Saturday, January 23, 2010

Snow Bunnies

We had a little snow and a cold spell this past few days. The Prairie Kid has been begging to go sledding. Funny, the hills aren't covered with snow but the paved road in front of our house was like an ice skating rink. So, I asked The Prairie Daddy if we could tie a rope around the back of the 4-wheeler and pull the sled behind like water skiing...only sitting on the sled.

He agreed. We found the right rope, bundled up and off we went. It was so icy that the sled was going faster than the 4-wheeler! What a fun day on The Prairie!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Soul Food

I love how God loves us. He doesn't have to do so many of the things He chooses to do. Like provide a silly girl with some soul food.

What do I mean by "soul food?" I mean the stuff that blesses a woman's soul. Like chocolate, chick flicks, cute clothes, nail polish, make up, colorful fuzzy socks. And decorations.

I was going through some storage boxes in the church storage room on Tuesday. I reached in the opposite direction of the children's ministry boxes to randomly pull a box off of the shelf. It was full of plastic ice cream cones and 2 pieces of fabric. 2 pieces of fabric that just "happened" to MATCH MY OFFICE PAINT PERFECTLY! And just "happened" to be the PERFECT SIZES for my window treatment and bulletin board. AND they were stripes...which was my first choice. AND they were the right colors to make it a gender-neutral office. AND no one knew where they were from or what they were for and said I could have them! So I took them home, washed them, made my board, pulled together some other decorations from the Family Dollar and Wah-Lah...

The pictures are dark because I took them at you can see in the window. Still a little bit bare but perfect for my start.
Thank you Lord for soul food.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Learning And Spinning

Since we got home from our trip life has been a whirlwind. I officially started in the church. I still feel weird that I have an office. My office needs decoration desperately. One of the college interns on our staff walked up to me and said, "Your office is the most pathetic thing around here." Or something along those lines. He loves me...enough to ridicule me. That has become me recognition of some staffers way of saying "welcome to the team!" : ) It's fun. But he was right, my office is pathetic. I tried to find some fun, coordinating fabric to make a bulletin board with the ribbons criss-crossing it. Have you seen those? But I didn't find anything in our lovely Walmart. Oh the choices in a small town. They're overwhelming. : )

I worked and worked and worked this week. It started taking its toll. I melted down at home yesterday and my body was angry at me. Thankfully I slept last night and am going to pace myself today and tomorrow and hopefully the next day and the next. My husband is incredible. He has been so helpful, supportive, caring. My son is awesome as well...I am thankful for the way he is making it through this transition.

Yesterday I realized that there are some things in my head/heart that I will have to let God work on right away. Wounds from a past work situation that left me afraid of some things relationally. Pleasing people. Taking care in how I express myself...this girl sometimes where's her feelings on her sleeve too much. Pacing myself. I have a lot to learn.

I am expecting that the next few weeks will be the time that is most challenging. I hope to get things in a place where some of it "takes care of itself" and I can slow down. I look forward to that time. I would like my time at home to be a little more normal. : )

I am so thankful that God has a perfect plan for me. He knows what I need, for how long, and why. He is faithful and trustworthy. I just have to remain in Him. May I just remain in Him.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Here We Are

I didn't take very many pictures this trip. Knowing that all I have to do is Google an image and get picture of everything we saw (minus us being in the picture) I just took picutres with us in them. And that wasn't very many. But there were some nice ones. I wished that I had a smaller camera to just tote in my purse. I think I will look into this for the future. My camera is big and it is a whole extra thing to lug around when going here, there and everywhere during the day. During CPC I already had their tote of books, binders and papers to haul with me as I bolted across the hotel from one session to another, so adding the camera bag to the mix was not desirable. I would love to have taken pictures at CPC that didn't happen.
So here we are...

Enjoying a sunset at J. Percy Priest Reservoir
At The Bluebird Cafe

With Our Cousins

At the Loveless Cafe
Eric and Dave At Belle Meade Plantation

That's all folks!

One Day Of Rest

We made it home late last night. It was a long day on the road. But we made it without The Prairie Kid vomiting profusely all over himself (did I share with you that fun adventure on our way home from Denver after Thanksgiving?)

Thankfully today is a day of rest.

I will not get dressed.
I will not stress.
I will not do anything I don't want to do if I can help it.
I will not brush my teeth until bedtime.
I will not shower or even wash my face until I get ready for bed.
I will not even put on deodorant.
(Yes, I am truly admitting these things publicly)

I will relax.
I will enjoy.
I will watch a movie.
I will regroup.

And tomorrow I will hit the ground running...early.

