Thursday, September 30, 2010

My Wish to You

The person who made and posted this sign totally made my day!  They weren't wishing me a good day, but an AWESOME day.  And in my head this wish came with a Kentucky accent.

And by the way, what happened to September?  How can it be gone already?

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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Old Bridge

What is it about old bridges that makes them so romantic?   Or am I the only one who thinks so?

I've read that Kentucky has a lot of great old bridges and there is even a driving tour that I've been meaning to go and do one weekend, but with just 2 weeks to go here, it isn't going to happen.  I'll just have to be satisfied with a random photo here or there.

This feels like the perfect song for an old bridge in the south, a little retro but full of beauty.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Doing a Doubletake

I saw this sign along the road the other day, having never seen anything like it I did a double take (and backtracked to get a photo.)   Why is it we only have speed limits posted in multiples of 5?  Maybe to make it easier to remember or to track while driving.  And, more importantly, why did they decide to break out of the mold with this sign?  Is it more effective, if only because it is so unusual?  I did notice I slowed down more than I would have if it had said 25.

Maybe there is a lesson here - standing out from the crowd could be just the thing we need to do to be noticed.

I'm stretching here, but I'm feeling the need for a little Ryan Adams in my life today, here's his "Sweet 'lil Gal (23rd/1st)"
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Monday, September 27, 2010

Natural Arch

The point of my scary tram ride was to get to Kentucky's Natural Arch, which was amazing.  After I got up  the mountain I walked over to and across the top of the Arch, sat down and enjoyed the view for a long time.  It was the most at peace I had felt for weeks.   From the top it just looks like a narrow ridge, it was only when I made my way across to an outlook that I could see just how large the arch was.  Simply beautiful with views of the valley all around.

This song made me sit up and listen a little harder this weekend.
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Friday, September 24, 2010

The Sunday Creative - Abundance

The theme for this week's Sunday Creative Challenge was Abundance.  For me abundance is all about nature and the gifts God gave to us and this earth.  From the warm dirt of the earth to the bright light of the sun, we've been given an abundance of riches.

I'm in awe of the way it all works together.  The earth and sun work to grow plants that fuel our bodies and provide the air we need to live.   The wood of the trees we use to built shelter to keep us from the rain and snow that in turn provide the water we need to quench our bodies and to keep the plants and animals alive.   The elements and ores found in the earth provide the vitamins and minerals we need for healthy bodies and to make the tools we use to prime the earth for more plants.  Not only does God and nature provide the things we need to live, they provide beauty in abundance.  How blessed we are to live in this beautiful world.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

40 Years Together

My parent recently celebrated their 40th Anniversary.  I couldn't miss out on the opportunity to let them know how much I love them and appreciate the example they have set.

Mom and Dad met in college and moved back to my dad's hometown together.  They raised 3 children there, were strong members of the community and taught us the importance of showing love and concern through service.  They supported us whole heartedly, there was never a game, school program or activity that we participated in that they missed out on.

My parents taught me to dream and to believe in my ability to make those dreams come true.  They supported me through choices in my life that took me far from home, even though I know they hated having me gone.  They also taught me through their quiet example how beautiful marriage can be.

If I'm ever lucky enough to marry, I hope I have a marriage like my parent's, one full of love, support and selfless service.  I love you mom and dad. 

I love this song, it talks about the beauty of having that one person with whom you can share all that you are.  My parent's have taught me that this kind of love does indeed exist, even when the world tells me it doesn't.

Excuse the cheesy video - it was the only embed-able one I could find
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Facing My Fears

I did a little hiking this weekend, but I cheated a bit.  My ankle has been bothering my thanks to long days running circles in a warehouse with cement floors.  So while I wanted to hike, I knew I needed to take it easy so I could get through the next 4 weeks in the warehouse.  I'd chosen to go to Natural Arch and heard there was a tram you could take most of the way up.

I pulled in bought my ticket and got on without thinking about it.  It wasn't until I was fastened in and on the way up that I remembered trams/chair lifts scare me silly.  Just as I started to get nervous, I caught sight of just how far up I was going and how steep the climb was.  It was at this point I really started to get shaky.  I took a bunch of pictures trying to keep my mind off things.  It helped a little, as did taking some deep breaths and trying to take in quiet peace that comes for me when I'm surrounded by nature.

