Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Begin Again"

Right after the release of "Red," Taylor delivered another gift to us! Here's her new video for the final track on her album, "Begin Again."

This is one of my favorites of the new set of songs. It's both about recovering from a heartbreak and the hope of a new relationship. It's a great example of the "old Swift," which shares the record with the "new Swift's" playful, dancey, pop-y songs. Of course, I enjoy both versions of her storytelling, but it's always nice to experience some of the fundamental reasons I fell in love with her in the first place with the slow, romantic ballads.
Also, this video makes me want to visit Paris, s’il vous plaĆ®t.

Monday, October 22, 2012


Happy RED Day! Yahoo!!! Today is such a great day! Taylor's new album if finally released!

The iTunes album was released at midnight, and I couldn't help but download it ASAP. Thanks to some sneaky timezone tricks, I was able to get it earlier! I listened to the whole album through once before bed, then again as I fell asleep. I love it already!
But that didn't stop me from heading to Target right as it opened to purchase their deluxe edition with six additional bonus tracks! I want all the Taylor I can get! And I wasn't the only one there bright and early snagging my very own hardy copy of her fourth album. (Nor was I the only one posing for a picture near the already-emptying front display!) I had to wait in line to grab my 2-disc album.
Two years ago, for the Speak Now release, I was just barely able to refrain from purchasing a t-shirt that was displayed near the CDs. This year, not so much. That cute grey one was too tempting! And those Target employees sure know how to sing a siren's song! Of course, I couldn't wear it today. Today, RED Day, only my red shirt, red jewelry, and red lips would do! Yay for Taylor Holidays!
I've already listened to the album multiple times. I can't quite decide which is my favorite song. Maybe it's the big sound of "State of Grace." Maybe one the ballads like "All Too Well" or "Sad Beautiful Tragic" or "Begin Again." Or one of the duets like "The Last Time" with Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody or "Everything Has Changed" with my British fave, Ed Sheeran. Or the fun, dancey ones like "22" or "I Knew You Were Trouble." Yeah, obviously I can't make up my mind, yet. So far, I'm not wanting to skip over any of them, including the six bonus ones from Target, and that's a good sign!
I love hearing Taylor's perspective of each song: 
This album is most certainly the most eclectic one TSwiz has compiled. I love how her voice adapts to every style and genre she fearlessly approaches. I can't wait to memorize every word to every song and belt them out in my car! I gotta go! It's time to listen again!
Have you listened to it yet? Did you buy the iTunes version or the hard copy? Do you pour over the lyrics like I do? What's your favorite song? Do you like hearing some of Tay's new sounds?
PS. Finding the hidden messages within the lyrics in her liner notes was just as fun this time as it was the three times before! Now, how to determine the subject of each song?? Let the speculating begin!

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Meant to be Together" by Emily Cowan

My best friend is famous!! Or at least she is bound to be after this!

Emily Cowan just released her first official music video!

Y'all, get ready, 'cause it's awesome!

Okay, right? What'd I tell you? It's amazing! EEEEEE!! I'm just so excited for her! (And for me! Yahoo for famous best friends!!)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Happy Counting Day!

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Yahoo! I love celebrating counting days every year!
They're like secret little holidays that people forget to acknowledge! Well, not this girl! (Not this year!) Because not only are they rare, but there's a limited supply of them! We're already in the double-digit counting days, so we don't have long before they are expired for good within my lifetime. What a sad counting-less future 2015 holds.
So, today, don't forget to honor what a special, sneaky, smart date it is! You won't get many more opportunities. Have fun counting!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pitch Perfect Girls' Night

First things first: I have the best best friends in all the land. Alright, now that we got that out of the way...
The Emilys, Cristin and I had an impromptu, weekday girls' night last night, and it was wonderful!

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If y'all haven't gone to see "Pitch Perfect" yet, do it. Seriously, we laughed the entire time. Start to finish, even in the downtime when they weren't throwing jokes our way. It's awesome. And I'm pretty positive that guys will love it, too. We just so happened to use the opportunity to make it about the girls.

I'm so blessed to have such amazing friends that make boring Monday nights into wonderful memories!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Faith and Love. But no Hope?

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And now these three remain: Faith, Hope, and Love.
But the greatest of these is Love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

