What I Learned in August…

I am linking up with Emily Freeman’s monthly link-up for the first time today. You can check out all the posts over at Emily’s Place.

Things I learned this month….

(1) Spending time with my sister is the best! Growing up together, we were pretty good at fighting and to be honest, sometimes we still argue with each other. But there is something so incredibly holy about spending quality time together. Our Nashville sister’s trip was AWESOME and is not one I will ever forget. I love my sister so much and the time we spent together is something I will treasure for a very long time. I need to be better about spending time with those I love.

(2) “I am an imperfect person loved by a perfect God!” This image came across my Instagram feed and spoke straight to my heart. I am indeed not perfect…none of us are…but we are loved by a perfect God. We are “fearfully and wonderfully made!”

(3) That twelve years after someone has passed away, my heart still aches so deeply for them. I was cleaning in my guest room when I came across the bookmark of my Grandpa’s obituary. As I read and remembered, the date (August 21) hit me straight in the gut because it was on that date twelve years ago that we celebrated his life at his funeral. Grandpa Sam was such a caring wonderful man. I miss him each and every day.

(4) Sitting on my deck. sipping a Starbucks Refresher, and reading is a place where I truly experience peace and Sabbath. I finally finished “Orphan Train”, started “Searching for Sunday” and have so many wonderful books on my to read list “For the Love” “Wild in the Hollow” etc. Since summer was so busy, I didn’t get to spend time reading on my deck a lot so I have been making up for lost time this week.

(5) Periscope. I recorded my first Periscope video today and have watched several friend’s Periscopes. I have enjoyed listening to and seeing in person the people whose blogs I often read. But I still feel like I have a lot to learn.

(6) VOXER! Can I say more? I love that I can talk to many of my blog friends and hear their voices. I seriously cannot get enough of this app.

(7) It takes a lot of people and work to get a hot air balloon up in the air. Some church members called me a week ago and asked if I wanted to help them launch a hot air balloon and chase after it. This members brother-in-law/uncle owns the hot air balloon. As they sprawled out the balloon and many held on to it, I ran the fan and helped to fill it up with air. We drove around following the balloon so we could be there when it was ready to land.

(8) A community of writers and friends who get my heart and who I feel like I have known forever. I am so blessed that I got to meet several blog friends in real life while my sister were in Nashville. It is hard to put into words how much these people mean to me. My dear friend Karrilee said it best on her blog when she wrote: “You just may find that you have found your people strung across the world wide web and you so connect in heart and spirit that distance doesn’t feel real. Yes. This. Thank You, Internet, for this!” Amen and all the yeses to that!!!

(9) I am so incredibly LOVED! Some days it is so easy to forget that, but God has orchestrated some amazing friendships in my life and family who remind me how loved I am. I’ve been so surprised and humbled by the comments I have received on my last Five Minute Friday post. I love you all so much too! (See also #8)

(10) I love music! Being in Nashville was awesome. I cannot carry a tune for the life of me, but I love listening to new music. In Nashville, we got to hear all sorts of music including one of my all-time faves Vince Gill.

(11) Prayer really does work! Now I have known this before and have prayed many times for others, but I was reminded again of the power of prayer. I shared a prayer request and so many of you responded with your prayers. God heard those prayers and our prayers were answered. So how might I pray for you this week friends? I would love to return the favor.

So, my friends, this is what I learned throughout the month of August. See you in September!

I am linking up with Emily Freeman at Chatting at the Sky, Holly for Testimony Tuesday, and Kelly for the RaRa Linkup.

 

Nashville: Day One

The other day I had so much fun recalling the details from the first day of our trip. One of my readers asked if I was going to write about the whole trip. I wasn’t planning on it. But had so much fun writing that post and hearing from all of you, that I have decided to do a weekly (no specific day just when I feel like writing) post on our Nashville Trip.

After a good night’s rest, Ann and I crawled out of bed. We carefully selected the clothes for the day and got ready for our first official day in the great city of Nashville; the city of bright lights and country music. We had reservations for a tour of the Ryman Auditorium for later in the morning.

After we enjoyed a nice continental breakfast at our hotel, Ann and I headed out the door. Along the way, we stopped in some tourist shops. One of the first doors we walked through was a fun little t-shirt shop. Ann spotted a yellow t-shirt with the words Nashville emblazed on it. Yellow is Andrea’s favorite color. She found a mirror in the back of the store and tried on the t-shirt. She decided she liked it so we headed to the checkout counter where she paid for her shirt.

We walked out the door and turned to our left. Eventually we spotted a statue of ELVIS. We asked some passer-byers if they would take our picture for us. They were much obliged and did just that. Ann and I each handed them our cameras. They snapped our pictures, handed us back our cameras and then were on their way.

