hello, sunshine.

It is currently 63 degrees outside. I have the window open and the kitties are enjoying some fresh air. As am I. I am not at all sad that it is the end of January and we have only seen a dusting of snow. I am ready for spring!



After weeks of starting this project, it is finally (mostly) finished. I think the brackets I bought might be the wrong size, but they are holding the shelves fine. Nate starts his classes on Monday so I wanted to get the study project finished up before then. I decided not to take classes this spring because my workload at work is so crazy.

Yesterday after work Nate and I went to the mall and bought me some new jeans. My favorite pair is years old and they got holes in them. We can wear jeans at work now, so I needed another pair. I also got a cute yellow shirt at New York & Company. Yellow is usually not my color but I like this shirt. :)

Nate is working at S'bux tonight so I am hanging out with Miles and Otis. Except that they are both sleeping so they aren't much company. It is rainy outside, a good night for reading. I'm currently reading When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage by Dave Harvey. If you've ever struggled with grace or thought to yourself (or said to your spouse): "You're so lucky you're married to me," then read this book. We also bought Tim and Kathy Keller's The Meaning of Marriage. That is on my reading list for later this year.

Tomorrow night is our monthly worship gathering with the college students of Immanuel Church. Nate is bringing the message. Always a good night.

Hasta luego,


journal | 23 february 2009

Journal entry from 23 february 2009. I mourned with tears and buttered toast.
buttered toast. Total cornflakes. Mountain Dew. Doublemint gum. Juicy Fruit. outdated … everything. refrigerator pictures. ship in a bottle. really old books. Hoolie. Cash. Sam. "my little pixie." toy box. klondike bars. steep stairs. wichita. dog leash. big tree. red fence. squirrel feeder. unicorn glasses. chocolate milk, mostly chocolate. iced tea, mostly sugar. gray carpet. peanut brittle. grandma's pizza. basement of treasures. river. coupons in the mail. typewriter. candied yams. racism toward mexicans. dollhouse. gray walls. newspaper. irises. early mornings.sweetie. cigarettes. britches. oleo. Porter. so proud all the grandchildren would graduate from college. ruby rings. painted sweatshirts. birthday money. love. owls. magazines. photos. TV.afghans.


the smiling elephant.

Today Nate picked me up for lunch and we went to The Smiling Elephant on 8th Ave S. It has the best Thai food in Nashville. I always get the classic chicken pad thai. Nate commented that this is the only place that has more chicken than noodles. We also shared a coconut soup which was really good. The place is small and in a little house, so get there early. If you're ever in Nashville, check it out!


the pfunky griddle.

Flickr: xetark
This morning Nate and I had a late breakfast/early lunch at a local place called The Pfunky Griddle. In the middle of each table is a large griddle. All-you-can-eat pancakes are $5.99.

They bring you out white and wheat batters and toppings of your choice. I picked blueberries.

Nate ordered biscuits and gravy, bacon, and an egg. It was a fun Saturday morning outing. It'd be a great place to take a group of friends. Neat little Nashville restaurant.

After breakfast/lunch, we went to Home Depot for spackle and some other things. We spackled the holes in the wall from my first attempt at putting up bookshelves. We tried again, but the screws won't go in far enough without stripping and the brackets are just designed really poorly so it's nearly impossible to get the screws in because this decorative arch is in the way.

We gave up for today and are going to get some of those bars that run up and down and you can hook the shelves up wherever you want.

Nate is back to work tonight and I am going to try to get some work done even though I am so tired. I might have to go pick up some caffeine. Where does the weekend go? Saturdays are like black holes.



I updated the background on my Twitter page. Follow me! @alyssainnash

My Friday deadline was extended until Monday. Whew. Never mind my production schedule shows I'm four months behind and I've only been at this job for two months. Looks like I've got my nights and weekends cut out for me. Writing, writing, writing, writing. Learning the Bible inside and out faster than a seminary student can spell hermeneutics.

20 words or less.

Flickr: Doug88888

Before we knew it,
winter crept in on us
Stealing the leaves
and taking our joy
for ransom.

Alyssa Jones


snuggle up.

