I’m still alive.
After this week.
I’ve fought a battle and lost.
But God won.
And that’s the way I would rather have it.
Lately, I’ve been trying to sort out my entire life.
In about one month’s time.
The housing search came to fruition today.
I found a place that I will be calling home with 4 other guys
in a community house 10 minutes south of Belmont.
I’m thanking God for unexpected moments.
He definitely made it clear that I must live here.
It will only be for three months.
But the way I look at it is that
it will be a good start.
A start to begin a new life.
A new calendar.
A new season.
Today marked a one-year milestone;
and was full of so many wonderful surprises.
I took a Saturday afternoon drive to Hendersonville with my friend Chris.
I enjoyed it so much on Easter Sunday that I just needed to return.
We visited “The Blue Goose Cafe” [recommended by my bud, Andy.]
The burger was delicious and the tators were definitely
something to write home about.
At lunch, Chris told me that the first time he visited
Nashville was one-year ago this weekend.
I think it’s cool how God orchestrates everything
and is already planning who will make an enormous
impact in my life after graduation.
Here’s the catch though: I don’t even know them yet — and for that matter, haven’t met them.
It’s crazy to think that I probably passed Chris on campus one-year ago –
and had no idea that God would place someone who would be
a friend and a brother in Christ to me.
As for Hendersonville, I was definitely happy to leave Belmont for a little bit.
The lunch was fun. We met a cute waitress — and she knew Andy Wicke.
When it comes to life,
I see it as a culmination of mini-adventures.
Today was one of those mini-adventures.
Chris drove — while I soaked up the sun
and stayed in tune with Taylor Swift.
At one point, Chris turned the music down
and I thought my world was going to end.
But then, he turned it back up and the world was
I know the reverberation of Swift’s music
echoed across the entire town and those broken white lines.
After lunch — we drove around and visited Johnny Cash’s residence.
It’s amazing to visit a place where a legend used to live.
His life still lives on.
RIght now, I’m about exactly three weeks away from graduation.
I’m excited. Happy. Joyful. Scared.
And at times, feel like a snow globe that a little
five-year-old me shook up into a wild mess on Christmas morning.
(Maybe I should talk more about something that’s more summer-related. I guess the Wisconsin winters still stick with me. Thank goodness I’m in Tennessee. It’s much warmer — and today was hot. But well anticipated.)
On the return home, my heart began to beat faster
as soon as I recognized the sign that said “Nashville.”
I’m thankful that the amazing Lord and Savior is allowing me to
live my dream.
I hope you can experience it with me too someday…
that is, if you haven’t already.
Oh yes, and how could I forget.
To cap off the entire day,
I attended Belmont University’s
“Best of the Best” showcase
and soaked in the Texas twang of
Lee Ann Womack.
Nothing is better.
All you need is a good friend to tag along.
And a few glasses of sweet tea.
Stay tuned for the next “mini-adventure.”
And don’t switch that dial…
P.S. Are you staying in Nashville for the summer? If so, I suggest that you attend the 2009 CMA Music Festival. This year, the festival will feature Country Music superstars: Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, Martina McBride, Brad Paisley and more!
I want to move to Hendersonville someday.
It is the Home of my friends, Andy, Emily & Ellen.
And of course, Taylor Swift and the legend, Johnny Cash.
What a rock-awesome combination. Sound sufficient? Good.
I woke up today at a wonderful 7:20a.m. to the south –
and drove up 30 minutes north to Hendersonville to meet Andy and Emily for Easter.
I was going 78 in a 70 mile-an-hour zone.
That’s risking it all for me.
Dangerous. Forbidden. Crazy.
Thank God I didn’t get picked up with blue lights
on every other corner of the road.
Once I hopped in the car with Andyz and Em –
the car radio blasted a mixture of Kellie Pickler’s
“Best Days of Your Life,” — and Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb.” (Don’t judge.)
I mean, c’mon — can Easter Sunday get any better than that?
It’s not every day that you get to jam out to some of the best
music that Nashville has to offer with great friends!
The Church experience was unbelievable. After all, it always is.
I was clapping and in my mind — was dancing in circles for Jesus!
I’m definitely southern after only being here for three years…maybe.
After church, we went to Emily’s parents house for amazing food and fun conversation.
I am blessed to know both Andy and Emily — and am “super-duper” thankful
that they invited me to spend Easter with them. I absolutely love both of them!
I can’t express that enough.
Especially Emily’s family. They are rock-awesome.
At a break in the afternoon, Andy and I walked over to his house.
To say the least, I will always remember Hidden Way Court,
the “Dogwood tree story,” and a great afternoon with one incredible buddy!
Moreover, I will remember Mr. Redden (I might have misspelled his name) –
and Drew’s house. (The boy who Taylor Swift referred to in, “Teardrops On My Guitar.”)
