Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekend Wrap-up

I had a really fun weekend.

I'll spare you all the nitty gritty details... they're not that exciting all written out. But there was good company, good food, volunteering at a local 5K, watching movies, and watching LOST.

I'm not going to get all into it, but I'm really sad to see LOST end. In my opinion, it's the smartest and most creative thing that's been on tv in ages. Quite honestly, I think we live in a time where people don't want to have to think. Thus, lots of silly reality tv. What I loved most about LOST is that you had to pay attention. You had to piece things together. You had to question. You had to be challenged. I think this was incredibly well-written, and so far I think I'm one of the few people I know who is genuinely satisfied with the ending. Sure, I still have some questions - but I think that's because some of the details of the past 6 seasons are fuzzy. I really need to watch the show from start to finish in a shorter span of time than 6 years.

On a completely different note, I was sitting in church on Sunday morning (one I was visiting for the first time) and it wasn't until the end of the service when I realized that Amy Grant and Vince Gill were two rows ahead of me. And then on the way out I spotted Big Kenny from Big and Rich (someone I've even met at a benefit and have my picture with). As we were leaving in the parking lot, we had to slow down to let a man walk in front of us.

"Don't run over Vince Gill," I said out loud. We had a good laugh. Seeing famous people in Nashville is kind of exciting, but at the same time it's just not a big deal. They get out and do things like take their kids to church on Sunday morning, and then wave at you for stopping to let them walk by. I love how normal celebrities are here.

One thing I didn't do this weekend was run. This is probably not wise since I'm training for a marathon, but I'm going to attempt to make up for it tomorrow and then get my butt back in hear this weekend. Here's to hoping that the heat that just turned up (record high yesterday of 91!!!) will not put a damper on my training for San Francisco.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Music Advice

So I've got a $50 i Tunes gift card to spend.

Anyone want to recommend some tunes I should check into? I have a pretty eclectic taste in music (both for regular listening and for running), so I'm open to any suggestions you may have.

Thanks!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Runners Affected by the Flood

So one of the key ways I've been specifically affected by the Nashville flood involves running...

Many of the places I run were underwater for a few days. The local greenway where I do most of my afternoon runs is kind of swampy after a normal rain, so I knew it was probably a total mess. One of the main greenway systems in east Nashville ended up having a giant lake on top of it at one point. Even Percy Warner Park had a ton of tree damage and land washed away from what I've been toold.

The waters have since receded, but the after affects are still hanging around.

I went to my local greenway for the first time since the flood today. I only ran out about 2 miles or so (I can't miss LOST tonight, so I had to do a quick run), but it was obvious that almost all of it had been under water at some point. Everything was covered in brown from all the mud. Trees had fallen and then ended up hundreds of yards away from where they had been planted because there was so much water that they were moved. The ground underneath one of the little underpasses the path goes under was almost completely washed away.

And the smell.... I really thought I was going to have to stop and throw up several times. And this is two weeks after the flood. It really puts things in perspective in a way... if it smells that bad where my greenway flooded, what does it smell like in the neighborhoods/homes/businesses that flooded?

In time, things will return to mostly normal. I'm sure there will be things that will never be exactly the same, but we are already bouncing back. I can only imagine how things will be a year from now. I have a feeling we'll look back and remember this time, but we'll also look around us and see that for the most part, you can't tell there was a flood. I hope so anyways.

When I watched the country music telethon on tv Sunday night, I loved how they kept saying that Nashville is open for business. It's been 2 weeks, and we've already got so many places affected by the flood back up and running.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Entering My Late 20s

I always really enjoy my birthday, and if you check out my blog archives you'll see that I'm kind of good at stretching my birthday out for more than just one day. I'm just trying to make sure that everyone gets the chance to celebrate with me... it's harmless, really. ;)

So I turned 27 this past Thursday. I wore a pretty new dress to work (because if you've got to work on your birthday, you should at least look cute!). I forgot to take a picture of me in it so I'm afraid I can't share.

I don't like to talk much about work on here for numerous reasons, but I'll say that one of the things that happens on your birthday is that your office door is decorated.

Mine has lots of runners!

One of the gals at work took me to lunch, which was so fun and super sweet of her to do! We had a lovely time. Shortly after I got back from work, I got a call from the receptionist that I needed to come downstairs.

