13 things I learned in 2012:
- It’s not ideal to be a sofa-surfer, but when you’ve got good people around you, it’s not so scary.
- People really are the most important. Not agendas or jobs or programs or anything else. It’s people…blood and flesh and hearts.
- For me to be the best version of myself, I need structure. I need other people. And I need to be needed.
- I really like music by Dave Matthews Band.
- A person’s insides count the most. Not appearance or position, but who they are.
- London is my favorite. And so is New Orleans. And I also love Scotland a whole lot.
- Lecrae and Mumford & Sons are really really really really good live.
- If I never get to live in a brownstone in Brooklyn or The Bronx or Queens, I feel like my life won’t be complete. I blame The Cosby Show for this.
- Getting what you want (or what you think you want) ≠ joy. And sometimes, it doesn’t even equal happiness.
- My joy isn’t circumstantial; it comes from knowing my position in Christ: Forgiven. Loved. Accepted. Valuable.
- All of that being said, I find it much easier to smile when I’m warm.
- Kindness is a better gift than anything physical. It’s one thing people always need, no matter what.
- There is no better adventure than following God’s plan for your life. But the very nature of adventure means it won’t be easy. This bit from Gracie’s post sums it up perfectly:
“…2012 wasn’t exactly my favorite year. It was, though, the year that I’ve learned more about life and myself than ever before. 2012 brought a ton of unexpected trials but also unexpected blessings, and I wouldn’t have had it be any other way.”
Quotes that got me through the year:
- “My help cometh from the Lord.” – Psalm 121:2
- “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” – Nehemiah 8:10
- “I wonder what amazing thing God’s gonna do next.” – My pops, Clark Palmer
- “Don’t worry about anything! Pray about everything! Tell God what you need and thank him for what he’s already done!” – Philippians 4:6, as quoted by Bro. Sam Lofton in his sermon Be Thankful, available here: Immanuel Baptist Church Sermons
Aaaand what you’ve all been waiting for (drumroll please)….
A more eclectic list of music you will not find. Guaranteed.
Today was quite traumatic.
I walked something like 10 miles, the last mile or so in the rain. I got bitten by a large dog (and 4 hours on there are still teeth marks on my forearm). We got lost in Pontefract. And I was miserably cold.
Today was also pretty successful.
I clocked almost 10 hours at work. I met the target goal of 25 surveys. My team leader told the supervisor that I did “great!” (Her emphasis, not mine.) I started reading The Segregation Struggle in Louisiana, 1862-77. I finally posted on the blog again. And YOU are reading it!) And I still have time to wrap some Christmas presents and watch a sermon that Fady sent me.
It just hit me that success usually comes with a little bit of trauma. Because the things that are worth doing and the things that make us successful won’t be easy. But they’ll be worth it.
This isn’t original. I’ve heard that a hundred times in a a hundred different ways, but it just made me sense to me today.
This is the part where I could talk about advent and how Jesus coming was the greatest success story ever and yadda yadda yadda, but there’s no way I could do it justice right now. My success does have its limits. :)
5. 7. 7.
Those were my numbers for my first three days at my new job. (Market research…door to door, asking people to answer questions about cancer…more fun than it sounds, promise.) Not bad comparatively, but when I went in Tuesday morning, I got the “friendly warning” in the hallway that I needed to improve my numbers to stay on the team. As the project nears the end, they only send out the best people. The warning worked, and on a rainy day with lots of driving to new wards and loads of quotas (only men in this area, only people between 18-34 in another), I had a stellar day. 12! I got more than Ro, and no one ever gets more than Ro! My team leader went on and on about how pleased he was.
Sadly, it’s not his decision who gets put on the teams. I got the call this morning saying they wouldn’t need me for the rest of my shifts this week. There’s a possibility I’ll get to go out again in the next few weeks, but it’s not looking particularly good.
I could’ve cried, wanted to a bit, but instead, I just got stuck in to the job hunt immediately. Found a couple with the university. A good one that doesn’t start until late-September. A decent one that I’d love but don’t expect to get.
And Pizza Hut.
It was during the Pizza Hut application that the bitterness started to creep in. Pizza Hut. “Seriously? I have a Master’s degree, and I’m applying for a job at Pizza Hut?! Is this really my life!?”
Yeah, Pizza Hut…
In a city I love. Where I have an overwhelming number of friends that I love. And go to and work with a church that I love. Where I serve a God that I love and who loves me more than I can possibly understand.
