"get back up"

have you ever been knocked down so low that you don't think its possible to ever get back up? has your heart ever been ripped out of your chest? have you ever been completely humiliated and debased? has someone ever told you that you're no good at whatever you do? if you've ever experienced any of these things you know the destructive damage and hurtful scarring it creates. is it possible to recover? is it possible to get back up?

when something like that happens to you, your life seems like a train that has derailed. satan feeds off of the pain, and continues to haunt your mind with the replaying of the words/actions/circumstances that hurt you. so no matter how hard you try, you are frozen in that moment of time, with no ability to move forward. it's a never ending cycle of destruction. the black hole sucking you down is going at full speed with no chance of slowing down.

you can't live in a state of despair. you can't function with depression. you can't thrive with sorrow. you have to get back up. cliche, but true. the best thing about being in such a low state, is that you don't have to rely on any of your own strength. there is nothing YOU can do to help yourself. what a relief! all we have to do is stretch out our arms and allow God to lovingly pick us up and cradle us in His arms. i love being able to cry on His shoulder. i love being able to pour out my frustrations to Him. there is all the love we can fathom and then some in the arms of the Savior.

i've wrestled with the daunting challenge of erasing the voices in your head. i mean, its one thing to be able to get back up and move one, but its a whole different animal trying to get rid of the voices. what force is loud enough to cover the screeching cries of the devil and his workers? the Word of God. i am thoroughly convinced that the Scriptures is the only force strong enough to not only fight them, but defeat them. you can't walk around 24/7 with a Bible in your hand, but you can commit as much as possible to memory. hide His Word in your heart. fill your head with His promises. there is no room for satan in a mind full of Jesus.

recovery is a process. it doesn't happen over night. there will days that you stand strong and fight, and there will be days that you fall in despair. let Him fight for you. hide behind his armor. let Him shield you from the darts of the devil.

the only way someone can make you feel inferior is if you let them. the only way satan can win is if you let Him. trials can only be stumbling blocks if you let them. instead of viewing hurts as trip wires in the race that you are running, view them as hurdles that you must jump over and clear. God has given us that ability. USE IT.

"a set back is a set up for a great come back." the greatness of God is ours. we will rise to the top on the wings of His power.

take time to relish in persecution. joy in being slapped in the face. be glad when people humiliate and embarrass you. why, you ask? because then and only then, can you identify with the life and ministry of our Savior. i have never felt so close to Him than when I have taken part in His sufferings. i'm thirsty anyway, so bring on the rain.

must read: 2 CORINTHIANS 4


have yourself a merry little christmas. in march.

so, we are back from our adventure in gatlinburg. the events that occurred during our stay have to be shared with you. they are pretty incredible.

it's monday morning at the lamb household, and of course everyone has waited until the last minute to pack. the washer and dryer are going and we are all scrambling around trying to find our stuff. mom has informed us that we are to leave by 11. HA. dad starts loading the van around 11, i think. pops tries to tell us to "consolidate" every time we travel. somehow that never quite registers and we end up with numerous bags that are half filled. oops. i will say that mom's suitcase, referred to as "big red", trumps all by taking up THE MOST SPACE. but somehow dad gets it all in two cars and we prepare to begin our journey. i think its around 12:30 by now.

we all elect to pass the time in different ways. not quite sure what pops and bro do in the "man" car, but i think that's better left a mystery. here is what my sisters choose to do most of the way:
this is how i choose to keep myself occupied:

our different options worked quite well for us, and we were all happy and content.

stopping at a cracker barrel has become a must on our family trips. i think we have the menu memorized. but cracker barrel is much more than the food. here are a couple of reasons why this store entertains me so much:

where else are you going to find a crazy looking stuffed duck, a frog driving a tractor, and a bronze pig with a butterfly on its nose???

after a great lunch, we all pile back into the cars and continue our journey. i hadn't been to gatlinburg in a while so i'd forgotten how windy the roads can be. slight nausea in the back of the van, people. had to put the mags down. AND BREATHE.

we arrive at our destination sometime in between 8 and 9 pm. the quaint little streets of the town are still filled with tourists and we are captivated by its overall cuteness (in spite of the rainy, cold weather). our hotel is filled with vintage and retro "charm". not at all like the places we are used to staying. one again, its an adventure.

the next morning we wake up to find it still wet and chilly. oh well. the adults (and bro) decide to go eat and tour the city while the sisters and i opt to stay in. free internet will keep us busy for a while. however, around mid afternoon, we decide that is crucial for us to find a tanning bed. so i get on the internet and call a few places. all of the numbers have been disconnected. UGH. not to be daunted, i go up to the front desk. the guy working there draws me a map to a local salon, and the girls and i head out (in the mini van) to find this place. we drive up to a shopping center next to food city only to see a dark building that looks vacant. there is a restaurant and a beverage store next door. we have to go in one of them to ask if the tanning bed is still open. we don't want to go into the restaurant because we aren't ordering anything, so we choose the beverage store. eeeeeeeeekkkkk! hoping that no one sees us go in, we dash inside, ask the lady behind the counter, who informs us that the tb has been shut down, and scamper back out. whew. mission accomplished. still determined to find one, we head up the road to pigeon forge. after a few more unsuccessful stops at gas stations to ask where one might be, we grab some mcdonalds and call it a day.

