Mexico 2018: Short and Sweet Snippets

I spent a dreamy week in Mexico in the end of March, serving, worshiping, and ministering alongside the local church down there. It was exhilarating, inspiring, and exhausting. Here are some short and sweet snippets.

Seeing Lucia, a little girl I had met as an infant. Watching her run around terrorizing everyone in her path, grinning like the little spitfire she is. Watching my brother run after her and sweep her into his arms. Hearing her laugh.

Playing video games with some local teens. Losing. Winning. Laughing.

Playing volleyball with a soccer ball that was hard enough to bruise my arms. But any bruises would be worth it to see that little girl, Jeni, smile.

I saw 73 dogs on Saturday. It was like a dream come true.

I saw my friend Esteban, who I met when he was 11 and in love with soccer. Now he’s starting high school and spends all his time at church playing drums. He teased me and joked with me, we talked in Spanish, we talked in English, and he was far taller than I was expecting he would be.

Talking about feminism and the draft over the best hot dogs I’ve ever had.

Meeting a little boy named Jose Luis who was the most mischievous little bug. His favorite color is “azul subito” (or dark blue). Sitting next to him while he memorized Bible verses, hugging my arm to his chest and yelling Spanish faster than I could imagine.

Playing volleyball with Jeni again, watching her patiently welcome younger children into the game and teaching them how to hold their arms out. She would gently toss the ball to them so it would be hard to miss and have a softer landing, then look at me and hit it as hard as she could.

Listening to my friend Nora talk about her baby, a beautiful little girl, due in a few months. Talking to her about life, answering her questions about what I’m doing at home, and the simple hilarity of having a conversation in which both of us are speaking spanish as well as english.

Laughing while I walked down the street with my friends, dirt flying into the air when a car passes.

Having someone carry my guitar for me.

Walking through the market in Los Algodones, listening to the smattered languages being yelled, and watching people dance to a mariachi band.

Worshipping under the stars every night, sometimes trying to sing over the sound of a car radio blasting across the street.

Hearing children sing at the top of their lungs about Jesus and His love for them.

Watching the pastor’s family stop everything to pray.

Hearing that the construction crew took time to go through the sand lot where the kids play, clearing out the big rocks and chunks of brink and cement.

There’s nothing quite like seeing a small mexican child with a face smeared with chili powder, hands reached up to you, eyes sparkling with pure joy.

Nothing quite like being in a small mexican church service, clapping along to a song until I can figure out the words or recognize it in english.

Nothing quite like watching my friend Oscar dance as he worships.

There’s nothing quite like Silva, Baja California, Mexico.

That’s why a part of my heart is still there.

 

 

 

 

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Mexico 2018: Long and Deep

When I was 16 I had my first experience of a Mexican church service in Silva, Baja California. I was wide-eyed, slightly terrified, and clapped until my hands were numb. I had no idea what was going on, I knew Spanish on paper but this was something completely different. And I fell in love with it. The yelling, the dancing, the lifting hands up to the Lord in joy. It was worship like I had never seen.

Today, at 21, I am a recent college graduate, professional musician, and worship leader. I had the chance of my dreams to be hired as the home base worship leader for Borderless, the organization that brings churches from all over the midwest and pacific northwest to Mexico. I got to lead worship each morning and evening at our chapel services held at home base, where all the churches ate and slept together before and after going out into the Mexican desert and partnering with the local churches during the day. It was an obvious yes when I was asked. Of course I would go on a trip that I adore, to do the thing I love to do. But I had no idea what God truly had in store.

I love leading worship, I know it is one of the things God made me to do. I built a small acoustic styled band, comprised of mainly my brother and a few friends of ours (it gained the nickname “beka and the mans” which is a totally different story). The mornings were upbeat and full of joy; the evenings were vibrant and meaningful. I prayed over each song and setlist, I was in the zone! I was doing what I was made to do and I was so alive. I was living the dream! Start the day leading worship, then go watch teens and young adults minister side by side with local churches, end the day with leading worship and a walk to the hot dog stand with my friends. Each day was better than the next. But God had more.

Tuesday afternoon our ministry site gathered in the church, a giant hodgepodge of a circle including everyone from teen to adult, American and Mexican. We had all just finished ministering together in a vacation Bible school for the local kiddos, playing games and memorizing Bible verses. We were hot, tired, and full from lunch. This was the seventh year of this partnership and we were about to do something we had never done. We dove into a conversation about the hard things, asking hard questions like “What is it like being a Christian here?” “What do your friends say about it?” “Is America really as perfect as it seems on TV?” “It looks like American families have it all together, but what is it really like?” There were tears flowing, hearts opening, and friendships deepening. It was incredible to feel the Holy Spirit in those moments. When things were wrapping up we went outside to circle up again, arms around each other both literally and in prayer. After prayers were said in each language the local pastor’s wife, Olga, began singing the song “How Great Is Our God” (in Spanish). The entire circle joined in, everyone singing in their own language, singing praises to the same God. Together. It struck a chord in me.

As soon as I could I asked a translator to help me talk to Olga. I told her how much she inspired me as the worship leader there, how I loved watching her family be in ministry together, how incredible singing with her was for me. And she poured right back out, filling me up with touching words of wisdom. Encouraging me to continue being vulnerable while I lead, that she was also inspired by me as she watched my activity on social media, reminding me that we lead worship out of the fountain that God pours into us, not of our own strength. I was crying. She was crying. The translator was crying. Words don’t do it justice.

The next day we continued in this newly deepened relationship in a communion and worship service. Before the service started Olga asked me to lead worship WITH HER. We had discovered that we both knew the song “Open The Eyes of My Heart Lord” in our respective native languages, so she asked if I would come up and lead a few parts in english. It was dream I didn’t know I had… come true. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, they started singing “How He Loves ” and the Holy Spirit slammed into me. I stood there, taken over by a joy that could only be from God. I was surrounded by people praising the same God in both English and Spanish, overwhelmed by the thought that maybe, just maybe, that is what heaven sounds like. Another dream I didn’t know I had, come absolutely true.

So, when I say I spent a dreamy week in Mexico, it may not look like you’d immediately think. There were no vacation days, no tanning in swimsuits. But there was Jesus, and that was all I’ll ever need.

I Got The Day Wrong

Yesterday we were in the kitchen. My mom said one small sentence and several of us simultaneously realized what weekend it was. This past Saturday marks two years since my mom’s mother passed away. And I had been thinking it was going to be Monday. I couldn’t believe I got the day wrong.

Luckily, I wasn’t alone. Some talking with my family helped us discover we all remembered that week very differently. Someone thought it was a Sunday, but others insisted it was a school day. Someone though it was during spring break, someone insisted it was the week before. The debate turned into gentle story telling and talking about the different ways we grieved, which was a conversation I was neither expecting nor prepared for. Perhaps because I’ve been realizing that I didn’t grieve for almost a year. I pushed it away, insisted I didn’t need to talk about it, consciously distracting myself constantly. I didn’t know what to do with myself, how to do it best. So I cried. I isolated. I pushed it deep deep down to be dealt with later.

My grandmother, my Granny, struggled with Parkinson’s disease most of my life. As the eldest grandchild I had the most memories of her before the illness really changed her. I felt so guilty. Guilty that I could barely remember, guilty that I was the only one who had those memories. I don’t know how familiar you are with Parkinson’s, but it takes a lot from a person. My Granny’s fine motor movements decreased gradually, her “I love you”s slowly got quieter and lost the inflection that makes them sound genuine, her face wasn’t always able to show emotion the way it once did.

But I remember. Some of it.

I remember taking baths in the downstairs bathroom, decorated with yellow seashells. Granny would carry in a bounty of cups and fun from the kitchen, turning the tub into a chemical lab of vessels full of water and soap.

I remember her singing lullabies about ducks as I snuggled under my beige baby blanket in the upstairs room with bright orange and yellow shag carpet.

