life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between

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Weekend Update: Flying Solo, Good Friends, & Live Music

Tonight is a very unusual night in that I’m spending it without Dayne. He’s away hosting one of his best friend’s bachelor parties at his parents’ farm (camping out in November — crazy!). I’m so happy for him and know this is great guy time for him. But I am all off-schedule! I napped and ate a hot dog & celery for dinner and have been successfully ignoring all the housework I was hoping to get done. I guess everyone deserves some lazy time every once in a while… 🙂 I’m simultaneously dreading and excited about having the bed to myself tonight. Oh, how things have changed since I got married!

Clock rewind: I got to see some of my very best girlfriends earlier today, which was such a special treat! My friend Megan drove down from NJ last night to spend time with Molly, Amy, and me. We all went to Eastern University together back in the not-so-distant past (Molly, Megan, & I were roommates for 2 years), and they are a. BLAST. to be around. We are always laughing and having fun and learning about life when we’re together. I love them so much, and they’re irreplaceable! I remembered today why it’s so important to have a) friends who have known you over periods of time, and b) friends who share your heart and hurts but can also make you smile 24/7.

FLASHBACK! Molly, Megan, & me at our baccalaureate, May 2007

FLASHBACK: Amy's b-day, 2008!

I just realized looking through old pictures that we need more recent pictures together! We’ll have to get on that.

So while that time was extra special, I also had an extra-special date night with Dayne last night! We drove down to Wilmington to the new World CafĂ© Live at the Queen to see Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers with “Deep River” (they’re changing their name any minute) and Jon McLaughlin. World CafĂ© Live in Philly is one of my favorite music venues, so I was anxious to see how the Queen compared. Well, it is amazing!!! Check out some of the older features they preserved, as well as the awesome lighting and new features they installed:

It’s a little hard to see, but they preserved the stage area, complete with surrounding walls with chipped paint (looking very vintage, shown above), brick walls behind the stage, a cupola in the center of the ceiling, and then everything else is totally brand new — flooring, chairs & tables, bar area, walls, sound panels, speakers, etc. The sound is incredible in that theater. And you can see the stage from almost every vantage point – a huge plus in any music venue.

We got there on the early side so we could eat dinner at our table, and we caught both opening acts. Normally, I admit, I try to avoid the opening acts. But last night, both Dayne and I were glad we got there early! Deep River had a folksy sound with great energy, and Rachel (the lead singer) has a powerful, versatile voice.

Unfortunately, I left my camera at home. The light was great in the venue, but Dayne’s phone didn’t react to it well, so these pictures are gonna be a little fuzzy.

Deep River

Jon McLaughlin was next; he made us laugh, and musically, he blew us away. He’s a great pianist with a soulful voice.

Jon McLaughlin

Then, of course, there were SK6ers. They were fantastic, as usual. They always put on such a fun and energetic live show, and Dayne was really impressed and had a great time (which was exactly what I was hoping for)! They are not to be missed in your hometown. Seriously. Check out their tour dates. And their music.

Stephen Kellogg & the Sixers

And there’s always at least one surprise at an SK6ers show:


It was a great date night; I look forward to experiencing many more concerts with Dayne as time goes on.

Part of how I discovered SK6ers was through Hanson and The Rock Boat. I highly recommend making the effort to always discover new music and support your favorite independent artists.

Over and out!


My Strange Love for Hanson, Explained.

Alright, so I was doing a little figuring this morning, and I realized that last night was my 33rd Hanson show. Rather than being embarrassed of that fact, as I’m sure the general public would be, I am quite proud of my 14-year-long devotion to a band — seeing them show after show, buying album after album and T-shirt after T-shirt, hanging poster after poster…

(Disclaimer: I am married now, so I am not allowed to have any posters. I didn’t even venture to the merch booth last night. I’m an adult. … )

I mean, that is commitment. I should at least be able to make it through 14 years with Dayne. Year 13 might be a little iffy, but year 14 will remind me of how cute and loveable and skilled he is.