i mentioned earlier why we were in gatlinburg: the 2010 international santa claus convention was being held there and we were the entertainment. none of us new quite what to expect.when we headed over for the sound check, we started to get an idea of what this night was going to bring forth. but none of us were ready for the amazing outcome. here are some of the different santas that were in attendance:

isn't that incredible? have you ever seen that many santas in one place? and that wasn't even a fourth of them. there were around 500 santas that came to the convention!

as we are waiting backstage, the excitement is mounting. a room full of jolly old saint nick's AND their mrs. claus was almost surreal. when they announced our name and we walked out on stage the room erupted with "ho ho ho's" and bells jingling all over the place. i knew then that was going to be a night to remember.

the concert was a tremendous success. the interaction between us and the audience was electric. it's so much fun to be able to feed off of the crowd's energy. and boy were they into it! i wish i could put it into words, but it was truly indescribable. everyone was moved to tears. after the concert, all the santas wanted to take a picture with us. now i know what its like for them every christmas! they were so kind and gracious, and about two hours later, everyone had their picture.

during the photo session, the dj that was hired for the event started playing some tunes. this was, afterall, the jingle bell ball. have you ever seen santa do the "cha cha slide"? i have. have you ever seen santa dance to "play that funky music white boy"? i have. have you ever seen santa slow dance with mrs. claus to "lady in red"? i have.

after the concert we were wound up. the emotional high was unparalleled. i kept thinking to myself, i don't deserve a life as great as this.

i didn't forget the mask. i'm telling you, this stuff works great! here is a little visual:

on the way home, i decided that i needed something else to keep me busy. once again, cracker barrel came through:

dr. quinn, sully, and i had a very nice trip home.

God has blessed us far beyond what we deserve. the opportunities we have to share our music are once in a lifetime experiences. the santas touched our hearts in an unforgettable way. their love for the people around them is inspiring. we all need to be more like santa.


carrie, will you be my friend?

i've decided that if i ever become famous, carrie underwood is going to be my celebrity bff. i love her. she has a beautiful voice and her songs are so inspiring. we are definitely a match made in heaven. if she ever reads this, she will more than likely be creeped out.

so spring break has begun and we are headed to gatlinburg to play for a most unusual event. are you ready for this? we are playing for the national santa claus convention. crazy, right? i didn't even know such a thing existed! but, we are very excited to see the different santas from all across the nation (and a few international ones as well i think). they have been extremely warm and jolly and we can only look forward to more fun as we bring a little music to their jingle bell ball. : )

i have been sleeping in this green mask the past few days. yes, the image you just saw in your head was accurate. pretty scary. but it is supposed to wonders for your skin, so of course i gave it a try. i'll keep you updated.

when we were children, we would get ten dimes at the start of every road trip. every time we asked "are we there yet???", one was taken away. i ALWAYS had all ten dimes at the end of the trip. kim on the other hand, was lucky to have two dimes left to her name. i usually spent mine on rock candy when we stopped at a local cracker barrel. typical chunky kid. now that we are all grown up, i think we should get ten, ten dollar bills. i'm done with the rock candy. bring on a boutique.

caleb is going back to his hometown of opp, alabama for a few days. we have a bit of separation anxiety. somewhere within the first month or so of us dating, we became inseparable. it's been our goal to do better about being apart, but it never works very well. however, his family is absolutely wonderful, and i know they are excited about having him home for a week. i'm going to be especially grateful for text messages these next few days. i won't say how many we send back and forth. pretty sure it's illegal.

i get easily frustrated with bama basketball. winning is so much better than losing. so, caleb and i decided to watch the 2009 SEC championship football game again last night to make us feel better. IT WORKED.

ok, i better finish packing (gotta make sure i don't forget the mask). praise Him from whom all blessings flow on this blessed Sunday. to God alone be the glory.

her voice is so unique. you'll fall in love, i promise.

random facts: i adore chai tea. it tastes like the holidays. i could eat sushi several nights a week. bright colored shoes are my favorite. i can't get enough of college football.



we live in such an uncertain world filled with wars and rumors of wars. people die all the time. and that scares me to the core. what if i lose someone i love with all my heart? what if my life is turned upside down in a blink of an eye? these questions haunt me.

