perceptions and priorities.

(this is from 2007 -- but i just loved it!)

this is an incredible story organized by the washington post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and people's priorities. the questions raised: "in a common place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? do we stop to appreciate it? do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?"
read the full article by the washington post

here's a little recap:

washington dc metro station on a cold january morning in 2007.
a man with a violin played six bach pieces for about 45 minutes.

during that time approximately 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

3 minutes in:
a middle-aged man noticed there was a musician playing. he slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later:
the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes:
a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes:
a 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. the kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. this action was repeated by several other children. every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

so after 45 minutes...
the musician played continuously. only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. about 20 gave money, but continued to walk at their normal pace. the man collected a total of $32.
he finished playing and silence took over. no one noticed. no one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

no one knew this, but the violinist was joshua bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. he played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. 2 days before, he sold out a theater in boston where the seats averaged $100.

if we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made....

how many other things are we missing?


tuesday tunes - imogen heap

wow, have i been waiting so long for this album. today imogen releases ellipse. i saw her perform back in december of 2006, and to this day it lives on as my favorite live show. she told us then that she'd be going back to the UK to work on her next album...i had no idea it'd take 3 years to get here!! but...worth the wait for sure.
if you're not familiar with imogen, she's brilliant, and super unique. she was first "discovered" as part of the duo frou frou (best known for their song "let go" on the garden state soundtrack). imogen had already created her first solo record, i megaphone (1998), and then after her days with frou frou went on to make her second, speak for yourself (2005). she has gone on to have numorous songs on tv and film.

about a month ago, she released this video of the song "canvas"...
watch it to get a feel for this incredible album.


RP? [athens eats edition]

so if you like someone's twitter, you RT (re-tweet)...
then if you like someone's blog post, can you RP (re-post)??
i think i'm gonna start a new trend right here.

my friend molly posted about athens eateries today, and it inspired me to do a little athens post myself. i pretty much agree with her whole post, so she gets most of the credit, but i am gonna change it up a little.

[if you weren't aware, i spent SEVEN YEARS living in athens.
so yah...i ate out a lot. when i was on staff with campus outreach, one of the girls i discipled and i even created a "downtown challenge" where we listed every downtown athens restaurant and had to pick a new one every week until they were all crossed-off!]

so here's molly's list... (with my notes, too!)

best all-around:
One of my top 5 favorite restaurants ever! The perfect place for a casual lunch on the patio, a dress up dinner with the girls, or a full on Sunday brunch. They work with local vendors, providing the freshest food! For lunch and dinner, the crab cakes always seem to win my affection, as well as the "famous" Last Resort's Praline (chicken breast stuffed with a medley of cheeses, topped with walnut honey sauce). Mmmmm. And everything on the brunch menu is to die for, as long as they are served with the creamy, southern grits! And I can't conclude until I mention the dessert display. Yummiest layer cakes and cheesecakes in the state! (marisa note: the pralines she mentions seriously are to die for...YUM! and the cakes -- cecilia's -- sooo good!)

best lunch place:
FIVE STAR DAY This spot is a little more casual, but with a great soul food selection. The picnic chicken salad is my personal favorite. But the meat loaf, fried chicken, and any of the vegetables are yummy! (marisa note: my personal fav is the garden club - sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, roasted zucchini, fresh mozzarella, drizzled with vinaigrette on ciabetta bread!)

Close second who have to be the COOKIES & COMPANY CAFE Also in downtown Athens, you can get a super cheap sandwich, drink, and cookie combo that satisfies even my appetite. Cashew chicken salad sandwich wins my vote. (marisa note: i L.O.V.E. this place! my most favorite cookies!!)

And while FIVE POINTS DELI was never my favorite, it certainly is popular with many people and is worth a mention. (marisa note: i really enjoy their chicken salad -- we always served it at our sorority house during rush..ha!)

best "mexican" (technically cuban):
Menu's different (for instance, their steak tacos come with french fries all mixed in), but I love this place. The cuban sandwich can't be beat, and it's got an outdoor space that makes you feel like you're at the beach. Toes in the sand eating at a picnic table. Plus, it's a BYOB, so you can stock up and bring over whatever beverage suits your fancy.

AGUA LINDA on Prince, is another great spot for more traditional Mexican!

