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.

ASCAP Christian Music Awards – Part Two

So remember yesterday how I told you that last year at the ASCAP Awards I was really, big-time, super chicken about meeting Louie Giglio and when I finally talked to him it was like I turned into a spastic cannon and I couldn’t make the words stop shooting out of my mouth?

Remember that?

Well, yesterday when I walked in to the place where they were having the awards, Sister’s co-worker Dan (he is ASCAP’s Christian music guy, and he is also hilarious) said that he thought it might be fun for me to sit at a table with some of the guests instead of sitting in the back of the room and hiding behind a computer. I told him NO, NO, BEHIND THE COMPUTER IS FINE, THANK YOU, and he said, “Well, the point of this whole night is fun, and I want you to have fun!”

Dan had apparently forgotten that my usual brand of fun is a bucket of chicken from Popeye’s (all white, extra spicy), a 12-pack of ice-cold diet Coke and an all-day marathon of “The Real Housewives of New York City.”

Anyway, Dan went on to say that the whole dinner thing would be an absolute blast and oh, by the way, I was going to be sitting at a table with, among other people, Shelley and Louie Giglio.

And then the room was suddenly filled with so much irony that it flipped over and started to spin and everything went black and I fainted.

Now. Before I go even one step further with this little tale, I want to be clear that I really don’t put people on pedestals (except I probably do put Amy’s hair on a pedestal. And Christy Nockels’. I think it’s because THEIR HAIR BELONGS THERE). My issue at pretty much any large social gathering is that I stink at small talk, and I haaaaaaaaaate situations where people might feel like they’re forced to talk to me. You compound the forced conversation with the fact I’m at an awards dinner and at some point in the evening I’ve got to explain to the other people what in the sam hill I’m doing there since I don’t sing or write music or, you know, work in the music industry, and that means that I have to tell them that I have a blog, and inevitably people ask what I blog about, and usually the best answer I can think of is, “Um. I don’t know. Bacon? Cheese? The Bachelor? My hair?”

It all just reeks of awkward.

So.

After Dan told me about The Table I went downstairs to change clothes and tried to figure out how I was going to make small talk and Twitter and take pictures and blog and whathaveyou while trying to be a polite dinner companion. The more I thought about it the more nervous I got and I am not even kidding when I tell you that I got so worked up that I started digging through my bag to see if I could find anything remotely resembling a nerve pill because MAMA WAS FEELING A LITTLE ANXIOUS.

When I walked back upstairs I looked at my phone and saw that I’d missed a call from our friend Travis, so I called him back and told him that I was dealing with a tricky situation because Dan had put me at a table with Louie Giglio and Some Other People and I was a nervous wreck and had gotten myself completely worked up and what, what should I do, WHAT?

Travis told me that MAYBE I SHOULD PRAY (point well taken) and then: “Oh, it’ll be fine.”

“But you know how I ramble when I’m nervous. I’m terrified of an awkward silence and I just talk and talk and talk and talk to fill up all the empty conversational spaces.”

“Well, that’s true,” he said. “You’d better watch it or you’ll just talk and talk and then it might get quiet and then before you know it you’ll start saying LAMININ LAMININ LAMININ LAMININ LAMININ and you won’t be able to stop.”

“EXACTLY.”

“Just please don’t say ‘laminin‘ over and over.”

“I won’t. I WON’T.”

LAMININ LAMININ LAMININ LAMININ.”

As it turned out, I was totally safe dinner-wise, because Sister, Dan and I decided that it really might come across as rude if I was sitting at a table and pretty much typing or texting the entire time. So instead I stood in a doorway to the side of the stage, and it was delightful because in addition to being able to take pictures and run back and forth to the computer, I was able to look at Amy Grant’s hair almost the entire time.

I know I’ve mentioned it before, but her hair is spectacular.

The awards really were a ton of fun – I love being in settings like that where people are super-supportive and appreciative of each other – and I even got to talk to a couple of sweet bloggy friends who were there, too (hey, Liz! hey, Amy!). I had the best time.

