An Excellent Week

This past week has been amazing. Most likely the best week I have this semester. I was elected president of Belmont’s MENC which is the National Association for Music Educators. I really look forward to leading the music education program. One of the biggest difficulties we have had in the past is relating the instrumental and vocal sides of music education in our program because it is hard to do workshops and lectures that apply to both. Being a instrumental and vocal music ed. person, I really want to combine these two together and bring in speakers that all of the students at Belmont can relate to.
I had to teach a 6th grade general music class on tuesday morning. I had to do two 30 minute lessons in front of real 6th graders, which I was a bit nervous about. But I really enjoyed it and it proved that this is the right major for me. I ended up teaching the blues scale and had the students improvise over the blues scale on the Orff instruments. They really enjoyed this lesson, and I had a blast teaching it.
Then on Friday I had to give a speech in my Fundamentals of Communication class. My speech was on gang14111_1282522105579_1305870691_30989185_1214221_n.jpg
violence in Nashville. My speech went really well, I ended up getting a 100% on it. The only mistake I made on my speech the last phrase where I was trying to say “It is up to us to stop gang violence” but I actually said “It is us to up to stop gang violence”. I said this about four times until I gave up I completely changed my phrase.
To end the week, the weather was perfect. I went to the park on Saturday with a group of friends to hike and to fly a kite. This was just a great week. It amazes me to see how my life unfolds and the opportunities that arise throughout my time here at Belmont.

Georgia Bound!

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This weekend I travelled with my best friend, her parents, and her boyfriend down to good old Atlanta for the weekend and her first Marathon on March 21st. The ride was completely gorgeous on the way down and we stayed in the beautiful Omni hotel. For the most part, we hung out around the hotel, but while my friends were in the pool for a bit I hiked around downtown Atlanta and visited the Underground, which was neat, but small, and honestly, I’m just not a mall kind of girl.
Finally, Sunday arrived and my friend started out the ING Georgia 2010 Marathon right in front of our hotel to cheers from hundreds of people. It was my first time seeing a marathon and it was really awesome to experience. We drove around almost the whole time trying to meet up with my friend, but we were off on her pace and so we kept missing her. Thankfully, we missed her by being too far ahead of her, so we were able to see her run through the finish line. I was so proud, and her boyfriend found her at the 23 mile mark to help her run the last three miles. Overall it was a pretty fun weekend. I was a little disappointed we didn’t get to visit my future school, Candler School of Theology at Emory University, but I’m sure I’ll go visit again.

Spring Break and the last 8 weeks

Wow! I can’t believe it! Eight more weeks left and I’m graduating! I can’t say that I’m not ready to go though! With the job market the way it is, it’s a little scary right now to be a senior, but I feel very confident that the right opportunity will open itself up. In the mean time, however, I’ve been sending out resumes and making as many contacts as I can to make that opportunity present itself!
Thankfully, however, last week was spring break and I was very grateful to have a break from my busy life lately! My roommate/sister, my boyfriend, and I went down to Florida to go to Disney World. We were only there for one day, though, because we did a “Give a day, Get a day” pass. If you’re not familiar with this program, Disney is providing anyone who volunteers for a day with a free pass to any park. We decided to work at the Second Harvest Food Bank here in town. We spent three hours sorting and packaging food–and I must say, we had a blast doing it!
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Here’s to the last eight weeks!

I Live for Weekends

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These past couple of weeks have let me know that Senioritis is in full stride. It’s not that I’m skipping class or homework (I’m doing a research paper on Black Catholics right now), it’s just that I find few of my classes interest or stimulate me in any challenging way right now. However, hanging out on weekends has been quite fun for me. This past weekend I went to Louisville with two of my housemates. We visited some really cool places, mainly the Blue Dog Artisan Bakery (recently featured in Southern Living) and got a lesson on scouring baguettes. They have amazing food and bread at Blue Dog and I’m so glad to have visited. We also stopped by Carmichaels Bookstore (Recently voted the #1 bookstore in America by Publisher’s Weekly) and I picked up a book by Thich Nhat Hanh. Finally, my friends and I started a new website imtooliberal.com, that’s kind a satire on a fictional character who is pieced together from pieces of ourselves and others we’ve come in contact with. It’s meant to be funny, so don’t take it too seriously.
This weekend is really awesome as well. I’ve been to the Scarritt Bennett Center, right down the street from Belmont, for a wonderful presentation on the Washingtons of Wessyington Plantation by John Baker. Mr. Baker began at the age of 13 researching into his family’s history and discovered how his family tree goes back to slavery and a lot of interesting information about the history of his family. A few of my friends and I also attended a party for my friend Devon who is having her senior music recital on Sunday. I love Devon’s music and voice, and she and some more of my friends are in a group, Mosaic, that is currently working on their worship album which I’m very excited about. In all, this weekend is going to be really fun, and I’m thankful that I have all this greatness to attend to in my last semester. But I still won’t forget my books!

