Thursday, January 7, 2010

You're so much more than you know

I haven't updated this thing in sooooo long. I guess I'll start with a short update on what's going on in my life...

1. I live in Louisville, KY. I moved here in August to go to Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to pursue a Masters in Music Performance with some ministry classes. Well, they dropped that program, so right now I only sing in an a capella group there called Doxology. It has pretty much been the only thing keeping me going on some days here.

2. I had three jobs and now I have two. When I moved here I started working as a hostess/singer at the Macaroni Grill and I had a church job as the alto soloist(section)/junior choir director. At the end of October I got a job working for PPG Porter Paint. I quickly realized that between the three on any given week I was working at least 50 hours. So I dropped the church job and cut back my hours at MG. Why quit?
The church I was working for was just not meeting my spiritual needs. There was no emphasis on the Gospel in the music we were singing and my directing job was more like daycare than musical & theological instruction. The music director was crazy and didn't seem to have passion for the Lord. So I left. Plus there was no young adult ministry which is a must for me right now.

3. I'm re-auditioning for Miami of Ohio next Saturday for their MM in Vocal Perf program. I study with a teacher there who has helped me develop my voice sooooo much. For the first time I can sing through pieces without thinking "wow, I suck." I didn't suck before, but my self-perception has always been way off. And now I'm not trying to sound like anyone or like a more mature version of myself...I sound like me. :)
I feel really good about my chance this year, but ultimately it isn't up to me. I've reached a point where I almost don't care, because I know it will work out for the better. It might take me a while to accept that if and when it happens, but I'll pull through. God has been good to me and I trust that He knows what He's doing with my life.

4. I have been trying to let the "graceful Diva" within out more and more. I have been walked over and ignored too many times to just keep smiling through the pain. The best way to deal with an issue is to set it out there in the open, dig it out, and allow God to heal it. I'm embracing the fact that I am a daughter of the Most High King and that I deserve to be treated as such. Anyone who doesn't "get" that needs some serious sanctification...

Flyleaf came out with a new cd in November titled Momento Mori. One of the songs, Set Apart This Dream, says what I believe every girl needs to hear:

Close your eyes little girl
You're a princess now
You own this world
Twirling in your twirly dress
You're the loveliest far above the rest

You build your castles in the skies
And stars reflecting off your eyes
And angels sing on silver clouds
And no one cries screams or shouts

Oh set apart this dream
Oh set apart this dream for me
Set apart this dream for me

Close your eyes pretty girl
'Cause its easier when you brace yourself
Set your thoughts on a world far off
Where we only cry from joy

Oh set apart this dream
Oh set apart this dream for me
Set apart this dream for me

Oh lovely and beautiful
Precious and priceless
You're so much more than you know
Heart of the purest gold
Pure clean and white as snow
Clothed in such splendor
Oh what a beauty for me

Set apart this dream
Set apart this dream

Oh set apart this dream
Oh set apart this dream for me
Set apart this dream for me

You didn't come this far just to be plundered here
Tie up the ropes in pure strength
Sleep in this haven, the King holds your favor
With love much greater than you dreamed

I love the last line of the outro to the song. We are priceless and we are loved by a King whose love is so much greater than anything we could dream. This song makes me cry every time I hear it. I think that it just speaks to that little girl in me who just wants to wear a twirly skirt and spin around. That WAS me as a kid!

And I want to get that back...the understanding that I am lovely, beautiful, precious and priceless.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bacon bits and jalapenos

Whilst wasting time on myspace I stumbled upon Family Force 5's update, which said something to the effect of "trying to stay awake in the airport for our flight in 2 hours after only 2 hours of sleep." The normal response to reading that would have been "oh man, that stinks."

My response?

...I'd give anything to be there.

Every time I read a band's blog or watch videos of them on tour or just hear about their newest release I feel this deep desire to be doing the same thing. I don't know if it's just residual longing for Habbakuk to reunite or if it is deeper than that. I find myself wishing to live on a bus for 4 months, floating through airports and hotels, spending hours in a recording studio while being constantly surrounded by crazy fun talented friends. There's a closeness developed there that can only occur after spending that much time together, sharing your deepest passion with each other.

I guess I can only hope that after feeling this way for a few years something good comes out of it. I want to work hard for the cause of something I feel passionate about. I am passionate about music. What I lack currently is direction.

"Don't want to rock the mic, don't want to meet the pope
I just want to share with you how we got this peace and hope."
-Five Iron Frenzy, "Superpowers"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Feel like a Monster

I'm currently sitting in Panera with a cup of coffee, borrowing their internet because I do not have wireless in my apartment yet. I moved to Louisville, KY a little over a week ago and I'm still trying to get adjusted. I got a job at the Macaroni Grill as a hostess/singer for nights and weekends. Most likely I'll be getting a second job to help pay my bills and such. SBTS raised their tuition to $410 per credit hour for non-SBC members, so needless to say I will not be taking anything other than ensembles for now. Why no Anglican love? Come on!

