August, 2013

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Ideas I like

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

“If you don’t have doubts you’re either kidding yourself or asleep. Doubts are the ants-in-the-pants of faith. They keep it alive and moving.” –Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking

“The folk singer’s job is to comfort the disturbed, and disturb the comfortable.” –Woody Guthrie

“No matter what your job, you’ll always find yourself in one of four stages: unconsciously incompetent, consciously incompetent, consciously competent, or unconsciously competent.” –Dave Fisher, my boss man

“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), ‘Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?’ chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.” –Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

Like family

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Okay. I’m back. I’ve begrudgingly re-entered Real Life after being whisked away for a week in Never-Neverland – that is, a week in California with Gregory Alan Isakov and a related cast of characters.

You know the situation – LÄRABAR held a singer-songwriter contest and three artists won a chance to open for Greg – and since this project was my baby, I flew west to manage the shows. We started in San Diego, then moved up to LA, Santa Barbara, and San Francisco. We wound up the PCH, and I visited San Francisco for the first (but surely not the last) time. I got some much-needed quality time with my sister-in-law, Ashley. And all week long, I fell more and more head-over-heels for my new friends – the contest winners, the Kris Orlowski guys, and of course, Sir GAI and his band.

There is something about getting away from the day-to-day routine that snaps you out of bad habits and ruts. It opens up the horizon and awakens possibility. It reveals fears and insecurities and the places where you grasp for control. And as one of these dear new friends reminded me one night, the thing that you’re clinging most tightly to is probably the thing you most need to let go of.

He’s right, you know. The only way to receive anything is to open your hands.

I’m back in Denver now, and opening up Outlook crumpled my soul like a piece of paper. Email is a hazard of any job, I know – it just feels particularly cruel after such a rejuvenating time AWAY from it.

I’m so sad that this project is over. But last week slapped my heart awake, and I’m just really thankful that it happened at all. I can’t pretend to know how or why it made me feel this way, but here it is: I trust that there is so much good ahead.

In the meantime, check out the pictures from the shows, captured by the one and only Ashley Parsons:
San Diego
Santa Barbara
San Francisco

On Friday night when the goodbyes were happening and I was dreading walking away, Greg hugged me and said, “This feels like family.” And it did.

Topsy-turvy

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

You guys, I am having the best week. More on that later.

In the meantime, let’s talk about everyone’s favorite subject: my hair. It’s currently in the awkward in-between phase – not short, not long, just kind of a shoulder-length shag. It has a ton of volume and a lot of days, looks like a sea anemone – but to pull it back into a ponytail is more of a ponystub, and that’s no good.

So I’ve recently been doing something different – and by “something different” I mean “the topsy-turvy.” I pull it into the ponystub, then tuck the ends back toward my head. And it’s working like a charm.

MORE LATER, I promise. Winky face.

Food, glorious food

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

In the midst of this crazy season, I am trying hard to make healthy choices. I’m regularly meeting with my counselor, and she’s shepherding me through some precarious territory. I’m facing a lot of the ugly stuff head on, and praying – really praying – for the first time in years. I’m staying as active as I can, and sleeping as much as I can, and spending as much time with life-giving people as I can.

But my diet? It’s deplorable.

I mean, I’m good at breakfast – always have been. An egg on toast, a little bit of yogurt, two cups of coffee. And I always pack a lunch, so I don’t veer too far off course during the day. But dinner?

I’m so bad at dinner. Like, a-bag-of-croutons-and-a-glass-of-wine bad. Or, popcorn-and-a-popsicle bad. Or, nothing-bad. Given the amount of times my dinner is “nothing,” I should be Kiera Knightley-skinny. But I’m not – the Lord hath made my frame substantial – so yay, I’m just starving.

Sometimes I sit around dreaming about real dinners – meals that would actually taste like meals, and not just… Wheat Thins. I fantasize about what I want. But do I decide to fix myself these imaginary dream meals? Of course not.

I’m not sure why I just can’t get it together to make a proper dinner – it probably has to do with a lack of time, a lack of energy to plan, not wanting to stock my fridge when I’m out of town so often, and just living alone. Knowing how many of you cook on a regular basis – and then post gorgeous pictures of your food – it’s embarrassing to admit how bad I am at this. I’m the anti-ultimate woman.

But there HAVE to be options, right? Meals that EVEN I could make, without an abundance of time and/or effort?

If you have ideas for dinners that
a) are quick
b) are satisfying
c) are healthy
d) are simple to prepare and/or can be made in larger quantities and then eaten throughout the week…

… then please. I’m begging you. Share them. I’m so hungry.

Just west of Crazy

Friday, August 9th, 2013

I walked into Wal-Mart at 11:50pm with a mission to buy 4 things. The Health & Beauty section was first: Ibuprofen and a bar of soap. Then, I found an employee. “Excuse me, where are your ant traps?” He walked me to the Garden section and motioned to a shelf full of pest sprays.

