Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dear The World:

Dear The World:

I am grieving the loss of my tiny cobalt blue Moleskine notebook. I lost it somewhere near you. It might've been in the guest lodging at Malone College in Canton, OH... or perhaps the bed and breakfast in Winchester, IL. Or even the Holiday Inn near Hannibal-LaGrange College in MO. Maybe even behind Meredith's bed in Nashville, TN (but probably not).

While I can continue living and breathing without it, I'd really love to have it back. It has my name and phone number in the front of it, and it contains documentation of some of the most amazing things God has ever said to me. Scripture, sermon notes, song ideas, scribbles for another book idea, and a list of my girlfriends' prayer requests for the past several months. The longer it's gone, the more I miss it. Please let me know if you have it or see it or know where it is. On the off-chance that you stole it from me, you can mail it back to me anonymously... no hard feelings, mmkay?

It looks like this, except it's cobalt blue. If you saw me with it recently, please let me know where... this helps me narrow down the places where it might be found.

Thank you, world.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


He who learns must suffer.
And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart,
Until, in our own despair,
Against our will,
Comes wisdom to us
Through the awful grace of God.

-- Aeschylus. Agamemnon (The Oresteia), 458 BCE

One reason to love NYC today

I love NYC for so many reasons, not the least of which is this installation piece, which is located on 21st Street between 6th & 7th Avenues. The sea monster is connected to subway grates, and when a train passes through the tunnel underground, the sea monster inflates. Brilliant!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cover your eyes!!

Remember that Balenciaga shoe I complained about earlier ? Well, it's back. Except this time it's a knock-off by Steve Madden, and it's even uglier (I know! I didn't think it was possible either!!), and it's $99, which means that real life people might actually buy it on purpose, which means that this summer is going to destroy your eyeballs.

Get ready, America. This is your future:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Wise Words from TK

I recently attended the Q Conference, but I had to miss the session with Tim Keller (my pastor), because it overlapped with my small group. Fortunately, Scott Hodge took some great notes.

I want to send a copy of those notes to everyone who, upon finding out that I live in NYC, puts on a snarled face and asks, "How can you stand it there?!?!" :) Haha!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Body Language

There's a great series happening right now at one of my Three Favorite Churches. It's called Sex, Money & Power: The Man Series. I don't think there's a person alive who can't relate to the things Perry Noble talks about in this series at NewSpring Church... even you, ladies!!!

In last Sunday's sermon "Body Language," Perry spoke the tough truths about sexual temptation. Every time I read about or hear about this topic, something in me feels so defeated. I remember reading the book Every Man's Battle and feeling entirely hopeless. There are so few men who are willing to take up the challenge of fighting sexual temptation, and so few women who take care to dress in a way that doesn't provoke it. We are all so very broken.

One of the things I love about Perry's preaching is that he provides useful applications. Somehow that redirects my hopelessness into a place where I feel like healing and growth is possible. Still, it will require tons of accountability and prayer to maintain these objectives:

Perry's Ten Commandments For Avoiding Sexual Temptation

1. He will have no other human relationships before his wife, including the kids.
2. He will remember date night and keep it holy.
3. He will always view his wife through the eyes of Christ and see her as the standard of beauty in his life. (What?! Awesome.)
4. He will never think that he is above temptation. (I Cor 10:12)
5. He will never spend time alone with another woman (even on a car ride) or travel alone.
6. He will not talk about his spouse in a negative manner.
7. He will not ever discuss the intimate details of his marriage with anyone other than his wife.
8. He will not watch pornography or expose himself to other illicit materials that will cause him to lust after other women and devalue his wife to a mere sex object.
9. He will not confuse fantasy and reality.
10. He will not forget the 7th commandment (“Do not commit adultery.”)

It challenges me to want to write out my own list of ways that I will avoid involvement in sexual temptation... but that's probably because I'm Type A, and I looooove me some lists! :) If you have suggestions for what should go on a woman's list, even if (or perhaps especially if) you're not a woman, leave 'em in the comments!

If you want to listen to the whole sermon (and trust me, you do), you can download it here, stream it here, and watch the video of it here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

What NOW?

Recently, a friend suggested that I read The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. In case you're not up to speed, I'm uh... not married. So this seems like the most absurd book choice, except for maybe Experimental Rocket Science. But because she is a trusted friend who always gives me wise, godly advice, I ran out and picked up a copy.