Ann and I continued on our way. As we were walking along, we heard a female voice say “Don’t step on that hottie.” Ann turned around to see a picture of her country boyfriend Luke Bryan imprinted on the sidewalk. She echoed the same words that the other lady stated just moments before.

As we followed the map on my phone, I took a left turn passed the Bridgestone Stadium.  After not many steps, I realized that we were going the wrong way. Ann asked me if I knew what I was doing. I replied that I did. We turned around and started heading in the right direction towards the Ryman Auditorium.

Before we knew it, we saw the beautiful red brick building; the Ryman Auditorium standing directly in front of us. We followed the signs to the entrance; to where we would check in for our tour. Ann and I checked in and worked our way up a very ornate staircase. At the top, we waited with the rest of our tour. Eventually the clock struck 10:20 am and we were off on our tour. We huddled in closely to listen as our tour guide told us the history of that historic building. The colorful stained glass windows’ vibrant hues of red, blues, and yellows were the first item that jumped out at me. From the moment we had walked in, they had caught my eye.

The tour guide continued to guide us through all the little nooks of the Ryman. Eventually we found ourselves standing on the front of the stage smack dab in the center of the infamous circle. Ann and I decided to have our picture taken in that spot. We paid the photographer and then each picked up a guitar as he snapped our photo.

On our way out of the building, our eyes caught a statue commemorating the beloved friendship of Minnie Pearl and Roy Acuff. Next to the statue was a kiosk where we picked up our photos. After receiving our photos, Ann and I walked back out into the Nashville air and headed straight for downtown Nashville.

Once downtown, we decided to tour the Johnny Cash Museum. Inside the museum, Ann and I listened to the history of Johnny Cash. We were only inside the museum a few minutes when my pocket began vibrating. I looked to see who it was and knew that I had to answer it. I took care of the phone call and tried to get them off the phone as quickly as possible.After I hung up the phone, we continued on through the museum. Before us were so many of his items; Johnny’s historic red, white, and black cowboy boots, the sweetest heart box given to June one Valentines Day, the collection of his albums and so much more.

Once we finished at the museum, we decided to have lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe. As we were crossing the street to the Hard Rock, sirens began blaring. Ann and I looked to our right and saw an ambulance parked next to a taxi where they were carefully placing someone from the taxi into the ambulance. We moved on and went inside the cafe. Inside, we found out there was a short (15-20 minute) wait so we waited. Before we knew it, our buzzer was blinking and we were being seated. Ann and I perused over the menu and placed our orders. We each decided that since we were on vacation, we would indulge in an adult beverage. Mine was this southern tea that came with a cucumber as the garnish. I didn’t realize it was a cucumber until I pulled it out of my glass. The drinks were way too strong for us that most of our drink stayed in our glasses on the table.

After we finished our meal, I went to pick up my souvenir; a Hard Rock cafe mason jar. Then Ann and I headed to the larger Hard Rock store next to the cafe. Ann found a cute teddy bear that we decided to purchase for Mom. We named him “Nash”. Ann also found herself a t-shirt. Once our purchases were made, we headed back outside. The hot sun beating nicely against our skin.

We turned right down the sidewalk passed many historic Nashville bars. We quickly spotted the Wild Horse Saloon. But unfortunately the sign outside said they were closed until 4:30 pm for a private function. We had a few photo ops with the horse outside the Wild Horse and then ventured on our way. We walked back to our hotel.

Ann and I rode the elevator to the 7th floor. We got off, turned right, then left down the hallway to the door of our room. We slid the key into the door. Inside our room, Ann and I changed into our swimming suits. Then we rode the elevator down two floors to the 5th floor where the swimming pool was. The water was cold so we slowly took one step at a time into the water. Once in the water, after a few moments of moving around, the water warmed up. Ann and I raced each other from one end of the pool to the next. It reminded both of us of the many times we went swimming with our neighbor kids growing up in small town North Dakota. Ann got out of the pool, wrapped herself in a towel, and took a quick photo of me in the water.

Swimming was a great way to cool off on a hot Nashville August day. After drying off, Ann and I headed back upstairs to get ready for our night. A friend had recommended to me a place called “3rd and Lindsley” so we had purchased tickets to see the Time Jumpers play there later that night. We left our hotel at approximately ten minutes after five. The doors at 3rd and Lindsley opened at 5:30 pm. By the time we walked the three-four blocks there, the doors were already opened. Ann and I weaved our way through the tables and chairs trying to find a great spot to sit. We came to a table where two other couples were seated. They asked us if we wanted to sit with them and we said sure. The older couple across from us told us all about the Time Jumpers, Vince Gill and so much more. Even though the doors open at 5:30 pm, the band didn’t come on until 9 pm.

