Category Archives: Uncategorized

Snow Days, Lent and Seeing Clearly

ice lentYesterday C and I went for a ride to go pick up our dogs from the groomer.  It was the second snowday in a row, and while the roads were clear, the remnants of the ice that had hampered traffic and business the day before were beautifully evident on the trees on the hillsides.

It may be March, but it’s not apparent on this road.  The grass is browned and the trees are bare from the long winter. But this day, the brown bare trees glistened from the ice as the sun tries to appear.

The landscape of Tennessee was stunning. You couldn’t help but want to soak in the simple beauty.

I started to see things I hadn’t noticed before. I wondered about a road that has been hidden by the leaves and made a note to find it one day, partially for the experience and noting that could be a great shortcut next time traffic backs up.

I got to admire beautiful homes that were now exposed without the covering of leaves.  Creeks and valleys unknown to me suddenly appeared between the road and the horizon. And while we have driven this road countless times, this was the first time I was able to take in the view with this sort of clarity.

We chatted about how C used to live on a mountain, and most of the year, the view from their home was just leaves. And more leaves. And more trees.  But in the winter, you could see homes, roads, hillsides, and their small town below.

Maybe that’s a way of looking at Lent. A few weeks focused on stripping away distractions and coverings to be able to see. Clearly. To be able to re-direct your path and get a better vision of the horizon.

And then when the promise of spring arrives, I know I can enjoy the beauty of green grass, budding flowers and leaves and warming air, while being grounded in my new understanding of the road to follow.

It’s been a while…

Hello world-

I’ve been terribly bad at blogging lately.

Last year all of my blogs were dedicated to the currently-in-a-name-change DearPowderRoom site (moving to the name TheOpenDish.com) and I’ve been writing, but sadly not posting to my 40 Year Challenge site. This year, I do hope to do better.

Apologies for not writing. And now I will apologize to any men who may read this blog.

As for the next few months, I’m betting this blog turns into a “wedding rants” blog. We are going to attempt to get married in 10 – yes 10 – weeks. Both of us have full time jobs that are just that – very time consuming. We don’t want to spend a ton of money. We want to keep our families happy. We also would rather elope, but we have been told not to do that. I’m still not sure why.

I did check one thing off the list – I got a dress. It’s beautiful, and was the first dress I tried on. I would post a pic, but after 40 something comments on Chris’s facebook page warning him to not see the dress, I will restrain my post of a pic…you’ll just have to take my word for it!

Here’s what I’m ranting about right now:

Why won’t potential vendors call back?

Why did all of the stuff I have to get for my dress and do to my dress cost more than my dress?

And can someone send me some delicious, inexpensive recipes for cocktails that involve limes, or lemons?

Work is getting in the way of my fabulous plans. Stay tuned.

It’s almost my birthday…give me free stuff!

So, I’ve been blogging at dearpowderroom.com instead of on my own site for a while now, only now we’re going through a re-name and re-design, so I’m going to move my words over here for a bit… To give a quick update…I’m engaged! Life is wonderful and this is my last day being 40.

I haven’t forgotten my idea to do 40 new things this year. I’ve done most of them – I just need to take the time to write about it… (you can see the few I’ve posted at http://the40yearchallenge.wordpress.com)

This week though, I am all about getting free stuff for my birthday. Why not? If stores and restaurants are going to make that offer, then by golly I’m going to take them up on it. And you should too.

So far, I’ve gotten a free dinner at Famous Dave’s (Rib tips. Mmm) and Ruby Tuesday has given me a free steak burger. It was delicious. I have print outs for a free ice cream cone from Baskin Robins, a free cookie from Bruggers, a free entree from Moe’s, a fish dinner at Captain D’s and a Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity something from IHOP. I have a postcard for a free Starbucks drink, and I think I’m getting a postcard for a free Zaxby’s meal. There’s a special something waiting for me with my Panera card, my Sephora card and a free burger with my Red Robin loyalty card. I heard from a friend today that Firehouse Subs and Denny’s both give free food if you show your ID and it’s your birthday.

I’m liking this.

I know there are a lot of other places that do this sort of thing as well, and I’m all for it. Pretty much all of these are attached to loyalty cards, so do your self a favor. Start a junk mail email account, and start signing up. I’m not going to buy groceries all week!

Many more blogs ahead on the 40 year challenge, and the new adventures of wedding planning. Next week I may blog about the necessary gym membership to work off all the free food…

Let me know of great deals you may know about!

Nashville Flood – 1 year later

May 1, 2011.

