What does your music say about you?

What does your most frequently-played music say about you? I’m not really sure, but I find it fascinating to look at my own and others’ top-played charts – especially now that I have my last.fm account (mostly) accurate from all my music sources. It’s still not perfect because there are several artists I listen to a lot on cd (I know, how very un-2014 of me), but it’s the clearest picture of the last 4 years of my musical life I am likely to ever get. Do you have a last.fm account? Find me here!

So let’s jump into it.

Overall, my top artists section shows I have a fairly eclectic taste, covering musical scores, worship, alternative rock, hip-hop, pop, indie, and broadway.

Of the top six artists, four are instrumental artists (Danny Elfman, Yiruma, Lindsey Stirling, and Hans Zimmer). This is due primarily to having been both an undergraduate and being a graduate student. While I write papers, I listen to music to help me focus better, but I (normally) can’t have words in the music or else I start singing along. David Garret also makes the honorable mention list, coming in at number 13.

Of the top 18, six are Christian artists of various genres. Surprisingly, Phil Joel makes the list even though I basically only listen to one of his songs – “I Will Not Be Afraid,” which I listen to at night if I’m having trouble going to sleep.

Four of the top 18 artists are prominent YouTubers. Once again, another I-only-listen-to-one-of-your-songs artists makes this list, Sam Tsui. He does a mashup of “Let It Go” and “Let Her Go” that is my all-time most played song.

Looking at my 18 most played songs, only 8 of them are from artists that also make the top-artists list. Apparently I like to listen to certain songs on repeat a lot.

I’m not sure what all this says about me, but if I did, I’m sure I’d find it fascinating.

Five-Minute-Friday: Fill

Every Friday we silence the inner critics and write for five minutes without listening to the small voices telling us we’re not good enough. We write, and up from our souls bubbles beauty and a breathtaking glimpse of God’s glory. This week’s prompt is “Fill.”

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The moments of my life where I’ve experienced the greatest connection with my family and close friends have always been over a cup filled to the brim with something delicious. Chai tea, southern iced sweet tea, coffee, hot chocolate, white mocha latte’s – these aromas make me think of family bonding.

Life lessons learned, hearts shared, great issues of the universe discussed.

This is how my heart is filled and how I fill others’, with a cup of love filled to the top.

So sit down, let me fill your cup, and let’s talk.

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If you would like to join us in celebrating life unedited, join us here.

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Five Minute Friday: Finish

Some days I sit down to write and the words pour forth in a deluge of meaning. But other days, days like today, I sit here and feel all the emotions raging within me, and when the emotions scream I can tap into the spring of words. But then an emptiness settles over my emotions and I feel nothing, nothing at all, and then the words are harder to find than a puddle in the desert. My thoughts fizzle away like just-exploded fireworks: I can remember their beauty and smell them in the air, but I can no longer see them.

When I tried to write about today’s prompt, finish, I had so many thoughts I couldn’t pick which direction to go. But because so many of those thoughts are linked to emotions so strong they can set off a panic attack, I ended up finding myself in the situation where I can write about none of them. I like to finish projects. However, I cannot abide change, and finishing one thing means there must be a change to a new thing.

I have nothing else to say, for the words have disappeared again.

Five Minute Friday: Hands

I’ve long held the theory that the hands are a person’s most identifiable feature. Most people would probably say it’s the eyes, but I’ve seen more similar eyes than I ever have hands.

People’s hands tell stories. Calloused, scarred, soft, long fingers, short fingers, haired, smooth, ringed, tattooed, nail polished, steady, shaky, flexible, stiff – everyone’s hands are different, and they all have different histories.

People for many years believed that a person’s future can be found in the hand, but I think it is much more fascinating to look at a hand and find their past.

 

5-minute-friday-1Today’s Five Minute Friday ended up being a bit shorter than mine normally are, but I find it incredibly difficult to express the pure wonder I hold for hands. Every Friday we silence the inner critics and simply write. Five whole minutes of not self-censoring or fearing the world’s response. We write. And we find our souls pouring forth beauty we often did not realize we possess. Join us?