That's when I found that these had been delivered to me! Aren't they beautiful?!

No comment about who sent them right now... I'm feeling pretty adamant about sticking to the rule I made for myself back in February that I wouldn't blog much about dating for a while. Suffice it to say that these flowers played a part in making this one of my best birthdays I've hard, and they definitely made me smile!

That evening, I convinced my friends that we needed to hit up the local skate center and act like a bunch of kids. Many of us hadn't been roller skating in years!

We of course had to get in some skee ball actions as well!

We managed to talk the dj into letting my group have our own skate race. The pictures didn't turn out to well (weird lighting in skate centers), but this one is pretty cute... I'm totally telling everyone I'm going to win.

We closed the skate center down with the Hokey Pokey... the pictures are blurry, but you get the idea!


After some roller skating, we hit up the Sonic for some ice cream and laughs. It was definitely an amazing day, and I'm so thankful that I got to spend it with so many of the people who make my world brighter on a daily basis! I opted not to include a ton of pics because I wasn't sure if they care of not about me posting pictures of them.

When I got home that night, I found that my parents had brought me some birthday balloons. I really love balloons, so that was fun!

On Friday, I did my birthday dinner with my family at Olive Garden. I also got to open presents!

My parents got me a new DVD/VHS player since mine has been dying a slow death. Yes, it has VHS. I'm old school. I still have tapes I like to watch!

My sister gave me a Southwest gift card, something that I really appreciated since I needed to book a flight to San Francisco!

On Saturday, I got to visit my grandma and have another birthday dinner at The Loveless Cafe. I've been wanting to eat there for ages, and it didn't disappoint. Seriously good biscuits.

It's been an amazing birthday, mostly because I feel so loved. I'm so thankful to have so many good people in my life to celebrate it with! I'm definitely very blessed.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Big Announcement

I have big news.

I am going to be running the San Francisco Marathon on July 25th! Just got my flight booked and registered for the race!

I know that any of you who really keep up with me are probably scratching your heads a bit. I've made it pretty clear I had no desire to work in a marathon until the fall since I've got so much going on in my life and I haven't wanted to take on the training.... but I guess when you love something, you can't stay away.

Some of my best friends and I have been trying for a while to plan a trip together this summer. When we found out that one of our friends was running San Francisco for her first marathon, it seemed obvious that we should join her for the weekend. Once that decision was made, I still wasn't sure I wanted to actually run the race myself... but the more I thought about it, the more I was sure that I'd kick myself if I was out there when it was going on and didn't run!

Plus, I'm in decent shape... I did just run a 15.5 mile race after all. It shouldn't be terribly hard to build up over the next 3 months to be ready for the marathon, and since Nashville is hilly I know I can get some hill training in. I have NO ambition to make this race into a big goal race... my only goal will be to have fun and enjoy running through a city that I've always wanted to visit.

I'll get to run across the Golden Gate Bridge... how cool is that?!

It's going to be awesome to run this race, and it's going to be even more awesome to spend a fun weekend with three of my best girl friends!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Turning 27 Today

I owe you all a recap of my awesome weekend in Michigan and the River Bank 25K run that I ran with Maritza, Tara and Nicole. But that'll have to wait for another day...

Today is my birthday! At 5:40pm tonight, I turn 27!

I've got a pretty dress to wear to work. I've got fun lunch plans. And tonight? My friends and I are totally going roller skating and then out for ice cream.

Happy birthday to me! I'm definitely looking forward to enjoying every minute!


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Photos from the Flood

If you want to see some photos of what the flood did to the fine city of Nashville, then visit the link below to see about 30 or so of them.


We are Nashville.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Flooding and Devastation in Nashville

"Horses that should be in people's back yards and now in people's front yards because the back yard still looks like a lake." - true story I heard on the radio here in Nashville today

(Yes, people around here have horses.... not too terribly far outside of the city limits in fact.)

I have really appreciated all of the emails I got recently asking if I'm ok. Nashville did suffer from a catastrophic flood over the weekend. People died. Homes were destroyed. Downtown is under water (it's SO sad) and iconic spots in Nashville have pretty much been destroyed.

Go to YouTube and search for videos about Nashville flooding. Go on Facebook and search for groups about it to see the pictures. It's horrifying, really.

