Thursday, June 26, 2008


My take on Chatanooga is that it is a very romantic city. Every time I've said that to someone they kind of look at me sideways and say, "Really?"... I think its true! But, I also think that Matt and I could make anything romantic.

First we saw it from a far, we drove just above Ruby Falls into a private neighborhood and found some land where they were probably going to be building a house... go figure.

Then we made our way through the downtown area.

I like how there is so much water. It was fun to frolic around in the puddles. You should picture us walking around amongst a bunch of families with little kids playing in the water.

I think we were having more fun than they were.

One of my favorite things about the town is that almost every restaurant has outdoor seating.

We stayed in the Art District where there were sculptures every where and cute little tuck aways that we could explore. It reminded me of the secret garden.

I convinced Matt to go for a run on Friday morning to explore some more. Fun times!!

He convinced me to go see the Lookouts play. They played the Carolina Mudcats and the Mudcats won. Go North Carolina!

Red Letters

One of the questions that I am reflecting on in regards to the book promotion I spoke of before is "What did you learn from our books?"

Tom Davis writes about a perspective of holding onto things in our live verses giving them away. He challenges the reader with the idea that often we live with a "never enough" mentality that stems from fear. He contrasts that by describing how Jesus lived his life with a "what can I offer?" mentality.

Quote from page 41-42:"Jesus didn’t have a “never enough” mentality. He lived and breathed a “what can I offer?” mentality. It didn’t matter where he ewas or what he was doing. He always took the time to help someone in need.”

I want to have Jesus' mentality, but my honest reflection goes as follows:

I’m not sure if I agree with that. Jesus took time away to spend with God and didn’t rush off to help Lazarus and abandon what the calling he currently had was. He often drew away to lonely places to become filled up. It is dangerous for me to think that I always have to stop and help others… I feel like this is something that could keep from doing work that God already has me doing?? Maybe its that my personality and tendencies are to be extreme and self-sacrificial… I’m not sure. Maybe its “my agenda” that I am holding onto too tightly.???

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

fun pics from our trip

It wouldn't be a Matt and Traci adventure if we didn't have some silly pictures to go along with the beautiful ones.

Here I am in Brevard, NC. This was actually a booming down town to our surprise. We were there on Saturday afternoon and I think everyone else who lived there was walking around on Main St. as well. We had a fun lunch at a traditional soda fountain/drug store and then started the long treck back to Raleigh.

These next photos are our attempt at self photography...

When we were in Highlands we took a "hike" up a mountain road and found this mirror that cars use to make sure no one is going to come around the corner and hit them. We used it to take a picture of ourselves. Fun times!

Our vacation was also relaxing. I love to enjoy the sunshine and laugh and laugh and laugh.

One of the many reasons I love my husband is because of his entertainment capacity. Thank you Matt for helping me to relax and enjoy life.

Monday, June 23, 2008


My husband is a great photographer.

I hope these pictures do justice to what we saw in the mountains last week.

This is called Glenn Falls in Highlands, NC.

We took a morning hike down a mile and back up before heading to an antique auction and then getting on the road.

There is something about water that amazes me.


Book promotion

A couple weeks ago Shannon Smith posted about a website that offered to send two books for free to anyone who was willing to read them and post on their blog about them.

I checked it out and last night I started reading Red Letters by Tom Davis. Over the next few weeks I will be posting my reflections on the book.

Anyone else want to join the fun?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Gymnastics in my bones

Matt and I just got back from another whirlwind vacation. More pictures are to come for sure, but I thought I would share a couple of my gymnastics outbursts.

Sometimes when I see an open field I get the urge to do a cartwheel.

I'm not really sure why, but it makes me happy.

Then tonight I started watching the gymnastics olympic trials. I was going over to a friends house, but it was hard to peel myself away from the action. I think this is a bit of what its like for some guys that I know and watching football, baseball, and basketball...

I think I get it a little bit.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Music that speaks to our souls

Over the past three days I have had conversations with several friends and experienced the power of music.

1) At my parents house I put on "Take my Life" by Chris Tomlin and "Sweetly Broken" by Jeremy Riddle. Shiloah had just woken up from a nap and I was dancing around the living room. For some reason I love dancing in my parents big open room. Its fun, energizing, and connecting to God in some way. Shiloah wasn't quite sure what I was doing at first, but then she got up and did a turn and then crawled back onto my mom's lap. It was precious. I pray that one day she will experience the soothing words that I do.

2) I recently burned a few CD's for a friend and when I drove back into Raleigh, she shared with me some of her favorites. We have an amazing band at our church and she explained her longing for them to make a CD that she could have. I would totally buy one and listen to it regularly if I had it. A recent fav is "Song of Hope" by the Robbie Seay Band. We had fun laughing and singing and connecting with God and each other through worship. Awesome!!!

3) Yesterday, I was over at Kim's house and we were talking about our longing for grace. Its so hard to receive it. I have a lot of shame that I still carry. I am thankful that I can lay it down. But, it takes reminders and the Holy Spirit to bring me to a place where I can. She shared with me "Mighty is the power of the cross" by Chris Tomlin. We just sat there and soaked in the words. Thank you for sharing that with me!

4) This morning I was doing yoga and listening to my mix of music. Two more grace filled songs soothed my soul. "Broken Cisterns" and "Adore and Tremble" by Daniel Renstrom.

