Monthly Archives: May 2010

Freedom isn’t free

Freedom isn’t free.

It’s Memorial Day and, I think, like many, I get a little choked up about remembering people that I’ve never met. Men and women who without concern for self, believed this concept of freedom and liberty were worth sacrificing themselves to champion. Who didn’t recoil at the thought giving their life so that me, a normal girl in Tennessee, can have the choice to get an education, choose a job of my suiting, marry (or not-marry) the person of my choice. Wear clothing of my choice. Drive a car. I can succeed, fail, try hard, win big and not fear speaking up about what I believe.

And I am forever indebted. But I realized that I take this sacrifice for granted, every day.

Over 600,000 people have died in the line of service in the last 100 years, defending my country.

Over 1,100,000 since the inception of America.

Yesterday, back in my hometown, Pastor Reser showed a few clips from the amazing film Saving Private Ryan in the service. If you haven’t seen it, go on Netflix and watch it now. You won’t regret it.

But I keep going back to the line, said by Tom Hanks’ character (John something?), after finding and rescuing Private Ryan from battle in France. His dying words to young Ryan simply said “Earn This”.

And somehow I don’t know if I have. I’ve done my best to love my country, but how does one do that? I hope I defend her when friends who really haven’t traveled complain about our country. Of course she has her faults, but I know that my country is one that I can be proud of. And maybe over the past few weeks of flooding in Nashville I just feel more of a sense of community- that I live where people put other people first. That we have government groups that help those in need. That we are encouraged to create businesses and non-profits that can help the economy and help build revenues to support programs of our choosing.

What can I do to earn the deaths of 1,100,000 people?

I think just by enjoying each day. By helping someone in need. By remembering that I use more water in 1 shower than the majority of the world uses in a day. By recycling. Planting some flowers or picking up trash. By going to support a great Thai food at a restaurant started by immigrants who came to this country to start a new life. Using my freedom of career to create or support something that will make a positive change in the world.

And maybe It just means thanking the soldier in the airport for his choice to defend my rights as a woman to have a career and an education. That I don’t have to fear walking outside alone at the risk of being raped or beaten by rebels who see women as property, not people.

“Earn this” he said to the Private. I hope that I can remember that my thoughts and attitude need to be in thanksgiving to so many who gave so much. Thank you to all who have served and who are serving in the military. You are appreciated, and today, on Memorial day – we salute you.

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay done his life for his friends.” – Jesus (John 15:13)

Advertisements

My LOST Retrospect

So I get a little geeky about Lost.  Not so much about the show really (however I do think it’s probably the best written show of its kind…ever) but about everything that surrounds the show.

Now that the show is over, I can throw in spoilers and not just feel like I’m talking in code to people who know and who have now seen the light.

There’s 2 really main reasons that I will immensely miss the weekly cult meeting that is Lost.

First – the show created for me an additional community.

I discovered the show because of my friend Dale, and for a season, I watched the show with a group of people in California.

Then I went on the road and we watched the show in our truck on DVD. Our team cramped together in the back of a F-350 as we drove from state fair to state fair. Chloe, Mark and I debated ideas as Eddie in the front seat mocked us.  (editorial note: Eddie is now a believer)

Then, in Nashville, faithfully, every week, a new tribe would gather at the Kirk’s lovely residence and have a meal created by one of our own hands.  Everyone would chip in, and I don’t believe our main course was ever purchased at a store or restaurant.  I don’t think this was intentional, but somehow just solidified that this is a group of people who grew to love to nurture each other.  Over dinner we would catch up on each other’s lives, laugh at each other’s stories and bear each other’s burdens.   Bread was broken (normally bread made by Katy.)

And as the show drew near, Betsy would put baby Sophia to bed and we would take our traditional spots in the living room and share new theories and ideas.  Who we might be disappointed in.  Who we were cheering for.  And during the show, Sarah would complain that Charlie hadn’t reappeared in an alternate time, Ashley and Zayne would sigh whenever Sawyer would be shirtless, Joe would make fun of Sarah, Ashley and Zayne, Harrison would make a witty comment, Kenny would make a statement verging on sounding like a non-believer.  Anna (we missed you this year), Freya and Winston would fact check.  Everyone else has their place as well, I’m just condensing for space!

And this group of musicians, students, teachers and professionals would stare in disbelief as the show would wrap, and more theories would be dispelled and created.  Someone would offer to research a prop that was in the episode to see if it might be an Easter egg of sorts.    People would exchange pleasantries and wish the others well for the week ahead.

