“Defying Gravity” – Kristin Chenoweth & Idina Menzel

During the spring and summer, I walked most mornings. I got out of my bed and spent the first hour of the day wandering with the deer. Without many exceptions, each morning I would return home and start my shower to get ready. Immediately before stepping in this shower, this song was turned on. For the next 6 minutes I sang every word to this song. Everyday. Our shower is a about the size of phone booth and most days I would step in as Clark and come out as Superman, thanks to this song. I called it morning meditation.

Is there any better way to celebrate all that has been and is becoming than two witches, some flying monkeys and munchkins? I think not. If you have not seen Wicked, please start saving to go to the Gershwin. There is NOTHING like this show. Not one thing. Ever. And this is a gem. This song ends the first act. While I want to explain every detail of the how’s and why’s, just know…KNOW that if we were watching it together, this is when my tears would be flowing.

“Just say you’re sorry…you can still be with the wizard…”

“I know…but I don’t want it. No, I can’t want it anymore…”

I could (with full passionate typing) recall every word for you. But I need you to listen. Think about all that I have shared about this journey and you will get it. This is my flying song.

We would not have Dorothy or the ruby slippers without this moment. The 4:30 mark is the freedom cry. And there is no one that I want to hear this from more than a woman that doesn’t fit. Someone that has spent their life fighting her body and role and gifts. Someone that just needed to forge her own way. Even if it meant walking away from life that you have known.

“I’m through accepting limits, ‘cause someone says there so. Some things I cannot change, but until I try I’ll never know…”

When this song comes on, I have faces that sing me Glinda’s part. But Elphaba is all mine. Every green ounce of her. With her pointy hat and black dress. She is smart. She is wise. She is misunderstood. And she claims it all. For herself.

In January of 2020, my oldest turned 18 and I took her to New York. Seeing Wicked was a must. Do we think that there is any coincidence that one of the last “normal” things I did before the world went whack-a-do was to be in this theatre? Nope.

A few weeks ago I let a friend see what this song does to me. My family has seen…heard…been tortured for so long. For all the reasons, I don’t sing in front of people. Much less perform. But we were cooking and listening to music and I was using my best curious thinking and decided that I wanted to share this song. So I didn’t just turn the music on. I SAAANG IT. Well, I actually performed it. Shortly after my debut, Lucas walked in and the tale was recounted. As he tried not to chuckle, he looked at me, smirked and said, “I’m so sorry” to my friend. And we all 3 laughed. So hard.

You can’t contain a song like this. And that sums up my Christmas wish today. For myself and for those that are brave enough, do it. Sing it. Dance it. Pretend that you are Idina with Adam Lambert in the company. (Because he was.) And if your supporting team has that kind of sass behind you (and some badass monkeys) what is not possible? I didn’t say it would be easy. I actually know it won’t. But that moment. The second that your feet leave the ground and you know that flying is what you were created for, you will get it. Just throw you arms wide open. To all my fellow green girls, I’ll see you in the western sky. Defy. Everyone deserves the chance to fly.

Merry Christmas, all.

“Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken” – P!nk

Let’s get this party started. This is the lullaby to the quiet. It’s the cherry on the top of the work of learning to translate the inner voice that you no longer speak the language for. From my girl. This is a really important moment – you need to know the history to get this one. Just take it all in.

I’ve been here from the beginning. All the way back to M!ssundaztood. I’ll still dance my ass off to “Get the Party Started” like it is my job. It was this album that also has the total Lacy-of-all-ages anthem “Just Like a Pill.” Let’s pick up the story here…

It was October. ACL is this little music thing that my people attend. We live in the A of ACL. Austin. When the suggestion came to go as a family to ACL, I didn’t really have a good excuse. Last May, the group text discussion began. When I did not immediately jump with excitement at the thought of tickets, the children said, “Mom, have you seen the lineup?” They know. Because immediately upon opening the link that was previously untouched, I responded that I would be where she was. ACL, I’ll brave you for my woman.

