Wednesday, December 28, 2011

the worst

I have made this statement several times to different audiences and I will continue to stand by it.:
3:30-4:30 p.m. is THE worst hour of the day.

Here are the facts:

1. It’s the weird time between lunch and dinner. If you eat lunch during this hour because you got busy earlier in the day, you can forget being ready for dinner at a normal time. So you just continue to be hungry until you hit up senior citizen dinner at 5.

2. When you had a snow day, this is the hour in which your attitude goes from "NO SCHOOL TODAY!!" to "Crap, we have to go to school tomorrow."

3. It’s right when you would get home from school and the only thing on TV are Japanese cartoons and melodramatic talk shows.

4. It’s the time after lunch, but not quite quitting time at work that your brain starts checking out of everything and/or nothing makes sense anymore.

I could think of some more but I’m currently in the throes of the worst hour of the day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

america's hat

This is what Canada is like, eh Emma?

She can ride a moose ya'll. I've seen it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


My sister Bethany always finds the BEST videos of the Avetts. She has done it again. This was about 2 weeks after we saw them. I would have loved to have seen this live. Just beautiful. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

it's that time of year

For as long as I can remember, the Priode family listens to Alice's Restaurant at noon on Thanksgiving Day. I mean it's such a long-running tradition that the one year the radio station was late, Dad definitley called them to make sure they were going to play it. I have a strange family.

Pumped for tomorrow with said strange family, some good porch sitting, rest, sweet potatoes and the beginning of the holiday season. 

Sitting here with the December Southern Living, Christmas in the Smoky Mountains on the speakers just feeling very blessed and thankful

Thursday, November 17, 2011

thursday things.

1. Daylight Savings Time is killing me. I am ready for bed at 6 o’clock every night because it’s dark. Not gonna work.

2. I am loving reconnecting with old (not age) friends lately. Phone dates with out of town friends have filled almost every day this week. 

3. I make myself sick at how much I say I’m busy every day. Everybody is busy. Grow up Melissa. Wah wah

4. I love Christmas and family traditions, but thinking about it right now makes me kindasorta panic. Not. Ready. 

5. Speaking of Christmas, I can’t decide if our family (meaning, me, mom, dad and Bethany) need to send a picture-Christmas-card this year. It’s funny to think about people putting our card on their fridge, BAM, two 20-year-ish olds in the middle next to all the young couples and adorable babies. Weird. So I think we should end on last years.

 6. I don’t really like wearing shoes, but I have 3 pairs that I don’t mind and therefore-wear them all the time. Sad news: they have all decided to fall apart at the same time. Crap.

7. Very excited about the 2 stories I’m working on right now. Stay tuned

8. Listen to New Old Hymns. Today. 

9. Weekends go too fast. But I am trying to take Sundays as a semi-Sabbath and just say no to stuff and rest. I recommend it.

10. This? Um, yum. That’s all.

{update. 11. Friends. Life tip. When it comes to floss, spend 2 more dollars. The 79 cent stuff is garbage. You're welcome.}

Thursday, November 10, 2011

unlikely lessons

I lead a small group of middle school girls who have a flair for theatrics. (I know right? Middle school and drama. Groundbreaking)

I spend close two hours with the group, normally between 4-6 girls, through the JustLead program at the Emerald Youth Foundation. I would like to think that I am imparting some great truth on them and molding their young minds weekly, but I think a more accurate claim would be that they are the ones doing the teaching. 

Week after week, they remind me of how much I cannot rely on myself for anything. I come to them straight from 8 hours of work, worn out, good and distracted, and thinking about going to my own small group after I leave them; most of the time I literally have nothing to offer. Which is why it’s ridiculous that I even think they are learning anything at all from me. None of it is from me. 

I was on a roll last night, reading Phillipians, talking about trust and friends and hoping I would get some kind of response. But instead of epiphanies, revelations or really any kind of indication they were listening at all, I am met with a total fabrication of the truth, told straight to my face. This is a recurring theme in our group, the bending-of-truth boy stories and the twisted tales of fights at school, but I still haven’t pinned down why. 

I don’t know if these girls think they have to stretch the truth of their young lives to impress me or if it’s to get attention from the rest of the group, but either way, I was immediately brought off my scripture-reading showboat and back down to Earth. 

Have I set impossibly high standards for their young, and sometimes nonexistent, faith? Have I found my own glory in the amount of conversation we engage in, instead of giving it to the Lord? Do I consider the night a loss if no deep questions are asked and the worksheets are left, forgotten on the floor? The answer is pretty much yes to all of these.

