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.

a year ago today.

September 17, 2010

can i tell you a story?

it’s a pretty good story.

a year ago today, i was in a car accident that resulted in the loss of two fingers on my left hand. (this of course is not the good part of the story, but all good stories must have some sort of conflict.) a year ago today, i was running late and got in my van and crossed a busy street. a year ago today, i didn’t see him coming. a year ago today i found myself being carried out of a broken car window. a year ago today i was waiting for an ambulance on a curb shouting out to God.

this was thursday, september 17th, 2009 around 6pm, around 15th and wedgewood.

yesterday, thursday around 2:30, i was dancing in my room trying to loosen up after i accidentally locked myself out of my apartment while taking out the trash. me, being the athletic champion that i am, fell on my left arm, spraining my elbow. i had to go to class, but about an hour later, i could no longer straighten my arm or bend it very far due to swelling. my pain level was pretty high, and everything was feeling pretty ironic. i was worried that i had fractured something, because i’ve never broken a bone, and around 6:00, i found myself contemplating the E.R.

now you can imagine why this might be a problem for me. (by the way, it is extremely ridiculous that this happened to me, and it’s okay to laugh!) but at the time, it wasn’t feeling very funny. amazingly enough, someone from belmont’s athletic training center was available to check out my arm. after finding the center, there just so happened to be a doctor from vanderbilt hospital in the office at belmont. this doctor also happened to know my wonderful surgeon. after examining my arm, he confirmed that i had only sprained it, and now i’m on ice and anti-inflamitories.

so the moral of this story?

well, me being me, i fell on my left arm on the eve of my wreck anniversary. God took the opportunity to remind me, “hey, remember how you are weak and I am strong?” then i was able to avoid the E.R. “hey kristen? remember how I provide for you?”

after twelve months, it can be really easy to forget what it is like to be physically in need, but that was a good portion of my year. so many of my loved ones encouraged me to look on this day with celebration. it is good to remember how far i’ve come.

i’ve waited for this day all year, and it has been quite a year. it has been amazing to see how the events of this past year are lining up in different ways this week. i can say that i am relieved, and extremely thankful. i am overwhelmed by the support, love, and prayers that have been showered in my direction. you all mean so much to me, and even if we do not know each other, thank you for the honor of having you read my story. stick around! i have a feeling that God is only getting warmed up.

september.

September 2, 2010

well…it’s september. in just over a couple of weeks i will have completed my first year since the wreck. my heart is filled with two very different emotions. one, dread. it has been interesting to be back at belmont for a fall semester. fall semesters are far different from spring semesters. everything is new and there is so much to adjust to. it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the idea of “a year,” but most of all, i fear how i will feel on that day.

last year, around this time, i had this Holy Spirit kind of feeling in my gut like my life was about to change drastically. i felt like i was on an edge and that everything was about to tip into motion. one could argue instead that the motion of my life came to a halt. in so many ways, it did. within the months following my wreck, i learned so much about the importance of rest (however, i still have much more to learn). really though, i think my life just took on a different pace, and maybe a ninety degree turn. God has been teaching me so much over the last twelve months and i know it’s only the beginning.

which brings me to my second emotion: relief. i am so ready to have made it through the first year. someone asked me once if my current state of being with eight fingers was a touchy subject. the answer? absolutely not. this is my reality now. it’s not like a bad breakup that i would prefer not to mention until i’m in a new relationship. getting through the first year is a relief because i can begin to dwell in life outside of the first year of healing.

i have wonderful news to report. when i left for school last january, i measured my grip strength to be around a 24 in my left hand (remember, it was initially a 4?) with my right hand around a 60. i went into the physical therapy office right before i moved back to nashville and my new left hand grip is a 37 with my right hand getting even stronger at a 79. my left hand is now over half the strength of my original right hand grip, and i think my right hand is getting stronger from playing left-handed guitar (which is getting a lot better). overall, everything is getting better. i’m writing again, piano seems to be opening up new creative opportunities, and my degree is taking some exciting turns at belmont this semester. please pray for me as the 17th draws closer. thanks for all the support this past year. more to come!

nine months.

