aaron and katie

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year my friends!  There were sure a lot of inspiration quotes on Instagram today.  And I am sappy enough to love every bit of them.  New beginnings and hopeful perspectives, wondering what this year holds and letting 2015 fly away.  Like this T.S. Elliot quote:  

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It really is a beautiful opportunity the let old things pass away and start afresh.  And let me say-  get your hopes up.  Expect good things!   Open your eyes, ears, and heart to the beauty of the present moment, focus on good things, remind yourself of what you are thankful for, and know that whether this year brings challenges or triumphs, it is a brilliant chance to grow and learn.  So much love and blessing on you and yours in 2016, from your friends Pilgrim.  

xoxo

 

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I'm writing this from a little market in Austin, TX. as I drink a kombucha and watch the cars pass on the other side of the window.  I set my drink down on a copy of the Austin Chronicle and smile while Lana Del Ray serenades me through little white ear buds.  My whole body is tingling with an aliveness and sense of victory that, if it were to break through the surface of my calm and publicly appropriate demeanor, would probably reveal itself as the most atrocious football style victory dance or at least high pitched screaming laughter.  Possibly both.  But it remains a buzz pulsating through each individual nerve, lighting up my insides.  I bask in the feeling as if it were a spiritual spa.  I bathe in each sensation with utter satisfaction.  The occasion?  We did it.  After months and months of literal blood, sweat and tears, there is a palpable sense that we've broken through.  A simple transition, as if walking through an invisible veil.  But I don't need my eyes to tell me I've made it.  We are staying in our renovated vintage airstream trailer in an rv park downtown Austin, in a beautiful and fun area.  The air conditioning is finally working in the trailer.  We're fully moved in.  This is our home.  And now, it feels like home.  We've painted, decorated, organized.  We've played a good number of house shows so far and they've been amazing.  All of the sudden everything feels right.  I know now that every time I decided not to give up, it was because I knew I'd get here eventually.  We closed our eyes and jumped into the arms of faith so many times.  We pushed ourselves to live with our hands wide open.  Giving, receiving, flowing, believing.  Believing in everything we hoped would hold weight.  And now, we are victorious.  We are airborne on the winds of love itself.  Even as I try and describe the circumstances that surround this breakthrough I realize that if you look at those alone you may miss what I trying to express to you.  It's deeper, the victory is actually unseen.  It's impossible to describe really.  It's about presence. It's about breathing in the fullness of life, over and over.  It's that I believed something I was told about life, and love, and dreams, and hope.  And it turned out to be true.  

Believe.  Not just in things you desire, but in LIFE.  Life is meant to be incredible and dynamic.  The challenges and victories are the riches.  The letting go is the portal.  The openness and the surrender are the keys.  Ask and you shall receive.  Ask for life.  Ask for the fullness.  Then believe, embrace what comes, and push for the breakthrough.  

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Failure is Awesome

Or what happens when you take all those pinterest quotes seriously......

We left our house.

We loved that house.  Thinking about that big backyard and the way our daughter would explore it brings an ache to my heart even still.  But there was such a burning at the time.  We couldn't shake the need to break out.  We were falling into a rhythm that didn't match the beat of our heart.

"For what its worth: Its never too late to be whoever you want to be.  I hope you live a life you're proud of, and if you find that you're not, I hope that you have the strength to start over." F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Why not go out on a limb? Thats where the fruit is." -Mark Twain

"If you want to take a step you have to give up your balance for a moment."

So we left.  We gave up balance.  We gave up things.  Nearly all of them.  Just stuff.  No big deal.  We had each other.

We moved into a small windowless basement in Aaron's parents' house.  We were thrilled, if a little nervous.  The amazing part was that the basement was all set up as a recording studio, ready to go.  It didn't take long for dots to connect and the perfect producer to come across our path- an old friend who had the skills, the vision, the feel and the interest.  He just needed the space.  We had the space.  Aaron's mom was happy to spend time with Magnolia while we recorded.  Things were lining up.  We had so much fun creating our six-song E.P.

