Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the Thick of Things

Last Monday, as I drove to the hospital to turn in my pager and badge now that my very last on-call evening and holiday shifts were complete, I received a phone call from a parishioner. Her husband, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 10 years ago, was dying. In the parking lot of a brewery, waiting to go in for our December Nashville Girls’ Pint Out meeting, I ran over things with the senior warden, trying to figure out if there was anything I could do. Then leaving, a friend shared the exciting news of an impending engagement. The parishioner’s husband died late that night.

Tuesday was our Fresh Start meeting of clergy in new calls and a site of fruitful and helpful conversation and fellowship. Wednesday was a flurry of funeral planning and church work before our budget review at the vestry meeting. The good news: highest pledges that the church has seen in years. Thursday was breakfast with my Divinity School girlfriends and a diocesan clergywomen lunch.

And then Friday. I was thankful that the funeral had kept me from writing my Sunday sermon because it would’ve had to be torn up and thrown away to account for the tragic deaths of 26 people, 20 of them schoolchildren. I cried, not only for those children, but for all the children and their families I carry with me from my time as a chaplain resident. I cried for the patients my husband is taking care in the trauma ICU this month and our sad, broken world. It felt wrong to get dressed up to head out to two holiday parties, but it was also good to be around laughter and joy.

Saturday, I officiated my very first funeral and was deeply humbled by the experience and deeply thankful for the Book of Common Prayer. To celebrate resurrection in the face of death, to have more hope than the world thinks is reasonable, is a challenge, particularly in Advent, particularly staring at the large bulk of the casket covered with the shiny white pall. And then that hope was made manifest in Italian food and wine with wonderful former classmates of mine - talk of dreams and red lipstick and grieving and celebration.

That night I dreamed of good and evil, action for life coupled with action for death, all entwined together. I dreamed of wholeness and completion, my ministry standing in the middle of celebration and mourning, holding the two in tension, like we do in the burial liturgy. Life is complicated. Life is both/and. Life is gray and magenta and green, not just black and white. We are saints and sinners, gloriously and utterly human.

The liturgy on the second Sunday of Advent was a mess. Nothing really happened like I wanted it to. The lighting of the Advent wreath was bumpy and awkward, and the acolyte waited too long to start processing at the end of the service. Afterward, someone came up and said, “Thank you for such a beautiful service.” I nearly laughed until I saw that she was serious. Thanks be to God for beauty in the breakdown, for light in the darkness, for hope in the midst of grief.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Washington DC

Our trip to DC was a little strange due to Superstorm Sandy. Fortunately, the storm held off through the marathon, but that night, the weather started to deteriorate. I was hoping to spend time with some friends who were also in town for the marathon, but they decided to head back up the coast. After soaking my aching legs in a long hot bath, I was ready for some food and drink, and we scored a last minute reservation at Jaleo. And I wore my medal because I earned that thing.


Joe enjoyed some sangria, and I had a few glasses of a Grenacha while we tried to re-book our cancelled flights from our phones. Ever since our honeymoon, Joe has been in search of paella that can live up to the honeymoon paella, and this seemed as good of a place as any. First though, we started with a few tapas. The housemade chorizo with olive oil mashed potatoes was particularly remarkable, and our waiter talked us into the liquid olives – my first experience with molecular gastronomy.


The paella was also incredible but not as photogenic, and we ended up with a lot of food. I heard the couple next to us make a snide remark about the pictures I was taking, but I didn’t care. After running 26.2 miles, I couldn’t exactly say no to dessert either.


Everything that we had was so inventive and beautifully presented. On our way out the door, we stopped to chat with another woman who was wearing her medal, and we heard the hostess calling people with reservations for the next day to cancel them. It was raining pretty hard on our walk back to the hotel, so we stopped off for some Goose Island Matilda on draft.

The next day we were rained in. Everything was closed, the Metro was shut down, and we had to resort to hotel food. While it was a bummer that we were kind of stuck, I was very thankful for the hotel staff. We had a reservation for Rasika Monday night, but it was cancelled. Fortunately, I was able to make another reservation for the next night.

Tuesday was still kind of rainy and icky, though there didn’t appear to be any serious damage near us, and all of the Smithsonian museums were still closed. We found a diner that was open and figured out that the International Spy Museum was the only museum in town open, which was fine by me because I love espionage. While we were walking around, I went to visit Scully and Mulder.


The spy museum was really fun and not somewhere that would’ve been our first choice normally. We walked around the National Mall and visited our buddy Abe.


The weird part about running Marine Corps Marathon is that I was totally oblivious to the landmarks we were near, in part because I was trying to not run into everyone around me and partially due to my glycogen-depleted brain. So it was nice to see everything when I wasn’t surrounded by people. For example, I had NO idea that the Capitol building was behind me in this picture.


Anyway, we walked up through Foggy Bottom and met my friend for a few drinks before heading to Rasika, where we decided to go big or go home: 6-course Chef’s Tasting Menu with wine pairings. It was really dark, so I didn’t get many pictures, but the black cod, palak chaat, and Konkani scallops were amazing. It was the most incredible Indian food I’ve ever had. We were SO full walking back to our hotel. I couldn’t even finish my dessert sampler.


Hopefully, the next time we go back to Washington, there won’t be a Superstorm since I didn’t get to see a quarter of what I wanted to, though we still had a good time.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Long time, no blog. I need to catch you up on some Washington D.C. eats (when we weren’t hunkering down from Sandy) and some Hawaii eats. Yeah, it’s been a jet-setting last couple of weeks, and I’m happy that I don’t have to see another airport until January 7th when I fly to Kenya. Like you do.

We’re having a mixed family Thanksgiving again with my family and Joe’s second cousin’s family, which is what we did last year and worked so well. Everyone requested another appearance of the Famous Bourbon Slush, and my dad requested the Brie en Croute I made for my birthday party with pumpkin butter and roasted pecans. There will be a few more dishes that I’ll blog later.