June 17, 2010

today marks nine months since the accident. i know i haven’t written in two months. i’m going to do what i usually do and blame it on homework. although, i am happy to report that i am six days away from being completely done with summer school! this means that i am home in indiana again. i am taking six credit hours at the local community college which will help me to keep a more sane level of course work when i go back to nashville in the fall. to clarify, i am not taking summer school so that i can “graduate on time.” the semester off last fall will have me graduating in december of 2012 instead of may, but that is within four years of schooling.

it is so good to be home. i am completely devoting this summer to relearning guitar and making music. i have been picking up the guitar more than ever now that i have more time on my hands, and i am starting to get more familiar with my old tricks. i am even writing a little bit more, which is extremely exciting. i have really struggled with the pressure of writing over the past nine months, but i am starting to learn how to let go of that. at first, i really struggled to write because i was afraid of having to write amazing, gut wrenching, post car accident songs. those may come, but i’ve learned that writing is a creative process that isn’t meant to be pushed into a mold. also, i had a lot of baggage with learning to write without my guitar skills as a firm foundation. before, i wrote within the limits of my guitar (which is a horrible place to be, even before a double digit amputation); and now, i’m learning to write without that limit. it is a much freer and a much more terrifying place to be as a writer, but i am anxious to see what songs may come of it.

being as it is nine months since the accident, i wanted to do something special, so i’ve included a photo of me playing left handed. sometime in the future, i’d like to do a video, but this should do for now. as you may be able to see, there is a little contraption clipped to the bottom of the sound hole.

playing left-handed with my new hand saddle!

just earlier this week, my dad fashioned a sort of saddle for my left hand to rest in. my dad is a genius. i was telling him that i was having trouble stabilizing my left hand for finger picking because i used my pinky against the frame of the guitar when i was playing right handed. it is difficult to see in the picture, but he essentially made me a device to stabilize my hand over the strings. i just started working with it earlier this week, so everything is really new. i will keep the blog updated to see how i progress with it. right now, it works great; however, my left hand doesn’t. so it will definitely take some practice.

as far as everything else goes…i’m doing pretty good. God has blessed me with the greatest family and friends anyone could ask for (yes, this means you!), and my PTSD isn’t as acute as it was earlier this year. i still get the occasional bad day, but God has taught me so much in this journey, and i am so blessed! i promise to update this blog FREQUENTLY this summer. once summer school is over (6 DAYS!) i will be nonstop music. i love you all, and thank you for all your support and prayers these past nine months!

i’m learning what it means to be content. tomorrow marks seven months since my accident and i’ve gone through a lot of significant struggles and changes since that day. i’m at a place now where i am learning to accept where i am and be content with what i’m doing with my life. i’m not saying it’s easy. some days are better than others and i often find myself feeling extremely behind. because my guitar skills have been stripped away, i often feel like all the work i have done up until this point has been erased and i have to start again at square one.

but it’s important for me to remember where i was seven months ago and where i was five months ago, and so on. i am physically independent again. i am no longer changing bandages on my body. i am a full time student. my life is surrounded by music daily and i am enjoying my time here at belmont. no, i’m not where i thought i would be a year ago, but i am where i need to be in this healing process. i came here to this semester to finish what i started last semester, and that’s what i’m doing.

i’m really looking forward to the summer. i haven’t been able to devote as much time to guitar and piano as i would have liked since i’ve been here and i have cleared my schedule to do just that. i lot of patience is going to be needed ahead. prayers are appreciated! 🙂

six months.

March 19, 2010

yesterday marked six months since the day of my accident. it’s mind blowing to think it has been that long, yet it seems like it happened a long time ago. so much has happened since then. it’s strange thinking back to the various times outlined in this blog. my life has changed so dramatically each month.

i think i can proudly say that i have adjusted well to being a student again. it has been good to make it to uncharted waters (past the original three weeks) and experience all the joys of college i knew i was missing last semester. as much as i dislike waking up for my eight a.m. classes, i have tried to relish the fact that i am participating in the things i could not before.

i want to write about where i am now, six months in. i think it is really important for me to be honest. left-handed guitar makes me crazy. somedays are better than others, but it’s requiring more patience than i could have ever imagined. i’m making may way around G, C, and D, but not for very long before my fingers hurt and i begin to lose motivation. i’m trying to recall how this felt when i was first learning as a twelve or thirteen year old…i think it seemed easier then.

it should also be noted that i’m experiencing some level of post-traumatic stress disorder. i don’t think it was as prevalent while i was living at home, because i was physically separated from where the accident took place; however, my campus is a block away and that doesn’t always bode well. however, i am learning to deal with it. for example: when i’m driving, i seek out intersections with stop lights or stop signs and i avoid driving around 15th and wedgewood as much as possible. now that i have been on campus for about nine weeks, some of the symptoms of PTSD have lessened.

i am proud to say that i think i’m doing pretty good at six months in. one thing i have grown particularly proud of is my typing skills. (note the length of this post.) thank you all for your continual prayers. i’m blessed to know each and every one of you!