Tuesday, October 08, 2013

The Artist Next Door: Hannah Anderson - Part I

     "For some time now, I've wanted to share these people with you in great detail and splendor. I wanted to honor their struggle, their process, their manifested dreams coming true, and those dreams that they are still contending for. I wanted you to understand how I've been shaped as a person, because of their presence in my life.

     The people that I will feature each month in this on-going series, titled, "The Artist Next Door", will highlight these extraordinary people, and will give you a sneak peak into their world, the behind the scenes of people you may have heard of, or may not have. Often I'll split my interviews with these artists into 2 parts, just for the simple fact that I like to build anticipation.

      With that said, I can guarantee--you can do anything but forget these stories or these artists after meeting them. And I'm pretty positive they'll stir something in you. Something perhaps you didn't know was still there."

     I first met this gem of a human being about 2 years ago. I was first struck by her unique beauty. She is absolutely stunning. An unconventional and exquisite knockout. I mean. --Look.At.Her.

     And then someone said in passing..."She sings..."

     Well that's my cue. I need to hear her sing. It's a must.

     Everyone has a song to sing, but singers, well, they move me. Musicians move me in general. I think its something in my blood. Bio-dad (that's another blog post altogether) and brother and uncles are all musicians. And the way in which I respond to music, well, let's just say that it compels me.

     I was curious to find out what type of sound would come out of this bold beauty named Hannah Anderson.

     It was astounding to me that she never mentioned she sang, but instead, it was someone else speaking her praises.

     When someone toots their own horn about being a profound singer or a musician, sometimes I get leery of their own hype and praise, but when someone else with nothing to gain, sings their praises unbeknownst to the artist in question, 9 times out of 10, the artists turns out to be an unexpected comet of glory.

     And so goes the story with Hannah Anderson.

     I want you to discover for yourself the sweetness of her voice and music. If you haven't noticed, for all of 2013 I've had her song "Stronger" on the far right column as one of my "Jamz of 2013".

     Something about her music makes me proud to be a woman: Alive, tender, and fiery.

     It is an absolute pleasure to introduce you to her. She is an artist that we will continue to visit with in the months and years to come. I simply love seeing how artists evolve over time. Their music, their life, their message.

     And now, without further ado...

Hannah Anderson

Give us 3 words to describe your music.

     Thoughtful. Good. Fresh.

This is sort of a 2 in 1, but what do you see as your greatest strength and what do you see as your greatest weakness?

     I feel like my greatest strength is that I’m really good at starting things. My greatest weakness is I’ll either quit or take forever to finish anything. So I have many, many projects that I’m in the process of, or I just haven’t and probably won’t finish. Which is real bad.

What was the driving force behind your latest EP, "From the Dust"?

     Well, definitely the fact that I love music. A lot of the songs in my EP deal with heartbreak and I think that was also a driving force. It’s one thing to play music as a hobby and then it’s another to actually make it something that you do as a career, something that you’re really serious about, and have a heart for. I think this, for me was like my way of stating that, 'Yes, this is what I want to do.'

     I have a lot of doubts about my music and just showing my own music to people. So this for me was kind of a big risk!

What do you want listeners to take from your songs?

     I always want listeners to take a sense of hope from my music. 

     All of my music usually comes from a place of when I'm either way up or extremely down. When you’re on top of the world you have all of the hope in the world and when you’re down it’s always good to be, or to try to be, hopeful. I think that’s one of the main things. That’s really important to me.

Why music?...

     Why not music? Literally, when I don’t play music I’m not the same person. I don’t know what it is about music... Maybe the fact that, for me, it says more than anything I could ever just speak. Not only that, but it reaches people on a different level than just speaking to them would. You can communicate with someone who doesn’t even speak the same language. It’s just good and it makes me feel good.


To find more info on Hannah Anderson:

Friday, October 04, 2013

S. R. L.


      I've been thinking about you.

     Wondering what it is that keeps drawing you back to my writings. I mean, this has been a bit of a self indulgent journey so far. But I've realized more so today, more than ever that I have a tribe. You're my tribe. You get me. And I get you.

     They don't know me like you do.

     I don't know what kind of day you had today. Was it mediocre? The same as yesterday. Or are you in that ever-so-common place of simply waiting for something, anything to happen.

     A moment to shake up all moments, to simply remind yourself that you are alive.

     But I discovered something today.

     You and I.

     We are alive.

     Life is happening now.

Photo Credit: Adria Elena



     No one can escape life without it. It can be a life long season (Please Jesus...No....), or just a season to occupy your adolescence, or perhaps your latter years. But no one, no one can escape the grip of singlehood. At some point, you and yourself have to face things, wrestle things out on your own, bring your lonely and timid heart to God without fanfare without prodding. Everyone gets their chance. I don't want you to be scared. Don't be scared of the pain. You'll make it through to the other side, I promise.

     I promise. There's riches to be had, even in this stage of life.

     In this blog, you've been let in on some of my biggest secrets and have walked with me in my semi-long journey of singleness in all its messiness, confusion, pain, and beauty. We've cried and laughed our way into Wisdom's arms, many, many times.

