September 2010


EDIT: [I was talking to Hannah about this post, and she was so confused as to why it was such a great day…and to be honest, I can’t explain it! So I guess this post is mostly for my own fading memories — for whatever reason I have happiness associated to this day, and it’s nice to look back on it. :) ]

I don’t know how much I talked about my Wednesday in Marantha last month (to the – stormy – day), but…it was probably my favorite day.

It was wonderful.

We woke up early for practice, and shuffled silently through the mist to the Tabernacle. Since it was severely early (ok, 6:55), we girls (Vienna, Cami and I) were in our pajamas, with little to no makeup on. Collin and Alex had beat us there, and were stretched out on the stage step and a pew, respectively. One of them (I think it was Collin) was wrapped in a yellow blanket with a soccer ball pattern.

No one really said a whole lot…we were just waiting for Josh, who was leading the worship that night, to arrive. Collin muttered from the step, voice slightly muffled from under his hoodie, “I bet you anything he’s still asleep.”

To make a long story short, he was. In his defense, Josh and his phone had been thrown in the pool the night before, and the phone didn’t recover as well as he’d hoped, so his alarm didn’t go off.

We plodded our way through the practice, morning voices and all. Everyone was happy, though, in a groggy sort of way. Though I didn’t know half of the songs we would sing/play that night, I really began to love them. The theme of the night would be Jesus’ blood and sacrifice — we sang Jesus Messiah, Jesus’ Blood, Jesus Paid it All, and at the end, The Stand.

“Oh no,” Cami groaned as we wrapped up and headed toward the doors. “It’s pouring now.” We all looked in different directions out the screened windows and doors.

“You know what, I’m just going to go back to sleep.” Vienna said, and Josh agreed.

“I think I’m going to go get breakfast first.” Cami said, and looked at me. “You want to come?”

I nodded and we steeled ourselves for the run to the dining hall.

“Okay, ready?” Alex asked.

We all grinned at each other, and Collin shouted “GO!”

Cami and I fell behind the boys, screaming every once in awhile when we stepped in an unforeseen puddle.

Collin opened the door for us with a flourish, and we stepped into the air-conditioned building, shivering.

Cami got back to the table first, and Alex and Collin swiftly sat on either side. I grinned at her as she cast bemused and slightly concerned glance at each of them in succession.

“So, Cami.” Collin began. “How about once we get back to Lebanon you cuddle with Alex and I and take a nap.”

Cami stared at him, disgusted, and then she and I exchanged amused looks. “No.” She said firmly.

“Oh c’mon.” said Alex, sipping his coffee with a distinguished air. “You know you want to.”

“Yeah. Your words say no, but your body language says yes.” Collin adds, one eyebrow raised.

Cami is utterly disgusted, but still laughing. “Collin, you’re 17! I’m seven years older than you. It would be illegal for me to date you.

I can tell that both Alex and Collin are loving how uncomfortable they’re making Cami, so they carry on. “So what you’re saying is you’ll wait for me!” Collin looks delighted.

“Oh that’s so sweet!” Alex exclaims, mock seriously.

“No!” Cami laughs, eyes screwed shut, mouth both frowning in disbelief and smiling at the corners from the absurdity.

When breakfast was over, we raced back to Lebanon. Though we all said we would go right to sleep, a couple people decided to watch Two Towers, and no one else wanted to miss it (we are such nerds, haha). I grabbed my blanket and pillow, and we each picked spots to watch. We snuggled (SEPARATELY, haha) on the couches and beanbag chairs.

About half-way through, Gary came in. “You guys are watching Two Towers without me?!” This was a running joke, since there was always at least one person, it seemed, who wasn’t there when we watched either LotR or LOST.

“Sorry,” several of us mumbled, not paying him too much attention. He grabbed whatever he’d needed from his room, and went back to attend to his Teen duties.

I was horizontal on the couch, and at some point I drifted off. I woke up when one of the battles started, however.

“Oh, look, she’s awake again!” Josh said a few minutes after I’d refocused on the movie.

“Oh, you noticed that…” I said, hoping I hadn’t been snoring or something. I wasn’t brave enough to ask if I had, though.

When we finished the first disc of the extended edition (yes, yes, nerds), no one moved to put the next DVD in. It was quiet for a minute, sounds of the rain drifting in from the open windows.

“Nap time!” Collin said, breaking the silence.

Everyone happily agreed.

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was. It was…perfect. A cool breeze, a warm blanket, rain lulling you to sleep.

About an hour later I woke up to Jarod coming in. “Whoa.” he said, and my eyes slowly opened. “Is it nap time in here?”

“Yeah,” Gary replied from the wall behind the couch I sat on, clacking away on his laptop. “I came in awhile ago and they were all knocked out. It’s the music staff, and they all had to wake up early because of Women’s Breakaway.”

“Gotcha.” Jarod said.

Everyone slowly sat up and looked around. I sat up, yawning, and noticed the sun had come out.

“You know, there’s a whole bunch of box lunches leftover, and they’re going to go bad. They need someone to eat them, so if you guys just go pick some up, you can have ’em.”