When I get said internet I will update this more frequently. I survived BFC this summer and I will most definitely be posting stories. For now I'm just trying to finish unpacking and getting used to living in a new city with lots of new people. I won't lie, I hate starting over. You would think I would be used to it by now, but that doesn't mean it's easy. Someday maybe I'll get somewhere I fit in...but for now I'm here in Kentucky trying to figure out how to do what I love and more importantly what God loves. Right now, that's music.

Oh, and I cannot wait for Skillet's new cd to come out in 3 days. One of the tracks is called 'Monster' and it is freakin SWEET!! Check it out:
I relate to the feeling sometimes...whether its feeling like what I've done before is so ugly or that I just feel like I don't fit in. Story of my life...but that's ok. I play the violin with distortion. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

B.M. in Singing Pretty

Wow, it has been a while. Here's the short list of what's happening in my life;

1. I GRADUATED!!! 5 years, 4 schools in 4 states...and now I have a degree that says I sing pretty. AND I had honors, which I was surprised and excited about. Cum Laude, wha WHAT?!?

2. My senior voice recital went very well. My teacher says that I'm at a point where 85% of my singing has vibrato, which is HUGE for me. I loved my rep and I was very pleased with how it went. I have a recording if anyone wants to see or hear it.

3. I'm moving to Louisville, KY for a year. I was going to attend SBTS for an M.M., but they dropped the degree program. And I am feeling more called to performance than direct ministry right now. So I'm going to live, work, take a few classes, take voice lessons, and re-audition for graduate voice programs. Maybe Miami U & CCM?

4. I'm going to Rome, GA tomorrow for staff training for Winshape Girls Camp this summer. I'm nervous and excited about it. I will most likely be the oldest counselor and most definitely the only one from above the Mason Dixon Line. Pray for me! I'll actually be working there in July.

Other than that, I'm just trying ot figure out my life...good times.

I'll update more once I get back from Georgia in early June.

Oh...N.T. Wright rocks. That is all.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

We are blessed

We are blessed.

Our society as a whole is blessed beyond anything we can fully understand. I'll willingly admit that I am blessed.
I grew up in a home with 2 parents, 2 siblings, 2 cats (now 2 cats and a dog), 3 floors, a kitchen, a huge backyard with a swing set and steep hills to sled on in the winter, and my list goes on.
I had access to clean water every day of my life, food when I needed it (though for a month or so back in 2007 I had $0.41 to my name, but my friends provided for me out of the goodness of their hearts), a roof over my head, and a bed to sleep on.
I have health insurance and access to medical care when I need it.
I have a car. I can get in it and go anywhere I want.
I am in college, about to graduate with a degree in Music. I have been given the opportunity to pursue an education in a subject that, to some, does not appear to be beneficial to society.
My parents, though not perfect people, love me. They allow and encourage me to pursue my dreams...provided some sort of independence comes out of it.
I just bought a new laptop. I have a cell phone. I have access to pretty much any piece of information I could ever care to discover.

I read a news story today about this guy who shot and murdered 10 people and himself because he was unhappy with the way his life had been going. He had dreams that were not realized. He had tension within his relationships. He was unsatisfied with the hand he had been dealt. So he grabbed two of the guns he owned, murdered his mother, murdered 9 other people, and shot himself.


We hear stories like this all the time. Someone looks at his life, becomes unhappy with what it has become, becomes consumed with depression, and takes it out on himself and others. He sees only what he does not have rather than what he does...or did have. Think of how many times we do that every day;

"I wish I had _____"
"Her ____ is newer than mine. I want one."
"I'd be really happy if _____ would happen."
"If he would just say _____, our relationship would be fine."

We put conditions on our happiness, on our satisfaction with our lives. We think we know what's best for us, because who knows me better I can think of one who knows me better than I know myself...but that's too easy.

When I read that news story, I wonder if that guy knew how blessed he was before he took matters into his own hands. He had a job. He had an education. He clearly had access to material things since he owned at least two guns. And he probably had access to clean water, food, a roof, a bed, the internet. He had a family, whether they got along or not.

He was blessed. But that was not enough for him.

And I'm not saying to look at countries and cultures that don't have these basic needs and think, "Oh, wow, I thought my life was bad but look at them...they have nothing." I guess I'm just becoming aware of how much God blesses those He loves...that's everyone. Even those who do not have basic needs can find joy in knowing that God loves them and will provide for them.

If they can rejoice when, to me, they appear to have nothing, then why do I become negatively inclined the moment something tiny doesn't go the way I thought it would?

"Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble." - Proverbs 28:14

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does." - James 1:25

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!..." - 1 John 3:1

See what you do have rather than what you do not. Thank God for it, because everything we "have" is a included.

We are blessed...

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Standing Up for Nothing

I'm really digging contemporary Christian artists of the 90's. I do think that some bands today are trying to throw back to the honest lyrics of artists past, but let's face it - a lot of the stuff out there is watered down and bubble gum, written and marketed as "Christian" to make money. I'm a fan of honesty in lyrics and music, whether is sells or not.

Below I have posted the lyrics to "Standing Up for Nothing" by Caedmon's Call, circa 1997.
I love this song because the music is pretty (strings, voice, guitar...what more do you need?), but I also love how honest the lyrics are. I also like the creative way they allude to scripture in the choruses (the "stumbling stone" from Romans 9/Isaiah 8, then Peter's denial).

We let so much get in the way of telling the truth...the ultimate truth. We're supposed to be reflections of the God we claim to follow, but we so often reflect someone who looks nothing like the glorious face of Christ. I try to stand up for my faith, but I am tempted to throw it out the window when it means being in an uncomfortable situation. I have a hard time with non-Christians who are quick to call me judgemental or a prude. And when faced with that social situation, so many will trade in the crown given to them by God for the "paper or plastic" of life simply to be accepted by the masses. I told a friend the other day that I feel like an outcast. He said that I am, but so is he. I guess those of us who choose to live as Christ would have us live would all be considered outcasts.
At least we're outcasts's comforting to know that we are not alone in this fight.

"I can't stop staring at myself
My face reflected in this empty plate
I can't decide if it's the devil
Or if it's just something I ate
'Cause he's been down there all morning
He's patiently waiting at my gate
He's throwing rocks at my window
"Hey won't you come on out and play with me"

And everyday when I get up
I see folks trading in their crowns
For all these paper or plastic lives
An opiate for the masses' hounds
And pride like a vestige of lives lost
The stench of the old folks coming around
Now with the news I heard today
I can't tell if this world is lost or found

You go, I'll be waiting here
And I'm awake, no I cannot sleep
So I'll sit upon this rock is you
I ain't standing up for nothing

I've never seen my congressman
But I can't deny that he exists
'Cause I've seen his legislation pass
I've seen his name on the ballot list
Same I can't deny this fallen world
Though not my home it's where I live
How can I preserve and light the way
For a world that I can't admit I'm in

'Cause I know who I say you are
But these crows can't be made to stop
So I'll sit denying by this fire
I ain't standing up for nothing

Lack of interest leads to
Lack of knowledge leads to
Lack of perspective leads to
Lack of communication leads to
Lack of understanding leads to
Lack of concern leads to
This complacency denotes
This approval denies
The truth

But I can't stop staring at myself
It's my face reflected in this empty plate
And I know that it's the devil
So you lead, I'll be close behind
So you speak, I'll hang on your words
You gotta lift me from this hardened tree
'Cause I ain't standing up for nothing."

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Sure and certain...not...

I have most definitely hit the mid-semester breakdown point. Spring break is 3 weeks away, but in those weeks I have so much work to get done. But that's not even what is stressing me out the most.
Honestly, I'm worried that I have no future.
Yes, that sounds ridiculous. Let me explain.

I am 0/2 for graduate school. Both Miami and UNC Greensboro turned me down for vocal performance, but I'm still waiting to hear from Southern for music ministry. Even if I get in, I don't know if I can afford to go. So what do I do if I don't go to graduate school?

Get a job.

Ok, fine. I know I need a job...but what do I do? I'm not experienced enough to run a youth ministry on my own, but another internship won't pay enough. Plus I want to do music. Even the thought of working somewhere without music makes me want to cry. I'm a strong believer in the idea that you should do what you love. Otherwise, what's the point? We're all gifted in different areas and we should use those gifts to glorify God. I was gifted musically...I love it...and I'm good at it. I'm not willing to settle on anything else. I'll never understand how some people can suppress their talents and desires just to make more money or have more security. I know I sound overly-optimistic when I say that. But I'm being honest...I do not want to compromise.
My greatest fear is that I will have to spend my life doing something I do not feel passionate about.

My faith tells me that I should not worry about what will happen tomorrow. God has plans for me, wonderful plans that I can't imagine. When I read those verses I feel stupid for ever worrying or doubting, but I still do. Some days it is hard to stay hopeful when everyone around is saying that you need to have a plan, a job, a boyfriend, a clear direction.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see." - Hebrews 11:1 NIV

Sigh...that verse always gets me. It also reminds me how weak my faith is at times like these. I actually told a friend last week that being a Christian is too hard sometimes. There is so much sacrifice and surrender involved when you try to live as Christ would have you live. The believing isn't the part I struggle with, it is the following without preconceptions or conditions.