Friday, August 29, 2008

Compassion Headquarters

I spent the last two days in Colorado Springs for a Compassion DVD taping. It was a training video for compassion artists and speakers and was a very fun time with a diverse group of people whose common thread is our passion for children. Here is a picture of Chris Taylor and I having some fun in front of the Compassion offices here.
(Chris and I are about to leave for a tour with The Robbie Seay Band!)

As we were touring the Compassion headquarters my eyes were constantly drawn away from the group and onto the artwork that decorated the walls. It was artwork done by children that are a part of the compassion program and it was beautiful! Some of their creations were also heart wrenching, a mixing of trees and flowers with guns and symbols of war. I’m aware that for some of those kids, that is their reality and it breaks my heart. But it also brings me hope because the fact that their picture is up on the wall means that somebody is writing that child letters letting them know how special they are, and somebody at their church knows what their favorite sport is, knows where they live, and is loving them with the love of Christ. I can't tell you how much I respect this organization. Please check out the work they do!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympic Musings

For the last two weeks I have been captivated by the drama of the Beijing Olympics. My jaw fell as I watched the opening ceremonies, stunned by the creativity of Zhang Yimou and moved by the significance of so many bodies acting as one. From that moment they had me. My husband and I spent many of our August evenings watching race after race, game after game, in awe of the dedication and possibility in Gods diverse children.

Tonight as they were showing clips from various sports I started crying. This has been a common occurrence while watching the olympics. I am moved by the raw emotion one exudes after achieving a goal, or failing to achieve a goal. And these athletes are not putting on a show for the camera's. At times I almost felt like I was seeing something I shouldn't be seeing, it felt too personal.

I think when anything stems out from our physical bodies, the emotional companions are intense.

when an athlete lives and breathes their sport, when they eat and sleep according to what will benefit their performance, when they dream of nothing but becoming better, even the best, when their goals drive them for years prior to one specific event... that event must be monumental!

I know every athelete in Beijing has been told in their life that they could not do it. Whether they heard those words audibly or in their own head, I know they heard them. And so to watch the tears come after a race is won or lost, moves me deeply. At some point they had to choose to follow a different voice. This requires courage. The fact that they have even made it to the starting line reveals courage.

And so... I am reminded to dream, to work hard, and to remember that I can only control what I can control. What matters is putting everything I have out there with abandon. As much as I would love to win the race and as much as I would love to be validated in my work, all that I can control is how much of myself I choose to give.

I think I'll go watch Rudy or something now... or listen to some Morgan Freeman commercials on utube... or at least drink a Coca-Cola. :)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

To Embrace One's Brokenness...

“To embrace one’s brokenness, whatever it looks like, whatever has caused it, carries within it the possibility that one might come to embrace one’s healing, and then that one might come to the next step: to embrace another and their brokenness and their possibility for being healed. To avoid one’s brokenness its to turn ones back on the possibility that the healer might be at work here, perhaps for you, perhaps for another. It is to turn one’s back on another, one for whom you just might be the Christ, one for whom you might, even if just for a moment, become the body and the blood.”
-Robert Benson. from the book Living Prayer

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Curse of the Metronome

Ooooooh, it sounds mysterious doesn't it? This is the title of my new soul-audio blog. check it out here!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tammi and Elizabeth

There are a lot of ridiculously talented people at my church. Visual art is in constant rotation and a few times a year we host concerts for the musicians. This past tuesday was an amazing show put on by my friends Tammi Rhoton and Elizabeth Foster. It was so moving and I want to share their music with you as well.

Tammi just released her new record called "For the Weary and the Broken" and it's a beautiful and sincere collection of worshipful songs. My favorites are Beautiful Savior and Broken Hallelujah's. I also cowrote a song on the record called Come on Home. Listen to her music on her myspace page!

Elizabeth blew me away the other night with a song of hers called Dig Deep. It's on her myspace page as well and I'm still singing it to myself as a reminder...

Dig deep girl, dig deep girl
cause there's more below the surface than what you see girl
too many people need your help to keep your eyes upon yourself
so dig deep, dig deep, dig deep....

Listen to this song and other great songs at Elizabeth's myspace page. She is also a seriously fabulous visual artist, you can see some of her work on her website.

