Friday, June 27, 2014

Tennessee, how I love you!

Seen tonight at State Street Garage in downtown Knoxville
Favorite definition of nekkid: naked with intent.
(Hat tip to my friend David for this definition!)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Hittin' the trails!

I've started a new chapter of discovery and adventure now that grad school is behind me.
First on the list is hiking -- and lots of it. This summer, I plan to explore much of East Tennessee's woods on foot with friends and with the lovable Plucky Alapo, aka Plucky dog.

Plucky on House Mountain in East Knox County
The first Saturday in June found Plucky and me on top of House Mountain, the tallest point in Knox County. The roughly four-mile trek was moderate -- although, there were many spots where Plucky dog took the lead and literally pulled me over boulders and large fallen trees. He was like a nimble little mountain goat.

I packed us a lunch and I took my journal and we had a picnic at the top (well, Plucky watched me eat, mostly). I spent about an hour drinking in the sight of the lush valley below us and journaling. Then it was time to go home and we trekked back down. Fun times! It was my first trip to House Mountain, even though I've lived in Knoxville 11-plus years and it's is just 15 minutes from my house.

More to come on future hikes. I'm always in the market for friends to hike with me so let me know if you're available!

Friday, June 6, 2014

"Grace."


Say hello to "Grace."
My friend John McRae completed this piece for me this week.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

When cancer sucks.

At Rebecca's wedding in 2008.

I lost my sweet friend Rebecca to cancer this morning. She was 38.
Rebecca discovered last summer she had stage 4 colon cancer and underwent aggressive and painful treatments. She slipped into eternity at 8:50 a.m. today.

Right now, I want to spin-side kick cancer in the gut and in the face! It all seems so unfair. Life is hard and full of sorrow sometimes. Gah! But even in this craziness, God somehow constantly turns my heart toward hope. Sweet HOPE. Hope to live fiercely today because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

I've been chewing on Romans 15:13 for a few days now. It somehow seems very appropriate today: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound with hope."

I'm praying that God turns the hearts of Rebecca's family--her husband, her brothers--toward hope. And peace. And one day soon, joy again.

Posted by Rebecca on May 25

I'm so thankful to have known such a vibrant woman. Rebecca and I met in 2003 when I moved to Knoxville. I was on assignment for the News Sentinel to write about Market Square Booksellers, a new bookstore that had opened downtown. She was behind one of the counters that displayed her jewelry. I asked her about them and Rebecca, who was deaf, signed. I signed back and pretty soon, we launched into a conversation and made a lunch date. We became friends.

She eventually married and moved to Washington D.C. She came back to East Tennessee a few weeks ago to be near her family. I'm glad she was surrounded by those she loved when she passed.

Rebecca signs "I love you" this morning.
Photo is courtesy of one of her Facebook friends.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Alternate universe

I'm definitely living in an alternate universe. This afternoon I spoke with an 18-year-old man with a deep voice named Jack who excitedly told me about his acceptance to his top college of choice in Ohio. This took my breath away. This is the same kid I babysat when I was in college. The same brown-haired, browned eyed toddler who didn't like to wear pants.

Jack was three-and-a-half when we first met and we spent afternoons and evenings together several times a week during his grade school years. I eventually left Brooklyn, NY, and moved south and he continued to grow up. He's now taller than me, actually. Smart kid, too.

I've known all along he would one day graduate high school and go on to college. But that day has come a lot quicker than I imagined. I feel young. I still look young (I think. haha.) But my sweet kid is now officially an adult and I'm super proud of him. But...wow.