You know those moments when you realize you’re exactly where you should be?

You know, the “aha!” moments? I definitely had one of those tonight.

I’ve loved this town for as long as I can remember. I fell for it the first time I came just to visit, which was almost seven years ago now. But when I got really honest with myself before I moved here, I didn’t think I’d fit in. I love country music, and I love the history it has here in Nashville, but that’s not the only focus of music here any more. I was afraid I’d come and be a walking cliche country girl.

Well, you know what? I AM a walking cliche. I’m that girl who packed up the bare necessities and a guitar and carried my crazy dreams all the way to Music City.

And you know what else? I am more in love with this town than I thought I could be. But not just because of the country music history. I love it because it’s full of people just like me who can completely lose themselves in a song– whether it’s country, or rock, or hip-hop, or outlandish indie music. Does everyone here play music? Well, a lot of people do, yeah. But even those who don’t– they’re fueled by it. Music is the fire under everything they do, the drug they can’t quit, and it makes for this incredible community of awesomeness.

I won’t go into details, but just the series of everything that’s happened to me tonight confirmed that I am where I’m supposed to be. I’ve had some challenges to overcome– in getting here, in settling into a new lifestyle, in figuring out things with people back home– but it all led me to a perfect evening of friends, music, and people who are willing to help me out, even in the smallest, most seemingly insignificant ways. And I think tonight was just a full and complete confirmation that God put me right where he wanted me, and even if it didn’t line up with my country queen dreams (not yet anyway– just wait), I couldn’t be happier.

I guess it’s just one of those times where I look back on all the pieces that never fell into place, the ‘no’s that I thought might break my heart, the dead ends, and the late nights of thinking about my future– and I can finally say, “Oh, so that’s why that happened.”

So what’s next? I don’t have a clue. I don’t know what I want to do with my life, but I know I want to live it here. I don’t know what’s coming down the pipes for me, but right now I’m living proof that God loves to surprise us.

So maybe I’m grateful for the uncertainty. Here’s to walking on in faith until my next “aha!” moment, whenever that may be…

I hate when I forget to blog…

I always forget to blog. Seriously, what is that? Maybe it has something to do with how early I try to force myself to go to bed these days. Adult problems…

Anyway, I’ve been adjusting to life in Nashville, and I’m loving it more every day. I’m meeting new people almost every day, and I honestly didn’t realize just how much I love making new friends until recently. People here have such cool stories, regardless of their age or background. I love that people from different places, different cultures, different upbringings all come together in this city for a common love of music. It’s fantastic to be able to have an intelligent conversation about, say, songwriting– with the barista in a coffee shop, or on a typical Wednesday in the office, or even at a baseball game.

And believe it or not, I did exactly that when I went to the Nashville Sounds game last Friday with Meghan (who interns with me at Thirty Tigers), her friend Jess, Zach Berry, his roommate, Hunter, Luke, and a whole bunch of his friends. The Sounds lost that four-hour-long game, but I laughed and conversed and goofed off the entire time. And hey, we got to watch some fireworks during the walk back to the car. So I’d say it was a successful Friday night.

Honestly, where else would the baseball scoreboard look like that?

For Memorial Day weekend, three friends– Rachel, Katie, and Sarah– from school came up to visit, and I’m pretty sure all of them, Niki, and I hit every major neighborhood of Nashville, plus Franklin, in less than three days. Of course, it was crazy fun, but I will say I slept really well the night after they left!

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One of the many places we went to check out the skyline. I’m learning all the cool spots… 🙂

At one were downtown at the Ernest Tubb Record Store, and someone was looking for a specific record. Ernest Tubb’s didn’t have it, so the store clerk told the customer to check Grimey’s. He didn’t know the exact address for Grimey’s, but because I work in the same building as Grimey’s at Thirty Tigers… I KNOW THE ADDRESS. I jumped into their conversation and told the guy what to plug into his GPS and how to find the place. It was a great moment… maybe being able to give someone directions means I’m becoming a local 🙂

We went to Frothy Monkey for dinner at one point to meet up with Madison when she was passing through town. It was good to catch up, even if it was only for an hour or so.