It’s about consistency that some of them don’t have in their family and unconditional acceptance that they don’t get at school. It’s about trust and openness and honesty. It’s not so I can feel good about myself and feel good about my ability to crowd-control a bunch of 12-year-olds. 

Those kids teach me that every week. They are so much smarter than me.

I just read a selection from Henri Nouwen's essay Hospitality and I was particularly taken by this passage:

"Hospitality means primarily the creation of a space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. It is not an attempt to change people, but to offer the free space where change can take place. It is not a technique to bring men and women over to my side, but to offer freedom undisturbed by dividing lines, It is not a call to drive my neighbor into a corner where he has no alternatives left, but to open a wide spectrum for options asking for choice and commitment...Hospitality is not a subtle invitation to adopt the lifestyle of the host, but the gift of a chance to allow the guest to find his own."

So between listening to the middle schoolers and putting Nouwen's words to work in my life, I have a lot to think about.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

two things.

be like the fountain that overflows, 
 not like the cistern that merely contains.

close some doors today. 
not because of pride,
incapacity or arrogance,
but simply because
they lead you nowhere

paolo coelho

Thursday, October 27, 2011


{alright, I really don't want this to turn into a place where I am only posting youtube videos, thus contributing to the slippery slope that destroys the rare actual conversation and ruins social situations...I digress, but I feel like I need to share this one. Probably not the last one, but just bear with me. That is all}

Monday, October 24, 2011

I have a crush on Keith Richards.

After a very reflective weekend and a fairly lazy Monday, I kind of feel like the first 14 seconds of this song right now.
Hope that makes sense.

ps: just a tip, ignore the shaky video and just listen to the guitar solo instead.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

R & R

Been looking forward to this weekend all month. Headed out on a Fellows Sabbath retreat with this on the front of my mind...

Solitude is the place where we can reach the profound bond that is deeper than the emergency bonds of fear and anger. Although fear and anger can indeed drive us together, they cannot give rise to a common witness. In solitude we can come to the realization that we are not driven together but brought together.

In solitude we come to know our fellow human beings not as partners who can satisfy our deepest needs, but as brothers and sisters with whom we are called to give visibility to God's all-embracing love. In solitude we discover that community is not a common ideology, but a response to a common call. In solitude we indeed realize that community is not made but given.

Solitude, then, is not private time in contrast to time together, nor a time to restore our tired minds. Solitude is very different from a time-out from community life.

Solitude is the ground from which community grows. When we pray alone, study, read, write, or simply spend quiet time away from the places where we interact with each other directly, we enter into a deeper intimacy with each other. It is a fallacy to think that we grow closer to each other only when we talk, play, or work together. Much growth certainly occurs in such human interactions, but these interactions derive their fruit from solitude, because in solitude our intimacy with each other is deepened. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

sweet heavenly day

I can't remember which Pandora station played this for me today, but I think it changed my life. Yes. I am confident in saying it changed my life. Mercy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

a lot of shifting going on

There were more than a few times last week at work that I just wanted to cry. Or yell. Or sit in my car and blast 90s music, heavy on the Wallflowers, until my blood pressure returned to normal human levels. Maybe I did all three...

I hated that each day left me feeling like I had survived, but not much else. It really bothered me that I was letting work affect me as much as it was, and so I decided to squash that nonsense before it got out of hand.

It's amazing what a restful weekend, family time and getting enough sleep and exercise can do for a major attitude shift. Today was like I had a new job or something. It was a great day; full of getting things done, some quiet alone time at lunch, a long run by the river and a free cupcake at dinner, win!

These 2 pieces of Jeremiah have been with me all day today, reminding me to continue seeking rest in the mundane parts of life.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
-jeremiah 29:11

For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.
-jeremiah 31:25

Saturday, October 8, 2011

built for this.

built for this.
ben sollee

hang your worries on my thin Kentucky frame
lay your fears on my chest
place a reach on my careless fingertip
and chase the morning light

we were built for this
we were built for this

rest your troubles on my unforgiving back
lift your pain upon my death
rub your hands with your faith and trust their path
and trace the morning light

we were built for this
we were built for this

speak with words that you gathered from the ground
hold a light up to the sky
give the dove just one more chance to sing
and replace the morning light

Monday, October 3, 2011

facing your fears to live your dreams

 facing your fears to live your dreams, donald miller
july 2011
text here

We don’t normally face our fears willingly. Usually, God has to woo us into the desert. We are either chasing love or some other desire, and we find ourselves in the midst of a situation in which we have very little control. And when we lose control, we go into a mild form of trauma. But the good news is the greatest stories are lived in the desert. The great lives are lived in the places we most fear. If we fear being rejected, the great story has us standing at the door with flowers in our hands, if we fear losing love, the great stories have us letting that person go rather than clinging to them. If we fear taking a chance on a dream, the great stories have us quitting our jobs.

