31 May 2010


This year, the "anniversary post" has run into 3 (and may run into even 4) posts. Enjoy ;)

So Sunday we got up and headed out to the Harpeth River. [Side Note: we listened to a Matt Chandler podcast on Colossians...AMAZING. He is quickly becoming one of my favorites as he voices what I think no one else in the American church will.] We canoed 14 miles of glorious river--me and Grant, Zach and Steph, Matt and Benji, and 5 other girls in 2 canoes (friends of Keef's). It was fun to haphazardly join up with one or two other canoes at a time and float down the river together. It was both incredible to imagine exploring the area like a native and yet unfathomable to see to what level the water had risen and to what extent some of the damage still remained due to the floods in Nashville--awe-inspiring and fear-inducing at the same time. pretty awesome.

One of the girls' canoes flipped at a little rapid at a bend in the river and Grant (my hero) saved them. It was fun to work as a team and help them quickly figure out tipping, draining, and resurfacing the canoe--a little camp counselor came out in me and we almost broke out into song (almost). Alice the Camel. Anyone? Anyone. ...Bueller.

Anyway, we both love nature so much and the added bonus of friendship and quality time in such incredible surroundings did wonderful things for our hearts.

After we canoed (and conquered) the river, we headed back to Matt and Benji's to cook out: chicken and corn on the grill, baked beans and fried green tomatoes (covered with pimento cheese--amazing!) in the oven. Quite a delicious treat. This weekend was as much about food as it was about friendship, as it turns out. We stayed until after 2 then rode back the four of us to Zach and Stephs--this time we did break out in song... well, Steph and I kinda did in a tired state of delirium in an attempt to keep each other up as the boys slept in the back seat... what the heck, I think we sounded great.

Today was another embarrassment of riches in the way of food: pancakes, eggs, sausage, and bacon for breakfast (thanks, Zach!) and home-made wings on the grill with fries and onion rings--ridiculously good. Steph and I saw Sex and the City 2 (that's a whole 'nother post, people. very very good.) and the guys watch the Braves. It was almost 5 before we realized that we should probably start to pack things up and head home.

All in all and excellent weekend and certainly a nice celebration of the 2 best years of my life: food, friends (who have become family), and fun. Thank you, God!

30 May 2010

the road goes on forever and the party never ends

"the road goes on for ever and the party never ends," is a line from one of my favorite Robert Earl Keen songs; not, perhaps, a motto by which to structure your life, but certainly a phrase to capture last night!

The boys played golf and the girls just got to hang out (yay!!) then we headed over to Matt and Benji's to grill out--hotdogs and beer--and to see their new diggs. Benji had just painted the den a lovely shade of navy and we were the first to inspect it: A+.

Then we headed over to Greer stadium to watch the Sounds--Nashville's minor league team--we were in for a treat! The game was awesome. The announcers had games to play and family-fun activities every inning.

The Sounds won in a bottom-of-the-9th homer hit outta the park!! Which was ridiculous. Then they had one final contest where Cary and Janice were asked a series of questions... that turned into an all out marriage proposal! Which was ridiculous (and amazing). Then we sat for a 20 minute fire-work show that was nothing short of spectacular. Which was ridiculous. Then on our way out, the boys spotted a "stall wall" message in the bathroom that had them laughing all night:

"Badass for hire. Call Whoop Ass Wayne at ............"

Which then turned into a night of "What Would Whoop Ass Wayne do?" and "I wish my name were Wayne because..."

Which was ridiculous.

Then we headed downtown (never made it to Tootsies ;) but ended up having midnight burgers and seeing a sweet band at Paradise Park. They played a little of everything, which made for a fun night--until a "Soon-to-be-Mrs.Bennet" hit on Grant (grrrr). What is it with Batchelorette parties and Nashville? We saw at least 10--and I'm not even kidding. We stayed and danced then headed home. It was pretty much AWESOME.

Today we're doing church (a pod cast in the car on the way to the river), canoeing down a nearby river, picnicing on the banks, cooking out again (beer chicken and fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese on top!) and hanging out.

