Wednesday, July 30, 2008

This Makes Me Happy...

This magazine cover greeted me in the cardio section of the gym today, and my soon-to-be new home was #2 on the list of the 20 best towns to live in now.

Two weeks ago I visited Chatty and ended up claiming a loft that I didn't get to actually see, but another unit gave me a good enough idea of what it'll be like. There's some exposed brick, finished concrete floors, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, a balcony, and it's on the top floor, which I like. There's a rooftop area that's perfect for parties, and there are only one bedrooms in this building, which means I won't have children constantly knocking on my door (like I did in my last two apartment complexes). From the loft I can walk to a cool park, numerous restaurants and bars, the grocery store, drugstore, and a gym. And if I want to venture across the bridge, I'll be downtown--at IMAX, the aquarium, and lots more restaurants.

Finding a place to live, talking more to my friends who live in this same building (and on the same floor) and going off of Yaz (which I had taken for a few weeks before I realized that my crying for no reason coincided with it) has made all of the difference in my outlook on this move, and while I'll definitely miss my life here, I am feeling much much better about this move than I did three weeks ago.

I must say that I'm not going to miss all that much about living in the toolshed...the spiders (especially the brown recluses), the unreliable toilets, the dryer that takes three cycles to dry denim, the tiny kitchen, the tree sap that gets on my car, and the shower that never looks clean. But I'll miss having a playground in my backyard, keys to a church with a really quiet and beautiful sanctuary, not paying my utility bills or rent, and being able to walk to church.

p.s. I'm grateful for the going away gift from my "adoptive mom"; she gave me a beautiful cookie sheet like the one she bakes with and loves. Perfect timing because my cookie sheet has seen much better days.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Just in Case You Think....

there aren't quite enough calories, fat grams, and sugar in the typical slice of cheesecake at The Cheesecake Factory, you should try ordering a side of hot fudge to dip each bite in. Or if you can't handle the richness, order the cheesecake a la mode a la my friend Chasie.

p.s. I'm grateful for the Cheesecake Factory gift card we depleted yesterday in preparation of my departure. I only have four more days here in Nashville. Sad!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Hopes and Dreams

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us most. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?' Actually, who are we not to be? You are a child of God. We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us; it is in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people the right to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

--Marianne Williamson (My quick online research suggests three different people said this, but most sources indicate that she did.)

This quote resonates with me. Back in February I went on a retreat through my program here in Nashville, and we tried our hand at a Quaker practice that utilizes a "clearness committee." One of the things that committee asked me was "What are your dreams for your life?"

I didn't have an answer.

I realized that I don't dream; I am not terribly hopeful; and I limit myself entirely too much. I think the failure to do those things is a way we deny the light that could emanate from us; it's a way we fail to unleash our potential.

And don't get me wrong. I look forward to things and hope to travel to places I've never been and whatnot, but I have not dreamed big dreams. I have not had high hopes and huge prayer requests (although I've certainly had expectations for myself, which are different in my mind).

So I am working on that, trying to be intentional about dreaming more and not being so firmly based in what I think is probable or possible. I'm trying to pray big and not be afraid to hope for things that may never be realized.

p.s. I'm grateful for the fun trip to the Nashville zoo today with my niece and two of my students.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fifth Date

My ex-boyfriend Sampras often calls me for dating and relationship advice, which is sort of funny since our lifestyle and values are so different now. It makes me feel good that he values my opinion, and I hope that maybe some of my advice will be taken to avoid him leaving even more women in his wake. His life seems like a sad mess to me, and he often brings women into the muck (and I definitely wallowed in it with him for entirely too long).

He went on his fifth date with a girl on Sunday, and she asked him "Don't you think it's sort of odd that this is our fifth date and all we've done is kiss?"

Crazy (and sort of sad) that she would be surprised that kissing is all that has happened so far (especially since all of their dates have been weeknight outings). Frankly I'm surprised she said that, if for no other reason than because it makes it sound like she's usually doing a lot more in just four dates and that just seems like something you wouldn't want to suggest. But then again at least she's being honest.