I have seen P!nk live 3 previous times. Each time, at Toyota Center in Houston. But, this was not my first festival. I knew what I had to do. Alone. Because to be at the stage for P!nk, I would (I’m literally saving you here. You don’t want to know what I would have done to protect my spot 4 people back from the stage) have done almost anything. I lived through the crowd of Lil Nas X and didn’t back down. I was going to be close to her. Because there is nothing like being there with other huge fans of your music. You don’t stand for a place on the rail if you are not a fan. Back to the story…

The intro for “Just Like a Pill” started and NOT ONE HUMAN around me knew the words. But I did. And when I realized that I was the super fan, I LOST MY MIND. With every word there were tall girl limbs going insane. As the chorus built, she started down the runway right to me. Well, the cool kids all knew the chorus. So what? But then the second verse started. And I helped her. It was perfection. I LOOOVVE P!nk. “I haven’t moved from the spot where you left me…must have been a bad trip..”

If there is a single artist that makes me want to evolve with them, it’s P!nk. We share a similar default. Big. I loved her as a loud and irreverent 20-something, but I LOVE her as a mom of 2 with all the baddassery and the depth to hold the big hurty feelings in tender protected safety. The same woman that recorded “U + Ur Hand” and “Walk of Shame” also sings “Love Me Anyway (with Chris Stapleton)” and “Glitter in the Air.” She has fought the soul wars on singles like “Walk Me Home” and “I Am Here.” She is just…P!nk.

So how did a song from 2017 find its way to my 2022 advent? I am a fan of her art. I realize that I don’t know anything about P!nk personally. As someone who allows people peeks into truth, I remember this often. With that said, when she released Beautiful Trauma there was a shift. This came at a pivotal point in my own journey. What I was feeling inside was reflected in the multiple personalities of this album. And this one is on that album.

The quiet ends with this song. And in some way, it’s the only way it could end. With a promise to myself.

“I fight because I have to. I fight for us to know the truth…”

All good showdowns need a walk out song. Walking to the batter’s box…hype song. Running out of the tunnel…hype song and smoke. Getting dressed for work on a Wednesday…hyyyype. The people in my life know that my energy requires the force of Adam and Queen or a little 90’s Aerosmith and Dr. Dre to really give me the energy I seek. But there is a moment. It happens in the soul quiet before the first note of the big energy. When you know you are fighting for your life and you just need a hug. This is my hug. This is my ‘there is nothing in this world that can break you” Knowing song.

We make a hard left tomorrow. I promise all the curiously explored hype. But for today, I’m just letting the hardest softie on the planet sing me to a place of trusting truth. Even if parts of me have to die. Even if I’m afraid. Especially if I don’t want to.

There’s not enough rope to tie me down. There’s not enough tape to shut this mouth…the stones you throw can make me bleed but I won’t stop until we’re free….wild hearts can’t be broken.”

I dare you to sing the bridge. Dare you.

And don’t you freakin’ dare go soft. All the fierce fire of truth is hard earned. Sing the crap out of this. When I first explored sitting in the quiet, I thought it was for me to “receive” knowledge. Today, I’m sitting in my living room writing while listening to this song. It’s 6:23 in the morning and I just stuck my fist in the air and motioned for more. Bring it. What else you got, world? Because when I know I’m listening to my insides, I’m ready…for whatever may come my way. Helloooo, trouble.

If that’s not a genuine smile, I don’t know what is.

“Youth Group” – Semler

I was wrong.

There are few collections of words that make me want to recoil like these three. I’ve spent my entire life creating a system of living and believing so that I don’t have to ever say that phrase. But it’s time. I was wrong.

And this is not a one-off kind of wrongness. I’ve spent the last 3 years making list after list of the wrongs. Why admit it now? Well, I have already admitted it to myself. If the last few years have taught me anything, it’s that once I know something in my Knower, it doesn’t matter what others think or even what it feels like to say it out loud. Because when I finally know, I Know.