Do I want a fulfilling career? Do I want to use my degree for something worthwhile? Of course, I do! But in the meantime, I have so much more that I can look to, and smile, and say,
“Yeah, my life is WONDERFUL.”
And be grateful.
I’ve been uncertain about life for basically the last 11 months. It’s been tough and emotional. But it’s been an adventure, and I can honestly say that right now, I’m feel like I’m exactly where God wants me. And at the end of the day, that’s what I want more than anything else. Even if where God wants me is Pizza Hut.
The gorgeous Mike Crocombe has a new blog: Slumped In A Corner. And it’s pretty much fantastic, and you should check it out.
I’ll admit a fair amount of bias here. (He’s one of my all-time favorite people ever.) However, if you have any interest in music or culture or sport, you’re sure to enjoy it too!
This is my favorite post so far, but that’s another biased judgement as I introduced him to Matt & Kim in the first place. (Not to toot my own horn or anything…)
The other night I was doing dishes. (My dad is shocked right now.) And, dare I say, I enjoyed it. Not because having dishpan hands is a dream, because it isn’t, but because I had a KILLER playlist. Power of music, eh?
Also, this week I’ve found some FREE music that just demands to be shared with the world. Incredible tunes, people. Get on it.
[Click the green to have a listen! OR check out the playlist on Spotify by clicking HERE.]
- Right Thru – Aaron Strumpel
- Face To Face – All Together Separate
- Sabotage – Beastie Boys One of my top 5 of all time. It’s good for a sing-along too.
- Lonely Boy – The Black Keys The link is to the song’s official video, which is nothing short of incredible.
- Shifty Shaft – Cabinet A little bluegrass, anyone? Get it FREE: http://www.noisetrade.com/cabinet
- We Will Worship You – Carlos Whittaker “Spare us any joy that’s not of you.”
- Born with a Broken Heart – David Wax Museum
- The Best Is Yet To Come – Frank Sinatra
- Colours (Captain Cuts Remix) – GROUPLOVE A recommendation from the musical genius that is Mike Crocombe. Get it FREE at the same link!
- Cold Chicago – Humming House
- Trouble Town – Jake Bugg Get it FREE here: Jake Bugg’s Facebook page! And here’s his first single Lighting Bolt, which is fab.
- I Got the Feelin’ – James Brown
- Church Clothes (Prod. by Wit) – Lecrae Get it FREE here: http://t.co/RFqWWsC5 Lecrae doesn’t hold back…just look at these lyrics:
It better not be no real God/ With real hope, that heals hearts/ That shows me that I ain’t livin up/ To all the things that He put me here for
It better not be no real church/ Real saints, who pray hard/ And let me rock my snapback/ With the 501s and the J’s on/
It better not be no real folk/ Who don’t think that they better than you/ Straight or gay, drunk and high/ They walk through the cold and weather wit chu
Nah we don’t wanna see that/ Cause that might mean “life change”/ That might mean I’m worth more/ Than money, cars, sex, and pipe dreams
Better not be no real Jesus/ Real forgiveness, for hurt folks/ If God gon take me as I am/ I guess I already got on my Church Clothes
- Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
- Cameras – Matt & Kim The most listened to song on my iTunes at 145.
- On The Downbeat – The O.C. Supertones Get it FREE here: The O.C. Supertones Faebook page!
- Dirty Paws – Of Monsters and Men For those of you familiar with Of Monsters and Men, you may be wondering why this is on the list and not “Little Talks.” I hate to go all hipster, but I got “Little Talks” a year (to the day, completely by chance) before the album and am ever-so-slightly over it for the time being.
- All This Glory (feat. David Crowder*Band) – Passion I don’t think the David Crowder Band has ever been better. The Give Us Rest album is out-of-this-world good, and this song blows my mind. “In the middle of the mess, there is majesty. In the middle of my chest is the King of Kings.” Um, wow.
- Lay Me Down (feat. Chris Tomlin & Matt Redman) – Passion
- Rich Kid Blues – The Raconteurs I can’t afford Blunderbuss at the moment, so this will have to satisfy my need for Jack White. Effective.