I can't wait to see what funny stories come next.

The road goes on forever and the party never ends.

27 May 2010

2 Years toward Forever

Monday, May 31st will be our two year anniversary! And what a wonderful two years it has been!

I posted last year about my thoughts on life and marriage after one year of wedded bliss and am happy to say it only gets sweeter with time.

How is it that--when our love is an ocean, deep and wide, with no limits in sight--somehow, and only with God's grace, that ocean just gets deeper and wider?

I don't understand it but I love the way my heart swells when it does.

Instead of a list, this year I have one thing on my heart for marriage (this one thing, when I'm aware of it in the midst of life, has the potential to shift my perspective and resolve all types of conflict):

And in the end, Jesus will not ask, "Where you right? Where you justified?" but "Did you love?"

One of my favorite Beatles songs (on one of my favorite Beatles albums) begins with:
"And in the end
the Love you take
is equal to the Love
you make"

That makes my heart happy.

I'm (re)reading Love and Respect and have found a couple of catchy quotes that I want to remember:

When love and respect are present in the marriage, husbands and wives process things far more wisely.

Love is not a feeling, it's a choice, a commitment. The same goes for respect--it's not earned, but given freely, unconditionally, by choice, in honoring a commitment to your marriage.

I'm so thankful for this fresh perspective on marriage.

Yes, love is intoxicating and more often than not it reveals itself in a feeling.

Yes, love is evident and romance is essential to who we are as husband and wife.

Yes, he still allures me, still pursues me.

Yes, I am his bride.

But it is certainly nice to have a biblical point of reference that is not as fickle as the heart or as fleeting as emotion.

I'm so grateful for Grant, for our marriage, for our covenant together, and for the Rock it's based on. Here's to 100 more on earth and an eternity in the hereafter together!

18 May 2010

Overwhelming Joy

What do you do when God's goodness is too good? when it stops you in your day, takes your breath away at the gracious goodness of His love? What do you do when you can't help but thank God for all the undeserved blessings you receive daily? when you are simply overwhelmed by the loving pursuit of a relentless God? when you cup runneth over?

All I can think of--second to prayer and thanksgiving, of course--radiates from the lyrics of this old untitled hymn:

Weak and wounded sinner
Lost and left to die
O, raise your head, for love is passing by
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus
Come to Jesus and live!

Now your burden's lifted
And carried far away
And precious blood has washed away the stain, so
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus
Sing to Jesus and live!

O, and when the love spills over
And music fills the night
And when you can't contain your joy inside, then
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus
Dance for Jesus and live!

It's just one of those seasons "when the love spills over and music fills the night"--praise the Lord!

God is teaching me more and more that we have the HOPE of nations, so why live like the hopeless? I am basking in the grace of hope and God is literally stopping in the middle of my day to thank Him for it. Amen!

04 May 2010


I am unbelievably thankful for this new job and I will share with you, as best I can, a bit of the process and what it will be like.

Many of you know that it's been a tad difficult for me to wrap my head around staying in Atlanta--I thought for sure we would not sign our lease again and that our season in Atlanta was up. Nope. God has other plans, thankfully!, and we're actually considering more permanency in Atlanta than we ever have before--we might even buy a house?!

But there was a period in transition for me (ok, the whole month of April, basically) that was pretty tough. I really felt the pressure to find a job, but couldn't find one--and with all the extracurriculars I'm involved with, I was a walking contradiction: complaining about not being able to find a job, while only half-heartedly seeking one out. I really really really did not want to nanny--I have 2 degrees and am 25... I should have a "real" job--but a nannying job found me anyway. A woman who seemed to present me with a pretty decent situation offered me a job and I took some time to think about it.

I wrote down my prayer, which was much like David in one of his psalms that begins by lamenting his situation, but ends up praising the Lord for His greatness. Anyway, the basic gist of my prayer was: "Father, forgive me. I complain about not having a job, and You have one find me, and yet still I am not satisfied. I will change my heart to be joyful in everything, fully submitting to You, and accepting whatever You have for me. You alone are good and You alone are God. Amen."

