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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last Call

As I anticipate the changing of the guard, I reflect on the year 2009. It didn't start off so well, but reading back through my past blog posts, I realize it wasn't so bad afterall.

364 days ago, I was at a car dealership, making the largest purchase of my adult life so far. Some of you might remember how ugly this experience was for me, but I'm happy to say that Rick James and I are doing just fine.

In January, my Bible study and I began to learn how to study the God's Word using Jen Hatmaker's Modern Girls Guide to Bible Study. It wasn't a short process, but it sure did teach us how not to be intimidated by the ultimate collection of 66 books. Our hands were held through James and 1 & 2 Peter, and then we were on our own in John. I experienced more of the Bible (thus the Holy Spirit) in 2009 than any other time in my life. And I saw my girls begin to thirst for God's Word, some of them for the first time.

Mom and I took a trip to Park City, Utah in early February and I saw more snow than my eyes have ever feasted. I've seen a lot of positive change in my relationship with my Mom this year. I think we're both learning to have a mother-daughter relationship as two adults. I write this with tears of joy in my eyes, as Mom is my dearest best friend and I've loved watching our understanding of each other grow in 2009.

Nearing the end of February, I got on Yaz, and made one of the best decisions I've made all year long. Who knew that a pill a day could keep the horomones at bay?! Seriously, I'm a different person now than I was in February, now that everything is peachy with my body chemistry. Mom and I were reflecting on this the other night, and she confirmed my suspicions: she's also noticed I've been much happier since Yaz's inception into my body. If you need further proof, Em made the comment at Miel the other night that she's noticed I've been much more content this year than ever.

Like a spring chicken, I abandoned my brunette locks in March and went back to my natural blonde. While brunette served me well, I never truly felt like myself. Blonde is who I am, and whom I shall remain.

My birthday was on Easter Sunday this year, and I was honored to share my day with the anniversary of my Savior's resurrection. To celebrate my 28th birthday this year, my friends and I packed 28 care packages for the homeless and delivered them on the streets of Nashville. That my sweet friends would care enough about me to give of their goods and sacrifice their time meant so much to me.

In late April, I saw Ben Folds in concert at the Ryman, sans friends or a date. I went solo. And it was not only an enjoyable night of music, but a liberating experience for my independent psyche.

On April 30, my sinuses underwent a major transformation and re-routing of sorts. I woke up fitfully from surgery with the most pain I've felt in my entire life. But, the pain was worth the gain, as my chronic sinus headaches have disappeared completely.

I don't remember if May brought flowers, but it did bring an opportunity to further my education...my vino education, specifically. I enrolled in a Wine 101 class at Fido, and for six weeks, drank some fabulous wine, and ate a lot of good food (compliments of one of the best Chefs in town, John Stephenson).

In June (more specifically, June 16), I made a decision to purge some toxicity from my life permanently. I wrote down the date in Sharpie on Post-it's and tacked it all over my room and bathroom. I want to remember that date forever, as the date I officially decided to let the Lord be "my Shepherd" (Psalm 23). Nothing can seperate me from the LOVE of Christ, as I am my Lord's and He is mine.

Also in June, I got over my pride and made a decision that opened numerous doors for me in my personal life. During the process, I met someone in July that might potentially stick. We'll see what 2010 holds for this relationship.

In July, I traveled to the West coast to love on the homeless and the rejected. I found out fast that they had more love for me than I could ever begin to give them. The lessons I learned about poverty and hope on this trip will be passed on to my children, grand-children, and maybe even my great-grand-children. My life will never be what it was before Skid Row.

August was a slow month, but a stressful time at work. Steph and I stretched out our weekend sun time well beyond the other regulars, and I spent some precious time with my dear friend poolside.

In September, I met my Merea, Danielle, the girl I am mentoring at the Christian Women's Job Corps. While not without its frustrations, this relationship is one of the most important I invested in during 2009, and will so for the future.

October held a trip to the beach with Mom, Dad, and my parent's third child, Stella the Puppa. As I get older, I realize how precious this undivided time is with my parents, and I don't want to take advantage of one minute.