Of course, everyone wants to share what they’re thankful for, and naturally, I’m thankful for my family, my health, and all of the opportunities I have, so I wanted to share a few other things for which I am thankful.


I’m so thankful that I am surrounded by so many incredible women ministers, runners, and friends. Every day, I am in awe of the amazing things that these wise, strong, and faithful women are doing in the world. If I can even halfway live into deserving their friendship and guidance, I’ll be doing pretty darn well. From breakfast every other week to collaborative preaching over glasses of wine to sharing 22 miles of Marine Corps Marathon or interpreting dreams over Twitter, I am so blessed to have these women in my life. There are some pretty amazing men in my life as well, but I have to give props to my sisters.


Sorry Vols fans, but I am so thankful that Vanderbilt thoroughly trounced UT this past Saturday. I’m also thankful for the brilliant Twitter sports commentary from the Vanderbilt fans. Go ‘Dores!


My ordination to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. Particularly after what happened yesterday in the Church of England, I’m thankful to be ordained in a tradition that allows (and occasionally encourages) women leadership. As the only clergywoman in the town where I serve, I do not take this for granted. I’m thankful to serve a congregation that is open and excited about new ideas and that has welcomed Joe and me with open arms. Having been a minister both in the parish and the hospital, I am continually blessed by my occupation. Ministry is filled with so much joy for me, and I’m thankful for a denomination that recognizes my calling to ordained ministry.


I’m thankful for a body that allows me to run marathons, climb mountains, go kayaking, lift weights, do yoga, cuddle our three adorable cats, wear fun high heels, and so much more. I haven’t always loved or appreciated my body, but running has totally transformed that relationship. It’s also pretty difficult to be incarnational, to celebrate the Eucharist, to hold a hand, without a body, so there’s that.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oo-Rah: Marine Corps Marathon 2012

Since I’m currently stuck in Washington D.C. thanks to Frankensnurricane Sandy, and everything is closed, what better time than to write my race re-cap for the 37th Annual Marine Corps Marathon!

Saturday morning, Joe and I got up crazy early to make our 6:25 am flight to BWI. Everything went smoothly, and I chatted with some fellow Nashville runners at the baggage claim. After taking the SuperShuttle to our hotel and stashing our bags in our room, we met up with my friend Jimi for an early lunch of pizza at Matchbox Chinatown and then headed to the Expo.


The process of getting our bibs was very smooth, and the Marines working packet pick-up were very friendly. The expo itself was more overwhelming. There was a bit of a snafu because security wasn’t allowing any glass bottles inside the DC Armory, and Jimi had brought a whole bunch of beer in his bag from the brewery he works at. So Joe ended up staying outside of the expo to babysit the beer. After getting my shirt, I shopped a bit and ended up waiting in a really long line to pay. I wished I’d stayed at the expo longer, but the crowds wandering around aimlessly were driving me crazy. And there’s really only so much running stuff you can buy, right?

My grandparents moved to Arlington from Charlottesville two days before we arrived, so we ventured out there to visit them for dinner in their new assisted living facility. It was a pretty decent pre-race dinner – kind of bland and pretty much guaranteed to not mess up my digestive system. Then it was back to the hotel on a Metro full of fun Halloween costumes. Predictably, I slept horribly and woke up at 5 am to drink my coffee and fuel up. Every morning I get a quote from in my e-mail, and the day of the marathon, it was particularly apt.
“For all that has been, thanks; to all that will be, yes.” – Dag Hammerskjold


Earlier this week, I bought iron-on letters for my race shirt and put my name on the front and “Run Rev Run!” on the back. Best idea ever; all through the race people were cheering for me by name. After I was all ready to go, we hit the Metro, chatted with more runners, and hopped on the train to the Pentagon. If I thought the train was full when we got on, more and more runners kept squeezing on. Then we walked. And walked and walked to Runner’s Village. I met up with my friend Jen after waiting in the slowest moving Port-o-let line in the history of running, and we walked to the start. After hopping the fence to get into the start corral, the gun went off, and we stood around for 15 minutes before crossing the start line.


Jen and I both had a “reach” goal of sub-4:40 and were planning on a PR race. We started out conservatively and feeling good enough to keep reminding ourselves to pull back on the pace a bit. I first saw Joe at mile 10.5 where he took the picture on the right. Obviously, I was feeling pretty happy at that point. After over a week of worrying about the weather, we ended up only having a strong headwind at a few points and NO rain. Lots of signs read various iterations of “Sandy is right behind you!” though my favorite sign was, “Paul Ryan is already finished.”


We kept ticking off mile after mile and started to pick up the pace a bit. Joe saw us again along the National Mall, which was encouraging. I was starting to not feel so great anymore. When we made the turn to go over the bridge back into Virginia, I knew I would have to back off. Lots of people around us were walking, and we kept having to weave around them. Jen was looking strong, so when we got off the bridge, I told her to go ahead. I slowed down and took some walk breaks. Everything hurt, and I was mentally frustrated by the crowds of runners that had us weaving the whole race, adding an extra .43 on my Garmin by the finish line. After allowing myself a brief pity party, I said “yes” to the pain, the blisters, the aching muscles, the foggy head, and the guy dressed as a purple Teletubby in front of me and pressed on. At about 25.8 miles, I saw Joe, and he tried to motivate me. In my pain, I told him to shut the hell up much to the amusement of the runners around me.


Marine Corps Marathon finishes up a hill to the Iwo Jima monument. A hill. After running 26 miles. Fortunately, I run hills all the time, and this particular hill was surrounded by cheering spectators and Marines and had a giant finish line at the top. I surged past the people around me and kicked everything into the finish. 4:43:44, official time. Then I burst into tears. I waited in a short line to be presented my medal by the awesome female Marine above, and we saluted each other. After getting a jacket, food, and drink, I walked for what seemed like forever to meet up with Joe.

One of the truly great things about MCM was the social media support. Every 10K, my time and pace were tweeted, posted to my Facebook page, and e-mailed/texted to everyone who had signed up to follow me. So even though Joe hadn’t been right at the finish line, he knew I had finished and PR’d. And at the end, I received all the texts, tweets, and Facebook comments from friends who had cheered me on from all over.