(marisa note: MEXICALI'S is another popular one -- your typical cheap mexican with awesome cheese dip!)

best bakery:
BIG CITY BREAD Perfect nice weather patio, yummy breakfast and lunch. On a cool, fall day I could spend hours sipping coffee and reading under the Chinese Elms and adorably strung cafe lights. They've also got fresh baked bread, cookies, and treats - vegan options as well. Many a great conversation has happened there, and I'm sure there are many more to come.
(this place is awesome. my favorite? french toast!)

best coffee shop:
JITTERY JOES This little coffee chain is only in Athens, GA, and as they put it - "our community thrives on individuality and we provide the fuel."
A few fun facts about JJ...
- The vanilla chai is my favorite wintertime drink - a.k.a. "Christmas in a cup"!! (marisa note: i use that same phrase!)
- The location at Five Points is the coolest, with soft lighting provided by antique lamps, large wooden tables (often shared) that make it feel more like a living room than a coffee shop, and walls lined with books to thumb through while you're waiting (or during a study break!).
- Jittery Joes has its own cycling team.

best expensive treat: (this category has a few favorites.)
HARRY BISSETS downtown on Broad. Yummy, new orleans style food - which means oysters! (marisa note: i LOVE the sherry crab bisque and the cajun popcorn crawfish!) It'll create a hole in your wallet, so you can save this for special occassions! Other great ones, also downtown, are EAST WEST and DEPALMAS . Then in Five Points is FIVE AND TEN . All bring their own flare and are perfect spots for special dinners, or even a drink.

best vegetarian:
I'll be honest, I love meat. So the idea of an all vegetarian restaurant doesn't make my heart skip a beat. However, this place is absolutely legit. I mean, so legit that I know plenty of men meat-eaters who love this place. Personally, the Grilled Cheese Smelt w/ spinach and tomato is my top pick. However the Veggie Plate never ceases to amaze (we're talking falafels, dal, tabouli!), and you can't forget the Mid-E (short for Middle Eastern platter) or the Dal Baby (cup of split pea dal, veggie samosa, brown rice, and a side of Indian curry dressing). Hello international :)
(marisa note: the grit is my favorite restaurant EVER -- the "golden bowl" is seriously one of my favorite dishes. i even have the grit cookbook!)

other restaurants molly didn't post that i have to mention:
MARTI'S AT MIDDAY - a super cute lunch spot with my favorite chicken salad in the whole world
INOKO EXPRESS - japanese food...fast. yellow sauce anybody? :)
SPEAKEASY - a little pricey, but amazing tapas. my favorite is the spicy spinach bread bowl!
ZIM'S (rest in peace) - sadly, zim's recently closed its doors, but this place was a staple in my morning routine --the breakfast special was the best!
CLOCKED - a hole-in-the-wall that's worth the find.
TRANSMET - pizza, calzones, and hot sandwiches - yum!

well, now i'm just hungry. i'm gonna have to plan a week-long trip back just to fit in all of my restaurants!

as they say in athens...LET THE BIG DAWG EAT! :)


hey batter, batter!!

we may not have a major league baseball team here in nashville...but we do have the nashville sounds. and each night they choose a charity to highlight, complete with public service announcements and a booth right by the front gate.
mocha club tried to have a night last season, but our game got rained-out. so last night was our night. we gathered some volunteers, and spent the evening telling sounds fans about mocha club, between bites of hot dogs and slurps of soda.

but the best part of the night?
we got to pick someone to throw the opening pitch.

barrett, our director, despite what you may think, actually doesn't like crowds. and our co-worker christine lives in dallas. so that left me and missy. missy would have done it in a heartbeat (it really is one of her dreams!) but unfortunately she currently has her throwing arm in a sling. so that left me. do i mind being in the spotlight? of course not. but do i like being showcased for something i'm not the best at? well...not really. yes, i did play 12 years of recreational softball, and my hand-eye coordination ain't too shabby, but i had never thrown a baseball from a pitcher's mound to a catcher. and now i would do it for the first time in front of a crowd of baseball fans. (oh yah -- and no practices!)

so needless to say i was a little nervous.
(i think my direct quote to missy right before was "um, i'm gonna pee my pants"...)

but, the two 7-year-olds that were throwing right after me gave me a little confidence. i asked them if they were nervous and they just looked at me like i was crazy and replied "nope"!!