My friend Jeremy Cowart moved from Nashville to LA recently but decided to tell a better story with his move. Rather than packing up the family and making a long, boring drive, he called Jamie Tworkowski from To Write Love on her Arms and made a Fears Vs Dreams tour out of the move. They’d pull the moving van into a town, set up a table, and ask people to write down their fears and dreams on a piece of paper. The result was magical. Andy Davis joined in for a while and soon enough it was a mini-caravan of folks who were no longer interested in running from their fears, but willing to face them in order to live a better story.

So, what is your greatest fear? And don’t you know, the life you want involves taking that huge risk. It’s scary I know, because the truth is it might end in tragedy. But then again, half of Shakespeare’s plays are tragedies, and nobody thinks of him as a fool. He was brilliant.

May half your stories be tragedies too. And may the other half be comedies that work out great. And may they all be beautiful.

fears v. dreams

Monday, September 26, 2011

don't ever forget you are never alone

So I love this video. I want to live in it. Does that make sense? Sweet children, family, solar flare and big fields. All things that I love in my life.

Friday, September 23, 2011

the way I feel

My mind is reeling after a week of service in the remote town of Eagan, Tennessee-smack in the middle of poverty-ridden Appalachia. I'm still processing a lot of what I saw, but here are a few things I know for sure:

1. I have done absolutley nothing to deserve the mounds of blessings I have, starting with being born where I was and to the family I was with the life I have. Nothing. Pure act of God. End of story.

2. Pride is a hateful thing and a slippery slope. I found myself wanting to feel sorry for the people who I was serving instead of building a relationship with them. That one totally took me for a loop and nagged at me for the entire 8 days. 

A huge theme in my life for the past few months has been LIGHT; being the light in a dark place, keeping things in the light, basking in the Light, sharing light and most of all-being the light of the world and a city set on a hill. I swear, everywhere I turn and every verse I read is smacking me in the face with some light.

Psalm 27:1
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?

My heart is so heavy from the stories I heard, the homes I worked in, the families I saw and the lack of hope I felt, and I just pray that the Fellows' brief presence in Eagan brought some much-needed light and truth to a dark community.

In the midst of being quite shaken, torn between wanting to get rid of all my stuff and resisting the urge to "fix" the town where I just was, I am trying to wait, process and find my rest in God alone.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

wednesday (ok actually Thursday) things.

1. It has been so gross and rainy the past few days but I’m telling you, I’m loving it. Summer has really worn me out yet again and I am so energized by a change in season and cooler weather.

2. The Fellows are hilarious. I love that we can pull pranks and bounce jokes off each other, group gchat and have Boy Meets World marathons during Boomsday. I am just loving my life being filled with such a genuinely fun group of friends. 

3. True to Priode form, my new cousin who was supposed to be born anytime last week but ultimately by still not here. I am so ready to kiss his little head! Stay tuned!

4. Three weeks of leading a small group of inner-city middle school girls has already been extremely rewarding and valuable, as far as keeping myself accountable. I see them and remember how lost I was during those years and it makes me want to just squeeze them.

5. Um hello, where is my free time going? I have Monday evenings free during the week and I have consistently found myself trying to cram too much into that time and I end up worn out, frazzled and unaccomplished. I am having the hardest time saying no to every opportunity for hangout time, which resulted in me feeling terrible and sick-ish all of last weekend. Womp womp

6. I am WAY excited about the possibility of my lovely and amazing friend EMMA getting to come back to Tennessee! This is big news!

7. I just finished my 3rd story at work, which was the hardest so far. I spent probably five days just trying to get it to make sense. Very frustrating. It will run next week so once again, stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

something to tickle your ears

Everything about this makes me happy. I listen to it at least once a day.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

where I am

I hate using the "I'm too busy" excuse. It is SO lame and pretentious. I know how I feel when people use it against me, I know how it sounds and I hate that I am doing that right now.

I'm not gonna lie, I do love being busy...but it really has been a challenge over the past few weeks not to fall back on those three words.
I know I have only been in this new role for a few weeks, but I am already reaping so many benefits of this unique community we have formed in the heart of this city. I have been so blessed with new friendships, honest conversation and genuine interest from people in my same stage of life. I have already been learning new things about the way I deal with things and feel like I am more in tune with myself than I have ever been.

