Dreading the way back

I’m not sure what this says about my personality, but when I take my dogs on a walk, we have a joyous time. We have a fun time. We run, we laugh, we play, we sniff things. Life is just rosy. At least for the first half.

But then we turn around and it’s as if the amount of fun we just had is dealt back equally to us but in opposite form. We’re stubborn, moody, hasty, and yet moving slow. No matter if it’s a 1 mile walk, or 2 mile walk, when we make the turn or circle around for the second half, my dogs seem to think, “Now we’ll be poky little puppies.”

It’s not all their fault, though. They are just doing what they do by sniffing and exploring. But I turn into an impatient bully!

-Out of the Wilderness


Barack Obama is not the first black president

I know this post is basically 9 years too late, but still, every time I hear it said that Barack Obama was the first black president of the United States, I perk up a little. I think it’s just a matter of language, really. Because he was our first African-American president, sure, since his dad was from Africa and his mom was from the U.S., but he is not black, in the literal sense of the term. So if someone is going to say he was our first black president, someone else could easily counter by saying he was our 44th white president.

I also thought he might be the first biracial president, but that may not even be true either. There are lists out there that show a handful of other presidents who are considered to have been “mixed race.” Just think about the early years of the United States… wouldn’t the chance of a white person and a Native American falling in love and making babies be pretty high?

I agree with the first part of what Morgan Freeman said here in 2012: “America’s first black president hasn’t arisen yet. He’s not America’s first black president, he’s America’s first mixed-race president.”

Let me be clear here, my issue is not with Obama at all. He achieved one of the most sacred and honorable positions in the U.S., so kudos to him for that. But I am excited for the day we have our first actually black president (as long as he or she is elected because he or she seems to be the most fit person to lead the country, of course). That person can be Native American, white, black, Asian, Hispanic, doesn’t matter to me. My issue is with how we’re defining Mr. Obama’s race and/or legacy. Even if it’s just in a social way (meaning history books and documents will get it right, but conversationally we’ll always get it wrong), I think he’ll be remembered as being the first black president.

Do you often here Barack Obama referred to as the first black president? What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave a comment below!

-Out of the Wilderness




Who and what IS in Jon Pardi’s “She Ain’t In It” video

Just take a glance at the YouTube comments on almost any Jon Pardi music video and you’ll quickly realize his fans and newcomers to his music are all very excited about his traditional country sound. They love his voice and musical style, both of which shine through the dusty California barn featured in his new video for “She Ain’t In It.”

The stars

Obviously the barn is sentimental to the character Jon plays in this video. It’s where he shared good memories with a woman he loved (and still loves?), represented by model Lindsay Belanger (aka Lindsay Belle).

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Lindsay is from Saguenay, Quebec and has been modeling for approximately 8 years. She’s done work with Sephora, UGG Australia, Mary Kay, Bite Beauty Cosmetics, Deal or No Deal, Fitness Magazine, and the Bellagio Hotel. [source of this info]

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Lindsay is 5’9″ and wears a size 8 shoe, listed here.

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Knowing how to ride a horse helped Lindsay land the role in this music video. Here’s a picture taken from the video shoot, via her Instagram.

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…and how can you not fall in love with that beautiful horse, right? Well, I hope you have room for two in that heart of yours, because the equine scenes were actually shared by two horses, a la Michelle from Full House. Their names are Kino and Kane. They split the roles of riding / barn entrance (Kino) and stall / rearing up (Kane). A friend of mine that knows more than I do about horses suggests these are most like Quarter Horses.


The video was shot January 5, 2018 on a working ranch in Thousand Oaks, California. The video director, Jim Wright, said they were looking for a location that could play as a character in the video, and with the vintage run-down feel of the barn along with the valley landscape, they’d found the perfect spot.

The Ford

You’ll also notice a Ford pick-up truck in the video. In black and white, it’s tough to truly appreciate the vintage ride, but I found out it was on loan from singer/songwriter Marnie Herald. Isn’t it always nice to have a friend with a truck!?! Marnie’s posted a colorful shot or two of the truck, affectionately named Doris. It’s a ’69 Ford F-250 for anyone who’s wondering 😉

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That about wraps it up, thanks for checking out this post, y’all. I’d also like to thank Jim Wright for passing along great information about the video, a lot of which was used to put this together. Thank you so much, kind sir! Be sure to check out Jim’s other work, and follow Jon Pardi along with the rest of the folks below on their various social channels and websites.

Jim Wright videos and photography and Instagram

Jon Pardi Twitter and Instagram

Lindsay Belle webpage and Instagram

Marnie Herald Twitter and Instagram

-Out of the Wilderness

Passing by beauty

The other day I was walking my dogs and about halfway through I noticed this beautiful tree standing alone in a field that had just been cut back. Take a look.


I thought, “How rare and precious! I’m so lucky to have seen this one tree in an area where none others exist. Amazing!”