I finally made it to the top and tried to put the ride behind me as I enjoyed my beautiful surroundings.  The view was absolutely worth the fear, even when I got back on and started down.  The experience made me stop to wonder how often my fears stop me from doing things I really want to do and would enjoy if I could just push past the fear.  Maybe I should leap without looking more often and stop analyzing things so much, the experience may be worth those moments of fear.

I know when most people think Fleetwood Mac they immediately think of Stevie Nicks, but you can't forget Lindsay Buckingham, the angst in his voice does it for me.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Great Year

A year ago I wrote a post declaring this would be the best year of my life.  Looking back I have to wonder a bit at my boldness, I had no real expectations that anything big was coming down the road when I made the prediction, just a determination to make it so.  The past couple of months as I've felt the anniversary of that post getting closer, I've found myself wondering if I made it true.

In reviewing my year, I can't say that there have been any big changes in my life.  I haven't gotten a promotion - although I unexpectedly got to spend most of the year in the US instead of India, which has been a nice treat.  I've done some fun weekend travel - Thailand, Nashville, Ashville, Cumberland Falls, Shaker Village and Red River Gorge, but no big travel adventures as in past years.  I haven't met "the one" but I'm still looking.

Still, I've come to the conclusion that in many ways this has been the greatest year of my life.  Not because of something external that happened or something I've been given, but because of the peace I've found within myself.  For the first time in my life I feel comfortable in my own skin.  I can honestly say I like the woman I've become, I enjoy the life I live, and, while I still have many goals I want to accomplish, I know I'm on the path to do so.

The photo above was taken by a German girl I met on my hike this weekend, it is straight out of the camera, showing me exactly as I am today.  A year ago I never would have posted a photo of just me, in all my imperfections out here for everyone to see.  But this year, it somehow feels right.  Here is hoping the next year is even better, but no matter what, I have a feeling I'll enjoy the journey.

This lovely song by Tina Dico may just be my theme song for the next year:

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Monday, September 20, 2010

Another Surprise

Photo from Gigi's Cupcakes

Back in May I posted about the "surprise" birthday my work team threw for me - the one where the surprise was on them because my birthday wasn't for several months, well they surprised me yet again last week.

I've mentioned work is pretty much full on for the next month, we are working long hours, seven days a week, it's just the way things are this close to an event.  Someone had asked me how I was going to celebrate and I'd laughed and said I was going to Gigi's to buy myself a cupcake and planned to eat it without guilt and I'd save the rest of the celebration for next month.

Late last week, we were all pulled in for an emergency briefing, I was afraid something had gone seriously wrong.  We all go in the room and they pulled out Gigi's cupcakes for everyone.  Somehow in all of the craziness they took time out to help me celebrate, and best of all figured out how to cover my shifts so I could have an actual weekend off, I really couldn't have asked for a better gift or group of friends to work with.

I'll share how I spent my weekend in other posts this week, but I had to start the week by sending out a huge thanks to the great group I'm lucky enough to work with.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Music Week Day 5 - The End

Thanks for indulging me this week, letting me take a break from the pressure of coming up with something interesting to write about and instead devoting my posts to my favorite subject finding and sharing new music.  Today's final list is a wish list, my list of new releases that I know I'll be picking up.  (And for my family who might be looking for ideas for a certain birthday happening this weekend, you can take this list as a hint, of course if you are feeling generous the Ginger camera bag would be great too )
  • Jamey Johnson - The Guitar Song (Sept 14): His smokey voice and amazing songs make me proud to share a name with him.
  • Zac Brown Band - You Get What You Give (Sept 21): Their debut album was one of the best things of the last couple of years, I've been counting down the days they release new material.
  • Ryan Bingham - Junky Star (Aug 31):  I just love him, and I secretly love that he hasn't blown up quite yet.
I hope you've found something new to add to your collection this week - let me know if you have, it'll make my day.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Music Week Day 4