But I am also in a constant balancing struggle between my existing responsibility and my new, Fellows-relates ones. I made the hard call not to resume leading my Girl Scout troop this year because I don't feel like I will be able to give the sweet girls the attention they deserve. I love the new aspects of my life, but that makes me sad every time I think about it.

This week we start leading small groups for inner-city kids through Just Lead at the Emerald Youth Foundation. We began classes last week and I am so pleased with how we all mesh in a classroom setting  and how I feel so "heard."

In (literally) other news, my second story in the News Sentinel came out today!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

toe tappin' good times

prepare to have this in your head all day. happy wednesday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

troy and abed in the morning!

life has been a bit of a whirlwind the past few weeks. until I sit down for a full update, here is something to tide you over...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

new love

I wish it hadn't taken me so long to listen to Abigail Washburn.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


After a year and a half of wandering and doubting, today I was reminded of why I went to college in the first place. What an incredible feeling to have made something I am proud of and to feel fulfillment in work.

Read it here!

Friday, July 22, 2011


these little guys just make me smile. here's to letting go of needing to clean up all the time.
happy friday!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


happy wednesday!

we named the dog indiana!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


You know that "six degrees of separation" game?

Well, I recently learned a fact that shortened the separation by one degree between me...and one of my favorite actors of all time. He may or may not be in one of the most iconic scifi movies made so far. 

I have had a crush on him since I was 10 years old. I'm hoping we might run into each other one day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

viral video film school.

Viral Video Film School, produced by Current TV,  is easily one my favorite things on the Internet. Yep, the ENTIRE Internet.

On our family beach trip last week, my cousin Grant (who has gotten super funny over the past year) showed me the Summer Blockbusters edition. I mean, I think it's hilarious-but watch it and decide for yourself.

AND if you like it and want more should probably start with these, and just be prepared to invest an hour or two after that because you can't just watch ONE more.

Jerk Animals
Valentine's Day
Stunt Cats
Internet's Worst Parents

Saturday, July 9, 2011

tree of life.

unless you love, life will flash you by.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

the perfect space

I wanna have pride like my mother has,

And not like the kind in the bible that turns you bad.


this is a great day. it's coffee friday on thursday at work, there are cheerwine doughnuts in the breakroom and i am almost on vacation.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Today there are two printed errors in the paper that are my fault. Almost immediately after looking at them and feeling stupid about it, I get a call from the front desk that someone is here to see me.

In my head, it is one of the people affected by my error and they are here to chew me out. Give me a break, I'm thinking, I get a few free ones! 

So the whole time I'm walking downstairs, I'm making a speech inside my head that I plan on saying as soon as I see the mean guy so he can't say anything smart. 

Turns out, I'm a drama queen...and it's a sweet old man from Lenoir City who came to drop off an announcement about a benefit golf tournament. 

Close one.

Monday, June 27, 2011

insert clever title here

After a month at my job, I think I can finally say I am starting to feel comfortable. The biggest challenge for me has been for me to accept correction as instruction and learning to swallow my pride and ask for help.

But here's how I know I'm in the right place:

I can probably tell you the meaning of almost every acronym-ed club or organization in Knoxville and when they installed their latest officers, I edit signs as I pass them, my desk calendar is stained with newsprint and I have finally mastered the art of spotting extra spaces, misplaced semicolons and pretending to be interested when someone calls with a “story I should investigate"...

A little bit of me still sometimes feels like a random kid in the newsroom. Probably because I crack myself up at my desk thinking about stuff like this. Oh, and sometimes this

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

texas forever.

I'm not usually one to make bold statements, but I would like to go on record that

a)Friday Night Lights is hands-down my favorite show of all time.
b)Friday Night Lights is (was) the best show on television.

You can now quote me on that.

Just watch it. But don't search Youtube for videos because then you will find fan-made montages of Coach Taylor set to Tim McGraw. Yeesh.

clear eyes full hearts

Monday, June 20, 2011

stuff from that time and those places

1. My most commonly used phrase as of late is "I'm just trying to be where I'm at." This grammatically incorrect sentence is brought to you by my cousin Lauren, who is full of other nonsensical knowledge and witty wisdoms.

2. This picture of a popsicle. Yum.

3. The movie Bridesmaids-I have now seen it twice. Bethany and I went for the second time around  this past Saturday and created yet another scene in the theater. At one point I think we were the only two people laughing. There is a scene on an airplane that I think is literally One of the.  Funniest things. I have ever seen.

4. Adele power ballads.  Namely One and Only. Also, this song, that is most definitely NOT a power ballad, but makes me laugh every time I hear it.

