we had a guest post over on the mocha club blog yesterday by one of our amazing speakers, sammy adebiyi, and it's got me thinking...

so this stat he shared is just so crazy. did you know that if you're reading my blog on your personal computer (probably on your super-cool macbook at the trendiest coffee shop, right?), you're in the top 4% of the 6 billion people in the world? wow. the top 4%.
i mean, sure, i've seen third world poverty. and i know that in the west we live in such ridiculous abundance. i'm not oblivious to that.
but do i feel rich?
no way. i struggle to pay my bills month-to-month, i get stressed if i have an unexpected cost come up (new tires! broken dish washer! cracked iPhone!) -- because let's be honest, i'm not the best saver. but even typing things like "dish washer" and "iPhone" make me laugh that i'm equating that with not being rich.
marisa, do you remember that your friends in northern uganda wash their sometimes-not-more-than-just-one dish by hand, and may or may not even have a well or other source of water nearby...?
and 3G? ha. not so much.
i. have. so. much.
even when i forget it.
even when i feel like i need want more.
i'm in the top 4%.

and $7 a month? it really does feel like nothing. i spend that without thinking twice (though i know that i probably should think more before i spend -- something i'll be learning more of as jeff & i start sharing a budget in 4 months!)
2 mochas.
or, as sammy says in his post, 2 big macs.
(for me it's more like 2 bottles of trader joe's wine!)
any way you spend it, $7 is a tangible amount of money we can do without, but it can do so much in africa...

i haven't talked about mocha club on my blog in awhile... but i'm reminded again today of how a small sacrifice from so many of us can really make a huge difference around the world.

{if you're here & don't know what the heck i'm talking about, watch this video on who mocha club is...}

like my brother sammy says in his blog post, we (in the 4%) have so much power... so why do we do so little?


tuesday tunes - (double feature) ellie holcomb + steve moakler.

listen up, lovelies! because i just couldn't wait, today we have not one, but TWO tuesday tunes for your listening pleasure...

first up, sweet ellie holcomb (of drew holcomb + the neighbors) came out with her own ep last tuesday, called magnolia. and i'm not exaggerating when i say i've listened to those 7 beautiful songs on repeat at-least 10 times through. they're based on the psalms and just a delight. grab yourself a copy of this one immediately.
here's a video from a few years back of ellie singing the title track "magnolia"
(AND just for fun: here she is teaching you how to wear a fashionABLE scarf!)

next, cutie steve moakler has a new album out today, watching time run. steve is one of my three favorite young talents coming out of the nashville singer-songwriter world. (the other 2 being andrew ripp & ben rector -- get excited, new ben record next month!)
and here's a playlist on youtube of this album if you want to give it a listen before you buy...
(pssst -- you can also get steve's last album, all the faint lights, for FREE on noisetrade right now!)

and both of these artists are extra cool in my book because they love & support mocha club. you can get ellie's ep for free by joining with her here... and you can catch steve on the road w/ andrew ripp supporting MC this fall on the half & half tour.


tuesday tunes - gabe dixon.

speaking of the new TOT starting out... i'm probably most excited about mr. gabe dixon joining this group. he has been one of my most favorite slightly-under-the-radar nash musicians over the years. he's toured with our friend dave barnes, and even sang in my friends' wedding.
his piano skills and killer voice are sure to make you swoon.
and those melodies? they getcha every time.
historically, he's been the frontman for the gabe dixon band, but now he's going solo... dropping "the" and "band".

so i'm super pumped to announce he has a new solo debut album out today: one spark.
($7.00 on itunes & $5.99 on amazon!)
i streamed it for free all day yesterday, and could not get enough of it. here's a video for "my favorite"...

and, just for old time's sake, here's one of my favs from his old stuff... "five more hours"


tuesday tunes - TOT volume 4.

you guys know i love me some ten out of tenn. (remember?)

well... they're at it again. these nashville favorites will be hitting the road in a couple of weeks... with a new compilation album to boot. with 10 tracks (one from each artist in this group) -- it's a great mix and representation of some of the best music coming out of this city.

grab a copy over on amazon this week for just $6.99!


i survived the inca trail!

yes, i did survive... but barely.
so i've obviously been missing in action on the blog a lot over the past few weeks, as i traveled down to peru.
i mentioned going to machu picchu this summer -- and hiking the inca trail to get there. aka a four-day, 43 km (26 mile), up-and-down-mountains hike. definitely the hardest thing i have ever put my body through.
to be honest, there were moments i wasn't sure i was going to make it... my body was failing me in ways it never had before (read: weak knees & toenails falling off!) -- but with the help of a lot of prayer and the support of an amazing group of people on the trek with me, we arrived into machu picchu at sunrise on day 4, the trail and the work behind us. and yes, machu picchu is beautiful and magnificent and something to be seen. but i realized that it wasn't so much about just arriving, but more about the journey of how we got there... one step at a time.

would i do it again? probably not. but am i glad i did it? oh yah.
i've never before had such high highs and low lows all in the same adventure... both literally and figuratively. for example, day 2, we hike up 1200m up to the highest point (4900m!!) at the first pass... you start in desert terrain, then make your way through dense forests and waterfalls, finally up to the snow-peaked tops. it's truly breathtaking.
but then you have to go back down into the valley to camp. and the descent is by-far the hardest part. by the time you get to camp, the mountain top high is hours behind you, and your knees and toes are screaming.

as silly as it sounds, i really believe the inca trail was a lesson in trust & dependence for me. there were moments where i wasn't sure i was going to make it... where my body was in crazy pain. but i was reminded that God's power is made perfect in my weakness. there's a song that matthew west has called "strong enough" (that's the artist jeff plays with) -- and the line that kept repeating in my head as i hiked goes "you are strong when i am weak, i don't have to be strong enough" -- and as simple as that is, it was the perfect dose of humility i really needed. i went into this trip pretty prideful that it was going to be no big deal...i mean, come on...i teach spin classes, of course i can hike this thing. but i was reminded that i don't have to be strong enough... to hike a mountain, or for any other part of my life.

and life has hit me hard as i've returned. i'm learning to trust and believe in ways i never have. and i honestly think the inca trail helped prepare me for that. it's about this journey, this crazy life we are all living... not about some destination that we just need to arrive at.
so i'm finding ways to fight for joy and rest in the promise of each day... one step at a time.


tuesday tunes - mat kearney: young love.

i've missed a few tuesday tunes from being on vacation (more on the inca trail & my peruvian adventure soon, i promise!) -- but while i was gone, i did download mat kearney's new album, young love. (remember how obsessed i was with his previous one?)

i told y'all about the first single, "hey mama" back in may. and now, the whole thing is here. and i'm LOVING it. mat's gone back to a little more of his hip-hop beginnings, and it's an album you just want to play on repeat. and it's just $7.99 in itunes right now -- GO GET IT!!

my personal fav = "ships in the night"... so. so. good.


not-so-average {pardo wedding update #2}

i ran across this little info-graphic this morning, and couldn't help but laugh at how far off my wedding is from these stats...

- average cost: $26,984 // mine: not even half of that!
- average # of bridesmaids: 4 // mine: 8 (plus another 7 girls that are "honorary"!)
- average # of guests: 141 // mine: probably over 300!
- average length of engagement: 14 months // mine: 6!

here's to being creative & not-so-average!