It's a 30-day prayer guide with one focus for each day... things like: his work, his temptations, his fears, his trials, his emotions. Appropriately, the first chapter instructs you to pray for "his wife," because "one of the greatest gifts you can give your husband is your own wholeness."

There are a lot of single ladies who read this blog, and I'm talking to you, so listen up: Proverbs 31:12 says that the wife of noble character does her husband good, not harm, all the days of her life. ALL the days. Not just after they're married. Not just after she meets him. It begins BEFORE he even sets foot in her world.

One of my earliest memories is of my mom telling me I should pray for my husband. I've been doing it since I was a kid. So maybe this book isn't so ill-timed after all. In fact, maybe every single girl who hopes to someday marry should go pick up a copy for herself, so she can be praying for her husband NOW.

I think it's an amazing book, and you'll have a hard time not loving it. I finished the 30-day prayer plan in a week's time (yes, it's that good!), and I'm planning to pray through it monthly for the foreseeable future. I believe God will work changes in me and in my husband-to-be because of what's happening in my prayer life NOW. So, gather up your self-respect (or just throw on a fake wedding band), head out to the store, and get yourself a copy!

P.S. Married ladies, you too!!

P.P.S. Dudes, you're not off the hook either.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Beauty for Ashes

Separate verses from Isaiah 61 have been coming to my mind all day long, and I had no idea they were all in the same chapter until I went to look them up tonight, and there they were... all knit together beautifully in one place.


They covered my skin with strokes of paint
Telling me what they saw from the outside
Making their point about what I am, what I never can be,
Shaming me for the way He wove me.

Somewhere buried inside, I knew better
Knew this was a gift, a beautiful thing
But no words could convince them
I did not have the power to persuade, so I kept silent.

This is part of me—not all, but part
The truth struggled to peek through my conversations
And, half-fearful of its own goal, hid itself again
Disgraced, I collapsed from the weight of their words.

Then, from the corner of my eye...

Then, illumination of everything...

Then, instead of being shamed...

Then, the sweetest freedom...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Joy Transmitters (by Mattel)

Psalm 45 (From Psalms Now)
My heart is full of joy today. I reach almost frantically for the sounds that might express that joy,
the words that would proclaim the exuberance that I feel at this moment.
I am overwhelmed with praise, and I must express it lest I succumb to it.
You, my dear friend, were the source of this joy. You touched me with love and awakened my sleeping heart to the beauty and fragrance of life around me.
God reached out through your devotion and concern to kindle anew a fire within me, to fan embers into the flames of light and faith. You marched into my jungle of despair and made a path for me to walk on once more. You sliced through my confusion and gave order and motivation to my purposeless gropings.

I am so very grateful-to God and to you. I pray that God may use me, as He has so abundantly used you, to transmit joy to the joyless, despairing lives of those who cross my path.
And I pray that God may bless you and keep you and use you forever.

*not really by Mattel -- I just always used to love those toy commercials as a kid

An Inheritance for the Waitress

This quote has been gradually sinking in over the past week, and I want to tell you how much it blows my mind:

“Our value lies not in how we view ourselves but in what God was willing to pay to redeem us.” – Janet Congo, M.A.

We are so loved by God that He gave up His power and glory so that He could have a relationship with us for eternity. And we can do nothing to earn that love, nothing to maintain it. Christianity is the true inverse of every religion in existence. And it doesn’t even go along with the way we operate in society—where we are expected to earn our keep, prove ourselves worthy, or at the very least, be good, moral people.

The thing is—we’ve got nothing good to offer a Holy God. Nothing. We can’t even be good people. But here’s what’s so amazing about what He did for us… follow me:

You know those stories about how some elderly millionaire goes to a diner and the pretty waitress is especially nice to him, and when he dies a week later, he leaves her his entire fortune? Well, I was just thinking tonight… that’s kind of what God did for us except that we are not pretty and we don’t do anything nice for Him. In fact, we spit in His face, doubt Him, deny Him, and leave Him for dead.

And what does He do? He rises from the dead and promises us an eternal hope and a love that cannot be shaken. It is inconceivable… and I’m so glad it’s true.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Love, I May Leave You

Love, I may leave you
For another Lover
Or even a (lower-case) lover
Someday you may be my past

You won me with your stature
Where men build and rebuild Babel
To secure their names forever
In architectural glory

Languages scatter and reconvene
Like the B, the D, the V
Here, you encircle my heart
With the Hudson and the East

But we are only a graph paper romance
Where people move like lattice
At right angles, on flat pages
And my desires are a third dimension

Loosen your grip, love
Tomorrow I may leave you
My story has another page
And you are not the end.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

lower case, confident.

