This afternoon I say the dirtiest car I have ever seen in my life. The car was covered from top to bottom in dried mud and looked like a giant rock with wheels. I literally stopped and laughed out loud when I saw this thing sitting in the gas station parking lot. While scanning the image of this car to comprehend the reality of it, I realized that the driver of the vehicle was still siting in the vehicle looking…well, not too excited about eventually having to clean off his car. In this moment a couple of things ran through my head. 1) - How can I get a picture of this car without being so obvious to not only the driver but everyone else staring and 2) - how the hell did this car get COVERED from top to bottom in mud?
A few days after my 18th birthday I got to travel to India with a group of friends doing music for a youth conference and spent time in Bangalore and Madurai. For anyone who is familiar with Indian culture it is quite different from what you can imagine that I had experienced as a kid who spent much of my life in small town Pennsylvania. As a teenager I had had great opportunities to travel though nothing had quite prepared me for the drastic changes that I would encounter during my visit.
There were things that took some initial getting used to – not eating (or doing anything really) with your left hand which proved extremely difficult for me as…a left handed person. There was generally no toilet paper anywhere that we traveled, hotel included, and much of travel happened in a small van with no AC in 100-degree weather with a driver who fully embraced the first rule of driving in India; there are no rules. While many of these things can seem to have a negative bent it really helped me to learn more about the culture of this breathtakingly beautiful country and people.
Unfortunately there was one major downside to the entire experience – my attitude. While in India I wish that I could say I tried every food that was placed in front of me but the reality is I often skipped out on a traditional Indian meal and waited until we had gotten back to the hotel where I could dig into a stash of pop tarts that were snuck past customs. I wish that while making the 13-hour drive from Madurai to Bangalore I had taken the time to look out the window even once and marvel at the gorgeous countryside and all of the villages that we traveled through but instead I was either sleeping or complaining about the lack of AC. There are countless other examples of the opportunities I missed out on during this trip and these are things I can never get back.
So what does all of this have to do with a randomly dirty car in the middle of a gas station parking lot?
This past weekend (MY BIRTHDAY) I traveled to New York City with friends of mine and spent the last 4 days living the big city life. It was extremely cold, involved a ton of walking, but also a lot of fun!
I grew up in a pretty small town (1 stoplight) and going to “THE BIG CITY” has always been something kinda exciting for me. It allows me the opportunity to dream for a little about how my life would be different if I embraced that big city hustle.
While visiting allowed me the time to visit dear friends that I hadn’t seen in a while, being in a city like New York allows you the opportunity to meet people from literally all over the world. I made new friends all the way from California to West Virginia. While at the Metropolitan Opera I even met a guy from Virginia who knows similar people as me – what a small (massive) world.
Overall it was a great trip. It helped me to dream big again, realize how hard I have to work to get there, and maybe, just maybe aided in convincing me that big city is where it’s at!
A GREAT friend of mine and I made a cover video of a song this past weekend. Check it out Here. It's good to make good music with good friends!
This past week I began my final semester of my undergraduate degree! The joy – is unexplainable. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy my undergrad experience (because that is exactly the opposite of how I feel) but more because I am excited for what’s going to come/change.
Five year ago I began school as Biblical Studies/Church Music major at a small Christian school. After spending my entire childhood involved with the church my mother attended, I was convinced that the thing I was meant to do was become a pastor; looking at life now – it would have to be an EXTREMELY reformed liberal congregation. Anyway, I spent three years learning how to “pastor people” and read the bible and after a rather harrowing experience (which I’m sure will be blogged at some point) I decided to transfer out of that school and into a music performance program where I strictly study classical music. Now if that was the only change in plans that were to occur in my undergrad experience I guess we could make the tie between the past and present. But now as I’m heading towards graduating – and frighteningly enough Graduate School – plans have changed again.
I guess the point is, plans are always going to be changing. Life changes (thankfully!). So often we are only grateful for change when it is in our favor or we gain something from it. But that’s not always the case. So how do we go from seeing change as a “giver” and “taker”?
