The Good Girl’s Guide to Adventure

LOST

My friend and I jokingly describe each other as “Born to be Mild.” She rides motorcycles. And I? Well, I don’t do much of anything too “out there,” but I’m game for just about anything–just about.

I have a long list of books I hope to write, but I’ve reserved the title of this blog for a future book, titled, of course, The Good Girl’s Guide to Adventure.

I know the real rebels laugh at me. I’m not quite a Thelma or a Louis, but I’d make a pretty good Lucy or Ethel. Go ahead, you “normal” people. Laugh or roll your eyes, but you might consider loosening up a little bit. I’m not running with Hell’s Angels. But even the Wild Hogs yearn for adventure.

Me too! Me too!  As long as I’m home by eight.

Seriously though, I’ve had my fair share of “adventure,” mild though it may be. Check it out:

  • I’ve met and mingled with oodles of celebrities and gawked with the best of you. I haven’t been arrested once for stalking, but I’m not dead yet.
  • You know those crime-drama shows where the cops come to a screeching stop, block the get-away car with their own vehicles, pull their guns, and order the perpetrators to spread ’em to be frisked? Intense, right? Well, baby, I’ve been in the get away car–only I wasn’t trying to get away. I was simply leaving a pizza joint and was in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s what happens when you get caught in the middle of a drug sting and are pegged as the pick up. Not!
  • And then there was the time I wandered down to a riverside festival  in Memphis to try out my new camera. Memphis. Expensive camera. Alone. The dark. A riverside festival. Mix all these ingredients, and you should have disaster, but I walked away smiles and grins from felons. I was too stupid to know that I was asking members of the Outlaws to pose. At least they were nice about it. And they didn’t kill me.
  • I like bikers! My first real motorcycle ride was on the back of an Indian motorcycle that belonged to a biker dude I met when I spent part of a summer in Colorado. Okay, okay. Maybe the guy wasn’t in a biker gang. Maybe it was more like a club, kind of like a chess club with leather jackets and Bibles. But I really did think I was going to die as I clung to the back of a total stranger going 70 mph on the open road.
  • Then there was the time I ran away with a cowboy. Well, maybe I didn’t really run away, but I jumped in his Chevy van and took off. Never saw him before in my life. Okay, maybe we didn’t run away. Maybe I exaggerated a bit. Maybe we just drove to the Jiffy Burger. Thank goodness for me (or my mama would’ve killed me), he turned out to be the perfect gentleman and became a good friend. At least I didn’t lie about the cowboy part. He really was a bull rider from Oklahoma.
  • And finally, there was the night I was chased by ax murders in the middle of a cow pasture in rural Rutherford County. No embellishment of the facts. Every bit is true, but I’ll save that story for another time.

The point is I think I have something inside of me that most people don’t have. It’s a spark or a sparkle. It’s that thing kids have right before they realize they’re too old to play make believe. It’s a sense of adventure.

I’ve got it! And because I’ve got it, I think my imagination can craft stories that young people want to hear. My kids at school listen. They always want me to tell one more

I just wish I could convince editors and agents that I’ve got that “thing” they’re looking for. Why is it the editors and agents have to be the picky ones?

I wish I could walk into a conference and say, “Hey, here I am, everything you’ve ever been looking for. You better not pass me by. Somewhere in this publishing world, the right agent and editor are going to find me. You’ll be sorry you were afraid to take a chance.”

But it doesn’t work like that. Right, fellow writers?

We go bonkers practicing our elevator pitches. We fight to sit by our favorite agent or editor at the conference luncheons. We write query letters that are highly likely to hear the clunk of a virtual trash can.

Oh, it’s a hard life, the life of a wannabe writer.

But, when all is said and done, I’m just going to pray and allow God to orchestrate his will. Paths cross for a reason–divine appointments, they’re called. What is supposed to be will be.

I can honestly say I like who I am. If anything, I’m unpredictable. And living inside my own head is a rollercoaster ride with its ups and downs.

I guess I’ll have to wait to see how the story ends.

TODAY’S CHALLENGE
Let’s keep it G-rated. Help me write my Good Girl’s Guide to Adventure. What’s the first rule you would add?

WORDS OF WISDOM
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” ~  Helen Keller

MUSIC NOTES
Come on get ready for the ride of your life / Gonna leave long-faced religion in a cloud of dust behind / And discover all the new horizons just waiting to be explored / This what we were created for ~ Steven Curtis Chapman, “The Great Adventure”

LOOK AND SEE CYBER SERENDIPITEE
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijqnsRqSo2k

FINAL THOUGHT

Quote Series ChalkboardPOOHSPIRIT

Plinky 11– Eleven of My Favorite Celebrity Interviews

It’s been a little while since I’ve turned to Plinky.com for ideas. The original prompt was “List Your Top Celebrity Sightings.” Instead of resorting to one of my usual stalking stories, I’ll keep it light and fun and put on my music journalist hat. Here’s a list of my Top Eleven Interviews with Celebrities. (Yes, I am basking in the glory days.)

