Hear Ye, Hear Ye

Grub –   Maybe because it’s Summer Time, and maybe because I live in Georgia where if the humidity doesn’t bother you the heat and humidity combination will make you question everything you thought you knew about the melting point of human flesh, I am super into ice cream this week.  Two favorites are Ben & Jerry’s Urban Bourbon (delightfully indulgent) and Halo Top’s Mint Chip (light and guilt-free).  The Halo Top could use more chips, but I just add some Ghirardelli baking chips and I’m good to go.

Straight Outta Pandora – artist I’m super into is BORNS.  I heard the song “Dug My Heart” and it was all she wrote.  Check it out here.   Their music has a very… mystical quality to it.  It’s 80s but it’s also modern.  “American Money” is mesmerizing.  Another band on my list this week is Young the Giant.  Listen to “Something to Believe In” and get back to me with opinions and suggestions.

Globetrotting –  Found a great deal for flights to Rome, Italy.  I think it was posted by Conde Nast Traveler magazine, but don’t quote me on that.  Trying to get my bro and sister-in-law on board.  I’d love to be there this winter!  We’ve been to the Colosseum once before but unfortunately Gladiator hadn’t come out yet, so I’ve not had the opportunity to stand inside it and scream, “Are you not entertained?”  So.  Life goals.

Body – My focus right now is on sleep, rest, self-care, and hydration.  I notice a real difference in myself when I drink lots of water and when I get lots of quality sleep.  On the fitness end, I’m spending tons of time outside, touching nature and breathing fresh air.  Highly recommend this to all my fitfam/gymrat friends.

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Callaway Gardens, Robin’s Lake Beach. @emmettsmommy86 on IG

Heart and Soul – Psychometry has been on my mind this week.  The following is from Wikipedia:

(from Greek: ψυχή, psukhē, “spirit, soul” and μέτρον, metron, “measure”), also known as token-object reading, or psychoscopy, is a form of extrasensory perception characterized by the claimed ability to make relevant associations from an object of unknown history by making physical contact with that object.

I don’t know if I believe a person could pick up an antique and discern things about its previous owners, but I do wholeheartedly believe that all things are energy.  (Notice I didn’t say all things “have” energy.)  Living things like people, plants, and animals as well as non-living things are all made of energy.  Some people call this vibration.  I refer to raising vibration a lot, because I believe positive things in life vibrate at a higher level than negative things, so the goal is to always raise or keep high vibration, so that you’re always energetically on the same wavelength (so to speak) with those things that are most desirable for you.  For more information on attracting, check out Agnes Vivarelli on YouTube.  Her videos are about vibration, manifestation, and radiating love.

What Dreams May Come – The only dream I had this week was a nightmare, so I’m not going to post about it.  Hope to have a better dream story next week.

Photographing – Trail runs, nature, animals, moving away from selfies and people photos.  Also, painted rocks, both hidden and found.  Haven’t heard of the rock-painting phenomenon?  Get Involved in Your Community!

 

Big and Small Screen – I have only seen a couple episodes of Criminal Minds this week, but they were good ones.  The relationship between Derek and Penelope is everything. I watch this, totally enjoying their back-and-forth dialogue, and half-hoping for a hookup.  Also watching SDCC footage here and there.  Love the new Justice League trailer, especially Jason Momoa as Aquaman (you can follow him on Instagram ) and Ezra Miller (also on Instagram) as Flash, who my son is most exicted about.  Momoa has been my main guy for a while, I’m so excited to see a spirit like his succeeding in Hollywood.  Miller is a talented actor and I’m curious to see where he’ll go.  Flash also seems to have all the funny lines, but maybe that’s just the trailer.  Oh, and you can see the Justice League trailer from ComicCon 2017 right over here.

Between the Pages – This week I read Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor” for the first time.  A self-professed Shakespeare lover/buff/geek, I am ashamed that I haven’t read everything he’s written.  I’m not into the comedies as much and the language (and therefore the humor) can be difficult for me to digest, but I got through it.  I also went to SparkNotes.com and read the synopsis.  It’s a helpful website as it also gives context, informing the reader of what was going on in England at that time.