Coffee for Mads and her crew? Real food for the rest of us? Just more reasons to love my favorite all-day coffeehouse ever.

I tweeted about sharing the Frothy love with all my Georgia friends (duh, I tweet about everything), and Fro Mo showed me some love back. I think that earns me at least one more point on the “Becoming an Actual Nashville Resident” scale, right?

My love for the Frothy Monkey is finally requited. Praise Jesus.

Other than goofing off all the time with people I’m growing to love, I’m doing the whole intern thing. I’m not super far into my internships yet, but I already like both of them. I’m working at Thirty Tigers three days a week, and Girlilla Marketing the other two. I do a whole bunch of random little tasks, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this stuff contributes to the bigger picture of an artist’s career. I’m already blown away by the fact that an artist’s career requires so much teamwork and so much communication between so many people. I mean, I’ve always known it takes a lot of people to run the operations for a major star, like, say, Taylor Swift or someone similar. But it takes an army to get even a smaller artist really going. It’s incredible how people’s passion for music drives them to serve other people in the capacity that the people around me do. I know I’ve already said this, but I absolutely LOVE being around like-minded people. These people all truly love music, and seeing as how I often call music “my drug,” it’s insanely refreshing to be surrounded by people who see it as the same incredible power that I do. And for that reason, I do in fact love this place they call Music City.

In the event that you’re still reading, here’s a picture of Whiskey, Jenna’s (my roomate) puppy. She’s adorable and loves to chew things and bark at lamps after knocking them off of tables. We don’t really need cable here; we have the doggie to keep us laughing.

Click on Whiskey’s picture if you need a good chuckle.

“Goin’ back to Nashville, thinkin’ about the whole thing…”

Yesterday I moved into an apartment in Nashville, Tennessee.

So today, I can say that I live in Nashville. I live in Music City. I live in the city I’ve loved for years. I am literally living out a long time dream.

It’s kind of surreal to be here. I don’t think it’s really sunk in that I now have access to anything and everything I’ve always enjoyed about this city. This is where history has been made in the music industry, and I’m about to dive right in to the heart of it all.

Throughout high school, I was convinced that I needed to come here and go to Belmont University. Being from Georgia, I would have had to pay the crazy expensive, out-of-state, private university tuition. I was in fact accepted to Belmont, but the amount of academic financial aid they offered wouldn’t have even dented the amount I would owe them for a degree.

In the end, I chose to attend the University of Georgia. It was close to home, and more manageable financially. Was I a little bummed that I couldn’t go to Belmont? Sure, but UGA is nothing to sneeze at either.

I made it almost all the way through my somewhat chaotic first year at UGA before I realized they had a music business program, and since I would’ve wanted to study music business at Belmont, I of course didn’t even think twice about applying to the program at UGA. At the time, I didn’t know what I was getting into, but looking back, it truly changed my life. Being in class with such passionate, talented people reminded me of just how much I love music, and getting my feet wet in the music industry only made me want to work in it more than I wanted to before.

So, as I sit here in the middle of this city and prepare to start as an intern this week, I’ve realized that not going to school here was probably best for me anyway. Why? Because if I had moved here, this moment wouldn’t be as sweet. I wouldn’t appreciate the fact that I’m living here as much as I do. I wouldn’t be so excited every single time I see that skyline from the interstate as I drive here. I would take this city and these opportunities for granted. By going to UGA, sure, I had to work a little harder to set up a temporary life in a city five hours away. But this way, I’ve had to really work for it, and that fact makes me truly appreciate this journey I’m about to start.

So, I’ve done all the research, and I’ve made it through the sea of logistics. And all that’s left to do is jump off the theoretical cliff and see if I can make a place for myself in my City of Dreams.

Let’s go.

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I didn’t plan this.

I didn’t plan to go to UGA. I wanted to go to an out of state school that I couldn’t afford. But God wanted me at the University of Georgia.