Then, right after we wrapped up recording, certain events (which I may take the time to describe later but not right now) forced us to leave that place pretty quickly and unexpectedly.  We spent a couple weeks at Aaron's sister's house, then a couple months at my sister's house.  Letting go of so much, giving up home, bouncing around and facing challenge after challenge, even cutting my long hair as a symbol of the change and our commitment, was leading me on a journey of growing and learning.  The goal was and is- non-circumstantial peace.  I've written about this before.  To grow in inner strength to the point that external forces cannot shake that peace or determine my happiness.  Ultimately, though I kicked and screamed at moments, I reveled in the challenge, like a weight-lifter endures the pain knowing that the muscle will be built.  I felt like a caterpillar in a cocoon.  My mind was blown at discovering what happens to a caterpillar during metamorphosis.  Everything that was the caterpillar disintegrates into a liquid, the only information remaining being the "imaginal discs", from which the butterfly- a completely different creature- is created.  I was ready to be made new.

"May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears." -Nelson Mandela

"Sometimes when things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place."

We began to consider a move to California.  We felt a draw out west.  So we took a trip.  We had a few meetings- they went great.  Label interest, publishing interest, movie placement possibilities.  Oh yeah and Aaron got a job as the video director for the 2014 Tom Petty tour.  Things were feeling right again.  We were high and higher.  Driving around L.A., the whole world was laid out before us on a platter.  I guess that's the nature of that beautiful temptress of a city.  I adore high moments like that though.  I let those feelings blossom to their fullest, when they decide to appear.  You know those moments.  They make you dance, they make you sing, they make you scream.  And I let them.  I love them.  Regardless of the inevitable mundane that was to be my next three months.

There was no hollywood glamour involved in moving back in with Aaron's parents when he went out on the three month long tour.  There were, however, a lot of simple, slow, beautiful summer days with my daughter.  Going to the park and my mom's house over and over and over.  Talking, painting, reading, giggling.  And more chances to grow.  Some very long nights.  Lots of lonely evenings.  A gentle fog of sadness at missing my love.  Doing all the things myself that I had learned to rely on him for.  Melting, morphing, growing.

When he finally returned, we drove straight to TX and bought our airstream.  We were wind-in-your-hair and sun-on-your-face happy again.  We began to develop our plan.  Our dream.  Traveling, playing music, living life, going slow, being together, meeting people, filming, creating.  We decided to keep the renovation to the trailer minimal in order to get on the road as quickly as possible.  January 1st was the goal.  The new year came and went.  There was more to do.  March was the new goal.  Came and went.  Unexpected issues with the trailer.  Had to dig deeper.  Waiting, changing plans, adjusting, more growing.

"Don't give up, the beginning is always the hardest."

"If your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough."

It was taking as much courage as I could muster to dive into such an unknown adventure, but then on top of that, all this start-stop business had me almost tearing my hair out!  Almost.

We continued pushing forward.  Working hard.

April.  Spring.  Here we are now.

After all of that.  Everything we had been working and building towards.  The highs, the lows, the expectations, the learning, the working, pushing, resting, praying, holding open our hands, believing... We find ourselves here.  And what here feels like is a big fat failure.  Even as I write this I kinda know, all is not lost.  But man, it doesn't feel great.  Without going into all the details, it seems as if we may actually have to start over on the trailer.  Many people gut and completely rebuild these vintage airstreams- we chose not to because, like I said, we were rarin' to go.  We simply built it out to a livable extent and called it a "work in progress".  But now, we may have to start over.  Its not clear how we will move forward.  We have no bearing on what this will take.  Our resources are tapped.  Our plans have flopped.  We're still living with family.  We gave up so much.  What do we have to show?  Failure.

But then I remember...

"The master has failed more times than the beginner has ever tried."

"Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will."

"Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear."

"Those who dare to fail miserably, can achieve greatly."

"When something goes wrong in your life just yell 'plot twist!' and move on" (new personal fave)

"Failure is proof that you tried.  Now go try again."