5. Rewatching Friday Night Lights season 1- that was just purchased for 10 bucks at Target-will be keeping me busy this week, along with...

6. The Hunger Games' second installment, Catching Fire. Holy distopia these books are so fun!

7. Counting down days until I can eat my weight in hushpuppies Hudson's on the Docks on vacation in a few weeks.

 I think that's enough random items for now.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Well last night/this morning, I dreamed that I was dressed as R2D2 in some kind of Star Wars re-creation that was taking place at Disney World. Oh and the Super Bowl was also going on. Also, I was not allowed to ride some swing-type ride because of my costume. Clearly.

I had a pretty significant amount of sugar before bed, so I figured something like this would happen. I have been having crazy vivid dreams lately and can remember every detail when I wake up. Flip side? I don't feel like I've rested at all. I was too busy fighting off linebackers and Storm Troopers.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

happy dance

It's Thursday! Cut a little rug! No really!

Here, watch this for some inspiration...

Sunday, June 5, 2011

43 years ago...

...Robert Francis Kennedy was shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in LA, shortly after winning the California primary. Twenty-six hours later RFK died, just 5 years after his older brother Jack was assassinated in Dallas.

I became interested in all things Kennedy when I was a junior in high school.  We held a night honoring the 40th anniversary of JFK's death and other events that transpired in the volatile 1960s. I worked for months and months researching Jackie Kennedy and I have absolutely consumed anything I can read about the Camelot couple and their renown family ever since.

{Ok, ok, call me a nutjob, but I love a good conspiracy theory. AND if you have half an hour I will gladly share my thoughts about the JFK assassination and the absurdity of the Magic Bullet theory. And I digress.}

RFK gave just a speech in Cleveland, Ohio exactly 2 months before his death. It is unfortunate and somewhat haunting that this particaular speech was about violence.

I think that by reading the text you will see that a lot of the same issues that America faced in 1968 still plague us today. People still don't get along, there is still war and there is still hatred and ignorance.

Let the final sentence move you. Who doesn't swell with pride when they hear the word countrymen?

Remarks of Senator Robert F. Kennedy to the Cleveland City Club

Cleveland, Ohio, April 5, 1968

This is a time of shame and sorrow It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity to speak briefly to you about this mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed No one - no matter where he lives or what he does - can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed And yet it goes on and on.

Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by his assassin's bullet.

No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.

Whenever any American's life is taken by another American unnecessarily - whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence - whenever we tear at the fabric of life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

"Among free men," said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their cause and pay the costs."

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire weapons and ammunition they desire.

Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. Some Americans who preach nonviolence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.

Some looks for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear; violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.

For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.

This is the breaking of a man's spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all. I have not come here to propose a set of specific remedies nor is there a single set. For a broad and adequate outline we know what must be done. When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies - to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and mastered.

We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn to share only a common fear - only a common desire to retreat from each other - only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this there are no final answers.

Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is now what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of human purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.

We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of all. We must admit in ourselves that our own children's future cannot be built on the misfortunes of others. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or revenge.

Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of course we cannot vanish it with a program, nor with a resolution.

But we can perhaps remember - even if only for a time - that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short movement of life, that they seek - as we do - nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something.

Surely we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again.

Text and audio found here

Monday, May 30, 2011

sunny days, chasing the clouds away

So before I had a sister, I had Sesame Street. I would like to personally thank Maria, Mr. Hooper, Grover and of course Ernie and Bert for teaching me to love alphabet soup and about the importance of the letter W.

After spending a few days revisiting some of our favorite clips from Sesame Street episodes of years past, Bethany and I have come up with a list of the best.

Put down the duckie
One Banana
The Ladybugs Picnic
Jellyman Kelly
Old MacDonald Cantata

And apparently Sesame Street is on their 40-something season and now have Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd on the show. Who knew?

This, however, is probably the classiest bit I have ever seen come from that famous address.


(and for anyone who is just in a nostalgic 90's mood, click here. Do not judge. It was before he was a creeper, although you probably can't tell from this clip)

Friday, May 27, 2011

it runs in the family

Well if you haven't noticed my obsession with the Avett Brothers yet-you are probably not paying attention.

Their Youtube channel posts videos of Seth and Scott doing random acoustic covers every once and again and when they do, I sit and watch these gems-mesemerized at the raw musical talent of these brothers...and of Seth's amazing hair and mustache transformations. (A Change is Gonna Come and Movin Out are both pretty epic.)

Here is one I watched today and was reminded of how much I love this song.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wait, I have a...job?

