Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving by Numbers

0 hikes Last Wednesday was a glorious day....until we were 20 minutes away from Cloudland Canyon, and it began raining. I can't complain as we desperately need the rain, and we had a great time anyway.

1 Inappropriate Comment: My grandmother asked my cousin if she is "expecting," and she's not.

2 People Making Out at the Thanksgiving Table: So my cousin "Emily" got married this summer to a guy she wasn't even dating last Christmas, and since I've never had a conversation with him I was looking forward to getting to know him at our Thanksgiving lunch. But then they arrived over an hour late and proceeded to kiss almost the entire time they were at my uncle's house. It was disgusting, and I have no idea how anyone can feel comfortable kissing while sitting next to their 88 year old great aunt and across from their brother and cousin. Bizarre. I just looked at my lap the entire time. Sigh. Too bad my dad (that's him in the photo with me) didn't see it as he would have totally called them out on it.

3 Turkeys

4 Dates
(with the guy from the Police concert who (with Ella's help) I have named "Carter" for blog purposes as it's sufficiently waspy like his real name)

5 Pieces of Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie (courtesy of my sister and Cracker Barrel)

9 Letters in My New Favorite Song
: Yes, it is an absolutely ridiculous song, but I love it and it makes me smile constantly. It's "Glamorous" which thanks to google I now know is one of Fergie's songs. I can thank my nieces for sharing it with me.

100s of Christmas lights
are decorating the toolshed--and greeted me when I arrived Monday morning. My roomie and my "adoptive moms" decorated the exterior and interior of our home, left a gift basket of Christmas candy with 3 Christmas DVDs (I will finally see Miracle on 34th Street), and really made my day with their sweetness.

1,040 miles driven

In short, I enjoyed my 9 days in Georgia, but now I'm exhausted and trying to recover from the whirlwind. Hope you guys enjoyed your Thanksgiving and long weekend too.

p.s. I'm thankful for how excited some of the children were yesterday to see me--especially my reading students who couldn't wait to dive back into The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


My very first blog post was written on November 22, 2005, and it was about the virtues of Inside Out Reeses. Imagine that.

I originally created a Blogger profile so I could comment on my then-boyfriend's sister's blog that chronicled her year in France. A few months into blogging Jeff emailed me and asked me to share the story of how I became a Christian, which I did in this post. We had stumbled across each other's blog through Kimberly's blog. And that was my very first friendship with a strange blogger that I did not actually know. He's ended up being a friend and someone I turn to for Godly advice on a regular basis.

Now I've come to know several of you on a gmail chat and e-mail basis, and several others of you from months of reading about your lives. And while a virtual community is obviously not the same as people who know me in a more full and complete way (you guys probably miss out on a lot of my flaws, for example), the blog world is a special place that often feels supportive and encouraging. I appreciate you guys, especially when you challenge me to look at things in a different way (yes, even you Aaron:), try something new, or otherwise help make my world bigger.

p.s. I'm grateful for massages...even when they hurt.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Safety & Second Dates

After my niece's preschool Thanksgiving party, I indulged her for a bit on the playground until I received a phone call from my (great) Aunt Rene's cell. Since Aunt Rene doesn't even know how to operate the phone (i.e. flip the top to answer:) I knew it wasn't going to be good. A strange voice informed me that my "mother-in-law" had been in a car accident and was o.k. but shaken up pretty bad and able to talk. I asked the location and thanked her, immediately gathering Lauren up and calling my dad. I needed to pick my other niece up about that same time, so thankfully my dad drove to the rescue and took Aunt Rene to the hospital for x-rays. She's 88 years old and still getting around rather well, and I feel incredibly glad that this wreck didn't change that. She only needs a cast on her knee, and she'll feel sore, bruised, and battered for a bit but should heal. I am also thankful for my dad; he took care of her all afternoon (since I had my nieces) at the hospital and took her home this evening. This is the second time this year I've called him with an emergency, and he's responded with calm and ease each time.

p.s. I am also thankful for second dates--just the very fact that I want to go on one with this guy. And to answer Aaron's question of when is the next date--I think we're hiking on Wednesday. Oh--funny I actually blogged about this guy last January after I sat next to him at a benefit concert, noting that he was someone, or at least the kind of person, I'd like to date.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Little Girls

I'm grateful for the little girls who fill my heart with joy and ask the cutest prayers ever...."I am glad we have people to spend the night with us. I am glad for this day. I thank you for being here in your real home for this week [meaning me, not God]. I like Hannah Montana. Thank you for this day and that is all. Amen."

p.s. I am thankful that God gave me the words I needed tonight when I spoke at a dinner for over 100 people, especially since I just found out yesterday that I was speaking.

