Nashville Flood Perspective

I’m sure you’ve read/heard about the recent devastating news that Nashville has recently been hit by a storm that has left our great city under water.

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Although we at Belmont suffered comparatively little damage, it was still an ordeal, and seeing out beloved city and its great historical monuments like this leave us all heartbroken.
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Yet, although we have been shaken, we will not fall. Nashville is the heart of the nonprofit industry and I think it says a lot about the people in the area and the hearts we have for community and supporting those in need. As Nashville has stood ready to help those in need from here to everywhere, today it’s us who need help.
During the flood, several Tennesseans lost their lives in an effort to save others and I cannot begin to recount story after story of friends and family reaching out to help, and even literally save the lives of, their neighbors.
I am so encouraged to see this beautiful and already strong community coming together to conserve water, help victims, rebuild, and strengthen our beautiful city so quickly.
To help, please donate to the Red Cross.
If you live in Nashville please consider donating to www.savetentcity.com or Second Harvest Food Bank.

The Front Porch and Gallery F

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Last Friday my best friend and I were hanging out together and decided to walk over to the Front Porch at the Scarritt Bennett Center, which is a local Nashville retreat site/cultural, intellectual, and spiritual learning space. It’s really neat. Anyways, it wasn’t open when we got there, but they have these awesome brightly painted rocking chairs just chilling outside, so we hung out until it was open. Once it opened up we found out there was a really neat exhibit called “Native” going on that explored Native American history and culture in Tennessee. We walked around for a bit, and I really enjoyed it. We hung out a bit in the kitchen, too, and it was really neat. It’s really informal and everyone who works there is an artist and gets a studio to work in across the street from the gallery and cafe. I really enjoyed stumbling across such a progressive little space in the middle of Nashville.

Hometown Adventures

With the sun finally coming out and the cold (hopefully) leaving us, we’re all getting pretty excited about the nice weather! In fact, with the weather cheering up, I decided that it was time for some exploring around Nashville! I’ve lived here for four years and I still feel like there’s always something new and exciting about this city!
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First stop: my favorite local Mexican food fix, Baja Burrito! I’ve been here so many times (this is the first place I saw Jon Foreman *sigh*), but it never gets old. Burritos on the patio is the way to go on a sunny Nashville day!
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Next: We visited downtown! Broadway is always busy and everyone seemed to have the same idea we did, but it didn’t make it any less fun! Between the guitar shops and the candy shops, not to mention the riverfront, it was definitely a worth while visit!
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Next: Sometimes the local art museum, the Frist, has free event days… and of course we attended! It was great and we saw a lot of Ancient Greek artifacts, European paintings from the Romantic period, and even some very modern light sculptures. This was great!
Last: After a long day site seeing and soaking up the rays, we decided to end the day with some tasty s’mores. :)
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Nashville

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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.

I Wish You Could See What I See

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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!

What Nashville Means to Me

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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.

Grand Ole Opry: The Show that made Country Music Famous

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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!

Opryland!

So, apparently, if you have never been to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, you have never really experienced Nashville. At least, this is what I overheard someone say while I was visiting Opryland for the first time with my boyfriend, Dan, on Thursday. I don’t know how I managed to live here for an entire year without ever experiencing one of Nashville’s most unique (and certainly largest) attractions…but I am so glad that I finally went!
Dan realized how important it was for me to be introduced to Opryland – especially during Christmastime – so he surprised me by planning a wonderful evening for us there. We started off the evening right by eating dinner at RuSan’s, one of my absolute favorite sushi restaurants.Final-Sushi.jpgWhen ordering sushi, Dan and I typically stick to the basic California roll, but we were feeling a bit adventurous and decided to try something different. Our waiter recommended two different rolls. The first was similar to a California roll, but it was topped with a piece of salmon and baked ever-so slightly. We also ordered shrimp tempura (you really can’t go wrong with fried shrimp). Between the crunchiness of the shrimp and the creaminess of the salmon…we were in heaven! Best part: the entire meal was only $15. I love RuSan’s!
After dinner, we headed to Opryland. I should preface this part of the story by saying that I am a huge fan of all things Christmas. It is, by far, my favorite holiday and I love to celebrate it as far in advance as possible. So when we arrived at the Opryland Hotel one of the first things that caught my attention were the trees leading up to the entrance.Tree.jpgEvery single branch was wrapped in Christmas lights – it was breathtaking. Even more impressive was the inside of the hotel. First of all, it is huge! If Dan hadn’t known where to go, I would have had us lost within minutes. There are three giant indoor gardens, each filled with various (living) plants, rivers, waterfalls, jumping fountains, walking paths, and, of course, plenty of places to eat and shop, as well. It was a little overwhelming at first to take everything in! I tried my best not to gape, but it was so hard not to!
After wandering around for a while, and playing Christmas music on a few of Opryland’s Yamaha pianos, Dan told me that he had planned for us to go on a private horse-drawn carriage ride. Being a huge fan of Disney movies, and very impressed with Dan’s thoughtful planning, I thought this sounded like an excellent idea!Carriage-final.jpgIt was a bit cold, but we wrapped up in blankets and quickly forgot about the fact that our ears were freezing. We took tons of pictures (I had to limit myself to only posting four of them…) and neither of us wanted to get off after we had returned. After the carriage ride, we decided to walk around outside for just a bit longer. Then – as if the night couldn’t get any more perfect – it began to snow. It was really more like snow flurries, but that didn’t make it any less magical.
We eventually went back inside to warm up by one of the many opulent fireplaces. I didn’t want to leave Opryland…but knew that it was inevitable, so we took a few final pictures and headed out. Of course, the perfect ending to any evening is going to get dessert. A slice of chocolate peanut butter cookie dough cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory sounded pretty good to both of us, so we split it.Tree-Final.jpgAfter my date with Dan, I met my friends at the movie theater for the midnight “Twilight” premiere. I loved the books, but I must admit that I thought the movie was a bit of a letdown. I still had a great time (actually, my friends and I had plenty of fun just laughing at how awkward the movie was!) and it was my first midnight movie premiere ever, so that was exciting. Thursday was just full of new experiences! It was a busy day and I was exhausted after we got back at 3 am…but it was completely worth the exhaustion.

Up All Night for the “Wright” Reasons

Living in downtown Nashville it isn’t difficult to be entranced by the music filled air of Broadway and seeing Keith Urban on a regular basis. Let’s face it… Nashville is an awesome place to live! However, when we see all of the cool tourist spots and the star’s homes so constantly, it’s sometimes easy to forget the other people who live in downtown Nashville… the homeless.
This past weekend I participated in two events that really changed my perception about homelessness. The first event was a rally to save a local area known as “Tent City” and the second was an event hosted by my staff in Wright Hall called “Up All Night for the Wright Reasons.”
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” – Proverbs 31:8-9

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