Friday, June 24, 2016

Never Far || an album

credit: Ryan Lucas

Good morning from the little lake town of Pepin, WI. Yesterday Luke and I had a grand old time releasing our first album, 'Never Far', on Bandcamp and debuting it to two of our biggest supporters: the friends who hosted us for three weeks while we were in Eau Claire, WI this month. And now, we get to share it here with you!



It's been a long time coming -- they say the first album takes the longest because its from birth til release day that youre working on it. Luke has been writing songs for over ten years. I first heard him sing on Christmas Eve of 2015. Whether youve known him since he was writing songs about grilled cheese sandwiches, you played in a band with him, or have only known him since we've been married, Im sure youve heard and been blessed by his music. Its such a beautiful purpose on his life. Im really happy to get to support him in it and work (read: sing) alongside him. He took a risk in sending me a private youtube video of a new song while he was overseas with YWAM this year. I responded in kind, compelled to record a voice memo of harmonies for it -- something Id never done before in my life, nor did I know Luke enough to know how he'd receive it. I didnt know then but that sealed the deal in his heart that I was who he would run with for his life. Now here we are, the first of many albums to come from Mid Air. He has lots of experience with performing and I have practically none. He had recorded before when he was at school at McNally Smith in the Cities, I'd sung into a mic maybe five times in my life. This really is just the beginning.

credit: Ryan Lucas

There is something truly special about these songs. It goes beyond the craftsmanship of Luke's lyrics or my harmonies or our friend David's masterful production skills. A friend said it best when they called it "anointed". And that's all we want: Holy Spirit to flood the atmosphere and awaken dead hearts, open deaf ears. A name, fame, fortune -- they may come, and, praise God, His grace is enough for us to steward those gifts really well -- but they wont last. Lives changed, and His kingdom come, will.

///

For those of you curious about a life update: We have recently moved into an apartment in Pepin. A mid-course correction on our way to the Cities, it looks like we will be here for the summer. Living by the lake, probably walking to work (Luke has had a few interviews), using wifi outside of the awesome 404 Coffee shop by the marina, and driving the river road to the Twin Cities now and then. Caught in the flow of Holy Spirit's perfect timing is a marvelous way to live. We're enjoying it all. You never know where we will be tomorrow. With the album officially out we will be playing house-shows, coffee shops, bars, and other venues. For updates follow us on Facebook and Instagram >> Luke @lukeborek + Chelsea @chelsea_pea or Mid Air @midairband

Friday, June 17, 2016

Transitions >>

Its been a season of transition essentially all year. Most memorable, of course, was becoming engaged to and marrying Luke Osicka. If youre reading this from Milwaukee theres a good chance that you were one of many beloved people that practically supported us with our wedding in Pere Marquette Park as well as in May as we moved out of our duplex unit in Shorewood. I had leased the space a year before and as our time came to a close we sought the Lord on whether to stay in Milwaukee or move somewhere else. We felt led to New York City for awhile and went that way for weeks before the Lord clearly redirected us to Minneapolis, MN -- mainly to serve our friend Blake in his business endeavors with kombucha.

What started as simply downsizing our wardrobes soon became selling all of our furniture. Once we had gone to that point it was a no-brainer to cut back on many possessions. We had a fun garage sale, nothing priced, all by donation, with everything we were presently willing to part with. On the final day we ended up giving away a huge load of things which was a great blessing to us and the recipient.


My Dad had come to town for an event and drove a pickup so he could take a load of boxes and our mattress to Eau Claire (where my family lives, less than two hours from the Twin Cities) for us. With one car load of items that had been bought from our sale online, stored in a friends basement for the next time we could come to retrieve it, we loaded up our car with our remaining clothes, our bedding, a guitar, fitting Barley in the trunk space. We drove to Eau Claire and dropped Barley off at my Mom's, where he has been living for the time being. Its the most stable living condition for him while Luke and I work and travel back and forth from the Cities keeping traction there. We have lived in our friends, James and Kelsey's, guest room most of the time since we arrived on May 31st, with occasional overnights at my Mom's. While here we have worked for my Dad's real estate company. Luke and my youngest brother Aidan have done a ton of manual labor together. That's been a treat.


It's been an adventure. Ive moved many, many times in my young life but never have I moved out of a place not knowing where we'd move to. To be somewhat homeless, a gypsy of sorts, has been a great experience -- one I believe that Luke and I will have many more times in our traveling missionary life -- more humbling than I imagined it would be. Its like camping, but indoors. We arent making much money, we still have bills and student loans and daily expenses. We're often fed by family or friends, which is a huge gift not taken lightly. Regardless of our financial circumstances, we are giving away resources as we see anyone (friends, family, the Church) in need. Especially homeless people. Doesnt matter how much or little we have, we give. That's what love does. Just a really fun part of living by faith.

