Thursday, June 22, 2017

Book Review: Between Heaven & the Real World, by Steven Curtis Chapman, with Ken Abraham

When you admire a songwriter, you get both excited and apprehensive when you see their name on a book cover. You want to hear what they have to say, but can their style successfully make the leap from 3 minutes to 300 pages?

In the hands of a master storyteller like Steven Curtis Chapman, the answer is a resounding "yes!"

I've long been a fan of Steven's writing, and this book was an absolute pleasure to read. I actually read it while we were on our recent East Coast Tour. I devoured pages in hotel rooms, on ferries, and even in the midst of a freak snowstorm on the May 24th long weekend. Reading about Steven's start in the music business and his approach to songwriting seemed all the more powerful in the midst of our own music making.

But I knew the real story was coming.

In 2008, Steven and Mary Beth Chapman faced a parent's worst nightmare when one of their children accidentally caused the death of one of their other children. We were living in Nashville when this happened, and the whole city reeled from the shock of the tragedy. It was like it happened to a family member. Steven's music had blessed so many of us, and in that season, we all mourned for this beautiful family.

I can't imagine the strength it took to put these particular chapters into print, both for Steven and for the whole family. He tells the story with raw emotion and absolute transparency. I wept through these pages, reliving my own experiences with grief, and marvelling at this story of grace and forgiveness.

There are so many who will enjoy and value this book. It's for fans of Steven Curtis Chapman's music. It's for those who love autobiographies, and for those with an interest in songwriting and the music business. It's a story about falling in love, and building that love into a family. But it's also a testimony about facing the unimaginable, wrestling with the pain, and finding God in the midst of it all.


Full disclosure: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. Viewpoints are all my own.



Saturday, April 15, 2017

What Happened After The Crucifixion, and Why Does It Matter?

Yesterday, Gerald and I led the annual St. Catharines Good Friday Walk. Hundreds of people followed a large wooden cross down the street. At each of the six downtown churches, the minister read a piece of the Good Friday story from Luke. I gave a reflection, and we shared a song. 
It was an honour to lead our city in this beautiful event.

Today, I'm posting my final reflection of the walk: 

What happened after the crucifixion, and why does it matter?

The crowd gathers at our final stop on the annual St. Catharines Good Friday Walk...

What a change from just a few days ago, when Jesus entered Jerusalem to praises of "Hosanna." 
In just a few short hours: an arrest. A public trial. Flogging. A crucifixion. 
And now, Jesus is laid in a tomb. 

I often think about that time right after the crucifixion. How his friends and followers must have felt. How they gathered and what they talked about. How much they must have cried and just been shocked. Jesus had spoken about his death, but how much had they really understood, and how did it line up with the horrors they had just experienced? 

I can only imagine the flood of emotions they must have felt - 
grief, anger, fear, shock, disbelief, and maybe even betrayal. 
They had given up everything for this cause. 
They had left their families and their livelihoods. They’d trusted in Jesus. 
How could he bring them to this?

And haven’t we been there? Those moments of shock and despair and grief. Those moments when we turn to God and say, “Where are you? How can you allow this to happen? Why won’t you stop it? I trusted you. Why aren’t you here for me?”

But remember, it's only Friday. Sunday is coming...

God is still at work. On a supernatural level, he is still at work. 

It was true that first Good Friday. And it’s true today.

God is still at work. Fighting battles we cannot see or understand. He knows your pain, and cares about everything you’re going through. He will walk with you through it all. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will be your rock, your salvation, your peace. He never sleeps. He is relentlessly working all things together for the good of those who love him. 

And we can see all of this, at the foot of the cross.

Wait on the Lord. Be strong. Take heart.

Sunday is coming...



Saturday, December 31, 2016

10 Favourite Moments of 2016

What a year!

I'm always surprised when we reach the end of another year. 
It's amazing how much we can pack into a mere 12 months! 
This week, I've spent some time browsing the many, many, many photos I took this year.

In no particular order, here are 10 of our favourite moments from 2016:


#1 - OUR 10TH ANNIVERSARY

We kicked off the year with a very special family milestone - our 10th wedding anniversary! It's amazing to think about all that has happened in the last decade. If you had told us 10 years ago that we'd now be touring the country with our own music ministry, we would have not-so-discreetly smirked behind your back. We're so thankful for every moment - the challenging and the triumphant. In February, we gathered with family to renew our vows and enjoy an intimate celebration in our new hometown. Just perfect...









