~ ~ where some see a hopeless end, others see an endless hope ~ ~

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

You Could Have Series #6: the guy on the Corner

I’m a sucker for blatant honesty.  For no filters.  People who say what they feel.

Disclaimer:  I’m NOT a sucker for honest people who say what they feel without filters that are offensive.

K.  Moving on.

Today, as usual, I drive up to the light on Woodland and 5th.  Same routine.  Usually, one of 4 or 5 guys are there, waving.  Encouraging me to buy the latest “Contributor”  (and for those of you not from Nashville… please research this opportunistic opportunity for those less fortunate).

Granted, I’ll buy one maybe every other month (and now, I’m slowly feeling convicted I don’t buy more). So, I feel like I’ve done my fair share of ‘giving back’.

Today, I thought.  Was going to be no different.

Sure enough…  I drive up to the light and stop behind a nice little sedan.  The man waves anxiously, only this time, Mr. Smiley is holding just a cardboard sign and a Santa hat.  He motions for the man to roll his window down.

He doesn’t.  there is no judgement here, i rarely do either.  “Seriously sir?”  The man doesn’t even look in his direction.

Santa comes closer to my vehicle and motions the same gesture.


However, as he got closer, there was just something different about him.  He walked with a bit of a limp.  He never stopped smiling.  But when he looked at me, I was taken aback by his DASHING brown eyes.  I honestly couldn’t take my eyes of his eyes.  

<And NO people.  This isn’t the prelude to a romantic novel. His eyes really were breathtaking.>

I roll down my window.  He stands a safe distance from my car when he yells out, “I just need 40 cents, just 40.”

Oh, boy did he get lucky that day because… I had FIFTY cents to give him.  Yeah.  I know, I know.  All out Mother Teresa right here.

Uuuuuuugh, it killed me I only had 50 cents to give him, but I did nonetheless.

“Here ya go!”

 <insert sheepish grin>  “Thanks.  and Merry FRICKEN Christmas.”

 *   *  crickets  *  crickets  * * 


I couldn’t help but burst out in laughter!!

So, of course, I Jesus juke the poor fella and say, “Merry Christmas sir.  God Bless You.”

“eeeh… yeah, God Bless.”

End of Scene.

…. Now, there really is no moral to this story.  No happy ending.  No “I Saved the World” or he got saved.  I don’t know why he needed that 40 cents.  I really don’t know WHY this man had such an impact on me!  But HE DID.  The starking look from his gorgeous brown eyes.  His crooked, almost evil, little grin that never left his face.  The little hobble in his step.  His mangled Santa hat.

I remember it all.

His honesty has stuck with me.

Yeah.  He ISN’T having a Merry Christmas this year.  He’s on the street begging for forty cents.  He, and a whole lot of others.  Standing on street corners, just hoping for a little ‘more’ that day.  And by his blatant response to my giving, have a FRICKEN merry christmas?  … It took me off guard, sure.  But it’s because that response that I can’t forget him.  Not now.  Not ever.

So, Santa?  You.  The guy on the corner.  I DO wish you a very merry Christmas this year.  And I pray God DOES bless you.  Today.  Tomorrow.  and forever.

Thank you for your honesty.

You COULD HAVE just said, “thanks”.  But you didn’t.  And I actually appreciated it.

… hopefully next time, I’ll have more than a couple quarters to offer… 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Be A Light

The most inspiring stories, it seems, originate from such strong and courageous people who grow up in struggling childhoods. Who grow up too fast because they don't have a choice. Who, for so long, had to provide for their families because their father may have left the house and their mother is working 4 jobs to make ends meet.  Who are told over and over again that they'll never amount to anything, that they'll never be anybody.

It seems like these people find a dream. They work and they work and they work harder. And it's these people that stick with it until this dream comes true.

And why?

Because they have nothing to lose...

Award winning actors. Grammy winning artists. Star athletes and billion dollar executives.

Now, I'm not saying every successful person comes from broken families or troubled childhoods, but those that have, well... I've followed their stories, I have.  And while, for a minute, I'm truly inspired by their determination and refusal to lose. . . I can't relate.

What about the people that grow up in a family where everything you do, they support.
    Run ins with the police not included. Sibling rivalry excluded.

What about a family with a foundation made from love, built from love, structured from love, and grew from love. The people that woke up in the morning surrounded by laughter (unless there was no froot loops and my their towels weren't heated when they got out the shower), made it through each day with mountains of support and encouragement, and when tough decisions need to be made -- they make them together.

All in.

All for one. One for all.

What about those people? What happens to them?

I mean,
Who, is your constant light when the world couldn't seem darker?
Who begrudginly happily shows up to every high school sports game, is in the audience at every play, and every award night, and every function there was because you can't make up your mind about what you wanted to try.
Who, when just told you want to move across the country not only helps you pack, but drives you the entire way.
Who is a constant source of support (in more ways than one) when you can't seem to pull it together, mistake after mistake, time after time, year after year.
Who holds the reigns just loose enough to let you learn from your mistakes, but tight enough so you won't fail?
Who swallows their fears to not only encourage your new career path, but writes a check to send you into a world unknown.
Who will love you forever, like you for always, as long as you're living, no matter what?
Who just willingly goes out and buys a cart full of Princess Baby Dolls on Black Friday so you can have 'on hand' ready to give to your princess across seas?

I mean, Who does that?

What happens to these people, when as they grow up, they're told they can be anything they want to be. They're told they can do anything they want to do. To dream a dream and work to achieve it.

What happens to them you ask?

They grow up believing it.

and they want to change the world by teaching others to believe it too.
"You are the light of the world, a city on a hill cannot be hidden.
In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16
"We Are"
Kari Jobe

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

November 6, 2012: Election Day.

Today is election day.  Today is a day that every American has an opportunity to take part in who becomes our nation’s next president.

What a humbling thought.

And how far away from it all I feel.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am truly, sincerely grateful for the fact that this opportunity exists for us.  I feel SO blessed that we GET to go to the polls and cast our opinions.  I am honored to live here and have that opportunity.

Yes, I live here…and yet, my mind and heart are elsewhere.

Those kids in Uganda, who are stuck, sitting in prisons for years before their trial, simply because they are orphaned….  where is their voice?

Those kids in Rwanda, who are living in an orphanage with about 600 other children, who may be ‘reunified’ with their families because they want to shut down orphanages…. where is their voice?

The kids in Ethiopia, the ones scraping for food, killing to survive on the heaps of trash that fill the streets of Korah, with no family heritage or inheritance to claim…. where is their voice?

At a time when our nation so desperately needs to come together, to UNITE and stand as ONE… I feel like we couldn’t be further from that truth.  We’re Drifting away, slowly… breaking away from everything we once stood for.:

One Nation, Under God.

We’re too divided.

We’re too objectified.

We have our own opinions but give no grace to others with theirs…

We don’t rally together on making tough decisions, we veto our opposers.

We don’t compromise on things that matter, we fight until our side wins.

This world is OUR oyster.  WE have the power to make a difference as ONE.  ONE NATION.  … with liberties and justice FOR ALL.

At a time when I should feel so patriotic… I feel so guilty that I don’t.

Because my heart breaks for those without even a chance...

Like, where on the ballot does it say, “to help give the 163 million children out there, who would give anything to have a say, to once, and for all….

Have a Voice.

Lord GOD Almighty
"Whoever wins will be my President. I will pray for his well-being, hope for his success, applaud what I agree with, and humbly stand against what I disagree with. In faith, I voted what I thought would be best but I'm very aware I could be wrong. I believe no one comes to power without divine appointment and I will trust the outcome. I appreciate the service of both men. I admire their love for their wives and children. I believe both want was is best for this country and neither are exactly right.” ~(copied from a friend’s status today)

… never have you failed.  never have you lost an election.  You have the final say in every vote that is cast and every box that is checked.  Lord, I pray YOUR voice is heard, that YOUR ultimate will be done.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


those days when you stumble across a song from one of your all-time favorite bands...

and hear it for the first time. . .

It’s Your sovereign grace that gets me through.  The light to my dark.  The living water I need… Thank you for your little reminder today.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Content with the Constant

Our staff talked today about how we, in the past 2 months, have changed more than ever before.  We’ve grown, we’ve stretched, we’ve cut back, we’ve extended… Change that we saw coming and change that took us off our rocker.  Change we were hoping for and change we fought through.

And as a person who ‘goes with the flow’, finds the excitement out of all things new… I realized today how much change really does for a person.  And I appreciate it.  I appreciate the change we as a staff have been through…but most importantly that I, as an individual, have been through.

This season, with all the change, there are times when I can just sit back and be thankful.  Be grateful for the change…. but be amazingly, peacefully content with the constants.

My Constants

a family who loves me.  a family who supports me.  a family who, even though doesn't agree with everything I decide, will encourage me, fight for me, and lay down their life for me until I see it through their eyes… knowing all along, they were right  

birthdays to celebrate those mothers who are a part of those families

new mornings.  which bring new mercies.  which lead to 
new opportunities

autumn skies that paint the world a rich, crisp blue and a pallet of trees, reaching to their arms length to just get a feel of it, warming themselves in the high sun

finding joy in running again

waking up to messages from friends in worlds away, constant reminders I’m not in this alone

cozy beds and warm blankets that steal your motivation each morning


homemade quiche brought to work

singing birds who wait until we start morning prayer, and bring up the chorus and chime in once we begin


memories that remind you of a life well lived and pictures to capture the moments

pumpkin spice coffee…and well.. everything pumpkin

happy people  

little things that happy people get excited about

playful kiddos full of joy, untainted & unintimidated by the world around them, ready to eat them up

words.  words when you need them and words when you don’t think you did

friends who like you enough to let you be a part of their life and friends who love you enough to be a part of yours

“no” people

prayer warriors.  warriors that take up your battle because you’re too tired to fight

loud, boisterous, spontaneous random laughter down the hall

people who say what they think and mean what they say

conversations to explain who we are and sparks that light because of it


pandora.  because when your brain doesn’t want to think on its own, it does it for you:  playing everything at the exact moment you need to hear it


advice givers

grace.  constant, unending, forgiving and renewing grace


a place I get to come to, Monday through Friday and ‘get away’.  A place that most call work, I call sanctuary




a church that responds

conversation that leads to questions.  questions that lead to reflection.  reflection that leads to action and action that leads to


It’s Fall.  A time of change.  
and while it seems like everything in my life is changing this season and I can appreciate it …
 I’m also thankful for the constant, the things that REMAIN

Thursday, October 04, 2012

If These Shoes Could Talk

Less than a week.
In fact, just a short 3 days away.

I remember the day I crossed the finish line at the Country Music 1/2 Marathon in April of 2011.  13.1 miles under my belt, and I felt unfinished.  It was at that moment I knew I wanted more.

The past 5 months of training:  Thoughts I never thought I’d think.  Emotions I never thought I’d feel.  Pain like none other.  And triumph like nothing else.

~ So much time to think.  Time to just relive experiences that have come and gone. It’s become so much more than a race for me. ~

“If These Shoes Could Talk” 

Almost 2 years ago exactly, I sat in the bleachers at a homecoming Gustavus game.  And watched, in agony, as my brother walked onto the field with his team.  

Not dressed.

I can remember the twinge and the prick I felt in my heart.  I remember squeezing my hands so hard they were white and numb.  I remember the huge lump in my throat, and I remember the single, solitary tear that fell. I remember being angry at God that he took him out of the game.  The game he loved.  The game he devoted his life to.

2 years ago, my brother had one of the scariest accidents happen that not only took him out of the game that season, but almost took his life.  After his kidney basically exploded, he was told so many different things that still ring in my head today:

“Had you got hit just one more time in that game, you probably would have just laid down on the field and passed out.  And not woke up.”
“Elliott, with all the blood you’ve lost internally, you’re lucky… to be here.” 
“You might not be able to walk again.”
“You’ll never be able to play football again.”
“You might be able to do light cardio throughout your life, but with only one kidney.”
“You can train with the team, but no weights.”
“Why don’t you dress for the season and we’ll see where you’re at.”

“Elliott, not only are you healthy… you are Healed. Your once, nonexistent kidney, is now 90% back to normal.  Should you ever be reinjured, the doctor or nurse would not be even able to see a previous kidney injury!!!  You have NO restrictions!!! Football, hunting, school, anything!”

With every strength in his muscle, every piece of his heart, and every prayer in his spirit, my brother fought a fight that I don’t think anyone deserves to go through.  What took him out of the game temporarily, only brought him back harder, stronger, and more faithful.

The Lord works in mighty ways.  He performs miracles.  I’ve seen it.

If my shoes could talk right now, they’d say, “Elliott, 2 years ago none of us knew where you’d even be right now.  But through it all, we’ve become closer, stronger, healthier…and definitely more stubborn in our will to win.  This marathon, the pain in my knee with each step I take… all I remember is the pain in my heart watching you walk on out on that field.  And that hurts worse.  But you’ve conquered it.  You’ve fought it.  You’ve won.  And thank you.  You’ve been an inspiration to us all…” 

 If these shoes could talk…

“So, wait.  You’re telling me I have to train for like, 5 months?  In the middle of the summer?  In the south.  Aaand, there’s no way around that?” 

“So, it’s been a couple months, let’s dust these babies off and see how they fit.” 

“4:30am wake up calls don’t get any easier.”

“103 degree summers are hot.  And don’t get any easier.” 

“Plans?  Nope sorry.  Gotta wash my … fuel belt.”

“I’ve never been a runner.  I never wanted to just ‘run’ as a hobby.”

“Shot blocks. Out of shot blocks.  Need my shot blocks.  Squirrel!”

“Vacation?  Well, yeah, I can go. … … But, is there a road to run on?  A trail?  I gotta get a 12 miler in, that’s the only thing.”

“i love us”

“I don’t remember what Friday nights are like.”

“Man, I’m totally wearing a fuel belt to a 5k.  But nobody knows I’m really doing a 20K.  I win."

“I didn’t even know I HAD a muscle there.”

“Ice baths in 100 degree weather hurt just as bad as in 20 degree weather.”

“Sometimes… you just wanna get out there and …run.”

“I’m part of a group that says, ‘HEY! Glad we have a short run this weekend, only 12 miles!’” 

If these shoes could talk…

“I’m doing this for them.  I’m doing this for my girls.  Don’t forget why you’re doing this.”

“Wait.  20 miles.  That’s like… to Owatonna.  The north side of Owatonna.  I just ran, from my house, to Owatonna.” 

“I lose myself.  Out here.  It’s my God time.  No one else.  I’m checked out.  Me and Him?  We talk it out.  … He usually wins.” 

“I’m running 14 miles today because I chose to.  They walk 14 miles a day because they need water.” 

“I just got shot.  I seriously feel like I just got shot.  What WAS that?”

“Take a break?  Rest?  Are you kidding?  The race is 4 weeks away.  Ain’t nobody got time for that”

“8. breathe.  12. breathe.  14.  Mmmm granola pancakes sound good.  15. got to PEE  16.  OW!  18. breathe.  19. Pancakes? HECK NO.  20.  Did that really just happen?  Wait.  Where’s Tinkerbell?”

“Nooo… that booty shakin playlist.  you know.  the one we like to dance to? yeah.  i want that one.”

“We’ve gotten to know each other more this past summer than people I’ve known for years.”

“I don’t want you to stress about it, now you can just run.  Stress free.”

“God, I don’t understand.  I thought you wanted me to run this?  Where ARE you through this pain?  Why does it hurt so bad?  <insert flying Hawk leading my way above the trail>  Oh.  You are here.  Sorry…” 

“I’m proud of you.”

“You’re crazy.” 

“Pain, blood, sweat and tears.  I didn’t train all this summer and get this far to turn back now.  I’m not in it to win it. I’m in it to finish.  Let’s do this.” 

If these shoes could talk…

“I believe in you.”

“We Got This.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Everything in Between" - My Summer of 2012

All I know today, the day after, 11 years after, one of the most devastating tragedies in the world, is just how truly grateful I am.

Grateful for my family.  Grateful for my friends.  My relatives, my job, my car, my apartment, my ….everything.  And today just sparked in me, just how grateful I am for experiences.

Experiences that allow me to live.  Experiences that allow me to grow.  That have shown me the world, have shown me my heart.

I’ve always said I’m more a spring and fall kinda girl.  But hey.  Who’s to say you can’t enjoy

Looking back over my Summer of Twenty Twelve

 (not as cool sounding as the Summer of 69, right Tom?)

I was able to visit my butternugs in Rwanda.

*(and I really could take up, like 5 blogs just writing on this alone .. . …Oh, wait.  I did) :)

I played, ‘artist manager’ booking an international wedding singer at an Ethiopian Wedding
(okay.  it was my friend Kassie.  and we went to Rwanda together.  and so we just deviated to visit my friends Berhanu and Emily’s wedding.  But International Wedding Singer Agent & Booking Manager has a nice ring to it….)

I celebrated CMA Fest with my Country-kickin’, Kenny-lovin Aunt Darla
(Tim won, btw)

I even had a proud, stage-mom moment when Lindsay got to shine on the BIG stage..
*cough, BIC stage.

I FINALLY got to go ‘up north’ with for my annual Family Vacation! 
(7 years away, folks, you’d think we’d be able to get one decent picture)

and as if they didn’t have enough of me, Family comes to visit NASHVILLE
and I get to play tourist for the weekend!


Took a leap and joined a small group.  And turns out?  They’re actually pretty cool…

WAC Reunions

Zoo Outings for work.

(as if, our office isn’t zoo-like enough!)

I get to “Come Along for the Ride” as one of my nearest and dearest and most talented friends launches her Radio show from right here in Nashville!

(and yes.  You can tune in every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 7 to hear her too!)
(insert shameless plug here):
“LIKE” Lindsay Lawler on Facebook !
and visit

Sometimes?  She’ll even let you talk on her show.  Without warning.  Right in the middle of your nap.  … *sigh

And of course, then there’s the month of

Shared Birthdays can actually be pretty fun I found out.

LAUREN FERZOCO & RACHEL JAY ~ well, close enough.  
4 days apart both ways.

BETSY LEE (NO! Not Beiber) ~ Close Birthday Twin!

But then.  Of course… Every princess has to have her own celebrations!
RUMOURS EAST.  Traditional Champagne Toast to another year!
 Arrington Vineyard!!

Ocoee River Team

And seem to get more and more spoiled the older I get!


Each year, I like to live adventurously on my birthday!  This year, we took a plunge down the raging Ocoee River…  and no, we din’t stay dry


We get to support the missions we love in city full of talent
MOCHA CLUB w/ Dave Barnes and Matt Wertz
(While being our goofy selves…of course)

Small Town Fairs and Hope Floats moments


Dinner Clubs continue to be the hot topic of the month.  Conversations that keep you laughing ’til wee hours in the morning and crying ’til wee hours in the night.  

(And.  We hire professional photographers to document it all, clearly.  And you’re welcome).

Continuing the long trek of marathon training with Stephanie!  And, cuz we can… we run at the Titans Stadium.  #gobelove

October 7th, 2012

Nephews head back to school.  (POC: THEY’RE old, not me).
Payton, 6th grade
Bradley, 3rd grade
Mason, 1st grade

Celebrating, “ALMOST GOTCHA DAY” for Autumn and Mihretu!  He’s almost home from Ethiopia!

Gotta get some baseball in!

but more importantly….. FOOTBALL.

and most importantly… PATRIOTS football.


Goodbye Parties are for the birds.  And I hate that I have to say goodbye to my roommate Lauren and some of my closest friends Monica & Ryan.  (I’m pouting and I need a minute now.)
* * *
Chris Nathan performs as we say a SAD goodbye
MONICA, don’t leave.
Look how much fun we have:

 LAUREN, you just got here.

Saying Goodbyes are hard.

But it’s times like these, this summer I’ve had…it just makes me so much more appreciative for the moments in life we get to cherish forever.  To this summer and next.
And the one after that.

And Everything in Between….