Fist Annual CSC Solid Rock

So tonight the First Annual Christian Student Center Solid Rock show finally took place.  It was originally scheduled for two weeks ago, but was postponed because of the wintry mix storm that hit that weekend.  This show was a fund raiser for the CSC’s Spring Break trip to Jacksonville, TX to do work at Elijah’s Retreat.  Unfortunately, I do not have any photos from it because tonight I relinquished the role of church photographer and took on my role as rhythm guitarist; a role I don’t often get to do at Laurel Church of Christ. I think after all was said and done, a little over $3,000 was raised. The show was similar to a talent show.  The talent included sword fighting, rubik’s cube solving, musical acts, and poem recitation among others.

I was part of the house band called “The What” aka “The Mark Smith Band”.  Mark Smith was on keys and vocals, Len Causey on vocals and acoustic guitar, John Truan on lead guitar, I was on rhythm guitar, Jason Payton on drums, Anna Caroline Causey on backing vocals, and Becca Payton on backing vocals.  We started out the show with a Motown classic “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)” and lead immediately to another Motown classic “Baby I Need Your Lovin'”.  Halfway through the show we did another set of songs that consisted of “Boondocks” and “Sweet Home Alabama”.  Unfortunately during this set the G-string of John’s guitar got de-tuned one and half steps so those songs sounded kinda rough sounding until he got the string tuned back up.  To close out the show we did “Born to Be Wild” and “Twist and Shout”.  “Twist and Shout” turned out to be really funny because a lot of the kids got up on the mini-stage and started twisting.

It was a fun night that raised a bit of money, but I am glad it is out of the way.  We had been preparing for it for several weeks.  As usual I keep a pretty busy schedule.  Finding time to practice was the hardest part.  We recorded it, so I might be able to get a hold of the recording and put up some videos, but I’m not sure about that.

Election Day Woes

Well its Election Day in Knoxville today. Shortly after I moved, I changed over my voter registration. At my old house it was nice that the voting place was in my back yard but I was surprised at how far my new place was from my house. They had me voting at Karns Middle School. I thought that it was odd, so I checked the politcal map on KGIS and sure enough, they had me at the edge of the precinct that votes at Karns Middle (63rd Precinct).

So this morning, before work, I was gonna swing by and vote. At my previous residence, it always took so long because of the long lines, having too few booths, people still uncomfortable with the machines, and workers who didn’t seem to know much of what they were doing in the first place. I was expecting the same thing to happen this time too. I would rather them eat into my morning than my evening though. So I drive all the way out to Karns Middle but I don’t see any signs that say vote here. I eventually find my way to the office and ask where the voting booths are at. They then tell me that voting is only going on in the city not in the county so I don’t have to vote today or I have gone to the wrong location. I show them my card that shows that I am in the city and that Karns Middle School is my voting location. They try calling up the election commission to figure out what to do with me. After about 10 minutes, they ask to speak to me on the phone. They ask for my name and tell me that I should be voting in the 42nd Precinct location at Pleasant Ridge Elementary (MUCH closer to my house).

So I travel back to Pleasant Ridge Elementary and vote. When I arrived, there was one other person there to vote. He was registering right as I arrived. There was 4 booths there, but when I arrived, they were all empty. After I registered, I got my access number and was immediately able to vote.

Today’s election for the most part is an uninteresting election. There are only four city council seats that need to be selected. Three of those are uncontested. It just so happens that the one seat that is contested has Joe Bailey (from Laurel) running for that seat.

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Laurel-CSC Fall Cookout and Morton Overlook

Grilling ChickenThis past Saturday was the annual Fall Cookout at Caroline Evan’s house. In the past few years it has been scheduled for either the Georgia or Alabama game, since those rotate between home and away each year. Since the Alabama game was away this year, the cookout was scheduled for the 3rd weekend in October. One thing they like to do is setup a projector and show the game. Anytime you show something outside you are going to have problems with ambient sunlight, but when the game starts at 12:30 and you are trying to show something around that time, there is little you can do to overcome it. Such was the case this year. As time passed and the sun moved west, it got a little bit easier to see.

