The beat goes on: 8 new (to me) music finds

During my podcast-free week, I asked for new music recommendations to fill the void, and y’all delivered! Here are my favourite finds.

Woman with teal hair wearing oversize headphones listening to music

Listen to the Music by cocacolagirlie via Deviant Art

Perhaps the best part of my week-long podcast fast was exploring all the music recommendations. I don’t listen to the radio anymore because I have contracted The Old and everything I hear there sounds like garbled synthmess to me. Taking in new music hasn’t happened in well over five years, and I didn’t know where to start, so I posted an all-call on social media.

And, boy, did you guys deliver.

Below, I’ve curated a list of my favorites, in no particular order. Give them a listen, see what you dig, then leave even more recs in the comments!

Oh! A quick note before we get to that.

What made this exercise so precious wasn’t actually the music itself—I would have been fine listening to the same stuff I’ve listened to since high school—it’s that, because humans’ musical preferences are so keyed into their identity, I feel closer to each person who shared with me. I’m getting a peek into their private worlds, what makes them happy and sad, the kind of thing that moves them. Until this, I hadn’t realized how much we reveal about ourselves when we share music with others. How intensely personal! So I want to give extra thanks to everyone who let me see them a little more clearly by sharing with me.

Anyway.

On to the music! Crank it to 11!


The Dirty Nil (NSFW): punk

Scandroid: synthwave

Durand Jones & The Indications: soul/ R&B

Putamayo Presents: Gypsy Caravan: world

Chumped: pop punk

Tenement: alt rock

The Shakes: soul/punk

The Struts: glam rock


Got any other music recommendations for me? Share them in the comments!

The road goes ever on: Where we’re moving and why (mostly)

Don’t feel bad if you didn’t know: It’s been a secret since January. Here’s a quick-n-dirty FAQ on our expatriation.

This past weekend was a big one for me and mine, not just because of the incredibleness of getting to start over fresh in my marriage after 10 years, but because of a second huge announcement that most of you likely didn’t see.

After nearly 20 years of serving the Hamilton area, our church is starting a new campus in Orlando, Florida this summer.

And we’re going.

Supernatural Dean what excuse me what GIF

I know. We were surprised, too.

I’m sure you have a zillion questions, and I’m going to do my best to answer them, but I need to ask you for two things.

  1. Please read the entire post before you comment/DM/email/text/call so we’re on the same page, and I don’t have to repeat myself too much.
  2. Understand that this is an extremely complex situation with a lot of moving parts and question marks. I won’t explain it all perfectly the first time.

Okay? Okay.

Here goes.


Gold toy car on a road map of Orlando Florida (via Alamy.com)

Why are you going?

The short answer is because we were called.

Yeah, that made me groan and roll my eyes, too. But it’s the truth. Cliches are cliches for a reason.

Our pastors invited us to join the launch team in the plan’s nascent stages in a turn of events that could only have been divinely arranged. (If you want to hear the full story, just ask! It’s too long for this post.) When we heard what they were planning, our spirits leaped for joy, although we didn’t have any clue why. We sat on our answer for three days but knew full well we were going. We just knew.

But why you?

You have no idea how often we ask ourselves that on a daily basis, especially as the days count down to go-time. We’re not pastors, elders, or ministry leaders; we’re a couple of laypeople who haven’t even been saved very long.

However.

Practically speaking, Lino and I have unique skillsets that are surprisingly useful in planting a church. Lino’s become an expert in community outreach through his work with Ruck 2 Remember, and he’s an Excel wizard with experience in all stages of business operations after a decade in call center management. For my part, it’s become abundantly clear that God wants to do something with my writing, and I’ve learned to channel my perfectionism into organizational skills, which are crucial for any startup.

We’re also discovering ever deeper wellsprings of hope, love, and trust as we continue to say “yes” to the call despite the increasing obstacles and attacks that kind of commitment invites. It’s really shown us what we’re made of. So, even if on the day we drive the truck across the border God says to go back and stay in Hamilton, I say it’s been worth it.

Also, the fact that I’m American helps.

