Monday, October 31, 2011

29 and Grateful

A year ago at Thanksgiving, I wrote a post detailing 28 things I am thankful for (28 after having just celebrated my 28th birthday). Yesterday, I turned 29, and I'm finding myself thinking about gratitude and blessings much more earlier than the holidays this year.

Last Sunday at church, my pastor spoke about giving thanks and how much a grateful attitude can change your overall health and mind when compared with one of pessimism. (The overall series is about maintaining hope amid all of the crazy things we see going on in our world every day.) And he charged us to write down three things we are thankful for each day. You can check out my daily rambles on my Twitter account (and you can follow along with the #betterdayschallenge as well), but here are a few things of note:
  • Heated air and water
  • The ability to fall asleep whenever/wherever (sometimes a problem, but mostly a blessing)
  • My roommate and sister and their built-in companionship and laughter outlet
  • A good job and coworkers I like
  • A family that has never made me feel lacking in love, support, or safety
  • Living in a town in which I can see a free show every night if I want to
  • Ear Plugs
  • Fantastic Friends
It is so easy to take the simple things for granted and get caught up wishing for more and ungrateful because, perhaps, life isn't following your path. That was yesterday's message at church: worry. And the most poignant thing that struck me was when Pete emphasized Jeremiah 29:11, a verse he says we misuse and sometimes manipulate to bring us comfort: "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." We often replace the "I" with "you," but like Pete said yesterday, it isn't "I know the plan YOU have for you..." and he challenged us to continue searching our hearts for gratitude and listing them daily.

So I've been doing this, and guess what - I'm feeling pretty good these days. And this is coming from someone who just turned 29 and am realizing that there isn't a part of my life that has turned out as I'd planned. A friend of mine just posted the following on facebook, and I had to steal it: "Looking for a cure for your depression? Try Appreciation. It's free and works great! Warning! Side effects may include: happiness and contentment. Do not use Appreciation if you enjoy being miserable." So you see - it's not just me. Join me in being grateful, won't you?

And on a side note, if my plans had all worked out the way I'd wanted them to, I wouldn't have this:

You see, with the exception of my sister, who doesn't have much choice in the matter, I probably wouldn't know these people in the picture, who gathered with me yesterday for a birthday picnic. I never anticipated the relationships that have been formed later in life and made such an impact on me. That I would meet these wonderful people after moving to Nashville who would change me and make me better. Nor did I expect for my sister to become my best friend. I love that doggie, too, but more on that later. So suffice it to say, I have a lot to be thankful for.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Don't be a Hallowiener...

Check out my fave Halloween books, movies, and the like here on my last post at the Uncontainable Truth.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

...where theyr'e gonna bury me (oh lord)

Tennessee's a brother
to my sister Carolina

I took those a week apart in Cary, NC, and Ashland City, TN.

If you don't know the reference, you should.

("Let It Ride" by Ryan Adams.)

Swedish Sisters, A Parks Dept., Zombies, and Ghosts of Frat Dudes

Four things have kept me entertained lately that I highly suggest you check out if you aren't familiar:

First Aid Kit
I hadn't heard of this band until I saw them open for Bright Eyes in Birmingham, and I swear they spoke straight to my soul that night with their finely tuned harmonies and talk of lions. Sisters Johanna and Klara have one album out, The Big Black and Blue, and will release The Lion's Roar in January 2012. I liken them to a female version of the Fleet Foxes, but with a bit more thoughtful subject matter. (Fitting, seeing as their cover of "Tiger Mountain Pleasant Song" is what got them on the musical grid in the first place.) Here are a few samples:

I'll admit I'm still processing the actual content here... is she saying there's no Heaven at all? Or just focusing on living now? But it's pretty regardless, yes?

Parks and Recreation
I have no idea why I hesitated watching this show, which is now in its 4th season. It's hilarious and the characters are nothing short of endearing. I want them to be my best friends and bosses.
I want to work there. 

Treat Yo'Self! My new face of delight. 
Ron Swanson - My hero

The Walking Dead
Per my usual, I was a little late signing on for this one. I've never been a huge zombie fan... I don't really like violence and gore, but I do like a good story and though I don't understand the intricacies of how any of it works, I try my best to gauge good vs. bad cinematography. And with that being said, this show has a lot of heart. And a lot of blood and gore. But mostly - it's visually impressive, and I've been impressed with the actual plot. Plus, it's set in and around Atlanta, and the scenes of abandoned streets and buildings I easily recognize is nothing short of impressive and eery. Don't overlook it just because zombie's aren't your thing.

The Worthy by Will Clarke

I'm in the middle of this right now, and I can barely put it down. Set in Baton Rouge at LSU's (fictional) Gamma Chi frat house, The Worthy is narrated by Conrad Avery Sutton III, a formerly wealthy (read: pretentious frat dude) who tells us right off that he's dead and murdered by his psychotic pledge trainer Ryan Hutchins. Ryan's the worst. He is abusive to friends and his girlfriend (who he also cheats on regularly), and is just bleeding douchebaggery. So Conrad finds himself stuck in spirit-form on Earth, and more specifically gravitating around the frat house where he met his demise, and is currently searching for a way to be a more effective ghost (he hasn't mastered the art of haunting or possessing, but is diligent in his quest). The one person who can see/hear/talk to him is Etta, the house's cook, and she hints that he has a mission on Earth before he can move on. I've been highly entertained by all of the frat boy chatter (a bit overdone at times, but it brings me back and makes me a bit nostalgic for some of my time spent around the Greek circuit in college), and I've come to care about Conrad and want him to find his mission and get out of his misery of ghostdom. All in all, it's mostly entertaining, and I'm a bit disappointed it isn't more creepy.. but I definitely recommend it, especially if you went to an SEC school and can relate to episodes of talegating, frat parties, and have known a few douchebag frat dudes in your past*.

*Not saying all frat boys are such, just that if a dude is already an idiot and then he joins a fraternity and finds a clan of other idiots, it accelerates the level of douche infinitely.


It's Fall, yall

Pumpkins at the Nashville Farmer's Market

October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand.
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
~ George Cooper

It seems that each year, I neglect my blog a bit when the season hits. I thrive in the fall and find myself out and about, soaking up the breeze. And I smile and sigh and get all cheesy about things like leaves and pumpkins and ghost stories. So needless to say... I've been busy. So for now, a sneak preview of many detailed posts to come: