Percy Warner Park trail run

One of the best places to walk/run/hike in Nashville is Percy Warner Park. And there, a well-known location is “the stairs.” A friend of mine and I met there a few days ago and that’s where our trail run started. Let me just tell you, this is no walk in the park, if you’ll pardon the expression. It’s a rugged, tree-rooted, crops of rock-infused path rising to hundreds of feet from where it starts, then back down again. Here’s a view of the stairs, courtesy of Expedia. The hiking trail starts at the top of the stairs.

Expedia image of PWP stairs

image from

We saw some interesting things: Conan the Barbarian (or Outlander?) huffing it around the same path we were on, then saw him again sprinting up the stairs. He literally looked like a modernized caveman, but hey, he was running hard, so more power to him! We also saw a lot of people out to enjoy the beautiful weather we had that day. Then, the pinnacle of sights, a breathtaking view of downtown Nashville. A picture wouldn’t even do it justice, so you just need to go there yourself to see it. In the pic below, it’s the red peak point to the right of the gray 1 mile marker. It’s stunning.

By the end we both were exhausted. We’d climbed a total of 626.6 feet in elevation! My friend suggested as a way to finish our run, a sprint from the flag pole area up to the first wall (you can kind of see the wall in the picture above). Sooooooooo we went ahead and did that 3 times!

We’re crazy. Running with company is so much better than running alone, if only for the sake of having someone there to suffer with you. But I appreciated our conversation, and how he and I often find ourselves running side by side in the race of life, too. Here’s our course from that day…


-Out of the Wilderness


Jogging in what’s left of Hurricane Irma

I was about to title this The Art of Running in the Rain but I didn’t, for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s too close to the title of a great book called The Art of Racing in the Rain*
  2. It’s not so much artistic as it is just keeping your head down and finishing

Yesterday, as Hurricane Irma continued to dwindle down to a misty precipitation, I set out to run. The original plan was to drive over to a nearby Greenway but it was 4pm. So while getting there would be a cinch, afternoon traffic in Nashville is anything but. I’d get stuck in Google traffics dreaded red line with all the other people heading home for the day. I kept the car in park and went on foot around the neighborhood.

As I mentioned a few days ago, my goal is to beat my best 5K time. This run, however, I wasn’t going for gold. Just a jog pace. I needed to be in the rain. Let my mind and spirit be refreshed. I used this time to turn a few things over to the Lord. Any frustrations, nerves, fears, I prayed for God to replace them with joy.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7

img_20170914_111415.jpgGod wants me to give Him my anxiety, my worries and fears, which is totally awesome because I don’t really want them anyway! As I was running I confessed how I was feeling. I asked God to take on the burden and with the new space in my life, for joy and freedom. Freedom in my heart that will spill over into my daily life, which brings joy.

By the end of the run I definitely felt refreshed. It was good for my soul to be in that vulnerable place of admitting my feelings to the One who already knew them anyway. The frustration and anxiety were gone. All that was left was a happy albeit fast-beating heart…and wet clothes.

I didn’t break any records. No gold medals. I didn’t even run very fast. And yet yesterday did more for me than any 5K will ever do. As my pastor would say, I had a front row seat to see God work. A chance to take God up on one of His promises and know that He didn’t leave me hanging. I’d say that’s worth more than gold!

-Out of the Wilderness

*As an Amazon Affiliate, I will receive a portion of sales associated with this Amazon link

That time I won the lottery

I grabbed the slip of paper from the store clerk. After she read out what was printed on it, the customer behind me declared, “You won the lottery!

The rest of that week I was on cloud 9, but I wasn’t any richer. Because I didn’t actually win the lottery, it was even better. The receipt the CVS store clerk handed me had a coupon for 40% off any one item in the entire store.


For a few days, it felt like Christmas. But then it was Friday night, the special coupon expiring the very next day.

Excitedly, I parked my car, practically skipping through the sliding entrance doors around 8pm. I carefully shopped through the tech section. The pet section. Heck, I even browsed through the senior citizen section. I had no idea there were so many different styles of adult diapers. I could by some FOR 40% OFF!!!

The store was closing in 15 minutes. Where had the time gone? My forehead beads with sweat. Anxiety ramps up. I’m so indecisive. So with thousands of products to choose from, I narrowed it down to….


And that was my Friday night.

-Out of the Wilderness

Taylor Swift’s first music video?

I had just moved to Nashville and one of my first paying jobs was as a production assistant for a music video. I was so excited! I don’t remember many of the details that day, but I do remember The Jordainaires, and a tall, curly-headed blonde girl that I walked by a couple of times. She ended up being part of the music video along with a choir of singers and songwriters…
taylor1…but I had no idea who she was. You wouldn’t have known either because this was BEFORE her first album came out! Scroll down to check out a 17-year old Taylor Swift starting around the 2:10 marker in the Wayne Warner video “God Bless the Children.”

A walk through time, visiting an old cemetery

I don’t know if it’s just a way to honor people that have lived on this earth, or that I like the feeling of being mortal because it makes each day have a level of importance… that there will be an end to this life, that walking around old headstones creates a sense of urgency, a sense of nostalgia, a mystery of someone’s life that I know nothing about and yet what someone does matters to some people, even if it’s only just a handful, but then they’re buried and gone.

I can’t quite put a finger on why I like walking around cemeteries like this one. But I do. This one is situated southeast of Nashville, near a suburb called Mt. Juliet. Most dates began in the mid-1900s and ended later that same century, but a few were dated even farther back, and those are typically my favorites. Check out the one that says “Bone Head.” What a nickname. And then there’s one person who shares my birthday, December 26. That’s really awesome. And the N’s are backwards, but it’s charming.