I have successfully completed my first 3 days at the Knoxville News Sentinel!

I owe so much to the current Fellow who spent this time training me and bestowing all her tricks and tips onto me. I literally do not think I can take in any new information for the next 3 days. I'm a little afraid to go to sleep between now and Monday because I think everything I learned will just fall right out of my head. 

I am the staff writer and editorial assistant in the Features department for the School Matters and YourNews sections, which run in print on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I am also sorting through all of the user-submitted stories and photos on the YourNews section of!

While it has been sufficiently overwhelming to try and remember all this new info, I could not be more excited for this challenge and the opportunity to make so many great connections.

All this to say, if you notice more errors than usual in those particular sections over the next week or 2...I'm behind it. But I'm learning as fast as I can!

Monday, May 16, 2011


compare where you are to where you want to be and you'll get nowhere.

-sara bareilles

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I don't know why I haven't read this before. Here are some of my favorite truths from this great book...and I've only read the 1st chapter. Stay tuned...

every woman I've ever met feels it [not being good enough]-something deeper than just the sense of failing at what she does. An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time.

We long to be the Beauty of some great story. But the desires set deep in our hearts seem like a luxury, granted only to those women who get their acts together.

We were made to be part of a great adventure. An adventure that is shared. We do not want adventures merely for adventure's sake but for what it requires of us for others. We don't want to be alone in it; we want to be in it with others.

We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are.

Is someone reading my mind? Why does this make so much sense?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

be still and know

I have been going through a pretty great daily devotional book called Jesus Calling for about a year now. It's a short thought for the day and a few verses to go with it. It's a super way to start or end the day.

As I have gotten older, my Type A personality has seemed to intensify and I have to work harder and harder to be "in the moment." I am one of those people who feels uneasy when there is too much stuff/piles/clutter/chaos/etc and I find it hard to relax when I have lefy  dishes out or my floor messy.  I can function so much better with a to do list in hand and I get the best feeling from cleaning out closets and getting rid of things.

Two days in the past week have, I am convinced, been written specifically for me.

Example A:

April 22
Walk with Me in holy trust, responding to My initiatives rather than trying to make things fit your plans. I died to set you free, and this includes freedom from compulsive planning. When your mind spins with a multitude of thoughts, you cannot hear My voice. A mind preoccupied with planning pays homage to the idol of control. Turn from the idolatry back to Me and live abundantly.

Proverbs 19: 21 Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.


April 22
I am always with you, so you have no reason to be afraid. Your fear often manifests itself in excessive planning. Your mind if so accustomed to this pattern of thinking that you are only now becoming aware of how pervasive it is and how much it hinders your intimacy with Me.

As I read these, I felt almost ashamed, like when you have been caught doing something and there is no way out. Mainly because I know that I always feel panicked and anxious about things I can't control. And I always try to handle these meltdowns on my own. Which is impossible.

I have been actively trying to break myself of this habit lately since I am back at home for a bit and am surrounded by such a gorgeous view and landscape. I love that I can stand outside at night, look up at the stars and have no streetlights in my face and can only hear frogs and crickets (and the neighbor's pool filter if you really listen hard). Those moments remind me to give up control, focus my mind on one thing at a time, and remember that I am not in charge. Thank goodness!

It seems fitting that I am up after midnight writing this post. My mind is so loud and jumbled sometimes that it's hard to quiet it long enough for me to fall asleep, and tonight is one of those nights.

There is a great song by Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors called Live Forever, and the words have really been resounding with me lately! Especially this line:

"Some say faith is a childish game. Well,play on children, like it's Christmas day."

Friday, April 15, 2011

girl scout camp tonight!

...and there is rain in the forecast. And for tomorrow.

Prayers appreciated for all of New Visions council to have a safe and dry night!

Be Prepared! The Girl Scout motto! This really just means lugging around a bunch of stuff you probably won't need, but just in case I have lots of ponchos and towels for soggy Brownies!

Stay tuned...

Monday, April 4, 2011

ch ch ch changes

Feeling a bit overwhelmed at the current moment. This is shaping up to be busy-but eventful-month.

A few changes on the horizon, including Wednesday being my last day at Bliss. I will be starting at the Knoxville News Sentinel next month through the amazing program known as the Knoxville Fellows! I could not be more excited to FINALLY use my degree and grow in my faith at the same time. This is such a great opportunity for me to be able to integrate my faith into work, serve my community and be challenged daily by 11 other recent(ish) graduates. I think this is the direction I have been searching for so earnestly since finishing school over a year ago.

