Sandwiched between two typically child-centered holidays, falls Thanksgiving. The sun is sparse and the stress of the upcoming holiday season is approaching. Is it truly possible to cultivate a spirit of gratitude during all the chaos?
As the high school choir sang the Trace Adkins song You’re Gonna Miss This, I began reflecting on my own secondary school experience. My cousin crossed the stage to get her diploma, and memories of my youth filled my mind.
Did I miss it? NO.
Once again Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies hosted the Sevier County Food Ministry Fiesta. My parents and I decided to join the fun, and headed up to Gatlinburg after work on Monday. Unfortunately
my husband is a poopy head Jay had to work and couldn’t join us, but I had enough fun for the both of us.
First we registered for door prizes, then it was time to peruse the silent auction items. I wanted to bid on these guys, but the home owner’s association of our community wouldn’t be too thrilled with them.
In addition to seeing all the featured creatures, my dad and I enjoyed the hands-on experience offered by this hard-shelled dude. My mother yelled to startle me right as I was about to touch it, so I got her back by flicking the water in her face.
A good hand washing later (as instructed by the signs surrounding this particular tank), and we were headed into the main hall to hit the buffet.
Thankfully the menu included ground beef and chicken, rather than marine life. (Although the final dish I did not partake of might have included shrimp). As the event name suggests, the fare included tacos, nachos, rice and refried beans. I may or may not have gone back for a second helping of beans, queso, and nacho chips.
We ended up running into and enjoying dinner with my dad’s sister, his niece and her hubby (plus their baby twin grandkids) as well as another nephew with his wife and kids. Yes, you read that right. I have a first cousin with grandkids. His family is crazy-big, plain crazy, but also fun.
As we sat around talking, we heard the winners of the door prizes. My mom won a “penguin painting on a black background” we imagined something along the lines of a velvet Elvis, only replacing Elvis with a picture of a penguin.
In case you couldn’t figure it out, that’s the artist MoMo on the right. And her (his?) painting on the left. Who knew penguin art was a thing? Of course my smarty-pants father questioned if the white streaks were paint or penguin poop.
Having grown up in the church since 9 months before I was born, I’m very familiar with those Spiritual Gift surveys. I’m not sure who writes the questions or determines the answers, but I’ve always felt like it was the equivalent of taking a quiz in my latest Seventeen magazine.
I could skew the tests, providing a more favorable outcome. Or else just be straight forward yet not leave with much greater knowledge than I already have. Either way my gifts never fell into the “nursery” or “church kitchen” categories, so I felt like any special abilities I had weren’t very useful in my church context.
In my twenties, I really struggled to find a place to fit. Given the married/singles segregation in the church, I found myself thrust into a label which felt more like a prison sentence. Whatever gift the Holy Spirit endowed upon me when He saved me at age 8, I prayed that it wasn’t connected to the “gift of singleness” Paul talked about (and our teachers defaulted to, as a lame way of assuring us we weren’t the island of the misfit toys).
At age 34, having counted myself as a follower of Christ for 26 years, I’m still not sure I know what my gift is. I’m pretty sure translating what British actors are saying doesn’t count as the gift of tongues. I once had a Bible Study teacher suggest my gift could be mercy. I’m still making fun of her for that one.
Late last year my Bible study leader asked if I would be interested in teaching the class in the future. I’m not shy in the least. Add to that my love for reading and comprehending the Bible and she got a solid maybe answer from me.
I prayed about it, asking for humility and wisdom. A few weeks later, I found myself agreeing to teach in January. Given a variety of dates, I chose one without looking at the content our quarterly study guide had already laid out.
Much like those in the Bible who cast lots, the lesson was chosen for me rather than me choosing the lesson. The subject? Lust.
I think it goes without saying, but the lesson was a difficult one for me. Not because lust is top on my list of sins – unless coveting a husband who cooks falls under the “lust” category. (Our study guide didn’t seem to think so, but some other commentaries on the original words used for both covet and lust did.)
Rather this lesson was difficult because I’m a prude, and this is one of those sins most aren’t willing to fess up about. Typically we have an easy conversation in class – prompted by our great teacher with scripture shaping the direction of the talk. Thankfully, though, they weren’t completely silent on the matter, and I managed to make it through the class mostly unscathed.
What followed, however, surprised me. On the drive home, I received a text from the teacher asking if I considered teaching a spiritual gift. I didn’t make as much fun of her as I did the teacher who suggested mercy, but I did brush off the suggestion.
Only she really is an incredible teacher/disciple maker, and pushed me further. If not teaching, then what is my spiritual gift?