Tech – My only news here is that I finally played Pokemon GO.  It was underwhelming, but thankfully I didn’t walk off any cliffs.

Life Story Version 1

There once was a girl from Nowhere.

Mist in her eyes,

Stardust in her hair.

The earth knew her secrets,

The sky buoyed her dreams,

And she was hopelessly-

Desperately-

Caught in between.

 

My Own Hemingway

Hemingway wrote, “Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep.  Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

He lived exactly that way.  Loud laugh (and sneezes and snores!), marching to the beat of his own drum, eating the fattening food and always thirsty for knowledge.  Walking in the morning before the sun came up, delighting in life’s smallest pleasures, using every moment as an opportunity to teach and inspire. He left an indelible mark on my heart and my spirit, and he was truly a gift.

Much like Hemingway, he possessed a towering personality, a strong wit, a boisterous laugh, great humility and a zest for life and good food.

He taught me so much:

Shakespeare. Algebra. Kindness. UGA Football. Curiosity. Humor. Responsibility.  Cracklin’ Oat Bran. Perspective. National Geographic. Cinnamon toast. Marigolds. Gratitude. Strawberries. Music. Generosity. Travel. Naps. Puns. Iced coffee. Tradition. Barbecue. Courage. History. Ambrosia. Strength. Classical Music. Individuality.

Love.

So, Happy Birthday to my own Hemingway. I love you forever.  xo, Your Girl.

Buffalo Gal Won’t You Come Out Tonight…

…and dance by the light of the moon…

 

Full Moon
It’s tonight, y’all!

So tonight is a full moon, as many of you fine readers may already know.  I’ve always been attracted to the moon itself, and I don’t really have an explanation for it except that I’ve always been a little odd.  So, there you go.  The moon is mystical and powerful, and whether you believe in it or not, its power over us mortals is legendary.

The full moon that is upon us, the June full moon, was known to many Native American Tribes as the Strawberry moon.  This is the time of year that strawberries would be harvested.  Native Americans knew that the moon had pull on bodies of water, and affected women’s menstrual cycles.  They told many stories about the creation, cycles, and power of the moon.

How many times have you heard a friend or co-worker say, “must be a full moon” when explaining a challenging day or a person’s odd behavior?  Do you wonder if there’s any truth to it?  Logically speaking, if the moon pulls on water (and this is scientific fact), doesn’t it make sense that it would have some pull on us, too, since we are 80% water?

Anyway, I personally am fascinated with the moon, especially when it’s full and bright and visible.  Sometimes I can’t see it from where I live, because of all the unnatural light that surrounds me.  So it’s particularly thrilling when I can.  In my reading and research, I’ve learned that the moon is at it’s most powerful (and helpful) when it is full.  Now is the time to cleanse, to let go of negative influence, memories, emotions, and energy.  Now is most definitely the time to ask for big things.  So, a new home, new job or promotion, healing of an extreme illness.  I am TOTALLY excited to try this in my own life.  The last couple of days I’ve been preparing.  I’ve been thinking about the moon’s power and how I might harness some of that energy for myself.  I’ve been wearing my moon jewelry the last couple of days, eating only plant-based (for cleansing), and making a list of things that I want to be true in my life.  Positive statements like: I am a world traveler.  I am going to Paris.  I have accomplished having a book published.

Tonight during the full moon I will go outside, I will speak to the moon and yes, a few other things not listed here.  (I’m not going into specifics because this isn’t a “how-to” post and it’s just experimental.)  I will do some deep breathing exercises, inhaling all things good and exhaling negativity.  I will be open to believing and open to receiving, and I am willing to bet that the follow-up to this post will be a long list of all the amazing things that have happened as a result!  Wish me luck!  And PLEASE be sure to tell me your own moon stories, beliefs, and experiences!  I really want to hear.

 

Dear Kids, When I fail…

Dear kids, Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I see that you’ve grown over night. Your face is more defined, your eyes look older. A part of me is excited and in awe; I know you have so much ah…

Source: Dear Kids, When I fail…

Just Five More Minutes, Lord.

