Thursday, December 30, 2010

Music City USA!

On December 10th my friends from FL flew into Nashville and I drove out to meet them. We spent the weekend doing everything a good tourist should do in Nashville! It was great. The weather, while we were there, was good, but it got a little hairy the last day. I'll go into that more later.
We stayed in a hotel that was right in downtown which made it easy to walk almost everywhere we needed to go. The first night we walked around downtown which is full of historic bars where famous country singers first debuted. "The Stage" was our first stop. There was a cool band playing and a guy who showed us how to two-step. Then we headed over to a piano bar. I am always so amazed at how talented the performers are. They have to have all kinds of songs memorized, play them on the piano, and be funny and entertaining all at the same time! The best part though was when Jen got called up on stage to do the hokey pokey for her birthday. That was pretty funny.

The next day we went to the go check out the Grand Ole Opry House which we could not get into, so we just looked around outside. Right next door is the Gaylord Opryland Hotel which is the coolest hotel I have ever seen (outside of Las Vegas). It was decorated for Christmas with huge trees and wreaths. There were stores, and streets, gardens and skywalks around the hotel. The interesting thing, though, was that the rooms had balconys that overlooked the inside of the hotel. I bet at night it would be beautiful in there with all the Christmas lights.
The Blue Collar Comedy tour was next on our list of outings. This was probably the funniest part of the trip. We got on a school bus that had underwear hanging from the ceiling and well... lets just say it was a red neck heaven. They took us on a tour of the city telling us all kinds of interesting facts about the many recording studios, the country music hall of fame, and the downtown area all the while turning us into certified red necks. 

 That evening we stopped by Tooties one of the famous old bars where it is said Willy Nelson played when he was first starting out. The story behind this bar was pretty cool. Apparently, Tootise, the owner, was kind to artists who were just starting or were down on their luck by putting an IOU in a box when she knew they couldn't pay. As time went on artists started to come back to the bar as they got more popular and pay off all of the IOU's in her box so she would not lose any money. 
There is an alley behind all the bars in downtown and on the other side of the alley is the Ryman Auditorium where the Grand Ole Opry was held for years before it moved the current location (The Grand Ole Opry House). The alley behind the bars was the hang out for the stars of the Grand Ole Opry before or after their sets. According to the stories many singers spent lots of time crossing the alley between Tootise's and the backstage entrance to the Ryman on performance nights. When the Opry radio show moved locations the Ryman was forgotten and was going to be demolished. Thankfully, some people decided to come in and restore this historic sight. Now, the Opry show moves back to the Ryman each year for Christmas since the Rockettes are performing at the Grand Ole Opry House. We had tickets to see the Opry at the Ryman on Saturday night. It was an interesting experience. I had no idea that The Grand Ole Opry is a radio show that has been playing every weekend for 85 years. (Where have I been?) Anyway, I had never heard of most of the acts that performed, but they were all good. One thing that was interesting was the commercials. They are performed live by the announcer and we had to sit through listening to the commercials after every song. It was funny. In my opinion, the best act that we saw that evening was Low Anthem. They are an up in coming band who was recently discovered by Emmylou Harris (the same person who was influential in saving the Ryman.) They had a very cool sound and they harmonize so well. I loved it! 
the alley

Emmylou Harris (on left)

The Low Anthem
On Sunday we spent the day visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame, RCA studio, and did a backstage tour of the Ryman. All of which were extremely interesting and there was way too much to mention all of it, but I thought the coolest part was getting to step inside the recording studio soundstage at the RCA studio B where many famous singers from Elvis to Dolly Parton recorded their songs. They even had the original piano that was played in all the songs that were recorded in the studio. Elvis offered to buy this piano many times claiming it had the best sound, but RCA would not sell it to him. He, apparently, would come in and play it before his sessions to get in the mood to record his songs. Everyone was allowed to sit down and actually play the piano if they wanted to. Wish I had retained something from my piano lessons...
Country Music Hall of Fame

The backstage tour of the Ryman was also packed with fun facts about the artists that performed there and the history behind the building itself. It was originally built as a church and many great revivals were held there. Like many places it did not have air conditioning before its restoration so they would hand out fans to the audience. One artist noted how she couldn't look out into the audience very often because all the fans going made her dizzy. We got our picture opportunity up on stage. I can only imagine what it would be like to sing on that stage. Amazing!

