Sunday, April 22, 2012

Only in Nashville

When I graduated from college I wanted to work anywhere but Nashville.  I applied for jobs all over the country for months.  Finally, just to be able to say "yes" when my mother asked if I had applied locally, I put in a resume with one company in Nashville. One. And this past week I celebrated three years with that company. That milestone, combined with many other recent events, has made me so happy to call this charming little town home and left me saying many times “Only in Nashville…”. 

I recently went to Keith Urban’s All for the Hall charity concert benefitting the Country Music Hall of Fame with two of my favorite girls (who make Nashville even sweeter).

Downtown Nashville - Cowgirl Boots and All... 


 My restaurant selection for the night - Suzy Wong's House of Yum - to use the groupon that I unknowingly purchased while still reeling from anesthesia.

Only in Nashville can a country music star like Keith Urban gather dozens of his closest friends (including Vince Gill, Alabama, Rascal Flatts, Lady Antebellum, The Pistol Annies, The Band Perry, The Oak Ridge Boys, Little Big Town, Thompson Square, Diamond Rio, Blue Sky Riders, Merle Haggard, and Don Williams) to volunteer their performances for a sold out arena. Oh yeah, Vince and Keith played in the band for every group’s performance. Oh, and Keith Urban was invited to become a member of The Opry in the middle of the show. No big deal.

All for the Hall

Speaking of the Opry, my friend/co-worker/fashion expert Ashley and I recently hosted some clients as back stage guests at the Opry Country Classics show at Ryman Auditorium – the mother church of country music.  

Ashley - Backstage

Our backstage hostess, a native Oklahoman, was telling me about how Larry Gatlin was going to call all Oklahomans out on stage to sing a song that he had just written to benefit the recent tornado victims.  She convinced me to go with her since I was an honorary Oklahoman for four years of college (I mean, I am kind of from there).  So he starts the song and a handful of people walk to the stairs to be seated. I sit down, look to my left, and see none other than Vince Gill plop down right beside me with his guitar.  He wasn’t scheduled to perform that night, but he had dropped by to jam a bit with the Blue Sky Riders.  So there I am sitting beside him. What do I do? I take a picture. Duh.

 Vince Gill

Larry Gatlin

So one week I was watching Vince on stage with thousands of other fans, and this week I was just sitting on the Ryman stairs with him while he strummed us a few tunes. Oh, Nashville.

And I would be sorry if I didn’t mention that my favorite team, the Predators, just made it to round two of the playoffs! Yes, I googled it to make sure that it is called “the playoffs”. Seriously though, I love some good Predators hockey.

So Nashville, just in case you were wondering, I am thankful to be right where I am.  Also, I promise that I don’t work for the chamber of commerce.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

A Life Worth Living

Moments with my family are anticipated and savored and adored. This weekend we all gathered to celebrate Easter on the farm – the place where our roots run deep and where our most treasured memories are stored – to celebrate the life within our family and the life within our hearts.

We hear laughter and giggles and the patter of toddling feet that remind us of the life in the generations to come.

We sing the little cousins into their next year of life.

We cherish the legacy of the Easters before us.

We rest in the relationships that sustain us.

 The color coordinated gals - great minds think alike.

 The parents

The awesome cookie baker

Today is one of my favorite days of the year because it is a celebration of Life. 

You see, Jesus’ death absolutely changed me. But His resurrection? It saved me. The victory is won. And that God? The God who was and is and is to come? The God who was not held by death? He LIVES. That God left a grave to live forever in our hearts. The temple’s curtain that separated us from God was torn. And now nothing can separate us from the Life that lives within us.

And when I look at my life and realize that I have nothing to offer but empty hands, a broken heart, and a story gone wrong, God looks at me and sees all that He needs. He is a God of The Empty.  He brings us fullness and satisfies our hunger.  He works with empty hands and empty hearts and empty tombs. He fills it with beauty and grace and redemption. A life that could not be held by death is held in our hearts. And the beauty and wonder of it all is that Easter is for all of humankind, but Easter is also just for you. And He moved heaven and earth to get to you. YOU. You are His desire. His intention. His plan. His purpose. Even if you were the only person in the entire world – if no one else ever had or ever would exist – He still would have come here for you. He would have died for you. And He would rise for you.