I have been out of full-time youth ministry for years. Most of the teenagers that I served are in their 30’s…some at the upper end of that decade. They have lives and families. They have joined churches (or not) for themselves. They have had real pain and struggle and many have lived to tell about it. But some have not. Because life is real and foundation rocking and gut punching. I spent my adulthood making “peace” with a very set pre-programmed path to hope. That is no longer the case for me. And on some days, I feel so very guilty. I regret the conversations, the advice and most of all the ways that I tried and failed to make it work together for good. That’s a package that I can’t open today.

Why is this in the week of quiet? Well, when you get quiet, things like this come right to the surface. And you have time to really decide for yourself what to do with all the feelings. I got sad. Really sad. And I started reaching out to a few trusted former students. One of the most gracious gifts of love in skin sent me a Marco Polo this year that I’ll never delete. I’ve watched it countless times. It’s a virtual reminder that I tried and loved from a place of longing. So as I sat with what was, I kept coming back to what I can do today? And then I was introduced to this song. Humans that are using art to tell their broken stories are my heroes. So I joined them.

I tried for years, but I can’t sell a path. What most of my former youth need today is a historically accurate and practical conversation about love and welcome. They need to be reminded that an assigned label (for any reason) is not diagnostic and it’s not healing. It’s anything but helpful. So let’s start here. Clean slate and a fresh tank of honesty. Let’s be ok to swing big, even when it hurts. Because is there is anything more freeing than just admitting when we miss? And I have.

So, former students, this is my confession to you:

I was wrong about sin.

I was wrong about sex.

I was wrong about prayer.

I was wrong about marriage.

I was wrong about friendships.

I was wrong about intimacy.

I was wrong about secrecy.

I was wrong about sex: again

I was wrong about motherhood.

I was wrong about the church.

And in the midst of the wrongs, I have not found the “rights.” But, I am finding myself. For the first time in my life. And that feels really, REALLY right. So, if you stuck with me this far, just know that I only have one thing I need you to know:


Learn your own voice and tune into the melody. And listen. Listen for the delicate crescendos and the rests. Listen for the rests. And honor yourself in the process.


P.S. Lock-ins…I mean…just listen. I tried so many things in the name of “reaching” students. And I’m sorry for so many of them. Especially lock-ins.

So sorry.

“evermore” – Taylor Swift (feat. Bon Iver)

I’ve been listening to Taylor from the beginning. I have a 20 year old daughter. Taylor and the Jonas Brothers are the two throwbacks to early musical parenting that rarely cause me to change the music. I’ve seen her in concert multiple times. She’s cool. But she’s not MINE. My love for Taylor came through the eyes of my children. And they love her. Like really love her. Sorry, girls, still no tickets for the tour. #yougotcollegeinstead

When we were locked in our houses in the spring of 2020, some of us cried. Some of us raged. Some of us created. Taylor did all, apparently. And the result of round one was the album folklore. In July of 2020, I was wandering the neighborhood streets still keeping my 6’ and hiding from so many feelings. Damn it, Taylor. You were my kid’s. And then you sang about me. And my big adult mess of feelings and love and heartbreak. You weren’t singing about being 15 or “boys” or even lovers. Which was still too young. But mirrorball and exile and mad woman? You generation buster, you. The number of tears I cried walking the blocks of our old neighborhood to this album could fill a bucket. Or ten. And then December came along and so did evermore. Taylor released evermore on December 11, 2020. That exact weekend, the wheels came off the world that I knew. And 6 weeks later I moved to Austin.

Of all of Taylor’s songs that have carried me in the tears of a bubble bath and the heavy of a deep breath, this one rings. In my bones. It has helped me. It has gutted me.

“Hey December, guess I’m feeling unmoored.”

Yes, then. Yes, now.

