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Extreme Tour

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Country Roads, Southern Trails, Goodbyes, Hellos and Goodbyes Again

It has been a bit of a whirlwind. I am sorry I haven't had a chance to update in the last few weeks. It has been such a whirlwind. We left Davenport for Fort Wayne and spent 4 days there and did two shows, one on Wells Bridge and another in a local park. There we said farewell to No Lost Cause. They were such a pleasure to meet. I was sad to see them go, but as Scott would say, it wasn't a goodbye, but a see you later.

 No Lost Cause playing on Wells Bridge in Fort Wayne.

No Lost Cause playing on Wells Bridge in Fort Wayne.

 Jamie, Ben, Nora and I after our last Fort Wayne show, just before they hit the road back to Jersey.

Jamie, Ben, Nora and I after our last Fort Wayne show, just before they hit the road back to Jersey.

That Sunday I was able to attend a local AME church someone from our concert invited me to. It was such a sweet time, the welcomed me and my friend with love and hugs. I even got to share a song with them. 

 Gomez AME Church Ft Wayne, IN

Gomez AME Church Ft Wayne, IN

We left early the next day for Tennessee. We had a show in Mount Juliet that Wednesday. Before that I had the chance to reconnect with a friend in Nashville. It is so wild how our stories intertwine with those we meet. I am thankful for Amber, her generosity and friendship. It was also such a blessing to see a face I had known from before tour. 

 Amber and I at Rocketown in Nashville

Amber and I at Rocketown in Nashville

What I didn't know then was that our trek south would bring not just a change in climate and the amount of sweet tea I would consume, but changes in our team and the way the tour would go. I left for a weekend after our Tennessee show for a prior engagement, and by the time I was back four days later, it was obvious that morale wasn't what it once was.

Tour life, I am learning, is not for the faint of heart. It is full of ups and downs, surprises, (good and bad) loneliness, isolation, unmet expectations, and so many more questions than I have answers for. By the time our Thomaston, GA show was done, over half the team left for home for various reasons. In many ways it felt like things were crumbling or that we were failing. There was a new band from Philly that had just joined us, and I am sure they were more than confused as to what was going on with this tour as one by one acts were dropping out early with little notice.

Since most of the vehicles had left with their owners, I rode to Charleston with the guys from Audio Impulse. Though it was unplanned and unforeseen, it was such a blessing and refreshing time. My week with them, in many ways was my favourite week on tour. And with how things have been going with canceled shows in Florida, it also marks the last official week of my tour adventure. We still have shows the last weekend of September, but all the shows between then and now have been canceled for different reasons that were beyond our control.

 Audio Impulse doing their thing in Charleston, SC

Audio Impulse doing their thing in Charleston, SC

There is soo much to process from this experience. I've met so many people, heard their stories, sang, performed poetry, made new friends, risked my life, eaten more pizza than I ever want to ever again. Sitting here reflecting on these experiences as Audio Impulse does their exit interview in the room next door, I can definitely say that I am sad this adventure is nearing it's end. I have a feeling that the next few weeks will unveil so much and probably include a few tears. It's funny cause after reading this you may think that this wasn't a good experience for me. But that isn't the case. The Extreme Tour was in many ways what I expected it to be, in some others ways, nothing like I expected. Touring, on top of the things I've already mentioned was simultaneously exciting, joyful, humbling, encouraging, touching and so much more. The method sucks, but the reason behind why we do it is so worth it. 

Tomorrow morning, Sam, the tour director, and I will be the last two standing. We booked train tickets to Florida and will be staying with friends of mine there until our last few shows at the end of the month. I'll be spending the next week with loved ones, doing tons of reflecting, catching up on work and emails and probably asking some more questions of myself, God and the universe. 

Pray for us and that we would finish well despite all the ups and downs. Check out some photos from the last few weeks below. They include moments from Fort Wayne, Mt Juliet, Thomaston, Charleston and Macon.

 

 

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Chicago: Tacos and Overflow

Today we left the farm in the wee hours of the night, drove across the border to Vermont and I officially began my journey. I flew from Burlington, VT to JFK, chilled there for a few hours and then landed in Chicago at about noon local time. We were behind schedule because of a few delays but it was uneventful overall.

My goal in Chicago today was to figure the best route to Rockford IL, run some errands, get a bit of work done and grab coffee with a friend. I'm two for four and not even sad about it. (Errands can wait and I'll do the work tonight while waiting for my bus.) 

After figuring out how to get to my next destination, I went on a hunt for food. As I was walking down the street, I noticed a restaurant. This girl next to me catches me staring and says "It's banging." and really that's all I need to eat your food. Granted she worked there, but they don't necessarily pay her to claim the food is boss. I am glad I went.

