Travel

East Coast to West Coast

  If you know me, you know I have been working over the last year to move to California. I have been trying to save up money, selling my belongings, working on my guitar chops, and more. It has felt like a long road, but I am happy to say the doors have finally opened! 

   Many of you saw that I was looking to join the Circuit Riders Experience in Huntington Beach, CA. Unfortunately I was not able to raise the support needed to join, however when God closes one door, He opens another. I have accepted a job to work for a small private school in Pasadena, CA, and on top of that I have a great apartment lined up in Tujunga, CA. All the pieces have been coming together, and I am so excited to start this new journey. I had many concerns when it comes to moving to California, but God has been answering them all. Take a look at what I mean.

1. Health - While looking for some contract work this summer I got some routine check ups and was diagnosed with Graves Disease (nothing serious and easily treatable so no one needs to freak out). All the extra time I had from not working for several weeks allowed me to get all my tests done and begin some treatment options before I move. 

2. Family - I wanted to spend extra time with my family before I move, and every Sunday for 4-5 months I spent time with different members of my family including my 2 beautiful nieces. Still feels like it went by too quickly.

3. Stella - if you follow me on Snapchat, you have seen many pictures of my cat Stella. She is a great cat and I have wanted to take her with me, but I didn't think I would be able to with most apartments not being cat friendly. The apartment I found in Tujunga is not only cat friendly, but the landlord said he could babysit Stella if I was away! That was such an answer to prayer, because I know my niece loves to see Stella when we FaceTime haha. 

4. Finances - I have never been good about saving money which was making the move to Cali very difficult. Leaving Norwell and pulling my pension money (not smart in the long-term) gave me just the right amount of money for my new apartment and the move for my stuff and my car!

  I can't thank God enough for bringing all these pieces together, and these listed are just a few. Over a long weekend in LA I got a job, an apartment, and maybe even found my new home church! I couldn't believe it actually came together. All of this has given me even more confidence that I am following God's plan for me in California. I am excited and at the same time pretty freaked out about taking such a big step. I have been extremely blessed to have such an incredible family, and wonderful friends. Being so far away from them has been a tough pill to swallow, but it's because of their love and support that I even have the guts to take this leap of faith. I can't thank them enough for their support, and even practically for helping me get out of my apartment and on my way cross country. So now I have just a few more days to spend time with my favorite people in the world before Stella and I get on our flight (yes the cat is going with me on the plane .... yikes). 

  So please be in prayer for me as I get settled in my new place, and for me and my family as we adjust to this distance apart. God has great things in store, and I can't wait to see what that means for us all. I will update you all soon so stay tuned!

Palm Coast, FL

  Hey everyone! I was really excited to take a short weekend trip down to Palm Coast, Florida this past weekend. The weather is absolutely beautiful here, and it makes me not want to go back to the chill of Massachusetts. I am writing this as I wait for my flight home, seeing that I missed my original flight (whoops). Well thankfully there was another flight for tonight, and a shorter one so it worked out pretty well. So I figured I would take a few moments and share some of the highlights!

  One of my favorite things was being able to see some of my family again. It is amazing to see how much they have all grown up. Not only that but they have also been very successful in their fields. Whether it is starting businesses or performance in school, they have really invested themselves into being excellent in everything they do. It was also great to meet new and future members of the family! This family is a great example of encouraging and challenging one another. We had great conversations on civil rights, God’s calling on each of our lives, and more. There are so many challenges in today’s world, and it’s great to have friends and family who are open to sharing their opinions and challenging one anther.

  Another great thing I got to see was Lifecoast Church. I got to spend time with several leaders in the church as well as several members of the worship team. The service was excellent with passionate worship leaders including my own cousin Cassidy who has a great voice! She led one of my favorite worship songs, "Love on the Line" by Hillsong Worship, and it was such a blessing to see her using her talents to serve the Lord. The church meets in a local high school with around 500+ seats as a mobile church.