When I got there, I didn’t plan to join any groups or organizations. I wanted to lay low and have time to breathe after practically killing myself to stand out in high school. But God had just the group that he wanted me to join.

I didn’t plan to let anyone into my inner self. I didn’t want to trust anyone with my struggles and emotions. I wanted to appear to everyone else as a happy person who had her whole life together and knew exactly what she was doing. But God knew just the people to send into my life to break down walls and teach me how to trust again.

I didn’t plan to give up on my dream of having a packed resume at the end of my freshman year. I wanted to have as many titles and positions as I could so maybe I’d have a chance at impressing a future employer over the summer. But God closed every single door that he didn’t want me to walk through.

I didn’t plan to work on a student government campaign. That was the last place I EVER imagined myself, and in fact, I was hesitant to get involved. But God knew what I would learn from that experience. God knew it would change my life. And God knew exactly who he was placing in my path when he put me on that team.

I didn’t plan to spend this summer taking an online class at home. I wanted to be working a glamorous internship. But God knew I needed to slow down and take time to appreciate the people I have in my life.

I didn’t plan to start going to church while I was home again. What would be the point of that? I’ll only be here sporadically because I live in Athens most of the time now. But God knew exactly what I needed to hear.

I didn’t plan on my heart being reignited with an overwhelming desire to use my Spanish to reach out to native Spanish speakers in our country and abroad. I thought that calling was dead. I didn’t plan on listening to several missionaries speak on how much they needed help in their ministries in Spanish-speaking countries. I didn’t plan on feeling a call to reach out to the Hispanic community of Athens. I didn’t plan on doing anything whatsoever with that skill after I graduated college. But God knew I needed some way to work for the sake of His kingdom.

I didn’t plan to give up the reigns on my life. I wanted to be in control. I fought God, and I planned to be just fine on my own.

But plans change.

And here I am.

In the middle of God’s plan.

So, are you forever alone?

Ever seen this guy? He floats around on the web, and finds he’s especially prevalent on the Facebook profiles, Twitter feeds, and Tumblr pages of those who are single.

As you probably know, he’s called the “Forever Alone” guy, and chances are, you’ve had a friend or two who uses him to make a joke about how they can’t seem to find a significant other.

But this little Internet phenomenon has led me to see quite the massive discrepancy between being single and being alone.

Being alone means you have no romantic partner. It also means you have no friends, no family, no acquaintances, no relatively wholesome, healthy relationships in your life at all. Hmm. The last time I checked, I don’t know anyone who is completely and entirely isolated to the point of being 100% alone 24/7/365.

But being single? Being single means you don’t have a romantic partner. Period. The end.

Being single doesn’t mean you don’t have family and friends and satisfying relationships in your life. It doesn’t mean you’ve never made a personal connection in your life. And being single certainly does not mean that no one loves you.

Personally, I’ve been single for a while. I’ll be the first to admit that my self-pitying thoughts get the best of me from time to time, and I have the occasional wallow fest in which I question everything about myself, cry, and read Proverbs 31 and select passages of Jackie Kendall’s Lady In Waiting over and over (and over and over).

But when all is said and done, quite honestly, I’m not at all miserable being single. Why? Because I’ve realized that just because I’m single, that doesn’t mean I’m alone.

In fact, when I really stop and observe my life, I am FAR from being alone. I have a loving family who has always supported and loved me. I have friends who have become life family to me. And let me just be real here– if I weren’t single, I probably wouldn’t have near as much time to devote to all of those incredible relationships that I’ve been blessed with.

I know that the “Forever Alone” guy is not much more than a silly cartoon, but after a while, don’t you think his underlying notion of “I’m alone” will really start to take over the notion of “I’m single but I have people in my life”? When you really stop and consider how much words (and in this case, memes) can influence your perception, you start to see that words can distort your thoughts and direct them toward constant self-pity before you even realize it.

I can tell you one thing, you won’t be seeing the “Forever Alone” guy on any of my social media pages.

