an adventure in having no cable and ice covered roads

Emily and I used to have free cable from where Comcast forgot to disconnect it…a few months ago, they realized this and disconnected it.  Over the air cable is an adventure in itself.

We have at least 8 “Jesus channels,” several Spanish channels, Smile TV, and a few of the local networks.  Tonight, while snowed in from Nashville’s 2010 Snowpocalypse, we exhausted all options of cooking, chick flicks, cake, friends, facebook, texts from last night, homework, texting, magazines, contemplating midnight snowball fights and landed on the Smile network only to find the creepiest kid’s show: Swamp Critters.

The voice of one of the critters is, no lie, the voice of the creepy old man off of Family Guy.  The crab sounds like a redneck who smokes 10 packs a day, and other creatures sit around talking about getting vaccinated for Rabies.

The past 24 hours of snowpocalypse have been some of the funniest, most random, boring in an enlightening, relaxing fashion ever.  Getting stuck on ice and getting a random person to help me repark my car. Discovering a random band practicing in our basement by hearing strange music coming from our airvents. Chili. Youtube. Smile TV. Facebook & Textsfromlastnight. Dominoes and redbox on charlotte pike. Awesome.

For a video of the creepy critters:

The creepy show website:

http://www.bobbygoldsboro.com/custpage.cfm/frm/22846/sec_id/22846/

appalachia

In working on my Teach for America placement region preference sheet, I keep finding feeling like a region is missing: Appalachia KY/NC/VA.  During fall break 2008, I traveled with MTSU to Cranks Creek Survival center in super rural Harlan County Kentucky and it was one of the most changing experiences of my life, especially in college.  It was also beautiful.  The people were beautiful.  Mostly cut off from the rest of the world, little to no cell service, cable and internet are scarce, as are other modern conveniences we have on every corner (Starbucks, McDonalds, Kroger, etc), yet it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.  The region is in desperate need and is one of the poorest  in the nation.  I think I have seen an Appalachia Teachers Corps or something of this nature before when googling things to do after college, but I can’t find it now.  I love this region, I want to explore it more.  I’ve wanted to go back since the second I left.  If anyone knows about this or has any suggestions about this, feel free 🙂

If you want to see pictures from my fall break trip,

For more info on Cranks Creek Survival Center: http://www.grass-roots.org/usa/cranks.shtml

blankets brought by snowglobes

If every Nashville winter were like this one, I could deal.  It has been at least 10 years since I have actually seen a solid inch of snow in this town, much less 4-5.  Breathtaking would be an understatement to describe the way it looks.  Currently being snowed in while my roommate braved the weather to get to work, I have resorted to poaching braver soul’s pictures.

Those who know me best know that I typically resent weather and cold weather just leaves me frustrated.  Because it never actually snows here, it just ends up being 30 degrees and raining.  Yesterday, that all changed.  This is the first actual winter in Nashville I have ever experienced.  There’s something about snow that makes life much more peaceful.  The world shuts down and is quiet, even if it’s only for a day or so.  While color typically vanishes from sight, the blanket of white perfection reminds us to take notice of the small things in life: birds, squirrels, bright scarves and gloves, etc.  This encompassing silencing white blanket of tiny flakes of wintery perfection is a perfect image to me of the blanketing grace of God.  Sometimes in our lives, we just need a reminder that no matter what is happening in our worlds, no matter how busy we get, no matter how much stuff we have going on, the blanket of grace can and will encompass that and silence all of our fears.   It can silence all of our concerns, worries, worldly desires, and just simply remind us to be still and rest in Him.

Being still and resting in Him has been a constant reminder in my life lately, the snowpocalypse is just another gentle message of it.

2nd avenue is one of my favorite streets in all of Nashville.  The beautiful blanket produced by the snowglobe of Nashville has shut it down.  Centennial park remains another one of my favorite places around the city, also shut down by the snow.  Only occupied by a city-wide snowball fight yesterday afternoon.   Everything in life hits the pause button during a snowglobe and we become 5 years old again, unable to look away from the beautiful mess pummeling down from the clouds above.  Snowball fights, snowcream, chili, fireplaces, sledding, snowmen/women, and community all become momentarily valued again during a snowstorm.

If only for a moment, take comfort in the snow.  Take comfort in the world shutting down because of it.  Allow it to remind you of the blanketing grace of God.  Allow yourself to be reminded that no matter what we try to do, how much we try to read our bible or pray constantly, no matter how many good things we do or how awesome our resume or GPA are, none of that matters without the grace of God.  We cannot do this thing called life alone, and that should be a comforting, not terrifying realization.  That notion should be something we surrender to, not steer clear from.   Accept the grace, stop trying to do awesome things or clean up your lives before. Stop thinking that God will not accept us just as we are and His blanket of love and grace will not cover everything we have.  After all, the snow covered all of Nashville despite anything didn’t it?

Take a look at some collected pictures below…

a means to mental health

original link to this blog entry. not my work.

a means to mental health — whyismarko

1. at least once a day i shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that i, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with everlastingly mysterious things above and about me.

2. instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary movement to which i can neither add nor subtract, i shall suppose the universe guided by an intelligence which (as aristotle said of greek drama) requires a beginning, a middle, and an end. i think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by bertrand russell before his death, when he said: “there is darkness without, and when i die there will be darkness within. there is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.”

3. i shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique opportunity filled, if i so wish, with worthy potentialities.

4. i shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence, but just as likely, ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

5. i shall not turn my life into a thin straight line, which prefers abstractions to reality. i shall know what i am doing when i abstract, which of course i shall often have to do.

6. i shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. i shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories i might belong to. mostly i shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

7. i shall open my eyes and ears. once every day i shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. i shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. i shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what lewis calls their “divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic” existence.

