I think I may have forgotten to mention this.
I’m at Catalyst in Atlanta.
What is Catalyst, you ask?
Well, according to the Catalyst website, “Catalyst was created to meet the felt need that existed within the church leader space for a leadership event that was focused on a new generation of church leaders.”
Is yours truly, AnnieBlogs, a church leader? Why no. No she is not.
But. I am a Christian with a few leadership roles, and a bunch of my friends were coming here, so I jumped in the car and sped down to Atlanta [which a trip to the hometown is never a bad idea]. I’m shacking up with Bianca, Lindsey, and Trish. Bianca is a newlywed and threatened more than once to cuddle with me. I said, “you’re the best, but no thanks.”
We ate lunch with a bunch of friends, I met tons of people and the conversations started like this: “Hi, I’m Annie. I recognize you from Twitter.” And it has been true every time. It seems that on Wednesday, the Labs day, most people are fairly familiar with each other. Thursday promises 13,000 people and I PROMISE I won’t know most of them.
There were two main highlights from Wednesday […besides the friends. You know me, the people are always the highlight.]
Highlight #1: I had a three hour dinner with two of my very favorite dudes- Jeremy and Kyle. We all work together pretty regularly, but don’t see each other much. It was fun and thought-provoking. It was silly and deep. It was business and good times. I describe Kyle and Jeremy like this- they are the brothers that I have always never wanted. They pick on me and annoy me and I love them both to pieces.
Kyle took a picture at dinner of Jeremy and I in deep thought. Or….
We’re having a staring contest. In which case, I won. I always do.
Now, you know me. You know I don’t get star struck. But when it comes to the world of non-profit workers [like me at Mocha Club], Scott Harrison is pretty much the bees’ knees. There are tons of things that Charity:Water does REALLY right and he’s the head of that ship. So. I pretty much sat as close to the front as possible, hung on his every word, and avoided eye contact.
Because I’m mature.
He’s just the coolest. In my mind, he’s the quarterback of the football team at Non-Profit High School. So it was pretty much delightful to be in the same room listening to him.[By the way, Jamie is cool too. We have lots of mutual friends and talked for a bit. I just have a major NPO crush on Charity:Water.]
So that was a very long discussion on my first day ever at a Catalyst event.
Cause you know, that’s how I do. I’m a crier.
See y’all tomorrow.
I said, “I challenge you, traditional media, to impress me!”
And traditional media [or quasi-traditional media] answered with a vengeance. I have recently enjoyed a few great movies, a few great albums, and a plethora of great books.
I’m talking books as far as the eye can see. [That’s a blatant exaggeration.]
Let’s start with movies.
I want to see Nanny McPhee. I even looked on my ONDEMAND last weekend and couldn’t find it. So I’m gonna rent it. I’ll let you know. But my all time favorite movie is Mary Poppins and I am a nanny, so I’m bound to adore it.
I saw Eat.Pray.Love. Julia Roberts was, as to be expected, absolutely darling. I read the book and the book was exciting in the same spots and boring in the same spots and new age in the same spots.
I also saw The Other Guys. Will Ferrell, you slay me.
Here’s some stuff I’m reading.
First, you must get Permission to Speak Freely by Anne Jackson. It’s beautiful. It’s easy to pick up and put down and pick up and think and dream. I think you’ll like it.
My latest addiction: The Hunger Games. Oh listen. If you haven’t started this series, carve out some time and get ready. I couldn’t stop reading. NOT AT ALL. It’s some of the best writing I’ve read in a long time. There are a handful of us living here in Nashville that are reading them and truthfully, we can’t talk about anything else.
The first book- The Hunger Games [Genius. Pure genius.] The second book- Catching Fire [My favorite of the series.] The third book – Mockingjay [This one literally come out a weekish ago and I read it in light speed. And I cried.]
I also am finishing up Resurrection in May. I’m crying a lot in this one too. Africa. A sweet grandfather. A farm. Flowers. Just awesome.
Here’s what I’m hearing.
For the first time, I saw She & Him perform last week at the Ryman. And listen, it was the most fun I’ve had in a while. Buy the album. Turn it up in your house. Open the windows. Then dance. And call me in the morning.
Also, a new band called Mockingbird Sun is offering their EP for FREE. That’s zero dollars. Get it, yo. Get it.
So. That should last you a while.
Share and share alike, my friends. What have you seen/read/heard?
Saturday morning, I went to a Zumba class at the gym.
I love Zumba. Have we discussed this already? Because I do. I really REALLY like to dance. I mean, that’s a whole post in itself, about how I used to hate to dance and now I love it, so we’ll save that for another day. But the real important part is that I. LOVE. TO. DANCE.
So the fact that Zumba, which is dancing, counts as exercise, is quite enjoyable to me.
Saturday morning, a handful of us loaded up and headed together to the 11:15am Zumba class taught by Lorenza. [She’s the best. Hands down.] Halfway through the class, two men and a woman walked in. They all went to the back of the room and stood together. She soon began to dance with us, but the two men just stood there. Staring.
It was clear that they didn’t speak English. I don’t know where they were from, but they were definitely not from Nashville.
Before I realized it, I was in defense mode. I kept looking over my shoulder. Keeping an eye on them. And my heart was racing.
Because I couldn’t get my friend Anne Jackson out of my mind.[Yes, that sentence actually makes sense- stay with me.]
Anne has spent the last week or so in Moldova learning and writing about sex trafficking. And her posts have been really moving and heartbreaking and descriptive.
And though I knew I was safe, I had glimpses of the things that Anne wrote about all week.
What a nightmare. What if someone could just walk into a gym, grab me by the arm, walk me out, and sell me across the state lines? Never seeing my family again, leaving my home and all my belongings, being forced to do the most horrible things?
I was scared in Zumba. I was not scared because I felt like I was in danger, I was scared because I knew that somewhere, someone just like me truly was in danger. IS in danger.
I’m safe from being trafficked. But some girls? Sex trafficking is the only life they will ever know. It is so disturbing that the fear even sneaks up on me in Zumba when the weird situation mirrors the sex trade stories from Anne while in Europe.
I can’t exactly explain it. I don’t know if I’ve done the story justice here. And I don’t have any clean, wrap-up answer. I just know that Anne’s stories have deeply affected me this week. I hope you take time to read them.[Also. Just so you don’t worry about my dancing safety, the men in the back of Zumba ended up being completely kind and nice and are members of the gym. No biggie. I promise.]