So I'm curious. Is it really that unusual for people to only kiss in the first five dates? Even when I dated a lot differently than I do now, my dates usually didn't kiss me until the second or third date, so it certainly wasn't remotely unusual to "only" be kissing in the first five dates.

p.s. I'm grateful that my niece Alaina met my friend Isabella and her adorable dog. We had dinner with her tonight, and Alaina tried a California roll, shrimp roll, and edamame. And she liked them!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things I Just Don't Understand

Thinking the bottom of the cupcake is the best. Alaina is clearly my niece as evidenced by this photo of the cupcakes she consumed after dinner.

Wearing an overtly sexy bathing suit to the YMCA swimming pool with kitten heels (and with your three children in tow no less).

How an eight year old can have so much energy, and how I seemingly have so little in comparison. When did I lose the ability to go full blast for 15 hours of the day? It's been a long time, so I have no idea when it started.

Why I cry when I know things are not real. I just finished Emily Giffin's love the one you're with and shed some tears. I guess it's better to cry over a book than a Lifetime (stupid stupid) movie.

Why we keep driving when we're tired. In an effort to stay awake while driving on Saturday, I blew bubbles and tried to get a decent photo of them. Ridiculous.

Speaking of tired, why I'm writing this instead of sleeping. Or why you're reading this (and I read your blogs) instead of all of the other things we could be doing.

Why I have so much.

How I'm not more affected by the fact that most of the world has so little.

How I manage to miss so much of the beauty of life despite the fact that it's all around the form of loving friends and family, swings waiting to be sat in, a Bible study group I'm going to miss, walks to be taken....

The fact that I don't take some things for granted (at least relatively), like the the sweetness of my lovely niece, the taste of homemade cream cheese frosting, my great aunt's gratitude for my (almost) daily phone calls, the luxury of a comfortable and reliable car, and the joy of a deep faith that still feels new.

p.s. I'm thankful for water slides. I think Alaina will be impressed by the ones at the Maryland Farms YMCA.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Decisions, Decisions...

So I canceled my plans with Tim Tuesday morning via e-mail. Usually I wouldn't cancel plans the day of or via e-mail, but we had only communicated through e-mail and the plans were just to meet at a church service and grab dinner. He called me that evening and very aggressively insisted that we see each other again before I moved. I explained that I was just feeling swamped with wrapping up my job here, receiving calls/e-mails from my new job, finding an apartment, etc. and didn't need anything else on my plate. Unfortunately I caved and agreed to have coffee in two weeks just to get off the phone with him. His insistence and failure to respect what I was saying confirmed my decision to not pursue anything else with him.

In other news, I'm looking for a place to live this Saturday in Chattanooga. If you have any suggestions or thoughts, I welcome them. Fortunately I have friends who moved there a year ago, so today she gave me a good overview of different areas. Unfortunately some of the nicer places do not seem to have websites, so I'm having to do a lot calling/setting up appointments, etc.

It seems I can live right in the center of "things" in a very nice loft/apartment and be able to walk to restaurants, bars, grocery stores, etc. if I am willing to pay an extra $150-$250 in rent and add 8-10 minutes to my commute. I could also have a two bedroom for $50 more than a one bedroom in this area. Right now I'm thinking I should take the more expensive option and enjoy living in-town and walking everywhere. After all one of the things I miss about Europe is the ability to walk everywhere, and I think it'd help me feel more excited about the move. Of course, I like the idea of keeping my fixed expenses low too. Decisions, decisions:) Hopefully looking around on Saturday will help me figure out the best option.

p.s. I'm thankful that my eight year old niece is coming to stay with me next week. Fun!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Little White Lie?

While I was was sick and sitting at home most of the 4th of July weekend, I decided to take Match up on its three day free trial (again:) Generally three days of online dating every few years is enough to remind me of why it's not for me.

So last night I met "Tim" at my church for the evening service. Afterwards we went to dinner and a movie. We chatted with some guys after church, and one of them asked us how we met. He told them that we had met through friends, which is obviously not true.

We talked about it when we got in the car, and he's just not comfortable with people knowing that he's using Match. I told him that I'm not much of one for lying and that it makes me uncomfortable. I told him a "lawyeresque" (a la Clinton) answer to the query of "how we met" could be "we have mutual friends." This is actually true; we know a number of the same people. Of course, if someone presses on how we actually met, this answer would not suffice and/or would lead to lying. I'm not really a fan of this type of reply either; I tend to, if anything, be too honest.

