Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Value of One

When I was in graduate school, Dr. Jimmie Dans was the head of the speech-language pathology program and the professor of several of my classes. She (yes, Jimmie was a girl, but don't worry we called her Clarice for short... well, actually we called her Dr. Dans, but only after building up the courage to approach her) was known for two things: (1) teaching the hard courses and (2) weeding out students during their first year of graduate school.

Let's just say, Dr. Dans did not disappoint our class the first year of our graduate program.  She nearly cut us in half and sent the rest of us shaking in our sneakers to the next assignment(s). It still causes me a little anxiety just writing about it.  Unfortunately, at the end of our first year of graduate school, Dr. Dans decided to retire.  I say "unfortunately" because we were a little bummed the class after us wasn't going to get the full appreciation of what we had just survived endured. Either way, it was time to pay our respects and present her with a well-deserved card and gift from all of us (aka "her last class").

While signing her card, I decided to end my words of encouragement and signature with a bible verse. That sounds pretty appropriate and thoughtful, right?  There was only one small problem... I accidentally left off the one of my sixteen and wrote Proverbs 6:9 instead of Proverbs 16:9. I knew as soon as I handed the card to the next person I had made a mistake; however, I didn't think too much about it because I thought I could pretty much close my eyes and pick a verse in the bible and it still be okay- maybe not applicable to the situation at hand, but 'okay' nonetheless.  I'll let you be the judge.

Here's the verse I meant to reference:
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

Here's the verse I accidentally referenced:
"How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep?" Proverbs 6:9

Yep, I did that. I wrote that in somebody's retirement card.  

Here's my class (minus Christina??!!) on our last day as graduate students!

All I can say is thank goodness it was her retirement party and not a celebration of her deciding to break the longest record for teaching.  If that were the case, I may not have made it out of her next class alive!

Lesson learned.

Please Note: This post was written purely for entertainment purposes. I mean, everything is pretty much true that I wrote; however, I have nothing but respect for this amazing woman.  She did great things for our program and served my alma mater well. Thank you for giving me shingles all of your hard work, Dr. Dans! We love you!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

10 Things I Learned at 30

I used to be nervous and not very excited about leaving my 20s.  I used to think there were certain milestones I HAD to achieve before I turned the big 3-0. And if those things didn't happen, it meant I wasn't reaching my highest potential... or dare I say it meant I had failed.  A few months before my 30th birthday I shared a sugarcoated version of my feelings about turning thirty with a sweet lady. What she said wasn't profound, but it was just enough to help me keep things in perspective.  She said she used to dread birthdays until she turned fifty.  On her 50th birthday she looked at herself in the mirror and said, "God must think I'm pretty special to have kept me around for this long.  Not everybody gets a chance to say that."  With that being said, here is a very condensed version of what I have learned over the past 29 years.
  1. Cherish the ones you love by spending time with them.
  2. This life on earth owes you nothing... Jesus already paid the highest price he could for you on the cross.
  3. Do what you love- use your gifts.
  4. Ask for forgiveness.
  5. Make friendships that last a lifetime.
  6. Learn to see people through the eyes of Jesus- you never know what battle they are fighting.
  7. Be thankful.
  8. Accept yourself. You will never be perfect... you are becoming who God created you to be.
  9. Your family will be your greatest cheerleader(s).
  10. Pray. And then pray some more.
I wish I could tell you my 30th birthday was a day filled with flowers, rainbows, and unicorns... but it wasn't.  I also wish I could tell you I hit every single milestone (you know, things like 2.5 kids frolicking in the front yard surrounded by a white picket fence) that I used to measure my worth and success by, but I didn't.  But I can tell you I am thankful for turning thirty. I am excited about what is in store for this next chapter of my life. I'm learning that God is a way better author and storyteller than I ever dreamed of being.

Thank you, Jesus, for another birthday.

Signature Pose

The original version...

The snowy version...

The Abbey Road version...

And the "I'm at Red Velvet!!!" version...