Tomorrow is a big day at church. I will be prayed over and "commissioned" in both services alongside a few others. I am excited. I am nervous. I don't like getting up in front. I am relieved I don't have to talk...just stand there. No microphones for me, whew.

Also, between services I will get to participate in the church body praying over and for the children's ministries. That should be a great time.

And then I will be working hard next week. I have realized that my "half-time" job might look full-time for awhile and then I can take extra time off when I actually get things going. That is the nice thing about the way they set this up for is flexible in this way.

I am super excited though. I learned so much at the Children's Pastors Conference and I am looking forward to finding out how God wants to go about all of these things. I had to take a mental step back and think about the right strategy. When you are bombarded with ideas and motivation you have to remember that the passions fade, things take time, and you can't do everything at once. What a relief that I have the Holy Spirit to guide my paths.

Monday, January 4, 2010

And Texas Thought They Were "Big"

I wanted to show you some pictures of similar homes we passed yesterday. I would have shown you churches too but I didn't find pictures that matched what we saw. They weren't just church buildings, they were campuses. Our cousins are from Birmingham and they go to a "small" church; 2,000 people.

Anyways, enjoy these beauties...

This is my favorite is so "Southern." I love the Grecian columns.

I'm Freezing And There's Trees With Leaves

The entire time we've been here it has been the coldest spell this region has seen so far this winter. It might be 15-20 degrees higher than a colder day at home but it FEELS like it is way below zero with the moisture in the air to this Rocky Mountain dry-air-lovin' girl. Brrrr. This is the kind of cold that gets you to the bone!

The tourist attraction #1 on my list was Belle Meade Plantation. This would mean we'd be outside for awhile. Thankfully, I brought warm clothes and bundled myself up as much as I could for the day. We met The Cousins for breakfast at the famous Loveless Cafe. It was the farthest we have driven so far and the first time we left the city area. We wandered through rolling hills to get there. It was very pretty. There is one thing we've noticed about Tennessee thus far...there is no sparing BIG houses and BIG churches...all over the place. I've never seen so many HUGE churches before. Church after church after church. I know we're in the Bible belt but I never new there was a BELT of churches woven across the land. Texas is a Bible belt state and I've been there a few times but they do not have the belt of churches that Tennessee has!

And the houses. Oh the houses! I love housing, housing architecture, landscaping, facades, interior and exterior design. That was a part of my degree in college. The houses here are beautiful and many are really big!

I was excited about our meal at the Loveless Cafe but it did not live up to our expectations. We thought we were going to have the BEST southern meal of our trip. The food was mediocre. The atmosphere was great. We did enjoy the food in the sense that it was food we don't get back home...authentic fried chicken, slow cooked BBQ pork, greens, creamed spinach, sorghum molasses, mac and cheese, fried okra and homemade banana pudding. We also tried some country ham that was really salty. The desserts were great and that made for a good finale.

Then we headed to Belle Meade. Wow. This was the highlight of my trip thus far. Belle Meade has a rich history and was the home of the leading race horse nursery in our country for decades. The plantation saw the Civil War, several presidents, and a roller coaster of boom and bust. As our seasoned, costumed tour guide told stories as we walked through the mansion I felt as though I could taste and feel the lives of those that called Belle Meade home.

There was an aspect of Belle Meade that is as true to the South and as foreign to me as it comes. Slavery. I am so saddened by this history. Although the families of Belle Meade were an exception of slave owners, giving them an education illegally, treating them as extended family, and eventually giving them stock in land, I was still burdened as I peered in on the cabins these families lived in and the hardships they faced. Here was a cabin representing the slave quarters.

The town of Franklin was well worth a drive farther out of the city. The houses were beautiful and the historic downtown was adorable. We enjoyed some frozen yogurt and then drove along a country route back to Nashville oohing and awing over the hoards of those big houses and churches. We ate at a great pizza joint in the Vanderbilt area and turned in early to regroup before our conference starts tonight.

I was planning to upload some pictures of our trip thus far but I forgot the USB cord needed in order to do so.

Oh, and those trees that still have leaves on them? Magnolia trees. The leaves do not turn and fall off like a deciduous tree. They are thick and waxy. Interesting.

In Honor Of Music City

We're enjoying our time in Nashville so much. This morning we're resting after a few days of running hard. It was starting to catch up with me and we know I am physically limited so we need to be aware of that.

The Pancake Pantry two mornings ago was scrumptious. I love that Trip Advisor ranks restaurants so that you know where to go for good food. Although yesterday we tried a place famous for their food and were somewhat disappointed. More on that in a bit.