All in all, I don’t know if I’ll do another enormous race like MCM, or if I do, I will have very different expectations. Running with 30,000 of your closest friends is inspiring but also frustrating. The course was constantly congested, even in the last few miles, and the aid stations were particularly bad. At one point, Jen and I lost each other for about a mile coming out of an aid station. As wonderful as a job as they do with the logistics, there is just no way to organize 30,000 people without a lot of waiting and walking around a large amount of space. At the end of the day, I walked away with a PR and the knowledge that I ran hard and left everything out on the course.

And because I’m more than a little crazy, I signed up for Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL, which will qualify me as a Marathon Maniac!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Spicy Mole Oatmeal Chili

Traditional Texas-style chili is made only with meat, chile peppers, and tomatoes. But over the years, I have put some strange things in chili. Beer, peanut butter, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and all kinds of beans, from standards like pinto and black beans to slightly off-the-wall legumes like chickpeas, have made their way into my fire engine red Dutch oven. Even still, with the variety of ingredients that one can toss into a pot of chili, I could not have imagined the day when I would add both oatmeal and cocoa powder into my chili.

Thanks to my friend Jen who posted the link on Facebook saying it was her favorite chili, I now have a healthy, antioxidant-full go-to recipe. The oatmeal makes it a thicker chili than a lot of other vegetarian chilis, and it does look surprisingly like ground turkey. I couldn’t taste a lot of the cocoa powder over the chili powder and chipotle sauce, so next time I might use a darker cocoa to really get that mole flavor.

2012-10-22 12.44.02

Spicy Mole Oatmeal Chili
source: Natural Health
Yields 4-6 servings


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped yellow onion
½ cup diced carrots
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes with cilantro and lime or with basil and garlic
2 15.5-ounce cans low-sodium dark-red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon best-quality unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons chipotle en adobo sauce
1½ cups rolled oats
7 ounces water
4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot.
  2. Cook onions and carrots until onions are translucent but not brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. Add tomatoes to the pot, then add rinsed beans.
  4. Add cocoa and chili powder until the powders are completely incorporated into the mixture. Add chipotle sauce.
  5. Add the rolled outs and about half the water. Cook for about 5 minutes and add water as necessary. You want a thick consistency.
  6. Cook for about 5 to 10 minutes more, until oats break down.
  7. Serve in individual bowls with a sprinkle of cheese on top.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Boozy Chocolate Bourbon Bundt Cake

A few weekends ago, after running 18 miles that morning, Joe and I headed to the first annual Nashville Whiskey Festival.


With the weather turning cooler, I’m more likely to find myself enjoying a small glass of the brown stuff after dinner. Something about fall and football and yellow leaves and bourbon just seem right together. For a while, I had put a moratorium on whiskey purchases because the bottles seemed to be multiplying on the baker’s rack that we use as a liquor cabinet, but over the past year, we drank down the contents. At the whiskey festival, we tasted some new products and some old favorites and restocked the shelves.

Additionally, we learned a great trick from the “Chief Cocktail Officer,” Tim Laird, at the Whiskey Festival. He served us some Woodford Reserve infused with dried apples and cinnamon, and after obtaining the materials, we used some of our mixing bourbon to do the same. I’m still brainstorming cocktails using the stuff, but believe me that it is unbelievably good.

This cake made the short list for potential birthday cakes, but a layer cake seemed to fit the celebratory birthday bill better than a bundt cake. Just a few days later, I got to make this cake for a casual dinner gathering. My dad supplemented the cake with a pumpkin pie because there were children present, and this cake is quite strong. However, it didn’t seem to make any difference because our friends’ 4 year-old took down slice after slice of this cake. It’s dense and chocolaty and rich, and the bourbon adds, well, bourbon flavors – caramel, vanilla, and oak. I happened to use a winter-spiced whiskey we bought in Breckenridge, Colorado at Breckenridge Distillery a few years ago, so my cake had some hints of cinnamon and clove as well. Whatever you use, make sure it’s a good quality whiskey or bourbon because there’s a whole cup of it. After a few days, the cake got a little dry, so we just brushed a little more bourbon on it, and it tasted as good as new!


Boozy Chocolate Bourbon Bundt Cake
source: Cook Like a Champion


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting pan
5 ounces unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
¼ cup instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup bourbon, rye or other whiskey, plus more for brushing
½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish (optional)


Heat oven to 325º. Generously butter a 10-cup Bundt pan and lightly dust it with flour and/or cocoa powder.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool. Bring water to a boil. Place espresso and cocoa powders in a 2-cup or larger glass measuring cup, then add enough boiling water to bring the mixture up to the 1 cup line. Stir until the powders dissolve, then stir in the bourbon and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue beating until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla, baking soda and melted chocolate, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low, then add about a third of the bourbon mixture. Once the liquid is absorbed, beat in 1 cup of flour. Repeat with another third of the bourbon mixture and the remaining cup of flour. End with the last third of the liquid. The batter will be thin. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with a rubber spatula, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with the spatula and bake for about 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Place cake on a cooling rack and allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then carefully unmold the cake onto a serving platter. Brush on an additional tablespoon of bourbon and allow to cool completely. Once cool, dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Cake

Who has two thumbs and recently had a birthday? This gal! The big 2-8, creeping ever closer to 30. Working in church circles, I constantly get told how young I am, so adding another year is more of an advantage than a cause for crisis. Seriously, 28? If you had told me at age 18 that I would be in charge of a church as the only clergyperson, married and a homeowner, and have run 2 marathons, I would laugh in your face. My life is ridiculously awesome. For example, at our Blessing of the Animals in celebration of St. Francis, I blessed a chicken. Ministry in Wilson County can get a little wild!


