Archives for April 2009

You Can, Too

One of my personality quirks is that if I do something / experience something / eat something / see something / hear something that impacts me in a big way, then I want the people around me to do / experience / eat / see / hear that same thing. It doesn’t matter if that thing is a CD or another country or a cute dress or a 2-piece dinner from Popeye’s – if I love that thing, then I want you to try it. Because I just KNOW that you’ll love it, too, and then we can sit around and talk about how much we both love it, and DO YOU KNOW HOW GREAT THAT WILL BE?

IT WILL BE THE GREATEST THING OF ALL TIME EVER.

I’ve noticed that most of my friends seem to have this same personality trait, which explains why just last night my friend NK was shoveling part of her waldorf salad from California Pizza Kitchen onto a bread plate so that I could try it. She kept saying, “YOU HAVE TO TASTE HOW GOOD THIS IS,” and nothing would do until I sampled it (and sure enough: IT WAS DELICIOUS). It also explains why our friend Todd faithfully sends me links to great new music, and it explains why Travis brought us a bag of THE BEST BBQ potato chips we’ve ever tasted after he discovered them in Kentucky a few weeks ago. It explains why Sister has been known to call me from TJ Maxx when she runs across a particularly sassy fashion find and why Janie sent me a bottle of perfume after I mentioned that it smelled divine when she was wearing it.

Hi, my name is Sophie. And I’m surrounded by sharers.

When I got home from Uganda last February, I wanted every single friend of mine to go on a Compassion trip to Africa. I talked about it all the time. Aside from getting married and becoming a mama, it was the most life-changing, perspective-wrecking experience of my life. It wasn’t an easy trip – but oh, it was good. And even now, if you were to ask me about that trip, I would tell you that you should totally go, that you would love it, that it will be the best thing you’ve ever done, I PROMISE, JUST LISTEN TO ME.

A few weeks ago I spent an afternoon with Angie. We met at a Starbucks, and three hours after we sat down, I walked out of that Starbucks so jacked up on caffeine that the third toe on my left foot was the only part of my body not plagued by twitching. We covered about 259 topics during our conversation, but we camped out on the subject of Compassion for a good while. I told her a little bit about my experience and instructed her on the proper way to pronounce Shaw-awn. And for about ten straight minutes, I told her over and over again that SHE WAS GOING TO LOVE IT. It was going to MESS HER UP, and somehow, because God is faithful in ways we just can’t comprehend, she would treasure every single second of it.

So today? When I read her post? I pumped my fist in the air. Not because I wanted Angie to have the same experience that I had. But because I know that when she gets back home to Nashville, she’s going to tell every single person who asks about the work Compassion is doing in third-world countries all over the world. Because she’s seen the difference Compassion makes. And because seeing that difference? Is contagious.

But whether or not you ever go on a trip with Compassion, you can absolutely be a part of the work they’re doing. You’ll change a child’s life forever – and they’ll change yours right back. Your sponsorship ensures that a child can pay his or her school fees, it guarantees he or she will have access to nutritious food and it provides all the medical treatment they need. More than anything, though, your sponsorship means that someone will faithfully share the Gospel with your sponsored child – even in places like India, where less than 1% of the people are Christ-followers.

You can do all sorts of things with $32 a month: you can take a family of 4 out for a Mexican meal. You can buy 8 lattes. You can buy 4 paperback books. You can buy 6 magazines. You can go with your sweetheart to the movies and buy popcorn and drinks.

Or you can change a child’s life forever.

It’s probably not a big surprise, but I’m going to suggest that last thing.

Just try it. Really. Just try.

You won’t believe how great it is.

(Be sure to check out Keely’s photographs from the India trip – they are absolutely incredible.)

Edited to add: this post by Melissa is one of the best things I’ve ever read.

American Idol, Top 5

Tonight’s episode of American Idol brings us the music of the Rat Pack. I feel this theme is a much better than, say, music of the Brat Pack, because quite frankly I’m not so sure that Rob Lowe or Ally Sheedy really ever sang anything that would merit repeating on national television.

Which reminds me: what in the world ever happened to Judd Nelson?

I do digress. I beg your pardon.

Anyway, on with the show (and seriously, I have high hopes for tonight – such fantastic songs, you know?).

