Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back Home Again in Indiana

I’d like to escort you on a personalized tour of our hometown in Indiana. I have featured various locations that have played significant roles in our lives. Please join me as we take a stroll down memory lane.

The Midwest welcomes you with it's infinite flat lands. Unlike the hills of Tennessee, when you drive through Indiana, you can see for miles and miles. And very unlike Nashville, most of the space where we're from is comprised of farmlands. Enjoy the vast flat soy bean fields.

The majority of the landscape is covered with corn fields. "Knee-high by the 4th of July," as the old farmer's saying goes. By the end of July, it's higher than Brad.

Welcome to Smalltown, Indiana. This is our City Hall, complete with a random statue that I'm just now realizing I have no idea of what it is memorializing...

Here is the high school where Brad and I met when I moved to Indiana before our Sophomore year.

Back in the day, this space downtown hosted a Christian coffee house called Joshua's Cup. We would all pile into the cramped, relaxed atmosphere every single Saturday night. It was on these couches that Brad and I first really started flirting with each other. (I leaned against the arm of the couch and draped my feet across his lap. Whoa!)

This is Applebees. It is seriously the only legitimate restaurant in town, ie. it has waiters. Contrary to its common appearance, this is no ordinary eatery, for it holds the memory of the first time Brad ever held my hand - under a long, crowded table of 20 friends after a Battle of the Bands at the local Boys and Girls Club. Talk about butterflies!!

Two days after the famous hand-grab-and-hold of '02, Brad and I officially became a couple at Arby's, during our first "real date." We had an incredibly romantic, slow-motion first kiss across the table in a corner booth. Straight from a movie. That's how we roll.

Here are the theaters that we spent way too much money at during our high school career. Much more hand holding ensued.

This is Arni's, the hippest place in town. It's fully equipped with delicious pizzas, crispy garlic bread, and the best salads on Earth. Anybody who is anybody hangs out at this happenin' scene.

After the cool kids eat dinner at Arni's, they all head over to Dari-Licious for some scrumptious dessert. Oh, how many times have I played at the Turtle Park even though I was way too big and my ice cream was melting? Such great memories!

Here's the local bowling alley. Now, as a general rule, thugs normally reign these lanes. However, after our rehearsal dinner, our wedding party and some out-of-town friends dominated Crash McClains on the eve our nuptials. In your face, thugs!

Speaking of our wedding, this is the chapel in which Brad and I said, "I do." Literally the building where we began our lives together. I have a miniature replica of it on display in my house, and it serves as the cornerstone of our village each Christmas season, just as it was the beginning point of our marriage.

And here's a classic picture of Brad and me embracing the very essence of Indiana. Cornstalks.

I absolutely love Nashville. But, every once in a while, It's really nice to step back into our roots and enjoy the blessings of our upbringings. Thank you, Jim Nabors, for bringing us Back Home Again to Indiana.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We Wanna Rock!

Brad had a surprise waiting for me when I got home from my girls' Gatlinburg getaway last weekend. Apparently, he had been progressing on through his extra dough wish list, because he greeted me with the complete Guitar Hero, World Tour rock band set. Holla! (I'm starting to really like this extra job!)

After church last night, we had band practice with our fellow rock stars - Matthew & Heather, Jeremy & Madison, and Charles & Emily. The skill level was definitely all over the place. Charles and Em have this at home, and they've pretty much toured the world already. Madison is apparently pro, and Heather's basically awesome. All of the Mehaffey boys are pretty decent.

And then there's me.

Yikes. I don't have any rhythmic skills, whatsoever. Honestly, I can't even clap along to a song without Brad (the perpetual high school band geek) making fun of me. When I was playing the drums last night, the only way that I could even do remotely well was to have Brad standing behind me tapping me on the shoulder each time I should drop down the drum stick. And I wasn't even having to hit any specific drums! On beginner (thankyouverymuch), you just have to bang any ol' spot along with the beat. That's all. Just keep the beat. However, that's much easier said than done. Believe you me.

