Tag: music

Brick by Brick

I didn’t publish often in 2019, but I did spend much of the year writing. Slowly but surely, I began by typing one word after another, one sentence after the last. To what end, I wasn’t sure. But that was kind of the point. To provide space to breathe through my fingertips. To let the words out that piled up, weighty and tall, on my chest. Thousands of them offloaded onto a Google Doc or a clean sheet of notebook paper in exchange for freedom, peace, and clarity.

What follows it something I wrote last spring. 

 


 

Discontent. That’s the word I feel a little too often in this season. Rushed is the word that follows closely behind it. I feel a little like I’m hurtling forward, and in the blurry colors speeding past me, I wonder what it’s all for. What am I doing here? I’ve been chewing on some words to attach to the restlessness fluttering in my chest. Trying to chase down a feeling that keeps lurking in the corners of my mind. 

It’s April 27th, 2019. I’m in Houston for the Hillsong UNITED show – one of the first on their People Tour. About halfway through the set, the band piles onto the smaller stage about 15 feet from where I’m standing. They tell a story, set up the song, and begin to play. And the notes that fill the air echo somewhere in the chambers of my memory.

Suddenly, I’m back in a musty smelling room in Walker County, Georgia with 300 teenagers. There, standing in the middle of the crowded room during an evening summer camp service, is my sixteen-year-old self. I slip into the row beside her in the old chapel on LookOut Mountain, and I watch her face in the glow of the stage lights, changing with every expression, singing her heart out. I remember this. The words to “Inside Out” run across the screen in front of her and move her soul in a new and fresh way. I don’t interrupt, but I do wonder what she would think about my experience tonight, my experience in the life I’m living now. 

I think about her a lot recently – my younger self. I go back to her often in my mind and tell her all the things I’m doing now, and I say, “Can you believe it? This is where you go! Doesn’t that sound like a wild journey?” She doesn’t say much in response. She looks at me with incredulity and confused eyes, a little hesitant and not quite excited. “But that doesn’t make any sense. Tell me one more time how I get to where you are now.” 

“Only Jesus,” I say. “That’s how.” 

Back in Houston, I have an All Access pass draped around my neck. An hour earlier, I shook the hand attached to the brain that wrote that song. That song that moved me then. 

I sit on the second row, hear it afresh and discover that it moves me still.

It’s bizarre, the life I’m living. That thought runs frequently through my mind. It’s amazing and wonderful and special and fun and such a privilege. So why does the word discontent follow me around? 

I think I have been culturally conditioned to expect something new. Something else. Something next. I expect marriage, a family, a promotion, a house, a move, a connection. All my life, I’ve moved from adventure to adventure, new chapter to new chapter. While this isn’t the final act in the play, it doesn’t have an end in sight. No due date or leading line foreshadowing what’s to come. I’m just here. Day after day, doing the job I was given to do, interacting with the same relationships, driving the same roads, unlocking the same doors. 

And as I write this, I realize what a blessing that is. What a kindness I am missing in my discontentment.

The cravings in my brain tell my parched throat that it is looking for a specific and flavorful drink while I walk past countless glasses of cool, clear water – the only thing that will truly satisfy. 

Adventures are ahead. They will come in time, and they will be as thrilling as all the ones before. But there is a thrill here, too. In sitting still. In routine and the simple act of putting one brick on top of another of my life. Bricks and bricks and bricks, placed at an even pace with diligence and care, don’t look like much one at a time; however, when I step back, something special stands before me. 

And while I work, there is a Master Architect behind me designing something beyond my wildest imagination. Right now, it looks like just a stack of bricks, but that’s only a foundational piece of a larger cathedral He is building. A cathedral meant to show His glory to every eye that sees it. Every eye, including mine. 

I wonder if my 36-year-old self will come someday to visit me in this season. I wonder if the notes of a song that moves me now will prompt her to remember me as I am in this season, at this age. I imagine she will stand silently to the side, watching me, smiling with patience and kindness and understanding. “If you only knew,” she will say quietly. “If you only knew how it looks from here. There’s a masterpiece in the making.

“This is what you are doing here. You’re stirring mortar and stacking bricks in the only way it can be done. One at a time.”

 

Music Monday

Back by popular *demand, here’s another Music Monday.

*Popular demand also goes by Lacy Triplett, who is a true pal and wanted to know more of what I was listening to these days.

1. Alive in Me-JJ Weeks Band

I had the privilege of hearing the JJ Weeks band perform an acoustic version of this song earlier last week. This is a single from their upcoming album, As Long As We Can Breathe. 

Untold-Matthew West

Fair warning: you should grab a tissue before you press play on this one. It’ll getcha.

Every Giant Will Fall-Rend Collective

I don’t know about you, but my Monday has BEEN a Monday. This little tune from Rend Collective’s latest album, As Family We Go, will give you some much needed encouragement this evening.