(Note to the reader: If you're reading this in a blogreader, you're missing the beauty of the layout. )

lower case, confident. 

i’m lower case, eight-point font
in alabaster print
pages turned, you never read
the unassuming hint


and though i am a patient girl
i’ll never waste my time
why would a word wait for a song
that chases every rhyme?

Free From My History

Beth and I like to tell each other what to do. We are the bosses of each other. She has been encouraging me to write and post more poetry, especially since April is National Poetry Month, so I'm obliging. Some of the things I post will be older, written years ago. Some will be new, like this one, which I wrote about five minutes ago. I am not under the illusion that it is good. But I still like it, because it is true. That's what matters to me about this poem. Yay!

Free From My History

I’ve been carrying two questions
One heavy and occasional
The other, light and constant
Impediments to my progress
Not from their presence,
But from the absence of answers
As if they stole the stones from my path
Leaving me uncertain where to step.

And God in His goodness,
When He bent down to love me,
Took the burdens from my back,
The questions from my head,
And built the answers beneath my feet.
Today I move forward
Today I am free from my history
Today I am at peace, in love with Him.

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Beautiful Death of Music

My friend Scott is so excited about a new German development in recording and engineering software called Melodyne v2. He refers to it as the beautiful death of music.

I'm not a purist when it comes to these things, so I'm intrigued. I've seen a lot of approaches from different engineers, and they've all been great learning experiences. I once recorded an entire album without the use of pitch-correction, and I've recorded others using it sparingly. For another record, the producer required me to nail each entire song top-to-bottom without punching in. It was frustrating and exhausting, but I came away knowing I could sing that album note-for-note. Sure, it would be great to be able to do that every time, but when the day is done... I'm glad that equipment like this exists, because it allows me to record an album in a month, instead of spending six months tearing up my vocal chords.

I will say, though, that when certain artists (who shall remain nameless but who can probably be found by Googling) start having their entire tours sponsored by Antares Auto-Tune, we've gone overboard.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Neighborhood Art

Someone painted a mural in my neighborhood. Isn't it lovely?

(P.S. Maybe HAM PAINTING did it... they seem suspect.)


Friday, April 04, 2008

You don't say?

I do that Proverb-of-the-Day* thing whenever I can keep my wits about me (myself?), and on the 4th day of every month, I always get a good laugh when I read this verse:

"The beginning of wisdom is: acquire wisdom." (Proverbs 4:7, NASB)

To me, that sounds something like, "Here's how to be taller: get taller."

The Bible cracks me up in the best way. If you don't have one, I highly recommend it. I can send you one.... just let me know where to ship it!

*The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, and some people like to read one each day, corresponding with the day of the month.


I sit on the edge of the boat
Afraid of neither the waves nor the fish
Longing for neither sea nor land
But for You.

And You say, “Come to Me.”
Whole-hearted but halfway believing,
Distracted but not dismayed,
I move to You.

I will fall a thousand times
I will sink
I will fail
But I must have You.

I sit on the edge of the boat
Afraid of neither the waves nor the fish
Longing for neither sea nor land
But for food.

And You say, “Cast your nets.”
Familiar with empty-handed evenings
And efforts that never succeed,
I trust You.

I will doubt a thousand times
I will pause
I will fear
But I must obey You.

You say, “Come to Me.”
You say, “Cast your nets.”
And all I can say is I love You, I love You, I love You.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Eight Years

Today is the eight year anniversary of my first concert. A month later, I hit the road full time and I haven't looked back. Well, let's be honest... I've looked back several times, actually. But I'm still at it! Six hundred thousand miles, seventeen hundred events, forty-two states, seven countries, six albums, two books, three Toyota Camrys, and tens of fans!!! Hah! God is goooood.

So... many thanks to all of you who have supported, encouraged, listened, hosted, fed, tolerated, and groomed me. I'm like the stray cat that comes around a few times a year, just taking taking taking, and it won't even let you pet it! So annoying, right? I know! But please know how much I appreciate and love you all!!

And no, this is not a joke. Today is for real the date I first set foot on stage as a musician, at a church called Covenant Family Worship Center in Greeneville, TN. Woohoo!!