Monday, February 27, 2012

Growing Through Lent - Fasting

(This Lent, my Dad, Rev. Hollis Hiscock, and I are co-blogging! You can find our posts every Monday at my Blog and Dad’s Blog. Visit, comment, share, and most importantly, feel free to join us in the journey.)

“What are you GIVING UP for Lent?”


“What are you TAKING UP for Lent?”

When it comes to FASTING, these two questions
“go together like a horse and carriage.”

Fasting can last for a short or long time, and should be directed to improve your relationship with yourself, other people, or God. Most people think of fasting from food, but your fast could be from anything that might be a distraction for you, such as alcohol, television, negative thoughts, unwanted behaviours, smoking, arguing, swearing, or even gossip.

Jesus also offered this advice when fasting – “Put on a happy face” – OK, that's not his exact words, but he did say,

“When you fast, don’t make yourselves look sad like the hypocrites. They put a look of suffering on their faces so that people will see they are fasting. The truth is, that’s all the reward they will get. So when you fast, wash your face and make yourself look nice. Then no one will know you are fasting, except God, who is with you even in private. God can see what is done in private, and will reward you.”
(Matthew 6:16-19)

But to “give up” without “taking up”
could put you in a worse state than when you started.

Jesus warned his followers about the dangers of giving up something without replacing it with something positive. He relates this little known incident called “The Danger of Emptiness” --

“When an evil spirit comes out of someone, it travels through dry places, looking for a place to rest. But it finds no place to rest. So it says, ‘I will go back to the home I left.’ When it comes back, it finds that home all neat and clean. Then the evil spirit goes out and brings back seven other spirits more evil than itself. They all go and live there, and that person has even more trouble than before.”
(Luke 11:24-26)

So, this means when one gives up something like junk food, the time, energy and money freed up should be replaced doing something else, such as volunteering at a shelter or a community meal, or contributing money to a needy cause. Or if one decides to give up thinking evil thoughts, then these should be replaced by better, more positive thoughts and so on. Get the idea?

This Lenten season, we encourage you to both
give up and take up something.
Feel free to leave your experience in the comments section.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Growing Through Lent

(This Lent, my Dad, Rev. Hollis Hiscock, and I are co-blogging! You can find our posts every Monday at my Blog and Dad’s Blog. Visit, comment, share, and most importantly, feel free to join us in the journey.)

We find ourselves in the Christian season of Lent – 40 days of preparation and anticipation, beginning on Ash Wednesday and culminating with Easter Sunday.

This week, Lent began on February 22, exactly one month before the beginning of spring. If spring heralds thoughts of growth and new horizons, then so too does Lent.

Lent is an opportunity to do some “spring cleaning” of our souls, minds, emotions and bodies.

Listed below are suggestions of “what the Church asks” of us and “what we can do” to respond to these five recommendations.

On each Monday in Lent, we will post a more detailed exploration of the five suggestions on Hollis’ blog and Allison’s blog.

Meanwhile, you can begin by mapping your plan for each of the five areas listed below.

May God guide each of us as we journey through the wilderness of Lent to the mountain top of Easter.


What the Church asks - What you can do

FASTING - Give up a favourite food or change a behaviour.

EXAMINE YOUR LIFE & PRACTICE - Spend 3-5 minutes alone daily reflecting on your quality of life.

PRAY - Pray for people you see in the news, read about in print, network with online and encounter in daily living.

READ THE BIBLE - Let’s all read the Gospel of John. Share your thoughts.

HELP THOSE IN NEED - Support with your time, talent and finances an international or local church or charity.

Please bookmark this blog,
leave your thoughts in the comments section,
and feel free to share this Lenten journey with your friends!

2 Big Announcements from Infinitely More!

If we've met in person lately, you may have heard the rumours, but today, we're announcing our 2 big projects for 2012:

A new CD and a Maritime Tour!

In January, we sat and reviewed where we are and where we'd like to be, and these 2 projects came quickly to the surface.

I'm blessed to have 2 solo CDs, but neither encompasses all that we are as Infinitely More. We've been craving some studio time for a while, and we're so excited about making that happen this spring! We'll travel to Nashville this March to record the instrumental tracks, and then continue to work on the project over the next few months.

We'll release the CD in Toronto, and it will be ready to take on tour with us!

One of the highlights of 2011 was our fun and fantastic East Coast Tour. This summer, we'll spend August singing our way through the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and PEI. We're just starting to put together our schedule, so if you'd like more information on booking a church or house concert, please Contact me!