When I was younger, I was not a morning person. As a child my family often teased me about my “5 more minutes” in the morning. I would sleep and sleep until the last possible instant, then rush to get ready for school, which sometimes caused me to miss out on a spectacular Southern breakfast. We’re talking eggs, grits, biscuits, milk, orange juice, bacon – the works. I was always upset when I missed breakfast, but the next morning, without fail, I was back to old habits. “Please just 5 more minutes, I’m so sleepy”. Was the extra sleep worth missing out on breakfast? No. It never was. As an adult and parent, I am now a converted morning person. I love being up early and being productive. However, the “5 more minutes” mentality is something I still struggle with in other areas of my life, particularly my walk as a Christian.

I met Miss LB on my 35th birthday. Instead of having a party or opening presents, I wanted to spend the day doing nice things for other people. Inspired by some ideas I had seen on Pinterest, I had spent the days prior to my birthday compiling a list of 35 acts of kindness that were doable – affordable and logistically possible, since time was limited. I knew I might not get to do all 35, but I wanted to do as many as I could in a day.

The list included things like purchasing someone’s coffee anonymously at Starbucks, and taping coins to vending machines so that the finder would get a free treat. Nothing Earth-shattering, but carefully considered good deeds that would make each person smile and spread a little joy. Many things on the list were things I would like to receive myself.

The day was fun. We all know that giving feels better than receiving, we’ve all heard someone say that, but I think the accuracy of that statement is often minimized, or not considered at all. It feels good to give. It feels amazing to see another human’s face light up because you took a few minutes to brighten their day. After just a handful of tasks were completed, I was feeling high on life and full of joy and gratitude. It was shaping up to be the best birthday ever!

One of final acts of kindness on the list was to bring flowers to someone in a nursing home. Having grown up with my grandparents, I have a heart for the elderly, and am acutely aware that our society does not value them as it should. There happens to be an assisted living home pretty close to us, so after purchasing some flowers and a card, we drove there. My husband waited in the car, as I wanted to do this one myself. Walking in, I didn’t know what to expect, (would it be depressing? Lots of older people waiting to die, watching tv and drooling?) but I was not expecting what I found. A clean, well-lit lobby that looked similar to that of a hotel and smelled like whatever delicious lunch was being served, and all sorts of people milling about. Some watching tv, some dining and laughing together. Not depressing at all.

My eyes immediately went to a small, white-haired lady on my right. She was dressed in a navy blue blazer and slacks, seated in a wheelchair, watching me intently and smiling. I smiled back. She pointed to the flowers and said, “Are those for me?”

“Well… of course they are!” I responded enthusiastically. I bent down to hug her and she hugged me back. I didn’t stay to talk, I don’t know why except that talking to strangers is not my forte, and I hadn’t quite rehearsed how this would go. The other acts of kindness required minimal conversation, where this one required real human connection, and that scared me a little. Still when I turned to go I felt happy, like I had spent the day well and been handsomely rewarded, emotionally, for it.

As the days and weeks passed, I thought about Miss LB a few times. I decided to go see her again on Easter. I didn’t know (I still don’t know) her family situation, but I got the impression that she was alone a lot. This time, I would drive myself, and stay with her to chat if I felt up to it.

Miss LB wasn’t sitting by the door when I walked in, so I asked the receptionist where I might find her. The receptionist graciously guided me to Miss LB’s “apartment”, where I waited in the hall. Eventually I was led to the back, where the sweet lady I’d met a couple of months before was reclined on her bed, watching some game show on her television. I couldn’t help but notice a huge oil painting that hung on the wall of a grinning young serviceman, dressed in his army uniform, brown hair combed neatly to the side. Her husband, I presumed (but didn’t ask). This was only my second visit and I didn’t want to get too personal. The receptionist (who I’d realized by now was actually a nurse) was speaking gently, trying to coax Miss LB into joining the others for lunch. She should eat something, and the food today was very good. The food was declined, but my company was welcomed, so I walked over to the right side of her bed, where the nightstand was, and put down he flowers. “These are for Easter”, I told her. She told me she was glad to see me again. She had thought about me since that first brief meeting, and she so loved to receive flowers. The receptionist/nurse was ever-present, though, and the pressure of a supervised “getting to know you” conversation was heavy, and I didn’t stay long. Still, I was glad I had gone. Glad to have met Miss LB.

In my daily life, I contemplated often the perceived randomness of life – why things work out the way they do. For instance, why it was Miss LB the one who was there on my birthday, who asked about the flowers and then collected them. I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe in purpose. I was sure God had caused me to meet Miss LB on purpose.

Days passed, then weeks, then months. (Time goes faster the older you get, my dad used to tell me, and now I routinely experience it for myself.) Spring turned to Summer and Summer to Fall, and I had not been back to see my sweet new friend. I wondered how she was doing, and even prayed for her, but didn’t visit. I meant to. Honestly, I did. My good intention was often followed closely by a good excuse. I’m too tired. I don’t have enough money for flowers today. I’m too busy. They seemed like good reasons to procrastinate at the time.

As the holidays approached, I felt a real urging in my spirit to see Miss LB. “I need to go”, I would tell my husband, and then I’d fall right into my daily routine of driving past the assisted living home, promising myself sincerely that I would go as soon as I had time.

I knew that God was asking me to do this thing. There is a distinct feeling – a knowing – in one’s heart and spirit that take place when it’s God who is speaking. I repeat: I knew that God was asking me to do this thing. As he persisted, I resisted, repeating the excuses that had appeased my own conscience a hundred times.

Christmas passed, and I thought about her. I considered whether she had family, whether she received any gifts or cards or hugs – or flowers. I didn’t go see her. New Year’s went by, and I thought about her. Does she like to watch the ball drop on tv? I didn’t go see her, absorbed instead in my own selfish “to do” list, I pushed the thoughts out of my head as quickly as they’d entered, like I had done so many times before.

Today is January 3rd, 2016. Today I finally had time. I decided to take my 6 year old with me to run errands, and I thought it would be nice for him to meet Miss LB. We went together to the store and he chose the flowers and signed the card. I drove to the assisted living community, all the while mentally patting myself on the back for being such a good mom, showing my son how to love others and be unselfish. We walked in, and asked a nurse whether we might walk down and see Miss LB. She paused, but didn’t say anything, so I repeated myself. “Miss LB? Her last name is ________, I believe. We just wanted to give her some flowers.” The nurse excused herself, made a phone call, and then promptly came back over to me. “Miss LB is in hospice (end-of-life) care. I’m so sorry.”

Bam. A punch in the gut. I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me, but knowing my son was watching I took a deep breath and inquired as to her current location. “We’ll just go there and see her”, I told him with a faint smile. The hospice facility was only a couple of miles away, so we went there and inquired about Miss LB. The orderly at the desk checked his book and then asked us to follow him. We arrived at a nurse’s station. I heard him whisper, “Is Miss _______ up to having visitors? Is she still talking or anything?” The nurse looked at him, looked at me and my son with his flowers, and shook her head. Miss LB can’t speak anymore, she told him. We would need to leave the flowers with her. So we did, and I thanked them, and then held onto my son’s hand while we walked what felt like miles back to our car, him asking questions and me fighting back tears.

Delayed obedience is disobedience. Our pastor said that once, in a sermon that spoke directly to my heart. Do you understand, he said, that when God asks you to do something, he means right now? I never forgot those words, because so often I mean well, I want to obey, and then I procrastinate. When the day finally comes that I do what God has asked, I pat myself on the back when in reality God isn’t happy with me at all. I haven’t done what he’s asked; I’ve been an insubordinate fool and likely missed out on untold blessings because of my foolishness. God can use the willing, (truly he can use anyone he pleases), but we can only please him and grow spiritually when we pair a willing heart with an obedient mind and spirit.

My heart aches today. I know that Miss LB was a special lady. I know that God gave me a rare opportunity to connect with someone, to bless her and have her bless me, and now I have to live with musings and daydreams of the conversations we’ll never have. Stories and hugs and laughs that won’t be shared. All because I assumed that tomorrow would be fine. All because I wanted to do what was on my list, and not what was on God’s list for me. All because I wanted my 5 more minutes. Let me tell you straight, friend, it was absolutely, unquestionably, not worth it.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 1:28

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it–he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:25

Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:61-62

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15

Survivor: Nashville

**Two things I feel are worth mentioning, that I didn’t when I originally wrote this blog post:  First, while we were away, my son lost his first tooth.  Considering the disastrous time we were having, this felt like a Mommy Fail of the highest order.  I’d have given anything to be there.  I also missed his Christmas party at school, which is less of a big deal, but I still felt like I made a bad choice. 

Second, I am aware that this post may come across as whiny, entitled, or ungrateful.  Please take my word for it that I am none of those things.  The plain fact is, though, that my  husband and I could have bought tickets to a Darius Rucker show, booked a hotel, and driven to Nashville for much less than this “win” cost us.  Knowing that makes it really hard to say thank you for what was supposed to be a wish granted (although I did say thank you, dozens of times over the year that I waited to hear from someone.)**

Hello, any readers of mine who still read me.  This week, I was on the losing end of a series of unfortunate events, so I want to take the time to write it down in order to ‘let it go’.  I’ll try and explain in detail.  Here goes…

Last year, on Christmas Eve, I received notification that I had won a contest/sweepstakes.  My husband and I were just driving home from my Granny’s annual Christmas Eve party, feeling happy and in the Christmas spirit.  So this win was like the cherry on top of my holiday.

It was the Darius Rucker Homegrown Holidays Sweepstakes, where fans could tweet Darius something they wish for as a Christmas gift, and certain lucky ones actually got what they wished!  I tweeted that I’d very much like to bring my husband to see Mr. Rucker play in Nashville, and he actually said he would do that for us!  No way!  We were so stoked!  I shared the post from his Facebook page and many of our friends were excited for us, too.  We live in the South so Country music is beloved, and to get to see the birthplace of country music?  It was just incredible that this was really happening!

The past few years have been hard on us, financially, so in that respect, the idea of a vacation was super appealing as well.  We had not taken one in years, so it really felt like a big blessing had just arrived on our doorstep.

In January, I was contacted through Facebook and Twitter by two separate reps from Darius’ label, asking for my contact info and saying they would get back to me with details on the concert trip.  How can I put this succinctly… they never did.

Now, I’m not a patient person all the time, but I do ok with gifts, and this totally was a huge gift so I was not going to rush the giver at all.  I was just so thankful and grateful.  A few months went by, and I hadn’t heard anything.  I sent messages on twitter, FB, and email, to cover my bases.  No one replied to any of them.  April, July, and September were (if I remember correctly) the months I tried to get someone to speak to me about the sweepstakes.  Every other prize winner had received their win months ago.  Still, mine was big and involved travel so maybe these things take a while.  I had not won anything so big, so I didn’t know how it was supposed to work.

During this time of waiting, one of my husband’s co-workers took a trip to Nashville.  When he came back, they chatted about the trip.  Turns out he had gone to the Ryman to see Darius Rucker.  Oh.  Really.  At this point I began to think we might never get to go.

Well, beginning of December this year, I asked a friend what she thought I should do.  It had been almost a year, and still I heard from no one about the sweepstakes prize, even when I tried contacting them. (My messages were always concise and respectful, for the record.)  She got me the phone number for Universal Music Group, so I called and asked for the rep who had asked for my contact info on Facebook (and who had friended me as well, and was still listed as my friend).  I believe I called 3 times.  Finally, I spoke with him, and he let me now that Darius Rucker would be playing at the Ryman Auditorium this month.

