well... chattanooga was kind of a bust. i saw some cool sculptures, but other than that... but the hiking at foster falls made it worth it. i love hiking. i love the feeling of moving through the cooling moist air in the evening, working up the smallest glimmer of a sweat. i love the stillness of the air and the sound of water trickling along streams and roaring down waterfalls. i love the different browns and grays in the tree trunks reaching high into the sky, with the sun peeking between them, making red reflections along the forest floor. i love the smell of the moist air and the life of the trees and probably a little bit of my own sweet sweat.

and on the way back, there was a place for truck drivers to park and rest along the interstate and the sign said: PARKING trucks only. and that made me laugh because i imagined some teenagers parking there, along the side of the interstate. what a romantic place for some necking. and why is it called necking anyway? at the risk of sounding incredibly naive, what does making out have to do with the neck, really? i always thought that was a funny term. maybe you should explain it to me when i'm older.

and jazz music is funny. i love how it will go on for two or three minutes of instrumental, and then the guy will decide it needs some vocals, too, so after the song is half over, he starts singing. it makes me smile.

i have this memory of listening to jazz music in the car with my dad. i think i'm eleven or twelve, though i could be younger... i was such a daddy's girl when i was little... i've always loved my mom, but christa was more the momma's girl and i was the daddy's girl. i remember he used to take the cushions off the back of the couch so i could sit with him and we would watch sliders or james bond together... but many times, it didn't matter to me what we watched; i usually couldn't see over the arm or his feet, anyway... i just wanted to be in his presence, to snuggle with him. i remember running up to give him a hug when he walked in the door after work, being the one who wanted to get there first when he asked, "who wants a hug?"... and so when we met him for dinner after he was done with work and we would have to decide who was going to ride home with which parent, i always chose my daddy... i think maybe i was afraid he would feel sad if nobody wanted to ride home with him, too...
so i would ride home with my daddy, and lots of times he listened to talk radio back then, but sometimes, he would turn the radio to the jazz station. in this memory, i'm riding with him in the front seat of the blazer... back when he drove it, before it stopped working, before it was christa's, before it was mine, and before it sat in the driveway for a few years. and i remember sitting there, listening to the jazz, feeling so safe in the big blazer with my daddy driving; i always felt safe when i was riding with him. and the jazz music was so soothing, and i would feel like i was not such good Company for my daddy, but the music was comforting and quieting and i would want to just close my eyes, not quite asleep, but almost, and listen to the music and just be with my daddy.

sometimes my childhood feels so far away, even though it was not that long ago; it feels like another person lived it, i feel so different from who i was then. savoring this memory as i drove in the dark back to nolensville was a joy that was whole and quiet and calm, but real. it reminds me of one of cs lewis' books where it talks about enjoying life and making the memory is only the beginning; you haven't fully experienced or understood it until you've enjoyed it again and again as a memory. and i think that's true.


i like to laugh at my own jokes. i don't know why people get so annoyed when i and people like me do this. it's not that i expect you to think i'm funny; but yes, i do think i'm funny. or else i wouldn't say my little tidbit. and i really like laughing; i think it's my favorite thing in the world. so i'm going to laugh at my own jokes. maybe that's selfish, but that's okay with me. my jokes aren't always for you to laugh at. i won't be hurt if you don't. besides, sometimes if i don't laugh at them, noone will. someone has to stand up for me. might as well be me. i was thinking before that i've gotten funnier as i've gotten older, but i think what's really true is that i've let my mouth say the things i think are funny more and people get more polite and laugh at me more than when they get older.

so here's some stuff i like:
"Sing about a fruitful vineyard; I, the Lord, watch over it; I water it continually, I guard it day and night so that no one may harm it. I am not angry. If only there were briers and thorns confronting me! I would march against them in battle; I would set them all on fire. Or else let them come to me for refuge; let them make peace with me, yes, let them make peace with me.
In days to come Jacob will take root, Israel will bud and blossom and fill all the world with fruit."
Isaiah 27:2-6
i love the image of verse 6- a vine that is now barren and could just as easily be burnt up, but instead, which God sees a future for, that it will take root and bud and blossom and that this dead and withered plant will fill the world with fruit... and its analogy to the people of Israel, to His people today... though they are now far from Him, withering and dying, He knows they will take root in Him and He will still be there loving them and ready to care for them when they turn back and He will make them frustful so that they will be prosperous and through them, His promise and His love will fill the world- He sees the good even though they're dried up... and also in me, even in my dried up, inconsistent, unfaithful, selfish heart, even though in myself i'm stagnant and fruitless, He sees that He can use me and make me beautiful- He can make me bud and blossom and He can use me to be a part of bringing fruit to the world, though i can't even take care of myself. that gives me joy.