I don’t like that this song made the list. I really wanted to say that I was over the TS affair, but apparently these albums are in the groove of my most recent healing journey. So, I let them stay. Like I really have a choice. Just listen to these words:

I replay my footsteps on each stepping stone trying to find the one where I went wrong…

Can’t remember what I used to fight for…

And I was catching my breath, barefoot in the wildest winter, catching my death…

And I couldn’t be sure I has a feeling so peculiar that this pain would be for evermore…

That’s the quiet. It’s not containable in a single date or a memory or a song. When it’s quiet, it’s deafeningly quiet. The quiet steals the details of the story and fills the silence with the fullness of the emotional story. One that often requires a dramatic, scary, new voice to speak a language that terrifies. The language of healing. Words that don’t sound like they fit.

For someone that has never been soul still, Bon Iver is a sharp knife and a surgeon’s stitch….that falsetto. Do you hear what he does to her pain? Meets her there. Which is really the deepest human needed. We just need to be met in our most broken and loved through it. That’s what these two albums did for me in ways that a live and in-person human could not. It was, and some days still is too tender for skin. So, Tay Tay, you get to stay.

“The Promise”

As I mentioned yesterday, quiet is has been an untapped resource in my life. If my deep, hard drive into the newness of unmapped feelings has not been revealed by Gungor and Cyndi or even the honesty of walking away, I welcome you to one of the most gut wrenching realities of the quiet. For people like me, true quiet has to come alone. It’s just too raw for public consumption. Quiet brings truth. And truth is hard. There is no driving bass to cover the discomfort of the quiet.

Tracy Chapman is a musical hero. She is woven deep in the quiet for me. I’ve loved her music for more than 30 years. I was in the 8th grade when she broke onto the music scene. She was a stereotype buster. And she ushered into my musical language a singer/songwriter tender that I was missing. But she was also a stone cold badass. In the most non-80s and 90s way. I can honestly say that in my eclectic musical wanderings, without Tracey, there may not have been Melissa and Alanis and Sheryl. Who would I even be? When “Fast Car” turned into a TikTok phenomenon, I laughed. The Tracey of the 80’s didn’t see that one coming. Of all the songs that make my insides come alive in the quiet, it’s this one. And I’m forever grateful.

My early interactions with this song happened in the broken heart of young love. I thought I knew what it meant to long for connection. No, I thought I understood connection. In my wise and mature ways. And then I went to Wendy’s for a frosty. I was that committed to the feelings. This song was released in 1995. In the midst of a huge life shift. And I listened like my life depended on the emotion. Early this year, a few of her songs found their way back to my regular playlist. But this one stuck. To everything.

Promises are weird. We make them at 8 on the playground. We promise to never tell. We promise to be here. We even ask people, “you promise?” I realized in the quiet that I don’t care about many promises. I have really tried hard not to use that word for my intent. But there is one promise that has been grounding this year. In the same way that Gungor reminded me that I am enough for myself, I needed Tracy to sit with me in the quiet and whisper (because my heart can’t handle a bully in this arena) that I can trust someone else. Even with the fledgling baby bones of my reconstruction efforts, there is enough truth in the depth of my heart to promise the words of this song to those that deserve them. And more importantly, that I could trust this promise from people that have shown me they are capable of being trusted.

If that previous paragraph makes no sense, just listen to this song and trust that it’s a good one. If you read the last paragraph and knew, just sit with this song. Listen again. And when it feels too hard, listen some more. Tracy, and the ones that we need in our soft, won’t demand their place. BUT, if invited, there is beautiful wisdom in this deep breath of melody.

We are not too broken to be loved. None of us.

There are some promises worth keeping.

People who have our backs are there. And they will be. Even when we don’t deserve them. They are waiting for us because their promise is true.

Some of my most uncomfortable quiet moments came in the recognition of this truth. And voices like Tracy will continue to shape me in 2022 like they did in 1995. My only companion in the deepest of the quiet has been music. I would not have survived the pain of the wisdom of the quiet without the rasp of Tracy and the messages of hope from Bono and Taylor and even the great Mr. Flowers. The quiet is so good. See you tomorrow, boy.

Watching sunsets from the dark inside is a quiet meditation for me these days.