Oh, inspirational quotes by famous and unknown people, you've done it again.  You've filled me with gumption.  Ok, here we go.  We will find a way to replenish.  We will find a way to start over.  We will find a way to keep going.  There is no other option.  We are still working on our new plan, but we know we will make it to the shows we've already booked.  We will do what it takes to get the airstream road-ready and we will live this dream of ours.  We will see this accomplished.

Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our journey so far.  Along with Pinterest quotes, we'd be lost without the wonderful support and encouragement we've received from our friends and family.  We love you!

[Plot twist!]

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High-Fiving Women With a Clue

High-Fiving Women With a Clue

Let’s give some credit to women who’ve been there. Women that know who they are. Women that have been with and without, who have loved, lost, failed and succeeded. Smart, spunky, gracefully-aged women, with a clue...

Snowed In

Snowed In

"Snowed In" | Rise Up Singing Blog #katthomas #pilgrim

Pilgrim "You For Me" Video | Happy Valentines Day

Once upon a time, after finishing my shift at the sushi restaurant where I worked as a hostess, I ran over to a little venue called 12th and Porter to say hi to a friend before going home to get off my feet after a long day. I rushed inside and found that I had missed the band, but I wasn't too concerned.  I said hi to my friend Pricilla and she immediately introduced me to a couple of fellas.  Conversation with one of them came quickly and easily and we were joking and bantering in a matter of moments.  My interested was piqued and my plans for the evening changed.  We talked until 3 in the morning. Five or so years later, he and I wrote this song together as we watched our daughter crawl across the floor after a toy.

Happy Valentines Day. Enjoy.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9AHPvzmkmk&w=560&h=315]

 

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A Birth Story

A Birth Story

March 29th, in the dark of the night, I woke up. I was feeling things I had never felt before. I was getting signals that had only ever been described to me. I felt tightening sensations across my stomach and I wondered, is this going to be it? I relaxed as much as possible and dozed as I could. After a few hours I could no longer sleep through them and I was feeling more certain that what I had been waiting months for was now upon me....

Present Tense

I can see it now.  Waking up as light floods the Airstream, or my daughter climbs into bed with us, whichever comes first, stretching and moving towards the french press.  Folding up the sofa bed and pushing open the Airstream door, feeling a rush of fresh air and pure morning light as I step out into nature in my pajamas.  I see sipping my steaming coffee as Magnolia rushes to begin playing in the outdoors.  I grab a sweater for the cool morning air, and then I'm playing with Magnolia, stretching, praying, planning the day.  I can see it now.  And it looks like peace.  It looks like being in the moment.  It looks like slowing down, feeling well, living. I stop myself.  That WILL be great.  But what about right now?  I realize I am living for the future and merely enduring the now.  Something that Aaron and I often say to each other when we find ourselves looking to some kind of future plan as our salvation, is "Do you know what its going to feel like when we reach x,y,z ?" ...  "Like this."  Meaning that life has a way of always just feeling like life.  Its easy to think something like "everything would be different if I could just.. (make more money, have a better job, have a partner, live in an airstream, or whatever it is that you are looking forward to)".  But the truth is while accomplishing a goal CAN change things, and make you feel better for a while, for the most part, you will still feel like you, life will still feel like life, with its ups and downs.  There will be new challenges presented even by this new wonderful thing.  This is not to say don't go after anything but it is to say, if you cannot be at peace right now, don't expect an accomplishment to create that for you.  Your ability to be at peace, be happy, live in the moment, ect. will be exactly what it is now.

With this understanding, we've been challenging ourselves as we work on the Airstream and set up all the details of the tour, to fully embrace where we are now.  This moment is all we have.  So, even with all of the elements at play that are potential stress-producers (and successful stress-producers I have to admit), we are trying to experience the same in-the-moment, peace that I imagine myself experiencing as I step down from the Airstream in the early morning light, smelling the beautiful fresh air laced with the must of last night's fire.

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These pictures of from our trip to Los Angeles this summer :)