and on a related note:
"I stared at the little white agates in my hand, delicate as moon drops. The mystery of God's love as I understand it is that God loves the man who was being mean to his dog just as much as he loves babies; God loves Susan Smith, who drowned her two sons, as much as he loves Desmond Tutu. And he loved her just as much while she was releasing the handbrake of her car that sent her boys into the river as he did when she first nursed them. So of course he loves old ordinary me, even or especially at my mostscared and petty and mean and obsessive. Loves me; chooses me."
Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies
yes! this is what i believe most deeply that God is about! that He loves even the murderer, even the adulterer, even the liar, even the imperfect... and this is my prayer: that i might learn to love like that. or at least that He'll love through me like that, because i really can't do it. i think this is my favorite story in this book. i love this book, i love how real and honest she is. i feel so connected to her, like i understand, like i'm so much like her. except i haven't learned yet how to be so okay with myself and i am often much more religious and legalistic instead of caring and listening and real and i don't remember to not take myself seriously as much as she.


21 sounds so old. i don't feel 21. i don't even feel 18. when did i stop being a teenager? how am i going to be a senior? i feel like i've just begun college, and now i'm leaving? how am i going to find a place to live, a job, a community of friends and loved ones to enjoy life with and confide in... in less than a year? i think i'll be ready... but i'm scared... not being able to know, to plan, to even guess what God will come up with by then. yet i'm so glad that i've learned, especially this summer, how much He really does know me better than i know myself... knows where i will thrive, what i was made for, what will excite me and bring out the best in me... and sometimes it really amazes me.
1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.
5 You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,"
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:1-14


no, i am not moving to florida, but we are leaving for our week-long mission trip to pensacola tomorrow. i can't believe this part of the summer is already here... only three more weeks till i have to leave more people i love.

quote of the night: "we don't have forks, we're amish."


one more thing i will miss after the summer is over: shottynoblitznorosaparks!


I want us to talk about how to be married to [God]- about how, through the ups and downs and the routine of life, we can learn to spend time with God, enjoy him, and be conformed to His will. Anybody can 'date' God. The truly mature seek to be His faithful, lifelong companions... How do we learn to love God, day in and day out, through the seasons of life? How do we keep this love fresh? How do we grow in our adoration and understanding of God?
-Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas

i like this idea of being married to God, to learn to love Him every day, spending time with Him whether it's boring or exciting at the moment. i miss the joy i had in high school and the beginning of college from being with Him each morning, knowing Him so closely, hearing His voice, having His Word truly written in my heart and always on my mind... unfortunately, consistency is not one of my strengths, in any area of my life, i've been learning these last few years, especially when i don't have a set schedule or my mom to encourage me to continue on each day.

last week, i saw a bunch of crows along the road.
the other day, we saw some wild turkeys while driving.
yesterday, i saw wild peacocks while taking my walk.
today, there were vultures in the road.
tennessee has some awesome birds. along the road, often, as well.
also, i rescued a kitten. good job, me.


Blair lost his push to get all summit countries to commit to boosting foreign aid to an amount equal to 0.7 percent of national income by 2015. Instead, a summit document said the European Union had agreed to that support but did not mention the United States.
President Bush had refused to be bound by the 0.7 percent target. The United States is currently giving 0.16 percent of national income, the smallest percentage of any of the G-8 countries.

and i'm proud to be an american...
and i'm not saying i'm any better or more generous... thinking that the ten in my pocket was "too much" to give to the homeless man i passed sunday night... but this attitude that we do what's best for us and look out for number one (and remember, our country IS number one) makes me sick.


today i saw beautiful mountains and hills and sparkly cave formations and perfect darkness and 11 of my favorite teens getting really muddy.
would you rather be a human magnet so that anything metal could stick to you and you could turn your power on and off... or be able to fly?


i’m so completely here… and i love it. my life is here in tennessee right now, my thoughts are here, my heart is here, and i am so glad to be here with these people i love. thank You, God that You know what You’re doing, even when i have no idea. You know what fits me, who i am. thank You for knowing me.