I’m still not entirely convinced, but the most recent
BuzzFeed quiz puts Teaching, Knowledge, and Giving at the top of my list. I’m not sure what I think about the results. But the follow up test? Totally spot on.
Do you know your spiritual gift?
How did you go about discovering your talents – supernatural or otherwise?
y’all know how much i dislike photos of my legs, but i heart a good cropping tool.
last game of the regular season
first game Jay and I have attended all year
safety awareness training (+ run + dinner) with the run crew
These days, my blogs have been a bit picture heavy. Unfortunately, I’m not all that great of a photographer. There are just some adventures words aren’t adequate to cover. The annual Knoxville Track Club Scavenger Run is one such event.
Our fearless leader creates rhyming clues to lead us from point to point and numbers us off like in gym class to form teams. A certain PINK friend of mine showed up a bit late, after we’d already broken up into teams, so we were more than glad to welcome her to team Purple People Eaters.
The boys named our team because of my outfit. YES, even my shoes were purple. And YES, I did wear the purple ones to match. Too much? I suppose it depends on who ya ask.
Our first clue, and team picture took us a block up the road to the Melting Pot. We didn’t get the restaurant logo in the picture, but as you can see above, it was pretty obvious where we were. (Please tell me you get it!)
The Masonic Temple was referenced with “secret hand shake” so we all joined hands. I guess my left hand was feeling a bit left out and decided to get wild?
Our adventures took us to a graveyard…
and to a speak-easy with an off-putting painting above the fireplace. (The kid is so creepy he photographs as a glare.)
A K-town event isn’t complete without a power “T” – I’m the “U” of “UT” – I thought it was pretty self explanatory, but my darling love thought I was doing the “touchdown” signal.
The World’s Fair Park is another “must” on the list of Knoxville “musts.” We rocked out for a moment before moving on.
Our final stop of the evening was a rental car business. Celebrating the “we’ll pick you up” claim, we got a bit creative with this one. Apparently we had a creeper photo-bombing the background (notice the eyeballs peaking up over my shoulder.)
Gretchen and I have another fun run planned tomorrow. For my birthday we – along with Amy and Christal (4 out of 6 from our Ragnar team van) – are going to do a Mud Run. I’m not sure we’ll be able to find a way to bring a camera along, but knowing those girls we’ll find a way to make pictures happen!
Do you have any fun plans for the weekend?
I wasn’t able to get any great photos at the Dolly Parton Concert on Wednesday, but this certainly was a great moment! Dolly singing Coat of Many Colors live made me tear up, of course the song always has that affect on me.
Jay has been dealing with hella bad allergies this week, so my friend Kristi went with me to the show.
We clapped, danced, and sang along where appropriate (Apple Jack, 2 Doors Down, 9 to 5, and Islands in the Stream.)
She also sang some songs from her new album. I didn’t know any of the words but she was still fun to hear (and watch!!)
She ended the night with I Will Always Love You, and of course we swayed along.
I need to do better about keeping my real camera charged for moments like this. The phone is all well and good for selfies and goofy race photos, but being on the 30th row I have no excuse for not getting better pictures than this!!
Earlier this week, Jay & I looked at a cabin we are interested in purchasing. On the back deck, I snapped this picture.
The property overlooks a river, and has beautiful surroundings. My intention was to make this my “best shot” I shared this week.
Odd as it may seem, I’ve owned more real estate than cars in my life. Heck – I’ve owned more houses than cars!! (That is assuming that my car that I brought into the marriage is mine and his cars are his.)
Yesterday, I had to pull over on the side of the road and take a picture of something so rare, I’ve never seen it in my lifetime. Discussing it over dinner with my parents, its not anything they have ever seen either. Not to say, of course, that I’ll never see it again, but Quinn will always be my first.
Since neither Jay nor I have the patience to deal with the maintenance of landscaping, he came up with a genius fix that still allows us to have curb appeal.
Instead of mulching and weeding, he ordered a truck-full of rocks to spread around the perennial bushes which came with the house.
He laid it all (with a bit of help from a buddy and my father) over weed barrier to help save on labor costs.
I’m pleased with how well it turned out! He had quiet a few rocks left over. Next week I hope to share pictures of the creative ways he finished up the pile.
If you’d like to link up, hitting us with your best shot, check out Nancy’s blog.
Every week, Nancy challenges her readers to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot.” I’m not a photographer, so every entry of mine has always been of a goofy/cool subject matter. I’m gonna switch things up this week.
Courtesy of the good Lord, I have a picture work sharing. Not because of the camera I used (my phone) or my (lack of) photography skills, but a subject matter so beautiful it was impossible to screw up.
Several comments on past blogs have suggested I live in paradise. I’m inclined to agree.