I remember her never uttering the words “cottage cheese” after my child mind had dubbed it “white beans” oh so eloquently.

I remember watching the smile spread across her face and laughter shake her head as she told the story about me and my babysitter’s cheerleading gloves for what must have been the millionth time.

I remember watching her water flowers, planted in a big metal milk jug that looked like it came out of the cow themed wallpaper that covered the house.

I remember scampering around the house, counting the cows scattered around the house on the walls, on the stove as a kettle, or on my feet as the slippers I now (proudly) own.

I remember the way she cared for her mother before she passed away, and the way she reached out for each person she encountered. Ever a nurse and an administer of genuine tender loving care.

I remember picking raspberries and currants with her in the backyard, asking her to cut off a stalk of rhubarb for me to chew on while I ran around barefoot in the dirt.

I remember her helping us dig up worms before a fishing day with Popop, my grandpa.

I remember her gentle smile as she took out a vase when I would pick the lilies of the valley (obviously planted in a garden on the side of the house).

And I remember the way she said goodbye. She would hug you tight (sometimes almost too tight) and then look into your eyes and say, “Be there. Okay? I want you to be there.” Then we’d pile into the car and twist in our seats as we drove down the drive way, turned around to watch “the granny dance” as our favorite cheerleader/dancer waved goodbye in the most superfluous way I’ve ever seen.

Be there. It sounds so simple like that, so sure. She was the most sure person I knew. She was practically made of assurance. And certainly not in herself, but in Jesus. She wanted us to be there. She wanted us to be SURE and SAVED. She knew Jesus, she knew He was sure, and she knew she was going to heaven. And she wanted me to be there.

I don’t know what kind of coping mechanism it was, but I chose my last memory of my grandma. I don’t really remember the last time I saw her, or much of the funeral weekend.

But what I do remember is a weekend I was at a camp retreat and on the last morning my dad decided to bring my brother, my sister, and I to see Granny. The camp was close to where she was at the time, in one of those facilities that’s partially hospice and partially an heavily medical assisted living center. We got there and surprised them, pulling my grandparents out of the church service they had been in at the facility. I know we sat and talked, visiting and “catching up” if you will. I honestly don’t remember what we talked about. But I remember when we huddled up for a send off prayer. (Now, if you know me, you will know I am a huge physical touch person. Holding hands and hugs are my jam, so obviously these huddles were a happy place for me.) I got to hold my Granny’s hand. Now, you know when you’re holding someone’s hand and they do that comforting thing with their thumb? The smallest little thing, where they just rub your hand with their thumb? Something that will make me smile without fail? Something that would be nearly impossible for a woman less than a month away from partying with Jesus at the end of a long battle with Parkinson’s? Well God gave me a moment with my Granny while my dad prayed. Life was going on by us, but Granny ran her thumb on my hand and I thanked God for my last memory of my grandmother. I remember that. I remember thinking “This is it. This is one of the moments I will never forget.”

And I haven’t. I forgot what day she left us to hang out in heaven. I get mixed around with some of the stories and if I’m being brutally honest some of the memories I listed above may be mix ups too. But I won’t forget my last moment with Granny. Not today, not tomorrow, not next March or the March after that.

Friends, I don’t know what I really expect you to get out of this. Maybe just remember to talk about the people you love. It’s really scary when memories get gray and fuzzy around the edges; when you suddenly don’t remember what color the dress she wore was, or the exact words he said. It’s okay if you don’t remember everything. Tell the stories anyway. Maybe the dress color or an exact quote doesn’t matter as much as the feeling it pumps into your heart, or the look of love in someones eyes. Tell the stories.

A College Grad with Anxiety in a Coffee Shop

About half way through my college career I learned that I struggle with varying levels of anxiety. Sometimes it was a tiny voice whispering in the back of my mind, sometimes it was the reason I was throwing up and dizzy, unable to think straight for no apparent reason. I’ll admit, while I was figuring out how to handle it amid the insanity that is college life, there was a part of me that expected it to go away when I was done with college. But here I am, sitting in a coffee shop, a month after graduating, and I still have anxiety.

My heartbeat is currently going slightly too fast. I can’t tell if it’s because I had coffee before having breakfast or if my chest is tightening because of some unknown threat my anxious subconscious is picking up. Maybe it’s because this is my first time writing about my anxiety. Yeah, let’s go with that one.

Like I said, I’m sitting in a coffee shop. It’s on the eastern side of Iowa, near where I am taking what I’m calling my “hibernation” or “sabbatical” if you will. I graduated college, did the whole christmas with my family thing, and then I went to Iowa to rest. College is hard. It is. And if you wanna message me and say “hey beka get over it adult life is even harder put your big girl pants on” go for it, but college is still hard. It wears you down. You’re doing a million things at once! Every time I would try to catch up with someone I end up leaving something out because my life was so busy! I was even in the extra credit club, taking more classes than most of my friends and enabling me to graduate early. It was insane. I was exhausted. So I’m resting.

I have spent my time a variety of ways, from writing a new song to watching half a season of supernatural on netflix. I started a book I bought for five dollars and learned that I don’t really like it so far. I wrote this blog post. I started and ditched a different blog post. I started watching the office on netflix as well. I spent time with one of my best friends and my grandparents. I went to a trampoline park with some kids from church. I took naps. I rested in whatever way felt right at the moment. I hibernated, rejuvenated, and renewed.

But I still had an anxiety attack the other night while trying to fall asleep. There was no reason for it. I had a relaxing day that day, other than a migraine the day had been super low-key. There was no reason for me to have a high heart rate and not be able to close my eyes. But it happened. I prayed and read my Bible, trying to calm down. I eventually fell asleep around 4:30am, after prayer journaling and writing some half-coherent poetry.

The next morning I was frustrated with myself. Annoyed that I could let my anxiety get to me in the middle of such a relaxing week. Annoyed that even in a life as stressless as could be, I could have an anxiety attack. Annoyed that it seems like my anxiety wasn’t just a thing of my busy college life, but something I would continue to struggle with. So I’m praying. I’ll be honest, this is something I’m just realizing and figuring out, but I love that I feel safe enough to share it with you, my internet friends.

So I hope this word vomit processing of my first month post grad lands somewhere with you, even if only understanding me a little more. I strive to be open and vulnerable with people. I thrive when I am telling people what is going on in my life, in my brain. If you have any questions, just ask. Comments? Go for it. Here is an invitation to speak into my life, while I hope I can do the same for you.

How To: Figure Out What To Do With Your Life

I graduated college a grand 15 days ago and if you asked me that day what I was going to do with my life it was very likely that I would burst into tears. Because I had no idea. I was graduating and realizing the truly unlimited future ahead of me, unmarred by commitments to people or jobs or a lease. I had nothing planned.

The next day I moved into my parents’ house, taking the winter break to be what it’s supposed to be, a break. But then… a few things fell into place. I bought some plane tickets, some concert tickets, and texted a few people. I Facebook messaged some people too, going out of my comfort zone to ask if I could sing with them. Spoiler alert: they said yes! I decided to take a “hermitage” and go hole myself up in my grandparents’ basement! I’m planning a trip to Seattle! And another to lead worship on a missions trip! Dates were being filled up, my free time gradually disappearing.

I had figured out what I wanted to do with my life! Kinda! I mean, I’m not saying it’s a long term plan, but I am starting to see what I want! Here’s some steps I took!

  1. Take time to be scared, to see the huge void staring you in the face. Just don’t live there. Be scared, then remember 2 Timothy 1:7! We are not made to be afraid! We have a God even bigger than that void! Which brings me to…
  2. Rest. You are in the hand of the God who made the universe! He put the stars in the sky, he made the plan for bears to hibernate, he’s got cha. He’s got cha. Trust in that, and take a nap. Take a bath with some candles around. Read your Bible. Pray. Pray. Pray. Take another nap. Sing and dance around the kitchen when no one’s looking. Or when people are looking! (But preferably not when people are trying to cook in said kitchen.) Rest in the God who has you covered. He’s got cha.
  3. Do something. Anything. The first thing I did was actually buy concert/plane tickets for a trip I had in the works with a friend! There are now dates on the calendar and tickets to enable me! That got me on a roll. I texted people and found a place to do my hermitage thingy, I made a few more plans.
  4. Then I got excited for those plans! I realized that there were things I wanted to do, and I did what I could to put them in motion! And sometimes that has meant messaging someone and waiting a few days for a response! Or getting a response that wasn’t quite what I wanted when I applied for a job. But I am excited nonetheless, because here I am, setting things in motion and figuring it out as I go.
  5. Now, I am okay with not knowing, too. I’m not really entirely sure what I’m doing. And I’ve become okay with that.

It is okay not to know what you’re doing with your life. All the people that seem like they have it together are just figuring it out as they go too, so why not join them? I was frustrated that I didn’t have a job to go into right after college. Then I thought on it and figured out that I don’t even want that right now! I was slightly irked that I was moving home, a little farther away from the city I love living in. But here I get to pet dogs whenever I want and get to save money by spending time with my family! Talk about a good money saving deal. I might know where I’m going next week now, but I don’t know where I’ll be in 3 months. And that is just fine with me. I’ve figured enough out for now.

Feels Like Yellow

I’m releasing my debut EP (a shorter version of an album) called Feels Like Yellow in a few days, on November 3rd, which is coming up fast. I want to use my blog to express some of the ideas behind the songs and the title of the whole project! It’s a labor close to my heart, as music often is. So here’s some ideas about the EP!

As strange as it will sound, the title is really very straight forward. These four songs feel like yellow to me. The soft yet vibrant yellow of the watercolor that is used on the album cover is perfect. It’s a color of new beginnings and spring, a light and hopeful hue. The album feels like sunshine hitting your face and those days that blend the freshness of spring with the warmth of summer. It feels like yellow.

This is probably predictable as I am such a hopeless romantic, but the entire EP is about falling in love. I did, however, throw in a twist by writing the songs in pairs. The first pair is very different from the other two songs, and vice versa. The first pair is about falling in love with yourself, whereas the second pair are about falling in love with someone else and your surroundings.

The first pair, “Freckles and Scars” and “Stay Alive Alice”, are sections of my own story as I fell in love with myself. They will each get their own blog post, but I’ll give you a sneak peek. Freckles is about seeing beauty and power in my scars rather than letting them continue to hurt me. Stay Alive Alice is made up of words from people in my life who have loved me at my lowest and helped me out of moments when I couldn’t love myself, when I thought I wouldn’t make it. These songs are a pair because they really go hand in hand. I fell in love with myself with the help of people who kept me going.

The second pair of songs are about a boy, they are a pair simply because they are about the same person, inspired by the same smile. “Lemonade” is joyful and cute, lighthearted and summertime-esque. “Let’s Hit The Road” is an adventure with the radio up and my boy’s hand in mine. I love love (as you may remember from a past blog post) and I love writing and singing songs about love. So I did.

You see, my friends, my music is made of little pieces of me. When you listen to me sing these songs, I am singing to you. Straight from me to you. Please know that. Please know my heart goes with you wherever these songs go, that these pieces of me are yours. I cannot wait to share them with you. I cannot wait for you to feel like yellow too.

Writing Love Stories

I love writing stories. and I love love. So I end up writing little love stories. Sometimes they end up being poems or song lyrics, and at one point in time I had a blog that had little love stories on it. They were only a paragraph or two long, all starting with the phrase “I met him” and would end with “and the rest is history.” Cute, right? I even wrote a poem about myself in one of them, seeing as of course they all needed a main love interest with curly red-blonde hair and freckles.  Usually these stories start from a random line that pops into my head and ends up hastily typed into a note in my phone. Sometimes they stay there. Like these.

I want to open the door and see you standing there like that.

She was wearing green. The kind that lit her eyes up like a forest in summer. He was a sucker for green.

He walked in and she took out her headphones. That’s how you could tell.

These things stream from me like tears during a well soundtracked rom-com, friends. I am terribly in love with falling in love. I read endless stories about engagements and I will rarely turn down a good rom-com. It’s a part of myself that, if I’m being honest, I don’t really know what to do with. What do I do with a heart that’s obsessed with falling in love? And as a single woman who loves Jesus? I wish I had a formula. I wish I had words to say other than “hey, fall in love with Jesus” because doesn’t that seem so cliche and over-quoted?

I am so in love with my Maker. And He’s in love with me. He gives me so many gifts and reasons to smile, and that’s the little things. He died the most excruciating death simply because He’s not done loving me yet! What! Yet, the process of falling in love with Jesus, the actions of it, are different. But the walks in the park are just as lovely, the conversations all the more filling, and the adventures are out of this world.

He is so in love with me. So in love, in fact, that the love story that he’s writing for me is far better than any I can imagine for myself. Isn’t that incredible? There is wonder out there waiting for me to experience, a gift from the God of the universe, just for me. There are moments that I will fall in love with in the future, moments in coffee shops by myself, swinging in a hammock with friends, around a table with my family, maybe even moments with a cute boy. Who knows what breath-taking love stories are waiting?! Not me. Thank goodness. No, thank God. He’s the best rom-com writer out there.

Tender and Fierce

I think I've always been very tender hearted. I feel things very deeply and powerfully, I just do. I always have. I remember thinking everyone cried as often as I do… and how shocked I was to learn that it was frowned upon to wear my feelings on my face when the tears started to fall. It is still a blessing and a curse, to feel everything so deeply and so close to the surface. Yet, as I grow up and learn more about myself and the world, it is one of my favorite things about myself. I proudly call myself a very emotional and emotive person. In fact, the last time I cried was a meager two days ago. But let me tell you, friend, that my emotions do not make me weak. My strong emotional side makes me a force to be reckoned with.

The photo for this post is a poem from the book Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I first discovered her through pinterest, constantly finding myself in her beautiful words. I finally found her book and spent the next three days pouring through it, torn between devouring each page and savoring the delicious emotion in each word. This page in particular felt like my heart whispering in my ear. I have spent so much of my life being told I was too soft, too tender, and too emotional. No one could see how powerful it made me.

I don't know how to explain the confidence and solidity that my feelings and self-awareness give me. It is as if I doubt myself less when I know how I feel and that it is okay to feel how I do. I feel my feelings to validate them and give them space, and then I am in control. It's me in control, not my emotions. I think that is where it gets blurry when I try to explain this part of me to people. I am very emotional, but I am still in control. What a beautiful thing it is to feel your feelings and be aware of your thoughts and still be in control of them.

That's the key, I think. Is to be soft and tender, but still in control. I can feel my heart breaking when I see shelters full of puppies, but I can have the self control to know I can adopt one myself someday. I can feel angry when I am wronged and still be in control enough to love and forgive. I can cry in movies and I can laugh like there is no tomorrow. And I am still a strong, intelligent, and powerful woman. Knowing myself so well only makes me more powerful and it will never take away from the storm I aspire to be.

Rupi Kaur is right, to be soft is to be powerful. I will never be less because of my deep emotions. My tender heart does not make me weak, it makes me fierce.

Obligatory Catch Up Post

A lot has been happening in my life lately, and I sort of forgot about my blog so many of you may not know about it all. So I suppose this is supposed to be a catch up post, telling you all about what I’ve been up to. And it is one of those, but instead of telling you what I’ve been doing I am going to tell you what I have been feeling.

Surrounded. I felt so surrounded by my family and loved ones when I came home from Nashville. I went on tour, came home, and got to go on vacation with some of my favorite people in the world- my family. They surrounded me and lifted me up, supporting me and loving me, making me laugh like no one else does.

