life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between

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Life As Adventure

I had to get up early this morning to drive in rush hour to the car dealership for some routine maintenance, and I started listening to “Musical Ride” by Hanson on the way there on repeat (don’t stop reading; this post isn’t all about Hanson). I heard the song live for the first time at the show last week, and fell in love with it all over again.

Listening to the song this morning touched a longing of mine as the the lyrics describe going on a “musical ride”, how you shouldn’t hesitate, that you need to let go, that it will “take your breath away” and “change your life”. I don’t know if they were writing about their chosen career, or touring, or bringing their wives into their radical lifestyle, or if they were just trying to update The Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour”. I kind of take the “musical ride” as anything you choose to do in life that has an element of the unknown.

Here are the lyrics to give you a full picture:

Come on this musical ride with me
It might just change the life you think you’re gonna lead
If I’m right, you might just stop and see
I’ll take your breath away
Show you more than you have known
Every day, I’ll give you all this, nothing, and more

Why are you waiting? What is left to know?
There is no reason we should be standin’ still
Pick the destination and I’ll pick the road
I’ll take your breath away, show you more than you have known
Every day, I’ll give you all this, nothing, and more
I’ll give you all this, nothing, and more

Ooh, yeah

Don’t make your mind up just yet
There’s still so much for you to see
And every time you waste a moment, you waste make believe
I see it taking you hold, you must let go before it starts
This confrontation you keep feeling is your heart

It’s simple, but somehow, letting go’s the hardest part

Come on this musical ride with me
It might just change the life you think you’re gonna lead
If I’m right, you might just stop and see
It might just change your life, it might just blow your mind

Don’t make your mind up just yet
There’s still so much for you to see
And every time you waste a moment, you waste make believe
I see it taking you hold, you must let go before it starts
This confrontation you keep feeling is your heart

It’s simple, but somehow, letting go’s the hardest part

I started to think of all the dreams of adventure I’ve had in life — all the things I’ve aspired to be, the places I’ve wanted to visit, the paths I’ve contemplated, the relationships I’ve fantasized about. It was kind of surprising to realize how many dreams I’ve had. Here are a few of them:

-I’ve wanted to be a full-time missionary
-I’ve wanted to be a journalist
-I’ve wanted to be a mom
-I’ve wanted to tour with a band
-I’ve wanted to visit Israel to see where Jesus walked
-I’ve wanted to see the pyramids
-I’ve wanted to get married (hey, wait a second…)
-I’ve wanted to go to grad school
-I’ve wanted to write a novel

Then I started thinking: what gets in the way of our dreams? My husband, last night, called it “life”. I call it fears and limitations. There are some legitimate limitations each of us have: 1) I can’t fly, 2) I can’t continue living in a rented apartment and feeding myself without money, 3) I can’t be unfaithful to my husband, 4) I can’t handle being on the edge of a mountain — the list goes on. Some of these are chosen (i.e. my commitment to my husband, my recognition of my physical reaction to heights), and some of them are just fact (i.e. I won’t just take off from the ground when I jump & wave my arms around). I’d say beyond our legitimate limitations, the only barrier left to our dreams is our fears. A lot of people (not just my husband) call this life — just the way life is, life isn’t fair, you have to toil to survive, etc. But I think sometimes “life” is an excuse for not taking chances, not living an adventure, not seeing what could open up to you.

That’s why I love the lyric, “I’ll give you all this, nothing, and more. We can’t count on anything going as planned or imagined. But we will always come away from these adventures with “more” – a life lesson, uncovered skills or talents, or new relationships.

The whole balancing act of limitations, fears, and dreams is even more interesting to me now that I am married, and I have committed to live life and make decisions with my husband. I can’t just go do things on a whim; I have another person to take into account. It will be even more complicated if and when we have children.

But — most of my dreams are still wide open to me. I have innumerous opportunities in front of me It’s exciting and scary. Scary because a lot of dreams require sacrifices, taking chances… letting go.