Also, just this past weekend I lost my lovely roommate Mollie to job-searching in Nashville, so it looks like another move is in the works! I think this makes 7? I have been where I am only since August but with my record that seems to be a long time. I'll be moving to Market Square at the end of July so it doesn't make much sense to look for another roommate...hence back to Strawberry Plains I go for a few months!

AND coming up next weekend is my very first experience as a Girl Scout leader at Camp Tanasi...{insert nervous nailbiting here} I have 7 girls going and we are staying in the nice indoor lodge with 2 other Brownie troops, bringing the total to close to 45 girls. Ages 8-9. Yeesh. Getting a little antsy about this one.  Stay tuned...

BUT yesterday I set out to complete my 2nd half marathon and emerged victorious! Even though the adrenaline has all worn off now and I can barely walk, I could not be more pleased with how it went. I took 12 minutes off of my 2009 time and I enjoyed the experience much, much more.

Unrelated to any of the above things is this SNL sketch. I have been revisiting it pretty frequently and cracking myself up. Just claaaaasic!

Monday, March 28, 2011

good things

Just because I am so overly confident about my musical tastes (elitist? Nahhhh), I feel the need to shed a little light on a Knoxville band that you need to listen to today.

The Dirty Guv'nahs.
As an educated, talented and charismatic group of rock and roll performers, they pretty much shatter any outsiders' views of Tennesseans. (ie: we don't wear shoes, we can't form sentences without using ain't and yens...that sort of thing). The Guvs are a ridiculously great southern rock band, talented way beyond their years, that formed out of random circumstances 5 years ago.

The Guvs are made up of 6 dedicated southern gentlemen who genuinely love what they are doing. And it shows. Check out their website and get to to their next concert to see for yourself!

And while you are downloading their latest album, Youth is in Our Blood, from Itunes-you should watch the videos for Baby We Were Young and We'll Be the Light

Bottom line: if you hate good music, don't listen to them. 

Lastly, If you are a Tennessee sports fan of any kind, I don't know how you could have made it through the past few years without seeing this...but just in case, you should probably check this out.

You're welcome in advance.

Friday, March 25, 2011

frittering away my Friday

I have been noticing a pattern in all of my favorite actors and TV characters:  they are all adorable funnymen. 
Tell me you don't just love...

john krasinski, aka jim halpert
josh radnor, aka ted mosby
adam scott, aka ben wyatt
rob lowe, aka chris
jimmy fallon

joel mchale, aka jeff winger

jason bateman, aka michael bluth
ok, seth and scott aren't  tv characters,
but listen to denouncing november blues and tell me they aren't hilarious

pictures all found by googling actors' names

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

right now

i am...

::watching this month absolutely fly by. Where is the time going?!

::loving the warmer weather and being able to NOT wear socks. I hate socks

::wanting to go on an overnight hiking trip or a daylong kayaking trip. My feet are starting to get the usual itch to GOOOOOOOO!

::reading  Little Bee, a story about a Nigerian refugee in the UK. It's incredibly moving. Also working on finishing Friday Night Lights and don't waste your life

::preparing for my second half marathon on April 3. I'm a bit nervous about this one because I remember how much pain I was in after the last. Hopefully the joints are toughened up! Stay tuned...

::learning  how to accomplish the most out of every hour. I mostly get to practice this on Monday nights at Girl Scout meetings, where I find myself zooming through my planned activities and not observing the tender innocence of the girls in my troop. They are only 8 years old, but they keep me real.

::waiting on May 24 to get here! Big things are going down. Times are a changin'

::enjoying some delicious (and expensiveeeee) Fresh Market Georgia Pecan coffee. It was a treat to myself for not being late last week. It's the small victories people.

::surprising myself by getting through my first Girl Scout cookie sale with only one minor meltdown. Progress!

::feeling calmer and more "directed" than I have in a long time. My life plans mean nothing...why should I stress myself out when they don't go as I'd hoped?

::hoping I'm not the weird and old outcast when I begin my new endeavor this August...details later!

::planning a magnificent Knoxville-DC-New York trip that Bethany and I are taking when she finishes finals in May! New York on my 24th birthday?! Maybe!

::listening to the things my dreams have been telling me lately. I have never been one to analyze dreams, but with some of the ones I've had lately-there has to be something there.

::searching for scriptural confirmation for each decision I make

::finding that even though I would rather not, it's okay to ask for help.

Monday, March 21, 2011

just a hint of sarcasm

What's the saying about being treating others the way you would like to be treated? Oh yeah, that you should TREAT OTHERS THE WAY YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE TREATED.

Oh, that one. Someone once thought it was important enough to be called "Golden." Imagine that.

