Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Peppers Cafe

Our service project in Asheville is actually located in Black Mountain.
Black Mountain is a very special place to me because I spent several summers on mission trips there. It is also the birthplace of Theodore Oscar Spot. (The tiger that sits on my bed.)
After our orientation, Josh and I drove into town to visit some old places. I was really looking forward to stopping in at Peppers Cafe. It was classic tradition. The entire cafe was decorated with Dr.Pepper memorabilia. My first time there I got food poisoning. It was one of the first places I ever went with an old boyfriend. It was the "Central Perk" for visits to NC. So yeah, I was excited...
I could feel the smile spreading across my face when I saw the window.

But then, it stopped. I saw another sign posted.

And just like that folks, Peppers became a thing of my past. I teared up a bit, but recovered thanks to some Traverse City Cherry ice cream at Kilwins.
Thanks Peppers for some good memories!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Unplanned Fun

Some of the best times are the ones unplanned.

While walking by some fountains in the World's Fair park, I mentioned to Josh how much I love running through sprinklers and fountains. He asked if I wanted to... I said yes. We ran through twice.

Completely made my day!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gone (Again.)

I am currently running around packing like a mad man and trying not to get sick form excitement.

My friend Josh and I are leaving this morning on a 2 week road trip. We are going all across the southeast: Knoxville, Asheville, Athens, Atlanta, Birmingham, Biloxi, New Orleans, and Memphis. We will be working with different service organizations, touring breweries, and couchsurfing.

It will be a good time.

Today we are heading to Knoxville where we will be volunteering at their Dragon Boat festival. Nothing glamorous... just parking lot attendants. ;) The Nashville Dragon Boat festival is just around the corner though. Anybody want to race?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cancer Sucks.

My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.

This is a verse that I have taken out of context, but my own exegesis of this verse brings me comfort.

Cancer sucks.

Last Sunday Amy, Brad, and Justin went with me to a Cancer Survivorship reception at Vanderbilt. We snacked on cupcakes, heard a lady play some ridiculous songs, and the listened to a comedian tell about her cancer (and making us say "rectum" three times out loud... yeah right.) The emotional part though was when everybody went around the room sharing their names and stories. All ages from five years old to eighty plus. Men and women. Strong and frail. Some people had gone through several bouts. Some people had faced more than one kind of cancer. Talk about tremendous amounts of courage. I couldn't share. I felt so insignificant, after all, I have the "none-cancer cancer" my friend Debbie Tumblin calls it. (She has gone through it too.)

The non-cancer cancer sucks.

I will never forget the day I heard that I was going to have my first biopsy/lumpectomy. Nana was with me. I went back by myself and returned to the wait room scared to pieces. We walked out of the door and I crumbled. She helped me make it to a bench and we cried together. A lady walking by brought us tissues and hugged both of us. I think she understood a little.

My first procedure I was awake for. It was a little traumatic. Those of you who know me know I have a weak stomach. That plus feeling like less of a woman (silly, but honest) put me over the edge. I struggled with depression for several weeks afterwards.

My first big surgery was also ridiculous. Dad and Nana went with me. When I was wheeled back to the pre-op area, I didn't realize how long I would be there. People (nurses and doctors) felt sorry for me and kept coming up to apologize. I had no real concept of time, but wanted things to be over with. It turns out my doctor was having morning sickness. It was so nice when I woke up in a good room with my dad.

Nothing has been more humbling than having someone wash my hair and clean my bandages. Having to take off my shirt makes me feel sick even though it is just in front of a doctor. I worry about getting married. Will he still think I am beautiful? I come with baggage.

When I discovered a lump in India, I refused to believe it. I passed it off thinking it was nothing. When I came back to America, I didn't know things would be so different. I was just going to have lumpy and scarred breasts for the rest of my life. That was until they told me I had DCIS. Now, I say I have had breast cancer.

Radiation. A big, fat time inconvenience. Going each day. Sitting for each day. Coming home tired each day. Sleeping through things each day. Waking up each day no longer a morning person. Thankfully, it went by fast. The weeks were over before I knew it. (Shoot, it went by faster than this summer school is!) I met Estelle, a funny and amazing lady who would be perfect for living on the frontier years ago. I found what the meaning of true friends was. (Amy and some other showed me that.) I was tired.

Then, you think it is over...

You just think it.

It isn't.

Last night as I laid sprawled out on our living room floor as close to a vent as possible under a fan with another fan right beside me, it didn't feel as though things were over. (Hot flash from Satan himself!) Each day when I get up, shower, and rub a silver solution under my breast, it doesn't feel as though things are over. When the doctor says that she might have to try something else, it isn't over. Telling people I have yet to meet makes it not over.