“In the Blood” – John Mayer

Family is a big word for me. On the surface, this song is about the one that is connected by DNA. But I want to be clear from the beginning that the genealogy tree is not the whole of this moment of excavation. Most of this lesson started in a study of labels. I will always uniquely protect the people with whom I share a name, a genetic make-up and an a life commitment. These people will always be family. They get passes and forgiveness in ways that seem uncharacteristic of someone wired with my level of intolerance. They are…the blood. But that’s just a very small part of family for me. Family is the term I use for the whole of my invited humans, and the season of excavation has been a hard season for family ties.

Family (for me) is about holding space.

Family (for me) is about staying when others chose to walk away.

Family (for me) is trusting me with me.

One of the greatest pains of excavating is facing the reality that so many of my relationships (ones that I deeply valued…family) were defined by my answer to one question.

“But you are still good with Jesus, right?”

I’ve watched this mental dance on the faces of people that I adore. Ones that have been on the Protected & Defended family list. People that I know love me. Even in all of the mess. It is so logical that a passionate person like me would surround themself with other passionate people. People, that by wiring, cannot just let this one go. I love you all. And I know that it goes against everything in you to just let me be ambiguous. Because to not care is to not love well. I get it.

This particular seesaw (side note… that’s one of my new tattoos this year – an off balance seesaw on my sternum) has been a hard one for me. I’ve been forced to process the non-existent balancing act of this question. Because two very different things can be true at the same time – in most circumstances. But in some worlds, the reality of one belief negates the ability for a balance. The only option in this situation is an either/or. And in my new world order, this is no longer an option. I need room for generous questions. All of them. There is a weird beauty in the awareness. I can see why people who have loved me like family can no longer let this one hang without a defined answer. And it changes everything. Unlike anything I have ever experienced. Trust me on this one.

So what happens when the roots of so many of your family connections have changed? I mentioned that family is a big word. One that I have learned is big enough for my past, present and whatever image of family I have in 2 or 10 years. One that has grown and changed and morphed and settled and been unearthed again. And the more I really drill down to the truth, it just keeps coming back to one thing.

I choose you today.

That’s the part of family that I’m still in for. With no certainty – and all of the chaos. Who has chosen me and who have I chosen? Today. That’s family.

P.S. John Mayer came into my life during the pandemic and I’ll never be the same. Religion.

“Heads Carolina, Tails California” – Jo Dee Messina

Excavation. This is week two. After 7 days of self-love melody, we enter a week focused on digging out the old. A season that I really never wanted. If you decide its time to excavate, be ready for the dust. It’s coming. Even all the good work of self-love would prove to be just the cornerstone. There was still incredible clean up involved in trying to find my remains. I knew they were in there somewhere and it was time to find them.

In March, I took my youngest to the west coast to visit colleges. We flew into LAX and our adventures took us from San Diego to Santa Barbara. As we planned the trip, I was having a hard time with something and I could not figure out what the wiggle was inside me. As I got honest, I was a regretful. There are things that I always thought about and yet never did. And while I know to some degree that is true for all of us, I have watched two capable and strong women launch from our home and their dreams are as big as the sky. Sometimes I think we have failed in teaching limits because they know no bounds. The world will give them plenty of limits – I just enjoy letting them dream.

That pang of missing out reminded me of some longing wants. I have always wanted to drive a convertible in California. I am a loyal and forever fan of 90210. The OG. Not the trash they called a remix. I’m here for a white 1992 Kelly Taylor convertible. Actually, that’s a lie. I want Dylan’s convertible. And Dylan. I mean, teenage dreams.

I had a chance to spend 5 days behind the wheel. There was nothing more exciting than the lady at LAX telling me, “choose any of these…” My 16 year-old self went straight for the black Mustang. I did. With all the bad girl fun of that car. And I drove it like I meant it all over Southern California.

