Five Years

September 18, 2014

I feel differently every year on the anniversary of my accident. This year I’m incredibly moved by how much my life has changed since that day. (I even had a Myspace page when this blog was created.) I wish I could say the lessons I learned in the early stages of my healing come just as easily to me now. There’s something nostalgic about those early days when I could do nothing but rest in God’s presence. When life is in full swing, this practice is quickly forgotten. Since the accident, my perfectionism has fully developed in to a raging beast, careful to out-plan anything that could go wrong. I’m now the event manager for Nashville’s Greatest Lawn Party, so this characteristic does not serve me well. I’m working on rolling with life’s punches and being a lot kinder to myself. This kind of behavior is necessary on a day like today.

Event Management at Musicians Corner

It’s strange now that I have reached five years of having 8 fingers. When it was only four years, that day felt painfully close. Now that I am five years in, I feel more concerned with the journey portion of my story. As far as ability goes, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I can type, lift, squeeze, snap, grip, pinch, pull, etc. I have a job that I love, and it requires me to be strong with loading event materials. I even play guitar when I’m not afraid of being less than perfect, and I’m sharing my music when I can.

Summer Gig in Nashville

The biggest struggle right now is figuring out how much my music is a part of my life. It’s difficult to be in Nashville and reconcile the economics of doing music, and I also think a part of me got burnt out after I graduated with a music degree in 2012. I’m just not sure the rock star life is the life for me. But something keeps pulling me back to my guitar, and every now and again inspiration strikes and I write a song I’m very proud of. I want to fall in love with my art again. I want to show up, pick up my guitar, and see what happens. I’m still fully convinced that God is refining me in this process of relearning guitar. I still hate playing left-handed most of the time, and I haven’t felt incredibly inspired with right-handed lately; however, I will not quit. No matter what, music is a part of me. Besides, I’m only five years in since the wreck, and I cannot anticipate where my life will lead. I can only show up and reach up. I just hope I have the courage to do so.

On a lighter note, I won the VSA Tennessee Young Soloist Award earlier this year. VSA is an organization that supports the arts for young people with disabilities. I am so proud to be representing VSA Tennessee this year! Learn more about what they do here.

VSA Young Soloists

Thank you to everyone who remembered my anniversary today. And thank you to my friends, who have supported me and prayed for me all this time. I love you all.

Meet Sam Baker

December 11, 2013

Photo by: Chrislyn Lawrence

Photo by: Chrislyn Lawrence

Meet Sam Baker

This man inspired me to keep going after my wreck. At the age of 31 he survived a Peruvian terrorist bombing that resulted damages to his left hand and brain. He plays left-handed guitar, sings with a rhythm that keeps his mind moving through his writing, and it’s my dream to open for him one day. His album “Say Grace” is Rolling Stone’s 5th best Country Album of the Year

Meet Ruby

October 2, 2013

Earlier this year I was doing research for work on local non-profits and found The Jordan Thomas Foundation. I was clicking through their website and quickly discovered it was an incredible organization that provides prosthetics to kids in need. Having lost two fingers, I have an enormous passion for amputees. I clicked through the website and stumbled upon Ruby. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I never thought I would ever find another left hand like mine; and sure enough, a beautiful little girl was holding a fishing pole with hers. I wrote the foundation and was able to send Ruby a letter. Ruby is Honduran, so my letter reached her this summer, and she wrote me back! Her pediatrician mentioned that The Jordan Thomas Foundation’s annual event was coming up September 29th and Ruby would be there! A drive to Chattanooga is way easier than a flight to Honduras, so I jumped at the opportunity. 

So Sunday, twelve days after my wreck’s fourth anniversary, I met this sweet girl. She is very spunky, and it was such a joy to meet her! My hope is to instill more confidence into women and young women about their bodies. I hope this is the beginning of a long awaited friendship! Ruby, if you’re out there, it was an absolute joy to meet you and until next time! 

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If you would like to learn more about supporting in Ruby in Honduras, click here.

If you would like to help amazing kids run, dance, and play through the help of prosthetics, click here.

If you would like to learn more about my new friend, Jordan Thomas, and his amazing work, click here.  

I student at MTSU interviewed me for his project!

I’ve only written a few new songs this year. One poured out of me in one big emotional purge, but the other two took weeks. It was as if each week I had to mature into the next verse. I had to come around to being able to handle where the song was going next. If I had forced myself to write the song in one sitting, I would have missed the progression, and the story wouldn’t have been right.

The ending for this latest one has sat me down and shaken its finger at me. It snuck up on me and I fought it aggressively — mostly because I wanted the aggressive ‘I’m right!’ kind of ending, and instead I got the ‘let it go’ kind of response. 

It turns out I can be prideful with my inner writer as well as with everything else in my life! 

Fortunately, this inner-self wrestling always yields something better than what I would have come up with without the fight. It just sucks! Especially when both versions of you are little weaklings. 

