where I parked at Anne and Sam's and began the 0.8-mile walk to All Fired Up in Hillsboro Village. I loved the walk; I like campus areas of town. It reminded me of being in Manhattan where I walked or rode my bike everywhere. This scene literally stopped me in my tracks:

Portland Ave. & 20th Ave. S
Click the picture for a larger view.
When I walked into All Fired Up, the place was empty. I finished up my coffee mug I started last weekend and it will be ready to pick up on Tuesday. I'm not extremely happy with it; I went in without a vision and there's no undo button when you paint. And at some point when you start to dislike it, you just have to stop because adding more and more paint to try to fix it will only make it look worse. But who knows, it might look great after being glazed and fired.

Anne's sister is in town and Anne noticed my car and invited me to join them for dinner. Anne and Sam's is basically my second home; I'm over there a lot. :) Anne made spicy soba, emphasis on the spicy. I told her about my last semester in college when my friend Henry made "Henry's White Fire Chili." It was the spiciest thing I had ever eaten and that night I couldn't sleep and ended up throwing it all back up. Anne's soba was spicy enough to leave my lips a little tingly but I think I'll be all right. Only time will tell. :)

Today was beautiful,

andrew peterson.

God took Abram outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars--if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be."  (Genesis 15:5)

This afternoon Andrew Peterson came to LW to give us a preview of his new album, Counting Stars. I must say, this guy is funny. He spoke much more than a lot of the other artists do when they visit, probably because he's been making albums for 10 years and is used to the interaction. In addition to singing and songwriting, Andrew also writes books. He's currently work on the third of a series of five.

I've got the disc playing now and I'm really enjoying it. It's a good set for the end of the day, kind of an unwinding and wrapping up feel. I'm breathing a little deeper tonight.
Hear his sound:

Count them,


real simple.

I'm not afraid to admit that I don't have the design gene. I think there's great power in recognizing what you're not talented at. I mean, I feel like I got a piece of it. I can come up with ideas for things, but I can't make it happen. I can have a vision for how I want to spice up a wall, but I can't go to the store and find the right pieces. In my dream to make my house more home-like and cozy, I bought myself a subscription to Real Simple. I haven't received my first issue yet, but I've been perusing the website. If I had unlimited time and resources …

bathroom vision

I would repaint my bathroom. Right now it's a light brown-but-kind-of-peachy color. I'm in love with teal and dark browns, and I already have a shower curtain and bath mat to match.

I also want to get some things put up on my walls but I'm too indecisive and I don't have enough money to splurge on great photography. But I came across this cute idea on Real Simple's website:

Fabric on canvas wall hanging
And I already have a staple gun! So all I would need is so cool fabric and a canvas (I could probably find an ugly painting cheap and cover it) and have a quick piece of art I could easily change out.

I'll have this winter to get started on some projects when it's too cold to have fun outside. I just booked a flight home for Labor Day weekend ... I haven't been home since Christmas! I told my mom I'm looking forward to some quality food, grilled chicken and the like. This will be my eighth round trip with Southwest so I will earn a free flight through their Rapid Rewards program -- off to adventures and mountainous places!

Today I am dreaming,


M: musicians corner.

This afternoon Sarah and I went to Centennial Park to hear some live music. This was the first Saturday for Musicians Corner, an "outdoor musical epicenter for Nashville" (according to the Web site). The group is envisioning Musicians Corner to be like Speakers Corner in London. Live music will grace the park every Saturday from 3-6 p.m. through October and it's FREE. What's not to love?

Sarah under her umbrella. Music was good even in the rain.
Today the Weather Channel was calling for a 10 percent chance of rain so we were a little surprised when two sets in, it began to rain. Then the rain got heavier. Fortunately Sarah had an umbrella in her purse so we huddled under it sitting on a towel on the ground. When the rain let up, the music continued but it kept raining and finally when it began to lightning and thunder, we left.

The music was quality. That's what you get for living in Nashville. Even the street players who sit on the curb with their cases open to make rent money are really good. Here are the musicians we saw:

Damien Horne
Mindy Smith
Mikky Ekko
Sam & Ruby
Trent Dabbs
In addition to the tunes, Sarah and I had a great time people watching. If you want to see every person Nashville has to offer, spend an hour or two at Musicians Corner. We saw old people, young people, people with tattoos, people with dogs, people with cigars and sunflower-patterned blankets and corn on the cob. I might even dare to claim the people watching compares to an afternoon at BNA, which just goes to show that music does not discriminate; young, old, tattooed, Tennessean ... music speaks to the soul.

It's all music to my ears,

A: All Fired Up

This morning Anne and I went to All Fired Up in Hillsboro Village. It's an artsy little place where you can paint ceramics then they'll glaze and fire them for you and you can pick them up in about five days. Anne had a project there she needed to finish and I began work on a mug.

We got there just before 10 a.m. and waited outside for it to open. It was hot.