Anyway, for my birthday week, Joe took me out to etch for dinner on Tuesday night, and we had a phenomenal meal. On Wednesday, we hit up Amerigo for a South American wine tasting. I love my Malbec. And then on my actual birthday, Joe left early that morning for a conference, so I had a few friends (and my parents) over for appetizers, wine, and cake.


I’m only towering over my mother because of the glittery high heels I’m wearing. If you can’t wear sequins and glittery high heels on your birthday, when can you wear them?
The theme of the gathering was Trader Joe’s + pumpkin. A delicious hummus quartet, chips and salsa, and a pumpkin butter/pecan Brie en croute made up the majority of the offerings. And of course, the pumpkin pie cake. Lightened up baking can often be disastrous, but this cake was not at all overly dense and had a great spice flavor. The icing was a little thin, which explains the recommendation to only ice the top of the layers. I may have seen my dad sneak back for another slice.


Pumpkin Pie Cake
source: Cooking Light November 2005


Cooking spray
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup egg substitute
2 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin-pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt


2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons fresh orange juice
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. To prepare cake, coat 2 (8-inch) round cake pans with cooking spray. Dust pans evenly with 2 tablespoons flour.
  3. Combine 1 cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, and oil in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until well blended. Add egg substitute and eggs; beat until well blended. Add pumpkin, beating until blended.
  4. Lightly spoon 2 cups flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, beating just until blended. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove cake from pans; cool completely on wire rack.
  5. To prepare frosting, beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed until creamy. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating until blended (do not overbeat). Add juice, stirring until blended.
  6. Place 1 cake layer on a serving plate. Spread 1 cup frosting over layer, and top with remaining cake layer. Spread remaining frosting over top of cake. Sprinkle with pecans, and garnish with orange slices, if desired.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Hard Cider and Cabbage Stew

It is legitimately fall, y’all. The morning temperatures are regularly in the 50s and sometimes 40s. The leaves are turning, and I have found myself combing through cookbooks and spending more time in the kitchen. And it’s not all about pumpkin either, though the pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin rooibos tea, and pumpkin pancake mix might not agree.

I love soups and stews. I also love using my slow-cooker. But as Lesley noted, most slow-cooker recipes are meat-centric, and there are only so many times you can make beans in the slow-cooker. In those cases, I turn to my favorite cookbook: Kathy Hester’s The Vegan Slow Cooker. Generally, the recipes require a little more prep than your normal slow cooker fare, but if you prep the night before, you can usually just toss everything in and go. For this meal, Joe helped me prepare it in the morning, and it was ready to go when we came home from spin class that night.

This particular recipe caught my eye because FALL. Vegan sausage, hard cider, apples, and root veggies like cabbage and carrots fit the season so well. The apple essentially melts into the stew, and the broth is incredibly flavorful due to the parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Add some cornbread, and you are set.


Hard Cider and Cabbage Stew
source: The Vegan Slow Cooker
Yields 4-6 servings


2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium-size carrots, sliced into rounds
1 small head cabbage, cored and chopped
1 small apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1 12 oz package vegan sausage links
2 cups hard cider
2 tbsp vegan chicken-flavored bouillon
2 bay leaves
1 sprig rosemary
2 sprigs thyme (My store was out of thyme, so I subbed 1 tsp dried)
Salt and pepper, to taste


Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes longer. Combine the onion and cut-up vegetables, apple, and sausage in a large air-tight container and store in the refrigerator if preparing the night before.

When ready, combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaves, rosemary sprig, and thyme sprigs. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

September/October Races

When I had lunch with my (former) CPE supervisor last week, he said, “You’ve been running a lot!” And I guess I have. I had three race weekends in a row starting September 22nd, so I’ll walk you through them briefly.

Women’s Half Marathon – Nashville


This is the third (and probably last) time I’ve run this race. I have some nostalgic feelings about it since it was my first ever half marathon (the first year) and my PR race (the second year). For myriad reasons, this year wasn’t quite as good. Even though they changed the course to allegedly make it less hilly, my plan was not to race. In fact, my plan was to make this into an 18-mile training run by running the 5 miles downtown to the start and then catching a ride home with my mom. File under: marathon training makes you do crazy things. I thought I would run the first 5 slow and easy and then shoot for marathon goal pace during the race.


First mile was slow due to crowds and several turns, but I settled into a ~10:00/mile pace, about a half-minute faster than I wanted to be going. But I felt strong and loose, so I decided to ride it until I inevitably crashed and burned. This year, the crowd support was significantly less than it was in previous years, and there weren’t as many bands on the course. It’s not something I would normally complain about, but for a pricey race, it’s nice to have those pick-me-ups. Fast-forward to the end, I never crashed. I felt strong the whole time, even at a faster-than-anticipated pace – complete with negative split and a fast last 5K. Official time – 2:12:35

Fort4Fitness Half Marathon – Fort Wayne, IN


How did I end up running a half marathon in Fort Wayne? Those two crazy kids on either side of me – Abby and John. The original plan was to run the half marathon together and stay at Abby’s parents’ house, but her parents up and moved to Bloomington. This was both Abby’s and John’s first half marathon, which was really exciting. They had trained diligently and hard throughout the summer and were rewarded with very successful races.