I started liking Hanson when I was just barely 13 years old, hearing “MMMBop” and then buying Middle of Nowhere and listening to it over and over, catching every TV and radio appearance I could, plastering my walls with Tiger Beat centerfolds, and then being excited out of my barely-hanging-on mental stability to see the three brothers live the summer of ’98. Three times. That’s what started it all. And the shows are what keeps it going.

Hanson is a fantastic live act. If they weren’t, I would have been done with them approximately a decade ago.

But they are, and I’m not:

3 shows in ’98
1 show in ’00
1 show in ’03
3 shows in ’04
3 shows in ’05
5 shows in ’07
6 shows in ’08
7 shows in ’09
3 shows in ’10
1 show in ’11

Hanson is nothing if not consistent, energetic, musically talented, and fun. And to top if all off: they’re nice guys. Very down-to-earth and approachable. One of the best days of my life was being selected to interview them privately backstage in ’08; Isaac chatted with me like I was an old friend, Taylor gave me some great insight into leadership and serving, and Zac was very kind, responsive, and thorough when answering my questions.

The Hanson thing isn’t all about them, though. I have met some of my closest friends through Hanson, and we have a lot of fun meeting up at these shows to sing, clap, and dance to great music. From Philadelphia to Baltimore to Atlantic City to Sayreville to Lancaster to Tulsa to California to a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean — we’ve traveled and had the time of our lives at these shows and with each other.

^^dancing to “Give A Little” at my wedding 🙂

My 13-year-old self probably didn’t imagine that my 26-year-old self would still be going to Hanson shows, and may even think that it’s a little weird since the whole thing was just supposed to be a phase, but I hope that my Hanson fandom continues for as long as possible. It has been one hell of a fun ride, and I have some great memories.

Now it’s time to get Dayne to a show.

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Something Beautiful.

I’m meeting my hubby for lunch today! But before I do…

This was one of those “cryptic notes” on my Blackberry I referenced in yesterday’s post that I just can’t ignore. When I was still training at the inne where I work (hello, I’m an innkeeper! What is that? I’m not sure), I walked into the office one day and Gretchen (my friend and co-worker) was playing Needtobreathe. I’ve heard a lot about Needtobreathe over the years because they are a favorite in The Rock Boat community (The Rock Boat and what it is and my experiences on it are an entirely different post or three) and there are a number of people who just love them. For whatever reason, I had just never listened to them (?? Right?). Anyways, the music she was playing just hit me – it was catchy and meaningful and actually kind of reminded me of the style of worship music at my college church (powerful). So I wrote a note to myself on my Blackberry (what would I do without my Blackberry? Not sure) and then checked them out on iTunes and downloaded some of their music (namely, their album The Outsiders). I love it.

They are Christians, but I don’t think they’re necessarily labeled as a “Christian” band; they’re more mainstream. But their music echoes many spiritual themes. Then the other day I heard this song in the car, and it just blew me away… basically because this is exactly where I am right now with God. I feel like I’ve been distant for so long, and I believe that God is always, forever faithful. He is always pursuing us in exactly the way we need, wooing us to Himself. And now that Dayne and I have started going back to church, and I’ve started hearing and learning from the Bible again and praying, my thoughts are more on God than they have been in a long time, and I am less afraid (of Him, of what could happen to me, of the world, etc.) — I just feel more peace. And an eager desire to know Him more.

I just wanted to share the lyrics – like a diary entry, like a prayer…

“Something Beautiful” by Needtobreathe

in Your ocean, I’m ankle deep
I feel the waves crashing on my feet
It’s like I know where I need to be
I can’t figure out
No, I can’t figure out
Just how much air I will need to breathe
When Your wave crashes over me
There’s only one way to figure out
Will You let me drown
Will You let me drown

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire
‘Cause I just want
Something beautiful to touch me
I know that I’m in reach
I am down on my knees
And waiting for
Something beautiful

And the water is rising quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can’t be sure when it will subside
So I won’t leave Your side
No I can’t leave Your side

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire
‘Cause I just want
Something beautiful to touch me
I know that I’m in reach
I am down on my knees
And waiting for
Something beautiful