“Well, I’m not really looking for sprays. I want actual traps – those little plastic things full of poison that you put on your kitchen counter.”

He stared at me blankly, and I stared right back. Clearly, Wal-Mart is not where either of us preferred to be at nearly midnight on a Thursday.

“Sorry – we don’t carry those,” he said. Obviously, this was an unacceptable answer since we were in WAL-MART, an orgy of consumerism, and if you are looking for anything (especially something poisonous), Wal-Mart is the place to go. The look on my face must have given away my incredulousness, because he quickly followed up with, “I mean, this is the smallest Wal-Mart in the state.”

Sir, we are in Denver, Colorado. This is NOT the smallest Wal-Mart in the state.

But my fatigue got the best of me, and I gave in. “That’s okay,” I sighed. “Can you point me toward the hand soap?”

I walked all the way across the store to the back corner of the grocery section, and found the aisle with the dish soap and laundry detergent. I walked up and down, looking high and low, but couldn’t find hand soap. However, I did find mousetraps, which led to fly paper, which led to ANT TRAPS. Victory!

I snatched up what I needed, and then found another employee. “Hi. Where’s the hand soap?”

“Oh, that’s in Health & Beauty.”

Oh really.

I walked all the way back across the store, right past the Ibuprofen and bars of soap I had perused just moments earlier, and grabbed a container of blue liquid Dial.

All 4 items on my list were accounted for, so I headed to the register… the one register. 30-some registers in a row, and only one open. I was twelfth in line at Wal-Mart on a Thursday at midnight because apparently, frugality never sleeps.

These days, I am burning the candle at all ends – work and travel and morning and night and friends and family and email and money and laundry and exercise and who needs sleep? Every hour is full, including midnight at Wal-Mart. As I type, I’m at the airport again – this time, flying into a weekend which will require an amount of emotional muscle that I’m just not sure I can manage right now. But I will anyway.

Knowing some of this, my manager/friend Sarah looked at me the other day and said, “I’m afraid you’re going to burn out.” I looked back at her, surely with eyebrows raised and a maniacal grin, and said, “Oh no, I’m fine. I’m fine! HAHAHA!” And then my eyeball twitched.

When the Wal-Mart cashier finally checked me out and I’d swiped my debit card for $15.18, I walked toward the exit only to find the automatic doors turned off. “PLEASE USE OTHER DOORS” the sign said, pointing toward the far end of the store. Seeing my car just beyond the glass, I put my fingers in between the glass gates and pried them open, setting off an alarm. And I walked out into the night.

Thirty-onederful

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

I turned 31 on Sunday, and my sister Becca and brother-in-law Mike treated me to the best possible thing we could imagine: a live performance of Miranda Sings.

I’ve talked about Miranda Sings before, and her live show did not disappoint. She started the show as Colleen Ballinger but changed into Miranda right on stage – and people FREAKED OUT. It was brilliant, and seriously one of the best things ever. We didn’t catch the transformation on video, but someone in Atlanta did:

Anyway, that was my birthday. Maybe I should be embarrassed to admit how much I love Miranda Sings, but I’m in my 30s so I really don’t care what anyone thinks.

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When I was in Nashville, my friend Jen presented me with an envelope, and this was inside:

Jen MADE THIS. Can you even handle it? Toady and her 3 legs? I was so moved, and humbled to have such an amazingly talented, kind-hearted friend. The second this girl opens a web shop, you’ll be the first to know.

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I ran across this article yesterday, and I really liked it. I buck against discomfort all the time, but maybe being uncomfortable is not the worst thing in the world.

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I watched “The Bachelorette” in its entirety this season, and as of last night, it’s over. For all of the “drama” they hyped it to be, it was a total snooze-fest. No spoilers here, but I should have known it would end so boringly.

Sort of like this post is.

Standing offer

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from the airport when I looked at the thermometer on my dashboard.

“109 degrees!” I cried. I know that Denver gets hot, but it had been ages since I’d seen a temperature that high.

A minute later, I looked again. “110 degrees!” I was freaking out. It was the apocalypse. We were all going to die.

But don’t worry. It was just the odometer.

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Thank you all for your kind and compassionate words about the loss of Toad. She was so special, and I feel her absence just about every minute. I’m realizing that although she was “just” a dog, I’ve never lost anyone who was such a constant part of my everyday life. It’s a big deal.

But life doesn’t stop, and I haven’t slowed down. I’m about to board a flight to Nashville for Brandon and Miranda’s – Mirbranda’s – wedding weekend, and look forward to spending a few very full days with some amazing friends. Did you know that Miranda and I met through this blog? And now I’m about to be a bridesmaid in her wedding (strangely enough, this isn’t the first time this has happened).

I’m thankful for the community assembled here, the connections that have formed, and the sweet virtual words offered to me in recent weeks and months. This season has been a doozy. Sometimes I want to run for the hills. But I’m thumbtacking your encouragement to my spirit.

Basically, if any of you ever need a bridesmaid, I’m your girl.