LOST and Graduation

So, I am an unapologetic LOST fan. I started watching it this summer after being told it was the most amazing thing ever, and it turned out to actually be true. This week, the Season Premiered with a two hour long episode that rocked my face off. I went over to a friends house to watch it on their big screen which made it even more awesome. The show is filled with such great writing and so many awesome characters, not to mention that there’s so many awesome sci-fi quirks about it and great humor. I’m really looking forward to the end of the season to see how everything ties together.
In many ways, all the ups and downs and crazy characters entering and exiting the show make me feel like it’s really similar to my life as a Senior right now, knowing the end is coming, but not knowing how I’m going to get there, meeting new people and losing track of old ones, or reconnecting with folks I haven’t seen in 2 years. A lot of my time is being spent right now getting financial aid stuff in order for grad school, trying to figure out where I’m going to live next year, trying to stay connected to my friends here, Oh yeah, and did I mention my classes? I guess I expected this semester to be a lot more hectic as far as course load goes, but it seems to be pretty simple so far. Can’t get too lackadaisical, though. 98 days until graduation!

Of Garden’s and Gratefulness

So, I’m doing a group project that’s focused on making the Belmont Community Garden a Sustainable effort. Many people actually don’t know Belmont has a community garden, and truth is, it’s just now beginning to take off after a slow start this past summer. I’m really excited. On my end, I’m doing some more logistical stuff, and drafting a 2 year plan for where the Garden hopes to be and accomplish by Spring 2012. In the meantime, we’ve had a big community service workday a couple of weekends ago and it’s shaping up to look really good.
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In other news, Turkey Day is fast approaching. I always enjoy going to Arkansas and visiting my dad’s side of the family and seeing my grandparents, cousins, aunt’s, uncles, and eating lots of good food. But, I don’t know how much rest I will get. I’ve got an 8 page paper to start on, a 10 page paper to start on, a 5 page book review, a 2000 word essay, and a 1500 word essay to write by December 7th and 8th. And I still have a lot of research to do on the biggest papers. That said, I’m really excited about both of the big paper’s. One of them is going to be on Toni Morrison’s Sula, and the other is going to be on Time, Narrative, and the (Re)Construction of History in Slavery and the West using Octavia Butler’s “Kindred” and Ishmael Reed’s “Yellowback Radio Brokedown” as my primary texts. So, those two things make me very excited.

Fun in Philly

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So the trip to Philadelphia was all that and a bag of chips. We got into Philly Thursday evening and ate dinner at this place called Father and Sons Pizza, which was a little lacking, if I may be honest. But, aside from that, we spent the night in circle of hope church (http://www.circleofhope.net/blog/) a really awesome church in Philly that’s got two other sites, one in Philly and the other in Camden, NJ, right across the bridge. Friday the conference began and we got to see Nekeisha Alexis-Baker again. She’s so much fun, and I love the way she lives her life. She’s really one of my favorite people.
The main speaker was Ched Myers, and he was cool, but my favorite speakers were Andrea Ferich (an urban gardener in Camden – see: aferich.blogspot.com), Jenn LeBlanc, and Lily Mendoza, all three of whom were idigenous woman. The way in which they spoke of their experience was really quite moving and encouraging for me.
I also got to meet a lot of cool people (http://www.myspace.com/sethmartinsmusic) and have a lot of good conversation. I also got to go downtown, check out the Liberty Bell and Independance Hall, and eat some cheesesteak and really amazing Carribbean food from one of the street vendors we’d planned to check out. Overall, it was an awesome trip and I’m really glad I got to go.

A Garden’s a Garden No Matter How Small

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Here’s a shot of our lovely new garden beds. Justin and Aaron found some unloved wood and used it to construct the beds, then the two of them and I filled them with horse manure. It’s really awesome, and is actually quite large. I’m excited to see what we’re going to grow for the spring. We haven’t quite decided, though Austin’s also working on learning to grow mushrooms, too, so that should be fun.
In other news, I started tutoring at the Edgehill Public Library. I helped two girls with their homework a couple of weeks ago, but I mainly working with one awesome student right now. I feel good about helping with homework, though I always wonder how good I am at explaining and clarifying areas where they might be confused. I’m sure I’ll hit my stride soon enough.
What’s really exciting is that we hosted Nakeisha Alexis-Baker over for dinner about two weeks ago. She’s founder of Jesus Radicals, a Christian Anarchy organization, and was one of the speakers for Belmont’s spiritual emphasis week. I’m super excited, especially because she’s a woman of color and I always find it neat to see and hear the radical ways in which women of color are living out their lives. And then, we hosted a discussion after her talk in the evening which I was excited about.
Our first discussion night went really well, and we even had members of another community house nearby come over. We’ve had a lot more interest from other people who want to come over as well. I’m really expecting some great things to come. Tomorrow night is our first potluck so I’m hoping we’ll have a good time together breaking bread.

Don’t Switch that Dial

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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.
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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.
Even better.
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
good again.
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.
Great country.
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!

Hendersonville

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I want to move to Hendersonville someday.
Four reasons:
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