Turns out our cats like our electric blanket as much as we do. Last night I got home from work and got into bed to get some reading done. Otis snuggled up with me until Nate got home. :)

It's a miracle! I finally cooked a meal last night. I don't know why it's been so hard to get my act together on this, but we made chicken quesadillas and guacamole. I had never cut into an avocado before but making guacamole was really easy! I'm still a little nervous about eating it because when I was little my parents used to tell us kids that guacamole is bat droppings. Nate loves it though.

It's dark and rainy here in Nashville, but warm. Like 50s warm. I'm still bummed my office doesn't have any windows. I'm tempted to invest in one of these.


by design.

Awhile back I thought I'd try my hand at InDesign. I use InCopy at work (Adobe's hyped up version of Word) and ID is strictly for our graphic designers.

Our church has a weekly e-mail newsletter that goes out, and I thought it'd be fun to mock up a quarterly print piece. Here are three pages I designed.

Inside front cover
Table of Contents


funeral for yesterday.

We gathered in the garden where the morning glories popped their blameless faces into the early sun – blanched white, streaked with tears of blue.

When the people stopped looking at their shoes and digging trenches in the grass with their toes, I picked up my guitar and began to sing.
We’ll dress in black and hail the rain,
and when it falls, we’ll mourn and pray.
Time shows no mercy to those who wait.
A funeral for yesterday.
The people here are sheep, a congregation of uncomfortable nervousness. Their big eyes are watching for something they do not know. Each one’s instinct suggests that all is lost. They bleat, unaware of what exactly for.

I cry for them. Then I hold tight to my guitar and sing.
Here is the spot we will surround
as daylight fades into the ground.
Our candles light the solemn shroud.
A funeral for yesterday.
Four years ago I stood in this very place. It was different then. I knew nothing of the dulling ache when seconds, minutes made things change. The manmade pond held its breath when it slept. I might have mistaken it for fresh plot of fertile earth. The stars were loyal companions for a time.

A streetlight interrupts the scene. The soft glow attracted an army of moths that clunked, clunked, clunked against its surface. They would never learn. After that night, I picked up the guitar and sang.
What’s gone is gone and we’ll survive.
This gathering’s for those alive.
We leave it there and go inside.
A funeral for yesterday.
We gathered in the garden where the flowers did not grieve. Here the people missed the past and dwelled, determined to pull a lesson from the forgotten and futile incidents of their grade school years. In vain. They all looked up when I paused the melody. I slowly sipped the water from my cup and thought on what had still remained.

I cannot play guitar at all. My fingers fear the nylon string; without it I’d feel too alone. So I just hold it here and sing.
The dawn’s a shaky lullaby
that no strong will can yet defy.
We’ll make amends to the infant sky.
A funeral for yesterday. 

waiting in black and white.

Part 1

I don't know what to do with myself. I'm sitting at the kitchen table in my two bedroom, one bathroom house with the lights off. It's 5:22 p.m. My dryer is running. A pile of mail -- bills, advertisements, and a letter addressed to the previous homeowner -- is stacked neatly in the corner. Everything in my house is neat. I'm a little obsessive-compulsive when it comes to cleanliness and order. At least that's what my boyfriend called it, obsessive-compulsive. He was wrong. OCD gets slapped on lots of people who probably don't have it; so does ADD. Just because you're not like everyone else, people assume something is wrong with you. I don't really know how people can stand to leave clothes on the floor and go weeks without vacuuming. My boyfriend was one of those people, and we broke up.

The clock is ticking on the wall, mocking the seconds I'll never get back. It makes me kind of angry. My chair screeches against the wood floor as I push back and walk into the kitchen. My bare feet stick to the wood and each one sounds like it is smooching the floor when I take a step. I pull the dryer open. I have one of those stacked units because I don't have a laundry room and my kitchen is very small. I convinced myself that I didn't need more room since I live alone. I think I would have given up the second bedroom for a larger kitchen.

My clothes aren't dry. They've only been in the dryer for 10 minutes; I pull them out anyway. I'd like to have a clothesline, but I don't trust my neighbors. I scoop the load into my laundry basket and carry it into the living room to put hangers on everything. I do what I can to be green and I've convinced myself that letting my clothes air dry will save energy. It takes a lot longer, especially since I can't bring myself to lay the clothes flat across the back of my couch or over a lampshade. Instead I put each article on a hanger and space them out in my closet to dry. Jeans are the worst.