Why Orlando?

It’s weird, right? I mean, missionaries get called to Haiti or Sudan or China–places where things are realrealbad and folks need hope. You don’t get called to Disneyworld.

And yet, there’s a need.

Our pastors have been vacationing in the area for nearly 10 years and have become increasingly aware of a ferocious desire for God’s love among folks who claim to already know Jesus. They’re hungry and thirsty for divine love, for a new way of living in this world, for relationship over religion.

We’re going to Orlando to stir up the wonder, glory, and joy of God in the hearts of those who have forgotten it–or never knew it in the first place–in the midst of a land overflowing with buildings but starving for church as it’s meant to be: a community that loves like family.

Fortunately, that’s exactly what we do best.

When are you leaving?

Um, well, we aren’t sure. We’ve known we were going since January, but the truth is we don’t have a solid moving date yet. As it stands, we’re aiming at August 1. Which means we’ve got about a month to get all our ducks (alligators?) in a row. But we truly have no idea. Could be Christmas. I’ll get back to you.

Will you be back?

You’ll see us again! As visitors.

We’re treating this as a permanent move. We decided from the start that if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it all the way. No lukewarm, half-in bet-hedging. We’re taking the stuff we can’t bear to part with and making the Sunshine State our new home.

So, what now?

There are still so many things unsettled–including jobs, housing, schools, and immigration statuses–so it’s all constantly in motion even at this late hour. But since it isn’t a secret anymore, I’m able to share the journey with you as it unfolds. You’ll be hearing a lot more about our antics soon.

For now, we’re stepping into July with fear and trembling but also hope and certainty that whatever may pass is good. Don’t get me wrong: this is scary as hell and I’ve cried rivers. But every step we’ve taken forward has been accompanied by peace in the midst of chaos, provision in the grip of lack, and reassurance in the face of doubt. And that tells me we’re on the right track.

So.

Now.

Tony Stark end of presentation ready for your questions

How we killed and resurrected our marriage: a 10-year anniversary story

No one’s more surprised that we’re still married than my husband and me. By all rights, we shouldn’t be. Let me tell you the story. [VIDEO]

I never expected to be married for 10 years.

Hell, I never expected to be married at all.

And six years ago, I expected to be divorced by now.


Lino and I haven’t had an easy marriage. It started out strong—we coasted on the heady fumes of infatuation way longer than most couples—but when the rosy glow wore off, things broke bad. Real bad.

I’m talking lies, gaslighting, manipulation, cheating, separation.  Horrible stuff. No one would’ve blamed us for walking away. In fact, most of our friends and family gently (and not so gently) encouraged us to do just that. Sometimes we encouraged it, too.

While we didn’t hate each other, we sure as hell didn’t like each other—not to speak of love. Everything about our relationship screamed divorce. And yet, no matter what awfulness we perpetrated against each other, we stayed together.

But rather than try to explain WHY in writing, I want to tell you in person.

So grab your drink and settle in. It’s story time.

Click here to read/download the transcript.

Now, I tell you that story to tell you this one:

This weekend, Lino and I are renewing our vows.

Ten is the number of completion, so our 10th anniversary is the perfect time to close the book on the story of our old marriage and to forge a new covenant, to start a new life with Christ at the center.

We’re bringing every broken promise, every wound, every sin to the altar where we’ll repent and forgive, washing away our past, then make new vows to honor one another and the God who’s always had our backs, even when they were turned on each other.  

Honestly, it’s more like a baptism than a wedding.


I don’t know what the next ten years will hold. While our relationship is wildly better than it was, it’s not perfect (not that it ever will be). We still fight, still ignore each other, still overwork, still cling to old hurts. We’re still human.

But what I do know is that the God who started a good work in us is faithful to complete it—and he’s done some killer work so far. The three of us are on an adventure together, walking the long road from where we started to where we’re going, and only one of us knows the way. So Lino and I will follow, carrying only what we need as we start this next phase of the journey, our eyes on the horizon, watching as the sun rises on a new day.


“If anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new creation. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.” [2 Corinthians 5:17 TPT]