Some barely missed making it to their next birthday. Some were not even 3 years old. But at least at this particular cemetery, there are lots of same last names. Even in death, family matters. Love matters. The dates are important, too, but I wonder how their lives were improved and made amazing by the family they had, the family they loved.

-Out of the Wilderness



My very own epic fails, part 1

I had an epic fail yesterday so as I laughed at the mistake I made, I thought about other times in my life where I’ve had major goof-ups. A few solid ones came to mind, and a few that I was hoping I’d forget about. The first I’ll share with you takes place in a Coast Guard Day softball game. My dad was in the Coast Guard and on this particular day, he let my brother and I play in the softball game. I was probably 12 or 13 at the time. I had seen this on TV so at one point when I hit a ball to the infield, I decided to slide into first base… head first. Let’s just say I ended up back in the dugout because the mud I slid in wasn’t as slippery as I thought it would be. Dove towards first, slid a little, stopped sliding before I even reached first base! Embarrassing. Then to top it all off, I cried. What a sissy.

There’s another embarrassing softball story, but this was in college. And again, I was sliding. I rounded second base and sprinted towards third. The throw came in and the third baseman tagged me, I was out. But we were arranged in such a way that when he pulled out of the tagging position, he had to toss my legs to the side. I took that as an arrogant assault so I became visibly angry. Realizing I took this the wrong way, he offered his hand to help me up, to which I rejected and popped up on my own. Unfortunately I got up too fast for my own good and ended up falling backwards. It was the most embarrassing moment of my college career, and that includes the few times I crashed my bike riding down a hill.

Another epic fail while I was in college involves my brother, yet again. This time it was his college graduation. Me, being the techy video fanatic, brought along my video camera to record the once-in-a-lifetime event. It was a great day! The battery was charged, I had a tape in the camera and things were looking up. I recorded clips throughout the ceremony and when it was his turn to walk across the stage, I was ready. Or so I thought. Checking the video afterwards, I made a giant mistake. You know how sometimes you can be recording when you don’t think you are, then not recording when you do think you are? So I recorded him walking up the ramp to the stage, then nothing, then him walking back to his seat. I completely missed him receiving his accolades as he shook hands with faculty crossing the stage. I’m such an idiot!

I owe an apology to my brother-in-law for the next epic fail. It was a beautiful day in the Gulf of Mexico. The guys in my family went out for a fishing trip in hopes of catching grouper, snapper, rock bass, whatever we could. My bro-in-law hooked something big. It took him a good while to reel it in, and whatever it was put up such a fight that we all took turns reeling. Towards the end he took the pole back and I assigned myself video duty. It was a huge nurse shark from about 90 feet down! It was amazing. I’d show you the video here but much like the disaster that was my brother’s graduation, I hit record to capture the event, only to realize when I hit the button to start recording, it was actually stopping the recording. I got about a 1-second view of that big fish. Dang it, Ben!

And to circle back around to my most recent epic fail… it was yesterday. I set out to capture the total solar eclipse in video fashion so I planned and prepped. Practiced and packed. On eclipse day I was ready. I arrived a couple hours ahead of time to get a good spot. I wanted to record 2 separate videos… 1. A 360-degree view of the park where I watched the eclipse and 2. a timelapse of the Parthenon there at the park. The 360-video went off without a hitch, but when I went to start recording the images for the time-lapse on my GoPro, the information window said “no SD card.” My attempt at a cool time-lapse was eclipsed by my own silly forgetfulness. As it turns out, I was practicing time-lapse shots in my back yard and after transferring footage from the SD card to my computer, I forgot to return the SD card to the GoPro. Soooooooo instead of a cool shot of the Parthenon, enjoy my practice time-lapse of mushrooms in my back yard. You’re welcome, America!

-Out of the Wilderness



Thoughts about Virginia…and why I love the Nashville Police Department

In the wake of the horrible event that took place in Virginia last weekend, I was reminded of a couple of things. #1 Sometimes people can be atrocious maggots, and I’m speaking of the one guy who drove his car into the crowd. And #2 How much I love the police department here in Nashville. In my experience, they’ve been nothing but top-notch, literally the guardians of the city.

One story I can share happened a few months back on a Thursday I went downtown to watch the Predators play in the Stanley Cup finals. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous because the crowds there were so big. Someone might have seen it as a perfect opportunity to inflict harm on people. But I decided to go anyway, so I met up with a friend a couple miles from downtown. We walked from Centennial Park all the way down Broadway to set up our camping chairs at one of three giant screens they erected for fans to watch. As we neared the organized chaos of that night (CMA Fest was also happening at the same time) and saw thousands of people scattered throughout the downtown streets, we also noticed something else.


Those are a dump trucks. Those are giant dump trucks lined up back to back. This was at the intersection of Broadway and maybe 10th or 11th Avenue. From there down the rest of Broadway was all blocked from vehicle traffic and these giant blockades would prevent any sort of “terrorist” from driving anything smaller than a tank into the crowds that night, and the entire weekend. It made me so proud. SO PROUD. Our police department, and city officials, plus CMA and Predators folks as well, were thinking ahead and planning in ways I never thought of to protect me and everyone else who just wanted to have a fun, safe night.

Awesome, awesome, awesome.

I know this is just one example and I’m sure there are plenty of other stories about the police here. We’ll never know what possible barbaric acts were prevented the nights Nashville hosted the Stanley Cup finals and the CMA fest on the very same nights. But my memory from those nights will be how Metro Police officers were our guardians.

-Out of the Wilderness