I have no major subject today. But I missed you all and had to come say hi. HI! So I'll just give you the topics rattling around me empty noggin.
I et me too much chili. (Spell check is gonna love my "type in whatever silly accent you hear in your head" mood!) After being harassed by the cute chef at my grocery store for having the audacity to call my chili "chili", I decided to go back and buy the Texas Two Step Chili in a jar and give it a whirl. I made it the Texas way - just meat. But then I rebelled. I threw in one can of black beans just as a "nyah nyah" to those two native Texans. It rocked. I can't even PRETEND to suck in my gut. (nnnnguh!)
I am one of God's premier cheerleaders for his people down here on Earth. I am the first one to encourage people to trust God and step out in faith. Step into the chasm! He'll catch you! Take the leap! He'll be there! You'll be amazed what will happen if you just take the chance and trust God! I am also one of God's premiere "Do what I say, not what I do," people. Here is a very long winded story that explains why (you were expecting brevity?):
God has been putting certain concepts, ideas and/or visions in my head for years. I remember the first time it happened, I think I was either just finishing up high school or was in my college hell. I don't recall. But home base was Connecticut with my parents and I attended their big huge Assemblies of God church. One Sunday, I was listening to the sermon and I had this picture in my head of me speaking to a similar sized crowd. Which - in that church - meant huge. In my mental scenario, I was walking up into the congregation with a microphone in my hands and talking. But it was like I was talking TO them - making eye contact and engaging as many people individually as I could. And I was very animated and excited about whatever I was talking about. I remember getting a very excited feeling in my stomach. That's about it. I did nothing with that because I'm a singer and what would a singer be doing speaking to a group? That just goes against common sense. So I told my mom about it and dismissed it.
Mom never did. But I imagine that a mom with a daughter who was on the fence about whether she should just throw all her energy into the wonderful world of smoking pot or if she should actually do something to help God get his message out there...yah, I'm thinking my little vision might have latched very deeply into her heart.
Over the years, I sang a lot. I sang in college. More than I went to classes. This might explain my negative GPA and suspension from said college. I'll have to think about it. I sang in all the wonderfully seedy nightclubs in Boston. Which explains the resulting nodules on my vocal chords. I sang in rock theater in Boston. Which explains why there is a constant movie sound track running through my head to punctuate my day. It also explains a lot more but we don't have time for that here. But singing rocked. It defined me for many people. It still does. Thankfully, it's in my nice smoke-free, letch-free, puke-free (most days) church.
Anyway, in 2005, when I started going to Trish's wonderful church, God started poking me again. I would sit there listening to pastor Dave, enthralled. But as he spoke - and I really was listening and absorbing everything - I had the weirdest experiences. I would hear other topics running through my head. Almost like things he said were triggering lecture topics in my own head. Sometimes they were related to what he was saying. But other times, they seemed totally random and nonsequitor. It was almost as if the excitement of listening to pastor Dave inspired my mind to start thinking...if *I* were a speaker, this would be an excellent topic for me to tackle and in this way! I'd start thinking of outlines for the subject. I'd start thinking of examples from my own life that could pepper the talk. I'd start hearing inflections, timing, jokes. It really was rather disconcerting.
I chalked it up to pastor Dave being such an engaging and entertaining speaker and didn't really think much about it.
Later in 2005, I moved to Texas. And my new pastor Barry was a wonderful and inspiring speaker. But totally in a different way than the frenetic pastor Dave. It's rather like comparing...well...something really fast and manic to something slow and smooth. So you can imagine my surprise when my little internal lecture series returned while listening to pastor Barry.
But these little experiences were so real and vivid, I thought, ok, what is going on here? Am I such an egomaniac that I can't even listen to someone else speak without thinking about how I'd do it...but better?! But no. That wasn't it. I'm still not sure why God is showing me that stuff periodically. But he is.
The other thing that started happening when I got here to Texas and started really throwing myself into God (as opposed to the "pressing into God" they told me to do - ha!), I started having visions, if you will, of this music project. I'd be at church listening to the worship band. Or I'd be listening to KLOVE in the car or while working. Or I'd put on an album (sorry - "CD"). Certain songs would almost stop me in my tracks. I would hear a full on arrangement with multiple voices and a full beefed up band. I would actually SEE stage productions of certain songs. I would see where everyone would be. I'd see entire light shows that accented the song and a group performance. Honestly, it makes me feel crazy sometimes.
This has been going on consistently since arriving in Texas. Which begs the question, what are these people putting in the public water system?