It's another new month. But I don't mean October. This new month comes with a much heavier weight than the joy of autumn and the anticipation of Taylor Swift's fourth studio album. I mean another new cycle. The start of another new month after another failed month of trying to conceive. It's month 22 in a row of deliberately trying to get pregnant and not succeeding (not counting the year-worth of months we casually tried before that). It's month 22 of unfulfilled hope. It is month 12 of intervened, doctor and drug assisted attempts to conceive. Month 12 of unfulfilled medically assured hope.
That hope, it's a tricky thing. The hope is what makes it hurt. Every new cycle, like this one, it's the hope that "this could be the month." Every drug, it's the hope that "this one is going to do the trick." Every ovulation, it's the hope that "this egg is going to get fertilized and become my baby and be the first of my children to bless our home." Every two week wait filled with unusually strong smells or weird tastes or tender breasts or exhaustion or light pink spotting around possible implantation days, it's the hope that "these are symptoms of pregnancy, finally." And then every new menstruation, all of those fresh hopes die; are given up; are grieved. They must ultimately be replaced with new ones, again. But is that continually possible?
The death of that hope hurts.
Wouldn't it be better to just not hope anymore? Wouldn't it be less painful to not get hopes up just to be let down?
I wish I could respond to those rhetorical questions with a determined strength and scriptures to back it up about how God never lets us down and to just keep on truckin' along with that hope in full swing. (There are plenty of them.) But I can't. Not today. Not Cycle 22, Day 1.
I have love aplenty. I love my husband with all my heart. I love our families. I love our friends. I love our pup. I love my Lord and Savior with my entire existence. And I never, for one second, doubt God's love for me. After all, He loved me enough to sacrifice His only son for my salvation. That's a love that can't be questioned.
And I don't waiver with faith. I truly believe that God is good, and He knows what is best for our future. I believe He wouldn't withhold something I desire so strongly unless it was for a great purpose I can't see. If He's willing to give even His own child for me, why would He keep anything else from me unless it was for some great reason?
But, today, the hope is a struggle. The definition in the above photo states that hope means "to look forward to with great confidence and expectation." Well, I simply can't claim that right now. Just yesterday I was doodling our future children's names on scrap paper at work, but today, I can't look at this new month with any confidence that we will conceive. I can't actually expect to see a positive pregnancy test anytime soon, if ever. Too many months of experience have taught me that it's simply not going to happen. Why would this month be any different? We're coming up on the third holiday season I hoped to celebrate with either a baby or a pregnancy. I can't imagine this one will be the one, either. Boo.
Hope is tricky, because we hope with our human perspective. I could passionately hope to win the lottery, but it'd be silly to blame God for not granting me my wish. Or I could have hoped desperately to marry some random dude, all the while God knew that Brad was the man for me. Or I can hope with every ounce of my being to conceive a child (or two or five), but God may know that my heart's desire isn't what our future holds. Maybe we are to adopt? Maybe we are not meant to be parents at all. (I'm not at all prepared to accept that one, yet.) That's why hope is tricky, because it's determined by what we hope for, which may or may not be right for us. So basically, I have hope for a future, and hope to serve God faithfully, and hope for an eternity spent with Him in Heaven, but right now this minute, I do not have hope to conceive, at least "naturally" or any time soon.
How in the world do you know what God wants for your life? Do you just wait and wait and wait and wait until something happens and then assume that it is His will since it came to pass? Do you continue trying in the meantime for what you want? Or do you just trust that if God wants it to happen, He'll make it happen regardless of the effort put in on your part? After all, Mary conceived without ever even having sex! If God wants us to get pregnant, He can achieve that regardless of whether or not we take drugs, endure invasive procedures, or pee on sticks. Trying desperately and pleading in prayer every month isn't going to accomplish anything if it's not His plan anyway, is it? So what's the point? When do you let go? When do you move on? How do you know what His will is and what it'll take, if anything, to achieve it?
I don't know...
I think this month is unique with unprecedented difficulty for me. For the last 22 months, I've been devastated every time I didn't conceive, but I never really doubted that I was eventually going to. This month, however, the non-conception came as no surprise. It's what I've come to expect from years of experience. Furthermore, what's changed this time, is now I'm doubting and questioning and confused. Doubting our future. Questioning God's will. Confused of what steps to take, if any. I've always been so confident that I would be a mom, and sure that God knew my life better than I do. I've never truly asked "Why?" before, because I didn't think that as a member of creation I had the right to question the Creator. But this month I can't seem to help it. A lot of "Why?'s" and "What's the point?'s" are swirling through my head right now. I've never crossed this bridge of doubt before, nor did I ever intend or desire to, and I don't know how to navigate this new terrain. And I'm not entirely sure I want to stay in this new hopeless land long-term anyway.
Is it possible to have strong faith and love but let go of some of the hope? Is it healthy? Is it okay? Because today, that is where I am.

But what do you do without hope? How do you keep going? How do you give up a dream and longing that God placed so deep within your soul? How do you let go of the hope that you'll one day join Him in creating life? Of the hope of feeling your baby's hiccups from inside your belly? Of hearing his or her heartbeat for the first time? Of seeing that sweet face and recognizing a perfect combination of you and your spouse? Of rocking an innocent child to sleep with a lullaby and a nightlight? Of caressing that soft cheek as he nurses? Of hearing precious coos filling your house? Of looking into her eyes and seeing your future? How?

I'm at a weird place right now. I don't know how to keep the hope alive, but I don't know how to let it go either.
I genuinely wish I could be strong and faithful and encouraging and end this blog post with passionate affirmations to never doubt and never lose hope. I love God with all that I am, but today, I can't encourage or affirm. Thank you for allowing me to admit my weaknesses, struggles, wounds, shortcomings, and vulnerabilities. Christian family (which I consider all of you to be) is such a blessing.

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