I close my eyes when I pick up my navy blue polo shirt. Even though I'm living alone, I force myself to keep my composure. There's a lump rising in my throat and I'm on the verge of crying or throwing up. I can't decide which. The embroidered logo says "Brighten Up." It's for a lighting store where I work. Used to work. For three years and two months I sold high-efficiency light bulbs and lampshades. I was fired yesterday.

"Jenna, the manager would like to see you in his office, please."

Charlotte is the receptionist, if that's what you want to call her. She is 19 and spends the day answering the phone and texting her significant other. I think she graduated high school, but she's one of those girls who really has no ambition for her life. She'll party for the next four years before getting married and having some kids. I think she spends her entire paycheck on hair products and those packages of unnaturally orange cheese crackers with peanut butter.

I stop stocking the shelf and head toward the small office in the back. There is a line of floor lamps leading down the aisle like a runway and every one of them is on. The mass quantity of light at Brighten Up took some getting used to. My first two months here I resisted the urge to show up in sunglasses just to relieve my constant headache. Despite the sunshine bursting through the glass storefront, the manager/owner opted to turn on every light fixture in addition to the rows of fluorescents which hung 24 inches apart. Last year I used my tax refund to buy some carbon credits. It offset the guilt of working in a place that sucks energy from the grid like a blood-thirsty vampire.

The office door was open and the manager was sitting at his desk, running his pencil across a legal pad of yellow paper. I tapped on the door to get his attention.

"You wanted to see me?"
"Jenna, yes. Come in. Have a seat."

I felt him watching me as I sat on the burgundy chair. It was too firm and the back was fixed upright at an uncomfortable 90-degree angle. My manager sighed and wasted no time.

"Jenna, I know you have been here for a very long time. How long now?"
"Three years and two months."
"Right. And I would just like to say that you have been doing an excellent job."
"Thank you."
"But unfortunately we just don't have the room in our budget to support an eight-person sales team. This has been a very difficult decision, but I'm sorry, we're going to have to let you go."

I think I nodded slightly at this point and everything between collecting my things and walking out of the store was a blur. My mind was not processing this very well. I took it in chunks, small realizations that I had just lost my means of an income. I merged onto the interstate toward home, my eyes fixed on the road and the radio off. Two miles down the road I fought the impulse to simply brake abruptly in front of the semi truck in my rearview mirror.

My survival instinct kicked in and I exited onto a secondary road and pushed "6" on my speed dial. I didn't particularly care to talk with my best friend about what just happened, but it seemed like the normal thing to do. Don't people normally tell someone when something disastrous happens? It rang three times and went to voicemail, "Hello! This is..." I hung up.

I had pulled into my driveway as the mailman was putting today's mail in my box. My mailman is a 68-year-old man with white hair and a hearing aid in each ear. He drives a silver Buick. So stereotypical. I found myself wondering how much life he had in him. Maybe I could take his job. Delivering mail might be fun. Except that I'd have to spend my entire day in a car, which would increase my carbon footprint from a woman's size 8 to size 14. I locked my car and drifted inside.

I tossed my keys and cell phone on the kitchen counter and wandered into the living room. I dropped down onto the couch and stared at the opposite wall. Why am I not crying? My emotions have malfunctioned since age 12 and are a significant source of mental frustration. Numb. I watched the wall, waiting for something, anything to happen. Perhaps I expected the world to stop turning or my manager to call me back and say he had made a huge mistake. Nothing happened and I fell asleep sitting right there.

I woke up when the sunrise began stabbing through my blinds. I had slouched and curled into the fetal position in the night, trying to stay warm sans blanket. My neck ached and my hair was plastered to my cheek. I sat up, dazed, and looked down at my Brighten Up shirt, now spotted with drool and unbelievably wrinkly. As I stood and shuffled toward my bedroom, I pulled off my shirt and threw it into my laundry basket. I slipped a gray T-shirt over my head and carried the basket to the kitchen. I needed to shower. Maybe later.

Day 1 of unemployment. Now what? I thought of my parents and decided against calling them. No need to make them worry and I certainly wasn't in the mood to hear any advice. I started a pot of coffee and stared out the window. For 10 minutes. Reality jerked me back when my coffee maker exhaled a puff of steam. I took a mug from the cabinet and filled it half with coffee, half with milk and a spoonful of sugar. Honestly, I don't even like coffee. I took up drinking it after I graduated from college because I wanted to feel like an adult. I dumped my laundry into the washer and started it, colors and whites mixed together. I don't believe in segregation.