Kris Allen – “The Way You Look Tonight” – Here’s the best way I know to say it: THAT WAS DREAMY. I loved the arrangement, loved that he put a little spin on the song in the last half of it, and loved that he flat-out rocked his suit. I don’t think it was his strongest performance, mind you, but it was mighty fine indeed.

Allison Iraheta – “Someone To Watch Over Me” – I was excited to see that she finally dialed it down a notch or nine, because when I first heard tonight’s theme I had visions of her doing some rock-it-out version of “Luck Be A Lady Tonight.” But I actually really liked her performance – she showed her range in a way that she hasn’t before, and she also showed that she’s capable of being a little bit more restrained. Well done.

Matt Giraud – “My Funny Valentine” – Raise your hand if you’re surprised that Matt broke out a fedora for Rat Pack week. No hands? SHOCKING. I think this was a good song choice for him, and while his vocals weren’t as solid as, say, Kris’s, they were good. Also: he didn’t try to break out the falsetto in strange places, and that was a welcome change from the last two weeks. HOWEVER. The husband just said that Matt’s version didn’t come anywhere close to Melinda Doolittle’s version of this song a couple of years ago, and yes: EXCELLENT point.

Danny Gokey – “Come Rain or Come Shine” – First of all, I TRIPLE LOVED his suit. Just for the record. And as for the singing: MY WORD. That was hands-down my favorite performance this season. I had goosebumps all the way down to my toes. He had a sparkle in his eye when he started to sing – like he had a vocal trick or two up his sleeve – and good grief, did he ever deliver. So, so great.

Adam Lambert – “It’s A New Day” – As Corky St. Clair might say, this was a little dramatical for me. Something about the white suit and the black shirt and the walking down twenty two stairs at the beginning of the performance. I really liked what Adam did last week, but this was back in Rocky Horror-ish / squawky mode, in my opinion. It was all very odd. Nothing nuanced or subtle about it.

All in all, this is the strongest top five ever, I think. I have no idea who will go home tomorrow night, but I’m guessing it’ll be Matt or Allison.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch Danny Gokey sing about forty-four more times before I go to bed. SWEET MERCY HE WAS PHENOMENAL.

What did y’all think?

If you’d like to add your own AI post to the Mr. Linky, please leave the permalink to your specific post and not your general blog URL.

Linky Interwebby Awesomeness 04.28.09

OH MY LANDS.

Two must-reads:

This.

And this.

And then:

This.

Thank you and the end.

The Good News Is That My Eyelashes Are Not Sore At All

Last week I was catching up on Vicki’s blog, and I saw that she’d issued a bit of a challenge to her readers: 30 days of 30 Day Shred. And for reasons I have yet to fully understand, I immediately thought, “Okay. I’m in.” AND I SIGNED UP FOR IT.

CLEARLY SOME FITNESS-MINDED ALIENS SEIZED CONTROL OF MY MIND.

So I bought the DVD and decided that today would be Day One.

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OH MY MERCIFUL HEAVENS.

However, in a delightfully unexpected turn of events, Melanie and I realized today that we both had committed to Vicki’s 30 Day challenge. I cannot overstate the importance of this discovery because HELLO, ACCOUNTABILITY, NICE TO SEE YOU. We also realized that we were both planning to set aside some time to “shred” this afternoon, but we were sort of blase’ about it because the workout only lasts 20 minutes, and how hard could that be, right? I mean, I can do all sorts of things for 20 minutes: I can lift the fried chicken off of my plate and put it into my mouth, I can repeatedly mash the buttons on the TV remote, and I can also send and receive countless text messages while continually sipping an ice cold diet Coke.

You may be picking up on why the aliens seized control of my mind and convinced me to sign up for the challenge in the first place.

So this afternoon, when there was not another living soul in this house, I turned on the DVD and got ready to feel the burn. I even wore my brand new lavender leotard and hot pink leg warmers.

Oh, I kid because there was a time when I really did own a lavender leotard and hot pink leg warmers.

I will spare you all the details of my initial foray into shredding, but suffice to say that within the first five minutes of the workout I was thinking Not Nice Things about Jillian and her perky fitness compadres. It didn’t help that Anita – who was quickly becoming my new BFF since she was in charge of showing us the “modified” moves, aka The Moves For Those Of You Whose Primary Form Of Exercise Has Been Pointing Your Toes While Typing – had abs so defined that I thought at first they must surely be the creation of some subtle airbrushing, only to realize that OH, those abs are totally real, and MY WORD, they are spectacular.