Today's list is made up of great music I've purchased in the past month - only one bargain in the list, but I love them enough to say they were worth the money.
  • Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs - God Willing and the Creek Don't Rise: This one has been on repeat in my car since the day it came out.  May just be my favorite release of the year.
  • Little Big Town - The Reason Why:  Love their harmonies, would get more play if I could pry Ray out of the car.
  • Ryan Adams - Heartbreaker:  Found it for $3.99 one day this week, but not on sale any more.  How did I miss this when it came out a decade ago.  One of those albums that I will go back to over and over again.
  • Sara Bareilles - Kaleidoscope Heart:  Been waiting on this for a long time, lives up to the promise of the lead single, "King of Anything."
  • Florence + the Machine - Lungs:  Fell in love with a couple of singles, happy to say the album lives up to them.  My favorite new album to get me moving.
  • Dan Auerbach - Keep it Hid:  Heard a couple of song while watching "Friday Night Lights" fell in love, bought the album, found out he is half of the Black Keys, will be spending more money on his music.
  • Mindy Gledhill - Anchor:  A fellow Utah girl - reminds me of Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.
Today's sneak peek, Florence and the Machine, "Dog Days are Over"

What songs or albums have you purchased lately you would recommend to the rest of us?
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Music Week Day 3

Today's list again comes from's $5 mp3 album sale, but this is a list of albums that are on my wish list that I'm debating picking up during the sale.  If you own any of them, I'd love your input:
  • Train - Save Me, San Francisco:  I loved their single, "Hey, Soul Sister" but will I love the rest of the album?
  • Band of Horses - Infinite Arms:  I loved their previous album and love, love the song "Laredo" from this one.
  • Frank Sinatra: In the Wee Small Hours: I feel like I need to add this to my collection just because I don't have any Sinatra in there and what is a collection with out some old school classics.
  • Brett Dennen - Brett Dennen: I have two of his other albums, which I love, I want this one to round out my collection.
  • Old 97's - Blame it on Gravity:  Would fill a hole in my Old 97's collection.
  • Bat for Lashes - Fur and Gold:  Have a couple of singles which I love, but will I love the entire album?
  • Joe Purdy - 4th of July: Love his voice, want to add more to my collection.
  • Cat Power - What Would the Community Think:  Love her, and am missing this one.
  • Kate Bush - Lionheart:  Don't have more than a song or two of hers in my collection, but I hear her name frequently as an inspiration to other artists I love.
  • Buddy and Julie Miller - Written in Chalk:  Americana artists I've ready great things about.
  • Steve Azar - Slide on Over Here: His "Sunshine" is one of my favorite songs of the past few months, can't figure out why it isn't doing better on the radio.
This sneak peek from Band of Horse, "Factory" moved their album from my wish list to the purchased list.  I don't know why, but I have a weakness for bearded musicians.

What's on your musical wish list?
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Music Week Day 2

Welcome to day two of music week here at my little corner of the world.  This week's posts were inspired by a great sale on mp3 albums at  As I read through the list of $5 picks I started sorting it into two parts - the albums I already had and wish I'd managed to buy for five bucks and those that were going on my wish list.

I'm always on the lookout for new music and, because I buy so much, finding good deals is a huge bonus.  I'm guessing some of you are the same, so for the rest of the week I'm going to highlight some of my favorites.  First up, the music from amazon's sale that is already part of my collection and I can vouch for:

  • The Avett Brothers - I and Love and You: One of my favorite bands and albums of the past year, I'm dying to see them live.
  • Ray LaMontagne - Till the Sun Turns Black: Not his latest, but an all-time favorite, I'm almost always in the mood for a little Ray
  • Sara Bareilles - Little Voice: She just came out with a new album last week, but this is the one I fell in love with, her songs will make you happy
  • The Fray - How to Save a Life: The title song was a little over played for my taste, but still a decent album
  • Amos Lee - Supply and Demand: This one has had a ton of play in my iPod over the past few years, one of those artist I turn to when I want to relax
  • Coldplay - Parachutes: Their music is always good.
  • Court Yard Hounds - Court Yard Hounds: From two members of the Dixie Chicks, this album made up part of my summer soundtrack, the perfect pick for a long road trip.
  • The Garden State Soundtrack: An older album, but full of great artists before they became well known.
  • Bebel Gilberto - Bebel Gilbert: Takes me back to my years in Rio, such an amazing voice.
  • Sugarland - Love on the Inside: Full of great songs you can't resists singing along with.
  • Darius Rucker - Learn to Live: Former Hootie lead singer did something right when he went country,  This album is full of amazing songs
  • Dierks Bentley - Up on the Ridge: Dierks did a bluegrass album that even people who aren't bluegrass fans will love.
  • Jaron and the Long Road to Love - Getting Dressed in the Dark: Former pop singer makes me laugh with his clever songs.  Saw him live at the Ryman, just him and a piano, this guy has talent.
See something you like?  You can find them all at Amazon (and I promise I'm making nothing from them for sending you here - just the satisfaction of helping you find cheap tunes.)  Amazon $5 Albums

