Hello friends! Man, I’m still having a hard time believing it’s 2013. Then I went and blinked my eyes, and it's February already!! The longer I live, the faster the time seems to fly by. SPEAKING of time flying by –I just realized how long it’s been since I’ve given you an update on what’s going on! I feel like I need to write a belated “Christmas card update” of what’s happened so we can get all caught up.
This past year since my album, “If It Leads Me Back” came out (January 17, 2012) has been absolutely non-stop. God has led me through valleys deep and dark where I experienced His faithful presence in such a tangible way, and over mountaintops to fulfill dreams that only He knew were hidden in my heart. Soon after my album released, my beloved father went to be with Jesus on February 15, 2012 after a long battle with a terminal illness. I’ll tell you more about that in another blog next week, but God answered so many prayers in allowing my husband, Mark, and me to be able to spend the last few weeks of my dad’s life with him. I’m forever grateful.
In February 2012 I was so blessed to get to go out on tour with Casting Crowns again, on the second leg of their “Come To The Well” tour. Talk about dreams coming true –I’ve been such a huge fan of their music for SO long, and believe me when I tell you their awesome music is an accurate reflection of their incredible servants hearts. Along on that tour was another one of my musical heroes: Matthew West, and the lovable Royal Tailor guys. We managed to visit 40 cities and saw countless lives changed by of the love of Jesus and the truth of the Gospel.
After the Come To The Well tour ended in May, Mark and I moved down to Franklin, TN. We LOVE living here, and are especially enjoying this mild southern winter (I guess compared to Chicago pretty much anywhere is mild)! In June, we traveled to Washington DC for my Dad’s burial in Arlington National Cemetery (needless to say, the burial admittance/paperwork process at Arlington takes quite a while), which was so special. My father was a retired Colonel in the USAF and considered it an honor to serve and protect his country, so it was awesome to get to witness the military honoring a veteran soldier.
Through the summer I was so excited to get to sing at several amazing festivals, at which I was forced (ok….maybe not forced) to eat corn dogs and funnel cakes. Festivals are rough, folks. I also hopped on a mini-tour through the southwest with my dear friends in MIKESCHAIR, and got to experience van life with five guys. Let’s just say I think I now deserve honorary membership in the band. ;) Then, on a few later dates I opened up for two more of my absolute favorite artists: Steven Curtis Chapman and Brandon Heath –both of whose music has impacted my own writing more than I could ever say. God has been unbelievably good to me. It’s blown my mind to realize that God puts dreams in our hearts so that He can then fulfill them -in His time and perfect way- and grow our faith and trust in Him. Why in the world would He do that?! Because He loves us. Simple as that.
Come fall I had the immense privilege of being a part of Matthew West’s “Into The Light” tour with MIKESCHAIR and Everfound. I loved our tour family, and especially loved getting to meet the people that inspired Matthew’s songs from his last album, “The Story of Your Life” and his new album “Into The Light”. Amazing songs about some seriously amazing people!! We visited 35 cities and had a blast traveling the country together and meeting YOU! After that tour ended at the beginning of December, Mark and I got to visit some dear friends in Colorado, and then spent time with my family in Florida and Mark’s family in Texas for Christmas.
Sheeeesh! I’m getting tired just typing about all that traveling. Seriously though, we were so blessed to see God sustain us and grow us through 2012 and all it held, and count it such a huge privilege to have gotten to meet and get to know so many of you as we bussed across the country.
Wow…so I guess that brings me up to present tense! February (as planned – I’m slowly learning that God likes to lovingly rearrange my schedule for His MUCH better plans) has a lot on the books so far: I’ve really been focusing on writing new songs recently (more on that soon ;) ), and I’ll be leading worship at Girls of Grace in Nashville on the 23rd. After Girls of Grace, the NEXT DAY I’ll be running a half-marathon at Disney World with Team FREEDOM, Natalie Grant and Carmen Brown from the JoyFM in Tampa, Florida. To find out more about why an extremely non-sporty girl like myself would sign up to run 13.1 miles on someone else’s behalf, check out this link: http://florida.thejoyfm.com/page/run!
Well friends, I hope your 2013 has been awesome so far, and that this coming week would find you sensing God’s nearness and love in a fresh way. Please forgive my terrible blog-per-year track record and check back in soon…I promise I'm already working on my next post. :)