Sadly, the "bass" isn't much easier. How in the world do people get their fingers to bend like that? And that quickly?? I didn't even attempt the actual guitar. I just let Madison show off to the tune of "Hotel California" and a few more. But, most of us spent the majority of our time in complete awe of Charles' mad drumming skills. Seriously, he's unreal. Sometime, we're going to have to get a video of it, or you'll never believe me.

With all of the pictures of us rockin' out, I had to make sure to get at least one of us rock chicks. (Brad lovingly referred to us as "The Donnas.") Look at this sweet picture; it's me with almost-family, might-as-well-be-family, and feels-like-family. I for real love these girls. If I'm going to be touring the world and rockin' out venues, I'm glad it's with this group of friends. :)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Home Sweet Home

One of the greatest things about having a dog around, is that there's always somebody who loves you oodles. So much, in fact, that he longingly misses you each time you're gone. And he anxiously awaits your return, every day, no matter the length of your absence.
Seriously, how could anyone ever be unhappy, knowing that there's a Chester waiting for them at home each day? It's simply not possible. One look at this sweet little face, and any stress from the day just melts away. It's always good to be home.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Girls' Getaway

There's just something special about spending quality time with the girls. This past weekend, I was blessed enough to spend a couple of days away with a few girlfriends from church. We were able to soak up each other's company as well as God's glorious creation in the Smoky Mountains.

Kristi invited Pam, Melanie, and me to join her for a weekend getaway. We left our husbands and children (well, their children) behind and rented this old-fashioned country cottage right outside of Gatlinburg. It boasted of "feeling just like grandma's house!" They were quite right. Its retro decor was very quaint and cozy, and it was fully stocked with everything we'd need, including a comfy bed for each of us.

After a quick trip to the grocery store, we lusciously wasted away the weekend by piling onto a twin-size bed and watching various "chick flicks" (five to be exact), staying up way too late engaged in girl talk, sleeping in well after the sun poke its illuminating head, reading books by the sound of the rushing creek water, and consuming mass quantities of junk food in astronomical proportions.

The weather was absolutely breathtaking (record lows in the 70's), and the created memories are priceless. Our friendships were definitely strengthened as we bonded during the 24/7 camaraderie. It was truly a blessed weekend.

Oh, and as if the magnificence of nature itself wasn't enough for us to fully feel God's presence, look at the gift He so graciously gave us! Hidden within His creation near the creek was this rock shaped perfectly into a heart! The minute I saw it, my own heart filled with a peace that surpasses all understanding. I knew it was a love letter from Romancer of my soul, just making sure that I, and the rest of the girls, were completely aware of us undying love for us.

Thank you, Lord. I love You, too. Very much. :)

Complete Girls' Getaway Photo Album

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Midnight Madness

It finally arrived. The event that I have been anticipating for months. In preparation for July 15, 2009, I began re-reading the Harry Potter series for the fourth time. (I finished it Monday night, and it was just as good as ever.) I knew the plot revealed within the sixth Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and I knew that I would not be able to endure watching particular scenes unfold unless I submerged myself back into the Wizarding World. Which didn't take much convincing. Any excuse to read the books again was good with me.

You see, I'm one of those. One of those crazy Harry Potter freaks. And I'm not at all ashamed to admit it.

(My wizard zeal has encouraged a sort of frenzy with some friends at work: one has watched the entire series-so-far on DVD, and another has become quite engulfed in the books and is currently working his way through Book 6.)

Being the fanatic that I am (with a very supportive husband), it was a given that Brad and I would attend the midnight premier, just as we have for each previous movie, as well as the last couple of book releases. I bought our 12:01 tickets online, last week, to ensure that we were some of the first addicts to witness the theatrical premier.

We walked into the cinema two hours before the show was to begin and joined the already developed line. Thanks to our early arrival, we procured spots towards the beginning of the procession; we were at least in the building. Rumor had it (we wouldn't step out to actually see for ourselves so as not to sacrifice our own placement), the anxious fandom wrapped itself all the way around the outside of the theater.

The theater was selling out right and left and accommodated the swelling crowd by adding multiple consecutive showings. They filled seven (how very fitting) theaters, airing each minute after midnight. I was glad that we ordered our tickets early; we were the few elite in the 12:01 showing. I pitied those poor Potter enthusiasts who didn't get to enjoy it until 12:08. (Actually, due to the massive crowd, all of the shows began late. Our 12:01 movie lagged into a 12:20 movie. But, that's beside the point.)