#2 - CHANGING LIVES WITH WORLD VISION

2016 marked our first year partnering our ministry with World Vision. In our concerts, we shared the story of our own sponsored child, Keilyn, and it was amazing to see how you responded. There was the woman who found a little boy with the exact same birthday as her grandson, and the man who found a child from the country of his youth. There was the church who decided to share their blessings and sponsor 5 children! And finally, there was the woman who broke our hearts with her powerful story of infertility, but through World Vision, she could finally have the son she always wanted. Each story was unique and beautiful, but the most wonderful thing is knowing how many lives have been changed by your generosity.




#3 - OUR FIRST YEAR IN ST. CATHARINES

After moving 7 times in 9 years, we finally bought a house in our new hometown of St. Catharines! We quickly fell in love with our century home, and we've loved working on projects and seeing our landscape change through the seasons. We've spent countless hours exploring our neighbourhood, our city, and the glorious Niagara region. The most wonderful thing, however, is how much we've been embraced by the local churches. Through worship services, concerts, and the Good Friday Walk, we've truly had a chance to minister to our city.










#4 - EAST COAST TOUR

Touring the East Coast provinces has become one of our favourite parts of the year! This spring, we spent 2 months on the road singing in churches throughout Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and for the first time ever - PEI! And no trip to PEI would be complete without a visit to the beautiful Green Gables. One of the perks of traveling off season - this is one of the biggest tourist sites in Canada, and we practically had the whole place to ourselves!




#5 - TARA JACKSON VISIT

In the summer, we hosted a visit from our sweet friend, Tara Jackson! We explored the St. Catharines and Toronto areas, and yes, stocked up on Costco-sized maple syrup. Some of the most special times were sitting around the dining room table, with Gerald on guitar and the three of us singing in harmony. Hoping for more of this in 2017... hint, hint....





#6 - ADVENT CAFE

People sometimes question the idea of "God's timing", but I truly believe it was only through God's timing that we were able to join Advent Cafe this year! Advent Cafe is a weekly contemporary worship service in the coffee lounge of St. George's Anglican Church in St. Catharines. Utilizing a rotating roster of worship leaders, we've been blessed to lead worship once a month for this wonderful group. In the summer, we moved the service outside and worshipped right on the main street. I even had the chance to preach at one of these outdoor services. A new challenge, but I must have done alright because I've been asked to do it again in February!


#7 - THE FOOD

As we travel, one of our favourite things to discover is culinary delights we could never have at home. In the east, we indulged in fried clams, toutons, fish & brewis, and Jigg's dinner. Traveling west, we tried elk, bison, deer, and birch syrup. Closer to home, we explored the local market scene with fresh produce and homemade grape pie. In this photo, we're enjoying partridgeberry pancakes at the Treasure Box in beautiful Rocky Harbour, NL. So thankful for everyone who hosted us for a meal, and those who birth wonderful little restaurants with local creations.







#8 - ALL 10 PROVINCES!!


This fall, we headed west for our 2nd annual Prairies Road Trip concert tour. We sang in churches of all sizes and denominations throughout Northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. But at the end of October, we had the pleasure of arriving in British Columbia for our first concerts in that province. This marked the completion of a long held dream - to sing in all 10 provinces! I even blogged about it HERE, as a reminder to all of us to keep pursuing your dreams, no matter how long they may take to come true.




#9 - WORKING WITH OTHER ARTISTS

There are few things more special than working with other talented people. This year, we had the chance to make music with some of our very favourite and super talented friends, including a concert with Rhonda Louise, a song session with Sally Meadows, and an inspiring Gaither Homecoming night with our friend & mentor, Allison Speer. In this photo, we're participating in a vocal masterclass with acclaimed singer-songwriter, Mark Masri. A reminder to us all that "iron sharpens iron" ...


#10 - TRAVELING OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY

If you haven't seen all of Canada yet, please plan a trip for next year! From the majesty of the Rockies to the wild scope of the Atlantic, we live in a pretty glorious country. The more we see, the more we want to see. The natural wonders are amazing, but the best thing is to get off the highway, explore the towns, meet the people, and hear their stories. We are so blessed to live in the "true North, strong and free."






We are so grateful for every moment this year - far too many to capture in one blogpost!

A sincere and generous THANK YOU to each and every person who joined our adventures this year.
For those who invited us into your homes and churches, and those who follow and support us online -
we truly couldn't do any of this without you!

We're looking forward to connecting with you all in 2017!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


BONUS MOMENT - STONEBRIDGE VIDEOS

Last year, we were blessed to become a Stonebridge Guitar artist. On a sunny day this fall, we visited Brickhouse Guitars in Kitchener to record some acoustic videos, featuring our beautiful Stonebridge. Since we're still celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas, here's the Christmas one...

And stay tuned for 2 more videos to come in 2017!

