So, for those of you who are dying to hear about my trip…as well as those who are totally oblivious to my adventure, I wanted to give y’all a blog post full of pictures and stories about my trip to Los Angeles.
First, I’ll start with the back story.
Back in February (2016), I was approached by one of my youth pastors about songwriting. I laughed at the idea of joining a songwriting team for church. It just wasn’t something I had ever thought of before. Well, I gave it a couple days and let the idea settle. I ended up sending him a bullet point text with reasons why I wasn’t qualified to write songs for our youth team. In response, he sent back a bullet point text with positive and more logical feedback for each of my points. His main point: “If you don’t learn how to crawl, you won’t be able to walk. And if you don’t learn how to walk, you won’t be able to run.” And all of the sudden, my wild mind was convinced. I joined the team.
After working for a couple months, I felt myself hit a roadblock. I began to feel like I didn’t have any more creativity to pour into the song we had been working on. So, I took a step back. I prayed, sought out advice from fellow songwriters, and watched videos from Christian artists that I look up to. Finally, I came across a video of Amanda Cook from Bethel. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r20sueDSh1U )
Something that stuck out to me in her video was the three things she wrote for: 1. Herself 2. To God 3. The Masses. I had written plenty of songs for myself, and the team and I were working on a youth song, but I hadn’t written one specifically for God yet. So, I sat down and wrote a song, Forever Yours, to God.
I was in love with it. I sent a sound recording to a friend of mine. It was a three minute recording of me singing Forever Yours to three chords on our out of tune piano. It was full of the lines of a pure cry and surrender to my Heavenly Father. It was personal. And I sent it to my friend in hopes of getting actual music to sing to.
I had no intentions of anyone else hearing it, I just wanted to sing my heart out in the song I had written for Jesus. One month later, I was under a sleeping bag recording vocals, belting out notes I didn’t even know I could sing. Before I knew it, I had a song.
Skip ahead a month, and I get a call from my Campus Pastor, Mark, and Worship Pastor, Christian, from my church. On my end of the line,my feet and mind were wandering in circles. I suddenly realize that they’re interested in working on my song. They had called me to basically get my permission to tweak the song a bit. Taken from my first college English paper, inspired by this journey: After experiencing what seemed to be the longest seventeen minutes of my life, I came to a conclusion. My stomach burst with butterflies. My cheeks cramped from smiling as wide as a fresh watermelon, and it took every bit of self control that I could conjure to not squeal with sheer enthusiasm over the phone. “I’m totally willing to work on this and grow. I will say that I may be unintentionally hesitant to some changes simply because the song is personal, but I am willing to move forward.” (p.s. I got a A+ 😉 ) Couldn’t let that offer go, right? A week later, they’ve revised the song saying that was “album ready.” Besides the fact that they wanted my song on their album, they dropped the bomb that they also wanted me to fly out to Los Angeles with the team and record it! Pause. UM, WHAT?! Yeah, to this day I’m still having trouble processing it.
I soon noticed myself sitting in my professor’s offices talking about this crazy idea that I, a brand new college freshman, was taking off on a 10 day adventure to California. It was a lot of confidence, praying over our conversations, and trusting God that He was going to make this happen.
Next thing I know…I’m in L.A.
We landed in L.A. around 8:30pm. After we all grabbed our stuff, we grabbed an Uber and headed to meet the rest of the team! Ah yes, I forgot to mention that earlier. Half of the team was from our sister church in Australia, so we met them in there! We met them at a movie theater for a late night showing of Hillsong: Let Hope Rise. It was fantastic! It took everything I had to keep my eyes open (3 hour time difference, yo), but it was an amazing way to open up the trip! Afterwards, we headed to the house and had a debrief before we all went to bed. We made it to bed around 2:30-3am.
I won’t lie. After that adventure of a day, I had a slight fear that I wouldn’t get much sleep throughout the entirety of the trip. When half of your group consists of Aussie’s that fly back and forth from country to country who are used to jet lag…you begin to wonder. Thankfully, I got plenty of rest!