I’m too busy being single and blessed!

A fairly impossible question

If you could do one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I never expected that question, especially not in the context where it arose. And to be honest, I’ve really never thought about it until now.

As I’ve grappled with that question over the past several days, I’ve realized I can’t truly answer it.

During my first year of college, I realized that I have passions and God-given talents that I never knew existed until they were exposed and tested. I had no idea how much I was truly capable of until I was challenged. And half the challenge was trying to go in so many directions at once. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do, but the past year has taught me that I can’t limit myself to whatever I feel right now or whatever might make the most logical sense.

I’m incredibly blessed to have opportunities and options, and I don’t have to choose only one at the expense of all the others. I have my whole life ahead of me, and I intend to pursue as many opportunities as I can while I have the time and the ability. I don’t think I could contain my life to chasing after only one thing when my heart contains so many dreams and so many passions.

I could give a million answers, but it ultimately comes down to this: For the rest of my life, the one thing I want to do is LIVE.

I want to use every moment to love, to sing, to write, to smile, to dance, to talk, to listen, to cry, to laugh, to celebrate, to bless the lives of others, and through it all, to glorify God.

If YOU could do one thing for the rest of YOUR life, what would it be?

Songs, Spaceships, South Carolina, and Sisters.

For the first time in what feels like ages, I didn’t write my typical Friday post.

Why? Well, honestly, I forgot. Because this weekend, I had the privilege of going to the 8th Annual Sigma Alpha Omega National Convention at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. We worshipped the Lord together, talked about sorority business, shared ideas, and had a great time dancing and goofing off.

In all honesty, I didn’t want to go. I just started a summer biology class last week, and I was already covered up in work when it was time for me to pack up and leave for three days. I was stressed and overwhelmed, and I didn’t think convention would be anything spectacular, and it was going to be a chaotic trip to get there. But God knew there was a reason I needed to be there. So he got me there, chaos, expectations, excessive luggage and all.

We arrived and had missed most of the first day, but soon enough I was meeting my sisters from all over the country. I watched them all do crazy things in the talent show, and then we went to bed to wake up to a long day of festivities. Throughout the rest of the weekend, I met so many incredible sisters who told me all about what their chapters had done and how God was using them on their campuses. Somehow, our group connected with the Alpha Alpha girls from James Madison University, and it was almost like we were meant to find each other. We shared most of our time with them, and I can honestly say that in that group of 14 girls who had been strangers only 24 hours prior, I felt completely at home in a place I’d never been before. We laughed and talked and laughed some more, and we stayed up late Saturday night chatting about anything and everything.

I hadn’t known that I would go there and find such a blessing through connecting with those girls and with the sisters in my own chapter. I hadn’t known that God was trying to show me that it’s not all about me, and I don’t have to be so independent all the time. I hadn’t known that he would show me how to open up to people even if it did scare me to death. And before this weekend, I hadn’t known how much of a blessing SAO truly is in my life. If God hadn’t brought me to UGA, if he hadn’t placed me in that sisterhood, I wouldn’t be the same person I am right now. I don’t want to imagine who I might be if his hand hadn’t guided me to join SAO last August.

So all in all, God took a weekend that I was quite honestly not looking forward to, and he used it to show and teach me things that I needed to see and know. I don’t have any biological sisters, but now I’ll have plenty of sisters in my heart wherever I may go. I came home wishing the weekend didn’t have to end, but I know this weekend wasn’t the end of my adventures in sisterhood… it was the beginning, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store!

“A [woman] of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a [sister].” Proverbs 18:24

8:53 A.M. on a Wednesday.

I get off an empty bus and step onto an empty sidewalk. I cross an empty street and climb a staircase. Then I stop.

That smell.

The grass. The air.

I don’t know why, but I will never stop loving that scent.

North Campus. Terrell Hall.

I stop. I breathe in slowly and deliberately because I just want to savor it.

Why?

