Folk life. I just got home yesterday from playing a string of shows with Tim Grimm and Jackson Grimm from Indiana (TIm) and Asheville, N.C., (Jackson). For a minute there, in the midst of a February freeze, we arrived in Fort Collins to full sun and sixty degree temps. We played a midday show on Super Bowl Sunday and then took a quick hike as the sun went down. It felt glorious. The next day, less than 12 hours later, a jogger would be attacked by a mountain lion on that very trail we walked breathing deep into the Colorado clear blue sky turned dark. That’s crazy.

We tried the beers. I tried the sour beer which sounded gross, but then I tasted it and I liked it. Fine. I like hipster trendy beer. There, I said it. You should try it too.

We wrote songs and Tim joined me and Emily for a special podcast episode. We all wrote to the prompt “Staying in Love.” We’re still new to the podcast game, but having a special guest was so cool. To hear another voice, to get another perspective. Are you stuck? Do you feel bored with your own style? Then call up someone and ask them to come over and play you some songs. For me, it’s the perfect way to get out of my own head. Sometimes you have to find someone else’s head and listen to their thoughts. I’m so thankful for that.

I got to play songs for my friends in Olathe. I got to make new friends in Omaha and Fort Collins and Denver. I loved playing in the round in Boulder the Goat and seeing familiar faces in the crowd. Music will make all the towns your hometown. Music will help make it so that you’ve got a little hand print you’ve left in the wet cement outside that place you played once, outside that little diner you discovered or that micro-brew you remember trying with new friends the last time you came through.

And then I pulled into the garage yesterday morning after a white knuckling drive back home just to turn around and drive back to Lincoln for Joey’s basketball. Then youth group, then the Read THrough the Bible Book Club meeting last night.

There’s so much to tell. I love what I’m doing. I have a list of songs to write, challenges I’ve accepted, thought work to journal, rehearsals to schedule and also basketball games for the boys and Fun Day emails to write. Folk life is half wonderful and half hard just like everything else. I got lots of wonderful last week and I know I’ll get it again with the hard parts mixed in there because life is always going to be half great and half hard. I’m cool with that. And I’m thankful for the joy and satisfaction that keep showing up in the small moments and big ones.

My new thing is discovering the expansive love of God inviting us to consider how big life can become. There’s no need to keep things small and quiet and hidden. We’re not safer or happier behind closed curtains where no one can touch us. We’re not safer or happier going for broke either- it’s just a different kind of world. A bigger one with different challenges. I find that so comforting. If life will always be half great and half bad no matter what, then what’s keeping you from going crazy BIG? The plot changes, the good and bad change, but things get super interesting and BIG. Real big. The folk life is a beautiful one because life is beautiful.

LIfe is beautiful because Life is inviting you to be a part of it. You’re here with lovely amazing unique things to contribute. That’s not a burden, that’s an invitation. Today is one of those days I’m very gladly accepting that invite and planning what I should wear. High five.