My Roommate’s Big Fat Mexican Surgery

Enjoy this excerpt from my newest blog published online by The Bundle Magazine about my roommate and her unexpected surgery in Queretaro, Mexico:

My roommate Brooke and I are pretty dorky. We watch sunsets on rooftops, have “roommate dates” at Chipotle and jam out to “No Matter Where You Are” by Us the Duo. So when her dad organized a mission trip to Mexico and invited me along, we excitedly labeled it “roommates’ first trip.”

The first few days were magical. We sang Christmas carols in Spanish, guzzled down Mexican coke and shared the gospel with elementary school kids.

About halfway through the week, Brooke’s stomach started to hurt. I went into diagnosis-mode and credited it to a lack of sleep or bad tacos. But her stomach ache persisted.

She stayed in our motel while the rest of the team performed other concerts and serenaded other church contacts. When we finished our route, we got a phone call: Brooke’s pain escalated. Our missionary friend tried calling the family doctor but it was almost midnight – no one was picking up.

Her dad told me the situation and asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital.

“Yes,” I said. No hesitation.

Continue reading here

Choir. Bingo!

It wasn’t time for Bingo yet.

The blazing Los Angeles summer sun scorched me as I sat on the hot pavement with my decade-old Martin & Co. six string in my lap. Several retirement-age men and women at the homeless shelter milled around – some half-heartedly playing cards and some sitting quietly in their wheelchair.

As worship leader for our church’s summer mission trip, I pulled out my pick and started to strum a little bit as my all-girls team sat around me in a half-circle. Once I found the key, I started to sing, opening with everyone’s favorite Christian worship song: “Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham. By the time I got to the chorus, a small crowd had gathered. Soon, the 70-year-olds joined the 17-year-olds.

 

My team sang softly along with me and so did the older folks, humming or just listening with content smiles plastered to their faces. As I continued, their smiles brightened and their eyes never moved from us. At the end of a few songs, they clapped and encouraged me to continue.

But I ended the set and packed away my guitar satisfied. It was time for Bingo.

I started my seven-year choir journey in 6th grade. Looking back, I experienced priceless personal growth being surrounded by 50 girls in uncomfortable black-beaded gowns. Despite the four-hour rehearsals, almost passing out in our Winter concert and those pokey dresses, I wouldn’t trade a second of it.

You can’t delete one experience without deleting a little part of yourself.

My pre-choir self would’ve been paralyzed by the thought of leading worship in front of people. Any music-related fear you could have, I had: fear of singing alone, fear of a crowd, fear of people listening.

But after one too many auditions, in-front-of-class singing tests and solos at contest, all these fears have been replaced simply with a fundamental joy to make music. Even more importantly, I’ve learned how to share it.

While I still sing shamelessly in the shower and to serenade my roommate Brooke, I didn’t join a choir at Baylor. But I do recognize this: Choir molded me so I could fearlessly share the talents God has given me.

And I plan on doing just that – in any place, anytime, anywhere that puts a sparkle in someone’s eye, joy in their heart and a smile on their face.    

Especially if it gets people excited for Bingo.