Emergence of springtime

Because of the length of Minnesota’s winters, when Spring comes, it’s a big deal.

Immediately, there is a shift on campus.  Even though it may only be forty-five degrees, everyone is suddenly in shorts and flip-flops.  The mall is suddenly filled with students laughing, throwing frisbees, and even sunbathing.  The library is dead quiet.

Despite all there is to do between me and graduation, I find it difficult to resist the allure of warm weather.  After five months of snow, wind, and subzero temperatures, I long to abandon the books and soak in the sunlight.  I changed up my workout routine and abandoned the gym to, for the first time in my life, go on a real-person, non-treadmill run.  My body was (and still is) pretty unhappy with me (running is HARD), but it was worth it to be outside.

Last night, I drove to my Bible study in the next town over with the windows down.  My arm rested casually on the ledge, hand waving in the wind.  I blasted Cloud Cult and watched the prairie zoom by, not a care in the world.

Sometimes, it feels so good to ditch studying and soak in the sun.

The music of wanderlust

As winter progresses in Minnesota, the days grow more and more bleak.  I look outside and can’t even see the wind turbines due to the wintry haze.  All I can see is a slushy parking lot and a snow-covered volleyball court.  With a great deal of my time dedicated to writing essays and studying for next week’s final exams, daydreaming has become a constant practice.  Last night, I had a dream I was back in Austria, exploring in the mountains with my friends.

Days like today bring out the travel bug in me.  I was raised on cross-country road trips and fifteen hour drives.  Packing a bag, getting in my car, and driving somewhere far away just for the sake of adventure is incredibly appealing.

However, since taking such a spontaneous trip is impossible at the moment, I thought I’d share some songs that bring out my wanderlust.

“Down In the Valley” The Head and the Heart

“Transistor Radio” Cloud Cult

“Wagon Wheel: Old Crow Medicine Show

Happy Friday!

Influential albums II

Here is the second half of my list of influential albums!

6. Rend Collective, Campfire (2013)

You can’t work at a Bible camp and not get addicted to Rend Collective.  Although I’ve only been listening to them for a few months, their folksy worship has more than captured my heart.  And, seriously, how cool is it that they recorded an entire album around a campfire?

7. The Head and the Heart, self titled album (2010)

These guys were my foray into the indie-folk genera.  I heard “Rivers and Roads” and fell imedietly, hopelessly in love.  Of both their albums, there’s not a song I don’t like.

8. Jenny & Tyler, Faint Not (2010)

I discovered this husband and wife duo in my sophomore year of college through an ad in my Facebook sidebar.  Normally, I ignore those ads, but something made me click.  And, oh boy, I’m so happy I did.  Jenny & Tyler’s music is incredibly encouraging has seen me through some of the darkest times of my life (thus far).

9. Needtobreathe, The Reckoning (2011)

Needtobreathe was on my iPod for years before I actually touched them.  And, when I finally did, I fell hard.  It was one of those, “Where have you been my whole life?” moments.  Although all their albums are fantastic, I decided to go with The Reckoning because it was the first one I listened to and has some of my favorite tracks.

10. Cloud Cult, Unplug (2014)

Cloud Cult is another one of my recent obsessions.  They did an acoustic show at my school last Spring and I’ve been listening to them ever since.  Their music has a lot of variety, but my favorite is definitely their acoustic album.  When this song, “Pretty Voice”, comes on when I’m driving, I will listen to it three times in a row just because I’m so obsessed with it.

And that concludes my list of music albums that have impacted my life!  Don’t forget to check out the first half of the list.

Now, readers, I pass this challenge on to you!  What albums have influenced you and why?  Answer in the comments, or use this as a prompt!

Friday Favorites VI

This song:

Yes, the Cloud Cult trend continues.  I just can’t get enough of their acoustic album.

These people:

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Meet the 2014 Shamineau Program staff!  I’m so thankful for this group of people.  It’s such an honor to be part of such a fantastic group of young men and women.  We spent last night on the island camp owns and the sunset was absolutely stunning!  (Not everyone was present for this, which was sad.)  (Photo courtesy of my friend, Amy.)

This Meme:

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This Video:

Seriously.  One of my absolute favorite things on YouTube.

 

Friday Favorites III

My computer monitor informs me that I have twenty one minutes till midnight… so time for a last-minute Friday Favorites!

This food:

That’s right… almonds.  This one is a bit weird for me.  I’ve never liked eating nuts.  Never.  But one of my coworkers at camp shared a bunch and, after giving them a shot, I discovered that they are, in fact, delicious.  My dad will be so proud.

This book:

 

 

I ordered this book on Amazon AGES ago and have been longing for its release ever since.  When I returned home from camp today, I was overjoyed to find my newly released copy sitting on my bed.  I don’t even have words for how excited this book makes me.  I mean, it’s two of my favorite things combined!  Tolkien and Arthurian legend!  How much more epic can you get?  Yes, the poem itself is unfinished (can you blame the man for wanting to finish writing The Hobbit?).  Yes, most of the book is made up of essays.  But it’s Tolkien.  And it’s Arthurian legend.  And it’s going to be beautiful.

Graduation

This evening, I got to see my little brother graduate  high school.  He’s a great kid, and I’m excited to see where life brings him next!  It was strange being in that building again–I haven’t stepped foot inside in around three years.  After the ceremony, I got to see several friends that I haven’t seen or spoken to in several years (some since my own graduation, actually).  I also saw a few former classmates that made me want to run and hide.  Nevertheless, I’ve always been one for nostalgia, so when the opening bars of “Pomp and Circumstance” began, I momentarily forgot about how uncomfortable it was to be packed in the high school gym like sardines.  Part of my heart stirred, longing for times gone by–of lockers, band class, and hanging out with friends between bells.  And then some students behind me talked the entire ceremony, reminding me exactly why I was so happy to leave high school behind.  After everything was over

This place:

This is the St. Croix River at the Osceola boat landing, about five minutes from my house.  This photo was taken a few years ago, but my best friend and I have a tradition of coming here in the summer.  After graduation, we went to Dairy Queen and brought our ice cream to the park on the island in the middle of the beautiful river.  The sun had already set, and as we sat at the point watching the water flow away from us, we talked about life, school, God, and all sorts of best friend topics.  It’s been a few months since we’ve seen each other, and due to the fact that I’m at camp and Erin is headed for Africa next week, our paths won’t cross much this summer.  Talking to her was wonderful, and even though it was dark, the St. Croix was as beautiful as ever.

This song:

Just before the semester ended, Cloud Cult came to my university.  Even though it was cold and a bit wet, I curled up under a blanket with one of my roommates eating day old movie theater popcorn as they played a two hour acoustic set on the mall in the center of campus.  Ever since, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with their new acoustic album.  I listened to this song at least three consequtive times on my drive from camp to home this afternoon.