To our delight, a younger guy, I can’t remember his name, went with Alex (or maybe Collin…or both? I can’t remember) and picked up the lunches for us. We basically stuffed ourselves.

“This has been the perfect rainy day.” Cami said, summing the morning up perfectly from the beanbag behind me. “I feel so lazy, but it’s wonderful.”

:)

The rest of the day was awesome, too. While half of the group went on a ride in a small airplane, I had my devotion on the beach. The night of worship was just wonderful, and the message was the sketchy pastor’s best. We had a devotion that night, led by Charly, and ended the night perfectly with LOST.

It was so wonderful.

…I miss all of them so much.

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“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning, great is your fathfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23

God loves, even when we hate.

God is merciful, when we are bitter.

Great is His faithfulness!

Oh, read it, dear ones. It’s so encouraging.

Hebrews 12

Jesus, Founder and Perfecter of Our Faith

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and(A) sin which clings so closely, and(B) let us run(C) with endurance the race that is(D) set before us, 2looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith,(E) who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising(F) the shame, and(G) is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do Not Grow Weary

3(H) Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or(I) fainthearted. 4In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

(J) “My son,(K) do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6For(L) the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”7It is for discipline that you have to endure.(M) God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8If you are left without discipline,(N) in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to(O) the Father of spirits(P) and live? 10For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good,(Q) that we may share his holiness. 11(R) For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields(S) the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

12Therefore(T) lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and(U) make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint(V) but rather be healed. 14(W) Strive for peace with everyone, and for the(X) holiness(Y) without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one(Z) fails to obtain the grace of God; that no(AA) “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is(AB) sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that(AC) afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken

18For you have not come to(AD) what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and(AE) the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words(AF) made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given,(AG) “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed,(AH) so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22But you have come to(AI) Mount Zion and to the city of the living God,(AJ) the heavenly Jerusalem, and to(AK) innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to(AL) the assembly[a] of the firstborn who are(AM) enrolled in heaven, and to(AN) God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus,(AO) the mediator of a new covenant, and to(AP) the sprinkled blood(AQ) that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.25See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For(AR) if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26At that time(AS) his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised,(AT) “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates(AU) the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore let us be grateful for receiving(AV) a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus(AW) let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29for our(AX) God is a consuming fire.

…how can you not be changed after reading that?

I was inspired by a bit of Facebook stalking to write a blog about my favorite 10 albums. I’m not giving this a whole lot of thought, if I’m honest…but I’ve found that sometimes I operate better on instincts….plus it’s late at night and I can’t sleep and I want to write. So.

10. The Beautiful Letdown – Switchfoot

One of the first “rock-y” albums I ever truly liked. I remember feeling really hesitant about listening to it on my stereo, as my parents wouldn’t have really liked it, so I used my CD Walkman. Yes, my Walkman. It was much later down the road when I got my first….mp3 player (no, it wasn’t an iPod). I remember, recognizing how truly brilliant the album was, though, even when I was…oh, 14 or so.
Favorite tracks: The Beautiful Letdown, On Fire, Twenty-Four

9. Listen – Michelle Tumes

An odd choice, maybe, but I love this album. It instantly takes me back to a much, much simpler time of my life. The first time I heard Listen, the title track, I was maybe 10. It was on KLJC, back when I wasn’t really allowed to listen to it, but Kristin had it on anyway (haha, sorry darling, wasn’t trying to rat you out, it’s just part of the story). I can’t remember if she liked it or not, but I remember it wouldn’t get out of my head. Then I heard Life is Beautiful, and my overly melodramatic 10 year old mind clung to it. I loved the little reveal at the end “And I’m still singing…”. I thought it was clever.
Favorite Tracks: Listen, Healing Waters, Heaven Will Be Near Me, He’s Watching Over You

8. Run The Earth, Watch the Sky – Chris Rice

Another childhood album — Kari loved Chris Rice, and I wanted so desperately to be like my older sisters…even if I wouldn’t have admitted it at the time. Kari waited a long time for it to come in at the library, and I remember we came home — with several bags of books, I’m sure, and we put it on our stereo. We’d heard the title track song before, and I remember we sang along with the parts we could remember enthusiastically. Chris Rice was the first artist that I really connected with, the first artist I actually wanted to listen to. Before him, music was something we did at church, and fun songs like Veggie Tales. It wasn’t really something that was recreational. I got all of his CD’s from the library, though, and listened to them over and over.
Favorite Tracks: All of them. Seriously.