  Dat Taco Lyfe!

Dat Taco Lyfe!

The staff at Don Fresco's were so friendly and upon hearing of my Canadian-ness one of them asked me to say 'sorry'. Apparently I have an accent? lol She also confessed her undying love for Bieber to which we had to respond with a sing along version of Sorry. The food was solid. Eating corn tortillas always reminds me of my time in Mexico. It was no Mexican street food, but it was fresh, tasty, filling and served with so much joy that it didn't matter. Hearing so many people speak Spanish made me one to get back on that tip. Maybe next year, who knows?

I then walked to meet a friend at a Overflow Coffee Bar on States S. Our time together was such a blessing and encouragement. I met Dorothy years ago at a conference through a Christian club we were both part of. And though I don't have tons of memories of her back then, it has been sweet to see God reconnect us since she's been living here in the US. I stayed with her last fall on my last trip to Chicago, and this time around I was happy to be able to see her again. It is so interesting how our stories intersect; in our faith journey, as Haitian Canadian children of immigrants, in our passion for justice and as women.

We met at around 4:30 and talked till after the coffee shop should have closed. It was so encouraging to share more of our stories, catch up on that last year and hear all about what God had been doing in her life. She has such a heart of encouragement and a budding prophetic gift which I truly appreciate. I was feeing a bit nervous last night while packing, so it was a nice reminder that God was looking out for me as I embarked on this journey.

 Haitian Sistas

Haitian Sistas

As we closed our time together we went inside to say goodbye to our barista and his girlfriend who was hanging around waiting for close. As we began to chat with them it was clear that this was not an accidental meeting. Justin and Rachel are both creatives, Christians and have a passion for the arts, and community building. The coffee shop Justin works for is a local social entreprise that has been in the city for just over 5 years and he just shared his passion for the community they serve and how God has been faithful to help them build bridges and love people.

This place more than lived up to its name. It overflowed with joy and welcome from the second we stepped inside. And our time afterwards with Justin and Rachel was such an encouragement! At one point everyone kind of stopped to take in the moment and suggested we pray. We all laughed, shared needs and requests and just began to pray for each other, Overflow, Chicago as a whole and then we shared words of encouragement with each other. Not a word was out of place. There was laughter and smiles and I know for me even a few tears. These kindred spirits had been exactly what I needed.  

 Rachel, Justin and I at Overflow

Rachel, Justin and I at Overflow

I have no clue what the next two months will have in store, but I do know that already God has been confirming things and reminding me of his promises. God is faithful. So much so that even in this city that I have yet to know fully, God brought people along to encourage me, remind me of my worth, of His love and to commission me onto the next part of my journey. I meet the team tomorrow and I am becoming increasingly convinced that there is more than music in our future. 

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Let The "Extreme" Adventure Begin

I'm going on tour!! I remember the excitement when I got the news that I was selected to be part of this year's Extreme Tour in the US. Texts were sent, excited phone calls received, and immediately a list of things I had to do crossed my mind. Fast forward a month and a half, and here I am a few days away from starting this adventure.

I will be sharing my experiences with you as much as I can as we travel across the US sharing songs, laughter and life with people from all walks of life. I hope that you will beable to get a feel for the places we see, and those we meet as well as the amazing team I get to experience it all with. I don't think there is any way that I can truly anticipate what is to come, which is such a weird place to be in for me.

I was chatting with one of my fellow tour mates today and it clicked that this is going to be a journey of faith for us all. Firstly, we're all volunteers. Life on the road can be unpredictable on a good day, let alone when you aren't sure how you're going to pay for gas or food or anything for that matter. Then there's also the kind of tour we are embarking on. Some of the communities we are going to will be places of extreme need. I read a post from one of the artist that was in Detroit today. The host church had him sign a waiver before performing. What a wild experience that would have been. 

As a Canadian, I am aware of the things that I will experience differently. Exchange rate, culture shock, racial tensions and being in the US during the peak of what will be one of the most important elections this nation will have faced in recent history, are all things that I am aware that this Canadian chick will have to navigate. 

That being said, I am more than excited for all that is to come. Or maybe the right word is expectant. Yea, I know that this is going to be an adventure and I know that God will be with us as we embark on this journey. I know that God will provide and care for us. Wisdom, discernment, grace and patience will all be necessary and I know that the Holy Spirit will guide and help where I find myself weak.

I fly into Chicago Tuesday morning and hit the road on Wednesday. If you're the praying type, feel free to pray for me and the team. We'll gladly take it. I will be sharing updates here and posting on social media as much as possible. If you want to help with the financial side of things there is a GoFundMe page to help with that. 

Thank you to all those who have given, prayed, sent love and best wishes. I couldn't do this without any of you! Catch you in a few days.

-Grace

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