Monday, November 22, 2010


It's not every day you get to meet people who have visited the garbage dumps around the world. A friend introduced me to a beautifully made film tonight

Go to WASTELAND WEBSITE to see if the film is showing near you.

I'll be showing some of my work at Timbre's annual Christmas show

This year it is DECEMBER 10 7:30pm at the ANCHOR
629 3rd ave South Nashville, TN 37210

This year I will have tons of new hand-made ONE OF A KIND jewelry + photos from India, Ethiopia, and Prague. Oh, and the book :)

so mark your calendar. If you haven't heard Timbre play live, you are missing a little part of your soul. No lie. Come support local artists and pick up some handmade Christmas gifts. You won't regret it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Back in the US - the land flowing with fried chicken and Football

I think there was entirely too much the happened in the past week to really be able to reflect on in one go. But I can try and start.

I shared a room with over 100 others in a church. 80 girls shared 1 bathroom and 2 toilets. It was surprisingly exciting and I didn't mind drinking cowboy coffee out of Nutella jars. I call it the outreach mocha. I had little time to pamper myself and no shower to bathe in, but it was a great experience and reminded me of Cornerstone - camping out for a week waking up next to dozens of other people who haven't showered in days.

We smelled great.

The design crew from MOTA blew me away. One of the students, Rene, had previously made a stop motion video and THIS WEBSITE. For the mini outreach, we decided to make postcards to raise awareness in the city about human trafficking and child labor. We all came up with our own designs in about a day and a half and scattered them throughout the city.

There were tons of stories from the week about the other students hanging with the homeless, serving the churches, loving the prostitutes, and even parading in the red light. Actually Kelsey and I got the honor to dance in that parade. At any other time I think I would have been extremely embarrassed from the situation. But my spirits were high and not even the rain could have made me depressed.

We marched through the second largest red light district in Europe being led by a guy in a conductor's hat, someone carrying a huge cross, another with a large salvation army flag, and a German guy singing into a small amp that a girl carried along side his guitar while the rest of our group filed behind us in twos singing along to German worship songs. We waved proudly to onlookers in bar windows and tried to get others to join in our marching. None complied, but Kels and I remained jubilant nevertheless. My dream came true of having a parade in a big city that night. And I'm pretty sure some lives were changed. Or - if anything - people got in some good laughs.

It was too hard to say goodbye to the group this time. Being away from Herrnhut really allowed me to appreciate Germany and what we are doing as a ministry a little more. Sometimes you get so stuck in the YWAM bubble in that small village. The only people I can communicate with have relatively the same understanding and outlook on life, but this is how we get stuck in the mundane. We aren't challenged.

But I've been challenged constantly since I stepped foot out of Germland. On one plane home I sat next to Kathrine. She just lost her mother a week ago. She was flying to Atlanta from Long Island to get away. She had such a pleasant and joyous spirit. She craved the spiritual and had compassion for the poor. She's worked as a dental hygienist for 30 years and is ready to retire. She wants to volunteer and help the poor in her area and as I shared what I did, it really encouraged and motivated her to research more into organizations and programs where she can become active. But what's more, she encouraged me that there really is hope for America, no matter how lost we are, that there are a handful of people who want to serve others.

Tonight at church, the worship went deep. I think it stirred up things in a lot of the people in the building. God spoke to me that His children are lost and do not know their Father. It broke my heart and I wept for those who have not fully given themselves to Him. They will never know the joy that I have experienced by finding my Father. I felt God's heart for them. My heart pounded for His sorrow and the sorrow I felt for those who have yet to seek His Glory - how they will never experience this . So many times when I am worshiping our great God I imagine the world as it is, but people laying down their selfish motives and turning to God. It's a beautiful thing. I will continue to pray for His Kingdom to come to Earth, and though I may never see that fully manifested, I can still see His Kingdom around me, and I hope just that little bit can be shared with those I encounter. And I hope that small encounter will change something in them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I just finished making my coffee this morning as I sit in my friend's flat. I’m in Hamburg for the second time this year. It’s surreal to think about all that has been provided for me the past few weeks. I had a warm bed to sleep in last night, a nice shower this morning, and breakfast waiting for me when I woke up. International friends are the greatest thing to have when you are travelling around the world. Living as a nomad takes its tole on you after awhile. I've slept in 9 different locations the past two weeks. I'm getting good at this packing light thing. And especially good at packing the essentials: underwear, instant coffee, earplugs and a sleeping mask. It’s pretty much all you need for your next adventure to the unknown. But I'm honestly worn out to the core from this weekend. We hosted the big conference about poverty, human trafficking, and slavery which ended today – leaving my brain in the rafters after non-stop thinking about how I could actively combat these huge issues. The elephant is too big for me to eat, so I'm going to need a little help from my friends.