I think we take ourselves out of the equation. Situations are rarely stagnant. And that’s a boring place to be anyway. This is not a message of “lie down and take it” because I have in no way approached my own life like that. There are things that happen in life that we can address and challenge because we choose to – but there are others that are out of mine, yours, or anybody’s control. And when these things happens I pray I don’t sit and complain about how something is unfair, or this or that was taken away from me. I hope to embrace this thing called life – which could also just be called….
This is an INCREDIBLE presentation from TED talks. Take a watch. Totally worth it.
A Great Big World (made up of the duo Ian Axel and Chad Vaccarino) released their first major record label album yesterday to what seems to be great initial success on iTunes – currently #1. The group has been together since college and came roaring into the music scene earlier this year when a song of theirs was covered on the Fox hit show Glee (“This is the New Year”). Earlier this fall the duo toped the charts worldwide with their hit “Say Something” particularly the version featuring Christina Aguilera which had it’s debut on the NBC hit show The Voice.
With only hearing their first single off of the album “Say Something” I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from their sound. It was a pleasant surprise to hear that not only do they use piano as the lead instrument on their ballads and slower tunes, but also jam out on some of their more pop inspired tracks. While listening I found myself making references to artists like Sara Bareilles and Billy Joel who have coupled strong songwriting with great musical chops to create a dynamic that is refreshing in the current pop music scene. Listening through the album A Great Big World seemed to have a strong sense of who they are and who they want to be which was nice to hear from such a “young” group! Below are some of the favorite tracks from the album!
There are a couple of things that I feel like I have been struggling with for the last couple of weeks. Ironically I blogged about this as my first post and how to appreciate it – but I really struggle with being 24 and not self-sufficient yet. I struggle with still being a full time college student now for 6 years straight. This life is EXHAUSTING. I struggle with not having consistent work and feeling like I am always playing catch up. And lastly, I struggle with knowing how to balance it all.
But in the midst of all of those things there have been some extremely inspiring parts to my week; specifically the story and journey of a great friend of mine.
LeQuan Chapman and I grew up together in a small town in Pennsylvania and although I didn’t meet him around his sophomore year of high school you could tell he was used to being the center of everyone’s attention and for good reason. He was extremely talented athletically and musically (we performed together for a few years in a church group) and knows how to work a crowd better than some of the best. He was known by many in and out of our area because of the things he was involved in and continued his record of success into the world of college athletics and to this day competes and is a great contender for the 2016 U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials.
With all that attention, what he did this past week is especially extraordinary. LeQuan was featured on outsports.com which is an online resource that publishes articles on athletes across the country and tells their story of “coming out” to their teams, family and friends.
I am an extremely proud friend and lifetime fan – and hope you will be too. Not just because of this article, but because of the hope that is inspired when those who garner attention use it to free themselves and help others.
Every now and then I write and it comes out sloppy, it’s a little disconnected and there many be absolutely no conclusion. Today is that kind of day.
There is nothing wrong. I am not completely overwhelmed or feel the weight of my own world on my shoulders BUT my thoughts are EVERYWHERE. Here are a few specific places….
1)I am struggling with a lot of social media and how to use it. I struggle mostly with the personal uses – like the likes and don’t likes (and no I’m not referring to the actual optional button click). When we comment on things that are happening in the world around us are we being aware of who is actually reading this stuff?? And not in the “hopefully future employers don’t see this” (which can still be a valid concern – but in the “gosh am I aware of how the things that I say affect other people?? “ Just wondering…
2)I struggle with stress – or better yet how to affectively manage it. I still find myself treating others badly because I am overwhelmed or feel “fed up” about something non connected. Unfortunately this is one of those things I find myself learning after already offending the innocent.
Watch this video from TED on the difficulties and triumphs that many people in the world face today. I was inspired not only to learn more, but to love more and seek understanding in times of confusion and pain. Her story is a reality for so many - her outcome is unique but not proprietary. Let's encourage one another - her triumph is only the beginning.
"Don't Tell Me What Other People Have Told You About Yourself. Tell Me About You."
A New Video from a friend of mine and I.
"Gravity" by Sara Bareilles
Check It Out Here