Great weekend! Lots to see and do in Nashville and if you are a country music fan it is definitely a must see.

To get back to what I mentioned at the beginning of the post. The weather was great while in Nashville, but as I was driving back to Knoxville I had to drive over what is called "the plateau" during the worst snow storm in a while to hit TN. (Of course, doesn't it figure.) Let me tell you, it was probably the most stressful and scary thing I have ever been through in my entire life. I never want to do that again. Thankfully, I had a guardian angle watching over me and I made it home safe.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I think it may be a white Christmas.

It has been snowing everyday here. I woke up this morning to 19 degree weather. brrrr! The snow usually melts as soon as it hits the ground, but today it finally stuck for a little while.

my car windshield

the puddle around the mail boxes is ice.

Work is pretty hectic with 40-50 patients on the physical therapy case load and only 4 people on our PT team (2 PTs and 2 PTAs). The PTAs are not able to write most of the paperwork so the other PT, Heather, and I are trying to meet productivity and do all the paperwork for our patients (which in this setting is insane).

There is a lot more going on at this facility than the last one I worked in. We have all kinds of equipment and resources, but with all that cool stuff comes the busyness. I am not complaining, though, I really like all the people I work with and the patients, and staying busy usually helps the day go by faster. Except for this week which can't go by fast enough because this weekend I am taking a trip to Nashville with a few of my friends from Florida. Can't wait! You will have to check back for that story. I am sure I will have a ton of pics. I know we will pack everything we can into this one little weekend!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tennessee Thanksgiving!

I am finally settled into my new place and I love it! I am living in a cute log cabin in a nice gated community that is a little bit off the beaten path.
The community was built during the housing boom and when that went under people stopped their building plans. There are only 4 houses out here and I have yet to pass another car on the road in the neighborhood. Needless to say it is quiet and super dark at night. Great for star gazing (if it weren't 20 degrees outside like tonight).
Tonight, as I was driving home (a 7 minute drive... sweet!) there was a beautiful sunset and I saw deer and cows grazing in the grass right on the side of the road in the neighborhood.

 It is so peaceful out here. Not much to do, but that's okay because the big town is only about a 30 minute drive so I have access to anything I want.

Side Note (totally off subject): I was a bit afraid I was not going to get to write this tonight because I had a scare with my computer. It overheated, turned off and would not turn back on. I was so grateful when I tried it again about an hour later and it worked. I don't know if it will last, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. Otherwise, I will be out of touch for a bit while I am in the market for a new laptop. I guess if it is going to happen this is a good time when all the stores are having after Thanksgiving sales. Thankfully, I was able to save all my pictures, docs, and music to an external hard drive so I am okay there. I figured I better get this written quick in case it dies again. :(

My parents, cousin and grandmother all met me here for Thanksgiving. I was trilled to have all of them here! Sunday, I drove down to Cleveland (near Chattanooga) where the Magee's live. They are friends who moved up here from my church in Deerfield. My parents and cousin met there too and we all went to a really nice restaurant and then to Rock City. Rock City was doing the "Enchantment of Lights" so we got to see the whole place all lit up for Christmas. The claim to fame for this attraction is that from the top of the mountain you can, supposedly, see 7 states: Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Kentucky. Of course, we were there at night time so we could really only see lights, but it was pretty cool nonetheless.

Bruce Magee has been working on refurbishing old barns in the area. He showed us a couple of his projects. They were beautiful... these rustic barns with wood from trees that were probably around before Columbus and cool artifacts from the Civil war times. Unfortunately, I don't have pics of the barns except the one above. You will just have to use your imaginations. ;)

Once in Knoxville, we all stayed in my parents RV at a campground just down the road from my new place (very convenient). It was nice to just relax, watch movies, and play games with them, but we also got to do some sight seeing. We went to the Knoxville Zoo and to The Festival Of Trees.

On Thanksgiving day we went over to the Waston's house for dinner. (These are the same friends who hooked me up with the new place to live. I, also, know them from my church in Deerfield.) They were so generous to invite us over to join in their families celebration of the holiday.

Again, I find my self surrounded by wonderful people in a wonderful place. I love traveling!
I hope everyone had a blessed Thanksgiving. I am thankful for so many things, but especially for all of you!!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Still settling in...