  The final thing that really stood out to me was the growth of Trades of Hope. Trades of Hope is an organization founded by four women who wanted to give woman around the world a way to provide for their families. In many countries there is very little opportunity for jobs and therefore women find themselves in prostitution, sex slavery and more. Through Trades of Hope these woman have the opportunity to create jewelry, accessories, etc, which is then sold by Trades of Hope. This gives woman from all over the world, 10,000 and counting an opportunity to provide for their family and to escape the horrible work situations they have been stuck in their entire lives. So far trades of hope has reached the Philippines, Kenya, India, Haiti, Jordan, and the United States just to name a few. Check out their website and support them as they continue to provide new opportunities for woman to provide for their family. I'm loving my new TOH wallet! (as seen below) Check them out at TradesofHope.com

  These last couple days have been a great time to relax, worship, and enjoy the company of family that I haven’t seen in years! It has been a great opportunity to continue to pray for what God has in the next chapter of my life. The answer could even come this week .... but I guess that's for my next post.

  Alright now I need to get back to my next project, watching "The Force Awakens" while I wait for my plane! #Priorities

Chicago

  I was blessed to be able to take a short trip to Chicago about a month ago. I've wanted to visit Chicago for a while, especially to visit Harvest Bible Chapel. I've always admired that church and the impact they have had both in Chicago and worldwide through the worship of Vertical Church Band. I have been a member of VCB's Insiders club for a little while, and they gave their members an opportunity to join them in Chicago for the live recording of their new album "Frontiers". This was an incredible opportunity to see all the members of Vertical Church Band and to be a part of the recording of their new album! You can see some of my favorite photos of the trip throughout this post. 

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  I spent 4 days in Chicago and man it was cold! I did not think it could get that much colder compared to Massachusetts but I guess I was wrong. The first stop I made was to get some deep dish pizza from the famous Giordano's, and it was delicious! Later that night I got to be a part of the first of 2 days of "Frontiers". The worship was top notch. The new songs on this album are truly anointed and I can't wait for everyone to hear them. This album ranges from the soft acoustic feel of "Always Have" sung by Jon Guerra to the powerful upbeat tune of "A Thousand Tongues". I have never experienced such an incredible worship experience, and it is something that I will carry with me for a very long time. This worship experience was also very different. Typically there are smooth transitions and little behind the scenes looks, but this time there were rarely any transitions and a lot of behind the scenes, because it was for a live recording. After every song, different musicians and vocalists would come on and off the stage, pedalboards were moved, and vocalists would just talk with the audience while we waited for next song. It felt different for sure, but when the next song started you were wrapped in the worship of everyone in that room, and you couldn't help but join in.

  The second day in Chicago I made sure that my first stop was the famous Chicago Music Exchange. I am very glad I don't live in Chicago because I would spend way too much money there! That is the largest collection of guitars I have ever seen and high quality guitars too. I got to play guitars by Dusenberg, Collings, Bilt, Suhr, Palir, Reverend, etc. I actually ended up purchasing an 1965 Epiphone Coronet from there when I got home. The real nice thing about that place is they have 4 isolation rooms right in the middle of the store. Most stores you can't turn up the amps past 2 before disturbing the employee on the phone, but here you could crank up an amp to 11 and really get to here everything you want in the amp. They had some great amps in the isolation rooms too, from 65 Amps, Jackson Ampworks, Suhr, Vox, Orange, Victoria, and more. I was happy to be here because I was able to try all the guitars I ever wanted to. Now in the future I know that I am not a fan of a Palir telecaster compared to my Suhr, that Reverend is the best guitar around $1k, and that Collings makes some beautiful acoustic guitars. I got it all out of my system, and I feel even better about the great guitars I have in my arsenal already. 

    My third day there I got to spend walking around downtown Chicago. Side note if you are going to do that, don't do it in vans and the tightest jeans you own, you will regret it. There were some great sites such as the Willis Tower, Millennium Park, Cloud Gate, and the Magnificent Mile. Overall I found that Chicago is very much like a Boston 2.0. It had a lot of that same charm that made me feel at home. I would love to go back when it is ..... a LOT warmer. 

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