I immediately opened up my laptop to reply to her request and found an email from OpportunityKnocks.org--a non-profit job search engine in Atlanta--and opened it to find a job listing for Next Generation Mentoring. As I read the job description, it just got better and better. It was about 1 mile from our place, in an area of town I knew well, half-way between our apt and Grant's work, it was a non-profit centered on facilitating mentoring groups in established ministries, and Regi Campbell was its founder. I knew that name for several reasons: he's written two books and is a good friend of Ellen and my people at High Tech Ministries (both of whom I've been working with for the past year). I knew that anything I could do just to be near this caliber of people was worth it, so I applied, sent out emails to all my mutual contacts, and prayed again. After talking to Ellen about it, I decided to stop by and drop off my resume as well--hoping for a more personal encounter than just the electronic submission.

I was one of 10 out of 271 applicants selected for a phone interview, then one of 4 selected for a face-to-face interview, and finally met with both the Executive Director (Chris Hornsby) and the Founder (Regi Campbell) on my birthday (May 3rd). Less than 24 hours later, they offered me the job. I will be working closely with Chris as a Project Administrator--to facilitate and administer group deliveries and launches. I could go on and on about how this job description and its potential to grow fits me perfectly, but I won't. Just know that I am very grateful to have it, Grant is very proud of me, and I can't wait to start on May 17th. Thank You, Lord!

Update: Grant and I are having dinner with Chris and his wife Shanna Thursday night (!!!) How obviously great is this new beginning?!

birthday weekend recap

We went to the lake for the weekend to celebrate my birthday--it was awesome! We had the best time, and though some very precious people were very much missed, there were 15 of us who rang in my Quarter-Life Crisis together and it was perfect.

We rode to the lake with Jason and Chelsea Dasinger--thankful for his truck! because we brought our grill and donated it to the lake house--met up with Zach, and got in around 8pm. To our wonderful surprise, the Stingers and the Vessels ended up leaving Atlanta later on Friday and making it in before midnight! Lovely! Then my parents, Stahler, Alice, and the Nalleys made it over Saturday in time for fun and (some) sun, steaks, and cake!

We took the boat out--it was overcast, but not raining (kinda perfect to me)--and watched in amazement as Alice and Stahler wake-boarded. We drove the boat up and down some familiar stretches of lake and then when we got pretty close to home, cut the engine to enjoy the stillness and beauty--quite the time and place for serenity and comfort....

until we tried to crank it and head home.

The boat wouldn't start.

We tried and tried, but to no avail. So we (7 guys and 5 girls) began paddling. Yes, paddling this 25 foot ridiculous throw-back of a boat (retro: 1960s) to the nearest shore. I now fully appreciate the expression "so close, yet so far away..." yep [It should be said that it's never really failed us before]. Anyway, so once we get ashore, Stahler and I trek off to find help, which we do in the form of two women who live full time on the lake--the only two on the point, actually. They try to crank a fishing boat, and then another boat--neither have been taken out since winter, and do not crank--and finally get a jet ski running. They tow us back--Tonya saved my bday--and we were very grateful. It really wasn't that big a deal and the whole thing from start to finish may have taken 30 minutes, but it was an adventure, nonetheless.

Grant cooked some of the best steaks I've ever had--ever--and then they sang to me and we had cake (so good!). My family went in and got me a Barnes and Noble "Nook"--to which I may devote an entire post because I already love it so so much!--a gift card to go with, and a really cool piece of wood painted with a Smith Lake water scene. The coolest thing: they got everyone there to sign the back of it. So now I have a really sweet piece of rough looking art that Grant and I both adore and a recorded memory of those that helped my celebrate my 25th birthday--very special. A gift and a memory, what more can you ask for? Total birthday success. A+ to Grant and everyone else who made it so very wonderful for me.


best birthday present ever!

[more details to come]
[I start May 17th]