After The Pancake Pantry we headed with our cousins to The Country Music Hall of Fame. We were in for an unexpected treat. Right after we arrived they had a session with Tony Arata in a small auditorium. I didn't know who Tony Arata was, but I knew his work. And boy did I enjoy the session! Tony Arata is a songwriter. He wrote "The Dance" that Garth Brooks made famous. To hear the story behind it's inspiration and watch/listen to the person that wrote it perform it was awesome. The museum was also great although I tired out fairly fast and there wasn't adequate places to rest. My favorite exhibit was on the William's family...Hank, Hank Jr, etc. Although their family story was sad and full of bad decisions and tragedy, it was the exhibit in which you could best connect to personal life. That is what I enjoy the best.

From there we headed to The Hermitage Hotel. It is "the" historic hotel of downtown Nashville. We happened to arrive a couple hours before a wedding and saw the set up for a fancy southern ceremony and reception. It was still decorated for Christmas and beautiful! Next stop was to Demo's for lunch again, which was great, again, and then headed to The Bluebird Cafe. We showed up early and were so blessed that even though we didn't have a table reserved we ended up with one. We watched 4 singer/songwriters in the round for 2 hours. We enjoyed the atmosphere and the experience although the songs and genre were not really our style. We hung out at our cousins' hotel for awhile afterward and then turned in for the night.

I will save the following day for my next post. : )

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Day

The Prairie daddy was spoiled this morning. I woke up earlier and hungrier so he got breakfast in bed. We have a hot breakfast included with our room that we utilized this morning. We drove up to Opryland today and saw the Gaylord Opryland Resort. It is where the conference we will be attending next week is. Oh, by the way, we decided on Nashville as our annual vacation spot this year because we're attending the International Network Of Children's Ministry's Children's Pastors Conference.

The Opry Mills mall was our next stop and after a short time their we were hungry again. I had Prince's Chicken Shack on the radar. I read rave reviews about this joint. And it really is a joint, or shack, or some other southern word that describes a whole-in-the-wall. I was getting all excited about visiting this popular place but it was closed! New Years Day! And so we tried the next best place in the area...Ray's. It was closed! Much of Nashville was closed today, including every attraction we were interested in. Thankfully, we ended up having a great meal downtown at Demo's and watched the sun set at J Percy Priest Reservoir.

We met up with The Prairie Daddy's cousin Dave and his lovely wife, Laura. We will get to hang out some more the next two days. Then we went to the Opry at the Ryman. Now that is Nashville!

It was a decent line up although we only knew a couple names. My favorite was a bluegrass band that had some phenomenal musicians; a couple even had disabilities. They got a standing ovation.

Now we're hitting the sack so that we'll be all set for tomorrow's breakfast at the Pancake Pantry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and the Bluebird Cafe.

Watch out Nashville! We're not close to being done with you yet!

Did You Know?

That I'm in Nashville? The Prairie Daddy and I drove with The Prairie Kid two days ago to Denver. We said goodbye to him yesterday morning and flew to Nashville. Saying goodbye is the yucky part...being with my awesome hubby on a trip for a week, no that's the best. The week away with The Prairie Daddy every year is my favorite week of every year. I love getting The Prairie Daddy away from the ranch and the work. When we get away he is a little more like the college guy I started dating ago 10 years ago this month. 10 years! That college guy had more free time then my rancher. More free time often means more fun, more rest, more attention...hey, who could complain about this? And we LOVE to travel together. We're just great travel companions. He drives, I navigate. I research, he helps pick where we go. Often we have the same thing in mind, whether it be rest or rock and roll!

This is our first time to visit Nashville. It feels much colder here than at home even though the temperature is a lot higher. Humidity...yuck.

Nashville is a nice city and I like that it is small and super easy to navigate. We've been all over it already and we've just been here 30 hours. After we flew in and found our hotel we went to dinner at the South Street Crab Shack. It was a nice start to southern food. They brought out coleslaw and pickles to put on the bread. Weird, I thought, but tasty. My College Guy enjoyed sweet tea...lots of sweet tea. And we both enjoyed a steamed bucket of seafood, potatoes, sausage, and corn. Okay, I didn't get to enjoy all of those things and had to wipe most of the spices off my food but what I was able to eat it was good. And we had hush puppies...yum.

After dinner we walked around The District. It was hopping seeing as it was New Years Eve. We found to places that had some decent live country. We hung out at one for quite a while and finally got the guts up enough to swing dance...although no one else was dancing!

We didn't last long for New Years Eve though. I was starting to go down hill and we turned in at 9:30. Party animal, aren't I? There were 12,000 people in The District for the "guitar drop" (like the ball drop at Time Square in NYC)!