Filed under: Activate, Culture, Faith and Faith Life, Home Life, Politics, Random, Running, Uncategorized
I am woefully aware this morning that I have recently been, uh, negligent as regards daily quiet time to breathe in Scripture and live it out.
Not that I’ve been totally dismissive of spiritual food… I mean, we attend church (most weeks). I download the sermon podcasts from weeks we miss, and faithfully listen while running. I engage in many theological and spiritual discussions throughout the week.
And I swear, I really do love Jesus!
But I am negligent, none the less.
Case in point, number one: Last night, my Facebooking was interrupted by a message from a dear friend encouraging me to read, soak in, and be encouraged by Psalm 107.
So I googled ‘Psalm 107,’ was redirected to BibleGateway.com, and, upon seeing how dreadedly long that stupid Psalm is, I skimmed it, thought to myself, “awww…,” and immediately returned to scouring my Facebook feed for offensive political posts to which I could respond with appropriate self-righteous anger and dismay.
Case in point, number two: Late last week, I was invited by email to join a “Scripture Encouragement Exchange.” It’s like one of those book exchanges where you invite six people, and each of you sends a book to the person at the top of the list (and that person ends up with like 300 books), and then you add your name to the number two slot and forward it on.
Only with this, it’s as simple as sending an encouraging verse to a stranger.
Guess who’s procrastinating, because she “just can’t think of six people to invite.”
I know, I know.
Please line up to punch me in the face. One at a time.
And then, once you’ve punched me, please help:
Send me your suggestions for a good, in depth daily devotional or study of some sort. Your favorite devotional…or Bible Reading guide…whatever.
And keep me accountable.
Because I firmly believe and trust that, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:10-11)
But I’ve got to let Him plant the seeds and water them if I’m to enjoy any growth…
I’m not precisely sure how I tumbled into what is an increasingly surreal current existence, but yes: That IS me, Amy Courts…with my two idols-if-I’m-allowed-to-have-idols, Jennifer Knapp and Derek Webb, and Isaac & Taylor Hanson of Hanson (think ‘MmmBop’) fameage. Where AM I?
Lenny: “How did we get here!?”
Guy: “I led you here. For I am Spartacus.”
It’s when I’m least expecting
These memories do their worst
History spins me round until
I’m dizzy, drowning in old hurt
I try to seal them off
Imprison them by hope
Turn back to where I’m headed now
Leave them bound, tied, roped
Still, always, they untangle
And come after me again
Teasing, haunting, laughing, taunting
Tearing from within
And yet, I press still onward
Determined if distraught
Leaning on a future
Trusting all history has taught
Perhaps I’ll never lose for good
These stinging memories
But learn to sift and from them pull
All worth remembering
I got this from a few friends on facebook and decided it’d be a fun, if random, way to waste 10 minutes. I’ll post the answers in a few days…Til then, guess away!
Here’s the set-up:
Step 1: Put your music player on shuffle.
Step 2: Post the first line from the first 22 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing.
Step 3: Strike through the songs when someone guesses both artist and track correctly.
Step 4: For those reading this, looking the lyrics up on a search engine is CHEATING!
Step 5: If you like the game, post your own!
1. Where the road is dark and the seed is sowed
2. Oh refuge of my hardened heart
3. Oh my love, can’t you see
4. Yeah, I’m flat-busted, wild-eyed and free
5. All alone we go on day after day
6. Please don’t hate me mama
7. Complications, my claim to fame
8. My moon, my man’s a changeable land
9. It’s hard to say what you mean to me
10. Barakthi Lemakom Akher Kol Kah Maher
11. Well my soul checked out missing as I sat listening
12. Certainly I wish it, know I wanna hold your digits
13. Summer stretching on the grass
14. Some sunny day, Baby, when everything seems ok Baby…
15. There’ll be girls across the nation that’ll eat this up
16. You gotta help me out
17. Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night
18. No regrets, coyote
19. If to distance lands I scatter
20. I will not make the same mistakes that you did
21. I’m sitting here alone within my room
22. I took my bucket down to the well
Have at it, folks!