I wish I could load them all here for you to listen to, but I haven't figured that out yet. So, if you have time or want to, the lyrics combined with the instruments speak in ways that I can't describe to my soul. I hope they offer you hope, peace, and joy as well.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I thought I was a morning person

We stayed at my parents house with Corey, Danielle, Shiloah, and Hannah. The girls wake up very early in the morning.

They wake up about the same time that I wake up during the week... but there is a slight difference... its every day and they are ready for exciting interaction right away.

During the week I wake up to work out and get my blood flowing or to have a slow coffee and quiet time morning full of reflection and silence.... NOT so with the little ones.

They pretty much wake up and start talking and climbing on things (this time that being me).

Saturdays are usually my slowest sleep in morning... I needed some coffee bad... I tried to share it with Shiloah, but she didn't like it that much. Maybe someday. I started drinking coffee when I was in 9th grade. (maybe thats what stunted my growth???)

We had a great time playing and dancing and reading books, but I still have a long way to go to be ready for this type of thing on a regular basis.

Old Friends

This weekend I went to Roanoke (where I grew up) for a friend's bridal shower. It was so much fun to reconnect with old friends. We get to see each other about once a year if we are lucky, but somehow we are still connected on a deeper level. Mary Beth is the first one to add to the crew (see baby Katie in center of picture).

I also am trying my hand at photo editing... what do you think?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Life is good today...

This morning after rushing around God was good to me... I met a friend for coffee and she was 45 minutes late. This meant that that I got to relax, reflect, pray, and do some work while enjoying my raisin bran muffin and coffee from Third Place.

The guys working at Third Place were a trip. One of them kept checking to see if I was smiling. Its good to remember that we have things to smile about.

Then I got to share joys and sorrows with a great friend. Sometimes our present moments look VERY bleak and like there is no end in sight. Why? What did I do wrong? How come I'm being punished somehow?

These are questions that a lot of us have at different times. Read the Psalms... it happens a lot!

Then NoFo was fun. Hot on the deck and very slow today, only $20. However, I got to have some great conversations and Sushi even came back to see me.

Now I'm going to color.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Examining our stereo types...

This morning I was thinking about Jubilee stuff and one of the activities that is in our training curriculum helps individuals and church groups examine their reactions to women in prostitution. I have to admit that my ideals of how I would respond at this time are pretty different from my actual response, so in no way am I perfect. But it is something to think about.

On Saturday Matt and I watched Pretty Woman

Matt turned to me at the end of the movie and said, "Do you think this is every hooker's favorite movie?"

I paused and tried not to hit him. How could he say that, does he not know that 98% of the women in prostitution want to get out, and he is MY husband!!

It was an innocent question.
I responded, "Absolutely not, its not reality."

We got into a decent discussion about women in prostitution, the financial benefits that seem to come with it and how the 2% along with the media shape our views of what it means to be a "hooker".

Similarly I had lunch with Hugh a few weeks ago. He has a ministry in down town Raleigh. We were talking about people without homes. I innocently asked him, "Are YOU (he has a house) aloud to eat in the soup kitchens?" I think he said something like, "Well without my "I'm homeless" ID card its tough."

For some reason I thought only "those" people could go there...

Its hard to recognize our own stereotypes and then once we realize them, its even harder to change them.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Free Rice

I was just completing some of my daily blog reading and found this link to free rice on Shannon Smith's blog.

I know him pretty well, but I had never clicked on the "care" portion. Free Rice was the only one that I didn't recognized so I clicked on it.

It is a neat idea.

Basically, you can learn new words and grow your vocabulary by guessing the definitions of words. It cost you nothing except your brain power and your time.

For each word you get right you donate 20 grains of rice that is donated to the World Food program.
On my first try I donated 600 grains of rice in 5 minutes. I'm sure I'll play again.

Anyone want to start a competition?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A business idea

I'm working on perfecting my cooking skills. What do you think about this as a logo for Matt and I's future restaurant/ bed and breakfast dreams?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I brought someone's dog water

Today at NoFo I had the privilege of serving one of my client's dogs. I brought them a bowl of water along with 3 sweet teas and a diet coke for the table.

guess what, the dog was cute and his name was Sushi

sometimes I think, what am I doing? and then I left and the cook asked me, "what is like to live in a dream?"... somehow I give off that impression.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


After beginning my talk with Jesus pleading to help me not focus on the fact that I allowed myself to rest, I started with my "Grace for the Moment" book by Max Lucado. (This is usually where I start if I need a small dose of hope before delving into the depths of my soul, the problems of the world, the wonder of Christ, the promises of scripture etc.)

Today, I was encouraged... I hope you will be to:

At times Paul's heart was heavy, he drug his pen across the page. "What a miserable man I am! Who will save me from this body that brings me death?" (Romans 7: 24).

Only heaven knows how long he stared at the question before he found the courage to defy logic and write, "I thank God for saving me through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:25)

I've been reading the Enneagram and was talking with a good friend about it yesterday (yet another shameless plug for the book).

We were discussing our types and she said, "I know what I am, I just need to know how to change it now"...

Its easy to get stuck in Paul's first question... but oh how much I am thankful for the answer.

A big success

This morning my alarm went of at 5:23AM... I hit snooze... do I want to get up and go take spin class? No... inner voice fighting me, you can do it, you can do it,

I brushed my teeth, still a little dizzy from not being awake, NOPE... I'm going back to bed.

Its now 8:45AM. I got up 20 minutes ago. Yeah for Traci.