The race was extremely well-organized and based out of the minor league baseball stadium. Bathrooms, gear check, and everything else we needed were right there. Plus, we finished in the stadium and on the Jumbotron, which is always fun. We stayed in the adjacent Courtyard Marriott, which meant that we didn’t even have to park. Even though the shirts were kind of ugly, the medals were very nice, and it was a well-attended race without being super-crowded.

fort4fitness finish line

At the start, I persuaded John to jump several corrals based on how fast he was planning on running. He ended up sticking with the 8:00/mile pace group and finishing in 1:43:46 for his first half! Abby had tossed out a goal of 2:30, but I knew she was underestimating herself, so I figured I’d pace her with 2:20 in mind as the time to beat. We executed the race really well. The first four miles took us straight down this one street, and then we turned into a park. I wanted to keep her comfortable until mile 10 and then push the pace a bit. We were right on target at the 10 mile mark, but then we merged with the 10K event that had started an hour later, so we had to dodge a bunch of walkers. I ran ahead of Abby a few feet to keep her motivated and also to weave my way through the other participants. Finally, we made the final turn before we entered the stadium, and we took off. We finished well under 2:20. Official time: 2:17:35

Southern Tennessee Plunge Marathon – Winchester, TN


In a potentially disastrous move, my mom talked me into doing a practice marathon with her as our last long run before our goal races (Marine Corps for me; Seven Bridges for her). It’ll be fun, she said. It’ll be supported and a nice jaunt through the beautiful southern Tennessee countryside, she said. And, well, it was a very successful race for me, but it wasn’t really fun or beautiful. First off, we had hotel room problems. Like, they couldn’t find our reservation even though we had an e-mail and a confirmation number from the hotel. The next morning, we woke up to pouring down rain. Fortunately, it let up right before the start. Joe had signed up for the half with the plan to run the first 7.5 miles with us, but due to a miscommunication, we separated a little over a mile in.


The plan was to maintain a 11:00/mile pace and finish comfortably or as comfortably as one can finish a marathon. We did not account for the 8 miles along a highway into the north wind. Then my Garmin lost satellite reception at 10 miles. The second half of the course was a little more pleasant, but it continued to mist and drizzle off and on. The hills were not insignificant either. After my stomach issues at Flying Pig, I was apprehensive about my capability of executing a marathon well, but this went really well. At mile 18, about when the wheels fell off at Flying Pig, I still felt good and strong. When I hit mile 22 and realized I could basically walk the next 4 miles and still PR, that was huge encouragement. I PR’d by over 20 minutes with an official time of 4:45:15.

While maybe not the most brilliant training strategy, executing a race according to plan and not experiencing any fueling or stomach issues was very important for my confidence going into Marine Corps (October 28th!). I now know that I can run a marathon successfully, even in the face of less than ideal weather conditions, and finish with a smile on my face.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

100 Days of Running

On September 4th, I ran for the 100th straight day in a row. And then on September 5th, I stopped. It wasn’t that I was injured or even really wanted a rest day, but it was a good time and a nice even-numbered day for the streak to end.

2012-06-30 07.46.16

It started with another one of those Runner’s World run streaks. The summer goal was to run at least a mile every day between Memorial Day and July 4th. Unlike the last time I streaked, I got into a groove. Of course, the groove mostly involved waking up insanely early so that I could run a) before work and b) before it got ridiculously hot. June was a particularly bad month heat-wise, but I ran through it. I ran through long weekend trips to Virginia for my grandma’s 90th birthday party and Memphis for Abby’s engagement party. I ran to Memorial Cross in Sewanee. July 4th came, and I badly bombed a local 5K. But the streak rolled on.

2012-07-14 09.13.17

My mom and I did a lovely 10-mile run with the Badgerland Striders while we were in Milwaukee for my cousin’s wedding. If the sun came up that morning, I ran. Normally, I averaged 23-25 miles/week, and suddenly, I was easily averaging 25-30. With the start of training for Marine Corps, I regularly hit 30 miles per week without struggling. My body adjusted, and most of the time, I felt pretty strong. I ran through the end of CPE and final evaluations and good-byes. I ran through my Florida vacation (even though I barely squeaked out a mile most days) and through my first day at a new church. Some days it was 17 miles and some days it was 1 or 2 miles. When it was all said and done, 100 days of running netted me 418.9 miles, or an average of about 4.2 miles a day.

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If there’s one thing that the streak taught me, it’s that motivation is overrated. People are always waiting for motivation to exercise or eat healthy foods or start a spiritual practice, but Nike was right when they said, “Just do it.” Running every day was just something I did. Roll out of bed, brush my teeth, throw on clothes, tie shoes, out the door and start running. There was no question, no back and forth, no “I’ll just do it tomorrow.” I ran because I’m a runner. I didn’t always want to, and there were days when a 4 or 5 mile run became a 2 or 3 mile run. Habit will trump motivation every time whether it’s exercise or reading the Bible.

Even nearly a month after ending the streak, taking a true rest day feels weird, like something isn’t quite right with my day. Over those 100 days, I grew to really depend on running for self-care, for my “me” time when it was just the road and me and God, as an outlet for my anger and grief and happiness and celebration. I thought it was going to be a physical challenge, but it became a spiritual practice as well.

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Physically, the most I struggled with were some grumpy calves for a few days. I still did cross-training like spin class and weight-lifting, but I would run a mile or two before or after. I learned to really listen to my body in order to figure out what was real fatigue that was telling me to back off a little and what was just a little sluggishness that I could push through.

I don’t know if or when I’ll streak again, but running 100 days in a row changed me as an athlete and a person. I also did a lot of laundry and ate a lot of food!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How to Take a Solo Vacation

After finishing my year as a CPE Resident, I was exhausted, but fortunately, had scheduled a week in between finishing one thing and starting the next. The issue was what to do with that week. I knew what I needed to do – get away, do some mental, spiritual, and emotional debriefing, and just relax. Maybe, if I felt up to it, start doing some brainstorming and planning for the church. I don’t know about you, but I am utterly incapable of doing those things at home. Instead of the space I needed, I would fill my time with errands, bumming around the house, and feeling guilty about how little I accomplished. No, I needed a vacation, really a retreat of sorts. But there was no way, no how the husband was going to be able to go anywhere with me. After hemming and hawing about it for a while, I made the decision. I would go on vacation by myself.


It felt like self-indulgence. Spending the money on airfare and a rental car just for me? Not to mention meals, gas, entertainment, etc. Fortunately, lodging was covered since I used my aunt’s condo in Florida. She did warn me that there was the potential for hurricanes and tropical storms in late August, but I scoffed. Then Tropical Storm Isaac decided to make himself known. I decided to keep my plans in place, particularly when the course of the storm started drifting further and further west. Besides, if I had to spend a day or two drinking wine and reading my Kindle in the dark, I could manage.