Every Claim You Stake, I'll be Watching You

So I'm grateful for the first really positive date experience I've had in ages--good Mexican and margaritas followed by The Police in concert. There was no chatting about couples counseling with his last girlfriend, how he needs a woman who "can take care of him, if I know what he means," attempts to get me drunk, or other inappropriate behavior that would make me wish I had stayed at home and watched Grey's Anatomy online in my pajamas. Instead there was talk about music, traveling, faith, books, evolution, and other things that genuinely capture my interest; in short, our conversation is as easy in person as it's been on the phone. And he was a complete gentleman, and I enjoyed meeting some of his friends and catching up with one of our mutual friends too. So as Aaron would say +1 for a good date with someone well-read, bright, and fun. And AM, you'll be disappointed to learn (although surely not surprised) that no making out occurred. The raciest things got was when The Police played my favorite--"Don't Stand to Close to Me."

p.s. I'm grateful to be sleeping in a queen size bed tonight! I will not miss my twin bed in the toolshed this week.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Going Home

For the first time since I moved to Nashville, I'm going home! It's only been 2 1/2 months or so, but before I moved here I usually managed to make it to Calhoun once a month to visit with my family. So needless to say I've been excited all week to be heading home tomorrow and can't wait to soak up some time with my nieces. On Monday I'll go to Lauren's preschool Thanksgiving party, and I'll get to keep them both on Wednesday since they'll be out from school. So off to bed since I'm leaving here in the morning at 7 a.m.! Lucky me, I'll get to stop in Chattanooga and have breakfast with friends; then catch most of the Georgia game before going on my first date since January. I'm actually a bit nervous. But that's nothing two martinis can't fix. Just kidding, two martinis and I probably couldn't stand.

p.s. I'm thankful for the free symphony tickets my roommate and I used tonight.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Today I met a woman who isn't much older than me yet is responsible for five children--one of whom she must have given birth to around the time she was 14 years old. Another one of the children has cerebral palsy, and I believe one of the children is her sister's child. She's a single mom, doesn't receive child support, and none of the fathers are involved.

Granted this woman has made some bad choices and probably continues to make some poor choices but hearing about her life reminded me that I am so blessed that I'm not "suffering" the consequences of choices I made when I was really young. When I think about all of the stupid things I've done I am reminded of how different my life could be had the consequences of my actions been more severe. So I am grateful that we don't always reap what we sow or get what we deserve or have to pay the price for our bad decisions.

p.s. I'm grateful for how small the world is. Tonight at the gym I ran into a girl I went to law school with who is living here now, and we're going to get together soon. She has tons of very interesting sounding friends here too, so maybe I'll meet some other cool people through her. I'd seen her boyfriend at the gym a few times (he was also in the class above me) and wondered if he was who I thought he might be, and seeing her confirmed his identity and prompted me to speak. Fun! Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Reporting at Noon

I am grateful that I do not report to work tomorrow until 12:00. AWESOME! It's especially nice since I just got off the phone and hadn't realized that the conversation had lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes, making it 12:30 a.m. I guess one of the downfalls of your cell being your only clock and really good, interesting conversation.

p.s. I am grateful for Nutty Butty bars; they are delicious. I'm also glad that as of Saturday I will have met one of my "year end resolutions." Speaking of resolutions, I met all of my New Year's resolutions by this summer (change job situation, volunteer more, travel more, spend more time with my great aunt and nieces). I'm starting to really like this entire idea of resolutions. Any one else want to make some "Year End Resolutions?"

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sort of Grateful For....

these internet tests, quizzes, memes, etc. Here's the results from the latest:

cash advance

Feel free to share your blog's readability or the link to any other "test" I should take.

And here's a meme too (I got it from E's blog):

Four jobs I have held:

Piggly Wiggly Cashier
Bank teller
Interpreter/HR assistant

Four movies I can watch over and over:

I can't really watch these over and over, but they're the movies I've watched the highest number of times.