What a promise and a victory and a Life we have! A Life worth living.  A Life worth dying for. A Life worth celebrating!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Celebrating the Ordinary

Many things are difficult with one hand: Buttoning jeans (Thanks, mom). Driving (Thanks, Travis). Cutting steak (Thanks, Casey). Turning pages in a book (Thanks, Ashley T.). Setting up camping chairs at the drive-in (Thanks, Mackenzie). And blogging (uhhh….. about that…) Typing with one hand takes forever. So yeah, my absence from the blogosphere has been excused for a while, but now that I have moved back in to my own condo, started driving again, and even managed to do a French manicure (after two hours on the bathroom floor with polish on my knees, arms, forehead, lips, and a little bit on my actual nails), my excuse is over. And I am glad to be back! I just didn’t feel like myself for a long time.  I was weak and fragile for far too long. And boy, did people notice. I thought I hid it well, but I was constantly reminded by my coworkers and friends that “This just isn’t you. We miss the old Emily.”  (Perhaps they noticed that I snuck to work in black yoga pants a few times? Nah…) Plus, my physical inability to perform ordinary tasks combined with my independent determination to never ask for help didn’t mesh well. And my bum arm won. I asked for help. A lot of it. So thankful to be surrounded by people to help! I lived at home with my parents for over a month.  My sweet mother drove me back and forth to Nashville every day. And she washed my hair. And she fixed my meals. And she did practically all other two-handed tasks for me. She was my left hand. Yes, I know. I owe two people extra-nice Mother’s and Father’s Day gifts. And probably Birthday and Christmas, too... I was a bit whiny.

So here is where I am now. I have recently downsized from a hard cast and sling into a removable splint. People keep asking if I am just dying to get out of my casts and splints. Nope. My arm hurts when it isn’t supported so my splint is welcomed with (carefully) opened arms.  Plus, I like to think that it makes me look athletic.

I feel like I should be roller blading with this thing on.

The splint will stay for a few more weeks. The plate and screws? They stay forever. At the end of the month I will be flying to D.C.  I’ll let you know all about the metal detector issue then.

The x-rays

Being dependent stinks on ice. But slowing down? Sometimes it’s nice. 

I had many walks on the Greenway with my parents and BFF. 

Picnics at The Parthenon with people who know my heart. 

A hockey game with my sister and some friends.

Ally LOVED the people in the penalty box

Cotton Candy colored sunsets.

Lunch at The Chocolate Covered Strawberry with a favorite friend and her sweet daughter. 

Walks on the farm with mom on 70 degree winter days.

Someone Pinterest this outfit. A shirt 4x my normal size, a sling, a banana clip, and black rain boots. Hot.

My first drive-in movie night of the season: The Lorax and Hunger Games with my girls. (I’m glad we were in a car and not a theater because I asked lots of questions.)

More dinners at the table instead of in front of the tv. 

A huge reminder that Small Town America is a powerful place to be born and raised and a beautiful place to call home. Fight Like A Girl.

Afternoons to read my March Book on the porch swing while having a Homemade Lemon Mint Slush (Ice, fresh squeezed lemon, freshly chopped mint, and a little agave nectar).

Plus an occasional visit from the farm cat. (which is a big deal for me considering I am NOT an animal person)


Primary voting. I love democracy. 

Oh, and right as The Bachelor finished up, the most talented season of Dancing with the Stars began. Perfect.  Although DWTS is not appreciated by all.  Last Tuesday a big Kentucky fan asked me if I saw “the big game”. To which I replied, “What game?”. Wrong answer. I was watching ABC. Duh.

And when I was finally ready to move back to my condo? I was welcomed home by a canopy of prissy pastel pink petals on the most adorable, girly little tree right outside my door.

I was also greeted by month-old laundry waiting for me in the dryer. A dish washer full of dishes, and a dying Valentine’s Day rose bush that had scarcely been watered.  It was as if time stood still here. Which, it sort of did. Most of my clocks have yet to spring forward. Oops.

But I’m back. And yeah, I took a detour or two, but after feeling like I’d never feel normal again, the crazy anesthesia has worn off and I am now fully aware that I am alive and well. And now I have a greater appreciation for the ordinary. Take some time to celebrate it. It’s the beautiful little things in our days that build bold and beautiful lives.