i want to live without fear. i want to face each day without worrying about what it may bring forth. i want to be strong in the power of His might. i can't spend another moment scared about what MAY happen. this is not acceptable. i have to realize that He is completely sovereign and controls every aspect of my future. and i know these things. i do. i just need to really engraft them into my soul. His words should consume my thoughts so that there is no room for anything else. memorization is key. i'm trying to decide on a new testament book to commit to memory. daunting task, but worth the effort.

fear is a hard slave driver. it commands all of your attention, strength, and energy. it sucks the joy right out of your life. the love of Christ however, is liberating. the empowering, unconditional, all-consuming love of the Savior trumps all fear, worry, and anxiety. i don't know about you, but i need relief. i need someone to lift this burden off of my shoulders because it is entirely too heavy for me to carry.

more of him, and less of me. more of His love, less of my fears. more of His plan, less of my ideas. may i one day get to the place in my life that i am so completely rid of myself that all i care about is the fulfillment of his will. NO MATTER WHAT IT COSTS ME. i want to live fearless.

random facts: i LOVE all the m&m commercials. those little guys are entirely too cute. i think a circular drive makes a house look inviting. i am VERY punctual (usually a few minutes early). i can't stand scary movies. i really only like happy, "feel good" movies. : )


"i was here"

why do we sell ourselves short so often? why don't we really believe that we can change the world? why are we convinced that our sphere of influence is so small and limited? ok, so maybe i sound like an unrealistic idealist. but i don't care. i am tired of seeing people (including myself) living with no real goals, or dreams or visions. have you ever wanted to do something great? have you ever wanted to be different than the thousands of people around you? i mean really stand out as a unique person with a special purpose? i know i have. what good are you doing in life if you are content to be just like everyone else going through the same boring daily routines-never doing anything out of the ordinary-never striving to do something greater-never longing to make an impact?

you can do this. you don't have to settle for mediocrity. God has created you, yes YOU with individual abilities that no one else has. who else in this whole world has your smile, or your heart? no one does. we spend most of our time limiting God on what He can and can't do. it just hit me again the other day how infinitely powerful God is. he created the universe. that alone should blow you away. i know i don't realize His greatness enough. but don't you think that if He took the time to create you, He wants to use you?

instead of limiting God, lets get rid of our boundaries and give Him total control to blow the lid right off of our lives. i know complete abandonment of any control is SCARY. but do we really think we can handle our lives better than he can? that's like telling nick saban we could run his football team better than he does. LAUGHABLE.

doesn't the thought of changing the world make you excited? you should feel it in your toes! at the risk of sounding shallow and cliche, "let go and let God." but really do it this time. pry your white knuckles off of that steering wheel. why should you be the one driving if you have no idea where you are going, and frankly, don't even know how to drive? move over. there is far less stress in the passenger's seat.

this should inspire you to get up and do something. no matter what it is.

a few random facts: simply lemonade is DELICIOUS. i love being the first car at the light (probably not a good thing). i don't know how i functioned before text messages. i would love to be a judge on american idol.


15 rules of beauty & fashion

we are all made in God's image. that means we are all beautiful. however, it's always good to put our best foot forward, right? so here are some of my ideas for ways to optimize what God created.

1. always wear a smile. ALWAYS. what good is it doing to have cute clothes and a sad face? let people see the joy in your heart.

2. a blazer instantly improves an outfit. throw it on with skinny jeans and a printed tee for an edgier look or over a dress for a more sophisticated look.

3. just because something is designer doesn't mean it's cute or stylish. research items you like and know when to splurge and when to save.

4. don't be afraid to mix patterns and prints. this is an effective way to make you look "trendy" even with last year's clothes.

5. take risks when shopping. if you see something you would never try on, TRY IT ON. more than likely you will be surprised. in a good way.

6. believe that you can pull off trends, i.e. the current "boyfriend" look. out with the safe, boring mentality. be exciting and unique with your wardrobe (always within modesty and reason). however, if something really doesn't flatter your figure AT ALL, don't feel forced to wear it.

7. confidence is crucial. be happy in your own skin and show others that you are satisfied with the way God made you.

8. get a pair of skinny jeans (or two). if you are scared that your thighs are too big, go for a straight leg or SLIGHT (and i mean SLIGHT) boot cut. darker washes are more slenderizing.

9. out with all the solids. mix up your wardrobe with lots of fun prints. floral patterns and tribal prints happen to be really in this season.

10. a dress looks beautiful on anyone. celebrate your femininity. most body types look best in a length that hits a little above the knee. don't cut your leg off with a weird, below the knee dress UNLESS, it is tapered and fits snuggly. floor length maxi dresses are also a pretty, feminine look.

11. accessorize. take advantage of the scarf trend. they are so fun and will liven up a dull outfit. also, bold necklaces give a "chic' look instantly.