I saw this on Alli Rogers’ blog and decided it’s a great way to put off making phone calls for just a *bit* longer…
If I were 7 again I would….
Not pinch my friends’ butts.
If their were an extra hour in the day…
I would probably find a way to procrastinate it into uselessness..
my junk food indulgence of choice is…
Jalepeno cheetos and skittles
the color yellow makes me think of…
Little Miss Sunshine
the most used item in my kitchen is…
The coffee maker.
Now, YOU go!
Filed under: Culture, Faith and Faith Life, Home Life, Music, Politics, Random | Tags: blog, christian music, computers, Faith, iMac, Music, pc, Politics, powerbook, sacred, secular, technology, youcanknowgod
I’ve got a cold, so this may be random. But hey, what can you do with a cloudy braid but write a blog about everything?
I just read a blog entitled “The Music Debate” about the place of “secular” music in the church. Interesting. It got me thinking about the calling card of so many mid-90’s bands: “We’re not a ‘christian’ band; we’re christians IN a band.” I remember MXPX going on about it – mostly cause they were being hounded by Christians who didn’t appreciate their not-all-about-God music. I guess I didn’t really have a problem with it. What I had a problem with were the people who said, “I’m a musician who happens to be a Christian.” Cause that’s backward, to me.
Here’s why: Whatever I am, and whatever I do, I am identified by and with Christ. His blood runs in my veins; His DNA is imprinted on my genes; His priorities are my priorities, His values are my values; His new law of love and service and self-sacrifice are written on my heart. God is growing Christ in me to make me who I really am. At my very core, by definition, I belong to Christ and am identified as His.
So really, my faith is not just another part of who I am. It is the filter through which every other identifying factor is sifted. My belief system is a product of my faith. My politics are a product of my faith. My songs are all tempered – or salted, as it were – by my faith. The way I relate to people is filtered by Him who lives at my center. Indeed, whether I’m singing about my husband, hurting because of a broken relationship, angry about work, or overjoyed by an opportunity, I am doing so as a Believer, just as I’m doing so as a ‘Courts.’ Just as my family DNA has an effect on everything I do and say, so does Christ’s. It’s who I am…not just what I’m about.
So, in the end, I’m not an artist who happens to be a Christian. I am a Christian who happens to be an artist, a wife, a friend, a sister, a dog owner, a writer, a thinker. Whatever I am is primarily identified by Christ in me.
It’s just an interesting thread to follow.
Here’s another thread to follow: I’m a little bit obsessed with ebay and craigslist right now. Since our desktop PC crashed and now lives, unplugged and utterly useless, in our closet, I have been scouring tax-free sales lists for sweet deals on iMacs. Indeed, when I decided to buy my first laptop two years ago, I bought an Apple iBook G3 which solidified my committment to Macs. Then, when its screen started acting funny, I bought my second mac, a PowerBook G4 which I’ve upgraded to the max (it runs on Leopard with a 1.5gHz processor – the best of its kind – and at 1.25gb, is maxed out Ram) and am currently typing on. I love it. It’s given me some trouble for sure – not two months after I bought it, I had to get a new hard drive and dc-in…but I blame that entirely on an evil ebay seller who neglected to tell me the facts about the machine. Still, it’s a dream.
And so, as I peruse the cybersales looking for an iMac desktop, I inevitably get sidetracked by the oh-so-cheap $85 350gb external hard drive, and the $400 Dell gaming pc which Paul would love, Love, LOVE but about which I’m understandably wary, since our now-dead PC was a dream machine when we bought it, but which failed to make it through one itty bitty viral attack. So while I like the “cheap” factor, I hate the “PC” factor.
The worst part about our PC dying is the fact that I cannot access our 10gb of iTunes music, and can’t transfer what’s currently on the iPod to my de-lovely powerbook. Why? Because my iPod is formatted for PC, not mac, and because apple is totally anal about people not sharing music. So I’ve spent the last few sick days importing all our CDs onto my powerbook. I’m currently importing Fleetwood Mac’s “Say You Will.” Good music, for sure.
I think that’s all I’ve got for right now.