Thank you girls for inspiring me!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Today's Book Title

If I were to write a book today, here are some titles you might see:

1. Trader Joe's: Why I love them and can hardly wait for the new store to open in Nashville

2. Learning To Let Go of Control: a memoir

3. Inspired by the Olympics: a collection of essay's

4. I Need Thee Every Hour: The application of hymns in every day life

5. Chocolate. Why oh why have you just now decided to give me heartburn??? (a novel inspired by real life events)

How about you, what would your book be called?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Further Thoughts on "The Things We Can and Cannot Keep"

Cinnamon reminds me of my Grandfather. A couple years ago when I was adorning my baked oatmeal (my mom's speciality) he watched me shake the cinnamon on there and said "you can never have enough cinnamon!". For some reason I think of that every time I use the spice, and in honor of him I normally add a couple additional shakes to whatever it is I'm peppering.

Often when I replace a role of toilet paper I remember a conversation I had with a high school friend, Ben, who said that it drove him crazy when people put the roll on so that you have to pull the paper from the back instead of the front. What?! Why do I remember that?

It is not uncommon for me to brush my teeth and think of an episode of Seseame Street where they taught me to brush in circles on each tooth. And I still do. Brush in circles.

Macaroni and Cheese will always make me feel at home. The words Salisbury Steak will forever trigger images of my elementary school lunchroom. And the smell of bleach or chlorine immediatly transports me to the girls locker room during diving practice in high school.

Today I was talking with Amy on the phone and when she asked me about my song The Things We Can and Cannot Keep, I thought of some of these quick pictures of my life. The things I remember and (for sometimes arbitrary reasons) carry with me. Will I get to keep them? Will these things still be a part of me when this world is gone? Or more than just a part? There are so many people and places that have meant so much to me here. I just often wonder what we will be like on that day when all things are restored...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I Can Do This

This past monday at the Seminar in the Rockies I played in the round with Robbie Seay and Justin McRoberts. Despite the fact that we were following an illusionist who had just laid 50 lbs of broken glass onto the stage, Justin and Robbie insisted on playing barefoot, so I followed suit. We sat on wooden stools in a row and held our guitars, each taking turns telling our stories and playing our songs. I was honored to be up there with such great singer/songwriters and we were all there because of Compassion so it was a meaningful night. For my last song I moved to the keys to play Closer to the Moon. The problem with that is this:

I don't really know how to play the piano. I just fake it.

I've taken lessons and probably written a dozen songs in C because it's the only key I can do without too much thought. Closer to the Moon is one of those.

I'm forcing myself to play live because it's the best way to overcome my nervousness about it. Only when I walk in front of those Oso colored keys do my hands start shaking. I check my feet placement to make sure the peddle won't slide away from me, I set my fingers around middle C and then smile, look at the crowd, and try to stop thinking.

I was a diver in high school and learned quickly that for me, it was all a mind game. If I started thinking of all the things that could go wrong with the dive at hand, it would normally go wrong. I often hit dives in meets that I never came close to hitting in practice. I guess the stress of the event left no room for over thinking.

I broke three glasses on my first day as a server in a restaurant. At different times. No joke. I kept psyching myself out thinking "I'm gonna drop this glass... I'm totally gonna drop this glass", and then I would.

Of course.

Finally I realized that I would be fine if I just answered myself with a "no you're not! you have both glasses in your hand and you are NOT going to drop them". I suppose that is what they call mind over matter.

Chin up, shoulders back, I can do this.

One day I hope I'll be able to play the piano without a cheerleader on call in my head. Until then,

I am a great piano player... I can do this... I am a great piano player... I can do this...

(btw: download Closer to the Moon for free right here on this page. Click on the noisetrade widget on the right, under the Compassion banner)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Saddle

After a 14 year hiatus, I rode a horse the other day. It's true. Allergy shots are my friend. I loved it and wrote a little about the experience in this soul-audio blog. Check it out!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Stereo Subversion

I forgot to post a link to this interview with Brian Palmer of a website called Stereo Subversion. They have some great interviews up there, including one of my favorite writers, David Wilcox. When Brian and I talked on the phone for this interview I kept telling him how bad I am at interviews... so it was nice to read it back and see that I made some sense every now and then. :) Thanks Brian!

Check it out here.