Tip #1: Go for the upgrade
Naturally, I had opted for the economy rental car when I got a (rather good) deal on Priceline, but when I got to the counter, the clerk offered me a red Camaro for an extra $10/day. I balked and he cut it down to $5/day. Doing the math in my head, I decided it was totally worth an extra $25 to drive along the beach in a red Camaro. And after spending the whole year trying to cultivate my rebellious feisty side, the red Camaro seemed particularly apt.

Tip #2: Bring lots of books
I love my little $79 Kindle. I toted a whole freaking library to Florida with me. I wasn’t entirely sure if I would have internet access in the condo (though I did!), and I planned to spend a lot of time reading fun, interesting-to-me books. I finished a collection of Margaret Atwood short pieces, the second Harry Potter book, and made a good dent on Flunking Sainthood: A Year of Breaking the Sabbath, Forgetting to Pray, and Still Loving My Neighbor.


Tip #3: Don’t let the bad weather get you down
All I really wanted to do was go to the beach, absorb the sun, and be lulled into a semi-catatonic state by the waves and the seagulls. Unfortunately, Isaac had other plans. So I went shopping (something I rarely do at home). I ate raw oysters and drank beer before hunkering down in the condo with Breaking Bad on my laptop. And the next day, even though it was windy as all get out and I couldn’t even walk on the Fort Myers pier, I went to the beach anyway. It was kind of miserable being pelted with tiny particles of sand at 20 mph, so I ended up doing what I wanted to anyway – driving up and down the beach in that red Camaro. Take that tropical storm!

Tip #4: Sit at the bar
The weirdest and most uncomfortable part of vacationing solo was eating out since it can be a little awkward. I had the most success with sitting at a two-top table inside the bar area. There I could order, watch whatever was on the television, pretend to read my book while really just eavesdropping on other tables’ conversations, or play with my iPhone. I even went out to a bar that specialized in beer and had no problem at all.


Tip #4: Be smart
I finally got my time on the beach even though the water was all churned up, and as much as I like walking up and down the beach, I never ventured far enough that I couldn’t see my things, though I locked my wallet in the trunk of the car. Most people probably wouldn’t even have done that. And before leaving, I made a point of not advertising that I was traveling on my own on my various social media networks, just to be safe. I kept in contact with my parents and husband back at home, letting them know when I was going out for a run, which beaches I was going to, etc. That way if I disappeared for whatever reason, they would at least have some idea of where I was. All the usual things apply as well – being aware of surroundings, locking doors, not displaying valuables, etc. The closest I got to being assaulted was when I was out on a run and surprised an older lady from behind while she was out on her walk. She was not very happy with me.

Even for an extrovert, having solo vacation time was very important for my well-being and pressing the “restart” button before starting a new ministry. I also had fun doing what I wanted to, when I wanted to. I went to bed early some nights and late others. I ate normal meals some days but not every day. I spent some quality time with myself and God and the seagulls. I cried about things I didn’t realize that I still needed to cry about, and I put the windows down and sang along loudly to the Pop2K XM station when I wanted. So I highly recommend the solo vacation. I came back recharged and ready to start a new call.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Lentil Fritter Pitas with Red Cabbage Slaw

Did summer fly by for anyone else? There are about 18 million summer things that I never got around to. Farmers’ Markets that went unvisited, rivers that did not get kayaked, nights that we did not sit out on the patio talking, meals that did not get grilled (in part because our grill was confiscated by the fire marshal). June was a haze. Nothing happened in July since Joe was working nights and was either at the hospital or asleep. August was finishing CPE, and now it’s September with fall just around the corner.

Football has started, and there are cans of pumpkin in my pantry that never were used last year. But it’s still 90-something degrees and unbearably humid. I’m not ready for fall because I didn’t really get a summer, even though I love fall. It’s the best running season This is a great summer meal: colorful, light flavors like cilantro and lemon. So if you want to cling to summer for a few weeks longer, or if you’re forced to by the weather, go ahead and sneak this one under the line. Before chunky sweaters and boots, before tailgating, before apples and pumpkin and butternut squash and chili, have some red cabbage and lentils and parsley.

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Lentil Fritter Pitas with Red Cabbage Slaw
adapted from Real Simple
Yields 4 servings


3 cups cooked lentils
1/2  cup  fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for serving
1/2  cup  fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1  clove garlic, finely chopped
2 eggs
1/2  teaspoon  ground cumin
1/2  cup  bread crumbs
kosher salt and black pepper
1/4  head red cabbage, shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
3  tablespoons  olive oil
1/2  cup  low-fat Greek yogurt
1/4  teaspoon crushed red pepper, plus more for serving
4  pocketless pitas, warmed


  1. In a food processor, puree half of the lentils with the cilantro, parsley, garlic, and cumin until nearly smooth. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the bread crumbs, the remaining lentils, the eggs, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Form into sixteen ½-inch-thick patties.
  2. In a large bowl, using a wooden spoon, lightly mash the cabbage with the lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the oil, and ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper; set aside. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, crushed red pepper, and a splash of water. Adjust consistency to preference. 
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook the patties until browned, 3 to 4 minutes per side, adding the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet for the second batch.
  4. Dividing evenly, top each pita with the patties, cabbage mixture, yogurt sauce, and the additional cilantro and crushed red pepper.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The End of CPE

My year of CPE is over and done. I walked out of the hospital last Friday a very different person, a different (better!) minister than I walked into it one year ago. I’m reflecting, processing, praying about this past year and how it will carry on into my future ministry.

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What is CPE?
CPE stands for Clinical Pastoral Education. There are two components – 32 hours/week of ministry, in my case, at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt (MCJCHV), and 8 hours/week of group educational time. In that group time we wrote and reflected on our ministry and patient encounters, read and discussed books, had didactic sessions on specialized topics, presented projects, and explored our group dynamics and relationships. All things considered, it’s an intense year, not only for the types of situations I encountered in the hospital but also the amount and kind of personal growth that takes place.