A few days before the trip, I made a playlist. I have one for everything. And there is no telling what’s on the one about you. I mean…

California. I have some songs about you. The playlist is called “California Love” and I listen to it on the days where I need to escape. Katy sings a banger. Snoop and Dre sing me into LA every time I fly in. TRHCP have one with which that I have shared a moment or two. I don’t ever skip the Eagles. I even include The Mama’s & The Papa’s. I have only been there a handful of times, but there is something about all that is Cali that just lets me not care. As we drove up the coast, I turned on my playlist an the child allowed her mom all of the bass.

But there was one song that caught the fun factor in the car that day. Oh, Jo Dee. You can transport me out of my sticky negative spiderwebs in ways that make my little free spirit 20 year old self come screaming for the wildest of festival fun. I want all the freedom of making my own road. And there is no more important commitment in excavation than pushing for the full experience with all of your passion.

In the same way I let my hair blow in that convertible, excavation has taken a commitment to not taking myself too seriously. It has required me to push through even when it all felt too much. On the days when the struggle to find the RIGHT road has felt too hard, I just follow Jo Dee’s advice. Flip a coin. Because Carolina? California? Both make an adventure come to life. And when you find yourself in the weighty work of the deep dig, you need the songs that allow you to dream and escape.

This is me living my dream of driving a convertible on the PCH.
And a ride through Crenshaw.

“You’ve Got A Friend” – James Taylor

The story of this one is good. But you must know that this is the one. The one that Lucas could not listen to. My love for James Taylor was in full display from the very first day we met. So no matter what he says about my music choices, he knew this was part of the package. For the story…

One of the hardest things to make sense of in my life today is when the things that I have always been told would fit one way actually feel most natural to me in others paths. Be it in music or exercise or relationships or even emotions. I’ve always had a list of the ones that I needed to actively avoid “dwelling” on. When I started peeling back the layers of that discomfort, I found reminders through my life of times that “normal” for many didn’t work for me. And that included this song.

I was one of the first of my friends to marry. I had not been to many weddings, but I had seen enough to watch the whole first dance, father/daughter, mom/son…all the dances. I didn’t want it. I begrudgingly did the first dance. Which really amounted to me being awkward and Lucas still hating to dance. But, we danced. We did not dance to James Taylor.

My dad and I, however, were big fans of the storytelling music man. I went with Dad to see James Taylor in concert in the summer of 1994 when I worked for him. He was entertaining clients and I thought it was the most sophisticated and fancy fun. I can literally see the outfit I wore that night. One of our favorites was this song. In the discussion of first dances, Dad and I laughed about our inability to listen to the sappy songs, but IF we were to dance to a song, it would have been this one. And I smile every time I hear it.

The message of the song is the lesson of the year. How many 22 year old women would want to dance to a song about friendship with their dad? Me. Because, especially in that season, my dad was the most dependable friend I had. In the best way possible, because I had great friends. But the security of Dad’s friendship meant something different. In that season of my life, I needed that dependability. This song is a gentle reminder that I have always found what I needed in non-traditional places. The welcome acceptance of this has freed me to look for hope and creativity and love and even friendship in new places. Places that perhaps have not been given a label that seems to fit, but will fit just perfectly for me.

That’s what James has for me with his 70’s swoon.

Lean into the things your insides cry for, even if it means relabeling the expectation. And don’t be surprised if when you are listening, you hear a familiar acoustic guitar to soothe your soul.

Lucas, you are missing out, my friend.

“Hideaway” – Brett Eldredge

Here we go again. I swear. It’s not all country. Promise. Really.

If you focused your growth on learning to love your own skin, there is only one natural thing to do for someone that cannot hover in the middle. Of anything. I love the extremes. Here we go…let me be ALONE! And this song is the perfect picture of the want to hide. To run to the safe people and places that have told me again and again that all of me is welcome.

Two months ago, I was having a morning walk and the big feelings surfaced. The ‘not enough’- kind of feelings. And while I was doing something I really enjoyed, the moment that it hit me, I just wanted to run. With no context, I sent the link to this song. That was all it took. The song told the story of my feelings. And the text back was: Yes.

