Nashville Rising: The Great Flood of 2010

May 12, 2010 at 9:42 pm (blog, helping, nashville, photo, photoblog, photography, pictures, reflecting, sadness, storm, struggle, suffering, support, tennessee, TN, Uncategorized, weather) (, , , )


If you don’t live in Nashville, the recent flooding may be news to you. Unfortunately, it has been overlooked by much of the national media until recently. We are now a week out, and the level of devastation is really starting to sink in.

Many people have completely lost their homes. Much of the downtown area was underwater. The famous Opryland Hotel has had to decline visitors at least through October to get the cleanup process underway after the 10 feet of water that swept through and left a thick layer of mud after the water receeded.

When you drive through the suburbs, you see endless piles of trash and debris that was once the makings of people’s homes. It’s a sobering reminder of just how easy life can change in an instant.

The great thing about this tragic event has been the action of countless volunteers. People are driving in herds to the other side of town to help people they don’t know. It’s an amazing thing to see, and it says a lot about this grand city we call home.

You don’t have to live in Nashville to help. There are plenty of ways to make monetary donations or item donations to those who lost so much by this event.

One thing I love about Nashville is the graphic design community. In a matter of a day or two, multiple graphics were created for tshirts and posters all to benefit the flood victims. Here is a list of some of the items available.  I did not create any of these… just passing it along for the greater good

Click on the image to be taken to the purchasing site:









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Experiencing Nashville: Part Three – The Bell Witch

March 18, 2008 at 7:12 pm (Adams, belief, blog, Blogroll, civil war, experiencing nashville, folklore, ghost, ghost story, ghouls, haunting, historic nashville, history, legend, monsters, nashville, photo, photoblog, photography, pictures, questioning, spirit, struggle, suffering, tennessee, TN, witch) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

For this “Experiencing Nashville” post, I ventured a little farther than I have before. Over the weekend, I took a drive up to Adams, TN. It takes about an hour to get there from here. On a rainy Saturday morning, I loaded into my car and picked up some friends before hitting the road.

I’ve been intrigued by the legend of the Bell Witch for years. I’m such a sucker for anything related to history and the paranormal. I tivo all the Ghost Hunters episodes, and thoroughly freak myself out when no one else is home. I love it.

Here is a little history on the Bell Witch story:

In the early 1800’s, Adams, Tennessee was known as the Red River Settlement. It was an area of vast land with great potential for farming. John Bell and his family moved from North Carolina to the Red River area, aquiring land and developing crops of corn and tobacco. It wasn’t long before strange happenings began to take place on the farm.

It began with a sighting of a strange animal in the cornfield. The family began to hear strange noises, thumbs and scratches on the walls coming from unseen forces. The noises seemed to escalate, then turning into more tangible happenings. Bedsheets were pulled off the bed while the family slept. Pillows were tossed around, and finally, physical assaults on John and his daughter, Betsy.

Over time, John sought out the help of friends and neighbors. They too witnessed the same things the family was claiming to regularly experience. The spirit seemed to acquire a voice, and would verbally taunt the family endlessly. When Betsy became engaged to a neighbor, Joshua Gardner, the spirit strongly opposed and would continue to voice “her” opinion, until finally driving the couple to call it off.

Poor John Bell was relentlessly tortured and taunted. His health grew worse, he began having seizures and eventually became bedridden. After John Bell passed away in 1820, the family found a bottle of a mysterious substance. The spirit boasted of giving the substance to John Bell and “fixing him”. According to the story, she even sang loudly and mockingly at John Bell’s funeral.

The spirit finally decided to leave, promising to return in 7 years. And so she did… although this time, only conversed with John Bell, Jr. and supposedly made several predictions about the coming age, such as the civil war, WWI, the Great Depression, and WWII. Then, the spirit again left, claiming to return in 107 years.

No one knows for sure if the Bell Witch actually returned. It’s possible that she did, in fact, return to the most direct Bell descendant, but no one made mention of it.

