We are on what seems like the 100th straight day of snow mixed with grey clouds….but, the sun is now peeking through. Just enough light to get us through the chill.
I’ve been busy writing songs in my head this winter. Sarah Higgins and I are still trying to find a regular time to get those songs out of heads and into some actual soul-folk arrangements. Life and ice-storms and sinus infections make regular songwriting a bit of a challenge for the both of us.
We are excited to share that we were selected to perform at the Upper Arlington Music in the Parks summer series. We will be playing June 9th, 2011. More details to come. We will have a reunion of our live recording of “Alright”!
I’ve also become a bit of a crafter over the last six months. I don’t claim any special talent, but it has been a sweet pastime to sit down and make “pretties” to share with friends and family, and occasionally sell. Vintage buttons and lovely fabrics combine to make unique flowers for hair and sweaters and what-nots…nothing that the world “needs” in comparison to clean water and food and justice, but just a bit of beauty to add.
More than ever I feel the need to create beauty. When a week gets totally lost to the list of necessary but mundane errands and the juggling of five different schedules I know that a bit of who I am gets lost too. A bit dramatic, I suppose, but I do believe in a God that creates everything (everything!) with beauty. Some of that inclination is in us, and I believe we each have our own unique ways of letting it out. We need to let it out.
Maybe it ends up being a bit of a “use it or lose it” prospect…I know many people who would not ever consider themselves creative or as beauty-makers. But, I disagree. More likely is that they haven’t used what is in them for so long that it will have to be re-discovered and nursed back to life. But totally worth the rediscovering.
So, find your beauty. As my website gets retooled I’m amazed at people like Gary Jorgenson…who can read and write all this code that is absolutely baffling to me. He creates beauty by reading and writing this technological language. Hurrah for him (and me, since he creates things for tech-illiterates like me). My husband creates with his running plans- calculating and planning on the sun’s cycle of rising and falling coupled with his desire to be outside, running and thinking and praying. My kids create beauty with their elaborate stories. I’m always finding out what character I’m “playing” today…
Find your beauty. Spread it around. I guarantee you’ll have more joy than without it.
Last year I was sharing a Christmas song at a concert with a slew of other musicians. It was a lively night with jazz, folk, southern gospel, show-tunish carols and then, me & the piano with my rendition of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”. My little offering was quite simple and quiet compared to the rest of the show. I felt a bit less-than. Afterwards, my friend David Tolley took me aside and encouraged me to think about doing a Christmas project- a cd of exactly what I had done that night. Simple, quiet, hopeful and beautiful music telling the story of God breaking into His creation in the most radical way never imagined. The beginning of 2010 brought a live recording with my best friend, Sarah Higgins. We were joined by some of our musically gifted friends (Jim Zartman, Chris Westra, Gary Jorgenson, Don Smith) for a night of lovely, haunting soul-folk. Sarah and I have talked about doing “our” music together forever. We’ve always had the context of leading worship together, but finding the time and energy to do our own project had always escaped us. So, we finally got our act together, scheduled a date and got inspired by an actual deadline. We recorded 7 original songs (which can be downloaded on www.itunes.com or www.cdbaby.com) and released our first ep in August. It is titled “Alright”. So, most of my extra time during the spring was taken with finishing off that project and getting it to the printers. Late in the spring I started seriously considering David’s encouragement to do a Christmas cd. I’ve always loved Christmas- the mystery and humility and promise. The last few years of the season have felt like more of a battle against the push of our culture. Noise and greed and stress. Very anti-good news. So, I started reading the gospels again. The voices of Anna and Simeon were loud and clear. Mary and Elizabeth. Angels and shepherds. I started writing songs and digging out old ones I hadn’t sung in a decade. The end result is that I spent the summer recording 12 songs for the advent season. I tuned up my old upright and sang my heart out. 1/2 dozen are traditional favorites with my own arrangements. 1/2 dozen are originals or re-imagining of ancient carols that I wrote my own music for. My dad contributed a song (yeah!) which was really special. My kids sang on the finale. It’s been a joy to create. In the coming weeks I plan to write the stories behind my original songs and post the lyrics/chords for those who might like to play them on their own. As Sara Groves says… “My off-line life is full, but my online life is anemic”. I’m paddling that boat too, so forgive me if my posts are not as timely as hoped for.
Hope to see you at one or all!
Friday, June 26th
Outdoor House Concert
featuring the music of Michael Hansen, Chris Hartman and Noelle Shearer
6256 Westwick Place/Lewis Center, OH/ 43085
Free! Bring lawn chairs and snacks if you’d like! 7-10
Friday, July 17
Breathe Festival Venue Stage
www.breathefestival.org for cost, directions and time
Come for great worship with Sheri Carr, teaching with Jay Pathak… and stay for music with me and others!
Friday, August 21
“Night of Eternity”- multi-church event/night of worship
@ International Christian Center www.intl-cc.org
990 Kingsmill Pkway/Columbus, OH/43229 7-11
“The Arc of Grace” is now available…here, of course, and also at the Vineyard Bookstore, cdbaby. com, and soon, itunes. Very exciting stuff.
Sometimes we get a sense of what a year is going to be… what is going to be asked of us. This is a year where I feel I am going to asked to be brave. In that spirit, I am going to be playing my songs in front of other people!! That may seem ridiculous, since I am singing and playing in front of thousands every month at church, but playing my own songs- that are directed to Jesus but different than everybody-sing-along-worship songs- is much more vulnerable and slightly terrifying. But, I am going to be brave. And, I think there is going to be joy in that too.
So, in the next month you could potentially overdose on me!
On Sunday, March 15th I will be playing at Wild Goose Creative (2491 Summit St.) from 7-9. There is a suggested $5 admission.
On Friday, March 20th from 7-9 I will be playing at CrimsonCup Coffee House (4541 N. High St). Free.
On Friday, March 27th we will be hosting a cd release at Vineyard Chapel (6000 Cooper Rd.) Free admission. I’ll be sharing songs from the project with some of my amazing musician friends, and we’ll also get to enjoy poetry, dramatic monologue and live painting from other wonderful artists, including my parents!
I would be so honored if you were able to come to one of these nights…I hope to see you soon!