One thing I noticed this year was the the attendance seemed lower than usual. They were fewer college kids, fewer Laurel members, and also fewer youth group kids. In past years the cookout had been in the afternoon or the evening, so I had usually scheduled a trip to get some hiking in before the cookout. This year, since it was at 12:30, there wasn’t time to head up to the mountains before the cookout. I figured I wouldn’t be able to get any hiking in after the cookout either, but I decided I was going to try and take some pictures with my dSLR. Speaking of my dSLR, towards the ends of the cookout, some of the LYF group kids wanted to take some pictures with it themselves. I was a little nervous, but I figured they would be careful because they knew they were handling something expensive. You can view the rest of my pictures, as well as some of Philip’s, Lydia’s, Connor’s, Alex’s, and Sean’s pictures here.

Fall colors around Newfound GapI hadn’t made any plans to go with anybody else, I was just going to stay in the front country and not go much into the back country. I figured I might have some time to head up to Clingman’s Dome. Technically to get to Clingman’s Dome you have to “hike” half a mile to the tower, so I would be heading into the back country, but not really, since Clingman’s Dome is usually populated by lots of people. After taking some shots at Clingman’s, on my way back I would stop at Morton Overlook for some sunset pictures.

The Chimney's seen at sunset from Morton OverlookI was a little bit late leaving the cookout, but I thought I should still have time to do what I wanted to do. Sunset on Saturday was going to be right around 7:00. To get to where I wanted to go from the cookout, there were a few options. I could head to Townsend and take 321 through Wear Valley and end up in Pigeon Forge, or I could Turn left at the Townsend Wye and take Little River Road to Sugarlands and head up to Newfound Gap from there. The way I ended up taking was to go out to Chapman Highway and then take Veterans Boulevard to bypass as much of Pigeon Forge as I can and then take the Gatlinburg Bypass to get to Sugarlands and head up to Newfound Gap.

I was wrong about the amount of time I would actually have. I figured there would be a lot of traffic leaving the Smokey Mountains, but I hadn’t expected as many people heading into them, since it was later in the day. It took almost 2 hours from the time I left Caroline’s house until I got up to Morton Overlook. That was about 25 minutes before sunset. Figuring I would have no time to get much of anything if I went up to Clingman’s Dome, I decided to just go ahead and get a spot at Morton Overlook. Morton Overlook is a popular place to photograph sunsets since it looks west. The Chimney Tops are also very prominent when looking out from Morton Overlook. Not only did it take a long time to get up to Newfound Gap, it took a long time to get back down. Traffic was backed up all the way to the Chimney’s picnic area from Gatlinburg. I guess my average speed was 5 miles per hour since it took just about an hour to get from the Chimney’s picnic area to Sugarlands (which is about 5 miles apart). After Sugarlands, I was able to get on the bypass. I got home later than I wanted, but all in all, I got some really good pictures that I am happy with, so it was definitely worth the hassle. You can view the rest of my pictures here.

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Are we afraid of silence? What happens when we just stop and listen to encounter God? That was the theme of the fall retreat for the youth group. Instead of a lot of free time like most retreats have, there was a lot of quiet time. A couple of the quiet time sessions were guided by a couple of question sheets that the students were to journal there thoughts down. Another session, the kids were free to journal whatever was on their mind.
Group Shot... What you don't know is that in 10 seconds I had to run up the hill with a 15% grade and sit down like I was already in the shot.
The retreat was held at Camp Smokey Christian. This was a depart from the usually og CLabin Lodge in Dandridge. Over the past couple of years, things have gotten progressively worse at the Log Cabin Lodge. Last year several of the girls’ rooms had mold. Camp Smokey Christian actually was a decent place. First off, its really close to the Smokey Mountains (about 10 minutes away from Greenbrier). It’s really near the Arts Community just outside Gatlinburg. Being an adult chaperone usually means that you are going to be helping out in two things… cooking and cleaning. What makes Camp Smokey Christian so good is that you don’t have to do either. Now I’ve gone to places that cooked for you, but this place said that we didn’t have to clean. All we had to do was make sure the big trash gets put away and we take the trash out to the garbage cans.

You can view the rest of my pictures from the retreat at:

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