After that call, things moved quickly.  I received via email affidavits to sign and return.  The concert was in 10 days, give or take, and if those dates did not work for me, I would forfeit the prize entirely.  Now, what rubbed me the wrong way here is that I had been so patient, and even kind, about the whole thing.  I do have a life here, and my  husband works a lot of hours.  It would be a challenge to find someone to watch my kids, handle their school and care for 3 week days, and my husband get the time off work that quickly.  We had to hustle.  Besides all that, I am nearly 5 months pregnant, and I know there are restrictions for flying after a certain time in pregnancy, so I really felt pressure here.  If we don’t go  now, we don’t get to go, period.

We worked it out.  Shout out to my husband, who was a huge support in getting everything together.  We each packed light – one carry on bag per person, plus my purse – and away we went.  First, we drove 2 hours to the ATL airport.  Parking fees!  Oh, I did not expect parking fees.  (Chalk this up to not being an experienced traveler, I suppose.)  That ate our first day’s budget, which was already sparse because it’s Christmas time and so incredibly last minute for this sort of trip.  One hour flight to Charlotte.  It wasn’t too bad.  I don’t like to fly, and before this had not been on a plane since 2011, so if I’m honest I must say there was some deep breathing, praying, and a few tears.  From Charlotte, we hustled (as well as my belly and I could hustle) to the flight to Nashville.  We bought lunch for an astounding amount of money, but figured that was just because it was an airport.

FINALLY we arrive in Nashville!  There’s even live music in the airport.  So cool.  It’s crowded, but I suppose that’s because it’s close to Christmas.  We find our way to the shuttles and inquire about ours.  (I was advised earlier by Mr. Rucker’s rep to take a shuttle to our hotel.)  Come ot find out, there is no shuttle to that hotel.  We can purchase one-way shuttle tickets for 15/person, one way.  I feel deflated.  In this moment, I don’t know what to do.  If we take the shuttle, 2/3 of our Nashville budget is gone before we even get to our hotel room.  I emailed the rep.  He never responded.  My hubs decided we could ask to take a shuttle to a hotel near ours.  That backfired on us, though, because we ended up at some OTHER, other hotel, still stuck.  Finally we paid $20 for a taxi to the hotel.

We arrived at the hotel, stressed but relieved to have made it.  We’ll just have to do the best we can with money, I say, and we take an hour or so to rest.  The hotel was nice, it did not have room service but we figured on walking around the city, so at dinner time we got ready and went exploring.

Nashville… is dirty.  I don’t mean that to be ugly or insulting.  It just is.  At least, the only part of Nashville we saw is dirty.  Gritty.  Lots of honky tonks, which were cool to see, and live music coming from every direction.  I took a lot of photos and we searched for a place to eat.  Finally, starving and upset that I could not find anything affordable, we ate at a local barbecue place.  At this point I was feeling like we had made some terrible mistake.  We should not have come here, I really thought we would be taken care of, we would have a point of contact, but it was more like being dropped in the middle of a strange place with no money, no directions, not even a pat on the back and a “good luck”.

I didn’t sleep well that night.  I kept going over our bank account.  My husband works SO HARD for what we do have, and I take that very seriously. Christmas is coming up and we have 2 kids to buy for and it’s a helpless feeling, knowing we have to spend money in order to eat, but also knowing we really can’t.  We argued a little, then we prayed, then I cried.

Tuesday.  The concert is tonight.  Maybe we can find some “free” things to do.  Checked my email, just to see if that rep might be concerned about us at all.  Nope, nothing.  He’s also unfriended me on Facebook.  This pretty much confirmed for me that 1) they didn’t want to give me the prize but did so reluctantly because I kept calling, and 2) they weren’t going to give me anything more than the plane tickets and hotel because – see #1.  I realize they weren’t obligated, but when Mr. Rucker tweeted that it was going to be his gift to have us out to see him in concert, well, that’s what I expected to happen.  Anyway…

Tuesday morning we walked a little ways to Subway.  I don’t like Subway, I don’t eat much meat, but it was the cheapest option.  Did I mention there are no grocery stores in Nashville?  There are no grocery stores in downtown Nashville.  No kidding.  And the looks you get when you ask for fruit or steamed broccoli (or any kind of vegetable)?  Man, if those looks could kill.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good biscuit and bowl of grits from time to time, but the prices… $9 for some steel cut oatmeal. No kidding.  I felt like I might break out into hives.