Speaking of weakling — it turns out one does not just develop guitar skills without touching one’s instrument. I’ve gotten comfortable. I have my set of tunings and chords that I can use on right handed guitar and I use them a lot. I had this big plan to reinvent myself as an artist, become my own guitar hero, and have this big unveiling of my skills. I did practice more for a while, but I eventually got frustrated and wasn’t feeling very creative at all. 

I got so caught up in reinventing myself that I forgot who I was. My latest song utilizes some really familiar chords in a really familiar progression, (I also can’t seem to stop writing about plants, heights, and girl power — forgive me) but it feels good to be back to my old self again. 

I hope that as I progress, my writing and abilities will grow with me. I’m really excited about these latest songs. Please stick it out with me! 

life update!

June 11, 2013

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Hello Everyone! I’m still alive and well! I graduated from Belmont this past December and I’m currently working full time for a concert series in Nashville. I love my job, and I’m actively working on new songs and left-handed guitar. I have high hopes for lots of exciting music in the future. Stay tuned!

my brother ben.

July 7, 2012

I’ve recently started going to a ballroom dance class. My first time I was a little nervous because of all the hand holding with complete strangers. It’s interesting seeing who notices, who doesn’t, and who needs a few double-takes. But I love dancing, so I decided not to care and just be myself. 

Tonight I had the honor of meeting my new friend, Ben. Ben was in a farm machinery accident around age 5 and lost his left arm. He leads his wife around the dance floor like a pro. I introduced myself and we swapped stories. You don’t have to fill in the blanks when you’re family. You already know. So I said, “I play guitar.” Ben looked right at me and said, “You have everything you need.” 

Ben kissed both of my cheeks at the end of the dance party and I will never forget him. 

In November I wrote a post about the beginning of things changing for my life and the reason why you haven’t heard from me since is because my life has been a whirlwind of dreams coming true. 

Two months ago today, I released my first recording project entitled “In the Year of Letting Go.” I played all of the guitar parts on this record and I am unhealthfully proud of it.

I don’t know if anyone still follows this blog — originally my wreck recovery blog, this blog currently stands as a place to document my progress with guitar and the ups and downs of it all. Fortunately, my accident no longer plagues my life, and my impairment is not the spotlight of my existence, but I intend to continue posting here — tunings I’ve found and love, techniques I’m struggling with (here’s a brand new one…slide), how much I need to practice more often…Oh my.

Anyway, the EP! I’m going to be writing it’s story here

And if you’re still here and reading, thank you. What an amazing journey we’ve had together. 

beauty from ashes.

January 31, 2012

You, O God, will bring beauty from ashes.

“A traffic signal will be installed at 15th and Wedgewood this summer, and roundabouts are planned for the 15th/Acklen intersection and between the garages (North Garage, Baskin Garage, New building garage) to ease traffic flow.”

the beginning.

November 6, 2011

This past week has been pretty overwhelming. On the 29th I had the honor of performing two of my originals at Belmont’s Fall Follies (A comedy show very similar to SNL with featured musical guests.) I’ve dreamt of playing Follies for the past four years when I first saw the Delta Saints play the event. I auditioned last year but didn’t make it through the large sea of qualified musicians. This year I upped my game with a new song, “Quitter.”

This post isn’t really about playing Follies. And although it was an absolute dream come true, it really represents something else: the beginning. The night before Follies, I prayed to God that this would be the day I dare to hope for my musical career. I had no idea how much He would respond with that prayer.

I’ve been working on my guitar and reinventing myself as an artists like crazy lately. I don’t think I was ready before. I needed a season to be at war with the changes of the wreck and decide if this is what I really wanted. It hasn’t been easy. I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me a few times, one specific instance inspired “Quitter,” but I’ve been in a season of trying to obey God. I’m not sure how well I’ve been doing, but I know that for every inch I’m willing to give, He’s ready with miles.

“Quitter” has gone over really well with my peers. I must say, I love singing it. God is so mysterious, because I wrote the song in a lot of pride and anger over someone who hurt me, and God has taken that song and has used it to move others and draw them to Him (including me). I think people relate to recovery stories. They want to recover. They want to grow. They resonate with the truth that in the mess, there is one resounding truth, we’re all human beings created by the Savior and Creator of the universe.

I’m still learning what it means to be a forgiver, and I think the greatest lesson I have to learn is fully giving my life to God. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by how quickly God is moving my career forward. I almost forgot. God is the Author of Time. He will give me more songs to write in His timing. He will open up the opportunities and help me meet them in His timing. And my greatest priority should not be my music but making Him Lord over my life, which is no small task for a control freak.

So stick around. Things are really moving forward, fast. And I can’t think you enough for sticking it out with me this far. Lord knows it’s been a journey. Here’s to the beginning.

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