It's embarrassing to say that in the past 2 years that I've "lived" in Germany, I've not picked up one sentence auf Deutsch. I worked the information booth at the conference this weekend and just smiled nodded each time a new person approached me with their question in their native tongue - each time fighting my way through the words until their next pause to kindly proclaim, "Entschuldigen, kein Deutsch sprechen." Except, on the spot, I forget to speak even the simplest of phrases and seem to mumble "ehhh... English?" like a dummy.

To my relief - and a bit of a surprise - the associate pastor of the Spanish church came to chat. I could not understand any of his German and he spoke very little English, so we decided to have a pleasant conversation in Espanol after discovering our common interest. My new Domincan Republic friend and I discussed the president of DR and how his reign the past 8 years has treated him well. He explained to me the president had recently visited Obama to speak about our countries’ issues like human rights and other social topics. He also told me I must like to work alot. "Te gusta trabajo mucho, no?" I had not stopped making jewelry our entire conversation which I now regret, for I was not engaging entirely into mis nuevo Latino compadre and missed the opportunity to go further into our new found friendship.

More German questions came and he left me to my work.

It was so refreshing to hear a language I could actually understand and he spoke it so beautifully. I've always regretted not being able to take Spanish 3. In high school I ran out of time to take actual classes because I squeezed in so many study halls, yearbook classes, "student teaching", and any other class that would give me relief from writing papers or having actual homework; probably more of those than I legally should have had. But it helps to know all the important people in the school office, or to just have a brother who everyone loved years prior. I think I got away with way too much. Since I can remember I've had a knack for getting out of things I was supposed to have done. Even in 1st grade I can remember "forgetting" to do the back side of my phonics homework - but Mrs. Shelton repeatedly gave me second chances to turn it in for half credit.

But Spanish was different. Ever since I can remember I've had this crazy fascination with travel and an extreme sense of wanderlust. I think my Spanish class fulfilled a bit of that wander. That's why I loved Spanish so much. It was the only subject that really got me outside the realm of my small town. For me, high school was such a struggle because I was so bored and not fulfilled. That fulfillment came from seeing the world - meeting other people. I can't imagine sitting still now and I'm 25. I'm so blessed to be free. To be single. I can do what I want to do. Go where I want to go. Be who I want to be. And best of all, there is no end because God provides for it all. I cannot ever imagine stopping now even as tired as I am. All I can think about are the travel possibilities this winter. Philly in December, California in January, India in Feburary. I'm excited to go home for a few weeks and rest, but after that, I'm free again baby!

Last night was such a blessing. It has been one of the first evenings I could sit alone, check email, send out files, and just plain rest without 100 other people around. Literally. I realized tonight how much being around people just stresses me out. When there is conversation happening I want to be a part of it, so all the talking grabs my attention and then sucks the energy right out of me. And then nothing is accomplished because I've actually not said anything all day. All of my energy left me through my brain. It's sounds weird (and a little gross) but it's the only way I can describe it.

Thank you Jesus for my warm bed
and coffee
and toast
and sleeping in
and loyal friends
and peace
and quiet
and being alone
and collecting my thoughts, a least for a few minutes

Maybe one day I'll stop.
But not now, please.

Elimination Art Collective: coming soon :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I can't sleep.

I got Tennessee on my mind.

It's just past 4 in the morning and I cant help but stare at Orion's belt gleaming through my window. It shines so bright over the German hillside and all I can think about is just how many others are looking at the exact same constellation, at this exact same moment. probably thousands. perhaps millions. I don't know the likelyhood of the latter, but it sounds feasable.

I went on a mini tour this weekend with one of my favorite new artists, Sarah Brendel. She could be a star if she wanted to. It's not that her music is too new, but for some reason I'm just discovering her.

After meeting her at a show in Dresden Friday she invited me on tour with her to Berlin for the weekend. How could I resist? I even played a show with her. Oh, and I tell you I was on tv? No big deal.

I had a delightful time with her and the guys. We scopped out all the hip local spots in Berlin, drank Italian espresso at a pizza bistro, talked about Hannover and Hamburg over mojitos in a bar with a live dj, shot film, and coveted all the fixed gear bikes in town. I'm such a hipster, I know.

After 2 years in Germany, this was my first time to really see Berlin. I even (possibly) saw some real live Bansky.

Thursday I'm off to Hamburg for a conference about Human Trafficking and then a week with the design students somewhere in the city. Details are yet to be confirmed, but all we need for action is a projector and a warm place to sleep. Their last assigment was to make stop motion videos about trafficking and I'm challenging them to show their final projects in downtown Hamburg projected onto a wall or screen outside. It's going to be cold, but I'm really excited to see the reactions.

There are about 7-8,000 women working in prostitution in Hamburg. About 70% are migrant workers and many trafficked in thanks to its convenient harbor. I hope to spark some conversation and avoid as much cold as possible. I just pray I make it on to my plane next Saturday without too many germs or court costs. Germany requires too many permits.