Once Upon a Time, I Wrote

Once upon a time, I used my tumblr blog to write about a topic about which I am passionate but which also happens to be one of the biggest controversial topics in the nation right now.  I didn’t write about it because it was controversial, I wrote about it because it personally affected my life.  With all the passion and zeal bubbling up within my soul, I poured my heart out.

And the lovely people of the Internet responded with empathy, concern, encouragement, and acceptance. Oh wait, I forgot: that’s not how the Internet works, how free speech works.

I forgot that you can say anything you want on the Internet, as long as your opinions agree with the official media-sanctioned opinion. If you have the audacity to express a divergent opinion, you are attacked. Viciously, ruthlessly attacked.

My inbox was flooded with messages accusing me of hate crimes, brainwashing, illiteracy, stupidity, smoking weed, being a miserable excuse of a human being, and innumerable other horrible, untrue things.  These accusations came from people who did not know me, yet they felt they could make these judgements about me and my character.

At first I kept those messages as reminders of why these things needed to be talked about, why I was so passionate about it. Those posts fueled me.

But as time went on those comments began to weigh more heavily upon me. I began posting less and less about it.  Now I hardly ever write about it. Why?

Because now those messages serve as a different reminder.  They remind me that when I talk about this, people are cruel, that writing about this hurts.  They remind me of the periods of depression induced by being subjected to others’ hatred toward me.

And the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me” could not possibly be more wrong. Words have the power of life and death, wounding or healing, and a person can only stand up under an onslaught of words for so long before she is crushed and destroyed.

This isn’t a fairy tale, and my story doesn’t end with, “and she lived happily ever after.” But hopefully one day I will have the courage and strength write about it again.

Five Minute Friday: Write

Write. Write for yourself, write for others. For peace of mind, for shaking others’ minds.

Write about what you know, what you love, what inspires you, what makes you giddy. Write what you don’t know and need to learn, what you despise, what drags you into depression, what fills you with despair.

Write your pain into a beautiful bouquet of triumph, and write your victories into hope, help, and caution for others.

Write the images in your mind that keep you up at night, stunning you with their beauty, power, and intensity, but refusing to be channeled through a brush onto a canvas. Write what you cannot draw, what cannot be captured by a photograph or video.

It doesn’t matter what you write; it matters only that you write.

Write when you are full of words, but most importantly, write when your words have run out and you feel you have nothing left to give. For in that moment of emptiness the Divine can step in and wield your nothingness, shaping it into something you could never create on your own.

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Every Friday bloggers from around the globe gather to silence the inner critic and write for five minutes without fear. If you’re interested in joining us, link up here. We’d love to have you.

Five Minute Friday: Fly

The weights of life love nothing more than to crush me into the ground.  If they had their way, I would be nothing more than powder sprinkled on the ground or scattered by the wind.  The weights of life are cruel; not just cruel, though, but crafty as well. So crafty as to make me forget that I was born with wings.

Sadly, it seems as if there are only rare time I remember my wings. Like when I’m playing piano. When the music flows from my fingers and my eyes are closed and my ears hear nothing in the world except the imperfectly perfect melody filling the air around me – then I can fly. When my nieces look at me with adoration in their eyes and tell me they love me and want to be just like me when they grow up – then I can fly.  When the words of Scripture break free from their ink and paper shackles and come to life before me, reminding me of just exactly who God is and how deep and wide and long His love is for me – then I can fly.  When the words I set to paper come easily and breathe life into images and scenes that previously existed only in my head – then I can fly.

The truth is, I always have the ability to fly, to be who God destined me to be. It’s just hard to remember because of those silly weights.  Maybe that’s why the author of Hebrews urges us to “lay aside every weight … and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2, KJV).  He understood that weights attach themselves to us and keep us from our God-potential, and he also knew that turning to and focusing on Jesus is the only way to truly keep the weights from winning their vicious battle.

What keeps you from flying? Look to Jesus and know that He is more than able to lift any weight that has settled upon you.

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