A sneak peek:

Do you have an tips for discovering great new music?  Any other sources for finding great deals on music?
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Monday, September 13, 2010

Music Week Kickoff

The event I've been in Lexington working on is less than 2 weeks away, but my portion went live last week.  Needless to say, my life has been full of long, long days which stretch into the weekend, making me tired but also energized as I see the project come alive and to know that all those months of hard work are paying off.

One downside to my crazy work life is there is no time left over for exploring the area, adventures worth writing about or capturing photos.  So this week's blog post are going in a slightly different direction.  I'm going to help you fill up your iPod with great music (on the cheap.)  This gives me an excuse to share music I love and means that I can save my creativity for solving problems at work.

Over the past couple of years I've fallen in love with Americana, a genre of music that wrapped up a music festival this weekend.  The Americana Music Association provides this description:

Americana is music that honors and is derived from the traditions of American roots music. It is music inspired by American culture traditions which is not only represented in classic man made / roots based sounds but also through new and contemporary artists whose music is clearly inspired by these great traditions. It is a great genre, vast, like jazz which encompasses a wide range of music. Like jazz, which spans from Miles Davis to Harry Connick to the Preservation Hall, Americana's range includes artists like Gram Parsons, Soloman Burke, The Band, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, Mavis Staples...

Thanks to the festival and Amazon, you can sample some of the top Americana artists for free.  Simply download a free sample and give it a try.  I'm guessing you'll find a least an artist or two you'll fall in love with.

Americana Music Awards Sampler 

Here's a sneak peek:

Do you like American, or is this your introduction to the genre?  If you download the samples let me know what you think. Pin It

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Sunday Creative - Timeworn

I loved this weeks prompt (and not just because it fit so well with my weekend jaunt to the Lexington Cemetery.)  There is so much beauty that can be found in objects which have weathered the elements for years.

I found these tombstones at the cemetery, time has completely worn away the name and any other markings but left behind a beautiful patina of age.  I love that these slabs continue to stand marking the final resting place of someone, even after the years have worn away the marking.

I can't get enough of Ray LaMontagne's latest album - it's on frequent repeat and his "Old Before Your Time" is amazing (and fitting.)

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Milestone: 400

This is my 400th post!

Can't quite believe I made it here, when I started I was just hoping to record some of the memories of my time in India.  But since the first post nearly 3 years ago a funny thing happened.  I fell in love with blogging.  I learned to appreciate the habit and discipline that comes from regularly sharing my photos, thoughts, fears and discoveries.

I've made amazing friends and started to explore my creative side.  I've been encouraged and have found teachers/tutors who are willing to share their advice and talents.  I feel like I'm a part of a supportive community that I can take with me, no matter where work takes me - and that is an amazing gift for someone who is used to starting over every year or two.

Thanks for all of your support and comments - I really can't tell you how much it means to me.

Here's my celebration hallelujah in the form of Ryan Bingham:

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Playing the If Game

Have you ever wondered what your life would be like if you had been born somewhere else?    I have always felt extremely lucky to have been born in the US and after living in other countries that feeling has been multiplied.

There is a great website called, If It Were My Home, that tells you how different your life would be if you were born in a different country.  The differences are amazing - for example if I were born in India I would use 93% less oil in my lifetime, but I would die nearly 12 years earlier.  The site is a fun (and educational) time waster, that left me feeling luckier than ever, but also helped me realize that there are some other amazing places to be from.

Have you ever considered what it would be like if you had been born somewhere else?  If so, in what country would you like to have been born?