12. when in doubt, always belt. this gives a defined waistline and is a 5 lb. weight loss technique.

13. don't be afraid of heels. they do wonders for every woman's legs and give you that "glam" look. if you're tall, so what? enjoy your powerful presence.

14. up to date hairstyles automatically give you a fresh, modern look. instead of the always straight style, get out your curling iron and give yourself some beachy waves. OR, let your hair air dry for a change.

15. try tasteful makeup. experiment with neutral, peach, or pink tones that brighten your face instead of heavy, dark colors.

these are just some thoughts. they may work for you, or you may think i'm crazy. just remember, the beauty of the Lord is holiness. and holiness is the only way to achieve ultimate, lasting beauty.

if this doesn't touch you, i don't know what will. a great reminder that this world is only our temporary home. so smile, you have a bright future.


"you raise me up"

i play the violin. most of you reading this are probably aware of this fact. beginning at age 5, the violin has been a part of my life longer than i can remember. its just something i've always done and honestly, its a major part of who i am. kinna hard to explain its depth and complexity, but lets just say it is forever imprinted upon my heart. for years my family and i have traveled around playing together. yes, just like the partridge family minus the bus. we actually could use one. you should see all six of us (and sometimes caleb) piled in the mini van with all of our equipment. pretty funny. but we have had the most unique and wonderful (lame word) opportunities. it would take years of blogs for me to tell you about all of them. i will however, share a recent experience that really brought things back into perspective for me. a longtime friend of ours was about to end his struggle diabetes and was spending his final minutes in the icu of the local hospital. this man had been a tremendous blessing to our family and was deeply loved by each of us. when mom got the call informing her of his status, she and i knew we had to go and see him. i took my violin to see if he would like to hear some music one last time. as we entered his room, our emotions got the better of us and tears welled up in both of our eyes. his condition was worsening rapidly, and we knew he didn't have much longer. i removed my violin from its case and began to softly play "amazing grace". and that's when it hit me. this is what music is all about. this is the reason i play the violin. all those years i spent practicing and performing and even the hard years spent in college getting a violin performance degree were all for this reason right here. right now. sharing a song with someone about to go be with the Lord in order to give them hope and peace is indescribable. if my life ended today, it would be complete.

playing music for the sick and dying has been a part of our ministry for years, but sometimes its meaning just hits you in the face. i needed a reminder. and i got one.

i love playing on stage with my siblings. their talent, exuberance, enthusiasm, and drive encourage and inspire me. we are a tight unit that feeds off of each other and spurs one another towards greatness. last night as we were playing at "the zone", i had another moment. kiemel (i'll usually refer to her as kim), suggested we play "you raise me up" by josh groban. let's just say that senior year in high school i ADORED him and his music. the melody and the words of this particular song are beautiful. so as we are playing the sweet, familiar notes, and are looking out over the university of alabama's football field (2009 BCS national champions), i'm overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity to be on this amazing journey with my family. i am right where i am supposed to be. and the satisfaction in knowing that is irreplaceable.

i've decided to end each post with a link to whatever song is currently on my heart and mind. i bet you already know the one for today.



the start of something new.

what do you say on your very first blog? do you gush about how great your life is, or vent about your miseries and failures? i have no idea. but i'm happy to be here. and i have absolutely no clue as to what this blog is going to entail. i think that is part of the excitement, though- random posts about whatever is on your mind and the current circumstances that surround you. i know one thing for sure: i am completely blessed. every day is a constant reminder of how unworthy i am and how worthy God is. if only i could learn to trust him more. that's my goal for this year-more trust. seemingly a very simple task, but in reality, very challenging. i'm feeling up to a good challenge, so this should be interesting.

i cant publish my first post without mentioning some of the most important people in my life that will be constant fixtures in this blog. caleb and my family. caleb. sighhhhhhhhhhhh. just typing his name makes me smile. really, he is incredible. cliche, sappy, and cheesy, but i don't even care. my life will never be the same because of him. the end. funniest guy ever. i used to think humor was not critical element of someone's personality. i was wrong. i have never laughed or loved more. his heart is beautiful. his love is unconditional. his touch is gentle. i'm so glad God saved him just for me.

the family. where do i start? my parents are super heroes. no, really. they are. they instilled in us a love for the Lord that can never be taken away. mom is so cute. i love her style. she has just discovered the world of scarves and is looking fabulous wearing them. pops is precious. entirely too funny. i laugh at all of his jokes. sweetest man in the world. the sisters. wow. my best friends. crazy as run over dogs but as wise as old men. they are strong, beautiful, intelligent women that i admire very much. and bro. my little baby. just got his braces removed. can we say ecstatic teenager? i love him. we wont mention the animals. most of them are not in my good graces right now.

today is the start of something new and will hopefully turn into the creation of something great. it's all about the journey. and i'm ready to begin.