On the original Bell farm, there is a cave now known as the Bell Witch cave. It is said that the spirit lived/lives there. Is it another tourist trap to make money off unsuspecting visitors? Or is there any real credence to the stories? Even today, there are reports of strange happenings in the area. While visiting the Adams historical museum (located in what once was the Bell School), I asked one of the employees if there were strange occurences that take places there. She said sometimes things will move around. People will witness strange shadows that are unexplained. There are sounds that are sometimes heard, and lights that are seen in the distant fields.

So, who is the Bell Witch really? There is no way to know for sure. There are many guesses as to the real truth behind the legend. Some theories claim that Native American spirits continue to claim the land that was rightfully theirs. Others say that it was a spirit, demonic in nature, who even claimed to be present at Christ’s crucifixion. The more popular theory is that the spirit was a manifestation of Kate Batts, a local resident, who some suspected of practicing witchcraft. Another theory is that the “spirit” was nothing more than a manifestation of energy that is sometimes brought on by a young girl entering puberty, or even as a result of an incestuous relationship between John and Betsy. None of these claims can really be confirmed or proven… but then they also can’t be disproven.

While visiting Adams, I was a little surprised at how little there really wass to see. There is a little log cabin behind the brick school building, and a graveyard of Bell descendants (apparently the Bell family mostly went on to Mississippi, where they are laid to rest) just down the road.

The cave is inaccessible much of the year, except for the summer months when it dries out. We drove around to no avail, just trying to even find the entrance.

So, decide for yourself on what really can be logically explained away, or just let it continue to be a mystery of the unknown. It’s really more fun that way.

sources: by Pat Fitzhugh

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home, sweet home

February 18, 2008 at 12:54 pm (ambulance, asthma, blog, depression, emergency room, health, life questions, monday, questioning, rant, sadness, struggle, suffering, support)

I am back home now, sleeping in my own bed. It’s a great feeling. They released me from Vandy on Saturday evening. The Dr said that if they were to keep me there until I was feeling 100% better that I would probably be there all next week. Since my oxygen levels and lung functions were pretty stable, they felt like it was safe for me to be at home, with the understanding that I am not to do much of anything at all for the next week. I was a little shocked and horrified at that statement. One more week out of work and school… one more week of boredom and restlessness. I tried to negotiate something with them, but I guess Vandy Docs are supposed to know what they are doing. They are pretty smart like that.

So I’m regaining some strength slowly, not needing to depend on my breathing treatments quite as often, staying on all of my gross meds that make me feel unhuman. I tried to do some stuff around here yesterday.  I washed the two sinkfuls of dishes and started tackling the huge laundry basket full of towels that seems to be ever present.  I think I tried to do too much, but maybe it was good for me.  I feel so restless and stir crazy.

I am also having a lot of anxiety.  I know the meds do this to me, and I am somewhat anxious on any given day, but this feels a little more than usual.  A lot of it is from trying to figure out the practical things in life.  How in the world am I going to pay my bills after being out of work for 2 weeks??  What can I do to prevent another bad flareup like this so this never happens again?  There are just so many things I’m going to have to figure out.

So, if anyone has any suggestions on anything at all, let me know!  I can definitely use all of the mental assistance I can get!  Anyone need any photos done so I can buy some groceries? 🙂

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January 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm (answer, belief, blog, evening, film, health, introspective, journal, life questions, movie, movies, questioning, reflecting, review, sadness, struggle, suffering)

I finished watching this movie today.  It is beautiful.  It was a pleasant surprise to be so moved, especially after having to sit through numerous flops with the past several movies I’ve watched.  It actually stirred me pretty intensely.

This move probably got to me more than it normally would, just because of recently watching my mom deal with her cancer.  In the movie, the main character is an elderly alzheimer’s  patient, remembering her past and reliving certain times.  It jumps back and forth, a lot like The Notebook.

I’ll admit that I’m a complete basketcase right now.  It definitely dug up some emotions I was not expecting to have to deal with on an otherwise normal Wednesday morning.   Life is such a strange entanglement of hope, and joy, and pain.  I hate that so much suffering comes along with aging.  It’s been the most difficult thing in my life this far, just to have to sit back and watch my mom suffer.

