A Blog 20 Years in the Making

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This is what 25 years worth of one band’s music looks like

It’s official, y’all. Twenty (20!!!) years ago today, Hanson’s debut album Middle of Nowhere was released. (They’ve actually been a band for 25 years, and released two independent albums prior to 1997.) And although it wouldn’t be until a few weeks later that I heard Hanson for the first time, it seems fitting to dust off my old blog for a commemorative post on my own twenty years in this fandom.

In May 1997, I was wrapping up 8th grade, feeling both excited and anxious thinking about starting High School that fall. My friend Ellie asked if I had heard MMMBop by Hanson. I hadn’t, and so a few weeks later she brought her CD and Discman along while my mom took us to the movies. That sentence alone shows how much has changed in twenty years: I couldn’t drive, and my friend had a Discman. Let that sink in for a moment.

It’s natural for things to change, especially over such a long period of time. In twenty years, I started High School, learned to drive, started college, ditched my Discman for an iPod, moved to Nashville, held three different full-time jobs, and so much more. Even my own family has seen change: divorce and death, marriage and birth. I was on my way home from a Hanson concert the day I learned I’d be an aunt, and I was on my way to a Hanson concert when I learned that first nibling would be a niece.

There have been few consistencies over the course of two decades, and Hanson is one of those. I’m the same age as Taylor, and so in a way we have grown up together in our symbiotic relationship between band and fan. There’s a Hanson song for everything: With You In Your Dreams when my grandma passed away, These Walls when I felt stuck at terrible job, All This Love Crap because of my own smart-assery, Penny and Me for the long nights on the road, and Give a Little when I just need to dance.

Because of this band I’ve traveled 30,000 miles, showered in a truck stop, and slept on sidewalks. I’ve stood inside a whale, been to the Statue of Liberty, and I’ve walked 28 miles (barefoot) in someone else’s (lack of) shoes. But most importantly, I’ve made some of my closest friendships in alleyways and parking lots in cities where none of us live.

“The first music you really fall in love with is more than just music. It’s something that clicks in you beyond the song; it’s a message or an image that causes you to jump in and not let go.” – Taylor Hanson

hday

 

A New Chapter

I joined a small group at my church back in March of 2009. We shared our prayer requests, and mine was that I was unhappy at my job (for many reasons I won’t go into here) and I wanted something new. I didn’t mind my actual work (accounting), it was the company I had problems with. So I wanted to find something at a place where I actually cared about what the company was doing, somewhere I could feel like I was making a difference.

That was my prayer request for over three years. Over the years our group continued to grow closer together as we began to lean into each others’ stories and share our ups and downs. We’ve seen three weddings, countless trips overseas (leading to one group member’s eventual move to Ukraine next spring), and various career changes – but none my own. From me the group saw interview after rejected interview. That’s not to say there were a lot – I was picky with where I applied – but there were definitely several moments of getting my hopes up just to later be disappointed.

Three plus years is a long time to wait on job news. Granted, I was employed while waiting, which is much more than many people can say in this economy, but it was still frustrating. So that’s when God decided to show off big. I had a potential part-time gig lined up (which would be in addition to my existing full-time job) that had the potential to eventually turn full-time, so while I was waiting to hear more about that I had stopped looking for something else.

Long story short, nothing ever came of that opportunity. However, during that time of not really looking, another opportunity fell into my lap. And this is where it gets really fun… I had an interview on Wednesday. The next day, I was informed that my position at my existing job was being eliminated. By Tuesday I had officially been offered – and accepted – my new job. All that to say… after three years of waiting, just as I was finally about to quit, instead of turning in a 2-weeks’ notice, I got a 7-weeks’ severance plus two weeks of staycation before starting my new job. Incredible.

And y’all… I realize I’m only 4 weeks into the new job, but I’m loving it. I’m so happy to be there and everyone else is happy to have me there. I’m actually doing work at work (the old job was leaving me with about 10 minutes of work per day), I’m being productive, doing something I enjoy, and working for a place I love with people I care about.

Today at work, one of my friends from my small group stopped by my office. We were talking about how excited she – and all the others – are for me. And when it’s all said and done, that’s my favorite part of this story. Yes, the extra money is nice. Yes, being in the new job is wonderful. But to see how my friends and family and community are rejoicing along side of me (and how they suffered with me in the past) is beautiful. And that’s really all that matters.

(Also, I’m really excited to see where this new chapter of life leads…)

Relaxed and Ready to Go

This past weekend, my roommates and I went on a road-trip together to visit my home town and Stacy’s home town (they are only an hour apart). We had talked about doing this for several months and the timing was just right. Three of the four of us are in transition right now before moving on to new life experiences (more on this later). This was the perfect weekend of relaxing and renewal before jumping into change.

We packed up our rental car (a Prius, which was incredible on gas) and headed north when Karissa got out of work on Friday afternoon. We went to Stacy’s parents’ house first: a log cabin (Tom built it himself!) in the woods literally in the middle of a corn field. We got there late Friday night.

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The upstairs area has some bed cubbies tucked away into the wall:

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We spent Saturday morning driving through the nearby towns and Stacy showed us where she went to school and where certain friends lived. We went to an antique store and I scored a handful of books to transform into journals. Then we headed back to the cabin and rode a cub cadet through the woods.

We spent the majority of the afternoon fishing in the pond. I caught two blue gills, and much to my surprise, a turtle! Who knew they ate worms?

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On Sunday morning we got back in the car and I drove us to my mom’s house in Southwest Michigan. We visited with my mom and Grandma, grilled hamburgers and brats, then changed into our bathing suits and hit the beach. Michigan has been having a hot summer, not much cooler than Nashville. Last week, the lake was 75°. Unfortunately, a storm came through with a cold front a few days before our arrival. It was 75° outside and the lake was 62°! However, Stacy, Karissa and I still spent a good amount of time diving into the waves, while Jacquelyn chickened out and napped on the beach.

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30 before 30 update: discover my story and write it down

this is actually something i’ve been wanting to do for a long time. i wrote about it before, in several posts (here, here, here, and here), about how i was trying to figure out what exactly my story is.

well. it’s two years later. and i found it. and i wrote it out. and i shared it with the swamp tigers. (my community group. feel free to be jealous of our name.) i’m not going to write it all out here on my blog, because it’s not something that i feel needs to be shared with the world wide web. but if you know me, and you ask, i’ll probably tell you. there’s nothing to really be ashamed of from my story, but i stories are not something to be taken lightly.

so. i’m crossing this off the list.

30 before 30 update: shoot a real gun

as part of my 29th birthday celebration, my friends stacy, suzanne, and chad accompanied me to gun city, usa. the place was every bit as shady as the name. we rented a 38 revolver and a 9mm automatic. i wasn’t a fan of the automatic at all (i only shot two bullets from it), but i did shoot a few rounds out of the revolver and finally started to feel comfortable with it. i don’t plan to ever own a gun, but i figured it was something i should experience and be familiar with.

enjoy the following pictures.