Easily amused,

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Walk Down Memory Lane

Well, after much contemplation to delete this blog and start fresh and/or delete this blog and take a break forever… I decided to keep this blog and plunge forward.  I would be lying if I didn’t say life has been HARD these past few months.  If you would have told me that’s how it all would have ended a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you- in fact, I probably would have boycotted you. Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where hurt and pain are alive and well.  The Bible is very clear "the thief comes to kill and steal and destroy" (John 10:10) and that’s about all I am going to say about these past few months. If that doesn’t make sense to you… it’s probably best for now. Thankfully, that’s not where the story ends.  The Bible also tells us:

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.” Psalm 91:14-16

“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5.

And since I believe there is HOPE in the healing process, I am going to choose to focus on some of the happy times I had during my time in Franklin, Tennessee over the past five years.
  • I was able to see more celebrity homes than I ever imagined. You can read about some of them here.
  • I went to the Grand Ole Opry 4-5 times and saw Rascal Flatts get invited to be members of the Grand Ole Opry; heard John Connolly sing “Rose Colored Glasses”; listened to Little Jimmy Dickens tell his funny jokes; had the privilege of seeing Charlie Daniels play the fiddle while singing “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”; and watched Carrie Underwood perform live!
  • I saw the Rockettes at the Grand Ole Opry.
  • I toured the Jack Daniels Distillery- it was a neat experience even though I don’t drink alcoholic beverages.
  • I landed my first real job (and stayed 5 years)!
  • I went to an amazing church. I will forever be grateful for the people I met there.
  • I met some amazing people who would be on my dream team if I were into that sort of thing.
  • I saw Norah Jones perform live at the Ryman Auditorium.
  • I listened to songwriters sing their own songs at the Bluebird CafĂ©.
  • I created my own jewelry line.
  • I grew more emotionally, spiritually, and physically than I ever imagined (especially in the last few months).
  • I cooked my first Thanksgiving meal- twice!
  • I had a doctor’s appointment with Reese Witherspoon’s father.
  • I cheered on the Predators several times a year.  
  • I went to a Titans game.
  • I made my own pancakes at the Pfunky Griddle with some fun friends.
  • I went to a few of Gen’s awesome thrift sales (thanks to my friend, Lindsey).
  • I fell in love with Barre Amped (but was too cheap to keep going).
  • I received the phone call that one of my favorite graduate school friends accepted Christ into her heart.
  • I had the privilege of helping start a program for middle school students with special needs at our church.
  • I traveled to new places such as Holiday World, Austin, Charleston, Savannah, Hilton Head, Asheville, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Deer Valley, Breckenridge, Fall Creek Falls, Yellowstone National Park, and Snowshoe.
  • I tried (and cooked) asparagus, pomegranate, and brussels sprouts for the first time.
  • I attended an art retreat with my mom.
  • I grew closer to my family (that absence makes the heart grow fonder is true, folks).
  • I attended the 44th Annual CMA Awards.
  • I had a few celebrity sitings (don't worry I only approached one of them):
    • Faith Hill- She held the door open for me at Rebecca’s in downtown Franklin.
    • Naomi Judd- I saw her in downtown Franklin.
    • Kelli Pickler- I spotted her with my mom in downtown Franklin.
    • David Neil- I recognized him and his wife at Sweet CeCe’s in downtown Franklin.
    •  Mike from American Pickers- I saw him at the grand opening of his store and at Merridee’s Breadbasket.
    • Josh Turner- I saw him a few times at my church!
    • Nicole Kidman- I spotted her from the Super Slide at the Williamson County Fair.
    • Jason Aldean- I saw him leaving the CMAs when we sneaked onto the red carpet.
    • Dierks Bentley- I saw him right outside of the Whole Foods in Nashville.
    • Carrie Underwood- My dad and I saw her walking her dogs while we were cruising through her neighborhood.
      Thank you for letting me take a walk down memory lane.  I think Elizabeth Smart put it best when she said, "I do have scars, but not all scars are ugly, especially if they mean something."