I found out this past weekend that my mom’s bloodwork, is again, coming back abnormal.  Which means, the cancer is still present in her body.  What a devastating thing to hear.  Just when she was recovering from her second surgery, having her second round of chemo.  We were all hoping that maybe this would take care of everything and allow her to live her life normally again.  I guess that is too much to ask.  In her own words, we are all just slowly dying.  I know it’s a reality, but it doesn’t make it any easier to deal with.

It’s hard for me to process it all.  Hearing my mom talk casually about the end of her life is not something I ever could have prepared for.

So, with all of that said, I have to push forward, with a heavy heart.  I need to head into work and hope no one notices my puffy eyes.

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desperately needing normalcy

January 22, 2008 at 2:01 pm (asthma, belief, blog, Blogroll, depression, health, journal, life questions, nashville, questioning, struggle, suffering, support)

It’s sort of strange to sit down and try to think back to the time when things felt “normal”.  After all, it is a very relative idea.  What is normal for me may not be normal for you.  I guess that is the first step, figuring out what normal should look like, then figuring out how to get there.  It seems like such a gradual process that life runs on.  Things creep along, until suddenly it’s out of control.

I’m feeling pretty down and out today, for some reason.  I guess it is the effects of all the meds.  I hardly slept a wink last night… lots of weird, shaky, anxiety-type feelings.  I’ve read that the medicines can do that, as well as contribute to the fatigue and mental confusion/brain fog.  I hate that feeling.  I’m also dealing with muscle aches and pains from the physical tension of everything.  It feels like I ran a marathon… jello legs and all.  Geez

So, I’m going to lay low for one more day, and hopefully tomorrow I can resume life.  I’m really nervous as to try and jump back in, since I usually have the tendency to sort of  push myself when I shouldn’t.  I need to learn how to recognize what my body is telling me, and respond accordingly.  I guess that is a lesson that should apply to most areas of life.

I’m battling extreme cabin fever, but I know that I really can’t chance doing much of anything right now.  I may leave the house for just long enough to get out, but that will be the extent of it.  Maybe a visit to the bookstore wouldn’t hurt.

I’ve also got some photo assignments that I need to do for my classes.  We are starting with black/white photography, which I love.  I’ve gotten so out of the habit of taking random photos.  I need to work on that.  Maybe I’ll take my camera with me, just in case I run across anything particularly interesting.

I guess that is all for now

Until next time

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Beware Blue Monday

January 20, 2008 at 11:12 pm (746, belief, blog, blue monday, christian, depression, god, introspective, judging, judgmental, life questions, nashville, reflecting, sadness, struggle, suffering, support)

read the article here if you’re interested

I’m a sucker behind the psychology of this sort of thing. I wonder how much the power of suggestion is going to play into our feelings about Blue Monday. I know I am going to take some additional proactive steps, just to try and head it off. I’ll let you know how that goes.

Tomorrow is also MLK Day, which means a lot of people are off work (sorry to those of you who aren’t!). Let’s all try to remember the teachings of MLK and the idea of equality that he was so focused on. We still have such a long way to go.

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“guess I’ll die another day”

January 17, 2008 at 9:00 pm (ambulance, asthma, emergency room, health, journal, nashville, potential, rant, struggle, suffering, weight, weight loss, workout, ymca)



Ok, so the title is meant to be a small example of my, somewhat morbid, humor. I had sort of a close call today. This morning, I woke up as usual, but within minutes, I was having a serious asthma attack. Usually an attack warrants only a dose of albuterol on my trusty nebulizer, but this was different. Without any warning, I suddenly could move no air at all through my bronchial tubes. I tried to start a breathing treatment to no avail. After a few minutes, I stumbled across the room to my door. Thankfully my roomate was still getting ready in the bathroom, just about to leave for work. I mouthed to her that I could not breathe, and she immediately called 911.