11. Bob Halligan, Jr. is the front man for the Celtic/Irish band Ceili Rain. I met and interviewed him several years ago. Being a long-time fan of Celtic/Irish music, I knew I was in for a treat. But when we sat down for an interview, he tormented me constantly, picking, picking, picking in a good-natured way. I laughed so hard I could barely get the questions out. My tape recorder wouldn’t work, so I had to humble myself and ask him for help. But overall, it was one of the most fun interviews I ever had. Many people might not recognize Bob Halligan’s name right off, but they may recognize the songs he’s written. His work has been recorded by KISS and Judas Priest. I met him during GMA Week.

10. Toby Mac. I was working on a cover story for Release magazine about artists who formed their own indie record companies. Naturally, I had to interview Toby about Gotee Records. I’ve seen him numerous times, but we talked for just a few minutes via the phone. He caught him at the airport just before he left for London. The whole interview experience was a rush. Loved it.

9. Phil Keaggy. So how often does one get to sit down and chat with such an amazing guitar player. Wow. God sure blessed me with the opportunity. And Phil blessed me with his latest CD. (Trivia tidbit—There was rumor that Jimi Hendrix referred to Phil Keaggy as the greatest guitarist ever. But there’s no real evidence to prove that. But still…cool. Check out Snopes.com for more info.)

8. Sherri Shepherd. Sherri Shepherd is hilarious both on the screen and off. I didn’t get a chance to talk with her in person, but we talked over the phone. She was quite candid about the heartbreaks and obstacles she had encountered in her life, but she gave credit to God to overcoming them. She was also quite humble and reminded me that even during the hard times laughter is good medicine.

7. Randy Travis. I interviewed Randy over the phone. He is one of the nicest, most humble people I’ve ever had the pleasure to talk to. We talked about his wild days and his run-ins with the law—actually the outrunning the law. He was a bad boy, but God turned him around.

6. Charlie Daniels. Charlie Daniels is a man with fire and spunk. We talked via the phone, and he was not one bit afraid to voice his opinions about the politics of the day. Wow. He didn’t hold anything back. I admire a person who isn’t afraid to speak his mind and who is willing to stand for his convictions.

5. Gordon Kennedy. I was writing a story about a new project by Gordon Kennedy, Phil Maderia, Billy Sprague, and Wayne Kirkpatrick (Coming from Somewhere Else), so I had the chance to interview all four. My interview with Gordon was a phoner, but how often does a person get to talk to a person who wrote a Grammy song for Eric Clapton? Star struck I was.

4. Smokey Robinson. What a sweet, sweet person whose life has been transformed through his Christian faith. Every time I see him on TV (as I did tonight on American Idol), I think, “Wow. I talked to a legend. God is so good.”

3. Steven Curtis Chapman. I’ve interviewed Steven on multiple occasions, but my favorite experience was being invited to a private listening party for his release of Speechless. I remember white candles on black tablecloths. The first time I met him, Steven asked my son Josh who his favorite singer was. Correct answer? Steven Curtis Chapman. What did Josh say? Michael W. Smith.

2. Wayne Kirkpatrick. Nobody writes songs like Wayne Kirpatrick. The first time I talked with him was in a suite at the Renaissance Hotel in Nashville during GMA. I was in awe. He has penned numerous songs for Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith and more recently Little Big Town. If you want to impress me, write a song, a song that can “change the world.” Yeah, he wrote Eric Clapton’s hit with Gordon Kennedy and Tommie Sims. I’ve seen Wayne play more times than I can count. He’s also one of the best guitarists I’ve ever heard. He sings and plays with passion. He speaks the truth, and he changes hearts. (And I hope to catch him, Gordon, and Phil during Tin Pan South if my life allows.)

1. Michael W. Smith. Yes, it could be said that I have come close to stalking Mr. Smith a few times. But he is one of my all-time favorite singers. The first time I met him a friend of mine’s mom was doing an interview with him for her TV station in Illinois. She invited me to come along. I was in awe. I had never met a celebrity before. Michael’s publicist gave me a copy of his press kit. I was blown away to find a tear sheet of MY review of his latest album. I felt like a real journalist then. I have accidently hung up on Michael during a phone interview, and I stuttered and babbled in front of him when I went to his album release party at Legends. But he appears to be a merciful, forgiving man. I have also not been jailed.