Because it reminds me that life doesn’t have to be contained between walls. It reminds me that there are moments when you have to stop and take in the beauty of the world we live in. I walk along and I’m the only person I see. I’m alone, and even though I’m barely awake, I feel at peace with the world and with myself.

That solitary walk makes my anxious thoughts cease. The smell of the earth early in the morning reminds me that there is more to life than to-do lists, lectures, and drug out meetings that last for what seems like years.

For whatever reason, soaking in the scent of the oldest part of campus reminds me that no matter how chaotic life can get, slowing down to enjoy history, and simplicity, and solitude is absolutely irreplaceable.

High Five for Friday 2.24.12… one day late!

Well, yesterday was a bit of a crazy day what with me trying to get things done and Alex getting here. So here’s some highlights from this week, just one day late.

 1. I got an econ test back on Wednesday, and I made a 94. Shocking in the best way possible.

2. I went to the Chapel Bell meeting and it was an interesting experience, in an immensely good way. I was truly inspired by the optimism, motivation, and cool ideas that filled the room the entire time. It’s truly an awesome movement, and I hope it continues to grow. You can read more about the Chapel Bell here. If you have something inspiring to say, I also encourage you to let your heart be heard– take the Chapel Bell Challenge!

3. This week I went to dinner and dessert with Katie and some other friends for her birthday. She’s such a wonderful friend, and I’m so glad God chose to bring us together.

4. I’ve been to Two Story twice in the past 48 hours. Productivity + good coffee = so much happy! If you’re a coffee addict like me or you just love a good place to chat or study and enjoy a good cup of joe, they’re an awesome local business to support. Check them out here.

5. I spent the entire afternoon yesterday and all day today with people I love. I spent a lot of time with Vica being productive and talking about anything and everything, and I definitely needed all of it (the picture below of us isn’t from this weekend, just a side note). I saw Tori for a brief few minutes today as well, and I was missing her like crazy. I was sitting at Two Story last night and picked up my phone to call her and tell her I missed her. When I opened my phone, I had a message from her telling me she’d be in town today (Saturday) and wanted to see me. You can’t tell me that wasn’t God. Alex and Jason were also both here from out of town, and I can’t even begin to say how wonderful it was to get to spend time with them. When you don’t get to see people all that often, you appreciate their presence that much more when they’re around. We’re all rooting for Jason to get this huge scholarship that he was here interviewing for, and let’s just be honest– we’re praying for the means for Alex to be able to come here, too.

Vica.

Tori.

Alex and Jason.

As an add-on to the last one, I’m learning to truly appreciate the amazing people that I have in my life. No matter if it’s a weekend or a weekday; if they live next door or several hours away; if they’ve been in my life for years or just came into it recently– I am blessed beyond measure by the people who are in my life right now, and I don’t have enough words to sufficiently thank God for that.

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Home is where the heart is.

That phrase has become so overused and cliché, but I’m realizing just how true it is. It’s also becoming very obvious to me that home can be just about anywhere, and it can be a million different places all at once.

Home can be the house I grew up in, or the small room I now call my second home. Home can be on a bus having a conversation on a Friday afternoon. Home can be in a dining hall at midnight, and it can be the grocery store when I run into an old friend I haven’t seen in a while. It can be a kitchen table in an apartment, or the dining room table of my grandparents’ house. It can be in a dorm conference room on a Saturday night, or in my living room talking to my parents. It can be a parking lot, a sidewalk, or the hallway outside a classroom when I’m talking on the phone to someone I’ve missed dearly. All at once, home is in more than one place, in more than one town, and in more than one state.

I no longer have only one home, because home is not a physical place. Home is people. Home is made up of the souls that I connect with and hold close to my heart, and for that reason I can call a million different places my home. In the place where I grew up with my wonderful family and friends, I feel like I’m right where I belong. In Athens, where I’ve only lived for a little over 6 months, I feel the same.

I’m realizing that life is not about being in the right place at the right time. It’s about having the right people in my life. All the time. No matter where I am.

I am so indescribably blessed.