You are magic. How could one town have it all? Artsy streets, empires made of skyscrapers and golden trees, vegan donuts to die for, inviting flower markets, and serene escapes by the waterfront.
You are a dream, yet still foreign to me. I’m not a fan of your slender driving lanes and construction around every corner of the city. You could really use some free parking once and a while. I also wonder how the homeless and mentally ill are cared for. But overall, you are my ideal getaway. My home away from home.
The brisk air at sunset feels so affectionate and wondrous as if it is God’s very breathe upon me. The beauty of the flowers, crimson red leaves of autumn, and smooth seas are breathtaking. You are setting my soul at ease, Seattle. You are inviting me to be me in ways I never knew before.
Thank you for not disappointing and for giving me a much needed break from my day to day.
Set right again.
During the last twenty-seven years of my life, I have found myself visiting 12 states and 6 new countries. Within the last year specifically, I ventured to France, Ireland, and the city of Seattle.
Coincidentally, within this last year I have seen a tremendous amount of change and growth in my life. Is there a correlation? There certainly must be. All that I can tell you is that every time I left the comforts of home, I came back a different person. It’s as if dormant parts of me were called out from the shadows into center stage. Those parts of me were finally embraced after their long awaited arrival.
Although I am home, I’m not really home. You see, I’m still wandering around somewhere in all the places I’ve been.
In fact, a piece of my heart will always be at the orphanages in Haiti. I cried my way through those visits about six years ago. I can still hear them singing songs; I can still smell the dust that swirled around us when we opened the door to their classroom.
In Seattle, I found my heart in coffee shop form. Record stores, stages, photography gallery, and amazing coffee all in one place. It was a match made in coffee-house heaven, as if all of my caffeinated dreams finally came true.
I still remember the woman’s face in Mexico who lit up when she heard my name, the same name as her daughter. Five years later, I still recall those bumpy streets, those amazing tacos, and the night sky that always soothed me to sleep.
In France, I remember wandering the streets and feeling the magic of Paris. The fresh rain combined with the magnificence of the city's architecture unearthed the history, the grandness of it all. The university students I was able to talk with held a compassion and drive that still challenges me today.
There’s no place like Ireland. I get the feels every time I think about being surrounded by a sea of greenery and getting lost in the music store I could have spent days in. I remember every student I encountered on that trip, and I pray for them constantly.
I’m still there, in all those places and more. Or perhaps, those places are still with me. The art, the people, the culture, the way of life, all of it so inspiring. They invite me into greater and greater awakenings of myself, understanding God, and loving this world He created.
Now, I crave this life of travel and foreign scenery. I desire to be on a JOURNEY. To visit new places and to come back a different person. But for now, I’ll just reminisce over where I’ve been.
Over the next few weeks, I will be writing more about the #placesthatchangeme from this last year. Specifically, I will recount moments from my time in Seattle, Ireland, and France. I hope you take the stroll with me down memory lane, and I would love to hear about some of the places that YOU have been! Visit my "CONNECT" page and let me know your fondest travel memories.
“You're rewriting my story
And I'm brand new like the morning”
I am currently sitting in a loud, crowded office. People are hustling and bustling about trying to solve the next crisis that will inevitably soon be solved just in time for another crisis to emerge. I can feel the stress and frustration swirling around me now being absorbed by my own heart. So, I turn on this song. As the first few chords play, it’s as if a wave of peace begins to flood my distressed soul. The song is accompanied by a deep breath in and the release of all my tension. I’m back to being centered and free of the stress currently dictating the other souls in this office space.
This song has only been out for about six months, but it has quickly become one of my favorites. In fact, this is now my go to song to calm my nerves and still my heart. This song moves me into peace. It’s light. It’s simple. But it pushes back the fears that plague my mind. Every time I hear it, it’s like a breeze of the crisp morning air of fall sweeps away the scorching sun of summer in my heart. I am fresh, new and reawakened to the beauty of the messy life I live.
The music and lyrics of this song match each other perfectly in feeling and in story. In fact, I find it very difficult to separate the two (though I will give it a try). The music leeks peace while the lyrics communicate the message of a soul at rest.
The music in this song gives me a similar feeling to that of standing on a relaxing beach with a rolling blue waves and cotton-candy skies at sunset. The first few chords of this song start on the pad. It’s simple and focused as only one instrument draws me into the rest of the ballad. The piano lead hits a bright tune that calls to the hope I’m headed for while the melodic and passionate voice of Phil Wickham only further anchor me into the certainty of a God who works all things for my good.
Lyrically, this song seems to gently pick up my beat-up soul, dust it off, and put it right back on it’s feet again. The words throughout this song are simple and tell a story of the Christian’s journey. The verses acknowledge mistakes made and the hopelessness of the past. Yet, the bright chorus that exclaims the love we’ve found that has changed everything. We finally found that the life we crave, the one beyond our wildest dreams, is only found in Christ.
This song is a beautifully crafted piece that I hope you enjoy.
If you haven't heard it, you can click the photo above to download the song.
Give it a listen and let me know what you think!
Jen is a pastor, worship leader, writer, and songwriter living in Napa, California.