Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Back from the 'Burg

We rolled into town today from our 5 day trip with Dusty's family to Sevier County, TN. I'm simply exhausted from the trip so will post more pictures later.

However, I'd really like to make a big deal out of the WHITE CHRISTMAS we had up on Rocky Top Estates. Because we were so high up (and believe me, I have a video documenting our treacherous climbs and descents in which I am making all kinds of terrified, animated sounds that I might post later) we got over a foot of snow and it stayed that way for two days. Not that I'm complaining: I could be a recluse if I let myself and was perfectly content to sit by the fire and read my book!

This is a shot I took when we first got to the cabin on Christmas Eve:

This was taken sometime on December 26th, a mere not-even-two-full-days later:

Looking at the pictures side by side I cannot believe how much of a difference there is! Our cabin was named "A Dream's View" and while it's a little cheesy, one can definitely see why.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Currently Reading

I'm really diggin' this book.

It took me a while to get into it, but it was well worth the fifty cents I paid.

(On another note, I love scouring flea markets for good deals on books that are already on my list to read.)

Sunday, December 19, 2010


Today I turn 25.

Bully for me.

I will be spending my birthday going to church then singing in a Christmas program. Not my ideal way to celebrate.

In fact, I'm pretty melancholy about this whole stupid

25 sounds so old but I'll be wishing I was only turning 25 when I turn 50--that in and of itself is also a pretty depressing thought.

So here's to my 25th year. I have a lot of things I'd like to happen this year. Maybe I will have a more eventful post to write when I turn (gulp) 26.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Well the ice is still coming and this time I'll be ready! Here is my to-do list for the day:

1.) Charge all electronic devices, i.e. iPad, iPods, cell phones, etc. That way we can still have some entertainment if the power goes out.

2.) Finish laundry: during the ice storm of 2009 the power went out while we had a load that was in the rinse cycle. Two days later I dragged a trash bag full of sopping wet clothes to my cousin's house (who had the fortune of getting electricity back fairly quickly) and the clothes were mid-rinse cycle when AGAIN the power went out! I'm not willing to let that happen again.

3.) Find all flashlights in the house and put them in living room.

4.) Make sure board games are accessible. We've really been diggin' Scrabble on the iPad but that's not very battery efficient. See #1.

5.) Make Dusty go to Wal-Mart to get Rudy his cat food. Wal-Mart is the only place that has the special food Rudy needs for his, erm... "condition."

6.) Wash sheets in guest room/ prepare guest room. This is just in case we need to house anyone whose power is still out. Rumor has it that during the last ice storm our little house (which we did not live in yet) didn't lose power at all! I find this hard to believe since just using my hair dryer causes a breaker to flip, but what do I know?

7.) Make Dusty fudge. I would do that anyway today because he said he wanted some but it would also be nice to snack on while sitting in a dark, cold house that's been encapsulated in ice.

So, ok maybe some of these actions are a little over the top. I just don't want to get caught with my proverbial pants down. And maybe since I'm going through all the hassle of of battening down the hatches, just maybe, we will hardly get any weather at all.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Destruction, Take Deux

About two years ago Kentucky saw the storm of the century. In the aftermath we were left without power and water for days (for some, weeks into months), businesses shut down, trees fell, roads were blocked--it was mayhem.

Dusty and I affectionately coined it Winter Destruction 2009.

Here are some photos, just for old time's sake:

This was the view of some of the trees from my in-law's backyard. They look so droopy and sad.

This photo is courtesy of my pal Erika, who lives in Western Kentucky. They got hit way worse than we did, but some of the roads around here looked about the same! Treachery!

Gabby was about two months old when the storm hit. What a way to enter the world! This is one of my all-time favorite pictures of her-- her expression is priceless! To me it says, "Why is it so cold?!"

I bring up all these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad memories to say that tomorrow they are predicting another whammy of a storm. I really don't think it's supposed to be anywhere nearly as bad as Winter Destruction '09 but it is supposed to be bad enough that my grandmother felt the need to call all her grandkids to sound the alarm! Her advice: "Honey, you need to get to the store and buy some milk and Diet Cokes, and make sure you have plenty of blankets and batteries."

My grandma is awesome!

To be fair to her though, a lot of us around here still reference that terrible storm and I think we're all still a little gun shy, especially with a special weather statement that reads like this:

See that last part: a significant coating of ice on power lines...trees...

Yeah, this is going to be an interesting rest of the week.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I have to admit, writing the previous blog post was super difficult. I sat on it for a day or two. Then I went to post it, but hit the "save" button. Then a little later I went to post it and did an online crossword puzzle instead. But then I posted it. And I feel a little better, I do.

To cut the heaviness of the aforementioned post I thought I'd blog about something VERY EXCITING I'm doing this weekend!

About ohhh... 5 years ago my friend Devon and I hatched this plan that involved trooping down to Nashville and going to the ICE! exhibit. I say exhibit because I'm not really sure what to call it. Perhaps spectacle would be a better word. Here,

According to the kind lady at this exhibit is made of almost 2 million pounds of ice, carved into holly jolly Christmas characters.

There is an ice slide. Enough said.