But I am one of the lucky ones. I was in East Nashville on Saturday when it started storming. Storms are not a big deal around here, so when you hear that one is in the forecast you don't really prep for the worst. No one knew what was going to happen.

Next thing I know, my mom is calling me all panicked to tell me not to come home because the interstate was flooding. We turned on the tv and watched the interstate I would have used turn into a river. Cars were floating. A school portable classroom came down, hit a bunch of cars and disappeared before our eyes.

Sunday, we woke to no power. It was STILL storming. Thunder. Lightning. Pouring rain. It had still not let up. A fallen tree across the road caused the power outage. Interstates were still closed. A short trip out to lunch took us by the park where one of the greenway systems is located... one that I've run many races on. We couldn't see it. The entire thing was under water.

The basement had flooded a bit, so we spent hours getting the mess cleaned up before it got too dark to work. It was nothing compared to what many people are facing.

Monday. Still no power. I was finally able to get home, clean up and head to work. I could hardly focus. I heard the Nashville mayor on the radio on my way in... while there weren't a ton of deaths (last I heard, the number was around 20), the devastation is MASSIVE. I personally know people who lost their homes and/or cars. The Cumberland River was still rising, and more and more of downtown was being flooded.

The Titans Stadium had water all the way up to the first row of seats. The hockey arena floor was covered. The symphony building was flooded, and the gorgeous organ inside was destroyed. Parking garages were under water. The sculpture on the river was totally submerged and destroyed (though I can't say I'm too sad about that one... it was ugly). Opry Mills Mall had water all the way up to the roof. Opryland Hotel had 10 feet of water throughout the first floor. The Grand Ole Opry had water all the way up to the stage.

Much of what makes Nashville what it is has been flooded. Businesses and homes have been lost.

But here's the thing. I love the south for many reasons, and one of the biggest is the people. We pull together. We count our blessings. We help each other out. And we get things back in gear.

I read a blog post today that sums things up about what I'm thinking better than I could have written myself. I'm going to copy and paste it below because I really believe you should read it, but you can find the original and the attribution here. I am in no way trying to pass these words off as my own - totally cut and pasted from that blog.

Allow me a moment to step away from the usual voice of this website.

What I am about to write has absolutely nothing to do with hockey.

If you live outside of Nashville, you may not be aware, but our city was hit by a 500-year flood over the last few days. The national news coverage gave us 15 minutes, but went back to focusing on a failed car bomb and an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While both are clearly important stories, was that any reason to ignore our story? It may not be as terror-sexy as a failed car bomb or as eco-sexy as an oil spill, but that’s no reason to be ignored.

The Cumberland River crested at its highest level in over 80 years. Nashville had its highest rainfall totals since records began. People drowned. Billions of dollars in damage occurred. It is the single largest disaster to hit Middle Tennessee since the Civil War. And yet…no one knows about it.

Does it really matter? Eventually, it will…as I mentioned, there are billions of dollars in damage. It seems bizarre that no one seems to be aware that we just experienced what is quite possibly the costliest non-hurricane disaster in American history. The funds to rebuild will have to come from somewhere, which is why people need to know. It’s hard to believe that we will receive much relief if there isn’t a perception that we need it.

But let’s look at the other side of the coin for a moment. A large part of the reason that we are being ignored is because of who we are. Think about that for just a second. Did you hear about looting? Did you hear about crime sprees? No…you didn’t. You heard about people pulling their neighbors off of rooftops. You saw a group of people trying to move two horses to higher ground. No…we didn’t loot. Our biggest warning was, “Don’t play in the floodwater.” When you think about it…that speaks a lot for our city. A large portion of why we were being ignored was that we weren’t doing anything to draw attention to ourselves. We were handling it on our own.

Some will be quick to find fault in the way rescue operations were handled, but the fact of the matter is that the catastrophe could not have been prevented and it is simply ignorant beyond all reason to suggest otherwise. It is a flood. It was caused by rain. You can try to find a face to stick this tragedy to, but you’ll be wrong.

Parts of Nashville that could never even conceivably be underwater were underwater. Some of them still are. Opry Mills and the Opryland Hotel are, for all intents and purposes, destroyed. People died sitting in standstill traffic on the Interstate. We saw boats going down West End. And, of course, we all saw the surreal image of the portable building from Lighthouse Christian floating into traffic and being destroyed when cars were knocked into it. I’m still having trouble comprehending all of it.