For me, each week started to feel more like Sunday dinner with the family. I realized late in the game that none of us were able to have Sunday dinner with our natural family, as I believe we were all transplants from other areas.  So maybe, in some ways, this was more about meeting a need than watching a show.

Second – Lost is a show about choices.  Free will.  Second Chances.  Changes of heart.  Love.  Loss.  Pain.  Fear.  Life.  Death.

Redemption.

And the understanding that we can’t make it alone.

In the end, the show forgot about a lot of the Sci-Fi questions, and, being that I’m really not much of a Sci-Fi fan, that was completely fine with me.  I like people and personality.  I really didn’t need to know what the big light was made of.   But I like what Desmond, Jack and Hurley were made of.  I didn’t need to what made Sayid get his human-ness back, I just needed to know that he was willing to die for his friends.  And I needed to know that Sawyer would make a move for the greater good.

So, while I understand people who are more science minded might have not enjoyed the finale as much, I loved it in a bittersweet way.

Because Lost is about relationships.  It’s about finding the best in each other.  It’s about breaking bread, and family dinner and realizing everyone has skeletons in their closet.  But what matters is what we do with right now. It is the choices that we make today.

And community matters, no matter where you create it.

Thank you JJ Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for 6 great seasons of TV.  And thank you Joe and Betsy for opening your home to us, week after week.

Friday

It’s a good morning.

It’s a Friday.

In less than a week I’ll be at a Cubs game. In a week, I’ll be returning to my hometown for the first time in 17 years. The rain has stopped temporarily. I just bought a cute dress online for 80% off.

I just made a second French press of coffee, made from beans hand delivered from my friend Therese after a trip to Honduras.

My friend Flames is getting better. He’s still in the hospital, but he’s had an amazing improvement. Another friend who is hurting got a good night’s sleep. And I got an email from a cute man.

I should have gone for a run, but it didn’t happen. It still might though, depending how the day goes.

Mercies are new every morning. Some days they are just more apparent than others.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Water is life

So with Nashville still in flood recovery, this also means that our water supply is still a bit volatile, and our conservation efforts are still in full gear.

I already wrote one blog about water, but it’s been on my mind quite a bit, as my hair isn’t quite up to it’s shiny and bouncy normal self.  Last week, I went home to my parents for the weekend – and thoroughly enjoyed not taking the requested Navy showers that were stated as necessary to keep our water supply in check.

I believe the water supply is at about 85% now, and our efforts have paid off.  We’re not out of the woods yet they say, and they are asking that we keep up the conservation concept until the end of the month.  That means no car washes, no watering the lawn, no long showers.  The rule “if it’s yellow keep it mellow” might be more of a rally cry than anyone would like to admit.

But I’m thinking this might be something we should keep in mind for more than just a month.

I waste too much water.  Before the flood, I didn’t turn off the water when I brushed my teeth.  I had the tap on full when I was waiting for the water to warm up to wash my face, to do the dishes.  I would boil way more water than needed to make my french press of coffee each day.

Water is essential to Life.  And Life is precious.

To turn off the water when I brush my teeth is a very small, very simple change. Yet over time can amount to a huge amount of clean water being conserved.    I  hope that the month of May is long enough for these to become habits, not because the city is telling me to, but because I believe that everyone deserves clean water.  Each life is precious, and each drop of water should be too.

ways to help

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ― Theodore Roosevelt

Lots of people have been asking for ways to help with the relief effort after our giant flood here in Nashville  As of yesterday, the estimated damage from the flood was at 1.56 Billion dollars, so we’ve got a lot of work that needs to be done here.  There are many for people locally, and across the world to help.  The funds raised from just buying a simple t-shirt can go a long way. If you have things for me to add, let me know and I’ll put them on the list…

Ideas on how to help:

We need you to buy our stuff:

Buy a shirt! – http://nashvilleflood.myshopify.com/collections/all

Buy a sticker! (I love this design) – http://tennesseelovesyou.bigcartel.com/product/love-sticker

The We Are Nashville shirt – http://store.coolpeoplecare.org/products/we-are-nashville-t-shirt

Buy a poster! – http://www.justkyle.com/

Another great poster – can’t keep a good town down – http://ht.ly/1JLvo

Design a poster or shirt and sell it to raise money!  https://app.e2ma.net/app/view:CampaignPublic/id:536.8253085633/rid:0209e40a1410481eaaf9f5447b49cb67

A bracelet! – http://www.all4nashville.com/

We need your cash:

