. . . and I’m ready to hope

Regrets collect like old friends
Here to relive your darkest moments
I can see no way, I can see no way
And all of the ghouls come out to play

And every demon wants his pound of flesh
But I like to keep some things to myself
I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’ve been a fool and I’ve been blind
I can never leave the past behind
I can see no way, I can see no way
I’m always dragging that horse around

Our love is pastured, such a mournful sound
Tonight I’m gonna bury that horse in the ground
So I like to keep my issues drawn
But it’s always darkest before the dawn

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

And I am done with my graceless heart
So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart
‘Cause I like to keep my issues drawn
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
And given half the chance would I take any of it back
It’s a fine romance but it’s left me so undone
It’s always darkest before the dawn

And I’m damned if I do and I’m damned if I don’t
So here’s to drinks in the dark at the end of my road
And I’m ready to suffer and I’m ready to hope
It’s a shot in the dark aimed right at my throat
‘Cause looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Looking for heaven, found the devil in me
Well what the hell I’m gonna let it happen to me, yeah

Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
Shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa
And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off, oh whoa

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Time Counter

Whenever I read a book, I have a habit of counting the pages until the end. It just helps me mentally process how much story there is left to be uncovered before the end. I’m the same way when I watch movies on Netflix; I watch the time counter at the bottom so that I can keep up with the story better.

This morning when I woke up my brain did the same thing, except this time it wasn’t a book or a movie. This time I realized that my job is half over. It hit me that I only have one month left of this amazing routine of music, ministry, and building relationships.

This first month has flown by. But, at the same time, I forget that there was a time in my life when this wasn’t my routine. I forget that I wasn’t as close to my teammates as I am now. I forget that I didn’t usually play music every day. I forget that I don’t usually get to hang out with kids on a daily basis. I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do when it’s all over.

But then I realized . . . when I see that I only have 50 pages left in a book, I don’t close it and say “I’m so sad the book is ending!” When there are only 17 minutes left in a TV show I’m watching, I don’t turn it off. Why? Because there is so much more to the story than the exposition.

I’ve got a month left with my team. A month left of coiling cables (which I’m actually starting to get a little tired of. Who would have thought that would happen?) A month left of meeting new faces and learning new stories. A month left of making amazing music.

And the best part is that when this section of my life reaches a close, I get to start a new one. But more on that later. For now, I’ve got a story to finish.

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DDD: The Other Side

“Man, I’m so excited to finally be back! I’ve been looking forward to this all year!”
“Yeah, I can’t wait to see everyone again! We’re finally the 8th graders! We know what we’re doing this year!”

I smiled to myself as I walked past a group of eighth grade girls on the sidewalk today on the way to devotions. It doesn’t feel like that long ago that I was in their shoes.

My experiences at Dordt Discovery Days are hands down the best times I had in middle school. I got to live in a college dorm. I got to take classes about things I was interested in and passionate about. And I got to meet some incredible people that became my best friends.

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When I was a student at DDD I completely and 100% looked up to the counselors and teachers. They knew everything. They were smart. They were funny. They were not only experts on the class they were teaching, but they were experts on life in general.

That’s not me.

Here I am, just hours away from teaching a class about digital media and I’m scrambling some notes together hoping I do a good job teaching these kids about pre-production. I’m terrified of being a counselor because I am not nearly as smart, or cool, or funny as the girls who were my counselor.

As I get older, I’m learning that “grown-ups” don’t know all the answers. Sure, I’ve learned so much since I was a camper five years ago . . . but I feel like I have more questions about life than I did then.

So I’m going to give it my best shot. I’m going to teach these kids as much as I can about video production, and I hope that they learn something. I’m going to have fun with the girls on my wing and hope they have a good experience. I’m going to do my best, and I hope that my campers have as good of an experience as I did. I hope they discover new passions. I hope they meet new life-long friends. I hope that this week is a growing time for them and is life-shaping in a positive way.

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Dad

I was crying on the basement steps.

“I don’t want to take piano lessons anymore! I’m not good at it, and I don’t like it. I want to quit.”

He looked down at me from the stop of the stairs. “Being good at something doesn’t all come naturally,” he said. “It takes work. If you want to be good at school, you have to work at it. If you want to be good at Club Penguin, you have to play it all the time. And if you want to be good at piano, you’re going to have to practice.”

In the end my dad let me make my own decision, and I quit piano lessons. But I didn’t want to stop playing. Later that year, Taylor Swift’s hit song Love Story started climbing the charts. All I wanted was to know how to play it on piano, so I did everything I could to learn how to play it. I listened to it 24/7. I watched tutorial videos on youtube of how to play it. I started to learn how to play chords. I stumbled and fumbled through wrong notes over and over. After endless hours of practice, I finally had perfected Love Story on the piano.

That was the first song I learned how to play using chords. Now, I use a chords every single day as a worship leader playing piano for a job.

My dad taught me that if you want something, it’s going to take time. Sometimes you’re born with talents, and that certainly helps you get places. But it doesn’t really matter what you’re born with; what matters is what you do with what you’re given. If you want something, you have to work for it.

I’m thankful for my dad, and I can’t imagine my life without him.

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 Yes, you wish and you dream with all your little heart. But you remember, Tiana, that old star can only take you part of the way. You got to help him with some hard work of your own. And then… Yeah, you can do anything you set you mind to. Just promise your Daddy one thing? That you’ll never, ever lose sight of what is really important. Okay?

-Princess and the Frog

Love My Job

I’m really thankful for my job. Every time something difficult comes up . . . a disagreement with a team member, frustration with the sound, the kids don’t respond the way we had hoped, we turn around and sing praises.

It’s very spiritually taxing, that’s for sure. We have to do two of the same chapels everyday, and it can be tough to 1) Bring enough energy to the set the second time and 2) Treat it as a worship experience and not a concert.

But through of all these challenges, I get to just spend time with the Lord and his people in song every single day. It honestly is the best job I’ve ever had.

Through all the trials our team has already gone through, big and small, we are able to come together to The Lord and lay it all down at the table. I get the chance to be honest, open, and vulnerable every day and it has already been such a blessing.

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