This is what I need more of in my life.

If you have been privileged enough to send a song and be understood, you get this. The assurance that whatever I am feeling in this song is ok. And in that moment, the recipient knew that I just wanted to be alone. Alone with those that I don’t have to explain the things to. Alone with my fretful and confusing insides. Alone with my own thoughts because I am not scared of them today. What a wild ride learning to love yourself can be. Just letting “humanness” hover and not be expelled is an new disciple.

I can remember a time when a mention of silent retreat or a yoga class or even a labyrinth could send my terrified insides into a spiral. Every single one. Today, a silent retreat sounds heavenly. 2 days with my own self? I’m totally in. Restorative yoga with a 20 min guided meditation? SIGN. ME. UP. And on the days when I really want to hide, I turn on songs like this and I allow my heart to runaway. To whatever safe land that it has discovered in the hard work of allowing people to know the real me. That gift is precious. So very, very precious. The wisdom of the quiet is my greatest joy tonight.

If you hear about my solo wandering, do not be alarmed. If you get a text that says, “Let’s go,” there is a good chance that you are being absconded on a self-exploration mission. Or a weekend at the lake…or on the beach…or, anywhere.

“Girl on Fire” – Cameron Marlowe

Much to the chagrin of the other humans in my immediate family, this song is far from the last off the country charts. But what you must know is that my relationship with country is…complicated.

There was nothing that I loved more than country music in 1991. The sounds of Clint Black and Clay Walker will always make my innocent girl heart so happy. But there is something that happened as the artist changed and the sound became 2012 country. It wasn’t the same. Don’t get me wrong, I was still going to the rodeo, but something changed and I found other sounds.

Funny stuff, I don’t recall my parents listening to country. Country came into my life when my zeal for all things holy came to full bloom. Apparently, the unwritten rule of the southern moral measuring stick in the 90s said that Christian and country could co-exist. Don’t even get me started on “Fancy” and booze and “Earl” and boots under beds, but I digress. I loved Jesus, so I was cool with country. Until I found three genres: hip hop, singer songwriter and whatever the guy I wanted to hang around with was listening to. And ohhhh, was there more music out there.

Because of my immediate association to the past, prior to this year, I listened to 90’s country and a few other songs with a nice country bass line about 3 times a year. Just enough to annoy the alt-heads in my family. But something happened this year. I started listening to country again. It started with old songs. The ones that I could remember laughing and crying to. Then I found newer artists. The ones that had good stories and better rasp. You will hear a few of my new faves on this list, and this is one of them.

Back to that “Girl on Fire

This is a great opportunity to point out that if you read into the words of these songs, you are going to miss the mark. Take for instance this song. I was not the girl on fire. Ever. I did not have a boy wanting to chase the girl on fire. But this year, I listened to this song and with no connection to the melody or lyric, I wanted more country.

I’d wanted to remember the times when the biggest decision was whether I was upset about 93Q “turning country” or if I was going to admit that I owned explicit CDs. I wanted to hug the girl that threw away her cassette tapes because she thought they gave her impure thoughts. I wanted to remind the girl that has always LOVED country dancing that you can dance even if everyone arounds you hates it. You get to choose.

What I think I have discovered (please, I’m less sure than ever) is that the people that you want in your corner secretly know the words and tap their feet to YOUR country songs even when they hate the sound. It’s weird how love works. It warps the things that you want to protect. And maybe that’s what the girl on fire is all about. She knows who she is and that’s what creates her fire. I’d like to think that the darkness of the past few years has just been preparation for the bonfire that is about be lit in my life. Because, truth be told, I’ve got some fire starting to make up for. So I’ve been dreaming. And allowing the meld of the new and the old to help me envision a world where it all comes together. This is the kind of reconnection I’m looking for today. One where I can explore the forgotten, honor the truth of what is and dream a beautiful rainbow musical dream for tomorrow that includes Melissa and Tanya and Snoop.