Oh, how I love my Tennessee!
As a whole, the entire Sunday afternoon consisted of: Playground fun, a hidden Easter egg hunt,
a taste of Fruit Tea for the first time, delectable food, laughter, and the presence of God.
At about 4:30 p.m., I was sad to leave a home full of love and happiness.
The end of the journey revolved around a visit to Johnny Cash’s property — and a 30-minute drive
back to Music City USA.
Now all that’s left is a full tummy, one big smile and a new hope for tomorrow.
Thank you Lord for such an amazing day!
Reminder to self: Hendersonville is my new favorite city. Return again soon.
For fun: Check out http://www.TaylorSwift.com
The trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience;
and so is Dolly Parton’s hometown.
The car radio blasts U2;
and the Rolling Stone with Taylor Swift sits in the passenger seat.
The horses stampede against the wind forming dusty clouds;
and the creamy vegetable soup never tasted any better.
The tossing of the frisbee on the lawn brings back childhood memories;
and the “let’s-take-a-walk-to-see-the-sunset” is already part of history.
The sound of Country Music is a part of life;
and the commercials on TV are disheartening.
The world inside is a log cabin filled with laughter;
and the smell of grilled burgers and sweet potato fries.
The world outside is fearless;
and the landscape is filled with an All-American Boy named Luke.
The rippling stream ruffles against the wilderness;
and the mountain climb brought us closer to God.
The movie script is confusing.
The actors are in a million different places.
And no one knows where to go.
The road is never-ending.
The white lines are broken.
And the pair of tennis finally offer a new balance.
The rotating doors never slow down.
The contact lenses are more tired than ever before.
And the glass of water remains half-full.
The 1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass makes the world go away.
The radio plays a certain song, as it brings back the parts of yesterday.
And the laughs come back once again.
The nights in September shine brighter than before.
The moments are always sweeter with her in Tennessee.
And outside, the fireflies flicker like an old-fashioned light bulb.
The mornings arrive fast with the clock ticking.
The 24 hours in a day are timeless.
And the goodbyes are always difficult to let go of.
The random excursions are like being blindfolded.
The game board is a coffee cup and a good conversation.
And the pinball machine zooms against gravity.
The journal will continue writing pages.
The thoughts will circle around you and confuse you at 22.
And the optimism will ultimately be wrapped up in the drops of ink.
Dream Big? If not, try it out for a change.
My favorite parts of the story being written right now are:
1. Experiencing the RollerCoaster Ride of Life down 16th Avenue.
2. Attending an evening full of five-different-decades-of-music.
3. Taking a photograph with the Statue of Liberty.
4. Witnessing the induction of three Country Music Hall of Fame members.
5. Making a difference in the lives of prospective students.
6. Saying “Hi” to an old-lady pushing a stroller with her cat safely confined.
7. Drinking a free bubble smoothie and a Cherry Coke — not at same time though.
8. Sponging-up invaluable advice, insight and wisdom from elders.
9. Enjoying the combination of Sweet Tea, McCallister’s Deli and rock-awesome Sunday afternoon conversation.
10. Cheering as if nothing-else-in-the-world-matters at another b-ball game.
11. Going to Las Palmas twice in one week.
12. Running three miles with one mission in mind.
13. Having a priceless talk with mom-and-dad.
14. Watching Grandma’s television set in 1997…and experiencing the dream 12 years later!
*This whole post is inspired by my friend, Anna (picture above).
The lamp posts are like fireflies –
on nights where the stars shine like confetti.
There’s an old-man across the street,
strumming his guitar –
no care in the world,
no worries in his heart.
Down yonder, just take a look.
The music notes come alive,
just like a piano note song book.
There’s so much to believe,
and so much here to see –
that you’ll just never want to leave.
Wait for the train, it’s coming.
Be sure to hop aboard,
with hopes and dreams,
and snapshots –
There’s just no tellling where you’ll go.
Get off and take a stroll,
and race towards the steps of freedom,
where the history of the melody lives –
and everything you’ve dreamed of.
The world keeps on spinning,
the sky keeps getting bigger,
there’s no telling what will happen next,
in a town where everything shimmers.
The cheers, the thunder, the applause.
The goodbyes, the good times,
and what you’ve learned,
is what is already gone.
Yesterday no longer matters,
because today is what you’ve waited for.
The open door is here for you,
all you have to do
is walk right through.
The morning started out just like any other ordinary one.
I woke up — brushed the teeth and grabbed a bowl of Fruit Loops.
(I tell you, you can’t go wrong with those — the teeth and the cereal.)
Shortly after, I trampled out of the door and walked briskly to the Beaman
student life center.
I did about 30 minutes — no cardio this time.
