Thursday, March 4, 2010
One of my favorite things is to have a sweet little gal come up to me after a family presentation with a smile, a gleam in her eyes and a gift in her hands that is so special...an original work of art! Man, this just tugs at my heart like nothing else. These are the priceless, unexpected rewards of our work! I hope these young, bright and gifted artists will never shy away from the drawing pencil or the colored crayon and even if their journey and passion leads them to a different form of vocation, I hope they will always know that they are co-creators, and any work they do, any hobby they pursue, they can be conduits of genuine beauty and life to all in their world. Thanks to fans of all ages for giving encouragement and support!
Monday, March 1, 2010
After a "grace" was said and sausage was served, I began to play songs that I could have only hoped would connect with an audience I've never shared life with in any other capacity. They welcomed me warmly, though, and seemed excited, surprised and even valued to have an artist come 2,000 miles from Minneapolis to share a gift of song with them. They clapped, smiled, gave thumbs up in appreciation. I was told they don't always do this.
They sang along between bites of pancake and toothless gums to traditional tunes Down by the Riverside and Amazing Grace. A woman who suffers from mental illness stood on the periphery with a beaming smile, eyes closed, head slightly tilted to the side, swaying back and forth to the rhythms. She seemed soothed and thoroughly delighted.
A wooden box nearby was for their quarters, dimes, pennies. None of the collection goes back to paying for the Prodigal's Home maple syrup, coffee or eggs. Last year, this community of men and women with little or no jobs and possibly no safe or comfortable place to lay their heads at night, collectively gave $5,000 for a cause entirely beyond themselves in Belarus. When the announcement about this was being made, they were on the edge of their seats and they clapped and cheered. We saw the dignity, hope, a sense of purpose and a sense that ALL can make a difference in our world.
In this time where some of the most unlikely dining companions all had a place of honor at the table, where songs were sung, mutual service and love where shared, I felt like I saw the sunrise again in the tired, worn eyes that surrounded me and I felt it rise among us from deep within our hearts.
Wednesday and Thursday ~ Set out from Minneapolis and drove for 2 days....
FRIDAY (Jan. 29th)~ Arrived in beautiful Boulder Friday afternoon. I was SO grateful that our host lived right by a jog/walk path along the creek under the Rocky Mountains! I immediately went for a brisk walk and jog to get the blood flowing in my body again.
Friday night "House Concert" on the Colorado University Campus with all kinds of unexpected folks who saw a post about the show on a local arts listing ~ "Anna's List". We streamed the concert LIVE over Ustream and I received a really cool note from a gal who was watching from MN. I was humbled by how so deeply moved she was across the miles.
SATURDAY night in Littleton, CO doing a benefit concert for Haiti with The EDGE Colorado Community. And SUNDAY morning worship that weekend as well. Heatherlyn presented a couple songs and also lead in singing together. It was beautiful to see this community care about the issues facing children and all people of world and respond with lives of compassion.
Our gracious hosts introduced us to a fantastic India restaurant called Yak and Yetti! Incredibly enjoyable!
SUNDAY NIGHT - back to the CU campus for the Wesley House evening of worship led by students.
MON - WED (Feb. 1-3) ~ networking, meetings with folks in area, ground work for the next trip to CO and resting to recover from a bad cold. Jason hung out with our very cool host and did some brainstorming/consulting with him on continuing to grow in making the Wesley House a place of wide welcome and community building as well as communicating effectively with students on campus.
THURS & FRI ~ Driving...driving...driving...through Colorado to New Mexico where we had the worst and most hilarious hotel experience of our lives! Then onto Phoenix where the sun shines bright!
We met our gracious host who offered us fresh oranges from his backyard and fresh grapefruit from his neighbor's trees. It was the most amazing citrus I've EVER had...so fresh and sweet! You would think it would've kicked my cold!
SATURDAY, FEB 6th - connected with Jose, the Pastor at Alleluia Lutheran community and tried to find a cheap clinic. I was getting pressure in my ear...
