Wednesday, February 22, 2012

bi polar.

no,don't stop reading, i'm not going to talk about a chemical imbalance that causes extreme changes in mood from depression to manic. however, i am going to talk about extremes.

i feel like i live in a world of extremes. some i'm willing to share here with the intraweb and some i'm not. some of them are silly, for bedroom is usually pretty messy. it's getting better because i made it part of my new year's resolution to keep it manageable and so far, so good. but i can lay down at night in the midst of clothes all over my floor and on my chair but i CAN NOT go to sleep if all my dresser drawers aren't completely shut and my closet door is open. this is a bi polar post, not an OCD post so that's all i'm going to say about that.

my silly bedtime quirks are not the reason i was compelled to write today. i feel these extremes in bigger places too.

i feel this great desire for stability. financial stability, relational stability, spiritual stability, etc... but at the same time i have these great desires to uproot, move myself to east nashville, and live the life of the "starving artist" until i can actually make money with my vocal cords and guitar.

i have a great desire to embrace my inner rock star and look like pink. yes, that pink. the one with platinum hair, piercings, tattoos...the whole sha-bang! but i also have a desire to look i work at a church (because i do). so instead the contrast is usually pretty extreme...

however, the one place my "disorder" shows up the most is in my music. this is not a genre battle. am i going to sound this way or that way? no, that's not it at all, this battle has been more internal for me.

for more than 10 years now i have led worship in some shape or form. i love it. i love leading with a full band, i love "coffee shop" style with a trio of friends. i love doing it alone, just me and a guitar. i love the rush of hearing several hundred people singing along with me. i love hearing a classroom of chinese students. i love hearing my students. i love it when it's just me in a room all alone. so, where does that fit into today's rant about bi polarism?

well...i've done a LOT of thinking about who i am as an artist. and honestly i hope i'm having this battle until the day i die. i want to continue challenging myself. how can we ever grow if not challenged?

i'm not a huge fan of popular christian music. i think a huge part of this stems from the fact that, in general, i like more folk/americana/indie/acoustic stuff. (of course we all have our guilty pleasures like the above mentioned, pink) so i decided that i wouldn't write "christian" songs...on purpose. i decided i would write songs, as a christian, but not christian songs. i wouldn't omit my faith completely, but i also wouldn't display it like some obnoxious trophy. no use of christanese at all.

so that's what i did on contradictions. no worship songs included and no blatant christian themes. the closest i came was with "again" but it's still not an overload. and then i started really tackling the question of why do i have this dream of being a full-time musician? fame? fulfillment? love of music? after seriously pondering this question here's what i came up with:

music has inspired me in so many ways throughout my entire life. i want my words to inspire others. i want my words to tell stories the way i love to hear stories.

next step, who inspires me? i figure if i want to inspire others i need to find out what inspires me, what speaks to me, what makes me want to be a better me. this is where the bi polar part comes in. i've spent all this time deciding that i needed to be totally vague about my spirituality in my music. i need to let it be an underlying tone but without saying it out loud.

are you ready for this big revelation?

i'm inspired by both. i'm inspired by artists who have underlining themes of faith, grace & love. artists who never have to blatantly say it but it's there. AND i'm inspired by those openly write about faith, struggle, grace & and the love of our Savior. i made a preposterous decision to keep the two parts of me at opposite ends of the spectrum.

i became a bi polar.

how do you treat bi polarism? find a way to keep the two poles on a more equal, even keel. i can write both, and that's ok.

some of you sitting out there may be reading this and are now disappointed that you've invested this much time to get to this point because, DUH. i understand that. but let's be honest. we all live the bi polar life in some area. your's may not be how to express your faith (or not) through music. you may think pink looks RIDICULOUS (but please, really? she's a rock goddess. girl can sing...hanging upside down...dipped in water...HELLO.) but you do have something.

so in whatever area of life your bi polar monster shows up...beat it. there is an even keel. you can mix the two. trust me, living a balanced life brings more peace. and, come on, who doesn't want more peace?

peace, balance & love to you!

BONUS! i thought i'd leave you with some of my favorite inspiring lyrics, enjoy!

"there's a peace that passes understanding coursing through the blood in my veins. still is my soul." ~ jill phillips

"oh speak now for my soul is listening-say that you have saved me-whisper in the dark-'cause i know you're more than my salvation- without you i am hopeless-tell me who you are- you are the keeper of my heart" ~ audrey assad

"oh, the outcast dreams of acceptance just to find pure love's embrace-like an orphan longs for his mother may you hold me in your grace" ~ the civil wars

"it seems that all my bridges have been burnt-but you say that's exactly how this grace thing works-it's not the long walk home that will change this heart-but the welcome I receive with the restart" ~ mumford & sons

"and oh, there is nowhere left to go from here-i have fallen past the last frontier-but at the bottom of the well i hear you breathing-love below me, love around me, love above me, oh love has found me, love has found me here." ~ andrew peterson

"hey you with the rainbow flag, i can hear you say-you don't belong here, not if you're gay-although we all fall short, i guess they still believe some people fall too far for grace to reach-just when i start to think they've got it all wrong that's when i realize the truth-maybe they're right you don't belong here-you deserve to be where there are people that care-instead of a world that shouts from the high road-saying we love like God but you don't belong here" ~ jill phillips

okay....i could go on and on but i'll stop for now! if you've never heard of one of the artist i quoted...fix that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


well, it's valentine's day again. i have to be honest, i'm not a fan. i know, i're thinking it's because i'm single right? well it is true that in the many years that i have lived through a v-day on approximately 11% of those days i have celebrated with a significant other. but that's not the reason that i'm not a fan.

i actually love love. i think love should be celebrated. and, without getting into the theology of things, i think the beatles were right on when they said "all you need is love."