Cancer sucks.

As you can tell, I have lots of emotions. It is emotional. It is something I need to talk about, but don't want to. It is something people have questions about, but I don't always have answers. It is something that does define me now.

I have and do need comfort.

That brings me to this verse...

My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life.

While I am not using it the same way the psalmist would, it is my mediation. God, cancer sucks... but God, you promise me more.

That is how I can get on with my day.

(verse is Psalm 119:50)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day

I went home on Sunday to celebrate Father's Day with my family. Of course we had a lot of people missing with Emily, the "little girls", and Rilie being gone, but Dad could be confident that they were all thinking of him.

My dad is the strongest person I know. Hands down. While we might not always see eye to eye, his strength is something I admire. I strive to have the integrity he does. (I got my love of motorcycles from him. Probably my stubbornness too. ;) )

Happy Father's Day, Dad. I love you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Counting the Days

Five days until grad school freedom for awhile.

One week until a truly legendary road trip.

I am wondering if I go to bed early every night, will time go by faster?!?! Like when you went to bed before sunset on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa. ;)

Amy's Birthday

You know it does not take much for us to have a party, but this weekend we had a great reason...

Amy turned 26!

Amy's actual birthday was on Thursday so we spent the evening eating at South Street, walking around Edgehill Village, and sipping on bubble tea. Erin and Jason were in town so Amy got to spend the evening with most of her closest friends. Good times!

On Saturday evening, we heading south to Arrington Vineyards. Arrington is owned by Kix Brooks and is a fabulous place to spend an evening. We had a picnic, enjoyed a wine tasting, played on swings and hammock, and danced. It was a hot, but very enjoyable night out. Hmm... kind of like Amy... hot and enjoyable. ;)

Happy Birthday Amy! Love you oh-so-much.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ellie's Run

On Saturday morning, I ran in my third race of the year... Ellie's Run for Africa.

Ellie's Run was the dream of a 10 year old girl named Ellie who heard a missionary from Africa speak. 2009 was the fifth anniversary of Ellie's Run. Money raised from the races go to schools and medical care in Kenya. Each runner receives the name of a person who they are running for. This year I ran for Vincent Kaguni, a student in Kenya.

The race was held at Percy Warner Park. It was my first trail race. I really enjoyed running with a crowd of all different ages in a very different setting.

Race was complete with African drumming, human rights activists, "Abba" Java, and lots of educational booths about happenings in Kenya.

Another race I plan on doing again...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Free Music? Yes, Please!

It was another weekend, and all through the town
Creatures were jammin' and everyone was getting down...

It was a weekend filled with free music. No matter what kind of music you like, it could be found here in Nashville.

On Friday night, several of us went to see the Nashville Symphony play at Bicentennial Mall. They played music from Shakespeare and actors from the Nashville Shakespeare Company read some excerpts of the writer's works.

On Saturday afternoon, Brad and I attempted to go see Andrew Bird. Andrew Bird was a favorite of the Americans while in China. To only be able to whistle like him... Anyways, he was playing a free show at Grimey's. We arrived to a packed building and made it in before the doors closed. Our friend Brooke did not. Brad left to hang out with her and I had to watch Andrew Bird on the closed circuit TV behind the cashier. I was able to stay for him signing and got a fabulous LP signed. We also got tickets to his next show in October.

After that concert, I met up with Brad, Brooke, and Justin to go downtown. I had heard Jonny Lang was giving a free concert in front of the courthouse. We did get to hear Jonny play on his blues guitar, but the show was really some other guy. (He was good too!) It was nice to be able to sit in some soft grass, feel the sunshine, and just listen to people play. We stayed to hear Jeremy Lister too.

We walked from the courthouse down to Riverfront Park where the CMA Country Music Festival was going on. This year all daytime concerts were free. While I am not a huge fan of country music, I did enjoy just people watching and being outside. We saw Chris Young and some other band play. (I cannot remember their name, but the lead singer had some massive hair!) We got free ice cream and smoothies too.

Classical, folk, rock, blues, and country... we got to see and hear it all.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Mexican Deliciousness

One reason I have come to love weekends is because I actually have the time to cook. We have had a surplus of veggies lately which have made for some good eating! Sunday night dinner though was particularly fun and yummy.

Amy and I spent Sunday evening making Mexican and dancing to Rodrigo Y Gabriela. Amy made her fantastic guacamole. I am addicted! We made lentil tacos. I made Mexican rice. We were pleased with the final product. I just enjoyed being in one of my favorite places (the kitchen) with my dear friend.