You have to see this blue color in person. It's my favorite.
I started with a light teal as a base coat on my mug. I really had no vision; I decided just to go for it. And I decided that any task is most successful if you have a vision. After I painted the inside, I wasn't really happy with it, but oh well. This is my first time.
I'm going for the free-handed "I made this myself" look. ;)
Making some progress. Anne finished so I decided to call it and come back and finish my mug another day. There is a flat $6 fee for using the paint/brushes/stencils etc. and then each piece is priced individually. This mug with the fee and tax was $20. Sure, I could go buy a mug for like $3 from the store, but painting is fun and very therapeutic. You can stay as long as you like; it's very relaxing. I liked it. :)

Anne and Sam's violet pot

Anne and Sam came here earlier this week and started on a pot for violets. Anne finished it today. Hillsboro Village is within walking distance from Anne and Sam's place so we walked and it was lovely. This afternoon I'm headed to Centennial Park with my friend Sarah to see some live music. I'll post about that this evening.

good day,



It's simple: dress like a cow, get a free meal.

Did I really dress up like a cow for a free 
chicken sandwich, fries, and diet Coke?

You bet I did.

Jennifer and I hit up Chick-fil-a around 3 p.m., after the Matthew West event. Then Sam and Anne wanted to go for dinner around 6:30, so I went back with them. I didn't dress up the second time and just ordered a shake.

Sam and Anne in their cowtfits. Cute.
There is such a thing as a free lunch!

matthew west.

I was invited to go to a listening party in Brentwood this afternoon at EMI Christian Music Group. I took Jennifer with me. I've been to several listening parties at LW, but this was my first off site party.

The room was burning with "Nashville insider." The group was young people and the lights were dim and there were two red chairs positioned in a set up straight out of an IKEA catalog. I found myself wondering, How on earth am I -- a 22-year-old Kansas girl -- here, standing among these media writers and publicists and shaking hands with Matthew West, a chart-topping, Dove Award-winning, singer/songwriter?

Welcome to Nashville.

Matthew West responds to interview questions at today's listening party.

For his upcoming album, The Story of Your Life, Matthew asked his listeners to send him their life stories (in 250 words), then he spent two months in a cabin in Tennessee sorting through the thousands of stories and writings songs inspired by them. The result was a raw, authentic album giving voice to the problems, issues, hopes, and joys real people are dealing with. He touches on everything from distorted legacies, to abuse, to adoption. This is definitely an album worth checking out.

The Story of Your Life releases October 5. Play the video below to hear Matthew talk about the record.

What's your story?



It's late, almost midnight in fact. And this is why I am not saying much. What a blur of a week. But tomorrow is Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-fil-a and you bet I am dressing like a cow to get a free meal. Come back tomorrow evening. Photos will be included.

good night,



(Paul, to the church at Corinth)

Companions as we are in this work with you, we beg you, please don't squander one bit of this marvelous life God has given us. God reminds us,

   I heard your call in the nick of time;
   The day you needed me, I was there to help.
Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped. Don't put it off; don't frustrate God's work by showing up late, throwing a question mark over everything we're doing. Our work as God's servants gets validated—or not—in the details.

People are watching us as we stay at our post, alertly, unswervingly . . . in hard times, tough times, bad times; when we're beaten up, jailed, and mobbed; working hard, working late, working without eating; with pure heart, clear head, steady hand; in gentleness, holiness, and honest love; when we're telling the truth, and when God's showing his power; when we're doing our best setting things right; when we're praised, and when we're blamed; slandered, and honored; true to our word, though distrusted; ignored by the world, but recognized by God; terrifically alive, though rumored to be dead; beaten within an inch of our lives, but refusing to die; immersed in tears, yet always filled with deep joy; living on handouts, yet enriching many; having nothing, having it all.

Dear, dear Corinthians, I can't tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn't fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren't small, but you're living them in a small way. I'm speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!

2 Corinthians 6:1-13 (MSG)


G: Geocaching.

You can do this anywhere, but today I went geocaching in Nashville with Nate.

Basically, you go to the geocaching website and find a clue to a cache near you. The person hiding the cache provides coordinates and clues on the site. We ended up on West End and found the micro cache in some bushes. It was sweet because it contained a list to which we added our names. The names dated back to May 2009! I'm glad our first try was a successful one. If you like scavenger hunts, try geocaching. (I know it sounds kind of nerdy but it's really fun!)

Also today, Anne, Sam, Nate, and I went to Pancake Pantry. The line to get in was long so Anne and I left the boys and wandered into one of the stores in Hillsboro Village to look around. I was all dressed for summer/95+ degrees and it was freezing in Pancake Pantry. I ordered a hot tea to help regulate my body temperature. When we were finished with pancakes, Nate and I went to Centennial Park (which I have now decided is my favorite place in Nashville). The park was our starting point for geocaching and after a victorious mission we re-hydrated and threw the Frisbee around.

I was definitely ready for a cold movie theater so we saw Toy Story 3 in 3D at the theater in 100 Oaks. Some of Nate's friends said the movie made them choke up a little, but there was really only one pretty sad part and then you remember 1) They are just toys, and 2) It's just a movie. The 3D was pretty cool.

Then we came home and played Scrabble (I won, making a comeback after Nate scored 44 points on a triple word score of "Oz" in two directions ... we let him use abbreviations (for ounce) so my FTW involved EQ, Q being worth 10 points and I made it doubled.) Dinner was portobello burgers in raspberry vinaigrette with provolone on wheat rolls, Caesar salad, and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert. (Nate told me there are anchovies in Caesar salad dressing … I love Caesar salad, but not going to lie, I didn't know that and I can't quite look at it the same anymore.)

Now it's past 11 (way past my bedtime). I'll be at work tomorrow for 12.5 hours so I need to get to sleep.

Today was sweet. The Lord is good,
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