Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Worship Wednesdays - 10 Years Ago Today...

... everything changed.

All summer long, I'd been praying for direction. What should I do with my life, my art, my passions?

"Dear Lord. Smack me over the head!"

And then, 10 years ago tonight, it happened.

I could have happened a hundred different ways, but there in the heart of Nashville, it happened.

Last winter, I told the story as part of our Musical Residency in 
St. Andrews By-the-Sea, New Brunswick:

The past 10 years have been an extraordinary journey. Gerald and I married, moved to Nashville, and began the greatest adventure of our lives. I pursued a solo Gospel career that brought me into Music Row studios and the National Quartet Convention. Gerald wrote hundreds of songs, some with Grammy winners and Hall of Fame songwriters. 

And in a twist no one saw coming (or at least, that we didn't see coming), all our hopes, dreams and talents came together in the birth of Infinitely More. Since our 2013 debut album, we've toured thousands of kilometres, recorded 4 CDs, received 6 national music award nominations, and were recently honoured with a Stonebridge Guitar artist deal.

On this day, I'm filled with memories of that awesome summer, and overwhelmed with gratitude for this journey. I'm humbled beyond thought that God would see fit to call Me - broken, faulty, messy Me - to spread His message. I'm honoured by the countless people who have brought our Infinitely More music into their homes and churches. I'm thankful for the many talented and supportive friends we've met along the way. 

And I'm lost for words in this one fact: I get to share this all with my creative, amazing, generous husband. Gerald, I can't imagine this adventure without you. 
Thank you for being my partner in all things good and true.

So today, I look to the future with great anticipation and excitement. We're planning a radio release, new concerts, and our first Prairies Road Trip. We have new songs bubbling up every day, and we find endless inspiration in the incredible people we meet on musical adventures.

And the thing that continues to amaze me the most: every day, I get to make music that shares God's unfailing mercy, grace, and love. I can't imagine a better way to spend a life.

Here's to the next 10 years! 

Glory to God, whose power, working in us, can do 
Infinitely More than we can ask or imagine. 
Eph. 3:20

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Worship Wednesdays - Booking the Prairies Road Trip!

This fall, we take on a new Adventure:

Our first Prairies Road Trip!

For the last five years, we've toured East, but for the first time, we're heading West.

We'll leave Burlington, Ontario, in the final days of September. Throughout October, we'll sing concerts, lead worship, and teach workshops in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta.

By the first weekend of November, we'll hit Edmonton, Alberta, for GMA Canada Week! We'll have 4 days of workshops, showcases, and other great events with our fellow GMA artists.

From there, we'll drive home to Burlington with just enough time to take a little break before jumping into the Christmas season.

To summarize: 6 weeks. 4 provinces. 7200 kilometres. 

Our tour route! 

Booking a tour of this size is always a challenge, but booking a tour this size when we've never sung in any of these areas is a particular challenge! We need a huge number of events to make this happen. My days are currently filled with reaching out to churches across our tour route, introducing our Infinitely More ministry, and asking the all-important question, "Would you like to host a concert?"

How can you help?

- If you're in the any of these areas, or you know friends in the area, we'd love to sing for you! We'll be performing church, community, and house concerts. Please contact me for more information.

- Please keep us in prayer that we'll book the number of events that we need.

- Please feel free to share this post with anyone who might be interested!

- Join our mailing list or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the most recent news.

Thank you! We're so excited about this new adventure, and this opportunity to share our music and message with a whole new audience.

I'll keep you updated on how things shape up!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Concert Tomorrow Night!

We're looking forward to our return visit to St. John's Ida tomorrow night!

This special concert will be a fundraiser for Threshold Ministries, 
which provides outreach to people in the Peterborough area.

Please come join us!

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Book Review: Aloof, by Tony Kriz

I first fell in love with the writing of Tony Kriz when I reviewed Neighbors and Wise Men. I jumped at the chance to review Aloof, with its intriguing subtitle: Figuring Out Life With A God Who Hides.

What do we do with a God who says He wants to be in relationship with us, yet so often seems distant and silent? Through stories, memories, and theological wrestling, Kriz takes on this most difficult and ultimately unanswerable question. Throughout the book, I found myself drifting away to ponder the ideas and possibilities raised in his vibrant and engaging stories. I turned down page corners and wrote my own thoughts in the margins. I circled my favourite chapters in the table of contents.

This is a book for anyone who has straddled the thin line between doubt and wonder. It's a book for people who understand that recognizing how far we are from God is our first step towards intimacy with God.

I highly recommend it.

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Worship Wednesdays - Happy Canada Day!

One year ago today, we were in Nashville, recording How The Light Gets In. We celebrated Canada Day with Tim Horton's coffee, maple syrup candies, and Laura Secord Miniatures for all the musicians.

Today, we're blessed to celebrate in Canada with our family!

Wherever you find yourself today, we hope you celebrate our beautiful country.


Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Worship Wednesdays - What Worship Leaders Can Learn From Wedding DJs...

Last week, this article appeared in the Toronto Star.

The basic idea behind the article is that many new couples are choosing to program their own wedding playlist instead of hiring a professional DJ. The bride and groom load up their iPod with their favourite songs, and ask a willing guest to run the list throughout the night.

As someone who chose to have a friend make our wedding video, and as someone who will go through life with no wedding video, I'm a fan of hiring professionals to do professional jobs on your big day. But I digress...

The reasons for not hiring a DJ ran from budget to simplifying the wedding process, but the biggest reason was music choice.

"Outside of the budget-conscious, the couples most likely to program their own playlist tend to have — as (DJ Scott) Rideout puts it — 'specific tastes.'"

Couples want a particular kind of music, only their favourite songs, played throughout the evening. It makes sense on first glance, but this is the statement that really caught my eye:

“Generally, I find those people try to cater to a smaller number of people and don’t look at the big picture,” Rideout said. “You’ve got a room of 100 people — 
you want 100 people to know the songs you’re playing.”

Wow. My mind flashed to the many conversations I've had with worship leaders and music directors.

In most churches, the music director will have the job of choosing all the music for Sunday morning. There may be input and consultation with clergy, but the main direction for a congregation's song choice will often come from one person.

What happens when that one person allows their personal taste 
to dominate the musical voice of a congregation?

I've talked with music directors who only want hymns, from one specific hymnal. I've chatted with worship leaders who only choose songs from the CCLI Top 20 list. I've met others who insist that their congregation only likes Country, or refuses to listen to Jazz, or some other genre prejudice.

But here's the truth: 
You want your 100 (or 10 or 1000) people on Sunday to know the songs you're playing.

I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't introduce new music or stretch our musical boundaries - anyone familiar with our Infinitely More ministry knows that we're big fans of creating and sharing new music. And yes, the personal taste, knowledge, and skill set of any worship leader will always affect the music we play. But we need to think about all 100 people when we're planning our songs for worship. They may not 'know' every song, but wouldn't it be great if they could at least find one song that connects with them personally in worship?

Do you have folks in your congregation who love hymns? Include some. 
New worship songs? Teach some of those too. 
Do you have children in your worship? Make sure there's a song for them. 
Do you have songwriters? How could their music influence your worship?

Music style influences worship, but no one style dictates or defines worship. 
All music styles can be used for worship when directed towards God.

What I'm proposing definitely makes our jobs harder. Searching multiple sources, creating new music, finding fresh ways to play ancient songs, performing a variety of styles, and being cognizant of the full diversity of your congregation is a lot of work. But here's the payoff: at the end of Sunday worship, the Soccer Mom, the Overworked CEO, the Rebel Teen, the Kind Grandmother, the Struggling Doubter, the Tween, the Lifelong Faithful, the Visitor, the Flag Waver, and the Prayerbook Defender can all leave saying, "I felt connected in that worship. That song... That song was for me."

Let's rise to the challenge. We can't please all the people all the time, but perhaps, by expanding our own personal palette, we can create a musical voice that represents our full church family, draws us closer into worship, and brings joy to God.

Worship Wednesdays is a weekly series to encourage and equip worship leaders and songwriters. Bookmark this page visit us every Wednesday!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Infinitely More named Stonebridge Guitar Artists!

Yesterday, we shared the story of our recent Guitar Hunt. 
You can read all the details HERE.

Today, we're sharing the awesome conclusion!

As we searched and played, Gerald discovered a guitar he'd never heard of before: Stonebridge.

We hadn't seen them in any stores (and we visited a lot!) yet we saw them in videos, played by master finger-style guitarists.

A quick Google search uncovered the story behind these European gems. Only in North America for less than a decade, Stonebridge Guitars are distributed in a handful of select, boutique guitar stores. Some of the stores even feature an appointment-only policy. Fortunately, their North American distribution - Brickhouse Guitars - is only an hour from us.

It was a short trip from Discovery to Love. Gorgeous handcrafted instruments with stunning tone and playability. The search for our dream guitar had ended.

It wasn't long before we discovered the Artist Collaboration Program and filled out our application.

We're proud to announce that Infinitely More 
is the newest Stonebridge Artist!

Infinitely More, with our new band member! 

We're honoured to represent this wonderful guitar, and can't wait to add its beautiful sound to our live shows.

Elegant and beautiful! 

It's a stunning instrument - rich cedar top, master grade shimmering koa sides and back, paduak binding and appointments.

The light shimmers off the stunning koa!

The sound is incredible, but when we sang with it, and heard its tone blend with our voices, well, that was just magic. We brought it home on Tuesday and it's already inspired at least one new song!

Deep cutaway and simple inlays add the perfect finishing touches.

What an awesome end to our Guitar Hunt! 

We hope you'll come out to see our new guitar at an upcoming event.

In the meantime, we're off to make some great music with the newest member of our band...