Recipe for Mexican Rice
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seed
2 teaspoons paprika
1 pinch red pepper flakes
1 pinch cayenne pepper
3 green onions
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup pre-cooked corn kernels
2 small tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup ketchup
2 cups cooked rice
salt to taste

In wok, heat oil and all spices. Add onion and green peppers and let saute for a couple of minutes. Add corn and tomatoes. Let tomatoes' juices run. Then, add ketchup and rice. Mix well. Heat thoroughly.

(FYI - recipes can be done easily in China...)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Rain In A Dry Land

Yesterday, I watched one of the most thought-provoking films.

Rain In A Dry Land is the story of two refugee families from Somalia making their home in the United States. It is absolutely heart wrenching to see the things they go through. As an ELL teacher, I interact with refugee students quite often. This film really was eye opening and made me want to do many things differently.

You can watch the first 10 minutes of the film on YouTube.

To get involved in the transitioning process of refugees here in Nashville, contact World Relief or Catholic Charities.

Thankful this morning that my every need is provided for through Him.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Early Morning Skank ;)

Amy and I have been taking the 6am Zumba classes since I started back to class. There is nothing like doing an "awkward white woman" version of skanky leg to start your day off right... What ever happened to coffee?!?!!?

Monday, June 8, 2009


On Saturday night, I was able to go see Snow Patrol and Coldplay in concert. I had scored some free tickets which in itself is great, however, Jordan and I experienced extreme greatness... 19th row!

I am sort of a concert junkie and have seen lots of great shows, but experience wise this one was the best. Yellow balloons floating around during "Yellow", butterflies falling down, lasers, amazing screen shots, awesome remixes, and just lots of "wow" factor... so great!

Thanks to Molly for making our weekend spectacular, Jordan for being a terrific photographer and button buddy, and Amy, Brad, Brooke, Justin, and Josh for enjoying tickets. :)

(You can see more photos on my Picasa album!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Beginning of Summer Nights

Can't get much better than a beautiful night, friends, picnic, spotting of fireflies, and free concert by the Nashville Symphony!


This past weekend I went out to Lawrence, Kansas to move my dearest friend, Tiffany. Tiffany got a job working at a church as a youth minister. We actually met in college in a youth ministry class. She went on to get her masters in Theology and then found this position. All grown up...

After a long trip and actual unloading, we enjoyed a nice dinner with the Sanders family. It is always an encouragement to meet with other Brothers and Sisters. I fell in love with the family immediately. It looks like Tiffany will have a good support system through them.

Saturday morning, I got to meet the famous Judy. Judy and Tiffany have known each other since elementary school. Saturday night, we had a girls night out on the town. We enjoyed shopping, dinner at Free State, homemade ice cream, and the Dusty Bookroom. The Dusty Bookroom is a used bookstore which just has cases and stacks of books. I could have spent hours there! With a coffee shop right across the street from the bookstore, I say Tiffany has a nice set-up.

On Sunday, we were able to go meet the Family that Tiffany will be working with. Good people. We took a quick tour of Kansas University which was really impressive. Then, Emilee and I flew back that night. Nice, quick trip.

Good luck Tiffany with your new job! You will always have a place here in the South, Yankee! ;)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


You can't become who you need to be if you remain where you are.

Monday, June 1, 2009


The weekend in Chicago was much fun! 13 of us girls headed to the Windy City. Honestly, I will never travel with that many girls again, but it was a good time. I feel like I got to spend some real quality time with some and got to really know them.

Highlights of the trip included:

Church at St. James
Lindsey and I went together. I enjoyed the prayers and choir. The cathedral was gorgeous. I could help but sing praise for such a wonderful morning and such a loving God.

Tina and Tony's Wedding
My uncle recommended this dinner theater extravaganza. We literally rolled with laughter. We attended the wedding of Tina and Tony who come from Italian families. We enjoyed dinner at the reception and of course there was dancing. I would highly recommend this for a night out.

Segway Tour

Yep, we did it. We fell victim and took a tour on Segways. I would like to say that it was awesome and it was until the last 10 seconds when I had an accident. I ended up with a twisted knee and a huge cut on my foot. It still looks scary. Overall though, it was a good time.

So thankful for another weekend getaway!

A Quickie

So I have super slacked in blogging the past week, but I excuse myself by saying it has been a whirlwind of activity. Lots of traveling. Lots of moving. Lots of frustration. Lots and lots of laughter.

This morning I start my June classes. Monday through Friday 9 to 5. Pray that I can really focus, not fall asleep (I still sleep whenever I sit for a period of time), and try not to procrastinate. If I can get a lot done this summer then my fall semester will be much easier. However, I do tend to just live in the moment. So yeah, just pray...

Travel adventures and other good times to be posted soon! :)