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days; Pretty Woman; Legally Blond; and Dirty Dancing

Four places I have lived:

Nashville; Carrollton, Georgia; Buckhead (Atlanta); Athens, Georgia

Four television shows I enjoy:

West Wing (I just finished Season Four)
Grey's Anatomy (although my interest is waning)
The Hills (I know it's stupid)
Brothers & Sisters

Four places I have been on holiday:

Canary Islands
Grand Cayman

Four of my favorite dishes:

Filet Au Poivre with mashed potatoes
Peanut Butter Pie (with chocolate on it too)
White Chocolate Bread Pudding
Well seasoned salmon

Four websites I visit daily:

Facebook (almost daily)

Four places I would rather be right now:

At the gym
At home, watching West Wing in my pajamas
Curled up in a chair at a coffeehouse, reading a book
With my nieces

p.s. I'm thankful for sunshine. It can instantly change my mood, help me get out of bed, encourage me to be outside, and a day with it is always better than a day without it.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gratitude Day # 10: Aquaphor

When I was in seventh grade I was a bit on the OCDish side with several things...like cleaning, organizing, and putting Chapstick and Vaseline on my lips. Unfortunately the last habit resulted in my lips becoming quite a mess--swollen, peeling, red, nasty, and painful. So I had to visit our family physician, and he informed me that Chapstick and Vaseline had diminished my lips' natural production of moisture. I had to quit cold turkey, and it was gross and painful. I was, however, permitted to use Aquaphor twice a day or so. I've been hooked ever since. My parents should have bought stock in it back then because I've shared it with everyone I know, and everyone loves it.

p.s. I'm grateful for the pretty red cups at Starbucks this season as well as the cinnamon dolce latte, which may take the caramel macchiato's place in my heart (especially if the guy continues to make it wrong). And I'm thankful for the Starbuck gift card my sister gave me for my birthday that I'm still using.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sunday Afternoon Naps

I love naps, and Sunday afternoons seem to be the perfect time to indulge in them. I had to get up early this morning to make muffins for my Sunday School class's potluck brunch, so I was especially tired today. I tried to avoiding napping by going for a hike....but the "hike" ended up being a flat loop around a pretty lake in the middle of a wooded area. So I thought I would run for a bit but then learned that if you run or jog on this trail, you'll be fined $196.50. So I was still sleepy after my walk and enjoyed a nice nap. Brunch + pretty walk + nap = a pretty good Sunday

p.s. I'm grateful for UGA's win over Auburn (45-20). Go Dawgs!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Diet Coke Lime

Sometimes I still can't believe that I switched to Diet Coke (thanks to six weeks in Costa Rica where Coca Cola and Diet Coke both taste watery, so I figured I'd just drink the one with no calories), but I have and generally only really enjoy it from a "fountain" and/or with grenadine. But two months ago I was offered Diet Coke Lime at a dinner party, and voila Diet Coke in a can is now almost craving worthy. Even if you don't like lime (I don't), you might like it.

p.s. I'm grateful for my blog friend Ella who sent me a link to the shoes I bought today--non-teacher shoes that are as comfortable as tennis shoes or Merrells but much more cute.

Friday, November 09, 2007

More Happy Than Sad

I'm thankful that I have so many more happy days than sad days as today has just been much less than stellar. I think a lot of feelings converged at one time, and it all sort of hit me this evening. I've had a lot of sort of mandatory social engagements this week, and while I don't mind them, none of them are really "feeding" me--to use one of the terms that is tossed around in my vocational discernment meetings. And I am longing for an evening of engaging conversation that leaves me exhilarated and inspired. Or a dinner party with close friends that has me looking at the clock and being shocked that four hours have passed when it felt like minutes. Or a lunch with someone that I really connect with and who "gets" me. Reading e.b.'s post today reminded me of what all I'm missing right now, but I'm reminding myself that I still have many more great days than days like today.

p.s. I'm grateful for the little boys who begged me to play my newly created outdoor version of dodge ball again with them today; their excitement was contagious, and it's always neat to feel valued even if it's just because I'll repeatedly throw a ball at a group of second graders.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Friday I'm in Love

Despite enjoying my job and it not really feeling like work, I'm still always grateful for Fridays. I don't anxiously await them in the same way that I used to do so, but I still enjoy them and recognize them as the beginning of my favorite part of the week--the weekend. Hope you all have a good one!

p.s. I'm grateful for text messaging....although there's a lot I don't like about it, I love how something that takes so little time and effort can randomly make me smile, laugh, or just feel good.