The entire event, was, of course, wonderful. There are just few things more exhilarating than experiencing a cultural phenomenon with thousands of other people around the country at exactly the same moment. We were all inexplicably bonded, joking and laughing together with total strangers during the waiting time, and then fervently discussing the film afterwards. That's one of the reasons I love Harry Potter; it has brought so many people together and bridged social, gender, geographical, and age gaps. Anyway, I digress...

The movie is a little harder to describe. I have mixed emotions...

Alright, alright, the film, itself, is awesome. The acting is great (for the most part), the special effects are incredible, and the computer effects are off-the-charts. It's suspenseful, exciting, funny, and entertaining. It's just... I'm really hard to please.

For each film adaptation, they have naturally had to modify the plot some. I totally understand needing to condense the storyline to fit within the time confines of a movie. However, in this chapter, some plot points were pretty heavily altered. Some others were left out altogether, and one particular scene was completely fashioned out of nowhere - no mention of anything like it in the whole book.

Oh well. I know the books and the movies are two entirely different things. There's no way the movie can be everything that the book is. It's just not possible. I think I need to watch it a few more times in order to accept the discrepancies and move on.

After all, if J.K. Rowling approves of the movie (which she does, wholeheartedly), who am I to pass judgment?

What about you? Have you read the books? Are you looking forward to the movie? Have you seen the movie already? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Live Young

I came across this commercial today, and I thought it was too funny (and cute) not to share. Besides, it's to one of my all-time favorite songs. Hope you enjoy and it brings a smile to your face!

I hope our babies are this skilled!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Faith Night

Last night was Faith Night at Greer Stadium. A few friends from our Life Group at church gathered together to listen to Jars of Clay in concert and then watch the Sounds baseball game. We all ate hotdogs, enjoyed each other's company, and watched Charlie and Lindsay rangle all of the children, who all wanted to sit with them by the dugout. (They thanked the respective parents for the "free birth control.") As always, we had a great time together, and Brad and I drove home being thankful for the friends with whom God has blessed us.

Complete Faith Night Photo Album

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Count With Me

Bet ya didn't know that today is the only day ever, that you'll be able to count from 1 to 9 at a specific time. 12:34:56, 7-8-09. Pretty neat, huh?

Alright, alright. It doesn't take much to amuse me. But I bet you'll think about it come lunch time! However, you'll have to be quick, because you only have one second to enjoy it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Family, Fireworks & Floods

As a general rule, Mehaffeys love to camp. Our little family of three usually camps multiple times each summer. Chester, especially, thoroughly enjoys his weekends in nature. See how happy he is?

Every once in a while, we have the privilege of being joined by even more Mehaffeys (and soon-to-be-Mehaffeys, and basically-almost-Mehaffeys) on our outdoor excursions. Since all three Mehaffey boys live in Nashville, along with their respective ladies, it's pretty convenient for Mama and Papa Mehaffey to come down here for various mini-reunions. With the extended 4th of July weekend, we took advantage of the opportunity to celebrate the holiday as a family.

Don and Elaine parked their pop-up trailer into lot #5 at the RV park just north of town (where Matthew "Officer Mehaffey" is currently stationed), and Brad and I popped up our tent, right outside. We wasted away the weekend playing Ladder Ball, Corn Hole (Southern translation of the Yankee's "Bean Bag Toss"), swimming, reading, grilling, roasting marshmallows, making s'mores, and enjoying the relaxed time with family.