Once everything was over I started gathering up all my stuff, and I was just about to leave when I noticed Sister talking to someone who was holding a bunch of awards. And when I moved a little closer, I realized she was talking to none other than Louie Giglio. So I did what you would absolutely expect me to do: I took their picture.

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After the picture we said our goodbyes, and y’all, as Louie was walking away something came over me and it was like I couldn’t help myself and my mouth opened up and this is what shot out of it:

“LAMININ!”

And in that moment I felt like a complete goober, but I also felt like I’d had a bit of a victory because I didn’t say the word over and over – I only said it one time. Just once!

But do you know what’s even better? After I said it, Louie Giglio turned around, grinned and fired right back:

“LAMININ!”

And that is the story of how the laminin made my whole night.

Well, the laminin and, you know, Amy’s hair.

ASCAP Christian Music Awards – Part One

Okay – this ASCAP Christian Music shindig just got up and running, but I have some very, very important information to share with all you girls who are children of the 80s and early 90s:

AMY GRANT IS HERE.

And she looks fabulous.

I am trying so hard to get a picture on the sly – you can’t even imagine. But I’m trying to keep a respectful distance because, like I just told Sister, if I get too close to her I am likely to start serenading her with every single song from “The Collection.” As it stands I can’t get “In A Little While” out of my head, so I’m afeared that if I get too close to her I’m going to break out my monotone version of “Stay For Awhile.” It is sure to send her running for the closest exit.

Also, Sister just handed me a menu card so I could tell you about salad course: roasted tomato tart (I thought it was a biscuit, but I’m from Mississippi so that figures) with caramelized burgundy onions, goat cheese parfait (I thought it was mozzarella because my palate is very sophisticated) and baby greens in basil oil.

deliciousness

I could eat nine of them.

In case you were wondering.

I-65 Is My Second Home

So this afternoon I’m headed to Nashville to people-watch and eat dinner and blog about the ASCAP Christian Music Awards. I did this very thing last year and had a ball despite the fact that I’m incredibly awkward socially, but I have to say that getting to hide behind my computer helped me relax a little bit.

For the record, I don’t think I’ve ever written a nerdier sentence than that last one.

This trip to Nashville is going to be super-quick because the awards are tonight and then I have to drive home earrrrrrly tomorrow morning, but I am happily heading up I-65 because I’ll get to see Sister (she works for ASCAP, hence the bloggy gig) and I’ll get to see sweet friends, too. It’s sure to be a delightful time because I’ll spend the majority of the evening looking at Sister and saying, “I don’t want to bug anybody. I don’t want to bug anybody!” And she’ll say, “It’s fine. It’s FINE!” But hello, I am the same girl who last year was absolutely terrified to ask Louie Giglio if I could please pretty please have my picture made with him, so my solution was to just take a picture of him and his wife and my friend Carrie because that is where I am comfortable, people: behind a camera. As far behind the scenes as I can get. Preferably sitting at a computer. While wearing my handy of cloak of invisibility.

Anyway. What was I talking about? Corn? “The Hills”? Whether or not Jack Bauer will find an antidote for the toxins that are surging through his blood stream?

Okay. Yes. A point. I really did have one.

One thing I wished I’d done differently last year was to have a few questions that I could’ve asked people if I hadn’t been so worried about bugging them (I did eventually speak to Louie Giglio, by the way, and I rambled so much that I would not be at all surprised to learn that the phrase “Mamaw’s peas” came out of my mouth). I think having some questions might help keep me focused, and at the very least I can write the questions down on a piece of paper and then fold the piece of paper into some sort of origami-ish bird and then ask Sister to please deliver the piece of paper to Insert-Person-Here while I continue to hide behind my computer, oh thank you.

So, internets: do you have any questions for the Christian music people? I’m not exactly sure who will be at the awards tonight, but Sister sent me a copy of the press release, and if the people listed on the press release are in fact there, you can rest assured that I will be at THE VERY HEIGHT OF AWKWARD.

Any general questions? Thoughts? Suggestions? Mild sedatives?

Thank you and have a lovely afternoon.