I find that there’s a big part of me that still craves adventure. I think that’s why God intrigues me so much – He has a plan and He is constantly orchestrating every finite detail of our lives to grow us and draw us towards Him. Meanwhile, we have no idea what pieces are falling into place, or how beautiful the big picture is, or what He’s doing in the hearts around us — yet we trust Him and embark on this life adventure with Him, going wherever He calls.

“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.'” – Genesis 12:1

Are we willing to pick up and go whenever He calls? What adventure has God placed deep inside your heart?


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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Nothing like Good Girl Friends.

I’ve only been married 2.5 months, but I can already say that marriage has strongly enhanced my need and appreciation for Good Girl Friends. Dayne makes me incredibly happy most of the time, but he’s still a GUY. He still pees standing up and plays Halo and doesn’t notice dirty dishes or his shoes in the middle of the floor and isn’t concerned about making the bed perfectly and doesn’t quite understand why I get so emotional about things that I “can’t do anything about”. He’s still a very private person, while I will spill my guts to anyone who’s willing to sit, listen, and give me feedback. I love him, but he’s not a girl.

I love my girl friends. Seriously. I have had a joyful, comforted feeling in my heart this week because of them. I feel differently after being around one of my good girl friends than I ever feel from being around Dayne — and this is not a bad thing, girls are just different. There are countless things that my relationship with Dayne gives me that I will never, ever get from a girl friend. But there is something special and unique about girl time!

My friend Amy is an incredibly good sounding board, has a ton of energy, is open and honest about everything, and asks the tough questions all the time. I appreciate her so much because she doesn’t gloss over the nitty gritty of life; she’s real. She has a great heart – she teaches young children with developmental disabilities – and she loves the Lord. She’s also really funny – a blast to be around – and Dayne loves her. I got to see her last week, and I’ll get to see her tomorrow. I can’t wait!

^^Molly, me, & Megan at my wedding. College roommates for 2 years = 3C love! 

My friend Molly had me over on Tuesday night for dinner. I don’t get to see her as regularly, but she is a really good friend – the kind that’s seen me through some of my worst phases (i.e. junior year of college) and somehow still loves me and strongly supports my marriage! She has such a servant heart and she is a great listener, always has great book recommendations, and she married a guy who is just as much fun as she is. She’s also a great cook, so dinner on Tuesday was a treat 🙂 It’s always humbling to look back on our college years and see how much both of us have grown.

Of course, Erica is my cousin, but she feels more like a sister than a cousin. I didn’t have any sisters growing up, but Erica and I are the same age and have grown up in the same extended family and are alike in so many ways. We just get each other, and we have a shared sense of humor that nobody else really understands. Her Maid of Honor speech was incredible, and just having her as my Maid of Honor was an experience I will never forget — our bond is very deep and we love and respect each other so much! She’s been in Cameroon since the end of my honeymoon, which has been hard, but we’ve still kept in touch through facebook, email, and Skype, and I’m really looking forward to her trip home for Christmas.

Tonight I’m going to see Hanson with Erin, who was my roommate for over a year after college, and who is an incredibly kind person who I have a lot in common with, especially since we got engaged around the same time and went through some of the highs and lows of that together! I met Erin through church and she just happened to be a Hanson fan, but there are also countless friends I’ve made through Hanson over the past 14 years, and I love that Hanson concerts keep bringing us together!

I don’t have time to talk about each of them in this post, but Jess, Stacie, & Courtney (my long-distance Hanson girls!), Shelli, Ashlee, Courtney, Gretchen, Megan, Christie, Leah, Janelle, Katie, and Kay are some of the other incredibly meaningful women in my life. I love you girls!

I’m blessed to have so many good girl friends who keep me on track in Christ, who encourage me, who keep me honest and give me sound advice, and who are just lots of fun to be around – especially when we can have a glass of wine and laugh about life. Or rock out to Hanson.