Thursday, January 22, 2015

Lessons Under an Overpass

*Posted originally on the site. Moved here and post dated.

On Monday we played a dinner show for a lovely RV resort in south Texas. After the show a gentleman, moved very much by our family's music and performance, excitedly came up to speak with me for the sole purpose of offering me encouragement. Usually, the audience comes up to encourage the children, congratulate them on their hard work, and tell them how much they loved the show. Now and then someone comes up to tell me they enjoyed my singing or how they loved hearing the flute, a rare treat in an area that gets stuck on country and bluegrass.

 This conversation was different. The gentleman shared with me his awe of the many directions and individual moments that must have transpired on the way to our night right there at his park, performing a dinner show. He took me back in time to when I was the twins' age and said he could almost see me at their age, working on music, and how amazing it is to then see how life progressed, until the music was passed to my children as well.

What amazed me most of all about this conversation was how it directly reflected the very thoughts I had when I snapped this photo the night before the show.


This is the current view from where I sit outside the bus on a comfortable winter evening. It has been our temporary home since mid-December, right where two major highways intersect. I couldn't help but to sit and stare in wonder at my current surroundings, and contrast the moment to our time at the beach house last summer, surprised that both could inspire wonder and awe.

When I have the opportunity to sit quietly in nature, my thoughts often wander to the amazing wonders of creation. While at the ocean I projected my thoughts to the deep and consider what it would be like if I could walk into the waves, unharmed, to sit in wonder over the strange creatures and the intricate balance within the deepest ecosystems. In such situations, it's easy to see the brilliant hand of God over all of the earth.

 There is very little nature where I've been sitting the last couple of months, outside of the palm trees planted on the sides of the expressway and the loud, pushy grackles on the power lines. Even so, when I sat and watched the cars going overhead, moving from one exit to the next, wondering who are the individual drivers and their destinations, I realized somebody once sat down and thought through exactly where each road should be placed and why. A man or woman, created in the image of God, with intelligence and imagination, at one point had to think through the cities connected by these highways, the landscape around them, the traffic patterns, and the structures that would be needed to keep the vehicles moving safely to their intended destinations.

 Long before that semi turned north or that minivan headed west, a plan was set in place.  Just like our lives.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

Barring a serious natural disaster, those highways, built from steel and concrete, will stand longer than I will likely live. This doesn't mean there are not going to be accidents, which is why there are guardrails, and when necessary, emergency vehicles to come help in a crisis. But just as someone planned out the exits and overpasses long before the roads were built, I love to think that there is a plan for our destination and see the weaved pattern of the moments in my life, even before my life, that would bring me to sit outside of a bus in the far southern tip of Texas, and stare in wonder at a busy overpass.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Year in Review!

*Posted originally on the site. Moved here and post dated.

20140510untitled-IMGP8958-Edit (1280x850)In January we finished up our trip to Florida and made our way to Texas, where we played several great shows for the winter Texans through the month of March. After our time in the Rio Grande Valley we headed towards Rockport where the Trinity Church graciously opened their doors to us for three weeks so we could work on new music for a needed new CD project. It had been 2 ½ years since our last CD and we're not the band we were back then, so our sound needed some updates.

2014 is fading and 2015 is right around the corner. It's hard to believe it's been three years since we took off on this crazy journey. This year we rounded our total number of visited states is now up to about 36! Though we are not certain how many more we'll add, it looks like there will be at least one more year on the road, since there are still people to see and places that need to be visited at least one more time.

Storyteller coverIn late April we headed up to north Texas for a few weeks before returning to Colorado for a couple of months. While there we successfully raised the money we needed in a Kickstart campaign to complete our CD at Sawtelle Studio in Denver. There must have been enough people that were also rather tired of the old CD, because we were thrilled by the support we received!

 After the work was complete we took a break to explore some of our favorite spots in Colorado, including Celestial Seasoning, a wildlife refuge, the Denver Museum, and an opportunity to catch up with family and some dearly missed friends. By mid-July it was time to head head out again, this time on our first trip to the west coast.
As providence would have it, a friend from our Colorado church home had moved to Seattle a few years earlier and thanks to the hospitality of the Lee family, we were able to enjoy a unique tour of Seattle on a boat!

 The twins and Sean took turns driving it and we're proud to say that the Space Needle is still standing. No Seattle landmarks were harmed on the tour, but the boat did overheat and stall on Lake Washington. We blame Sean. Sean protests this, but he was driving at the time...

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Between July and August, playing opportunities took us to even more beautiful sites, including Port Ludlow and Olympia's Harbor Days. A brief time in northern Washington gave us a chance to head up to Vancouver, BC to visit Grandville Island and the second largest Chinatown in North America. A later trip to the southern end of the state brought us to Mount St. Helen. Much to the twins' dismay, it did not explode while we were there.

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Through all of this excitement, a vacation at the Lees' beach house out shined it all! We spent a couple of weeks total enjoying a peaceful get-away, relaxing, collecting sand dollars, playing on the beach, and enjoying good company. It's impossible to put into words the blessing of that time after a few years of often heavy travel and a hectic schedule.
DSC00619Though we were sad to leave Washington, one of our first stops when we hit California was at an old growth Redwood forest near San Jose where everyone enjoyed climbing around the beautiful trees. Southern California was a shock to our system when we started playing at the College of the Desert Street Fair.

DSCF9433 The first weekend we played for hours in temperatures over 100 degrees. There's nothing like coming off a beautiful summer full of oceans, boats, and 60 degree temperatures to the heat and working for a living to inspire a world class pity party, but once the temperatures cooled, the Palm Desert area was fantastic. We met some new friends, enjoyed some great audiences, and were even gifted some tickets to the San Diego Zoo!

 If you've never heard one of Mary's “cute attacks”, you are missing out. The baby panda cute attack was absolutely epic.

SAM_1107DSCF9571When it was time to leave we headed through Arizona briefly for a couple of weeks on our way back to Texas. At one of the parks the residents took a shining to the kids and invited everyone on a ride through the desert on their quads. Yes, Sean was given permission to drive one just a short while, and all nearby saguaro cacti survived.

 A great horned owl posed for Sean so he could take this wonderful picture. Cheryl was slightly less amused by the scorpion she found her her shower. It did not survive.

IMG_20141223_193844516_HDRDecember found us back in south Texas for Christmas shows. Grandma and Papa are here at the park with us, as is Grandma Susan so everyone has had a chance to enjoy the Christmas music and fun.

1920222_10203322832767968_5531708290678963396_nWe are currently babysitting Papa and Grandma's dog, Boots, so after too many years of dog withdrawals, we have a temporary friendly furry companion to enjoy. (Alex pointed out that we do have a cat, but her furriness comes with sharp, poky side-effects and lacks the “friendly” qualification unless hungry. She is thankfully at least tolerating the dog.)

2015 promises more adventures with a coming trip to Florida, a final east coast loop to hit a few more states, a return to Colorado for a time, and Lord willing, a productive fall season in Palm Desert.

 As usual, our blessings are overflowing again this year and we pray bountiful blessings in the year to come for all of our family and friends!

 Much love from the Costello Family