Well, I know I have been MIA for a bit. But I have had quite a time settling in here. I arrived in TN last Friday after totally striking out in Kentucky with the horse farm tours. Apparently, I chose to visit on the very day that the Breeder's Cup races were being run. All of the tour guides were attending the race so no tour for me.
Once in TN, I moved in to a place that is in a very nice town just outside of Knoxville. That first weekend I explored downtown Knoxville and went to church with some friends that live in the area. I began my job last Monday (11/8). It is busy, but great! Almost all the rehab staff is my age and they are very nice. The facility is a huge 150 bed nursing home (much more up to date then my last facility). My job is about 40mins away from where I am living and I am not loving the commute or the environment I'm living in. So the friends that I know introduced me to a lady who lives only about 5 mins away from where I work, and tomorrow (or today by the time you read this) I will be moving in with her. She is very nice and crafty so when I am home in the evenings during the week I think we will get a lot of scrapbooking done! Yeah!
So far I have not done any sight seeing owing mostly to the fact that I have not really had a chance to settle in and find out what to do. We'll see what this weekend holds.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My soap box. Just think about it.

Today I went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky.  This museum is the brain child of Ken Ham a prominent creationist. He proposes that the world is not billions of years old like some in the scientific community would have you think, but instead, is only 6-10 thousand years old as the Bible suggests.  Stick with me on this one. Some of you may not know that I too hold to this view, but I don’t want you to think that I just shifted my views today. I have researched and studied this idea for about 5 years now ever since watching a lecture series that Ken produced. I am going on my soap box for this post because I feel that it is important to at least get this alternate view out there even if you choose not to agree with it. I hope that you will read it with a critical and open mind.
It has been indoctrinated into our society that the world has to be billions of years old. It is in every school book, every museum, and every TV show. Children are learning it as a fact in school, and those who oppose billions of years are mocked for their beliefs.  Those that are outside the scientific community feel that because they don’t understand all the complicated tests performed to determine the age of the earth they cannot question the results. Therefore, the church and many Christians have given in and said, “Okay, we’ll just work around it, try to fit it in with our beliefs and it doesn’t matter anyway as long as you believe in Jesus.”  Are they right? Well, on the one hand, yes. As long as a person believes Jesus died on the cross for their sins and rose again, they are saved. Period. I will never deny that.
On the other hand, there is a huge problem brewing!! The very foundation of Christian doctrine and ALL that we believe begins in Genesis. Why is there sin, why is there a need for Jesus, why is there death and suffering, and why is there a 7 day week? All of these questions have their origin in Genesis. If you break the foundation the entire building begins to fall.
Here’s the problem logically broken down:
1. If you believe in macro-evolution you have to believe in billions of years. Even scientists admit the only way “molecules to man” evolution could be true is if there were billions of years to accomplish the seemingly impossible task.  Conclusion: throw out your belief in six literal days of creation and replace it with billions of years.  (**Let me stop right here and clarify what I mean by macro-evolution. Macro-evolution is the theory where, as genetic variability increases within a species, the organism becomes more complex and forms a new species. So bacteria can change, over time, into man. Now, micro-evolution or variability within a species (which we see observable evidence of everyday) is not what I am discussing. Natural selection, which occurs presently, is not what I am discussing. Those two things are well and good and God planned that there would be plenty of variability in our DNA to allow for all the differences we see today. However, popular science would have you believe that if micro-evolution and natural selection are true then macro-evolution has to follow. Not true. Micro-evolution and natural selection are processes that work together and tend to decrease genetic variability not increase it. I will explain more if you want just give me a call.
Okay moving on...