Along with the anticipation of the South's #1 fireworks display, Saturday, the 4th of July brought along with it ominous clouds and threats of thunderstorms. Determined to witness the pyrotechnic tribute to our nation's independence, we ignored the howling winds and rumors of tornado warnings, grabbed the dogs (Chester, and his cousin, Kate), loaded into a couple of vehicles, and headed towards downtown, over an hour before the celebration was to begin in order to guarantee decent seats within the projected crowd.
We procured space in the East Park with a great view of the Riverfront and LP Field, where the fireworks would soon be originating. Shortly after we arranged our camping chairs, it began to sprinkle. Luckily, there were some tents still erected from the Chicken Festival hosted earlier in the day. As the rain began to pick up, we relocated to the pseudo-shelter, post haste!
To our surprise, the not-so-distant skyline was illuminated by a spectacular show of sprinkling fire, an entire hour earlier than scheduled! Brad and I managed to get one decent picture taken with the salute to our nation's freedom in the background before torrential rain downpoured upon us. We huddled together against the slanting raindrops under our now measly refuge. Only five minutes into the display, we could no longer see the clusters of sparkles through the sheets of rain and flashes of lightening, or hear the BOOM! of the fireworks over the ROAR! of the winds and thunder; or over our own uncontrollable laughter!
After only a few moments of the ridiculous situation, we simultaneously agreed (whether verbally or nonverbally, I don't recall) that it was high time for us to make a mad dash to the car. The boys hastily grabbed the folded chairs, Heather held fast to Kate's leash, and I thrusted Chester into my running arms, and we high-taled it out of there.
We sloshed through puddles, slipped on mud, and lost a couple flip-flops before clambering into the car and giving ourselves over to fits of laughter! Our attempts to remain dry were futile. We were drenched. Absolutely sopping wet with water dripping from each of our noses. We may as well have just played in the rain. Within the security of the car, we joyfully reminisced about the scene as if it had occurred decades before, rather than mere moments.

Once our soaking bodies were all piled atop one another, the family headed toward Dairy Queen (of course) to meet Matthew, who was "patrolling the area." We convinced one of the employees to take a group picture of us, to better remember the time that we celebrated our country's birthday in the midst of a Tennessean hurricane.
We arrived back at the campsite to see that our tent and camper were now happily residing in a lake. The water was well up to my mid-calf as I maneuvered into the camper to gather some belongings - we had (easily) decided to spend the last evening of the holiday weekend comfortably in our warm, dry, cozy house. We created an assembly line from the tent and camper to the car. Those who had flip-flops that could easily wade through the pond were handing blankets, pillows, and toothbrushes to those on the bank in tennis shoes, who hurdled the posessions into various trunks of vehicles. We'd come back in the morning to actually pack up the camp site, hoping for dryer weather.
We concluded our weekend not with the highly anticipated campfire pancakes, but instead with a nearly-as-good breakfast at IHOP. We all looked a mess from the soggy events of the previous evening, but we didn't care. As long as we were together, we were having a great time.
Afterall, that's what family's all about.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, USA!

I hope you all have a great Independence day!

Young At Heart

Just because you're "old" doesn't mean you can't still have fun like a kid! My friend, Libby, turned 30 Tuesday, and she invited some people to celebrate with her at Dave & Buster's, which is basically a Chuck E. Cheese for "grown-ups." She figured there was no better way to welcome her 30's than by acting like a child! I have to admit, I very much agree. (Brad wasn't able to join us, since he was preoccupied making some more Domino's tips.)

We first visited with each other over a delicious meal, before passing up the bowling alley and pool hall to head straight to the arcade. Before we could play any of the games, everybody had to load up a D&B card. You don't buy tokens, anymore; you get a certain amount of "points" on a credit-like-card that you swipe at each game. (Can you believe how "plastic" our nation has gotten? Dave Ramsey would be appalled!)

With each swipe of the card, we reverted back to our childhood as we played Skee Ball, Super Shot, Wheel of Fortune, and a plethora of other games. Our favorite machines were, of course, the ones that spit out the most tickets! You should have seen our greedy little selves as we swiped and swiped in efforts to achieve ticket gold! At one point, I did so aweome on one game, that I had tickets coming out of both sides!

By spending hours (I may be exagerrating, but not by much) at the gambling token machines, the birthday girl won over 1,000 tickets! She could hardly hold all of her winnings in the complimentary bucket. It was as bad as Vegas!

It was great to be a kid for a night. And it was also great to confirm that I still rock at Skee Ball, even if I was dominated by Charles.
Happy 30th Birthday, Libby!
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