Sadly, our plans never worked out and they stopped doing the exhibit. However, we discovered that this year, it's back! And they're not even doing the ultimately less cool Grinch theme. Score! So we've convinced the husbands to join in our venture and we're leaving on Friday.

Another exciting thing we will be doing is going to see these lovely ladies kick their legs in uniform fashion:

We will also be going to SNOW! and eating at the Pancake Pantry.

I'm coining this trip Mini-Cation 2.0, Holiday Edition. Our last Mini-Cation was a complete bust: I got sick at Six Flags, we blew a tire on the way back, and so on. This Mini-Cation will be better. I can just feel it.

It helps that we will be in the company of two of my favorite people!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Compassion: Has and Has-Nots

I bought my first "legit" camera around this time last year. I was incredibly excited because I'd be wanting a DSLR for a long, long time.

Since then I've tried really hard to learn the basics of such an advanced device. I have absolutely no formal training. Most of the time I feel like I've been put in a maze blindfolded and told to find my way out. Yet somehow, the Lord has really blessed my bumbling, fumbling efforts.

One such blessing came last week when I was able to use my bumbling, fumbling semi-talent to do family Christmas portraits for some of the women who are clients at Crossway Pregnancy Resource Center in Radcliff.

I had a blast getting to meet some of the moms and dads, and of course interacting with the children. Some of their stories broke my heart, and some were inspiring. At the end of the day I was happy with how things had gone but I also realized that what I had done had vast amounts of spiritual significance for myself.

About a month or so ago the Lord revealed to me that I am not as compassionate as I think I am. Truth be told, I have compassion for homeless people because I have a home. I can be compassionate and send money to Mukti because I have the money to send.

You see I realized that for me compassion has really become about the has and the has-nots. This is not true compassion, is it?

And this brings me back to the topic at hand. Dusty and I are not actively trying to have children, but we've been told by medical "authorities" that it will be difficult. (That is a whole 'nuther topic for a whole 'nuther day. God can do anything, things happen for a reason, blah, blah, blah. I know these things.) I have another set of dear, dear friends who are trying to conceive and are having a hell of a time. In my head, I've categorized myself as a "has-not" when it comes to having a family of my own. This begs the questions: "Who are the 'has?'"

The "has" in this area is the single mom with four children by four different dads. The "has" in this area is the woman who opted for abortion, thinking that would make her problem go away, not thinking how many women have tried for years to get pregnant with no results. And this is who I'm supposed to have compassion for? Me, the girl who has been told by her doctor that having children is going to be hard, perhaps even impossible? I'm probably going to sound like a terrible person, but that is a hard truth for me.

The difference is, I know I have this issue. I know my heart's position is not in line with the Lord's. And I want to change it.

If the formula for compassion is that the "has" take pity on the "has-nots" then being compassionate like Jesus was would be pretty easy. In fact we probably wouldn't have to rely on him at all.

But Jesus told us to love like he did and his love was equal. It knew no category and didn't care if you had a carefully planned out family or three kids and another on the way while being unemployed living off welfare.

And if it didn't matter to Jesus, logically, it should not matter for me, even when it comes to the areas that keep me up at night, that make my heart ache.

I had been praying for the Lord to begin changing my heart about this issue and not long after was asked to do these family photographs. And the indicator to me that mine is not a hopeless, unchangeable heart is that I was incredibly excited to get this opportunity. Now, I'm planning to attend the volunteer training meeting next month and to become active in ministering to the ladies who are clients there.

I feel like the guy in the Bible who said, "I believe; help me with my unbelief!" Lord, I have compassion; help me in my un-compassion!"

Saturday, December 4, 2010

More Advent

Not a lot of time to post today, but I ran across this on my Google Reader and thought it was too cool! Check it out, especially if you're a space nerd.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Freedom and Advent and Stuff

Today I bit the bullet and did my last bit of homework for the Fall 2010 semester. I'm experiencing FREEDOM for the first time in months!

I really have mixed emotions on how this semester has gone, if it was worth it, etc. I imagine it was worth saving my sanity, because as much as I felt stressed about turning assignments in on time, I was not forced to sit in a tiny cubicle calling people all day. That, in itself, makes all the difference in the world.

And, I'd say it was worth it because this is one of the first things in a long, long time that I didn't quit halfway through, deciding it just "wasn't for me." (Ahem, CNA, waitressing, working in a collections department, etc.)

However, the other side of this coin is that I'm not returning to ECTC for the spring term. I'm feeling my way though where I should attend graduate school instead. This seems like a behemoth task, let alone actually taking (and passing) the classes.

This all brings me around to the Advent season, because incidentally I have yet another thing to be looking forward to. And isn't that what Advent in the Christmas context is all about?

It seems like every year around this time I have some tangible reminder in my life of what it's like to be "adventing." Last year it was the impending visit of my family. This year it is what comes next for Dusty and me in the coming months.

And make no doubt, we feel like big things are coming our way in 2011.

In looking forward to our position in the coming months I feel hope. I feel happiness. I feel included. I feel new.

And isn't that just the way we feel about that baby who came 2000 some odd years ago? Hope because he brought with him the key to death. Happy because he is on our side. Included because he came to us, the marginal ones. New because that's what he makes us.

Advent. Quite possibly my favorite season.