On Halloween, I traveled to Lynchburg with several other fabulous singletons. The eight of us ate lunch at Miss Mary Bobo's and then toured the Jack Daniel's Distillery. It was a quintessential Tennessee experience.

November yielded the most glorious, spectacular display of autumn leaves in my memory, and accompanied a trip down the Natchez Trace with Siebe and Aubree. My pool time caught up with me in November, as my dermatologist pointed out some pre-cancerous keratosis, and cautioned my sun worship. 2009 may have marked the end of my weekends at the pool.

December was a blur, of course. In addition to the multitude of Christmas gatherings and parties, I began to say au revoir to my dear friend, Emily, as she journeys to Paris in a few days. I was witness to a beautiful presentation of Christ's coming at Andrew Peterson's Behold the Lamb. And I heard Rob Bell wax philosophy-times-Jesus.

I read a lot of really great books this year: Pillars of the Earth, Infidel, Middlesex, Wild at Heart, The Help, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

Closing out my 2009, I celebrated a delightful Christmas break with my family. Dad built me a roaring fire everyday, and I spent some nice quality time with my parents. It was also good to see my brother and sis-in-law, even if it was blink-and-you-miss-it. Mom and Dad both cooked some amazing food this year. Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without cheese grits. And the Wii certainly was the source of a lot of laughter and trash talk. I'll never forget the sight of my Mom boxing, nor of her hula hoop skills.

Tommorrow begins NaBloPoMo. I'm up for the challenge, but I do feel the pressure. This reflection on my blog posts of 2009 helps me remember why I write: for me, not for you. But nonetheless, I do appreciate your support and encouragement. See you in 2010!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

May 28, 2010

Monday, December 21, 2009

Local Honey

'Tis the season for tradition, and so Emily, Amy, Arica and I dined together last Wednesday night to celebrate the end of our united homefront, as Emily moves to Paris in January. Our choice of the Sylvan Park French restaurant, Miel, was apropos. Located across from Bobbie's Dairy Dip, Miel is a hidden gem tucked on a quiet side street off Charlotte Avenue.

From the moment we entered, we were treated like royalty, and all our needs were promptly met. The four of us were seated at a tight, yet cozy table, and while most of the tables in the room filled quickly, it didn't detract from the warm atmosphere.

To our delight, the food prepared at Miel is all organic, originating from locally owned farms and artisan growers. As soon as we were settled, the waiter delivered four tiny saucers of duck confit with fig on a fluffy pastry tart. It was just one savory bite, but enough to wet the appetite. Soon after, fresh, out-of-the-oven baguette rounds arrived at our table.

It took us a little while to order, considering everything on the menu looked mouth-watering. That, and there was only one venison entree left in the building, meaning Amy and I fought over it...and she gracefully conceded. My entree of choice was the Free Range Axis Venison accompanied by truffled spaetzle over pureed cauliflower and carmelized brussel sprouts in a citrus glace. Amy had a Parisian Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Emily a tender Osso Buco, and Arica a Grilled Flank Steak. My venison was a tad bit rare...okay, it was practically blue in the middle. Emily took one look at it and said, "your venison is mooing." I said, "no, it's snorting. Deer don't moo." I still ate it though, and it was delicious.

The four of us were stuffed, but stopped to make room for dessert. I had a non-traditional creme brulee, as it was served in a molded sugar cup, and was more the consistency of thick pudding than a light creme. Still tasty though.

Miel translates from French to "honey" in English, and for our closing experience, the waiter delivered four tiny spoons with a dollop of honey and a dot of pollen from a locally owned bee farm. Our evening rounded out with good, affirming conversation, and bittersweet closure as Em departs soon.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

An Al-Qaeda Christmas

Sunday afternoon, I was sitting in the living room downstairs and I glanced up at the mantle. My roommate Arica set out the Willow Tree Nativity set over the weekend. My eyes wandered to the wise men, and I did a double-take. Evidently, Osama Bin Laden has killed off one of the wise men, and is dangerously close now to the Baby Jesus. This is soooooo not funny, but I laughed my head off anyway. I have a sick sense of humor, folks. Sick.

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