But for some reason, my heart was still beating fast.
Must have been for the Lord.
At only 9:30a.m. — I left and accelerated into an even faster pace.
With my iPod, I’m was jamnin’ to something that must have
came out of one of those remarkable Nashville studios.
With the music, I felt as if nothing was going to slow me down.
Not the wind, not the tune, the melody nor anyone who might come along
in my path.
All of a sudden — I come to an abrupt halt and ran into a girl with long blonde
hair trying to catch my attention.
We almost collided.
Then comes the hug and a “can-you-give-me-a-ride-to-class?”
I respond with another one of those of-course-I will-do-that-for-you
looks swiped across my face.
After all, I knew she was running late — like usual.
As we hopped into my 1997 old-fashioned, Oldsmobile Cutlass,
Rascal Flatt’s “Every Day” blasted from the stereo speakers.
And she says to me, “I needed to see you this morning.”
As I grip the steering wheel and push down on the gas pedal,
she says, “Look who it is!”
Immediately, I drive faster — with an excitement — promising myself
that I wouldn’t run him over.
Let me clarify, excitement for the music — the girl in the passenger seat –
and the kiddo walking towards us.
I wondered to myself, “Man, the Lord is awesome.”
It’s not Every Day that a girl captures your attention at just the right moment –
and for the 25-year-old — well, that’s another story.
Note: The pictures above are the “characters” featured in this real-life story. Cheryl is a rock-awesome friend and Chris (my Resident Director) is the 25-year-old. I have gotten to know both of them by being a Resident Assistant (RA) at Belmont. The Lord placed these two people in my life to help me grow, learn, and become a better person!
The skyscrapers touch the sky.
The stars shine just as bright –
and the world keeps on spinning.
The musical notes blend into the water.
The ripples fade but no matter what,
The reflection is always right.
It’s more exciting than ordinary.
Because anything less is gray.
So it must be a new day.
The old-wooden fence shines against the sunlight.
The iPod thumps as I run.
The run takes me anywhere I want to go.
The morning transcends into evening.
The moon could capture the lens.
Too bad it’s too late.
But tomorrow — well, it’s a new day.
To give the rest of the world what little I have.
The hello’s turn to dust.
The goodbye’s revolve into new relationships.
So here I am.
No longer running.
But spinning towards God.
And, because it’s a new day
I have something to look forward to.
*The picture above is a photo of me and my friends Chris and Cheryl.
Here is my recap of 2008:
January induced a new depth of faith, with a few gusts of cold wind and a remarkable hope for discovery.
February brought forth warmth and one too many glasses of sweet tea.
March sprung up a few flowers, warmer weather and a revolutionized heart.
April drowned in uncertainty about future collegiate endeavors.
May wasn’t all I expected it to be; it was so much more.
June flew by like a Silver Thunderbird on a deserted, lost highway – with my dreams trailing in the dust.
July lit up the sky, out shined the stars, and burned the midnight oil.
August invested time in new friendships and lessons learned.
September turned a year older, with twenty-two candles to blow-out.
October painted red, orange and yellow brush strokes against an old-fashioned, Tennessee country road.
November was exhausting – with unforgiving raindrops pattering against the windowpanes on those hot-cup-of-coffee-mornings.
December remembered the good times, celebrated the present, and invited a guest in or two.
P.S. I can’t wait to see what 2009 has in store! How bout you? )
This week has been unpredictable, amazing and hopeful.
I finished finals with a blast. The grades turned out better than expected; and for that matter, the hours of studying for senior level exams was quite worth it.
Now I’m going to cut right to the chase:
This past Tuesday, I had the opportunity of a lifetime to attend the Opry at the Ryman with the lead singer of Diamond Rio. His name is Mr. Marty — and he is definitely rock-awesome. I am thankful, grateful and so appreciative that the Lord made all of this possible!
Here are my Top 6 moments of the evening:
#1. Driving back and forth to the Opry with Mr. Marty and talking about the Lord, Family, Country Music, Wisconsin, Sonic, Adoption, and Mint-Chocolate Chip ice cream
#2. Standing on the historic stage of the Ryman Auditorium (the mother church of Country Music).
#3. Walking on stage to take the guitar from Mr. Marty when he finished his first song, “Beautiful Mess.”
#4. Being introduced to Carrie Underwood, Nan Kelley (Great American Country host) & new-comer, Julianne Hough.
#5. Witnessing the shining lights reflecting against the thunderous applause of the audience.
#6. Realizing that childhood dreams of one day, moving to Nashville and being a part of the Opry really do come true.
Are you searching for your dreams?
If so — grab a compass, a roadmap, or a journal; and ultimately, realize that you may already be living them.
P.S. Merry Christmas! Make Jesus the Reason this season!