And yet…life will go on. We’ll go back to work, to school, to our lives…and we’ll carry on. In a little over a month, I’ll be on this website talking about the draft. In October, we’ll be discussing the new Predators’ season with nary a thought of these past few days. But in a way, they changed everyone in this town. We now know that that it can happen to us…but also know that we can handle it.

Because we are Nashville.

101 in 1001 Update

I accomplished several more things on my list during the month of April.

6. Run in at least eight races I’ve never run in before - I crossed off number 8 when I ran in the Oak Barrel Half in Lynchburg on April 3. Even though I've technically finished this one, I'm going to keep updating it so that I can see how many new races I ran over the course of the 1001 days.

22. See something in the new Symphony Center - I did this a couple of weeks ago when I went there with a friend to see Cherryholmes play with the Nashville Symphony. I'm really glad now that I did since the center was hit pretty hard in this weekend's flood. I think it's going to be a while before the place is up and running again.

95. Watch one new movie per month, minimum - I saw Did You Hear About the Morgans, Time Traveler's Wife, Up in the Air, New Moon, and 2012.

96. Read one book per month, minimum - I read My Point and I Do Have One (by Ellen), The Blessed Life, and Plan B (which I also just reviewed for Thomas Nelson).

I realized as I wrote this that I hadn't accomplished quite as much in April as I thought I had, but then I realized it's because I started a couple of big ones in April that I won't finish until May. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Book Review - Plan B

Thomas Nelson started a program called Book Sneeze where bloggers can get a book for free in exchange for agreeing to post a review about it upon reading. This post is part of this program. Who doesn't love free books? They gave me a free copy in exchange for me posting a review about it on here and on amazon.com.

I was instantly intrigued when I heard about Plan B by Pete Wilson if for no other than reason than the fact that as a Christian, you constantly hear people asking questions about why God doesn't seem to show up when things aren't going well. Considering that the phrase "what do you do when God doesn't show up the way you thought He would?" is on the cover of the book, I figured that this book might offer a little insight into the matter.

Even as a Christian, it's easy to question God when our lives don't turn out quite the way we had hoped. In those moments, we find ourselves in what Wilson calls a "Plan B" situation. The original plan didn't work out, and we now find ourselves having to adjust to whatever plan B might be. He offered a ton of possibilities... maybe you lose your job, maybe your spouse leaves you, maybe someone dies of cancer... regardless of the type of situation, we've all had those experiences where things didn't go the way we wanted, and we're left to figure out what to do next.

I know that I myself have been in that position before, and I'm certain I'll find myself there again. It's hard to not question things, including my faith in God, when I find myself standing at such a place.

In this book, Wilson details the various emotions, thoughts, and feelings that we may experience when we find ourselves facing a Plan B for our lives. It was crazy to me how well he hit the nail on the head... some of the things he writes are EXACTLY the kinds of things I've thought and said when my life wasn't shaping up exactly how I thought it should.

Wilson uses a ton of stories from the Bible to illustrate how we can better handle it when we find ourselves facing a Plan B. I think what I enjoyed most about his writing is that he took stories I had heard all my life (like that of David, Moses, Joseph, Naomi and Ruth, etc.) and retold them in a way that I feel is more relatable than when you simply read the passages in the Bible. It's like things clicked for me that I had never quite gotten when I heard those stories. Many of these people in the Bible found themselves in situations where they felt like God wasn't showing up in the midst of their troubles, heartaches and Plan B moments. I really enjoyed how he pointed out the differences in the best ways to handle it and the worst ways to handle it when you find yourself facing a Plan B for your life.

It's hard to sum up everything Wilson says, but I put down the book feeling encouraged. He uses words well to teach us how we can better approach Plan B situations and how to understand exactly where God's hand is in the midst of them.

I honestly have a hard time reading many "Christian living" books these days, mostly because I feel like they all can be full of opinion and often regurgitate the same info over and over. I didn't find that to be true with this book. Wilson offers a fresh perspective on how to handle those moments when you feel like God has abandoned you and nothing is going quite right. When I found out he's a pastor at a church here in Nashville, I immediately decided that I want to visit there. If his lessons are anything like this book, I know I'll gain something from them.