Service International – http://serviceinternational.com/nashville/ – these are flood relief specialists…started by my cousins. You can donate your money and your time here…and if anyone needs help, they can let the organization know

Church of the Redeemer – send checks with “flood relief” in the memo to: 920 Caldwell Lane, Nashville, TN, 37204

Conduit – http://conduitmission.org/

Crosspoint – https://secure3.agroup.com/crosspoint/giving/?action=one_time_form&campus=Nashville

United Way – http://www.unitedwaynashville.org/

We need your stuff:

Anchor Fellowship – collecting items for 5.15 clothing drive for flood victims. Donate anytime before 5/15 at: 521 Gallatin Rd Suite 6, Nashvile, TN 37206 or at their church – 629 3rd Ave S, Nashville, TN 37210

Kroger and Publix – have bins for food donations for Second Harvest Food Bank

Woodmont Christian Church – Accepting donations of food

Nest Interiors – Accepting donations of furniture

Mellow Mushroom Franklin – collecting canned foods

Atlanta area – donate supplies until May 12 here – http://beremedy.org/nashvilleflood

We need your self:
Hands on Nashville – hon.org

Anchor Fellowship – theanchorfellowship.com

Service International – http://serviceinternational.com/nashville/

Cross Point – crosspoint.tv

Conduit Mission – conduitmission.org

We need you to enjoy life:
May 17 – Eat. This is a great excuse to go out and get some much needed nourishment after volunteering. http://www.nashvillescene.com/bites/archives/2010/05/07/food-community-rows-forward-together

May 15 – David Space and Friends benefit at Improv LA – http://www.symfonee.com/improv/hollywood/home/Index.aspx

June 22 – Faith Hill and Tim McGraw benefit concert – http://www.nashvillerising.org/

Nashville Flood, part 2

There’s been a lot of murmuring around Nashville, complaints that the national media had forgotten about us. Maybe they thought the flood was exaggerated. Maybe they just had other things to think about. Maybe they just think all there is to Tennessee is the Grand Old Opry … and Deliverance.

What maybe they don’t know is that Tennessee isn’t really prone to exaggeration. We aren’t a region that overly boasts. But we are the home to some of the best music, the best hospitals, the best food, and the best landscape our country can offer. We love slow food, slow evenings of wine and conversation, and a fast game of hockey or football. Our economy isn’t bad, we don’t pay income tax and everyone is generally in a good mood, most of the time.

So I was thinking…what’s different? Why aren’t we getting the media attention like other cities have?

And I realized it.

We love. We work. We clean up. We rebuild.

We aren’t looting.

We aren’t taking advantage.

We aren’t throwing rocks at police.

We are helping our neighbors, because that’s what neighbors do. We’re hearing stories of hope, of restoration, of mercy.

And if it requires our city to take on an uncivilized, selfish face to get the media’s attention, then forget it.

There is a sign on a church in East Nashville that says something like “God wasn’t in the tornado, God is in the response”, in reference to the tornado that tore through our neighborhood in 1998.  This isn’t any different.

And after our neighbors are back in their homes, the music is back at the Opry and the Symphony Center and the Titans are back running on their field, we will know that our city is a stronger, safer more beautiful place, simply because the people love, and love well.

Water water everywhere….

They have dubbed it a monsoon.

Some have said it’s the most rain that Nashville has ever seen.   I know for a fact it’s the most rain I have ever seen.  The mayor has declared a state of emergency.

I live in a decent elevation, and my power has stayed on consistantly.  My satellite TV is off more than on, but considering what many of my friends are going through with flooded homes, water boil orders and being stranded away from their homes, I have nothing to complain about.

Nashville is in bad shape and is in need of prayer, there’s no question about that.

One thing has really struck me today though.  I have heard reports of raw sewage floating down the road in some communities.  Franklin and Brentwood are being asked to fill their tubs with water, as in a few hours their water supply will be completely compromised. People have died in the waters.   Emergency rooms are literally flooded.  40,000 homes without power.

And I can’t help but think, this is what the majority of the world sees on a daily basis.

We all know the stats –

An American taking a 5 minute shower uses more water than a person in a developing country uses in a whole day.

One Third of the world’s population has no access to sanitation facilities.

The average person in the world uses 297 watts per person per capita.  Americans average 1460.  Nearly ¼ of the world’s population doesn’t have home access to electricity.

So while the city I love is in need of your prayers, once the waters subside, I want to remember how these things I take for granted are a luxury to so many.

But here’s a cool video of Nashville floods from yesterday….can’t imagine what this road looks like today