Friday, December 21, 2012

Celebrating Don

Don, a machinist at the Knoxville News Sentinel who has crawled inside or fixed just about every machine in that building (including the press), is retiring at the end of this month after 40 years of service.

I'm excited for Don because I know he's looked forward to this for a long time. But it's a little bittersweet for me. I'll miss seeing him when next I sneak into the building to have lunch with Jim, his fellow machinist and my friend, and visit other press guys.

I am so fortunate to have known Don and I'm blessed to be his friend. (And not just because he fed me a lot. Ha!)

I first met Don and Jim a few years ago in the News Sentinel's exercise room. We, along with our friend Mark, became the four-person crew who worked out every Tuesday and Thursday between 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.

Don and Jim went on to organize regular breakfasts in the machine shop, which was the envy of other departments. But they weren't stingy. They invited the building to partake. The machine shop -- located in the bowels of the building -- became the gathering place for many employees.

I loved machine shop breakfasts because the News Sentinel building smelled like eggs, pancakes, sausage and bacon all day. Even after I left the paper 16 months ago for a job at the University of Tennessee, Jim would still text me about the breakfasts so I could stop by on my way to work.

I enjoyed hanging out in the machine shop because it gave me the chance to spend time with Don and Jim.

I'm thankful that my eight and a half years at the News Sentinel gave me the opportunity to develop sweet friendships with amazing people. Don was one of those people.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Reason #672 why I love living in Knoxville: you see this kind of awesomeness while driving around town. Makes me wonder how many people have followed the sage advice upon seeing it. ;)

Happy Wednesday! Make your day great!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

My new little guy

Say hello to Edgar, my new Compassion child.
It tickles me that such a little guy (he's 6) has such a grown up name.

Pardon the hair. Windy day.
He lives in a town with a fun name: Achacachi. (Why, bless you! hehe.)
I met Edgar during my trip to Bolivia last month. The cool thing was, it happened to be on my birthday.

Why was I in Bolivia? To meet Jhonny, my original little guy...who's not so little anymore.

My sister laughingly told me Jhonny and I are the same size. Ha!
I sponsored Jhonny through Compassion International for 11 years. He recently graduated from the Compassion program. He's now 19. For my 30th birthday, I got it meet him, which was such a gift.

While in Bolivia, I decided I wanted to sponsor another Bolivian child to keep my connection to the country and to Jhonny. The tricky thing was, I wanted to meet the child so I could take a picture with him or her. That way, when we started corresponding, I could send the picture to the child. (I was in Bolivia as part of a Compassion sponsor tour and we visited a number of Compassion centers. Most children at the centers already had sponsors. Some didn't but were enrolled in the program anyway to benefit from the services.)

My trip leader Sean did yeoman's work in tracking down children who needed sponsors. I met Edgar at the very last Compassion center we visited on our very last day in Bolivia.

Yesterday, I mailed him my first letter and our picture.