During my little life diversion of 2007 that I like to call, "How NOT To End A Marriage", this took a little break as I feel like God was doing some hard core one-on-one ministering. Almost every song in 2007 took on special meaning and helped heal me. I should, at some point, do a whole post on which songs dragged my butt through it all. But that's for another day.
Since the holidays, God has graced me with a strength, a peace, an excitement and a sense of anticipation. I am not sure what for. But I'm starting to think it's for this music project. Because the images in my head that accompany songs I'm hearing? They're getting to epic proportions. They were so intense on the plane to Boston, I started sketching in the back of my Sudoku book. I started sketching stage layouts for different sized venues. I started writing songs that seemed to just hit me between the eyes with these visions. I started putting together a list of the instrumentation I'm seeing.
I think that I'm supposed to be alone in 2008. And by alone, I mean, not obsessing over stupid men. Or not-stupid men. Or ANY men. I think God needs me to have some alone time to get straight with him and to do this project. And if I'm totally wrong, he'll let me know.
So yah. Sounds like I'm on the road to this great project, right? Yah. You'd think. Well, all the visions in the world won't budge me out of my nice, warm safety zone. I have a list as tall as me as to why this will never work. Why I can't possibly pull this off. And it starts with things like...oh...I HAVE NO CLUE HOW TO PUT THIS TOGETHER!!! I have a vision and a voice. That's it. And in all honesty, my visions have never had me up there singing. They have me leading the chorus.
So before the holidays, I told God, ok, after the holidays, I'll start this. Then after the holidays I'm not sure what I was waiting for. Maybe a sign. Maybe I was waiting for some random stranger to walk up and say, "God told me to give you this giant rehearsal space for free." Or something along those lines. My baked ham from heaven, Trish. As baked hams, large suitcases full of cash and free rehearsal spaces were not exactly forthcoming, I didn't do much. I kept thinking about it and "planning" in my head. Kind of like, looking over at God, pointing and winking as if saying, "Yup...I'm still on it God. Don't you worry!"
Well, I figured if I talk to enough people about it, someone will offer something that will get the ball rolling. That someone was my pal Susan up in Boston. And she offered a good swift kick in the arse. Susan is married to a phenomenal Boston drummer that went international for a while. He also co founded this killer act in Boston called Concussion Ensemble. This video doesn't capture the absolute electricity of their live performance. But it's 3 drummers across the front, a huge percussion setup across the back and two guitars & a bass snug between the whole mess. It is the most incredible live show I've ever been to!
Susan is also a singer and actress and huge comedic personality. When I told her about my vision and what I thought I wanted to pull off, she was sold. If she was some crazy rich lady, she would have funded the whole thing on the spot. She heard my excitement. She heard my passion. She could see how I want this to point to God and not me (which is a first in my singing career, I must say). And she agrees with me that this must be something God wants me to do. Then she pestered me as to why I wasn't doing this or this or this or that. Yes. A good kick in the arse, is she.
The other friend I told about this is Darcy out in Portland, Oregon. She's a producer and event planner out there who woke up one day thinking, "I'm going to start a chorus." Mind you, she's never sung in her life. But start it she did. And she pulled together an amazing array of musicians and singers. And she planned huge events for them and The Dahoo Chorus built a name for themselves. They got rather huge out there. And this from a girl who never did music in her life!
So Susan pestered me to call Darcy and revisit the idea. Which I did last night. I hung up with Darcy after receiving the benefit of her experiences (both positive and negative). And she is researching this grant that could plop $10K in my lap with which to fund God's music thing here. I had planned on just getting everyone sucked into the passion of the vision and doing it for free. That's how I operated for years in Boston. But here could be a chance to actually hire some professional help that would make this thing pretty impressive and allow for maximum impact.
I'm scared to death. That huge list of why this can never work? It's still in the back of my mind. But Darcy reminded me, God gave me a vision and a voice. All I can do is take baby steps and see where GOD takes this. It won't go anywhere by my efforts. It will go somewhere by my stepping out in faith and seeing where God takes it. But I'd much rather stay in my comfy little safety zone. Why can't I just leave big scary projects to people much more suited to tackle them? Huh?
I've asked God to start putting people in my path. Obviously he already has with Susan & Darcy. I have one email out to someone that I think could really help me pull this off. If I were doing this in Boston, I'd have the entire production already cast and I'd have choreographers & costume designers, to boot. But I'm here. And I will start by tapping the talent in my church. And then reaching out to the few tendrils I have outside of that.
And we'll see where God takes this thing. And I'll start practicing what I preach.