SUNDAY, FEB 7th ~ All morning with the good people of Alleluia Lutheran in Avondale, AZ. I shared some original songs and led singing with my guitar - some traditional liturgical pieces that were new to me. I actually had to work pretty hard to keep up with the very energetic pace of this vibrant, welcoming community!
Sunday afternoon and Monday ~ I totally tanked. Once the servives were over, my voice began to go as I talked with people at the CD table...cold was turning into sinus infection...so I watched old episodes of WKRP Cincinnati on hulu.com, slept, took copious amounts of ibuprophen and "neti-potted" the heck out of my sinues.
TUESDAY ~ finally went to a decent clinic for a diagnosis because I was afraid I might be getting an ear infection...got meds, slept more.
WEDNESDAY, FEB 10th ~ We spent time with the Jr. and Sr. high students and their parents at New Covenant Lutheran in Scottsdale, AZ (completely the other side of Phoenix). These young people were so cool. I enjoyed getting to know them just a bit, sharing that time with them and feeling the love in return. They were great and I could tell they had fun and their brains were working too!
THURSDAY ~ for me...practice, practice, practice, writing, emailing...Jason worked with the Youth and Family Director of New Covenant to reset the Sanctuary space to facilitate an even more communal experience. It was really cool and well received by all who came that weekend. Jason's really good at this stuff and making it happen!
FRIDAY, FEB 12th ~
...coffee with another new friend and partner in the work of hopeacequity...
...THEN buzzed over to Avondale to sing unplugged, playing guitar in the center aisle between two sides of the room at Alleluia's Valentine Dinner... so fun! Home with You, choose-you-own-adventure style and Dreams, which we sang all together and then each to a spouse, friend, child...During Home with You a little boy walked up beside me and I bent down and sang "I'd be at home with you, Baby, yeah..." to him...it was one of the most adorable moments I've ever had in the middle of a song!
...THEN we went back to Glendale for a house concert in the beautiful home of our host at the foothills of the Arrowhead Mountain Range.
SATURDAY, FEB 13th ~ This day deserves a post all it's own. Check out: Prodigal's Home ~ The Sunrise on Saturday, Valentine's Eve.
SUN, FEB 14th (Valentine's Day) ~ New Covenant Lutheran in Scottsdale, AZ...led some old hymns with a rockin' rhythm guitar, presented Invitation to the Unlikely through tears after Todd talked about how and why he and his wife, Andria, are moving to work in an orphanage in Rwanda.
That evening, Jason and I went for a little hike up a small mountain and watched the sunset...cost us nothing and was one of our sweetest Valentine's Days. We were together, away from home, but at home with each other doing what we love.
Monday ~ One more day in Phoenix. Recovering from the wonderful but exhausting weekend...visiting more with new friends...packing up.
Tuesday ~ Driving...through Arizona to New Mexico...this time we didn't have to stay in a crummy hotel...the cousin of a friend of ours in Phoenix wasn't even home and she didn't even know us but she had two of her friends meet us and welcome us into her Albuquerque home where we simply stayed for the night...comfortable in a home with a sweet kitty named, Kia. We are so grateful for the hospitality and support of our hosts!
Wednesday ~ we arrived in Evergreen, CO (about 9,000 feet altitude) where we got to reconnect with a family we knew years ago in Minneapolis. Their son is now a young man, 15 in high school and their little girl, who we met as a baby when they brought her home from Russia, is bright-eyed and an aspiring young author! She thought my dreads were "REALLY, SO cool" and she even read to me a bit of her latest story. ;o)
We were going to head out Thursday morning, but decided to stay one more day in the beautiful snowy mountains covered in tall evergreens and I decided to contribute to the local mic night at the Ice House in down town Evergreen. We streamed it live for fun and got to meet some more people who lived there. They were excited about the possibility of a return visit someday and gave us some great ideas for future venues to book a show!
We drove ALL day Friday and into the early morning Saturday to get home where the story continues....