but love at it's root is only positive. yes, love can be tough. loving is not easy. but even it's toughest, most trying forms the truth of the matter remains...

when someone loves you enough to take the tough side of things, they still love you.
when love is hard and you continue to fight for it, you love someone.
even having loved and lost is worth it because you were loved and you loved another.

i like to live my life full of passion. a passion for music. a passion for words. a passion for faith. a passion for family. a passion for friendships. and what is passion if not one of the most freeing forms of love?

that brings us to valentine's day.

this day is commercial. is love truly proven when someone else is dictating what you should say and do? is paying $150 for the same roses that were $24.99 a month ago love? is a stuffed bear holding a heart full of chocolate love? is it?

i'm honestly posing the question here. because for some people this may be love and who am i to judge. but here's what i know, or at least i think i know...

on a day that is solely about love i know A LOT of people that feel a lot of things outside of love today: insecure, alone, inadequate, hopeless, unloved, and just plain sad. there's even a movement to call this Singles Awareness Day (SAD) among the singles of the world. because for those of us who find ourselves without a mate on this day, we are VERY AWARE that we do not have a mate. there is no getting away from the red, pink, the hearts, and the CHOCOLATE.

is this love?

please hear me. if you have a love please, please tell them today. but tell them tomorrow and in june and october and every other day of the year!

i'm not a valentine's day hater. like i said, i'm actually a huge advocate of love in all it's forms. i've participated in v-day and i hope to again someday. but this is why, even as a participant, i'm still not a big fan of the commercialism. because on approximately 89% of the valentine's days in my life i have found myself at home. and i'm not the only one.

so here's my whole point. be aware of those around you. if you know someone sitting at home tonight while you have dinner with your love, send them a text! tell them they are loved! enjoy your night but remember those around you.

i'm spending tonight at home with some great television, a great book, my sweet puppy, my dear friend and roomie, some good food and a cupcake with a ridiculous amount of cream cheese icing!

i feel great because i know that my love doesn't come from roses or chocolate or dinner or stuffed animals. the love of my creator sustains me and makes me whole.

happy valentine's day everyone! you truly are loved beyond measure!! and let's face it, valentine's day is cheaper when you're single!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


i've been a little under the weather and this time i'm actually blaming the weather. 65 degrees one day 30 the next, crazy times. maybe the weather is the true apocalypse that the mayans should have been warning us about!

i digress.

back to that whole sick thing. when i'm sick i just want to lay on the couch, like most people do i assume. so that's what i do but that gets a little boring sometimes but i know as soon as i  raise my head from that pillow i will regret it. so instead i read, get lost in youtube, watch stupid television that i wouldn't normally watch, etc... so i decided to see if one of my favorite actors had any new interviews so i googled her.

sara ramirez. sara is a graduate of julliard, she originated the role of spamalot's "the lady of the lake" on broadway (and received a tony for it), was approaced by abc execs and offered a run on any abc show-her choice. she was offered a full-time spot and has been grey's anatomy's dr. callie torres ever since.

so why am i writing about sara now? she is a very beautiful, sexy, talented actor/singer and...


first of all, if you just begin typing sara ramirez into google one of the first options you get is "sara ramirez weight." this, in and of itself, just blows me away. so monday evening with all my sick time on my hands i decided to take a look.

the first article i read was an interview with sara in which she tackles the subject of being a "size 12 in a size 0 town." she talks about how her mother struggled with weight and body image and as a child she was subjected to that lifestyle. she says that after she realized she wanted to be an actor she basically starved herself living off of celery and over exercising. sara says that going from broadway where she did 8 very physical shows a week to hollywood where there was catered food at all times resulted in her gaining 25 pounds during her first season. it was somewhere around this time that grey's anatomy asked her to do this scene...

sara said she went to the show's creator, shonda rhimes and said "are you sure, i've cottage cheese all over the place." shonda basically told her to WORK IT! (props to you, shonda! another reason i love grey's!) sara's best friend died several years ago and she said it was at that point she really got over herself and began to love her for her. she embraced who she is. she decided being healthy was the important thing.

now to the really frustrating part.

once i opened the next google entry i realized it wasn't an interview but a blog, much like my own. HOWEVER, in this blog the writer decided she was going to write about sara's weight and one of the first things she said, point blank...sara is fat. the author goes on to say that she can say that because she's fat too and she's not saying it as an insult but a compliment. she even goes as far as posting a pic of sara while on broadway and sara a year later after her admitted weight gain to "prove" sara is fat.

how is this okay?

you are really ugly. no, it's okay because i, myself, am ugly.
or...hey, you seem pretty stupid. i'm stupid too! isn't that a compliment!
your art sucks. no, really, it's a compliment because my art sucks too.
you're a horrible wife. no really, i know...i'm a horrible wife too.
you deserve that abuse. no, it's okay...i deserve it too.
you are so skinny. yeah, it's a compliment...i'm anorexic too.

where is the line drawn?

it is obvious to me from the few things i read that sara ramirez has definitely had a struggle with self image and weight. why would anyone think calling her fat was okay?

i think maybe at the heart of the blog the writer was trying to say, "wow, she's not a size 2 and she's gorgeous. i'm so glad others who are real sized women have a role model" BUT that is not what she said at all. instead she insulted another person's size, a person that had admittedly struggled with self image. i pray she never read that blog because not only was she repeatedly called fat...there were pictures for proof!

let me finish this blog by saying. from the first moment i saw sara ramirez i have never, NEVER thought of her as fat. i have only admired her: her voice, her talent, and her confidence.

let us be mindful of those around us. whether they be famous or not.
let us not make ourselves feel better at the expense of others.
let us take time to learn a person's story before we jump to conclusions.
finally and most importantly...

(and let us be thankful there aren't about 10 cameras pointing at us!)