8. i shall sometimes look back at the freshness of the vision i had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of lewis carroll, the “child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.”

9. i shall follow darwin’s advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as lewis suggests, an old book and timeless music.

10. i shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as charles williams suggested, “fulfill the moment as the moment.” i shall try to keep truly alive now just because the only time that exists is now.

11. if for nothing more than the sake of a change of view, i shall assume my ancestry to be from the heavens rather than from the caves.

12. even if i turn out to be wrong, i shall bet my life on the assumption that this world is not idiotic, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course i shall understand, with joy, as a stroke made my the architect who calls himself alpha and omega.

life. in minutes

i’d like to say i’m not much of one for countdowns, but that would be a lie.

counting down gives you a fresh perspective if you look at it right. you have “x” amount of time to make awesome before “z.”

Here are my current countdowns….which make me realize how fast life really does happen.

15 days (22050 minutes) until my regional and subject/grade preferences for Teach for America are due…

44 days (63,455 minutes) until I go to Nicaragua for Spring Break

46 days until I find out if I have been accepted to Teach for America

107 days (155,014 minutes) until I graduate college…

205 days (295593 minutes) until my other best friend gets married…

When you put life in that perspective it can look terrible, or make you more proactive.  I choose to be proactive.

I choose to look at today as the only January 20, 2010….ever. and make the best of it and make it awesome. I have few new years resolutions, but I do want to have a better perspective on life, live more in the now, and be more decisive.

one last countdown…

(hopefully) less than 2 hours until I see Kelsey for the first time in almost a year!!

adventure

i want more.

yet i hold myself back from it. (i think)

this needs to change.

i refuse to simply be the overcomplicating, overanalyzing girl obsessed with spreadsheets.

random, only halfway planned weekend trips are in order. even if they require you to drive 8 hours one way, stay somewhere 4 hours, and come back the same day. they need to happen, they make me feel alive.

spreadsheets are necessary to an extent, but sometimes i need to be torn away from them and swept away into an adventure.

ever read a book that smacked you in the face?

ever read a book that seems to just smack you in the face?

Forgotten God” by Francis Chan is doing that to me right now.

I just finished a couple chapters in which the following quotes exist:

one chapter was about our intentions for wanting the Holy Spirit to be in our lives. Self glorification is NOT the reason the Holy Spirit exists in us. He does not exist so that we can do all the things we want to do. we are not Spirit filled so we can accomplish things, God has put the Spirit in us so that HE can do the things HE needs done. we are to be guided by the spirit and see it as the living God in us so that we can work for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7)

“All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when.”

It is also on HIS timing. We do not get to choose when the Spirit leads us or when we want Him to lead us. If we are truly submitted to His guidance, He controls and consumes us in a beautiful fashion.  We are not slaves, but children. We are working by the Spirit for the common good of the universal Church, not ourselves. Not self glory.

“by not submitting and totally trusting the Holy Spirit, I am not submitting to or trusting God. That is no small matter” p.90

the next part literally hit me in the face
“did God lead you to where you are? a lot of people in my church and my travels tell me “I believe God has called me to Simi Valley or wherever” That may very well be the case, BUT it could also be a cop-out because you like where you live.  You have a good job, the school district is safe and has high ratings, your family is close by. It just makes sense to be “called” to be there, right?”

SMACK.

i’m not sure how the next few months with graduation and jobs will play out, but i HAVE to be open to leaving Nashville. I’d like to stay. I love it here. Alot. More than I’ve ever loved living anywhere. But closing myself off to leaving is closing myself off, potentially, to what God has planned for me. I HAVE to be constantly open to His guiding hand, or else I might as well be completely shut off. God doesn’t do halfway… and a great friend reminded me recently that he doesn’t do Plan B. He has a plan for us and no matter what we do or how we try to screw it up, He NEVER says “oh well you messed up, i guess we’ll have to settle for less than I originally wanted for you.”   I can’t even explain how much I needed to hear that, not because necessarily of any situation, just because.  I’ll quote the message I got because it’s better than re-wording it

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my life, over and over again, it’s that God does NOT resort to Plan B when we screw up. He doesn’t shake his head disappointed, saying “I told you so” and thinking “I had these great things for her, but she screwed them up, so now all I have for her is okay things.” His blessings are always abundant and he never changes. He doesn’t change his mind or his plan or his will for you.”

Back to literal living places. Francis goes on to say “it is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are, but it’s absolutely vital to grasp that He didn’t call you to be there so you could settle in and live out your life in comfort and superficial peace. His purposes are not random or arbitrary. If you are still alive on this planet, it’s because He has something for you to do. (drawn from Ephesians 2:8-10)

7-10Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.

this is a sporadic note, just mostly chronicling the things i got hit in the face with about 30 minutes ago…

“we are most alive when we are loving and actively giving of ourselves because we were made to do those things”

Duh, but how often do we forget that when we are in those moments, it is not us, it is Him guiding and working through us and we are called to live a lifestyle this way.

onto the next chapter….which i assumed wouldn’t hit me in the face as hard.

“Maybe you are reading this and are thinking, “i just don’t experience that kind of intimacy with God…the Spirit in me never cries “Abba, Father!”. If this is you, i don’t have a 4 step guide to connecting with the Holy Spirit, I would however like to suggest 2 potential obstacles for you to consider: comfort and volume.”

Maybe your life is too safe.

Maybe your life is too loud.

-“in my quest to accomplish much I’ve lost the art of focusing on one thing or one person”

“it is a spiritual discipline to be still, to listen, and to cut out the distraction and din of our world. as we practice this stillness, this wanting, this being, it is then that we can experience deep intimacy and relationship with the Holy Spirit”

Wow. What a day.