Our first music album has been underway since our honeymoon. We recently finished our final recording session with our friend David. He's mixing and mastering and as soon as we have the final tracks we will have be releasing the first of many officially recorded albums by Mid Air. Super exciting!

We have been in the Cities for that but we have also reconnected and fellowshipped with several dear friends during our visits. We would have been more than happy to move right to the Cities with a mere pitstop at most in Eau Claire but housing hasnt come together just yet and we've been trusting the Lord's divine timing on that and what employment should look like for us in this time of our lives. Knowing that we are living as missionaries everywhere we go we chose to pursue living in an area of St Paul called Frogtown. There is a community of urban missionaries living all over throughout that neighborhood and theyre calling it Godtown. Meeting with the leaders of the outreach/training center we all realized what a great fit it would be for us to live there and minister with them. Our friend John has been seeking out an ideal housing situation for us since.


We know there are many people, locally in the Midwest, as well as around the globe, that love us dearly and would do anything to help us as we go where we are called and spread Hope like wildfire. You guys are key pieces of our life. Every time you pray for intimacy with Christ to be dearer, our marriage to be united, our minds to be renewed, our lives to be laid down, and any obstacles removed, youre literally partnering with heaven in championing the call on our lives. As far as practical needs, there are many and varied sorts. If youre compelled to bless us by contributing to these needs in any way, let us know. We'd be happy to talk about how the Lord would have us partner. He's excellent at those connections and directions.


Thanks for following along with our journey, friends! Its a whirlwind and marvelously challenging. We're abundantly blessed. P.S. Luke writes a fantastic newsletter each month. If youd like to subscribe to it send him a quick email: luke.osicka@gmail.com

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

He's Never Far Off. Are We?

Child laborers, child soldiers, child prostitutes -- child slaves. We're involved in enslaving them. Really. We buy products that are produced in sweat shops or from ingredients that are sourced from labor fields. We participate in pimping kids by only seeing human trafficking as a problem and not realizing that any support of the porn industry is directly tied to the sale of other people's bodies.

Why are children preyed upon? Like women, they tend to be most vulnerable. Easy to take advantage of. In order for us to truly advocate for them we need to stop sowing into streams of business that rely on taking advantage of that vulnerability.

credit: Blog for Asia

Spheres of people especially targeted are impoverished families or foreigners -- immigrant or refugee. When there is war, there are refugees. We are seeing an influx of them as a result of unrest around the world. That may seem far away but these are our neighbors, our brothers. To remove their vulnerability from them and intimidate darkness away from them with light... see, this issue and battle is a spiritual one that merely manifests in the physical... we get to bind the forces of darkness in prayer and advance and take the ground back from them, setting captives free, with hands-on love, in so many ways.

We may think the only way we can help surround people with care and support is to partner with relief services or ministries that are on the ground (Gospel for Asia, World Vision, Compassion Intl, etc). That's great but it isnt the only way. Every day purchases that we make are feeding either the advocacy of people in need or the misuse of them. So you want to be a part of ending child slavery? Slavery of all kinds? Make a stand with your purchases. Perhaps its inconvenient to order online instead of walking into a store. If its saving lives and setting them free its worth it. I know you agree. By employing dads and moms in refugee and other poor communities we are defending their children.

If I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it does me no good at all. || 1 Corinthians 13:3 AMP

My husband and I are passionate about not only partnering with fair trade instead of slave labor products and brands and companies but joining hands with people and places that are intentionally setting souls as well as bodies free, bringing liberty and justice and hope in the truest form as we practically see people empowered. A great example of this is Raven + Lily -- employing women all over, including refugee women in Pakistan. Hear the founder's, Kristen Dickerson, heart on Right Now Media. Another great example is Sseko Designs. Catch a glimpse of the heartbeat of their founder, Liz, below.



We see bands or celebrities visit refugee camps or go on trips with teams that bring relief. Im thankful for the awareness their influence yields. You have an even more powerful ability to influence people than they do though. You have deeper personal connection with a few people than their wide spread connection to many has. You've taken your personal stand with your heart and mind and mouth and spending for the vulnerable, youve partnered in freedom, youve been your brothers keeper, now you can activate your sphere of influence to do the same -- one small step at a time -- just by inviting them to make the changes you are making.

Daddy God's heart is so compelled by love to go and to wrap with comfort and mighty care all the vulnerable, all the poor. He's a Dad! He loves His children! He will do anything for them. He already has done everything for them and we're His Body. He is never far from those in need. We're His hands and feet though so if we pull back from our brothers everyone suffers. We literally get to love like Jesus. Lay down the right to your own life and truly consider others as more important than yourself and serve them willingly. Carrying them in your heart and lifted in constant prayer, advocated for and not abandoned we extend help and favor to them by empowering Gospel-filled fair trade companies who are employing the vulnerable and needy.