The dogs and I kept on the walk and that’s when I noticed something. I already knew how silly I can be, but this was yet more evidence. For the entire walk, and totally unaware, I had walked by about 15 of the same kind of trees. I just hadn’t noticed!

The obvious lesson here is to pay attention to what’s around you, as I clearly didn’t. But another lesson is this: Presentation matters. I hadn’t noticed the other white-petaled trees because 1. I wasn’t paying attention but 2. they were lost among the rest of the trees and underbrush. This one stood out because the surrounding area had been cleared, which drew my attention to the tree.

I hope you’re able to notice the beauty around you today!

-Out of the Wilderness


Getting a handle on it

This story starts with a little door handle on a little car when a little something went wrong.

I had just returned to the parking lot from a hike to Cummins Falls near Cookeville, Tennessee.

I loaded what gear I’d brought with me into the trunk. Everything was normal. From there I’d get in the car, fasten my seatbelt, drive back to Nashville while contemplating the fun day I’d had so far. Only it didn’t go that way. I couldn’t even get in the car! As soon as I went to get in, snap!, off came the door handle. In haste, I walked around to the passenger side, and quite to my embarrassment there happened to be a couple of folks preparing to go hiking in the car that had parked next to me. The driver side door of their car was open and I had to ask the guy to shut his door so I could open mine. How embarrassing! So I crawled from the passenger side over to the driver side and I’m sure they thought I was a real winner.

To explain why I left the door handle in disrepair for months after this would take awhile, but I’ll sum it up by saying the dealership asked over $100 just to diagnose the problem, and I didn’t want to cave. I was also thinking I’d be buying a new car soon, so I wanted to save money in places I could.

I actually grew accustomed to the new normal. And fyi, I didn’t have to crawl through the passenger side every time. That was a hasty decision that was totally unnecessary. All I’d do now is reach over from the passenger side to either roll the driver side window down (so I could open the door using the inside handle), or just go ahead and open the door, then walk around and get in.

But unlike this unbearably cold Nashville winter, things actually can improve. So last week a friend of mine came over to help me fix this little, yet inconvenient, problem. And it was a warm day, so OK OK yes this cold weather isn’t lasting forever. 🙂

We looked up a couple of YouTube videos to help instruct us on how and what to do. It was a struggle, though. The thing about small cars is there isn’t much space to get in to do work. So we took turns twisting our hands and/or bodies to get access to the lock mechanism that we believed was the “key” to solving this problem.

It was a fun time. We had Lightning 100 on the radio, which I wouldn’t think would be good music for working on cars, but it is. It helps to keep the heart rate down, and so even when we couldn’t figure out certain things, which might be frustrating, the music kept us mellow.

Eventually we were able to reinsert the handle to it’s proper place, which was a real surprise. I thought I’d need to buy new parts to replace broken ones. But the handle was back and ready for business! What we discovered, though, is the part of the handle that caps the key lock is critical to the handle staying in place. So to keep the handle from popping off again as it did that day at Cummins Falls, I’d have to be gentle with it. OK, I can do that. I am Gentle Ben after all, right?

The new normal became the old normal and all was well. For a day.

One day.

You see, the very next morning the handle went pop!, and off it came… again. A few days after an order from RockAuto.com I was back to where I’d started. This time, just me and the pups in the carport trying to fix a little problem with a little door handle on a little car.

I got a little frustrated and a little disheartened but after a little effort and a little more effort and a little praying, bing!, it worked! The key cover cap I had to purchase was in place, the handle was in place, and now I feel like I have new car. Seriously, I feel like having a door handle is a royal luxury and now every time I get in my car, I’m opening up my chariot!

-Out of the Wilderness



A weekend date night

A few weeks ago, I was thrilled to set up a date for the coming weekend. During the days leading up to the planned date anticipation began building, and anticipation can be your best friend or your worst enemy. On one hand, it can leave you feeling very deflated if what you’re looking forward to doesn’t materialize. But what I was hoping for was on the other hand.

Unfortunately, the weekend didn’t go how I envisioned. The date was cancelled (for legitimate reasons) so I was left with a blank slate for that particular night. Even with the cancellation, I was determined to go on a date. I reached out to a few other potential leads, only to come up empty.

So I’ll be honest, I was upset about it. I let doubts creep in. I became my worst critic, assuming the things I don’t like about myself are what these potential dates don’t like either. I had a pity party that lasted more than a day. Maybe a couple of days… or three.

There are a few take-aways from this experience:

  1. I like when I’m more even-tempered. When things don’t go my way or something happens that shakes things up, just roll with it. Be breezy, as Monica would say. My problem is, much like Monica, breezy is not my strong suit.
  2. I heard this a few years ago and I still love it. Whether it’s in relationships, job opportunities, any scenario where you’re taking a risk by putting yourself out there, “Rejection is God’s protection.” So maybe this “date fail” wasn’t a failure at all.
  3. No matter what happens, I won my fantasy football league this past year. And it feels amazing.

Be breezy, y’all!
-Out of the Wilderness