Shameless reminiscing tonight, folks. No bragging. I just needed some happy thoughts. God allows me to be the vessel to tell other peoples’ stories from time to time. He could have chosen someone else, but he chose me. I’ve had hundreds of interviews, and each one is a special gift. God delivers a special message to me with each one. These are just a few, but I’m just as thankful for one as I am the other.

FULL MOON CRAZY CONTEST RESULTS
Congratulations Herb Crowder for winning the Starbucks card. (You should receive it soon.) I’m sorry for the delay in posting. Due to the death in my family, I have not been able to work with the blog for a short while. Thanks to all of you who have prayed for my mother and my family. She is resting now. Please remember my father in your prayers.

Monday Mentor Songwriter Appreciation

For this week’s Monday Mentor post, I decided to pay homage to a few of my favorite songwriters. I didn’t mention the singers’ names or the song titles because I wanted to focus only on the craft, the writers’ abilities to tap our emotions through their carefully chosen tools of diction, imagery, juxtaposition, metaphor, simile, personification. I admire their art.

Songwriters are amazing artists. The masters of the craft can take a story and lay it out before us in three minutes. When they mix their lyrics with the right music, they make art that moves us to laugh, dream, think, sing and love.

I am always inspired by quotes and lyrics. What is your favorite song lyric? Why is it so powerful? What special meaning does it have for you?

The Indian summer both of us laughing

Hackberry trees and fireflies flashing

So many holes in the soles of our shoes

You don’t choose life, life chooses you

Floatin’ on a raft we built from scrap wood

Mosquito scratching felt so good

And I’ve never seen eyes your color of blue

You don’t choose love, love chooses you ~ Rodney Clawson

 I’d change it if I could, but I’m really not that strong

I might be understood if I knew where I belong

I might fly beyond this room

And kiss the cheek of the moon ~ Wayne Kirkpatrick

If I could reach the stars I’d pull one down for you
Shine it on my heart so you could see the truth
That this love I have inside is everything it seems
But for now I find it’s only in my dreams ~ Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Tommy Sims

 But every time you hold me

You take away some lonely

Everytime you love me

The further away I get from the edge ~ Pete Sallis

Questioning those in powerful position
Running to those who called His name
(But) Nobody knew His secret ambition
Was to give His life away ~ Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Wayne Kirkpatrick

Oh, it seemed like a holy place, protected by amazing grace
And we would sing right out loud, the things we could not say
We thought we could change this world with words like “love” and “freedom”
We were part of the lonely crowd inside the sad café ~ Don Henley, J.D. Souther, Joe Walsh, Glenn Frey

Would I know by sight if I met you in the street
Clandestined collision by shuffling feet
I’ve only seen your face on museum walls
But your everpresent eyes don’t miss the sparrow’s fall. ~ Justin Vigeant

In open fields of wild flowers, she breathes the air and flies away
She thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses in no simple language
Someday she’ll understand the meaning of it all ~ Matt Bronleewe, Dan Haseltine, Charlie Lowell, Steve Mason

You’ll see mountains and the valleys

And the rivers far down below

Oh the high road might get lonely

But it’s the only way to go ~ Pete Sallis

And I don’t know how it gets better than this

You take my hand and drag me headfirst, fearless

I don’t know why but with you I’d dance

In a storm in my best dress, fearless ~ Hillery Lindsey, Liz Rose, Taylor Swift

 Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses

You been out ridin’ fences for so long now.

Oh, you’re a hard one, I know that you got your reasons

These things that are pleasin’ you can hurt you somehow ~ Don Henley, Glenn Frey

Just to know, just to know that you love me gives me hope to carry on
What can this world do to me? No, no
Just to know, just to know that you’re with me
On all these roads I traveled on
When all I have is gone, I confess my dependence on you ~ Jamie Slocum

I run from hate, I run from prejudice
I run from pessimists, but I run too late
I run my life or is it running me, run from my past
I run too fast or too slow it seems
When lies become the truth
That’s when I run to you ~ Tom Douglas, David Wesley Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott

 And now I’m singing my songs

Standing up on a big and bright stage, yeah

And I do my dance while the music plays

But when the music stops

Am I doing the walk? ~ Steven Curtis Chapman

Even when you’re gone,
Somehow you come along just like
A flower pokin’ through the sidewalk crack
And just like that
You steal away the rain, and just like that
You make me smile like the sun, fall out of bed
Sing like a bird, dizzy in my head
Spin like a record, crazy on a Sunday night ~ Jeremy Bose, Blair Daly, J. Harding, Matthew Shafer

Seasons

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.     Luke 2:19

I know that I can hardly compare the events in my life to a divine miracle with the purpose of saving mankind. But still, when I think about the little things God has done to make me happy, I’m just amazed.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. Really, I have. The times when I wasn’t writing were the times when I felt most empty, depleted.