I carried my coffee into the front room and sat back down on the couch. I took large gulps and tried to sort through my circumstances. Simple. I'll just find another job. I have a bachelor's degree. In art with a minor in Latin. Unfortunately I was one of those kids who picked a major that interested me rather than considering which would be most useful in obtaining employment. When I graduated I couldn't find a job. I couldn't even teach without a teaching certificate. I landed my job at the light bulb store because the previous owner had been friends with my uncle. When ownership changed just four months after I started, the new owner was kind enough to keep me on board. Until now.

Part 2

My fingers grip the edge of the tub and I seamlessly submerge my head. Tiny wakes echo off this porcelain grave. When I stare toward the ceiling, I watch my hair dancing above my face like optimistic seaweed. Sleep. The water is warm, inviting. I stood in it as the tub filled, wearing jogging shorts and my gray T-shirt. They bloated and darkened with the depth, a gradual baptism. My hands release their hold and rest in the in-between, a suspension of hydrogen and oxygen; I could never wrap my head around that one. I am tired.

It's been four days since I was laid off from Brighten Up and I'm feeling bitter. Yesterday I wandered into the garage and unpacked a box of candles, bent on littering them around the house and declaring personal liberation from the light bulb. Mr. Edison, you are my nemesis. I had spent the morning unscrewing every bulb from its socket (even from the refrigerator) and dropping them into a metal bucket. The silence following the shatter felt like a drug, euphoria pulsing through every nerve and vein. I worked until lunch lining those tea lights up on every horizontal surface--the counter tops, windowsills, the edge of the tub--ready for duty like a battalion of obedient soldiers. I stood back and admired my work. I napped. I woke up at 6:30 to the setting sun, eager to light my candles.

There was not a single match in this house. Not one. I frantically pulled out kitchen drawers of miscellany. No matches, no lighters, no shards of flint, no flares. If I ever had a reason to regret not being a smoker, this was it. I skipped dinner and went to bed.

I'm angry that I haven't cried over this yet. My heart wants to cry, but it's like I'm all dried up. Broken. I think becoming an adult has made me hard. Calloused. Numb. It happens when you move to a big city and don't make any friends, no matter how badly you want to. Being an adult is a lot like being 12 all over again. I am just a 12-year-old girl with a lot more responsibilities and higher expectations. It actually kind of sucks.

I woke up in the morning with the sun, that unreliable partner who bursts into my room with a smile and a plate of scrambled eggs, completely ignorant of the fact that he walked out on me last night during my time of greatest need. I buried my head in the sheets in spite.

I laid there until my phone began buzzing against the hardwood floor. I picked it up. It was my best friend, Audrey, calling four days after the biggest crisis of my adult life. What a pal.

"Jenna! How are you? I saw I had a missed call from you, but things have been really busy. You know how it is. Sorry it took so long to get back to you."
"It's okay."
"Oh, hey! You will never believe what happened to me yesterday."
"Probably not."

For the next 7 minutes, I listened to Audrey detail her grocery store run-in with a celebrity who turned out to actually not be a celebrity; he simply looked very similar to this guy who had starred in a small-screen movie in the early 1990s. She had gotten his number and they were going out for coffee on Sunday.

"Wow," I said, when she was finished.
"It's crazy, right? It's so great, though. He is so sweet."
I didn't say anything and Audrey asked, "So how are you?"
"Oh, I"m fine. Good."
"Good. Well, I better get going. I'll talk to you later, Jenna. Bye!"

It was 10:09 a.m. I shuffled into the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. One egg, ketchup, salad dressing, browning lettuce, jelly, and a take-out container of fried rice that was at least a week old. I pulled out the rice box and dropped it into the trash. In the cabinet was a quarter-loaf of bread. I dropped a slice into the toaster and went into the bathroom to wash my face.

I looked awful. Like Jesus, I thought: nothing about me to be desired. I turned and stared at the bathtub, an iceberg of white porcelain making its home in the middle of my bathroom. When I turned the faucet on, water gushed forth as though it were relieved to be free from its captivity in the pipes. I pulled off my socks and stood in that water, wishing it would make me free, somehow, from this slow-motion season of waiting that had become my life.