One year ago today, it started raining. I remember trying to complete a Saturday motorcycle certification class. After hours of waiting for lightning to stop so we could head out on the bikes, our instructor gave up. He said we would have to wait for a break in the weather the next day. While the rain had only started, a couple of classmates had already gotten into accidents, being unable to pass roads. We doubted his excitement about holding a longer Sunday class to finish our training.

It was a slow road home, and the rain became stronger. Intersections were unpassable. Stores were closing. Evening brought tales of people trapped on rooftops. Hospitals trying to move patients to higher floors. Sandbagging, but no one quite knew how to get to the affected areas to be able to help.

And Sunday. May 2nd. It kept raining. Photos of a building floating down the freeway filled the local news. The story is completely dormant on the national news. Power is out. Friends wait to see if their houses will be next in line to be filled with gushing water. Many are without power. Everyone is helpless to bring aid as nearly all roads are impassable. So we wait. And late in the afternoon, the rain quietly stops and the sun appears. The birds sing. Quietly people emerge from their houses and in my neighborhood. We are on high ground so other than a tree down here and a consistent statement of nearly everyone with flooded basements, very little was harmed.

The rest of the city I love didn’t fare so well. Stories pouring in of loved ones who lost everything. Downtown buildings with millions of dollars of damage. Neighborhoods lost. The Grand Old Opry closed indefinitely.

But what I saw emerge was a community that loves. A Volunteer State that does exactly that. Nashville as a whole put on it’s work gloves and helped each other rebuild. Without question, people opened their hearts and wallets, caravanned to the distraught neighborhoods and went to work. Tirelessly. Water was conserved. Benefits were held. A battle cry of We Are Nashville was coined and together our city quietly did the work needed to rebuild lives.

And now a year later we reflect and still wonder when some of our friend’s homes will be completely restored. When our Opry Mills mall will be re-opened.

Last week, tornadoes tore through Alabama just a few hours south of us. And I think Nashville just understands. Without delay, groups are gathering together to help. Raising money. Holding Benefits. Filling trucks with water and supplies and caravanning down the road, ready to tirelessly communities that have lost their hope.

And while I’m horrified at the images emerging from my neighbors to the south, I am so proud to say that I live in a city that continues to uphold it’s tradition of answering the call when so many need help.

May it not require disaster for us to continue see the needs of those around us.

Stories that Feed the Soul

Stories that Feed Your Soul
By Tony Campolo

I grew up in the church, went to a Christian college, and have sat through thousands of services, devotionals, and small groups. And while I appreciate the sermon, it’s almost always the story – or the sermon illustration – that I walk away remembering. Even in life, my favorite moments are almost always recalled with the statement “so this crazy thing happened to me today – let me tell you the story…”

When I received Tony Campolo’s new book in the mail, with a requested review date right around the corner, I thought the deadline would be impossible. I work. I have responsibilities. I like to take Tony’s writing and chew on it a bit. This review cannot be finished in…

I started flipping through the book. The longest chapter was 3 pages long.

I can do this.

Stories that Feed Your Soul is just that. A collection of stories centered around the themes in Romans 8. Tony is a known storyteller, and these recollections are about the day to day. The good, the bad, the sacred, the simple. Lessons about the daily struggle to examine ourselves and see just how best we can be servants and disciples. Lessons about thankfulness, grace, humility. Lessons simply about life.

Like most of Campolo’s work, Stories focuses heavily on social issues, our attitude toward our neighbors, the poor, the widow. But in these short stories, we get to see mirrors of our own lives. So many sounded familiar, like I might have heard the story in school about a great activist, politician or pop culture figure. Many just gave tidbits to chew on in my day.

So many stories stand out. Mae West talking about Christians. A piece on St Francis of Assisi. A question about if a Buddhist Monk will go to Heaven. Another on a man who said “Making ten million dollars before I was 40 didn’t turn out to be as wonderful as I thought it was going to be.” A story on a boy with one arm who won a judo championship.

I had originally told my father, a pastor, that I would give him the book for sermon ideas after finishing this review. However now, I’m going to need to just buy him his own copy. This book will be re-read many times as I believe it was intended, one story at a time. I’m imagining many of these stories will fuel many a devotional and blog of my own.

Thank you Tony for writing a collection of stories truly inspire and Feed the Soul.

Liquid Cloud

Hey Kids – I’m also blogging now for a network called Liquid Cloud — (and 2 more places coming up soon!) — would love for you blog-readers to check it out! Find Liquid Cloud here: http://liquidcloud.wordpress.com/

More to come on this site…soon!

Distant Sun

I don’t pretend to know what you want….