We're so excited about both these projects!
Check back often, or *like* us on Facebook to keep up with all the news!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And So It Begins...

And so it begins ... this season we call Lent.

A time of fasting...

A time of repentance...

A time of silence and prayer and just ...

.... listening .....

A time of steadiness, and a time of transformation

A time of death, and a time of life

A time of introspection, and a time of reaching out

A time of giving up, and a time of taking on

A time of patience, and a time of fierce anticipation

A time of self, and a time of God ...

This time...

This season we call Lent...

And so it begins...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday goodness

As I write this, I'm amazed at the numbers of the past week:
  • 2 Sunday services at 2 churches
  • 2 Valentine concerts
  • 1 new song
  • 1 Fireside Concert
  • 10 baby music classes
  • 2 new bookings
  • countless hours of rehearsal!

Is it any surprise we order Chinese food on Sunday nights?

But before I shut down completely, let me share 2 cool things from today:

#1. This morning at Church of the Messiah, we visited the children in church school and taught them "Angels Watching Over Me." We learned the chorus, some call & response verses, and played rhythm instruments so we could be a 'band.' It all clicked in place beautifully, and we're going to try it again in a few weeks and even have them sing with us on the postlude.

So many of us have powerful memories of music and Sunday school, and I'm really glad we could use our gifts in this way.

#2. Tonight's Gathering band was awesome!! We had a 9-piece group, which always feels full and lush. But tonight, we did a hymn set to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun," featuring sax and pipe organ! It sounded amazing! I'm so thankful for this group of awesome volunteers.

Great musicians + great people = pure joy!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fireside Concert!

By 2:05, our house was filled with chatty, cider-sipping friends, all settled in around the fire in the living room. Through our picture window, the snow fell in big, lush flakes.

At the start of the concert, Gerald set the tone by sharing his favourite part of doing a house concert - performing in his slippers!

Over the next two hours, we sang some of our favourite songs and told the story behind their creation. We took a generous break so people could refill their glasses, grab homemade cookies, and make new friends. We even debuted a new song Gerald had written just this week - "You Take Me Higher."

All in all, a fantastic afternoon! As I sit here tonight, looking at the folding chairs stacked in the corner and all our furniture back in its place, the whole concert feels a little surreal, like a wonderful memory...

Thank goodness Dad took all those photos. I'll let you know when I get them online.

For tonight, we're resting. After all, Sunday's coming...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fireside Concert Tomorrow!!!!!

Just a reminder that our Fireside Concert is tomorrow!
We've got a great afternoon of music, cookies & apple cider all prepared.

We even have a NEW SONG to debut!!

We still have a few tickets left - hope to see you there!

Saturday, February 18

Comer House
11 Don Ridge Dr.
North York, ON
Near Yonge & 401, and York Mills subway.
Lots of FREE parking

Includes cider, sweets, and other treats!

Contact me for more details or to reserve your tickets.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Tin Whistle Debut!

Today, I debuted my Irish tin whistle!

My tin whistle, also called a penny whistle.

I've been wanting to learn for a while, so I bought one at O'Brien's in St. John's on last year's East Coast Tour. I looked at it nervously for a few months. I'd studied recorder as a kid (who didn't?), but this was different. People play this thing for real.

So I finally searched out some youtube videos, learned the fingering, and started to play a few songs - privately, in a the sanctity of my music room.

This week, we were rehearsing "I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say" and I realized it was in G, a key that fits my D whistle (tin whistles are each tuned to a particular key). We decided to work up a little intro for me, and this morning, I made my tin whistle debut. Now, at just a few bars, this wasn't a momentous occasion for anyone other than me, but here's my point:

Gerald often talks to his songwriting students about
"getting back to primary learning."

He teaches adults who are often lifelong singers or instrumentalists, who must now revert back to the beginning when it comes to learning songwriting. I feel that way about learning the tin whistle.

All the things I know how to do as a singer
- breath control, phrasing, dynamics, song interpretation, memorization -
must be relearned in terms of the whistle.

It's challenging and humbling, but I think as an artist, it's critical. It's not only important that we keep pushing ourselves creatively, but it's a great reminder that there is so much diversity and wonder in the world of music. A thousand lifetimes would never be enough to learn and master it all, and isn't that part of why we love it so much?

Saturday, February 04, 2012