7. Why Should the Fire Die – Nickel Creek

Nickel Creek, like Chris Rice, is never bad — there are just simply some songs I like more than others. Why Should the Fire Die has the most of my favorites. I should mention that Melody was the first one to introduce me to this band, and The Fox (a song that isn’t on this album! Darn!) was pretty much our Haiti theme song. Also, when we were 15 or so, we assigned songs (by the lottery of “the shuffle”) to the boys we said we loved at the time. Oh, gracious. What did I know about love then. What do I know about love, now? The songs, if you’re curious, were Scotch & Chocolate and Stumptown. The boys will remain nameless.
Favorite Tracks: Jealous of the Moon, Anthony, Why Should the Fire Die, Doubting Thomas, Somebody More Like You

6. Pride and Prejudice Soundtrack – Dario Marianelli

This is another CD that was introduced to me by Melody — and I remember that one of my favorite songs on the whole album, The Secret Life of Daydreams drove me crazy the first time I listened to it. I truly really hated it, haha. It’s a trend I’ve noticed recently, though; sometimes my favorite kinds of music are like an acquired taste — I’ll be introduced to them, hate them, but they’ll sit and take root in my mind, until when I stumble across them again in the future…I love them. I think that was some sad form of mixing metaphors, but we’ll carry on. I have listened to this CD over and over and over again, and I will never get sick of it. Dario’s composition and Jean’s piano playing (I use their first names with the deepest respect, please understand that it’s only because they have particularly un-spell-able last names) combine in this thing of beauty that, when I heard it, I felt like I’d been waiting for it. It’s possible that it should be higher up on my list, but really, all of these albums are so close, there’s no clear number one.
Favorite Tracks: Dawn, Liz On Top of the World, Darcy’s Letter, The Secret Life of Daydreams, Credits

5. Only With Laughter Can You Win – Rosie Thomas

Like with Nickel Creek and Pride and Prejudice, Rosie Thomas was an acquired taste. I positively hated her when I first heard her, and now I feel like she and I are dear friends. There is so much about her as a person and her songs that I relate to. It was impossible to pick my favorite album, as she — like Nickel Creek and Chris Rice — has never written a bad song. I do have a favorite song, though, Let Myself Fall. It is…well, as Buddy Glass would say, Poetry. In so many ways. So this is the album that surrounds that song, and that is why I choose it.
Favorite Tracks: Let Myself Fall, Gradually

4. Fiction Family – Fiction Family

This is the first album (of several, I’m afraid) that I bought impulsively, after only listening to a few snippets of songs. Paul Winfield wrote in his status something about Switchfoot and Nickel Creek collaborating, and I about had a conniption, I was so eager to buy this combination of genius. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s…so different. It’s unique. It’s special. It’s altogether itself, and each song is a jewel. Buy it.
Favorite Tracks: All of them. Every single one.

3. Bomb in a Birdcage – A Fine Frenzy

Ali is her music, and her music is beautiful. She crafts her lyrics, and every word is sincere. Her sound is unique, and her songs specific but oh-so relate-able! Her happy songs positively glow, and her sad songs break your heart. I’ve stayed away from her recently. I was listening to her almost non-stop, and I didn’t want to….well….how do I explain it…over-stay my welcome.
Favorite Tracks: What I Wouldn’t Do, Electric Twist, Happier, Swan Song, Elements, Bird of the Summer, Stood Up, The Beacon

2. Counting Stars – Andrew Peterson

Melody, you have shared so much good music with me. I’m almost sure I discovered Andrew Peterson on my own. I heard Holy is the Lord and was in awe of it, and I later loved After the Last Tear Falls, but Melody told me that he had a new album out, Counting Stars. It is…genius. He is genius. I just….wow. If I can be a lyricist and musician like him someday, I’ll be absolutely blissful.
Favorite Tracks: Many Roads, Dancing in the Minefields, World Traveler, Fool with a Fancy Guitar, You Came So Close, The Reckoning

1. Ellipse – Imogen Heap

Oh, Immi. I sort of fawn over her. She’s so extraordinarily herself, so brilliant in what she does, so brutally honest, so mature in her songwriting…so…amazing. She does everything herself – recording, editing, songwriting, etc. She lives in a big old house in England…she’s just. My. I don’t know. I suppose it sounds like I just want to be her, but actually, she simply inspires me to be myself. Wholly who God created me to be. I almost felt like I was a part of this album. I watched the vlogs she made during the album-writing process, so when it finally came out I was ecstatic. Never before had a single CD meant so much to me — the order of the songs, the high note right there, the trouble she’d had with the lyrics there, the story behind that one, and oh-my-that-song-changed-so-much-since-the-first-time-she-played-us-a-clip. Even though there are several songs I don’t particularly care for, I appreciate all of them so very much. I understand the effort and the tears and the joy that went into making every one of those tracks, and I love her and her music for it.
Favorite Tracks: First Train Home, Wait it Out, The Fire, Half Life

Well. There you have it. That took quite a long time to write, and I am sufficiently exhausted enough to sleep now, at 2am in the morning.

Someday, SOMEDAY, I will straighten my sleeping habits out. For now, it seems like the schedule is staunchly in my subconscious, determined to do what it likes.

Dear reader, thank you for reading, even when I am frightfully self-indulgent.

Ok.

Fine.

I am going to resort to being a 13 year old girl who has a diary thinly disguised as a blog and talk about…a boy.

Yes, just one single, solitary boy.

Just for a second, please? Just indulge me, so I can get it out of my system?

He’s unlike anyone else. He’s unintentionally prompted me to change for the better and sent me running to God because he himself is so devoted to God. He’s raised the bar for any future guys.

I know that I can’t be with him, that he doesn’t share the same admiration for me.

So why the heck can’t I get him out of my head?!?