Lately, I’ve been reading through Proverbs with the She Reads Truth group, and if there’s a book in the Bible that could sum up CPE, I think that’s it. Wisdom and how to develop it, heeding correction, all of that is what I’ve learned through CPE. My three years of Divinity School were primarily about building up knowledge – theology, church history, Bible, etc. But my year of CPE was about wisdom. As the saying goes, “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting a tomato in a fruit salad.” Gaining wisdom has helped me be an effective minister with the knowledge that I learned in Divinity School.


Admittedly, I went into my CPE residency as kind of a last ditch option. Not currently living in the diocese where I’m canonically resident and there not being any other options for full-time, compensated ministry, I contacted the CPE center which just happened to have any empty spot. And at the end of the year, I would whole-heartedly recommend a residency year to anyone interested in ministry, not just chaplaincy. I learned more about myself, ministry, God, and love than I ever imagined, and I got to do it in a safe and educational environment with people supporting, listening, and challenging me.


So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the last year. And now, I’m ready. To use a wine metaphor, I came out of seminary unoaked: definitely drinkable but lacking some mellowing, depth, and structure. CPE Residency was 12 months in an oak barrel. As someone put it at the church where I did my field education and recently supplied, "you’ve really come into your own.” Alright, God, let’s do this thing.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Holla at the Collar

Several weeks ago, I went to a wine tasting at a restaurant bar with a girlfriend of mine. Because I had come straight from the hospital, I was still wearing my work clothes, including my clerical collar. We sat at the head of the bar, talking, enjoying our wine, and splitting a pizza. Little did I know, I was creating a big stir. Eventually, a couple came up to us and said, “Excuse me, but are you a nun?” I smiled and told them that no, I was not a nun; I am an Episcopal priest. They looked pleasantly surprised and informed me that they were Catholic. The next time I went to the same restaurant bar, this time with my husband, the bartenders were highly amused that so many people had been curious about the woman + collar + drinking wine bit. Over the past year that I’ve been wearing the collar in the buckle of the Bible belt, I’ve received some different reactions, most notably confusion and ignorance. This article by Catherine Caimano confirmed what I had been suspecting – most people have no idea what the collar means, particularly when it’s a woman wearing it.

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Another time, I ran out for lunch shortly before Easter weekend. The cashier asked me if I had any big plans for the weekend. I laughed, gestured towards the collar, and said, “Yeah, it’s Easter weekend.” He just looked confused. As Caimano puts it, the purpose of wearing the collar or any kind of religious habit is “to identify the wearer as religious, as someone who bears the traditions of the church even in the secular world and sometimes calls into question the values of that world.” But what good is it if people don’t really know what it means?

I live in a very religious part of the country, but as one of the bartenders in Amerigo put it, “People assume you’re either Baptist or Catholic.” There’s not a lot of room for anything in between and not a lot of knowledge of religious practices outside those two expressions of Christianity. I still fight to be recognized as an educated, called, and ordained minister on some days. Families at the hospital have referred to me as “that nice lady who prayed with us” and not as pastor, priest, minister, or chaplain simply because they don’t have a religious framework that puts together female and minister.

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I love wearing the clerical collar. I love what it represents, even if I have to explain it, and I hope that more people will be like the couple who asked me if I was a nun. Because yes, I am a woman, and yes, I am 27 years old, and yes, I drink wine with my friends or husband at a bar after work sometimes, and yes, I am a priest, and yes, I love Jesus and serve God and God’s Church.

The bigger issue, as Caimano names it, is one of living in a world where Christian signs and symbols are no longer the lingua franca. We (I) can’t just assume that everyone knows what the collar means or what a priest does, even (especially) living in the Bible belt. And that makes it even more crucial to talk about it.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ancho Lentil Tacos

The humble lentil. I often forget about lentils as an option, particularly in Mexican-flavored dishes, because black beans are the obvious choice. Abby introduced me to this dish from Post Punk Kitchen, and I made it for the opening dinner of my ordination weekend festivities. When I added it to last week’s menu, I realized that a) I hadn’t blogged it yet and b) it had been a while since I’d made it. Joe also gave that rare reaction that’s like, “Ancho lentil tacos for dinner? Yes!”

I was trying to steer away from the usual loads o’ carbs I normally eat, so I wrapped my taco filling in some Boston lettuce leaves. It was good, but I felt like such a girl eating stuff out of lettuce leaves. My point being that this filling is very versatile. You can wrap it in lettuce or tortillas or put it on top of a salad or just eat it plain. The cheese and sour cream/Greek yogurt un-veganize it, though I like the filling just as well with a squirt of lime, a slice of avocado, and some cilantro. You don’t even really need ancho chili powder (just sub regular chili powder), but it’s the smoky, roasted flavor that makes this so satisfying to me.

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Ancho Lentil Taco Filling
source: Post Punk Kitchen
Serves 3-4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (from about 1 cup dried)
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons hot sauce

Spice mix:
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine all of the ingredients for the spice mix and set aside. Also, keep a cup of water within reach, so that you can add splashes as you cook.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add spices and toss them for 30 seconds or so to toast.

Lower heat to medium. Add lentils, a few splashes of water, tomato paste and hot sauce; use a spatula to mash them a bit as they cook, until they hold together. If your spatula isn’t strong enough to accomplish this, just use a fork. Do this for about 5 minutes, adding splashes of water as necessary if it appears dry. Taste for salt and seasoning; you may want to add more spices or hot sauce. Serve warm with the toppings of your choice.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reflections on the XXX Olympic Games

I love the summer Olympics. Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in a football family or a soccer family or a baseball family. I grew up in a running, swimming, and biking (and sometimes all three in the same event) family. I spent weekends at swim meets. I watched my brother from steaming hot bleachers at track meets. So the way other people feel about the Super Bowl or the NBA Championships, that’s how I feel about the summer Olympics. Thanks to NBC’s weird broadcasting deal, I didn’t get to see as much as I would’ve wanted, but I did get up super early on both Sundays to watch the marathons live. I’ve devoured commentary and re-watched videos and been brought to tears by some wonderfully touching moments and stories. And I wanted to write about it.