Now I have bad days just like anyone else, but when they come 3 or 4 times a week, that bad mood could just be categorized under "being rude to others" or "thinking everyone else is incompetent and unimportant." In my experience, it seems like you get more accomplished when you are polite to people. BONUS! You are also more likely to receive help. 

Call me crazy. It's nice to be important. But it's more important to be nice.

Monday, March 14, 2011

i need a vacation.

So this is spring break for Knox County and UT students. I'm experiencing some serious envy via Facebook and Twitter for those who are somewhere exotic this week.

Heck, it doesn't even have to be exotic, just somewhere that is not here.

Whine whine whine. I just want to be warm. I'm pretending I'm here...

Breathe in, breathe out, move on. Tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

hello spring

Hello friends!

I don't know how many people agree with me, but I am more than ready to put this winter in the books. The excess of snow and rain, the crazy drivers, biting cold wind and the whole getting dark at 5pm thing...SO ready for them to be over. I normally like a cooldown after the brutal Tennessee summer humidity, but this one took a lot out of me.

It's Just a gross time of year, all gray and dead looking. This winter convinced me that I have that "Seasonal Affective Disorder"...but at times I am also convinced I have Restless Leg Syndrome. Ah, and I digress.

But finally! The promise of spring is right around the corner, the hours of sunshine are increasing and a new season brings a renewed sense of motivation and purpose.

I have been listening to this song by the Avett Brothers a LOT lately. It's just plain good. The harmonies, the words, the meaning...everything.

the weight of lies.

Disappear from you hometown
Go and find the people that you know
Show them all you good parts
Leave town when bad ones start to show

Go and wed a woman
A pretty girl that you’ve never met
Make sure she knows you love her well
But don’t make any other promises

The weight of lies will bring you down
And follow you to every town
Cause nothing happens here that doesn’t happen there
So when you run make sure you run
To something and not away from
Cause lies don’t need an aeroplane to chase you anywhere

I once heard the worse thing
A man could do is draw a hungry crowd
Tell everyone his name, pride, and confidence
But leaving out his doubt

I’m not sure I bought those words
When I was young I knew most everything
These words have never met so much to anyone
As they now mean to me

The weight of lies will bring you down
And follow you to every town
Cause nothing happens here that doesn’t happen there
So when you run make sure you run
To something and not away from
Cause lies don’t need an aeroplane to chase you down

great version of this song here
and here is a cover by Seth Avett I have been obsessed with lately.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

i love...

how looking at a snow-covered yard makes you want to be quiet. listening to this song while driving at night.  reading something that so perfectly applies to my life, like 1 Corinthians 7:17.  having tv marathons with my sister when I'm home. taking my shoes off at the end of the day and putting on comfy pants. when things finally start falling into place. crossing things off of lists. making something with my hands.  reading blogs...lots and lots of blogs.  getting rid of stuff. legal pads. vacuuming. eating too many baked goods. the smell of peanut butter as soon as you pull the seal off. following through. feeling heard. feeling like I accomplished something. wondering what the future holds.

I had a one of the most encouraging nights in awhile last night with a new Bible study group and I'm feeling very blessed today. Gotta love the little things

Monday, January 17, 2011

too much information?

One of my very best friends, Emma, blogs about how she always forgets to blog and I totally agree with her. It's hard to remember to post on here but then sometimes I just don't think I have anything intuitive to say.

Sometimes I wonder if this blog is what I like to call an "overshare" the kind of thing you read on Twitter or facebook and find yourself saying in your head "Why did this person think I needed to know this?"

Sometimes I wonder if it's purely narcissistic, and that it looks like I think my thoughts are so delightfully witty or strangely insightful that everyone ought to know them.

I'm kind of in a funk over this. It started after I read this article that my beautiful friend Erin posted. As I was reading, I began to feel more and more exposed. I mean, yeah I've cropped myself out of a picture before to use as a default.  It really is like our own magic mirror, except we can control the reflection that others see.

(the following contains a slight soapbox)
Here is something I don't quite see the need for on the FB:Relationship statuses. Unless you are married (which is seemingly permanent) what is the big deal with letting people know who you are in a relationship with? Because the worst part is when it's over...and your bidness is splayed all over the News Feed. Isn't this something you would rather deal with privately instead of oversharing all over the Internet? If, for personal reasons, you need Facebook confirmation that you are indeed In a Relationship with someone...maybe you shouldn't be in the first place? Just a thought.

I'm in a very question-y mood today. And I just sat here for 10 minutes before posting this trying to decide if it was worth it. Not a good day for decisions, apparently.