Part 3

My life is over.

My bed has become my "safe" place. Here, the rest of the world doesn't exist. I don't have to think, I don't have to work, I don't even have to eat. For the past three days I have lived in a dream state, an antihistamine-induced marathon of sleep. No one has called. I got up once to use the bathroom in the dark.

I cannot face the shame of being unemployed, of admitting to my parents they were right about me. I feel guilty for drugging myself to avoid reality, but I tell myself it's only temporary. Only until I can figure out how to fix things. Or until someone else can figure out how to fix things. Maybe that's what I'm waiting for. For someone to knock at my door and offer to give me a job and cover this month's mortgage payment. Someone to live my life for me.

But no one will knock because I don't have any friends here. I don't know what day it is. I kind of smell. I never understood how my body could produce such an odor while I sleep. Maybe tomorrow I will shower. Maybe.

new design.

Who doesn't love a new design? Blogger has made it easier to make a blog look more personal, so I made some changes. Besides, I'm coming up on the big 2-4 in about a month and wanted to try something different. What do you think?

Since my new job has me writing, I thought I'd make an effort to get back into some creative writing. I'll start off with some things I've posted before … blow the dust off of them and take them off the shelf. Enjoy!

same kind of different.

I finished reading my second book in 2012: Same Kind of Different As Me. It's no wonder this book was rated so many stars on Amazon.com. I loved it! It's the true story of two men, Denver Moore—a modern-day slave—and Ron Hall—a wealthy international art dealer. Brought together by Ron's wife, Deborah, the two change each others' lives in ways they could never imagine.

The voice goes back and forth between Ron Hall and Denver Moore, and they write like the speak. So Ron Hall's voice is sophisticated, while with Denver you get something like this:
Until Miss Debbie, I'd never spoke to no white woman before. Just answered a few questions, maybe—it wadn't really speakin. And to me, even that was mighty risky since the last time I was fool enough to open my mouth to a white woman, I wound up half-dead and nearly blind.
This book is a real tear-jerker when you get close to the end. I nearly wept at my desk. It's a quick read; I borrowed it for free on Kindle from the Nashville library. Check it out!


I don't know if you can tell, but yes, that is grass. You can still see the grass! And the schools are closed! The Weather Channel called it a "dusting" but to TN residents that translates to "SNOW! POSSIBLY AN INCH! PANIC! NOW! HIDE YOUR WIFE AND YOUR KIDS!"



diy 2012.

Well, it's that time again. Holiday travels are over, we are back to work, and we are finding DIY projects to do around the house. Last night it was to replace to 2.5-year-old $4 blinds that the cats had destroyed. Nate went to Lowe's and got Roman shades that match our bedroom ones for the two small windows, then he got a rod and a curtain to cover the big window.

I assembled the little windows and let Nate tackle the big one. The little ones were easy, especially because we had done them before in the bedroom. Our cats our going to hate these because they can't see outside unless they are drawn up.

The curtain! I love it. It matches the pillows on the couch. The designs are a little different, but the colors are perfect. It makes me feel like we have a living room from a magazine. :) Our next DIY will be fixing the shelves I tried to put in the study. Nate wants to get the study back in order before he starts classes. One thing is for sure: we need more room for all of our books!

In other news, Nate's beard is out of control. He says this picture makes it worse than it actually is, but I think it is worse than this picture shows. It is long and bushy, and I think he hides stuff in there. His coworkers at Starbucks wanted to dye in blonde because of their new blonde coffee, but I'm ready to pay $40 to take him to a professional and get him looking like he did on our wedding day. :)

I've been cutting his hair but the beard has pretty much been off limits. I feel like it is my duty as his wife to tame that thing. Don't you agree? :)


6 months!

Nate and me - July 9, 2011
Yeah! We've been married for six months and it has been awesome!


boulder, co.

 Emily, Caitlin, Andrew, Andy, Ellie, Nate, Sarah, me, and Hannah

 Hannah, Caitlin, Andrew, Ellie, Nate, Sarah, me, and Emily

 The Amoeba goes snow tubing!

Hanging out at the coolest snow fort ever at Keystone
© All rights reserved.