Apprehensive. I was nervous, I’ll admit, to live at home again for a time. Yet, here I am, living with my family for the first time in three years and wondering how I will ever survive when I have to go back to school in two months. I had nothing to do, but now have a wonderful job and music to work on. Which brings me to…

Excited. I practically burst with excitement when I started the process of producing an ep with the songs I wrote while I was in Nash! And then I booked my own show in a coffee shop, I was so excited to make a setlist and practice and play my music for my Minnesotans. But then…

Disappointed. My show didn’t have the turnout I wanted, honestly. I was very hopeful because of the great responses online and great feedback from those who made it. However, in my time in Nash not taking tests or writing papers I had overlooked the detail that my show was during finals week. Oops.

Purposeless. I am putting my heart on my sleeve with this one. I felt purposeless for a majority of the beginning of the summer. I was working on my music, yeah, working most days, yeah, but it was lacking the Jesus-driven purpose that my summers working at camp were filled with. I was confused for a long time. I am learning to bloom where I am planted, to serve where I can, and to love those who cross my path daily.

Anxious. These last few weeks have uprooted a lot of my own expectations and plans for my future. I have learned that I graduate college in December. I have no plans. People who were close to me have drifted away. I have leaned heavily on my support system. I am looking at a future that is unknown and I am learning to trust my Shepherd in that.

Freckly. I have spent hours upon hours in the sun so far this summer. Working at a garden center has taught me a lot about water, plants, and bugs. And sunscreen. I have cursed and blessed the sun within the same hour. I love being in God’s creation every day, even if it means some weird bug bites.

Anticipatory. I feel changes coming in my life, like I am walking straight towards a fork in the road. Many opportunities have come into my life or are standing on the edges of possibility for me, making the future look both exhilarating and foreboding. God is preparing me, gently guiding me as a shepherd does his sheep.

And finally, I am happy. I get to spend mornings sipping chai tea with my mom, evenings having dinner with my family. My dad is teaching me how to drive stick shift. I get to watch my sister play soccer while holding the other sister’s hand. I get to visit my brother at camp, which is ever home to me. I have many opportunities upcoming, I am speaking at a conference for high schoolers in Colorado and I am working on my debut EP. I have many reasons to smile every day, and most of them have names. I feel close to my family, close to my God, and close to my heart. I am living my summer day by day. And I am loving it.

 

This Life is Crazy and Tour was Too

A wise man once sang the words “this life is crazy” and wow can I tell you he was right. (This man is Ben Rector, the song is called Crazy and it’s great). So, I just got back from going on tour with some incredible musicians and amazing friends of mine! The program I am in down in Nashville took me to Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan! All in a week! And here, on my blog of word vomit, I will tell you all about it.

So. Every day was nearly the same. We wake up at the crack of dawn, get in a bus, and drive to the venue for that day. Once there, 29 people all help unload a truck full of gear and build a set fit for a quasi-professional show like ours. Eventually we have lunch and hopefully get a soundcheck or two in before we have a show! Once we’re done with the show we take everything down, pack it back into the truck, and go to a hotel to sleep or a bit before doing it again the next day! Wow.

Yes, a group of 29 college students put on 5 shows on the road (one more when we get back to Nash!). We played for crowds of varying in size from 5 to over 250, we played some sets nearly perfect and some had words missing or guitar amps turned off by accident. We failed, we succeeded, and we were members of the music industry for a week.

One of our emcees said at one point in the show “We came to the CMC to learn about the music industry. What we learned is that we know nothing about the music industry. But then we learned a little more about the music industry, enough to put on this show for you guys.” That, my friends, has been my semester. I got to take classes about songwriting, music licensure, and how to compress a vocal. My tests were weekly shows, my finals week, a tour. It was crazy.

I never imagined that my life could look like this. I never imagined I would have an EP recorded by the time I turned 21, that I could go on tour simply because I was in a super rad music program, that I could do a semester of college for fun. I never imagined what I could do with my life… Isn’t that insane?!

This semester has shown me that there are endless possibilities! So, learn from me! Don’t put yourself in a box (as my parents have been telling me all semester). You can’t imagine the good things that God is going to put into your life, and He works in the most mysterious ways! Here’s to life, crazy and unpredictable life!