However, I moved past my bitterness, soldiered through the workout (does it tell you something that I was actually relieved when it was time for the ab segments because that meant I got to LIE ON THE FLOOR?), and y’all, when those twenty minutes were over, my leg muscles were so exhausted that my very first thought was I’ll never walk normally again.

Sure enough, I spent the next forty-five minutes trying to figure out how I was going to walk without looking like some straight-from-the-boondocks contestant on America’s Next Top Model who is trying to impress Tyra with what she thinks is a fierce runway walk. The only way I could manage to keep my knees from locking up was to lift my the tops of my legs to a forty-five degree angle with my waist, then sort of kick out my leg until my foot hit the floor, and later, when Melanie and I were laughing until we cried about The Day Jillian Nearly Killed Us, I described my new walk as something along the lines of what you’d expect from a demented clydesdale. In other words: it’s very sexy and now.

So tomorrow Jillian and I will meet again, and I don’t really know what to expect since I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to move my legs at all. However, I have decided that if I am not in fact mobile, then I will track down some sort of beige marker and spend my twenty minutes watching Jillian tell me to WORK HARDER and PUNCH IT OUT while I draw ab muscles on my stomach in an attempt to replicate Anita’s rockin’ six-pack.

Certainly I am climbing to new heights of fitness!

Or at least I will be.

Just as soon as I can, you know, stand up.

Internets, We Have A Picture

So several of y’all have mentioned wanting to SEE A PICTURE OF THE AMY, ALREADY.

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photo by Kay Williams

Here’s Chris Sligh (I didn’t say a word to him, either, because CHICKEN GOES BOK BOK) and the oh-so-lovely Amy Grant at ASCAP’s Christian Music Awards.

And a couple of things occur to me as I look at this picture (a picture I did not take, by the way – ASCAP had a real-live professional photographer in attendance).

First, Amy Grant looks almost exactly like she looked twenty years ago. The only difference is that she’s even prettier now.

Second, some people navigate college and their early 20s without missing a beat in their faith. I was not one of those people. I really struggled from about 21-25. There were a few mountaintops (the memory of one retreat in particular continues to be very special to me) – but mostly lots and lots of valleys. Lots of bad choices. Lots of pretending that I had my act together when in reality I was pretty stinkin’ miserable. Lots of trying to distance myself from God because I wanted to do things my way and on my terms – not to mention that I figured He wouldn’t want to have a whole lot to do with me given ALL THE REBELLION.

Anyhoo.

Even in that not-so-sunshiney time, when I didn’t want to surrender to anything that I perceived as getting in the way of the life I thought I wanted, there were days when I’d pull out my copy of Amy Grant’s “The Collection,” and inevitably, as I listened, I would cry. And sometimes I’d wonder what in the world I’d done to the girl who loved Jesus so wholeheartedly as a teenager, and I’d wish with everything in me that things could be that simple again.

What I know now is that things could have been that simple again – I’m the one who overcomplicated them. Got distracted. Compromised. Thought I knew better. Blah blah blahtedy the early 20s are hateful blah blah blah.

What I also know now is that God never let go of me during that time. I can see Him all over the place as I look back on those years. And one way He continued to remind me who I was in Him was through Amy Grant’s music. Even as I type that I think GAH, COULD YOU SOUND A LITTLE MORE LIKE A JR. HIGH DIARY, PLEASE? – but it’s true. And so when I saw her last Monday night, I got a little emotional and teary and whathaveyou. Not because I think she’s some big shot singer person. Not because I think she’s better than the rest of us because she’s famous.

But because she was faithful to sing the music that God put on her heart, and those songs made a difference in my life, and I AM SO STINKIN’ GRATEFUL.

That is all.

Linky Interwebby Awesomeness 04.26.09

– Over at the Praise Baby blog, you can win some real-live, grown-up CDs: Casting Crowns, Third Day, etc. And all you have to do to win is to leave a comment. Head over to the Praise Baby blog to enter.

– In light of the Compassion Bloggers trip to India and all, here’s a friendly reminder that if you’re a Compassion sponsor, you can write to your sponsor child(ren) online.

– Pete’s first post from Kolkata took my breath away.