I understand that there's still a (seemingly slight) stigma attached to online dating, and I can see why someone wouldn't want to advertise to the world that he's on Match. On the flip side, I don't think we should do things that we're ashamed of and feel a need to lie about.

I also think he looks at least a few years older than the age he put on his profile:) So perhaps he's being dishonest about that too....Otherwise I had a good time....I'd give the date a 7 on my scale.

p.s. I'm grateful to have the sermon/reflection I gave at church behind me. While it's wonderful to share the gospel and the important work being done at PTM with people, speaking from a pulpit to 200 or more people is not my forte.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I hadn't even thought about getting an iphone despite being informed last night by a 25 year old that my Razor phone is "so 2006." After watching this video, I wonder if I should reconsider....who knew the iPhone could do all of this?

ht: Anne Jackson (What does ht stand for anyway? Hint?)

p.s. I'm grateful for a really fun night out last night with friends. We went to a charity auction and then to Lime--where I had an apple mojito for the first time. Delicious!

Monday, July 07, 2008


Hope everyone had a lovely 4th of July weekend and that yours was not super lame like mine. I've been sick and spent the 4th coughing and feeling winded by a 6 minute shower. Spending 4 days in the toolshed with no cable, a lack of excitement about all of the changes ahead, wishy-washy and sad break up thoughts, and Zyrtec D just isn't fun. Thankfully I'm better and was able to take two of my students swimming today.

Some of you have asked me about my next step, so I am finally blogging it. My commitment in Nashville ends on July 31, and it's sad to think about leaving my students and friends here. I have been so blessed in relationships here in Nashville, so I'm glad that I won't be all that far away.

Long story short (leaving out all of the conversations, exploration, prayer, etc.) I am taking an "of counsel" position with a law firm in Dalton, Georgia, which is only 20 minutes from my family. I will be a contract employee and can work as little or as much as I'd like; my plan is to work 4 days a week. I hope to work one day a week from home. My hope is that this type of position will allow me to live a life that reflects my priorities, giving me ample time to volunteer in a ministry similar to the one I work with now as well as serve my church, friends, and family better. And of course gives me more time to just be. And if I don't like this job, I figure legal work just isn't for me:)

Since Dalton isn't a place I can imagine living, especially while I'm single, I'll be living in Chattanooga, TN. That gives me a 25-30 mile commute, which is a drag, but I think it's worth it. Plus there's no traffic, and in the past, non-traffic commutes have not bothered me. I figure the gas cost will bother me more than the time, but we'll see.

Despite the fact that this job exceeds my "ideal job" that I wrote about in my journal months ago, I'm not excited. The break-up with Carter and leaving my good friends, church, and great (and relatively easy) job here is sad. So now I'm trying to get excited about these changes and pump myself up about how fun Chattanooga is going to be. If you know anything great about it, let me know.

p.s. I am thankful for Rolos. I've eaten a package almost every day for over a week now. Yummy! I am also grateful for fun friends who ended my birthday with me two weeks ago at Maggie Moos. Also yummy.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Sad But So Grateful

One of the reasons this break-up has been so much easier than those in the past is because of my faith and how it has changed how I interact in relationships. For years the center of my life was me, and at times, my boyfriends became part of that center too. My attitude and mood vacillated in sync with these relationships, and it was incredibly painful when I had to let go of this central part of my life--gut wrenching, sobbing, cannot focus at work sort of anguish. It's the sort of pain that produces really powerful and moving lyrics ("Black" and "Anna Begins" come to mind) and poetry but is so unnecessary.

And as I adjust to the loss of this relationship with Carter, I cannot help but also feel overwhelmed with gratitude for my relationship with Christ Jesus. This relationship has transformed my life and has given me a center that is faithful, certain, unfailing, and hopeful. I can submit my disappointment to Him; I can trust that He has a plan for me; and my life isn't turned upside down by a break-up because my life has been centered around God instead of Carter or myself.

Here's the you tube video that has been wrecking me lately....I love reading and hearing about how Christ is transforming others' lives, and this video presents people's "cardboard testimonies." Feel free to share yours too.

Mine is:

First side: Didn't realize I was lost and broken
Flip side: Grateful and joyous to know Him

p.s. I'm thankful for the late night walk home from dinner with my friend Isabella. It's great to live close enough to restaurants to walk to them, and the weather was perfect for dining outside.