2. If you believe in billions of years and the scientific theory of evolution then you believe that dinosaurs lived millions of years before mankind. It is common knowledge that in the fossil record there are examples of dinosaurs with cancer, animals eating other animals, death, suffering, and destruction. But wait a second. Didn’t death come into the world through the sin of Adam and Eve? How could there be millions of years of animals getting sick, and killing other animals in the “perfect” world God created before the fall. Conclusion: throw out your belief that sin came into the world through the disobedience of God by Adam and Eve. In fact, replace it with the idea that God created a world full of death and destruction and then “said that is it was good."
3. The way scientists come to their conclusions when dating rock layers is based on the assumption that the rate of decay over millions of years has been constant. Therefore, no catastrophic event could have happened that would make these decaying processes go faster or it would totally invalidate all their dating methods. Conclusion:  throw away your belief in Noah and a world wide flood.  Of course, we have already learned that you can’t believe the word of God literally (notice the sarcasm in my voice). It says in Genesis 7:20-23 that, "The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits. Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark."
Well, gosh, that does not fit into evolutionary theory, so again they tweak it to fit what they want to believe and try to convince us that it was a local flood and it did not cover the whole earth. Just Noah’s portion. Don’t worry, when God repeats himself three times in so many verses He doesn’t REALLY mean it. It’s all just another story. It’s all figurative. It’s all just analogies  that have no basis in scientific fact anyway, right? So tell me then, what about the story of Christ rising from the dead. Is that just a story? All scientists would tell you that is a physical impossibility. What about all the other miracles in the Bible? Why do we choose to believe some and not others?
As you can, hopefully, see there is no way of “working” evolution into our Biblical beliefs without seriously compromising the very foundation of those same beliefs. You have to choose which you will believe. Psalm 11:3 says, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?"

Again and again the Bible has held scientific truths which are ignored for a time.
God is speaking to Job in Job 38 and he says, “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?... When the morning stars sang together.” says, “Like musical instruments, stars can produce notes through their vibrations."
Leviticus 17:14, “For the life of every creature is its blood: its blood is its life. Therefore I have said to the people of Israel, You shall not eat the blood of any creature.”  We now know that blood is what gives us life, but not so long ago, when George Washington was alive, they would “bleed” people to try to get rid of illness. Not listening to the truths already laid out.
Isaiah 40:22, “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth…” Wow, a circular earth suggested before Pythagoras came along?! (Also check out Job 26:10 and Proverbs 8:27)
Job 40:15-18, “Take a look at Behemoth, which I made, just as I made you. It eats grass like an ox. See its powerful loins and the muscles of its belly. Its tail is as strong as a cedar. The sinews of its thighs are knit tightly together. Its bones are tubes of bronze. Its limbs are bars of iron.” Could this be a description of a dinosaur living during the time of Job? Hum? Has God been consistent with truth in other areas?  
The question is do you believe the Bible is an old, relic just like the fossils used to discredit it or do you believe it is the LIVING word of God. A history and a science book that you can fully trust.
Am I telling you that you have to take every word in the Bible literally? No, there are times when God uses parables, or analogies to make a point, of course. Then there are other times when he is making a statement, as in the examples above. You only have to use common sense to discover the difference. The Bible says in John 3:12 "If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?"

I know some of you are saying, “Well, how much research have you done on evolution, and how many books have you read regarding their arguments?” To those people I would say. Besides, the journal articles I have read and the people I have talked to who hold opposing views to mine, I spent 7 years pursuing a scientific degree. I have been bombarded with their theories over and over again and have been expected to accept them as truth. In fact, I struggled through a period of seriously questioning my faith because of these inconsistencies between God’s word and the world’s word. I honestly believe that my faith would be, at best, mediocre at this point in my life had it not been for the Bible study I did on this issue 5 years ago. This gave me a scientifically based alternative to evolution, that not only agreed with, but strengthened the truth and majesty of God’s word in my eyes. It is not good that even other Christians disregard, and consider ignorant those who choose to believe Gods word as truth and not just some story that’s read in Sunday school. We should be building each other up, and we should be wary of anything inconsistent with God's word. 
If you recall in Genesis 3 Satan comes to Eve and says, “Did God really say that you should not eat from any tree in the garden.” Did God really say… Wow, Satan continues to use the same tactics over and over. Are we learning? Did God really say he created the earth in 6 days? Did God really say he passed his judgment by flooding the entire earth? That’s for you to decide. The seed of doubt has been planted and nurtured and its roots grow deep!

I have not gone into all the rationales behind the alternate theories presented by the scientist who believe in a young earth. I have just given a basis for why I think this subject is so important. This is only the beginning.
If your eyes are burning from reading this huge post you can stop now, but for those who are interested in the alternative theories proposed by the scientists who believe in a young earth I will post some links for you to check out and I am always willing to talk. I might not know the answer to your question, but I will find out.

I used mostly articles from Answers in Genesis because they make them easy to understand and because they are the most readily available. Check references of articles for further research into subjects. 
These are basic foundational questions:

Here's the really good stuff, the actual scientific data:         -- watch out this is a really technical one :)             -- the infamous verse. This is a good one***