The view wasn’t so bad 😉
Start your mornings off right, people. Time with Jesus.
Journal entry: “Verve is always the first stop.”
Verve Coffee: a great idea, unless you’re on your way to the airport.
What happens in the party van STAYS in the party van.
Studio parking lot photo shoots 😛
Next door was a fun little sandwich shop. The nice manager man was so kind and gave Chloe and I cookies one day, and tiny Beanie Babies the next. Big fans all around!
Lunch adventures with some of the crew! Found a yummy Mexican joint!
Downstairs, underneath the studio, was a prayer room/gallery/vocal warm up spot/ best hangout area.
Sunday was our free day. We hit up Mosaic Church and Fearless LA Church (our cousins) that morning, had lunch at Grand Central Market, and then took a mini road trip to Malibu.
The boys *attempted* to surf. 😉
Photoshoots with D.
Feel the love. Parking was always fun. Mark was a trooper.
TO THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN!
BEHIND THE SCENES //
Nathan Walters: most encouraging producer EVER.
The pizza…? Yeah, they thought about it. 😉
MORE OF THE STORY //
So, here are a last few little notes to conclude this story. I will say, it’s one of my favorite stories to tell people. God is SO good. We surrender all that we are and all that we have to Him, and in return we receive His greatness. I’m constantly in awe of who He is. That being said, I love to tell it in person! So, if you wanna meet up sometime… 😉
To say the least, everyday was an adventure. Everyday was full of growth, laughter, tears, stories, memories, food, walking, singing (what?), pictures, leaning on your friends while riding in the van. You name it.
Recording my song was so surreal. It was a dream. I’ve always been a huge fan of the behind the scenes look on things – like blooper reels to movies, or interviews, or random shots from “the other side.” Stepping into the studio was incredible. I was on the other side. I cannot wait for y’all to hear the music that has been transmitted into our hands. God’s moving. And you’re going to want to be apart of it!
Lots of inside jokes. Too many to attempt to explain. Plus, it wouldn’t be the same to you. But this team, this family, these warriors…they’re pretty stinkin’ awesome. When bad dates at restaurants turn into raps…the best. When 2am bedroom blurts turn into sneaky sound recordings…the best. When hikes to the Hollywood sign turn into the LAPD sounding an alarm…the best.
The journey home was hard. Lots of tears. 12 people, 10 days, one house, long days, too many burgers, missed flights, late nights, early mornings, airport disasters. We made it home. It was a journey. It’s always a journey. A journey of growth, learning to conquer life as it is, and keeping your sights and perspective set on Jesus.
A SPECIAL THANK YOU //
I want to give a shout out to a few specific world changers.
- To the selfless humans who financially supported my team and I on this journey. – want to be a giver? go here: http://bit.ly/2csKeZ2
- To the golden hearts that we were heavy on and prayed for throughout our entire trip. I am grateful for you. The war zone is real, and your prayers are treasured.
- To the team. Y’all were accepting of me and my rookie-ness/sickness/tiredness and the good parts that hopefully y’all saw too. 😉 I like creating with you. Honestly, I just like watching you at work. Here’s to the cool kids that I get to walk alongside with!
- To my parents: the most supportive couple EVER. The fact that y’all push me to live out a life for Jesus is the best. And for being OK with me skipping school – which was an insane move, but #worthit. A life with Jesus is a roller coaster, and it doesn’t always make sense, but it’s worth it!
- To Ashley and Jane Evans. The real rock stars. Y’all make it happen. You teach and lead fearlessly, and flip the light switch in the lives of others, so that they may best live out God’s plan for their lives. From the bottom of my wild heart, thank you.
- Lastly, a very special thank you to Noah, Kat, and Caroline. My three amigos. My constant encouragers. The ones who’ve listened to many of my sound recordings, and still continued to love me. I love you. I truly do. Thanks for believing in me, and pushing me to be better. I’m proud and honored to call each of you my friends.
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