1. During the Olympics, I wanted to push myself harder in my workouts. I am, by no stretch of the imagination, a fast runner. But watching each athlete perform in his or her sport, and thinking about the training and time commitment that went into that performance was and is very motivating. Even as a slow amateur athlete, I want to do more. More hills, more miles, more core work, more strength, more form drills, more speed. I’m not ever going to be in the Olympics. I probably won’t ever qualify for the Boston Marathon. But I want to be the best slow-ish amateur athlete I can be.


2. There was a big to-do made about the women in these Olympic games. Every participating nation sent a female athlete! Look at the gold the women brought home! And yet…the NBC coverage of women athletes was embarrassing. Did you know that women can have families and still be professional athletes? Wow! And how many times did we hear correspondents ask male athletes how they balanced training and family life? Not to mention the rude and crude remarks made about women’s bodies and appearances by men and women (Gabby Douglas’ hair anyone?). The patriarchy is alive and well, my friends.


3. In America, we’re mainly accustomed to Protestant evangelical expressions of faith and thankfulness in a sports context: Tebowing, thanking God for a touchdown scored, the gesture of one finger towards heaven, etc. So it was fascinating to me, as someone who straddles the Protestant/Catholic divide, to see equally heartfelt and faithful expressions from (mainly) Eastern Orthodox athletes. At the beginning of the women’s 5000m race, I noticed Dibaba crossing herself. And when Ethiopian Meseret Defar won, she unpinned an icon of the Virgin Mary and child and held it up, kissed it, and draped it over her face. It was stunning and beautiful. I also noticed many of the East Africans in the men’s marathon crossing themselves when they finished.


4. I love when athletes freak out. Mo Farah and Galen Rupp; Carmelita Jeter finishing the 4x100m relay with a world record time; Missy Franklin; Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings; the look on Stephen Kiprotich’s face when he grabbed the Ugandan flag and headed for the marathon finish line with a big, goofy smile on his face. Pure joy. It’s a beautiful thing to see, and something our world needs more of. It’s a good reminder that they’re called the Olympic GAMES. Get out and play.


5. Watching the Olympics has given me a different appreciation for my own body. Not that I’m nearly as fit or gifted as these athletes, but my body shape is a lot more like Jessica Ennis than Jessica Biel. It was refreshing to see women who looked a little like me – muscular legs and strong arms and shoulders. I bet they have trouble finding jeans that fit too. So instead of cursing my body because I’m never going to look like Jennifer Aniston, I can celebrate that my body does a lot more than look pretty. It runs marathons and works out aggression in spin class and can hold a plank. I wouldn’t mind a six-pack though.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Church of Her Own*

I’m a planner. I like having a plan. I like knowing where I’m going and what the next step is going to be and what it is going to look like. Unfortunately, life doesn’t really look like that. It’s how I ended up at Vanderbilt instead of an Episcopal seminary. It’s a big part of the reason why I’m doing this CPE residency year. I make plans; God laughs. Wash, rinse, repeat.

photo (19)

So as my year as a chaplain at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital was coming to a close, I began to panic. Different positions would become available, and then they would be filled. I even interviewed for a position in Memphis, knowing that I would be living three hours away from my husband if I were to take it. I cried, certain that God had called me to the ordained ministry only to torture me. I lived in the margins – neither parish priest nor chaplain, at home in neither Tennessee nor Texas. I prayed furiously for guidance. And then, the call came.

Following a whirlwind few weeks of meetings and prayers and conversations, the decision was made that the Bishop of Tennessee would appoint me as priest-in-charge of Church of the Epiphany, Lebanon, TN. I’m excited and scared and nervous and happy, which is one of my main ways of figuring out if I’m going where I’m supposed to because God knows how to keep me on my toes.

Otherwise, I’m still running every freaking day (68 days and counting). I’m CPE project-presenting, worship-planning, Bible-reading, sermon-writing, and Olympics-watching. I’m trying to say good-bye to people I love at a place where I have done ministry. I’m trying to imagine not coming to work each morning and walking past a statue of a frog playing the fiddle with a light-up belly. I haven’t bought a single vegetable from a Farmers Market all summer. I haven’t cooked anything that wasn’t semi-homemade in weeks. I was asked if I was a nun while drinking wine at a bar with my friend. Basically, I love my crazy, mixed-up, holy, wonderful life.

*Title from this book

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Upcoming Nashville Food & Wine Events

I rarely do these types of posts, instead leaving them to the experts like Beth and the Nashville Scene Bites blog, but a few e-mails hit my inbox recently with events that I wanted to share.

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First up, the wine tastings at Amerigo, one of which is happening tonight, July 18th, from 6-8 pm at the West End location. Joe and I are regulars at these wine tastings, in part because we love trying new wines and in part because the bar at Amerigo is our version of Cheers. Like, the waiters and bartenders know us. Tonight they’ll be pouring some Pinot Noir from around the world, including Oregon, where Joe and I were in April. It’s a great opportunity to taste the same grape made in different styles and from different terroir. It’ll cost you $15 for four wines paired with appetizers, and you can stay for dinner and get 20% off your bill.


On August 11th, our favorite Tennessee winery, Arrington Vineyards, will be hosting a harvest party. As wine club members, Joe and I try to make it out to Arrington every couple of months. On August 11th, there will be hot air balloons, live music, wine tastings, food for purchase, and a performance by Kix Brooks, formerly of Brooks & Dunn and co-founder of Arrington Vineyards. It will likely be a busy day, so get there early to stake out your spot and bring a picnic blanket in case the tables are all claimed. For more details, including a schedule, click here.

The best part of this harvest party to me is that, while the party is completely free, any proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, which just happens to be where I’ve served as a chaplain resident for almost the past year. It’s a great hospital that wouldn’t be nearly as wonderful without all of the support that we get from the community at events like this.

So come on out and drink some wine!