We introduced ourselves to all the individuals at our table. We found out the husband from the other couple drives bus for many of the stars. Throughout the evening, we conversed with each other and found ourselves munching on appetizers to pass the time. As we were passing the time, Ann turned to me and said “That girl over there was on the Voice.” I thought she was silly for thinking that. I said “Why don’t you ask her?”  But Ann was too chicken she kept asking me to ask her, but I wasn’t going to give in. But then my curiousity got the best of me and I asked her. She was indeed on the Voice. Her face lit up when she realized that we knew her from the show. Her name is Allison Bray. Allison then came and took pictures with both of us. She also invited us to come back tomorrow night as she would be singing as part of a young country showcase.

Around 8:30 pm, Vince wearing khaki green shorts, a red polo top, and slip on shoes, walked onto the stage with his guitar. He quickly checked his sound and then went backstage. This girl who has loved him her whole life was totally fan-girling!!! Soon the clock struck 9 pm and the Time Jumpers along with Vince came onto the stage. Their music filled the room as we all listened intently. Then one of the band members introduced Vince by saying “This guy has done everything in the book and then he joined a band he knew nothing about.” Laughter quickly filled the room. A smile formed on Vince’s face.

Vince’s smooth voice began belting out one of his beloved songs. Goose bumps began to form on my arms as I listened to him sing. His voice filled the room and covered us in the deep warmth of his vocals. I seriously didn’t want the singing or the night to end.

After an hour, they took a break. Ann and I went over to their merchandise booth and bought a copy of the Time Jumpers CD. Thirty minutes later, the Time Jumpers including Vince came back onto the stage. They invited a few young artists to come up on stage; one of them being Crystal Bowersox from American Idol. At midnight, Crystal was turning another year older and some friends had given the band her name. Crystal came onto the stage, hugged Vince, and then together Crystal sang with Vince and the Time Jumpers…a birthday I am sure she will never forget.

At 11 pm, the concert was over. We were sad to see it end. Ann and I walked quickly back to our hotel as it was dark out. Once at the hotel, we rode the elevator back up to our room. We slid the key into the door and stepped inside. I looked at the FitBit on my phone. We had successfully walked 10,650 steps; 4.59 miles; burned 2634 calories and were active 74 minutes.

It had indeed been a successful first day!

Name that Tune

Holy cow….I made it!! It is November 30th and I have managed to post a blog post every day this month. I am proud of myself for accomplishing what I set out to do. It definitely wasn’t an easy task but I got er’ done! 🙂

Last night I watched the live Garth Brooks special with my family. Garth spent some time talking about how when he was little and would listen to the music that his parents listened to, he didn’t exactly realize what those songs meant. Now that he is older he has picked up their meaning. As I listened to him, I couldnt help but think of how sometimes I dont always realize what songs mean either.

On my Iphone and in my I-tunes account, I have downloaded the song “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. I think the first time I heard this song was on Ellen DeGeneres’s talk show Ellen. I thought it was a pretty catchy tune and found myself singing along to it. But one day that all changed for me, I was listening to the song and all of a sudden I thought, “Oh how horrible.” The words all of a sudden hit me smack dab in the face and I didn’t like at all what I was hearing. In fact, I literally cringe every time it comes on my phone and I immediately fast forward through the song.

These words are from the song “Pumped Up Kicks”; “All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run, outrun my gun; All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run, better run faster than my bullet.” These words are awful. Perhaps we have been desenitized by the news and everything that is happening in our world. This makes me extremely sad! What has our world come to? (Check out this blog about someone else’s thoughts on this song: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-10-03/entertainment/ct-ent-1004-foster-lyrics-20111004_1_school-shooting-pop-music-song)

I don’t claim to hold any musical ability at all, BUT I do LOVE music! And so now I find myself paying closer attention to the songs I listen to. Perhaps that is why I love listening to Christian music. I realize that Christian music too has its faults. I definitely don’t agree with every Christian song I hear. One of my favorite songs is Jason Gray’s “Remind Me Who I Am.” I think I love this song because as both saint and sinner, this song reminds me that I can truly be who God created me to be! I also have more recently come to LOVE the band the Rend Collective Experiment. I think it’s because their sound reminds me so much of Mumford and Sons. Here is their song “Build Your Kingdom Here.”

 
So as I close this blog challenge my friends, my hope and prayer is that we will pay closer attention to what we listen too…and what it means…not only for ourselves but for those special little ones in our lives. Enjoy the video my friends! And Goodnight! I’ll be back soon but probably not every day! :P