A Warm, Cozy Bed

The Room in the Inn Program began this week and will last through March, and my church is hosting a group of nine or ten people who are homeless every Wednesday night. So tonight one church member picked up the group; two other people made sack lunches; another two set out ten mattresses and made them up with sheets and blankets; another shopped for breakfast foods and toiletries; and two more are staying with them tonight; and another will drive them back to the "campus" in the morning. And I had the pleasure of cooking for everyone, trying out my cooking skills and my teeny tiny kitchen, which resulted in it taking three times the normal amount of time to make two 13x9 pans of baked ziti. Fortunately the ziti turned out well, and we were all stuffed. It was amazing how fast four loaves of buttered garlic bread disappeared. The brownies and candy were gone quickly too, and the gratitude was overflowing and touching as was the excitement over the packets of tea, hot chocolate, and cider.

I had the opportunity to talk with the women at my table, and it was interesting to learn a little about them. One woman came in with some cute hot pink rolling luggage and was very well spoken and wants to attend law school, but after being in an abusive relationship, she seems to have fallen on hard times. Another woman often sleeps in a barn and lamented about the dangers of being a homeless woman. Another was hoping to catch Jamie Foxx on the CMAs. So in some ways it was unlike any other conversation I'd have over dinner, but then in some ways it was just like any other get-to-know you situation.

So I'm glad that I've met some new people, had an opportunity to serve others, that these women and hundreds of other homeless people have a warm and safe bed tonight, and that I'm curling up in a warm and cozy bed shortly too.

p.s. I'm thankful that I get to try a new coffeehouse in the morning....the Frothy Monkey.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Woods

And by "the woods," I mean any place that you can visit and not see anything made by man (ok--besides the road perhaps). The first place that comes to my mind is my grandfather and his siblings' land in a tiny town (if it even qualifies as a town) in Georgia. Every time I visit I wonder why I don't do so more often, and I briefly ponder moving there for a season of life to escape the hassles that seems to be part and parcel of modern day living. And more than a few times during my introspective phases I've thought about going totally Thoreau with a shack in "the bottoms" (that's what we call the land near the creek, "Gin Hole," and arrowhead field) so that I could hear "the poem of creation uninterrupted." I wonder how long that would last.

On my most recent trip, I was able to look out and see God's creation unencumbered by our contraptions and creations, and it felt so awe-inspiring and soothing at the same time. I felt so tiny; it all just seemed so vast-so very much bigger than my bubble and me. So I'm grateful for the majestic beauty that covers our earth and the blessings I've had to witness so much of it.

p.s. I'm thankful that it's not "long distance" to call people anymore, enabling me to pretty much call anyone at any time without worrying about how many cents per minute it will cost. And in that same vein, I'm glad my mom is paying my cell phone bill this year (and it's less than $20/month on this family plan!) as my birthday gift--now that's a gift that keeps on giving.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Practicing Dodge Ball

I almost forgot to post today. I'll be surprised if I don't miss a day.

Anyway I'm thankful that I can practice dodge ball (at least throwing and catching) at work thanks to Sampson, a third grader with a good arm. It's just amazing to me that this "counts" as working, and I am constantly gratified by the fact that I'm not sitting at a desk wondering when it'll be 5:45 and time to start packing up. Or better yet still sitting at my desk at 7:30 hoping that a case will settle so I can go home. Or pondering what ball is going to drop since entirely too much has been piled on my plate.

p.s. I'm thankful for caramel truffle flavored coffee.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Thirty Days of Thanks (minus three)--Also Known as 27 Days of Thanks

I read about the Thirty Days of Thanks bandwagon on Tortious's blog, and of course, it didn't take any arm twisting for me to jump on. Now if I can just remember to post every day; I've already missed the first few days of November.

I am thankful for the Whole Foods that opened last week; it's less than two miles from my house and across the street from my gym. My roommate and I had lunch there today, and it had the feel of a mall on the day after Thanksgiving. Despite the crowd (and high prices), I enjoyed the wide variety of things on my plate....seasoned chicken, banana chips, strawberries, spinach, edamame, vegan chocolate mousse, strawberry yogurt, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and tons of other things. Afterwards I tempted myself with things I can't afford at Anthropologie, which is a short stroll from the grocery store. Then I met my (former) guest blogger friend Brian for some dodge ball "practice." Really it's just me trying to build up some arm strength.

p.s. I'm also thankful that all of my friends who took the bar this last July passed (Carson, Ivy, and Billy).