Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New "Hair Cut for Cancer" Video!

I've finally put together a video from my recent 10 inch hair donation!

We've also created a new page on our website to share the video, photos, and info on how you can donate your hair.

For years, I had long hair and never even knew I could donate it. The only reason I started donating was when I heard someone else sharing their story.

Please feel free to share this link & video with your friends!

Our new Cut for Cancer page: 

Here's the video - enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Beads Songwriter Night

Tonight felt so Nashville!

Our friend, Susan Hookong-Taylor invited us to be part of her songwriting series, The Beads. We performed in the event room of the charming Family Tree House Cafe. 

Gerald and I took the opportunity to sing a lot of songs from our upcoming CDs, such as You Take Me Higher, Real Big Fan, and You Are. It was great to play them for a new audience and get such positive feedback. We also had the chance to jam out a few worship songs with Susan - so great to play with such a talented lady!

With Susan Hookong-Taylor.

After the show, we spent a long time chatting, sharing stories, and eating late night ice-cream. 
We'll definitely be back... and yes we'll have more ice-cream, please!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ascension Sunday at St. John's York Mills

Today, we doubled up at St. John's York Mills as we helped lead both the morning service and the evening Gathering in a celebration of the Ascension.

Okay, a week ago, I don't know if I was that excited about celebrating the Ascension. In theory, I would have defined it as a good thing - Jesus going up to Heaven can't be all that bad. But in reality, I really had never given it a second thought.

As I planned our Gathering music, I looked to songs that had themes of praise and exultation - "God on high" and that kind of thing - and I think that was on the mark.

But as I dug deeper, I began to see the beauty of the Ascension, 
 the reminder that Jesus didn't die a second time. 
He's still living, 
still able to hear our prayers, 
still waiting for us on the other side.

That changed everything.

At tonight's Gathering, a woman shared the story of her near-death experience. I've known this woman for a while. She's smart and sensible. She's not one for exaggeration. But she told this phenomenal, beautiful story about coming close to death, and feeling surrounded by the full and all-encompassing love of God. I could retell all her words, and I could never come close to truly capturing the feeling of love, acceptance, and grace that was shining in her eyes as she told her story.

That's the Ascension.

... God living ...
... loving us now ...
.... waiting to receive us home ...

So that's what we celebrated tonight...

The Ascension stained glass window at St. John's York Mills.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Vocal Sessions Begin...

Since we recorded the instrumental tracks for our new CD in March, we've been searching for the right place to record our vocal tracks. We wanted a studio with great vocal mics, a strong knowledge of Christian music, a great ear for harmony, and in an ideal world, somewhere close to our house.

And we found it! So tonight, we went to Emmanuel Recording Studios for our first vocal session.

Gerald and I have a really tight musical synergy when we perform live. Our voices blend seamlessly, and we can follow each other's every move. The challenge is capturing that in the studio.

Between the Infinitely More CD and Gerald's songwriting project, we're going to have lots of sessions over the next few months, so we decided to treat tonight as a playground session. We experimented with different mics, played with the song, tried different ways of recording our sound, and just got used to the whole set up.

Gerald and Carmon trying out different mics.

I'll be taking a photo or two at every session, and you can visit our photo album to see the whole set.

Monday, May 14, 2012

My 3rd Cut for Cancer

As we speak, 10 inches of my hair is in the hands of Canada Post.

My family and I gathered today for my 3rd Cut for Cancer. The first happened when we were living in Nashville and the second in Toronto.

Donating your hair is a fascinating process. During my first growing period, I was washing my hair one night, and I realized, "This isn't my hair!" The hair at the top of my head was mine, but the long strands in my hands actually belonged to someone else. Like a surrogate, I was caring for this hair until it was ready to be delivered to someone else.

At that point, I began praying for the woman who would get my hair. I imagined all the different things she could be - a mother, a grandmother, a teenager, an artist, a business woman, a woman of faith, an atheist. I wondered how far along she was in her disease. Maybe she didn't even know she was going to get sick. I prayed for healing, for all those who would handle getting my hair to her, and no matter what her faith walk, I prayed she would feel God's peace in her life.

The process has been no less profound this third time around.

At today's cut, Mom, Dad, Gerald, and I discussed the unique consequences of hair donations. With surrogacy, you know who owns the baby and where it's going next. With organ donations, you either know your recipient, or you've died and the whole process is anonymous. I think the closest similarity is blood donors - it's anonymous, and we're all walking around the next day. Who knows? I could ride the bus some day with the woman who's wearing my hair, and neither of us would be the wiser.

So my hair has been snipped and shipped, and I feel fantastic. Physically, I really do feel lighter! And I feel thankful that I have the hair to donate.

All this week, I've been reminded of these words from the Book of Common Prayer:

And here we offer and present unto Thee, O Lord, 
our selves, our souls and bodies
to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice unto Thee…

The cut is done! Me and my 10-inch ponytails!

I'll be posting photos and a video of the day on our site soon, but in the meantime, you can view photos on our Infinitely More Facebook page.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Review: A Year With Jesus, by R.P. Nettelhorst

It's been ages since I've reviewed a book! Not that I haven't read a slew of them, but it's just been a while since my last review.

Here we go:

"A Year With Jesus" is a devotional based on the words of Christ. Devotionals can be a real mixed bag for me. I find it so inconvenient when only the scripture reference is given, so you need to pull out a second book to look it up. And combine that with a flippant little interpretation about the passage, well, sometimes it just seems like a wasted death of a tree.

Happily, this book is something different. Each page contains a passage of scripture that includes the words of Jesus, and a meaningful piece of application. The scripture is long enough to actually give you a sense of context and story. The year is divided into themes of contrast and struggle: Love and Hate, Truths and Lies, Arrogance and Humility, Friends and Enemies, Deserved and Undeserved, and so on.

I really appreciate the style of this book. The entries are numbered but not dated, so you can pick it up anytime and start reading from any spot. It's the perfect length for a daily devotional, or it could also be used to read and reflect on a particular theme. Overall, I've really enjoyed this book, and it's earned a place in my daily reading book pile.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Cause one CD is never enough...

This spring, we took on the long-awaited challenge of recording our first Infinitely More CD. We visited Nashville to record the instrumental tracks, and after much searching, we've found an awesome studio in Toronto to capture our vocals. This Saturday, we'll lay down our first vocal session!

Making a CD is always a challenge, and things are moving smoothly.

But then....

We got to thinking (always a dangerous notion for the Creative Brain) - Gerald recorded demos of his country songs a few years ago.

What if we removed the demo singer's vocals, had Gerald record his own vocals, and then released a solo CD for Gerald?

So that's what we're doing!

After going through the demos, we chose 5 tracks that we thought would fit well on a country, inspirational, songwriter type of CD.

As we speak, Gerald is upstairs on Skype, working with our producer and the session players, recording 5 more tracks to fill out the CD.

If you've been to any of our concerts in the past year, you'll recognize many of the songs on this project, including one of my favourites, "Every Church is a Small Town."

Arg!! Two CDs!!! My practical mind is thinking: twice the finances, twice the work, twice the stress.

But my Creative Brain is thinking: 
10 times the creativity, 
100 times the adventure, 
1000 more ways to put some good out into the world.

I think I'll let my Creative Brain take control...