You know how they always say that your life flashes before your eyes? It’s sort of true. In a strange, almost out-of-body, experience, I was remembering my life, and whether or not I made it count. I also saw the faces of all the people I care about…the ones I would be sad to leave if it really came to that. For several horrible minutes, I had contemplated the real possibility that the next, very short breath, may be my last. Let me tell you, that is quite a sobering fact.

I’ve had asthma all my life. I was diagnosed with it when I was just a baby. In my 27 years on earth, I have had several close calls, all equally terrifying, yet eye-opening.

By the time the paramedics got there, I felt like I may be on the verge of losing consciousness. I was shaky, thanks to the adrenaline that rushes through the human body in these types of cases, but it also seemed to help move just enough of the necessary oxygen.

After what seemed like hours, but in reality was only a few minutes, I had regained enough of the ability to be able to walk on my own, and make my way to the ambulance waiting outside my front door. Once in the ambulance, the drama was over. It’s amazing what that medicine in the IV can do. I immediately felt the effects, and my chest released its grip, allowing me to breath freely again. I would definitely prefer the ambulance ride any day, if for no other reason than to feel some relief more quickly than having to bear a ride to the hospital.

So, that was the adventure of my morning. Another perk of the ambulance ride, is that they immediately take you in and get you in an ER room. I was hooked up to more wires and tubes, given a 2 hour long, intensive breathing treatment, and was feeling good as new. Actually, I kept joking with the doctors that this was the best I have really felt in a while. Maybe I should’ve come in sooner to get the magic juice pumped into my veins.

The docs were suggesting that I stay overnight, but I convinced them otherwise. I know, I know. But this isn’t the first time I’ve had to go through this process. I would much rather be in my own bed, taking breathing treatments of the same medicine that I would be taking at Vanderbilt.

I’m on a hefty dose of some steroids for the next week or so (and I don’t even mind the mood swings, brain fog, fatigue, and puffiness that comes along with it). I think I can handle that.

I’m realizing more and more just how much progress that needs to be done, in all facets of life. Life has a lot of potential. I just have to figure out how to get there.One step at a time…

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hanging on

November 2, 2007 at 11:55 pm (answer, belief, blog, Blogroll, god, helping, introspective, journal, life questions, masks, potential, pretending, questioning, rant, reflecting, struggle, suffering, support)

Every now and then I get the urge to be someone really cool;  Someone who isn’t me.  I want to completely reinvent myself, tossing aside anything that makes me who I am and completely starting from scratch.  I have these grandiose ideas in my head of the person I’d like to be.  I even begin to make some sort of game plan to make each thought become reality.

Life has a way of making me want to check out every now and then.  Sometimes I just want to crawl away and hide for an extended period of time, peeking out occasionally just to check and see if the coast is clear.  I don’t know what it is I’m hiding from, but I know it’s scary.  It threatens the light that lies deep in my soul.

I know that these periods will pass.  All I can do is brace myself and hold on tight until the worst is over and I can resume being myself again.

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how much is enough?

October 30, 2007 at 12:46 pm (answer, belief, blog, Blogroll, friendship, god, helping, introspective, journal, life questions, potential, pretending, questioning, rant, reflecting, struggle, suffering, support, Uncategorized)


In my line of work, I’m constantly around people that need help.  More specifically, I’m constantly around people that come to me for help.  More often than not, I feel pretty inadequate in my ability to give them what they need.  It’s quite a helpless feeling. The things is, I’m not sure that they really know what it is they need exactly.  They just know that something has to change.

How many of us are in that same boat?  I know I am.  I’m not necessarily looking for a right answer, I just need someone to help me get started.  More than anything, it helps to know that I’m not alone.

I rarely have any answers, for myself or anyone else.  I’m not sure life works that way.  Strangely, I’m noticing that the less I feel responsibility to “do” something, the more helpful I can actually be.

Sometimes its not in having the right answer.  As a matter of fact, there rarely is an answer.  Everything is a process.  What people really want is someone to be with them to walk through that process, or to help them take the very first step that may seem so daunting.

I think if we can get away from feeling such a need to have the right answer, only then can we really get down to what it’s all truly about.

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