All in all I enjoyed walking the blocks of the city, looking in all the kitschy little gift shops.  We took a lot of photos on Tuesday, it was a fun day.  Just a little note: If you happen to go into B.B. King’s, please take not of the Eric Clapton painting.  By far the most entertaining thing I saw the whole time.  I had to take a photo and send to my brother, we’re both blues fans.  It is a must see.  That evening, we went back to the hotel to get ready for the concert.  I needed to eat but could not stomach more fried food.  My husband ended up walking 2.5 miles, round trip in this strange city, in the DARK, for a dang green smoothie.  (If I had known it was that far away, I would not have allowed him to go.)  It was delicious, though, and felt life-giving compared to all the dead stuff I had been eating.

We walked to the Ryman, picked up tickets, and went in.  We had pretty good seats.  The place is small, so I think all the seats are good seats.  I didn’t know most of the acts, but we still had fun.  We met some interesting people.  Two highlights: Lorrie Morgan, who I LOVED as a teenager and didn’t know would be there, and of course, Darius Rucker.

Really great part of the trip:  Mr. Rucker exudes humility.  Just watching him on stage for a minute, I got the feeling he is a very down-to-earth guy, who just happens to love music and perform it well.  I wish he had done more than 3 songs (which is what each artist did), and I wish they’d been songs I recognized.

Kinda sad part of the trip: I didn’t get any souvenirs from the Ryman or from the trip, because we just couldn’t.  We had already gone over budget just trying to feed ourselves (which sounds like an exaggeration, I’m sure, but isn’t.)  We didn’t see the Johnny Cash museum, the Grand Ole Opry, or the Gaylord Opryland (which I wanted to see because years ago I worked at the Gaylord Palms in Florida, and I’ve heard the Opryland is amazing).

Wednesday morning, we woke up and walked 2.5 miles together, to McDonald’s.  Now normally I would run screaming from McDonald’s but it’s affordable so off we went.  Hubs showed me where he had walked the night before just to get me a green drink, and I scolded him a little.  It was scary, obviously not a good part of town, and I’m so thankful God was looking out for him.  To any pregnant ladies wearing cowboy boots:  It’s not a good idea to walk 2.5 miles around Nashville at 7:30 am.  If you can avoid it, please do. My shins are still sore.

The BEST part about this walk was accidentally walking past the Southern Baptist Convention and a HUGE statue of Billy Graham.  It was SO cool!  I love Billy Graham!  The WORST part about this walk was that my heart was overwhelmed at the sheer number of homeless who exist in the downtown Nashville area.  We bought a couple of biscuits and passed them out.  I mean, what can you do, right?  It certainly put things into perspective for me, which I realize I need from time to time.

Anyway, check out, pay a ridiculous cab fee to get to the airport, spend more on lunch, and we are separated on the flight.  A nice man offered to switch so we could sit together because I’m nervous and oh, yeah, pregnant.  But on the second flight, no such luck.  I set next to a very loud man, and my hubs was about 20 rows away from me, so I mostly prayed and kept my eyes closed.

Landing in Atlanta, I could have kissed the ground.  Man, it’s good to be home.  Found the car, paid the amount of the electric bill to get out of the parking lot, and then drove 2 hours in the pouring rain to my dad’s house to pick up our son.  Oh, light of my life.  Seeing him made everything better.  We drove home and I thanked God about 100 times for our home, our family, and that I don’t treat people like I had just been treated with this sweepstakes.

All total, we spent hundreds of our own money on this “win” trip.  Hundreds we didn’t have in the first place.  Christmas will be tight this year, and I am kicking myself for going at all.  But I couldn’t have known.  At this time I’ve tweeted Mr. Rucker about it but I doubt that he or anyone else will respond.  It makes me sad that something so cool turned out to be such a strain on us, but at least we had some new experiences and we know better for next time.

Bottom line(s):  Be careful what you wish for.  You might just get it.