I’ve always loved music. There was a period in my life when I had nothing to do with music. There was a part of me that died. Then I discovered contemporary Christian music.

I remember sitting at my mother’s house, watching the Dove Awards. Prior to that show, I had no idea that people could actually combine their faith with a Christian message. I said, “Next year, I’m going to be there.” I was. I meant in the audience. But God had other plans. He put me backstage.

There was a period in my life when contemporary Christian consumed my life. Sadly, I wonder if I made it my idol. Every weekend I was at a concert. I had the time of my life. There was not one celebrity I hadn’t interviewed nor one concert I hadn’t attended. Back then. Things are different now.

Today I ponder those things in my heart, like Mary. Again, don’t get me wrong. I’m not comparing these minor details to the divine. But God let me live the life I always dreamed about—for a little while.

I’ll never forget all the GMA weeks, especially the first time I met Michael W. Smith, my hero, the namesake of my child. My friend invited me to tag along with her to their interview. I almost flipped out when he entered the room. I almost passed out when I saw the articles I had written about him in his press kit while I was sitting there in the room looking at him in person.

I never dreamed that I would meet him again on many occasions. I never dreamed that he would call my house for an interview—and I would hang up on him, on accident, of course. He was so gracious and forgiving. I never dreamed I would find myself sitting at a table at media event and having someone bring him to my table for another brief introduction. I never dreamed I would get an invite to his album release party. Today I pity the poor man, having to put up with a loony stalker like me. At least I was harmless.

And the list goes on. There are so many little things, things that make me tear up, things that make me smile, things that make me giggle like a little girl. I’ll never forget blinding Peter Furler with the flash of my Canon Rebel during an Atlanta Fest concert—and then he wanted to talk cameras with me afterwards because he was thinking of buying one too. I’ll never forget going to a Newsboys album release event with Shrimp on the Barbie! I’ll never forget Phil Joel, the bass player with the beautiful long blond hair, holding my older son and running about the place, having a blast.

I’ll never forget doing a phone interview with Toby Mac while he was at a London airport or sneaking around backstage at an Audio Adrenaline concert, politely asking Ben Cissell if he would mind posing with me for a photograph. He was my favorite drummer at the time. I saw him play one night at cozy little gathering at Jammin’ Java in Franklin. Ah, fun!

I’ll never forget gawking at all the celebs at the Renaissance Hotel during GMA, especially Christafari. They were so different. I’ll never forget seeing Three Crosses for the first time. I fell in love with their music, and I still listen to them. I think about the blurb I used in the article I wrote about them in RELEASE magazine, something about miles to go before they sleep. I guess we were talking about life on the tour bus.

I remember chatting with Steven Curtis Chapman at his album release party and hearing my older son tell him at the Lifeway store in Nashville that Smitty was his favorite singer. I remember the first time I saw him play live at a little outdoor concert. I still have the BEST photo I’ve ever taken in my life, all blown up into the size of a poster. Thank you Steven Curtis. I wish I could play guitar like you.

I remember running into Brad Olsen at what is now Kangaroo Market in my own hometown. I miss that quirky sound of The Waiting. I treasure meeting Jamie Slocum and Phil Keaggy and Wayne Kirkpatrick and Nicole C. Mullen and all the guys from Third Day and Shaun Groves and Lori and Micah Wilshire. The list goes on.

Oh my, God has been so good to weave all these beautiful people into the tapestry of my life, even for the fleeting moment that it has been.

Those days are long gone. But God is opening new doors for me now. Different doors, but equally exciting doors. My prayer is that I will take each opportunity as a gift. That I will always remember that if anything good happens in my life that I am not the least bit responsible, for without Him I can do nothing. I pray that I’ll never allow my writing to become an idol but that I will take the gift that He has given me and use it to encourage others and to point them to His Kingdom.

Things happen in our lives for a reason. There is a season to everything.

I just found out that one of my stories (not my novel, not yet) will be published in a hardbound collection of stories sold at Barnes & Noble and at Walmart. Wow. God is so good. I wrote that story from the heart on a whim and sent it without worrying about whether or not it would be published. I am floored that I’m actually going to be able to step into a store and see my words in print.

I will treasure the moment and ponder it in my heart. It may last only a season, but I am thankful for every little thing He gives.