Tonight, Everywhere Is Bethlehem
Written & performed by Allison Lynn & Gerald Flemming




Monday, October 31, 2016

When a Dream Comes True...

"You gotta have a dream. If you don't have a dream, 
how you gonna have a dream come true?"
Rogers & Hammerstein, South Pacific


Many years ago, when I first started taking my singing seriously, I attended a church with two opera singers. Eva and Stephanie were mother and daughter - wonderful women with amazing voices. They became mentors to me, and I was so encouraged by them.

One day I was talking to Eva about her career, and she said to me, "You know, my music has taken me to every province in Canada."

"Wow," I thought, "I want that too."

So that day, I set it as a goal for myself:

Sing in every province in Canada.

Not just visit and sing in my hotel, but have an actual professional performance in every province.

Well, for many years, it seemed like I'd never get farther than Ontario. Many, many years...

But then, this unexpected thing called "Infinitely More" was born, and suddenly, we started to travel. And 'my' dream became 'our' dream...

We started touring the East Coast annually, and then last year, we made our first venture into the Prairies.

But this weekend, here in British Columbia, our dream came true:

Infinitely More has now sung in every province in Canada! 

I can't tell you how blessed we are to share our music in so many wonderful communities across our beautiful country. There's no better example of "the family of God" than showing up in a town you've never visited, starting a concert, and feeling like you're already home.

The world is a better place when we follow our dreams. I meet so many people who become discouraged because their dreams haven't come true. But you know, dreams are funny things. Sometimes things take a long time to happen, or their 'coming true' form might look differently than we imagined. Or they might morph and change and transform into something else altogether.

I encourage you to follow your dreams and to enjoy the journey. 
And when one finally does comes true: 
Enjoy the moment. Celebrate it. Give thanks. 

And then the next morning, find a new dream, and start all over again... 




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer Concerts!

We love touring, but this summer, 
we're excited to have lots of close-to-home concerts!

Please come join us for a concert or worship service near you.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Worship Wednesdays - FREE Song!


To celebrate the Easter season, we're giving away a FREE SONG:



Gerald was inspired to write this anthemic song by this photo he saw of a stone tomb, flooded with light. As soon as I heard his first verse and chorus, I declared, "I need to cowrite this!"  We loved crafting a song that celebrates the promise and power of that first Easter morning.


We debuted it on Easter Sunday,
and it quickly became a year-round favourite.


In that first year, I wrote a blogpost about the natural evolution of the song's vocals and arrangement. You can read that post here.





And we recorded a live performance for the tv show Artisans of Charlotte County during our musical residency in St. Andrews, New Brunswick:



But the final thrill came when we brought it into the studio. Denny Martin and his amazing band of Nashville musicians created a powerful soundtrack, and Carmon Barry of Toronto captured our vocals.

There's A Light At The End Of The Tomb was included on our 
ECMA and Covenant Award nominated CD, How The Light Gets In.


To get your free song, please visit our Store:



We're offering this for a limited time, but we want to give away lots of downloads! 
Please feel free to share this link with your friends and family...



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



Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Worship Wednesdays - We're Heading East!

We're so excited to plan our 6th annual East Coast Tour!

Mapping out the route...

Our tours to Canada's beautiful East Coast have become a very special tradition for us. Each year, we visit churches throughout Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland. We sing concerts that help raise funds for local outreach projects. We lead worship for weekend conferences and Sunday mornings. We even work with bands and choirs to teach workshops on worship leading and songwriting.

St. Mary The Virgin Church, St. John's, NL

The relationships we make on these tours are amazing! There are some churches we visit year after year, building friendships and creating music with their bands and choirs. And on each tour, we visit new areas, ministering to churches for the first time. We love learning how each church works within their community. There are so many incredible outreach projects happening in towns across this country. These are stories that never make the news, and yet these volunteers are making a profound difference in their corner of the world. It's an honour to meet so many people who are bringing the Gospel to life - feeding the poor, caring for the outcast, loving their neighbour as themselves... 



These travels are also a time for great creativity. Many of the songs on Infinitely More and How The Light Gets In were either written on these tours, or inspired by stories shared with us after concerts or during our teaching.

We feel blessed to explore this amazing part of the country - making music, meeting people, learning about local history, and feasting on some of the best seafood ever!


Peggy's Cove, NS

This year, our tour will start after Easter and will keep us on the road 
throughout April, May, and into early June.

We're currently booking concerts, worship events, and music team workshops in 
Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.

And for the first time ever, we're hoping to visit Prince Edward Island!

We'd love to bring our music to your community! 
Booking a fundraiser concert is easier than you may think. 
To reserve a date, or just to ask questions, please visit our Contact page and send us an email.


St. James' Drop In, Rosemere, QC



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