Except one more thing: I really can’t wait for next Wednesday when voting will be over, the campaigns done, and we won’t have to listen to any more drivel from either side. At this point, I don’t really care who wins; I just want to get on with life.
Can I get an AMEN!
Welcome to my new blog, friends! I’ve had a good run over at myspace, but since everyone seems to be migrating away, I figured it was time to migrate to a central location accessible without your own profile and password.
So here we are.
I just returned from a weekend (plus) in Pennsylvania, playing shows at Burlap & Bean in Newtown Square and Alive ’08 at First Pres of Bethlehem. Despite two long and exhausting days of flying there and back, it was a good time. I met some really fantastic people at both shows and was graciously welcomed by Amy Sondova into her home where she sacrificed her bedroom for me for the five night stay.
I went for a 5 mile run along a path so beautiful I was inclined to partitian a space of my own, build a hut, and live out the rest of my days along the river. This, while listening to the very best ladies (and a few males) music has to offer these days, including (but not limited to) Leigh Nash, Jonatha Brooke, Sandra McCracken, Brooke Fraser, The Dixie Chicks (yes, the Dixie Chicks), Ray Lamontagne (not a girl, but one of those aforementioned males), and David Gray (another male). Suffice it to say, that run was most enlightening.
I also enjoyed one of the best skinny vanilla latte’s I’ve had in a while and in one of the most definitively unique cups. So unique was this cup that I actually purchased it. Well, scratch that. There was no trading of cash-for-cup involved. It was, in fact, bartered for. So while I returned home with a hand spun and hand painted coffee cup, the folks at Burlap & Bean got two Amy Courts cds. Fair trade, I’d say.
What’s even better is the simple fact that all the coffee they sell and make is 100% organic, free trade. Starbucks who?
Saturday, I had a whopping load of fun at First Pres’s Alive ’08 and got to see a great band – SHIROCK – for the first time since meeting them nearly five years ago. And let me say, the wait was long but so satisfying was the sound!
What I didn’t mention was that, for a while there on Saturday, I was feeling a bit gloomy. It’s hard to give your all and wait for the response that doesn’t come. Maybe it was the venue? The setting – outdoors on a huge, meant-for-bands stage? Or the size of the crowd (or lack of). Either way, it was tempered by some really encouraging and spiritually engaging conversations with Catherine, le wife of the guy who booked me. As always, it was delightful to compare the marriage relationship to the God-human relationship. We both agreed that while we often long for the sweetness, the newness, the all-consuming mystery of a new relationship and the inevitable wonder at each new thing learned, we wouldn’t trade the depth and clarity the time-tested relationship affords. I left full of hope, reminded that many are the wonders God has stored for me and my husband in our work and daily lives. Many are the unknown and unaffected dreams He’s weaving right now. And many are the joys we’ll share as we explore and flesh them out together.
So Sunday was icing on a sweet cake for me. I was honored to sing “Find Me in the River” with Brently during the morning’s services and share a song of my own – “In You” – and was so overwhelmed with the response I felt affirmed for a month. Ha! But in all seriousness, there is something about leading worship that settles my spirit and calms every fear. Maybe it’s the fact of going from selling myself – and fearing the product isn’t worth the price – to simply proclaiming Christ and speaking His truth. When there is nothing and no one to sell, and when the glorified Being is so purely worthy, the anxiety spills out and gratefulness overflows.
Which leads me to…
I’m not sure it’s a calling or simply a confirmation of what I’ve always known to be true. But my passion and desire to escape from performance mode and spend my artist days leading worship is continually growing. And while I know that my originals are a source of strength and hope and comfort for many, the stress and draining nature of the work is often overpowering. It’s an escape, a respite, to lead believers in worship. Perhaps it’s an avenue to explore and develop more deliberately. I know the charge, the filling I receive from the Spirit while leading others to His throne is enough to energize me til the next go round. There’s life in worship, where all else is life-draining. It’s humbling and inspiring, even empowering, to fall so completely out of yourself in the effort to lift Him up.
So back here at home, I’m plunging head-first into booking the winter and spring tours, hoping and praying I’ll get some good opportunities to perform concerts and lead worship.
Til I see you on the road, stay tuned. More to come, surely.