     True, my journey might not look like yours, but I know that we share similar themes.

     I once thought I was writing this blog strictly to a group of girls in their mid 20s to mid 40s. But I was grossly mistaken.

     The feedback I now get from my blog comes from men and women alike, ranging in ages from 17-65.

     And what is the common thread here? Obstacles and learning how to overcome? Yes, partly.  But even more intimately so: We all know the shape of our own faces, the contour of our lips, the width of our necks, the placement of our ears, yet we still need a mirror in order to properly see who we really are and look like to the rest of the world.

    Yes. A mirror.

     And that is what I hope we both achieve in the presence of this blog and the writings that we exchange.

     That we would rightly see. That we would rightly know who we really are, above the lies, above the mediocrity of our circumstance, above the ridicule of others and our own minds.

     I once used to be ashamed of my singleness. Like it was leprosy. While those all around me engaged in adventurous romances which seemed to be non-existent or transient for me. I've been in countless weddings, cried at Hallmark commercials, accomplished major life goals, all while wanting the arms of my man around me. But I realize now, with such confidence, that I am not alone. I'm not the only one who has walked this path.

     And I decided through the creation of this blog, that I, in no way would sit waiting for my life to begin. My life is truly happening now. And it is vibrant, more hopeful, more cherished than it's ever been. I couldn't imagine living any other way at this point in my life.

     I can't believe I just wrote that. I mean--

     Especially because last year this time, I was crying in my mother's arms, as I could barely speak my heart's longings for my future husband boo.

    Nevertheless. God.

     There's no way at this point in my life that you could convince me that He is not real, that He is not Kind, Faithful, and Ever Present. He has been all of those things and more to me. My entire life. And yours.

      And as I continue to explore this mystery of Singlehood, I'm finding purpose and unexpected doors of blessing and love opening my way and beckoning me to walk through. I know the same will be for you.

      Regardless if you are married, dating, or single, I address this theme, this state of Singlehood in the significant and weighty way of how we are all single and naked before an all knowing and seeing God. And that we have a responsibility to love, to love others, to love ourselves and to manage our own emotions, your own personhood with Wisdom-- to see yourself and your circumstances rightly, through the lens of not just my own experiences, but through the lens of a deeply profound and loving God.

Photo Credit: Tyler Ward




     I'm about it.

    And if you aren't, you've most likely been burned...burned very bad in a past relationship. Or your home life growing up absolutely sucked. I'm just being real.

     People that tell me that they never want to get married or be in a relationship, basically tell me, I'm too afraid to make myself vulnerable because I know the pain that can happen, if somebody does you dirty. I don't want to take that risk. I never want to hurt like that ever, ever, ever again...or at all.


     But fear will always be the lesser of noble choices. In fact, agreeing with fear is never a noble choice at all. Instead....well, you already know...You should agree with Love.

     When I think of Love, I think of how little kids play.

     Stick a little kid in their own backyard or a park and they can begin to create thousands of worlds of make-believe, and the most mundane thing becomes major miracles in their worlds. Their eyes are always full of awe and wonder.

     We were never meant to lose that.

     Romance is not simply being wooed, but seeing with eyes of awe and wonder. Recognizing the beauty of breathing, having eyes to see sunlight, enjoying the decadent taste of your favorite food.

     To choose love is difficult.

     To keep choosing love after you've been hurt is harder.

     But I ask you further still.

     Choose the risk.



     I'm a firm believer that we were never meant to go and live life alone. But rather, connected to other human beings.

     In addition to that:

     You were made for romance. 

     For real.

     Let that sink in.

     Yes, I may be practically a spinster, but I definitely gots romance in my life. Ya heard. I'm learning more and more about how to get excited about the little things and to appreciate everything. I allow myself to get excited about little stupid things like chocolate (I take that back, chocolate is NOT stupid.) and vanilla wafers waaaaaay to much. I also allow people to love me.

     Someone who fights romance in their life at all costs will be defensive. Believe me. I know.

     But when you allow yourself to be loved, even just through kind acts, a smile from a cashier, a helping hand with your luggage on the subway, or sincere eye contact from a friend, awe and wonder are returning to your heart.

     I also allow the things that I love, to love me back. Meaning, I love to dance. So when I dance, I enjoy it. Immensely. Intentionally.

     So whether you are single, dating, or married, you are made for romance.

     It's really a multi-faceted and beautiful thing.

Photo Credit: Adria Elena



     What more needs to be said.

     We all live life.

     Whether you're single, dating, or married, you were made to live this life.

     We are all on this planet, making a path, sharing our stories, laughing at our old bad hair styles, and often worrying about our future.

     Our world is changing. And it's about to change even more.

     But we were given this time, to make our mark, to share our journeys, and to make new pathways for those that will walk on this planet in future years.

     The bigger picture. There is one. And you absolutely fit in.

     What piece are you exactly? What piece am I exactly?

     We're too close to the painting now.

     But in future years will see more clearly.

     But You and I.

     We are alive.

     And life is happening now.

Wisdom's Knocking:

You were meant to flourish.