i may never get another opportunity to throw out an opening pitch, but i think the lessons here are to the tune of facing your fears and having faith (and courage) like a child.

but yes, i
did manage to actually get it close to the plate...i'm sure somewhere they'd call it a strike.


weekend in chicago...

annie, betsy and i set off for a long weekend in chicago, thanks to a southwest DING fare ($35 each way!)
our sweet friends lyndsay and lauren have been coming down to nashville to visit us all year, so it was about time we paid them a little visit...

we all know i'm a sucker for skylines, and i definitely got my fair share this trip.
top 4 skyline views this weekend:
1. "the bean"
2. from a boat out in lake michigan (during the air + water show!)
3. running along lakeshore path (although i wish i had my bike!)
4. atop many a roof patio


tuesday tunes - mute math

today's tune is the band mutemath. their new album, armistice, just released today.

the first time i saw lead-singer paul meeney bust out a mean keytar and drummer darren king put on his headphones with duct tape, i knew i'd love this band. i've had them as a constant on my playlists since their 2004 ep, and mute math has always been one of my favorites to see perform live...never a dull moment.

here's a video of "break the same" -- a song i love off their 2006 self-titled debut album... (you can get a feel for a live show)


tuesday tunes - lady antebellum

i've mentioned today's tuesday tunes band before (and here and here and here!!), but i'm just so proud of my friends in lady antebellum...

they've recently had a number one hit ("i run to you") and have been touring around the country all summer with kenny chesney and miranda lambert. (not to mention their "top new group" ACM award and "best new artist" CMA award!)

well...today lady a is introducing the lead single "need you now" off their forthcoming capitol nashville sophomore album.
go buy the song!! >>  Lady Antebellum - Need You Now - Single - Need You Now

"a lot of the songs that we've written for the album so far, and this one in particular, are about what we are learning as we go through the ups and downs of different relationships," explains hillary scott. "all three of us know what it's like to get to that point where you feel lonely enough that you make a late night phone call that you very well could regret the next day. but you do it anyway because it's the only thing that's going to give you any relief in that moment."

"we are pouring our hearts into writing this new album," adds dave haywood. "the songs are more personal, the production is bigger, and I think we are in a stronger place vocally than we've ever been...just from all the touring we've done this year. We're really anxious to get home and get it finished."

here's the video for "i run to you"...it's blowing up all over CMT and GAC!!


lessons from the river...

i was invited by a friend of mine to go camping + white water rafting with kairos this past weekend. [kairos is a thriving young adult ministry out in brentwood -- kinda like 7:22 was for you atlanta peeps] as much as i love the hustle and bustle of city life, i really look forward to times to get away and venture into the great outdoors, so i was all about it.

after work on friday, we packed into cars and trucks, and headed south towards chattanooga to our campgrounds near cleveland, tn. there were about 25 of us, and we grilled out, ate s'mores (discovered a new favorite -- w/ andes mints instead of a chocolate bar...amazing!) and chatted around the campfire. (side notes: headlamps seem to be the cool thing these days, and i gotta buy a mat to put under my sleeping bag...i say that every time after i go camping, but seriously...i ain't gettin any younger and the ground ain't gettin any softer)
we woke up early saturday morning to eat a quick breakfast, break-down our tents, and make it to our 8am appointment at our rafting outfitter, cherokee rafting. (our guides were awesome, p.s.)

now, i've actually rafted the ocoee upwards of 7 or 8 times over the years (i've kinda lost track)...but i had only done the lower part of the river. this weekend we did the whole thing, which was awesome, and equaled about 6 hours total on the river.
on the drive back i kept thinking about the analogies of rafting, and how we can apply so many lessons to our lives. so, here's a little acronym (of course!) and some things i've been reflecting on...

R = rest.
there is a rhythm to rafting -- times of work and times of rest. you paddle, then you rest. you work hard against the current, then you rest and let it move you. you go through intense rapids, then you can rest and relax and enjoy the still waters.

A = alert + aware.
you have to be looking ahead to what is next. you have to be listening to your guide give direction on when to paddle. it takes concentration and consideration for both you and your whole boat.