Slow Down Time-Us the Duo

As I mentioned in my last Music Monday, I am obsessed with the duos these days. This couple is largely responsible for that. This is their latest single, and to be honest, I hated it the first time I heard it. Now, I can’t get enough. Even if they aren’t your typical style, give it a chance (or maybe two).

I Love You Will Still Sound the Same-Oh Honey

Again, with the duos. Not only do I love their name–(isn’t Oh Honey the most precious band title you’ve ever heard?)–but I love their sound. And this song is about twelve different types of darling.

Suitcase Full of Sparks-Gregory Alan Isakov

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, and I’m guessing the same rule applies for judging songs by their titles. But I do both of those things, so I loved this song before I heard it all the way through. His name may sound like a character from a Tolstoy novel, but his voice sounds like melted butter.

The Tall Fiddler-Tommy Emmanuel

This one is a little bit of a deviation from my normal style. I had never heard of this man before this weekend. Some friends from Florence took me to see his show at the Ryman on Saturday night, and y’all–I was BLOWN. AWAY. This man is so incredibly talented. He made that one instrument sound like four. The whole night, I just kept thinking, “How does one person walk around with that much talent in his body?” When asked how I liked the show, all I could say was, “I had no idea a guitar could sound like that!”

And now, because it’s Leap Day, here’s a bonus video that will brighten the rest of your week, I’m sure. Try not to smile when Ben sings this classic. I dare you.

I Wanna Dance With Somebody-Ben Rector

Happy Monday!

 

 

Music Monday

If you’ve ever ridden in my car (or had me as a passenger in your car) you will know that, usually, the first words out of my mouth are, “Hey have you heard this song/band?” Not only do I like to discover new (or new-to-me) music, I am not satisfied until I have made someone else fall in love with my new finds.

So, since I don’t have many folks riding in my car these days, and since you are the poor souls that clicked on this blog, you are my new victims.

Grab a seat, get comfortable, and prepare to treat your ears to some great tunes.

My Current Top Seven Jams:

Though I did include a pretty significant throwback track, along with some already established music names, you should know that several of these folks are brand new artists. That means that once you move through their limited selection, you’ll be ready to form a mob, go right to their doorsteps, and demand more songs featuring their beautiful vocal cords.

  1. Oh My Love-The Score

I’ve recently developed an obsession with duos, typically of the male and female variety. However, these two guys circulated through one of my Pandora stations and immediately caught my attention. Their fun lyrics and dance-able rhythms have made me a raving fan. I recommend checking out their whole EP, Where Do You Run.

  1. Polaroid-Imagine Dragons

It saddens me to think of all the time I spent underestimating Imagine Dragons, assuming that all they had going for them were a few radio hits (i.e. “On Top of the World,” “It’s Time,” etc.). I will gladly admit to being wrong. Though I haven’t made it all the way through the twenty-one track deluxe version of Smoke & Mirrors, I have yet to hear a song I didn’t like. This song is one you’ll want to crank up on your morning commute. Don’t worry if you start to involuntarily dance/bob your head/play an imaginary set of drums. It’s a pretty standard response to “Polaroid.”

  1. Lost Boy-Ruth B.

Y’all. This girl. She is crazy talented. For her debut EP, it’s just the simple power of her voice and a piano. She brings raw honesty in both her lyrics and her vocal tone. After a six-second Vine of this song went viral, she wrote the rest of the tune and included it on the four-track EP, The Intro.  It’s a little weird and quirky, but it is BEAUTIFUL.

  1. Hypnotize Me-Taylor Berrett

One word: SWOON. This song is so fun and is often blaring through my room while I get ready for work in the morning. His debut album was released last year and is full of great tracks like this one. So you might as well just open Spotify and stream the whole album, because this song will definitely leave you wanting more of his voice.

  1. Live at Rockwood Hall-Johnnyswim

Stop what you’re doing and go listen to this album. And, while you’re at it, you might as well listen to every other song this husband and wife duo has ever recorded. Then, allow yourself to cry openly about the fact that you’ll have to wait until June for their next record.

  1. Heart Won’t Stop-John Mark McMillan

I recently had the opportunity to hear John Mark at a show here in Nashville. To put it lightly, I was blown away. I have, of course, crossed paths with JMM followers, but have never really investigated for myself. Not only if his voice great, his lyrics are powerful. This song is a perfect display of both of those facets.

  1. Orphans of God-Avalon

This is clearly my token throwback. I grew up listening to Avalon and have always loved their music. But occasionally, I run across a song I haven’t heard in years and the Lord uses the freshness and familiarity of it to speak straight to my heart. This is one of those songs. The lyrics are powerful, the music is incredible, and the message is overwhelming. Grab a few tissues before you hit play. Trust me, you’ll need them before it’s over.

I hope you enjoy this list of my current favorites! Now it’s your turn. What are you listening to today? Tell me in the comments below!