Here's a little Uncle Kracker with "Good to be Me," in the hopes that you all feel good about where and who you are today.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cemetery Stroll

In addition to the gardens there are some gorgeous tombstones throughout the cemetery.  Some of them are true works of art.

I fell in love with the ones in the older section of the cemetery.

Part of what makes this cemetery so gorgeous is the way it is integrated with nature.

I love today's song and have for a while but haven't posted it because I couldn't figure out how to do it without sounding morbid, but since this entire post already crossed the line I've decided to go all the way.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Secret Garden

I feel my time in Lexington growing shorter and there are so many things I still want to see, unfortunately a crazy work schedule means I have to grab opportunity when I can find it.  I had a couple of hours on Saturday and wanted to mix in a walk with a little photo time.  I was also looking for a little quiet time, so I decided to check out the Lexington Cemetery.  I'd read that it was considered one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country and that the gardens and trees there were beautiful.

I'll admit, it did feel a little strange to take a walk in a cemetery, it was very beautiful.  I found this lovely secret garden between sections and found myself sitting on the bench for a while.  The only thing that could have made it better was to have had a good book to read while I sat there.  It was so peaceful.

I fell in love with this song after one listen this week, it is gorgeous.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

The Sunday Creative - Illuminate

Maegan picked a wonderful theme for this week's challenge.  So full of possibilities.  I've loved watching the posts go up this week and the inspired photos that have been posted.

I've always loved old light fixtures and doors, anytime I go to Europe I come with hundreds of pictures of lights and doors, there is something about the workmanship that went into each.  Above is one of my favorite lights, this one was next to the door of a beautiful church in Copenhagen.  I love the angels looking down over the light, adding their own bit of illumination.

Contrast this very ornate light to one I found here in Kentucky at a Shaker village.  The Shaker light above is beautiful in its simplicity and yet it is a work of art all the same.

Each light serves the same purpose - to illuminate the area around it, each is beautiful and I love them for different reasons.  I can't help but take this thought a bit further to people - we are all beautiful and one of the things I love most about meeting new people is learning about the differences and finding the beauty in each.

Today's song is taking Maegan's theme in the opposite direction, instead of the lights coming on, I'm going to share a gorgeous song from Faith Hill about making it through the hard times, "When the Lights Go Down."

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

What Would You Take?

We had a bit of excitement at the office recently.   The building was suddenly filled with the overpower scent of methane gas.  We told the smokers to hide their lighters, threw open all the doors, evacuated and called the fire department.  All is well, but our unexpected evacuation gave me a chance to think about what was important enough to grab in an emergency.

It's a good thing it wasn't too big of an emergency because I grabbed pretty much everything.  Computer and power cord, both cell phones, purse, ipod and speakers, notebook, lunch bag, and even my water bottle.  I hope than a real emergency I'd focus on a fewer items but I don't really see myself walking out with out my purse, phone, keys, computer and ipod.

I know this isn't what we are taught to do in case of an emergency, but I seem to be the kind of girl who doesn't pack light.  Could you walk out with nothing, traveling light like the butterfly above, or would you grab a few things as you exited?

Don't forget to hop on over to The Inspiration Studio to check out my guest post. Pin It

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Another photo from my arboretum trip, can you see my reflection in the drop of water?

Corinne over at Trains, Tutus and Tea Time posted photos and the story of her recent visit to Walden pond.  It was an amazing, beautiful post that has had me dreaming of a visit or just a week alone in nature.  Either option sounds heavenly right now.

Can you imagine a week without the worries of work, email, cell phones or any other electronic leash?  Don't get me wrong, I love all of these tools, but there are times I want to escape from them all with nothing but a few dozen good books.

With Thoreau already on my mind a quote of his jumped out at my as I read through a local newspaper over the weekend:  "Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it."

At first the quote didn't seem to fit with my idea of Thoreau and what he stood for (at least in my mind.)  But after a bit of thought I've decided it is a perfect fit.  True success is living the life you love and not striving for the world's idea of success.  If I spend my life occupied with the things that bring my joy, what the rest of the world thinks or says won't particularly matter.

Bon Iver, another guy who escaped the world to focus on his art for a period seems the perfect match for a post about Thoreau.

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