Friday, January 7, 2011

About Town

I'm sitting here with Hubs tonight and was thinking that you know, its January, things aren't quite as happening as they were around the holidays. Not that we all don't need the rest, to veg every now and then, but if you are looking for something to do and don't mind bundling up for a couple of them, there ARE some neat things around to partake in...

Its colder, but a fact is many animals at the Zoo love this time of year and are actually more active - now thru Feb 28th 2011 the Knoxville Zoo is holding "Penguin Discount Days"... That means admission to Knoxville Zoo is half-off! Bundle up and also don't forget the Wee Play Zoo - an indoor activity are perfect for a break and time to warm up. If it gets below 40 degrees some animals are taken inside but the big guys like the elephants, gorillas, bears and more are out, and also the reptiles and indoor areas are open!
Its also time for the Zoo's annual phone book recycling program too now thru Jan 31st so you can bring an outdated phone book to the zoo and receive special admission. For each outdated phone book, guests will receive one-free admission ticket with the purchase of another. Since its also the Penguin Discount Days that means if you bring a phone book to recycle you can buy one admission is at half-price and get one free.

"Free Saturday Stories and Songs" programs are being held at participating Knoxville Library branches - get full schedules and locations at
There are other libraries with special events too like:
Blount County

Cheer on 100+ people participating Jan 31st & Feb 1st in the "Special Olympics Winter Games in TN" at Ober Gatlinburg - details are at
Join others to support these athletes with intellectual disabilities as they compete in Alpine Skiing & Snowboarding!

The Titanic's first ever "Pigeon Forge Professional Ice Carving Competition"
Watch the world’s-most celebrated ice sculptors chisel 250-pound blocks of ice into fantastic designs that are beyond belief. This free one-day family event will take place in Titanic’s outdoor entertainment center Saturday, Jan. 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Professionals and amateurs will compete for prize monies. It'll probably be pretty popular so I'd go early for the best views!

Don't forget too that a leisurely drive through Cades Cove can do wonders, even this time of year... great views can cleanse the mind and spirit and remind you of Gods handiwork in a whole new way than just the typical warmer seasonal visits. So consider packing lunches and heading out on that famed loop or one of these trailways below where the vistas should be nice and clear this time of year on those unclouded days!

There are more events than this of course and I'll try to post some from time to time for you. I truly think that East TN is the best place to be any time of year!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Chick-Chat: "Distractions - The Prequel"

Chick-Chat: "Distractions, the Prequel"
I posted earlier about how sometimes God provides good distractions. Those meant to take my mind off me and my own struggles, to focus on how He is working around me and how that can be just the best blessing and picture of Him and who He is. The more I've thought about this, the more I kept going back in my mind to a much simpler time in my life...
(ok, this is where you should now hear that typical dream sequence music from every t.v. show and movie you've ever seen)
See that young girl over there? The one who's bending over that dandelion so intently examining each little tiny petal in her flip flops and shorts? She sees how each delicate petal tucks so tightly under the next ring of them, and marvels at how they look like hundreds of flowers in one!
See the other little girl, the one with the magnifying glass? Looking at the caterpillar she caught earlier? She's watching it undulate and wrinkle in on its self like many tiny waves meeting and moving apart as it crawls around slowly on the leaf she's holding in the other hand.
What about the girl who's lying in her back with her best friend? They're both wearing pink shirts (they like to wear the same colors on the same day because they've been best friends since they were in kindergarten, and its Pink Thursday after all). They lay there, head to head, looking at the clouds drifting by in ever changing shapes, deciding what each sees in them - a flower, a bunny, a mans head, a football, a bird...
We all handle it differently and we've dealt with it for longer than we think.
Picture yourself as one of the girls above. Those girls also have something they were waiting to do. One may have been waiting on mom to call her home for dinner. One may be waiting until the time her friend who lives down the street said to come over and play, once she was done helping her sister do chores. Or maybe waiting on her dad to finish whatever he was doing in the garage to come take her for a bike ride. Maybe the two picking shapes in the clouds were simply just waiting to grow up so their life could begin :)
We wait on that much needed job, on the kids to behave, on friends to stop making bad decisions and just listen to us already, for that future spouse to show up, or pop the question, maybe just for a chance to live out the dream you have been chasing for years, for that new way God will finally begin to use you again for His glory...
I used to be those girls, but I got older. And I had trouble waiting without getting anxious, fretting, getting impatient and trying to rush God's hand.
Psalm 52:8-9
8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.
9 For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.

So we should actually flourish, grow, and praise Him in the waiting – find hope in the waiting!

I remember being those girls, lazily distracted by the good things God provided because I was much more eager to see them then, to look for them. I still had enough child like wonder in me to seek them out even.
I have decided that’s how I should wait now. Like a child!
Because I think when I look at how much care He takes placing things around me for my pleasure, for my glimpses of Him, and yes my distractions from worry, I see how much He loves me.
Gods incredible creations are meant to perplex, amaze and baffle me!
So next time I'm getting impatient maybe I'll stop at a nursery or greenhouse and start choosing some flowers I may want to try my hand at planting in window boxes this Spring.
If you know me at all you know I won't be looking for creepy crawly things to look at to say wow look at what my God did - BUT I just may take a few hours at the zoo watching the lumbering mammoth elephants and the quick curious twitchy prairie dogs and see what His hand truly has done, and enjoy a nice walk at the same time.
And I just may find a spot in my own front yard the next time I'm feeling anxious, lay on a warm blanket, relax, and see what boats, planes, fish, and ducks I can find in the clouds.

But I'm thinking to really set the stage for connecting with that young girl I should first find a park with swings and see how high I can fly!

Marisa Lykins

Sunday, January 2, 2011

About to Go Deep

Friends - this isnt the usual blog/note post... it's a request for back up! :)

Through the changes over this last week at Love89 I have been so encouraged by many of you, so loved on, and so held by my God. But it has been so busy, so draining, so chaotic and overwhelming at times!

I have been led by God to spend the next two days (once my husband leaves for work each day) between the hours of 8am and 3pm being quiet with Him, praying and reading His Word, talking with Him, but more importantly listening for His voice.

I am asking you to back me up over the next two days.

I am seeking peace, a refreshing and renewing, and if its His perfect time also some specific direction, or to even know if I am just to continue being still in Him.
Some things are being spoken into my life already, and I just want so badly not to miss His voice, His best, His timing, and want to make sure its not just my desire.

So, with that being said I am simply asking this - if He brings me to your mind Jan 3rd and 4th, will you take at least a few moments and pray for me regarding these things?

What a blessing to be able to not just pray and talk with my creator, but to ask you to join me in seeking His plan for my life!

Thank you, and be joyful in ALL Things

Prov 2:1-4
1 My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
2 Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
3 Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
4 Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.