F = facing fears.
white water rafting can be dangerous if you aren't smart. it would be easy to become fearful of the unknown and it's tempting to get scared of the unsafe. but facing those fears is really freeing. (and an adrenaline rush!) it's rewarding to find the courage to get in the boat and have faith in your guide and your fellow raft-mates.

T = teamwork.
it would be almost impossible to steer those big rafts on your own. it takes the whole boat working together, listening to one another, and paddling in sync. it's also really hard to get back in the boat if you're drifting in the water, but ironically it's super easy for another rafter to just pull you back in. we need each other to make it work.

I = intuition.
sometimes you've just gotta trust your instincts. boat tipping into the rapid? lean towards the high side! fall out? feet up and float down the river! we don't give ourselves enough credit for the way God created us, and the wisdom He has naturally instilled in us. we each have gifts and skills and knowledge that we haven't tapped-in to or aren't even aware of...but put in a the right context or situation (with a spirit of dependence!) we just know what to do or how to act.

N = nature.
there is just a different kind of connection with the Lord out in nature. we know that He created it all...the water - both swift and still, the rocks - in their unique formations, the trees - lining the banks and stretching towards the sky, the warm summer sun and the fresh mountain air. rafting down the river provides an opportunity to soak it all in, and see the majesty of His creation.

G = gear.

it would be just stupid to go rafting without a helmet, a life jacket, and a paddle. those 3 things provide protection and equip you for success. we have to be prepared and take advantage of the resources we have been given.

so there you have it! i'm already excited about planning a trip for midtown for the spring...


where the wild things are.

i'm sure you've seen this trailer at some point over the past few months, but just in case...

i love that one of my favorite childhood books has been made into a movie!! and there's been so much buzz around it...even urban outfitters is selling wild things t-shirts, dolls, and ornaments.
i'm counting down the days to the october 16 release...although, i am quite anxious to see how a 48-page mostly-illustrated book can translate into a full-length feature film...


tuesday tunes - derek webb.

i've been a fan of derek webb since my college days (shout out to david) but honestly hadn't listened to him much the last few years. (he is my east nashville neighbor, though!)
but his new album, stockholm syndrome, is really good. he's left his acoustic folk/rock roots for a more urban hip-hop flavored soul.

the following trailer gives you a taste...

derek has never been afraid to step outside of the box, but he is definitely making his most controversial move yet with this release...an album about race and sexuality that proved so provocative, his record company removed one of the album's key tracks because of its strong language.
(you can hear the controversial track, "what matters more" on youtube) in an email to his fans, derek wrote "it seems i've finally found the line beyond which my label can support me, and apparently i've crossed it." in response to the record company, derek composed a series of coded emails directing listeners to a secret website where they could piece together the missing track by playing an elaborate alternate reality game. it became so popular that INO Records was forced to embrace derek's decision to leak the track as it succeded in making stockholm syndrome...

so, controversial or not, the album is good...and worth purchasing. you can decide for yourself about the lyrics.

[it offically releases september 1st, but the only place you can get it in its entirety is on derekwebb.com]


it's true...you don't forget.

you know the old saying -- that once you learn how to ride a bike, you never forget?

i've been wanting a bike ever since i moved to nashville, but had never pushed it to the top of the priority spending list. [which is awful, because being an indoor cycling teacher, i felt like such a fraud!!] but awesome summer weather [and christine's blog about riding her bike] were just too inspiring...

so a few weeks ago, i just couldn't stand it any longer and decided i was definitely going to make it a priority. i got on craigslist... and just posted was a girls schwinn, going for $100, including the lock and helmet. oh, and the seller lived just 7 blocks down from me and had only ridden it 3 times. done and done. [this picture is right after i bought it...and rode it home!]

so the past 2 weeks i have been re-teaching myself the art of changing gears, and loving the simplicity of bike-riding. i have a few friends that have bikes, too, and we've started our own little "bike club" and go out on long riding adventures.

the best part has been discovering nashville's greenways.
we can ride for hours around parks, by the river, across bridges, through wetlands, past golf courses. it's amazing how time flies by and you don't even realize you're getting a great workout (well...you remember on those huge hills...whew!)

so if you haven't jumped on a bike in a while, don't worry...it will come right back to you. discover new paths...your own uncharted adventures await you.

"life is like riding a bicycle -
in order to keep your balance,
you must keep moving."

- albert einstein