- Sebastian – Reptar Got this cuz it was free, wasn’t sure about it on first listen, but now I love it! Get it FREE here: iTunes Indie Spotlight
Give it a Try – Taylor Mathews My Taylor Mathews story: One night we went to see my friend Kayla do BGVs at a charity gig. Several acts performed, and I thought, “This Taylor guy has got it,” and I signed up to the “If I ever make a CD” email list. A few months later he was on America’s Got Talent, made it to the top 10, and has now released a lovely little EP. And it makes me very, very happy! Get the whole EP FREE here: http://noisetrade.com/taylormathewsmusic
- Dum Dum (feat. Lecrae) – Tedashii I seriously cannot get enough of this song.
- Two Hours (RAC Mix) – Theme Park Another Mike Crocombe recommendation. Get it FREE at the same link!
- Robot – Trip Lee Get it FREE here: http://noisetrade.com/triplee
- Yeah Yeah – Willy Moon Yet another Mike Crocombe recommendation…but to his dismay, it’s getting some play on Radio 1.
And just for the heck of it, here are two other FREE jams you should get immediately:
I love Easter.
Absolutely love it.
It’s the time we celebrate the most important thing that ever happened.
So I just thought I’d gather & share some of my favorite Easter-y things.
“The passion of Christ is the victory of divine love over the powers of evil, and therefore it is the only supportable basis for Christian obedience. Once again, Jesus calls those who follow him to share his passion. How can we convince the world by our preaching of the passion when we shrink from that passion in our own lives?”
And a little Easter MepMix:
(Click to listen.)
WARNING: Contains spoilers about Sherlock. Well, not really. But kinda.
One of my biggest weaknesses is that I don’t live my day-to-day life with gusto. I don’t always seize the day. Mr. Keating would be appalled by the way I spend some of my days. But this month, I’ve discovered/re-discovered two characters who inspire me to live more passionately.
We all know how obsessive I am. When I love something, I get hooked on it pretty easily, and I just can’t get enough. That’s what happened with Sherlock. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a BBC television series, and it is incredible. I have the desktop background and ringtone to prove how dearly I love it. (Available here if you’re interested.)
I knew it would happen, but I wept during the finale of the second series. WEPT. Not openly…I hid myself with a blanket. Cried a bit at the beginning (tried to hide that too), then WEPT at the end. I knew what was coming. If you know the Sherlock story, you know what’s coming, and I did, but it got me.
This obsession included a renewed interest in Benedict Cumberbatch, my on-again, off-again celebrity crush of the last 5 years, who of course portrayed – and subsequently caused me to fall in love with – William Pitt the Younger in Amazing Grace. A few days after we watched the series finale of Sherlock, I was asked for my top three movies of all time. The aforementioned film tops the list. [The response to this was, "Really?? It was good, but not favourite-movie-of-all-time good…" I explained that when a film changes the course of your life, it tends to hold a special place of honor. My story even made the AG website. Click the green to see it!] Naturally, these two incidents made me realize it was high time I saw Amazing Grace again, and at the end, I cried. After seeing this film 100 times, full-sized tears came streaming from my eyes. I know most of the dialogue by heart and STILL it moves me.
My natural instinct was to be ashamed. Ashamed that I was crying over a fictional television program. Ashamed that I was crying over a film that I’ve seen over and over and over again.
But I decided that I didn’t want to be ashamed, so I searched for explanation, rationale.
I mean, I love all things Sherlock; it says so in my Twitter bio. And I could go on for pages about why that’s the case….but the much more difficult question is this: Why do I really connect with it? Why does it REALLY move me?
Then, at the end of Amazing Grace this last time, while I was still wiping tears away, it hit me – I’m crying because this story is about love and sacrifice and perseverance and justice and freedom.
And these are the things I want my life to be about. If I’m so passionate that I want to be known for this, then it SHOULD bring me to tears. It is right for me to be moved and to weep and to feel it deep inside my soul.
Maybe Sherlock’s not quite so inspiring, but still, I think that what I love so deeply is that in everything, Sherlock displays passion, perseverance. And in the end, he displays a willingness to even sacrifice himself. (Well, sort of.) He goes all out, every time. And that in itself is inspirational.
So, the problem isn’t when I cry after experiencing a beautiful story; that’s not silly or shameful. The shame should come when I’m not giving my all, when I’m not loving wholeheartedly, when I’m not sacrificing, when I’m not persevering, when I’m not fighting with everything that i have for justice and freedom.
And when stories like these impact me this much, I need to stop seeing them just as entertainment, but see them as precious, powerful, and gorgeous reminders of how I’m meant to live.
Also, this is my new favorite video of all-time ever. So full of awesome I can hardly stand it!